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


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