Monday, December 26, 2011

Well, what an incredible day it was yesterday. We spent the day with members, and a few people we´re teaching, and opened a few presents, oh - but you want to know the best part of the day: talking to my DARLING family! I had to wait during most of the day, then an hour with Sister Petersen´s family (which was pretty fun) and then, my dear parents, siblings and nieces/nephews. That was so great. I really liked hearing everyone´s voice and getting to laugh so much with my fam. I think I forgot just how much we like to laugh. But it was good to remember that all that still exists. (all that meaning our family, and our house, and BYU etc.) Have I mentioned that I LOVE Christmas?

Actually in Brazil, the 24th is a bigger day than the 25th. When we were invited to have a Christmas dinner, we were under the impression that it would be on Sunday, but we found out that -unfortunately- it was Saturday, so we missed out on a few visits, but we ended up with Suelen and Dhefeson (two people we´re teaching) who made a little chicken, with a salad of boiled potatoes, carrots, macaroni, raisins, and a few other things. She also made a savory souffle and this fried sweet bread. It was all pretty delicious. We had a good little time. Actually this week was kind of interesting because Sister Petersen was a little under the weather, so we ended up going to the hospital to get her checked out with a prescription for a little viral infection. So we took it easy a little. But I´m excited to just get back to working on a more regular schedule. (and about the transfer, Sister Petersen had an issue with someone she´d been teaching, so she got taken out. but fortunately -for me- she didn´t have to go too far.)

Last night we went to the Sisters´s house in another area where we exchanged presents of `secret friend`and `secret enemy.` We had a good little breakfast and then a zone activity where we had another little secret Santa with the Elders. It was fun. I got a little stuffed monkey that makes noise from an Elder C. Ferreira. Hilarious. We also all got blessings from the zone leaders for the year 2012. It was really special. I am excited for this year and the great things that are going to happen. I had this great realization this week of how Jesus Christ really is the center of everything. In D&C 20 it says that we need to love and serve our Heavenly Father with all our might mind and strength. And when we do that, we can be purified and I think see more clearly. So we´re here on earth to love and serve our Heavenly Father, but then - we NEED Jesus Cristo because without Him . . . there´s no point. Nothing has a point. Anyway, that made celebrating His birthday a little more special for me.

I am so grateful to have had this special little Natal on the missão. It has been an interesting little experience, but I really just like teaching and finding those that want to make the changes necessary to come unto Christ.

love love love (and happy happy new year for 2012)
Sister Cornwall

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011
Merry Merry MERRY Christmas.

It has been QUITE a week. I´m pretty sure the biggest news is that the darling Sister at my side . . . is the darling Sister Petersen. That´s right, we´re together again [from the MTC]. It has been great. There was an emergency transfer and so my darling dearest Sister C. Silva went to Sumaré (still in our zone, the district next to ours) and I get to have Sister Petersen all to myself. I am feeling so much gratitude for the circumstances that put us in Candeais together. (And yes, Sister C. Silva was slightly heartbroken.) But I can already see how the Lord is fully taking advantage of this opportunity to be together.
We have been catching up on the past 7 months of our mission, and celebrated 9 MONTHS of the mission on the same day. It has been great to teach with her, to study with her, to get her fresh point of view on things . . . and it´s not even been a week yet! There are going to be some great things happening around here (if we can get to bed on time instead of talking and laughing.)
But we also had two Christmas activities of the ward and the stake. Our ward party was a lovely dinner (rice, macaroni, farofa, chicken, salad, fruit) and there were a ton of people there. Unfortunately the activity didn´t end up starting until 9:00 (woopsies) and we got home rather late . . . and had 19 missed calls from the other duplas of missionaries (double woopsies) but it all turned out great.
Saturday we had the Stake Cantata where every Primary put on a little musical number, and the Stake choir, and the darling missionaries of the Stake Vitoria da Conquista. Yup. We did The First Noel, and it was lovely. (Also, Sister Petersen and I have been singing up a storm, during Sacrament Meeting a lovely Christmas medley, and today when we dropped off the presents the Relief Society had donated to a little nursery school and in all our lunch mensagens [errands or messages?]. We are going to take advantage of Christmas and how much we both like to sing.)

We had a great Sunday where Suelen (who´s getting married Jan 6 and baptized Jan 7) AND Dhefeson came. Plus Alan, who - when we arrived Sunday morning - was in pajamas, but ran around to get ready. We are going to have a "white" Christmas.
I am so in love with this work. I am so in love with this gospel. It is perfect, and unfortunately I think too many people simply don´t want to understand . . . because that would mean they´d have to change. But it´s not us that´s asking, we´re just trying to help you figure out what your Father in Heaven wants of you. He loves us so, so much, and I´m so grateful to be able to celebrate this week.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Christmas . . . quase [nearly/almost],

We had a great -though confusing- week last week. We were a little thrown off because of the changes, but it was a good little week. We worked Monday and Tuesday - without too, too much success. Wednesday we had P-day and a great activity in Morada Real with the zona. We had a water balloon volleyball toss! Fortunately it was pretty hot, so it was nice and satisfying. It was super, super fun. We have grown so close in this zone, and unfortunately several people are leaving (I´m staying - hooray!) and that´s kind of sad to see things breaking up, but that´s the way it goes. Wednesday we found a great family - two of the kids have already gone to church one time, and they are really great people. They took a little trip, but we´ll talk to them tomorrow. We have so many great people that are getting close to make promises with Heavenly Father, but we are going to have to work incredibly hard to get everything worked out, but I´m feeling excited.

Anyway, Wednesday all the Sisters got together in one apartment. We had a little sleepover, but didn´t end up sleeping. The bus was supposed to arrive 2am, so it wasn´t even worth trying to sleep. Unfortunately it didn´t arrive until 4, and then from 4 to 7/8 ish, our dear Elders decided to sing . . . every hymn, every primary song, and every mildly appropriate other music that they all knew. It was ridiculous. But we arrived and had a great day. We had a little breakfast, talked with all the other missionaries that we haven´t seen in a while, which was GREAT. It has been so fun to gradually get to know other missionaries and to be able to have the chance to catch up on how they all are. We had a talent show (in which we participated, and I have a video, but you´ll have to wait a little bit to see it.) It kind of lasted forever and was full of every little mission music, skit, etc. But it was great. We had a grandiose lunch, and then watched the Christmas Devotional (which was unfortunately when those hours of singing and not sleeping hit me.) And then we had a little program where we all read the scriptures from the Book of Mormon and the Bible and sang the hymns. It was really touching, and then quick testimonies about the Savior. Sister Vecchi had prepared little gifts for each of us, and then we got on the bus again. We came home around midnight, and hit the sack. We had reunião de distrito [district meeting] Thursday morning. Everyone was pretty dead. But the great thing about being inadequate is that it gives the Lord more opportunities to help you out, and that is great. I felt so strongly love for my Savior, and gratitude for this time, and for my family and for everything that we have to be grateful for. Suffice it to say, I sort of LOVE Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

We are going to work a lot this week, and I´m going to try and live out as many Christmas traditions as I can.

I am so grateful for the power of the Atonement to help us out even with silly things like being tired, or feeling anxious to start a new transfer. Our Heavenly Father is very kind.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

I got your PACKAGE. And I opened it. I put the presents under our little tree, and I put up the decorations and I think you guys are great. Thank you. Also Dad, I loved the pictures of our house. Thank you. And mom, oh how I wish I was in your seminary class. You are incredible. And as far as Christmas Day, I think we´re about 5 hours off (daylight savings, etc) but I think that maybe 5/6 [pm] our time 12/1 your time would be good [to call]. And I´ll get the Skype/gmail details from our member. Love you guys! Rach

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It seems like quite a while since we´ve had a P day. It was a bit of an adjustment going the extra 2 days without some preparation time, but we did it. (And don´t worry, I thoroughly prepared myself with a little more time with my eyes shut in bed.)

This past week was quite a full one. Last Tuesday and Wednesday we had a division with the Sisters of the Brasil Ward (yes, yes, there´s a neighborhood `Brasil`in the country Brasil... hilarious.) It was an interesting few days. I have gotten so used to knowing practically everyone on the street, and the names of all the streets, and the schedules of the members, and the pesquisadores [investigators], and how to do things that it was interesting to be in foreign territory. I think the most valuable lesson I learned there was - gratitude. I love Alto Maron, I love Bispo Carlos Adarlon, and I love how Sister C. Silva and I work. When she arrived I was determined to do everything certinho [just right]. I wanted to wake up on time, set our goals before planning, work hard, be effective, and I realized that . . . not everyone necessarily follows that same regime. Just sayin.

We have been so incredible blessed, and Bispo is getting excited about the FAMILIES we are teaching, and also the various individuals coming out of the woodwork in the ala [area of] Candeias . There is a certain and undeniable relationship between - keep my commandments, and - prosper in the land. We just have to do it. There isn´t any sneaky way to get results with the Lord, there are no curve balls or short cuts - just do what needs to get done. I think that is sometimes what´s so hard about living the gospel of Jesus Christ in this modern world - we want to do things faster and better and with less effort but . . . that´s not necessarily how the Lord works. I got a little frustrated this week with people not fulfilling commitments - for no good reason. People! Come on! But I´m hoping that this is a good point for the Lord to bless me with a deeper love for these people.

I´ve been reading in the war chapters recently in the Book of Mormon, and it has been interesting to note how very valid those chapters really are in our world. I felt a little bit like a warrior myself these days; everyday I get excited to go and talk to these people and get them excited and prepared to live with their Father in Heaven forever, and I get a little shot down, and at the end of the day I end up thinking, `there is no way I`m going back to do the same thing again tomorrow.` But then I study and pray and realize, wow, this is an important cause, and a battle, and I can´t back down. So we go out and do the same thing, recognizing all the many small victories the Lord gives us. The great thing is - we know He´s going to win. It doesn´t matter the setbacks, the Lord is going to win in the end, so we just need to trust in the legions of angels behind us, and remember for whom/why we´re fighting.

We had a neat and simple experience that pulled together lots of mini happenings and proved that the Lord has a plan to me: first, passing a less active couple with Bispo 2 months ago; second, a man on the street telling me he´s a member (greeeat, why have I never seen you at church, huh?) and finally knocking quite randomly on the door of the mother of a less active.

So, after very, very little success and a quick prayer we decided to go pass by this family, and it didn´t seem like they were home. But then they answered - fortunately I knew which house it was, and the husband was that random guy on the street, and they needed a visit. We sang some hymns left as message, and when Pâmela gave the closing prayer, she just wept as she talked about how badly she needs to come back to church. Valnei (the husband) said he´d go back, and I left feeling very grateful to the Lord for being so good and so wise and so merciful to his little missionaries.

I love this work. It is a battle, I won´t pretend to deny that, but I know that it´s right, and worthwhile.

love, love, love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, December 5, 2011

I´m just popping in quickly to let you know that this week our 'p' day got changed to Wednesday this week (because we have a Christmas conference on Thursday!) It was a good, ever-interesting week, and I´ll send on more Wednesday.

Love you a lot, until Wednesday, Rach

This morning, Sister Cornwall's parents received the above e-mail. So, look for another post mid-week. In the mean time, a USPS letter was received this past week. Sister Cornwall's mother typed it up for all to enjoy below.


October 24, 2011

Hello, Hello:

Sorry for the slight dearth; the letter carriers/post office was on strike, so I held off until they decided to go back to get my dear letter to my dear family. I hope that all is well with each member of the family and that everyone is faithful and true to their covenants. I am feeling so incredibly grateful and blessed to be here. Missions are such an interesting microcosm of our life here on earth; we’re here to serve others as our primary priority, but in turn we learn immensely to prepare to return to our Father. I will forever be grateful that the Lord allowed me to serve a mission. The Lord is the MASTER teacher; He knows how to heal our lives and our hearts. He knows what it is to hurt and ache and want to get out. He knows. But more importantly, He knows what it is to love and to give and to reap the happiness that comes when we do just that.

I taught my first (and possibly last) atheist this week. (There aren’t that many in Brazil). I was slightly intrigued, I’ll admit it. He talked about how, because of science, he no longer believes in God (just so you know he was about 30, in gym shorts with converse, a large belly and a dainty mug of coffee). I asked him what he thought the purpose of life was: to study; and what’s the purpose of studying; to go to college; and what’s the purpose of college; to study. Friends, I don’t know that he was the most intelligent atheist I’ve ever met BUT - for me, That is no purpose, to live, die and have an end. Nope - we’re worth so much MORE than that. Plus, he didn’t appear very happy . . . at all. I figure if anything, my life is living proof for me that there is most certainly a plan of HAPPINESS that exists. I’m happy because of my testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ. And that is good enough for me.

And now for all the juicy details [for which Sister Cornwall's mother has been pressing her to share]; I’ll just run through the day including all the details I can. First thing, we’re woken up by the cell phone. I spend a few minutes in the bathroom before prayers. Sister de Assis [previous companion to current greenie] takes a (long) shower while I exercise (usually a bit of aerobics in our front room with stretching and some strength training). Then I take a shower (usually singing hymns) and get dressed to eat breakfast (oatmeal with powdered milk; banana sandwich in the sandwich maker; other hot cereal options that only exist in Brasil). Then we study separately for an hour (usually the plan is ½ hour Book of Mormon, ½ hour Preach My Gospel). Then together we write out lesson plans, study a little and read the white handbook. After a little more prep time we go to lunch. About 99% of the meals have rice and beans. There’s also farinha [flour substance] (which goes on top) of meat. Rotisserie chicken is popular - as is red meat. Pimento is popular as well. I like a bit on my food. After lunch we usually have a couple of people who are home in the early afternoon and just about everyday we knock doors, which I like. As we’re working in Alto Maron, there are too many intercom systems - which is great (I get so jaded when people try an receive a lesson via intercom - it’s ridiculous. Just come to the door!) Anyway, a good number of people are receptive. Though there are a lot of people that attend Nora Siao (New Zion . . . . I know right?) I have nothing against these people, but unfortunately the leaders of the church have little classes against the Mormon Church . . . . and some think we don’t believe in Jesus Christ. But we do. The faith of these people is incredible. Unfortunately there are a few things that have become part of Bahian culture. For instance “If God wants, I’ll go to church.” But they’re not actually talking about God, it’s just a saying. Usually we get a little shock from “so mana" = just manna.

Also, there’s something called “pao de queijo” which means cheese bread. It’s pretty much a denser kind of popover with cheese on top. Some days it changes, but it gives us a little energy and a little break. At night more of our investigators are home. Our group of teaching is constantly changing. There are the regulars that stay in the group (people that need to get married, parents won’t allow, parents of members that are partially interested.) We have started singing hymns at the beginning of our lessons. I had to overcome a little Vergorba [?], but it certainly brings the Spirit. I love teaching. I love talking to the person for the first time and seeing how they’ll respond to the message. I have grown to love Joseph Smith as I talk about him daily. (“There was a young man that lived in 1821.”) Most people accept praying about Joseph, but many people have already been baptized. (In the Catholic church usually). But most people have a lot of respect for the work we’re doing. And Portuguese is just lovely. I rarely have problems understanding (though Sister de Assis does most of the talking on the phone thankfully.)

There are a lot of little old ladies and the women work so hard. They wash clothes by hand, make almoco (lunch) every day. It’s a good thing to see. It’s a lot more normal than life in Salvador, but it’s a blessing. We get home 9:00 or 9:30, we say good night to the porteiro (the guy who lets people into the condominium) and we plan - first thing. Sometimes we plan in the kitchen when we’re particularly hungry. We give our numbers to the Elders every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday night. When it’s hot we usually take a shower at night. I use sunblock most days because for some reason the sun in Conquista just gives me more freckles instead of getting tanner. So I use it. I try and write in my journal every night, but I haven’t been quite as faithful in Candias. But I still account for each day. I am convinced that our planner is the KEY to our success as missionaries. It has our schedule as well as all the contact information of the people we meet on the street that show interest.

I daresay my feet suffer most. I don’t have too many problems but lots of calluses and sore spots and lots of dirt, but I’m incredibly blessed. My first pair of sandals already broke but another sister (same size) had a pair she said she’d never use. That was a huge blessing and I still haven’t bought any clothes. I’m getting a little tired of my clothes (suffice it to say) but sometimes it’s nice to just put on clothes and not care if they are becoming or not.

It’s funny because I’ve talked to a few other missionaries about this idea that your “real life” seems to be more and more of a dream. My clothes seem very strange from before. And yes, the idea of jeans is weird. Even for service projects, we use shorts just because it’s hot.

Presently I’m reading the end of Jesus the Christ and I’m just about through with the four Gospels. There’s so much to do and read and understand and so we just do a little everyday. I’m so grateful for the incredible lessons the Lord is able to teach us. I am so grateful to be the Lord’s missionary. It is an incredible privilege.

I miss you dearly. Thank you my lovely parents. You’re the best.

Love you,
Rach

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hello hello!

It has been a wonderful week. Yes, Celia and Carlos were married and baptized! It was wonderful, simple, and I am thrilled. The Ward helped so so much, and it really was a success for everyone. I am so grateful for the persistence and love that everyone showed so that we could arrive Saturday and have a lovely day.

One of the best parts was that Presidente and Sister Vecchi visited our ala [Ward-?]Sunday - to see these two great people be confirmed. It was really, really nice to have them see the work of so many. Presidente came to do interviews with us, and -as always - it was great to see him. Our little Thanksgiving banquet that we had today [Monday, Nov. 28] was lovely. Truly. I will say that I was slightly surprised. 10 elders trying to put together a Thanksgiving meal was truly entertaining, and we thoroughly enjoyed the day together. We made rolls, and they turned out . . .alright. They didńt quite rise right, but wére going to blame that on the cold and the tricky oven. Oh well, most of them were eaten (we made 48 for 17 people.) Presidente bought a few rotisserie chickens, an Elder from Idaho made mashed potatoes, and some form of gravy, we had a version of stuffing, some liquidy jello, rice, macaroni, salad, and mini pies of pumpkin and brigadeiro (a popular chocolate caramel sort of thing with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate powder). It was quite nice. Presidente ate with us and yes, we talked about iphones, and ipads, and Kneaders and Maglebys and Utah State etc. I love Presidente, and I love all the other missionaries. It was a really good moment to relax a little and prepare for the second to last week of the transfer! I cańt believe it. The end of the year is coming, and we still have so much work to do.

We were so incredibly blessed this week. We wanted to reach all the standards of the mission (with number of lessons, news etc.) and during the day - each day - I thought, `nossa [ours-?], this day is NOT going all that well', but at the end of the day (and week) I looked back and realized that really things went rather well, that the Lord blessed us immensely, and that it́s possible to get done what needs to get done just getting around to doing it in the best form we possibly can. I am hoping that this is a simile for the mission inteira [entire]. That even though right now Ím not feeling like the results or fruits are being seen of the work wére putting in, but looking back I`ll be able to see the hand of the Lord in all that we did. I know that life as well is a bit like that; we work every day, not knowing if it́s even going to make a difference, but then we arrive and we see - wow, Íve actually done something here. (I am REALLY hoping that that is what ends up happening. we love and teach these people, and we try and give them every opportunity possible, but they decide it́s not what they want. that they dońt want to change, or make the effort. BUT YOU DON`T KNOW WHAT YOU`RE MISSING!!!! have I mentioned Baianos [people of the state of Bahia] are a little famous for being lazy? But that doesńt matter, it́s still possible.)

I have a great deal of hope for everything that́s going to happen from here on out. Miracles are going to happen (are happening) and wére going to see the hand of the Lord (we are seeing it!) So if yoúre feeling a little like your day in, day out is not adding up to much, you know what you should do? Trust in the Lord, seek His guidance, and then do everything to make things work. This life is great, and unique, and it is where wéll find eternal happiness. Yessss! Wére teaching some great people, and Ím excited for the month of December (some pretty great things are going to happen . . . )

I love this gospel. I am thankful for the infinite power of love, for the words of our leaders (prophets!) and for the opportunity to repent, to change, to be better. I am thankful for my daaarling family, and for their good example, and for the chance to be serving the Lord in this crazy world.

I hope that all is well (and that yoúre all getting pretty thrilled for Christmas, I know I am.)

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, November 21, 2011

The "e-mail" this week consisted of a few lines of "chatting" between Sister Cornwall and her Mom on various issues. Below are some snippets that may be of general interest.

Sister Cornwall has a regulated amount of time on the computer once each week. This very limited block of time allows her to read all e-mails received in the previous week AND for writing and sending her e-mail(s).
With Sister Cornwall's letter getting shorter and shorter it is probably the case that on weeks with several incoming e-mails to read there is not much time for Sister Cornwall to type an outgoing letter. To allow Sister Cornwall plenty of time to share as much as possible each week it may be a good idea to send chatty, lengthy letters via USPS and keep e-mails somewhat short and to the point. Then we can all benefit from hearing more about her day to day activities and feelings.
_____________________

... hooray for Kevin [Misrahe, on hearing of his mission to Milan] ! Goodness, that is the BEST thing he could possibly do. I love missions. and happy holidays by the way. We were going to have a Thanksgiving party today... it́s strange to think that those things are happening.
_____________________

Guess what, we ate lunch with the family that wéll eat lunch with Christmas . . . and we may or may not have discussed a few details about that special day.

______________________

They [the family with whom we will spend Christmas] do [have a computer] . . . and yes, Skype is most certainly an option! Ím not sure about the details of the day, but wéll probably spend a good portion of the day there. Theýre probably one of my favorite families in the ward.

_______________________

I miss you guys. and can you tell Dad how grateful I am for him? I hear about too many fathers that are too irresponsible, too uncaring, too unfaithful. and I will always be grateful for my incredible father. Thank you most sincerely.

_______________________

Herés a little letter...:

I cańt seem to get a hold on these weeks. They are just falling away, and the year is nearing an end - but we have a lot to do before that point.

Okay, Celia and Carlos wereńt baptized (nor married) this week. All that will happen Saturday. It is a big deal!!! We worked incredibly hard this week and improved in ways I never have on my mission. We made leaps and strides in our little numbers, and tried to be very, very united with the rest of our district. I know that the Lord recognizes our efforts and that He is always trying to give us everything He can to help us. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow. To make mistakes and get better!

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, November 14, 2011

Olá,

This week we were . . . working harder than ever you could say. We have had some good experiences, and - if you believe it - a few more experiences that were difficult. First of all, it was raining. A lot. I wore two sweaters, and tights and close toed shoes. And we used an umbrella the entire day. Plus this month there are a ton of holidays. Suffice it to say that I needed a little reprimanding when I got cynical and was lacking faith. But the incredible thing is, there is always room to go up. There were times this week where I thought that there is not a chance for these people! They are stubborn and ignorant with closed hearts (sorry Conquista!) but guess what - it´s not about those people, it´s not even about me! There is something truly great and inspiring and uplifting knowing that our Father in Heaven has a handle on this work. We talked a little bit about some of the churches that talk against the [LDS] church. Unfortunately. They even talk about the dangers of these two little missionaries. I know, we are pretty frightening. But the thing that is incredible, is that we´re not alone. Those that don´t have very nice things to say aren´t against the frankly pathetic work of these two young women; they KNOW that there are legions working with us. And what´s more, the inimigo [enemy] knows. It´s incredible that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ opens our vision. We are capable of SO much more. More peace, more happiness, more strength, more confidence.

If you believe in God, I mean, if you´re really going to believe in some mighty being that watches over us, that is all omnipotent and that truly guides our paths, why not let him be everything? Why NOT let Him provide you with the power to to more with your life?

I thought a lot about faith this past week. (perhaps because I was lacking slightly.) And I know that maybe faith seems like this blind, flimsy motive that can deceive us into letting horrible things happen. (believe me, I´ve already pondered this unfortunate possibility.) But then - then - when I seek to have faith, to just allow my Heavenly Father to have more influence, believing that He´s aware of my situation - something happens. There´s more peace, and purpose and calm. I need to let Him play a more significant role in my life. I´m not capable of getting through this work (and the rest of my life) alone. A few wise individuals this week enlightened me regarding the relationship between faith, hope and charity (fé, esperança e caridade) and how amor [love] is the force that God works by. And yet we´re grounded by our faith and our hope in what´s going to come. I´m so grateful.

We´re hoping for a casamento [marriage] AND a batismo. I would love for you to include Celia and Carlos in your prayers. This week is important.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, November 7, 2011



Dear family and friends,

It was quite the week. I went to Salvador Monday night and arrived Tuesday for a training. We had pancakes and Burger King to show what a privilege it is. Suffice it to say I was feeling very small. But I'm grateful for the things I´m learning. There were a few events this week where I made errors. Misjudgments. But it´s a good thing we´re here in this life to learn. We worked hard this week, and we´re trying to put everything together. I´m grateful for this added consciousness to reevaluate how I act as a missionary and to get some things in line.
So, Sister C. Silva is my companion. She´s from the interior of São Paulo and she´s a dear. She is very calm and really is liking the work. I´m being a little tougher than I think I´d anticipated, but I just want her to learn how to work. I want her to see the beauty of this work, and the goodness of the Lord. I´m working out feeling the responsibility and turning more to Lord considering I no longer have a companheira older than I am to turn to.
I know that our Father in Heaven loves us. He wants us to learn and be better, and sometimes we need to struggle a little bit to arrive. We are hoping for a couple of weddings in the near future, which is great because it will lead to baptism.

How grateful I am for a Savior that literally gave His life. He wants to help us carry our burdens and He wants us feel happiness. This life is the time to work these kinds of things out. Also, I know the family is the way to make it happen. How grateful I am for my family . . . and for prayer, and the sacrament. This is the fullness of the gospel. It is good.

love love love,
sister cornwall

P.S. And your package arrived!!! with granola bars and post its. so there´s hope!

Monday, October 31, 2011

My my my,

I feel like I start every letter the same, but missions are kind of like that. This week was a little doida [crazy]. It was the last week of this transfer period, and the end of the month, so all of our goals were waiting patiently to be met. Sister de Assis and I grew even closer this week. So let me just lay it out for you; we have goals of how many lessons wére going to teach, how many new people wére going to teach during the week, and yes, we have goals for baptisms. (This may be a point of confusion or controversy, but just know that we need measures that will gauge our work, as well as motivation to change the lives of these people for the better. We decide the number according to what we feel is just, and the Lord helps us find the people that will receive the blessings of these goals.) We have been teaching some incredible people, truly, but we were looking - without much faith on my end - to see who was prepared to make this covenant with our Heavenly Father. Well, Celia and Carlos didńt get married this week (no marriage = no batismo) so we decided to visit Rodrigo and Diogo. We taught them a pretty straightforward lesson on the lei de castidade [law of chastity], and they looked rather penitent. We had a really serious and rather spiritual lesson, and decided to go by with the Elders for the .entrevista [interview]. When we got there the next morning . . . neither of them was home. (Well that was disappointing. Though it followed suit with the rest of the week. The members of this ward have been so kind to wander around with us as we fumbled to find people at home. One thing you certainly learn on a mission is humility, and overcoming embarrassment, and realizing that yoúre not perfect . . . and perserverance, and patience with yourself.)

So we decided to look for him at the internet cafe. One slight complication is that they live at the highest point in our area. It́s a little bit of a hike, but we did it twice and finally found them at home (after a few prayers, a few calls, a few tense laughs.) We had read that morning as a Mission Alma 19 - which talks about King Lamoni and how he falls to the ground because hés so overcome with the spirit, and when he comes to, he has had this INCREDIBLE change of heart. He is converted completely to follow the Lord and seek out the blessings of the Lord. We were hoping - knowing that the Lord is capable - that Rodrigo would be willing. I love this kid. Hés about six feet tall, he has earrings in both ears, a scorpion tattoo, but he has the sweetest smile you will EVER see. Ever. I love this kid. I know that batismo would change his life, that he would be different, gain the blessings that his Father in Heaven has in store for him, but he wasńt feeling prepared. Tranqüilo. But Sunday morning we hiked up to his house again, yes, he was still in bed, but we ever-so-gently woke him up, reminded him about the compromise wéd made, he even sat up in bed and talked with us. Said héd follow after us with his bike, but he didńt go.

When I got to church I accompanied the Primary in preparation for the Primary program. And there was a little drama from the husband of the Primary president who was complaining about the chorister, that she was off, speaking random English with me, and . . . making an unnecessary ruckus, taking away the sweet spirit of the kids singing. And then I got to play for Sacrament (as i usually get to) and I just didńt have a chance to really breathe and pray and settle in my head how I was feeling. And then I took the sacrament. Wow. When they started to say the prayer over the bread, I thought about the promise that we make with the Lord - that wéll remember his Son, that wéll take upon us His name, that wéll obey the commandments, and then (and THEN, in addition) Héll give us His spirit to always be with us. Do you know how much we gain with the covenant? Do you know how much happiness we have just keeping our end, without the recompensa [compensation/reward] of the Lord? Do you realize how blessed we are to know what it means to be a filho de Deus [Son/Daughter of God]? It́s everything. EVERYTHING. I get frustrated that people wońt reach just a LITTLE bit to receive these blessings in abundance. Just do a little bit, and then do a LOT. Please.

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He knows. Whatever yoúre feeling, He knows, and better yet, He can help.

(Also, it́s transfers week, Sister de Assis after 11 months in Conquista is going to Itabuna. I shall stay and train. Yup.)

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

[Excerpts of letter to Sister Cornwall's mother]

Íll be training this next transfer. yup. I am freaking out a little bit. I think the Lord tried to teach a few last minute lessons on patience this past week in preparation. Yesterday was one of the most meaningful sacrament meetings of my life. Also one of the teariest (funny how those things tend to go together.) But I learned so much about the power of the atonement to heal, not just to forgive. To take away aching and suffering. Every week we need to have lessons with members. Wéve been faulting immensely, so this week we got everything arranged for every night of the week . . . and then no one was home. We worked so hard, we exhausted ourselves, we were hoping for miracles . . . and they didńt come quite like we asked. But the Savior can take of our disappointments when investigators stay in bed instead of going to church. etc.

Also, I dońt know if I mentioned that I talked about your reverence during sacrament meeting mom. That you always indicated the speaker instead of chatting with me - and that that was the greatest lesson I could ever learn! Thank you.

To get trained to train, Ím going to Salvador tonight...

Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 24, 2011


What a week it was,

First of all, it rained, pretty much the entire week. I know what yoúre thinking - wait, shés in Brazil, and it́s approaching summer on that side of the equator, and. . . I know. But that́s Conquista. (Conquista is pretty much a county, and it́s made up of lots of large neighborhoods. yup.)

We had Conferencia de Zona [Zone Conference] this week on Wednesday, (photo of the Sisteres, and photo of our zone. I meant to have a picture with Presidente and Sister Vecchi, but my camera didńt take). So we were running around trying to make up for our lost day. We worked hard this week, trying to put in practice the things that we learned. First of all, we have to do our maximum. So often in this life we are swimming, swimming seeking the shore . . . and it gets hard, and we stop. Little did we know that we were just one stroke away from the shore. So just keep doing your best and it́ll come. This was grand advice from Presidente. The thing is, we did our best this week. We went to the cartorio [notary's office/registry]in this tiny city with a member of the ward with the couple that is waiting to get married. They entered their papers, and wére waiting (and praying, and fasting) for a date soon. Celia and Carlos have been waiting to get married . . . for a year. So your prayers would be lovely. We'́ve also been spending a lot of time with Rodrigo and Diogo, brothers that went to church last week (mostly because we helped drag them out of bed.) They are great kids . . . but they haveńt been keeping compromissos [commitments/promises]. We also taught Inis, and her niece, hoping theýd come to church. We also had the chance to talk with Poliana and Robério, and Daví their son, and we had a good talk. Also, Ramón, who we found out is the cousin once removed of a member of the church. Hés great. I love every one of these people. Love them. I want the best for their lives, but I will tell ya, my heart sorta got broken this week. Okay, our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ. To invite. Solely. And sometimes our invitations are accepted, but are not followed through. And that breaks my heart. I know, without a doubt that prayer and reading the scriptures and going to the church is going to make a difference. And they [the investigators] dońt [pray, read, go to church]. Oh gosh, and I cańt force them. Anyway, theré's that sad story.

But the great news is, we spoke in church yesterday. We got the invitation . . . between sociedade de socorro [Relief Society] and princípios do evangelho [Gospel Principles]. And I was accompanying the primary during the middle hour, and played during sacrament. Suffice it to say that my preparation was minimal.

Sister de Assis and I (we are becoming quite good friends. We disagree . . .frequently, but oh how I'́ve learned to deal with disagreement. we are having a grand ol time together). [We] have noticed a little lack of reverence during sacrament meeting. It́s horrible actually. Plus Sister Vecchi talked about reverence for the sacred (a talk by Elder Cristofferson) and so we laid it right out, talking about how sacrament meeting is the meeting mais importante [most important] in the church. I talked about the sacrifice of our Savior, and that we need to use the time that we have to show our reverence for that sacrifice. We kinda chastised them. But it́s for their own sake right? And for our pesquisadores [investigators] to feel the strong spirit that can be there.

We had a lot of good experiences teaching. We have improved and changed so much as a dupla, [c0mpanionship] and I feel so grateful. Our work is more effective, but wére seeing effects of the inimigo [enemy/foe]. Iniśs niece was incredible; 12 years old and she has so much faith. We passed by the next day, and the dad flat out said that he didńt want anyone talking about religion with his daughter. I hate it when that happens. But wére doing all we can to spread the joyful message of this great work. I know that the Lord expects success from us, and that it is the result of hard work on our part. So Ím just trusting in that idea and putting in everything. Therés not really anything else we can do. We talked a lot wednesday about really putting our heart into this work, having faith in the bondade of the Lord. We are trying to continue changing (that́s really all repentance is, and ím so grateful. at least if ím not perfecting, ím learning) and I know that it will affect this lovely Ward. Íll write more about it later, but Ím very grateful to be working here, despite some of the unforeseeable and inexplicable challenges we have.

Oh how I love this gospel, it is truth, that is eternal and glorious.

love love love
Sister Cornwall

A few excerpts from e-mails to Sister Cornwall's mother:

I would LOVE to hear about Halloween. A family in our ward carved a pumpkin - I sorta shrieked when I saw it. Lovely.

I love hearing about the Monrovia Ward as well. A special place.

I wanted to tell you to watch a video : National Back to Church Day. I dońt know if yoúve seen it, but it is really cool, well done and inspiring!

We got the new [History of the] Relief Society manual. I LOVE IT!!!! We were like little girls when we got home last night and wrote our names in the book and looked at all the pictures. Ím sure yoúre not surprised, but I really really loved all the old photos. Can we fashion my future temple dress after some of the officiantes from one of the photos?

Brazil is more traditional in gender roles, and it́s been interesting to be exposed to that.

Also, your package hasńt come. I may have lost hope. But others are getting packages. I dońt know what the deal is. Sorry about that.

Tell everyone to post a lot on the blog! I want to see it all . . . some day.

... one of our investigators. Theýve been waiting to get married for over a year! And this week wére hoping things will finally work out. But we were talking to him last night, about his testimony and feelings about the church. He likes the structure, good people, the leaders dońt get paid, strong principles, but he has trouble with the phrase, "I know this church is true",` signifying perhaps that all other churches are false. He doesńt have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet or that the Book of Mormon is true. He wants to get baptized, he knows this is the church for him, and it́s going to happen, but Ím still a little sad that his testimony of the GOSPEL and priesthood is sort of faulting. Wére hoping that the gift of the Holy Ghost will open up and strengthen his testimony.

Our family is incredible blessed. the Church here has a lot of problems, but really, there are serious problems everywhere. I just want a simple life, and to do what is right. I realized this week that all the things/people I left behind will still be there, but this mission wońt wait. I need to just take advantage of the time I have. I feel so imperfect... sometimes, BUT - that́s why we have the atonement. Ím glad the Lord is patient.

Oh mom, there are jacaranda trees here. I think of you and Grandpa Hodgkinson.

love you, rach

Monday, October 17, 2011

Whew, this week was a full one. It was physically and emotionally pretty exhausting. We are teaching some incredible people, and hoping that they will continue to progress and feel the strength that comes with the knowledge that we have a Savior that paid the price for us, and now we´re here on the earth with a plan. There is a plan! I thought a lot about faith recently, that it is strength. I know I know, sometimes it looks like weaknesses, and sometimes I can understand that, but really, and I can only speak for myself, it is my strength. I know that there is a reason for everything. I know that our Father in Heaven doesn´t want to see us suffer, but He does want us to learn. There was a quote (from somewhere, I don´t remember) that said that as Christians we don´t obey because we´re blind, but we follow because we see. Right? It is a great gospel. And guess what, we need to renew our testimony often of the truth we know in our lives. I need to renew my convictions . . . frequently, it´s the only way to discover happiness.

This week the big news was that the postal strike ended. Yes. We can now send and receive letters. Yup.

We had 5 people at church yesterday. The bispo dropped us off at their house before church . . . and we dragged the two young men out bed (literally) and they all biked down with the step-dad and two little sons. It was great to see them there.

We had a lot of experiences this week where we really were there to mourn with those that mourn. We saw one of our investigators on the street and were so excited to see her. She let us know she´s separating from her husband. Another lady we know came up to us and cried about how her brother died (her mom´s a member of the church) and talked about how her husband who drinks is incredibly violent. We tried to just show that we cared.

I´m trying to think of other exciting things that happened in this strange land of Brazil, but you´ll have to wait until next week my friends.

love, love, love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, October 10, 2011

Another Week!

We had a lot of blessings this week. We have been slowly changing a few things in our little dupla [duo/companionship], and I think that it is rendering some good results. We have been teaching a family that lives rather high up in the area, and they are so fun. Unfortunately the sons areńt really reading the Book of Mormon, but they have a good heart. Inis (who went to conference last week) came to church yesterday, and I daresay she liked it.

One of the highlights of the week was our Noite Familiar [Family Night] Saturday. There were about 25 single adults at the house of two sisters in our Ward. We were in charge of the message. Sister de Assis has this little experiment that she loves: to represent the power of the atonement in our lives; she puts on drop of food coloring in glass of water (to represent the stains of errors) and then you pour bleach in the glass - and the red water turns clear again. We read Isaiah 1:18 and discussed that Jesus Cristo suffered . . . everything. He felt every little thing that pains us, and bled. We talked about how when we bleed, no one benefits; when we scrape our knee, or cut open our lip - no one really gets anything. But the blood of Jesus Cristo will save us. It is the means by which we receive mercy and grace - but it is not free gente [people], we have to seek out the power. In 1 John 1:7 it talks about how we need to walk in the light. And Alma 5:33-34 we need to take the sacrament to use the love he has . . . to save us. Interesting.

I love being a missionary. It is such a beautiful privilege.

love, love, love,
Sister Cornwall

[Excerpts from note to Mom]
Oh dearest Mom,

Thanks for the update. I pray for my siblings, and just hope that what I`m praying for is still up-to-date information, so thanks for reassuring that for me. Thank you for being my little mail carrier. I do love the Monrovia Ward, and I want them to know the great effects theýve had on me....

I am inspired to get to know the Bible. It is NOT the Livro de Mormon, but it is the word of God, and it helps us to get to know the Savior/Jehovah. Thanks for being a great seminary teacher . . . though Íve realized that I need a deep review of scripture mastery scriptures. (Feel free to tell your seminary kids that the doctrine taught in those 100 scriptures are the foundation and are essential to build our testimonies.)

And now for some details:
  • This past week we were incredibly blessed. Wére working just about completely in Alto Maron, a 30-40 minute walk from our house. It́s a lot more middle class, and wére having success with families! One hard thing is that marriage is incredibly hard and completely complicated....
  • We have lunch everyday with members (but sometimes it falls through, which -to date- is the worst thing that happens).
  • We dońt really cook, and so we go to the grocery store and buy the little pre-made food in the restaurant place. It has been a tough and humbling road. [There is just a] lack of options. Today we were offered a lunch of potato lasagna with bacon and white rice. I thought today - what am I supposed to do? Refuse? So Ím just going along.
Ím trying to be good, and worthy, and most of all happy. A mission is a great thing.

Love you, Rach

Monday, October 3, 2011

Well, here we are, back after a huge week. We were seeking to work extra hard because of General Conference, and then General Conference itself ended up being slightly exhausting as well.
Everybody was together at the Stake building (which is actually within walking distance for us) Saturday and Sunday. The Stake President had mentioned that maybe there would be English for the missionaries, but that didn´t end up happening. Which is fine, because I´ll be watching in English for the rest of my life. It was a little bit harder to focus, but I was blessed to be able to understand most of what everyone was saying (and cute little Richard G. Scott dubbed his own talk.) It was a powerful two days. There were some inspired things said, and in general it was more encouragement to do what is right. The amazing thing is, the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn´t change. What is true is true, and we have a prophet that can reveal, emphasize, apply and evaluate the doctrine for us today. I feel more prepared to go out and continue teaching all these great things to the people. We had a few little pesquisadores [investigators] (one Inis, this woman we have sort of been teaching. we left a little bilhete [note] in her mailbox and she came to two sessions! another was Lara, who wants to get baptized, but here mom is espírita [?spiritualist or evangelist?] and isn´t willing to sign the form,) and Jhony were there. It was interesting to see these great men and music and words [of General Conference] from their perspective. This church is big and great and organized . . . but it also is for the individual.

I think the biggest realization I had was the emphasis on Eternal Life. As missionaries we give people these little tasks to do to help them be better and come closer to Christ. But it´s more than just a church, or a book, or a man. This gospel is about the salvation and exaltation of EVERYONE. We can´t stop when that´s what´s at risk. These men and women donate their lives to be servants of a great Master and to help us. You. Me. Everything we do here is about learning who we are, why we´re here, and what we need to return to our loving Heavenly Father. I needed to hear this. We all do.

This week was a little trickier. All I want to is to be diligent and efficient, but we need someone to let us in first. That is hard. (and potentially exhausting) but it has to be done. That´s simple. The Lord has something we need to learn. And He´s given us so many tools, and opportunities, and what are we doing with them? I hope we´re using them, I hope I´m using them to the extent I should. I´m so inspired by the glorious examples and the goodness and the hope. I love this gospel.

Love, Love, Love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, September 26, 2011

MTC Companions
Well,

It was a great, but exhausting week. First of all, we headed to Salvador for a Sisters Conference. We all received wise counsel from our dear Presidente. We got on a bus 10:30 [pm] Monday, arrived 6 Tuesday morning, had a great day in Presidente´s home, then got on another bus 10:30 Tuesday night, and got back at 6:00 Wednesday morning . . . and got to work. We were . . . let´s face it, wasted, but fortunately the Lord really helped us out. We lost a couple days of work, but He made up for it. It was amazing. It was hot, and we´re working up, up, up a hill, and yet, it was a pretty great week. Presidente talked a lot about how Sisteres are here to baptize families. We have a special capacity to touch people´s hearts as women, and we were so blessed to find families: mother, father and children. Wow, the Lord knows what He´s doing. We´re just going to keep on working.


Also, friends, General Conference is this week. If you don´t know about this already, you had better look into it. We´ve been talking to/inviting everyone we know to go and watch, and I am getting incredibly excited. There´s just something really great about hearing our dear, dear Profeta speak to us personally. It is going to be just marvelous. GO! You won´t regret, I will guarantee that.

Also, this week was interesting in that so many of the things I studied seemed to revolve around the Second Coming. There are so many things happening in this world that indicate that, frankly, profecies are being fulfilled. It could be very easy to worry about what´s happening, what is going to happen, where we´ll be, but as long as we´re doing what we know we should - no need to worry. We have a Profeta today to tell us what we need to do today to merit salvation; no, we don´t know everything about what´s going to happen after this life, etc, etc, but we know what we need to do today, and so, we just need to do it. The Lord gave commandments so that we could be happy. It´s not a secret. He gave us ALL we need to do, and the ability to do it . . . so, the rest is up to you and me I suppose. I hope you all are doing what´s right. It´ll make me happy, and you happy, and our Father in Heaven happy. So, what I´m saying is .. . go to General Conference[*]. I´ll be watching at the exact same time as you!

Have a glorious marvelous inspirational week gente [people],

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

[*

Monday, September 19, 2011

Boa semana gente, como é que tá? [Good week people, are you okay?]

Well, I get to stay in Candeias, Conquista another six weeks. Yes. I will also be staying with Sister de Assis . . . she will end up being in the same zone for about 1 year. That is extraordinarily rare. She (and I) know that the Lord has some special work for her to do here. She has been saved for something special, and I need to make sure that I`m up to par so that she can have the milagres [miracles] the Lord has in store for her. (As well as the milagres that He has for me to do.)

This week was incredible. We ended up only having one baptism. But that one was great. It´s been 7 months since the last baptism in this ward (for Brasil that is a huge amount of time.) But Jhony, he was with his family two hours away until Friday, and his cell phone wasn´t working. This is a nightmare for missionaries . . . having no way to follow up. But that kid is right on. He fulfilled every compromisso [promise/obligation] and it was a really good day. Bispo baptized him, and we were all so thrilled. The ward helped out so so much. It was incredible to see every one help out these little missionaries. It was quite a week working up to this great baptism.

First of all, Suelen was pretty much on track to be baptized, but she and her husband let us know on Thursday that they´re not civilly married, just in the church. That was a little devastating (in case you´re wondering, to get baptized, if you´re living with someone/have a child with them, you have to be legally married first.) She went on to tell about how difficult and expensive it is to get all the documents in order to get a place in line in order to get married. They have been trying for three years. I realized how . . . spoiled I am. We joked about how easy it is to get married in Las Vegas (maybe too easy) and how Brasil, this little country, and especially Bahia, has a few problems. I have been feeling incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have in my life. I told Sister de Assis that if it were me, this little American, I would protest, and there would be demonstrations, and people would not put up with it. I feel like that´s one of the biggest differences between Americans and Brasilieros, Brasilieros are willing to endure and just go with it. Sometimes I feel overly difficult when I´m not content with a situation, and want to find a better solution. It´s a very different mind set - this idea of contentedness versus constantly seeking betterment. I don´t really know that there is `better` or worse in this situation.

Anyway. That was tough. But it was funny how I could see all of the forces working against us in this little baptismo. First of all, Thursday I woke up feeling just, unenthusiastic. It was strange, and it is something that constantly needs to be conquered. Missions aren´t really about competition (shouldn´t be) but you are definitely fighting against yourself, your desires, and your body, and everything else. But also, Conquista has had some rain. Quite a bit. In 5 1/2 weeks it didn´t rain once, and then it all came down. We were wet pretty much all day Friday as we ran around trying to get everything arranged for the baptism. We ended up locking ourselves in the complex of a member (nobody was home, but the gate opened somehow and closed behind us. we ended up entering the members´s home to press the button to get out.) Suffice it to say that I learned a lot about myself, and how much better it is just to be positive, even when there´s construction and the poor little missionaries are trucking it through the mud. I love being on a mission.

Truly, the Lord watched out for us this week. We were praying and fasting for milagres, and they came. I feel so glad to be a part of this incredible work. It is great. I love teaching, I love meeting these people, and I love learning about how my life is so much affected by my decisions to have patience, to be diligent, to work hard - or not, sometimes. All I want to say is that there is a way. There are plenty of obstacles, but we can laugh and see the things that are going great, and recognize that it´s in the Lord´s hands. I realized this week that I don´t need to stress out about things that are happening in these people´s lives because the Lord knows, and all I need to worry about is doing what it is he has in store. Thank heavens.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, September 12, 2011

Olá gente, [Hello people, everybody]

There are so many things buzzing through my head: we have two baptismos for Saturday (yes!); I went to a college English class today (felt pretty cool) and this is the last week of the transfer. Yup.

Our two little baptismos this week are: Jhony and Suelen. Jhony is a 22 year old student that was marked to get baptized on saturday, but we decided to wait a week, and we announced it in church, and everyone´s so excited, and it is going to be marvelous. Suelen, oh my, she is buzzing through the Book of Mormon, she is feeling great, and she liked church (which is a relief, though not much of a surprise.) We talked a lot about families and about the importance of . . . just seeking out lasting ties in this life, and I think she liked that. Her husband, who´s espírita (a very intellectual doctrine that involves talking to spirits on the other side, very interesting, and incredibly annoying) came to church as well. He accepts everything but has no desire to move. They also have a three year old Luna Rosa who is beautiful, ( and we may or may not have enjoyed some of the goodies from her party this week.) We are feeling very blessed, and very aware that we need to work a lot this week. This ward needs these people, and especially needs to get excited that miracles happen, even here in Candeias (did I mention there were only 5 batismos in 2010 and 2011 combined. Yeah.)

But there are so many other people that are ready to get baptized, that have come to church, but are just waiting for . . . something. I only hope that I can know what the Lord needs me to do to help them out. We are just wanting to . . . make progress.

And yes, I just got back from UESB, where there was an English class describing dishes they had to make (cookies, brownies, sushi) and yes, they brought the finished project to class. It was an interesting experience. The teacher said I had to speak English, and yes, there were a few moments that Portuguese sort of slipped out naturally. But I´m grateful for the chance to be able to help. (And it wasn´t nearly as fun to talk with young adults as it was with young children. oh well.)
We also had a little visit from Presidente and Sister Vecchi. They came to inspect our apartment, and to do interviews. I had the chance to talk to Presidente about how things are going, and I just love that man. He speaks English fluently, so he would say certain things in English but he is so incredibly hopeful. My week got a huge lift just talking to him. I realized that my attitude was and is completely my own choice. Sister de Assis is funny. She has (since the first day) told me ´calma` [calm] about ten times a day. I just want to run around and get it done, but she is calm and doesn´t like to get overexcited. Sometimes, I get a little impatient, or bothered, but you know what - I love her. She has taught me so much, and I am grateful to her. Also, it´s not worth my time to get pouty or sad or a little brava [angry]. We laughed a lot this week, and I´m learning that that is often the only response appropriate in a lot of these situations. I am grateful that God gave us laughter. It can save us. I realized that sometimes I grip so tightly my own will and my own desires, and that frankly, I sort of need to just let it go and see the situation a little more lovingly. If I can just let go of what my will is and just see the grand scheme of the situation, there will be so much more pleasant happiness in my life. The gospel of Jesus Christ isn´t about being really big and pious, it´s just living life in a simple, right manner. I am grateful for that. We have to check in with the Savior just to see what it is He would have us do. We have the espirito santo [Holy Spirit] to help us out, to know what it is the Lord would do if he were here.

We have one more week to make it count, [until transfers] and I can´t believe it. Things are bustling by. But I´m grateful for the opportunity to work. It is a grueling privilege sometimes, but I sort of LOVE it.

I hope this week is lovely, and great.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flashback

Today a thick letter was received at 336 (Sister Cornwall's parent's home). The envelope contained letters to be forwarded to several recipients, it contained the following photos from Itapua (her previous area) - with captions and it contained a little card dated 16/Augosto that said,

"This poor letter just got postponed & postponed so that when you get it, it'll be pretty ancient. But I love you all so dearly. Thank you so much for your love & support. Love, love, love, Rach"

"The sister in yellow is the wife of the bispo [bishop]. She's pretty fun. And Bispo LOVES the futebol team Bahia. Loves. I'm going to miss this little ward."

"A cutie little shot at Igreja de Ouro (Church of Gold). Quite frankly I was missing Paris a bit in this Big old Catholic church."

"I don't think I will be with Sister Morales again - so this was a fun final activity with her"

" Look at this AWESOME action shot that Sister Desnon took. We jumped off the edge of the dune & landed in the sand. Pretty fun."

"While we were enjoying the view, we did a little stretching & looked at the view upside down. I love these sisters.

"Hilarious. I don't even remember doing this, but Sister Denson had this photo on her camera, & I had to get a copy of this shor in Pelorinho [in downtown Salvador].

"Our last night. Alesandro is the YW President who's serving a "corto prayo" mission for just 3 transfers [18 weeks]. She is incredible. She'll be missed."

Here are a few snippets from Sister Cornwall's letters to her Mom & Dad that may be of general interest...

"The Sisters in our district work in the office, so they bring our letters every week to us. They are such a thrill..."

"Some days are actually really hard when I talk to these people & then think about my own very blessed life. I just pray & beg Heavenly Father to give these people a little bit more of what I have in abundance in my life. God is way to good to me."

"It's been terrifically interesting to see more of the workings of the structure of the church - how the Bishop uses his counselors, the needs of a unit before it can be divided, the role of priesthood in ordinances like baptism. I've also come to appreciate more the role of the Bishop, especially since we've had to send a few people to talk to him, fully knowing their situation, & knowing that the Bispo is the only one who can help..."

"I want to do so much good, & too often I feel like I'm not doing enough... I just want to be a useful servant, & work harder... in these short 18 months. Fortunately I have prayer, & letters & President Vecchi. I love that man."

"Oh mom, all of a sudden, just writing a letter to you makes my heart hurt a little bit. Sometimes I wonder why I left all that behind - all of my beautiful family, but then I remember all these people. Gah,... I love them. I Love Brasil. I Love Bahia, & my heart yearns, aches to help these people."

"I came to Brasil with a desire to do something, to make a difference, & it is all so slow in coming, but that's all right".

"I can't think about what would have happened had I not gone [on this mission]. The Lord knew, & he prompted me so strongly to go a serve, even though it was hard."

"Thank you for your love and prayers..."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Well, here we are again,

It was a marvelous week friends. We laughed a lot (and perhaps cried a little) but all in all, we were blessed. I´m really grateful for this little chance to evaluate the week in this little weekly email.

One fun thing that happened this past week was I was invited by a sister in the ward to go to her little school where she teaches English. I sat for about an hour answering questions like `do you like Brazilian food?` `do you know Madonna?` `what´s your real name?`it was hilarious. Some of these little kids speak pretty well. It was a little weird to talk in English in that setting, but it was really fun. And very strange to answer a question like, 'what do you do in your spare time'; well, I don´t really have much spare time here, and before I . . . well I . . . what did I do in my spare time? It was just funny to think about.


We got to teach a good amount this week, which I love. We´re teaching this one couple where the husband is espirita [spiritist] , and the wife is evangelica [evangelist]. She is on Chapter 20 of the Book of Mormon. She´s incredible. I get all bashful when she talks about how great she feels when she reads etc. I think I´m always preparing myself for rejection, and to hear a response like that throws me off a little. But it is great! The husband is a psychologist and is very set in the doctrine of espiritismo [spiritualism]. It is an incredibly fascinating subject, and even though talking with him gets very frustrating, it is always a very enlightening discussion. He asked me very honestly for my opinion on the doctrine he follows, and I told him very frankly that I admired it very much. It is all very well thought out, VERY logical, but that to me it was still completely the doctrine of human beings. And guess what, we´re just not as smart as God is. His plan is so much bigger, so much more eternal, and a lot more in our benefit. We don´t need to come back to the earth time after time in reincarnation to become perfected. We have a Savior for that.

Yesterday in Sacrament meeting there were lots of testimonies about the Savior, about the basics of the gospel. It was incredible. The members here are so marvelous, and I learn a lot from their strong testimonies and their unfailing committment to the gospel of the Jesus Christ. We need a Savior, we need him. We´re not perfect, and we only have one chance, and justice is tugging at our back. But, Jesus Christ came full of love and mercy and power and made everything work. I´m still learning about how all of that works out, but fortunately, I´ve still got some time. I am so grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ. He took on Him all of the rough things in life, He loves us so much that even for us stubborn, independent, slow to understand human beings - He did it. I know this message that I preach day after day is truth, and truth doesn´t change. I love knowing that there is a plan that I could never conceive, and yet I know that I can know it´s true. It´s sometimes strange but so lovely, and so powerful. So seek out that testimony friends. Pray and read and seek out truth in your life. It´ll come.

I like being here. I love it. Even when people deny the things that are most important to me in my life, I still love it. It is an incredible opportunity to do what the Lord would do. Incredible and tough.

I hope that this week is a great one.

Love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, August 29, 2011

Goodness me, it´s hard to believe that time is capable of passing so quickly. This week we were so so blessed by the Lord, and I feel that there are some great responsibilities that come with that. We´ve been discussing with members a lot, and I think we´re gradually starting to get it together.
Yesterday, the inevitable happened, and Sister Cornwall was asked to give a talk on the fly. We had a meeting in the morning with the liderança [leaders] and guess who got asked to fill in, as the wrap up speaker? Well, I´ll just give you a little rundown of the pure inspiration I received. On Wednesday our LZ gave us a little inspiration on grace. I started out my talk about my Study-Abroad in Paris. I was so so excited that I got accepted, that I was going, that I would be fulfilling my dream etc. My mother so wisely reminded me that I would have to work to have the funds to be able to go. And I did work. That summer I applied for probably hundreds of jobs, went to many interviews, considered giving plasma etc. I made plans and calculations . . . I did everything. Then when the end of the summer came, friends, I was a bit short. Fortunately, my darling parents recognized my efforts and mercifully filled in the rest. It was an incredible experience. When I told the congregation that I still hadn´t paid my darling parents, and that I´m pretty sure they forgot, why those Brazilians roared with laughter. Guys, I`m not joking, they laughed really hard at this silly American. We all are in a similar situation. In the Guide for the study of the scriptures, it discusses that grace is the enabling power we receive when we exercise faith, when we repent, and when we do EVERYTHING we´re capable of doing to keep the commandments. Well, what are we doing to earn that grace? Are we doing everything possible? Are we doing our home and visiting teaching, having family home evening, reading, praying, being quiet during sacrament meeting? (I really wanted to say that last one, as I was standing in front observing everyone . . . but I didn´t.) Then I read Doctrine and Covenants 93:11-14 that talks about how the Savior learned grace upon grace. He didn´t receive the fullness all at once, it was a very gradual process. Then I talked about learning Portuguese. I remember at the beginning when I just didn´t get some things, and now, they´re second nature. It´s the same with us and our eternal progression. (Afterwords everyone came up to me and assured me that my Portuguese was just fine.) But we need a Savior, friends. We need what he did everyday to make it through. If you´re feeling a lack in your life - guess what will fill it? The restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I promise you that.

We were able to enter so many more houses this week, and talk to the people. I am learning more and more to love Candeias. I also feel very grateful to still be myself. I am a living human being that needs this gospel as much as anybody, and I like being able to talk reasonably and realistically about the difficulties we have, and how we´re capable of overcoming them knowing we have a Savior who loves us incredibly, and has so much power to help us out. We sort of just have to let him help us. I thought a lot about doing the Lord´s will this week; we make lots of plans and pass by lots of houses, and it´s easy to get very systematic. But just take a moment to think not about what you need to do, but what the Lord needs done. It´s a much better way to go.

I´m incredibly grateful for the goodness that is here. I am grateful for the genuine friends that I have, and for their firmness in the gospel. It changes lives, and there are plenty of people scared stiff of that change - depriving them of comfort and tradition and complacency - but that´s our opportunity, and our challenge. All I want to do is work. It is great, even when it´s hard and annoying.

All I ever want to say is just stick with it, hang in there and keep progressing. There´s a plan and a great reward at the finish line for those that are willing to sacrifice. Well, that´s that.

Love, Love, Love,

Sister Cornwall


Monday, August 22, 2011


Hey guys,


Well we´re back to weeks buzzing by. It has been an interesting experience the past five-ish months to have the opportunity to get completely readjusted every 9/6 weeks. But I´m feeling much more adjusted, and much more aware of how to feel like I have a real purpose.


Sister de Assis and I learned a lot this week. We realized, our efforts are not enough. We knock doors, and we talk to people on the street. We smile and we speak so nicely . . . with so little result. I know this is still Brazil, but it seems like a totally different world for me. But the interesting thing about the situation is that when you´re sort of in the pits and don´t know where to go, you seek out help beyond your own effort, and then, the whole world sort of opens up. We fasted this week in an effort to find novos, new people to teach, and we had a little success (though in my head I was expecting a flood of darling little families that were going to welcome us with opens arms . . . uuuh, that didn´t quite happen) but that night/morning we thought bastante[much, plenty] about famílias. We thought about how much we need the ward in this area. There´s not really any other way.


Bispo [the Bishop]went out with us Wednesday night. We talked with him about some of our difficulties, and asked him what his vision for the ward is. First of all, we have one young man. Just one. Fortunately he´s only twelve so he´s still got some good years left, but we´re certainly lacking. (The ward itself has about 60 people in attendance every week.) So we visited a few homes where there are members, baptized, but are not active in the church. We´re here to help people, and that includes everyone. I feel so blessed that people are willing to let these strangers into their lives - people they´ve never seen before - and let them talk about the things most sacred in our lives. We´re able to discern the needs of these people and resolve their concerns. It´s a beautiful and sometimes challenging opportunity/responsibility. (really quickly, hilarious - we´re in this lan house using the computer. this nine year old drinking from a coconut checked them out to us, and now she´s listening to something on the computer singing LOUDLY little Brazilian songs. it is so funny. anyway.)


My testimony of the importance of the family has been so strengthened this week. A lot of families live here. A lot of really beautiful families. A lot of beautiful families that should have the opportunity to be with their families forever. I actually made a contact with this guy who had a cute little wife and daughter, and when I said hello he responded with - I know about you guys. I´ve studied you and your people etc etc. I offered to respond to perguntas [inquires,questions], and he said - No, I would have to talk to someone more educated than you. Oh well, you all can imagine how I felt about that. But the great thing about being a missionary is that I just smiled so politely, testified of what I know, and tried not to cringe when he said, essentially, `listen to me, I´m a profeta [prophet, oracle].`Oh boy. All I want is for everyone to have the chance to be with their families. Sister de Assis was sealed to her family 10 years ago, and it´s something so special. Mother and father, married with filhos - oh my, there´s just nothing better. We´re going to be focusing a lot on the família, and how to strengthen the home so that these human beings can live lovely, productive happy lives. Yup.


I feel so very humble friends. This work is so big, and I´m so little, but it´s true. And that has strength. I love this gospel. I love the example of Jesus Christ and that he is so wise that he´s able to take care of us. What a relief, what peace and happiness.


I hope you all have a darling week.

love love love,

Sister Cornwall