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!!