Thursday, April 12, 2012

Challenges and Trials

Today Elder Schenk is doing really well. He continues to try new foods and his physical therapy is going well. We know he has a long way to go, but we know he is making great strides every day.

We would like to share an email that Elder Schenk sent to our family a few months ago. It just goes to show what kind of a man he has become while serving the lord and the people of Brazil.

Hey family,
    My companion and I were really bummed out cause we had been working so hard and good these last three weeks, especially this week, and then everything fell through. Last night as we were lying down at home, I was really thinking about this. Why would all of this happen, almost everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong, even though we are being so obedient and working hard. As I was thinking, I realized why.  
    Even though in our lives, when it seems we´re doing so good, and working so hard, and being so righteous, there are challenges. Because as we are doing what is right, yes, we are doing good.  But there is no way to continually get better. There have to be challenges and trials in our lives, to make us rise just a little higher, do just a little better. It is those challenges and trials that shape who we are, and depending on how we react to them, we can become even better and stronger and more prepared.
    Just like in swimming. I learned a lot of things from my swim coach, but one of them that I will always remember that she taught is about this subject. She taught, "You can swim really good, and have a great technique, but if you don´t feel pain or push yourself to above what you can handle, you won´t get any better. Yes, you will still be a good swimmer with good technique, but unless you push yourself above the limits and make yourself feel pain, you can´t become better, and therefore you can´t be the best you can be."
    There is a famous quote that says this: "Just as a gem cannot be polished without friction, and man cannot be perfected without trials."
    Challenges and trials are a part of this life. We agreed that they would be a part when we accepted Christ´s plan. I don´t believe that God makes those things happen to us, but He allows them to happen because He knows that it is through those challenges and trials that we will become better, and that we can become the best we can.
    And the same thing applies here in my mission. It seems like this area is one of these huge challenges and trials. But because of them I´m becoming a better missionary and I´m more prepared for life after.
Love you so much!
Elder Schenk


  1. Love that letter! It truly shows the type of heart and soul Elder Schenk has always had. He is a winner in every way! He's never backed down from challenges and he won't now. So proud of him. Miss you all...
    Love, The Stoddards

  2. I just love that young mans attitude. He does everything that way. Keep up the great work Britten, we love you!! Keep smiling, as we all are.
    Love, David, Mary and all the kids..

  3. I think Elder Schenk has knowledge and wisdom beyond his years! He is terrific! Love you Britten! Keep getting healthy.

  4. Just wanted you to know that we too are praying for your return to health. It seems in your letter home that your were actually mentally,spiritually and unknowingly preparing yourself for this trial in your life. While working at the St. Louis temple, I met a remarkable young woman who is paralyzed. She attends once a month to do initiatories and an endowment session. She is the most positive person. She has a blogspot and loves to hear from people. After all she has gone through she has such a positive bright and happy attitude. She attributes this to her faith and knowledge of the gospel. You might enjoy reading her blogs. It is called paralyzedwithjoy.blogspot.
    We keep your parents and family in our prayers as well.
    We Love you, Bob and Carol Ann Valentine



  6. Elder Cole Squire's family -
    What a great letter. Now we know why Elder Squires loves him so much. He asked us again this week to be sure to pray for Elder Schenk. I know we all are still praying for him and this experience has truly affected our whole family. Now hopefully, we can all just continue to find joy in every little step that is made. Elder Squires said he really enjoyed the visit he had with you. He said you are awesome people and he now knows why Elder Schenk is such a great person. He also said that you are handling thing better than he expected. You are great examples to him and all the missionaries there, as well as all of us around the world. I know you are super envolved but if you could just take a minute, when you have time, to tell us how he seemed when you met with him, we would truly appreciate it. I know he has truly been affected by this experience and of course we as a family worry about him. My email is: You are incredible people who we have grown to love so much. Elder Schenk continue to work hard and do your physical therapy as they recommend because I know from experience that that is the road to your recovery and healing. We love all of you and continually pray for each one of you and know the Lord is blessing you to have the strength to continue on each day. Love, Aunt Kathy and the rest of the our family

  7. He was prepared for what happened! He is strong and his faith is huge! I am glad that our prayers have being answered! Wish all of you the best. Love, Janaína from Sao Paulo

  8. Dear Steve, Karla and Family,
    Thank you so much for sharing Britt's testimony. I always knew he would be an outstanding man, and I'm grateful to you for sharing those tender insights. Please know that you are all continually in our thoughts and prayers. We love you.
    The Brady's

  9. We keep thinking about Britt swimming backstroke fast and strong and athletic and after reading this blog I am thinking in pain! It is that strong young man that we know is awakening. We are still praying for you.
    Kim, Susan, and Spencer

  10. What a special son you have. Our prayers are with you. Laura McGregor is my sister-in-law and she gives regular updates. We are cheering for you and Britten.

  11. I've been following Britten's blog since his accident. I'm actually a cousin to Janice Andreasen (I'm Uncle Wayne's daughter) and a co-worker of Cody Johnson's so I know your family in 2 different ways. Britten has been in my thoughts and prayers and I am thrilled by his progress and am inspired the faith of your whole family. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts and experiences through this trial.

    This letter by Britten is beautifully written and an answer to my prayers. Thank you so much for posting it. Love, Carol Hubbard McDonald

  12. "Remember you are greatest
    When you walk with God
    When his light is in your eyes
    You are truly strong
    You don't have to prove your beauty
    In the eyes of men
    You are divine within
    You were sent here to become like him".

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  14. Dear Schenk family,
    Thank you first of all for sharing this challenge and the experiences you are having with us at home. You all are so loved and admired by so many different communities. Please know that we add our love and prayers for your family to the many others that are also being offered. These are challenges that alter your lives and have such a great impact on the lives of many others. We watch your faith, your hope and how brave you are and learn from you. I believe that there is power in united prayer and we that are following your blog have seen that power in action.

    We will continue to pray and send our love to you.
    Corrie and Ken Holloway

  15. I need to correct an address I gave in my comment last night. It is
    This is about Heather Johnson and she is a totally amazing young woman. Sorry for the goof up.
    Carol Valentine

  16. Wow. What an amazing letter! I really needed to hear that. So proud of him and his optimistic attitude about everything. Love you all so much!!

  17. Thankyou for allowing our family to witness the miracles in your family! We are pryaing for your sweet missionary daily! What a blessing to be able to show my children then power their prayers can have on a complete stranger. What an amazing man Elder Schenk is. Thanks you for this sweet letter and testimony. It was definately something I needed to hear. We love & pray for you! unknown Hyde Park neighbors!