Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 12, 2013

Hello Everyone, (especially my one and only Mom!)

Training is going well! My companion's name is Elder Wright, he is from Monticello, Utah, he is 18, pretty fresh out of High School, and a really really good missionary. His spanish is pretty good for being brand new, he took 2 years in high school. He is really good at asking people good questions during lessons or while fearlessing them.

Here's the letter I sent to President Calderwood.

Dear President Calderwood,
I have really enjoyed this week with Elder Wright. I can't imagine a better prepared missionary. His Spanish is good, his testimony is fantastic, even when given in Spanish, his desire and faith are great. I have learned a lot from him. As a brand new missionary he is meek, and I want to develop that humility and gentleness. I have felt more power come to me as I must take a higher role in fearlessing, while at the same time trying to hold back and realize what you said, that God won't let a new missionaries inexperience teaching or speaking interfere with the progression of someone who is truly pure in heart.
One thing that I love about Elder Wright is his ability to ask questions. As we role play, he asks questions that lead the investigator directly to the purpose of the lesson and its significance for them. He is really a breath of new life, reminding me of things that I have learned in training and the MTC, but forgotten in the field. Together we have learned some great principles in our companion study. I have also received revelation that will help me recognize the feelings of the investigators. As I role play someone receiving a lesson, I have questions come to my mind that I actually want Elder Wright to teach me, even though I have known the answers for a long time. Yesterday, in Sacrament meeting, I recognized a little bit how investigators must feel as we invite them to church. It puts more responsability in our hands now as I've realized how uncomfortable or nervous I would feel, going to a new church where the building, teachings, and people are all different than I am used to. I probably wouldn't go to church, either.
I feel that we are being led to the pure in heart as well. We have met a few people that show better potential or interest than almost any potential investigators that I have seen before. Elder Wright has increased my faith, and with this more faith in our companionship, I sense an increase of power in the work happening to.
I have also been trying to serve Elder Wright in a substantial way every day, and it's hard, but it's working. I'm not perfect at it, but it makes me a harder worker when I would usually relax.

Thank you so much for receiving revelation to put us together. This is going to be a great companionship. I am very grateful to serve with the wonderful people in Flushing. I have developed a lot.
Elder Schenk

One other cool thing that Elder Wright and I are doing is speaking in spanish together almost always. So this has made my spanish really sharpen, even though I'm already fluent! my spanish is much better than it was a week ago.

We do have the ensign so I will try to read it. Usually Elder Nisguritzer uses it, but we'll see what happens now. The Stakewide party went fairly well, but not many flushing members showed up. But there were a lot of missionaries there so it was pretty fun. And we played soccer missionaries vs members. We got thrashed, but I was one of the better players there, at least amongst the missionaries.

I realize that I have a lot of things that have set me up for success among hispanic people. I play soccer, I'm good at Spanish, I already know how to Latin Dance, and I like Taco Bell and Taco Del Mar (even though those restaurants really don't prepare you at all.)

Love you all!
Elder Schenk

(I posted a 3-generation mission picture and a couple others on Dropbox, and I felt that it was only appropriate that I wear my posterity tie to the transfer meeting where Elder Rose finished and Elder Wright started)


Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013

Hello, Home!

How are you all doing? Things are going well here. Transfers are this tuesday, and I'll be staying in Flushing. Elder Nisguritzer is also staying in Flushing, but he is switching to the other companionship and taking over as Distric Leader, because our current one finishes his mission this week. Once again, being around missionaries who are going home makes me want to use my time wisely here. I will be staying in the same area here, as I found out last Wednesday. President Calderwood called me on the phone and said, "Elder Schenk, the Lord has called you to serve... as a trainer." I was pretty excited. The next morning I went to the trainer meeting (this transfer there aren't a lot of new missionaries coming in. Only 6 Spanish elders I think) and it was really good! all this week I was talking about different things with my companion or other missionaries, and what I learned in that meeting kept on coming up. One really profound thing was what President Calderwood said about receiving revelation. To give a background for this, let me explain that President Calderwood is an incredible revelation receiver. Through revelation, he has changed and developed a lot of things in the mission. He added "forever changed" to the mission logo, directed us to always pray and ask "lead us to the pure in heart, including families," establish more specific standards of obedience line upon line, and do many things such as that. In everything we see him do, we see revelation. So after explaining all of that, this is what President Calderwood said about receiving revelation. The depth and power of the revelation he recieves matches the depth and power of his prayers. So I'm going to work on my prayers.

I'll paste what I wrote to President Calderwood. I started to rant I think, but hopefully that brings you a little understanding of how the work is here.


I am excited for the upcoming transfer. As I think about training a brand new missionrary, I mostly just feel calm. I know that the Lord has called me to do this, and now I'm just interested to see who He has called me to serve with. This last week I have realized that I have improved a lot in a lot of ways, and I have to thank the Atonement, as well as Elder Nisguritzer for a lot of the changes I've made and lessons I've learned. I am really grateful for the experiences I've had here in Flushing, and I feel like I must have a big responsibility for blessing and helping the branch here in Flushing to develop and grow.
I recently learned a good lesson about the Pure in Heart. Zion, defined most generally, means the pure in heart, so as missionaries asking to be lead to them, we are asking for help in establishing Zion here in New York. I hope to see Zion really grow here in New York over the next year and a half of my mission. The people here need it.
Something that I am really going to work hard to develop in myself, as well as my new companion, is a greater ability to get people to come to church. It is so important in conversion, but happens so little here. Last Saturday, we were able to actually contact a lot of potential investigators and they all committed to coming to church, and we were planning on teaching a few of them before and after. But none showed up. Again. I probably don't understand the difficulty of life here in New York, and I may not know how hard it is for the people to take this step of faith and give these three hours to the Lord; but they need to know and feel and understand that there is no other objective of this church than to help them receive Exaltation. I must learn how to teach this to others so that they understand. I believe that this is really one of the major hinderences of the work and building of Zion in New York. This is what I will work on.

Thank you for all of the love and opportunities you have given me. I am excited for what lies ahead, and I am really grateful for the members and missionaries that surround me, especially my companions.

Elder Schenk


Now I want to share a kind of exciting story from a couple of weeks ago. As there are in every mission, there are a few people in New York that are very different. I'm sure we just don't understand them. The other day we were on the bus, and a certain woman who has VERY strong religious views and apparently very low tolerance for others, was talking very boldly, but also overbearingly, at this poor hispanic catholic woman, about how bad catholicism is. This brought me back to a moment in which the same very bold and overbearing woman encountered almost our whole zone at a street sweep, and started full-out yelling at a couple of us. It started when I was at the edge of the area that we were fearlessing people at, and I said "Hi! how are you today?" and almost started walking towards her, but she yelled at me to back off, so I just said "ok have a nice day." then she continued walking through the area where all the other missionaries were, and just started yelling at one specifically. It was mostly that the only way to be saved is through Christ (for some reason people think that's a good argument against us) and she yelled some other things about polygamy. Then she very angrily walked away. I think she said something about us to this one man named Max, who is a very buff black man with a really nice mustache that is always selling watches. But Max likes us, so they got in a little argument while he told her that we had a right to be there sharing the word of God. It was pretty exciting.

Just wanted to share that story with you.


I lost the little photo album that I brought with me because it was in my backpack a while back when it got stolen, and I want to start using it to introduce myself to investigators when we teach them, so would you be able to send me pictures either on Dropbox or just make a little album and send it to me? that would be nice. And that way my companions can see how wonderful my life is.

Love you all! thanks for your love and prayers for me. I'm learning and growing a lot.


Elder Schenk