Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Numbers are Dwindling

Elder Baldwin got his VISA last friday and left for Sao Paulo at 10 this morning. About 30 minutes ago, Elder Lamb got his VISA, and he is leaving next week! Yowzas! Now Elder Swinney and I are a regular companionship and Elder Heath inherits Elder Sherril, and he is moving into our room today.

I did get your package yesterday, and it is very much appreciated! I thought you had sent apples in the foam, but the Jone's soda was an awesome surprise! A watch would be very handy in the next package...other than that, I trust your judgement on what to send... you haven't disappointed!

Anyways, our Devotional on tuesday was given by Russel M. Nelson, and he talked about how we can use the Book of Mormon to help spread the gospel. He used the Ensign and shared insights on what those stories teach us about the Book of Mormon as a tool of conversion.

The rest of the week was a blur... it went by so fast, I can hardly remember what happened. Mainly a lot of beach volleyball, Portuguese and the Gospel. Pretty much the makings for an excellent week! Also, I can't remember if I said this already or not, but our pesquisador, Silvana, is now one of our teachers (Irma Hart) too! She served in Sao Paulo Sul, which is where Sister Carter is going.

We had TRC on Wednesday, which was SO AWESOME! We taught like real lessons like the missionaries would do during dinner appointments, so naturually, I talked about Member Missionary Work! Except in Portuguese! We taught Isabel (who was from Porto Allegre, but her husband studies at BYU) and Rock (who served in Recife, pronounced Heh See Fee). It was a ton of fun to teach different people we had never met before. Thank goodness we didn't have to do door approaches!

Skip to Sunday! We had mission conference, so we heard from the Mission Presidency and their wives for two hours, which was really cool! I learned a lot about being dilligent in the work. Then we had a fireside, given by some coordinator guy, but his wife was sick, so he took up the time she would've spoken by just kinda joking around, but he talked about the blessings we would get for our sacrifices. He had six missionaries come up and share something that they gave up to come on a mission, so it made me think a lot about what the Lord has in store for me.

Yesterday, we taught both Mario (nosso autro pesquisadore) and Silvana. We talked about faith with Mario and we had a mini testimony meeting with Silvana. I shared D&C 135:3 with her and testified about the importance and divine call Joseph Smith had and the plans God has in store for us. I think that was mainly brought about by ideas I had when I read my Patriarchal Blessing the night before. The spirit came on so strong, it was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had.

Today, we said goodbye to Elder Baldwin, and then went to the Temple, which is always great! There were a few less of us, but it was as uplifting as always.

That was this week... hopefully I get to call and tell you that I got my VISA sometime soon! Also, I hope everyone in the Tri-Cities is coping with my absence... I'm sure the Thiss' miss waving at me/telling me I'm going to kill myself If I keep riding that thing!

Anyways, Amo-voces! Por favor, escrivá-mim muito!

Love, Elder Cornwell

P.S. You can also send m... nevermind, I totally forgot what I wanted... I~ll write you if it was important.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thank Goodness for Gym Time and Fruit!

It's P-day, P-day, gonna get down on P-daaaaaaaaaay.

Yeah, I'm kinda really excited for the break. It has been a VERY hectic week. We taught 4 lessons and added another investigator into our Portuguese practice. Speaking of Portuguese, it is going really well! A lot better than I was expecting at this stage in the MTC. We can pretty much talk someone's ears off about the gospel, but we can't tell you what our favorite color is... guess they are trying to tell us what's important!

Anyways, my daily routine usually consists of:

  • 6:30- Waking up, showering and getting ready
  • 7:00- Daily planning (which is just more get ready time, since our lives are planned out to the second)
  • 7:30- District Study in the classroom
  • 8:00- Breakfast
  • 8:30- Personal study
  • 10:00- TALL lab (language with the computer)
  • 11:10- GYM (it's a glorious thing)
  • 12:45- Lunch
    1:30- Language Study
  • 2:45- Classroom Instruction (or at least we think... it’s all in Portuguese)
  • 5:45- Dinner
  • 6:30- Classroom Instruction again (usually teaching investigators)
  • 9:30- Back to our rooms
  • 10:00- District Prayer
  • 10:30- Bed Time (aka lay awake until its 6:30 again)

That is pretty much how my days are, so there isn't really a whole lot going on out of the ordinary.

I did see Joe on Thursday and a couple times since... I have yet to call him Elder Clements on my first time calling out to him. I also saw a friend from school who is going to Cuiaba, and he lives in my building which is pretty sweet. Another funny thing, if you watch the "I'm a Mormon" video for Byron Elton, near the end when they are at the beach, there is a guy wearing a purple shirt with blonde hair... his name is Elder Nethercott, and he is in my District. He's a pretty cool Elder, and sorta famous now.

Last week they had a Dear Elder outage or whatever, so none of us got any mail until like Thursday, and then we all had a ton of mail, so I apologize if you wrote anything to me and I didn't respond or something in the e-mail.

I did get the package, and I have been slowly whittling away at the contents, so I should be able to keep it going for another week or so, but if you feel so inclined, a box full of Twix would be pretty nice ;) .

Our district decided to join choir since we had nothing better to do at that time, so we're going to be doing that at the devotional tonight. I have no idea who is speaking to us this week, but last week, it was Elder Ballard and it was really awesome to hear from an apostle of the Lord. We do know that it will be about the Ensign that just came out about the Book of Mormon, but I have no idea who it will be.

I don't have any other significant events that have happened here, so I hope this is enough of a letter for you! Also, I greatly appreciate letters... it gives me something to do when we get back from class rather than just lay on my bed. Also, I will write back. Oh, and another thing... this food is like torture to me... it is really doing damage to our whole district... if they didn't have fruit, I would probably starve.

I heard of people getting their Visas, but they are all from the east coast (Pennsylvania to be exact). Sounds like I'll be seeing Zach soon *evil laughs*

Also, I like the couches... but I'm surprised you didn't get them from Costco ;)

Another thing... we did get an additional teacher... Irma Hart. She was our first pesquisador, and now it is weird to see her in church clothes teaching us... just like it is weird to see Irmao Perkes in normal clothes. And as for Classroom, usually we have 3 hours of teaching/preparing to teach lessons in Portuguese, and then 1 hour of grammar, 1 hour of planning (with assistance from the teacher) and then an hour of more grammar. Just some more details, since I know Mom probably wants them.

Anyways, that's all I have for now. Eu sei que a Igreja e verdadaira e Jesus e nossos Salvador. Amo-voces!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How Many is a Brazilian?

I have to recount a joke Elder Swinney told 2 days ago.

During George Bush' presidency, a General came into the oval office and said

"Sir, I regret to inform you that 3 Brazilians died in combat last week." When President Bush heard this he just put his head in his hands and said, "General, I have just one question to ask you. How many is a Brazilian?"

By the way, Elder Swinney loves puns.

First I gotta say, you all are slacking. Not my immediate family, but the rest of you are totally dropping the ball! I don't have any addresses of any of my friends from home, so I kinda need those.

Enough guilt, to the good part!

So this week was incredibly long. Not actually long, just percievably long. It feels like I have been here for about 3 weeks now... but that is sadly not the case. Don't get me wrong, I love what I'm doing here, but I'm not exactly loving the MTC as a location (most of that can be attrtibuted to the food *gurgle*). So far, we have taught three lessons in Portuguese, learned a ton more and basically have just been doing that. It feels like ever since I started learning the language, I've known exactly what to say about the gospel, its just I have no idea how to say it in the language I'm supposed to be speaking. Go figure.

Anyways, my first day was super crazy and hectic and everything, but I got to see Elder Winterrose and Elder Kopp (a friend from school). My companions (yes, 'S'!) and I were just like deer in the headlights the whole time. Elder Swinney (who is from Fresno) is super awesome and goofy like me and Elder Heath (from KENNEWICK!) is awesome too and we all get along really well. Our district is crazy awesome too... we have an elder, Elder Baldwin, who is like an LDS version of Jack Black. I love that elder so much! The other people in our district are Elder Gallion (the DL), Elder Sabin (from Gig Harbor) Elder Shellie, Elder Lamb and Elder Nethercott. We also have three sisters whose names escape for the moment (except for Sister Thomas, who is going to FORTALEZA! With Elders Swinney, Heath and me.

Our first class I sat down and my teacher Irmao Perkes said something along the lines of "Elder Cornwell... I knew an Elder Cornwell!" But of course I couldn't understand him because it was in Portuguese and I only knew how to say "Oi, tudo bem?". Anyways, he was one of Zack's companions in Portugal. Such a great coincidence! He is such a great teacher too, I know way more Portuguese than I could have possibly learned in about 15 hours of classes outside of the MTC. Most of that is probably attributed to our teaching of Silvana (one of our "Investigators"). She loves to ask questions using words we have never heard uttered in our lives. Somehow we manage to put words in between our stammers, but its a great learning experience. We have gotten really good at planning lessons and answering questions that she has (and asks in Portuguese). Last night, when trying to teach the atonement, Elder Heath started taking about "espacao" which actually means space. It took me about 15 seconds to compose myself so I could be able to correct him without interrupting the spirit. (the correct word was Expacao... I think) Silvana was sooooooooooooo confused, and we scrambled to open up the Pracer Meu Evangelho to find the right word.

Oh and by the way, I really like Portuguese. Like a lot. We have figured out its spelled like spanish, with grammar like french and pronounced like Italian. And it manages to sound like Russian 50% of the time. Super awesome.

Our church was kind of different to me mainly becuase we didn't have sunday school. I was confused about that until I realized where I was and what I do for 16 hours of the day. Either way, we were told to prepare 5 minute talks on faith, and then we would either be called up to speak or not. Sadly, I wasn't able to speak, but I had a great time preparing for it and I was greatful for the opportunity. After that, we got to attend a fireside that was a rebroadcast of the Music and the Spoken Word program for 9/11. It was super spiritual and I really enjoyed it.

Everyone had been telling us how if we made it to Sunday, we would be fine. They weren't kidding. It went by sooooooo slow until we hit Sunday, and now all of a sudden its P-Day. Yikes!

Seeing how today is P-Day, we got to attend the temple this morning, which was awesome to do with my companions and my district. We had a really enjoyable experience in there and we even got some ideas for teaching while in the temple. I am so glad we can go once a week!

I guess some other things I wanted to mention are that we live on the top floor of a four floor building and we go to class on floor five of another. I am getting major conditioning in.

I should also mention how good it was to see Michele, Drew and Chrissy on my last day as a "normal" person. It was great to see them, but I was distracted by the fact that I looked like a missionary. I could never figure out why. Anyways, after Michele picked me up and dropped me off with Drew, we went to Braza Grill. I have never been so excited for food in my life. It was sooooo good and the owner of the place said Fortaleza was the most beautiful mission in the world.

To close, I would just like to ask you all to pray that the Consulate can get our Visa's going and we can all get down to Sao Paulo and be better prepared for the other 95 weeks of our mission. I would very much like to be there right now, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be at this time. I know this church is true and this work is true as well.

Voces amo!

Elder Cornwell

P.S. please post my address and email on my facebook for me and tell my friends they need to write me! Muito Obrigado!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Elder Cornwell's First MTC Letter

Dear Family,

Oi, tudo bem? That is like a fraction of the Portuguese I learned today. This place is so awesome! I'm already loving the language and I'm getting super excited about the Lord's work!

So, my first email will be on Tuesday, around 3:45 - 4:45, just a head's up.

Anyhow, I have TWO companions! I am super blessed to have them! We are all like the same person, it's great! Companhiero um is Elder Swinney from Fresno, CA. Companhiero dois is Elder HEATH!!! The guy from Kennewick on my flight! He is also super awesome and we are all going to Fortaleza, and we all are waiting for our visas to be finished.

Basically today was super hectic, but really fun. We started out getting supplies and going to our classroom, where I met my teacher who promptly said, "Elder Cornwell? Hmmm..." Turns out he was a companion of Zac's in Portugal, though his name escapes me at the moment. Then we did some language study, which was way awesome and a lot easier than I thought to pick up.

After that, we had some teaching experience and I had so much inspiration concerning the work, that was so obvious to me today, but had never come to me before. It's incredible the blessings that being a missionary brings. After that, we met the ZL's and then went back to our room to unpack. Now I am super tired and just ready to pass out.

In short, this place is awesome, I love Portuguese, I love this work and I know that it is true. I love you all so much! Ei sei Jesus Cristo vive.

Elder Cornwell

PS. My return address is:

Elder Kyle J Cornwell
MTC Mailbox #162
BRA-FOR 1107
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Travel Day

Three elders from the Tri-Cities going to the Provo MTC on the same 6:30 AM flight. Elder Cornwell (Brazil Fortaleza), Elder Cornelison (Nevada Las Vegas) and Elder Heath (Brazil Fortaleza). This photo was taken by a baggage handler inside the security area (She is the YW President in the Kennewick Stake). She emailed it to each of the missionaries' families.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Elder Kyle J Cornwell

When I took this picture of Elder Cornwell getting his picture taken, I didn't realize he was making the "Kyle face."