Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 74 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - February 29, 2016 - LOVE THIS PLACE!

Olá Família e amigos!!!

This week has been a whipper!  It went by so fast!!  I feel like the time is slipping out of my fingers!!  But really we had so much to do and not enough time.  We had our amazing zone conference this past Thursday.  I am so grateful for my leaders.  Really the Lord calls those who are worthy and willing to serve.  They are true example to me of disciples of Christ.  I love President Silcox and his amazing wife.  They are my loving parents here on my mission.  I feel their love for me so strongly.

So I do not have much time, but I wanted to share an experience we had this week with a wonderful family. M is a inactive member who has a brother that's active.  She is married to D who has never been to church, and J (12) and P  are their kids.  We have taught them once before, but this past Friday we decided to put them on date for baptism!  We taught the first discussion and it was so powerful.  Really I have never seen a family so prepared to progress in the gospel.  They have a picture of the Sacramento temple in their home and they have the goal to one day have a forever family.  D accepted baptism and really wants to be a good example in his family.  J already wants to be baptized!  So, it is hard because D works every other Sunday, but we are so excited for their desire to change and learn more!!  I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!  The Lord lets me feel His love for His children and it is the most amazing experience to see a family through His eyes.

There are a thousand things running through my mind right now, and it is really hard to explain how I feel right now.  The strongest feeling is that of gratitude.  I am the most blessed person in the world.  I know who I am and I know why I am here.  I know Jesus Christ is my Savior.  I love you all and I wish you a great week!

Today I have to travel all alone to São Paulo!! Ah! There's a problem with my visa that I have to resolve. Pray that everything will be ok!  Pray for F and B!  They need to go to stake conference with us on Sunday! F invited us to go to her church on Wednesday, I am a little nervous... I have heard many things about the one she goes to :)

Sister Cordner xoxo

​This is our life.  We spend most of our life on the bus.  It is always so crazy.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 73 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - February 22, 2016 - EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

It has been a great week!  I have been enjoying every minute, and it is such an awesome experience to work with my two wonderful companions.  I love them.  This week so many crazy, wierd things happened. I do not have much time so I will make a list I think...

- We are teaching a man named S.  He has for sure killed a few people, been to jail, and sold drugs for many years... yeah.  But he went to church on Sunday!!  He was all ready and happy when we picked him up at his mom's house.  We will have to see how much he really wants to change... and we will have to talk to Presidnet Silcox as well... yikes!

- During one of our lessons this week with two young girls, their cat started to give birth to kittens, right in the middle of the room. Yeah, it was so aweful!  I swear everything that can happen happens during the first lesson.  It really did not surprise me.  

- We were able to do an exchange with an awesome companionship that works in Morumbi.  It really was an amazing experience.  They have been dealing with lots of problems between the two and their relationship, but we were able to have a great talk with them about the love of Christ, our responsibilities as missionaries and the sacrifices we make to be more like Him.  Really this is our main goal, to be the best representatives we can be of our Savior Jesus Christ.  How I strive and want to be like Him.

- Now we are taking care of two areas!!  We are working a few days of the week in Vila Ema that is also so huge!!  The sisters that were working there had to leave... so we have a few investigators far far away.  There is an AMAZING Irmã in the ward that helps us, driving us around the neighborhoods that we don't know.  She is a recent convert, six months, and is such an incredible person.  Sister Bundy taught her, and it was so great to get to know her.  The neighborhoods in Vila Ema are so wealthy, it was really cool to get to know a different side of the city.  

We are really excited to work with F and B this week, help them accept a baptismal date, and get to church again this Sunday.  Pray that their hearts will be touched.  Pray that they can feel the spirit in our lessons with them.  

I testify that it is through the small and simple things that great miracles are brought to pass.  This week during lunch with a dear member, she began to cry and share how grateful she was for something I said weeks ago during our message for her.  I did not even remember that I had said what she remembered, but it touched her heart.  A lot of the time we will not know the influence we have over our brothers and sisters, but as we strive to be a worthy instrument in His hands, always working to have the Holy Ghost with us, He will use us.  I feel Him using me often and this is my greatest joy on my mission, as Alma says in Chapter 29.  I do not glory in myself because I am nothing, but I glory in the calling He has given me, the strength, the power and the experiences He has given me.  It has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know He lives, and He loves us.  Let us all try to be a little bit more like Him.  

Sister Cordner xoxo 

Cicero:)  She loves us. Cícera has our hearts and all of our patience... the day she gets baptized, I will buy my plane
ticket and I will be the first one to hug her :)  Ever since we got here we have been teaching her...

Deep in the jungle.  Sometimes it just is not our day and we walked forever to see a waterfall,
and it was closed... "come back next time"  Not even the rain could ruin our day today :)


Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 72 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - February 15, 2016 - Batismo!

Hello one and all! It sounds like it was a wonderful week for the family and a very special Valentine's Day as well :)  

It is incredible how many tender mercies and miracles I have seen on my mission.  There has not been one day in a year and five months when the Lord has not blessed me and our work.  We have been teaching a mother and son this past week.  OK. They are so prepared, and they don't even know it.  B has had a rough past.  He stayed in a rehabilitation home (I don't remember what it is called in English) for a few months and HE IS A CHANGED MAN.  I have never seen so much light and desire to serve God in any other young man outside of the church.  Wow, he is so dedicated and loves to learn.  His mom, F, is so loving.  They get so excited when we go to teach them and we have had such dificulty marking their baptismal date because right when start to talk about baptism, they start serving the cake and juice they always make for us! WHAT?!  The enemy does not want them to be baptized.  But, it will be the first thing we do this week :)  They went to church yesterday!!  They arrived in their sunday best, and no one believed they were not members.  We will see if they will have enough faith to leave their own religions to know for themselves.  

Ok, everyone stay calm... C WAS BAPTIZED!!!!  I can not even explain how special it was.  Really it was perfect.  She is so anxious and so organized the she left her house at 5:40 to be baptized at 7.  I love her.  We got to the chapel and they were all sitting, Presidente Amauri's entire family, with his cute parents and our lovely C.  She was so happy and so calm.  We could tell she was nervous to go up in the front at sacrament meeting to be confirmed, but afterwards was so cute helping stack the chairs after the Relief Society lesson - already wanting to serve, already feeling the small and simple promptings of the Holy Ghost.  It has been an experience that I'll never forget, being able to be a part of her journey.  

We had exchanges with the sisters from Vila Ema this week.  I have learned a lot about how to serve with love and with my whole heart, might, mind and strength.  Truly when we lose our lives we find them in Christ.  Sister Tolentino and I (Remember I stayed with her in Mooca for a week?)  We spent a very HOT day together.  All of our apointments fell through, so we decided to leave a note for S... the investigator that maybe had cancer, remember her?  Well we have been trying to visit her, but she is always so busy and not really wanting to see us too.  When we got to the apartments, I felt like we needed to talk to her personally.  So, we called up and she let us in.  V, her step-son and C her husband were there!  There was a solemn feeling in the apartment as she told us that she really does have cancer, and had found out that very day.  The Lord loves her so much, because in the very moment she needs Him most, He always sends us to be by her side.  Maybe right now she won't accept the gospel, but I know the Lord is planning very special and important things for the future.  

Afterward we headed over to a member's home to help her clean her house.  OH MY.  Remember all the times I have had to clean-up after the elders?  I have never seen worse, I repeat, NEVER.  She is so depressed and lonely, taking care of two little boys.  Nevertheless, in our skirts, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work.  I will not go into details, but let's just say we found a rat hole with eaten up plastic bags with food and horrible things. I think she was very grateful because yesterday at church she said she'd be available Tuesday and Thursday for us to go back, haha.  

I love my Savior and I am grateful for this precious time I have to learn to be like Him.  The process of sanctification is not easy.  It requires a lot of spiritual focus and sacrifice, but there is a peace when knowing that we are doing His work, and He is working through us.  He is my perfect example, and each day for the rest of my life, I will try to be like Him.  I know that I will mess up many times, but with His patience and love one day I will be all that He wants me to be.  I love you all!  Have a great week!

Sister Cordner xoxo

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 71 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - February 8, 2016 - CARNAVAL!

So who's ready for CARNAVAL?!!  Everyone is so drunk here!  It is crazy.  Do not worry though because we are very careful!  This week has been a busy one!  

C is so excited for her baptism.  She is the most prepared investigator that I have taught.  Saturday night she will be baptized!  I am so happy!  I feel and I know that we needed to be here to be able to teach her.  In her home there are only women, so the elders would have had a lot of dificulty teaching her!  But, she is reading the Book of Mormon, and the Liahona every single day.  Presidente Amauri will baptize her and she´ll be confirmed as well on Sunday :)

Thursday morning we were having a great study, us three all together, when suddenly Sister Johnson called (MSTL) and said that we were the sister leaders for our zone and the zone Itaquaquecetuba... WOW!  So, we had to run. There would be a leadership conference Friday morning all the way in São Paulo!  So we packed our back packs, ran to the bus station and bought our tickets.  It takes three hours by bus and metro to get to Belém, and after getting lost quite a few times, without cell phone signal, we finally found the other sisters.  It was an adventure!  It was a miracle I was able to keep calm through it all. I am a new frenzy Kenzie!  What an experience the conference was.  The theme was SERVICE.  Jesus Christ lived by serving, teaching, serving, teaching, showing by example, serving, teaching.  We need to do the same.  We are here on the Lord´s errand.  He would serve all within His reach: members, strangers, investigators, less-actives, EVERYONE!  I left with a bursting desire to look for opportunities to serve.  How I want to be like Him!  My deepest desire, as my brother expressed in his email, is to do His will.  Nothing else.  I pray that I have been a useful servant here in Brasil.  And I pray that I will be able to continue serving all around me when my time is up.  These patterns of service I will carry with me throughout my life.  

So, this weekend we have been trying to look for these opportunities.  Last night, while walking home on an empty street (everyone goes to São Paulo for Carnaval) we saw a sweet little family that we have met before.  They have a flip-flop store and they were moving to another shop.  So we stopped to help them put up the sandals!  It was so much fun to see how happy they were.  They were so tired from working all day and were so relieved to have everything done!  So we left them with great, big smiles and the idea to go back this week to pick up their address.  They have good memories of the elders that always bought flip-flops, so that's good!  We are also teaching a guy named E how to speak English.  He is a great guy, with a lot of addictions, but it is so much fun to serve! 

When mom and dad come in March they need to meet Irmã Josy.  She is amazing.  She has pretty much introduced us to her entire neighborhood.  She cries as she bears her testimony in our lessons, and has recently brought a young family to know the gospel.  A and A are not married but are so open to hear our message.  A is so excited to go to our ward activity on Friday, and Irmã Josy is such a baptizing animal.  She just wants everyone to have the same blessings she has!  She really is so tiny, and so wild, but we love her so much :)

I love President and Sister Silcox so much.  I cannot even begin to describe what they have done for our mission.  They are amazing disciples of Christ sent to bless all of us missionaries.  Thank you all for the emails and I just want to say one more thing that is so important. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY TWINS!! I cannot believe that they are almost 17!!! WHAT?????  So wierd.  Love you guys so much :)  Send lots of pictures :)  Tchau!

Sister Cordner xoxo

The Trio!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 70 - SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS - February 1, 2016 - Surpresas!


Wow, this week has been a crazy one.  So we are in a trio, and we will stay a trio for my last transfer!  I could not believe it! We get along so well, and it is awesome to have another companion to help support, cheer-up, laugh with, and teach with! Poor thing, Sister Swindler will have to deal with me until the end :) It is the first time I have stayed with a companion for 3 transfers!  Sister Sabrina is from Rondônia, way up in the north parts of Brasil.  She is so funny, and practically passes for an American.  I was her sister leader in Mogi das Cruzes, so I have known her for a while.  She will go home one tansfer after me.  We will work good n' hard all day, every day to not get trunky ;) SIX WEEKS!!

Well these past few days were a rollercoaster.  I have never been so emotionally attatched to the work or to my investigators.  So, C is the mother-in-law of Presidente Mauri. Dad baptized his family 29 yrs ago.  Sorry if there was some confusion about that.  I love her so much.  We were able to have a great lesson with her and an Irmã from the ward.  We taught about the temples, and family history work.  Irmã Tatiana shared an experience, and the spirit was so strong.  She finally felt great about her baptism on Sunday the 31st!  But while I was on exchanges in Morumbi with the sister leaders, Presidente Mauri texted us saying that she wanted to be baptized after Carnaval!  What?!  So, she had talked with one of her daughters and her daughter got her confused, and anxious, and nervous for her baptism.  Summing it up, we talked with her personally and it did not go over well.  We were trying to help her understand the importance of the covenant, but she ended up getting more stressed and worried.  I have never prayed so much for an investigator.  We tried our best to teach correct principles, show her love, and seek God's will through the spirit.  Really I turned to my faith in Jesus Christ.  I knew that He would take care of her, and the other investigators.  It is His great work.  He knows exactly what He is doing.  So, we went to church with hopeful hearts, but she did not show up... I still knew that the Lord would not let her fall.  When we clapped at the front of her home, I saw that she was watching BYU-TV!!  What a blessing that Irmã Tatiana told her about it!!  I know that the Lord answers our prayers in perfect ways.  I just need to trust in Him!  

I have never been more aware of the urgency to preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes it is hard for me to balance my anxiousness to help others, my own strengths, weaknesses, and the free agency of others in this great work. Every day the spirit teaches me of things that I need to change, and things that I am doing well.  He needs to be my constant companion.  He is the Master Teacher along with our Savior Jesus Christ.  Without the constant peace, love and hope that I feel in my heart because of Holy Ghost, I would not be able to do anything here.  I am so grateful for a merciful Heavenly Father that lets me know that I am His daughter.  I am so blessed.  

We will be cleaning up our teaching pool this week. So many people do not want to change or show their faith through sacrifice.  BUT, I know that there are still those who are prepared!!  ONWARD EVER ONWARD Elder Cordner!  I love you all and I hope all of this makes sense!!  Pray for new people!! Amo todos vocês!!  


Sister Cordner xoxo