Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 69 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - January 25, 2016 - CRAZY

FAMÌLIA!!  This has been the craziest week of my entire mission!  Literally, I do NOT know where to start!  

First.  C1 was not baptized.  Sadly she has sooo many problems with her family, is not thinking straight, and is definitley not keeping the commitments we leave with her.  But,  we will not give up :)  Please pray for her :)

Second.  WE HAVE A NEW INVESTIGATOR THAT IS SO GOLDEN!  Her name is S.  Oh my, she talked with us at the grocery store.  Her stepson is a soon-to-be Elder, and her husband right now is a less active member!  She was so excited to learn more!  We called her on the day that she found out that she might have cancer... She told us that is was a sign from God that our church was true.  During the lesson of the Restoration, the Spirit was so powerful, and it was so cool to have V there as well, her stepson.  Every one felt it.  She agreed to baptism!  She is super active in her church, but we have so much faith and hope and we are so happy!!

Third! C3 will be baptized this weekend!!  She has been reading the Book of Mormon every single day, praying, and is so excited!  She took her granddaughter to church this past week and her daughter, the mother, got very mad at her.  She is worried that her daughters will "disown" her because of her baptism, but she KNOWS it is the right thing.  We are so excited!!  I just love her so much :)

Well, we had the craziest Pday today.  We took a 1.5 hour bus ride to walk 30 minutes on a trail to see some beautiful waterfalls!  We went all alone, but it was fun!  Everyone told us that we should not go alone because we would get lost, but fortunately everything went okay :)  On the way back we were running to catch the next bus... President Silcox called me on the way and it was raining so hard.  He told me that we are getting another companion!  But, we missed the bus.  The next one leaves at 5... So I hope it will get there on time to pick her up!  Haha, so we are in an extrememly magical town in the middle of no where.  All the houses are so magical and bright and colorful.  So many little shops with cute things and little places to eat.  I wish I had a few days to stay here!  

I am so excited for this next week.  I love being a missionary.  This week we were able to hear from a few of the apostles in a devotional to all the missionaries in the world.  We learned so much about how to follow the spirit, be a worthy vessel, and how to help our investigators be converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have seen MAJOR changes in our teaching and the Spirit that we feel.  I am so grateful for the wise counsel of our leaders.  They truly are inspired.  

I am sorry I do not have much more time, but I love you all so much!  I am very grateful for the time I have left to be here.  I know that it is still where I need to be!  Have a wonderful week!

Sister Cordner xoxo

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 68 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - January 18, 2016 - Mangas.Mangas.Mangas

This week has been so great!  Really Sister Swindler and I have been so happy working together.  There is so much work, like always, and we have seen so much progress!  

It has been a roller-coaster ride with C1.  At the beginning of the week she was so happy and excited for her baptism. January 17th.  Even with all of her pain that has been coming back she really knew it was the right thing to do... then I asked one simple question, "So, who do you want to baptize you?" Oh, it went all downhill from there.  She remembered the promise she made with God that she would wait for her son to get off his mission for him to baptize her.  She started to realize that ever since she had been preparing herself to be baptized, she had started to feel pain again, and she came to the conclusion that God was punishing her for breaking her promise wanting to be baptized earlier than she had said.  Look how Satan works with our investigators!  She got very scared that if she was baptized, God would take her life away, and not let her see Elder Gomez again.  We tried our best to help her understand the will of God, but we decided to mark another lesson with Irmã Josy and Irmão Ademir, her great friends in the ward.  On their wedding anniversary, they walked in the rain with a beach umbrella to help us talk with C1.  They are such amazing people.  I felt very strongly that it would be through a simple principle that she would realize what she should do.  We talked about faith and how her promise to God was a good thing, a great desire that she had when she made it.  Because she is now ready and willing to make this covenant with God, He desires her to recieve His blessings now.  Yes, it is a good thing to wait for her son, but it would be even better to progress in the gospel, progress with her son, and prepare herself to enter into the temple with him when he comes home.  The spirit was sweet and the room was still, and she felt so much peace.  She asked when we could do the baptismal interview.  Oh my, I never felt so happy in my life :)  But unfortunately, an hour before her interview, she called and said that they were having problems in her family and that she would not be able to go to church, and was not able to be baptized... NOOOO!  We still have so much faith.  Really she is having so many problems, but now she knows that the enemy is trying his best to catch her, and she is literally fighting for her salvation. Sorry long story, but please pray for her!!  

This week so many funny things were happening.  It is the season of mangos, and I do not even know how many I have eaten.  At lunch this week we ate a huge plate of yummy... but if you do not act quickly, the irmãs pick up your plate and serve ya up again.  You do NOT want this to happen. Sister Swindler did not act quick enough and got served up a heaping John Wayne plate.  Oh man, I just looked at her and gave her the look saying, "say a prayer and get to work".  Surprsingly enough she dominated it.  So proud of her.  

So here everyone has a trash rack outside of their houses where they put all the trash bags out of reach of the dogs.  Sometimes, no, a lot of the time they forget to put them up.  I have the perfect height to hit my head on these racks.  You have to focus on your feet walking on the crooked sidewalk, and look up to not hit your head.  So this week I hit my head so hard.  So hard.  Right under my eyebrow and into my eye.  I literally felt my eye come out of its socket a bit, not even kidding.  Once I knew that everything was okay, I looked up and saw a couple watching.  They were so worried for me, gave me ice and her husband got ticked at me for not paying attention... It was cool because his cousin is a member of the church.  Even though they did not want to hear our message, maybe I had to hit my head for a reason ;)  

Oh there are so many stories, but I do not have much time.  In two months I will be able to talk to you all in person! I hope you all have a great week!  You guys have no idea how much I love you, and how great it is to hear from you every week!  I feel your prayers.  They strengthen me!  I love being a missionary!  

Sister Cordner xoxo

McKenzie's Zone

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 67 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - January 11, 2016 - Small and simple things.


Today I am really struggling to know what to write about.  In my head, all the days are mixing into one big day!  But, I will try my best to make this email worth reading :)  Ah, Elder Cordner is just so hilarious these days :)

I absolutely loved what President Silcox wrote me this week.  I had expressed to him my feelings and frustrations with my spiritual growth.  Sometimes we feel like we are either staying on the same level, or even becoming a bit spiritually numb despite our hard work and effort. My wise mission President responded, "Life can be very challenging at times, even when we are doing our very best to be obedient and serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. But these can be times of great spiritual growth. If you have ever started a new intense exercise program you know how much your body can hurt as it is growing new muscles. The same happens with our spirits as we experience "spiritual growing pains". As you and Sister Swindler experience these days of spiritual growing pains just think about how much stronger you will be in the future if you just keep "exercising"" I have been pressed and pulled through this cycle of spiritual exercises, but how I am grateful! 

Can I just say that lessons with members present are just the most amazing things in the world?  I am so grateful for so many members that are willing to sacrifice a little bit of their time for the Lord's work.  We are now seeing so much progress with our dear C3.  She is so exicted about baptism, and all of her confusing catholic doubts are starting to turn into a burning flame of a testimony.  She was so happy at church yesterday with three of her grandchildren that she brought with her.  She really has so much responsibility with her family members, but I know that she is doing her best to put the Lord and His will first in her life.  BATISMO!!  Pray that she will be able to feel the same desire to be baptized throughout the week!

C2 is starting to hide from us.  Really every time we go to her home, we feel like her thirst to learn is growing smaller and smaller.  Sometimes investigators just need a little space to have the spirit work, and to see the difference between life in the world, and life close to the Savior.

C1 is now going onto her 4th Sunday at church!  She is really liking it, and was literally just waiting for someone to help her find the straight and narrow path.  She is still a little hesitant about her baptism, but is showing such sincere desire to know for sure if it is the Lord's will for her.  

We were able to make a few great street contacts this week.  A woman named F that lives with her three children, and four of her nieces and nephews whose mother died from cancer four months ago.  We were able to testify briefly of how the gospel blesses our families and how the Plan of Salvation is God's gift for His children.  We will hopefully be able to teach her tonight.  What a blessing the scriptures have been for me this past week.  I feel my Heavenly Father talking with me through the words of the ancient and living prophets.  I know that when I search, I will find.  When I knock, He will always open unto me.  I love you guys and I pray for you all daily!  Have a great week!  

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo  Alma 37:6-7

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 66 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - January 4, 2016 - I LOVE NEW BEGINNINGS!!!

Don't you all just love new beginnings? I have reflected this week on all of the amazing things that have passed with the old year, and all of the new hopes for this year.  My Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, have been my strength.  I am amazed as I have seen the blessings from heaven being poured over me and my mission.  

Simplify.  That is my goal for this new year.  We, mostly us women in the church, complicate things way too much.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple.  It is clear.  It is easy to understand, even for little children.  When I simplify my thoughts, feelings, testimony, and even words, I feel such a sweeter spirit enter into my life.  I start to see more clearly the Hand of God in my life and the purest hope and confidence in my Father returns and fills my whole soul.  How I am grateful for new beginnings.  How I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

C1 is on track, going to church, this time with one more of her sons who is nine years old.  She has a new goal to stop drinking coffee and really, I know she is seeing a difference in her life.  Of all the people I have met here in Brasil, she has the darkest of pasts.  She has been through it all.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is literally a beacon of light beaming into her life.  She is determined to change.  I know that Heavenly Father loves her.

C2 is progressing very well also!  She once again went to church on her own yesterday, after refusing a ride with any member.  She is such a sincere and diligent daughter of God.  She has SO much potential in His kingdom.  We are excited to plan many visits with members and many family nights this week!

C3 got sick this week... but we are still praying that she will, along with all the others, recieve an answer to their prayers!  

I know, because the Holy Ghost has revealed to me time and time again, that this is the true church of Jesus Christ in these last days.  I cannot deny it.  I know that God talks with His children.  We need only become like a little child, open our hearts and ask Him for an answer.  He is our loving Father.  I am so grateful for the time I still have to share what I know to be true with my brothers and sisters.  What an amazing privilege it has been and will be.  Thank you for your loving and uplifting words this week!  I am determined to do my best this next week!  I love you all and I wish you a happy new beginning!

Love, Sister Cordner xoxo