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

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