Monday, December 26, 2011

Was it Christmas?

Hello and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

It didn´t really feel like Christmas, mainly because it was 85 out, everybody was drinking and nobody was at church. We had 15 people in our Church Meeting of 30 minutes. I thought it was ironic. Elder Baltazar said that that was his first time going to sacrament meeting on Christmas!

Pretty much everyone here went on a trip somewhere so we´ve had no one to teach and no members to talk to, so this week was very uneventful.

Our Christmas party was fun though. We had a talent show which was finished by President Souza when he played guitar and sang for sister Souza hahaha I will never forget that. After we had a huuuuge lunch and then finished with a Christmas program done by the Zone Leaders. All in all it was an enjoyable experience. We returned home at 8:30 and that was that day.

Christmas, we had church early, and then we called home (which was way awesome!). AT about 2 we went to George and Monalisa´s house for lunch and they had a tooooonn of food for us and we ate and talked and just enjoyed the time for about 2 hours. Then we went back home because everyone else was out of town. Elder BAltazar and I were alone in the house (which is odd in a house of 8 elders) so we just watched church movies and ate treats until like 9 when the others came back and then we played card games until we went to sleep. IT was a fun day, but it just didn´t feel like Christmas(I think because of the Forro playing and the fact that was 85 out helped).

But really, that was my week! Sorry it was uneventful, and I´ll apologize in advance for next week because it will be worse!

Love you all!

Elder Cornwell

Note from Allison: We spoke to Kyle for about an hour yesterday. Michele, Kate, Drew and Mike were also able to speak to him (some via cell phones/speaker phone combo).

Kyle is doing very well and is enjoying his experience immensely. He says he also LOVES the food (beans, rice, pasta and meat and lots of very good fresh fruit).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Manna From Heaven

E aí meus amados?

All is well here. It rained yesterday and it´s a little overcast and cool here so I´m doing pretty good! So it’s the end of the transfer and basically everybody is staying in the house except for the Elder who finished his 2 years... he is being replaced by another Elder on his last transfer. We all feel sorry for this other Elder because his old companion wasn´t diligent and his new companion has been dead since before Elder Baltazar got here (7 months about).

As for this week, it was kind of just go go go the whole time. I didn´t bring my planner with me, so I can´t give the details of all that happened this week, but here goes the good stuff!

WE went to Aldeota earlier in the week because Elder Baltazar had to pay to get his camera fixed at the Samsung place, and then we came back and ate at the Sister´s house who was less active. We ate A LOT. I thought I was going to pop, but not die... somehow the food here just doesn´t kill me everytime I gorge myself. After that, Elder Heath and I went on exchanges together in Sitío São João for the rest of the day. We talked to three families that day, which was kind of a miracle! We understood well and talked well too. t was awesome because the last family we talked to we actually approached on the street. The son, Gutemberg, was on the curb playing guitar and his Dad was sitting out there too. Elder Heath played guitar too, so he approached him and talked a little about it. Then the conversation shifted to us and our missions, so we explained that we go around and share messages of happiness through Jesus Christ. We asked if we could share the message with them and they gladfully accepted. Turns out Gutemberg has already gone to church a couple times with a friend who is preparing for a mission. Elder Heath had never heard of this family, so it was pretty much a miracle that we passed by. He got four new investigators out of that. I came back to find that Elder Baltazar had gone with a member and visited 4 of her friends who were all excited about the gospel. We were really in need of more people to teach, so we really had some help there.

The next real specific thing I can remember is Sunday. We had an investigator who couldn´t come to church in the afternoon, but he could go to the other ward in the morning. We weren´t able to go so afterwards, we asked the other elders if he was there. They said no, but someone in our ward just randomly showed up. He lives in our area and has been going to church off and on since he was 8, but was never baptized. He is 19 now, so he’s familiar with the church.

Also, a friend of the member (Layane) came to church with her. Turns out he was investigating in Joãozeiro and was close to being baptized (she has a testimony and a desire), but one day the Elders just stopped showing up. She ended up moving up here and now she lives in our ward.

Two new investigators just fell in our laps when our other 16 that we found didn´t come. I guess the Lord is telling us where our place in this whole process is. It’s frustrating to work so hard and have no fruits come from our labors, but we are always overwhelmed with joy when we wake up and there is manna outside our door.

Anyways, it is Christmas season here, but it is hot, and no one really decorates in this part of Fortaleza, so it really doesn´t feel like it. We have a mission wide Christmas party on wednesday, with our district meeting in the morning, so that day is basically shot. Oh well, we will have a good time with it!

This was my President´s response to my weekly report

Caro Elder Cornwell,
Estou maravilhado com seu progresso. Parabéns por mais um batismo. Aprecio seu empenho em fazer um trabalho ainda mais excelente e em aprender o idioma e sotaque. Continue se qualificando para futuras responsabilidades na missão.

You can Google translate that later. (Allison’s note: here is the “Google” translation – “Dear Elder Cornwell,
I am amazed at your progress. Congratulations for a baptism. I appreciate your commitment to work even the most excellent and learn the language and accent. Continue qualifying for future responsibilities in the mission.”)

But also, my companion continues to express his feelings that I will continue progressing at a rapid pace. I can´t tell this myself. I´m just trying to keep the rules and do what I should be, which in reality is a C, but I´m receiving blessings that I ask for like I am earning an A. I always have something I can improve on, so I always can be better.

That’s all I have for this week! Also, thank you for all the letters! And give the Lee´s a big hug for me!

Felíz Natal para todo mundo! Eu vos amo muito!

Com amor,
Elder Cornwell

Questions and Answers:

• Are you calling on Christmas?
I am calling on Christmas... we have only sacrament meeting, but I still don´t know when I´ll call.
• Can the Brazilians pronounce “Cornwell?” If not, how do they say it?
Not even close. It takes about 2 weeks for them. They say ´´Cawwull´´ or something like it.
• Are you feeling well?
I´m feeling good! I just live with 6 other missionaries... BLECH
• How far do you walk each day?
Probably 6 or 7 miles. Not sure exactly.
• Are your shoes holding up?
They are indeed
• How far did you go to take your investigator to and from church (the one who wasn’t sure she wanted to have you teach her anymore and gave you chocolates when you took her home)? Did you walk?
We went to Palmeiras II near the edge of that and Palmeiras to Tamandaré so I think like 2 miles there maybe.
• Do you know your physical address now? If so, is it secure to send mail there?
I do, but they want us to send all mail to the mission office and it gets distributed weekly.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's a Little Hot Out Here

Hello everybody!

So I just have to relate this funny experience really quick. Yesterday, we were walking to church with an investigator and I saw something climbing on the power lines and I thought "that's funny, a squirrel!" I looked closely and I realised it was a small lemur type animal. I pointed it out and our investigator Aline said "Sagui!" (Allison’s note: Google Translate says, “Lemur”) No clue what it really was still haha.

As for this week, we had a mission goal to talk to 70 men on the street. It’s difficult for us because we have the main avenue in our area which is church, bar, church, bar, church.... sio we had to talk to people in the streets with whoever we could find. We ended up talking to 75 people and got the addresses of about 20 who really seemed interested. WE always love to have enough people to teach. We're supposed to be teaching about 16 people every week.

Elder Baltazar and I were talking about the growth of our ward since we got here earlier this week and we realized we really are just answers to the prayers of someone. We just worked the hardest we could and the growth came, really through none of our efforts. A few inactives have started coming back to church and we have baptised some people, but our role in it has been really small. Just a reminder to everyone in the ward how important the members and their prayers and faith are.

On Tuesday, we had district meeting, came back and taught a few lessons, and that was basically our day. We just did the usual.

Wednesday was more eventful. We taught 2 or 3 people about the book of Mormon and then at night we had the baptism of Dayanne. She asked me to baptize her, so I had that great opportunity. Aline was also at that so she got to see what it’s like. Dayanne was super excited about it. The whole time after she was smiling laughing, she was just happier. That was the same thing I noticed with Junior, he was just happier overall.

The next day was pretty uneventful... we had to make the trek to the Mission Office in Aldeota to drop off the water bill, so that pretty much burnt our day until 7. We stopped by Dayanne's house and she said she had a fantastic day and just didn't know why (we knew why).

Friday, we taught a household of one inactive member and two other nonmembers and invited them to church, but the guy had a hard time understanding me (only him, everyone else got along just fine haha). After lunch, we taught these teenagers we met in the street and their parents were just kind of listening in to what we were teaching. After we finished the father invited us to eat a quick dinner with them and they asked questions about what a mission is and what we do. The mother loved the idea (I think for her son ;) ) and the father was really interested in our dedication. They were out of town this Sunday, but we invited them to church the next week. We also taught the husband of a formerly inactive lady. She started coming back to church in full stride. She started up a family night for her family, got on the lunch calendar and asked us to teach her husband. This all happened just after we stopped by and visited with her for a bit. Sometimes it only takes a little of that feeling of the spirit to want to come back.

Saturday we really didn’t do anything spectacular. We went to another formerly inactive members house because it was the daughter's fifth birthday. They are just a pleasant family and we love to stop by and just share our spirit with them. Most of their friends are in the church too so they have great support there.

Sunday, we went to an investigators house to go to church and she said she wasn't sure she wanted to continue the discussions. She said she felt the desire to go back to her old church. We asked some questions and came to the conclusion that she was missing that spirit from her life. We found out she hadn't been giving her all to find the truth, but we just simply invited her to church and if she still didn't have the desire, we would respect that. IT was really perfect because we had the Confirmation of Dayanne and then it was fast and testimony meeting. It was a great meeting block and our investigator really enjoyed it. We took her back to her house (which is far away. Good thing the SS lesson was on sacrifice!). She offered us some chocolates and she said, "Thank you for not giving up on me." I was really touched because we are just doing what we should be doing and it made that much of a difference to her. She said we could come back tomorrow, so I think the Spirit did its part.

After that we went home and finished our week, and planned how we were going to help some specific people throughout the week, and that was what I did!

All in all it was a great week... it went fast but I enjoyed it. I don't have anything else to add, so with that I will close! I love you all!

Elder Cornwell

PS Another Photo from Elder Heath's blog:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Picture, Courtesy of Elder Heath

Thank you, Elder Heath!
Kyle needs to start sending some pictures home...or maybe we need to send him a card reader.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vai la! Vai la! Vaaaaaaai Cornthians!

Hello all! I´ll answer Mom´s questions first, since I don´t have a lot to talk about.

Tell me a bit more about Elder Baltazar:
Elder Baltazar is from São Paulo, 20 years old and he is a Corinthians fan (they won the Brasil Cup yesterday... he was happy about that).He has an older brother, an older sister and one younger brother. His family is from Ceará, but his Dad moved to São Paulo a while ago. He wants to study at BYU but he was working IT with Mercedes Benz to get the money for tuition, the visa and all that.

How often do you eat with the members? Describe the food they serve you. What do you eat in your apartment?
We eat lunch with members everyday except P-day, and pretty much always its Rice, Beans, Pasta/spaghetti, salad and meat, usually chicken. In my apartment, it’s usually just baked sandwiches or rice. Cheese and meat is pretty cheap here (R$20 for a kg of fresh mozzarella). They make a lot of juice with fresh fruit too... they just put the fruit in with water and blend it... voila! Juice!

How many elders in your apt now? Still eight?
Still eight... Elder Heath, Matos, Hawkes and Dean still haven´t been able to get to a new house in Palmeiras.

What are the streets, houses and buildings like?
Most of the houses are one floor and have a front room then a small walkway that passes a bedroom, then bathroom; kitchen etc and another bedroom. They are all pretty skinny and made of brick and stucco, and only tile floors. The streets are either normal pavement or just dirt with some rocks. It just depends on where you are.

How do most people get around there? Are there lots of cars, pedestrians, bikes, scooters or public transportation?
Bikes, motorcycles and cars. Lots of bikes and lots of motorcycles. Everybody uses the bus too. R$2.00 to get on the bus and you can go pretty much anywhere (they have transfer stations all over)

Did you spend much time with Elder Empey (another missionary from the Columbia Basin)?
We were in the same district and room in the São Paulo MTC, but now he is 10 hours south in Joãozeiro, so I haven´t seen him since our first day.

Have the mosquitoes found another victim yet?
They haven´t bothered me in a while!

Tell me about the weather.
Hot, humid (but I can´t tell) about 85 degrees everyday and its always windy. Sometimes there are clouds but they literally take one minute to go from one side of you to the other. They go FAST.

What is your schedule?
6:30 get up, mope around, shower eat
8:00 start studying
11:00 finish studying, head out
12:00 Lunch with members
1:30 study for another hour (new part of training)
3:00 head back out for our main block of proselytizing
9:00 go back home, eat change clothes, shower again
10:30 bed

So that´s basically what I have been doing. This week hasn´t really been too eventful. Most of our investigators just weren´t ever home for some reason, so we found some other people to teach. We have been working a lot with the members (the ward missionaries and the youth specifically) and we´ve been getting references and teaching lessons with members (we had 10 this week... HOLY COW). WE try to keep a good amount of people that we teach going so we always have something to do, so that what we´ve been focusing on. Other than that, nothing of note has really happened.

We did have a stake conference this week which was cool. President Souza and his wife spoke, as well as a Seventy, so what I could understand was awesome. We had a family of investigators (small family, husband, wife and a young child) who came with a member there and another investigator come with us on a bus there. They all enjoyed it which was great! They all seem to love the singing. It was cool for the family because they went to the meeting, and then they went to the house of Elouisa´s mom, since she lived close. So it was a great opportunity for them.

Other than that we have a busy week planned. A lot of investigators who are progressing really well and a lot of things we want to do with the ward and the ward missionaries. We want to start an activity with the Book of Mormon and give members a copy to give to their friends and work from there. Also, we want to get references from certain people in the ward. n addition to that, we´re going to talk to the bishop about starting an english class with the wards in our area. Lots of things to help find more people to teach. All in all this has pretty much been my week. Just working working working.

I can´t think of anything else to write so I´ll just leave you all with this!

Love you all!

Elder Cornwell