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