Friday, April 1, 2011


1 April 2011

Well hello there familia e amigos!
Oh what a joy it is to be able to (as matter of speaking) talk to you about all the wonderful things happening here at the MTC for Sister Cornwall. It has been truly a wonderful week. The most significant thing that happened was that half of our district got their visas and shipped out Tuesday morning. The remaining sisters and I ran out to bid farewell (at least for now) to the other two sisters that left for the MTC in Brazil, but who knows, we may be joining them soon enough. In fact, there were two elders that went to the airport to fly to their reassignment locations (as their visas hadn't come in) but they were called OFF THE PLANE to grab their luggage and come back because their visas to Brazil has finally come. We shall see what happens. We have been fasting and praying for visas (particularly from the l.a. consulate) and even though they haven't come for our three sisters, they have come for loads of other people, which is just as much of a blessing. (and thank you mom and dad for being just incredible about taking advantage of being from l.a., no matter what happens, I figure that as long as I put in my best effort, I KNOW that the Lord will put me exactly where he needs me to be, in fact, he already has.)
Our new little trio is wonderful. No, sister Petersen and sister Ogletree don't speak as well as sister forester, but you know what - I am being blessed for it. I had been trying to think for a long long time about what my language goal should be (missionaries LOVE goals, and I already did before I was a missionary so my love has increased all the more so) and I had trouble, like a LOT of trouble figuring out how I wanted to gauge my language progress. Then suddenly it donned on me - "hello, sister Cornwall, a mission is not about you" which I was already aware of, but it helped me realize that my goal is to help these two other sisters reach their goals. Whew, we pounded out verbs and conjugations and articles and possessive nouns last night, and they are doing so well. I thank heavenly father every night for giving blessings so that I can serve; it has made learning Portuguese so much more meaningful for me. Frankly, it's not hard. I don't struggle at all. In fact, my blessings with the language have made things more difficult because when we do teaching and contacting, I'm pretty much the only one that can talk, and then I go on talking to the "investigator" and my two companions have no idea what we were saying, which doesn't necessarily help companionship unity you know. Regardless, it's wonderful. We all know how much I love to talk, and so we decided as a companionship that there would be days where I only spoke Portuguese; thus I get to practice my conversation and explanation skills, and they get to work on listening comprehension . . . I'm hoping the Lord will watch over our efforts.

Speaking of Portuguese (ha! oh email puns) we taught a REAL Brazilian woman at the MTC yesterday. She brought her four year old daughter Monique (pronounced Moniquee) and she was beautiful. It was such a great lesson, and it was killing me to have this little Menina playing in the room and speaking Portuguese. We were all dying with joy. It made us realize that we are going to be teaching real people . . .I know right? Quite the revelation. But I think it's easier to love when people are real, when you can really see them as individuals and as children of god. At the temple this morning I was looking around at all the beautiful people dressed in white and I realized that this is how god sees us. We are individuals to him, but we are all on equal footing. We as human beings have such limited and scattered paradigms regarding our perceptions of our fellow men and women, but someday - someday we'll be able to see as God sees, and be as he is! That's what it's all about! The temple is great: if you're reading this letter, and you're not going as OFTEN as you possibly can, just know there are people in this world who don't even know their father in heaven loves them and he wants them to come back to him. So you should be going (it's okay, missionaries are able to chastise righteously, right?) It was so cool to actually go to the temple and experience all the things we practice telling people ALL DAY.
One thing I have felt incredibly grateful for this past week is who I am . . . or was, or will be. My life before being a missionary I suppose. I feel so grateful that even thought I've had to make some adjustments to my life as of late (which is truly wonderful) I know that I am still Rachel, even though I have to remember to refer to myself as Sister Cornwall. But it's wonderful. This "new name" has provided me this opportunity to rededicate myself to god's work. I'm still reconciling myself to the idea that there are certain things sister missionaries simply don't do, but I trust god enough to know it's all worth it. Another insight that seems to relate to "Rachel" life, is the idea of living by the spirit. there's a part of me that is relieved to have this opportunity to serve so that I don't waste any more of my life living by my own determinations; obviously the lord gave us agency, but you know what - we need to ask him what he would have us do. He knows what we should be doing with ourselves, and guess what? as long as we're listening, he'll tell us exactly what we should be doing, and he'll help us get it done. It's the same thing as committing investigators to read the book of mormon and pray if it's true; we tell them that god wants us to know what we should be doing, wants us to know he loves us, and I only hope those of us that know it's true are taking advantage of the true gift it is to converse with a GOD. He is the supreme being over everything . . . and he wants to hear from us, so do it.
A goal we set as a district is about contacting. We're supposed to do it in Portuguese, and introduce ourselves as missionaries, but I've decided I'll just talk to anyone. We're all missionaries, so it's not like it's anything new, but just talking has been so great. Why haven't I done this earlier in my life?! (actually, I know the answer to that, but I'm just going to skip over the lazy and self-conscious inhibitions.)
Anyway, I just wanted to share that I've been studying the heart this past week; we're supposed to love god with all our heart might mind and strength, but how? I wondered. Well, I'm still pondering these things, but I know that the heart is where our desires are. God looks on our heart to see our intentions, and it's where we are able to comprehend spiritual matters. In Alma 12, Alma talks to Zeezrom about hearts, and says that if your heart is hard, you only receive a portion of the word, a lesser part, and the mysteries of god are not opened up to you. This is because we need to receive truth and let it grow and cultivate it in our hearts. If truth is bouncing off our hardened heart, we can't be affected by it. We need to open up our hearts, be ready to receive the word, and then allow our desires to change in response.
I love you all. You are good, god is gracious, and his light is in all of us, in everyone, and it's worth finding.
This gospel is true, and the plan - there's a plan my friends! - is perfect. Keep the faith,

I love you,
Sister Cornwall
P.S. To seminary students about seminary breakfast:
Tell your friends about this. I know they're high school students. I know YOU'RE high school students, but honestly, it needs to go beyond that. You are privileged to be members of Jesus Christ's only true church upon the earth, and I know there are students at MHS that are needing some truth and stability in their lives. I went there, and I believe that to be true. So please, just tell 'em. Let the spirit whisper to you so that you can have added inspiration regarding who should be in that church building learning about the history of our church. This gospel is true, and maybe it would help if you asked your father in heaven to give you help regarding this opportunity to be a missionary for just a little while. It is so GREAT!!!

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