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

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