Monday, June 6, 2011

Well hello there,

I daresay this past week went by even faster than the one before. And yes, there are pictures attached. I´ll explain those in a bit.

I figured I´d start out with the top 3 things Brazilians love:

1) Their stereo system. It´s hilarious. They sell speakers in every other store. They carry around these little boomboxes. Their car trunks can´t close because they´re loaded with the latest and greatest. Sometimes we have to cross the street because somebody is blasting their speakers and my sensitive little ears can´t take it. Also, for advertisement, these trucks just drive around BLASTING these annoying ads. When you´re trying to teach people about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, that can be oh-so-incredibly perturbing. Oh well.

2) Babies. There are, sort of, babies everywhere. I feel that Brazilians probably have babies, and they´re probably more willing to just truck them around in public. And like I mentioned, the babies are beautiful.

3) Jesus. No seriously. Whatever missionaries came before us certainly did a marvelous job. There are stickers on every bus and little shack that say Jesus is my strength. Trust in Jesus. Etc. It´s incredible the love people have for their Savior. They love faith, and LOVE the Bible. In fact, I had my first interaction with a Jehovah´s Witness. She was such a beautiful, intelligent, nice-looking woman. Suffice it to say that I didn´t feel much desire to linger and that I am glad I´m where I am, doing what I´m doing.

Here are the runners-up for the top three: Soccer (every street has boys playing barefoot, it´s so cool. it´s just what everybody does. And the old men play dominos. they just set up tables and play all night. Little boys also play marbles and bottle caps in the street. This place is certainly a bit different.) TV. Everybody´s got a tv, and it´s just about always on. I´ve been compiling a list of things my future family will/will not do, and watch TV is on the 'will not do' list. It´s so interesting to be a missionary and observe very closely how other people live their lives. I adore it. Sometimes we just enter a house and it count my lucky stars for the privilege it is to be trusted by these people to enter their homes, and essentially ask them to change their lives.

I also figured I´d let you know that most people think I´m Italian. I´m always something else before I´m American. Believe me, I´m always incredibly flattered. I think it´s my dark hair that picks me out as Italiana, I think.

Also, our mssion´s goal was to have 100 baptisms this month - and we got SO close . . . 97. Unfortunately I did not contribute to any of those numbers, but it´s still a good thing. I am grateful that I´m in a mission where work happens, and that I´m around people that are here to help others change their lives through making covenants with the Lord.

I thought a lot this week about the nature of the work. Sometimes it feels a bit . . . slow. We work with people one by one, and I confess there are moments where I think - there has GOT to be a better way. Nope. Certainly there are faster ways, or easier ways, but this is the way it needs to be. Every person matters so much, each of them has needs that need to be met on an individual basis. Sometimes I walk around the city and think that - this is impossible. It isn´t, but it is going to take work and effort and talvez[*] a few rough days. But I love it. I was thinking about how it´s very much a ´harvesting´of sorts. There are people that are mature and ready and prepared to receive this message, while other people simply take a bit more time to be ready. And so as missionaries we go and talk to as many people as we can - as individuals- and provide others with the opportunity to accept, or not.

We go around and do contacts (I had about 80 this past week if you were wondering) and we invite people to join us at church on Sunday. But several times we get in these deep conversations with people about religion - it´s wonderful. They love us because we´re weird Americans who talk funny, but regardless, I can testify of what I know to be true and I just laugh and laugh with these (usually) men.

And we had plenty of miracles this week. One was with Noemi. We had contacted her nephew, and talked with her mother before, and we offered to leave her with a message. We were teaching the lesson and found out that her son had died the week before. She´s a beautiful black lady and she said that she believes we were sent to her. We were all a little teary during the lesson, but it was glorious to bring hope to this woman who had suffered such a loss. Then it was a miracle that we were able to find her house. And last night - we got back from this family history conference and it was pouring. Like, torrents my friends, like up to your ankles. We decided that we´d pass by the house of a sister we´d invited to church - she wasn´t there, but amidst all the rain, our two other little friends were out on the street and we were able to talk to them. Then we trucked it back to our apartment - all the while carrying a blue plastic bag with two little roaster chickens a member had given us. Hilarious. My life is wonderful.

And now the photos (i´m hoping they work)

1. Sister Denson and Sister Cornwall in front of the church. This was yesterday while we were waiting for our investigators to come to church (which none did, it was heartbreaking.) But she is hilarious. She is so good and diligent.2. The bishop and the view of the city from the church. This is just looking out over the river and the big apartment buildings. Most of the city isn´t just buildings like that, but there are still plenty of them.3. The farol! The lighthouse in Salvador was wonderful. We (unsuccessfully) did a jumping picture in front, but it was so cool to go to Salvador. I LOVE it. We´re about 40 minutes outside of the main city, and it was a glorious bus ride. We travel everywhere by bus (everywhere that´s outside our area at least) and I adore it. There is nothing I like more than seeing a new beautiful city by public transportation. It gives me a good opportunity to fall ever more in love with Brazil.
4. Drinking from a coco verde! This lady with a machete cuts it open and sticks a straw in it. It was divine. The coast is so beautiful and I felt so incredibly at peace on the Brazilian coast.
5. And there´s a picture of the 4 of us that live together: me, Sis D, Sister Jones (she´s a hilarious gal from Utah with BIG hair.), and Sister Moraes (native Brazilian.) I´ve learned so much from Sister Moraes as well, she´s been here 13 months and she always does what is good.
6. That´s our little sink/washer.
7. The view from our kitchen window. It felt so nice today in our apartment as we cleaned. It´s been nice and cool and windy.
Well, I´m slowing realizing how little I know, and how grateful I am for the time I have to try and figure out how this all works effectively. But I feel happy. I´m finally feeling adjusted and now it´s starting to seem like I always lived here. I have been so incredibly blessed with the work. There are people here that are so good and want this message - it just might take talking to a good number of other people before we find them. But I know this message is good and true and my testimony is constantly fortified as I learn more about the incredible plan that God has for us. I am grateful every moment for my relationship with Heavenly Father. He is my strength - especially here.

I love you all and hope all´s well,

Sister Cornwall

[* talvez = perhaps, maybe]

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