Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17, 2013


Anna is already home? wow. I'm excited to hear what Andre says about his mission and the MTC. This week was really good. I had a couple of really good days. We did a game street sweep where we had tic tac toe and chess and other games, and a poster that asked if families can be together forever.  It was a nice day and we had a good location and the people were really friendly so we had a great time and I feel like a lot of success at the activity. Then that night we visited the D family in our branch. we asked them if we could do anything for them and then they told us about Sister D's brother who is having a really hard time and some trials. They couldn't really tell us what those were, but they asked for our prayers. They live downstairs from this brother, and he isn't a member, so we offered him a priesthood blessing of comfort and counsel and he accepted. We had Brother D do it, and he had never given one like this before, and it was a really good experience for everyone. The spirit was very strong and it was a fantastic experience for both of them. The last two weeks we have hardly been able to teach lessons, and have had none with members present, which are the only lessons that we report. But even so I feel like our work is being more focused. We have less investigators and I'm not sure where they have really gone, but we are focused on different things now that I think will yield more success.

Thanks so much Dad! Last weekend we had a father's day fiesta and yesterday in church we talked about our fathers, and I felt more and more like you are the greatest father. There is  a verse in Alma where the stripling warriors' fathers come bring them supplies. I love it so much because it reminds me of you and how much support you always give me in fighting my battles. You've prepared me so well Dad, thanks so much for all of your powerful, undying love and direction you give to the family. The other day at a young single adult Family Home evening we were talking about the attributes that our dads have. I said powerful, because you are such a powerful leader, and teacher, and example to everyone. Everyone was kind of surprised that I just said powerful. I wish they could meet you and see how true it is.

Love you Dad! you are the greatest

Elder Schenk

Hey Mom,
That's a lot of really exciting news! I actually haven't been playing much piano yet, but we shall see what happens. We actually haven't had too bad of weather recently. and the chapel is in good contition again. There aren't many threesomes in the mission with Elders. In don't know if there are any even right now. But there are a ton of sister threesomes because a lot of them are going to other missions waiting for Visas. Yes, all the missionaries in our mission are supposed to watch the new mission president seminar, and we are excited to hear from President Monson again. I think missionaries are just so much more enthusiastic about the Gospel because it's all we ever do and it occupies our day. When you are deeply involved in something you get more excited about it.

So carson is already out of the MTC? is he going to go to the one in Brazil too or has the time just gone by really fast?

Too bad President Monson couldn't visit Gigi's mission! And Hunter is planning on going on a mission before college then? Wow I'm excited for him! Tell him if he's lucky he will come to NY NY South. It's the best and has the best mission president in the world. All of the missionaries in this mission are pretty certain of it. And if that many missionaries believe it, it's got to be true. I can't believe Anna's already home, just imagine how soon I will get back, eh? That's cool that she's got some cool stories.

We haven't gotten family history proselyting material yet, but we are going to try to do proselyting activities with it soon. We'll see how it works
Yes, the Yeates family sent me a package! the sisters in my district picked it up at the mission office and were very jealous. It had a bunch of candy and snacks in it and i enjoyed it, as did the rest of my district.
Thanks so much Yeates family! I'll try to send a letter
I'm glad dad's knee is doing better, I'll be sure to pray for him a lot.
I forgot my camera today so I'll have to use the dropbox next time.
And I'm excited to hear how Andre's doing. I've been praying for him and Carson a lot. I'm just sooo excited to see everyone in two years when we are all home!

Love you all! see you later
Elder Schenk

June 10, 2013

Wait, a hurricane hit? we definitely got a ton of rain the other day, but I heard nothing about a hurricane. The sidewalks and streets were kind of like rivers, and I was happy that I my rockport shoes are waterproof. And I learned that my backpack is pretty waterproof, but only to a certain degree. apparently hurricane rain is beyond average REI quality. That day I actually wanted an umbrella. I think I will start using mine more often now, which means my companions won't be able to use it anymore. Elder Rose would usually use mine, and Elder Nisgurizter usually does now. He is planning on getting an umbrella soon. Perhaps the reason people back home don't use umbrellas is because they usually don't need to be outside for a long time walking around town. So if it's rainy you just stay inside your  house or your car. Here, most people don't have cars so walking is the way to go. And that makes umbrellas more important I think.

 I usually don't print my emails I get, but I can. We can print 20 pages a day with our library account.

I am eating pretty well, I think. I eat lots of hardboiled eggs and toast for breakfast to accompany my cereal, and sometimes I will add applesauce and or yogurt. Lunch is usually a sandwich or something, or Subway. And dinner, last week I started making macaroni and cheese and macaroni and tomato sauce. I only made them once apiece and apparently macaroni and tomato sauce is something people aren't used to. But I assure my companions that it is really good.  Last night we used some things we had gotten free from the branch (they sometimes leave canned food or something in the kitchen for us) so we made mashed potatoes with gravie and chicken and corn and garlic bread. Everything was from a package pretty much, the garlic bread was toast with butter and garlic salt. But it was really good. It kind of tasted like I was back at the MTC. other than that I kind of just throw random foods that we have together to make a dinner. It turns out alright

I wouldn't mind a couple of simple quick recipes.

Wow, 3 inspections a day for dad? that's intense. I hope it all goes smoothly.

Yesterday at church we only had sacrament meeting because something with the air conditioning broke so it somehow leaked water all over and flooded parts of the church, including the branch president's office. That was interesting and unexpected. they are going to build another chapel in town but I don't think they have started and it is supposed to be 2 or 3 years before it's done. The chapel we use now was originally a bank I think, and then the church of scientology had the building, and now we use it.

I might be practicing a lot of piano soon because nobody in my branch really plays except for Sister Dean, one of the missionaries. But she isn't very good at sight reading, so the music in sacrament meeting is somewhat a capella. The branch chorister doesn't always pick the easiest songs for her to play either. And since I can play "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" and I was recently plucking out "Sweet Hour of Prayer" the missionaries in our district think I have what it takes to maybe play every couple of weeks or so. I play new music mostly by ear because I don't know what note meets which key. I think then my only qualification really is willingness. I think maybe the blessing of this for our branch is that they realize that they can't hide their voices behind the piano, so they all sing good and loud now. We used to have a pianist, but it was a sister missionary here that left last transfer.

When the rain was really bad, Elder Nisguritzer and I decided we should go tracting just to show the people that we thought it was really important, and to keep things exciting. I don't know how effective it was, but it was kind of fun.

Last week was kind of interesting as far as lessons. One investigator who we thought was really solid didn't show up three times in a row, and we'll see if he shows up tonight. Others that we thought didn't show much potential show some true sincerity, so we shall see how that goes. I think our district is starting to feel the effects a little bit of having every senior companion replaced by a brand new missionary (except for mine - Elder Nisguritzer has been out about 7 months). We have tried to do some activities all together to proselyte, but they have been kind of innefective as we have tried to figure out how to do them, etc. A focus that we are trying to do now is on the elliptical, which is the area/ community right around our church buildings. The shape of these communities looks generally like an oval or ellipse. We are trying to build the church inward to outward, so that way it can be strong enough to support the people we bring from the edges of our areas. Part of the purpose is to bring the church out of obscurity. So as a district we are trying to do elliptical activities together, like chalking the sidewalks, inviting everyone we can to come to church, etc.

I got to go. Love you! Thanks everyone for your prayers. I am learning so much.
Elder Schenk

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 3, 2013


Hey Mom!

Thanks so much for the pictures! The bridge picture is crazy! and Rosita is so cute! and you and Eleanor and what I can see of Josh look great too.

These pictures are of the Brooklyn Bridge, and Me and Elder Rose on transfer day.

I don't have much time left so I will do what Devin did a lot and copy my letter to my mission president to you. Recently it has been really hot and humid, last night we had thunderstorms, and today it cooled off so that was nice.

Here's the letter to President Calderwood.

Missions are so incredible because of all the different ways you learn. I have learned some things from experience, but I have also learned some incredible things through very guided study. I can't believe how much I can learn and how deep the message goes in just an hour or less. And the things that I learn seem so powerful to me, but when I try to explain them they seem so basic and common sense. But what I have learned has changed me for the better. Recently we have worked hard as a district and companionship on planning by setting Visions, Goals, and Plans. This strategy is so clear and powerful, especially when guided by the Spirit. Elder Nisguritzer and I have felt very guided as we have planned for our investigators and sought from the Lord what they need. And very recently we have felt the need for more inspiration, and much more action in order to hit our vision. I learned this week one of the reasons, and perhaps the reason that exact obedience brings miracles. It is because miracles are wrought by faith. It is stated so many places. Moroni 10:7, and Ether 12 are some of my favorites. God works according to the faith of men, and faith is manifest through our actions (as well as in our focused, purposeful, and powerful prayers as I learned in Alma 8:10). As we show God our faith unto obedience, he performs miracles. Elder Nisguritzer and I are really going to work on this during the last few weeks of this transfer, as we have a previously set vision that is very high. We know this vision will be a great challenge to achieve, but we also know it was inspired, and as Elder Nisguritzer reminded me, 1 Nephi 3:7 can occur in our lives here and now.
Thank you so much President for all you have taught us, as well as placing me here with my companion, district, zone, and branch. They have all changed me for the better. Working with Elder Nisgurizter has accelerated my spiritual learning and growth more than anything else.

Elder Schenk

I wrote a bit to dad so his email will have more. We played kickball today as a zone and it was really fun! It was great to combine soccer and baseball and to just run and have fun. before the activity started our ball got kicked into the pond, and we couldn't swim to get it, so another missionary and I ran into town to Modell's sporting goods (it's like big 5 or sports athourity, maybe a mix of the two) to get another one. While there, I bought some sweatbands! grey nike ones for the arms and a reversible blue/white addidas one for my head, so I'm pretty well off now.

Another thing. I'm not sure how we could do this but I've seen another missionary use dropbox to share pictures with his family, so maybe we could figure out how to do that.

Love you all!

Elder Schenk
Hi Dad,
The time seems to fly by really fast! I need to make sure I'm using my time well every day. I feel like my mission will go by pretty fast now. We are already starting week four of the transfer, so it's already halfway over! I can't believe it. It makes me start thinking about what might happen next transfer meeting. I wonder if I will go somewhere else. When I think about that it makes me want to do all that I can here to make sure I did my part strengthening the branch and paving the way for someone else to take my place. Last night Elder Nisguritzer and I were talking and I brought up a concern about our 3 month goal that Elder Rose and I felt inspired to set. It was 3 baptisms. We still have zero baptisms and zero progressing investigators. We have a lot that could be progressing soon, they just need more work. As we talked about it, we decided that we will redouble our efforts and do everything we can to be faithful unto obedience and get this miracle to happen. We feel good about three of our investigators, so we will see what happens.
The Holy Ghost has led me to some great learning experiences! A while back I had an incredible study about Faith, Hope and Charity. I also read part of a collection of talks and quotes about faith, called the Doctrine of Faith. It was really good. And yesterday morning and this morning I learned an incredible amount about Prayer! The Spirit is definitely guiding these studies! This understanding is changing me. My prayers the last few days have been more focused, and I have also learned about myself. Based on what I read in Chapter 6 (Christlike Attributes) in Preach My Gospel, I have a lot of hope. I learned this morning about how incredibly important prayer is in every step of the Doctrine of Christ. Faith is driven by prayer, Repentance is more effective through prayer, Baptism and Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost are done through prayer, and Enduring to the End requires constant prayer. "Pray always." That is just a really short summary of what I learned.
Today we had a zone activity. We played Kickball! It was really fun and I loved it. I used my baseball knowledge and chatter, played at third base for a little bit, kicked a home run, Had a nice catch in center field, got knocked over by a sister missionary, and slid headfirst into third base very smoothly. It was really fun. I'll attach some pictures. I also bought some new sweatbands and am enjoying them a lot
Love you so much!


May 28, 2013

the library was closed yesterday so we all emailed today
I forgot to bring my camera to the computer. I thought about it last night but never put it in my bag or the cable to connect it. Next week I'll work on that.It sounds like a ton of things are going on! that's pretty cool. I can't believe the bridge went down! that's crazy. I want to see pictures of it. I love the pictures. Eleanor is growing up so cute! and Rosie (I always call her "Rosita" when I pray for her at night) is beautiful too! I will be excited to see them when I get home. Good work Katie! I'm still remembering and working on what I need to do to be a good uncle. Go on a mission (and serve a fantastic one), get an education and a good career, get married in the temple, and provide fantastic cousins! I'm stuck on the 1st step right now. We'll wait a while for the next ones. Thanks Mom for the Motherly advice. I'm glad you always give it. It's what missionaries need to know. Every Sunday I work pretty hard on not leaning over in Sacrament meeting, and I always remember you teaching me that. This week has been good. Elder Nisguritzer and I have been working on being exactly obedient and we are seeing some cool miracles. I actually have been really bad at writing in my journal mom but I wrote in it the other day because I had some miracles that had to be recorded. I'll set a vision, goals, and plans to be better at journal writing. One of the miracles was that we had an appointment and a member set up for the lesson with some investigators, but an hour beforehand they told us that they couldn't come. So we thought about who else we could have come to the lesson. I thought of one that Elder Rose and I had tried to meet with a ton of times but never could. So I called him and asked if he could meet us at the church in an hour for a lesson and he said no problem! He is a young man that is really nice and has some friends in the church. The member we had coming for the lesson was perfect for him! he would have been alright for the other investigators but was 10X better for M. M is the investigator. The member used to be young men's president in a ward he worked in before, and he is fairly young and really friendly, so it was NICE! We saw a couple other miracles like that. I've noticed that I'm not acting that much more obedient than I was before, and I was still pretty obedient before, but now my mindset is more obedient. And I think that makes the biggest difference. Its a lot of small, added effort here and there and a different mindset/desire to be obedient, and now I feel much more obedient and see more of the Lord's help as we do his work here. Elder Nisguritzer and I also speak a lot in Spanish together to practice (he's already fluent, so it's practice for me) and I feel like it's smoothing out my spanish a lot. We in our district are getting to know each other better now. A lot of us in the district are really new. And I realize that I've been in this branch almost the longest of anyone in my district. The only one that has more than me is Sister Powell, who got here two weeks before me (so that was right when I got to the MTC). So we are both really new missionaries but kind of the old pros of the branch. I think it is making everyone in our district grow more quickly together because we are all fairly new missionaries, except for our district leader, Elder Henstrom. He has just two transfers left I think and is a really good missionary. After him the longest out is my companion Elder Nisguritzer, who is on his fifth transfer (he's been out about 6 months or so). Then the next is Sister Powell who has two weeks more than me, and I have only like 3 months here. Then we have three missionaries that are still getting trained. We are young, anchored by a veteran, and all enthusiastic and hard workers, so I feel like we can have great success all working together. Tell everyone I say hi and I love them. I feel like this week I've developed a more loving attitude towards those around me and those I don't know. President Calderwood told us to always pray to develop charity, so I have been and I'm pretty sure it's working.
Thanks so much for the prayers, love, nieces, and advice! I love you all, and I have developed and grown so much here.
Elder Schenk
Hey Dad, my week was great! It's different working with Elder Nisguritzer than Elder Rose. They are two very different people. I think naturally Elder Rose and I are more similar, but Elder Nisguritzer and I have a unified desire for obedience and miracles. I think that's more important. I'm glad the young men missed me at the temple. I thought about my friends today and how fun it would be to be in a companionship with them. Thanks for being such a fantastic dad to me. And when you say that serving a mission is the most selfish thing you can do, I would have to agree. Tell the young men that I agree with you on that. The more I forget myself and try to only give my time here to God, the more I grow and become happier.
Thanks so much dad for your love and example for me. I was raised by the best (and you did a good job choosing my mom, too)
Love you much!
Elder Schenk