Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 26 -Guarulhos, São Paulo - March 30, 2015

NOSSA!  Mais uma semana já passou, e nós estamos quase entrando o mes de Abril!  Eu não acredito! (Another week has passed and we are almost entering into the month of April!  I can't believe it!  On Wednesday I have been out for six months, a third of my mission!  It is passing by so quickly!  But I still have one year to be a missionary :))

This week was amazing.  On Thursday I had the best day of my life.  Sister Johnson and I were all alone walking the streets in Brasil all day long.  We had divisions this week and for some reason someone thought it would be a great idea to put us together! Haha, not only did we survive but we had an amazing and spiritual day with our investigators here in Palmeiras.  Here in our area there is a huge beautiful bridge.  We were walking past and all of a sudden we saw a group of girls our age with blonde and red hair.  Not normal at all here in Brasil.  Seriously, these girls were so blonde that we needed to talk to them.  They for sure would know how to speek english.  We ran ahead and asked them where they were from.  They were all apart of a Bible school.  They had been in Bolivia for two months and were heading back to their home in Norway, but were passing through São Paulo for two days!  OH! It was SO much fun to talk to them!  They spoke english so well!  While we were talking, someone from their car threw a banana peel at us and it landed on one of their heads, it was so funny to hear them all start laughing and speaking in Norwegian... all I thought about was the video of the man in the icey South Pole getting so excited about cheese that movie for me please!! I was cracking up so much :)

Sister Cordner got to spend a whole day working with her MTC companion, Sister Johnson, this past week.

A wonderful woman in our ward passed a reference to us a few weeks ago, and we finally visited the family this week.  She is a nurse and had been taking care of a man named Rodrigo.  She shared the gospel with him and sent us his way.  He is amazing.  When he was three years old, he was diagnosed with a muscular disease and has been in his bed for more than twenty years.  He breaths through a tube in his throat and can only move his face.  We arrived at his house (which is beautiful) and when we entered his cozy room in the back, we were surrounded by the spirit.  He truly is a chosen son of God.  We taught him and his nurses the Plan of Salvation how he would be able to have a perfect body someday and be able to do everything he had ever imagined.  He speaks so quietly and it is hard to understand him but at the end of the lesson he whispered, "I believe it.  I believe everything you have told me."  The spirit once again confirmed to me the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.  Although Rodrigo cannot move, he is so happy.  He has a light in his eyes that very few people in this world have. What a privilege it is to be able to teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ to such a choice spirit.  It will be hard to find out a way for him to be baptized because of his physical conditions, but mark my words, HE WILL BE BAPTIZED!! We walked away edified and with so much peace.  God's plan is perfect and is filled with so much love.

I love you all and I wish you a wonderful conference weekend.  My heart swells when I think that I will be able to hear the prophet's voice this Saturday and Sunday!!  I am praying that it will be easy for me to understand the Português translation, and that I will be able to hear the answers to the questions that I have for the Lord.  Also, Happy Easter!  Let us all remember the sacrifice that the Savior made for us.  Only through Him we are able to live again spiritually and physically.  I love you all forever and ever!!

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo

Treicey was baptized yesterday!  She has been waiting a whole year for her husband to baptize her.  It was a beautiful baptismal meeting with the sun shining through the windows into the baptismal font.  We forgot to clean the font before church, so we were rushing in our skirts and bare feet scrubbing the font.  I slipped and fell and scratched up my leg and I have bruises all of over haha. It was a moment very magical I thought :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 25 -Guarulhos, São Paulo - March 23, 2015

What?! Another week has already passed?!  It has been a beautiful cloudy week here in Guarulhos and I have loved it!  When we arrive home tired and sweaty it does not even feel like we were working all day because of how much fun we have together!  I love Sister Andrade so much!  We are perfect for each other :)  I love being a missionary!  Sometimes when I look in the mirror I think... What?  I am in Brasil on a mission?  And it has almost been 6 months since I was at home!! 

Well, last P-day we met up with our district at the Bosque Maia.  It is a really big park here in Guarulhos that has a trail through a mini jungle.  It started to pour rain after like a half an hour so we spent the rest of our P-day in a restaurant. Haha.  It is so much fun to be with all of the missionaries!  Especially now that I can speak Português and actually laugh along!  I love to speak Português and I have seriously seen miracles with the challenge of learning a new language.  

Yesterday Na was baptized!  She is 29 years old and is engaged to a member of the church that lives in Minas.  She has been going to church with us and yesterday we traveled all the way to Continental to join our district for the baptisms.  She is so sweet and sincerely wanted to follow the Savior and be baptized.  Baptisms are so quick and so simple, but there is so much power in this ordinance.  Along with Natalí, a young man in the other ward baptized his parents and he will recieve his mission call so soon.  It was so beautiful!  I love to help the women being baptized in the changing room afterwards and here their responses.  They have beautiful tears and smiling faces afterwards.

We have been teaching N, the husband of a life-long member in our ward.  His heart has finally been softened because of their new baby girl, and he is accepting the gospel wonderfully!  It is so much fun and so amazing to teach part-member families or people who know members in the ward.  I love to hear the members of the famliy bear testimony and help their loved ones come into the Kingdom.  N accepted to look for an answer and be baptized on the 19th of April!  What a beautiful day it will be to see them in the temple one day!!  They seriously have the cutest baby in the world.  Maddy would die.

On Friday, we decided to go crazy and contact everyone that we would meet on a few specific streets and we added in a really cool idea.  We decided to look for a man with a red shirt, jeans, tennis shoes, and no hair (bald).  You guys would never believe how many we found!! We shared our message with all of them!  It was actually really fun, and we will be doing it every week from now on :)  Who knows... maybe one of them will accept the gospel someday!  

I have been really trying to focus on living in the present this week.  Sometimes I focus a lot on the past and what I did not say, did not do, or should have done.  Sometimes I focus too much on what needs to be done and I worry a lot about things to come.  But really I need to focus on the people around me, their needs and what I can do right now to become a better person and more like the Savior.  I challenge all of you to live in the moment this week and focus on the people around you. What are their needs?  What can I do right now to become a better person?  Let us all slow down a little bit and be grateful for all that we have and recognize the hand of God.

I love you all forever and ever and I hope you all have a great week!!

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 24 -Guarulhos, São Paulo - March 16, 2015

Bom dia minha família!  

Esta semana foi muito muito boa, mas passou um pouco devegar por causa das transferências!  Tenho uma nova companheira!!  This week was really, really great but a little slow because of transfers.  I have a new companion!!)  Her name is Sister Andrade, from Manaus, Amazonas! WOW!  haha she is absolutley my kind of woman.  We are such great friends already and we are working so hard!  She has been a member of the church for five years and only her and her mom are members in her family.  Seeing her on a mission and how much she loves the Lord and this work strengthens my testimony every day.  She has such a confidence that we are here with power and authority to teach the people here in São Paulo.  She is amazing.  It was a MIRACLE that we made it home after transfers.  I did not really know the way and her suitcases were sooooo heavy and broken.  You should have seen us dragging her suitcases down the broken up sidewalks, sweating and cutting our fingers on the handles because they were SO HEAVY!!  I was getting so ticked at the men that passed us and laughed at how much we were struggling. haha FAZ PARTE DA MISSÃO!  (That's part of the mission!) We love our ward and all of the members! I know that we will be able to do all of the work the Lord has for us here in Palmeiras together.  This morning we spent so much time deep cleaning our apartment, it feels so good to have everything spick and span!  SISTER JOHNSON IS IN MY ZONE!!!! We could not even believe it.  It was so happy when we heard!!!!

Dilma Rouseff, President of Brazil

Well, yesterday was the impeachment of Dilma Roussef. (From what I read yesterday she was not impeached.  They say that there are no legal grounds to call for her impeachment.)  The area authority of Brasil had all of the members go directly home after church, and so we did also.  We drove by the the big march-riot thing. (We always get rides home from church.  It is great!)  There were so many people here in Guarulhos. I can not even imagine in São Paulo!  They were all dressed in Yellow and Green to represent Brasil, and all had posters. It was smaller than I thought it would be in Guarulhos!  

This week we have been really trying to help our investigators feel more ready for baptism.  In our district meeting on Tuesday our district leader (Elder Johnson from Minnesota) told us that if we would focus on baptism in our lessons and share powerful testimony that we would see progress in our areas and we would have baptisms!  MS has been making great progress. We have taught her everything and now are waiting for her to recieve an answer. On Friday we met with her and I asked her how she felt everytime we are in her home.  She broke down in tears and said that she felt so much peace and hope.  I told her that I knew she already had recieved an answer and that the path that the Lord has placed in front of her is the only way on the face of the earth that will lead her back to her Father in Heaven.  I felt the spirit so strongly.  I physically felt the Authority that I have to share and testify of the truth because of my calling.  I felt as if me and Sister Andrade were shining with light.  I felt a joy that was so pure and so beautiful.  I love how every time I share my testimony about the doctrines I know to be true, the Holy Ghost gives me yet another witness.  Every single day I am able to strengthen and nourish my own testimony while I am helping others find theirs.  As missionaries we are helping other spirits recognize again the truths that they already knew before this life.  Many people ask abstract and difficult questions and are not looking for spiritual answers but physical answers that the gospel is true.  But I can testify that spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers and we can only know that truth of all things through the quiet but powerful feelings of the spirit.  I have come to truly love and cherish my testimony.  My studies every morning have become so meaningful to me.  I love to read the words of the prophets and apply their great examples and doctrines to my own life and the lives of my investigators.  

I love you all so much, and I hope you all have a great week!!  Study the Book of Mormon and feel the power that it can have in your life!!

LOVE, Sister Cordner XOXO

Part of the marching crowd in downtown Sao Paulo.

That looks like more than the 210,000 that KSL said were marching in Sao Paulo!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 23 -Guarulhos, São Paulo - March 9, 2015

Mama, I found a plumeria tree and now every time I pass it I smell all of the flowers and think of you :) I love you!

Hello Family and Friends, Boa Tarde!

I hope your week was amazing, and filled with great things!  Here in Brasil the people are getting very anxious.  We still have a big problem with not having enough water, the prices of pretty much everything are sky rocketing and everyone is angry and done with the government.  This week there will be an impeachment of Dilma (o presidente do Brasil).  On the fifteenth, all of us missionaries will have to stay in our houses.  There might be riots nas ruas and people doing who knows what.  I hope everything will pass over smoothly.  All I know is that I am tired of hearing all of the same political talk in our lunches with the members!  They are all just so nervous and some very anxious to leave the country.  

Well MS went to church with us, not yesterday but the week before, as you all know.  When we talked with her on Tuesday she said that she DID NOT LIKE CHURCH.  What?  I was so confused.  Sometimes the people we teach just are not ready to recieve an answer.  But, she has been doing really well with smoking!  She used to smoke two packages of cigarettes every day, but the other day she only smoked six cigarettes!! Oh I just know that she is recieving strength from Heavenly Father to change her life.  I will never ever give up on her.  I will help her to the end to stop smoking, repent of her sins, develop faith in Christ and be baptized.  I am determined to do everything I can for her to recieve that saving ordinance.  We returned on Friday to her home, and she was so glad to see us.  She thought that we had given up on her because she did not like church.  But NO, we will never give up :)  We showed her so much love and gave comforting words.  She knows that the church is true, I know it, she just is not recognizing it!  

We also had a very special zone meeting this week.  We were taught and counseled that we need to work principally with the members in our wards.  Everything we do with them needs to be focused on our work of saving souls.  When we talk with them in their homes, when we talk with them in their cars, when they give us rides, when we sit at the table with them to eat, in church, on the road, with their children, on the phone, always.  We need to be totally focused on this work and helping the members catch the wave of missionary service as well.  The members in our ward are so wonderful and I am so grateful to be here to help them have missionary experiences.  

Our last zone meeting together :( It has been so much fun with them! 

This week we had a miracle!   We were going to a members home to do what our leaders asked of us: to ask for references, and get her excited about talking to her friends about the church. As we were arriving she was coming home as well.  Sister Saavedra needed to use the bathroom badly, but her toilet was randomly clogged and could not be fixed.  She remembered a less active family that lived in the same apartment building and called to see if we could use her bathroom.  She accepted, and we went down a few floors to her home.  When Saavedra was in the bathroom, Adrianna broke down and started to cry saying that she was praying with all of her heart to her Heavenly Father in the kitchen only a few minutes earlier for help.  She has been having difficult times with her husband and in their home and she needed help.  When she finished her prayer, the phone rang, and it was us asking to use her bathroom.  I was able to testify of the Sacrament and the power of the Atonement.  I felt the Spirit so strongly helping me not only with my Português, but also to know exactly what to say to her and the words that would make her think and comfort her heart.  I testify that when we do what our leaders ask, no matter what it is, God will recognize our obedience and He will bless us.  We all have leaders that have power and authority over us, to recieve revelation for us and our lives.  I testify that this is how God wants His church to be.  I am so grateful for my District Leaders and my Zone Leaders that I have had.  They are all great Elders, representatives of Jesus Christ, that are doing their best to exercise their authority to help the work go on.

I love you all, and please keep praying for MS.  She needs to recognize that what she has been feeling is from the Holy Ghost and that she already knows that this is the path God wants for her and her family.  Thank you for all of your loving words!! I love you all so much!! xoxo

Sister Cordner

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 22 -Guarulhos, São Paulo - March 2, 2015

Well, this is our beautiful home. We live on top in a little place.  Trust me, when we drove up the first time I saw it I almost started crying.  It looks so bad and so dangerous, but I promise our neighborhood is very safe compared to others! hah

Hello my family and friends!! It has been another wonderful week here in Guarulhos and I am loving it!  The members and the people we are teaching and helping, make everything worth it here in the mission!  I cannot describe the love that I feel for the people here. It is incredible!  When I go to church I see so many good people trying to do the best they can just like all of us.  They have the blessing of the gospel in their lives, but life and temptations are really difficult here.  They go to the temple, they love their families, and they love the scriptures.  They are so amazing and great examples for me.  

MS is a woman that we found while looking for a house of a referral.  Her son was on top of the house fixing something and yelled down to us "Esta rua não tem saida!" ("This street doesn't have a way out." I guess he was being helpful.) WOW, the feeling that I felt after he said that I will never forget.  It was so quiet and so gentle, but so powerful and I could not deny it.  I needed to talk to him and we were meant to teach him and his family.  We taught him and his mom because they let us right in and were so receptive!  MS is so sweet, gentle and such a great mother.  She has four teenagers that are difficult and little G that is four years old.  MS smokes a lot, but even worse, she has a heart condition and if she does not stop smoking right now, she has a really big chance of dying.  We came into her life at the perfect time!  She really wants to change and is trying so hard. We made a wonderful chart for her to diminish her cigarettes every day.  She has already been able to smoke less and she is recieving her testimony of the power of the Atonement and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  She came to church yesterday!!! She was so cute and waiting for us to pick her up early in the morning in front of her house.  The testimonies in sacrament meeting yesterday were so powerful and I know she felt the spirit.  She also recieved a blessing from two amazing returned missionaries in our ward to help her stop smoking. The key to helping someone start keeping the commandments is making contact with them every single day! We will be doing this diligently, because we love her sooooo much!!! She is so special!!! I do not know why, but I feel such a connection with her!!  Please pray that she will be able to stop smoking and be baptized! Her family needs her example!!  

Also, we are teaching M!  He is the quiet little cousin (actually he is 22) of some recent converts.  They are so excited to be sharing the gospel with their famliy members!!  He is so timid, but he is so pure, which is so rare here in São Paulo with young adults.  He is recieving a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.  He said that he has been having such a hard time sleeping lately, and the first night he read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it, he fell asleep so quickly and throughout the whole night!  God is so perfect with helping each child gain a testimony of the restored gospel!  He wants to be baptized by his cousin this Sunday!! WOOHOO!!  Wow, I love baptisms!! They are so special, and as my dear friend Sarah Clark said, no sound in the world is more beautiful than the sound of splashing water in the baptismal font!!!!!

I was reading yesterday in Mosiah the talk given by King Benjamin to all of his nephite people.  I read a verse that touched my soul and made me feel so grateful.  Mosiah 4:11-12 "And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye shoudl remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.  And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true."  I can testify that I have 'come to the knowledge of the glory of God', I know of 'his goodness', and I have 'tasted of His love'.  I have felt the 'exceedingly great joy' that only comes through the remission of our sins.  I testify that this is only possible if we change our hearts and our minds and our actions to our Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the way the truth and the light.  I testify that He lives and He loves us perfectly.  How grateful I am to have this truth.  Think of all of God's children that need to know that amazing truth, we must do all we can to help them come to taste of this fruit that is so white, so sweet and so WONDERFUL!!!  I love you all, I thank you for your prayers!! Have a wonderful week!!

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo

P.S. Transfers are next week, and chances are very high that I will get a new companion!! AAHH Tenho borboletas na barriga!! Mas, tudo bem, tudo vai dar ceirto, e Sião vai prosperar!  (I have butterflies in my stomach!! But , okay, everything will be all right, and Zion will thrive!)