Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Well, I just finished talking with all of you, and I don´t have much to say now. The new area is treating me well, and we are having a good time in our house!

Today we will go caroling with some members and then tomorrow we will try to do some normal visits... then churrasco at night!

Yesterday night, the Stake President stopped by our house with his family and a christmas basket for each companionship. There was a lot of chocolate, candy, goiabada, and even a fruitcake, so we will have a good time.

Well, I don´t have a lot more to say, so Merry Christmas to all of you!
 Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved. 3 Nephi 9:21-22

Elder Cornwell

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Hello Everybody!

So we had a pretty full week, and it passed by super fast, like always.

Monday, we went to the Center because I was needing a new backpack, that was smaller. We got that taken care of, but the Center was just absolutely nuts... there were so many people there! Afterwards, we went to a family night.

Tuesday, we went after a bunch of investigators, but we found hardly anyone in home. We did manage to talk to Osmarina and Karine though.

Wednesday, we had district meeting, where there was a training by the Zone Leaders. We talked about what we could do to make district meetings better, and talked about the problems and solutions. Afterwards, I went on a division with Elder Wadsworth in Novo Metropole. We spent the whole day trying to talk with contacts, and some other appointments marked. It was a pretty good day of work for us, and we had a pretty good time. At night, we even had a dinner of Barbeque with Baião and Farofa... I´ll make it for you all one of these days haha.

Thursday, we undid our division, and we visited Geneuza to finish up the bureaucratic part of her baptism. We also talked with Junior and a friend of his again.

Friday, we had our Mission Christmas Party which was pretty fun. They did a talent show, and I played a song on the guitar, which everybody seemed to like (people came and talked to me about it at transfers today). Then we had lunch, and watched the Christmas Devotional. I liked the talk about Receiving Gifts and how we can better show our gratitude. I thought it a good thing that applies to us and our relations with other people. Afterwards, we talked with Geneuza one more time to see how her wedding had gone that day (they just went into the city office and signed a paper). Then we visited Eliomar and Julianna, along with Julianna´s sister, Juliete and one of their neighbors. We just talked for a bit and answered questions.

Saturday, I did a division with Elder Nichols and we worked for a bit in his area, as well as lunch. WE taught the first lesson about three times, which is always awesome. With each person, it is cool to see how the lesson changes, and what new insights I learn about the restoration as I teach it.

Sunday, we headed off to church early in the morning, and some members of CNC brought a friend with them to get to know the church. We talked with her and a lot of other people to arrange things for the next week. Afterwards, we waited at the church for a bit, and headed to lunch with the Bishop. After lunch, we tried to visit people, but it wasn´t easy to find anyone home. At night, we got the word of transfer that I would be leaving the area. Eliomar and Julianna were sad to see me go (Julianna almost cried... foi, não foi Julianna?). We took a few pictures and I got their address for future use. Of all the people I met in this area, they were the ones that I felt most connected with, and I was glad to have helped them enter into the church even more.

Today, we headed off with Allison, who is getting ready for his mission, to transfers. He watched the transfer meeting with us. I came back to Zona Montese, and Now I am in Benfica with Elder Feinman, from the state of São Paulo, mission Ribeirão Preto. We had lunch with the Mom of the missionaries already, and I think we already have some appointments tonight. It should be good!

So just to share a little insight, I had studied about the Light of Christ in Preach My Gospel, and I had noted how the light of Christ, if we listen to it, will lead us to receive the Holy Ghost, which will help us live the fulness of the Gospel. I realized of the preparatory state of almost everything that we have on this earth. That if we receive one thing, we are prepared for another. If we do not receive, or do not listen to that one thing, we forfeit our chances for progression. Just a thought I had this week.

Well, I am out of time, so I´ll close my letter with that.

Elder Cornwell

Monday, December 10, 2012

Esta tá sem título

Hello again everybody!

So this week wasn´t as good as last week in terms of teaching visits, but we did learn a lot. We tried to find new people to teach, but we weren´t able to find many people, so that took up a good chunk of our time.

The hilights of our week were mainly on Wednesday and Saturday, but we had a good District Meeting on Tuesday. We did a practice with the Book of Mormon where the investigator was troubled about the story of Nephi and Laban. The doubt was about why God would order someone to die for any reason at all. In the practice was brought up two points, one that his death meant the salvation of thousands of souls, and the other was that it was a semblance of Christ´s death for the whole world. There aren´t always sacrifices necessary, but when they occur, they are always for our good.

Wednesday, we had a visit with Osmarina and Karine where we ended up just talking about Prayer and the Book of Mormon. I asked a question that I don´t recall ever asking before. We talked about praying to know if the church is true, which prompted my question... ´´What does ´true church´ mean to you? ´´ As I remember, the answer was something that helps us in this life, that helps us know God and so on. I agreed with their responses and added, that it is all that, in a church founded by our own Savior, for our own salvation. I think that question opened up their understanding about our message, in a point that many times, isn´t very clear when we teach.

Saturday, we visited about as many people as we could, and tried to contact a lot of people, but we couldn´t find anybody at home. I can´t remember what made the day special, but I seem to remember that it was a good day for us.

Sunday, we had a regional conference for Brasilia, Manaus and Fortaleza presided by Elder Ballard. There were four speakers, all General Authorities. All were VERY good talks. First was Elder Audikatis, a native of Porto Alegre. He talked about the things we can learn in our youth. He pointed out that the way we can prove God´s commitment with us is paying our tithing. If we have faith in his promise given in Malachi 8, we can recieve blessings without measure. I had a little more understanding in that phrase ´without measure´ from my scripture study of this week. I have been studying II Kings-II Chronicles, and within these books, there are a lot of measurements of materials and money described. I noted that in great abundance, the materials are not measured, with a promise that it is a VERY large amount. For example, the copper and cedar used in the temple of Solomon was described as without measure, while the greatest measurement given was 1 Million talents of silver. Imagine the amount of blessing God will give u s if we serve him with our heart. Elder Audikatis described that those who serve are blessed, but those who serve with all their heart are blessed immensely... note the word immensely.

The next speaker was Jean A. Stevenson of the General Primary Presidency. She told a story of a boy who, during WW2, found a small piece of a motorcycle mirror, which he took and rounded to use a little mirror. He used this mirror to shine light where it might never shine. As he grew, he continued to play this game, until he realized that it was this that he wanted to do in his life. Reflect light wherever he could in the lives of others. The mirror wasn´t a source of light, but it could reflect from the source. She compared this to ourselves, and how we are not a source of light, but Christ, the light of the world, is. ´´That which ye have seen me do, that you must also do.´´ We aren´t a source of light, but we can reflect this light to the hearts of others through our acts and examples. The will to follow Christ and share his Gospel will let our own light shine.

Elder Gavarret, of Paraguay, but a former resident of Brazil, then spoke to us. He recounted two stories of curings from the New Testament. One man had waited by the pool of Bethesda 38 years to be helped into the waters, that he might be whole. Only when Christ came with his admonition to ´´Take up thy bed and walk´´ was he helped. He recounted another story of a paralytic, who was healed, but with the help of four friends. These friends brought him to the presence of Christ, lowering him through the roof to be ministered unto. He was promptly healed, and rejoined his friends. One man waited 38 years for help, for a friend, while the other was helped immediately. He said that we must be this friend to others, and extend our helping hands, to bring the spiritually afflicted unto Christ, that they might be healed. He then exhorted us to simply ´´Be a friend.´´

Elder Ballard was the last speaker, and his talk was an exhortation to live the Fourth Article of faith. He told us to obtain a habit of praying every day, reading the scriptures, being honest, and living worthily enough to enter the temple. He noted that if we are truly following Christ, we will already be doing these things (A spiritual checklist of sorts). He stated that Jesus atoned for the sins of all those who try to come unto Christ, and live as Christ taught. He then asked the Priesthood holders in attendance to read, study and seek to follow a passage of scripture, which is found in D&C 121:34-46

34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

 35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

 36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

 37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

 38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

 39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

 40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

 41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

 42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

 43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

 44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

 45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

 46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

So the meeting passed by very fast, and all that were in attendance learned something.

So this was my week. I hope this letter was satisfactory for you all!

Love, Elder Cornwell

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Zone Conference!

Hello everybody!

I know I say this a lot, but this week FLEW by again. It seems like I barely have time to breathe with all the stuff we have to do here!

We did a lot of things this week, so I´ll just get started.

Monday, we went to a family night with Irmã Bia, and most of the youth of Conjunto Ceará 3. They did a cool little game that made me think about teaching. WE had to write a story following a certain topic on the top of the page. As we were writing, someone would grab our paper, and trade it with another, thus changing the story. I thought about how when we teach sometimes, without everyone being organized together, when we switch, the message we want to pass on gets changed, and can even stray completely from what was originally intended. If we aren´t completely in tune with the Spirit when we teach, we get little hints of what to say, but we may end up leading the discussion to something that was not what was needed to be taught.

Tuesday, we didn´t have district meeting because there would be Zone Conference that week. We visited a family that have a lot of interest in our message, but there are some habits in the household that prohibit us from entering and teaching. There really was a lot of potential with the family, so I was really saddened knowing that we can find people needing our message, but someone has been pulling them away from God for much longer than we have been around. Afterwards, we talked with Junior and talked about the Book of Mormon and some commandments as well. At night, we taught a reference we got last Sunday. The mother of the family actually asked a member friend to receive the messages, hoping that they would help her and her household. We talked about prophets and the Book of Mormon and how they help our families these days.

Wednesday, we had Zone Conference in the morning until almost night. A Stake President spoke to us first, talking about our motivation. He talked about how here in Fortaleza, people ´´don´t´´ want to be successful in life. He said they become ´satisfied´ with their conditions and fool themselves thinking that they cannot change their situation. He applied this to our work, noting that there is always something we can do to be better, but we just have to be willing to go and do the things we need to do to change our situation. We just need to set goals, which he defined as plans that we will complete in a certain amount of time. I learned that by starting with little things, we can complete our goals without seeing the daunting task. At the end of the meeting, President announced that we could Skype home for Christmas, but only from a LAN house, so I will be able to actually see you all this Christmas around!

Thursday, we tried to do a lot, but we only managed to talk with Junior and his friend Gabriel again.

Friday, we did some visits with Miller again, and we practiced some contacts with him as well. With him, we visited Eliomar and Julianna... Julianna´s sister Juliete was there as well. Turns out they found my blog as well (tenha calma Julianna, eu não estou falando mal de você. Apenas estou falando... leia O Livro de Mórmon!). We talked about church and the Book of Mormon with Julianna. They didn´t go to church last week because their daughter was sick, and Julianna said she hadn´t read the Book of Mormon because of work. I asked her how her week had been in comparison with the last three weeks, and she said it had been worse. I pointed out the lack of church and reading the book of Mormon, and she agreed that that may have been why her week wasn´t as good. That is another thing I have learned on the mission... my day just isn´t the same without reading the Book of Mormon, so now I always try to read at LEAST one chapter a day (but I usually end up reading more!). I have noticed the change it has made in my daily life.

Saturday, we had more good visits. We visited Junior one more time, to make sure he would go to church. We also visited Juliete for the first time. WE had already given her a Book of Mormon, and she had already read the part we marked for her. We had a good visit that started out different than normal. We talked about the book and what she had understood. We got onto the topic of Prophets and we came to the conclusion that her doubts about religion would be resolved if there did, in fact, exist a living prophet. WE talked about Joseph Smith as well as the Primitive Church and how this church once more, was on the earth. At night, we visited the reference again (Osmarina and Karine). They had read the Book of Mormon as well, so we talked about what they had read, and about prayer. Then we talked about church, and invited them to go the next day.

Sunday, we took Junior with us to church, and there were plenty of Young Men that befriended him. Osmarina and Karine came as well, and they really liked it. I noticed a few changes in behavior that led me to believe that some problems they had were on their way to being solved. Afterwards, we had lunch with our Ward Mission Leader in Ala 3. He served his mission in Provo, so we spent a lot of time talking about the little things (food wise) that we don´t have here (Like cream soda, root beer, Taco Bell). I had completely forgotten about those things!

So this week, I thought a lot about the Book of Mormon. I thought back on a lot of experiences so far on my mission were the book of Mormon helped us begin working with some people. I have seen someone open up their heart to the Book of Mormon because of a simple scripture about the Atonement (2nd Nephi 9:21-24), I have seen it save a marriage because of simply reading it as a family. Little by little I have been learning the true power the Book of Mormon has in our work. We are always encouraged to use the Book of Mormon to answer questions, and sometimes we are more willing to use the Bible just because other people believe in it. President once said, if someone has doubts about the Book of Mormon, then use it to resolve those doubts! They don´t know the Book of Mormon is a true book, and that doesn´t make it any less true to us! It really is something amazing the power the Book of Mormon has, and what a difference it can make in the life of people. They don´t even have to open their heart... if they just read it, it will already start to work within them.

Well, that was my week! Hope there was plenty in this letter for you all.

Love, Elder Cornwell

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Spirit Knows What's Up

Hello again!

This week, like always, just blew by. We were super busy and a lot of things happened, so I'll have to just give an overview of the week.

On Tuesday, we did some visits with a member getting ready to go on his mission. We taught a young man who doesn't have faith in a supreme being. We talked a little bit about God's influence that we don't perceive, and we talked about how the Book of Mormon can help us have faith, and we left Mosiah 27 for him to read. At night we went to the church to help prepare a primary presentation (they asked me to play the piano for them).

Wednesday, we ended up doing a lot of contacts, and finding more people to teach.

Thursday, we tried to contact a reference in the northern part of our area, but the man wasn't home. At night, we went to Julianna and Eliomar's to give them the Joy to the World DVD, and we watched it, and then we read the account of Christ's birth in the Americas. As we talked, we related to how the signs of his coming are like an answer to prayers. In the story, there was the prophesy of the prophet, which is hearing a message, which some people believed from the first part. Then came the actual sign, or our answer. Afterwards, there were two kinds of people... the first who believed and was baptised, and those that let Satan lie to them, and ended up not believing, or people that let little things keep them from being baptised.

Friday, we went and did visits with two young men (one is Miller, going to Sao Paulo Sul). We went to contact a man named Emerson, that we had met at an investigators house. We went to the address that I had written down, and it turns out it wasn’t his house, but we asked if we could leave a message with them instead. We talked a little bit about ourselves, and then we started talking about the Book of Mormon. The first thing I said was that it is like the Bible, words of prophets, but prophets here in the Americas. Then the man of the family said he always had a doubt about prophets and why we don't have them in these days... as well as the scripture in John where Jesus says that he has other sheep not of this fold. Anyways, it was an absolutely AMAZING experience for the two young men. We were truly guided to that house, without being aware at all. First off, we ended up going two hours later than we had planned, we contacted a daughter of the family in the front of the house, and the man of the family felt that he should let us in. Many times in the lesson he would say "Brothers... I like what I am hearing!" He said that many people had come into his house to talk about Christ, but he never felt like he did when we were there. Talk about incentive for those two to go on a mission!

I'll skip to Sunday now, but we went to church with a young woman who wanted to see how church was (her mother is inactive, but we didn’t know that). At church, a high councilor spoke and told a story from his mission. They went into a house to teach a couple, and there was another man there that every five minutes would make a disparaging comment about the church. At one point, he stopped the lesson and said that to preach the gospel, one must have the spirit, and they didn't have it. The high councilor replied "Absolutely. There are two people here that want to hear our message by the spirit, and you are interfering with the Spirit. Now please leave because this couple wants to learn more about the Gospel." The man got up and left. Another day, they went back and that same man was there. But this time, he stayed quiet. At the end of the lesson, he said, "You two were absolutely right. I was interfering with the Spirit, and I felt its presence today."  He then continued to talk about how we let ourselves interfere with the Spirit in our lives. He talked about how we need to keep our selves sensitive to the spirit and to be sure not to get in the way. This includes writing detailed notes in a talk, where we focus more on note-taking than what the person is saying. He asserted that if we pay enough attention, every talk we hear, will have a word or phrase that will change our lives. He talked about how some people more sensitive to the spirit because they pay attention to the spirit see marvelous things in what would appear to be ordinary meetings. I thought it was a very interesting talk, and very well done. I hope I passed the good part of his message on to you all.

Well, that was my week! I hope this letter is meaty enough for you, and I guess now it is appropriate to wish a Happy Holidays! (Christmas will come soon enough)

Elder Cornwell