Friday, March 25, 2011



Hola Family and Friends!

Who knew that a week could be SO full and go SO quickly. Amazing. Everyday we wake up early and get to work. In fact, since day one we've started going to this 'sister's only" exercise class that starts at six, so we've been getting up at 5:40, which was great. Finally yesterday we decided that we would "sleep in" until six thirty yesterday, it was incredible. I've thoroughly (for the most part) enjoyed getting up before the sun and getting so much done before I used to even be awake.

In other incredibly exciting news, I filled out my online visa form!!! Yes. It was on Tuesday when the other missionaries in my district burst into the room where my compas and I were studying and said they'd called my name over the intercom system. Yes yes, the MTC has an intense intercom system; they can call a specific classroom (they pretty much know where you are at all hours of the day) and you can talk back just to the ceiling, and they can hear. We were so excited, and though it's not actually a visa in itself, it is one step closer. We've actually had about five people in our district of twelve get visas in the past three days. They are all going through the San Francisco consulate (whereas I'm going through LA) and they all filled out their online forms four to five weeks ago. So I will still have a few more weeks, but yes - once the visa gets through, missionaries receive the itinerary to ship out in just a few days (but don't worry, I get to call home the day the visa comes.) Unfortunately, my companion Sister Forester got her visa, and even though I'm incredibly excited for her (she studies Spanish at BYU, so her Portuguese is muito bem!) but I will miss her terribly. Really terribly. But another sister from our district leaves Tuesday as well, so I'll be back in a threesome with Sister Ogletree, and there will be us and three other elders in our district. But it's exciting that visas are actually going through!

I have enjoyed having talks in Portuguese in church. Other missionaries that have been here for five times as long as we have speak in Portuguese, and it's fun to think that we too will get there. Happily, I already understand everything they say, and at the Teaching Resource Center we did contacting in Portuguese, and it's SO fun. Sister Forester and I also get to hold little study sessions with our district, and we help each other out whenever we can as a district. I LOVE everyone in district 15 D, and I feel so so blessed. I'm also feeling very blessed for my piano skills. In our branch of about forty people, only me and one other guy play the piano. IN-credible. Fortunately I love any excuse to play. It's wonderful.

On Sunday we decided that we would sing in the choir. Frankly, it was one of the only things that set Sunday apart from the rest of the week. Monday through Saturday (except most of Friday of course) we're in our formal Sunday-ish clothes, we pray all day, discuss gospel subjects, and refrain from singing non-church music. Except for Sacrament meeting and choir, Sunday felt pretty similar. The choir director was hilarious. And the sound was marvelous. We sang "be still my soul" and I don't know if any of you have ever paid attention to the words, but they are beautiful. It's a self-affirmation of calm and faith in Christ. The sound of hundreds of young missionaries was a pretty swell experience. And at the devotional on Tuesday night, Elder Costa and his wife came to speak to us. And they're Brazilian!!! Our district loved listening to them speak and picking out certain things that proved they spoke Portuguese; "hing" instead of "him," or "tey" instead of "they" etc. They both gave great comments about being the missionary we want to be pleased with at the end of our mission. Plus Elder Costa shared his conversion story, and it's pretty miraculous. It lifted all our spirits a bit about the work moving forward. Afterward we had a little testimony meeting as a district, and it was so powerful. It was this moment where I realized how big this work is, and that it's not ours at all - thank heavens. I knew this before, my own inadequacy became apparent, and the necessity of the Lord god's hand in everything was so clear. Miracles truly happen here at the MTC seriously. The Lord really looks out for his missionaries, and I know that prayers are offered on our behalf from faithful friends and family members all over the world. Nothing can happen without faith, but if we do have faith, and we're willing to do what he asks - goodness gracious, amazing things can happen.

Speaking of amazing things. My compas and I were teaching a "role-play" lesson (or "real-play" according to Elder Scott) sister Petersen was acting as the investigator, and Sister Forester and I were teaching her. We were working on the first lesson, and as I was starting out with "god is our loving heavenly father" I suddenly had this prompting to start talking about prayer . . . which is NOT in order at all. But I did, and then got back on track. Afterward, Sister P said that that was perfect for the person she was thinking of. It was this moment where it became manifest that you really can work by the spirit, and guess what - it works! Even when you're receiving revelation for someone who's pretending to be someone else. Whoa.

We finally got to go to the temple this week. Thanks heavens it happened soon enough so that we could go with Sister Forester. It was funny to be back in the ol' Provo temple but this time with so many friends! But then when we came out - it had snowed SO much! Oh silly Provo. There's just no rhyme or reason.

One other insight I wanted to share was regarding light, and truth. I was doing a study on truth, and what it really means in the scriptures and how we can relate it to others, investigators specifically (it's all about them!) and I was reading about how light is truth, which light is the light of Christ (this is all d&c 50 by the way) and that light, when you receive some of it will grow brighter and brighter until that perfect day. So, everyone has the light of Christ; every.single.person. We all do, amazing. Then when we bring truth to their lives through the truth of the gospel, that little light that EVERYONE has can be ignited. It will keep growing and growing, and bring enlightenment and joy and peace and happiness to people's lives. That's why we need missionaries to go around and spark the light of Christ of everyone. We'll see how that goes. So let your light shine! and read your scriptures, they really can tell you what to do, as well as the spirit, oh I love you all.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Mom and dad:

Please oh please tell Robb a very happy birthday. I don't have his address, but I figured you could let him know that I love him and that I'm grateful for his example.

also Katie - do you know a girl that was in MDT whose last name is Holtzclaw? curly hair? anyway.

Family, I love you guys, you're amazing. and I hope all is well!

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Letter

Although this e-mail from Rachel is dated Mar. 19 it was not received until late on the 20th. Rachel says that her Preparation Day - letter writing-n-reading day - is typically Fridays, which was the 18th (?) Whatever... it is great to get this first correspondence from our dear Sister Cornwall.
19 March 2011

Friends and Family Hiya!!!

Whew, the MTC is wonderful. Our first few days have been a little ridiculous; we ran around from class to the cafeteria, we eat quickly then run back to class or meetings. But it's marvelous. We dived right into the language and our purpose as missionaries and it feels so good. We're here to bring others to Christ and to make a difference in the salvation of our fellow brothers and sisters. We've been working on seeing others as our Savior would see them, and it gives me such a love for my fellow men seeing their potential and the gifts our Father in Heaven has given us.

I have two companions: Sister Forester and Sister Petersen. They are just wonderful. We have two others sisters in our district, and eight elders. I must admit, for nineteen year old boys, they are hilarious. We've been together only three days, but we are incredibly close; several hours in a classroom everyday will do that to you. We work so hard that when we get tired in class we laugh hard, and sometimes it's difficult to get back on task. I am so grateful to be surrounded by others who are trying just as hard as I am to be close to the Lord and make the most of their time. It doesn't seem like we've been here for three days, it feels more like a couple weeks, but I'm so glad. This place is certainly very unique in that we're encouraged to not waste the Lord's time and make the most of each moment. It seems to make the time go by faster.

Portuguese is coming along swimmingly. I'm feeling so so grateful for my language experience. French hasn't really helped me all that much, except that it has broken up my dependence on spanish a little, which is nice. Sister Forester was majoring in Spanish at BYU, so she is a super star. Not many others in our district speak other languages, so Sister Forester and I get to chat and read in Portuguese and translate all over the place. I try not to depend too much on myself in the language. Everything comes through faith, nothing can happen without it, so my companions and I are focusing on Faith as the attribute of Christ we need to work on. We've also selected 3 Nefi 12:48 as our mantra - so we can be perfect even as our Savior is perfect.
I so enjoy how everything has such a spiritual perspective. Everything that happens here is a tender mercy of the Lord, and it helps me feel so much more grateful. I know I'm here to serve others. Even before I get into Brazil, I recognize that my purpose is STILL to bring others to Christ, no matter what. I feel incredibly blessed to have the responsibility to represent my Savior and bring others to Him so that they can receive salvation!
My friends, this work is incredible. I'm surrounded by good things, and though there are times when I casually think about other things that I am not engaging in (like listening to other music) I realize that these are worthwhile changes to my life, and that it will help me become a better servant of Jesus Christ.

Just a quick note: I don't have many/any addresses on hand - so if you'd care for a note from your favorite sister missionary, send a long a letter (or dear elder with your email attached) and I will gladly respond..

I'm incredibly happy my friends, and I want all of you to know that your life will change if you come unto the Savior and do what he would have you do. That's part of the reason why we're on earth, so we can find our purpose and become like Him. I am so grateful for this knowledge. It can and will change your life.
I have all the love in the world for you (you may not believe it, but I do!) and I hope all is well.
Most sincerely,

Sister Cornwall

*For those involved in the hunger banquet - I'm thinking of you today!!!! I hope everything goes well for you. All my love!*

Sunday, March 20, 2011


In case you may be saying to yourself -

"Perhaps they've forgotten,
Perhaps there's a stonewall,
Have not they yet gotten
Mail from Sister Cornwall?"

No, we've not yet a word
From our good Rachel dear.
Not a word have we heard
But we hope the times near.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Everything fit nicely in the two designated suitcases.... breakfast and one final photo at 336. Then it was out the door at about 4:30 a.m.
Ontario airport was mercifully NOT too busy... as we had arrived a 'little' bit behind our best laid plans. Dad did the curb drop and companion/mom accompanied the missionary.
Sister Cornwall has been like a starting pitcher before the start of a World Series game... anxious to just get going, mixed with a little anxiousness, excitement and anticipation.
The goodbyes were mixed with just the right amount of tears...
And lots of hugs as the security line moved toward the check-point.
Then there were waves, and waves...
as our missionary was on her way...
to Salt Lake... then a shuttle to the MTC in Provo.
 The shuttle to Provo was by sweet brother Jeffrey.


Tuesday began (like every week day) with Seminary. Sister Cornwall has attended each morning with Mom & Dad. (Actually she is looking forward to the MTC where she can have a chance to sleep in.) Then Mom and Rach attended Sister Frandsen's class in La Canada.
Rachel wanted to go to the temple, but it has been closed for the last couple of weeks. Fortunately it opened today. Dad met the girls at the temple in between some job visits. Lunch was one last 'animal style' stop at In-And-Out in Westwood Village.
Tuesday evening was the time to put things in suitcases. Everything has been laid out on the bed in the north bedroom for days. Mom went over the checklist... for about the one hundredth time. One last, late night shopping run was needed for a new watchband and alarm clock batteries. Finally Rachel closed down all her social network accounts or transferred their responsibility to Sarah. Jeffery had already taken over her MacBook and Sarah had taken her cell phone back up to Provo.


Monday was spent running around getting a few last things and a final evening jaunt to Target . Then to top the day off Mom & Dad and Sister Cornwall had dinner at Cafe Opera downtown Monrovia. (A nice friend had given Mom a very generous gift certificate for a very nice favor Mom did several weeks ago. We used every penny and indulged in an appetizer and two delectable desserts.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Sister Cornwall (a.k.a. Rachel) spoke in Sacrament meeting on this last Sunday before she is off to the MTC. The topic (assigned) was the Book of Mormon. Many, many in attendance commented on the wonderful talk and the wonderful spirit of our Sister Cornwall.

Following church and a spectacularly yummy family dinner (for 30+) of Brazilian rice and beans we all gathered in the family room for the advice-around.
All shared there best advice for Sister Cornwall to take into the mission field.
Mom had requested e-mails from Jason/Stefanie, Robb/Marybeth & Katie/Dallin for their best missionary advice too. (Mom may post some of the highlights later.)
Rachel had a lot of family love and support
including the Chris/Janell Cornwalls
- the Kurt/Cherie Alvords -
and the Larsens

At 4 pm the Ward Family stopped by to visit and enjoy mom's great treats.

Monday, March 14, 2011

SISTER Cornwall It Is

It is always a special experience to gather in the High Council Room for a missionary setting apart as we did Saturday night, 12 March 2011. Sarah and Jeff drove down from Provo
.Grandma Hodgkinson flew over from Mesa a few days prior. Grandpa Cornwall was there too.
Sister Cornwall was set apart by President Magnusson at 9 p.m. to serve as a full time missionary with assignment to the Brazil Salvador South Mission.

Provo MTC Address!

Yahoo. Here's my address in Provo:

Sister Rachel Elizabeth Cornwall
MTC Mailbox # 97
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

I have my own mailbox friends, and that's exciting. I'll be there Wednesday afternoon, and that's strange. Hoorah.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Missionary email:

I'm officially going to Provo

Treasure Cookies from the Party

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 25-30 squares)
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups coconut
2 cups (1 package) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk and butter until smooth. Add graham cracker crumb mixture; mix well. Stir in coconut, chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookiesheets. Bake 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned.