Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Colorful Mission

Click image to go to article
Rachel's Mom noticed this Bing travel article - The most Colorful Places on Earth, and found listed Salvador, Brazil.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hello hello hellooooooooo!

My friends, I feel like I am officially justified in writing a bonafide letter to you after having had a full week. And to tell you the honest truth - it feels like I was just sitting here telling you the whole scoop about Brazil: old news. I totally live in Brazil guys.

A few essential things that I forgot last week that you should probably be aware of:

1. We carry our umbrellas everywhere. It actually hasn´t rained in a couple of days, but last week it was such a normal thing that I felt it essential to include. You just never know.

2. We don´t flush toilet paper. Nope. What do we do with it you may ask - we put it in a plastic bag hanging on the wall next to the toilet. Yup. The sewage system just can´t handle wads and wads of t.p.

3. The people here are EVERY color. Start with the lightest shade of peach in the crayon box and drag it right through every shade of brown, and that pretty much describes the people here. I love it, as you can all well imagine. There are lots of `black` people, but also tons of Latinos and . . . everything else. Oh and the children here are gorgeous. There are obviously exceptions, buuuuut, I just die; we should be contacting adults, obviously, but sometimes we knock on a door and this child greets us, and I have to recover from their big gorgeous eyes and dark curly hair. I only hope that my own children can live up to the Brazilian standard . . . they probably will.

4. Also, another funny thing in the banheiro is the shower, we do have hot water, but when we turn on the shower, you can tell, because all the lights get slightly dimmer. That said, we have one outlet in the kitchen. So if we have to use the microwave, the refrigerator gets unplugged and the microwave goes in. We just have to remember to plug it back in.

5.We kiss everyone - the mulheres at least. Even ladies that are just contacts who don`t actually want to hear our message . . . we kiss em, sometimes twice. I love it. I daresay I´ll have to take it up in the United States - I laughed at church yesterday at the thought of approaching some ladies in the Monrovia Ward with a kiss. But that´s just how it is. I feel like Brazil is this mash-up of cultures. There are black people that have Latin American mannerisms, and we say "ciao". I adore it.

6. The names here are sometimes ridiculous. Some examples: Adriele, Rosenilda, Juraci, Nilde, Neide, Voldireini, Demivaldo (an old black man who wears a black cowboy hat, no shirt and has a cacao tree in his yard. he didn`t want to be baptized very much, but I´m pretty sure we´re good enough friends that I could go ask for a cacao pod from him.)

7. My friends, we are so blessed. I´m assuming the subscribers to these little updates are pretty much all in the United States, and I just want to say, that we need to appreciate every day we have. It´s been interesting to be exposed to the health care system (or the lack thereof) as evidenced by all the people that have problems on the street. There aren´t beggars, I think simply because it´s such a normal thing to have various impairments. It´s funny to go up a flight of stairs, or enter a home and silently think `I´m pretty sure this is against the fire code . . . and the building code . . . and every other health code.` The people here are sweet, but every time we teach them to pray, they pray for the health of their family, and rightfully so. Brazil does have many resources, and plenty of endeavors to improve the system (both public and private) but there is a LONG way to go. So let´s be grateful for what we have shall we?

Okay, now onto the good stuff: the people. Everyday I have to remind myself that it´s all about them. Some days I´m more of a complainer than others - though I´ve earned my stripes, literally (ha!) because I´ve developed a lovely white strip on my ankles from my sandals, and I got my first decent burn on my chest and neck `vermelha sister"`Yup. And I´ve also gotten some good little blisters . . . but the thing that hurts worse than those is the EFY music some of my companions play. Gah, come on. Thank you brother [Jeff] for the GLORIOUS music you gave me. Ludovico has made my world a better place.

Back to the people. We went around to about ten houses trying to drag our little investigators to church . . . with no luck. I had to control myself from thinking bad thoughts about them. Fortunately a recent convert whose 14 and lives at an orphanage came with us, I would have felt pretty dumb walking in 25 minutes late with no one. It was slightly sad, but then we walked in . . . and Maria Jose was there!!!!!!!!! We ran over and kissed her (yes, literally) She´s this older lady and the sweetest! I adore her. Our one progressing investigator. But we did teach some great lessons. I just wait and hope for when we teach. Every time I feel a little different, but I know I can be an instrument for the Spirit. I have been able to understand about 80 percent of what people are saying, and I´m adjusting to the Bahian accent - it´s different from the south and I´m slowly picking it up. But I feel so blessed to have the words and the testimony to be able to testify of the things I know to be true. I have loved how much the scriptures have been so refreshing. I really do get comfort from how I feel when I read them - I need it!

The other night Sister Denson and I were planning and I was pretty much out. We were going on splits the next day with Sister Moraes and Sister Jones (the other sisters that live with us) and so it wasn´t my schedule, but I still had to apologize because I was out. Aaaand it´s pretty much like that every night. We walk all day. We get to study til noon, eat lunch, then work til nine. When we get home the time flies until bed - it´s almost June my friends! Wild (and dear brother Jason, happy birthday on Thursday, I love ya.) But I just love to testify to these people, and I love to love them.

I had a breakthrough on Saturday, we were passing this lady that had broken her leg, and therefore has about five metal bars sticking out of her leg that are meant to immobilize the leg (and boy are her legs hairy my friends. you don´t really have to shave here . . . so compared to the natives, I´m a pretty slick gal) and I realized that she isn´t just a ´contact´ and shame on me if that´s all I´m thinking. We tell everyone we´re here to help, and I think for most people that means listening! It´s only then that we can develop more love and find how we can help them with the message of the restored gospel. I´ve realized I need to ramp up my faith in these people. Friends, I´m the verge of being a realist, and sometimes you just need to learn the language of faith (something I didn´t understand -ahem- before the mission) and just pray that things´ll happen and then work for it. I adore these people, and I just need to trust them... and the Lord. This work is BIG, but fortunately I´m not here to finish or end it. Thank heavens. Literally.

Stay strong. Those three things that we always talk about - prayer, reading and church, it doesn´t change whether it´s your first day or your last. Those things matter most.

I love you all dearly, and I´m hoping that each day makes some kind of difference.

Sister Cornwall

Mom and Dad -
I´ll include as many logistics as I can - we are in an internet cafe next to a gas station. We have a washer in our apt. but lines hanging inside to put up our clothes. It gets pretty warm during the day, but I´m perfect at night, though we do have a fan blowing. I LOVE that we use natural light as much as we can, and that doors and windows stay open. Everything´s good, except I heard that Bahian summers are terribly hot (we´re in fall now I think) but that´s cool, fortunately I´ll only have one. We live in a beautiful Ward that is full of great people that are so good. I do love them. The chapel is very large and gated off, but we invite people in every week. I sure am glad this is in the Lord´s hands because I sometimes feel incredible insignificant. Love you, Rach

Monday, May 23, 2011



Oh queridas, how excited I am to be sending along a note to you this fine day . . . in BRAZIL! Yessiree, I´m here, and it´s completely lovely. Let me break it down for you:

First, the flight over was juuuust swell. It was pretty long ways, (obviously) but truly everything went on without any problems. The church is so very organized, and when we landed in Sao Paulo there was a very organized lady there waiting for all of us. There were probably about thirty of us on my flight from Detroit, and then over the course of the next couple hours, about another twenty to thirty missionaries came in. Obviously it´s been a good week for visas. Finally we´ve been able to get all the darling Brazilian missionaries to where they need to get. One of the sisters had gotten called in November. Oh boy. But I know that all the missionaries that got reassigned just fell in love with their temporary areas. Though I do feel incredibly blessed that I was able to give every spare non-MTC minute to Brazil. Truly my two companions and I were perfect timing. Everything for I reason I daresay. Anyway, we bid farewell to missionaries we know right and left as they headed to their mission field, or to the MTC. So it was sister P and myself waiting in the sSao Paulo airport for a few hours. When our flight was ´boarding` we handed over our ticket and boarded . . . a bus, that eventually took us out to the middle of the tarmac to load the plan. But the Brazilians were all incredibly kind to us.

On our flight from Detroit to Sao Paulo, I know of at least two Book of Mormons that were given away, missionaries sure can`t help themselves. The other people on board just laughed and helped us out when we couldn`t say something. They are a good friendly people these Brasilieros.
So we landed in Salvador after a rather bumpy flight, and as we looked out the windows we saw pretty much two things: green and numberless houses in the ghetto. People just throw up houses out of . . . anything, paint it a bright color, and - that`s pretty much the residential areas. We were so so excited. After so long we`d finally landed, we were finally here, in Salvador. As we went to get our bags, we glanced out the glass doors to the receiving area, and there was dear President Vecchi who waved to us! We were pretty ecstatic a) that he actually exists, b) that he actually recognizes us, and c) that we were here. We loaded into his sports car with Sister Vecchi (who`s a dear) and another Sister that had just arrived, Sister Jones. Our flight had been a couple hours delayed and so we were a little shorter on time in regards to an introduction the city etc etc, but we went to the President`s house, which is pretty swank. We had an incredible dinner with rice, and something similar to meatloaf, potatoes pureed and cooked in a way I`ve never seen with this creamy gravy of sorts, fruit and cheese, with a salad of chopped up beets, carrots, onions and I think a little lettuce. And then this different kind of chocolate cake with Brazilian ice cream. All of this sounds not-so-unique, but rest assured, it was different enough to be an experience. The assistants gave us an orientation/introduction of sorts and I daresay it´s a great mission; the deal is that it`s easy to baptize tons of people . . . who won`t actually stick with it, and it`s also easy to baptize just a few people that are well prepared, so we`re looking for a baptism heavy happy medium. And then came the time we were all waiting for: our assignments. And, well, sister P and I were separated. The dear has a native companion (who`s even more timid than she is) and is serving several hours away. And I (I`m sure you`re all mildly curious aren`t you?) Well I`m serving with Sister Denson here in Lauro de Freitas, about forty minutes from downtown Salvador. And I`m pretty much in love.

Let me run you through a typical day (and when I say `typical`I mean a description that generally summarizes the past four days. Four days . . . sometimes it feels like forever, and sometimes it seems like a kinda sad and meager minuscule amount of time.) Up at 6:30, of course, you wouldn't expect anything less right? A little exercise in the apartment, oatmeal and raisins for breakfast, a bit of study (the schedule`s just been weird so we our studying`s been sparse) and then out . . . usually for lunch at a member`s house. These people are the sweetest; the first day we went to this lady`s house that had a board on hinges for a door, and a dirty/cement entry way, and then we walk in and she has a pretty big tv with Hannah Montana playing. It´s totally weird, because that´s the case in every house - even those without doors have TVs. Oh well. The meals have rice (always) with some meat/bean/sauce dish, usually two, with some side to said meat dish like a dip-ish thing, or a vegetable sauce, - and over the rice/meat you sprinkle farinha, which is a cross between flour and cornmeal, and it sort of absorbs the sauce . . . I don´t really know the purpose other than that; and there´s also a salad. We also have gotten some pudding/gelatin like desserts, and there are just lovely. (We actually also went to an investigator´s mother in law´s house for the investigator´s one year old´s birthday party (obscure-ish) and had an incredible cake.) Oh and we always drink juice. You have to ask for water if you want it, and Brazilians don´t actually drink with their meal, I guess they just save it til the end to drink. But the juice is delicious. Oh my, so good. Then we leave a spiritual thought and then we´re on our way. We have several little investigators we´re working with; None of them came to church yesterday, which was kind of a heart breaker. Truly, I just die when people decide they are `unable`to come church. These people do have lots of difficulties, but sometimes I do just want to shake them and . . . I don´t know, I´m still learning. Sister Denson and I have also been accompanied by Sister Hynes, who went home this morning after her eighteen months, and I learned a lot from her. Her Portuguese is - as expected - rather good (in case you´re wondering, mine is decent, and there´s no need to accuse me of false modesty - my Portuguese is just okay) and she knows all the Brazilian things to do, and she has good stories to tell. Oh well. Sister Denson is actually just in her second transfer; there were seven sisters (out of about 100 missionaries total) and we just got seven new sisters, so they´re all training. Including SisterDenson. She really is a gem. And I am SUCH a greenie. Guys, I think that in the back of my head I figured I´d somehow get out of being a greenie - nope! Not a chance. I´m a greenie through and through. I actually even bought new sandals (those darling crocs of mine don´t do well with all the rain; it gets trapped in the shoe and causes some nasty blisters.) So now I´m the proud owner of some sweet platform, velcro strapped, brown sandals. I am a star. Truly, they are great, and I´m happy to have wise compas to advise me. Oh and I forgot to talk about our apartment! It is gated (like every other Brazilian home. it is NOT uncommon to contact someone through a large wrought iron fence) and it`s all tile. I haven´t seen a lick of carpet in all my time here. It´s ALL tile. Our roof is terra cotta and the ceiling´s all exposed, including the little dangling light bulb in each room. And in the kitchen the windows have bars but no glass. NO need. The wind just blows through. It´s been pretty warm some days, but there´s pretty much always a pleasant breeze, which is fortunate.

In the evenings we usually knock on doors. Everybody loves to talk about Jesus. But sometimes it´s hard getting people to realize that there´s a difference between all churches, because there are a TON here. This will be interesting work. My first day as I got ready for bed, I felt very much that this is missionary WORK. But it actually is such a pleasure. My favorite thing is to just walk on the street and say bom dia, boa tarde, or boa noite, and see one of these sweet Brazilians smile and reciprocate the sentiment (after a momentary surprised reaction.) But really, I have so many friends. Ha!

At night we get back and eat some crackers or something before we plan. The hours em casa pass so quickly. It´s silly. Then it´s back to bed after putting on bug spray and turning on the fan, and plugging in this bug thing. We all have a goodly number of bug bites. Oh well, so do a lot of the natives.
It´s pretty much a beach city. Most of the men waltz around in board shorts, flip flops and maybe a teeshirt and the women . . . they are plenty comfortable with their bodies here and since it´s hot . . . you know. But there is work to be done. I´m still spinning a bit getting used to everything and trying to get through the first week. But it´s incredible, and the people are good. I´m grateful for that.

I´ll have to inform you all about our little investigators soon, there just isn´t time to get it all in. But I do have an hour for email, so that may be the easiest (and certainly the cheapest method of communication.) Dear Elder will cost you, but we get those once a week, and letters can be sent to the [Mission] office. [Address listed in right side bar.]

I love you all, and this WORK is pretty rad. Church yesterday brought me to tears because these people are so good! I´m in love with all this, even when it´s a little hard to love
Lots and lots and lots of love from Brazil,

Sister Cornwall (which everyone struggles to pronounce. They just don´t really get it. Oh well)

Mom and Dad, yes I´m safe, and truly happy. I´ve frankly spent most of the past few days psyching myself up about all of this. It truly is good, but sometimes it´s all about PMA right dad? Give my love to the fam bam. Rach

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

UP, UP & AWAY...

Sister Cornwall is in transit to "the field".
The below photo was e-mailed to us (Mom & Dad Cornwall) by a very thoughtful person who is employed at the Salt Lake Airport. His practice is to take photos of outgoing missionaries, gather e-mails and send out the pictures. This photo is the female contingent of the 26 missionaries going to Brazil today. Of the 26 only Rachel and her two MTC companions are going to their assigned missions. The rest will stay in the Sao Paulo MTC.
During Sister Cornwall's layover in Detroit she was able to call, only one call, and only to her parents. For over an hour we got to listen to this wonderful, bubbly missionary and hear of her gratitude for the learning opportunities she has had in the last 8 weeks and her excitement to get out of "theory" and into "practice". First we talked about her luggage and the fact that her large piece came in right at 49 pounds. Yeah! She reportedly is traveling lighter than most all the other missionaries and thinks that this is perfect. The airport - the outside world - was an interesting experience, she thought No!, No! No! to the news of and from the "real" world. She has enjoyed not worrying about regular life. Her focus these past several weeks has particularly helped her learn how easy it is to talk about the gospel and how natural it is to recommend it's blessings to others in their day to day lives. She said how disappointed she was to sit by a 'member' on the flight to Detroit.

Last evening Elder Richard Hinckley, who is over the missionary dept. spoke to them and counseled the missionaries to be the best you that you can be. Sister Cornwall humbly expressed how thankful she is that the language has not been a challenge and how excited she is to be immersed to really learn more and better. She talked about her feelings of how short a mission is and how grateful she is to have made this decision and the monumental growth she has had, which would have taken her "10 years" in any other walk of life. She talked of companionship life and how helpful that is to personal growth.

We talked of how anxious we all are of what will happen in the next 48 hours - after a 10 1/2 hour flight to Sao Paulo, then a 5 hour layover and a 3 hour flight to Salvador. She will meet her Mission President and his wife, then be greeted by her companion (whom she will be with 24/7 for the next 6 or 12 or 18 or... weeks) and travel to her area and abode and where she will sleep and study and pray every day.

Sister Cornwall expressed she has no regrets for her Provo MTC experience and shared how good she feels about the path she has taken and her excitement to be going far away and to be a missionary.

Dad C.

p.s. Sister Cornwall mentioned about how much she loves her shoes and the compliments she continues to get about them.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Signing Off From Provo, USA


That's right my friends, we have our visas, and we're going to Brazil, and it's going to be absolutely INCREDIBLE.

Here's the story: So ordinarily visa-waiters get their reassignments on Wednesdays, and when we checked our mail with no sign of a reassignment, we went to the travel office and asked if they had any news for us. They did. Sister Petersen (who's also going to Salvador South) got reassigned to Louisville, Kentucky with me

Sister Ogletree was reassigned to Chicago (her mission is Goiania, southeast of Salvador) but her name was crossed out . . . so we figured she was headed out soon enough. They didn't have our travel plans yet, so we went in on Thursday to see when we'd be leaving, and the lady said "you're all going to Brazil aren't you? I have some bad news, the mission president in Kentucky is very sad because he's not getting any sisters, because you got your visas!!!" We were elated. We jumped around and screamed. We're dying to get there. We had a full day of in-field orientation talking about how to connect and work with the members, how to plan and fulfill goals. We also had a departing devotional, and other talks on getting to the airport etc. And through it all, I just get anxious in my chair and wish I could leave this instant!

It has been an incredible experience here, but we're all feeling very ready to get ourselves someplace where we can put this into action. We've learned so much, and I can't wait to get there. I'm sure you can all imagine the anticipation.

We also had to do this training for Health and Wellness where we talked about animals we can't touch, foods we shouldn't eat, where to drink water, how to wash our hands . . . let me just say that I can already tell it's going to be an adventure.

Elder Andersen came last Tuesday, and it was very special. He is quite a fellow, and I appreciated his comments. We're just so blessed to have had three out of the twelve apostles come to see us in our two months here. I love it. I am inspired by their witness every time they come. Cecil O Samuelson also came last night, and quite frankly, it made me miss the BYU. All those devotionals spent listening to him speak, admiring his perfect comb-over - nothing like it my friends. But I really enjoyed hearing him, and we've still got one more devotional Tuesday night.

We had to say goodbye to Irmao Johansen on Wednesday. He is the greatest teacher, and got us all so pumped up to just go out and do the work. Before he left he showed us pictures of his mission in Sao Paulo, oh man, I have a love for those people in Brazil. It is the Holy Land for me. I want to love them, and teach them . . . and play futebol with them. And we got some practice in gym this week. The field was open so with some other sisters we played soccer. It was so wonderful. And though this may surprise some people, the other sisters were quite impressed with my skills (all that Primos practice i suppose.) I actually even scored about . . . five times. Those AYSO days sure served me well.

Another not very spiritual thing that happened this week was that they replaced our bedframes. But unfortunately there was a lapse in the replacement time, so for a night all we had was four mattresses in our room. Now, we're not as creative as the elders, but we built a fort, which we consequently demolished in order to do gymnastics. Don't worry, we took pictures. I love my companions. Truly, they are the best. We taught a lesson to "Andy" - a substitute teacher on Saturday night, and it was a glorious moment. We were teaching him, and I looked over at my companions, and they were speaking so incredibly well; they didn't look at me for words, they didn't stumble, they just taught and testified beautifully. Then I remembered my language goal, which was essentially to help my companions be able to speak, and I felt that it was all completed. Obviously we all still have such a long a way to go, but quite frankly, it confirmed that we're ready to go out and learn even more.

It's been fun to be in Provo during the winter-spring transition. Watching the flowers and the trees go from essentially nothing to being full and green. It's been an interesting parallel to our own development here. Since day 1 in our classroom, I've sat in the same seat where I've got a great view of the mountain just South of the Y. Some days it was cloudy and you couldn't even see it, other days it was so clear and beautiful, and also on Saturday we saw a gorgeous huge rainbow. I know the Lord is looking out for us, and that he's happy with the work we're doing. I'm so blessed to be here. This gospel is true and correct, and it's made all the difference. I'm so grateful to know my Father in Heaven loves me. There is nothing that gives me more peace and confidence than knowing that. Well I shall write you sometime within the next week and half . . . from Brazil.

I love you all dearly,

Sister Cornwall

Mom and Dad:
I'm going!!! Thanks for being great. The itinerary:
leave Salt Lake at 11 am, land in Detroit at 4:30 pm
leave Detroit at 7:50 pm arrive in Sao Paulo at 7:20 am
leave Sao Paulo at 12:40 pm and land in Salvador at 2:55
these are all local time, obviously.

I love you, tell Hillmill congrats.

I love it all and I can't WAIT to get down there.

Love love love,


Friday, May 13, 2011


On Thursday evening, May 12th Rachel was able to call home since she had finally received her field assignment. She has patiently waited as others have left with visas in hand. On the phone Rachel shared that her and her companions were scheduled to fly out next Wednesday to Louisville, Kentucky to await their visas. Dad made the silly comment of, "Oh too bad, you just missed the Kentucky Derby last weekend". Rachel giggled and said that when they went to the mission travel office to get their travel arrangements the travel lady told them, "There is going to be a very sad Mission President in Louisville, Kentucky. . . . because. . . . he is NOT going to get a bunch of cute new sister missionaries. . . because. . . YOUR VISAS HAVE JUST COME IN".

Rachel was told she would not be going to visa-wait in Kentucky but that she would be flying with a group of 24 straight to Sao Paulo, Brazil (with a layover in Detroit). From Sao Paulo she and Sister Pederson will say goodbye to Sister Ogiltree (who is going to a different Brazilian mission). Rachel will go on straight to the Salvador South Mission. We all cheered. Mom cried. Rachel mentioned the package she had received from her family with a few last minute essentials and laughed that it was just like Christmas. By this time there was a beep on the phone indicating there was only 30 seconds left on the call. As much love as can be shared in 30 seconds from a park bench in downtown Monrovia to an MTC payphone was shared and then an automated "click".

On Wednesday, Rachel said she will be able to use more of her phone card while waiting at the airport.

Monday, May 9, 2011

9 May 2011

Hey family, and friends,

Oh my, how the time is winding down and how great the finish of the MTC will be. Truly. There's no word on our visas, and we may end up getting reassignments on Wednesday, but we're thrilled with whatever happens. We figure that as long as we're on the Lord's errand and doing his will, we'll go wherever and do whatever is needed of us.


Sarah Lehn, I love you so dearly, you're just lovely and oh how I wish I was there to give you a birthday embrace! Nineteen was a pret-ty good year for me, use it well my darling.
Also, mother's day came and went - and I did NOT get to talk to my mom. But I thought of you, and I thought of all the other beautiful mothers in my life, and I am grateful for them. I read several talks from general authorities about their wives and mothers and I'm feeling inspired and incredibly grateful. Mother, I love ya.

And guess what else - I saw Sister Lucy Brimhall at lunch. This was an incredible blessing to me - I just couldn't stop hugging her! She's going to Czech Prague and I feel that I was blessed to have been able to stay in Provo just so I could catch sight of her.

This past week we had some beautiful teaching experiences. Sister Ogletree was having a rougher day, so our teacher told us we were to going to teach her . . . as a missionary, as herself. I'm pretty sure it was a lesson we all needed to hear, about setting a foundation for ourselves as daughters of a heavenly father - not merely as missionaries, or as members of our family, but as ourselves. We also talke a lot about the power of the Holy Ghost - it testifies of the truth of all things and gives us feelings in our heart or ideas in our head that are from our divine creator. I had the chance to be a "member" and an "investigator" at a couple of lessons, and it was interesting that because I wasn't so focused on being the teacher, I was able to pay more attention to the spirit I was feeling, and I noticed that whenever truth was being taught, the spirit was there - he can't HELP himself. That is why we teach the doctrine of the gospel, it puts others at a crossroads and they need to decide whether it's true or not by asking in faith and diligently seeking an answer. We need to help build the faith of our investigators by bringing the spirit into our lesson and allowing it to work on those we're teaching; they're not going to remember our words in most cases, but they will remember how they felt, and that's what matters. That feeling is beautiful and precious and it's something that grows the more you share it. This is what we're meant to be doing here upon the earth - sharing, giving, creating. The saddest thing in this world is the prevailing selfishness (which I won't try and say I wasn't ever a part of) but it takes away and denies our greatest privilege, and the greatest opportunity for feeling happiness in our lives - giving.

Well my friends, I am excited and looking forward to having some real news in the near future. Time is moving along, and I am loving how amazing this work is.

Much Love,

Sister Cornwall
A fountain picture... yeah - we like each other.

Here's the story;
Last week (on Easter) we are walking home
from the temple and this Jew-for-Jesus was there,
just lovin' Jesus. He was pretty funny and of course,
life as a missionary ALWAYS needs funny religious photographs.

An awkward family photo, if you will...

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Sunday was SO nice here in Provo...
it was good preparation for Salvador.
We're getting pretty excited around here."
2 May 2011

Hello hello!
We finally got our email back and I am thrilled about it. We are on a different schedule than the rest of our district so our weekly service assignments have been off, and lots of other things have had to be moved around. But we're back . . . for the next couple weeks at least.

One wonderful thing about our new schedule is that we are in a group with what seems to be all the international missionaries. Tons from Tonga, Samoa, China, parts of Europe, Etc, and we LOVE it! They're hilarious. Actually most of our floor is international Sisters and I love them. The Samoan Sisters are totally hilarious, the Sisters from Italy are so beautiful, and the Sisters from Latin Aamerica are so fun. It's quite a party. And because our temple time is the same as them, the Celestial room is so beautiful and colorful. Speaking of the temple - oh my friends, it was exquisite. It always is, but I was thinking a lot about our investigators and the love we have for them as we did intiatories. I came to realize that it really is a matter of obedience. We are here to make covenants, and that is incredibly important, but what matters most - is that we KEEP these covenants. They exist to bless us, and that benefits us more than we can imagine. I have thought several times on John 15:16 - "If ye love me, keep my commandments." And quite frankly my friends, that's all I want to do.

This past week we taught and "investigator" (another teacher) who wanted to get baptized but couldn't, because he couldn't pay tithing because most of his income was paying for his brother's medication, who had cancer. We were all taken very much aback by this. And for a moment I considered how we could ask him to do this, but honestly, how could we not? We discussed after the lesson that it is truly the love of Christ that we have, because all the human love that I could possibly conjure simply as Rachel is not nearly enough; but because we're striving to love these people as God and Jesus Christ would love him, we can, and we do. There is no sacrifice that we make for the Lord that he is not willing to recompense and pay back more than tenfold! More than we can imagine. I sat there and I promised him that as it says in Malaquias (malachi) 3 - the windows of heaven are gonna open, and we can receive it. I told him about things that have happened in my life that PROVE there is a God and that is watching out to make sure that I am covered, to the extent that I am overwhelmed with his blessings. It was powerful. Truly. I don't know if you're all catching this, and what it means, but know that I know it's true. The power of the Holy Ghost is SO real, and the promises of the Lord - they come.

Another thing we talked about in class this week was the value of the members in our work. Our teacher showed us beautiful pictures of her mission in Portugal and talked about how areas that had been without any baptisms in a year - were made so fruitful by maximizing the efforts of the members. Okay, and now I get to utilize my authority as a representative of Jesus Christ to call others to change: my friends that already have the message of the restored gospel in your lives - when was the last time you gave a reference to the missionaries? I know you all have friends, and loved ones and neighbors! I know we try and do our part, and be good examples, but we've gotta be more proactive, we need to fulfill the part of our baptismal covenant that says that we help others - and guess what the best way to help others is? Yes! Bring them unto Christ and let them take part in this glorious gospel. I realize that as I write this, I was not the greatest missionary before I was set apart to be one full time - I admit it. I was scared to share my testimony, scared to approach people, scared of the responsibility that it would mean if they actually accepted! But hey, we've gotta get over it and do everything we can. Pray for help, pray for inspiration, pray to know what you can do TODAY to make a difference in building up the kingdom of God. That's right, you my friends. I realized this week that today is the most important day to act; certainly we make goals, and we strive for better things, but unless you're doing something about it today - what's the point? Whew, enough of that, but truly.

Guess what else happened this week - Elder Dallin H. Oaks came to speak to us. I know, I know, it's incredible. He and "Kristen" spoke beautifully, and I very much appreciated what he said. A couple of points: first, there are three challenges you go through as a missionary - to change, to achieve, and to become. These things need to happen, and they bring blessings, but they are indeed challenges. He also said that the most fundamental element of the gospel is our testimony of Jesus Christ. Yes yes. We taught an atheist this week, and I was baffled as to how she gets through the day. She certainly is missing out on blessings, let me tell you. And I realize that the only way to change hearts is to testify. She didn't know what she was missing, it's true, but when she sees this conviction that we have when we say "I KNOW that God lives, that He loves us, and the Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world," she's going to see that she doesn't have that . . . and then (hopefully) she'll desire it. Cause it's the greatest thing ever.

And in case you're wondering, my companions are still amazing. I love them dearly. They help me learn and develop leaps and bounds every day, and plus - they're so fun. We had a talent show while brushing our teeth the other night: Sister P. did an Australian accent imitation, Sister O. did a dance, and I sang some Beauty and the Beast - ta da! They're hilarious. We also have a "prayer bracelet" that we use; we pray so much throughout the day, and we can never remember whose "turn" it is, so we just pass along the bracelet throughout the day. And why yes, it was my idea.

We still have no word on visas, but frankly all three of us are feeling that life is good wherever we go, and we're thrilled to serve somewhere, somehow, and it's great. Oh and in case you're looking for a lovely scripture that has inspired Sister Cornwall this week - check out Helamen 3:35. Whew, so much to learn.

Well, I love you. Do ALL you can to do good. You have it in YOU! And if you're struggling, get down on your knees, open up the good word, and then act. It's all possible.

Sister Cornwall

"We're reviewing vocabulary -
food to be specific and filled the white board.
I was pretty pleased with these darling drawings..."

"Okay, now that the rest of our district is gone,
we've decided to join up with another small district of elders
(who are our zone leaders) to become the "mega-district".
(Or "mega-clique". This explains the "M" hand signs and the "click"/snapping.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April 25, 2011

Mom and Dad

SURPRISE!! My P-day changed. I know, it’s really silly, really silly. We tried to get on our email, but they haven’t switched the system yet so . . . . The reason everyone is switching is because they’re implementing the new pilot program, which is a new teaching method they’ve been working on and by August, everyone will be on it. Anyway, so we’ve had to readjust, which is fine, though we’re having a few tiny growing pains in all this, but all’s well.

The biggest news since Friday is that Gi, our “investigator”, is getting baptized! We’ve been teaching her for 4 weeks and she finally said yes. She was Catholic, and such a good girl, but just didn’t see the need to get baptized, but we taught a lesson totally guided by the Spirit, and at the end of it, when she agreed, we actually all cried a little (even though we’re well aware that she’s our teacher and that it’s just a role-play. But we really love her!) We have all realized the love that really does build for those you teach.

Sister Mary Cook spoke at Relief Society and it was lovely. She talked about her mission to Mongolia and told us we needed to use the enabling power of the Atonement as much as the redemptive powers. It was a lovely Easter all day. (And did you know that “pascoa” which is the word for Easter in Portuguese is also the word for Passover? So wonderful!) Also yesterday, I got to talk in church! Our Branch President announces who’s talking right after the Sacrament, but I just knew it was going to be me, and it was such a pleasure because it was on the Atonement, AND in Portuguese. I love testifying of the Savior in Portuguese, it was so wonderful.

We also got to go to the temple SUPER early today (one of those growing pains) and it was lovely, though the timing was such that we didn’t get breakfast (another growing pain) and it was raining part of the day (Oh Provo, how I love thee). Yet frankly it’s times like these where I have an unquenchable desire to conquer all those lovely things with surging optimism. Missions are the best, they are where you learn. We watched The Restoration movie last night, and Joseph and Emma went through so much, they were incredible (and so painfully darling in that movie.) Missions are pretty easy compared to all that.

Love you so much. I know this gospel’s true.

Love, Love, Love Sister Cornwall