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!


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 

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