Ola minha familia!!
Another beautiful week has passed here in Suzano and it has been so good to read all of your emails. They always make me so happy. Tears stream down my face when I read about all of the good things you all are doing. I am so proud of the people you are and how hard you work to do your part on this earth. It truly inspires me.
Well, the work is moving slowly but surely. We've had to cut a few investigators because they just aren't progressing. Some believe in everything, and love this gospel, but they just won't come to church because they work or it's too cold outside in the mornings to come (like 70 degrees is too cold!). It's sad to see that some people just don't understand how important it is to keep commitments and make changes. Faith without works is dead.
We walk a lot here in Suzano. There are many hills and many colorful, run-down, little houses. We had a crazy experience here this week! We had just about finished walking up a huge hill and suddenly about fifty huge vacas (cows) came trotting down the road - each with huge horns coming out of their heads. We seriously had no idea what to do. They looked mean and scary and so many of them!! I quickly turned to Sis. Tillman and told her that we should say a prayer. We prayed with all of our might, and when we opened our eyes, all of them were moving off the road, and literally making a path for us to go by. It was amazing!! There are always little barefoot kids running around with their kites (pipas) they always have kites. It is so fun to see their smiling beautiful faces. Oh how I wish that I could just talk to all these people! Portuguese is so hard, but I am understanding more of what the natives say every day - speaking is another story. As soon as I decide I am going to say something in a conversation and I work it out in my head, the conversation is long gone and they are talking about something totally different. Sometimes it is really frusterating, and I feel like a little puppy-dog following my companion around all day. But every day, little by little, I am speaking more and contributing more to the lessons we teach. I love to testify of the basic truths of the gospel. I feel such a power every time I do.
I have been pondering a lot about Elder Uchtdorf's talk in General Conference: Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth. So many times during this past week I have needed to recieve light and truth from my Heavenly Father, either for myself or for our investigators and I can tell you this; when I pour out my heart to my Heavenly Father and with a sincere heart and ask for this light, He never fails to send it to me.
"God cares about you. He will listen and He will answer your personal questions. The answers to your prayers wil come in His own way and in His own time, and therefore, you need to learn to listen to His voice. God wants you to find your way back to Him, and the Savior is the way. God wants you to learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, and experience the profound peace and joy that come from following the path of divine discipleship."
As simple as these truths are, I know that they are true because I see it every single day. When our investigators want this light and this change in their lives, they recieve it. When they don't want to change, they won't feel it or see the light of the gospel. This week we were looking for a less active's home, and asked directions at a little ice cream stand. A nineteen year old young man named Caique was running the stand and we instantly clicked with him. The next day we went and shared the message of the Restoration. He speaks English really well. He is going to University right now in Sao Paulo, and has actually wanted to be a Padre (Father) in the Catholic church his whole life. But right now in his life he is looking for something more. He understands that he doesn't have to be Catholic just because his whole family is, but he wants to find the right religion for himself and for his family one day. What nineteen year old boy thinks about that?! haha He is just so prepared. He loved the story of Joseph Smith, and when we handed him the Book of Mormon, he was so interested and started to read the first page right away. I can't wait to see what God has in store for him, and what we'll be able to teach him. He truly wants this light and truth in his life, I know that if He turns to God, he will find it through this gospel.
I am trying to be the best missionary that I can be right now in my weak and broken state. I know that this is for my own good though. God breaks us down with our weaknesses only so He can build us higher. I feel like a rose bush that has been cut down to the very stem - just a stick coming out of the ground. But I can already feel myself growing - a little bud there and a little bud here. Every day I see progress with the language, with confidence in my testimony and knowledge of the scriptures. The Atonement is amazing. It is everything. Thank you all for how good you are. When I read your emails, I hear all of your sweet voices in my head. I love it! I hope you all have a great week full of good things!! Never forget where our source of light, truth and strength is!
Love, Sister Cordner
|The Elders in our ward....Elder Sellers from CA and Elder Matos from here in Brazil!|