Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mais uma!

Hello everybody! We had a pretty productive week and it passed by fast (like always) but I´ll just sum up our week by people.

We visited Luiza, Pedro and Angela a few times this week to teach a few more things to them. Angela is lamenting the fact that she has to work most Sunday mornings, and can´t go to church with her children. Her situation is complicated, but I´m sure the Lord will figure something out for her be able to be baptized. She says her dream is to get up and bear her testimony on fast Sunday, but she is afraid that she will just cry! But we are helping her all that we can, and she is being pretty well befriended by the ward here.

On Sunday night after Luiza and Pedro´s baptism, we met a friend of a less-active that had attended the meeting, so during the week, we taught here a few times. Her family isn´t as supportive as most, but it seems like they are changing their view. Her biggest fear was that her family would say something about the Church and she wouldn´t be able to defend herself. I told her to remember any doubts or questions, and ask us, and she would be able to respond to her family. I even explained a little about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon that Sunday night, and she was able to talk to her family about it that week. We taught more in depth on those two subjects this week with her. She said that she intends to become a member of the church, when her situation with her family becomes easier. She said that when she was there at church, she didn´t want to leave, and when she did, she only wanted to go back there. We explained that this is the Holy Ghost showing her that this is really where God wants her to be.

We also spent a good bit of time trying to get a hold of many contacts. One of which, we couldn´t find his house the day we had marked, and he had waited for us. It took us about 30 minutes another day to actually find his house, and he was already leaving. 

We went to talk to a less-active, and as we left her house, a woman asked us where the church was in Montese. Turns out she is a member from Sobral, and she wants to return to activity and turn her life back on the right track. Sunday morning she was waiting for us on the corner to go to church with us. She is a member of 10 years already, but she turned less-active in Sobral, and she came to Fortaleza about 2 months ago, and her son was begging to back to church.

There is also another member, but this one from Belo Horizonte, in Minas Gerais. She had brought her husband with her to church last week, and again this week. We had originally marked to talk with them the past week, but it never managed to happen. We ended up giving a message on the restoration after the end of the Sacrament meeting. He commented how he felt very good at church and that he intends to become a member of the church and be as useful as us (indicating my companion, our Ward Mission Leader and I). They have to  return to Belo Horizonte tomorrow, but he has businesses here in Fortaleza (Rome as well) that will allow him to return at some point. I´m sad we won´t be able to help him on his path, but we referred them to where they should locate the church.

This week, I studied in Preach My Gospel about recognizing the spirit, and I´m working on an activity that there is in the chapter. It lists a good number of scriptures, each one highlighting another role of the spirit. I have been going through each scripture and writing down how I have felt the spirit influence me in that way, and how, as a missionary, I can help other people recognize the spirit in their lives. It has really helped me see how much the spirit affects from day to day and how I can only notice a lot of it at the end of the day. It is always a good activity at the end of a long day to look back and ´´Count your blessings´´!

Well, that was my week. I love you all!

Elder Cornwell

Monday, January 21, 2013


Hello again!

This week flew by pretty darn fast, and we had a lot of interruptions, but we still had a productive week.

We started the week off with a family night with a family that moved from Baturité and it was a pretty good time. Hilder gave a message about Jesus turning water into wine, but not just any wine... the BEST wine. That made me think a little about why that miracle was included in the Gospels. After all, it is simply Jesus converting simple water into something much more satisfying. My thoughts returned to the sacrament and I was able to understand more about that. Christ gave the sacrament so that he could provide a clean spirit for us to always be happy.

The rest of the week was kind of slow. We had to do a few divisions for our companions to resolve their IDs.

Most of our highlights came at the end of the week. We taught Pedro, Luiza and Angela about every day of the week to help them progress. WE taught the word of wisdom first off and Angela, the mother, said afterwards ´´I know this is true... I weighed 50 kg before I started smoking and drinking coffee... now look at me!´´ We bought cevada for them to drink in the morning instead of coffee. They were all very excited for Sunday, and when we would say the prayer, it was always a fight of who would offer. We did a baptism service with the Elders of Jardim America, so it was a full room, and a very good night. 

This Sunday, a recent convert that we work with a lot was sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and we were all VERY happy. We are going to talk to him about the responsibilities and duties he will have as an Elder.

On Saturday, we visited a man named Waldecy who lives on our street. He has a hair salon, so sometimes it’s rough talking to him, but this time, there came three people who had a lot of curiosity about the church and our beliefs. We spent maybe 40 minutes just answering their questions. One of the last questions they asked was about Mary (Brazil is a VERY Catholic country if you didn’t already know). We responded that Mary is an exemplary person and is praiseworthy, but she cannot promise salvation, nor help our prayers.
I Timothy 2:5 For there is aone God, and one bmediator between God andmen, the man Christ Jesus;
Because only Christ paid for our sins, only he is capable of mediating for us, for only He is in perfect standing with God. The man who asked the question said that my response was the first positive thing he had heard of Mary coming from a non-catholic, and that he wants to attend a meeting to get to know more. That was one of the first things I learned in the mission, that we should never answer a question negatively, but testify of the Gospel truths highlighted in the question. Elder Holland taught that if we just listen, we will ALWAYS be able to bear our testimony of a principle of the Gospel. In turn our testimony will bring the spirit and reflect positively for the other person.

I liked the thought that Mom had that we must work to not obey wickedness. The Gospel of Christ is based on the principle of action. Faith is acting, Repentance is acting, Baptism is acting, receiving the Holy Ghost, we are to act upon that, and continue in such manner until we have finished our time on the earth. We must always look to do the right thing. WE cannot serve if we do not stop what we are doing and serve. It certainly isn´t easy, but we are better off afterwards.

Well, I don´t have much, but that was my week!

Love you all, Elder Cornwell

Pedro and Luiza and family

Pedro and Luiza and friends.

Baptism of Luiza - pictured with the Young Women of the ward.
Baptism of Pedro (and Luiza).

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Chuva!

Hello everybody! I attached some older pictures I have since I hadn´t been able to put them up until now. But this week was more or less. We had a lot of changes with our investigators, and a lot of appointments that didn´t happen.

Our district meeting, we had a training with the Zone Leaders about conversion and the Doctrine of Christ. I started a new approach to starting to teach someone explaining that what we teach will be familiar, but nothing they have heard before, because of the Restoration, only we have the true and pure Doctrine of Christ. One of the greatest ways the devil tricks people here is by convincing them that ´´any church will do... I can find God wherever I want´´. This statement is half true, but the problem is, our life isn´t about us finding God, but God finding US worthy to live with him and share His glory.

This week, we worked a lot with Itamar, Angela and their children. We are seeing very good progress in them, and they are really seeing why the church is true and why they need it. We have marked a baptismal date with Luiza and Pedro for this Sunday, and they are ELATED! Every time we teach, Pedro wants to say the prayer, and Luiza is already an active participant in the Young Women’s program. Angela and Itamar need to be legally married, but we will help them with that part. Angela is anxious to continue in the church and Itamar is working towards that.

WE also have been teaching a woman named Paula, who we found through her boyfriend..,. a friend of Itamar! She knows she needs to go to church more, but she is suspicious about other churches truly being Christ´s. She is aware that it isn´t any church that speaks in Christ´s name that will ´save´ us, but his true church. We are still talking with her, but she hasn´t been able to go to church yet, but we know when she does, she will never forget the day.

This week, we were only able to talk with Ivan and his family once, because he is busy with the business of motorcycle repair that he has going. But we talked with him at the beginning of the week, and talked about the Book of Mormon. HE seemed pretty interested, but we weren´t able to follow up and see what his thoughts were, and how the reading had went. They are a very friendly family, and like us a lot. The problem is, they are very busy, so we have to mark well ahead of time with them to go to church.

We are going to do a LOT of contacts this week, ask for references and so on to get more people to teach. We didn´t have a lot to do this week because many people stopped their progress at the beginning of the week. As we go on, we will cycle through people to see who really is interested, and they are our focus.

We also worked a good bit with our Ward Mission Leader this week. He and his wife are awesome people. and they invite us over for dinner at least twice a week to eat as Marcia says, ´´The good old soup!´´. We are going to start really working with the area this week and start some serious planning on the future of the work in this ward. The problem is that the members are very disconnected from us, and this affects the work negatively. References are not being made, nor integration of new members. The Lord works with everybody together, and not disorganized pods of workers!

On Sunday, someone brought up a good thought provoking question. in the Gospel Principles, we talked about our Heavenly Father, and the question was asked, ´´What was our conversation with God like when he sent us to Earth?´´ Some people were so happy to be a part in God´s plan, they accepted to live in the harshest and poorest conditions. When I thought about it, I asked myself, if someone was so willing to suffer so much to be a part of His plan, why do I have a part so seemingly easy? I thought back on all the times in church where I thought it would have been much easier to be a convert, but here on the mission, I realized that there is no difference between someone born in the church and a convert. Once I had acquired a firm testimony of the Gospel, I was a convert! In many practices, I act as an investigator that I would be... just like Mom. Someone who knew it existed, but was not actively looking for it. I remembered a line in my Patriarchal Blessing and I thought to myself that God knows my heart, and knows I would be a part of the Gospel, wherever I would be. I realized my purpose on Earth was not to seek and find the church, but be a tool in God´s hands from the beginning. He didn´t want to waste time making me look for the truth... I am better used by him with the truth already written on my heart. That question really changed my vision of my life, and I think it will change most of yours as well... so I challenge everyone who reads my letter to ask themselves this same question. If you can´t think of an answer... talk to the missionaries. I´m sure they will have one for you!

Elder Cornwell

Answers to question Mom asked:

What are the names of the people that you have taught that have been baptized?
Junior, Dayanne, Carlos, Erika, Gabriel, Lucas, Renato, Tuanny, Jane, Igor, Erickles, Diana, Valdenir, Silviane, Luciano, Gabriella, Everlanya, João, Gabriella, Verlanya, and Geneuza.  

What are the names of the people you are currently teaching (regularly)?
Waldecy, Rita, Itamar, Angela, Luiza, Pedro, Kevin, Tania, Paula, Eduardo, Ivan, Katia, Tamires, Leonardo and that’s all we are teaching this week. We are going to rebuild our teaching pool this week to work with more new people. These are the people making progress... the rest had ceased already.

What makes you happy each day?
There are a lot of things that make me happy each day, but rain doesn´t happen each day... so we enjoy it while we can! But the Book of Mormon makes me happy, companionship study, teaching families, an afternoon where none of our appointments fall through... these sorts of things... I´m happy when my life is easier haha.

Describe the most effective service you do for the people…not what brings people to the church, but what is most helpful to those needing your service.
The most effective service is when we can bring a family together. There are a lot of broken families because of alcohol, drugs, infidelity as well as rebellious children. We don´t have to take people to church or baptize them to start helping, but we teach them how to come together as a family based upon the Gospel of Christ. This is the service that is most solicited; that we help a husband, wife or child.

This must be Elder Feinman, though he doesn't say.

I guess they are running their own Brazilian Grill
Perhaps a view from their balcony?
A balcony view?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Serviço com sorriso! and Feliz Ano Novo!

Hello again everybody!

This week passed by pretty well, and was full of uplifting activities for us. The beginning of the week was a little slow, but the end of the week was AWESOME!

We started out the week with the New Year, and we went to the chapel for a new year´s eve party (we ended up leaving early, but nobody asked why!). We tried to take some investigators there, but none were able to... and all that we invited regretted not going! 

Tuesday, I did a division with Elder Galves, had lunch at home, and then we headed out. Just like all divisions, just about nothing worked out for us! At night we talked to Itamar and his family (Angela, his wife, and his kids, Luzia, Pedro and Rodrigo.) We taught them about the Book of Mormon, and they were all pretty interested in it. The kids of the family are pretty attached to it. They are an awesome family, and live just up our street. They have great potential in the church ahead of them.

Wednesday, we had our district meeting, and we practiced our first contacts with investigators. some of the practices were pretty interesting, but it is a little annoying when the newer elders don´t try to take the practice seriously. After lunch, only two of our appointments worked out for us. We visited Edna, and got to know her mother as well. We offered our service to help them move, which they graciously accepted. Service really does open opportunities to teach! At night, we talked with a man we had contacted the first week of the transfer. His name is Ivan, and he is a mechanical engineer (I have already commented to him how he reminds me of Dad). WE presented the message of the restoration to him, and he seemed touched by the message.

Thursday, we talked with Alexandre, the new convert, and his son a little bit. We helped him understand a little more of the atonement, and how we are forgiven of our sins only after we forgive ourselves. If we aren´t convinced we are different than our old selves, then we haven´t truly felt the changing effects of Christ´s atonement in our lives. It was something that was given to me in the moment, that was exactly what he needed. At night, we talked to Itamar again, and offered to help with some work he is doing for the family so he could go to church, and not worry about work.

Friday, We went and helped Itamar, and a good number of his extended family saw, talked with us and were impressed by us. They even asked him to take Sunday off so he COULD go to church. We even managed a few references from him that have great potential. At night, we talked with Ivan and his wife and daughter. He had questions about our life after death that were brought up by the message of the restoration. We were able to talk about our divine potential and the sealing power on earth. I had an insight that was very touching to me at the moment. I asked Ivan ´´If you lived with God, but not your family, would you really be happy?´´ to which he instantly responded no. That moment, we were able to build on his need and desire to have an eternal family.

Saturday was a pretty busy day as well. We contacted some references we had received as well as some contacts. We had three people in particular that showed a good deal of interest in our message. Vania, Eduardo and Paula. They all had a natural curiosity about the church and our message, and listened with an open heart. They weren´t able to go to church, but I know they are willing to go, and will be touched by the spirit.

Sunday was pretty busy for us. Our new ward Mission Leader was called. He is new to the ward, and it is his first time being Ward Mission Leader, although he has already been called to the bishopric and stake callings. We are excited to start the work together! His name is Marcos, and his family is already pretty dear to us. In our testimony meeting, I spoke about all the chances I had to serve so far in this ward, and how it has really made my love for this place grow. I talked about how I learned to serve with Dad when we were home teachers for Andrea McDonald. I remember how we helped her put a plastic covering on her windows to help hold the heat in, and how it was much easier to talk to her after that moment. So I guess that was my insight for this week, how service really opens doors for us and the spirit.

Well that is all for this week! Love you all!

Elder Cornwell

Short E-mail from last week:

Monday, December 31, 2012

Well... I had almost finished my letter, and the computer crashed, and didn´t save what I had written, but just saved the title of my letter. 

I´m almost out of time, So I´ll just have to share my insight for the week. During study, I was able to study a lot about conversion. I learned that we are converted, or in the process, when we feel the impressions of the spirit, and we follow them. I saw an example of someone becoming converted this week in our visits with new members. There is a woman who hadn´t been confirmed yet, that had decided she wouldn´t be able to go to church until the next week. We stopped by there plenty of times to talk top her and get her to come to church, but nothing came. On Saturday, we just talked to her a little at the door, and then she decided that she would go. She didn´t recognize what had happened, but I did. She heard a little whisper, or just had a little idea of the desire to go to church, and she decided to follow it. She heard and followed the spirit, and at church, she was able to receive the Holy Ghost and be confirmed. WE always have blessings when we do things like that.

At church, we also had a lunch for everybody in attendance which went very well, and we met a lot of new people, some in our area, others not. All in all, it was a good way to close the year. 

Well, sorry for the short letter, but I love you all!

Elder Cornwell