Saturday, August 19, 2017

Letter #2

Hola family,

It's been two weeks but I can't tell if it's been a month or two days. Time is weird here. Good news, I'm almost fluent in Portuguese, kinda. The Brazilians can understand me and I get most of what they say. I'm probably speaking at about the level of a five or six year old child but yeah. The gift of tongues is real.

Other than spending my days in a classroom, there's not much else that goes on. I have 45 minutes of physical activity today, normally I play basketball but it's been raining so we are confined to the weight room. Not too bad, as I set up and won a limbo contest. Everyone was super impressed to say the least.

Today, we also went to the Campinas temple, it was gorgeous. It's on a hill overlooking the city of Campinas, which looks super fresh. The city is supposed to be about the size of Dallas, 3 million people or so. Sao Paulo is jacked though. It's the third biggest in the world and has over 20 million people. It's crazy.

In my district, I have three Elders going to Sao Paulo Interlagos, including my companion, Elder Webster. The other five of us are all heading to Campinas. I'll send pictures when I can.

We went to the police station to get our green cards, and purely by chance, Elder Webster ended up sitting by a Nigerian woman who struck up a conversation with us. She is new to Brazil and looking for a Church so she asked for the address of ours, which we gave, good stuff. We also gave her a Book of Mormon and explained it a little. Thankfully she was an English speaker. Then, we talked with a Senegalese man and a Lebanese man who are both working in Brazil. They didn't speak English but I think we still got some good points across.

That's about it.

Love you all and tchou,

Elder Schenewark

Friday, August 18, 2017

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,

Bonus! I forgot your preparation day is on Friday, and realized I had a few more days to write. Not that I want to get out of the Sunday evening tradition of letter writing. So for a few weeks while you're in the Brazilian MTC, you might get a two'fer.

My Brazilian Three'fer

My Brazilian Three-fer Five Years Ago

Hunter checked out a book from the library on chess, only five inches thick. He sat at the table this week with his BYU chess club approved chess kit, think chess pieces three inches tall, and schooled Miller in chess notation. They practiced plays out of the book together. What a gift of time, patience, knowledge...they really have the same analytical thinking ability, and Miller will have the advantage of being schooled in the finer moves of chess.

Hunter found a chess club that meets at the Fort Worth Barnes and Noble, going last week with great anticipation of domination. Unfortunately, no members were as enthusiastic, none even making an appearance. He went again with your father, after having contacted someone by phone, but they went to the wrong store. He's done. He does love some chess.

Uncle Aaron recently challenged Hunter to reclaim the golf and chess crowns, Hunter won before his mission. He's excited to enjoy these familial relationships that make family so sweet.

Breyer, Miller and Sawyer have been getting ready for school, mostly by cleaning out their backpacks, and reloading with school supplies. They had an open house, or meet 'n greet on Monday. It's fun to watch them in their environ. Breyer hugs all the teachers she's acquainted with, which isn't just kindergarten teachers. Music, gym, library...everyone. And they all knew and loved her. Miller went for two, his first and second grade teachers. We lucked out with Miller's teacher, as she's our neighbor up the street. We were hoping to have her for Breyer's kindergarten teacher, but they moved her to fourth grade so Miller gets her. Breyer gets the teacher she wants, the one with the best reputation in kid world, Mrs. Thigpen. She's a hoot. It's a good year all around over at Oak Woods.

On your siblings first day of school Wednesday there were much wailings and gnashing of teeth. Bringing in new supplies to your classroom, meeting your teacher, and maybe trying on new hand-me-downs is exciting, but getting out of bed not so much. Hunter and I spent the morning mowing the acre, but I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate our efforts in the 95 degree but really feels like 102 degrees weather.

Since I worked at night and went to bed, and Dad went into school, Hunter had the house all to himself. He wanted to go to the temple, but he wouldn't have made it back in time with the car for pick up. So he read, played some on line chess, visited the library, ate some more. His usual modus operandi. I think he's hoping to leave first thing in the morning. He might have had an impact involving the beast parked on the driveway, and the new 4 runner, but I won't confirm. I can't believe we go for decades without dings or dents and we have two in a month.

So much more so than when Tanner went to Brazil, and even Hunter, the world is in unrest. Civil and criminal activity abound. Disturbances nationwide are more commonplace. Terrorist attacks continue, and evolve. This week's method includes driving vehicles into crowds here and abroad. Be safe. Be wise. Be vigilant.

You Come Back Home to Me.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

With All My Love

Dear Elder Schenewark,
Well, your first week is almost down in the books. Hopefully it was one for the record books. Not that I expect it to be full of stats or numbers, but that you've begun on a journey of eternal significance. The impact of the decisions you make, the people you contact, and the spirit you impart will change lives, including your own. 

Right off the start, Hunter doesn't know how to get into your phone. Would you mind giving us the number pattern, so he can use it? Much appreciated!

Second off the line: Be so careful. The day you left I found this article at BBC on line: "Eloise Dixon, her partner and their three children were driving in Angra dos Reis on Sunday, when their car was approached by an armed group. She was shot twice but is recovering , in hospital. Ms Dixon's family were unhurt. The family had apparently been searching for water to buy in Angra dos Reis - a coastal resort about 90 miles (145 km) from Rio de Janeiro but they ended up in the Agua Santa - or holy water - community because of a difficulty in understanding the language. The slum area is known to have drug traffickers."

Stay on course, hold to the rod, obey all the rules!

Two days after you left Sawyer and Miller competed in their golf tournament at the Granbury Country Club. While I was dropping them off, and making sure they were registered, a man noticed my shirt I and said, "Hey, is that a shirt for the B#j*h@ team?" Of course, my startled answer was, "Hmm?" He said, "I'm a fan of team B^g!l%s, so it's cool you're wearing a shirt for B#j*h@. "Yeah." I was wearing your shirt because you had just left. He put a smile on my face. You would have enjoyed your shirt being recognized.

Miller took a first place, while Sawyer, after a long 18, got cut out of the top three by one stroke.

Hunter has been taking the duo golfing every day. Usually they wait until the end of the day, when it starts to cool down from a stifling 98 to a dewy 87. But at the end of the day they all drop into bed. He told your grandma he came off his mission, excited to get married and have at least 12 children. Now, after being the babysitter for a few weeks, he's down to 3 and it's rapidly dwindling. Funny!

Hunter will be traveling to Boston shortly to visit your grandparents. He then has a direct flight out to BYU. He's getting excited.

When he was released, the stake president asked him to attend the singles ward, so they could feel of his strength and testimony. So today was the day. He had to find a ride, and his ride had before AND after meetings, so he was gone a really long time. Next week is our last Sunday before he leaves, and I forbade him from being anywhere except by my side. But he was obedient and went.

We have yet to do anything to the van. I really need to get Cooper into driver's education.

Your father will be excited to get his library back. You were in hibernation since April, and now Hunter is in isolation for just under two more weeks. Your father misses his happy place.

Monday will be the end of summer. Your younger siblings begin school Wednesday. It's wash day. It's put the house back together after the summer, our eight visitors, our two sons coming and going, all the summer boy's bad. My goal is to get the house back together before Christmas. Just joking.

One such task involves Breyer's bed. Last night she wanted to go to bed with her usual cold pack, and grabbed a bag of popcorn out of the freezer. It was clipped closed, but I didn't know that was her choice of cold. The next thing I know, a spilling sound occurred. Kernels every where! In the sheets, in her nightgown, under the bed. Joy.

Charade, an old movie with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, was the movie of choice this weekend. There are a few end of life scenes, discreetly done compared to today's versions, in the movie. And at bedtime, your sister put her hands on her hips and declared: "You expect me to sleep in my own bed after watching murder?"

We look forward to hearing from you. We miss you.

You come back to me.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Pirate Ace

Letter #1

Dear Parents,

Sister Grahl and I are very happy to let you know that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil Missionary Training Center.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they begin their missionary experiences with us! We will surely take good care of your missionary.                                                                                                    
The missionaries now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  Their branch presidents and wives will meet them this Sunday.  These wonderful couples are richly blessed as they work with, motivate, and interview the missionaries assigned to their branch.

The MTC has a physician to care for their health needs. We are also happy to report that the MTC food is plentiful, healthy and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple.  This will be either Wednesday or Friday, depending on individual assignments.

Your missionary is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of many others. President Lorenzo Snow said: “There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".  We love these missionaries as if they were our own.  We will watch over them carefully to ensure they are ready for a wonderful missionary experience after the rewarding time they will have in the MTC.

We thank you for preparing such a wonderful representative of the Lord.

Sister Grahl was sick at the time we took the picture, she apologizes and soon she’ll take another picture with your missionary.

Pres. Paulo R. Grahl and Sister Zuleika M. Grahl

PLEASE DO NOT SEND PACKAGES to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving, not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC, please understand that the package cannot be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you.

WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE SENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers.  The cost to process this type of correspondence is exorbitant.


Monday, August 7, 2017

With All My Love

Dear Boys,

Having Hunter home is wonderful. He's become his younger siblings favorite toy. Miller and Sawyer are begging all day long, working, doing chores, anything Hunter wants, they'll do. All to go on the greens at the end of the day in the balmy 95 degrees.

What a wonderful day.

Your father bore a powerful testimony. His statement that he would not allow his sons to go to Brazil, except he knows they're doing the work of the Lord. That his testimony that he knows the church is true, enough that he is more able to empathize with Abraham being able to sacrifice Isaac.

Porter being set apart as a missionary, and as of then, becoming Elder Schenewark, was a sweet, sweet experience. President Harmer blessed him with the gift of tongues, that he might learn the language of the Lord. He mentioned the mantle of responsibility he'd be carrying, and his unique relationship he'd have with his mission president.

Even before we arrived, he turned around and handed me his cell phone. He's done. He had thought of this before me, and was ready.

When he spent some time making phone calls, the one call he had to make first was to his brother who's out of the house.

We'll be spending a bit of time within the next 24 hours packing Porter's suitcases. We've just gathered and collected all summer. We'll find out very quickly if we're missed anything, as he'll be leaving just after lunch tomorrow.

I had to comfort Breyer as she went to bed, as she remembered Porter was leaving. And cried herself to sleep. Truly having a son gone for two years seems unbearable. But then I remember it's their choice to go. And serve. Learn, grow, become. And I can wait.