Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Planting



Just yesterday, it seems,
I gathered the dirt up in my hands
And found the soil too dry
To do much good--
Dismal earth for bulbs.
Yet, I carried on planting,
Gently, though without care.
An abandonment.
Like newly-nestled orphans
Snug on the abbey stair.
You were not conscious of me,
Nor I of the life nascent in you.
And still you grew--
Through October’s distilled chill;
Frost-harbinging November;
December-quiet, in place of cheer—
Still, you grew there.
Did I think of you?
No, not once.
Why, you lay buried! And brown!
Perhaps you guessed of Spring.
Or knew of garden tombs and things
That I know now.

I last saw you, late April,
Tall-green, blooming path-side,
And asked you, if you will, to grow,
Grow with me still.

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope you both are well and immersed in the work. Here are some highlights from the week that was:

1.       You may have seen some pictures already, but Monday we finished off President’s Day festivities by hiking through Valley of Fire state park. What a blast! It’s like a mini-Moab, with red rock formations, arches, and petroglyphs! I found the petroglyphs particularly interesting this time because they featured lots of rams or wild mountain goats. On our way through the park, we ran into a large herd of these same goats that looked just like the ones etched into the wall 4,000 years ago. Incredible. There was also a rock shaped like an elephant which was very cool.


2.       We began and finished the TV show Stranger Things this week. Good stuff. I don’t recommend watching it at night, however, especially when you live in a basement and things like cats occasionally walk by the window. We enjoyed it, though, for all its “Super 8” type suspense and nostalgia, plus, great character development.

3.       Friday night we attended the BYU v. Iowa gymnastics meet where we observed a nail-biting finish ultimately in favor of Iowa. In the words of AnneMarie, it came down to BYU having one more hop than Iowa—one more hop. Incredible. The stars of the meet, however, were probably the two thousand girls under the age of 10 that were also in attendance, all would-be gymnasts, and in particular two little girls, about 4 or 5, down near the front that attempted to follow along with every gymnast’s routine. In their own leotards. Hilarious lol. Porter was also in attendance with a lady friend but we ended up sitting in different areas so I can’t say much except that they looked like they were having fun. Afterward, we ended up at Matt’s house for desserts with the fab fam and Jessica and Lyndsi. We try to never miss an opportunity to get together with this gang!


4.       Saturday it was all about that getting ready for Sunday! We swept the floors and we shampooed our hair and…get the point. Cleaning feels good. To reward this effort, we went out for sushi burritos. If you haven’t had one, try it. For those that don’t like sushi, the sushi burrito offers an unintimidating way to approach the cuisine as many don’t feature uncooked fish or even fish at all. And, I’m not usually one to mention the egg rolls, but we got some fresh ones and they were BOMB.


5.       Sushi Burritos were followed with a free strawberry, pineapple, white chocolate and coconut dessert shake, which we had a coupon for, and then a visit to the local Barnes and Noble’s. We snagged Parcheesi for a bargain (And AnneMarie promptly bested me 4 times in a row) and Ammie picked up A Man called Ove, which I hear is all the rage in certain European literary circles. (As we danced the night away, happiness was also bestowed on the BYU basketball team who knocked off #1 Gonzaga at Gonzaga.)


6.       AnneMarie has been in full maid-of-honor mode this week as her best friend Caitlin is getting married soon. They went wedding dress shopping on Wednesday though I don’t think anyone’s said yes to the dress so there’ll be some more quality girl time coming up later this week.

7.       This actually happened last Sunday, but I met Rudy, as in the Rudy of Notre Dame, so that’s noteworthy. He lives across the street from the Paces and from the few words and the handshake I got he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Not to mention, with his joining of the church, the Pace’s cul-de-sac is well on its way to becoming 100% LDS.

8.       And the last note: After praying and pondering how we could reach out to our neighbors upstairs, one of whom is inactive and the other is not a member, I was on my way out to church ball on Tuesday night when Tony spied my shoes and asked if I played. Turns out he loves basketball and has been looking for a group to play with more regularly and is joining the squad this Tuesday for our final regular season face-off. Coincidence? I think not. The Lord is prepared to open the windows of heaven through a multitude of means. Plus, he knows we sorely need him;)

All our Love,

Tanner and AnneMarie

Sunday, February 26, 2017

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark, et al,

Dad told me this week was Carnival in Brazil. How is the party? Is there one? We read a one line sentence in a news article that stated Carnival in the state of Espiritu Santo was cancelled due to lack of funds or security. Good. I want you safe.

Speaking of safe, your father's middle name. He goes to great lengths to ensure our safety, the safety of his family. We appreciate him for his diligence often at the lack of thought on my part.

For example, Cooper had a three day tournament down in College Station for tennis. I just check with him on packing, see if he needs any money, and gift him with hugs and kisses. And let him go. Your father is asking, two days later, if I knew where Cooper is, how long he'll be gone, and how to contact him. Of course all my answers are vague. I let him fly from the nest. Cooper thinks his team finished 4th, out of 32 schools. He was 2 out of 5., and was playing singles.

I was working as an aide this week, in a middle school, meaning I  was working with students in a one-on-one basis in the classroom in addition to the teacher. Loved it. Helping without being in charge. The teacher had to step out of the classroom for a moment, and asked me to keep an eye on the kids. At one point I asked the girl I was assisting, the name of a student that needed to be told to sit down and get back to work. She said, "Lion." She really meant "Lyin'," and she and the class got a good chuckle over my fall. I had to high five her when offered.

One of my substitute jobs this week was at Miller and Breyer's elementary school, the first time I've not done middle school. It was for a third grade class, two doors down from Miller. Wow. I think I got off my feet two times. We were very busy, but knowing I was leaving with a handful of love notes will be bringing me back.

Sawyer came home from school one day and said he had been stopped by so many people, and told that his mother is the "nicest sub ever!" Yeah. So sad that there's not a lot of smiles and laughs in the world today, of which I have plenty enough to share.

Sawyer's been sore all week as his body acclimates to using those new pole vaulting muscles. Still very eager to grab your father whenever he can, and go to his middle school for extra practice. Even Miller joined them one day, and is now eager to develop this skill. Both boys have baseball try outs this week.


Breyer began soccer again this week. She's in love. And we keep finding the cute little cleats in her size I saved from all you boys. She gets to be on the same team, with the same coach, and jumped right back into the routine, except this time she got to use her new pink soccer ball from Christmas. Joy. She came home from school this week with her fourth tooth gone. She wanted to be in the lead, and yanked hard to move to the top of the list. And, she still refuses to be gifted by the tooth fairy, and has a fourth for her tooth collection.

Dad and Sawyer took Porter's large, round magnet, probably a foot in diameter, that he brought home from some broken speaker at the high school, and went dipping for lures. They would heave the magnet in the lake, let it hit the bottom, and then pull it up. Their only find was a lure that they had lost, one Sawyer had gifted Dad earlier in the year. Crazy.

Dad and Sawyer also went to Tarleton together to see a contestant from American Ninja Warrier who lives in Texas.


We had a live link to your cousin Trevor's basketball game this week - fabulous! He's great at rebounds. It was fun for your brothers to watch him be the big man under the basket. They won - bonus!

Your friend Allicia sent us pictures of you today, what a blessing. I love to see you! And I'm sure your  letter will explain some of what we're already seeing.






In closing, I found a few words by Elder Rasband, entitled "Lest Thou Forget" that I love.

"Always "remember the spiritual foundations you have built.

"First strengthen ourselves spiritually and then strengthen those around us.

"Ponder the scriptures regularly, and remember the thoughts and feelings you experience as you read them

"No matter what mistakes we have made or how imperfect we feel we are, we can always bless and lift others. Reaching out to them in Christlike service can help us feel the love of God deep within our hearts.

"Keep the covenants you have made, regardless of the actions of those around you.

"Be diligent [in] strengthen[ing] loved ones with personal testimony and who share spiritual experiences.

"Remain faithful and steadfast, even if storms of doubt invade your lives through the actions of others.

"Seek that which will edify and fortify you spiritually.

"Do not forget your divine heritage as a son or daughter of God or your eternal destiny to one day return to live with Him, which will surpass anything the world has to offer."

Have a wonderful week. We love you. We're glad you're safe.

Mom

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Family and Friends,

Short and sweet this week since I write to you from the wild wild west of Las Vegas! President's day weekend being BYU''s equivalent of spring break we took a trip down to Vegas to hang out with family and friends.

We left Friday night and after a fun drive down arrived safely here. Saturday we went hiking down slot canyons to some sweet hot springs. It was drizzly and a bit chilly but the got springs were roasting. Also full of nudists. Oh well. It was a great hike and along with nice views there's something mentally refreshing about the outdoors.

Monday we're hiking Valley of Fire before heading back up to Utah.





Today we attended Charis' (AnneMarie's cousin) ward where we saw the most optimistic man on earth. Wow. If you need a pick me up just go to the red rocks young single adult ward. Nuff said.


We took a detour on the way home to see the seven magic mountains, large painted boulders erected in the desert.  The place is an Instagram nirvana so there were lots of selfies/three sixty videos/photo shoots going on. We couldn't help but join in the fun.

We also  had a big barbecue and played with the world's most adorable nieces and nephews. Life is good:)

Also this week was Valentine's day. We'll keep the sappiness down for our Missionaries but AnneMarie and I enjoyed a romantic and delicious home cooked meal of BBQ chicken pizza, martinellis, chocolate strawberries, the works! Ammie also woke up early to make me a prime breakfast, including my favorite lemon poppyseed muffins. She spoils me.  Then we went out and saw la la land. Perfect night with my ridiculously gorgeous wife. I am one happy man:) no spoilers on the movie but you kind of need to see it folks at home. AnneMarie also babysat Emerson this week which was fun and very sweet of Matt and Joanna. Beyond that it's piles of homework and Costco samples runs oh yeah.

We love you!!!! Inspire faith and bear bold testimony,

Love,

AnneMarie and Tanner

Monday, February 20, 2017

Letter #79

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow. Can I just say I love the people in Capixaba? It´s been a great first week, and it's wonderful, absolutely wonderful to be back in Espirito Santo. It's like I went from Louisiana to Texas. A short distance, but a huge difference.


I've said goodbye to black beans. After eating them everyday for 10 months, I've been glad to be eating red and brown beans here.


My companion, Elder Braden Lawrence Dial is from the factory, Salt Lake City. So far it´s been good, and we´ve managed to only talk in Portuguese.


One thing that´s cool, and tiring about the Colatina zone, is its by far the largest geographically in the mission. There is lots of traveling. This week I went to Nova Venecia, three hours on a bus going through the hills. Espirito Santo is the Granite State of Brasil, its a huge industry and I love seing the beautifully stunning rock formations here. Colatina is in itself, a city set on a hill. Or hills. My legs are quite sore, and I think my thighs are growing daily. We basically just walk up and down staircases here. It reminds me of mowing with Bro. Overby in Huntington.



 And, the people capixaba are so, so much more recepptive. We´ve met and taught some great people this week, and had 7 who visited the church for the first time this Sunday! It was truly wonderful. After honestly struggling in Campos, I´ll have the opportunity to use everything I´ve learned. I know that some great things will be happening here. We met one young man, Leandro, who has truly been prepared by the Lord. He is reading the Book of Mormon daily and Sunday left his house early to bring some of his friends to church! He´ll be a great missionary.



The branch helps a lot. We´ve already received a lot of food, a lot of referalls, and have members who want to teach with us every single day. Oh yeah! Even though technically we belong to a district, the frequency here was 110 yesterday, and the district has more people than the Campos stake. What do we lack? Priesthood. So we´ve set some goals for the zone and we´re focusing on bringing the power of the priesthood here.

Love,

Elder Schenewark

Sunday, February 19, 2017

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark, et al,

Good evening as I'm typing, but a hearty good morning to your reading.

It appears that the unrest in your area is finished. Can I offer a hearty "Yeah!"? "Police in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo reached an accord to return to work after they were threatened with criminal charges of rebellion over a week-long strike. The strike had caused a security vacuum which ignited a wave of violence in which more than 120 people died. The protest was led by police families who blocked barracks demanding higher pay. The police will return to work on Saturday.
Brazil's military police, who carry out street patrols, are barred by law from going on strike. On Friday, the state government had said it was charging over 700 police officers with rebellion over their protest.


The biggest news of the week is your sister, first, losing her second front tooth. She leads her kindergarten class with most teeth lost: three. And second, turning six. Her birthday endured the whole week. She wanted corn dogs for her dinner, so that was Thursday. She went to school on Friday, the day before her birthday, with a new dress, new socks, and new tennis shoes. Dad brought her class cupcakes after lunch, and she came home proudly wearing her paper crown, carrying a paper balloon, and leftover cupcakes. We weren't going to be together a lot on Saturday so she opened the rest of her presents Friday evening. And most of it was pink. We shared her cake with the missionaries on Saturday. She had requested an ice cream cake, and she got one, one that I made using my heart shaped pans. It was multi layered with a white cake, strawberry ice cream, whipping cream, and a strawberry syrup. Yum.

Aunt Becky got a late night phone call from Hermana Orton's Mission President letting her know that she and her companion were evacuated from their area due to the threat of the Oroville Dam giving way. (The tallest dam in the U.S.) The traffic was awful as you could imagine due to the mandatory evacuation of many towns. It took her six hours to get where they were going.

Miller was digging for wood to carve, in the empty lot next door, and developed a raging case of poison oak. We eventually ended up using leftover steroids to stop the spread. Then, he wore the same winter coat, and developed a new case on his face. He looks like you with all his rash.

Miller had his first all star basketball tournament, drawing a draw until Saturday. He played three games yesterday, winning his first, and losing the next two. His face was purple for a long time.

Sawyer began track and field this week. They were testing for field positions, and of course he was up for pole vaulting. He came home very excited, as he felt like he was a natural. He made the cut. He had me bring him back to the field Saturday afternoon so he could practice more. He woke up this morning with aching arm muscles. But he is determined, and has spent many hours already watching videos and talking with Dad.

Sawyer competed in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition in three categories on Friday: Maps, Charts and Graphs; Number sense (mental math), and Mathematics. He found out later that evening he received second place in number sense and first in mathematics. What a smartie!

Cooper went on his first date. He texted a girl int he stake and invited her to the barbecue restaurant in Weatherford. Dad was his driver, and had to wait in his car for two hours! What we do for our kids! He had a great dinner, hopefully a fine time, enough to think about doing it again next month.


He spent Saturday with his friend making skateboards. Really. He had me at Home Depot at 6:59 a.m., again, what we do for our children. He picked out one piece of birth plywood, was able to have it cut in nine 10" segments, and went to work. Sometimes his creativity blows me away.

The most I could get out of Porter is that he's the newly crowned leg wrestling champion of Budge Hall. I found him eagerly sitting in the lobby waiting for Sunday evening visiting hours to begin. He does love to socialize and gets along so well with members of the opposite sex.

My first substitute teaching position was for a middle school English teacher. Going to a school where you know no procedure, or building layout, or technology is intimidating! Finding no lesson plan is frustrating! Having students not interested in learning discouraging. And I loved it. Once you get rid of the mechanics of the job, you're left with children and their needs. I know how to do that. My second job was also for a (different) middle school, this time for a science class. The students were much easier overall, and I knew the teacher I was working for, so left him in a great place when he returns by grading all his papers and quizzes.

I guess it was also Valentine's Day week. The day of love, the week of love, the month of love. Breyer's current favorite holiday. Her sweet love notes, "I love you so much" were left every where.This month's visiting teaching message, entitled "Christ’s Atonement Is Evidence of God’s Love" was month appropriate.  Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President, says, “Christ has “graven [us] upon the palms of [His] hands” (Isaiah 49:16). That supreme act of love ought to send each of us to our knees in humble prayer to thank our Heavenly Father for loving us enough that He sent His Only Begotten and perfect Son to suffer for our sins, our heartaches, and all that seems unfair in our own individual lives.”

I am grateful for this reminder. I'm grateful for this gift. I'm grateful for you.

Love,

Mom

Friday, February 17, 2017

Game, Set, Match

The Granbury Pirates enjoyed some home court advantage on January 27th during the Granbury Pirate Invitational Tennis Tournament.
The women’s singles final was an all-Granbury affair, as Paige Pritchard took home first place while her teammate Kristyna Matejickova finished second.
The team of Daniel Mounce and Jack Miller were runners-up in the men’s doubles bracket. Blake Steinmann and Cooper Schenewark won their consolation bracket.
In mixed doubles, Payton Freeman and Cadence Chiappe wound up in second place. Hayden Harris and Carissa Taylor rounded out the top finishers with a third place trophy.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Best Things Come to Those Who Wait...

As the sixth son, Miller does a LOT of waiting.
Last to wear the clothes and shoes.
Last to sit in the front seat.
And this year, last to cross the finish line.


The car looked great, the race not so much.
The weights were distributed poorly for this design.
But Miller was able to laugh.
He has more hardware from previous races than all his brothers combined.


Pinewood Derby 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Family,

Many apologies for no letter last week. We broke out the paint supplies and a couple of watercolor palm trees later...alas, no letter. But, some great looking palm trees.

The only thing in my memory worth mentioning from last week was our phenomenal housewarming party held last Friday. We had almost twenty family and friends over from seven till midnight with lots of games and food for everyone. Food, prepared by AnneMarie, included fresh fruit and homemade cookies along with buffalo chicken wings and a homemade artichoke jalapeno dip with chips. I’m a blessed man and that’s the gospel truth!

We played the classic couch game but we also played two new party games: the Animal Stick game (still working on a name there…) and Butt Basketball. Indeed. The Animal Stick game consists of one person being blindfolded and counting down from ten while everyone moves about the room. They have a small stick in their hands and when they get to zero everyone must stop. Whoever they touch first with the stick they ask to make some sort of sound, e.g. animal, ambulance etc. Then they have to guess who it is and if they’re right they switch in. Hilarity ensues especially as the person tries to find someone frozen around the room.

Ammie was quite excited to play butt basketball which involved clenching quarters (just one per person) in your behind (stretchy pants work better than jeans, I assure you!) and carrying them across the room where you must deposit them from high into a waiting cup below, relay race style. Most members of our party enjoyed this spectacle. A few did not. For those not in the mission field, may I recommend either game for FHE entertainment not soon to be forgotten.

All in all, you know it’s a good party when the guests leave reluctantly and take some of the goodies home with them. After many adventures abroad it feels good to be near many friends and family once again.


I lied. Last week we also attended BYU’s annual Burns Supper, a Scottish tradition honoring the memory of Scottish poet Rabbie Burns. We were invited as I was asked to speak on behalf of all the interns that had participated in the Scottish Parliament program, the proceeds of the dinner being donated to us interns. Those donations amounted to a $300 travel stipend that allowed us to visit the Isle of Skye which was without a doubt a highlight of our trip. The food was spectacular, especially the steak, although the haggis was not superb. The Address to the Haggis, however, an integral part of Burns’ suppers, was well-done by an elderly Scottish man (one of many such kilted figures in attendance) brandishing his large dagger which he plunged into the haggis with aplomb. We left full, nostalgic and grateful. We’ll be back next year, if only to hear the sound of those bagpipes ringing out once more as we belted out Auld Lang Syne.


This week, after lots of classes and tests, we had another very enjoyable weekend.

Mom and Dad Pace were in town for Bart’s birthday weekend so Friday afternoon we headed to the Salt Lake temple for a session with them. That was AnneMarie and I’s first time doing work there and we thoroughly enjoyed it. There were lots of own endowments being done and that was special to be a part of as well. After the temple we went out to dinner with the birthday boy at a local Thai restaurant, or, I should say, THE local Thai restaurant as this place was the B-O-M-B! It’s called Sawadee and the plates are as huge as they are delicious.


Saturday our plans to snowboard at Solitude were foiled by everyone else having the same idea and, since a three-hour drive and long wait were not our idea of fun, we improvised and got snowshoes to go hiking in. It felt great to get outside, especially after classes all week. We hiked for a couple of hours and took a break midway for a snowball throwing contest in a particularly scenic gorge. The thwack of freshly minted snowballs on sheer granite walls is something I could listen to all day J


Then, because we were having too much fun, we stayed up really late playing code words at Matt and Joanna’s house. We may or may not have also finished off four or five Ben and Jerry’s pints and a package of specially delivered Tim Tams. There was even some Tim Tam slamming going on J Only when the clock hit two did we call it a night!


Today was AnneMarie and I’s debut in primary. She did such a great job and even improvised new ways for the kids to learn their songs. At one point, one of the little girls was worried that AnneMarie was just a subbing chorister and wasn’t going to come back so she asked her in the middle of singing time. They already love her! Because how can you not? I had way too much fun on the piano after a long musical hiatus. Once the dust is all off there are going to be some groovy tunes from the piano man in the corner.

Tonight we also partied at Uncle Ben’s, where we had dinner with the cousins and Porter. We talked a lot about missions and life and had heard some good stories/saw some good pictures. Let me tell ya—family’s what it’s ALL about, as I’m sure you get to tell people all the time.

We love you, pray for you, and labor side-by-side with you in this great work. Be safe, have fun, testify boldly,

Love,

Tanner and AnneMarie

Monday, February 13, 2017

Letter #78

Dear Family and Friends,

As you know, Vitória has been a war zone this week. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 2.0 visited. But, I've been safely isolated in Campos. Where nothing happened. Interestingly, after the first couple days of bloody warfare, it did settle down a lot. I think the robbers and looters got tired. Or died. People even have been returning stolen fridges and cars, according to the news.


(Saying goodbye to the Bishop and his family)

And today, I was transferred! My time in Rio de Janeiro (10 months) has ended! I´ll be going to Colatina, Espirito Santo, and staying as a zone leader, and I´ll be serving with an American for the first time! My new companion is Elder Dial from Utah. Colatina is my first area in the northern part of the mission. Unlike Vitória, the city is relatively new.

Jose Fernando is on fire. He brought some friends to church yesterday, and is wearing a white shirt and tie now. He brings a lot of energy and excitement to the ward. We taught him about the priesthood once before baptism, and once after. After the second time, we went out to visit some of his friends, and without warning, he put his hand on the forehead of his friend and started to bless him! Don´t worry, the new missionaries here will go over this lesson again. And the prayer of faith works miracles too!


(Saying good bye to my companion and the ward mission leader)

As a mission, we've started reading the Book of Mormon, learning about repentance. In Nephi´s vision of the tree of life, he says, that the love of God  "which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore it is the most desirable above all things...yea, and the mot joyous to the soul. "

Through repentance, we can feel that love of God. Repentance isn't something awful, rather it's a gift from above, that allows us to become better, and become closer to our Heavenly Father, So, Repent!

Love,

Elder Schenewark


Sunday, February 12, 2017

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark, et al:

You know the princess will usually get top billing. She's too cute, and funny. Last night, while eating chocolate ice cream out of the tub, at the kitchen table, exclaimed, "Get this away from me! I can't stop!" Too true. I guess now I know even for almost six year old daughters. Do you get much ice cream down there, or is it more fruit concoctions?

Obviously the concern this week is you. We've been closely following the police strike in Vitoria, and the murder rate that has jumped from an average of 4 to 140  in this month alone. I'm sure you're not outside after dark. We pray everyday for you and your safety. Be careful! Take no chances!

In other news, your grandfather's friend, Clark Gilbert, current president at BYU-Idaho, was made the new president over the BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the fairly new program for  other online degree programs across the Church Educational System. Henry J. Eyring, currently serving as Academic Vice President, will become the seventeenth president of Brigham Young University-Idaho. This is what was interesting to me: President Eyring has been a longtime friend of and maintains a close connection with President Gilbert. They were coworkers at Monitor Company in the 1990s, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they became acquainted with Grampy while he served in the Boston Stake Presidency. They served in same BYU-Idaho stake presidency; and, along with others, they collaborated on the creation of the Pathway program. We all are capable of such amazing things. I did not know they were the original think tank team of Pathways. I'm excited to see what your fingers itch to do when you return.

The lot across the street, where we had your family picture before you left for Brazil, was finally purchased, and in one day all the trees were knocked down. So sad! All the dirt was leveled, so there will be no bluebonnets, and the foundation is being laid. Our view has changed, and will continue to change. We will have to lift our eyes a little higher when we enjoy the rocking chairs outside.

I went to a Granbury ISD substitute teacher training. Very interesting. We spent much of the morning just reviewing and testing over safety videos. How to operate and inspect ladders, how to clean up bodily fluids, how to lift loads properly, how to avoid trips, spills and falls. Certainly things that might be needed in the classroom. Classroom management options were left to our own on line devices, with the preferred program from Utah State University. Go Aggies!

Your cousin Evan is very excited with his first army post after graduation: Fort Carson, Colorado. I'm sure you'll be visiting him, with Tanner, when you can. He is assigned to the First Brigade Combat team, the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army and its assigned support and fire units. He's in the 4th infantry division, the main land combat force and backbone of the Army. They are responsible for defending our country against any threat by land. We're in great hands.

Your cousin on the other end of the United States made the news with his basketball skills. In the words of his father, your Uncle Rich, 'Trevor accomplished two things that his father never did (in a HS game): The Triple Double, and a two handed dunk. On the other hand the black eye he got I accomplished on several occasions."  "Trevor Hutchins had a triple-double — 27 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocked shots — as Ledyard rolled past Fitch 101-50 in an ECC Division I game, and the eighth straight win for the Colonels (13-2, 5-2)."Inspired by Trevor, your cousin Stevie had her first triple double as well, 18 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists (and 4 blocks).

We've heard Porter went on roller skating dates, brought Tanner cookies to their shared class, and prepares FHE lessons diligently. We also heard he'll be turning in his mission papers. Perhaps this week we'll be able to verify whether or not we've heard correctly.

Miller had an end of the season tournament game Wednesday evening. He was the sole reason for their victory. The competing team played with a vengeance they've been missing all season, and your brother was determined to remain on top. Not that he was successful. He had quite a disappointing game in that a lot of his shots weren't made, but his heart made all the difference. Then they had their championship game, and he won. He did wonderful.


Thursday evening Dad and Sawyer went to a Tarleton State University basketball game. Just because. It was one of the last of the season. Bonus, the Dallas Cowboys had a traveling exhibit with their five Superbowl trophies.

Miller had his pinewood derby yesterday. He wanted a ketchup bottle. And he asked Cooper to help him with painting. Unfortunately, Dad put all the weight at the back of the bottle, and the front wheels lifted up when racing. Almost last place every time. We haven't had a dud car for a few years so we didn't feel too badly. Especially for Miller. He's brought home the most hardware for his derby cars in the past. Pictures forthcoming.

Dad and Cooper went to a fireside tonight only for 16 years and older. They taught the youth about dating, and provided them with contact lists. And because of an anonymous donation, if they go on a date, it is paid for. The first venue is Mesquite barbecue in Weatherford, TX. Fun! This will go on throughout the next year.

Know of our love for you, and our concern. Make wise choices. Stay safe. Come home soon.

Love,

Mom

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Missionary Moments


RIO DE JANEIRO — At least 90 people are reported dead in a wave of violence in the Brazilian city of Vitoria after the police force there went on strike.

The number of registered murders had risen to 90 since military police stopped patrols on Saturday, Globo reported, citing figures received from a police union.

The mood in the southeastern state of Espirito Santo remained tense Wednesday as armed forces continued patrolling the streets for the fifth straight day.

The regional metropolitan capital of Vitoria, about 300 miles southeast of Rio de Janeiro, is at the center of the protests with the city’s streets marked by violent assaults and armed confrontations.

The fear of violence had left Vitoria without key services such as public transport, access to health clinics and public schools. Since Monday, Brazil’s central government has sent hundreds of troops to patrol the streets in a bid to restore order.

Police demands for a salary increase led to the work stoppage that has left this portion of Espirito Santo paralyzed.

Since the military police is barred from striking, family members have organized blockades in front of police headquarters to prevent vehicles from leaving the stations.

Espirito Santo Gov. Paulo Hartung said the stoppage was akin to “public blackmail.”

“It’s as if the liberty and rights of the citizens of Espirito Santo have been kidnapped and held for ransom,” Mr. Hartung was quoted as saying in Globo.

The families at the center of the blockades defended their actions.

“When your rights and dignity are taken away, the only option left is a radical one,” protest spokesperson Maluma Pereira Jordao Roepke — who is also married to one of the military police officers — told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Mr. Jordao Roepke said officers have been waiting seven years for a salary adjustment. “The families want to reach an agreement with the government.”

The two sides are expected to meet Friday in a bid to resolve the situation.

On Monday, Brazil’s federal government announced the deployment of 1,000 military troops to Espirito Santo after regional authorities pleaded for assistance. Other states also contributed up to 200 National Guard reserves that are normally used in emergency situations.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Day I was Trapped in a Snow Globe


I would quickly build the most amazing snowman in the world to keep me company if I didn't get out. After a couple of days I would usually be lying around doing nothing. Then I would build an igloo so I could have shelter. I would rub my fingers across the smooth glass and I get an idea how to get out.

First, I go to the left and jump kick the glass. If it doesn't knock down I go to the left again and kick even harder and the glass falls down and I am free. And I go back to my normal size again.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Missionary Moments

Dear leaders and parents,

Due to a general military police strike in the Greater Victoria area, some commercial establishments have not opened due to security issues, including some lan houses and libraries, so some of you are not receiving emails from your children.

But we would like to inform you that all missionaries are safe, and that they have been given a guideline to go home before dark, to avoid staying on the street at night. We also recommend that missionaries avoid centers where demonstrations are taking place and not catch buses at dusk. We will maintain this guideline until the normalization of security here in the state of Espirito Santo.

Sister Young and I are grateful for your wonderful sons and daughters.

Sincerely,



David E. Young
President
Brazil Vitoria Mission


BBC News: Two hundred federal officers in Brazil are being deployed to the city of Vitoria, in the eastern state of Espirito Santo, where police went on strike on Saturday over pay.

There have been 51 murders in Greater Vitoria since Saturday, compared with four in January, the police union says.

Schools remained closed on Monday and local football matches were also postponed due to the spike in violence.

Officials said they would sit down for talks but only once the strike ended.

Relatives of the striking officers have been demonstrating in front of police stations as the officers themselves are barred from protesting.

They are demanding better pay for military police officers, including additional pay for night work and danger money.

The officers stopped patrolling the streets of the city on Saturday morning.

The commander of the force has been sacked and a new commander has been tasked with "restoring order and discipline", Espirito Santo security chief Andre Garcia said.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Letter #77

Dear Family and Friends,

Let's start with a Portuguese lesson. You know the phrase, "It's raining cats and dogs." In Portuguese, it's connotation translates more to "It's raining pocketknives."  Interesting, and I think it makes a whole lot more sense. We´re still waiting for the rain, and pocketknives, but this week, the spirit rained.

The highlight was definitely yesterday, when Jose Fernando was first confirmed, with Elder A. Pereira in likely his last confirmation on the mission booming, "Receive the Holy Ghost," and then Jose getting up and bearing his testimony. And it was powerful. Many cried, I personally just smiled the whole time, so happy to see his newfound happiness. He talked about his conversion story, how he knows the gospel is true, of his love for his new family in the church and how he is trying to help others come into the fold. And he is. He is inviting everyone he knows to come and know of the fullness of truth.


Other news, again a week of traveling. I again visited Itaperuna, although this time most likely will be the last time. And returned to Vitória, or rather Cariacica, with the other 21 missionaries here in Zona Campos. We had a big conference with two other zones. E. A. Pereira and I gave a training on tithing and offerings.


I also bore my testimony and talked about the power of the ordinances in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Doctrine and Covenants 84:20 says, "Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.´" Always, there is a special power present as we make covenants with our Heavenly Father. I felt this very strongly with both the baptism and confirmation of Jose. And as we partook of the sacrament yesterday. The ordinances bless our lives. They bring us closer to deity and change us. We take on the semblance of Christ.

The exciting news was released that the groundbreaking for the Rio de Janeiro temple will be on March 4th. Yet, this isn't just a beautiful building. The temple is so important because of the ordinances therein. We should take every chance to participate in the ordinances of the priesthood. That´s my testimony and my invitation.

Love,

Elder Schenewark