Friday, August 17, 2012

RETURNED... WITH HONOR

Sister Cornwall arrives at LAX this morning.
She was greeted by her Dad and Mom, Grandpa C. and Sarah,
Katie and Dallin, Elizabeth, Daniel and Seth.


Monday, August 13, 2012

HERE WE ARE... THE END

This past week was a correria [foray, race, gallop, hurry, tumble], we were truly just running around, showing the area to Sister Petersen, buying things, visiting less actives, packing bags, cleaning the house - we lost two days of departure preparation, so it was pretty rushed. But we made it to Salvador [to know why Sister C. was in Salvador see p.s.] (we almost had to leave Sister Lima behind because she forgot her ID, but we're here) and now it's just a few little days here in the beloved Bahia. I love this place. It truly has become terra sagrada [sacred land] for me. Jequié was so special because of all the miracles that have happened. It was a little shocking to come back to Salvador, say goodbye to Sister Lima (until tomorrow morning), and be in the big city again. I feel so grateful for how peaceful Jequié was, just a glorious dedicated time. So nice.
And last night was so good. We had planned a surprise honorary festa for Sister and Elder morgan (music, flowers, a video slideshow) but those sneaky members of the Jequié branch did a total switch-up, and surprised me and Sister Lima with presents, and letters, and a cake, and music, and such. Goodness gracious, I have never felt so grateful. What they have done was already enough (aka - letting the gospel of Jesus Christ make them into better people and such, that is the true happiness of a missionária) but then they went and made us all cry. Patrícia was the worst. Even in the first meeting at church yesterday morning, she was all teary. Even João Pedro started to cry last night. Sister Lima and I really served Jequié with ALL our heart, might, mind and strength. And Jequié felt it, and returned the favor.

Sister Cornwall is playing the organ in this photo. (From the Morgan's blog)

This week will just be taking care of a few final things, and then we go. I am so grateful to have been able to serve my Redeemer. It was so sacred. I am a different person. I know the gospel of Jesus Cristo works, it transforms us and brings a greater peace and happiness than we are capable of imagining.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall


p.s. Well, here we are, the end, mom. I do feel so blessed. This past week was pretty brilliant. I've never loved two women more in my life [Sister Lima and Sister Petersen]. We hardly slept because we were chatting, and having sleepovers, and pushing the beds together. . . it was really, really nice. I'm actually in Salvador right now because I had to renew my visa. Sister Lima and Sister Pete all came, and we have a few days to kind of, just spend time in Salvador.

[Upon my return to home] I think my only priorities are temple, and eating salads. My digestive system could use some normalizing - so just good delicious healthy food - you know me, I haven't changed that much....

... Oh, the gospel brings so much happiness. It is incredible. I love you both so much. Love, Rach

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What a great week it was.

We found so many marvelous people. Unfortunately, only one of them went to church. Alana. We met her in the grocery store when she asked us where the matches are, when she asked - I remembered that we also needed matches. Anyway, she's fifteen and has a great desire to follow Jesus Christ.

But quite frankly, the greatest miracle was not even with our investigators, it was in our companionship. We got a call this week telling us there would be an emergency transfer. Sister Lima and I are still in Jequié, but you will never guess who is here with us; go ahead, take a shot. You won't believe me even when I tell you. What happened was that one Sister went home, and that left this Sister the chance to come to Jequié, to get to know the area, and take care of it when Sister Lima and I leave. Oh, are you still wanting to know who it is - Sister E. Petersen. I know, I know. there is no way that I should be her companion three separate times within a year and a half . . . you don't know how my dreams have come true. I never thought I could have two companions that are so incredible, nor that I could love them so much. We have already had some amazing conversations, and we feel so blessed to be able to work together and have miracles happen.
We talked a lot about how God is a god of justice. I studied about obedience this week, and how truly, when we allow ourselves the opportunity to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will obey because we understand that commandments are given so that we can progress. When we do the "right" thing, the blessings will come, without a doubt. That is an incredible idea. We can trust in God's promises, because they're even bigger than He is, He has to abide by them or He would cease to be God. He is so intelligent (alright, He's perfect) but the more amazing thing, is that we can arrive close to where He is. I am dying to go back to the House of the Lord and feel the light and truth and spirit complete me.

This gospel is miraculous, this is the truth. Jesus Christ is literally the light and life of the world.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

For the follower of Sister Cornwall who may be interested - The Morgan's blog post this week describes some interesting details about life in Jequie, Bahia. Click Here.

Monday, July 30, 2012


The Lord certainly knows how to take advantage of the last three weeks of one's mission. This week we felt like we had traipsed through the desert, without really understanding why (literally . . . our toes and sandals are just . . . shameful because the area where we were working is just dirt roads.) But Karla was baptized!!! (I think Sister Morgan'll post photos.[See more photos and storyline by clicking HERE.]) She really was a miracle . . . there was not a single hitch in the whole teaching process. She has an incredible love of God. She's 17 and has a great calm about her. We were just so grateful, so grateful for this blessing.

There were two other baptisms - Jequié is experiencing miracles. Truly. We found some incredible people this week. The Lord uses such subtle inspirations so that those he is mindful of are found. While we were walking on the street, I had the strong impression to call a man that has already been taught, but never ended up getting baptized, while we were marking a day to visit, we asked him where he lives, and we were on that very street! We met up with him before he went out of town for the rest of the week. We feel so incredibly blessed and so GRATEFUL to be here together, to be working, to see changes. It is a glorious thing.

I also ate blood this week. It's not all that tasty. Oh well.

We are starting to prepare ourselves for the transfer of all transfers, but I know the Lord has arranged everything so perfectly. He is so perfectly conscious of our life and our existence; we have the capacity to change, to be molded, to be humbled, to be perfected. I feel so free because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is certainly a message of mercy.

We started reading the Book of Mormon from page 1 this week, and what I am loving most is 1 Nefi 1:20 - the tender mercies of the Lord, for those that were chosen because of their faith, will receive the power of libertação (liberty? liberation?) I feel that completely. I love this.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

The following note is from Sister Cornwall's companion, Sister Lima.

It's true that Sister Cornwall and I are friends and that that is a blessing that I can't describe. She is a very special woman. She has an extraordinary love for the Lord and for all. She is a great missionary, she is able to reach - or rather - touch the hearts, provoke, or stimulate, that is truly incredible and admirable. She has such a sweet spirit such that everyone - myself included - feels and desires to be better, because of her. She inspires me.

But she's also light, she's joyful, happy, and her joy is contagious.

It is marvelous to be at Sister Cornwall's side 24 hours a day, everyday. I love to be at her side on the street, but I love to return home. Our house is the the most lovely that I've ever seen and the most creative, and has the sweetest spirit.

I love Sister Cornwall

-Sister Lima

Monday, July 23, 2012


Hey.

I really need to take advantage of this letter writing time because my chances are starting to run short. But Sister Lima and I are going, going, going. There's no stopping us. We are so full of desire and the spirit, and every day I feel like my understanding is opening. It is incredible to be with her. We are so fond of each other. For example, one day Sister Lima wrote me a letter on the bathroom tile wall in lipstick, and a note on the mirror with toothpaste. I wrote in eyeliner that I love her. She responded with a post-it under the sink, I drew a heart in concealer . . . last night she wrote i love you ALL over the bathroom (the doorknob, inside the sink, on top of the toilet, on the toilet seat, on the ground, on the door. She told me later that as she did it she thought - there's no way Sister Cornwall can outdo this. Instead of wasting too much energy, I just went around to every message and wrote "more" at the end. Hence every message read "i love you more." We are delightful together.

Well, Veronica and her family did not get baptized. It was a pretty painful week because of that. She was following through with everything, but as Saturday got closer she said she just didn't feel like it. I don't know what it was. Presidente Vecchi said we have just 2 minutes to stay sad, but I thought about her all week. That happened a few other times with people we were teaching. It was a week where the Lord humbled us a bit (re: a lot.) In the middle of the week, one of our numbers was lacking, and we stayed up talking to our leaders until almost 11h00. We ended the conversation feeling pretty sad, but the next morning we talked about how the Lord humbles us, how we hit a point of progress, which is great. But then we fall a little, we become more humble, more dependent on the Lord and that downward loop gives us the force to loop back up again - and what helps us get a little higher than the last established point is the grace of Jesus Christ. There are so many people overburdened and plugged up with stress and rage, but honestly, we just need to let ourselves progress. I realized this week that every week will not be the BEST week we've ever had, and that's great, and that doesn't mean we're failing in our purpose .. . it just means there's progress. It's like a trampoline, we can't get higher without getting lower.

Speaking of trampolines, Sister Lima and I jumped in one this last Saturday at the festa at the church. It was awesome . . . the Branch Presidente almost took us out .. . but we were enjoying ourselves so much that he just let us stay. There was dancing and TONS of great Bahian food and a lot of people. It was a good week. We studied a lot about angels this week, and I am grateful for this great big work of the Lord.

We have the baptism of Karla this week, a girl who was previously taught by Elders, but her parents didn't let her get baptized. Now they will. A true miracle. Prayers are welcome. I love this work, it is a privilege and a roller coaster.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, July 16, 2012


Cicero and Patricia with their three kids.
(From far left to right) Tiago - 1st Counselor in the Branch Presidency; Charles - the Branch Mission Leader; President Jose Helio; Sister Lima; Sister Cornwall
and Eleomar in the front


Wow, what a week.

Patricia and Cicero were baptized!!! It was marvelous. Cicero had travelled Sunday afternoon, and didn't get back until Wednesday night (which makes missionaries pretty nervous) but we talked to Patricia everyday and she was so great. When we talked to her Monday night, she said - I made my decision, I'm going to get baptized. Presidente José Helio of the branch had told a story in sacrament meeting about a man who said he would tight rope with a bicycle, and asked the crowd if they thought he could, and they said- yeah we believe it. Then he asked if they thought he could do it pulling someone behind him, and the crowd said - we believe you, but we don't trust you. Patricia totally got it and realized that she believed, even knew everything we taught her was true, but she wasn't trusting enough to follow through. She was so strong, and when we talked to Cicero, he also felt that it was the right thing to do. But then we didn't know if Cicero would have to work on Saturday; we prayed and prayed and when we got back from the conference with Presidente Andrezzo, we got to their house at 8h30 in the van with the Elders, and we asked Patricia anxiously if Cicero was home - and he was!!!

The baptism was probably the most rewarding I've ever been to. The entire branch has been asking about them, and apparently everyone already knew their names. There were a ton of people, and everyone got involved. There was a lovely little reception afterwards, and then the Branch Presidente interviewed the both of them. Sister LIma and I were a little under the weather, but it was pretty blissful for us. Then Cicero said he had to work Sunday morning, and so we prayed, realizing that having unshakable faith is seeing beyond the obvious, normal circumstance. And guess who went to church in a shirt and tie, with his beautiful wife, and three darling kids (João Pedro 6, Leticia 3, and Pedro Henrique 1 1/2) - it was miraculous. We really did so little. They were received so well, and they are just so grateful.

Wednesday night after our visit, we asked Cicero to give the closing prayer, and he thanked Heavenly Father for me and Sister Lima, he was so kind. Honestly, our mission was worth it just for this family. It was a little bit sad just because the branch adopted them so well that I felt like I lost 5 children, but it's better that way. Thank you everyone for your prayers. there is a power in prayer that I am only beginning to understand.

And we met the Andrezzos. They are darling. They are different from the Vecchis, but they were certainly called to take the mission to the next level. I feel so privileged to have been able to work with them for a few weeks.

Sister Lima and I are so full of gratitude. We are going to take care of ourselves, and then get back to work. We have the family of Veronica and Guilherme and Rosane, they need prayers this week . . . would you mind? I know there is a lot of faith and power when our investigators receive your prayers.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Sister Andrezzo - Mission Mom; Sister Morgan - Senior Missionary; Sister Lima; Sister Cornwall

Some p.s. chats to Sister Cornwall's parents:
It was nice to meet the Andrezzos [the new Mission President and Mission Mom], finally. And I'll just brag a little. When I met Sister Andrezzo, she said - oh good to meet you Sister Cornwall -- the famous. I thought that was interesting. But then in my interview with Presidente he said that his son had told them that I was the best of the best [their son had been an A.P. in Sister Cornwall's mission back in Jan.] , and if he could pay me to stay, he would. I was incredibly flattered. They are incredibly lovable, and I am just so glad to have been able to meet them and work a little bit with them.

Also, I was sick this week. Sister Lima and I got a virus and ended up with diarrhea on Friday night, and then Saturday morning we woke up feeling lousy, but we went the second mile and did a visit, and . . . Sister Cornwall threw up on the street on the way home. It'll be a good story. We've been taking it easy (we really only went out on Saturday for the baptism) and we've been eating so little because we're just nauseous. But hey, we'll live.

Thanks for being so great mom and dad. Love, Rach

Monday, July 9, 2012

Whew, it was another busy week this week.

We are working so hard, and we're hoping and praying that that will have fruits on Saturday for the baptismo of Patrícia and Cicero. They are changing, and feeling the spirit and you can see the hope that this will help them transform their lives, I know it will.

This week was interesting in that it was one of those weeks that helps you see your weaknesses a little more clearly. After all this time, there are a few basic things that still need adjustments. But this life is constant healing process. We are always going to be going through something, sometime, and seeking out our Heavenly Father's help. We shared Job 23:8-10 a few times in our messages this week, and I was taken aback by how grateful everyone was; essentially it talks about how when we are going, going, going, sometimes we don't see the Lord, BUT He knows our path, He knows what we're going through, and though He will try us and refine us and cast some light on our weaknesses "we will come out as gold." Amen.

We had a fireside last night where we watched 17 miracles about the Willie/Martin Handcart Companies. Not a dry eye. It was important for me to watch that. Here's what I wrote afterwards

He let me come. He let me come and serve Him and make such a tiny difference. He let me give a little of myself so that I could finally find Him and be nearer to Him and see His hand and His miracles. He sends me His Holy Spirito so that I can be comforted and assured that He is right there and He will never abandon us. I know He loves me and cares about who I am, and where I go and what I become. He cares about my desires and hopes and dreams. He knows that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven
.
I'll do ALL He asks me to do. The rest of the world just doesn't matter. This is the gospel and power and glory of Jesus Christ. It's why we do what we do. We are so incredibly imperfect. But He will bless our weaknesses and kiss our heads when we falter so incredibly. But that's why He gave us His son. That's why that infinite sacrifice was so essential. We will live in Christ. We will live by His grace and mercy. We will find peace and rest in Him. He will redeem us. He will allow us to turn to Him of our own free will just so that WE can have the pleasure of having been the ones to decide to make it happen.

Our families will be forever. We will have eternal glory and happiness with our Father and with our Savior. I have no doubt of that. This is the truth. I am so loved and so blessed to be here serving my Savior Jesus Christ. THis is it. I am so grateful.

Please pray for Patricia and Cicero. It'll be a lovely week.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

In response to a question regarding how long it takes to get 'snail-mail' and how much longer folks ought to send a USPS letter, Sister Cornwall responded...

I think this is the last week! And honestly, because I'm so far from Salvador, I'll probably just get it on my way out.

love you, Rach
A few 'stealth' photos of Jequie borrowed from the blog of the Morgan's (the senior missionary couple) in Sister Cornwall's zone.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Whew this was one of the most exhausting, and certainly the most spiritual week of all of them. Sister Lima and I are just wasted from having so many incredible experiences.

First we had a Family Home Evening where we invited everyone to do one thing everyday to show love in their home - a little note, a little present - something. I really lucked out because Sister Lima is REALLY good at these kinds of things. We have written on the mirrors, the windows, the fridge, there are notes stuck everywhere, and ribbons and such scattered throughout the house. Beyond that, couples in the ward spent the week doing cute things, and there were a few glowing couples at Church on Sunday. So I'll invite everyone to do SOMETHING for someone else in your household until next Monday. You will love it.

So those activities brought a special spirit. We were both feeling a little frustrated on Wednesday because after a full day of looking for new people to teach - nothing. Then we said a prayer at home at 6h30 at night, asking for help, and found one family of 10 and another of 5. It was pretty amazing. We also had a Family Home Evening with a family in the ward where only the dad isn't a member. We watched a few videos from the Church's site, and the son who got home from a mission in Manaus bore testimony and hugged his dad and the rest of us just sobbed. It was really special.

Patricia and Cicero went to Church! They loved it and were so well greeted. I am so grateful for them and their faith.

One incredible lesson that I learned yesterday during sacrament meeting was that we are going to be tested, we are going to shake and lose our balance a little, but we can stick it. If we trust in the enabling grace of Jesus Christ, we won't fall. Our trials are to make us a little humbler, humble enough to ask for help, and then he will help and make all the difference. That is real freedom and joy and happiness. It's true.

love, love, love,
Sister Cornwall

View across the street from the church.
p.s. Photos are care-of this blog kandllight.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm staying in Jequié! With Sister Lima! Miracles are real. We could not believe it when we got the call. We are incredibly excited to work and work and work some more.

This morning we were just talking and talking, and we realized that we are living Jacob 5 in the Book of Mormon. Jequié is at a crucial point where it will either join with the neighboring stake (and lose a lot of independence) or it will grow and divide and become a district (and then a stake, and then a mission!) But this week was incredible. Last night was this glorious moment - the first productive branch counsel in a really long time. There's the 15 famílias program that was designed exactly to divide and last night we spent almost the entire evening just talking about people - everyone was working together and they were seeking out Divine guidance and the Spirit was so strong - it was marvelous. Going back to the part about Jacob 5, verses 49-51 talk about how the Lord of the vineyard is ready to rip things out and start all over, but the servant asks to spare it a little longer. And the Lord of the vineyard allows it - just a little longer. Sister Lima and I know that our work over the next 7 weeks will determine a lot of the future of Jequié. But we have been so blessed.

We met Patrícia and Cicero this week, a beautiful couple from Ceará with three little kids. They are really marvelous. We have been so so blessed, and we're excited to bring families into the "vineyard," if you will.

Also, I gave a talk at church (and we taught Gospel Principles, and sang in the choir, missionary life is the best.) I talked about how this past week I had a dream with Jeffrey R. Holland; we drove around a little bit and chatted etc. Cool. Then I woke up and decided that God probably wanted to tell me something. I decided to look for a talk by him, and found "Faith to Answer the Call" that talks about the faith of early pioneers that did so much and risked so much etc. His main invite was to create a reservoir of faith, reading, praying, studying, searching our soul, searching the heavens for a testimony that will be rock-ribbed, furnace-refined faith. It was really great.

We are thrilled to be here, and to do the Lord's will and invite His spirit to be ever stronger in our lives. (p.s. I am in love with Sister Lima, she is one of the most Christ-like people I know.)

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, June 18, 2012

Map of the state of Bahia, Brazil

Well, Here we are.

The first week in the ol' Jequié branch. I think when I heard branch, I was thinking there would be like 15 people . . . not really. The Jequié branch actually used to be a district. It was two branches, but because of lack of growth, it was combined. There are about 100 people that go every Sunday, and they are really great people. It's always so interesting to work in an area for almost a week, hear so much about the area, and THEN go to church on Sunday already having formed a few ideas, heard a few names, and then you have to go and piece everything together. It can be kinda fun.

One of the things that I had already perceived that was pretty much confirmed on Sunday was that despite the fact that some of these people have been members for a very long time . . .they don't really get it. That's actually true in most of the wards, but Jequié is so cut off, that it's a little more so. It's actually a really cool city - and reminds me so much of Monrovia; it's in a valley and it has mountains! I haven't seen mountains for so long. We have a nice house that is on the 4th floor with lots of huge windows. I love windows. And we can see the mountains. In the morning it's actually a little cold and in the afternoon - it's pretty hot. And dry. But I've already been through that.

Also, I have . . . Sister Lima. Goodness gracious. It is a blessing from God that we are companions. I think I mentioned that she is only serving short term. She served eight years ago in São Paulo and she is . . . incredible. She moved to Salvador three years ago, and within a month she was called as Relief Society President. She's single obviously, but she serves so well. She also was not released from her present calling (stake primary president) and she has decided to stick around for one more transfer. To describe her, she's like a tiny 36 year old Brazilian Bonnie Young (Bonnie, did you come home from your mission yet? - if so, write me darling.) Also, for those of you that know her, she has a few facial features that for some odd reason remind me of Jodi Bell. She is incredible. She has this burning testimony, she's a member 17 years and lost her mom 3 years ago. She is solid and fun and hilarious. We are both feeling grateful to be together.

Sister Lima & Sister Morgan

There is also something else very special here in Jequié: the Morgans. They are senior couple that is serving here. They are incredible (mom, they also have a blog: kandllight.blogspot.com) they've been here for four months I think, and are from Arizona. This morning (when we all played soccer together with the two other pairs of Elders) Sister Morgan and I were talking about how different things are here. They are an incredible resource. We talked to the Branch President (in a miraculous meeting - everyone has been trying, trying trying to arrange a meeting with him, and haven't been able to. but Thursday night I felt like we should visit seminary; there wasn't seminary but Presidente José Hélio was there,) and we talked about the programs 15 famílias/unidos em propósito [united in purpose] and the sanctification of the branch and its leaders. We are all recognizing that this is the key moment for this branch. I feel so blessed to be able to be here. This past week has been a LOT of really pushing my enthusiasm for all the Jequieences so that they feel that it can happen. LOTS of positive thinking. But honestly, there is so much potential. It's gonna happen. We don't know what's going to happen at the end of the transfer next Monday, but it doesn't really matter.

This letter contained significantly more information than inspiration, but I studied a lot about submission this week. When we submit ourselves to our God, and commit ourselves to do His will - hey, He'll give us a power to help enable us to get through. I needed to learn about that this week.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

File photo of Jequie from the internet

Photo from the Morgan's blog

Photo from the Morgan's blog

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dear everyone!: 

Well, today is my last full day in Mussurunga, there's an emergency transfer (not on my end) and I'm going to Jequié! The hottest city in the mission! [No kidding! See the nick-name for Jequie] But it will be awesome. Sister Lima (a short term missionary) will be my companion. And it's a branch there, I think I've always wanted to work in a branch. I am pumped. The assistants actually called me last Wednesday, but we've got our final conference tomorrow morning, and if I'd gone last Thursday as was originally planned, I'd have missed it. So I go tomorrow afterwards. I'll bear my departing testimony because we won't have conferences my last transfer. Weird right?

This last week was a little funny with the quasi-transfer (i'm actually already packed, I've been living out of a suitcase since Thursday morning) and we also had the Manaus Brasil Temple dedication! [See LDS info page.] Saturday night we had several visitors/pesquisadores that watched the commemoration/celebration, which was really cute. It was interesting to see a representation of the culture of another Brazilian state; the states here are all so diverse, and Manaus is in the middle of the Amazon, [See map - note Sister Cornwall's mission is just below the Recife Temple on the east coast.] but there were TONS of people. Salvador will need to really work to have the dedication necessary to earn a temple here. But it was really entertaining, and I felt the spirit - even though there were some silly/slower moments. But the people of this church are so good. 

Sunday morning was divine. We didn't have Sacrament Meeting, just the first session of the three. Sister Smart and I went all chic because we didn't have to go pick up pesquisadores, and we were headed straight home afterwards. It was so special to be in such sacred circumstances; they were all people that I already knew, but there was certainly an added reverence. And Raymond went in a shirt and tie, which was special. I know that the Lord wants us to feel His peace, and the way that he can teach us about Godliness. I am grateful for the desire that I have to raise myself to the standard. I studied all about temples this week in the pre-dedication build-up. It is a special place. The Lord wants us to receive his doctrine through covenant. We are able to have a strength greater than our own force of will, and the temple is the only place holy enough for us to be able to get to a level of Godliness on this earth that we need in order to understand Him at a greater level. We need the power of God in this life. We need to understand better in order to be better. I like that. I MISS the temple. While we waited they passed footage outside and inside various temples . . . baaaahaaa, I was filled with an incredible . . .homesickness, is probably the best word. I know that on a mission we live a consecrated life, such that we can feel the spirit to a similar degree as to when we're in the temple . . . but sometimes that spirit doesn't include the calm, and the cleanliness, and the good smells, and such. The temple is real growth. It is what will make the biggest difference in our lives. We can make it there.

This will be quite an interesting week. It'll be quite an adventure. I am sad to leave my dear Salvador. I really love this city. A lot. But hey, there are people that are waiting there right?

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Mom, that sounds like so much fun (your trip that is.) Our family is great, and I'm glad that it all worked out. each new member of the family is another little something that factors in. Interesting. I already have my itinerary. And although I'll probably be tired, I really do want to go to the temple SOON!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thanks mom. I was thinking about Jeff all day. All the contacts I did on the street, I managed to talk about him somehow. Even Presidente Vecchi sent congratulations (I'd written him in my letter.) Jeffrey is married. WEIRD!!!!!!!!!!! But I'm so happy.
Well,
This week was really nice. Raymond [Bill Gates cousin] was baptized!!! It was really special. He got sick, his doctor told him he couldn't stop smoking all at once like that. But he was totally firme forte. It was a really nice day. His two daughters came to church on Sunday, and they seem really nice. He's a good guy. Bispo baptized him, and before the baptism gave a pretty good, firm word to Raymond's youngest son who's 18. I'll send pictures another day.
President extended a really great invitation, for every missionary to sanctify his/herself. For 40 days we will "fast" from things that could hinder us from feeling the spirit constantly in our lives. He is inspired.

The rain has let up a little bit, and Sister Smart and I are ready to see some miracles. We've been so blessed, and we're just gonna try and keep work to earn the blessings of our father in heaven.

I know that we have true prophets here on the earth. There are many good good people who have already, or are presently living here on the earth. I recognize that. but the fact that the heavens are open, we know the plan of God, we have His light and truth to guide us, and we are able to hear from him. It seems like something so simple, but I know the priesthood is real and makes all the difference for us to communicate with our father that is in heaven.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hey,

What an exciting week this will be for the Cornwall/Tirrell clan! That is so exciting. What great wedding plans.

This past week was really special. Suzana and Victoria were baptized Sunday morning, and it was such a special baptism. Suzana and Victoria are the mom and sister of Tâmara, a recent convert. Suzana has been in our group since I got here and has been battling to live the commandments. Every question in the interview was a victory for her. She worked so, so hard, and Victoria miraculously felt the desire to follow her mom and sister. Even if Suzana hadn't been baptized she would have been someone I would have missed terribly. She is marvelous. And this was one of the only baptismal services I actually got emotional. She got out of the font and just started praying and thanking God for getting there. She lost her job this week, and her brother almost tried to kill himself in Switzerland, and her neighbor's dog almost ate the Elders that did the interviews (life is complicated isn't it?) but she made it. It was a lovely day.

We had a good solid week meeting several marvelous people. Raymond went to church again (Bill Gates' cousin!) and he is so excited for his baptism on Saturday. He has smoked for 50 years, and stopped this past week. PRAY FOR HIM! It'll be another really nice weekend.

Sister Smart and I are laughing all day. It's so fun to be around her, and I feel like we are going to be able to do LOTS of marvelous things in the next four weeks. I am excited to just keep going steady.l

I will be full of lovely positive thoughts on Friday for our dear family, and I know that the Lord's power really is on the earth to seal families forever. I am studying Acts in the Bible - so interesting. It's true that the church of Christ never changes. To have read Our Heritage, and then Acts, it's like reading parallel stories. I know God never changes. He is both logical and faithful, just and merciful. I read in Alma 34:15 that the intent of the Atonement of Jesus Christ was so that He could show mercy; it wasn't JUST to serve justice, that wasn't the point. The purpose of all this was so that WE could receive endless MERCY when we qualify ourselves. Cool right?

a MARVELOUS WEEK!!!!!!!!!

love, love, love,
and more love, love, love for Jeff and Reesa (soon to be my newest sister!)  I am thrilled. Everyone congratulate her and tell her she is marvelous, because I know she is and that my brother is a wise and lucky man.

Sister Cornwall

Saturday, May 26, 2012

So much rain. That's how I would most succinctly describe this week. I think the rain came a little late this year, and last year I had already missed most of the major rainy season. But this year, don't worry, I am fully enjoying the moisture that a tropical climate is able to muster up. It is just so much rain. It reminds me of a baby who's crying, and you're just thinking "oh, she'll give up soon, she can't possibly sustain this for that long." And then she keeps going. Well, now you know. Actually, it's a really marvelous and important thing here in the northeast because without rain, the crops don't grow, and the market is so thin that there's not a buffer between sellers and buyers and so prices automatically go up for things like rice and beans and flour . . . which is all anyone eats. But it's getting better. 

 This week, Sister Smart and I laughed . . . a lot. She has such a pleasant personality. I was thinking that this past transfer has been kind of rehab for me after some of the stress incurred during my transfers with Sister Ferreira. I am most incredibly grateful to Sister Smart for helping me feeling so incredibly like myself. It is nice to be with someone who has very little influence over me, and I'm able to come into myself once again.

 Another thing I'm very grateful for with Sister Smart . . . is that she bought the Doctrine and Covenants seminary dvds. I am OBSESSED with church history. I am just about done with Our Heritage, and I just get so so excited thinking about the early saints and how this church MOVES; there is action and motion and incredible things done. These people were so hungry to have something firm and true to hold on to, and when they found out what it was - oh how they suffered for it. They sacrificed SO much. The incredible thing that happened while I was reading, was how my head just opened up, and finally I started understanding things better. The past couple weeks have raised up a few questions for me about faith, and about . . . lots of things. And studying the experiences of these Saints, it made more sense. These sacrifices took away the cushion that sometimes distracts us and takes us away from the presence of God, but when we lose these material things, wow - there is nothing holding us back from the power of God. The Lord must trust us incredibly for having put each of us in age where we're able to be so incredibly self sufficient; we have medicine, and tools, and knowledge . . . and perhaps it seems like we don't need God; we are in an age where we can be more independent than ever, an age where it seems that we can become "agents unto ourselves" all by ourselves. But that's the trick. These things are to help us be more advanced, and perform this work in a way never before possible, and THEN, we are able to CHOOSE to draw closer to the Lord. That's the incredible thing about prosperity, and about agency, it's our choice. Choices are incredible things. (use them well shall we?)

 Also, we talked to a recent convert, Davi, last night who is part of this little society - a ordem da rosacruz. Really interesting. They study the origins of the ideas of God in societies not included in the Bible. We don't really study those things frequently, and it was incredible to put the gospel in a context that is larger than the one we usually depend on, and to see that it still works. Jesus Christ's sacrifice is still infinite, and is more than even the mere word "Christianity" is able to communicate. I tried (not very successfully) to try and explain that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the doctrine of God. It is not religion, science, physics etc, it is the truth, the way things are.

It was a really good week in my head. We also got to know some really marvelous people.

We still don't know about transfers, I think I'm going (we have 5 new sisters, and 2 leaving, and Sister Smart would be a GREAT trainer.)

love love love, Sister Cornwall

Mom. Dad. i love you. I'm excited to keep working and contributing and learning about this great work.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

[The photos are from a Mother's Day letter received at 336 this week.
The captions are handwritten on the reverse of the photos]
YOU DESERVE A CAKE!
(It was delicious)
A magic trick, for the greatest Mom in the world.
Feliz dia das maes!
Happy Mother's Day
Oh how I wish I was there to tell you how much I love you!

Well first of all, it was so so good to see my darling family [on Mother's Day] and to hear about all the marvelous things that are happening. You are all really very incredible. I am realizing more and more what an incredible blessing family really is. Our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and feel secure and loved in this life, and so when we're little He provides us immediately with a family to take care of us. Then He also has, as part of His plan, for us to grow and progress, and refine ourselves while we're here in this life, and we get to have our own family. Everything we have has a purpose, and everything we do in this life should contribute to our happiness.
We found some really special families this week; first of all, Bill Gates . . . 's cousin and his son (and the son's girlfriend) who have this really loving relationship. Raymund (the dad) has such faith, and his only desire is for his son is a life of faith and peace in Jesus Christ. We also met Iolanda and her two sons Pable and Ian who are marvelous. Iolanda found a Book of Mormon in the street and read it, and has a lot of interest to know more about it. Brendo and his grandma Giçoli have a really cute little relationship, and she's gonna make sure he makes the right choice about his baptism.

I feel like I have met SO many families in this past year+ and I know that it is the most important thing in our life. I only hope that I can do my part to be worthy of having a lovely darling righteous (and slightly rambunctious) family.

On a less sentimental note, it rained a LOT this week. and as a result, there was a cloud of bugs in the air . . . it was a little off putting. Also, it was really hot. What a world we live in around here.

This is the last week of the transfer, and we are going to work our tails off.

love love love,




Sister Cornwall

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Oi familinha e amiguinhos,

This week we spent . . . running. We were all over the place doing tons of marvelous things.

First of all, we took a little trip over to the center of the city to get a document for Lau, the dad of the 4 kids that were baptized. Here, you have to have second documentation of your birth certificate valid within the past six months to get married. And we had the pleasure of going there. 
 
We were talking to a bunch of people this week, and we had a few good moments when we were teaching, and those we were teaching felt the spirit, and we stopped, and talked about it - and it's real!

And I am discovering more and more, it really is people that make this world worthwhile, they have a value so large, so marvelous. I am grateful to know so many.

love, love, love,

Sister Cornwall

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Wow, I think I need to start out thanking everyone for the prayers. I know that prayers can be powerful, but I really felt the power this past week. Cleane, Cleonilton, Cleidiane and Cleiton were all baptized on Saturday, and confirmed on Sunday. [These are the 17, 16, 14, and 12 year olds, respectively, of the family of 9 - the Estandislau family - Sister Cornwall mentioned a few letters ago] It was incredibly special. We had been running the entire week (including the [mission] conference, which I'll talk about in a bit) and they live about a half hour's walk away, and so it was kind of an exhausting week. But it happened. About 18h [? This probably means "18 hundred hours" or 6 pm?] we were not exactly sure if there would be a baptism; our phone credits ran out, so we were calling the LZ's [Zone Leaders] to call the [ward] mission leader to call us . . .but we weren't hearing anything. The kids had gone to the zoo on a mega mutual activity, and we didn't even know where they were, and we were exhausted and frustrated (at least I was, very.)

BUT- Walter [? the Ward Mission Leader?] called, said he was on his way, that the kids were on their way up, Bispo had arranged his schedule so that he could go, an Irmã [?] called saying she would also give a ride, and when we finally talked to them, they asked, "Is our baptism tonight?"  We calmly said "yes," and they got so excited! They were so thrilled that when I gave the thought at the baptism I read Mosiah 18: 10ish - and they clapped their hands for joy and said THIS is the desire of our hearts. They all got Bibles, and Duty to God and Personal Progress. They are really lovely. The two oldest gave the opening and closing prayer (which I thought was strange but ended up being great) they were so spiritual. I LOVE those kids. We were so blessed. And now we're going to help the parents get married, so they can be baptized too.

We are so so blessed. I am feeling very grateful. And very tired. I also passed off the third level of excellence today (finished D&C, re-memorized 70 scripture references, and such, you know.) [Has there been a mention previously of the first or second "level of excellence"?] This means I get a leather case for my Preach my Gospel. TOday was the last day to do [so].

And the conference - Well, the music was lovely.[Sisters Cornwall and Peterson sang] We really did end up sounding good. Elder Clayton really talked about how we need to realize the consequences beyond the mission, calling President and Sister Vecchi to the front. Also, [Elder Clayton] talked about real growth. We need to open the door for people coming in, and close the door for those going out. And build UP! I'll have to write more comments later.

I am so grateful to be taking part in this work. It is rewarding . . . and exhausting.

love, love love,
Sister Cornwall



The above letter came through 8 hours after it was sent.  (A great delay is becoming very common with the reception of Sister Cornwall's e-mails.)  Then after the main letter a second personal note to Sister Cornwall's parents came through hours later from which excerpts are shared below.

Heyo,

We have a special request: can you send some family history stories from the beginnings - as in, the first members of the church in our family? We are going to work more with family history/temple with our recent converts/less actives, and I neglected to bring along a few personal stories. When people ask me how many generations my family goes back - I HAVE NO IDEA! So if you could send some stories/photos, that would be marvelous.

Also, if there is a possibility to send some little photos of the temple. I don't know if you in California have the resources, or if you could ask some Utah residents to send along like 10-20 photos of 3x5ish. Just so these people can have a personal desire to go to the temple. That'd be swell.

THANK YOU!

And yes, Skype is going to happen [Mother's Day]. Prepare yourselves.

love, Rach

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Okay, it took a little longer than we anticipated, but we're back. The reason why we didn't get back last night was because we were at Presidente's house practicing a number we're going to sing at a special reunião [conference] on Thursday. We are going to sing a really pretty arrangement of Come Thou Fount (me, Sister Petersen! and one of the assistants, and another Elder) with some words in English some in Portuguese. We are going to hear from Elder Clayton, it should be pretty great.
                                                                                            
Familinha e Amiguinhos, [Family & Friends]

This past week was, full. We had two days of Sister Ferreira giving her goodbyes, and then we had a Sisters' training, and then a stake dance, and a crazy Sunday morning.

First of all, the goodbyes: Sister Ferreira really loved this ward, and so we passed by a LOt of people, ate a LOt of goodbye cake, and got the idea of the transition fully established in our heads. We all went to Salvador, to President's house to have a lovely conference with the Sisters, and a few short-term Sisters that are from within the boundaries of the mission, but will only stay 1-2 transfers, just to help out. It was lovely. Sister Vecchi takes such good care of us. The biggest thing I took away was [?]

The story of the stake dance has a little foreward involved. So, I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that we're teaching the family of Estandislau and Angela . . . and their 7 kids (Clea 19, Cleane 17, Cleonilton 16, Cleidiane 14, Cleiton 12, and Cleidinice 3 - and the oldest son Josias 21 we still haven't met.) They are a little milagre [miracle, wonder] from heaven. At Stake Conference last week, the Stake Young Women's President met the family, and really wanted them to go to the stake dance. Try as we might, we could not find a ride . . . so we went along and made contacts in front of the church. They had a really, really good time, and they are progressing really well. We are able to work a lot with the ward to help this family really have some growth and receive the blessings. They are rather wonderful. Sister Smart was rather taken aback by the faith of the family, and it's true, they have suffered quite a bit, and have great desires to do what is right. 

Also, Sister Smart is marvelous, (Mom- she's a mix of Katie-Sue and Hilary Barker). She's from Twin Falls, Idaho and has a year on the mission. She has a really nice spirit about her, and I am feeling really great about the work for this next transfer.

If you could please pray for our little family this next week, I know it would make a difference. I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit that really does confirm truths. It truly is the greatest gift the Lord can give us. I am grateful for the promises I have made with the Lord that help me to feel this peace everyday. It is incredible.

love, love, love,
Sister Cornwall
It was expected that there would be transfers that affected Sister Cornwall last week.  With transfers it would not be unexpected that it may be a challenge for Sister Cornwall to get her weekly e-mail letter off.  The short note shared below is all that was received last week.  So far, only a short note - shared below -  is all that has arrived this week as well.

17 April 2012

Thanks so much mom - and unfortunately we don't have any news yet - apparently there are going to be  quite a few little changes, so it's taking a little longer. you all will just be able to await a great big surprise next week! Those photos [from Jeff's post of "Silly Faces"] are really funny  and they are helping me right now. We had a truly incredible week, but I am kind of dead. I am just sooo tired. We also just spent two hours on bus coming home from the office . . . standing . . . with boxes of copies of the Book of Mormon. Oh boy.

We met a family this week of 9 people (different than Juliete's family, which we are no longer teaching.) They just happened to be in the home of another family we visit. They live in the last house, way in the wild, and they have - nothing to eat. Sunday morning was stake conference and they didn't have money for the bus, but they met up on our street - everyone all ready and snazzy - and we found rides among the members. We also had Vitoria and Gleice two young women, and Jade, an eight year old girl that went. It was quite the day - and Presidente Vecchi was visiting and even gave the family a ride home! We are really feeling blessed with the work, and we're excited to continue the miracles . . . even if we're not together. Until next week!

love love - and more love,
Sister Cornwall

23 April 2012

I stayed, and Sister Smart is here with me, and I am so so happy. We are going to practice for a special music number in a little conference with Elder Clayton this week, so we'll come back later to finish off our internet time, but I love you, thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas and inspired lesson plan!
love, Rach

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Heyo amigos e familiares, [Heyo friends and family],

Well, I can't quite believe how time is slipping away. The weeks are just scrunched together between writing emails. The highlight of last week was our Zone Conference. After having a training the week before conference, then conference, and then zone conference, I feel like I have so many things to put into practice. We talked a lot about how great this work is. That this is not just getting people blessings of this earth (having success, having peace, avoiding trouble) but it's about ETERNAL blessings. I think too often I am looking to the ground, and just fretting about many things, but we also talked significantly about faith. Presidente Vecchi - wow, it was this flurry of wonderful ideas, and everyone was just taking down everything coming out of his mouth. Faith is a process that we live, that affects our personal progress on the earth. The fact that we're here to act for ourselves and not to be acted upon, means that we still need to have faith to trust that our actions will be recognized and furthermore rewarded.

After the conference we were invited to study how we can have faith to work miracles. As I studied I read 2 Nephi 9, and realized that we need to lift up our head and rejoice and give ears to the word of God, and recognize the past mercies of the Lord. Then, I read about Peter walking on water (I noted a few similarities between him and myself) and realized that these things really are the keys; if Peter had lifted up his head and focused on the Savior, and listened to his invitation to COME, and just realized that HE WAS WALKING ON WATER already, he would have made it all the way. Faith is something that I have sincerely needed to develop (and I continue needing that.)

In our study - and with our pesquisadores - we use a process of 7 steps with the purpose of reading a specific selection of scriptures, with a specific question (for example, How can I develop faith to work miracles?) : 1. pray, asking help from Heavenly Father in this little home work. 2. Read the scripture and 3. write your feelings and your answer. 4. Pray again thanking Heavenly Father for the answer, and asking for more guidance. 5. Read the scripture again. 6. Revise what you wrote, and write even more 7. Pray to Heavenly Father to know a) if the book of Mormon is true and b) if your answer is correct. It is an incredible process.

I know that the scriptures are true, and that the Livro de Mórmon is the word of God. I don't have a single doubt that He loves me and that this is His gospel here on the earth.

love, love, love,
Sister Cornwall

p.s. to Mom,

Oh thanks mom for everything. . . And thanks for sending your thoughts. I am feeling good. I really don't have all that much time left, but I know that Heavenly Father has a few lessons that He'd still like me to learn. This will be an interesting week, because it's probably the last with Sister Ferreira. . .

I am so happy that you're in Boston, our family is so great and so blessed.

At zone conference I had the distinct feeling that I do NOT want to go home; there's a Sister who's staying an extra transfer, and in her farewell testimony she said how grateful she was for another sacred month and half and I about died thinking that I was losing a potentially sacred month and a half, but I know that I'm going when Pai Celestial wants be to go. And frankly, there's a purpose, . . . I know, I need to focus on here, and I am, . . . Pai Celestial expects us to do a lot of things in this life. Thanks . . . for being so fun. I am incredibly blessed.

Kiss that cute, cute Emary for me, I can't wait to meet her. Love you so so dearly.
Rach

Monday, April 2, 2012

Photos from a recent 'sail-mail' letter received by Sister Cornwall's parents, with captions from Sister Cornwall written on the reverse side....
This is the famous elevator in Salvador that was used for imports/exports & black slaves. There's also the "Mercado Modelso" that is a HUGE tourist market.

Inside the Mercado Modelo. There are so many WHITE people it is a little strange to see people who are NOT Bainaos. That will be quite the adjustment when I get back. But it is a rather cool place.
At the top of the elevator with Sister Forester [from the MTC] - I LOVE that girl! Unfortunately when got transferred to Itabuna, making me all the more glad we went.
__________________________

These are just some general thoughts about how great [General] conference was.

First of all, The Plan of Salvation is an incredible thing; when we understand WHO God is, WHY we are here, WHAT is most important- wow , life gets a lot easier. I feel like I am rather sheltered from the "real world" and that Bahia doesn't suffer from a lot of the materialism and business that a lot of the world suffers from (I am a little worried about going back to the shock of all that, but it'll be great.) The simple messages and heedings and LOVE shown were pretty impressive - "stop it", "step up", etc. is apparently what we need to hear most. So many of us already know what it is that we need to be doing, and now we just need to - DO it.

There was a lot of teaching about the nature of God, about how knowing about Him, and our relationship with Him helps us understand so many things in this world. I trust completely and absolutely in these men. The messages are simple, but bold. I am grateful for the emphasis on the família, and all of the great things a focus on the family causes. I know these men are inspired. I know that we will do well just getting ourselves where we need to be. I guess that in general there was a LOT of focus on the two great commandments - love God, and love your neighbor. Do what needs to get done because the time is getting closer. We know this, but we need to hear it, that's why we have prophets.

I am so grateful for the incredible marvelous gift that it is to have prophets.

a lovely week!
love, love, love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wow, when it rains, it pours.

There is something to be said about a dedicated effort and really loving God. We were so, so blessed this week. Especially at church yesterday - Elizabete (and Wallace her baby) went, Jocelio's wife and brother-in-law went, two of Juliete's daughters went, and Tâmara's mom and sister went. It was a little stressful, and there were a few others that I wanted to be there, but we were feeling rather victorious. Despite our differences Sister Ferreira and I are a powerhouse. It's been interesting to see that as we let ourselves be submissive and humbled, more things started happening. We were running the entire week . . . which was marvelous.
We are still needing our own chapel (have I mentioned that? that Mussurunga has a chapel twenty minutes - or 50 minutes depending on the bus- from where we live. It is a little bit of a challenge, but we are full of faith, and that's what miracles are for.)

And [General] conference is coming! It's practically here in fact. We are doing our preparations for ourselves, and better yet - we are inviting everyone to come listen to a prophet's voice. It is marvelous. I feel so privileged.

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. This is a relationship I have been working on developing. He is my personal Savior, and that merits some attention to make even more personal. I know that our Father in Heaven created us to be who we are, and to be happy about it.

Well, I hope that we all have a lovely end of March - isn't time flying? And that all are happy and well.

love, love, love,
Sister Cornwall

p.s. Oh mom, it's so nice to hear from you. All these little events passing by - life is progress. Tell Cammie "Congratulations" - she will NEVER regret it. I am so in love with being on a mission. I am hitting that point that I do NOT want to go home. I'd rather just keep working.

Thanks for telling me all about miracles and missionaries. Those two things certainly go hand in hand. And good luck at the seminary breakfast - mom, that is an incredible event. Now that I'm here I understand more the power of having 100+ teens in the chapel. Learning about the gospel. So cool.

Have a lovely week. rach

Monday, March 19, 2012

I feel like this anniversário sort of came and went without too much ado . . . which was probably better. We had a conference on Friday so I got to wish "happy birthday" to a couple other missionaries. But I decided it would probably be a good idea to do a little reflection on this little year mark.

I started out with the title "Top 10 Lessons Learned in 1 Year na Missão" - but it ended up being more, oh well.

1. Obedience is what qualifies us and gives u power from Pai Celestial.
2. Happiness is Always within our grasp. We just have to choose to have it.
3. I talk(ed) too much. But there is more peace in silence and waiting and listening.
4. Our mistakes are not setbacks, but stepping stones to being better.
5. WE ARE NOT PERFECT. Thank goodness, and that's why we have a Savior.
6. We have a Savior- Jesus Christ. He qualified Himself to provide us with the oportunidade to go back to our Father. He is good and merciful and wants to help us and take away ALL our burdens and sadness and obstacles. And the ONLY way to make it through this life - is to give Him EVERYTHING - our weaknesses, pains, suffering. And all will be well.
7. The Plan is perfect - live it and be happy, or don't, and waste your time.
8. Honestly, it's not just about me, it's not just about the people, it's about doing the will of our Father, and everything will be taken care of.
9. The Holy Spirit is the greatest gift we can have in our life. It brings me peace and helps me see more clearly and it gives a confirmation that there's nothing in the way - that I'm doing what's right and good.
10. The most generous people I have met are those that seemingly have the least to give (And did you know that love really does make food taste better? Seriously. After eating rice and beans every day for -almost- a year pretty much makes me an expert.)
11. Love is all you need (thanks Paul, John, Ringo and George) but really - it casts out all fear, and never fails, and is pure and powerful.
12. Sometimes you can't see. Sometimes fé [faith, belief] is the ONLY light in your life (which is kinda rough for this girl who likes so much to SEE it all happen - like to have certainty.) But you just press forward trusting that Someon up above will arrange your diligent efforts into something sincerely worthwhile. (I certainly hope so.)
13. We need to give our perfections some space so we can let mercy and grace in.
14. We are who we are. I am not a different person when I wear my plaqueta [name tag] than when I don't. I am still this silly girl who is passionate about some things and unsinkable in a few of her resolves. But at this point I am much more capable of letting some of my less-lovely attributes be changed. If we open up our hearts to allow our Father in Heaven work a change, we can be the best possible version of ourselves - independent of our calling.

So there's that. It has been very strange to think that so much has happened, so much time has passed, so much has changed . . . and yet it seems like such a simple thing that just flitted by. Very strange. But I am so happy that I am here. That I am a representative of a blessed, perfect organization for IMperfect people. Have you been here yet? GO! I can't believe conference is here again. What a privilege.

We had a good week. We settled a few issues and decided that nothing (including little personal issues) will set us back from doing everything we can in the best form possible. What privilege this last year has been (a year! I know right?) Anyway, I hope that all your darlings had a great year too.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The following are excerpts from a "snail-mail" letter received by Sister Cornwall's parents 12 March 2012.

February 15, 2012

Mom and Dad

How are you my darling parents? You two are such incredible examples, and I love you so so much. Oh, the things that Rachel is learning on her mission. Don’t worry mom, my companions are picking up the slack in letting me know what my weak spots are. Dad, I have priesthood leaders who are (trying) to pick up the slack in giving me wise counsel. But nobody comes close to the love and support you two have shown. We’re so blessed to have the gospel and to see the world so very clearly.

I also included a letter for Sarah. I love that girl. Our family is marvelous and THANK YOU for letting us have a big family. It really is a thing of God. Less than 6 children I think I’ll feel very empty.

I am so so grateful for this gospel. I love that I can have questions or doubts or complaints and I will always have an answer and that incredible peace can re-enter my life. What a beautiful thing is that peace that the Spirit brings. It is an incredibly precious thing. And I want EVERYONE to have the chance to feel it.

Tomorrow I’ll have 11 months as a missionary . . . And only 6 months left. Goodness gracious. What a great privilege it is. I am so grateful for my testimony and the security it gives me.

Love,
Rach - Sister Cornwall

Monday, March 12, 2012


Goodness gracious what a week it was. After some rough moments last week, we had blessings poured out on us. At the beginning of the week things were still a little rough, so we decided to stop and pay attention to how we were feeling, chose an area completely different than we'd planned, and wow- met some incredible people. Who knew there were people that want to follow Jesus Christ without us having to wring their arm? We met so many people that sincerely have a desire to make a difference. We had members that helped us out, we were talking to people and letting ourselves be oriented by the Holy Ghost. It was nice to finally feel that the work that the Lord wants done . . . is getting done in Mussurunga.

Also, I gave a talk on Sunday. About Love thy Neighbor. You want to know how I started it? By saying that something very, very exciting happened in my family three weeks ago . . . my third little niece was born. I talked about how immediately I fell in love with that tiny little baby and how because we're from the same family I became so enamored with her. We are in the same family as every other human being here on the earth. We need to love them with all our heart, might, mind and strength. I shared a few quotes from President Monson's talk on Charity Never Faileth from 2010. The point ended up being that if we really want to show love for our neighbor, we have to share this message of the gospel. It is the most merciful act we could ever perform for our fellow brothers and sisters here on the earth. I was so full of joy yesterday as I spoke - we had Elizabete (30s, with a 5 month old Wallace) and André (12, her nephew) that went to church and Vittória (13, sister of a member). It was such a happy thing to see everyone together doing the right thing. It really is a happiness and a fullness that I never experienced before. I know that sacrifice is something very important in our lives. We can do difficult things and leave behind things that really don't matter as much as simply doing what's right.

Yesterday we also went to visit Jocelho and Emília. We started talking about the part where Joseph Smith sees God the Father and Jesus Christ . . . and their son woke up crying. We started again and the phone rang. We started to teach again and the neighbor turned on the music very loud, and someone doing construction turned on some machine, and the kids in the street started screaming. Yup. And when we'd finally gotten through, Jocelho said he'd been waiting since 2010 for this message, for the Book of Mormon. It was only the first visit, but I know that the Lord is preparing everything. We'd met Emília first - walking on opposite sides of the street we waved and she gave us this friendly look. We kept walking and realized we needed to turn back, and when we did so, she was looking back at us. Something had told her to turn around.

I know that Pai Celestial and Jesus Cristo are guiding everything that happens. We just have to look a little harder, and pay a little more attention to what are heart is being told . . . and then act. I know this work is real. I love it. I am excited to keep working.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hey Gente [Hey Everybody],

We are having some interesting experiences here in Mussrunga. The interesting thing is, when things aren't going well, you need to make changes. I am so grateful for the chance to work and figure what works . . . and what doesn't. I discovered this week what it means to lose yourself; it doesn't mean to deny that you have needs or that you're a child of God, but you lose the desire to fulfill your own purposes, to gain your own glory.

We have been studying and discussing and yet - our results have been minimal. So, what we've learned this far is: First) Be yourself, love yourself, and let yourself live a little; Second) Seek out your leaders - look for someone who has the power to receive guidance with you/on your behalf; Third) Make a change.

There are so many marvelous people that we have desires to teach, but if people don't want to change, there is so little we can do. We are teaching Juliete, Aline, Suzana, Mabel - incredible women who have desires to do good and know what's right, but the world GETS IN THE WAY! But we're not getting frustrated. It'll work out. I know that there is a plan, and the Lord is planning lessons for our learning here on the earth.

I love you all,
A marvelous week,

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

[In response to a comment about the newly announced Mission President - Marcelo Andrezzo - for Sister Cornwall's mission come June this year, Sister Cornwall responded:]

  • I already know! I've seen his picture, and what́s more - I know his son! He went home from the Mission Brazil Salvador Sul [South] in January as assistant. We are all buzzing with excitement.
[Some additional "p.s." comments from Sister Cornwall in her email this week:]
  • I really don't think I will buy [a camera] because I take my sd card when we're going to take photos and put it in another person's camera. Everything will be well documented, also I'm sending photos I printed out. Sister Ferreira's camera isn't working with the computers here to send pictures via email. Also, Brazilian cameras aren't that good. Anyway.... don't worry, you'll be able to see it all.
  • Thanks for the MTC research [regarding working there post mission]. and for being prepared for the madness before school starts. I know I can trust in you to work a few things out. You know how much I like to plan ahead, and I am using self control to not concern myself with the things that need to get done. I have WAY too much work to do here to worry about those things. So I will just trust 100% in your abilities.
  • No change this transfer. We are going to figure this whole business out. Our results have been . . . not great. I have had a grand change personally, but that's not fair to leave out those we are teaching. We need some MAJOR guidance, and I need to let the Lord do His work here
  • Sorry my family letter is getting smaller and smaller. I'll try and beef it up a little.
  • I love you ... Thanks dad for your letter about Romans 8:28 - I've already used it a few times in lessons. They are things that this little Sister needs to hear.
  • Also, our family is the cutest. I am going to have to fly to Boston to see Bennett . . . and Emary. They are . . . delightful.
LOVE,
Rach

Monday, February 27, 2012

This week, the Lord was just so good to us. We worked, and it seemed like it wasn't going to work out . . . and then it did. We had two people at church after four weeks with no one. I am feeling so grateful for the opportunity to synchronize our efforts 100% with the will of Pai Celestial [Heavenly Father]. He has everything under control, and I know that it will all work out.

Juliette [widow with 7 small children mentioned in last week's letter] did not go to church, but the great thing is, we are going to keep working with her. I feel like we've been liberated by not working with people that don't want to learn. We are trying to just take advantage of every moment (time is flying) and help these people. Truly sincerely help them. I know that it's all going to work out, and I will send a more detailed update this week. Oh but I was inspired by Deutoronmy 8:2 this week - if you have a Bible, please read, and know that your 40 days in the wilderness are known to the Lord.

love, love,love,

SisterCornwall


p.s. Hey mom and darling dad. Oh I feel just that much closer chatting with you right now. That is MARVELOUS that you got to be with your momma [in Arizona for her birthday]. She is pretty stellar. I feel like I haven't talked to you in a while. I actually had a dream last night that I had offended dad and he talked to me from the other side of the street . . .it was so sad. Dad I love you. I thought of you ALL day yesterday [on your birthday] ...

... We really are so incredibly blessed. But I know that the Lord wants to see our faithfulness; if we're being faithful and humble and true, He doesn't necessarily need to try us - so let's keep being faithful and humble and true.

Also, I lost the photo of our entire family. If you could get a print (or three) and send them to me, that would be marvelous. I miss seeing everyone together!

Oh there are plenty of other things I could say, but just know that things are going well.

I love you both dearly.
Rach

Monday, February 20, 2012

Queridos Amigos e Família, [Dear Friends and Family]

This week was a blessing from Pai Celestial Heavenly Father] . I remember waaaay back when, when I picked my mission scripture, that was in Proverbs - trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.

Truer words were never spoken. This week we tried to include the Lord 100 percent. This is not a duo, this is the work of trio. At the end of the day it seemed like we hadn't done too much, neither at the end of the week, but when we stopped to look at what had happened. It was incredible. I was filled with an incredible desire to work, with so much peace, and with so much LOVE for these people.

It probably helps that we found a family of a mother (Juliette) . . . and 8 darling children. Yes ma'am. The father of 7 died two years ago, so Juliette is doing just about everything, alone. I am in love with this family. You want to know the kids' names? Islan, Islaine, Islaideson, Raira, Raiara, Remerson, Renilson, Linda Vitoria. The youngest never met her dad, which is why her name is "beautiful victory."

The gospel has something that will help every single human being. Especially a family like this one. This life holds difficulties and hardships (some more than others) but there is a plan. Heavenly Father knows what we go through, but He will always give us a way to make it through. Always. But we don't always take advantage. I know that if we can manage to let our own will go - just soften your heart completely- and allow yourself to be calm, knowing that our Pai Celestial will take care of things. You have to have this positivity and this faith actually would be the word I want to use that all will be well, first of all because we have a Savior of the World, that saves us daily - from the difficulties and sadness and shortcomings, because there is a plan, because if we do what we know we should, things will come together . . . and if they don't it's because there's still something we need to learn. I know, this all makes life seem more complicated, but I can speak from experience, there is nothing easier. There is nothing better than feeling that all is well . . . even when it's not. I hope that makes sense. I am excited to work this week and try and help others feel of this love and hope and goodness that we can have. Even as a member of the Church I haven't been letting myself enjoy all the blessings, but at least I'm getting a little closer, baby step by baby step. But that is quite alright.

Have a marvelous glorious week.
Sster Cornwall

Mom, you are incredible. thanks for all your lovin. You ,,, are the greatest and so so good to me. thank you for allowing me to have this experience. it is all true. love, Rach