Monday, October 24, 2011

What a week it was,

First of all, it rained, pretty much the entire week. I know what yoúre thinking - wait, shés in Brazil, and it́s approaching summer on that side of the equator, and. . . I know. But that́s Conquista. (Conquista is pretty much a county, and it́s made up of lots of large neighborhoods. yup.)

We had Conferencia de Zona [Zone Conference] this week on Wednesday, (photo of the Sisteres, and photo of our zone. I meant to have a picture with Presidente and Sister Vecchi, but my camera didńt take). So we were running around trying to make up for our lost day. We worked hard this week, trying to put in practice the things that we learned. First of all, we have to do our maximum. So often in this life we are swimming, swimming seeking the shore . . . and it gets hard, and we stop. Little did we know that we were just one stroke away from the shore. So just keep doing your best and it́ll come. This was grand advice from Presidente. The thing is, we did our best this week. We went to the cartorio [notary's office/registry]in this tiny city with a member of the ward with the couple that is waiting to get married. They entered their papers, and wére waiting (and praying, and fasting) for a date soon. Celia and Carlos have been waiting to get married . . . for a year. So your prayers would be lovely. We'́ve also been spending a lot of time with Rodrigo and Diogo, brothers that went to church last week (mostly because we helped drag them out of bed.) They are great kids . . . but they haveńt been keeping compromissos [commitments/promises]. We also taught Inis, and her niece, hoping theýd come to church. We also had the chance to talk with Poliana and Robério, and Daví their son, and we had a good talk. Also, Ramón, who we found out is the cousin once removed of a member of the church. Hés great. I love every one of these people. Love them. I want the best for their lives, but I will tell ya, my heart sorta got broken this week. Okay, our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ. To invite. Solely. And sometimes our invitations are accepted, but are not followed through. And that breaks my heart. I know, without a doubt that prayer and reading the scriptures and going to the church is going to make a difference. And they [the investigators] dońt [pray, read, go to church]. Oh gosh, and I cańt force them. Anyway, theré's that sad story.

But the great news is, we spoke in church yesterday. We got the invitation . . . between sociedade de socorro [Relief Society] and princípios do evangelho [Gospel Principles]. And I was accompanying the primary during the middle hour, and played during sacrament. Suffice it to say that my preparation was minimal.

Sister de Assis and I (we are becoming quite good friends. We disagree . . .frequently, but oh how I'́ve learned to deal with disagreement. we are having a grand ol time together). [We] have noticed a little lack of reverence during sacrament meeting. It́s horrible actually. Plus Sister Vecchi talked about reverence for the sacred (a talk by Elder Cristofferson) and so we laid it right out, talking about how sacrament meeting is the meeting mais importante [most important] in the church. I talked about the sacrifice of our Savior, and that we need to use the time that we have to show our reverence for that sacrifice. We kinda chastised them. But it́s for their own sake right? And for our pesquisadores [investigators] to feel the strong spirit that can be there.

We had a lot of good experiences teaching. We have improved and changed so much as a dupla, [c0mpanionship] and I feel so grateful. Our work is more effective, but wére seeing effects of the inimigo [enemy/foe]. Iniśs niece was incredible; 12 years old and she has so much faith. We passed by the next day, and the dad flat out said that he didńt want anyone talking about religion with his daughter. I hate it when that happens. But wére doing all we can to spread the joyful message of this great work. I know that the Lord expects success from us, and that it is the result of hard work on our part. So Ím just trusting in that idea and putting in everything. Therés not really anything else we can do. We talked a lot wednesday about really putting our heart into this work, having faith in the bondade of the Lord. We are trying to continue changing (that́s really all repentance is, and ím so grateful. at least if ím not perfecting, ím learning) and I know that it will affect this lovely Ward. Íll write more about it later, but Ím very grateful to be working here, despite some of the unforeseeable and inexplicable challenges we have.

Oh how I love this gospel, it is truth, that is eternal and glorious.

love love love
Sister Cornwall

A few excerpts from e-mails to Sister Cornwall's mother:

I would LOVE to hear about Halloween. A family in our ward carved a pumpkin - I sorta shrieked when I saw it. Lovely.

I love hearing about the Monrovia Ward as well. A special place.

I wanted to tell you to watch a video : National Back to Church Day. I dońt know if yoúve seen it, but it is really cool, well done and inspiring!

We got the new [History of the] Relief Society manual. I LOVE IT!!!! We were like little girls when we got home last night and wrote our names in the book and looked at all the pictures. Ím sure yoúre not surprised, but I really really loved all the old photos. Can we fashion my future temple dress after some of the officiantes from one of the photos?

Brazil is more traditional in gender roles, and it́s been interesting to be exposed to that.

Also, your package hasńt come. I may have lost hope. But others are getting packages. I dońt know what the deal is. Sorry about that.

Tell everyone to post a lot on the blog! I want to see it all . . . some day.

... one of our investigators. Theýve been waiting to get married for over a year! And this week wére hoping things will finally work out. But we were talking to him last night, about his testimony and feelings about the church. He likes the structure, good people, the leaders dońt get paid, strong principles, but he has trouble with the phrase, "I know this church is true",` signifying perhaps that all other churches are false. He doesńt have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet or that the Book of Mormon is true. He wants to get baptized, he knows this is the church for him, and it́s going to happen, but Ím still a little sad that his testimony of the GOSPEL and priesthood is sort of faulting. Wére hoping that the gift of the Holy Ghost will open up and strengthen his testimony.

Our family is incredible blessed. the Church here has a lot of problems, but really, there are serious problems everywhere. I just want a simple life, and to do what is right. I realized this week that all the things/people I left behind will still be there, but this mission wońt wait. I need to just take advantage of the time I have. I feel so imperfect... sometimes, BUT - that́s why we have the atonement. Ím glad the Lord is patient.

Oh mom, there are jacaranda trees here. I think of you and Grandpa Hodgkinson.

love you, rach

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