Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 16, 2013


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.


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,

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.






get ready











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


August 26, 2013

Helooooo home!

So I realized why I never got the package. They accidentally put it in the zone 2 shelf instead of the zone 5 one because I think there is an elder there with a similar last name. But luckily Albert (the youth that I sent the picture of with me in the snow a long time ago) goes to church in Rego Park and saw my package was in the wrong spot. A missionary was about to take my package to their zone! but I will go down and get it today. and I'm sure the special k bars will still be fine. I will enjoy them.

Thanks for the pictures! Washington is so beautiful. There are such good views. Here in New York you can get some nice cityscape pictures if you can sneak onto the top of a building, but it's still not the same.

Here's my letter to President Calderwood


This next week Elder Wright and I are dedicating ourslves to getting someone to church. You have said it before, that there is a direct correlation between church attendance and baptisms. This week while reading a talk, that was reinforced in my mind. And church attendance is one of the many things that we are struggling on. I have rarelly been able to have even a progressing investigator in my mission, and if church attendance is essential in baptism, it has to be essential in progression as well. So Elder Wright and I are going to put our focus on the first sub-goal of getting an investigator to church.
Last week I learned some good things. I think people tend to answer the phone a lot more when Elder Wright calls them. I need to give him the phone more. I also learned a lesson about faith, and filling my language with faith. I never really understood what that meant, but it means that you speak in a positive way, that you have faith in, and already know that your righteous desires come true. Not if, but when. But also this week I had that same faith attacked, as no results have changed. Yet. But I do know that we have to prove ourselves for more than just a few days sometimes for miracles to happen. For that I am extremely grateful for Elder Wright. He has great enthusiasm and desire for the work to go forth, and for our investigators to progress. As I have taken part of this enthusiasm, I feel that we have been led to some that really are pure in heart. Now our only need is to let them feel and recognize the Spirit, and I know that that will lead them to follow the Lord.
Our work moves and grows slowly, but it is growing. And we are growing. And that is all that we can ask for.

Thanks so much for placing me with Elder Wright. He is helping me improve and change a lot. Thanks so much for Flushing; for the zone, district and branch I have here. It's the best place in the mission.


Elder Schenk

oh yeah, something that I probably should have mentioned in the email is that I'm realizing how weak I really am. Elder Wright and I working full time all week long can't even get someone to church. So clearly we need more than a mortal effort here. We need a miracle, and that comes from God. We'll be sure to work on a way of getting that to happen. That will be nice.

Last week we did service at Flushing Meadows park, then we went to the US Open for a little bit. It's the very beginning so we get in free. I'll post some pictures. Nobody in the zone really played tennis competitively, but Elder Wright really likes playing and watching, so he took TONS of pictures of pretty much everything. He knew a lot of facts about past players, current players, etc. and I was like, well that's nice. But I did see some nice pictures of John McEnroe, and I'll post those on Dropbox for you all.

Also, we as a zone took a lot of pictures, so I will put them on too.
Zai Jian, (that's mandarin for see you)

 Elder Schenk

August 19, 2013

Wow you saw dragon boat races? we had them here! I didn't go see them but considering the incredible chinese population here I'm sure it was a big event. The english/chinese ward here in flushing had a picnic for it and we had some food from it, but that was pretty much the extent of our dragon boat celebration.

Elder Wright and I are doing well, and he is teaching me a lot. He still doesn't like it when I give him the phone, and he is a little timid when I ask him how we get home, but he is great at teaching and asking people questions, and he makes sure we plan good lessons for the investigators. When he gets fluent at Spanish, which should be soon, and when he knows  all the logistical things of the mission, he will be a fantastic missionary.

Here's my letter to President

President Calderwood,

This week has been humbling. Not so much because it has been hard to lead or find things to do with Elder Wright, or because I am struggling to teach him anything. It's because I feel like he is already a better missionary than me. He continues to point to how we can plan lessons better, how they can really be teaching the investigators, not lessons. He teaches me a lot, and helps me remember a lot of things that I had learned in the MTC, but forgotten about in the field. I think this is really what I need on my mission. I feel like Elder Wright is perfect. Last transfer, I had a little desire to train eventually, but I really wanted a veteran companion who is just fantastic at everything and could teach me all the best ways to work and live as a missionary. Now, I feel like I have some of both of those things. I am deleloping as I train Elder Wright and lead out, but I also have a great companion that teaches me a lot about how I can improve in my teaching, planning, and other areas of the work.
This week I also had an exchange with Elder Liston, and I learned that day that I need to connect with the people when I fearless them. If not, I'm just a well-dressed teenager in the street with a nametag, telling people that they need to come to my church, and somehow it will change them. There is no connection there. This and other things I am learning are what I need to build Zion here. The Lord is accellerating my learning curve by surrounding me more closely with greatness. This is humbling me by showing me more clearly how much more I can become. Wow.

So more than ever, thanks so much for allowing me to be surrounded by all the people here, especially Elder Wright. I am really excited to watch the rest of his mission, and I hope that I can just help him develop what else he needs to share all he has with the rest of the mission, and the rest of New York!

Elder Schenk

So I haven't seen the package yet, but we might go to the office today and I will see if it's there. Hey did you hear that the missionary dress standards changed? We can wear light pants like kakis, and now they want us to have side bags instead of backpacks. President Calderwood just told us this:

Dearest missionaries,
Many of you have heard that the mission department has published updated standards for missionary attire. In summary the two major changes are:
1. In order to look more professional and less like college students, the new dress code outlines the use of shoulder bags instead of backpacks,
2. More vibrant colors have been added to the list of options.
You can find the new dress code on code. Do not think that you need to change over night. Use your judgement and wisdom with your money and the thing that you currently own. As you replace items in the future, you can be more aware of the code.
Thanks for all that you do. We love you all so very much. The Lord is pouring out blessings and miracles upon us for our righteous desires to be obedient.
Warmest regards,
President Calderwood

Wow I've copied and pasted a lot. Elder Stegner is on the computer right now in wisconsin, so we got to talk back and forth a little. it was good.
Love you all! take care!
Elder Schenk

Hey Dad,
It's really cool that you are studying the Atonement. I've been learning about it a lot here. President Calderwood talks about it, and I feel like the more I know about it the more I can use it, and the more power God can have in my life and the work here. President Calderwood talks about how the Atonement covers sins of omission, comission, and weaknesses. So recently I've been praying that my weaknesses in the work are made up for, and that I can improve them. I ask that about teaching and finding the people here, and training Elder Wright. The week went pretty well. I had an exchange with the zone leaders and I learned about when we contact people we need to not just invite and testify, we need to connect with them. We need to develop a relationship or a reason to trust us. Then the people are more willing to listen or at least to meet with you later on. The problem is that this way of contacting takes more time and energy, but it's a challenge that I need. I think it's a step that will help a lot, because before we would fearless over 70 people a week and testify and all of that, and nobody would come to church. So now we need to add something. My fearlessing needs to get better. So that's what is going to happen.

Way to go on 31 years with Mom! you two are the best parents. I was thinking recently about how you seemed so much more involved in my life than a lot of other people's parents, but I never really felt like you were intruding. It was just understood that you are watching out and guiding us, and you actually wanted us to have fun in our lives! So good job.

The work is kind of slow, but we had a really good lesson and now two new investigators. Elder Wright and I are going to have a good two transfers together. He has taught me a lot and is a really good missionary already. I'm lucky to be learning from him. A lot of the things that I'm learning are things that I learned at the MTC, but I had forgotten while being caught up in the mission field. So it's really good to refresh and relearn all of these important things, and strengthen my fundamentals.

Love you! thanks so much for your prayers, I wonder what my mission would be like without them. I am sure your faith is giving me power.

Elder Schenk