Monday, July 25, 2011

My, my, my what a week. Amidst the devastation and disappointment of some of last week´s happenings, Sister Denson and I made some changes. We did a divisão [splits] Friday, and it was interesting to see how other people do things. I sort of had a little breakdown and decided I was done lacking success around here, so we sat down and evaluated how we´re doing things, and what we should be doing better, and decided to fast, and things changed my friends. (I also read a talk from an Elder that had 52 weekly baptisms. yup.)

Anyway, we had 8 people at church yesterday, and the Elders had nine. We are so blessed. Saturday we talked about all the possible desculpas [evasions, run-a-rounds] people could have, and decided we would write Mormon 9:21 for them and leave a reminder about Church. It was amazing to walk up to their houses and see them cleaned up ready to go with Book of Mormon in hand. Sometimes I get embarrassed knowing that we´ve been praying and exhorting and then . . . they actually come. But fortunately I can trust that it´ll be worth it. We watched the Restauraçâo [Restoration] video yesterday and there´s a part where he talks about that everyone should receive the same answer. I couldn´t agree more. God is the same, he´s always existed, and as missionaries it´s such a relief that we can make these convites [invitations] and know that if they do what their supposed to do, we don´t have to worry because this is the work of the Lord. And it´s incredible. Guys, sometimes I struggle because I just ache for these people, and it´s so hard for me to see them choosing errado [incorrectness]. But when they choose what´s right - my goodness I can´t contain myself.

We talked a lot with one of our pesquisadoras [investigators] about Moroni 2:41 about how blessed and happy are the people that keep the commandments. That´s why he gave us commandments in the first place. All of the unhappiness we see is a result of a lack of regard for the commandments of God. I know that sounds oh-so-traditional, and conservative and such, but the fact of the matter is - it´s true. It´s not worth it to just bog yourself down with things that don´t matter darlings.

We also learned a lot about the priority we should be giving to the spirit in our companionship. Just letting a little space for some inspiration from the heavens goes a long way.
Today we went to Pelourinho [click], downtown Salvador, which is the place with the old square, and the colonial architecture and such. It was fun, and lovely, and full of tourists. But it is sometimes nice to be able to just not worry a bit about this great work we´re doing. I love it dearly, and I just can´t believe how things are clipping along. One thing I realized is that there´s no threshold of work in order to have success. Just do everything you can, and you´ll be blessed.

Love Love,

Sister Cornwall

Mom - I hope the photos work, if not, just picture me happy and smiling in the sun. you are wonderful, and I am learning so much about how to love and have compassion . . . and avoid the pitfalls of Satan.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Nossa, [our] this week seemed a little quicker than the others. I´m rather convinced that somebody took out a day of the week. But it was an incredible one nonetheless. We´re getting to know the area rather well, and my favorite part is just walking on the street and having friends to say hello to. These people are just the greatest. Yet one thing that became so incredibly clear was that these people (and of course everybody) have problems. I don´t know what it was but we had a lot of deep heart to heart lessons this week. I think there´s something very special about little Sister Missionaries that people are willing to just lay out their problems. They are willing to discuss the things they just don´t like about their lives. Maybe that´s just Bahia, or maybe it´s all missions, but it´s a very sacred thing.
What´s interesting is that just about all of people´s problems come from a lack of obedience to commandments. God knows what´s right for us, what will make us happy, and yet we feel the need sometimes to very casually disregard what he´s asked us to do in favor of our own silly whims. Covenants are rather simple things; we agree to obey, and God blesses us. Yesterday [Sunday] we had so many people that on Saturday were so ready to go to church. They understood, they were willing, but when we passed them they had other things to do. It was hard. Incredibly hard. Missions are emotional things. My heart just hurts as we walk away from their houses knowing that they are losing blessings. They are losing the tranquility that comes as a result of taking part in the ordinance of the sacrament. And yet we keep going.

This week we studied and taught a lot about testimony. We read Mateus [Matthew] 7:43-47 ish about the parábola [parable] of the wise man built his house upon the rock, and good ol´Helamen 5:12 about how our Redeemer is our rock. Our testimony is what´s going to keep us firme forte. [firm strong] Nothing else. And it´s hard because as missionaries - with all our love and all our studying we can not give this to anyone. We can beg, plead, cry, force etc, but that does nothing. (And that sometimes is frustrating) but that´s just the way it has to be. the more we keep going the more simple things become. You know the words of the Lord, you believe he´ll bless you, so why don´t you just do it? I don´t mean to sound frustrated, but I just want these people to feel the blessings, and when they choose not to, it makes me a little sad. But there´s still so much hope in this great work. I am totally in love with it.

Our life is so cool. Also, people love to give us food. We get suco [juice], and goodies and one pesquisadora [investigator] made us couscous with bananas da terra [of the earth]. It was rather delicious. We are so blessed. And yes, our house is doing much better. We bought a tank for the fogão [stove], found an outlet in the spare bedroom that´ll work for the microondas (that room also has two little mattresses, and for that we call it the ´fubeca room` (fubeca is like, a lazy person.) Our machina de lavar [washing machine) still needs an adapter plug thing, so we´ve gotten good at washing things by hand. But it's so wonderful.
Also, I have a question for you, great wide real-world. So, there´s this enigmatic phenomenon here in Bahia that I simply don´t understand. We´re walking on the street, and there´s a broken sandal. We keep walking, and there´s another, but it´s from a different pair of shoes. It´s ALL over the city. Just abandoned little sandals. Why are they there? Did it break and someone just left it and continued with the one good one? Do they just toss it out their windows when they get home? Anyway, there´s a little snippet of the city for you. Also, I snap. I´ve gotten in this habit where I snap for emphasis (they do it here too, I didn´t make it up) and so now I just go around all day, talking and snapping. I just thought you should know.

Also, Sister Denson is so great. We are a good little team. She´s so patient with me; when I´m running around after church chatting with people, making connections, she just patiently seeks me out. And when I talk too much (someday I´ll learn friends, I´m quite determined) she just smiles and supports me when I fall short. And she´s so fun. We were singing Jesus Minha Luz - The Lord Is My Light - for study, and we tried to do harmonies, and it was horríble, and we just laughed through the last two verses. She is a blessing in my life.

Oh my friends, I hope that your lives are beautiful and happy. I´ve realized that you don´t need too much to live a satisfied life. People here are happy, and I´m grateful to be learning from them. Aw gee, I love and miss you all.

Sister Cornwall

Monday, July 11, 2011

Well hello there,

In case you were wondering, yes, it was another incredible week as a missionary.

A quick word on the pictures. [The below captions are part of Sister Cornwall's letter this week though no pictures were attached for them to accompany . ]

1. With Sulamita and Fernanda our last night in Lauro de Freitas. They are darlings.

2./3. Fourth of July: We had a great American day . . . on the Brazilian beach. We drew an American flag, did the Pledge of Allegiance, sang The Star Spangled Banner (and took a pret-ty hilarious video. at least I think it´s funny, though your sense of humor does change a bit as a missionary.) Then we just walked along the beach. From our house it´s about a 15-20 minute walk. Sometimes it´s ridiculous how beautiful it is.

4. This is a little view from our street. We are atop a massive hill, but it makes for a rather pretty view.

5. Yes, we had a baptism! Etainara was a pesqui[sa]dora [researcher, investigator] of the Elders before us. They taught her all the lessons, but the mãe [mother] wouldn´t give the authorization. Nor the dad. But we talked to them both, they seemed excited, we did a revision of the lessons, of the importance and meaning of baptism and Etainara was excited to be baptized. There´s just something about a darling set of Sister missionaries I suppose that warms up the hearts of the people here. Yup.

6. It was actually a really big night with two other baptisms and a bunch of people. Compared to our last baptism, it was quite smooth. This ward is SO supportive, and it makes such a difference. I´m feeling very very grateful for that.

This week was in fact a bit of a step up from last week. Ahem, I would like to announce that we officially have the following in our little abode; two beds, a geladeira, a fogão, a microonda, a machina de lavar, a guarda-roupa, [fridge, stove, microwave, washing machine, wardrobe] and this other thing for the kitchen we haven´t put together yet. Our beds are heaven, and the geladeira keeps our food plenty cold, the microonda has a weird plug so we can´t actually use it yet, we need a hose for the machina de lavar, we´re putting together the guarda roupa today, and the fogão doesn´t have the gas tank hooked up yet. But we´re feeling VERY grateful.

Also, we had miracles occur even on the streets of Brazil. Truly. This past week we had a media reference to seek out in Stella Maris. Last week we spent oh- maybe three hours - looking for his house (it was a little embarrassing) but then we finally found him Tuesday and he is incredible. He was just searching `free scriptures`on the internet and wanted to know more about the Book of Mormon. We went back this week and he had read and prayed and then flipped open the Bible and read in psalms about a restoration. He is so calm about his response that God has told him this church is true! The system of read and pray and God will respond really works my friends. His mom is baptist and we still need to talk to her, but testimony is a precious and powerful thing, and I know that it will all be alright with that boy.

We also had another just - wow - moment this week while we were looking for a contact (we actually spend a good amount of time looking for people´s houses. I rather like it in fact.) and we knock on this door asking about Rafael. He doesn´t live there. But then the woman at the door says - wait, you´re from the Church of Jesus Christ ("Why yes ma´am, we most certainly are," - and this was all in Portuguese, so that´s not even what we said, but that´s what I was thinking, anyway.) She had been baptized but gone inactive two years ago. But the Spirit was telling her she needed to go back to the Church of Jesus Christ (completely true) and she said she was just waiting for a confirmation. Then we knocked on her door. Guys, I´ve heard about stories like these, that they happen, but I think that perhaps I let myself believe that they wouldn´t necessarily happen to me, I don´t know why. But they do. Miracles that slap you in the face happen so often. I don´t know what we´re doing here that merits such miracles, but I´m incredibly grateful. We need to keep working arduously to go find these people that desperately need us.

I gave a quick testimony in Church yesterday and just talked about how we need to share this good news. This Church is one of HAPPINESS. We shared 2 Nefi 2Ç25 a couple of times, and we´re here for alegria [joy]friends. If you´re not happy, you´re not doing something right. I know that our Heavenly Father is watching us and guiding us. If we look for his hand in our lives, I know we´ll see it. I want all of you to know that I am happy doing this work. It´s incredible, and God lives.

Love, Love, Love,

Sister Cornwall
[Happy Birthday Jeffrey]

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hi There!
What a week it has been. Transfer weeks (I hear) are always rather tricky, but this week was pretty interesting for Sister Denson and myself. Let me explain real quick the situation at hand. So, technically Sis D and I are in the Itapuã ward, but there´s a part of the ward - Stella Mares - that has never had missionaries working there, so the ward has been split between our district leader and our dupla [pair/companionship]. Stella Mares is technically our area though it´s kinda far from our house and rich, with LOTS of condos, so we´ll be working a lot with the stake president and bishop and members to figure out the best way to get the work going there.

The ward is incredible. We were there yesterday for the first time, and everyone LOVES us. There have never been Sisters there so the ward has been asking the Elders for weeks when we´re coming, and now that we´re finally here . . . well they can´t wait. There were several people coming up and asking when they can go out and help us, they want to give us references. Uau [Wow], it is great. Also, there´s this funny little American family - theCampbells - that travel a bunch, and their visas were running out, so they´re living here for the summer. They are especially stoked to work with us . . . we´ll see how that goes. But I am feeling renewed love and appreciation for the ward. We need it! There is NOTHING that we as missionaries can do that even reaches the support of the ward. So - you know what you all need to do.
And yes, we´re living in our new house. Because we´re opening an area it´s brand new, and it had nothing. Literally, nothing. Over the course of the week we´ve officially acquired: 1. A chuveira, shower head (nope, wasn´t included, before it was just a pipe sticking out of the wall.) 2. Two cushions. we swept the floor really well beforehand. 3. Two cups and two spoons (before that we had empty yogurt containers and a straw. Suffice it to say, we´ve really moved up in the world.) 4. Two chairs. the Elders live really close and they´ve been helping out a lot. We should be getting furniture today. We´re pretty excited about that. We´ve been limited to eating things that neither need to be refrigerated nor heated . . . which means we have eaten a fair amount of crackers, bread, bananas, apples . . . and powdered milk. I have to say it has been a really fun experience. Sister Denson and I are living it up. But we´re glad to be here. This past week we´ve just been adjusting and getting used to the area. We have found some incredible people this week, and even when we are exhausted and frustrated (Itapuã has been wiping me out. It has a LOT of really big hills and we´re just so tired when we get home) , when we enter a home, and start teaching about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ - oh glória it´s the best. I know this gospel´s true. I know it.

There was a family in the supermercado [supermarket] this past week behind us in line. Father mother and adorable son, and - as missionaries tend to do - I invited them to get to know the Church. They are already Baptists, and I just kept thinking about them and this idea that there is happiness in truth and light, and that there is truth and light everywhere. I know that this Gospel is true, it´s just hard to realize that now´s not the time for everyone. I feel so privileged to be part of this work, and to have the same purpose as Jesus Christ. I´ve started reading the Gospels looking at the questions that the Savior poses. but he starts out his ministry saying - repent, the time is at hand (or something like that in English, yes yes, I´m reading in Portuguese) and that is exactly our message today. Make the changes you need to in your life so you can receive the blessings. I feel the love of the Lord so much. He is extremely patient with this little servant of his. I am very grateful.

There are a few other little things that Brazilians have/do that I´m grateful for (and plan to inculcate in my future life) pipa, pão, and passarros. First, pipa: kites. Everyone flies kites. The~y´re just bits of paper with string wrapped around a tin can, but they fly, and I LOVE it. Pão is bread, and everyone buys it fresh everyday. Thy´re just little rolls, but they are tasty, and smell SO good in the street. Also, passarros: birds. Everyone has a bird cage. Literally. I don´t really know why, but they do, and it´s lovely. And weird. But it´s just a little something that I like about these Bahians.

This is the best opportunity in the world. And the church is an incredible system - I don´t like to use that word, but it´s an organization that functions so well. We have so much support and everyone is taken care of. We are part of an obra maravilhosa [wonderful work]. I love each of you, and I hope that you´re doing what you know is right, because it´ll make you happy friends. That´s why we´re here, and we all know how we can get there.

Love love,

Sister Cornwall