Friday, April 8, 2011

Hello Hello Hello!

Oh what a great day. I always feel so privileged to be able to write to my loved ones right after getting back from the temple. It is amazing. We did initiatories this morning, and I am feeling so incredibly grateful for the work that goes on in the temple. In one of our lessons this week our investigator asked about what happens to those that are not baptized with Christ's authority, and by immersion. We made the point clear, or at least tried, that God loves his children, and although he's just as much held by laws as we are, he is full of mercy and love, and provides a way for ALL his children to return to him. We are so blessed. Speaking of the temple . . . and investigators, we bumped into "Barbara" at the temple. She had come in as a volunteer on Thursday to speak Portuguese, and we taught her about the plan of salvation - and then we saw her in the temple. When I saw her I yelled her name (reverently of course) and gave her a big hug. Even though she wasn't technically a "real" investigator, obviously, it was such a joy to see her.

We taught another lesson in Portuguese this week, and it went SO much better than our other two lessons. We decided to get out and go downstairs where there are benches and tables, and we brought cookies (thank you mom, those were divine! where did you get that recipe? and why did we not find it before I was going to move to another country for eighteen months?) It has been an interesting progression seeing our companionship grow. It's a little tough in Portuguese to be united when 2/3 of the companionship doesn't understand the lesson. I just get so excited about speaking Portuguese and teaching the gospel (does this surprise ANYONE that I'm having trouble controlling how much I talk? hopefully not) but I talked with my teacher about it and she had some beautiful suggestions that I am trying to take to heart. Even though I want to serve and help my beautiful companions, I can't really replace their own efforts to learn. So I'm working with that.

One of my teachers suggestions was to study being still. She is inspired. I so appreciate her constant dependence on the spirit of the Lord, it inspires me. As I was studying, I decided I'd look up the lyrics for "be still my soul" and went to to look it up. But it took me to a page devoid of lyrics. Weird. Fortunately - and guided by a divine hand - the next hit was "One Needful Thing" a talk by Pat Holland (wife of Jeffrey.) Mom, I know that you're aware of what a tender mercy it was that this talk came into my life again; for the rest of you who haven't read (particularly the females) you MUST read it. Please understand, it doesn't matter who you are, or what stage of life you're in, or what you're dealing with in your life, even if you're not a Latter Day Saint and you're just reading these letters for entertainment - if you're a female, PLEASE do yourself and read this talk today. It lifted me up, and reminded me of what I should be thinking about both as a missionary and as a female, a daughter of God. Anyway, I know the Lord watched over everything that I do. We tell our investigators this so frequently. We tell them that God really does answer prayers, that there is truly one way, and that our adoring and majestic Father in Heaven will answer our prayers. My testimony of this has grown immensely since being here.

Another thing we've discussed a lot in class is this idea of there being one way. There is one way. Christ paid for our sins and thereafter set the path for us to follow; it is narrow, but it is straight, and it leads to the greatest of all the gifts of God. Before I'd thought that the alternative to Christ's way was carving your own path, and inevitably getting lost. Not so. The alternative to Christ's way is being rocked by the waves. We don't get to choose our own path, we are subject to Satan's will, and guess what- he wants us to be MISERABLE. So let's not give him what he wants. This is why baptism by the right authority - and in the exact manner Jesus did it - matters. Because there is one way for us to return to our Father in Heaven, and baptism is part of that. Yahoo! This gospel is so perfect. I realize that I am . . . not perfect, but at least the message I'm telling people about is the truth. That brings so much comfort in to my life.
By the way, the last three Elders in our district got their visas. So now we have a dainty class of three sisters, and I love it. It will be interesting, especially since the other Elders that we know so well in our zone leave on Wednesday for their reassignment in Alabama, and we'll miss them dearly. Also, our dear friend Sister Black - who is HILARIOUS left this morning at four to go to Baltimore. We'll miss her greatly too. But we all know that each of us is doing a great work, and there's a heavenly hand guiding all of us, and that it will surely be for the better.
Speaking of hilarious, our classes are fun? Did you know this? We are learning the gospel of Jesus Christ, and learning this language, but we have a grand time. Sometimes - especially with Irmao Johansen, we have to pause for a couple minutes to catch our breath from laughing so hard. I thoroughly appreciate this. We love each other, and sometimes the more humbled we are, the easier it is to laugh. I've just been amazed by how much I've learned; certainly the language, and the mechanics of how to be a missionary, but I've learned so much about Rachel - and even more so, how much she can be improved. I can see just a glimpse of exactly why God put me here, why I'm still in Provo, and why these two other sisters and here with me.

OH and General Conference. It seems like SO incredibly long ago, but truly, we have prophets of God. We'd been teaching a lot about the restoration of the church the week before, and we had testified many times about there really being a prophet on the earth today, and then - we heard him! And the apostles as well. I had gone into this conference thinking about love; how God loves us, how I love God, and how I can better love those around me? And I think that all those that watched conference can agree that this was definitely hit on. Miraculous. Also, the beauty of the family. We are so blessed to know what matters in this world, and the more I go on, the more I realize that this is true. I also loved Elder Richard's talk on pain - wasn't it beautiful? [video here] We are here to learn and grow my friends - so that we can become like our Father in Heaven, and how can we do that unless we have experiences that are tailor-made to stretch and try us exactly how we need it. And then -we have a Savior who understands everything and wants us to be back with him. I love this plan. Truly. I realize that I've been here, oh, three and half weeks, and that I have a good deal of time left, and that I'm not perfect, but hey - I am learning, and everyday I ask God to know if I'm doing his will; if I am - hooray, and if I'm not, He'll let me know what I can better. It's amazing right?

I love you all, keep the faith, and do all you can.

Sister Cornwall

P.S. Tell Jeff I got his package, and thank you thank you thank you. I love you so much.

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