Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

I got transferred to Little Neck!
It's an area right up the road from Flushing, and we have a ward! It's the ward that President Calderwood's family goes to. I guess he is keeping his eye on me...
Last Tuesday and the weekend before were HUGE! They reorganized the mission because they formed a new stake. We used to have the Brooklyn Stake, Queens Stake, Lynbrook District, and the Plainview Stake. Some wards were formed, and now part of Queens Stake and Plainview Stake are in the Lynbrook Stake! So our mission is covered by stakes! 
Queens stake was renamed the Woodside stake. That's the part of Queens that its stake center is in.
So each stake has 3 zones of missionaries in it. They added on Little Neck (my district) to Flushing's zone, so I am back in my home zone! We will have to get pictures as a district. I have already served with a lot of the missionaries in my district and zone. 
Our district has my companion (Elder Hooper) and I  (he is an English missionary - our ward has some Spanish people, so they are actually allowed to stay, or go to the ward in Mineola)
The rest of our district is Sister Lewis and Sister Peacock - they both speak spanish and are sister training leaders (kind of like Assistants/Zone leaders for sisters. they do exchanges with them. There is a companionship of sister training leaders in every stake now).
The last companionship is Elder Park and Elder Law. They work in the Korean Branch in Little Neck, which is actually called the Flushing 3rd branch, but there isn't space in the Flushing building, and we are right up the road. Elder Park was in Flushing while I was there, and Elder Law was in Bushwick English while I was there. Elder Law is the one from Vancouver. Elder Park is from South Korea!
So my district is really experienced. We have all been out over a year. I am used to being around much younger missionaries. 
our area has a car, which is something that I actually never wanted on my mission, but I am coping with it quite nicely now. On Wednesday or Thursday I drove for the first time in over a year (it was just a short drive to the church from our apartment in the morning - we and the other elders play soccer in the gym there - we have a gym!). The drive felt really weird, but not too bad, and I'm getting it back. 
this is from my letter to president

Dear President Calderwood,

I am so excited to be able to serve here in Little Neck! I love the district, I love the zone, and I love the things that we are doing here. There is a huge emphasis in both units here of working with the youth. That has been one of my dreams. I think that God has done much to prepare me for this (and I feel like I say that all the time). I am excited and grateful to have Elder Hooper as my companion. I have hoped to have a senior companion again to teach me more "secrets of the work," and I have been learning. I love how Elder Hooper plans. It's something that I really need to develop, because planning and nightly follow up have usually been very long processes for me on my mission. With Elder Hooper, they are really effective and take a lot less time.
I believe that my love for Flushing and a lot of the missionaries there will be key in helping our district, which is separated from the rest, be really unified with the rest of the zone. And I think that the whole zone has a positive feeling for each other.
Working in English has highlighted something that the mission leader in Bushwick told us a lot: that when you speak the peoples' native tongue and understand their culture naturally it is much easier to work with them. I think that I see that here a lot. Maybe it's because of my background in American culture, but I feel like this ward is much better established than the other units I've served in. But even so, I hear people complaining a lot about how we aren't where we could or ought to be. I have seen that in every unit I've served in. It's good to see our need for change, but I think that the units need to see the good that they have and apply the Doctrine of Christ to build from there.
I am just so excited to be here, President. Multiple times in my first day here, I said "I can't imagine anything more perfect!" God is so good. 

(this part isn't from that letter)
I had this idea to connect a food object lesson to the Atonement.
Imagine that we are like a block of cheese (good start, eh?)
We are a block, but God wants us to be a circle (or if you are really committed to making it look good, you can say a sphere and be much more technical)
The best way to get like a circle is to start at the part that is the least like a circle, our greatest weaknesses, the corners.
so with a cheese grater, start grating the corners (be sure to collect the grated cheese, you will need it later on of course)
move from corner to corner, weakness to weakness, until you are getting closer and closer to the circle that God wants you to be. it is a constant process, sometimes you need to take of lots of cheese, sometimes you just need to shave off a little, refine the circle
when you are done, you have the circle, and a pile of cheese you can use for nachos, or pizza, or something else. Enjoy the benefits of the Atonement!
On Sunday at church, I translated into Spanish. That was a good practice for me. And our ward mission leader is mexican (but speak great english), so I get some good spanish practice in. 
I ought to wrap up this letter, my time at the library is almost out.
Love you all!  Elder Schenk
ps how much are you feeling the Hastening over there in washington

April 14, 2014

Helllllloooo Fam

I am getting transferred out tomorrow! I don't know where I will go, but Elder Barker is sad because it will be five different companions in 5 transfers, and we had a really good time together. 
I'm glad the package got there quickly! And I'm glad you enjoyed it. 
Today will consist of getting my hair cut,  packing, and visiting some members.

Enviado desde mi iPad

So I was wiping off my screen, and it hit the send button again.
But this week I had some good experiences. I decided to follow what
Joseph Smith did in Joseph smith history verse 29. So I asked God how
I was in His eyes, (I was praying on Spanish) and I paused and
thought, and got an answer! It was a good learning experience.
And now I just got a haircut from sister Hartley in the district! I'll
send you a picture
So we need to go and finish doing laundry and packing before we visit
a family. Love you a bunch! I'll let you know about how everything
goes with transfers.


Elder Schenk

April 7, 2014

So I will open with a cool story that just happened. We were sitting here in the laundry mat, emailing, and a lady came up to us and asked where the church is around here. She isn't a member but used to go in the Dominican Republic. Her name is Socorro, feel free to pray for her and her family.
Today we are going shopping at BJ's but we will try not to buy too much because transfers are coming next week and we don't want to have to leave food behind just in case we leave. We will see how it goes because I've been here a bit but Elder Barker has had only one transfer with his last two companions. It would be weird if that happened a third time, but we'll see. I've gotten back from BJ's by now, for some reason a lot of people are paying more attention to us today as we walk by. Another lady asked where the church is and if we can teach her! And two other people pointed out that we were Mormon or something like that as we walked by. I wonder if we just radiate the spirit extra now that we just listened to the prophet and apostles. Man, after conference I just had a big feeling of "woah, endure to the end." I'm trying to read the Liahona for each month in Spanish, so I will be excited to read the talks again. I am also excited to see some for the first time in English when they get to my iPad. I understand e Spanish well, but it's not the same, or as easy to learn. I like listening to the speaker's own voice.

It's interesting, I feel like sometimes I focus more on serving and helping the missionaries around me than the other people. I think I am much more able to help them because I am around them a lot. 

I am headed to the post office now to send a package home, hope you get it soon!
Love you all, thanks for your support and prayers. It reminds me that there are forces seen and unseen that are directing and helping me to accomplish good works for God here.

All my love from BKLN,

Elder Schenk

March 24, 2014

Hey Fam!

To answer your questions: in the mission, things are going pretty
well, consistently building and improving due to revelation. We are
unifying ourselves more with the members, baptizing stronger
individuals and families and taking more to the temple. A district is
about to turn into a stake, which will make the entire mission covered
in stakes. We have been teaching different things but a lot about the
importance of the Book of Mormon recently. We haven't had many service
projects lately but we do teach English class. And I do like the
tennis shoes. They are more broken in now so I am enjoying them more.

I sent this to president
Dear President Calderwood,

I am experiencing a lot of joy even though things are crazy and kind
of hard right now. Elder Barker and I feel like we can't control much
of what is happening with our investigators and weekly goals. Things
happen almost everyday to cut short our studies and take up he rest of
our day as well. I think little things often build up to create bigger
distractions and barriers in our work, and I wonder if we are supposed
to slow down to learn from these, or if we need to push forward and
get a lot of work done, and that way we will learn and be strengthened
the most. After zone conference, the assistants and sister training
leaders met with us and said that our zone seemed spiritually tired,
and I think it's the things that I've been talking about that are
draining us a little. Elder Barker and I don't feel able to do some of
the things we need to, like take time to stop and think and call
members or even to weekly plan sometimes. We haven't been fearlessing
much, either.
Even though all these things are weighing us down, I feel enthusiastic
and excited more often. I feel happy. It's interesting. I think it is
because I need to share it more with the missionaries around me; they
might need some more energy.

Love you all! Sorry I didn't write much we were playing rockstar life
with the other elders.

Love from BKLN,

Elder Schenk

Enviado desde mi iPad

March 17, 2014

Hey Fam!

I don't have much time because we had a busy day and are in our way home still. We went to the grave dedication for a member this morning (this wasn't he same person whose funerals spoke at). Then we did laundry and did some shopping while we waited for our clothes. Then we helped the other elders in our district, Elder Padilla and Elder Van Mondfrans move into a different apartment. It's Elder Barker's old one and it's owned by a member. Then we went to the mission office in Rego to pick up some things and drop off some other things, we got dinner at Taco Bell, and now we are on the bus on our way home. We are taking a different way that Elder Barker is showing me. He used to serve in the area of the mission office. 
Last week we did not make the best decisions shopping. We bought a 40 pack of Eggos waffles (I wanted to try it out because they were whole wheat) and Elder Barker also got us a 48 pack of pop-tarts. I didn't think it was a good idea. So by Wednesday night we had eaten half of the pop tarts (we didn't eat any on Thursday and brought the rest to a zone meeting on Friday. And right now there are like 6 waffles left. When there are ready made snacks at my disposal that don't fill you up at all, they go pretty fast. Today we made sure to get some better food.
Yesterday was a good day. We stopped by a less active family's apartment before church because we had offered to bring them to church. One had promised us that he would come, and  he kept his word! Then others got ready to come along with us, too. They hadn't gone for a long time since their grandparents' health got bad and they stopped going. So the whole family stopped going. So those that came we us hardly remembered anything from church. They stayed for sacrament meeting and left, and told us that they would come next week and stay longer! It's the Perez family. Elder Barker and I thought that the four that came seemed really happy. 
Also, in the neighborhood of the church, there is a huge concentration of Jewish people called Hacidic Jews. They are very strict and live what I think is called the 500 laws of Moses. Yesterday was their Halloween, and there were a bunch of their kids in the streets dressed up in different costumes. But the most exciting part was when we saw some RV's with speakers strapped to the top, blasting Jewish pop music. That blew my mind! That's the loudest I think I've ever heard music played outside. Also after church Elder Padilla gave us chili peppers. That was hot.
I got to go, but I love you all a ton! I am having a great time with Elder Barker, he is funny and smart and works hard. 
Much Love from BKLN,

Elder Schenk

Enviado desde mi iPad

March 10, 2014

Hey fam!

Sorry for not writing a good letter last week! Ping pong was really
distracting. I am getting better at it, but now Elder Farmer, the
missionary in the district that had the set up, is in Jamaica, so we
won't play as much anymore.
Elder Sua'ava got transferred to Midwood, Brooklyn. It's the zone just
south of ours. He is with a Tongan missionary called Elder Fine, and
is really excited about it. I am now with Elder Barker! He was Elder
Farmer's companion. So both of our companions left and now our pools
are united. Which means we have twice as many people to work with. We
did our weekly planning on Thursday, which usually takes about 3 hours
or so. Ours literally took all day! We went to the church to plan,
after a while got dinner, and the at the end we got on the train to go
back home! There were 27 people or families that we talked about!

Here's what I wrote to president

Dear President Calderwood,

I'm sorry I didn't get a letter sent last week. I was going to talk
about the huge blessings of revelation and repentance. I want to live
a very repentant life so that I can be as much of a help as possible
to the Lord. Repentance and adjusting has allowed me to love and be
unified with Elder S. In some ways we are really different but
we developed a good groove and were continually growing together, even
though we had some rough patches.
The weekend before last we had a fantastic experience in branch
council. President R. asked us to have a presentation ready,
and at the end of the meeting we had a short time to talk. We brought
up our focus people, and with MUCH help from Elder P. we
counseled about how the auxiliaries in the branch could help out
certain focus families. It was by far the most effective part of the
meeting. The atmosphere changed, everyone worked together, and you
could feel the difference in how they feel about the missionaries
after. I am so thankful to Elder P.. He has been sent here to
help me.
This last week has gone well. I am excited to work with Elder Barker.
He is the companion that I have been praying for. Time management is
important for him. We are going to have to learn how to be really busy
and balance a schedule like that, and I think that will be a great
lesson for me.
I see much more clearly what I need to do here, I took some time to
seek revelation about it. It amazes me how willing the Lord is to
teach us when we are humble and desirous. I have learned that this is
also the key to the conversion of those we teach.
This transfer we have a really solid district. I want to help unify us
a lot so we can truly have power together.
And I have set up the time to really meet with President Rodriguez to
talk about how we can unite our keys. I am excited to for us to unify
ourselves with him, and the branch.
The Gospel is so cool, Heavenly Father has done so much to help me
learn and develop constantly. I am so grateful for the incredible
experience and love I have received from Him. I am also really
grateful for the district I am able to serve in, and I am excited to
learn all I can from Elder Barker. And I am so grateful for all you
teach me about leadership and the Doctrine of Christ. This will be a
great transfer!

Elder Schenk

Also, we have had some funerals recently and I spoke at one! I had
never heard of the guy before, but he was a member that hadn't been
able to go for a long time. So I shared a short message in Spanish
about God's love for us and His plan for us, and how the Gospel makes
life happy even though it can be hard. It was a crazy experience.
Missions are the best...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 24, 2014

Dear family,

Elder Sua'ava and I have had some pretty good success recently, and a lot of food, too. Since we have been shopping at BJ's (I don't know if I've told you about it. It's almost exactly like Costco and we got a membership for it on a sweet deal) we have been eating more healthy and more overall I think. And then last month I'm pretty sure I spent some of the money I got for Christmas on groceries because I didn't organize it, but that means that I have an extra cushion if food, too. I have been eating tons of ginger snaps this week along with granola bars and the cookies and candy that Grandma Schenk sent, and then Friday night we took home a big BIG bag of bread from a member. It has some different types of rolls and other large varieties of bread that are now in our freezer.
Mom, I haven't had a chance to check out the blog you set up because I need to be on a computer to go there. Most websites are blocked from the iPad. But the day before that I started mine and put a post on, I will check yours and see which I will keep. The one I made is at so you can look at it if you like. I just have an intro post on it and I will make another before I start to publicize it much on Facebook.

This is my letter to president

Dear President Calderwood,

Elder Sua'ava and I are growing in our unity and it results in us having more miracles. We are finding more people, now the hard part is just having continual contact with them. Some came to church before even being taught a lesson! 
I have also been learning more about how I am supposed to work with the branch mission leader and branch president. 
One of the things that I am thinking about now is online proselyting. Last week I thought about the huge masses of people in the world that we cannot get to, but that the internet can. I know that we need to focus on our areas that we have been given, but I also feel that we have been called here in part because here we can do online proselyting. The things that we do with online proselyting will change the history of the world, because they are some of the details that lead the Hastening. 
Sorry for writing so many thoughts, it's how my learning process is on the mission I think. I learn about five lessons at a time, I think, and each lesson progresses at its own level and rate. And one of those is the importance of every missionary here. Each companionship performs their own miracles and has strengths, and those strengths together accomplish a lot. I see it clearly in each companionship in our district, and it shows me the importance of unity, also how the Atonement uses many people to reach perfection. God can do a lot of things himself that he doesn't do. Instead he organizes us to bring perfection out of our imperfections.

I am so glad that the Lord is teaching me so much. I am trying to appreciate those blessings extra as I try to obey purely out of love and not from desire for blessings. God is blessing me so much. 

Elder Schenk

Got to go, love you so much! This has been such a good year. I have learned more than in any year, I think, and my learning is accelerating. 
Con todo mi corazón,

Elder Schenk

Enviado desde mi iPad

February 17, 2014

Hey Fam! 
Yes, I got the package with the Seahawks shirt. Thanks for it! I have liked having the sweater you sent, too. I wonder if Katie would be alright with you reading Eleanor the Captain Underpants books.  If not, we can just wait till I get home to read them with her. 
Have you been able to keep doing P90X in the mornings?
Elder Sua'ava and I just fished shopping at BJ's and I feel really good about it. I found some good healthy foods that are cheap like bananas and carrots, and peanuts instead of peanut butter (much cheaper - peanut butter is expensive!) But the best part of my shopping is a cereal I found. It's called Cascadian Farm and is founded in Skagit Valley, WA! It's from Sedro Woolley. It has traveled just as far as I have! I can send a picture of it.
Is Friday night the branch had a Valentines Day activity with music and food. I didn't get to dance much, we kind of had to dine and dash, but a few people saw me dancing and were blown away! I don't know if the other package has gotten here yet, no one has checked the office as far as I know.
A cool thing that happened, an investigator planning on getting baptized was at English class with us and invited everyone to church as well as a CPR activity we were doing. So one guy came with his wife. Then we invited him to the valentines day activity and he came! Then we invited them to church and they came! They aren't even investigators yet! But we will try to teach them this week. One if the hard things about the work is that people aren't very good at making time. But we are planning on meeting with them some time this week. 

This is part of my letter to President Calderwood

I've seen this week some of the great power that the Lord has given me. During part of the week I felt less of the gift of tongues, and realized how much less I could do without so much extra help from the Lord.  I also recognized how much more I need to dominate the language to teach better. I was never satisfied with being just "missionary fluent," but after teaching with Elder Padilla and having experiences with English missionaries teaching in ZTM, it illustrated to me even more how much more teaching ability I could have. I also realized how much more I can serve the Lord when I am well rested. If I don't get to bed on time, I can't really serve the Lord with all of my mind. 

Right now I am sitting on the train across from people who speak Fujinese Chinese, it makes me think about all the people in the mission who don't have missionaries in their language to teach to them. There are few opportunities for such people to learn the Gospel. And then I think of all the people who do have missionaries in their language here, but don't hear it because we can't find them, or even from our fear to speak. The world needs so many more missionaries to take the Gospel to every man. A million in the world might do the trick. But we aren't going to get that. So what the few of us do needs to be big. It needs to reach all 8 million people here, and even more than that, because there are so many nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples more. We need to have a massive wave to touch all these people. And it needs to be powerful, or they won't listen, and it needs to be personal, or they won't care. I remember the words you spake to me almost a year ago. There are broken families strewn across this city. How can we even start to get to all of them? And then the rest of the people; maybe not broken yet, but still need the Gospel. 

Thanks so much for all of your love! It's been a good first year. This morning I was thinking about how long I've been here and how many experiences I've had, and I thought for a second "it's only been a year?" 
Love you a lot! The package is pretty much ready, I will try to send it this week. Elder Sua'ava keep on saying he will send a package home, too, but then preparation day comes around and he doesn't want to do it. So I keep on having expectations that are crushed. 
Anyway, have a good week! Cuídense 

Elder Schenk

Enviado desde mi iPad

February 10, 2014

Hey home!

This week and recent past I have learned soooo much! It has come as certain ideas have floated around my mind, and as I have read the stories in the Book of Mormon of the sons of Mosiah teaching the Lamanites. There is so much good stuff to learn there! I am receiving a lot of revelation, and I love it.
This is part of what I wrote to President Calderwood

I can't believe how much The Lord is teaching me. I've come to better understand the Doctrine of Christ, as well as the doctrine of conversion, and it really changes the way I see life as well as success. God asks us to be perfect, but knows that we aren't going to be able to do it, so his desire is that we follow His plan for us, which is so perfect that it allows us to be imperfect at it. As we follow it, we follow His desires and can please Him in that way. Now I am starting to see specific ways that I can use it in my work and life. 
In Alma chapters 17-22 I have learned a lot about the doctrine of conversion. It has changed the way I teach. I understand lore the value of us testifying often. As representatives of Christ we have the power that people can believe on our words as the Lamanites did to Ammon and his brothers, and then that belief can help those we teach to act, and develop their own testimony. I have heard many say that the people shouldn't just believe us and they should ask God. The people should believe us, and that can carry them to develop their own faith in God as they act and ask Him. This applies with investigators and in the family.

The more I understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the more beautifully simple it is! 
This week we found a cool family to teach, and the mom and dad both have a good amount of LDS family! They seem to have their lives well under control for living in New York. It's impressive.
Got to go! Love you

Elder Schenk

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 3, 2014


I'm glad the Super Bowl went well. We stayed home and didn't have visits, Elder Sua'ava was feeling sick. We almost didn't go to church, but in the last minute he decided he felt well enough to go. We would have gotten to church just about on time but the train we were transferring to (on the weekend the trains run different so we have to transfer from the M to the J). We waited forever for it and it was less than a stop away but stuck behind construction, so then we went downstairs to take the bus, and while in the bus the train passed overhead. So we got to sacrament meeting about 40 minutes late. While waiting for the train I saw maybe two Seahawks shirts.
 Elder Sua'ava is feeling a bit better now. Being district leader is a good experience. It has taught me a lot and helped me grow the most, and helped me get a lot of experience receiving revelation. I like that. I am feeling a little more organized and I am learning more tricks with the iPad on taking notes and organizing, etc. it can make your studies really cool.
I already went to the temple for my "one year mark" back in December, I will get to go do baptisms with recent converts soon and I will go at a year and a half.
I have a year left to serve since yesterday. That's weird. But the first year has been well more than worth it. What I have learned is worth about ten years of study, I can't imagine what I will learn in the one I have left. Let's see what happens.

Well, I got to go, love you a lot!

Elder Schenk

January 27, 2014

Dear Mom,
I'm glad your birthday went well!
This week was a good one. Elder Sua'ava and I had some good visits with some families. And we said some jokes with one family. Elder Sua'ava taught me a good one. How much milk does a cow drink? Mucho. But you say it like a cow moo-ing. It gets some good laughs. 
We also had a good visit with a less  active family where there are lots of family members that live there. So we asked if the rest could join in, and walked through their house to invite them. More came, and then one of them said they would cook for us the next time we came by. So we came by later on in the week and had a nice lesson. She actually isn't a member, and we extended a baptismal commit. The more I have gotten to know the family, the more I have come to love them. 
We also finally got a visit with a family we have tried to look up a lot of times. Sometimes we find them at their house and they say to come back at a certain time, and we did and they weren't there. But we finally got a visit with them and it was good!
 Love you so much! Have a good week     
  Elder Schenk
Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 20, 2014

Hey Mom! Hi to everyone else, too!

I wrote this today in my personal study and now I think it would be cool for you to read my thoughts. 

We are the vessel

Thinking about the Godhead all working with us as we perform this work while the Lord is hastening it, the thought/image came to my mind that we are like a clay pot designed, sculpted, created by our Heavenly Father. He has put Himself into our being. The water carried in this vessel is the Holy Ghost. And Jesus Christ is the one who carries us to our thirsty brothers and sisters. Each part of the Godhead has a vital part in this, each working with us.
If we allow dirt to enter, or cracks and holes to form in ourselves, we will not be useful vessels of the Spirit. The Lord will not be able to use us as He desires, and Heavenly Father's children will remain athirst because of our lack of the Spirit.

So what are these cracks and holes? How do we avoid them? How do we repair them?
Dirt, cracks and holes are disobedience: in our thoughts, words, and actions

Sometimes we become dirty on the inside, and not fit to carry water to those in need. Here the Redeemer can cleanse us. We must apply the atonement to scrub us clean and the Spirit will rinse the filth away, so that we can carry Him to others.
If our thoughts are disobedient, we are not fit to help others cleanse themselves; we would be rinsing them with dirty water. And if they drink the dirty water and taste the dirt, they will spit it back out and look for something else.

Sometimes we don't do all that we should, or all we can. There, cracks and holes form, and we lose the Spirit in that way. It spills out of these openings and does not reach the people. They might see us, and want the water we have, but it might spill out and not get to them because we don't open our mouths or we don't serve them. 

Let's let Him patch and clean us quickly before our imperfections and weaknesses become large holes and built up filth.

We aren't going to be perfect vessels, and we will need the Lord to patch us up and clean us often.  But we can be ready vessels of His Spirit in order to provide to many in need.
Don't let the cracks become holes!

As we go about among God's children in need, let's treat them like we are offering water to the thirsty. Once we provide them enough water to fill up a font, they can step in and begin a clean, new life!

In other news, I have been playing a lot more basketball recently. We have played a couple of times on preparation day with other missionaries and when the weather was nice played basketball in the park with some guys the other day. Playing pickup games in Brooklyn! Elder Sua'ava and I are usually some of the tallest. He's a big guy and an inch taller than me but I can reach higher just standing because my arms are longer. But most of the people have played a lot more basketball than me so it's a learning curve. But I am learning and getting better.

Elder Sua'ava and I are having a good time together. We work with some recent converts here and their strength makes us really happy. Even if I didn't see their conversion process, it just makes me really happy to see them living the gospel and being happy. 

Love you! 
Elder Schenk

Sent from my iPad

January 13, 2014

Helloooooo family!

This week was crazy. It was fun, and I learned a lot, but so many
things happened. I'm pretty sure Monday and Tuesday went fairly normal
(it feels like it was a long time ago). Those days were really cold!
But nobody got frostbite so it was fine. The craziness started
Wednesday. We woke up and it was freezing! I was going to kneel on the
ground to say my prayer, but here was no way I was going to kneel on
our freezing cold floor! So I climbed back in bed on the top bunk to
pray. A while later Elder Sua'ava and I decided to brave the cold and
see if our heater was working at all. It wasn't. We had no heat that
day. We didn't have hot water either. That day was our deep clean day
to really clean every bit of the apartment. So for our studies we wore
our jackets and everything that we had pretty much, and then we got
cleaning. The apartment looks pretty nice now, the bathroom is much
cleaner. But while I was cleaning the bathroom it got cold enough that
I could see my breath inside! Luckily we were moving around and didn't
get too cold. Towards the end we wanted to bake something to help warm
up the house, but the oven didn't work! The code on it said something
had shorted. So that evening we moved in with other Elders in our
district. Then the next day we got home really late and our things
were at the other Elders' apartment, so we had to go back and didn't
have time to go home and see if the heat had turned back on. The next
day we had an exchange with the elders that we were with, so that
morning one of them (Elder A) came with me to my apartment to do
studies and everything. Then finally that night Elder Sua'ava and I
were both back home (this was Friday night). Saturday went pretty
well. We played soccer at a park in the morning (a lot of missionaries
showed up and only like three other people showed up, but it will get
better. There is a member here who played professional soccer in
Honduras. I invited him and am excited to see him play.) That night we
had a visit with our investigator V L to see how he was
doing and feeling before his baptism and reviewed how to do it. It was
so great to talk to him and feel the Spirit there. Elder Sua'ava and I
were feeling so good after that! Then we stopped by a recent
convert/part member house and had a great visit there. We hadn't been
able to see them for a really long time.
When we got home, we couldn't find our keys! We couldn't get into our
house or building (breaking into your own house/apartment makes you a
lot more self-conscious in New York than it would in Burlington) so we
spent the night with the other elders in our district (by other I mean
OTHER other elders, since there are three companionships of elders in
our branch. So Wednesday and Thursday night we spent with Elder A
and Elder F. Saturday night was with Elder  and Elder
P, we decided to get some variety and visit them that time - I
also made the connection a little while back between Elder P's
last name and P bay!)
Sunday morning the elders that work at the mission office brought us
our spare key so we could go home and get our suits for church. Church
on Sunday was good, I didn't really know what to do for V's
baptism because I had never had a baptism, but everything that was
necessary got done. The baptism was a double baptism. Elder J and
P's investigator got baptized as well as V. He had been
investigating for two years and finally felt sure about making the
covenant with God. The branch just gained two good men and the leaders
are excited about it. We are getting closer to being a ward.

I like what you said about it's our job to love the people. I have
been working on it a lot recently and praying to develop charity.

Love you so much! Have a good week
Elder Schenk

Sent from my iPad

January 6, 2014

Christmas fun in Brooklyn

January 1, 2014

Hey Fam!

It was great to talk to you on Christmas! That time went by fast. The
rest of the week went fairly well, the only problem is that I've been
eating way too much candy! So I put it all in a box away from my desk,
and I haven't eaten as much like that. Today Elder Sua'ava and I went
to Rego park to play basketball at the chapel and them we went
shopping at century 21 and kohls. I remembered that I don't like
shopping for myself much. I take way too long to think about things
and doubt my decisions and stuff. But Elder Sua'ava got a nice gray
and purple tie. He likes it a lot.
Today I've been thinking about what I can do to improve my diet. I
like the food I eat and it's healthy, but here isn't a ton of variety
and I wonder what I can do to improve that. Play be I will take a
picture of the receipt of what I buy and get your feedback on it. I
feel like Diane would be really proud of me.

Sorry for writing short! I was told to get off my iPad and play
basketball. I did pretty well, but I haven't played much for a while
so my game isn't that good.

Love you all so much!

Sent from my iPad

December 23, 2013

So elder Sua'ava has not decided when he wants to skype, and his family hasn't responded yet, but I guess we are allowed to call for five minutes on Christmas Eve to schedule. I think we will try at 3 here, 12 at home. If that changes we will call. The thing is that elder Sua'ava's family is two hours behind you.
Our branch didn't really so anything too special for Christmas. The primary children sang, and the branch presidency gave some really good talks. One was about testimonies and one about goals.
One of our investigators, Victor came to church. He is going to get baptized with another investigator from our district on January 12. 
The leadership thing is coming along, I'm definitely learning. President Calderwood doesn't have time to respond to all the missionaries' emails in the week, and would respond before with a short sentence of inspiration and counsel every month or so, but recently he has responded almost to every one of my letters. I am learning more about myself. When yo have more responsibility it really helps define what your strengths and weaknesses are. I think I have seen it in myself and others around me.
Plans for Christmas Eve, we will have a mission get together and perform music. There are some professional musicians in the mission, one in my zone sings one of the fey songs, take it home. Another one served with me in flushing. He is from Taiwan and is fantastic at guitar. He has music on iTunes. So that will be pretty cool. 
So right now we are at zone activity and it's hard to focus. 
In summary, it is hard being a leader, getting the missionaries and branch united is like teaching two different beasts to dance, and I don't even have the normal missionary thing mastered yet. But I am having a great companionship with Elder Sua'ava. I have learned a lot about being a good companion, and he is easy to be a good companion for.
And I will really try hard to send you a Christmas package. I have everything, I just need to wrap it and send it. It will get there late but I hope you enjoy it!

Love you all!
Elder Schenk

Sent from my iPad

December 16, 2013

Hey Dad, 

I'm sorry to say that we didn't baptize all of our investigators last week. But we did have a good week! I am still learning, and the zone leaders here are teaching me so much. They are in the district so they get to see what I do a lot more and their feedback helps me out a ton. I really love having their help. I am learning about how much time I need to take to fulfill my responsibility. I spent a lot of time at the beginning, but them I got more used to it and kind of forgot to keep doing that and get things done, so the zone leaders had a little talk with me yesterday and I am redoubling my efforts and getting some things done that I have needed to do. It feels good! It has been cold but not too bad. I got both the packages this week, thanks so much! I am so excited to open my stocking and presents on Christmas. 
We got snow a little bit, it has mostly melted. I like the snow a lot. A lot of the people here don't like it that much because they don't go skiing or play in it much. It doesn't mean the same thing to them. I really hope the Stauffers are alright. I will definitely be praying for them. Wow, the plan of salvation is so important. We taught it last night to someone named Jose and as I teach it it strengthens my understanding of how important it is and how it all really makes sense. 

There are a lot of less active members in New York and this branch has big boundaries (only for New York though, it's probably not that big but there are so many people and each part of town is unique so it seems like you travel a lot to go just a small distance
And especially all of your friends who need the gospel more in their lives! You have planted the good seed through your example, now patiently nourish it and don't expect to be eating corn on the cob this afternoon.
Thanks so much for your good example that you have always been. I'm thinking that I would really like to have you both skype in for a lesson at M and Ls house sometime! they both speak English! and I think your gospel understanding as parents and your connection to young men would be great. We will probably visit L (Hermana A) on Christmas.
About skyping on Christmas, we will probably do it in the iPads, so we can do it at a member's house or at church. We were told that probably the best way to spend Christmas is visiting our 
investigators and members so we will probably be mostly doing member visits. A lot of the zone might skype at the church on Christmas, so I might be able to show you some of the other missionaries I work with.

I will write more in the email to Mom. Love you! Tell Devin that I have been curious if he had been working toward the New and Everlasting covenant. I must email him and see how it's doing, and give him some advice.

Love you so much! Thanks for he packages and love, 
Elder Eric Schenk
Sent from my iPad


I will write  a short response. I got the packages, thank you! The branch is doing fine, working on becoming much greater, I wrote about it in my letter to president which I will copy and send in this email. And I have been wearing my boots every once in a while, they are great!

Here is what I wrote to President

16 Dec 2013
Dear President Calderwood,

I am convinced that the missionaries around me have been handpicked by God to bless and teach me. Elder P and Elder J are fantastic Zone Leaders. Their zone activities to break the ice and train the zone this last week were stellar. I was blow away by the ZTM, mostly because I felt it was greatly effective, and short! Elder P was planning on giving a workshop, but instead talked only for a couple minutes and bore a powerful testimony. I felt lifted and inspired by the meeting. My respect, appreciation, and love for Elder P and J has grown a lot as they have worked to bless the zone, and as they have taken extra time to pull me aside and lovingly and boldly give me constructive criticism. It empowers me to repent and get things done to bless the district and branch. I love the atonement. I rejoice in it. I realized that I need it so much a while back, and that I am hopelessly far away from perfection, so repenting is something that I am so happy to do. It means that I can fix the problems in myself, through the help of Christ. 
I have learned that I need to work more with my leaders, including the branch mission leader. He works so hard at his calling, and I have been too hesitant to follow his lead. Once I follow and work more consistently and closely with him, our branch will explode. Other leaders here are working really hard, too and getting things organized so that a great, powerful effort can be made. Bushwick is getting ready and excited to be a ward.
As I have developed more unity with Elder Sua'ava, our work has improved greatly. We had so many things work together for our good to lead us to teach a lot of lessons. As we have been teaching more, I have realized where I need to improve in teaching as well, and Elder Sua'ava has been teaching me to teach better. 
Elder A and Elder F are in charge of the elliptical in the district, and I am so grateful for the effort they are doing there. They are so enthusiastic and constantly developing activities that we can do. As I write about all the things that are going well and building up here, it is clear to see that The Lord is hastening His work in Bushwick. He has placed specific members and missionaries here to perform miracles for me and the Kingdom of God here. I am excited. 
One thing that we are struggling on now is our quarterly goal. Our two baptismal dates are very solid, for next year. From a worldly perspective it looks very unlikely that we will achieve our commitment. Had I organized things better we may have made much more progress toward it by now. 

But no matter the outcome, I am so thankful to God that he has provided me the companion, district, and people here to sufficiently teach me. I love Him, and I love learning from Him.
Elder Schenk
Love you all! I will be sending a package home soon (if I remember to do it this time - the mission distracts you from doing extra things like sending packages.)
With love from Brooklyn, Elder Eric Schenk
Sent from my iPad

December 9, 2013

Dear family!

This week has been a great one. Elder Sua'ava and I are having a good
time and things are moving along. Transfers is tomorrow, we are both
staying, just one Elder in my district is transferring. This weekend
we had stake conference, and we went to the priesthood leadership and
adult sessions on Saturday. It is all about "missionary work," but
they are working on redefining that in our stake or maybe eliminating
the term because sometimes it as seen as the work that the
missionaries do, and not personal. It's all really the work of
salvation. I think it was really cool for helping the members (and us
missionaries) see how big this is. It's crazy that I am in the middle
of the beginning of this huge new era. They showed the quote by Elder
L. Tom Perry that says that this time in the church compares to the
restoration in significance! I'm a missionary in it, and you are all
the members in it! Imagine that. No wonder we have all been told at we
are a choice generation, saved to come to the earth in this specific
time. It's a huge thing that's going on! Our stake presidency is
really into it and it's pretty cool. Elder Sua'ava and I saw the stake
president in town before the meeting on Saturday walking to the
church. He was walking fairly quickly and told us "as with many things
now, I am 'hastening!'"

Christmastime is getting closer and I'm enjoying it. It snowed last
night and stuck, but melted later on in the night. But I did get a
snowball or two thrown.

Side note. I'm at the laundromat doing laundry, and they play some
Spanish channels. A Spanish soap opera just turned on. Never watch
them. They are so dumb and way too dramatic. But they catch your
attention! It's like Satan. He does whatever he can just to get your
attention. So don't even go to the Spanish channels! Sorry for going
off on that. That's just a look into the life and mind of Elder Schenk
on Monday mornings.

Back to the good stuff. Christmas is coming! This morning I exercised
to the DVD Mr. Kreugers Christmas. There is a separate video that is
the Mormon Tabernacle Choir so I listened to Christmas carols for the
main part, then when I stretched at the end I turned on the nativity
short video. It was so nice, I had a lot more focus for my studies

Just so you know, my shoes are getting worn out. I don't think I need
new ones for Christmas. Maybe some for more towards my birthday. If my
shoes that I left home (Nike grey and light blue) are still there I
think they would be great. If not, maybe just look for sweet deals on
shoes that I will need eventually

Today is Elder Sua'ava's birthday! I think I will give him the card
that I bought and meant to give to Devin for his. Sorry Devin, but I
think you can understand how things almost never go as planned on your
mission. We are going to the mission office in Rego Park to play some
basketball. We are going to be extra careful this time if we actually
do play to make sure we conserve Elder Sua'ava's recovered ankle.

Catching the train just now to go to Rego Park was exciting. We were
walking to the train station to catch the m on central ave and saw the
train coming (it's above the street) while we were still around the
corner. I asked elder Sua'ava if we were going to run for it and he
started running so we did. I'm faster (especially on the stairs - long
legs) so I got to the place to enter and swipe my metrocard first. But
I had put my wallet in a different pocket! So it took me extra long to
find it. Then we got in and ran up he last stairs to the train, but
the doors had just closed, and it took off. Then the train heading the
other way got to the other lane of tracks at the station, and Elder
Sua'ava realized that we needed to actually go that way (we usually go
to church, and that is the opposite direction as Rego Park) so we ran
down the stairs back down to the staton lobby, and I slipped on some
of the last steps down and landed on my rear. Elder Sua'ava stopped
and was going to check if I was okay, but I already knew I was so I
just said "I'm okay, I'm fine, go!" We switched sides of the station
and ran up the other steps to the queens bound train. Luckily I'm fast
getting up the steps because we could hear the recording "stand clear
of the closing doors, please" as we were running up. I got to the top
before the door started to close, and held it open so Elder Sua'ava
could get in. It was intense! And really fun.

So right now we are on the bus close to Rego and Elder Sua'ava is
reading the Liahona in Spanish. He is improving on it and really
excited about it so he is working so hard to study and participate in
lessons as much as possible. I love Elder Sua'ava. He is a gentle
giant, half Polynesian half Mexican that tries so hard to be his best
and lives others more than almost anyone that I know.

So far my clothes are warm enough. If it ever gets really cold I will
wear a sweater and the green jacket with a scarf and then the black mr
Mac jacket over top. I think that will pretty much take care of me. I
found some ear warmers out here so that has been nice sometimes. At
night it's pretty warm in our apartment at night, sometimes I just use
a top sheet and sometimes I use one blanket.

For Christmas I hope to get a stocking with the usual goodies. Music
on a cd or two maybe would be nice, the DVD player we have plays music
louder than my speaker. I'm not sure what more I would want. Just
share the gospel.

Wow this is a long email. I don't know if it has everything you wanted
to hear, but I got to go.

Love you! I'm so glad to be here learning and growing in the gospel.
Elder Schenk

Sent from my iPad

December 2, 2013

Dad, (and everyone else)

I am so thankful for all your love and powerful support and example you have given me. It's thanksgiving went well, We had a turkey bowl in the mission that was pretty good. But I think I am WAY less competitive than I used to be because of my mission. Especially when I am playing a sport I never played competitively. That night we had dinner with a lot of members. We had two families and us at one house, and they had us the missionaries eat first, because we needed to go home in time. The first plane as to have dinner at 6:30 at the Rivera home, but then it got changed to 7:30 at the Soto's. And everyone was actually there and ready a little after 8. So I felt a little bad that we had to wait so long, then just dine and head out while everyone was still eating. Did the missionaries like the advice I gave? 
I learned a huge lesson on Thursday. I think it's really the key that has been missing in my work since I have been in Bushwick. It will help my companionship, district, and branch. It's love! I haven't been loving the people here enough. It was really strong here before, and this area was driven by their love and unity. I didn't know it until Thursday. Flushing was driven by our obedience and respect for each other, so I wasn't used to the love and unity vibes that were going on when I got here. I kind of got in the way of them. But now that I've figured it out, I think things are going to get a lot better. The first sign of that was that we had two investigators come to church on Sunday, and we hadn't had any for Elder Sua'ava and I for a while. There, The Lord was saying he will help us out. We almost got a lesson with each of them on Sunday, too, but they both fell through, so that was the Lord saying that we've still got to do our part. I am really excited that I learned what I needed to change. I was telling someone in my district about it and they told me not to beat myself up about it. But that wasn't my attitude at all. I'm excited about this. That's the cool thing about repentance and the atonement. If you have already accepted the fact that you aren't perfect and need to fix parts about you, it's humbling, but exciting to recognize your faults, because then you can talk to Heavenly Father about it and figure out how to fix it. The atonement works because Christ knows what it's like to mess up because he payed the price for our sins, and he also knows what it takes to do things the right way because that's how he lived his life.
Hey what kind of things would you all like for Christmas? Just tshirts? Or hats? Beanies maybe? They have lots of things like that in the little shops here. Give me ideas about it. 

I didn't answer this last week. My shoes are holding up pretty well. My eccos are doing better than both my pairs of rock ports and I wear the twice as much; but the black rockports get me compliments. They shine up really nice. 
I am actually using my green jacket a good amount. I wear a sweater a lot too, my suit not so much and the coat from mr Mac I wear a lot. I also wear that scarf a ton. Elder Sua'ava and I are slowly adjusting to the cold here, the change comes a lot faster than it does in Washington!

I'm thinking of what I might need for Christmas, I'm not sure. 
That's what I've got to say for now, 
Love you all so much! Thanks for all of your love.
Elder Eric Schenk

Sent from my iPad