Monday, July 30, 2012

Hey People!

Well this week went by kind of slow/kind of fast. We had to mark some lunches with less actives because the normal group of our lunches went to the temple.

The highlights of the week came mainly Wednesday, and the end of the week. Wednesday we went and taught some contacts of ours (one was referred by someone who called us the most beloved people in the town, and the other walked by the church and even came in at the end of the meetings). The first we went to, Irene, said that she was really needing a good message, and we were glad to give it to her. We talked about how prophets helped people in the bible, and how the church in the new testament was perfect for all of our difficulties. I had the privilege to recount the story of the restoration of the fulness of the gospel and bring the good news to this woman. She said she felt much better after our message, and we left our invites with her. I told her that maybe she wasn´t looking for a new church, but she just came across the true church of Christ. Our next appointment was with Nici. She was in need of a message as well. We felt that she was in need of the same message, and we spoke a good bit about how the church helps us. At the end, we bore our testimonies and I asked her how she felt about our message. She thought for a little bit and said ´´It´s true. I feel that it´s true.´´ I truly felt the sincerity in her words to us. As we were leaving, she said ´´You two were really sent from God to me´´. At that moment, I remembered something Elder Matzenbacher taught me in the last district meeting, ´´We have the authority... so bear your testimony. When someone says that our church is wonderful, agree with them!´´. With this thought in mind, I responded ´´We certainly were. You can trust that we were sent by God to help you.´´ It was a really good afternoon for me... just what I needed in fact. At night, we visited with Deivid and Diego. While we were there, a good amount of young men that are less active showed up, and we talked with them and played around a little bit. We talked with one in particular and we talked about church with him and even about doing visits with them.

That was our best day for sure, the rest of the week is really just a blur for me. I do remember though on Saturday, we had to get ourselves excited (and the members) to go to church. Last week, 25 people came to church... 6 of which were because of us. This week we really needed some extra help, so we decided not to put anything to chance, and we prayed that the Stake President would come and make a visit to our branch, and give us some revelation. Sunday morning comes, and we opened up the church at 8, and at about 8:40 arrives the stake president and his 1st counselor. He greeted everyone, and afterwards pulled us aside and said to us ´´It really is a blessing for you to be here. It is in areas like these that you get the privilege to prove your faith to the Lord´´. Afterwards he said that the best way to help in the branch would be to organize family home evenings and do ´´splits´´ with the young men. We both really liked the ideas and were already thinking of how we can put them into practice. During sacrament meeting, the stake president told a story about how he took care of some animals when he was younger. He told a story about how a new-born was stepped on by its mother, breaking two of his legs. He put splints on the legs of the new born to help heal the bones. They had to bottle feed the animal because he couldn´t feed himself. After a good amount of time, they decided to take the splints off. His legs had healed and with difficulty he stood with his own force. The next day, he was walking slowly. After a few more days, he started to run, and with more time jump. He went on to comment ´´I remember observing that little animal. Of all the others, he had the most energy, he had to most life and he was the happiest.´´ I applied this with our own faith. When we are nursed by others, we can´t truly enjoy things because we are limited. When we are able, we start to walk... then run and then jump. Those who live by their own faith and their own testimony truly are those who are happiest to be alive. When we know what it is to be limited, we appreciate even more when we are free. AT night, we visited with Branco and Ancylia and talked with them about how the temple was for them. We noticed a HUGE difference in them as opposed to a week ago. We got to see how living the ordinances of the gospel makes us perfect. They had their spiritual eyes opened, and they have already planned when they are going to go again. They are very happy to have a temple coming to them in Fortaleza. They are just like the little animal. The can only do little at a time, but when the crutches are removed, they will truly be the happiest.

So that was my week, and this is my reminder of how happy I am to have a part in the wonderful work!

I love you all!
Elder Cornwell

Monday, July 23, 2012


Here are the highlights of last week:
Tuesday, we visited Irmão Domingos and there was a woman there that was waiting to have her hair cut. She told us about how she got to know Sisters when she was working in Rio Grande do Norte. I asked her how long it had been since this happened, thinking it had taken place a year or so ago. I was floored when she said ´about 3 weeks ago´. We talked a little bit more about her experience there, and she said she HAD a Book of Mormon but she lent to a friend in Aracoiaba, and he hadn´t given it back yet. WE gave her a new one so she could let her friend keep one too. We marked an appointment, but she wasn´t there.

Wednesday, we went and visited people with Eder, but the person we really wanted to see was at his Dad´s house on the other side of town. At night, we talked a little bit with Felipe and Rosângela (a less-active/non member couple). They said they were heading home, so we went there... but they weren´t… but Rosangela´s sister and little brother were there, so we talked with them instead.

Friday, the highlight was the English class. There was a good number of people there, and we marked appointments with them. Afterwards we went to Mateus´ house and gave him another pep talk.

Saturday, we walked a LOT and nobody was home. WE did manage to talk with Valdir and he was having some problems with his old work and some complications there (as in they owe him a bunch of wages, but they don´t want to pay him). WE told him that things would be better if he went to church, and he told us he would go for sure. He even gave his word as a Corintiano´hahah. Miraculously, Felipe was home, so we talked to him more, and afterwards we went and talked with Raquel. We were hoping Marcos would have been there too, but he didn´t get back from work when we got there and left.

Sunday, we got to church a little early to set everything up. About 8:40, Valdir showed up and there was almost nobody there, but he was still received warmly. Also there were 3 people less actives that came (Erlanie said she would have gone, but she was really sick). The Young Men´s President spoke and told a story about two gardeners. One day, both went and planted a row of trees and watered them that day. For a good amount of time afterwards, one of them watered the trees every day, and the other never again. One day, there came a hurricane, and uprooted all of the trees of the gardener who watered his trees every day. Obviously he was perplexed because he took such good care of his trees, and they were all gone, while the other gardener forgot about his, but they were still there. When the other came, he asked ´Why are all of my trees uprooted, and yours not? I took such good care of mine, and you neglected yours!´ The other gardener responded easily, ´since you watered your trees every day, its roots didn´t have to search for water. My trees had to dig down deep in the earth to find the water that they needed, and resulted in a deep root system, that made them strong.´ This tied in well with what I studied a lot this week. Last month´s Liahona had a talk from Bruce R McConkie about Agency. The Lord gave us agency to find things out for ourselves. If he gave us everything we wanted, when temptations and problems come, we are easily uprooted. When we are accustomed to make our own choices and seek to follow the Lord, we are like a tree with roots deep into the earth. We can survive any problem that comes our way. All of this was very good for Valdir, because he came to church with doubts and needs, and from what I could tell, he was given what he needed.

So that was my week in short! Tomorrow I am going to do a division with Elder Clemens, and my DL Elder Huntley is going to come and work with Elder Leal. I´m happy because we asked for a box of copies of the Book of Mormon and I won´t have to carry it! Hahahaha

Love you all!

Elder Cornwell

Monday, July 16, 2012


Hello everybody!

So, I´m really crunched for time now since the LZ´s came to play around a little bit today in our area. We went up to the monastery again and did some sight see-ing.

So this week passed by really really fast as well, so this letter will be pretty well boiled down.

Tuesday, we went to District Meeting and President came to do our interviews for the Elders who work far away from Fortaleza. Our interview went by real fast because we were crunched for time as well. President told me that we are missionaries and our duty is to teach. We can teach investigators the gospel, or members principles of the gospel, so we went with that a lot this week. We came back and had lunch with Lena and visitors of hers from their old ward. Afterwards, we gave another pep-talk to Anglecia to help her come back to church. The rest of the day, just about everything fell through that we had planned, and we ended up visiting a good number of less-actives coming back to church.

Wednesday, we had lunch at the Jesuitas with Renata, and afterwards we tried to find the house of a kid we played football with in the Centro, but we just couldn´t find his house. Not even his street! I honestly don´t think the street exists. It’s not that he gave us a false address, but no one knows the street name! Anyways, afterwards we visited with Deivid, a young man in a family returning to the church. We´re helping him feel welcome back as well. Afterwards, we went by Luciano´s house because he is going through a rough time. We just sat and talked with him, and then taught about the Priesthood and Blessings. We gave him a blessing of comfort to help him overcome the interruptions in his life. Afterwards we went by a bunch of members and told them to stop by as much as possible. Afterwards we had a lesson with a new investigator that came into our Institute class. He is a professor at the local college. He is very intelligent, so I didn´t have to mince words with him. He even passed through the Catholic Seminary, so we only had to present the message of the restoration to him. It was a very good discussion.

Thursday, we started off the day visiting Valdir and Robelia. Valdir left a little bit before we got there to visit his mom, but we talked with Robelia and her kids about going to church. Afterwards, we visited more less-actives. At night, we visited with Edivã to get some member lists to help put the fire in the Home Teaching program. We gave Edivã a pep talk as well, and he is getting excited about the church once more. Then we went and were surprised by the members who gave us pizza and cake for Elder Leal´s 6 months as a missionary. His fiancée set everything up, and we just enjoyed the free food.

Friday, the highlight was the English Lesson. We had a member, a less active and 3 investigators. Few people, but a good group for our real intent. I taught just like I was taught in the MTC. 

Saturday, we had lunch with Irmã Paula way out there. Afterwards, we came back and helped with the church cleaning a little bit. Then we visited a few more people, and then went to institute that didn´t happen and we ended up helping Branco with making Home Teaching Assignments.

Sunday, the High Councilors came and gave a good kick in the pants for the members. They talked a lot about sacrifice and helping other people. Afterwards we had lunch with the Branch President and we taught him what we needed to put another companionship here in Baturité. We taught about the three things that every new convert needs, 1 A friend, 2 A Calling and 3 To be  fed with the good word of God. We explained clearly what they could do to make these things work. I told the president about the size of our region, and the size of the church. I told him that our city was not that much bigger than Baturité, and has a stake, a bunch of wards and even a temple (it might as well be in our city!). Everything is very possible wherever we are in the church. As long as everything the prophet and apostles ask is being done, the church will grow, without fault.

The thing I learned this week that I will share with you all has to do with the parable of the good Samaritan. This week a good amount of members saw other new converts and less actives with problems and said to themselves ´´I will just let them solve their problems first, then I will stop by and help´´. This is NOT the attitude we have in the church! We think other people will be embarrassed because that person screwed up and we know, but that is NOT the case! We have the atonement for a reason! We need to understand that people can move on from these errors. The feeling of embarrassment they feel when someone knows they did something wrong is much less then the feeling of being stuck without help. These people can´t help themselves, and it is everyone´s responsibility to help make things right!

So this is my letter for you all this week. Love you all!

Elder Cornwell

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mais um!

So this week flew by again like always. Transfers already happened and Elder Leal and I stayed in the same spot, so we are enjoying our actual p-day.

So, this morning when I left home, I swore I put my planner in my back pack, but I don´t have it with me now. I don´t know how it happened, but it happened!
I´ll just include the highlights of this week.
So on Tuesday we went to Fortaleza for our last District Meeting of the transfer. Elder Landskrun is headed home right about now, and another Elder and Sister are headed off as well, but our zone stayed pretty intact. This transfer there are 12 new Americans, 2 Brazilians and 2 Argentines, so President opened a few areas in our Zone. Elder Rocha will be my DL again (I´m excited for that) so I´ll see him a ton again. So, this was our last one and we said some quick goodbyes ( I got some birthday cards as well from Toni and the Greer-Shorts, as well as the Davis´ last week. I intend to write something back to everyone, but we will see how that ends up.) The rest of the day I can´t even remember.
Wednesday, we went to Irmã Eliza for lunch, so we had a cool trip out there (I´ll attach a picture of the post office out there. Also a bunch of little kids ´killed´ this huge snake (We came back later and it was moving a little bit). We had a big lunch with something that was like cornbread and lasagna mixed together... really good! Afterwards we went visiting families (I can´t even remember who!). I just remember at night there was a fireworks show (because Corinthians won the final of the Libertadores Cup 2-0 against Boca Juniors). That lasted a good part of the night. You all now how Brazilians love their football.

Thursday we had lunch with Branco and Ancylia, and we went and visited a less active ´girl´ (she is 18) who works close by. We talked to her for a bit and told her that her presence was missed at church. Afterwards, we went and visited the family of Irmão Domingos. Afterwards we talked some more with Andrea, Charlles and Isaías. Isaías is awesome, but for right now, he is doing a free drivers ed class fri-sat-sun that takes up all day, so until next week, he cant make it to church.

Friday, we had lunch with Irmã Paula, and the trip back to Baturité took a little bit of time. When we got back, I was feeling really crappy. My calves were sore, I had a fever and my nose was all plugged up. It was the normal cold that I´ve already gotten twice before, so we went to the pharmacy and I bought cold medicine, then went home and died.

Saturday, I woke up pretty crappy as well. We went to get food, and then we came back because I wasn´t in condition to work in the sun. At night I was feeling a lot better, so we went to Institute so that they could actually have it. The lesson was on Ordinances and Covenants in the Old Testament. The main point was that Christ made this law (the gospel) so that by following it, and fulfilling the ordinances, we could become perfect. When we live the gospel law here on earth, we are qualifying ourselves to live the celestial law. The point was brought up that the fullness of the gospel is the ´new and everlasting covenant´. I pieced together (along with some things that I have observed from other people) that by always going to the temple, and living the gospel, we aren´t qualifying ourselves to be perfect, but we are coming closer and closer to being perfect in and of ourselves. The gospel truly does change us in a way that often times is very easy to see. When we pray every day, we are different. When we study the scriptures everyday, we are different. And when we go to the temple frequently, we are VERY different. This is the Gospel in action! Christ only built the bridge over the valley of death. When he paid for our sins and resurrected, he completed his part. Our part is to repent of our sins, do good works, live the gospel and make ourselves perfect. We can´t wait for Christ to make us pray, read the scriptures, go to church or even the temple! But when we do these things, we change, and we become more and more like Christ everyday. This is the miracle of the gospel!

So there is my insight for the week. Sunday, we had a good number of people at church, including some young men who aren´t members, but have some good member influences. Afterwards, we went to visit everyone, but only Valdir was home... so the majority of our day was just walking. We went home and celebrated the new transfer by sleeping!

So that was my week. Hope this letter is filling enough for you all! I love you all!

Elder Cornwell

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to Elder Cornwell - Another Fast Week!

Hello everybody!

So a quick thought. My companion says to lots of people that he has never met an American so nuts for futbol like me (although I just like sports in general). He says that I´m more into it than most Brazilians haha. That being said, Corinthians is going to win the Copa Libertadores on the 4th of July, and that will be my fireworks celebration!

But yeah... this week went by REALLY fast for me.

Tuesday, we went to our district meeting and the bus was REALLY slow, so we got there a little late, but the rest of the zone hadn´t even started yet. We headed out at the normal time, which was before the end. Afterwards, we got back to Baturité and had lunch. The afternoon was slow, but at night we visited Marcos and Valdir. They both didn´t go to church the last Sunday when they had certainty that they would. One was sick, the other had to go to the ´city hall´ to take care of some business that couldn´t wait. But we just wanted to help them GET TO CHURCH!

Wednesday, we had lunch with Irmã Renata, who lives way far away! Her husband is less active, so we had lunch and we were giving the message when he got back from work. The message was a real picker-upper type of scripture. In Alma 44, it reads the following:

“3 But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us; and ye behold that he has delivered you into our hands. And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ. And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith.
 4 Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we area faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.”

I tied this in with a talk in general conference where someone told a story about President Hinckley and a recent convert who would probably be hated for his new faith. President Hinckley asked if he was willing to sacrifice so much to which the boy asked ´its true, isn´t it?´ President Hinckley responded with certainty that it is, and the boy said ´Then what else matters?´ I told the sister without a doubt that the gospel and the church are true, and that NOTHING can destroy our true faith and stop us from going to church. The whole time her husband was around the corner hiding/listening, so who knows what will happen from here. Afterwards we visited the family of Irmâo Domingos, whose family is getting REALLY excited to come back to church. They moved houses this week, so it was nearly impossible for them to come this week, but they are VERY excited. Afterwards we talked with Erivaldo, whose son is going to serve a mission. He had some doubts and questions, so we sat down and answered them. Afterwards we explained to him that he understood the what of the mission, but that they why of the mission was much more important. I pulled out a Book of Mormon and placed it in front of him and said ´this is the why. Read it, and you will know why your son is so sure about his mission.´ He was very excited and very grateful for our visit. The only problem is he works a TON, so it is very hard to talk to him, but we will keep trying.

The rest of the week didn´t have a ton of highlights that I can really remember, so I will just skip to Saturday.

So Saturday. I woke up normal and everything. About 7:30, Sister Souza called to wish a happy birthday and told me to make a cake, but our oven is broken, so that idea ´went up in flames´har har har. We headed out early because lunch was out in the boonies again with Irmã Eliza. She made a ton of really good food for us and I ate a TON! It was my birthday ´lunch´ haha. Afterwards we got back and visited Valdir again, and Irmâo Domingos. The next thing I can remember is that we went to Herlany´s house and her mom gave us pizza and soda to commemorate. I also got Mom´s message through facebook from Isabel and Herlany. All in all it was a good day, mainly because I got a ton of food! It didn´t really even feel like my birthday at all haha.

Sunday was normal as well. Church was pretty disorganized and had almost nobody there. Herlany and her cousin came to church (what a shame her cousin doesn´t live here, but Elders had already passed in her house, and she still remembers their names). Afterwards, President gave us our lunch in a tupperware container and we ate at home, and then visited less actives and other people. We finished the night at Branco and Ancylia´s and they fed us, like always haha.

So that was my week! It´s passed by way fast! This next week is the last week of transfers, so who knows what will happen next week! I only know that a ton of Elders are leaving.

Love you all!
Elder Cornwell

Birthday Pizza for Elder Cornwell - Photo courtesy of Herlany