Monday, February 27, 2012

Hello Family!

So... this week has been kind of long. Or at least it feels like it. I guess that’s what happens when you walk 30 minutes every day to your area! But it’s been real nice out here... it´s been raining a lot, and it reminds me of Portland and the beach... I just have to go down to Aracatí and we can hit the beach there ;)

Also, before I forget, have Elder Clements´ and Elder Sant´s email´s forwarded to me and Elder Clements asked for mine, so you can add his name to the list if it isn´t already.


Tuesday, we had District Meeting and we had to leave way early to get to Pedras at 8. Once we got there, we had Tapioca (not the tapioca you would think... it’s like a pancake kinda... but it’s really good. Learn how to make it!). After that a member gave us a message about fighting temptation and satan and how it’s nearly impossible to fight him with strength or intelligence alone. He demonstrated this by putting a bunch of chairs in a semi circle in the corner and in the corner he placed a pear. He had the Zone Leader Elder Landskrum play the part of the preventer, and I had to fight him using my strength. Almost got it too! Some of the missionaries took videos of it, but I´ll have to ask for it. It was a cool little object lesson.

After that, we came back and taught our two possible baptisms this week. They are both really excited about it. One of them already made the changes in his life necessary, and the other has really turned a corner with what she thinks of the church. Its cool to see the progression in them both.

Wednesday, we taught them again, just commandments though. We also taught four that are new investigators. One of them is the woman who took the lessons 4 years ago. The other ones are a family that is friends with the Bishop. They said that they already knew the power that the church had because of the change they have seen in him from before. The true Gospel of Christ really has a power to give us that happiness in our lives.

Thursday, we went with one of the young men to teach some of his friends. We didn´t run into any of them in their house, but we went by later and taught one of them. He had a lesson from other Elder´s but they stopped coming for some reason. He remembered a lot of the message, so we gave him a little referesher and a Book of Mormon. He was really excited about it too. He pulled out the pamphlet we used to mark where he should read to do the prayer, and as soon as he finished he passed them back and asked us to mark it again. I just smiled at that.

Friday. We had lunch with a member whose son (Lucas) is one of my favorites in the ward. He said someone in the other ward had gained passage to the temple and he said he wanted to go and do baptisms here in March. He had a lot of questions about names and things like that. We talked for about 45 minutes with him about his questions and he just loved it! Afterwards, we went out in the street to go teach and our appointment fell through. Then Elder Johnny turned to him and said ´´Alright, we are going to walk down this street until you feel we should stop, then we are going to knock on the door.´´ Normally, this is just like a chore to me, but this really felt different. I felt like there was someone living there AT home who was ready to hear our message. I kept a look out myself too. We almost got to the end of the street and I was getting worried because I thought maybe we had missed it, but the second I thought that, the thought left and I looked a t a gate to our left. I just stared it down, and Lucas pointed and said ´´Let’s stop here!´´. I guess that was a spiritual reference. We taught a married woman and she was really interested in what we had to say. After the message, we invited her to give the prayer and usually the people are timid about it, but she just accepted... then she asked how she was supposed to do it. I was just impressed that day.

Saturday night, we taught a friend of that other young man (Davi) and his Mom. They were really interested in our message and the kid had a lot of ´´philosophies´´ about the true church and all. The thing that was interesting is that everything he said had a gospel principle readily applicable. At the end of the lesson, he had a question about the end of the world, and he was really worried about and his knowledge and whatnot. I just looked at him and said ´´Dude. Pray to the Lord if our message is true, and do everything you can to follow that answer. If you do that, you won´t have a single thing to worry about. You will be happy forever, with your knowledge and in the presence of our Lord.´´ He was just kind of shocked about it like ´´I never knew that before.´´ We gave him pamphlets and a Book of Mormon and left them to do their part.

Sunday, we had lunch with Renato and Tuanny (Tuanny was really excited about it). It was really fun! We just ate and talked for a while. Then we got to the message and Tuanny said I had to do it to practice my Portuguese. So I opened up in D&C 138 (47-48 I think? The verses that talk about Elijah and Sealing) and I told them how important our work in the temple is... not just for us, but everybody waiting for us. I talked about how they don´t have a chance at exaltation without our work on the temples and that the world would probably be corrupted without temples here on the earth. I really surprised myself during that message. They really liked it though. I think it was what they were supposed to hear, because the lesson in priesthood was on covenants, specifically the temple. Renato was paying really close attention. Then in Sunday School, we had a lesson on Prayer. The instructor quoted an apostle saying he only said one prayer a day, but how that prayer was in his heart the whole day. He added the comment, why do you think the prophet and apostles always have a spirit about them? It’s because they are always talking to him. What a concept! After that, we went home and ate part of a Jaca. Its a huge fruit that is like gum on the inside. It is really odd.

Then today, I made German Pancakes. I was proud of myself.

So that was my week. Pretty busy, but pretty fun! I don´t have anything else I can think of to say, so I´ll close with that. Love you all! Have a good week!

Elder Cornwell.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ei! É Carnival!

Helllo Family! So, this week is carnival, which here means listen to forro and drink even more. That's what all holidays are in this part of Brasil. Go figure!

So this week has been kind of nuts and went by fast. At the end of P-day, we went to a family night with the other Elders and did that for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, we had two long lessons, one because there was two women who had a ton of questions and had a hard time grasping the concepts we were presenting. The other was we taught a friend of the Bishop whose family is pretty darn Catholic, but they were very receptive to our message. That passed that day.

Wednesday, we did a baptismal interview for the other Elders that took about an hour and a half in the morning. Then we went to a Churrasco because our lunch ended up being money (Allison's note: "money," in this context, means that it paid off - something good happened), and that was real good. Then we taught Gehrlane, the Uncle of a member. This was our second time teaching him, and the first time, we talked a little about the word of wisdom and he had stopped drinking, smoking and coffee and his mom was totally helping him with all of it. He already knows he wants to join our church, he just doesn´t know how significant it is. He has seen the changes it makes and he wants to have those same changes. He already has a pretty god start on that. Afterwards, we taught a lady who had taken the lessons 4 years ago but wasn´t baptised because she was living with a boyfriend. Se didn´t remember a whole lot, so we started from square one. After that, we headed back home because it was about that time.

Thursday we had Zone Conference in Fortaleza, so that took up a big part of our day. President talked about how prayer is important for our investigators. Also, I met Elder Rocha (he is in my zone now, he used to be in my area) and he gave me a hug in place of Elder Clements. It was neat to meet him and just talk a little. Afterwards, we went to the mission office and took care of some little things, then walked through the Center to get to a terminal. We got back at about 8 o clock and it started raining that day around 4.

Friday, it rained a bunch and there were bugs EVERYWHERE at night. In the morning, we prepared the chapel and baptismal font for our baptism of Renato and Tuanny, which took a little bit. After we had lunch, and went out and got nothing done (I think the people here are allergic to cold and rain haha). Then at night, we went to the chapel and had a great baptism service. There were a ton of members there because they were excited for their baptism.

Saturday, we taught a friend of Tuanny´s in the morning that lives wayyyy out in the middle of nowhere, which is really freakin awesome! We taught him for a looong time because he had a lot of questions and doubts and such, but it went really good. After, we had lunch a little bit late. Then we taught a family of a mom and 5 daughters for a little bit. I can´t even remember after that, but we headed back home early because our area was getting filled with loud music and alcohol, so we decided to end the day with that.

Sunday, we had pretty much NO ONE at church. Probably about 15 people because all the youth went to an EFY (Allison's note: "EFY" means "Especially for Youth." A youth conference event) thing they have so they are away for Carnival, and a lot of members were just gone. That was pretty much our day.

And today is Pday... we haven´t really done anything yet haha.

So that was my crazy week. I don´t really have much more to add, so I´ll close with that!

Love you all!
Elder Cornwell

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Crazy Week

Below is a picture from a long time ago! It is of Elders Cornwell, Clements and Sant when they were together at the Brazil MTC.

BEFORE I FORGET! Mom, if you could do me a favor, look on the internet for a ´book´called Day of Defense by A. Melvin McDonald. You should be able to find a copy or pdf for free. But if you could print it out, and give it to the Elder´s in our ward, I would really appreciate it. What it is is two elders who had a mock trial with some 10 preachers/ministers of other churches and they respond to questions about the truth of the church only using the bible. It is something that they have to have! Its cool enough to just read it, but it is of great value for missionaries! Also, whenever you send the next package, send shoe goo. I can make some good use of it!

ANYWAYS! This week was crazy! At the end of P-day, we got a call from the Exec. Secretary and he said that Elder Smith and I needed to go to Aldeota AFAP because there was something with our VISAS that needed to be taken care of immediately. So we went, and our whole group was there at the Secretary´s house and it was just a giant party. Anyways, we get up way early the next morning and go to Policia Federal. Turns out that our addresses didn´t get changed when we came here from São Paulo, so we had to do that pronto because each day over 30 days that we don´t, you have to pay R$8. We were already 55 days over and for all of us, it would´ve cost the Church R$7,000. The Secretary was really sweating bullets here. It turned out that he just showed our ID´s, talked to a guy and he just changed it without us having to do anything... or having to pay. He was so excited about that. So everything turned out good. Afterwards, Elder Smith and I did an exchange and went to Horizonte for lunch and some appointments. The member we had lunch with has a neighbor with some serious health issues (liver problems associated with drinking). He asked the neighbor for a blessing, so we went with him, blessed him and then started to just talk about the church since he wasn´t a member. Too bad it´s not my area!

Wednesday, we went and taught our two baptisms and just continued to prepare them. It was all pretty normal. After we taught a cousin of a member and that went smooth too. Nothing crazy happened that day.

Thursday we did the baptismal interviews and everything went well. Again, nothing I can remember happened.

Friday, we went to Aracatí to do an interview for the sisters. The interview was for a 19 year old girl who is dating a member. While she was being interviewed we talked with the member. He is 4 months away from 19, so of course we were talking about going on a mission. He said he still wasn´t sure, that he wanted to go through College, than go. He also said that he needed to help his mom out financially through working and what not. Now if there was ever an opportunity to bear testimony about the mission, that was it! I told him how I left on the mission and Dad was out the door at work, and had a bit of time without work, than he found new work that was significantly better. I told him things like that just happen, because the windows of heaven are opened to us. I asked him if he knew a lot of people who went on missions, to which he said he knew a few. I asked him if any of them had told them they regretted going on a mission, to which he said none. Then I asked if he knew anyone that regretted not going on a mission, or putting off a mission, to which he said yes. He really thought about that. After, the conversation went normal because the Dad of the girl came in and talked to us. After the interview was over, Elder Johnny came back and was talking to him, asked how old he was and all that business. He said ´oh, I´m turning 19 in 4 months´ and Elder Johnny asked if he was thinking about going on a mission. He said ´I have been thinking about it, and I wasn´t sure 15 minutes ago, but now, I know I´m going on a mission.´ Wow. That´s all I can say.

After that, we passed by a family that´s getting ready to be baptised, but they have to wait on getting married. I thought ´Her mom lives next door, can´t they just sleep in separate houses until March 16th?´ So we asked them if they were ready to do all that they needed to be baptised to which they said YES. So we told them and the husband liked the idea. He said ´I get a house all to myself and my own bed? I think I can handle this ´sacrifice´ thing´. So they are going to be baptised next week!

Saturday, we had our two baptisms. We got to watch a little bit of the worldwide training while we were filling up the font. It was pretty awesome. Then we had the baptism service which went smooth. Afterwards, we cleaned up and then taught an Uncle of one our more helpful members. AS we were talking to him he said he had a lot of problems and he really wanted to change. He already wants to be baptised just because he knows it will change everything. I was really impressed with him because he is really humble and has a real desire to turn his life around for the better.

Sunday, I got to give a talk on Commitments. I talked about how missionaries use commitments to help others build faith and get closer to Christ. Then I talked about how our most important commitment was the commitment we made with God in baptism. I talked about how we needed to be acting as representatives of Jesus Christ, because that is what we committed to do when we took his name upon us. I said if we do this, we will be numbered as the family of Christ himself in the Celestial Kingdom. I can promise that because that is God´s part, and he will complete all that he has said. I used the scriptures

Moroni 7:13
Mosiah 2:41
Alma 37:16-17
Luke 14:16-18, 21-24
Luke 8:15, 21
Mosiah 18:9

The beauty of it was, I used for the most part Preach my Gospel and the thoughts that popped into my head as I studied the topic. I was really grateful for the opportunity.

That was my week! Pretty much normal for the life of a missionary! I love you all!

Elder Cornwell

P.S. Mom, also send some Piano and guitar music, like that sonatina book and other classical stuff just so I have something I can play ;).

Answers to questions:

1. Have you received any letters since you have been in the mission?
Answer: I have, for the most part from you. I haven´t gotten any for about a month though... i think.

2. Are there sights to see on your P-day?
Answer: There are a few big Catholic churches, some other historical things, but so far, my companions just don´t want to do anything of that sort.

3. What kind of tourist-y things are there to do/see in the Fortaleza area?
Answer: There is the central market, the whole Center district and the beaches, but at the moment we aren´t allowed to walk on the beach (they used to be able to)

4. What do you do on your P-day, besides read my emails and answer my questions?
Answer:Sleep, watch a movie, eat. Just normal stuff.

5. What sports are banned in your mission (for example: full-court basketball is off limits in some missions)?
Answer: Right now, soccer is banned, which kind of sucks, but it was a smart thing. The president had to send home 6 Elders in one day because of injured knees playing soccer.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bora! Bora! Pacajus!

Before the letter, here is a clarification on almost getting bit by a snake last week:
Elder Cornwell writes: I forgot to clarify the term ´snake´. Here on the mission, its a young woman who goes after the American missionaries to have a future. So I already recounted the story of the near snake bite for you hehehe.


Ó la meus queridões! Como vão?

So, just to start off with a little basic missionary vocabulary that we use pretty much every day

Snake- Girl that talks to the missionaries to try to marry them

Sorry for the confusion there! I forget that only the Brasilian missionaries know what that means! Anyways, my area is one of the biggest in the entire mission. I think it is the biggest, but I´m not sure, so I won´t say it. Anyways, we walk probably 20 minutes to get to where all of our members/investigators are, and it’s all way spread out. I think we are responsible for about 110 km^2. So we usually leave about 11:30, head to our area, and come back at around 8:30 to be in the apartment (which is the normal 2 companionship setup) at 9. I´m sure Drew can sympathize with me here. We are still pretty close to the beach, so we get a good amount of wind here.

So, Elder Johnny is from Ribeiro Preto, São Paulo (about 4 hours from the actual city). He is 20, the 4th of 5 in his family, and his whole family are members. He really likes anime, which all teenage boys in Brasil do, and he´s a Corinthian´s fan too (Vai Corinthian!). He is the first one in his family to go on a mission (his parents joined before he was born, and has 4 sisters) and he has 10 months on the mission.

SO, I did a LOT of travelling this week (Elder Johnny is a DL and is responsible for a LOT of area, plus our area includes all outlying cities to the east of Pacajus until Aracatí).

So Tuesday, my companion had to go to a training meeting in Pedras, so I went with Elder Smith to Horizonte for lunch, which is in his area. We walked soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long to get there (about 30 minutes) after we had taken a bus 15 minutes there. Plus it was hot. After, we went back and waited for our companions, and headed out at 3, and just taught the normal things. Not much memorable that day.

Wednesday, we had district meeting with our whole zone, which is huge geographically... only 2 districts. WE had to go to Pedras, which is about an hour away, and then walk 30 minutes to the church for the meeting. Found out that Elder Pili is in my zone again which I was happy for (he was one of my first ZL´s in Zona Castelão). Afterwards, we came back and taught a less active member, who has a son who wants to be baptised. So we go there, and the oldest son I recognized. Then I realized he had been living in my last area. Turns out, we are teaching/reactivating the daughter of a sister in my last area. I thought that was neat! Taught a few more lessons and went home for the day.

Thursday, we went out with members (young men) and visited less actives because we can always help them return, and then find people in their family who aren’t members. Two of them came to church with another friend, so we were super excited about that.

Friday was a good day. We taught two Jane´s (pronounced Jonnie) and both of them have been going to church for a while, but never talked to the missionaries (their extended families are members). Pretty much we just gave them the lessons for it all to come together. They already have those good feelings from church, but they didn´t really know where it all came from. I guess we were just there to quench that spiritual thirst. After I met an investigator named Edeson. He is a BIG guy, he’s got a goatee going, long ponytail and tattoos on his arm. I wasn´t really sure what to expect, but I just went with it. As we were teaching him, he hung on our every word. We were teaching about commandments and he knew they were important. He is one of the most humble people I´ve met out here too. As we talked to him, he told us about his desire to go to church and do all this, but his wife just drags her heels, and it’s hard for him. We talked to her later on that day and she recognized that she should be going to church too and pretty much told us she would stop being lazy. I just thought that was a cool thing. After, we had dinner with an investigator who is going to be baptized in about 2 weeks (Her and her husband are getting married TODAY! in Fortaleza, and they will both join the church here pretty soon). Their names are Renato and Tuane, and they are practically members already. They are so excited about the church and everything. So we had dinner and shared a message with Tuane and her mother, who we are all trying to start missionary lessons with. So I really enjoyed that.

Saturday was a burn day pretty much. We had to go to Aracatí to do interviews for the sisters there (really neat town... crazy during Carnival). It´s about 2 hours away, so we left at 11, got there at 1, ate, did the interviews, left there at 4 and got back at 6. Then we had to go to Horizonte and do an interview there. Came back and that was our day.

Sunday, we went to the very end of Pacajus for lunch. It was like a 40 minute walk in the blazing heat along a freeway-ish thing. Crazy. After we rounded up people for church. Church was pretty good too. The only problem was sacrament meeting was SO LOUD. It wasn´t the youth either (the young men in our ward are AWESOME. Stripling warrior status, and there are about 15 of them). All the sisters talked with each other the whole time! It was ridiculous! They had the pulpit mic turned up way loud so you could hear. That was definitely different for me. Then we went back home (church is 4-7) and closed our week, then Played Risk Imperial Rome Edition, which I won! Whoo!

And today... we haven´t really done anything. We´re going to watch a movie later and then... I don´t know after that haha. But that was my crazy busy super long week! Hopefully I answered all of your questions Mom/Dad!

That´s all for this week. Love you all!

Elder Cornwell