Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 30 -Guarulhos, São Paulo - April 27, 2015

Our district!

Sister Andrade and I were transfered all the way to the same city! Woohoo!  We are now in the zone Cumbica, and are serving in Jardim Presidente Dutra.  There have always been elders here...ALWAYS.... but there has been a lot of problems with the elders here so President Andrew decided to put two companionships of sisters in the same area!!  The members are very excited, I'd have to say, and so are we!!  It is kind of difficult because the elders left hardly anything for us to work with but we are getting to know everyone and are loving it!!  Okay... it has been a crazy week!!  We arrived on Tuesday to the most disgusting house I have every seen.  There had been elders living in the house for 20 years and I do not think they ever cleaned it once.  We tried our best to clean that night and we slept on the most disgusting mattresses of my life. I am gagging thinking about it right now.  The next day we were determined to not return.  The other sisters would be living in a different home behind the house of a sweet  member but they wont arrive until this week.  We decided to organize and clean their home to be able to fit us four. Thank the heavens that we have done it and we are living behind the sweetest little woman ever.  Irmã Cecilia is the most Christ-like person here in Presidente Dutra and I love her so much.  She takes such good care of us and would do anything, even give her life for the missionaries.  Oh, I love her so much.  She helped us clean the entire house and has been feeding us ever since.  There are so many amazing members here in the ward.  There is an energy on the street in our area that I love so much.  It is a more humble neighborhood and everyone seems to be out and about all day long.  The streets were filled on Saturday with the sun shining and a calm breeze blowing.  So many children were playing outside and it felt so good to be a missionary!  

We made a random contact on our first day here and went to visit him in his home the next day.  His sister answered the door and let us in even though he was not home.  She led us into her grandparents home.  We sat down in the room of her paralyzed grandmother and began to talk with them both.  "D" has been through so much in her life.  She has consumed every type of drug you can imagine, has been drunken for years, has robbed and has been in jail.  I have never seen someone so repentant in my life.  She cried and cried trying to explain to us that she never wants to return to the life she had and that she now wants to turn her life over to the Lord.  She has gone to every church in the neighborhood but had never been to ours!  We shared with her the First Vision and she understood everything.  We then marked her to be baptized in three weeks and she accepted!  The spirit was so strong and seeing her feel the truthfulness of our message strengthened my testimony.  In the very moment of the first vision, I saw a rat crawling on the wall!!  It was huge and it took everything in me to not make a move to ruin the moment!! haha!  The next day we went by her house to pick her up for an activity in the chapel.  She had eaten lunch with her friend that day and her friend had said many things that confused her and distracted her from wanting to be baptized.  Unfortunately she went with her friend to another church yesterday, but I have faith that she did not feel anything special and will want to come with us this week!!

  I was reading in Luke this week of Jesus Christ in the home of a Pharisee.  A sinful woman entered the home and started to weep on His feet and clean His feet with her tears and with the hairs of her head.  The Pharisee was disgusted with how she was acting and asked Jesus why He was letting her do such a thing.  Jesus then told of a parable of two debtors.  One was in debt more than the other and the king let them both free without charge.  He asked the Pharisee who loved the king more, and the Pharisee answered, the one whom he forgave most.  The more we use the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives, the more we will recognize how much we are in debt, and how necessary He is in every moment of our lives.  We will come to know Him, love Him and will want to share the same with everyone around us.  In the words of Elder Bednar, (or could that be Elder Klebingat?) We need to be really really good at repenting really really quickly.  And by so doing we will become closer and closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.  I love Him and I know He is our Savior.  Every time I repent or use His enabling power I feel myself closer to Him and His love.  I hope all of you have an amazing week!  I love you all! 

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 29 -Guarulhos, São Paulo - April 20, 2015

Well everyone, I hope your week was as great as ours!  Sister Andrade and I both caught little colds this week.  The weather is turning a little cooler and with all the pollution AND because we are always on the main roads, at the end of the day my throat and nose burn!  In the morning the sun is bright red because of all the pollution.  It is terrible.  

I CANNOT BELIEVE MITCH IS GOING TO AUSTRALIA!!  It is perfect for him and when I heard it, I was immediatley covered with goosebumps. Parabens para você Mitch!!  You will be a light in Perth and will connect with the people so easily!  August 12th could not arrive soon enough!

So many great things happened yesterday!  Sister Andrade and I taught the moças (YWs) yesterday about the importance of the first vision.  I have been praying all week to recieve another witness that the true church had been restored on earth through the prophet Joseph Smith.  I believe that we need to always be seeking to feel this confirmation again and again throughout our whole lives.  As I was looking into the eyes of such beautiful young women, so pure and so loved by our Heavenly Father, I was reciting the first vision and the experience young Joseph had in the spring of 1820 and Pai Celestial (Heavenly Father) answered my prayers.  I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.  He recieved the Priesthood and he translated the Book of Mormon.  I know this because God has told me and I cannot and will not ever deny it!  There was a little 12 year old girl visiting with her inactive mother in the class and I know she felt the spirit testify to her as well.  What an amazing experience it was :)

As a zone last night we had more baptisms in the chapel of Gopouva.  It was a beautiful night and it was an amazing experience helping N prepare for his baptism over these past months.  His wife E was born in the church and it was an amazing day for her to see her husband be baptized.  What a blessing to have him accept the true gospel of Jesus Christ!  In one year, they, with their little baby girl, Heloyse, will enter the Temple of the Lord and be sealed for all time and eternity.  It is so beautiful!!  I will send a picture of their cute little family!  

While our entire zone was together last night, we all gathered in a room to hear about transfers.  President Andrew made so many changes!!  Sister Andrade and I were transfered and our area will recieve a completely new pair of missionaries, elders or sisters, we do not know.  We were so sad because we love this area so much.  The members here are so dedicated to the gospel and help and love us so much.  I woke up this morning and my heart was hurting because tomorrow I have to leave Palmeiras.  I will have to do all I can to return at the end of my mission and visit!  We have been writing down all of the people we are working with, all of the recent converts and their needs and all of the appointments we have already set up.  Please pray with me that the new missionaries here will be able to find our precious investigators easily and will be able to work hard and follow the spirit here in Palmeiras!!  I know the Lord will help them be successful here.  

I have been thinking a lot about sacrifices this week and why we need to make sacrifices in our lives.  In the mission maybe a sacrifice would be walking an extra mile to visit an inactive family, going out for one more hour at night to make a few contacts before being able to go to bed, or maybe it is being transfered to another area without knowing why.  But these sacrifices, big or small, are so necessary in our spiritual growth.  Elder Russell M. Ballard said, "Sacrifice allows us to learn something about ourselves - what we are willing to offer to the Lord through our obedience."  We are obedient because we have faith and we love the Lord and we make sacrifices to change our nature and become more like Him.  He made the ultimate sacrifice and because of Him we are able to make small sacrifices and grow significantly at the same time.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission and see the hand of the Lord helping me every single day.  It is the best thing that anyone could do to come closer to the Savior and to learn of His love.  I recommend a mission for everyone!!!  I love you all and wish you a very happy week!!

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 28 -Guarulhos, São Paulo - April 13, 2015

Okay this is our beautiful river (haha right) it reeks so bad and we always have to pass it!!! ugggghhh

OH MAN. Another week has gone by and another week has arrived!  The last week of transfers and who knows?? President Andrew has been very unpredictable these days, maybe there will be a change!  I DO NOT want to leave this area, I love the members so much and my companion is the best.  I hope we will stay together :) This week was pretty great.  We were able to contact and have great lessons with people that we have been trying to get into contact with for centuries.  Seriously M is a young man that we have been trying to meet with for weeks and this week we decided to try one last time.  He was home!  We shared with him the restoration and he understood everything perfectly in about ten minutes...perfect!  He told us, "Of course God would put prophets again on the earth.  It makes so much sense!" He is so kind and I pray and hope that he will choose to progress!

This Sunday was an amazing day!  We had contacted a woman that was sitting on the curb on Saturday, taught her the restoration and she went to church on Sunday with her son!  Also, there was a woman walking down the road Jose Triglia (where our church is) and she was looking for a church to attend.  An Irmã said to her "Why don't you just come to my church?"  Both of these women went and both loved it!  The sad part is that they do not live in our area so we will have to pass them to the Elders :) But it is so cool to see all of the little miracles that our Heavenly Father makes!

The members here in Palmeiras are prime.  They are always wanting to help us and treat us like princesses!  We had an amazing Family Night/Lesson with N (Investigator) who we have been working with for a while now, E (WIfe/Member) and a couple in our ward and their children.  We talked about eternal families and the temple sealing and also how we do not recieve our conversion in one day.  Every single day we are learning and becoming more and more converted to the Restored Gospel.  He understood everything and is so excited to be a member.  He is drinking Cevada instead of Café!  (Cevada has the taste of coffee but has no caffine)  Even with all of the headaches and the big change of religions, N is going to be baptized on Sunday!!  They are a beautiful family.  He decided to leave a life of attending the Catholic church every week because of a few doubts he had about their doctrine.  He felt that it just was not right.  We have been teaching him ever since and the birth of his little baby girl was the touch he needed to soften his heart and accept the gospel as truth.  He is so awesome and will be a great addition to the ward family :)

It is so true that we are working on our own conversion every single day.  Every day I need to feel the truth of the doctrines I am teaching.  I am so grateful the through my scripture studies, bearing testimony and loving others, I am able to feel again and again that it is true.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is everything to me!  I challenge one and all to do something every day to strengthen your testimony and
to be a little bit more converted to the Gospel every day.  I love you all and I am dying to know where Mitch will be going!!  Seriously everytime I think of it I feel like my heart will burst!!!!  BRASIL IS THE PLACE MAN!!!  I hope you all have a great week! I send my love and prayers your way!!

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 27 -Guarulhos, São Paulo - April 6, 2015

What a beautiful week it has been with General Conference and Easter Sunday! My heart has been full all week with such gratitude for my Savior Jesus Christ and how merciful He has been to me in my life. As I have been studying His life in the New Testament and reading Jesus the Christ, my testimony and conviction that He lives is growing every single day. I absolutely loved Elder Holland's special talk on the Savior and his special witness that He lives. The Holy Ghost testified to me that truly we have a Savior and that truly He lives again and only through Him we are saved. How grateful I am to have these truths in my life! It is everything to me!
Well... watching General Conference in Português definitely was very different and a little difficult to understand. But in about a month, I will have a wonderful treasure in my hands of the words of the prophet and apostles (the Ensign magazine). I am so excited to read them in my own language!! This time during conference I relied even more on the Spirit to teach me because of my lack of understanding. I felt time and time again the impressions to be more Christ-like, serve daily and keep gathering knowledge daily. During the sessions I would hear little snippets of the actual voices of the apostles and the prophet and my soul would leap with joy!! I wanted to be able hear their own voices and hear their emotion so badly it was hurting!! Oh I love Conference so much smile emoticon

I loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk on Grace. Every single day we try and we fall and we try again and we fall. Somtimes we do the right things at the right times but at least for me, it is very rare. We pray morning and night and we promise that we will do better and then our carnal minds forget during the day. We read our scriptures and we study the words of the prophets. We feel the Spirit testify of truth and we recieve promptings. We go to the temple to heal our souls and help our families grow in strength and unity. Are we doing all that we can and all that we should? Are we really doing our very best? No, and we never will. He already knew that we wouldn't be able to do our best. But He will always send His mercy. We will always recieve His grace. Because of His love that He has for us, we are saved and we are made whole. The good that we are doing right now is enough for Him, and the small sacrifices we make to follow Him and do His will are huge steps of progress in His eyes. I am finding every single day that I am barely doing anything here in the mission to help the work progress. He is the one who hastens his work and I am here to grow. I am the one who needs to have these experiences and make these changes. I am the one who is being saved by His grace. I testify that He lives, that He loves us and that He is in the details of our lives. He is so happy with all of our little successes and triumphs. He rejoices when we listen to promptings and choose the right. I am so grateful for Him and the sacrifice He made so that I, being such an imperfect person, can have His grace.
I hope all of you have had a great Conference weekend and a beautiful Easter Sunday! I love you all!! Sorry I did not share any experiences this week! And thank you for letting me express my feelings for my Savior! I promise I will have an entertaining story for the next week smile emoticon
Love, Sister Cordner xoxo

She loves to be able to see Sister Johnson all the time now.

A sister in her ward made easter baskets for the missionaries to have Easter morning.