Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013

Wow, so many things are happening back home. That's really cool! So is there an MTC in Spain that Drew is going to? that would be cool. I would like to get his email so I can say hi and see how the Spanish is going.

That's sweet that Hunter and Calvin were on trek together. I would have loved to be there but I was a little busy.

Last Monday we went to Coney Island and had a pretty good time. There is this place called Nathaniel's (I think) and they seemed kind of like an east coast ivars, so I tried their famous coney island fish and chips. It was pretty good. I also went on a roller coaster and it was pretty fun. It was small but I think it was a good step for me to get into the world of roller coasters. I did it with Elder Henstrom, and Elder Nisguritzer took a couple of pictures. I look pretty excited in one of them.


I'm excited for Hunter, and Drew, and Thomas, and Carson, and everyone. The Gospel makes everyone so happy. If only more people could see that.

A family just moved into the branch and yesterday was their first sunday here. They are really cool for a couple of reasons. They moved from Seattle! they actually aren't Hispanic but I think they both learned on their missions (I think they served in seattle) and they are raising their kids to speak English and Spanish. So that's pretty cool. and they seem like a solid couple on top of that.

letter to president


The more I serve and focus on being a blessing to others, the more I love them. It happens with my companion, my district, and the members especially. My relationship with Elder Nisguritzer continues to have little ups and downs of course, but there are more ups, and it keeps moving up. And I have learned to love the branch so much more just in this last transfer. A transfer ago, I loved the branch, but not nearly as much as I do now. I had started thinking about if I would transfer away only 3 or four weeks into the transfer, and this transfer, the thought hasn't crossed my mind nearly as much.
I think that two major things that slow the work here are: the difficulty of communicating with people, and the difficulty of finding a time that they can actually meet with us. It is difficult to teach, bless, and inspire the people with these two barriers. But I do know that they can feel the love that we have for them.
I don't have much else to say, other than that I am really grateful for Flushing. The members and the missionaries here have helped me learn immensely, and I have learned a lot about loving others, including the Lord.

All right, I got to go. Elder Nisguritzer is usually done emailing before me, and I shouldn't make him wait so much. Love you!

Elder Schenk


Everything's going really good. The MTC night sounds like a good idea considering how much bigger the missionary program is getting in the church. Of course I feel that way because I'm in the middle of it. I'm reading about the sons of Mosiah right now in my personal studies, and it's a good story. I like reading missionary stories on my mission. There are a lot of good things to learn.

For the advice for the Priests:

1. Forget yourself. The purpose of a mission is to serve the Lord. It's His work and He knows exactly how to do it best. Christ Himself said that he that will lose his life will find it. That doesn't mean we have to die. It means that we always put the Lord's will ahead of ours. When I have prayed and asked to be able to forget myself, I enjoy those times on my mission better. I am happier. I learn more.

2. Pray to develop Christlike Attributes. I didn't really think of it much before my mission, but as we are to become like Christ, we need to develop His attributes, and it's not always easy. But as I have asked the Lord repeatedly day by day to help me develop Charity, or Humiliy, or something else, I can see it growing in myself.

     2.5 Prayer is really important. Study it in the Bible dictionary and realize more of it's purpose and power. It is required to gain some blessings, and is one way to show our faith.

3. The Spirit is most important. The Spirit of the Lord is united perfectly with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. His presence means that God approves of what your doing. So if you feel Him leave, or realize that He's gone, God is telling you to change something.  The best way to live is to be perfectly obedient to the Spirit of God.

also, the priests should realize how lucky they are to be raised in Burlington. I don't know how many priests there are right now in the quorum, but I am pretty confident that there are as many, or maybe more active priests in Burlington than active youth (Young Men and Women in total) in my branch. They aren't able to have activities very often and the program just isn't nearly as well established as it is back home.

Thanks for everything, Dad. I love you so much, you are the best Dad.

Elder Schenk

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013

Hi Mom, Dad, and Everyone
Today we are heading out early because we are going to Coney Island. So we got up early to do laundry and studies and now we are emailing early!
Last week we got lots of good pictures on Preparation day, so I put those on Drop box.

The work has been good. The weather has been pretty hot, but bearable. I feel like the work goes between a lot of good progress to not very visible progress about every week or two. This week I didn't see a lot of progress, but I felt very effective. Elder Nisguritzer and I worked hard and we are getting along really well, and everything in that sense is improving. My abilities in speaking, fearlessing, and teaching are developing. The only struggle now is getting other people to develop. I would say it's a pretty tricky task.
This saturday we have a stake wide party in Flushing Meadows Park (a huge park in our zone) for all the hispanics in Queens. I hope a lot come, but I'm not sure how well the word got out. I guess we will see.
This is from my letter to President Calderwood.

Missionary work is interesting. There is a lot of reliance on others. I feel like a lot of my life has been very different. Other people are teaching me, encouraging me and trying to get me to develop, and it then depends on my performance. But here the tables are turned, and I get a taste of maybe how the rest of life really is.
This week I also learned a great lesson on unity and openness with my companion. In companion inventory, I thought about bringing up something, but I wasn't sure if I should just not worry about it and be "patient" about it, or bring it up. So I brought it up, and it led to Elder Nisguritzer telling me a few things that I needed to work on. I more or less already recognized these things in myself, but this brought it to the front of my attention and gave me a better opportunity to address it and make a change in myself. As I did this, I felt much better as a missionary, and especially as a compnaion for Elder Nisguritzer. I have started to develop a skill of better time management that will make me a better companion now, and all throughout my mission, and I'm sure it will make me a better man, husband, and father. I'm extremely greatful that we were open with each other, and had the love and trust to really speak our minds. Being open is so much better than just trying to ignore something. It has helped me feel much more effective and successfull as a missionary.
Thanks so much for my branch, area, and especially my companion.
Elder Schenk
We are about to head out. I'll make sure I take lots of great pictures of Coney Island, and I'm also going to try to get some from the other missionaries in my district of things we've done in the past.
We've been having a lot of adventurous preparation days recently, and I think part of it is that my district leader is going home in two weeks, so we're trying to do lot's of fun things before he's gone, and because there are a lot of cheap things like hats, sunglasses, and watches that you can buy and we've been looking for specific things that we've heard about in different places of new york. We haven't found any of them yet.
Love you all! thanks for the support! take care and I'll see you in a year and a half or so!
I'm already that far into my mission. 5 months yesterday.
Love you!
Elder Schenk

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013

Hey Mom,

I'm glad that everything is going so well with everyone. I wonder if Dennis will fly me home from my mission!

Our branch is doing fairly well. I am getting to know most of the members even better, so I love the work more from that. The missionaries in our district have the branch divided into three different areas, so we have a branch of small numbers divided into three smaller groups to work with. Even with that, it is kind of hard to visit with the members. They are all so busy. And it's hard to plan ahead, because everyone says they don't know what their schedule will be like during the week or when they will be working. But now I've been able to visit a lot of the members that we've been assigned finally, and that changes my attitude for the branch. Yesterday at church, I was so happy to see the members, and they seemed really happy to see us, too. As a missionary, of course you love the members because they are the members of the branch/ward/area you have been assigned to. But when you actually know them, you can love them as the people and Latter-Day Saints they are, and it's so much better! And then they love you back, so you have a connection and can really make a difference with the branch at that point. And that's exactly what one of the members, Hermano Reyes told us, too. There are actually three Hermano Reyes's in the branch, and none are related.

Last week we got to have interviews with President Calderwood. It was really good, of course. He talked to me about where much is given, much is required, and it doesn't mean that any one of us is better than the other. Oh, yeah, he also talked about sins of omission. The things we don't do are FAR greater than the things that we just do wrong. So I'm working on learning and eliminating those things. While talking about all the things that we don't do, he said "There is deep, deep sin there," and I thought, Wow, that's a big deal. As members when we can see ourselves progressing, we probably usually don't think that we have deep sin. I'm definitely not perfect, but I thought I was cleaning up myself pretty well. It turns out I was missing a few spots I didn't know about. As I try to not omit things in my day, I think the biggest or most consistent thing that I have changed is not relaxing during the end of meal time, and cleaning the apartment/doing dishes instead.

President Calderwood is also really good at praying. Usually we don't judge or rate prayers, but during almost the whole prayer I was just smiling because it was soo good.

Today we do have some good plans, and the weather is looking really nice, so I'll bring some sunscreen. Citi Field, the New York Met's stadium is in our area, and they are having the All-Star Game there tomorrow, so we are going to walk around outside it today while they are practicing. There should be some festivities of some sort. We are also probably going to check out the part of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park where the Queens stake is having a big party in a couple of weeks for all the Hispanics in Queens! it's not extremely well advertised yet, because it was orchestrated by the missionaries here, but I'm excited for it. It's on the 27th of July. Then we will probably go to Jamaica and try to find some really cool five dollar watches that we keep on hearing about. And we'll probably get pizza there. I'll take pictures; I have my camera on me right now.

Another thing I learned recently was about being bold as a missionary. Because we have been given a calling with a power, and we need to use it. So I tried being as bold as I could be last Monday night as I fearlessed people and the Spirit was incredibly strong as I did it.

So, that's what's new. I feel like I just wrote a ton, and now I feel like some people here that will end a pretty long testimony by ending with something like "these are the few words I have."

I'll try to take a lot of pictures today and send them to you next week. And also, good news, I've written in my journal two days In a row. Steady improvement.

Love you all! Have a good week and enjoy the consistency of life in Washington.

Elder Schenk

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013

Hey Mom, Dad, and Everyone

I'm low on time. Here's what I wrote to president

This week we again had low numbers. As we reported this to our district leader, he asked a good question: "Did you do all you could this week?" And the answer is yes, that I put forth my best effort. But no matter how hard I work at anything, I always feel like I can do more. I always feel like I could have been better. I feel like I could have done better this week, just like every week. I really truly feel that the more you grow and develop, the more your ability to give literally all you are develops as well. So even when I do my best, can do better, I just need to be better in order to give that much more. So in order to truly do my best, I need to be the best person that I can be, which will never happen until I am perfected. Maybe this means that I can never give a perfect effort until I myself am perfect.
I don't know if that makes sense or if it's a confusing circle of thought, but it makes me think of receiving more and more light that grows until the perfect day. I just need to constantly do all that I can, so that way as I grow, so will my ability to put forth all that I am, and eventually put forth a perfect effort. I do know that as I do all I can, grace will fill in the rest to make my effort perfect.
Elder Nisguritzer and I are optimistic and determined to accomplish our goals here. We are working hard, and I feel that success will come as we continue this focus and effort.
Thank you so much for my companion and area. I am constantly being shaped. And I know that patience and dilligence will shape me into the perfect tool that the Lord needs me to be.
Elder Schenk

 4th of july was good, we had a small branch activity that was thrown together. That night the elders in our apartment building all got onto the roof using the fire escape and watched the fireworks. It was pretty cool and a great city view. I forgot to grab my camera to take pictures of it though.
The porch looks really nice! That's crazy that Trace is training Ammon. I hope it goes well.
Andre and I email back and forth and it sounds like he's liking the MTC pretty well and doing great at Hmong and soccer.
I am going to slowly implement the cooking ideas into my routine, because we don't have a ton of cooking supplies. The measuring cups and spoons were needed much.
For service projects we have done a lot of service at a park every week or two, but that might change soon. A lot of times it's pulling weeds and filling in with bark.
I'm not always using sunscreen, but mostly. I don't think I'm getting too burnt, and I am getting tanner (either that or I just imagine it).
I need to go. Today we have a zone activity. We are going to play volleyball and have a barbecue and the church.
Love you! Thanks for all the love and prayers
Elder Schenk

For some reason, when you said Stay close to the Lord, it really touched me. Thanks. I will for sure. One thing that President Calderwood has told us a lot, and we heard in the broadcast the other week, is that the Lord is so close to this work. It's His work, and He reaches down to aid it. I'm so glad everything is going well for the Priest Quorum. I'll have to write them a letter soon. How's Anton doing? has he come back yet? When you see him, tell him I say hi and he needs to go on a mission. You learn so much from losing yourself in a bigger cause. And there is no bigger cause than the work of the Lord. It's His work and His glory. It's what the most powerful being in Existence glories in. And He let's us participate in it! That's pretty nice of Him. I thought about how it would feel if a missionary wasn't able to serve a full mission because they got injured or something like that. My companion went home a while back for knee surgery and was back for one or two transfers when he became my companion. I just thought if I got injured and sent home how bad that would feel, and it's a huge privilege to be here. So I'm pretty happy to be here now in the best mission in the world.

Love you so much Dad, thanks for being the best.
Elder Schenk

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 1, 2013

Hey Mom,
So I'm trying to use Dropbox and figuring it out, so That took a lot of todays time. I think I will paste in part of my letter to President Calderwood. Some of the pictures are from Graffiti park last week. I thought it was going to be some big deal with a lot of people there, but you just go down a street and all the sudden there are a couple of buildings covered in art.
Yes, I got the package full of recipes and goodies. The chili powder was perfect because yesterday I cooked some macaroni and tomato sauce, and realized I needed it! it was really good. The elders in my district who went to transfer meeting picked it up for me. It was really full! As I looked through it I got really excited and exclaimed "My mom is so much better than yours!" to everyone. That raised a slight conflict because they didn't believe me. But they did enjoy the Reeses Pieces so the facts really do support my case.I'm excited to start cooking some finer meals.
I just got your email about the pictures. We don't really have plans for Preparation day today. We were thinking about going to Coney Island but we will probably do that some other time.
I think we are going to reorganize our apartment to use it most effectively and maybe do some other preparations so we can dedicate it soon. Maybe tonight or tomorrow. Now that it's easier to share pictures I will probably take more.
One of the missionaries that finished his mission was in flushing the other day with his family showing them around, and I got really excited to show everyone my mission, even though it so far only consists of flushing and a couple of other sites.

Here's the letter to President Calderwood

President Calderwood,
I feel that this week was pretty successful. After the broadcast last Sunday night I felt re-energized, and I think that it affected our performance this week. Elder Nisguritzer and I were able to fearless many more people than usual. We hit more of our goals.
We were able to teach two investigators who show a lot of potential. We can sense a desire in both of them, and now we really need to help them build that desire and develop it into faith.
I feel confident about this next transfer. Elder Nisguritzer and I know each other fairly well now, and have developed our abilities, and I think that we have built a good foundation together that we can benefit from a lot this transfer. Our Zone Leaders have set for us a brilliant and inspired Vision, Goals, and Plan, and we are excited to implement that into our work. I sense a constant growth in our companionship and in our zone, and I feel like it will lead to the success we have been wanting.
All in all, I feel pretty optimistic. I have a lot of hope for this transfer. I love my companion, district, and zone. I am thankful for all of them, and all of the people here in Flushing.

I think that's all I have for this week. Thanks so much for the packages, letters, love, and prayers.

Missions are the best!
Love Elder Schenk

June 24, 2013

Hey Mom,

Sorry I don't have much time to write today. We are going to the mission office in Rego Park to play basketball, etc with some missinaries that are going home. Transfers are tomorrow, and Elder Nisguritzer and I are both staying. A while back I was feeling a little trunky for Flushing, and maybe thinking I was going to leave, but then I decided to pray about it (I remembered how Devin told me about a year ago that I could know even then when I should go on my misison) and my answer was that I'm staying. And they made the calls last night which confirmed that. My whole district is actually staying, so that will be good, considering a lot of us are fairly new to the area anyway. I'm going to copy what I wrote in my president's letter.

President Calderwood,

I feel like this week was the best so far in regards to my relationship with Elder Nisguritzer. We are continually learning, and now excited to start a new transfer, especially with the new vision, goals, and plans that our zone leaders have put forth for us. The other week we had a zone training meeting and I feel that the zone leaders were very inspired in setting these. I feel like it will help our zone invite and receive more miracles from the Lord, and bring more of His children back to Him. I also am very excited after the new mission president seminar that we had last night. I feel renewed in my energy, excitement, and desire to share the Gospel with all that I meet. Yesterday we also met with the branch leaders and discussed how to strengthen the branch, and I think it will lead to better understanding for the whole branch about what we are doing and how we are trying to do it.
I am also noticing more the growth that has happened in me since my arrival here. We visited an investigator last night that we have been teaching ever since I got here, and I thought about how I felt during my first visits with him, and compared it to how I feel now. The Lord has strengthened me in many ways.
Although the work here feels a bit slow, I feel it building, and my hope is to really build on this foundation that is being laid during this transfer.
I am so grateful for all the revelation you receive for the mission president. I can see how it has blessed the work. Thank you for placing me in this area around the missionaries, members, and other people here. They are blessing me.

Another thing that is kind of funny. Yesterday after church we had a meeting with all the branch leaders, and as we have a new dinner appointment rule (scheduled throught the mission leader, focused on less actives, part members, or investigators) there is a ton of the confusion. Most simply, the focus now is on strengthening the members and teaching them instead of just eating their food. But it hasn't been that way since probably the beginning of time here in Flushing so there is some resitance. I guess that in other areas some members have called president Calderwood and yelled at him, which is really dumb because if they had ever met him for just like ten seconds they would never doubt his judgement. So one of the ward leaders said "this is from President Calderwood, not from the Lord" (but in spanish) and was kind of down talking it (and President Calderwood at the same time). I actually kind of started laughing at this point because that is probably the surest way to lose all the respect of probably any missionary here in New York. A couple of the missionaries didn't understand what that guy said, and one asked me, so I told him, and he was pretty upset about it. But for the most part, the branch just wants to understand why we are doing it and what exactly it means, which is way better than apathy about it, so I think that means with a lot of effort right now, we can fix it soon instead of it being a long problem.

I'm sensing a lot of growth in my abilities as a missionary. And after the broadcast last night I definitely feel reinvigorated and re-energized to do the work. That's why being a missionary is so cool. Not only do church leaders and the prophet brag about you all the time, but your whole life and every action pretty much depends on the Gospel, so you think about it a lot more, and it has more relevance in your life.

Another cool thing. Last night during the broadcast I got some revelation about a part member family that we need to start working with. So prayers for them would be great. I'll write real quick to Dad about it.

Love you so much! Thanks for all the love and support.
Elder Schenk

ps. I've been emailing Elder Stegner a little, and it seems like he's doing well! Hmong is crazy, but I hear he knows more spanish than most of the spanish missionaries, and enjoys showing them up. which is a good thing to do to humble them.

Hey Dad!
I only have a few minutes.
Things are going well. It's pretty hot and humid here. 
I am feeling myself grow a lot Dad. And I realize a lot of things that make sense to me because you and Mom taught me right. Thanks so much for being the best parents in the world. It's pretty nice to have that advantage. Especially when I'm on a mission.

Love you so much!
Elder Schenk (the third)