9/17/2017

Coming to you one day late.

Uncle Aaron was at the BYU game. He chose the wrong year to attend. It was nevertheless nice to see Anna and him there. I do hope he appreciates my leniency. He came in not once, but twice before we officially let people in. To put that into perspective, and how seriously I take my gatekeeping responsibilities, later this guy with his family comes over. He asks to go in, as he is needed at the media tent. “Ok, where’s your pass?” “We weren’t given any.” (Then shows me their tickets,) “We start taking tickets at 12.” “You don’t understand, I am Luke Staley.” “Nice to meet you.” (If I had really been quick, I would have said, “I am Groot!”) “I need to go in, they’re retiring my number today!” Of course, once that card is played, its out of my league. He went by with his family. And I admittedly felt bad for not knowing who he was, nor that he was being honored  this game.

    MTC meet-up

I recieved my calling: Family History Specialist! Never will a YSA have done so much family history after this………..

I went again to the temple Friday, but am now committed to bringing family names from here on out. Tanner and AnneMarie then came over where we three along with a ward friend shared an apple pie.

We spent Sunday evening with the fam, TanMarie taking me over to Uncle Ben and Aunt Joy’s where we feasted on delicious pasta and then played sushi-go. Not seeing dessert, Uncle Aaron impressively whipped up some delicious chocolate chip cookies.

Later that night, I spent a couple hours with Rebecca and Emily taking a walk down memory lane.

 

Not in the highlight reel: this week, I was rejected for a date. Surprised, I nevertheless decided to put into action my own field of dreams and acquired tickets for BYU’s “Instrumental Showcase” next Tuesday, the 26th. If you have tickets, a date will come.

My job at GPS Capital Markets started on Wednesday, and I took the train up Wednesday and Friday for half-day training. So far, I’ve learned way more than I could have imagined, even receiving a nice econ refresher. Today started the carpool for me, so it was a full day, us leaving at 6:30 and returning at 4:00. We had the areas of Georgia, North Carolina, and Chicago to choose from. The other two interns flipped a coin for Chicago, but for me I was set on N. Carolina. Wednesday we start our work, and I am excited!

                                    

After returning, I called Mom, who after hearing my plans for the rest of the night, urged me to go to FHE. I did not want to. I was looking forward to a workout, then a relaxing evening. I headed to BYU for this purpose; I practiced playing the organ, but on my way to the gym, felt compelled to turn around and go to FHE. Its so easy to leave behind lessons learned  on the mission. It was easier then to be obedient, as I was 100% committed. Knowing that that is what brings miracles, I figured being obedient, and 100% committed now will also bring miracles. So, it was off to FHE.  And I think my biceps grew a little just for that sacrifice. But if they didn’t, thats ok too. Of course it helps to remember that David Bednar met his wife at FHE at BYU. (And talking about Apostle courtship trivia, do you know which one married a cougarette?)

Love ya,

Hunter Schenewark

On Repentance

Returning from work on Wednesday, I had looked the BYU shuttle schedule up and knew there was a bus leaving 200N 40 East at 6:35. I had about 20 minutes to make it over from the train station. I foolishly ambled down University Ave, still reflecting on what I had read. Then, I realized I’d be cutting it close, so moved into speedwalking, before deciding to just run. It felt good, and I went for a couple blocks before stopping, thinking I was on time. Then, up ahead, I saw the bus rounding the corner and nearing the pick-up point. Once again, I picked up the pace, this time more of just a jog, thinking I had it made. Then, my backpack jerked open spilling everything out. Angry and worried, I picked a shoe, and my reading materials of the ground, and went back thinking I had already missed the bus. But no! It waited there, I could still make it. Holding this hodge podge, I instinctively reached around with my other hand and touched the backpack. Feeling empty, I looked back and sure enough, the brown dress shoe sat lost on the sidewalk 20 yards back. Now, I had missed it. I watched my ride go, then returned to pick up my shoe. It must have fallen out when I bent down to pick everything up the first time.
I won’t lie, then and there, I wanted to just stop. i was tired and hungry. I knew there was another bus route that would take me home I could catch, but my first thoughts were of quitting. Rejecting those, I again kicked it up, running in my slacks, and once again with a full backpack. This time, I made the bus. I returned home at the same time. Messing up had caused me sweat and work and was not as easy, but still, it wasn’t too late. There was another way to make it.
Its better just to be perfect, but when we mess up, we have the gift of repentance that allows us through a little extra work to arrive at our destination.
I am thankful for the simple lesson that was so profoundly taught to me this day.

 

9/10/2017 – The Eagle has Landed

Monday, we (TanMarie and I) went to Uncle Ben’s where we enjoyed delicious burgers, conversation and family in general. Footnote- that was my first time swimming since returning. I’ll be back. And then, after being unable mentally (at least this week, it was quite the shock) to pay $1.50 just to dry clothes (after having washed them) I stayed at Tanmarie’s house,using their dryer, where we played a sushi game which I liked. Even though I came in last.

I received a call Tuesday at about 10 am about a job interview. Asked whether today or tomorrow would work, I instinctively, or perhaps faithfully, replied, ”Today!” At 3. So, I ran home, stuffed some clothes into my backpack, ate lunch, and was back at school for my final class, leaving immediately after at 1 to go to the train station. Why? So I can go first next time we play ticket to ride or Railroad tycoon. I pulled a batman, entering inconspicuously into the bathroom dressed as a gym going young man, and quickly left ready for Wall Street. One old lady who saw the transformation quipped, ”My, you look dapper!” Hearts are breaking all across …. the 750 line to South Jordan.

The only downside? It is in South Jordan, a 1/2 hour commute. My interviewer told me that they want me, but are worried about how I would get there, so they said find a qualified friend who can drive, and we’ll hire you both. Cousin Greg accepted; I re-arranged my school schedule to make it work, and he was interviewed and offered the job the next day. And decided to turn it down. Props to him for seeking revelation, but I’ll admit, I was bummed. So, weighed a couple options (other job, buy a car, ride the train) before wisely deciding the best would be to re-arrange my schedule again to get in with an existing carpool. Pros?  A ride. The job. I have class only tuesday + thursday. Cons? I dropped my bible as literature class and portuguese.

Now that I’ve finally locked it in, here’s my schedule: international ballroom; living prophets; world religions; germanic family history; math 116; organ performance; history 201; M Com 320 (business school)

Thursday night, I had a mission pal, Nate Gibby over and we both reminisced and looked to the future.

Friday, I was productive, trying to finish everything before heading to the temple at 4. And I went with a young woman, so I’ll count that as a date. And we talked on the car ride going there and back, so it basically counts twice. Besides getting to know a very nice young lady, being in the House of the Lord was wonderful. That was my first time in the Provo City Center Temple.

I also decorated my room. Just hung up a couple pictures, but improved the ambiance, and not to boast, but I was definitely impressed with how it turned out. Pictures forthcoming.

Saturday, I saved my energy for what I knew what would be a long day, and spent most of the morning reading. At 3, I left for the BYU vs. Utah football game. The weather fortuitously stayed cool, and I helped keep the peace until game time at 8;21, when I ate some smoked brisket, and then took my customary spot on the field. It was another ugly game, and I am sure many fans are praying for a new BYU QB. I have been impressed with the defense though, even in the two losses. The fans wore me out too.

Today we had a regional conference with Elder Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. He spoke about Utah’s history and HOV lanes (high occupancy vehicles) which get us to our destination quicker, safer, less stress. Or, spiritually speaking, HOV, humility, obedience, virtue. And our companion for the trip should be the Holy Spirit.

And tonight, we watched Elder Bednar’s broadcast from North Carolina. Go Family History! He inspired me to strengthen the ”chain of the generations” and talked about how these welding links are what fulfills the earth’s purpose.

Lots of love, Hunter

9/3/2017 Welcome to the Big Mingle!

We’ve all heard of the Big Apple, or the Big Easy, well, Provo,  is the Big Mingle. Its good to be back.

Arriving Tuesday night, I stayed at TanMarie’s house that night, before finally going to my new apartment Wednesday. Its spacious, its clean, its quiet…its expensive. While I do have a private bedroom, I share the actual apartment with three others- Jeremiah, Austin, and Derik. All three are currently students at UVU. A quick breakdown: Austin and Derik are longtime friends from the way out in the boondocks town of Filmore, Utah. Biggest attraction/ point of interest? The Maverick gas station. They both graduated in 2014 (same as me) with Derik doing one year of National Guard before serving a mission in Chicago, (returned one month ago) and Austin serving a mission in Washington before going to Snow College for one year, and now here. I haven’t gotten to know Jeremiah as well, he grew up mostly in Albuquerque, NM, before heading to the D.C. area. He’s been at UVU for a couple years now. They all have been friendly, and seem organized and clean. I’m calling it a win, and look forward to our year together.

Annemarie also took me shopping at Costco, which was a huge help. I think I’m stocked for this semester. Its going to be good. The non-perishables….

My first night there, I felt like a celebration was in order, so I decided to cook salmon (can’t do that often!) I might just move the coaches over to the kitchen table, they are COMFY! My packing was admittedly done without as much thought and preparation as usual, and I left a couple things sort of important (belt, bedsheets, camera, etc. ) so it was nice to remember I had a coaster (shout out to the Bach’s!) It’s nice to feel at home.

I’m waiting to hear back from a couple companies about ”real jobs” but Friday I was happy to be rehired working with BYU Special Events – and turned right around and worked that nights soccer game, which saw BYU go down in a fantastic game to #1 UCLA. For three hours, I stood on the bleachers telling students, ”no, no, you can’t sit there, those seats are reserved.” ”But they are empty?!!!?” ”Yes, but that’s because the people bought them so they don’t have to show up 2 hours early like y’all to get seats.” Attendance record was set, 5,700+ showing up, 700 being standing room only. It was a spirited, nail-biter of a game. After an early UCLA goal, BYU had a couple opportunities to tie it, the best coming with 10 minutes left, on a breakaway and with the goalie leaving the box, the BYU player kicked and the ball hit the crossbar. So close. A lot better than football on Saturday. One roommate from freshman year contacted me, and he took me first to Buffalo Wild Wings, where we decided not to wait three hours, and went to Texas Roadhouse. Nothing like a ribeye. Thanks Kevin! And then he dropped me off at Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Joy’s house where we (Hutchins family, Aunt Jenny, Stevie, TanMarie) enjoyed each others company and tried to ignore what LSU was doing to BYU.

First day of church today. Wrong time to be a clerk. We welcomed about 100 people into the ward. It has a good dynamic. Next week will be a regional conference at the Marriott Center, but after that, I should receive my calling……..

This is Porter’s bike he left. Left locked up with no key. I visited the campus police and they came out and cut the lock off. Our conversation was tough. Are you a freshman? No. But the bike is parked on the freshman dorms? Yes. Actually, on the women’s freshman dorms? Yes. School hasn’t even started, how did you lose the key already? Its complicated. Do you have ID to prove its yours? No. I tried explaining, and after a thorough interrogation, they decided to simply take my info down in case anybody reported a stolen blue bike, but as one officer said, ”If I was going to steal a bike, I wouldn’t steal this one.”

On my mission, I gained such a strong testimony of the prophets, and loved every single second of general conference. However, it was essentially relegated to that, as we read only from a the scriptures and a couple other books in the ‘missionary library.’ I’ve been patiently waiting to use BYU’s library, and during this laid back week have feasted on the word. Reading biographies of men  like L. Tom Perry, and Boyd K. Packer, it is obvious at once they have been prepared, chosen, and guided from on high. I am so thankful for living prophets. I know as we emulate them, we are emulating our Savior.

Ok, heading out, going to mingle in the Big Mingle. Have a great week!

8/10/2017 Hidden Oaks Golf Course

What should have been a straighforward par 5 was turning into trouble. From 175 yards, my ball hooked right into a pond. my approach from there hit in front of the flag, but took a hard bounce and finished 18 feet past.

Sawyer was having his own troubles, and Miller was gunning for a par. I turned to him, ”Miller, if I make this putt, I get to name your first kid.”

”no way!!! It’s not that hard of a putt!” “ok, then what do I get?” ”You can decide the middle name.” Thinking to myself, what a bargain! I lined it putt, hit it exactly how I wanted to, and was overly dismayed to not see it break at all, but go dead straight, and three inches to the left of the cup. Next time mill-dog.

In the Company of Prophets, by Heidi Swinson

A quick and easy read, this book tells the story of D. Arthur Haycock who worked for seven church presidents, being their personal secretary most of that time. I enjoyed his personal stories, and the way he brought the men sometimes only seen at General Conference, to us, in an everyday manner.

To include only one quote, Camilla Eyring Kimball wrote to her husband, the prophet, Spencer ”On this your eighty-fifth birthday, my beloved husband, my heart is full of gratitude for the sixty-two years we’ve been privileged to share. They’ve been filled with joy and sadness. Sharing has made the joy more fulfilling and the sadness easier to bear. You have been patient with my foibles and richly fulfilled my needs. Your love and understanding has helped me over the rough spots. Our travels around the world have brought joyful and rewarding memories. In addition to my great love for you, I deeply respect and honor your undaunted courage in meeting successfully the many challenges which have filled your life. your complete and unwavering dedication to your callings and service to others has been a lifetime of inspiration to me.”

2.4/5

Lectures on Faith

3.5/5

The Lectures on Faith is a short work, broken up into seven different lectures, each of which looks at faith from a different logical perspective. While the exact authorship is debated, the general consensus holds that no one person was responsible for the work, but rather a committee, in which Sidney Rigdon appears to have written the majority.

Given to the School of Prophets in Kirtland, they were included as part of the Doctorine and Covenenants, i.e. the standard works, for 86 years before being removed on the basis that ”they were never presented to nor accepted by the church as being other than theological lectures or lessons.”

To state the obvious, reading these lectures, my faith was increased as well as my understanding of what it is. The lectures start by showing that everything we do is based around the principle of faith. Did you apply for a job? Only because you have faith you will gain employment. Would you knock on a door not believing someone will answer it? “Are not all your exertions of every kind, dependent on your faith? Or, may we not ask, what have you, or what do you possess, which you have not obtained by reason of your faith?” Reflecting on my life, I could see how this really is true, and have since determined to act with more faith in my life. To take a step into the darkness, striving ever higher for the seemingly unreachable goals. For with faith, all is possible.

In the third lecture, we learn about faith unto salvation.  There are three things we must have faith on in order to reach exaltation. “First, the idea that he [God] actually exists. Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes. Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which [one] is pursuing is according to his [God’s] will.” As the gospel according to John succinctly records, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” If our potential is to become like our Heavenly Father, we must obviously learn who He is, and model our actions and behaviors after His. And, as that can be a stretch in our early spiritual growth, we can look to His Son who he sent, and His authorized servants to follow.

Lecture sixth was my favorite. ”Let us here observe that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things.” We are held slaves to that which we cannot leave………. ”It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. ”

”But those who have not made this sacrifice to God do not know that the course which they pursue is well pleasing in his sight; for whatever may be their belief or their opinion, it is a matter of doubt and uncertainty in their mind; and where doubt and uncertainty are, there faith is not, nor can it be. For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time; so that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence; and where unshaken confidence is not, there faith is weak; and where faith is weak, the persons will not be able to contend against all opposition, tribulations, and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.” ”mic drop.”

This one is very simple to understand- we must be completely willing to sacrifice everything in order to inherit the kingdom of God. If we do not have the faith to do that, we do not have faith sufficient to live with our Heavenly Father.

So, have faith.

I recommend, without reservations this book, for the profit of all. While not scripture, surely reading with the companionship of the Spirit will augment our faith, our understanding of faith and our will to remain ever faithful.

Letter #99

Dear Family and Friends,

What do you say on your last preparation day? I would like to simply bear my testimony one more time, as a representative of our Savior Jesus Christ and His church.

I know that God is our Heavenly Father. He loves us. He yearns for our good. I testify that He sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ to atone for our sins. I know that Christ suffered for each one of us individually. He bled and died for us. He has provided all of us a way, through repentance and His grace, to be able to return and live with them in the Celestial Kingdom.

I know that the Holy Ghost really does guide and lead. He testifies of the truth, fortifies against sin and temptation, and helps us become pure. I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and was called to be a prophet. He translated the Book of Mormon. I testify that the Bible and the Book of Mormon both contain the words of God. I am so thankful for the wisdom and truth they contain, and how they can light our paths and help us reach our potential and have the Holy Ghost in our lives.

I know that today we have a living prophet, seer, and revelator in Thomas Monson. I know that it is through obedience that we come unto our Savior. As He said, if ye love me, keep my commandments. I know that when we make mistakes, we can repent, and return to the path. I know that families can be forever. I will be forever grateful for the chance I had to serve here, in the Brasil Vitoria Mission.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Schenewark

Letter #98

Dear Family and Friends,

Last Monday, we visited an old monastery, built in 1558, above the towns of Vila Velha and Vitoria. We made the hike up the mountain, and were greeted by magnificent views and a morning mass. After that, it was off to the branch president´s house where we enjoyed a barbecue a la American style, complete with BBQ sauce.

Tuesday, we had a huge birthday spread, and at night there was a surprise party (pictures to follow later) at a member´s house. And Thursday, we had pasta and then 5 liters of ice cream we had to eat. Delicious! Yet, the best part happened on Tuesday when we were able to give a blessing to a very sick lady in the branch, and she came up to us on Sunday looking like a different person and told us that she had been completely cured. I have seen so many times the power of the priesthood! It is real, and it works miracles!

Wednesday we had zone conference with the Mazzagardi´s. It was wonderful to meet them, and I have been impressed so far. They are different than the Young´s yet have been called of God. Sis. Mazzagardi is a real trooper and inspiration. She lost her two daughters after they were born prematurely due to her cancer. And, with that cancer, she lost the ability to speak (being tongue cancer). She went two years with out speaking anything, and has spent the last eight years learning to talk again. They have stressed strict obedience and the fact that we are representatives of Christ.

Thursday, we had our leadership council with them, where we could again learn a lot, and know of their faith and courage. Wednesday night, we went to Guarapari to do a couple of baptismal interviews. I talked with Sarah, but she had a doubt, so we decided to put the Book of Mormon to the test to try and help her. After a prayer, she opened it up to a random page and pointed to the first verse she saw. I saw that she had opened to Alma 44, and honestly my faith wavered. The war chapters aren’t the best when talking about baptism. But this time, I was the one who really learned a lesson, when the first sentence she read talked about making a covenant of peace. It answered her question, and yesterday was baptized.

For what has to be a new record, it again poured Sunday morning, making four  Sundays straight, making it very hard to bring people to church. This time, we left the house at 7;30, and after having rained all night, I thought it would hold off. Alas, it was not to be, and 15 minutes later, the heavens were opened. And we didn’t have any umbrella, which is not a terrible problem for us, but when we got to our lead investigator’s house, she too did not have an umbrella, and wasn’t willing to venture out without cover. So, we pleaded, ten minutes, and went looking for one. And miraculously, we got one, and everyone made it to church on time.

Love,

Elder Schenewark

Letter #97

Dear Family and Friends,

This week saw the end of Pres. Young´s tenure as mission president. And the arrival of Pres. Mazzagardi. Pres. Mazzagardi pulled a surprise and arrived a day early on Friday. I´ll be forever grateful for the Young´s service and the sacrifices they made to be here. I’ve learned a lot and have been eternally blessed. I am sure that the Mazzagardi´s will be fantastic and I am excited to meet them personally on Wednesday.

I also finished the Book of Mormon again this week. It is another blessing in my life. Every time I read it, my testimony grows. I know it teaches the precepts of our Heavenly Father. Following its teachings, we will not be led astray. I’ve been studying about repentance, and one part that struck me was in Ether 15.  Coriantumr, the wicked king, had been warned by the prophet Ether to repent, and after fighting wars and seeing countless deaths, he remembered what Ether said. It says, “He began to repent of the evil which he had done; he began to remember the words which had been spoken by the mouth of all the prophets, and he saw that they were fulfilled thus far, every whit; and his soul mourned and refused to be comforted.

We know what then happened. The entire nation was destroyed. Why? Because Coriantumr began to repent. He never finished the process, and never truly changed, only mourned. This was the moment where the history of that people was changed, and thousands would go on to die. We face pivotal moments too, where we can choose to repent or not. The scriptures teach us we only have two choices. Repent, or suffer. Repentance is not suffering, but not repenting is. To reach our destiny, we must walk the path of repentance, every day.

Love,

Elder Schenewark

Letter #96

Dear Family and Friends,

This week, in an effort to really seek to do the Lord´s will, we met with our branch president and some of the other ward leaders. Pres. Young has taught that their are angels preparing people to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And, the branch president is the person who has the keys of the ministering of angels. So we met up with him, held a meeting, shared what we’ve been doing and asked for a couple families to visit to help him and the branch, and finally to offer a prayer, asking direction for where we should work. The answer was an unanimous one, and we have since focused our efforts on that area, with an increased level of support from the branch.

One activity that helped a lot in our reactivation and tracting efforts was the Festa de Juninha that was held this Saturday. It´s an annual event that essentially celebrates and remembers the past when once a year everyone in the country would go to town. Think rural country fair. The costumes are elaborate, and it involves lots of country dishes and finally a Quadrille dance. Just a while after starting, the heavens opened up and the rain poured down. We quickly dragged everything inside and the celebration continued. I loved the quadrille dance.

Another highlight this week was a pancake night a member put on for us. Think unlimited pancakes, maple syrup, eggs, and bacon. And that’s after not having it for two years. The family was actually the family that started the church in Itaperuna 8 years ago, and we had some fond reminiscing as well.

We´ve all been a little down under the weather this past week, but E. hatch get hit the hardest, and might even have had dengue to go with his cold. A member was telling us about some miracle drug, the name of which sounds like “chileno.” The three Americans were all buying it, a wonder pill, not too expensive, and readily available at  the drugstore. And then we figured it out- Tylenol. It was a funny experience, and I am happy to report that with the help of this ´´new´´ medicine my companion is much better now. He ended up spending one day completely confined to bed, but we already had a split scheduled for that day with one of the district leaders so the work continued and I sneakily got out of staying home doing nothing.

Reading this week from Ether , in chapter 2;25 the Lord reassures the brother of Jared about their upcoming voyage. “And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come.

And it´s the same for us. We cannot cross the great seas- we cannot successfully complete our mission, or marry, or raise kids or whatever else our challenge might be without having the help of the Lord. But with His help, we can truly do all things (Phil. 4;13!). He will prepare us, and we will make successfully this voyage of life, until we make it back to Him.

Love,

Elder Schenewark