Since the USHA Conference, Britten has had the privilege to speak at many functions, including firesides. His most memorable and touching experience is when he talked at a "lock down facility" for boys.
This facility was for troubled boys who have had a very difficult and trying childhood. Britten was asked if he would come and share "his story" and give hope and encouragement to these young boys. But...He was told that he couldn't talk about his religion or mention Jesus Christ. He could talk about a higher being, but he could not talk about Christ.
We feel the Lords hand in everything we do, as we were thrilled when they (the facility) allowed us to show a short video of Britten's recovery. The video included Britten on his mission, individuals he had baptized (with a picture of Jesus Christ in the background), missionary companions, while church music played in the background.
The spirit that was felt that afternoon was sweet and moved many to tears as Britt gave hope and encouragement to all that was there.
The Boys were drawn to Britt, an individual they didn't know, but they felt a connection with him because of the challenges and trials he was overcoming himself. His message of "shake it off, take a step up and don't give up" was encouraging to them.
Britt explained, "Life is going to shovel dirt on us...all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the deep hole is to "shake it off, and take a step up". Each one of our troubles and challenges are stepping stones. We can get out of the deepest hole...just by not stopping....never giving up. Shake it off and take a step up. Attitude is everything!
Afterwards many boys came up to Britten, and they were thrilled as Britten gave them all high-fives, handshakes and hugs. Soon more boys were lining up the aisle with pen and paper in hand to get Britten's autograph. Britten, myself, teachers and administrators all smiled at the sight we witnessed. Britten had touched these boys in a way that they felt like there was hope for them and they were loved.
As we left the facility that day, Britten looked at me and said, " I know now what Heavenly Father wants me to do with my life. He wants me to give people hope and encouragement and let them know, if I can do it, so can you!" A feeling of accomplishment and joy filled both our souls.
Therapist's who know about aphasia and the difficultly of one speaking in public, are inspired at how well Britten speaks. We are all amazed at his fluency, his sincerity, his sense of humor, and how well he can carry his train of thought. It truly is a blessing!
What others don't realize is, that he has to practice for hours and hours to memorize what he is saying. He has to prepare himself and practice, practice, practice. BUT...It is so rewarding for him.
Two weeks after speaking at the lock down facility, Britt received a big envelope in the mail containing letters from many of these boys. Britt was thrilled as he opened them and read each one individually.
"You have inspired me to expand my beliefs and learn to appreciate the gift of living, as well as what the Father has done for us. I want to thank you for showing me that it is okay to trust, as well as being a forgiving person. You have taught me to see the light at the end of the tunnel and have faith in others."
Britten, "I learned a lot from your story including how to forgive. When I return home, I plan to be baptized into the LDS church. Your story just reconfirmed my faith."
Britten has accepted his "new life" and has found happiness in it. He finds happiness everyday as he lives his life the best he can, and share's that same happiness with all those around him.
Pres. Uchdorf said, "Happiness is the destination, but it is also the path".
Britten shares this quote at fireside's and testifies that he knows this statement is true. He has been able to find happiness despite all the challenges he has had.
When we arrived in Brazil on March 20, 2012, we were told that Britten wouldn't survive, there was nothing they could do for him. But through divine intervention, acknowledged by doctors and most of those involved, we witnessed a miracle!
For Steven and I, it was as if the Lord said, "Elder Schenk, take up they bed and walk...thou hast unfinished work to do."
We are grateful that Britten has been able to carry on the work that he so loves, and lift those around him as he shares his story of hard work, determination, positive attitude, hope, faith and miracles.
We feel it has been our privilege as a family, and also our responsibility, to share Britten's story and testify of the miracles.
We know that He lives! He loves all of us! He hears and answers all our prayers, in His own time and way! We are so grateful to Him for His Infinite Mercy and Miracles in Britten's behalf.
Steven & Karla