Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Out and About

As I ponder over the last week, we are grateful for the "good days", that allow Britten to do the things that he anticipated doing when he got home from his mission.  One of our family's favorite summertime activites is riding 4-wheelers in the mountains.  As we went with some dear friends to Bear Lake, they helped us fulfill Britten's 1st experience back on a 4-wheeler.  He was so thrilled to drive the 4-wheeler on the road for a few miles.  Then we switched places as we got up into the mountains.  He was so happy to be up in the mountains, doing what he had always enjoyed doing before.  Afterwards we enjoyed a soak in the hot pools and then some swimming.  We have been careful to not get water in his ear because of the fractures and damage there. 

As we went to the ENT this week and he gave us the OK for Britt to go swimming.  That was great news for a "State Champion" swimmer.  It has been fun watching Britten as he has given  "advice" to his little brother, Jaxon during swim lessons.  
Audiology tests determined that Britt has a mild hearing loss, and surgery can be done to correct this.
He also needs some future tests for hearing and balance, as he is dealing with dizzy spells.
Britten still continues being nauseous, so his days are not always easy.  With Speech and Physical therapy and Doctor appointments, our days continue to stay busy, even when he is not feeling well. 

Britten was so excited to meet with the High Council and share his testimony, but the Hic-ups prevented him from doing so.  The Hic-ups stayed with him for 2 days, and he was so disappointed he didn't get to report his mission.  He will get the opportunity again, in a couple of weeks.  Britten was also grateful for the opportunity to share his testimony and some of his feelings "on video" that was going to be shown at girls camp.  It is difficult for him because there are so many things he wants to say, but has a hard time being able to say them.
He shared with me what he wanted to say to the girls...He said, "He knows that God loves all of us.  He knows that God didn't make the bus hit him.  But Heavenly Father said, if something happens to you, I will be there to help you.  God will be there to help all of us through our trials."  "I believe that God allows things to happen because He knows that it is through our trials and challeges that we will become better."

I have sensed sadness in Britten the past few days and I asked him what was wrong.  He said, "Do you know what I would be doing today, if the bus hadn't hit me?"   In my mind I knew, but I let him share his feelings.  He said,  he would be packing to come home, and spending time with companions.  He feels so bad that he didn't get the chance to say his "goodbyes" to the people in Brazil, that he loves so much.  He didn't get the chance to meet with his Mission President and tell him how much he loves and respects him.  He feels bad, that he didnt get to "finish his mission."
As we talked about this, I experienced much sadness too.  Britten's life has changed.  He has alot of difficult challenges ahead of him, and yet I know he can do it.  Better yet,  he knows he can do it.  When we left for Brazil right after the accident happened, I told the Bishop, "If anyone can do this, Britten can!"  Britten has always had determination, and more importantly, great faith and trust in the Lord.
I said to Britten, "I dont know why this happened, but we have to Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding."

 We are overwhelmed with the "service" of friends and neighbors.  Just when I think the tears have run dry, another act of kindness is shown towards our family. We sincerely thank you, for your love, kindness, support, and prayers for it truely has made our burdens lighter. All our love,  Schenk family

Monday, June 18, 2012

Best Father's Day Ever

As Britten got up this morning, I asked him how he was feeling.  He replied with much enthusiasm, "I am Great! I can't see very good and my feet hurt, but I am awesome!" as he had a big smile on his face.  That was the very reason we were excited for Elder Schenk to return home the end of June.  His happy, positive, cheerful personality had been a blessing in our home....And it still is!

The past week Britten has struggled with being nauseous, and having headaches in the morning.  Then it seems to improve by afternoon.  We are grateful for "Good Afternoon's" as this allows him to do the things that he would like do.  Like... going to Young Adult Activities!  He wasn't  able to participate in most of the activities,  but just being there and being part of things, brought him much happiness. 
 Britten has enjoyed "hanging out" with his friends, talking, having pizza and watching the play-off games.  (Even though he cant watch TV) he still enjoys being part of the gang.  We are so appreciative of Great friends who have been by his side, supporting him and making sure he is included in every activity.
Last Sunday as we attended one of his good friends, "Home Coming", 
I had a hard time keeping the tears away.  I kept thinking how grateful we are to be here with our son!   And for All of Britten's awesome friends! We couldn't have asked for a better group of outstanding, fun, spiritual young men, for our son to associate with.  They all love the Lord and have served him faithfully.  We thank each one of them for blessing Britten's life, as well as our own.

It has been very interesting to sit through his sessions of Speech Therapy and see how the accident has effected his language center.  He understands for the most part what others are saying to him and can carry on a great conversation.  (He can talk for hours) Yet, he has a hard time remembering what things are called.  He struggles reading and writing and coming up with peoples names, places and things.  It is so thrilling to him and us, when he finally says a word on his own that he has been working so diligently to remember.  Doctor's have told us, "This is not a sprint. This is going to be like a  marathon."    We see small improvement each day, and just know that this is going to be a long process.   The ST says that Britten is such a delight to work with, as he is so pleasant and teachable.  

Britten has enjoyed visits from companions and friends, from the mission field.  It has been exciting to watch and listen to them as they reminisce about "The Mission"  and experiences.
To hear them share a good laugh, brought joy and delight to my soul. 

It was very heart-warming when the family of Britten's Companion, that was with him at the time of the accident, traveled a long distance to come and visit us.  Their love and concern for Britten touched our hearts, as we too, have been concerned for their son.  A wonderful evening was spent, telling stories, exchanging testimonies and sharing heart-felt hugs, as we Knew, that "our sons"  had been great companions!

As we celebrated Father's Day, and give honor to them, We also give Honor and Praise to our Father in Heaven.  We know that our Savior lives, We know that He loves us, and We know that if we rely on him, He will Always be with us.   With gratitude in our heart's, we feel very blessed as our testimony's have been strengthen through this experience.  I think that this was probably Steven's best Father's Day Ever!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

The quote, "There's no place like home", was definitely our feelings this week.  As Britten laid back in the recliner,  slept in "his" bed and soaked in a nice hot bath, he exclaimed, "this is so awesome"!  It is Great to be Home!
This past week Britten has enjoyed spending time  with his family as well as some of his friends. Many stories and memories have been shared.  Britten has what they call "Aphasia".  His Language center is what was effected, so he struggles in finding words to express himself.  We know with his "therapy's" that this will get better in time, as we have already seen improvement.

Britt continues to have good and bad days.  We are finding the "days" that are too long with too many visits, over stimulate the brain and he is left in bed the next couple of days with a headache.  So even though he might be feeling great, he still needs plenty of rest and we have to be careful to "not over due it".

His eyes are still our biggest concern, as he only has vision in 1/4 of his left eye.  He is so positive about his situation though, and if you ask him about it he will tell you, "That he has to be patient and wait, because he Knows that his eye sight will return.  Britten has been blessed from a young age, with great Faith, and also a tender love for his Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Sunday morning Elder Schenk woke up with Great Anticipation to go to church and meet with our Stake President.  He was so thrilled when he put his suit and tie on for the first time in 2 1/2 months.  Then when he placed his name badge  "Elder Schenk" on, his face radiated with joy.  We were so thrilled to be walking through the chapel doors, as many greeted him home.  Our hearts were filled with the Spirit as we listened to many share their testimony's.  Elder Schenk poked me and said, "Mom, will you go up there with me?"  My heart skipped several beats.  The thought had never crossed my mind, that he would walk up to the pulpit and bear his testimony.  I had a hard time containing the tears as his older brother Logan took his arm and walked by his side up to the front of the chapel. 
A short, sweet  testimony was shared.  The words were not perfect and He repeat himself three times.  But, the message repeated was Perfect.   He said,  "I know that my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me".   Nothing more needed to be said.  It was a pure, beautiful testimony.
After Sacrament Meeting, the Stake President came and greeted Elder Schenk.  Tears filled their eyes as they embraced.  The Stake President put his arm around him as they walked down the hall to his office.  What a beautiful, miraculous sight we witnessed.
Our Sabbath day was a most beautiful, Holy day.  The spirit filled our hearts and home with gratitude.
                I would like to share a quote by Elder Schenk, that I found in his journal.

"It doesn't matter what has happened to us in the past, but rather who we are today because of what happened."  
- Britten S. Schenk