Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 65 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - December 21, 2015 - FELIZ ANO NOVO!!!!

Wasn't Christmas just magical?!  I absolutely LOVED talking with my wonderful family.  It was the best present I could ask for.  Only 6 more months and I'll talk with Elder Cordner as well :)  Well the rest of the week was great!  There is not that much more to share that I didn't already say.  But we did see a wonderful miracle Saturday and Sunday!! 

The members have been passing many referrals these past few weeks and one of them the stake President, Pres. Mauri passed to us.  (Dad actually taught and baptized his family.)  He gave us his mother-in-law's address, and on Saturday we headed out to meet her.  The last time she had missionaries in her home, her daughter was being taught, which is a long time ago.  Last week she went to a ward activity with her daughter and someone gave her a Book of Mormon.  She hadn't started to read it, but she wanted to know more.  She did not even remember about Joseph Smith!  All of her daughters go to different churches and really she is confused about which church she should join. It was the perfect setting to feel the spirit.  We explained very simply to her about the Book of Mormon and her eyes just got bigger and bigger as we explained.  We invited her to go to church the next day, and she went!!  She went all alone, took the bus early and was the first person at church!  Oh we were so happy!  It would be wonderful if she would be baptized!  She is such a wonderful woman, so sweet and sincere.  

Funny Story:  We were just starting the lesson and Sister Swindler and I had full glasses of water in our hands.  I reached down to pet her tiny dog, when he barked and almost bit my hand.  We jumped up and all the water went EVEYWHERE.  Oh my,  I was so embarrassed!  We laughed the entire bus ride home.  

C (her son is a member and serving a mission right now) went to church!!  Oh, it was a Christmas miracle!  I guess she really was inspired by skyping her son on Christmas and promised him she'd go. 

The studies that Sister Swindler and I have together are amazing.  I am learning so much during these last months of my mission.  Really I feel my testimony burning stronger than ever.  I know that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father.  Just as a caterpillar can turn into a butterfly, a puppy can turn into a dog, or a chick can turn into a hen, we have the divine potential and nature of our Heavenly Father. Are we working to become like Him? This is His work and His glory, but are we on-board?  Is His goal our goal?  If it is, then we should be trying our best to live His gospel, and follow the example of His Son.  But, if we are not, we need to bend our knees and ask Him where we need to start.  I testify that He always will recieve us with open arms if we do.  He never gets tired of us, doubts us or leaves our side.  If we ask Him to help us see this divine potential, He can show us.  I know that the temple is everything in His plan.  It is there that we can be closer to Him and feel more powerfully His love.  I cannot wait until I will be able to go more frequently to His house.  I love you all, and I wish you all a wonderful new year!  Let us remember His love for us and our divine potential as we begin a new year and start our new goals!  I LOVE YOU ALL FOREVER!

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo

Christmas Eve Dinner
The City Park on Christmas Day!

An awesome scene!

At the City Park..

And a Capivara......we don't have these in the US of A

And mom, I made the cheesecake brownies on Christmas that you sent!  
They were a big hit with the Brazilians ;)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 64 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - December 21, 2015 - Feliz Natal!!

Hello my beautiful family and friends!  I was so glad to hear from so many of you this week!  It has been a great one with so much success!  The Lord has been blessing us so much!  

P introduced the gospel and the Book of Mormon to his parents.  We were able to teach them and they have been just eating up the book.  They are half way through already!  But... they did not go to church.  We will see why today!

A sweet little woman found US this week.  Her name is C.  She is so humble, does not know how to read, and has 7 children!!  She has been loving our visits and is progressing very well.  She also went to church yesterday and loved it!!  She is our miracle this week.

We are currently teaching a Pastor.  Oh my, he is so smart. So good. So spiritual.  And so MORMON.  I just know one day he will accept the gospel.  We are workin' on him!

Really the members are getting so hyped up on missionary work!  Everyone is asking for Books of Mormon, magazines, pamphlets, and cards to give to their friends.  Although some of the referrals they pass end up not being very interested, at least they are doing their part!  Working with the members is a higher level of missionary work!  It works so much smoother!! Fortunately, we have gotten a few great new investigators thanks to our lovely members.  Speaking of, we have a new bishop!  Bispo Alexandre was unmatchable, but I know because I FELT that Bispo Campos is such a sweet man.  I adore his sweet family.   

Well I am SOOO excited to talk to you all on CHRISTMAS DAY!  I really cannot wait!  It has been so long since I have seen your beautiful faces.  And I try so hard to remember your voices!

I have learned so much about our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ this week.  Really faith is sacrifice.  If someone wants to recieve an answer from God, they need to show their faith through their sacrifice.  Without sacrifice, there is no faith.  And without faith, there is only belief.  Anyone can believe, but very few are willing to sacrifice.  This Christmas I have been able to testify with all my heart that our Savior Jesus Christ lives.  I feel the same fire in my heart that I felt at the beginning of my mission, but only stronger. And each time I look into the eyes of a child of God, I try to help them feel the same witness from the spirit through my words.  For unto us a Son is given.  I know He is our Savior and Redeemer.  There is no other way or means by which we can be saved.  He is the Son of God, and He lives.  How grateful I am for these truths, for they are the most precious of all.  Have a very Merry Christmas!  I will go on a BIG-TIME diet after the season because of how much they stuff our faces here.  It is rediculous!  FELIZ NATAL!


LOVE, Sister Cordner

Two special new brazilian família Matos.

Our Ward Christmas party was so BEAUTIFUL! 
You all are not the only ones seeing candy-canes this Christmas... SOOO BAD

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 63 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - December 14, 2015 - Apples to Apples

How many apples come from one seed?  I was able to see a little bit of the amazing fruits of dad's mission.  What amazing people.  The Mattos family introduced us to their little snack shop, so delicious by the way.  We also ate lunch with the Burock family (they know a family in our ward and traveled down!).  And we also ate lunch again with the Mattos family yesterday!  I just love them so much.  So funny that both families have sons out on missions my same age.  It will be so much fun to have them see dad after so many years!  Everyone was joking around with Manoel Mattos that he can not put dad on an altar and worship him when he comes. They are so funny!!

Well we are certainly in the last days because first of all, I have never seen a blazing sun as I have this week, and second of all, no one wants to go to church.  These past weeks we have had so many people excited to go to church. We get them all rides to get there, everything seems perfect and then Sunday, cricket.  BUT, we have a great new investigator!   His name is P.  He has some great friends in the ward and has been coming to our english class (so crazy, but so fun!), and all the ward activities!  His parents as well are interested in hearing our message.  He has real intent and is so inteligent.  Wants to get a real testimony of the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith.  We are excited!  

This week we had our annual Christmas conference.  It was so much fun and such a crazy experience.  I have never seen Elders so excited in my life.  I mean these men pass for two hundred rabid monkeys in a barrel.  But they are hilarious.  Sister Swindy and I sang our little song.  It went well!  I will have to send the video to you all and all the photos I took this week.  I left the battery charging at home...  We have eaten so much Churrasco!  I think our main food group this Christmas season will me MEAT.  So much meat, but man, it is the best I have had.  The Ward Christmas party was a blast!  It was at a really cool place in the middle of the jungle, with crystal clear pools in the blazing hot sun.  OH how I wanted to jump in!!  

My testimony of personal revelation has grown ten fold as I have felt a need to call on my Father in Heaven, bent my knees, and opened my scriptures just to find exactly what I was looking for.  I know He answers our prayers.  There has not been a prayer I have said on my mission that He has not answered.  And really one of the most important questions we can ask is "What lack I yet?"  I love this talk from the last General Conference.  I testify that the spirit can tell us the small and simple things that we can improve.  He is so honest and so direct. And when we take his advice and really try to improve, He will bless us with more answers.  

Please pray for our teaching pool, and please pray for P, C, and E, that all three will be able to receive their own personal witnesses of the truth.  

It was great to see that Zoie has arrived safely at home.  What an amazing mission she has served!  I love you ZO!  

Have a great week everyone!  I am sooooo excited to talk to you all next week!!  I will have to practice my english a little!  TCHAU!  Beijos!

Sister Cordner X0X0

Manoel Mattos with his wife.

Lunch with the Burock family

Manoel Mattos' family on Sunday dinner with McKenzie.

Dinner at Mattos home.

Meeting another man whose parents were baptized by Ken. So awesome!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 62 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - December 7, 2015 - Yield Our Hearts to God

Olá minha querida família!!  Oh how I miss each one of you!  I can feel that it is just getting so Christmas-like up in the North!  Here, it is pretty much like any other time of the year.  I am glad that the members keep up with the lovely Christmas traditions!  Mitch sounds like he is ruling the town!  Oh my, I just crack up when I read his emails... so funny.

It has been a very great week, full of surprises.  We are on the hunt for those the Lord has prepared.  J was not baptized.  Well, he was so excited and ready!  We marked his interview with our District Leader and J just never showed up.  We have not been able to talk to him since.  When someone is on the right path, and so close to changing their life, the enemy works as well.  But we have not given up!!  Please pray for him that he can have the strength to resist temptation.  

We were able to give a training to all of the adults and youth yesterday in the third hour.  Oh it went so well! We talked about three things that can help them share the gospel right now.  1. Do not judge.  Do not look for the "ideal mormon" or the "best friend".  2. Simplify the task!  It can be a natural part of our lives!  3. Our success is when we invite others.  We all really felt strengthened by the spirit and inspired also by the words of our Ward Mission Leader.  He and his family are amazing member missionaries.  After the meeting I was swarmed by  so many members wanting to give referrals and wanting to mark up with us!  It was amazing!!!  When we got here in the ward, everyone told us that it was just a dead ward that has not been divided for so many years.  They really are waking up, and feeling the spark of missionary work.  You should see how excited Bishop Alexandre gets when we meet with him every week!  They are such good people.  We will take a different focus now with the members, which ALWAYS gives better results.  We are starting an English class on Tuesday and every Sunday this month we will get out on the street in small groups with members to go caroling and picking up addresses.  I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!  It is the most amazing and most important thing on this earth.  I can just feel the baptisms comin' on, I can feel it in my bones.  

This week we had an experience that really made me stop, examine my testimony, and exercise all of my faith.  This morning I was reading the talk "Yielding our Hearts to God" by Sister Neil F. Marriott.  He is the potter and we are the clay. He sees all things, and we can only see the present.  I have really learned how to trust in something that I cannot see, touch or hear: the love and light of my Father in Heaven.  In the end, it is all that we have in our times of great distress.  I know He loves me, because I have felt it, and I can feel it every day.  President Hinckley said, "If you do your best, it will all work out.  Put your trust in God...The Lord will not foraske us."  "Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for you good." (D&C 90:24)  How do you think our Heavenly Father gained all of His knowledge and power?  Do you think that He was born with it?  Are we not on the path to become like Him?  I am sure that He has had to pass through many, if not all, of the things that we live.  Our suffering is necessary. We need to learn how to rely and lean on Him in every moment, every hour of every day of our lives.  I am grateful to be here on a mission because now I know that I cannot do it on my own.  I know that I NEED my Savior, and I know that He really and truly loves me unconditionally.  I never tire to learn more, study my scriptures, pray, and read the words of the prophets. They are the words of life.  

Sister Swindy and I are practicing a few Christmas hymns that we will sing at the Christmas conference for the mission! We will see how it goes... I will atempt to play the cavaquinho/ukulele... haha!  I love you all, and I wish you all the most merry Christmas season!!  

Sister Cordner xoxo

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 61 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - November 30, 2015 - Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hello family and friends!  It has been another great week here in SJC!  We have been in the hot sun all week long, but now we are finally getting some refreshing rain!  I have never seen so many people wanting to go to church!  This week everyone was accepting baptism, and the invitation to go to church.  But unfortunately when Sunday came around, guess who actually went... no one!!  Oh man, we were pretty sad, but we keep the faith!  It was such a fun Thanksgiving.  We were feeling a little sad at the beginning, wanting to be at the big turkey feast with our families.  But when we started to list all of the blessings in our lives and see all that the Lord has given us, we decided to get to work and see some miracles.  It was really such a great day.  We met a few people who were so receptive.  We ate at Subway!  Oh man, I walked in and I literally felt like I was in the US of A.  Oh it smelled so good!  We ate TURKEY sandwiches, the closest we could get... 

I have been reading the incredible conference talks from October and they have been the highlight of my week.  "We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves, but... saviors for the whole human family.  We went into a partnership with the Lord.  The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father's work, and the Savior's work, but also our work.  The least of us, the humblest, is in the partnership with the Almighty in achieving the purpose of the eternal plan of salvation."  - Elder John A. Widtsoe  I join my testimony with that of Joseph Smith: after all is said and done, and when we narrow down everything that is worth while to us and to our Father in Heaven, the work of bringing others to the Old Ship Zion is the most important.  They need the truth, and we have it.  There is just so much to do, and the work NEVER stops.  I feel anxious to do all I can before my time is out.  The light and desire within me to share my testimony with others is as strong as ever.  It has never gone out, and I pray that it never will!  I love this work.  It is everything to me.  I am eternally grateful to my Father in Heaven for the blessings given to me daily.  I know He lives and loves us.  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving week! Pray that João will be able to keep strong until his baptism next week!!

Sister Cordner xoxo


SJC is so beautiful!

Sister Cordner and Sister Swindler

Thanksgiving meal - Subway turkey sandwiches!!  They were overjoyed!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 60 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - November 23, 2015 - Milagres são reais.

What an eventful week it has been!  There really are so many things I need to write!  Well first of all, sounds like Elder Cordner is working in mule mode out in the wilderness.  Oh man, sometimes it is so hard for the people to accept the truth!  But I am sure they will be blessed for the efforts!

In my studies Wednesday morning I started to study about fasting.  Being in a new area with few investigators and with only a map in hand to do the work has been stressful.  But I began to remember how small we are.  I humbled myself even to the dust, and I knew that we needed to rely more on the Lord.  We started our fast to  be able to be led to those searching for the truth.  We spent the night and part of the next day in Tatuapé, São Paulo to resolve some things with Sister Swindler's visa.  We took the trek home and headed out with so much faith in our hearts.  I testify that when we lean not unto our own understanding, He will be with us, guide us, and even take us by the hand.  Here are some of the miracles we have seen this week:

We found C, the mother of an Elder that the bishop passed to us.  We did not even know that the Elders were working with her before!  She is the SWEETEST lady and welcomed us in with open arms.  She has such a desire to be baptized but wants to wait until her son returns in 2 years!  She stopped smoking, drinking and drinking coffee two years ago when her son was baptized.  We talked to her about the importance of obedience and of baptism and we'll be going back tonight to hear how she has received her answer!  I am sure she has one!

J is the uncle of a strong family in the  ward.  We randomly chose his moms name on the ward list to make a less-active visit.  We marked a family night with them, and if his sister had not been there we would have never known that he was not even confirmed when he was baptized.  After his baptism he got back to drinking, and started working on Sunday.  But now he wants so badly to stop drinking and does not have a job.  We left a chapter in the Book of Mormon for him to read the first visit, and he told us he could not put it down.  He read into the early morning hours.  He was so happy at church yesterday and just could not stop smiling.  The Holy Ghost is so important!  Without it, baptism is just a cold bath.

Saturday was a challenge.  We walked and walked and walked, and sang songs, and walked a little bit more.  We literally tried to visit  everyone, and no one was home. The Lord was testing our diligence.  He led us to a woman named S.  She was leaving her home and naturally we offered to pass by another day to help her and her family get to know the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We testified that our message would bless her family.  She started to cry and explain how much her family is needing our message.  Her son had left home and wants nothing to do with them, and her daughter has taken it really hardly.  She thanked us again and again for stopping to talk  to her.  I know the Lord prepared those who are humble, meek and submissive to hear His message.  

I love this work.  When I kneel to pray my heart fills with gratitude for the chance I have had to serve my Heavenly Father and be His Son's representative.  I love talking about the simple truths of the gospel daily.  I do not know who I would be without my mission.  Sometimes I cannot even imagine myself leaving Brasil!  Maybe I'll just have to stay here.  My companion is doing great!  Português is a hard language!!  But she is already using subjunctive tense in her second week here, so she will be fine :)  I love her faith, her excitement and her sincere prayers.

Read President Monson's talk, "Keep the Commandments".  I have never met anyone who regrets keeping the law of chastity or is sad that they aren't able to have a drug addiction.  Wickedness NEVER was happiness.  We are in our search for happiness.  It is God's purpose and intention to help us find this true happiness.  This is why He has given us this loving and wise guide to have a happy life.  The Prophet of God spoke on a topic so simple and true because obviously we still need to be more obedient.  I love him, and I know he is God's voice here on the earth!

I love you all so much, and I feel your prayers daily.  They strengthen me and lift me up when I am weak!  Have a wonderful week!!  

Week 59 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - November 16, 2015

OK.  Everyone stay calm.  This is not a drill.  I am in São José dos Campos!  We are opening an area here in Jardim Paulista, right smack in the middle of the city center.  It is HUGE here!  I have never seen a bigger area in my entire mission!  It is so good because there are so many houses and people to teach, but bad because we have to gast a lot of money on taking the bus.  Bishop Alexandre said that there should normally be three companionships of elders here!  Sounds like Mitch is staying in Kalgoorlie!  Certainly the Lord has those who are prepared and are waiting for him!

I am training the sweetest and most amazing girl from Neptune, New Jersey!  She is absolutely hilarious and we have so much fun together!!  Her name is Sister Swindler and now has been here in Brasil for approximately six days.  She speaks wayyyy better than I spoke at the beginning.  It is so much fun to show her all of the new foods and beautiful things about the culture here.  She is loving it!!  We try our best to speak Português todo dia.  Sometimes it is a challenge :)  My entire mission I have never had the chance the option of speaking english!

Well after transfers on Tuesday we had to travel for three hours on the train and the bus.  It was a miracle when about twenty missionairies got on the metro and I... of course... was the very last to get on with my two huge suit cases.  I am not kidding.  Two men came out of no where and picked up my luggage, held the closing doors open and pulled me through.  It was a miracle. We finally got out here and the bishop was so ready to pick us up.  They have never had sisters here in Jardim Paulista and the members have been praying for months to have sisters here.  They have been without any missionaries for a few months, and bishop decided not to call President Silcox and to let the Lord do His part.  Well they are just so happy that we are here.  And we have been treated pretty much like princesses here.  It is such a beautiful city!  I will have to take pictures today to send next week.  There are a few investigators that the members have brought to church these past few weeks, but other than that, we are starting from scratch.  We cleaned the entire house, which is a big one.  We pretty much restored it.  I am pretty sure the elders NEVER cleaned that house.  Think cockroaches galore, ants, spiders every where and a house eaten out by termites.... YUCK!  It was a great experience.  

We were cleaning the house one morning when we heard someone clapping in the front of the house. We went to see who it was, and guess who it was!!!  Manoel Mattos, the man of the family that dad baptized 28 years ago.  Oh he was so happy to meet me!  My whole mission I have wanted to meet him.  It was such a cool experience.  He said that I look so much like dad.  Tears came to his eyes and he was not able to speak for a while thinking of how grateful he is for the gospel and how dad helped him change his life.  He is so excited to see you guys in March!  He is from a different ward, but he wants to have us over to eat at his house some time.  It was so fun to talk to him and finally meet him :)  He is such a spiritual man, and is SO PROUD of his children and grandchildren.  

Well, we are praying for miracles here in São José.  I have been studying a lot this week about miracles and what is required of me to see miracles.  Moroni 7 has taught me so much.  Faith is the key.  Diligence in obedience is so essential and we need to search for and have charity, the pure love of Christ for all of our brothers and sisters waiting to here the gospel.  I am fully convinced that the Lord is able to place prepared investigators right in the palms of our hands daily.  But this is not His will.  At least for me and my mission.  I need to show my faith, my confidence in Him, and my diligence in obedience every day of my mission to be able to see His miracles.  I am grateful for all that He has taught me.  I know that I need to be here.  I know that the Lord knows what He is doing.  He is in charge.  We need not fear, never.  I am so grateful for His infinite mercy and love for me.  I am an unworthy and imperfect servant, but I know that with Him I can do all things.  Pray for MIRACLES!  Pray that the members will have courage, and worthy lives to be able to find those that we can teach!  I love you all so much!  Have a wonderful week!

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 58- Jundiapeba, São Paulo - November 9, 2015

An investigator made me a jack o lantern out of an orange!

Oi todo mundo!!  Today is my very last day here in Jundiapeba and I cannot believe it!  It has been a crazy ride here these past transfers, but I have absolutley loved it.  I have learned and grown so much here, and I will never forget the people I have met.  I will be leaving a huge part of my heart here.  Oh yeah, mom and dad we will be coming here at the end of my mission FOR SURE.  You guys have to meet all the amazing members and recent converts!

This week was full of exchanges!  We have a few sisters in our zone that are really struggling.  I was able to go to two different areas to help the sisters in need.  My testimony of obedience has grown ten fold.  Last night we watched a little video at a family night with some members.  A little boy was warned by his parents to wear tennis shoes instead of flip flops at a campground because of the scorpions.  He was lazy and didn't give heed to their counsel.  He was stung by a scorpion and had to pay the price of his poor decision.  We are given laws, commandments and warnings daily from our Heavenly Father, because He loves us and He knows the consequences.  We can never think that because of the strength of our testimonies, our age, our experience or our place of leadership that we are exempt from a law or a commandment.  WICKEDNESS NEVER WAS HAPPINESS.  If we love Him we will keep His commandments.

We met a wonderful couple this week!  We were walking in the part that we call "Africa" here (because it looks so much like Africa) and we bumped into a member visiting his aunt and uncle.  We went back to teach them on Saturday.  P is GOLDEN.  N is a litle closed to our message but she is a nice lady.  P was asking every question that every missionary wants to hear.  Seriously every question, Sister Freitas and I looked at each other in awe!!  He went to church yesterday and LOVED it.  He even said, "Who knows if one day I will be baptized."  Great guy.

The assistant to the President called us this morning and called me to be a trainer again!  I know that it is a call from my Heavenly Father.  A feeling of peace, love and hope poured over me when I accepted the call.  Because I was transfered and I will be training, I will also open an area.  I have so much faith that the Lord will help me and prepare a way for me and my new companion in our new area!

I love being a missionary.  It is a great responsability and a great honor to be able to represent my Savior, Jesus Christ, for this short time.  I have four more months to be exactly obedient, work every day, and to love these people with all of my heart.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.  I know that our Savior lives and that He is working along with us.  This church is the true church of Jesus Christ. There is no other way or name by which we can be saved.  I love you all with all of my heart!!  Have an amazing week!!  Pray for my little companion!  We will be getting to know the area together!


Sister Cordner

Last P-day making Brigadeiro...a chocolate dessert!!!

A very fun Churrasco this weekend!!  The man with the meat
on a knife is our investigator José.  THe rest of them are members!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week 57- Jundiapeba, São Paulo - November 3, 2015 - I love to see the Temple!

What an amazing week I have had!  We were able to have an amazing experience in the temple this week.  Campinas is so beautiful and I was in awe looking out the window on the bus ride.  Brasil is a blessed country.  So green, so fruitful and so beautiful!  I would see miles and miles of green trees, and tropical forest and then so many little brick houses (favela) all together.  We arrived at the temple, and after 6 months I was able to enter into my Father's house.  I never wanted to leave.  The spirit that I feel and that I love in the temple is one that I cannot find in any other place here on the earth.  This is why I am here on my mission.  I have so many blessings.  The restored gospel, the fullness of God's love in my life and I need to share it with others.  There is so much more,  sooooo much more that they do not even know about.  It is my duty and my privilege to share it with them.  I was able to thank my Heavenly Father for all of the blessings in my life, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had on my mission.  We need to be in the temple.  

 This week we have been really trying to work with the members, organize family nights with our investigators and help them arrive in sacrament meeting on Sunday morning.  Despite our best efforts, they still need to choose for themselves!  We had an amazing little family night with my favorite little family in the ward.  What a special little night it was with C, V and their three little children.  They were able to see how important it is to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to their children.  I felt a spirit so strong watching how patient, loving and diligent A and D were with their children during the short lesson.  I could not help but imagine how it will be with my little family one day.  

I am grateful for the power of prayer.  For me, the best answer is always to pray.  If I am feeling small, alone, angry, sad, or even grateful and happy, I need to pray.  I remember always waking up early to go to school or church meetings and I always saw  my sweet mother  praying so intently in the library.  What an amazing example.  We need to talk with our Heavenly Father about every detail in our lives.  He does not only listen, but He can talk with us as well.

I am grateful to be a missionary.  It is not easy nor will it ever be.  It was never easy for our Savior Jesus Christ and He was perfect.  When we choose to put His name on our chests and preach His gospel we are not choosing the easy way.  But I know that He is the only way and the only name here on earth and in the heavens that we can be saved. I know He lives.  

Please pray for Jundiapeba.  Pray that our inestigators can have the desire to read the Book of Mormon, search for a testimony through sincere prayer, and to go to church on Sunday!!  We need your prayers!!  I love you all!  Have a wonderful week :)


Sister Cordner xoxo

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 56- Jundiapeba, São Paulo - October 26, 2015 - The daily mini miracles!!

Como vai todos?!  It has been a marvelous week, a sogger with a LOT of rain, but so good!  I thought a lot about Mitch and all the dust he has been breathing in the outback and how much he would LOVE a gust of wind or a splash of rain!  It sounds like he is doing great!!  My heart bursts with love and joy when I hear about how he is doing :)  

I cannot believe that six months has passed since the last time I was in the temple in SP.  On Wednesday we will all travel all the way to Campinas and I couldn't be more excited and grateful!  I have been pondering this past week on how I could really prepare myself spiritually to enter into the Lord's holy house.  Every single day, various times per day, I cite the scripture in my mind,"Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly then shall they confindence wax strong in the presence of God, and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon they soul as the dew from heaven."  D&C 121:45  I have chosen to really focus on my thoughts and my desires this week to better prepare myself to feel full confidence in the presence of my Father in Heaven in his holy temple.  I know that I will be able to feel His love as the dew from heaven and I will be able to better understand my purpose and His plan for me here on the earth.  This week President Silcox sat down with me for a regular interview. He explained to me that many times we will go to the temple in our times of distress, sadness, or when we need answers or the Lord's counsel.  But, we need to go to His house when we are happy as well.  Lehi and Nephi, on their journey through the wilderness, gave thanks through burning sacrifices when they wanted to show love and gratitude.  We can do the same thing while we are in the temple.  

Well, our investigators are dropping like flies and it is really sad to see them giving into the lies and falling into the traps of the world.  We teach the doctrine, we invite them to come to Christ and change, we show them love, we promise blessings, and we do our best to walk with them on the path.  But in the end, they need to choose.  In the end they have the last word.  God never forces us, His children, to do anything.  This is our greatest blessing, our free agency, but as for us missionaries it is so hard to see this gift being abused!

This week the Elders from Guaianaizes sent us a reference from an active family in their ward. A daughter and sister of the family lives here in Jund., and we ran over this week to meet her!  She lives on the most beautiful street #magic.  I will send a pic next week.  We taught the Restoration, and she decided that she wants to be baptized!  At the end of the lesson she told us that her "husband" (they too need to get married) mentioned this week:  Why don't we go to your mom's church and see what it is like?  AAAHHHH! I heard the angels from heaven.  H went alone with us to church yesterday because he was feeling sick, but I am sure she loved it:)  Every member wanted to talk to her after the meetings.  They are such a great help, and there is always a sweet spirit in our chapel.  

Last night we were heading to see an investigator because literally everything fell through - EVERYTHING.  Sundays are the worst days here to visit people.  No one wants to hear about the Lord on His own day.  Anyways, we stopped to help an old couple carry a bunch of wood to their house.  They let us in, gave us some juice and even listened to our message of the Plan of Salvation!  Salete is pretty much blind and she got so excited when we explained the resurrection and the perfection that will take place of our bodies. Toward the end of the message she said and remembered that before they had left home she had said to her "husband,"  "We've got to clean the house and leave it very beautiful because we will have a few visitors coming," without even knowing that we would be visiting.  She was so thrilled that we had come to her little home.  What a sweet little woman she was.  She reminded me a little of Grandma Cordner and how sweet and loving she is.  I imagined hugging my sweet grandma when I reached down to hug her.  Such a special and beautiful little miracle.

We watched an amazing devotional last night at the stake center with all of the youth.  It was from the MTC in SP and we heard from Elder Costa, Adukaites, and Mazzagardi.  The broadcast was amazing.  They spoke of all the blessings of missionary work, before, during and after the mission.  The fruits of our missions are never ending.  Like all of the apples from an apple tree that was once one little seed, the uncountable seeds will be the people we are serving, and their never ending fruits as well.  It was amazing.  I felt so much love, so many prayers and so much support from first, my Heavenly Father, my family and all of the people around the world that pray for the missionaries.  Right now we can not see all of the fruits, but I know our work is not in vain.  I know that this is the Lord's way and it is His plan.  I love you all, and I hope you have a great week!!  

Sister Cordner xoxo

                               Our P-Day last week!  It was so magic to go shopping in Mogi :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 55 - Jundiapeba, São Paulo - October 19, 2015 - It Is a daily surprise!!

Bom dia para todos!!  This week has been a great one!  We've had some crazy spring weather with some rain and A LOT of sun!  Even the dogs on the street were suffering from the pure heat!  

We started out the week with a split with the sisters from Suzano!  I stayed here in Jundiapeba with a little sister that is practically the shyest I have met.  We taught a few lessons that she spoke just a few things and bore her brief testimony, but when we needed her the most, she let it all out.  

Our dear friend E has been struggling with coffee as all of you know.  We have tried every tactic to try to helphim to stop.  But when we miraculously found him at home in the middle of the day, all he needed to hear was a simple truth.  His sacrifice to stop drinking coffee is so much smaller than the Savior's sacrifice.  How could he not be able to make this small sacrifice when the Savior had already paid for all of his sins.  The spirit was so strong, and he promised that he would never drink coffee again.  We also helped him know that God doesn't love him any less because he cannot read, but that he needs to have all of the joy and blessings that come from following Jesus Christ.  Elias hasn't drunk coffee and he was baptized yesterday!!  It was a very simple, reverent and quick baptismal service.  He is such a good man who has been brought down to the dust of humility.  What a great example of the power of the Atonement.  A few weeks ago I had a dream in which Elias was reading out loud and with a huge smile from the Book of Mormon.  When I woke up, I knew that he would be able to progress after his baptism and that really he has been prepared by the Lord.

E's baptism.
We started teaching, as well, Ez.  He teaches young kids to rap and dance hip hop.  So cool :) He is a reference from a member and we were able to teach them together.  He has so many questions and is so sincere!  He really wants to know!!  He accepted a date to be baptized and we are so excited to see him progress!  

Well, I do not have much time.  Please pray for G to have the desire to go to church and meet the young women of the ward.  Pray for J that she can get work off, and pray for our new investigator, S that she can get an answer!  I love you all so much, and I want you all to know how happy I am doing this work!  It is the most amazing work in all of the world!

Love, Sister Cordner

Me and my comp. Sis. Freitas!! We laugh so hard every day that it does not even feel like we are working!!  I love her!!
Lots of fruit!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 54 - Jundiapeba, São Paulo - October 12, 2015 - Our Search for HAPPINESS

Today is a beautiful Monday, and it is so good to be here on the mission.  This week has been a great week full of spiritual lessons and a lot of progress.  As I read all of your emails my heart fills with joy and gratitude.  How can I be blessed so much?  

Well first things first, No. E was not baptized...again.  We bumped into him on Saturday on the street and he told us that he took our advice and was fasting!  He was dying of hunger and was headed home to eat.  He is full of pure desire and real intent, but just needs to make the choice: I will not drink coffee.  On Sunday we called to see if he would come to church (he does not like us to pick him up). He was so sad and was so discouraged.  He told me that he would give back all of the books and pamphlets and that he wanted to give up.  I explained to him how the enemy was working on him.  Satan doesn't want him to go to church.  He wants his family to be destroyed.  E thought for a little while and said he would change his clothes and go to church.  YES!  He showed up and it was probably the most spiritual testimony mtg. that I have experienced here in my mission.  The members have real lives, real hard problems, but they believe in Christ.  They turn to Him, they trust in Him.  It was just amazing.  He is on track again, and I will never give up on him or lose faith in him.  

We have had some of the most spiritual lessons with G this week.  She has so many questions about the priesthood, the "rules" in the church and everything else.  We were able to help her understand a little bit more, and I was able to really pour out my soul to her and expain to her how much her Heavenly Father loves her and that is why he gives us the commandments.  She remembered the story shared in conference about the little girl and the seat-belt.  Really the Lord does not force us to put on our seat-belts, but He tries His best to explain to us why through His eternal love.  She has had the same boyfriend for three years and she is it will be a hard change for her, but I know she has already received her testimony of the truthfullness of the gospel.  She saw the Book of Mormon in English in a dream and she has had such a desire to learn more, and read more.  I have never seen anyone with more real intent in my whole mission!  She told us that even though she has a boyfriend, work, school, a great family and everything else, she feels like something is missing.  She feels like the gap in her heart is starting to fill up.  The gospel is true.  

OK, I love my companion so much!!  I have never laughed so hard every single day!  We just find the funniest things and the funniest people every day:)  We are absolutely exhausted together, but we have pretty much the same mind and the same helps a lot :)  We are so focused and we are working the most that I have worked in my life.  Mom sent me the same letter and talk that Uncle Phil sent her on her mission in Spain.  I loved a part that I read this morning:  "When the Lord said, Lengthen your stride, quicken your pace, heighten your reach, widen your vision, and stretch your capacity, he was in reality saying expect a miracle for these are the stuff which miracles are made."  I know this is true.  Larry Lawrance in GC said, "Our direction in more important than our speed."  Every day I learn a little more, I am able to see a little more, and be a bit better.  I am still so imperfect.  Every sacrament meeting my heart fills with gratitude that I can start again.  I can forget the past, learn from my mistakes and change myself through the Atonement and be better the next week.  I will never do enough, I will never pay my debt, nor will I deserve any blessing.  But He has payed the price.  His grace is sufficient and always will be.  This sacred truth is everything to me.  I have a thirst to know Him better, be more like Him and be closer to Him.  I know He is my Savior and Redeemer.  I know He speaks with our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  I felt it through his burning testimony.  This week I will work harder, be more obedient to the Spirit, and lose myself in this work.  This week I will be Ponderizing Matthew 10:39.  I testify that when we lose ourselves in the work of God, we find ourselves.  I can say that I am truly happy.  It is not easy and it never will be easy.  This life was never easy, even for Him.  But I am truly happy.  I love my Heavenly Father with all of my heart and soul.  Thanks for letting me share my deepest feelings, I love you all so much!!  Have a great and uplifting week!

Sister Cordner xoxo

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 53 - Jundiapeba, São Paulo - October 5, 2015

Óla todo mundo!!  It sounds like all of you are doing just great, and the missionaries too!! I am so happy for Elder Cordner!! Big changes call for great learning!! 

I have a new companion and she is amazing!!  We arrived here in the mission field together 11 months ago, and she also trained these last 2 transfers. Sister Freitas is from Bela Horizante, Minas Gerais.  She is so cute, so happy and a killer missionary.  We are the sister leaders here in Mogi and Itaquaquecetuba.  There are so many great sisters that we get to work with.  I am so excited to learn so much!!

Wasn't general conference amazing?!  Finally I was able to understand the talks and really have some great questions answered and in Português!  For a few weeks I have been thinking about  what I wanted answered and the Lord really did answer my prayers.  The part that I learned from the most was the testimony of our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  As he was testifying, he was with all of his heart and soul.  He is a  witness of Jesus Christ.  I felt a powerful feeling burning in my chest testifying to me that he was telling the truth.  He knows and he will testify til the end of his life that Jesus is the Christ.  I am so grateful for the special testimony that the Lord gave me. 

Well, our great friend E was not baptized, again, yesterday.  He had traveled without telling anyone of us with his wife, and got back after the first session on Sunday.  We headed to his house yesterday to find out what in the world he was thinking.  When we got there, we were able to teach an amazing lesson and explain more fully the Plan of Salvation, and really WHY he needs to be baptized.  We were still feeling a little strange and we felt like there was something he wasn't telling us.  It is so funny, because it is just like a child hiding something he has done.  He finally said that he drank a beer on the trip and  that he was feeling so guilty.  We were able to explain to him about the Holy Ghost and his role and how he will help him after his baptism.  He is so excited and we are using all our patience to help him again to the baptism font.  Christ is so patient with us, how much more we need to be patient with others :)  

J is such a GOLDEN investigator.  She was the one that got her less-active husband up on sunday and the kids and dragged them to church.  Her daughter A wants to be baptized  and she wants to help her as well.  We told J that we wanted to help her and her daughter to be baptized on the same day and she accepted!!! She is so funny and has such a light in her eyes and a heart wide open :)

G went to conference yesterday and she loved it! She has read the Book of Mormon and prayed. She also has recieved an answer!  There are so many blessings we are seeing every day!  I feel so much gratitude every single day on my mission.  I am learning so much from the scriptures and from the experiences I am having. The Lord is blessing us so much.  I cannot believe how lucky I am to have this gospel in my life.  I love you all!!!

Sister Cordner xoxo

btw... I totally biffed it at the train station.  I was on the escalator with the luggage in the front.  It did not go and fell.  I fell on top of it and thought I broke my leg for a few minutes! haha but all is well in Zion.

My first convert in the mission at general conference!!  
She is strong in the church and her brother will be baptized on Sunday!!  

A funny sign of a cancelled baptism we found on the street because of a rain storm... we NEVER cancel our baptisms!!