Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Final Installment: He Is Home!

video
Two missionaries returned from Brazil and on the same plane were 22 missionaries arriving to serve in the Kennewick Washington mission. The two returnees were first off the plane and were greeted by the Assistants to the President, the Mission President and his wife. Then Mom got a turn!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Minha última!


Wow... I never thought I would be sending one last email! 

So, this week was normal like all the others! We spent a lot of time looking for new investigators. WE didn’t have a lot of highlights, but I wanted to do something different for my last email!

So two years is a lot of time... and there are a lot of things someone can learn in that time. I want to just highlight some of the things I have learned.

First, Nothing will get done if you don’t do it. You can’t hope for someone to do something without them knowing what to do. This means you have to converse plenty with the people you work with, settle differences, and speak clearly. Beating around the bush gets you nowhere!

Second, our problems may be big, but our God is much bigger! Just about all of our problems we can find an answer studying scriptures, praying or fasting. If we think that something isn’t important enough to take to God, think again! He isn’t our boss, he is our Father. Like any good Father, he gives the same importance to a broken leg just like a craving for a candy bar (Luke 8). We just need to ask! If we don’t tell Him, He won’t be able to do anything for us (2 Ne 32:8-9)! 

Third, sometimes our Plan C is God’s Plan A. Many things will go wrong in our lives. We will be disappointed by many things, and we will get angry! The most important thing we can do at this moment, is get on our knees and ask what we are supposed to do! This is humility. Being able to recognize that God knows better and He knows what He is doing (Isa 55:6-10).

I have learned that just about everything we do revolves on those three things. When we look for what God wants, all of our problems will disappear, and all that is left is for us to get to it! I have seen everything that can be called a problem on my mission, and when the person was willing to do these three things, they were able to rise above their problems. Dieter F Uchtdorf said that above all sorts of dark and stormy clouds is always the clearest and bluest skies. All we need to do is rise above them.

The most important tools we have to rise above all of these problems are simply the restored gospel, the Book of Mormon and the living prophets. We missionaries preach that this Gospel will solve ALL of our problems if we are willing to do our part. Literally all of our problems. This is why the Book of Mormon is so important.. it is our guide to live a Christ-like life in less than favorable conditions. If we are able to apply all that we learn in the Book of Mormon, we will be better people. This will solve the biggest problem of all eternity, our return to our Heavenly Home. The Book of Mormon was a gift directly from God to us to help us know what is the truth in a time of such confusion. 

If we know that the Book of Mormon is true, which it absolutely is, we will know exactly what to do to have eternal life. Jesus Christ established, and restored, his church exactly for this purpose. We need to just follow, and trust, and we WILL return to our Heavenly Father. There is no simpler solution to such a difficult problem.

Jesus Christ was the perfect example for us because He simply did all that God asked. No more is asked of us. If we do something wrong, we can reconcile and keep going forward. If we follow His example in His church, we will take all we can out of our lives.

We just need to get down and pray, and our problems will start to solve themselves. Start from the top down... if we aren’t sure if God exists or not, just talk to Him, and wait for Him to speak back. If we don’t know where or if there is a true church, ask His help. It can be boiled down to this... our life is simpler when we know and do what God wants.

That is what I have learned these two years. There is no mystery, nor secret. I know these things are true. I know God exists, and His Son, Jesus Christ lives! I know His Church was restored on this earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and Thomas S. Monson is His prophet today. God is more alive and active than ever. We just need to look!

With love,

Elder Cornwell

Monday, July 29, 2013

Terminado

Hello everybody! So this week was kind of uneventful, I got a cold on Tuesday, and felt terrible on Wednesday, and Elder Afonso didn´t feel very good this week.

So Tuesday, I didn´t feel good in the afternoon, and took some cold medicine, and I felt good enough to leave at about 4, so we talked to Yara, and with Marcel and Irací. Marcel is starting to work a lot, so its hard for him to come to church on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, I was worse than Tuesday, but we had a meeting with Elder Godoy. He talked a lot about us being balanced missionaries, or Missionaries who are spiritual and know how to work smart. After Lunch, we headed home, and I was just feeling awful.

Thursday I felt much better, and I did a division with Elder Caceres in Palmeiras. The afternoons are good for him there, but at night it is hard to talk to people. But we talked to a lady who wants to be baptized, but not get married. WE talked about having to make the right choices and hope for the blessings. We also encouraged her to take her husband with her to church so he too could participate.

Friday, Elder Afonso was sick, but we managed to get out at night and talk with De assis and Cintia, and then we went to a farewell for a member who is leaving for his mission on Wednesday. We left a message, and I used D&C 42:6 to say that the mission isn´t convincing someone to use something, but it is a message of salvation, that is why we will go in the power of God.

Saturday, Elder Afonso still wasn´t feeling good, but we got out in the afternoon and tried to round up everybody for Sunday.

Sunday, we had church, and we went and taught the family   of a ward missionary. Actually, his aunt and some cousins who just moved from Maranhão. They were more interested in talking to each other, so we just marked another day to go by.

And that was my week! Not much to note. I hope next week will be better !

Elder Cornwell

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chegando ao fim!

Hello everybody! So, another suuuuuuper fast week for us. But we ended on a good note.

We passed by with Vanez during the week to see how he has been doing. He is super happy and he is now engaged with Yvonete (the member who gave us the reference!). He should be receiving a call next week that I am sure he will LOVE and do a great job.

WE are still talking with Yara, trying to help her make up her mind about baptism. She is in that mode of saying that she wants to be baptized, but not right now. She also has been saying that for the past five years. She is just missing prayer and study of the scriptures. She is active in the church, but not the Gospel. I have found that the Book of Mormon is the single most powerful tool we have to help people change their lives.

Jonas is still progressing, and trying to firm himself and make a decision. He just wants more time, so at this point it is just following up, and reading scriptures with him.

We spent a lot of time with De Assis and Cintia this week.; Their wedding was on Friday, and we helped resolve any doubts for their baptism. Their baptismal interview helped a lot, and they had a very spiritual experience with it. Their baptism was well attended, and they were very happy. They were both confirmed and De Assis received the Aaronic Priesthood. These past two weeks were the first adult baptism in the ward since December, so everybody is very excited and the member participation in the missionary work is increasing. 

Well, this week was pretty uneventful other than what I said. We are going to look for new people to teach this week, and I will have more to talk about!

Love, Elder Cornwell

Monday, July 15, 2013

Nova semana!

Hello everybody! Well, once again, another week has passed, and I don´t know where it went!

We started out with a family night with De Assis, Cintian and Vanez at a member´s house. That is most of what our week was. We passed by about everyday to help them with any doubts and to prepare for their baptism.

We also talked to Jonas a little bit more. We kept on talking about the importance of prayer to help him feel ready for baptism. Yara as well, but she doesn´t really want anything to do with baptism.

Throughout the whole week we had the hardest time getting in and talking to new investigators. It was horrible! But we had good things to focus on as well. On Saturday, we had Vanez´s baptism, and he was confirmed on Sunday. He was super happy, and his decision to be baptized came very quickly from a prayer (are you getting the theme this week?). De Assis and Cintia also pray a lot to have help to be baptized. We are going to review everything with them this week to help out with confidence. Their wedding will be on the 19th, and their baptism is marked for Saturday. The ward is excited to help us and they will be very welcomed in Castelo.

Well.. it's a short letter, but that was what we did this week. Most of my study was about how to help people keep commitments. In essence, we need to be direct, invite, promise and support in everything. We can´t give too much information, leave them on their own, or give any doubt in our work. If we have any doubts about our work, then we need to clear them up right now!

So that was my week. Until next time!

Elder Cornwell

Monday, July 8, 2013

Vixxi!

Hello everybody!

So another super fast week... I don´t know where it went! I´ll probably just stick to the highlights though, because a lot happened!

On Thursday, we had our meeting with Pres. Fusco and his family. He is very good humored, but has his priorities straight. He is very young and abandoned a very successful business to come serve a mission. It´ll be a great five weeks with him!

We also talked again with Jonas this week at the church. He wants to know that what he is doing is what he wants, and we talked about the importance of prayer and reading the Book of Mormon to help us want to the things God wants us to do.

We taught Vanez more this week, and talked a lot about the same things. Reading the Book of Mormon and praying. We even invited him to pray asking if he should be baptized. He told us on Sunday that he had prayed and he knew that he needed to be baptized and poof! All of his previous doubts were gone. Nothing will stop him now from being baptized! So we are all marked for this week.

De Assis and Cintia finally made it to church this week (no one was sick) and the process of marriage will be over next week. This week, we will go with them to the center to sign some papers. But on Sunday, their son, Daniel said he liked it so much, he didn´t want to leave when it was over. So next week will be the marraige and baptism, and the ward is SUPER excited for the next two weeks.

We contacted a family this week, Marcelo and Irací. Iraci had already come to church, and felt very good there. So we went and taught about the Restoration. After, Marcelo said he wasn´t very strong about religion or God, but said that our message really helped him have more faith. Believing in the restoration of Prophets, apostles and Priesthood really do help us believe that God is alive, and more active than ever.

So today is the start of my last transfer, and I have a new companion... Elder Afonso from Espírito Santo. So we´ve only got work to do the next few weeks. The Lord´s work will alw2ays go forward... and we can always help, never hinder.

Elder Cornwell

Monday, July 1, 2013

21!

Hello everybody!

So seems like a lot remembered my birthday! I got a call from Sister Souza and Sister Fusco yesterday. The whole week I felt kind of ucky, but thankfully I felt normal again yesterday!

SO the week went pretty fast like always. Monday, we visited a contact, but it was only a quick visit, since they didn't have much time.

Tuesday, we started teaching Jonas, a reference from Iara (who doesn't want to be baptized still!) We talked about the Book of Mormon with him since he already had learned plenty from coming to church.

Wednesday, we contacted a referral from the bishop. It was a family that they invited to church, and accepted our visit. We talked a while with them, but they didn't seem very interested in what we had to say (the grandson wanted to keep reading us passages from the Jehovah's Witness Bible). Then at night, we went to De Assis and Cintia. We talked a little more about the Word of Wisdom, since they have a lot of questions about it. They have no doubt they should live it, but they don't really understand why!

Thursday, we contacted some "lost" members. They weren't registered here in Castelo, but they live here. So we went and tried to find some of them. We did find one, and we invited her to an activity on Friday. That was about all we managed to do that day.

Friday, we went around talking to people and inviting them to the "quadrilha" or Brazilian Square Dance. We took a less-active and her grandson, and we met about five or six people to teach.

Saturday, I had a terrible stomach ache, so I spent a lot of time at home, since I couldn't wander far. But when night came around, I managed to feel better. We taught a man named Vanez who we had already met. We gave him the first lesson, which he received well. It seems like he has been waiting for our message a few years. This week he moved into our ward.

Sunday was my birthday, but most of our investigators were sick and couldn't come. But the Bishop brought another referral for us, and so were going there tomorrow! Most of the talks were on the importance of bringing the people that can't make it to church to come. Someone commented that there are many good people that really want to return to activity, but they don't know how! That is why we need to help them. A ward can't hope to have many new members when it can't take care of its old members! Thankfully our Bishop is very experienced and knows that. In the other ward, the Bishop is doing everything to bring new people in, references, even a bus to bring people to church! But little effort is put out to help those that are less active. At night, we watched the transmission, which was super awesome! It will help me be a missionary after I take my name tag off. That is something I have realized for a while, our mission is a help for us to continue being missionaries. That is why ex-missionaries are looked to as a resource... they already should know everything!

So, that was my week. Hopefully next week is much more eventful!

Love, Elder Cornwell

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sim.

Hello everybody!!

This week was suuuuuuuper slow. Totally not, it went by SO fast! I´m just going to give the hilights, since most of our investigators stopped progressing.

So the beginning of our week was kind of slow, especially Wednesday because Brazil was playing here in Fortaleza, so everything literally stopped. EVERYTHING. Plus, we were on divisions. I was with Elder Caceres from São Paulpo/ Uruguay. Before, we managed to visit a contact that kind of contacted us. Her name is Lídia and she goes to church just because she knows she should. We had a great lesson, but she was traveling this weekend, so she couldn´t come to church. That was the highlight of that day.

Thursday, we had interviews, so we headed out early to the center. They were our last with Pres. Souza, so he kind of did an exit interview with me, asked about my plans for the near future. Afterwards, we went and marked De Assis and Cintia´s wedding, that´ll be the 19th of July. We headed back, and I was feeling nasty because of the bus ride, so we rested a little, adn at 4, we were back to it.

The other highlights were on Sunday. I gave a talk on Missionary Work in Sacrament Meeting. I spoke most about how to participate in the work, we just need to participate. The more we do it, the more we are inspired in how we can do it our own friendship circle. As missionaries, we can see everyday how much we could have shared the message with our friends, and as members help in the work, they too have that feeling.

 That was my week! I love you all and until next time!

 Elder Cornwell

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ai que cansaço!


Hello everybody! 

So this week again, like always... passed by super fast! I came down with a cold at the end of the week, so it was difficult to round everybody up at the end, but we managed to come out well! 

So Monday night, we tried to go by Eliane, but she wasn´t home, and one of our golden investigators said she would be moving to another area... SHOOT! But we got a reference from George that we visited the next day, and we stopped by De Assis and Cintia again.

Tuesday was a little busier. We taught the daughter of a less-active member, but she is still the ward´s responsibility, so we passed it on to the Bishop. Then we contacted Alcina, who Alex had talked to on Sunday. We had a great first lesson with her, and she said that she felt relieved by our message. We marked to teach her another day and then went to our next appointment. We talked with Manoel and Nalya a little bit about how the church could strengthen their relationship, and after that, we couldn´t get anything to work for us!

Wednesday, we talked with Luis Henrique again, and turns out it was his birthday, so we gave hima  Book of Mormon as a present! Afterwards, we managed to talk with Eliane, and we found out why she hadn´t gone to church. Then we taught De Assis again! We kind of just have to help him with his doubts, but he already has a testimony and is working to feed it.

Thursday, we did a service project for a less-active lady, and we got to meet some mof her neighbors, so we did some contacts and marked a few lessons. After lunch, we did some visits with Matheus, and afterwards, did a family night, and I taught his family and some friends how to make cookies... they turne out alright, but it was good enough to eat!

Friday, I woke up feeling a cold coming on, and after lunch I felt AWFUL. So I bought some medicine and rested for a little bit, but at 5, we headed out again and managed to talk to Eliane once more.

Saturday was the same thing, but we had to walk even more! We made final plans with our investigators to watch Stake Conference. I was just chugging along the whole day, trying to fight off the cold.

Then Sunday, we had Stake Conference. There was a talk about being Ambassadors of Christ. He defined being an embassodor as someone of the highest character and attitudes that perfectly reflect whom they represent. As baptised members, we all have this responsibility to be an embassador in our words thoughts and actions. Our investigators all loved the experience!

Then today, I took a risk and made Baião, and to my surprise I managed it! I´ll try to perfect it so you all can eat what I eat everyday!

That was basically my week. Lots of work, and lots more to do!

Love, Elder Cornwell

The picture is of Kyle'sMTC group...all coming home soon.

MTC group

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nova semana, Mesma Coisa

Hello everybody!

So this week was a lot like last week. LOTS OF WORK!

Monday, we went to De Assis and Cintia again, and did a family night thing.

Tuesday, we went and contacted more references that we had. We contacted an 80 year old woman named Maria. It was a really neat experience for us. We talked a little bit, since she lives alone and loooooves visits. We talked about the restoration, and as we talked about the first vision, we felt a very strong sense of love... mayube a fraction of what Heavenly Father has for us.

Wednesday, we contacted two more families in the afternoon, and a little later, we talked with some members that I knew from the first time around here!

Thursday, EVERYTHING fell through. Everything.

Friday was much better. We talked with three different girls who are coming to church regularly, but still don´t want to be baptized. WE don´t really know why! Then, we went with the Bishop and visited Maria again, and a member less-active and his wife, Nirinha. Afterwards, we contacted another reference from the activity on saturday.

Saturday, we visited everybody! WE also met a new investigator named Eliane. She was another reference from an activity. Anyways, as we talked to her,m she asked a lot of questions and she said that she felt empty by all other churches she had been to, and was looking for something to fill that emptiness (I about fell out of my chair at this point). We left a lengthy message with her, since she had MANY questions for us. All of which, we answered with the answer she loved!

Sunday, De Assis and Nirinha came to church, but our other invewstigators had some problems in the morning and couldn´t come. Afterwards, we kind of did a round up to help them go to stake conference next week.

and that was my week! Simple stuff... just work work work! Oh! Also, I stepped on a nail in the street, but it didn´t go in my foot... just poked a hole in my shoe. Miracles!

Love you all,

Elder Cornwell

Monday, June 3, 2013

Semana Cheinha!



Hello everybody! Our week was pretty full of stuff! We made 30 new investigators this week, so I won´t go detail by detail in everything, but I´ll share the details of the best parts of the week.

So I am part of the new mission that will be officially new as of the 1st of July, just to clear that up.

So Monday, we had a family night with Matheus, who I saw come home from the mission. The phrase of the week was ´´Elder, you look familiar.. have you been here before???´´ There was supposed to be an investigator there, but she didn´t show up... we spent the whole week trying to talk to her!

So we started just looking for references that were in the house and we contacted them and some of their neighbors as well. We also have two more neighborhoods that were added about two months ago.

Tuesday, our highlight was meeting a couple De Assis and Cintia. De Assis´ brothers and mother had been receiving the lessons, and he got to know the missionaries there... but this was five months ago, and the missionaries never went to house. But basically, he has been to about everything you can call a church, looking for the truth. All of the other churches he went didn´t completely agree with the bible, or missed something, and he didn´t believe that to be right. So on Saturday, we gave the first lesson to them, and they were very interested, made many questions, and their beliefs lined up with our message perfectly. The Book of Mormon, which normally is a stumbling block for people, he understood perfectly and could see the need for it in our days. As we finished the lesson, he gave the prayer, and asked that he could know the right path, and by the end of the prayer, he asked that his family members could also find this path.

Wednesday, we had our district meeting, that got us totally pumped up for this month! Afterwards, we tried to find a less active. We ended up meeting José, Alison and Marilene. Marilene actually lives in a place where the church hasn´t been established yet. She has a church that runs in the front of her house, which is much more common than it should be here. Anyways, we gave the restoration, and she understood it as us being sent to show her where the true church is. She had asked for this exact thing the night before we came, and she dreamed she was at her church and two men (dressed like us, she said) came and said everybody was under arrest, and all the members claimed their innocence for being part of a false ministry. AS she was leaving, the two men stopped her and told her to stay because ´´her work was not yet done, and she would find the true ministry´´. The next day, we showed up and gave her the message of the restoration of the true church of Christ. 
As we headed back down the street, we overheard a group of people talking about us and our work, and we felt impressed to go back and talk to them. We ended up meeting three men named Luis Henrique, Davi and Jonas. More on them a little ahead.

Thursday, Elder Cruz wasn´t feeling very good, so we spent the afternoon resting, but we managed to talk to Luis Henrique in the morning. He said that he felt the Spirit when we talked to them yesterday, and told us about the life he has led, and his desire to continue changing. 

Friday, we talked to Luis Henrique, Jonas and Davi. We gave them the first message as well, and there was a very strong Spirit. They are active members of another congregation, but they were very interested in our message and the implications that it brings. Davi was very touched and we felt that he received his confirmation already.

Saturday, the ward did an activity were the ex-missionaries went out and contacted people for us to teach. So, 8 in the morning, we were at the church already to take part in a devotional that they gave, and then we headed out to go to work ourselves. We headed home at 9, only with an hour for lunch, so we worked 12 hours straight... and I was exhausted!

Sunday, we did the normal church routine, and I gave some English materials for a young man who is becoming active again (he went inactive way back when I was in the area for the first time). After lunch, we went to contacts some of the references we had received. We met a mailman named Francisco that in said he wasn´t religious, simply because religion was full of confusion. He believed that God would come to take his people, but who would be those people? Once more, his doubts and beliefs were supplemented by the message of the restoration. He really liked the message, and agreed with the necessity of a restoration. Now all he needs is to pray and know that the message is true for himself.

Well, that was my week! I think my letters will be like this until the end of my mission. The members here are so excited to work with us!

Love, Elder Cornwell

Interesting Answers to Questions



I asked Elder Cornwell to tell me about:

1.      What happens at your transfer meetings?
            A. Basically, President gives a thought, and the secretaries talk for a little about after the meeting, and then the areas and companionships are announced. Then it’s off to the new area! Nothing very special happens... it’s a meeting of about an hour in total.

2.   The miracles you see around you (simple things)
            A. Most miracles that I see are people being softened by the Spirit as we visit them, people having their lives changed by reading just a chapter of the Book of Mormon, or a prayer that was said not personally, but at the end of a lesson. We also run into a lot of people being guided in very simple things. The Spirit can only work with our knowledge, so instead of saying ´´Go to this street and talk to this person, because they are waiting for you´´ the Spirit will say ´´Go visit so-and-so´´ and they won´t be there, but the person waiting for us will. We are guided to someone who needs our message in that moment almost every day.

3.      Some things you struggle with
            A. Fatigue! I am ALWAYS tired! It gets hard to focus sometimes and reason when we teach, but getting up is easy when everybody else gets up too, and there is some sort of interaction in the morning. I have never been homesick, it doesn´t feel like I´ll be home in three months and it is easy to be obedient. The only difficulty is being tired!

4.      Are you now in the mission you will end with?  Has the mission already opened?
            A.  I am. The zone Messejana is part of Fortaleza Leste, the actual division will happen on the 1st of July.

5.      What kind of interactions do you have with the members of the ward?
            A. We get a lot of cups of water from them, and we talk a lot about their friends and such to get references and teach those references with the members. WE always try to establish a friendship, but we always have that focus on our work. If a member isn´t willing to work or isn´t able to work with us during the week, we simply don´t have a reason to interact with them, but thank goodness, this area everybody is able and willing to work with us.

6.      Do they do nice things for you (besides give you referrals)?
            A. always give us water, a snack and stuff like that. There isn´t much more they can do for us, but its more than plenty for us!

7.       Where do you do your laundry?
            A. We have a washing machine at home, so we always are doing our laundry. There aren´t any Laundromats here. Kind of different from at home, because we have to scrub our shirts (sweat + dirt=marks on white shirts).

8.       What do you do on P-day?
            A. Our P-days here are kind of dull... we can´t play soccer, nor get together with more than four missionaries, so normally it’s just finding something to do at home, or sleeping after our email home.

10.  How often do you “cook” (I don’t mean make a sandwich)?
            A. Not that often... this morning I made French toast, but it’s been maybe a month since I´ve cooked something.

11.  How often do you eat with members?   Do you all eat together?
            A. Every lunch is with the members, and we usually always eat together with EVERYBODY. They serve us first, and then its eat eat eat until the food is gone (1 kilo of rice is R$2 and 1 kilo of beans is R$4, so there is always plenty to eat).

12.  Give me some cultural information
            A. That’s a hard question to answer haha... the big festival from this region is the Festa Junina, which I have no idea what is actually about. The typical plate is Baião and Carne do sol, the traditional music is called forró (look up Luiz Gonzalez on YouTube and you´ll get to know it). There is also a big fishing culture, for being on the beach. and Soccer... lots of soccer. Like people kill over teams that dispute 2nd and 3rd divisions. Crazy!

13.  Any other interesting tid-bits
            A. It’s always hot! They have summer and ´winter´ or in other words, super hot and hot n rainy.