Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 18, 2013


Sorry for not emailing last week! The library was closed on Monday, and on Tuesday we got our iPads, and every other day in the week seemed just busy enough that we never were able to take time to write. Using iPads gives us a big jump in things to do. We need to update our area book from paper to the cloud, and because our mission is one of the earlier to get technology like this, they are still figuring out how to improve the system. So it's not the smoothest process ever. So we are figuring out how to use this stuff the best way while not getting distracted. But they can be really useful and helpful in meetings. All our scriptures and other materials are on them, and we can pass files to each other through Bluetooth. A lot of things happen in two weeks. A big thing that happened besides getting iPads is Elder Sua'ava rolled his ankle playing basketball a week ago and it hasn't really gotten better, so we are going to a walk in clinic to get that puppy checked out. We've had to try a lot to just go to the church and get missionary work there. It's definitely not the most effective way, so that was hard. Recently I have been thinking about what needs to change to improve the work here. Luckily, God answers prayers, so I know what I need to work on to do better. Diligence. There is a story behind it. At our last transfer meeting President Calderwood blessed us that we would be able to learn how to serve God with all of our heart, might, mind and strength. I realized that this is what I really wanted to develop, so I studied it, starting with serving with all my heart. Preach My Gospel says, "Diligence in missionary work is an expression of your love for The Lord and his work," so I thought that fits in nicely. Diligence will actually be really important now that I have so many new challenges and responsibilities. For your information, I have been writing this letter on my iPad in three different places. I started while we were doing laundry, then while on our way to and at the walk in clinic (we have to go back at 5:30 because that is when the foot doctor gets there) and now here while waiting for and riding on the train to the library. Our iPads are blocked from myldsmail.net for some reason so I'm writing this in notes on my iPad and then I plan on sending it when I get to the library computer. Now that I know more about the area, I'll tell you about it. Our church is on the last stop of the train before Manhattan, so we are pretty close to it. So sometimes we catch a nice view of the city. Brooklyn is a lot different than flushing for a few reasons. Flushing is really concentrated right at the center and consistently gets less crowded as you move away from there. We would take the buses occasionally but not too often, most things are within walking distance because most of the people we taught are close-ish to the center. Here it's a pretty even spread over a bigger area. There are a few different trains in our area that we use. Mostly we ride the M train.

Wow I had a lot of emails to read this week and respond to so I don't have much more time to write.
I know that this work is true, and it's not easy, but it's worth it.
Love from Brooklyn,
Elder Schenk

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 4, 2013

Familia mia,

First, I'm so excited that Gabby got baptized! that's really cool. I figured she would because she was so solid. That's great to hear about her husband! I remember I taught him and his friends once, and they seemed pretty respectful if not accepting. That makes me so glad to hear! I am excited to talk to them when I get back home. They knew I spoke a little bit of spanish then, so I can blow them away when I get back. That's sweet I'm really happy about that.

So I'll tell you about what's new. My area is Bushwick, Brooklyn, but it has a lot more than just Bushwick. It is mostly the north, northwest of Brooklyn (it has about a third of it.) The church is on one floor in a building owned by a Jewish company, and that area is full of Jewish people. It's very interesting. Fiday or Saturday at 5 or so we heard this loud siren, and it was signaling the end of the workday in preparation for their sabbath. The zone is really fun and the district is good, so I'm excited to work here. We have a big branch (I counted about 100 at sacrament meeting) but it's not a ward yet because there aren't enough Melchizidak Priesthood holders or something. So that will be something to work on.

There are more missionaries in my district and zone than were in my previous ones, and everything is much more spread out. In Flushing, you would see missionaries around town, especially by the church all the time. Here it's not quite like that, although you do see the others occasionally.

It's kind of weird not knowing what's going on in your district. I was pretty used to being the veteran of Flushing, but here I know nothing. (Actually that's not true, I know plenty now, I've been here almost a whole week!)

Interesting story though, I've already been here before a couple of times and recognize a couple of things. Toward the very beginning of my mission, Elder Rose and I came and visited on a preparation day and played basketball with an investigator from here who was going to be baptized. We sat in on the lesson with him afterward and his mom gave us some nice dominican snacks (a drink called morir sonando is one of them). She was catholic and not really interested but nice and respectful. Well now both of them, mother and son are members and really strong!!! It's funny that I actually met these people before anyone in the district that is here right now met them.

Mom, putting in all of that info reminds me of what we will need to do pretty soon when we get our mini ipads. The info will all be accessible from the cloud all mission long, but we need to put it in by hand from our paper area books first! so that will take much time.

I don't think I need more kitchen stuff, I brought some with me from flushing that you had already sent, and I don't do too much crazy cooking that requires it. This week we had pretty much no food in the apartment because transfers were just before the end of the month. money and food were low. But I had brought pancake mix with me and I had that subway gift card. Around thursday we got paid by the mission, and we did a lot of service last week, and were given food at each service we did. So we didn't do much cooking. That was pretty handy. Today we are going to BJ's which is like costco to load up on the groceries.

Also side note before I forget, next monday is veterans day and the library we are emailing from might be closed, but we might also have ipads by that time, so it's really up in the air if you will get an email monday or tuesday. I also brought my camera to the library, but I forgot to bring the connecting chord so I'll send some pictures next time.

My new companion is Elder Sua'ava. pronounced swava. He is half hawaiian half mexican, but doesn't already speak spanish. He has been out about 6 months, all of which has been here in Bushwick. He is really nice and has a big heart. It will be good to work with him. The apartment we have here is newer than the one in flushing, so that's nice, but it's getting so cold outside that sometimes we need to wear coats inside. Dad, to answer your question it would be nice if you sent my down jacket, and maybe my fleece one? maybe not, it was quite a squeeze packing all of my stuff at transfers. I need to find a way to simplify my things a bit.

I don't know how long it will take to do, but I'm still planning on sending a package home with letters, etc for the family and friends. I'm not very far along the way of getting it ready, but it should probably be ready by Christmas.

I don't know everyone, or even all of these people very well, but pray for (this is a mix of less active members, new members, and investigators)

Also just pray that I will be able to coordinate well with the branch leaders in picking up and moving from where the work is at. I think it will go really well!

Love you so much! thanks for all of your love

Elder Eric D. Schenk, from Brooklyn

 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

October 28, 2013


Hellooo family!
Hunter's getting his call soon? Sweet! Hopefully he gets sent here. That wouldn't be the craziest thing that's happened. Two missionaries here in flushing were best friends in high school. One is English speaking and one is Chinese speaking. I did get my package, and the struggle is that when I get candy, I just eat it. I shared a lot of the cookies, they were really good! and I shared the candy, too, but that was mostly just with Elder Wright because by the time we got to the candy part, we were already home, and there wasn't anyone else to share with. But I've pretty much eaten all of the candy by now. Part of my reasoning was "Why wait?" and another part was "I don't want to take it with me when I transfer!"

I'll enjoy the subway gift card, thanks! And don't worry, I already have been eating healthy food. Recently I've done a lot more shopping in bulk and actually cooking my food. (I learned that from Elder Wright.) It just means that I eat a lot less PB&J, and it's cheaper. These last two months are the only ones that I haven't needed to use my credit card for food.  (also, I bought a side bag while back and forgot to let you know. It's been good, I'm used to it now and it's a little more convenient than a backpack. It's easier to access the things inside.) So last month I got a big bag of frozen raw chicken, two different bags of frozen fruit, a box of frozen vegetables (frozen food like that is easier and stays good so I don't have to worry about it). Then I get milk and peanut butter and jelly and some noodles and some tomato sauce and pancake mix (10 pounds of it for only $8! I couldn't pass it up) and other such things. It's gone well. I think that's the way I need to shop. I spend a lot of time looking not at the price, but the price per weight labels at the store. I eat a lot more than most people here. More than any of my companions, so I need to buy a lot more food, so it just means I need to take time and effort to cook it so it's cheaper. Sometimes people email or write letters to me asking how the food it. We eat at homes of other people every once in a while, but not often. Maybe once a month. So the answer is that the food is good. It's just whatever I make.

This week was a good one. We had a lot of lessons, which was good, but we just couldn't get members to any of them. That would have improved things. On Thursday we had an exchange with the zone leaders. I went with Elder Izatt. He started in the English program at the MTC, then got trained in Haitian Creole, but that was interrupted by hurricane sandy, then when he finished being trained, he went back to the English program and trained right away in Flushing. He was in Flushing when I got here, then transferred to Brooklyn, and now is back here in the Chinese program! that's pretty crazy. We had a good time together. He is really energetic so the day went well.

Friday I had an interview with President Calderwood, and he called me to be a district leader. he didn't tell me where, so I'll just find out tomorrow. I'm going to miss Flushing, but I'm excited for the new change, and the new area and missionaries I will get to know and learn from. It's really weird to think that the only place I've lived in my life longer than Flushing, NY is Burlington, WA. Even at BYU was only a couple of months.

Here's what I wrote to president Calderwood.
Dear President Calderwood,

I'm really grateful for how my mission has gone so far. As I think about it, I can see many things that I've learned. And I'm sure that in a few years, once I have returned home, I will see and notice even more things that I will have learned that require hindsight to recognize. Throughout my life, that's been the major thing that I expected to develop on my mission. Every once in a while I wonder if I will gain that, and I'm reassured by the knowledge that if I just forget myself and immerse myself in doing what God needs me to do, the understanding or learning or change that I need to help me now and in the future will come. I am excited for the opportunity to be able to serve as a District Leader, because I know it will help me to serve God more fully. I know it's going to be hard and stretch me in ways that I don't yet know, but that's how God will teach me, so I'm excited and grateful for the experiences that will come my way. As I have thought about it the last few days and sought inspiration and guidance, and I have learned things that hopefully will be able to bless the people wherever I go.
I really hope whoever comes to fill my place can bless Flushing greatly. The people here have needs that the Gospel fills so well, they just need to see it. My entire time here I've seen so many people so close to greatness and happiness, but they don't see it and don't take a step of faith. I see their lives, and then the lives of the strong members, and there is so much more in the lives of the members. Those who know what their doing and why they're here and what they need to do are so empowered compared to the rest of the world. The people here just need a big push into greatness. I imagine that's how it is in the rest of the world, including in where my new area will be. I will work to be that big push for others, to help them see and accept the joy and greatness of the gospel.

I am really thankful for all the things in my mission. I'm thankful for my companion, area, district and zone. And I am really grateful for the new ones to come! I'm thankful for the inspiration that you receive, and the inspiration that God gives to me. The gospel is so great!

This week I had an exchange with Elder Izatt. I really enjoyed it. It energized me and helped me to refocus. He also taught me some good things about expanding my horizons with finding, and really being clear and organized in the work. That will be important to understand as a District Leader. It was really interesting to learn from the experience of a missionary that I have seen grow a lot myself.
Love,
Elder Schenk

Alright, I'm a little low on time. Sorry, I forgot to bring my camera to the library, but I'll be sure to bring it next week with pictures of my new area and district! Love you all so much, thanks for your love. Thanks for your support. Go Missionary Work!

With love from Flushing for the last time (for now),
Elder Eric Schenk

Monday, November 4, 2013

October 21, 2013


Hi Dad,

Las Vegas, that's cool that you can be there together! I remember a while back when you had to go to a conference there by yourself and you said that you were really bored. I'm glad that you get to do a lot of fun things together. Fun fact, las vegas means something like "the shrubs" or maybe it's referring to an oasis in the desert. I'm glad you are learning a lot that is exciting. Adding a new inspector? that would be a big step, too. Wow good luck with all of that.

Thanks for being a great dad. As I see a lot of people around here sometimes I realize how different my childhood was. Not just because it was in Washington instead of NYC, but because of the home I had. Our family is strong. We love each other and we make time for each other. We take care of each other. We function. We eat together, we pray together, we read together, and we go and do things together. You and Mom were involved, and were there to give a good strength and support. We are teaching a teenager now. His mom is a less active member and their family isn't complete and united. He and his mom and sister all love each other and are great, but having a gospel centered home lead by the priesthood would work miracles for them. His mom says she is willing to come back, the time just has to be right. But we are always welcome in their home. So we are going to start to visit and do family scripture time with them! I'm so excited to do it, because it can help them all out so much! It's the little things like that that we did that helped make our family so great! Including morning and night prayers together with hugs all around. I've brought that into my companionship with Elder Wright, but he doesn't like hugs that much. He's not opposed to them, but he just doesn't like hugging a ton.

Being on a mission has helped me notice a lot of little things like that. Starting and ending every day with the Spirit and Love like that is so good! So thanks for doing everything so well.

I'll write more to mom, Have a great time in Las Vegas, and have a good week! I'm praying for you, too. Thanks for you love and example! 

Love,

Elder Schenk

Dearly beloved friends and family,

I've gotten a lot of questions about how it's all going with the ipads, etc. But the scoop is that we don't even have them yet! But that's only the first part of it, because I just logged onto my email with President Calderwood, and this is what he just sent to the mission:

Dear Elders & Sisters,

We have just returned from a remarkable Mission Presidents Conference. Elder Russell M. Nelson presided and attended every session of the seminar. It was such an honor to be in the presence of Apostolic keys.

Good news. I was able to schedule the roll out of our iPads. On November 11 - 13, the missionary department will be coming to our mission with the devices to roll out mission wide. Each missionary will be getting a mini iPad and each companionship will be getting an iPhone. Your iPad will be yours for your entire mission. Area book, the planner, Progress report and other report will all be electronic and will be stored in the cloud. This means that when you transfer areas, iMOS will connect with the cloud and your new area will be known. When you login, all the local area book will be immediately accessible, including the entire ward or branch list. You will be productive day 1. This should help us beat the "bell curve".

Further instructions coming. Congratulations to you all for being one of the first missions to get completely online with the devices.

EARN IT!

So that's the full scoop. This will be an exciting transition.

Going to the temple the second time was really good! I learned a few specific things, and one of the big ones is the importance of unity. There is power in unity. Then I read about it in Preach My Gospel, that the work of salvation will move forward with more purpose and power as we the missinonaries and members are united. That was great to read and learn, because I had read Helaman 5 earlier on in the week, about the brothers Nephi and Lehi and the great power that they had when they taught. I desire that power. I want to be able to bless so many people like that. I guess that means that we need to work more hand-in-hand with the members! And that's one thing that the mission is working on a lot right now. We are eliminating a lot of the barriers between members and missionaries.

Also, there is a newer video on lds.org about the ny worlds fair. The unisphere (that cool globe) is in my area! we do service there about every week.

Here's what I wrote to president Calderwood
President Calderwood,

This week has been another good week of answers to prayers and learning. I prayed for experiences that would help Elder Wright and I learn and grow in unity together. Then we found that we had mice in our apartment that we both had to work together to dispose of. We got rid of them! But last night I prayed for challenges again, and Elder Wright found another mouse this morning. It is interesting to trace prayers like that to events. And sometimes, God really know just how to touch you. A while back, after he prayed for challenges, Elder Wright lost his camera (and many pictures with it) in the East River. He loves photography. When I had been on my mission for a similar amount of time, I prayed for challenges and later lost my backpack. I really liked that backpack and was excited to use it at byu or hiking after my mission.
I have seen a few other small trials this week that have helped Elder Wright and I grow together a little. It helps that Elder Wright keeps a good attitude and likes being happy just like I do.
Greater things have happened this week. We finally contacted and visited a potential investigator that we found last transfer. Her sister is a member in Ecuador, and she wants to know what the church is like. Her heart has really been softened by her experiences.
We had a really good couple of lessons with another newer investigator and learned a lot. I've learned so much about how to ask questions from Elder Wright, and it has really added clarity and power to how we can teach others. We learned that he really wants to go on a mission, and that's why he is taking the missionary lessons again. We learned what he and his mom, who is a less active member, understand and think about baptism. We have their trust, and will be able to teach with more purpose and power now. I am excited for the progress of our pool. I also had a big realization of the worth of the escalator method. As we have more investigators that show desire and commitment, it will be valuable and important. Good things are happening in Flushing, and as I reach about 8 months here, I'm definitely not tired of it. I hope and pray that it's God's will that I can stay and watch these miracles develop and unfold.

I'm so happy and blessed to be here. The members, missionaries, and investigators constantly change my heart. I love them all. Thanks so much!
Love,
Elder Schenk

That might wrap it up for today. Everybody get ready for your mission that God has for you. It's the most selfish thing you can do, as long as you forget yourself.
Love,
Elder Schenk

 

 

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 15, 2013

Mom,
Thanks for the quote, I love it! Yesterday we couldn't use the computers here in the library because it was Columbus day and they were closed. Why do all of these holidays have to be on Mondays?

This week was a good one, with a lot of meetings. We had something different every day! Tuesday we had a mega zone conference about emotional health, as well as using facebook. Online Proselyting, it's called, because we will also eventually be able to use Skype and blogs if we so choose. Wednesday we had interviews with President Calderwood. It was really good, of course, and was definitely inspired. Tuesday and Wednesday morning in my personal studies I had started to study a chart in chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel (Listening to the Spirit) about how the Spirit works. There is a description of how it works, then scriptures to go with it, then we are supposed to think back on when we have felt that in our lives. Having started to study that, it was a surprise when one of the first things President Calderwood asked me in our interview was "How would you describe what the Spirit feels like?" Coincidence? I think not! So for the rest of the interview we mostly talked about that and it's significance. It is highly likely that our investigators have felt the Spirit testify of the truth, but they just don't know how to look for it, and they are missing the answers that they are looking for. After my interview, while I was waiting for Elder Wright in his interview, some of the other missionaries were asking me what kind of things the interview was about, so they could be ready for it. It doesn't really work that way though. And I'm pretty sure that they found that out, too, because those interviews are run off pretty much pure revelation. Everyone I talked to about their interview said it was about something different. The Gospel Works!

Thursday we had District Meeting (usually that's on Tuesday, but we had a mega zone conference) and then we went to a member's house and they took us to Manhattan. For a very special occasion. We got to go to the temple with Fredy Lopez (now he is Elder Lopez, he's spending most of the day with the other Elder's so he can have a companion), a member here who goes to the MTC tomorrow! He is going to California. It was a night session, so by the time we got to Manhattan, it was dark, but it was pretty exciting. The temple is on a busy intersection (I imagine almost every intersection in Manhattan is pretty busy-there are hundreds of taxis everywhere!) and compared to other temples it's fairly small. But it was great to go and feel the Spirit there. One way that I really have noticed the Spirit recently is through clarity. My thoughts are clear and connect smoothly and things make sense. The session we went to was in Spanish, and I understood almost all of it. This Friday I'm going to get to go again with other missionaries that arrived in the mission around the time that I did. A little bit ago, missionaries would go at their halfway mark and at the end of their missions. Now we get to go every six months, but the mission started doing that with the missionaries who came right after me, so the group that arrived around the same time as I would still have to wait a year. But one of the missionaries asked President Calderwood about it and he allowed them to set something up for a Friday, so we are going! I'm excited to go again. This Friday we had a Zone Training Meeting and at the end of the day we had correlation meeting with our branch mission leader. The new branch president came, too. I think he's really trying to get a feel for the work here and how we can get it moving. He called all the people we are working with on Saturday to invite them to church! Saturday we needed to do our weekly planning. That's something we usually do on weekdays, but we had forgotten to make time to do it amidst our busy schedule. Saturday night we met with the missionaries in the district and our branch mission correlator to start a special fast to find more people to teach. Sunday we had fast and testimony meeting because the branch leaders had forgotten about it due to being brand new, and got permission to do it after conference instead of before it. It was Fredy Lopez's last Sunday before his mission, so he got the last chunk of time to bear his testimony. It was really good. He had a friend come who isn't a member and who doesn't speak Spanish, so I got to translate for him during the meeting. I got to say "I know that this is the true church" and "I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet" a lot, and explained that a little bit. And when Fredy said those things, I just told his friend to ask him about it afterward. Then after church the Stake President set Fredy apart with a lot of the branch there to join in and talk about missionary work.

 Here's what I wrote to President Calderwood,

President,

I might finally have a question. I've been thinking recently about the seven months that I have spent in my pool, and I feel like if we had focused a lot and really taken things slowly and carefully, in this pool, or even this district, and we could have had one or two good real growth baptisms. But instead, we haven't achieved any yet, although many have gotten close. We are taught to have an urgency about the work, and extend a baptismal commit as well as a date early in the teaching process. I know that this is important and inspired guidance, and so I guess my question now is how to balance keeping things smooth and not rushed, but still urgent. Elder Wright, possibly the best teacher on the mission that I have met, keeps reminding me to teach people, and not lessons; and although I continually responding in my mind "I know that," I think I'm figuring it out more. This morning we had a great planning session for a lesson we hope to have. And it finally clicked, as I thought about the question I just phrased. What we really need to teach is whatever each person needs now to be blessed in the gospel. I wanted to teach this investigator the Plan of Salvation, but we realized we really need to teach him why the gospel is so important, and set expectations with him.
I'm really grateful to be working with Elder Wright. I feel that I've definitely grown the most and developed the most with him. While studying today how to serve him better, I realized that it's something that I need to change in myself. His ability to use his time so much better than me is a call to action for me to improve and use mine better. I realized that I had to look in the mirror and focus on making a change in myself to be able to bless him and this companionship more. And I know that this change will bless me more, as well. I've seen the need for it in a few different areas.
I'm really glad to be able to write you every week and learn from each letter I write. It helps me so much to clarify and order my thoughts, as well as to solidify what I need to work on to progress and be more effective.
I'm so grateful for all the missionaries in Flushing, especially Elder Wright. And I'm so thankful for all of the other people here, especially the members. It's a great place to be.
Love,
Elder Schenk.

Alright I'm running pretty low on time. I love you all so much! I'll probably see you all a little bit more on facebook, get ready for a virtual wave of the Spirit! And get ready to catch it!

With much love from NYC,
 Elder Eric Schenk (¡Agr├ęgueme en el Facebook!)
 ps thanks for the pictures! Devin's beard looked nice, and my nieces are soo cute!

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

General Conference was great! I got really excited for it last week. I really liked being able to invite people to something special for our church services. And I learned about fearlessing people. As I forgot myself and really focused on them and the Spirit, they became more personal and powerful, and the spirit testified more clearly. It's hard to figure out how to do, and I don't get it all the time, but it's something that I'm working on.

I watched a lot of conference in Spanish, because this time the spanish sessions were in the chapel on the main floor of the church, and I was waiting up there to see if anybody we invited would come. None did, even though they had 5 chances this weekend! I understood most of it, but when I listen in Spanish, it's easier for my mind to wander, so during some of the talks, I was thinking quite a bit about being a husband and father in the Gospel. So it was a good experience anyway. One thing special about the spanish session that I liked a lot was that some speakers, namely Richard G. Scott and Adrian Ochoa of the Seventy record their talks in Spanish beforehand, so at conference they just play the recording. It turns out Richard G. Scott is fluent in Spanish. And I loved listening to Adrian Ochoa give his talk in his native language. Something about it was just really cool, and now I want to meet him and speak Spanish with him.

I liked the talk about exclamation marks. I looked down at my notes and was pleased to see that I had already caught the message, and had put them in many places

I just got that picture of you, mom and dad. It looks beautiful!
could you put a file on our dropbox with picutures from home for me to see?

Today we are going to
1 get me a haircut. It's kind of long and I've wanted one for a while
2 hang out with freddy lopez. He goes on his mission october 16 and goes to the temple this thursday!
and do whatever else we need to I suppose.

Love you all so much! (much love from the big apple)
Elder Schenk

 

 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September 30, 2013 Pictures!














September 30, 2013


Hello all!

I am learning so much here in NY!

I put up a lot of photos. Some are of a few weeks ago when we walked around the us open for a couple of minutes. others are of Ignacio's family (I told him he wasn't smiling in the first picture, and he still didn't smile in all the other pictures!) I didn't take time to sort through the pictures to send the best ones, so I just sent them all. Others are us at a train station for the long Island railroad close to an investigators house. I was experimenting with what my camera can do. And some others (with the manhattan skyline) are at Hunter's point. We took the 7 train until the last stop before manhattan. then you just start walking towards the bigger buildings and find the water, and you're there! Also, I posted the recipe for last night's dinner. I also had a salad with other fruit and chicken nuggets in it. the All-in-one Mixitup is pretty good. It came about because I wanted to know if you could just microwave pancake battter and have it make a pancake. But I needed a meal, so of course I threw in some of my oatmeal and frozen fruit (target had a great deal on frozen fruit last month, I hope it's still going on) and for some reason I have developed quite a love for peanut butter, and I'll eat it plain, sometimes mixed with instant breakfast chocolate powder.  So i just threw everything together, and it turned out rather well. the pancake had cooked a bit, and the oatmeal was good, and it was all REALLY sweet and flavorful.

This morning I tried the microwave pancake thing again, and it was a great success! I just made sure to spray pam on the bowl so it wouldn't stick, and that worked too! I then poured some syup and milk on the little pancake in the bowl, and it soaked them both right up, and it turned into some sort of tasty bakery treat thing. My life has been revolutionized by these cooking strategies I have learned

Elder Wright had a bit of a rough week. At hunter's point, he was setting his camera on it's tripod to take a picture of it (luckily I got an action photo of this happening) and then we were posing, and the wind picked up! the camera and tripod toppled over into the East River! there went all of his pictures and his camera. Elder Wright really likes photography, so he had taken a lot of pictures. Then later on this week, he had propped his speaker on one of our lamps in the house because it gave it perfect position, and later part of the speaker had melted! (it was one of those new ihome springy speakers, and the accordion-type part had melted.) it still works fine, it's just not springy. But I think it looks really cool.

Our branch has been changing a lot. Our branch president moved back to columbia a while back, so the branch presidency is changed. The new presidency has a lot of energy. Also, our mission leader is new, and he has A LOT of excitement and enthusiasm for the work. we worked with him the other day, and it was great contacting people with him. He connected well with the people, because he has a background like most people here. so the branch is steadily progressing I think. I'm developing lots of love for Flushing. Flushing Family!

This is most of my letter to President Calderwood.

Dear President,

This week I am really grateful for revelation. Every big experience from this week is accented by revelation, and it has really helped me learn. I have continued to have understanding of forgetting myself in the service of the Lord fortified, and expanded on. I know two specific things that I really need to work on, and I feel calm and confident that I can get them done, with the help of the Atonement. They are punctuality and serving others. These are definitely two things that will help shape my mission and life to be even better. I've come to gain understanding of these needs over a bit of time, and now I have a clear picture, and I'm excited to see how the Atonement shapes me even more on my mission. The last major experience was this morning in my personal study, as I prepared a workshop for district meeting. When I need revelation to bless and help teach others, it comes quickly. Clear connections of the gospel and work and our attitude came quickly to my mind, and it helped me apply my new understanding of losing myself to the aspect of finding people. I'm so grateful that God takes the time to teach us.
I love my companion, district, zone, and branch. They are really fantastic, and I'm growing so much because of them. I am so thankful for them all.
Love
Elder Schenk

I'm learning and enjoying a lot here in ny. Our new district is getting along really well, it's pretty fun.

Love,
ElderSchenk, not the one and only

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September 23, 2013

Hi Mom,

The pictures of the Caribbean are beautiful! Those beaches look nice. I wonder if they look extra nice because I've been in the Concrete Jungle for a little while now. But I feel like the vacation homes look very boring. They are pretty much all white and not very exciting. If I were to own my own vacation home somewhere like that, it would look really fun and exciting. I'm sure they are extremely nice, but I wouldn't mind thinking "Wow, that's a nice looking house on that island" when I see it. Maybe the view is just too far away to see how they really are. Oh well, we'll worry about it later.

Elder Wright and I are still working hard, the same as ever. The weather is cooling down now, and last night I actually wore a sweater (it was one that was left in our apartment by another missionary. Its pretty nice.

This week we had transfers so last Monday a lot of us in the zone got together at the church to write goodbye notes and to trade ties! I got some that I like pretty well, and they are signed by the missionaries who gave them to me, so I can remember them forever. Now only one missionary has been here in Flushing the entire time that I have, and he was transfered there two weeks before I was. I'm getting to be more like a veteran! Also, I'm learning more Mandarin Chinese. Last Monday night there was a baptism (usually they are on sundays but the chinese elder doing the baptism was going home the next day) and I got a chinese man to come in for the baptism! He couldn't really argue with me because we couldn't understand each other. But I just said "come check out our church." we were on the same block as the church, so then I just said "come" and motioned for him to follow me. We got to the church and he didn't really want to come in, but he couldn't argue, and after trying to communicate back and forth a little for him to come in for just 5 minutes, I just said "come" again and we went in. There were chinese members and missionaries inside who took care of the rest. I felt pretty good about it. It might be easier fearlessing in Chinese because there is no way for them to argue or anything like that. One of the missionaries in our zone made a sheet of paper of "Chinese for Missionaries Who do not Speak Chinese" and gave it to most of us in the zone, but told me, "you already pretty much know this!" I've been working recently on saying The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's hard to remember and get the tones, but it's coming along. One of the missionaries is going to give me one of his old grammar books he got at the mtc that he doesn't need anymore, so I'll be using that soon. I'm getting excited for that. One of our zone leaders transfered, and the new one, Elder Izatt was here when I got here and transferred away about two transfers ago. He got changed to the Chinese program! He had also been practicing his chinese a lot before he left. So he is in what's called a zebra pool, with Chinese and English. One of the chinese elders that just got transferred away from flushing also speaks some spanish, so we hope that we could maybe do a Chinese Spanish (and maybe English) zebra pool together. We'll see what happens. There's possibility for all sorts of things in a mission like this, I guess. These possibilities rely on the revelation received by President Calderwood. Speaking of him, here's what I wrote to him this week:

Dear President Calderwood,

I've had a lot of good learning experiences and realizations recently. They have helped me grow a lot. I have already mentioned most of them before, and so even though they aren't all new, they are constantly getting reinforced and built upon. I am learning things about service and losing myself and Charity and other things that are getting more and more engrained in my mind. The power of service in a companionship is incredible. This companionship has progressed by far the best, and I think it's mostly because I started out planning to serve Elder Wright as much as my possibly can. I haven't been as diligent as I should have been in serving him, but my actions and mindset have changed, and the difference is clear, and huge. It almost seems too easy, that sometimes I feel like Elder Wright at I aren't getting along as well or as easily as usual, and I just serve him again and everything resumes smoothly.
This transfer I feel like Elder Wright and I will need to work hard to help, support, and serve the other companionships in the district. We already know how we work, we get along great and work well together, Elder Wright already is an incredible missionary, so we don't have a lot of worries in that matter. But the rest of the district are going through some bigger changes this transfer, and I think that we will really be able to bless them. I think that this is one of the reasons that Elder Wright and I already feel so good together as a companionship.
One thing that I have really enjoyed with Elder Wright is our companion inventories. We follow the counsel you gave at the trainer meeting, and start with a hymn and a prayer, and as we then talk about our companionship, I feel a lot of love and connection with Elder Wright. I'm actually searching for things that maybe I have noticed that could help him to improve, and even then it's hard to find areas like that in Elder Wright. These conversations with Elder Wright have been very sincere, and full of love and understanding. It's great that a specific part of the week like that, that a lot of others might shy away from or not enjoy, can really be a highlight of our week. I'm working with one of the best missionaries in New York.

So I'm really grateful for all that I've been able to learn from my area and the fellow missionaries therein. My life has definitely been changed for the better, and I've been strengthened and directed so much in being a better representative and disciple of Christ. Thanks so much for receiving so much revelation that guides the entire mission, and even my daily life. I know it's from God. I'm so grateful for the priveledge to lose myself and learn so much in the Work and Glory of the Lord. It has definitely taught me how I can always live full of joy!

Love,

Elder Schenk

That might be it for this week. Unless I can think of what else to say. This morning I read in Jacob 6 "Oh be wise, what can I say more?" I'm learning so much, enjoying it, and making a lot of good friends, and constantly being improved and refined little by little.

ALSO a fun fact. There are now 4 redheads in our zone. 2 spanish, 2 chinese (Elder Izatt is chinese and English). Three of us are from western Washington. So the zone is pretty good.

Dad, I'll just write your part here.

 As I think about all I have learned, I have learned so much about how to be a better father. So thank you so much for going on a mission. No wonder you did such a good job raising us! I've learned a lot and I will keep on learning things that will really bless my family for eternity. That's a pretty big deal. I'll write the priest quorum (and maybe all the youth as a whole) and the missionaries in our ward and tell them all about it. I really feel like I've found out the core of the secret to FOREVER HAPPINESS in just one phrase, and it's "forget yourself for the Lord," but the only way you can really learn and understand it is when the Spirit teaches you and drives this into your heart and soul. I've learned it a couple of times over, and I've realized now that a lot of the learning on the mission is really just crystallyzing things that you already know. That's why the mission is powerful. It's so much experience packed into a little chunk of life, that you learn so much, if you just let God drive. Here's a quote from George Albert Smith that Elder Wright told me. "The Pathway of Righteousness is the Highway of Happiness. Don't lose your way." It may not always be easy to be righteous, but when we do, it's given to us that we can and will be happy.

For all who have not yet gone on missions, go on one. For those who aren't members, get baptized so you can go on one a year later!

Love you all so much!

Elder Schenk 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 16, 2013


Dad,

So no, we haven't gotten iPads yet, I think we will do that in October sometime. And each missionary will get their own. The weather is starting to cool down a little bit here, too. I'm wearing long sleeves right now, and I usually only do that on Sundays.

Here's what I wrote to President Calderwood,

This week was a really good one. Elder Wright continues being a great teacher for me, as well as those investigating. I was amazed this week as we were role playing for one of our lessons, and he called time out, and taught me about involving the investigator more effectively with good questions. I had already been trying, but not with the right focus or mindset. So Elder Wright continued helping me, and pretty soon I had figured it out a bit better. Later on in the week we were able to have a few different lessons, and as I applied what I had learned from Elder Wright, they went very well. As we continued to work better together in lessons and other situations, we began to get along even better and love each other even more. I'm really glad to be companions with Elder Wright. He humbles me, inspires me, and teaches me so much. I'm not sure I've met a missionary who teaches as well as he does. And he is often trying to find ways to improve. His Spanish is also getting a lot better. I'm amazed at how clearly he can already communicate things with such little time here. I expected training to be a lot different. I planned on leading my trainee by the hand, teaching carefully and slowly, but I hardly have to worry about that at all. This transfer has been a really good one, and I'm excited to keep working and learning with Elder Wright. It seems like the first transfer or so is really when you figure out fairly well who your companion is. I really hope that we will have a lot of time working together to capitalize on this great start that we have.
Something that I have really been focusing on recently is trying to lose myself in the Lord's work. I learned a lot about it at Zone Conference and the following weeks, and I had a great realization about it last Monday. It seems like Preparation Day can be the most stressful day of the week, because it's often the most selfish day of the week. I'm just worrying about myself having enough food or money, and doing something fun so that way the day is worth it, and I just become focused on myself. It was a really good lesson for me, and I'm really glad that God is teaching me so much right now.
Now I'm thinking about how many people in our zone are leaving, and a lot of them have been here in Flushing with me for a long time. I know that it means that there is much for me to learn from a lot of new people that will be here. We'll see what God wants to teach me next. I'm so grateful and amazed at all that I've geen able to learn, and I'm grateful and excited for what else I will learn. I'm also really excited to serve more with my fantastic companion. He is really a great missionary.

Thanks so much for receiving so much revelation that has blessed and taught me. My companion and area are really changing me for the better.

Love

Elder Schenk


so by the way, I should talk to Keegan and see who he knows and see if I know any of them. Because one thing I've learned is that almost nobody from New York is really from New York. Not in Flushing, Queens at least.

Dad I am growing a lot. I'm learning how to take care of myself physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially and I feel like I am really gaining more than I put in. Heavenly Father is really nice that way. The best way I've learned to take care of myself spiritually, socially, and emotionally is by forgetting myself. What I wrote to President Calderwood in my letter about forgetting myself and mondays being my most stressful AND selfish day is really something that I want to remember my whole life. I think it will help me to be much more successful in my future family and work and schooling and calling and in everything. I think it's the ticket to life, and it takes a bit of time to understand and accept. But now it seems so simple and clear. It's God's way to happiness, and the only way to true happiness. And it lasts, just like your love for me.
 
I'm glad everything is going well in YM's. I'll need to write them soon. And maybe I'll write a letter to the missionaries serving in our ward to give them tips and let them know how Burlington is.

Love you so much Dad! Tell Mom I love her too. You both made excellent choices in who to marry, and I'm forever happy you did. Have a good week

Much Love from the Big Apple,

Elder Schenk III

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

Helloooo Home!

Wow, it's crazy that school is starting up again. Here it starts today. A couple of weeks ago I had completely forgotten about school, until someone mentioned that it was starting up again. The concept of school had almost completely fled my mind.

What have been on my mind are a couple of things about the gospel. The first thing is what we learned at zone conference, about losing yourself and charity. We love the Lord with all that we are, so we obey Him with all that we are, and lose ourselves in His service. When we do that, He makes us what we need to be and who He wants us to be, which is the best self possible. It's our full potential. In order to develop to be that, we don't focus on ourselves. We lose ourselves in serving others, and the change occurs. I feel like everything that I have learned this week in my studies and throughout the day has connected and based itself in this.

The other thing is what it says in the lessons about the gospel, and I think it states this in the Restoration. The gospel is God's perfect plan for us, and is the only thing in existence that makes us happy now, and later (meaning the near future, the distant future, and eternity!) Most often in this world, we think that what we do is either focused on our happiness in the present, or in the future, and never, or scarcely for both. But the gospel does just that. It probably looks more like a future happiness thing, but it's got it all! When we follow the gospel (which essentially means we lose ourselves and do what God asks) we can have the joy of Heaven! We get the privilege of the presence of the Holy Ghost (for those of you who are amazed at how happy I am, that's the reason - the Holy Ghost feels soooo good!) right now, and then we have His guidance to make sure what we are doing now will make us happy later.

Today some of us are going to rego park and I might look for a sidebag there at a very nice but very cheap store called Century 21. We shall see how it goes.

President Calderwood,

This week was a lot better than the last. After emailing you and recognizing my need to serve more, I was really excited to put forth those plans. And although I wasn't perfect in serving Elder Wright, or even excellent at it, my mindset was more focused on contributing and providing more to the companionship in simple ways. I felt a lot better, of course. It really fortified what you say about the glass being half full or half empty, depending on if we are putting something in or taking it out. Elder Wright and I had a good week and had some really good study sessions. Elder Wright has the gift of asking fantastic questions, and uses it with investigators, as well as with me. During our studies he asks questions that make me think in a way that really refreshes and strengthens my understanding/thoughts about pieces of the gospel. He has also commented on a couple of things that I do that he is learning from, and it makes me feel good that I'm setting a good example in a variety of ways.
This week we had a zone elliptical activity where I learned a good lesson about prayer and depending on the Lord. It was a street sweep focused completely on the temple. It's hard to fearless someone about the temple in just a couple of seconds or even a minute as they walk past, and a ways into it I was trying to figure out how I could get it to work. Then I remembered what you had said at trainer/trainee meeting about praying that the Lord would fill your mouth. So I said a silent prayer for that. After that, everything smoothed out a bit. I felt like I was able to get my point across in a simpler way, and was able to have good fearlesses with various people.
What I have really been focusing on right now is what we talked about all during Zone Conference. Charity, and losing oneself for the Lord. All week long during my studies, I felt like everything that I learned and everything that we can do to improve and do our best really boils down to losing ourselves in the Lord's work, because we love Him more than all. That's why this is the Gospel of Charity. It's the simple, perfect answer to everything.
Elder Wright said something very profound the other day. As we become converted to Christ, we start to develop the Character of Christ, which is charity.
All in all, I have no doubt that the Lord knows exactly what we need to be the most like him possible. The people here are helping me to change so much to be like Christ. I love the zone, district, branch, and especially my companion.

Thanks so much for everything,
Love,

Elder Schenk

Thanks so much everyone!
Love you all, keep strong, lose yourselves in the gospel, and share it with your friends!

 

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 3, 2013


September 3, 2013
So to start, I'll just attach my letter to President Calderwood,
This week was an interesting one. I think I learned a lot of things in a lot of different ways. First off, I learned an incredible amount on Wednesday, from my personal study as well as Zone Conference. I have a lot of new understanding as well as reinforced understanding of charity now. I realize much more that I really need to lose myself more in the needs of others. That was probably the largest realization of the week. Elder Wright and I are working well together still, but I realized that I have forgotten to serve him, and as a result our relationship hasn't been improving as constantly. I need to serve him a lot more, and always be engaged in the needs of others. I think that all that I have learned or need to improve on right now boils down to that. Losing myself more in the service of others; in the service of the Lord.
This week we were continually praying to just have two investigators attend sacrament meeting. Our numbers say that we didn't, but I still know that the Lord answered our many prayers. We had a health fair on Saturday, and a couple of the people that participated in the presentations came on Sunday. One of them said that they felt really good when they walked in the church Saturday, and wanted to come back. Then on Monday we had a labor day picnic, and they were there again! They clearly have interest, and see the goodness in the church. So even though they weren't necessarily our investigators there, they were there investigating the Lord. I'm pretty happy with that.
Elder Wright keeps on working very hard, and I'm kept on my toes making sure that I'm doing my best. I'm mostly just excited to actually remember to serve him this week and see how much closer we can get.
Thanks so much for teaching us all about charity, and losing ourselves. I needed it, and it will bless me a lot. Thanks for the District, Zone, and members here in Flushing. I'm glad to be a member missionary here. It's all very excellent.
I'm also extremely glad to be able to write these emails every week. They help me collect and clarify and focus my learning; and I am really excited to apply it all and see what happens next!

I love you so much, President, through your leadership and inspiration I have gained so much understanding. I am Forever Changing!

Elder Schenk

Alright. So I guess, according to your responses to my emails, I seemed a little bit down last week. It must have been pretty bad, because I got various emails of encouragement. I know that I was a little down, due to a few different things. Then after doing my shopping I was even worse. Somehow neither of my cards were working, I guess I had a lot less on my mission card than I thought, so I had to only get a couple of things instead of more food like I wanted. I was pretty weighed down. But then (by the tender mercies of God) we had a zone activity and played kickball and flicker football (ultimate frisbee, but you just throw a football). Kickball is a good refresher because it's both soccer AND baseball, plus they had little ceasars pizza there (don't tell anyone, but I really don't think this "famous" new york pizza is very special. I think the tomato sauce tastes different but that's it. it tastes more like tomato soup. little cesars is better than the fancy stuff here I think) so I was feeling pretty good by the time the activity got over. But playing flicker football was weird because while playing ultimate frisbee I'm usually one of the best, and it's very easy for me. But you don't throw a football like you do a frisbee. So it was a new challenge. I recognized how a lot of people must feel more.

So anyway by this time I felt substantially better.

We also had a really good lesson with our investigator Virgen this week. Before, our visits were more general, getting to know you, questions and answers type things. Here we taught the Restoration fully, and I feel like they understood and accepted it well (they means her daughter and another friend who visits their house a lot, but he lives in another part of town). We are excited to keep teaching them.

Since yesterday was our preparation day, I can tell you what we did! I guess actually we didn't do that much. we went shopping and looked outside the mall in horror as we saw quite the rainstorm. but we made it home alright, and only one of the cardboard boxes had to be thrown away from water damage. I got a picture of it, as well as an excellent breakfast of pancakes that I made (hungry jack just add water mix is nice) and I added instant breakfast to make chocolate pancakes!

I'm running low on time.

Thanks so much for all your love and support! I'm excited for the week and for more work to happen!

also, some breaking news.

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get ready

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so starting pretty soon (October I believe) we will be getting iPad minis and be using facebook, blogs, skype, etc to preach and teach and work like missionaries do! President Calderwood feels that our mission is worthy and prepared for it. It's one of the newer things missionaries are doing and our mission is one of the test ones. Each missionary will be getting their own ipad, and eventually we will get iPhones I think. They talked about this in the big broadcast a couple months ago! So I'll be seeing you soon on Facebook. My account will be the same, I'll just need to edit it so it's 100 % missionary ready. And we can use people from anywhere to teach member present lessons. So I will need all of your help in teaching people via Facebook! I just hope Andre and a couple of other friends around the world will get to do it, too. Then I can teach with them!

 Something cool I learned this week is from 1 nephi 18 (also, chapter 17 is quite good. In fact, just read the whole Book of Mormon!). Think of the mountain that Nephi goes to as the temple. The Lord will show us great things there! verses 3-4 are good.

Love you all so much! Que tengan una buena semana. Also, Diane, I have used that 7 minute workout twice (one time 2 days) and I like it. It resulted in some sore muscles. Thanks!

Much love from Nueva York,

Elder Eric Daniel Schenk