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

Monday, November 19, 2012

15 de Novembro and Chicken Hearts!

Hello everybody!

Well, this week flew by again... we have been so busy. The first week with a new companion is always pretty crazy, because you have to get to know people, and introductions and whatnot.

So my companion, Elder Gonçalves, is from São Paulo, a city called Pirascaba... about midway from São Paulo and Santos. He is 20, and I am his second companion. He likes soccer a lot, and his team is São Paulo (boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo). But he is a load of fun! It´ll be a good transfer, even though it´ll only be 5 weeks.

So our day to day is pretty simple. I usually get up and go right to the shower... or else I don´t actually wake up (VERY cold shower in the morning). Afterwards, I usually eat cereal, or bread with nutella, and then study. Study study study. I normally study the Book of Mormon and Preach my Gospel pretty intensely. If we have stuff to do early in the morning, we normally head out after companion study at 10:30. Then we have lunch with members... which normally lasts until 1:30 and then we hit the ground running. Until about 4, it is very hard to get a lot done. It is culture here to eat and then sleep for a while, so you can imagine how excited some people are to talk with us. At night is when we have more success. Everyone sits in front of their house and they just chill there, and talk to whoever passes by. We get a bunch of contacts that way, on top of the friends that happen to be with our investigators when we go by. But what we normally do is just teach and talk to people on the street. Our district meetings we do mostly practices  and see what we can improve on certain aspects of our work.

So this week we did a lot! On Tuesday, we had our meeting like normal, and then we headed out and visited Eliardo, someone totally prepared! He has worked with a lot of returned missionaries and he has read the Book of Mormon for about a month already. It is just hard to find him in his house, but he is super awesome! 

Wednesday, we got the last details for the marriage of an older lady who has already been going to church for about 30 years. We talked with her and her husband a little bit about the importance of baptism, and then we got all the bureaucratic stuff out of the way. At night we had our meeting with our ward mission leader and he got to know Elder Gonçalves, and then we had a super good dinner. 

Thursday was a holiday, and there was a barbecue at the church, so we had lunch there. I got my chicken heart on (in the pictures) which are super good. Afterwards, we contacted some contacts we had made in the street, and then at night we talked with Eliomar and Julianna again. At night, we got the stuff to do the wedding the next day.

Friday we headed to the center to mark a date for the wedding, and then we headed back home. We got back at about 4, and we headed out to Ala 3 (abbreviation for another area in the mission) to talk to Eliardo again. We also went to Irmã Bia´s house and there was a young man there that wasn´t a member, so we invited him to get to know church with the members there.

Saturday, we ran all over the place trying to talk to everybody, getting them to go to church, At night, we went to contact a street contact, but they weren´t home... but it turns out their cousins were, and they had a lot of questions about the church, so we spent about a half hour answering questions and telling them about the church.

Sunday, we had the normal church routine. We tried to bring like five or six people to church, but none of them were home/awake. I can´t really remember much of what happened at church in all reality. Afterwards, we talked with a member who just finished his time in the military, and has sent out his mission call. We marked a day to go do visits with him, and with Miller (who is going to São Paulo Sul December 13th).

So that was my week in a nutshell!

Love you all!
Elder Cornwell

Which Apostle is missing? I will give you a hint: "A Supreme Court Justice was _______ __. _____!"
I usually take off the aorta and such.
"I think your problem is right here: You have a hole in your heart."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Depressa! Depressa!

So today I am WAY cramped for time... so I´ll have to crank this one out real quick.

So the highlights this week were being able to talk to some people who had a lot of questions about life and churches, whose answers they found in the Gospel. One is Saboya, and we sat just answering his questions the whole time... about every question related back to the message of the restoration, which was AWESOME. Another was Izaque... a friend of Verlanya and Gabriella, but he doesn´t have a church that he goes to because he has ideas much different than others... such as that Prophets and Apostles SHOULD exist, but in the early church were taken out for the sake of gaining money. Needless to say, we were way excited to answer his questions.

Also during the week, we were able to pass by a few times with Liomar and Julianna. Julianna had a lot of questions about church... her first kind of made me giggle inside. She asked ´´It was different... like everybody got up and said the same thing... I mean, how is The Book of Mormon true???´´. At that point, I realized even though she had been to church MANY times in the past, she knew nothing about the church. We started talking about the Book of Mormon and ended up talking about our eternal progression. When we talked about sealing, she immediately said ´´I want that!!!´´. We stopped by the next day as well, and there was something much different in them. It felt like they had changed from being a less-active and non member to being a member family. There was just a different spirit about them. Julianna had studied a lot in the intro of the Book of Mormon and Liomar had as well. They wanted to understand EVERYTHING, and so we spent a good time answering questions. It is a neat experience, because I related a lot to Liomar. He talked about being in the church since he was little, and his difficulty in getting answers to his prayers. I had a lot of personal experiences that helped give a perspective from the other side of his situation.

Sunday, I gave a talk, which I LOVE doing now. I was asked to speak on Mission Preparation. There was a sister in the front with her son getting ready to go on a mission, and the whole time she nodded her head and was saying ´´Exactly!´´ and ´´Son, pay attention to this!´´. But I related our preparation to our intellectual side. The spiritual preparation is obvious. I explained the necessity to begin daily study, prayer and frequent fasting. In Alma, Alma, Amon and the sons of Mosiah all attribute their success to these things. I focused on preparing ourselves to be instruments in the Lord´s hand. I stated that the Spirit can´t teach something that we personally don´t know. I also emphasized the importance of preparing to preach the gospel in ALL situations. Isn´t, after all, giving a lesson or a message preaching the gospel? I felt the need to emphasize Preach My Gospel to the ward, and that it contained everything necessary to be an effective messenger of the Gospel. If I had my notebook with me, I would give all the references I had, but maybe next week. As I finished (it was the last talk) the Bishop thanked me in the front, and many members expressed their gratitude as well. I have started to not only seek to teach investigators with the Spirit, using what they need... but in all times I work with members... I try to leave something that will leave a good spirit with them that will help their needs. To us, everyone is just dandy, but the Lord knows his sheep, so I decided to do as Elder Bednar said and ´´Get out of the way, and let the Spirit do his job.´´

Today, we had transfers and I got a new companion. His name is Elder Gonçalves from the Interior of São Paulo. Also, Elder Leal and Rodrigues are going to train this transfer... they grow up so fast! Also... advise Elder Clements that there is a member here from my ward going to São Paulo Sul. He is heading out December 13th.

Well, that is my letter this week... sorry if it is lacking any content. Love you all!

Elder Cornwell

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I´m running out of good titles for these emails...

Well hello everybody!

This week went by really fast. There was a holiday at the end of the week, so everybody was out of the house Thursday Friday AND Saturday. The holidays are always like that here... I fooled myself thinking there would be a ton of people home! haha.

So, this week, we started a new thing in the mission where we are supposed to visit one family in our area every day to strengthen the ward and to get references. So we started by going to families who knew lots of people, and we had them indicate families needing visits, so we could get the most effective work in. We have about 35-40 households we can visit now, so we should be set on that the next week.

Also during our lunches, we started leaving a special message with a copy of the Book of Mormon so the member could give it to someone to prepare them to receive the lessons. I thought a lot about what Mom had said about the lack of sincerity that some references had. So I tried to help the members understand the importance of preparing someone to receive the message. I wanted to instill a practice of preparing people to be taught, rather than hoping that they would be prepared to receive the message. The message I left was in Alma 26. I talked about what the blessings of missionary work was.

 1 And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?
 2 And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
 3 Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
 4 Behold, thousands of them do rejoice, and have been brought into the fold of God.
 5 Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.

The blessings that they received was their ability to be instruments in the hands of God. If we do nothing but talk about a person to the Elders, we will receive no blessing. That is why it is important that we help people with an invite to church, a Book of Mormon, or inviting someone to a family night. If we work, we will be blessed, and the blessings will come in the form of more and more people that the Lord trusts us to share our message.

At the end of the week, we had a good visit with a less active and his wife. She had gone to church a lot when they were dating, buy when she was told she couldn´t stay with him in his ward, she didn´t want to be baptized. I took the cue and asked the obvious question that she wanted to go to church and be close to him. She responded yes, and I told her that they can be together if they go to church again. We talked about the temple a little bit, and then answered some questions. The next morning, they were at church at 8:30 and they participated the whole time. They were really happy to receive our visit, and they were pretty self motivated to go back to church. Our plan is to strengthen their testimonies again so that they can be able to go through the temple together and be sealed as a family for eternity.

So, that was our week! There wasn´t a whole lot that went on, but we were plenty busy.

Love you all!

Elder Cornwell