Monday, January 30, 2012

Okay, here we are. Another area, another internet cafe, another . . . everything.

It has been interesting to be in Mussurunga because it is incredibly close to Stell Maris/Itapuã. So it's kinda like this flashback, but I am a different person and a different missionary, and this week I've kinda been getting over that.

It has been pretty warm (I can't believe my body is capable of sweating so much) - it was 40 degrees C [104 degrees F] the first day. Yup, pretty warm. but it's been pretty. I do rather love the Salvador climate.

Sister Ferreira is . . . great. She is adorably fastidious. She is 31 and is so glad to be on a mission. She likes everything just so, and I am just benefiting from the good side of that. I'll admit I was a little anxious to be here with her, but it has turned out being great, and I think we're going to do lots of great things.

Speaking of which, this past week was interesting. Kind of a shock to the system. I am not used to teaching children. I am not used to people pushing numbers. I am not used to being so. Incredibly. Sweaty. But I'm glad that I learned how to think/evaluate and to act with Sister Petersen. There are lots of things that need to be done (strengthen . . . ALL the recent converts here, get the ward started to be involved in the work etc.) I feel like there has been a lot of opportunity to maximize a stewardship here. I am here NOT because I am whatever sister missionary - I am Sister Cornwall, the sister that has had the most casamentos [weddings/marriages] (and we've got a few more lined up already. I think missionaries here are scared of marriages because they can get a little complicated, and delay a bit. but hey, Sister Cornwall isn't scared of that.) I have realized that there are incredible works to be done beyond just baptizing. I know, blasphemy. But sincerely, something needs to change in this situation. And I am so glad that we can do it.

I am also glad that I never have to travel with suitcases on a bus again. Oh gosh. It was just like any hilarious scene on a movie. Next time, we're going to take a taxi.

I saw the sea today. It was just so lovely. I am grateful to be learning. To be self sufficient in improving myself in this gospel. It is great.

I love you all, dearly,
Sister Cornwall

p.s. Perhaps some readers would be interested in some insights from the other side of Sister Cornwall's companionship with Sister Peterson (and a few more details than we usually get from the aforementioned Sister C.) Click the links below to Sister Peterson's blog...
Dec. 19, 2011
Jan. 09, 2012
Jan. 16, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Please note new USPS Postage Rate to Brazil is $1.05


Well, we just found out the transferências, and yes . . . Sister Cornwall is getting transferred. (And no, it wasn't a surprise. I knew pretty much the first weeks when I got here that I would stay for four [transfers @ 6 weeks each], and I'm leaving the best teaching group ever, so that was a sign.) It's true. We worked, and walked and prayed a lot this week. Tuesday was actually conferência de zona. It was kind of the Sister Petersen/Sister Cornwall show. First of all, we had our darling musical number, that went very well I ended up recording the accompaniment and we sang along. Let's just say Presidente was pretty impressed that I was able to sing at the pulpit and play at the piano . . . at the same time!) Also, we were asked to do the practice for the 10 minute lesson. (The idea is that you can give any person that wants to hear at least ten minutes, and when we simplify and intensify, we can use our time more wisely among people that are open to hearing a message, but are NOT open to accepting a commitment.) I actually already knew about that too. Last week, when Sister Petersen and I were making incredible discoveries and changing our teaching and realizing, essentially, what it's all about - I told her that we would be doing the practice, and we did. It went very very well. We were feeling pretty thrilled. And then Tuesday, everything fell through. Wednesday was a little better. Thursday was great, Friday we were very blessed, Saturday we had at least a good afternoon, and Sunday, was pretty much just walking. Anyway, all this complaining is just to say that you can make progress . . . without actually seeing tangible results. Sister Petersen and I have both benefited incredibly from this transfer. She sorta reminded me who I am. I will always be grateful for this little tempinho [time/period] we had together.

So, our group: Unfortunately Sílvia (24) and Maikeli (18) went to their little weekend house, so we barely talked to them. We also have Patrícia that ended up not going, but she is rather incredible. She always has good questions, and she knows that her faith is changing and to some extent, growing. Michelle (8) is talking a little bit more every visit, and they are just taking everything in very well. That's the thing about the gospel of Jesus Cristo. It makes sense. When we want to understand, and we're willing to ask, we're gonna get it. We're going to see more clearly. And that is incredible.

Sister `P and I studied a lot about the Espírito Santo [Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost] this week, and it is a powerful thing. It is a power beyond this earth that has the capacity to stay with us when we let him. There is power and purpose in our lives, we just need to open up to the correct power and let ourselves be led a little bit. I know, we think we're so intelligent, but there is an incredible, perfect, loving Being that can help us . . . but only if we let it. The Holy Ghost has a very delicate voice that we need to be seeking to hear. There are too many frauds of truth in this world, that are trying to fake it. It's not the same thing. It is the power of God, completely and beautifully . . . or it isn't. Please , gente [people], please just let this beautiful relieving power be more present in your life. It can and should change us.

We've been teaching Erlan. He came to church on Sunday, and I'll be so excited to hear about him. He genuinely wants to know. He has been very well educated in the study of the Bible, and he's willing to do the work. Sister Petersen and I testified of the truthfulness of the ,profeta [prophet], and - you know that feeling - well, it was so powerful. It was suddenly so much clearer why we need to lead the lives we do - to have the sensation in our lives. There are people in this world with questions, and fortunately we have a loving Pai and Salvador [Father and Savior] who have answers -- good, whole answers. I am so grateful that I am here doing the work of the Lord. It is rough, but then you have these moments that redeem an entire day of walking, or someone that gets it, that's worth every other person that doesn't. And that is the work of our Pai Celestial [Heavenly Father].

Well, next week I'll be in Salvador again. It'll be the same capela [chapel] as Stella Mares. I'll be with Sister Ferreira (30) and we are going to work. (Also, letters come every week in Salvador, so please gente . . . feel free.)

Lots and lots and lots of love,
Sister Cornwall

p.s. Dad, thanks for the photos of Christmas and of Jas and Stef's house. it is gorgeous and huge by the way. our family is the greatest. Thanks for being there...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Well it was another exciting week.

We ended up having another wedding of one of pesquisadoras. She married the nephew of the Presidente da Estaca and it was quite the affair (that, as weddings tend to do I´m learning . . . ran late.) But it was lovely and it was good to show support for her, and to play and lead the music.

We started out the week a little frustrated. Our group of people that we're teaching has been rather small, and we got so frustrated knowing that we're working so incredibly hard, but seeing so few valuable results. So we decided to just stop what we were doing and evaluate the situation. We realized that we needed to change our focus; we needed to just stop and ask where we need to put our efforts. Fortunately God is gracious, and incredibly responsive, and we realized that we needed to work more with menos ativos [less actives]. We have a list of all the members, and we decided to just pass everyone we know that could benefit. And then we started feeling much more useful.

It's been interesting to be with Sister Petersen who has the same amount of time that I have . . . who is just as tired as I am and we're just trying to support each other and the exhaustion sets in. But we made so many important realizations about our teaching. That frankly, yes, we have the information, we know the techniques, and we've both felt that there's gotta be something more than just that. Of course there is!! We taught a lesson, and we talked just about love. It was an interesting experience, and we just felt so much paz [peace] during that lesson. We felt at peace with our work, with our sacrifices, with our daily effort. And then the Lord blessed us with some great people to teach. (and Sister Petersen noted afterwards that we found these novos [new people] on our way to menos ativos[less actives]. deus é fiel. [God is faithful].)

Sílvia and Maikeli went to church, and are great girls. And last night . . . we just taught them. And yesterday we also taught Patricia; Sister Petersen made a contact, and the lady invited us in and we met these women who are just looking for a worthy place, a church that isn't part of the market, and how we were answers to prayers. Those are the moments when it's worth it to be a missionary; when your head is bowed and you're listening to the closing prayer from someone who is thanking God for sending two people to guide her path. Those are the days when you feel most grateful to Heavenly Father that He loves us and has a good great plan.

I am so grateful for that plan. It is perfect. There is truth and strength in this world. And oh how we need it. We have an INFINITE power at our disposal . . . and are we even using it to get over the day to day pains and stubbed toes? I certainly hope so. I know it's the Lord's work.

love love love,
Sister Cornwall

[Note: Sister Cornwall announced her camera was dropped - not by her - and it is not working. So we are not expecting too many photos for the next little(?) while, until a fix is figured out.]

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dear fam and amigos,

This week was . . . a full one. Especially the weekend.

First of all, we had the wedding of Suelen and Dhefeson Friday night. We were there to receive the lovely cake, and to help get all the benches in place, and I played for the hymns . . . and the entrance music . . . and the exit music. It was a lovely little event.
Then the baptism happened on Saturday evening. There were a good number of people there, and Suelen was so excited and after 4 attempts - she was baptized. Then Sunday she was there right on time and just so excited (having stayed up until 1 in the morning reading the Daughters In My Kingdom and George Albert Smith manuals.) She was beaming. Also when she was confirmed, Carlos - recently baptized - was in the circle with a white shirt and tie. It was a wonderful sight. The most interesting part of this whole process was Dhefeson, Suelen´s newly wed husband - officially. He has really not showed too much interest, but he was there for the whole process, and he just loves Suelen so so much. Then yesterday he prayed and ended ìn the name of Jesus Christ . . . amém.`I think he was just as surprised as we were. He usually just ends - "and thus it be" - or something. I am excited for them to work it out and for him to feel the sweet, sweet Spirit of Pai Celestial [Heavenly Father].
Sister P and I taught Princípios of the Gospel, talking about the nature of God. And it was perfect to have Carlos, Celia, Suelen and Dhefeson - I learned so much about who we are and the purpose of this plan being to learn and progress and become responsible for others. I love this gospel, I love being here (and I do rather love sister P.) and I love my family and dear friends.

Uma Boa Semana! [A Good Weekend!]
love love love,
Sister Cornwall

p.s And yes! I got all your letters, and Dad´s, and Katie´s package and everything this past week. It was MARVELOUS. Thank you so so much. You are the best. I loved every little bit of it. So things are coming.

NOTE: Rachel reports that the mission has informed her of a mail problem. Reportedly many packages have been impounded (the government keeps them until a fee is paid) at the mail offices. Up until now only the American packages have been impounded. Packages may be impounded for many reasons. One of the problems is that the mission address we have been using looks like a "commercial" address. A proposed solution to help with this problem is to send packages and letters to this address which looks more residential :

R. Lucaia nº 295
Apartament, 202
Horto Florestal
Salvador – BA


The mission also asked that the price/valuation of the contents of packages be UNDER 50 dollars each.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Well, it has been QUITE a week. And fortunately, we took a lot of pictures. So actually Ím just gonna send what could be an overload of pictures (though if I know my mother, it́s probably not [too many] for her.)

1. Our tree!!! Everyday I made an ornament and we wrote what we were grateful for everyday. It turned out to be really cute (with a LOT of fun presents from two very cute American moms)

2. Opening presents!

3. Looking at the pictures of my GORGEOUS family. It was quite a pleasant little surprise to feel a bit more updated on the lives of my fam. [Sister Cornwall is looking at and referring to the little digital picture frame (key chain) she got for Christmas which was pre-loaded with 50 photos of the family, with emphasis on the nephews and nieces.]

4. A little Christmas morning hot chocolate. We used candy canes which made all the difference in the world.

5. In the back yard garden of the membeŕs house on Christmas; that flower will become the fruit maracuja, and it is beautiful.

6. Birthday pineapple! Oh that Sister Petersen. Shés hilarious. It was delicious.

7. Yes, this was a random sign left on the side of the road that I picked up and asked Sister Petersen to take the picture. Come on, it was an opportunity that I simply couldńt pass up.

A few other things happened this week amidst all the holidays. First of all, Sister Petersen and I finished the Book of Mormon (I finished it on my birthday at about 10:30.) It was great. Goodness gracious that book is powerful. And more than that - it́s true. I actually ended up reading the Book of Mormon through twice this year, which I think was a first, but it was wonderful. There is something miraculous about the book - prepared for our days, and the basis of our testimony. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that the promise of the book is real - ask and God will confirm that it́s true. I asked Heavenly Father a question that had been in my head, and when the sacrament prayer started - nossa [?] - it is a powerful thing to have God answer your prayers. I am grateful for the reality of that promise.

Also, we started the Doctrine and Covenants; Íve been a little anxious to get started, and I am thrilled. What a miraculous and valuable thing that book is. It is all true and good and unique (or it́s the biggest lie ever. I cańt help but declare that I know it́s true. I am so grateful that this is the plan. It́s better than any other.

Also, we visited A Igreja Pentecostal Vale da Benção. We were invited by Alan. Oh dear. Can I just say that I didńt really like it? It was very loud, and very confusing, and though the pastor seemed to like us (coming over frequently to talk to us) Ím not sure exactly what his intentions were when he assigned us to read Isaiah 3 and 43. Oh well, they certainly are great chapters. It was sorta rough. But let me just say that I am so so happy where I am.

It was a great year, and Ím so excited to have a good excuse to make goals and be better. I know our Father in Heaven loves us, and that this is the only true church of Jesus Christ.

love, love, love,
Sister Cornwall

1. A lovely parrot I saw on my birthday. Surprise!

2. Caught in the rain.

3. Finishing off the Book of Mormon at our little party. I did it!

4. We went to Bairro Brasil to eat at a membeŕs house. It was kind of a drama to get there and back, but it was worth it. It was two young adults that cooked for us . . . it was the best food Íd eaten in Brasil. I was very happy. And as we were leaving everyone sang parabéns [congratulations/happy birthday]. It ended up being one of the best birthdays ever. The members were so nice (I ate way too much cake Saturday and Sunday.) Also, I took a lot more pictures, but just a lack of time. But yoúll all see them eventually. It was a really wonderful day.

love you so much, Rach