Monday, September 24, 2012

´Nuther one!

Hello everyone!

So this is probably going to be a quick one again because the week was a slow one, but passed by real fast... if that makes sense!

So here are the highlights of the week.

Tuesday, we contacted a contact that we had made earlier on. His name is Gabriel and he had already been to church a lot, but he had to move to Brasilia to help family there. Anyways, he doesn´t remember much from what the missionaries had taught him... just that what they taught him and the church are all true. WE gave the message of the restoration again and then we committed him to start towards baptism again.

Wednesday, we had lunch with a less active member, and there was a bunch of people there, so we left a message from the Book of Mormon and invited them to come back to church.

Thursday we met with Ramone (our Ward Mission Leader) to talk about ways to get everyone in our ward excited (they are pretty depressing at this point). I just decided to find something I could do (and be as ´annoying´as possible to stop from getting demotivated haha) because I thought, ´´Hey, if I get down about the state of this ward... who is going to be excited about changing things?´´ The answer to which is NO ONE. So I just made myself excited (to change something). I´ve learned over time that if I´m not completely happy doing something, I´m not doing it right! So I realized the way I was going about helping this ward wasn´t the way the Lord wanted! So after that day, we would pass by quickly with members, and get them excited about making changes, and sharing the gospel. I even had an idea to give a member a birthday present (this Friday) that is going to be something random that I have no problem parting with, then I´m going to stick a Book of Mormon in the middle with a little note that says ´´The best gift you could ever receive is your testimony of the Gospel... why not share it with someone else?´´. I´m hoping it works!

Friday was full of contacts (at first, I misspelled ´full´ as ´dull´ I´m still trying to decide which word is correct).

Saturday, we had lunch with Adriano (I lied, he is excited about making changes as well... three of us!) and he had a reference for us... as well as a less active member. He invited them over for lunch to start the friendship (the Less active is 19, and his friend is 15), so naturally, I start talking about soccer, which worked really well. We left a little message from the Book of Mormon, which I forgot what it was. Anyways, afterwards, I gave the Book to the new investigator, and told the 19 year old that his mom would get off his case if he went to church, to which he excited declared that he ´´would go every Sunday from now on!´´ I laughed and said that is EXACTLY how to do it. Little does he know that nothing will change with his Mom, but with him!

At church, they both came and had a good experience (even told a friend that he missed out by going to the beach).

So that was my week. My new learnings were confined to a series of Hugh Nibley talks that someone had left in the house. (it can be found here ) really awesome stuff... I resolved to find and buy some of the texts referenced here... as well as an expanse Gospel library hahaha.

So, that was my week! I don´t have any more to say, so I´ll close with that!

Love you all!

Elder Cornwell

Eating the Pizza Sandwich that he mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

The pizza sandwich

Elder Cornwell wearing a "real" football (soccer) jersey

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tô com o povo!

Hello everybody!

This week really flew by looking back, but going through it was slow and painful! We had a lot of appointments fall through, and a lot of wandering and contacts for other areas!

So I´ll just give a rundown.

Tuesday, we had a training at district meeting and we had a pretty good object lesson. We played hot potato with a box that had a task for us to do. Our ZL told us it was a very hard and humiliating task, and that no one else could help whoever ends up with the box do it. So it turns out Elder Nelson ends up with the box. He reaches in and gets the task, which is a box of chocolate that says ´´Eat the chocolate´´. It is a simple, but very effective lesson... how often do we discourage ourselves with something that has such a great reward? It applies in just about anything that has to do with service (and missionary work)! Afterwards, we went out and worked with Franklin (a member/returned missionary who is new to the ward). We walked plenty and we didn´t have success in finding many people in their houses. At night, we taught Lúcia and Julianna about the Book of Mormon. Lúcia seemed very interested in all the implications about God that the Book of Mormon brought (I think mainly about prophets and that God never changes...more on that thought later), She was also very touched by the promises of answers to prayers given in the Book of Mormon.

Wednesday, we walked the whooooooole day and nothing happened for us. We went and did a family night with a counselor of the bishopric, and his brother-in-law (less active) and a friend of his.

Thursday was a pretty good day. We were walking and came across a group of people in front of their house. We stopped to do the contact and met some wonderful people. They have already known the church and some members, but it seems that the missionaries never passed by to teach them. What we found was someone with practically has our same values. We gave a message from the Book of Mormon (which he accepted gladly). I am certain he will become a part of the church, whether I see it or not.

Friday, we had just about the same luck...At night... we just decided to go to the OTHER end of our area just to do contacts. There wasn´t anything marvelous that happened, but I think the journey was what we needed to experience.

I´m just going to skip to Sunday because I´m getting bored of saying the same thing over and over again haha. So in church, Elder Nelson and I gave talks. I gave mine about how faith is all about action. I used James 2:17,19-20. What I took out of it was that the only thing that differentiates us from our fallen brothers, is that we chose to follow Christ in the first place. And if we stop doing that here? Even they believe in Christ, but if we don´t anything, we won´t be any better off than them... well, we will, but we won´t be happy! I finished with Moroni 7:47 and I finished by saying that ´´If you have faith, you have hope... and if you have hope... you won´t wait.´´ (quick Portuguese lesson... hope is esperança and wait is esperar... see the similarity?).

Another thing I learned this week... while studying preach my gospel, I learned that our message is just saying that God was and is the same. Imagine... if God changed his mind, would the Bible still be valid? D we still have to be perfect? Do we still have to be baptised? If God changes... how are we to know what he wants of us? Either way, there is a need of prophets. The Book of Mormon gives a certain that God doesn´t change what he wants from us... and states exactly what he wants from us. if someone chooses not to accept the Book of Mormon, they don´t understand our Heavenly Father in the least. Another story... in Baturité, there was an influential priest who said the following... ´´There exist two gods. The god of the catholics and the god of the evangelicals.´´ When I stopped and thought about it... it really is true that there are multiple gods. The God that our church knows to be the true God is one who still speaks with his CHILDREN and who never changes, is just and loves us more than imaginable. Other Churches follow a god that doesn´t do miracles, that only created us, that doesn´t really exist, a god that changes... a god that truly doesn´t love us.

All of our investigators NEED to understand that God is our Heavenly Father, and when they truly understand that, they will know that he hasn´t ceased to work among us, to call prophets, or to reveal his secrets to us. How grateful I am to believe in Our Heavenly Father!

So, that was my week, and my insights!

Love you all!

Elder Cornwell

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pizza Sandwich!

So this week flew by again as well!

So there weren´t a whole ton of highlights this week either, so I´ll give a run-down.

Tuesday after District Meeting, I worked in our area with Elder Sampaio and we pretty much just did contacts the whole day just to have new people to teach. We walked up and down the area a ton and my legs were way tired afterwards!

Wednesday, pretty much all of our appointments fell through... Thursday as well, but we managed to visit a less-active and teach a friend of hers as well.

Friday was the day I went over-the-hill, but we didn´t really do anything special to celebrate. It was Independence Day, and so everybody was gone. After wandering around for a ton, we went to Leonardo Brasil´s house, and he gave us lasagna and we marked a day to visit less active young men.

Saturday, we had lunch at home, so we went to the supermarket and got things to make pizzas. We ended up putting sausage and bacon on one pizza, and then putting the other pizza on top, and then cooking it. It was REALLY good, and I could only eat a small piece of it. The rest of the day was full of appointments, but only until about 6:30 we managed to teach. We taught Juliana (the friend of the less active) and her mom, and a friend of her´s as well. After that, we went to the young men´s first counselor, and waited for Leonardo, and we ended up talking a bunch about the mission.

Sunday, we went to wake up Juliana, her mom and her friend Larisa, but it seems the enjoyed the holidays the night before. At church, I gave the lesson in Gospel Principles, which was about Improving our Talents. There are six steps to improve our weaknesses:

1. Recognize our weakness. 
2. Be willing to work to change. 
3. Have faith that the Lord will help you. 
4. Learn and adapt about your talent. 5. 
Practice using your talent, and finally... 
6. Use your talent!

Doing these six things, we will ´´Humble ourselves to the Lord, and he will make our weaknesses strengths.´´ Ether 12:37. In that, I recognized that our weaknesses aren´t weaknesses or anything that prohibits us. It is only a strength of ours that we haven´t learned to us yet!

In Priesthood, we talked about faith. I thought about something an investigator, very catholic, said about our church. She asked why we had so many rules, when the Catholic Church leaves people at will. She also claimed that the people at her church have more faith than most other church-goers. I didn´t have an excellent answer at the time, but on Sunday, the perfect answer came. Someone commented that faith is a principle of action (James 2:something){Allison's note: James 2:14-18}. The matter of fact is, if we have faith, we will change something in our lives, do something with our faith. The proof of the truthfulness of a church is in its members (David A Bednar had a great conference talk about this in the priesthood session, talking about how his father said that the priesthood men in our church should act in a different way if they truly have God´s authority). If a church teaches charity, its members shouldn´t talk bad of other member´s. If a church teaches reverence, its members should not be going to parties the night before church. If a church teaches obedience to the Lord´s commandments, its member´s shouldn´t live in the way the world teaches. In this way, our church truly leaves people ´at will´ in that its members know the blessings of righteous living, and are at will to do it. Not because of Doctor´s orders, not because of work, and not because of parents, but because they know it’s right!

In sacrament meeting, I also learned more new things. A young sister told about how the Lord prepared her to go on a mission. She wasn´t able to hold on to any kind of work, and the Lord spoke to her clearly to go on a mission, but she didn´t have anything to do such. She still put in her papers and went forward with it. The sister´s in her ward did an early farewell party for her, where she received a large amount of clothing to be used on the mission. She didn´t have suitcases, but a new elder was transferred, and he had an extra suitcase that he gave to her. In simple things like that, she was completely prepared for her mission. She related the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel. A rock hewn without hands came forth, or in other words, the lord called a 14 year old boy, unlearned in the ways of the world as his prophet. That rock came to fill up the earth, just as the church is filling the world. The Lord will always provide a way for his work to continue. We can help, or we can hinder, but it will always progress.

Elder Cornwell

Monday, September 3, 2012

A fast, slow week!

So this week pretty much flew by. We´re still having the normal difficulties opening an area from nothing, but we are pretty much going to reverse that this week.

So I´ll just go for the hilights of the week.

Monday night, we had a Stake Missionary Work Meeting with the Stake President. I got some pretty good ideas from the meeting of how to help this area. One bit of advice from the Stake President really applied well. He said that we shouldn´t ask members to be involved in the work, but just involve them. Do little things until they are helping in your work! On Sunday, we had a chance to put that in practice. We had lunch with a member, whose sister is less-active, and a friend of this sister came for lunch as well. Elder Nelson left a message from the Book of Mormon, and then I asked the friend, Nadja, if she had ever had a chance to get to know the church, which she hadn´t. I told her I would lend her a copy of the BoM for a week, and on Saturday, we would come to get it back (buahahaha). Instead of getting her address, we asked if the two sisters could show us where she lives, or even talk about it there. With them knowing, they became a part of our work! It is really difficult to motivate members to ´do our work´ for us, so we just have to be smart about it. 

The whole meeting was about involving the members in our work (I wonder why?), including doing integration activities more to animate the members into doing the work. The other big thing he said was to ´think big´. He said small goals only bring small results. Huge goals may not be met, but they bring better results. I remembered the last food drive between Richland and Hanford, where our goal wasn´t to beat the poundage per person, but to beat Richland straight up. So we got even more motivated, and had HUGE results. Imagine if the goal had been ´´Hey, let’s get half the food that Richland gets!´´. The results would have been way different! It all has to do with motivation and what you are willing to work for. If you work for 5 baptisms in a month, you will only get 5 that month.... if you work for 20, you may not get 20, but you will definitely get more than 5! I guess this has become a theme within the church, that we need to do the MOST possible. In our callings, in our study, and in everything we can!

Thursday, we had Zone Conference, which was also awesome (two awesome meetings in one week... whoo!). President Souza defined what we were working towards in ´Real Growth´ which is Faith in Christ, Establishment of the Church and Strengthening Families. There are many ways to do that, but here in Fortaleza, the best way for all of those is teaching with the goal of making a covenant with Christ in Baptism. There is no better way to build faith in Christ, establish the church, our strengthen a family than to live the restored gospel! Sometimes, we have to remind people of that, as well as unite a family in the church, and that is why work with less actives is so important as well. Anything to have more people at church partaking the sacrament is working towards this goal as real growth.

An example of strengthening families that we will try to do this week is with a new convert family. All of the family minus the oldest son are baptised. The only problem is that the son of 15 is baptised in another ward and isn´t going to church with his family, but later in the day. EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT IS COMPLETELY, TOTALLY, WRONG! He is a great young man who really wants to help, but he thinks he has to go to that ward. So we are going to work with him to transfer his records to our ward (where he can do a lot more good). The oldest son, we are going to make a friendship and teach him what his family already learned. That is plan of how to put ´Real Growth´into this family.

In all reality, not a lot happened this week, but we learned plenty of stuff, so it was still pretty good. But that was my week!

Love you all!

Elder Cornwell