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.

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.