Letter #83

Dear Family and Friends,
AHHH!!!!! That was basically my reaction. I was thinking that his call had arrived, and was, together with Tanner, supplicating heaven that he would make a trio of Schenewark´s in Brasil. The news definitely made my day, and I´m glad we´ll have a chance to spend some time together before he leaves. And all of a sudden, family reunions in the future will be held in São Paulo.
Cooper, I’ve said it once already- start learning Portuguese now! Everybody speaks well of the Campinas mission, and it´s home to the temple. I´m definitely very excited for you Porter!! Congratulations!!
I´m going to start with a culinary highlight. An old mission pal of Uncle Zach, Elder Domiciniano, serves in the branch presidency here. We´ve become acquainted and then friends over weekly Friday lunches. It helps that he´s an amateur master chef. I gave him a packet of Rudy´s sauce to use with his smoker, and he reciprocated by bringing us to I think the best barbeque I´ve had on the mission. I wish I had had a camera as it is something I´ll want to remember.
And now for the weather. Colatina continues to be home of the free steam press. We leave, start sweating buckets, and then the sun bakes the shirt. Works nicely. The locals do say that winter is coming, so we´ll see if it continues.

 

Today was yet another transfer, and I´ll be staying another in Colatina with E. Dial. We have a lot of investigators progressing so I´m excited about that.
I am so thankful that the Lord called me to serve here. I know that it is the right place. We are very excited for General Conference here. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth, and following him, we´ll never be led astray.
Love,
Elder Schenewark

Letter #82

Dear Family and Friends,

Yesterday, we accomplished the triple crown of missionary work: A confirmation, a baptism, and an ordination of a recent convert to the priesthood. We´ll be going after it again this Sunday. So the work is well in Colatina. That was the gem in a week full of them.

Tuesday we went and divided with the assistants. Their area was moved from Vitória to Jardim Limoeiro Ward in Serra. Remember that I served in Serra Ward?

Well, as night was falling we were close to the border between the two wards, and as we walked, we heard a voice calling to us, ´´Elders!´´ We doubled back to see in  the darkness, and then a familiar voice shouted “Schenewark!!!??´´ Truly a miracle. Dayani, one of my first baptisms on the mission, was visiting a friend when she saw us and called us over. I´ve long wanted to see  her again and see how she is doing, so it was definitely a tender mercy. We were able to spend a couple minutes catching up, and I was so happy to hear that while her life is still not without trials, she is firm in the gospel, and going to church every week, preparing to go to the temple. And as she reminded me, yesterday was her one year anniversary as a member (ergo, the ´´one´´ finger in the photo).

We´re preparing for yet another transfer (they keep coming faster and faster) this coming week, as well as a special fireside, to be given by us Sunday, on Tithing and Offerings. Another effort to get the district to a stake.

Love you all!

Elder Schenewark

Letter #81

Dear Family and Friends,

Tuesday we went to Vitória for a zone conference, and Thursday was a visit to Aracruz. Our bus here always leaves at 5 in the morning for Vitória,  which is so much better than in Campos! And in between, was the usual hill climbing. I am thankful, as my knees don´t hurt at all, and many missionaries have problems here in Colatina with this.

Every single week here, we have had at least five investigators at church, and this week was no different. This weekend was our District Conference with all the other branches coming into town. Saturday, Pres. Young interviewed us, and ended up buying dinner. I had an idea pop into my mind earlier in the week, and we ended up talking the whole time about this. It´s simple but not easily understood by those not serving a mission in Brasil.  I´ll just say, I´m very excited to see where it will go, as is Pres. Young, and I hope it will spread to the other missions in Brasil, as it could make a huge difference in the church here. Basically, it’s all about numbers and could be compared to baseball switching from old statistics like batting average to AOPS (adjusted on base plus slugging), which is much more efficient. The Lord is hastening his work. Here are some pictures,

Hiking up a mountain Sunday afternoon
This is where Therezinha lives Needless to say, missionaries had never visited there before. Her house address is something like Dirt Road Alley, off of Green Alley, off of Alley 25, off of Happy Street, house without number. She lives in the house in the middle, with the couch on the roof,  on the left side (the right side is a different house). She has quickly embraced the gospel, and at 53 years old, is turning her life around. She came to church yesterday, at a great sacrifice having had emergency surgery for a hernia last Sunday, but wanting to visit.

 

I´m with Francieli. We thought she was interested in us, but turns out its the gospel too. Every time we leave something for her to read she takes copious notes and is very smart. Unfortunately, she is only 14, and has to wait 3 months to be baptized, but has gone to church twice already, and even brought some friends.

Açai! with Elder Dial.

Love you all!

Elder Schenewark

Letter #80

Dear Family and Friends,

As I´m sure you guessed, everything stayed shut down here until Thursday. And Thursday we had a meeting in Vitória and therefore didn’t have the opportunity to write.

Isaiah writes, “For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Or, as it is also said, in the furnace of Colatina, As we’ve combated the heat and tiredness and many other mortal infirmities in our service here, we’ve seen some choice blessings. Last Sunday, was the baptism of Leandro and Henrique. They are both great young men and examples for me.

And yesterday, was the baptism of Melissa. We went to fill up the font Sunday morning, and to our horror, the water stopped after filling up just one inch. Turns out that the water had been shut off in the church, and we had just used everything left in the pipes. So, we marked the baptism for 6:30 at night, and in the meantime prayed fervently that the water would return. And miraculously, it did! And the service was very spiritual. We’ve started allowing the members to bear their testimonies during the interval of changing clothes, and the spirit was powerful as they were able to remember their baptism and how it changed their lives.

While being only eight at the time, I distinctly remember my baptism. I remember carefully planning each detail, with my dad baptizing me, and my grandfather confirming me. I remember designing the program and Aunt Tina giving a talk. I remember many more of the people who were there that day. And perhaps most importantly, I remember feeling the Spirit testify to me that I was clean, and pure. I remember leaving with a great desire to never ever sin again in my life.

Of course I didn’t last long. Whatever the sin was, hitting my brother or becoming angry, I don´t recall, yet I can still remember how sad I felt afterward. But the message of joy that we share each day, is that we can repent. And how thankful I am for that! We can become clean and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, and through the grace of Christ, we can be saved.

Mimi wrote a letter that I received recently saying, “Let your testimony infuse your being.” That touched me, as I thought about it medically. An infusion is given to give life, to help something live. And our testimony does the same thing. It gives us life. It gives us hope. And as we share it, we´ll be strengthened as well.

By the way, I think my return date will actually be the 27th of July, if that changes your planning.

Love,

Elder Schenewark