Monday, December 31, 2012

Because I spent forever writing an email to congratulate my little sis on receiving her mission call to TEXAS.......I don't have much time to write much in this email!

But, I am super proud of my little sister, Lisa, for her desire to serve the Lord! I know she will be a great missionary and will represent Jesus Christ, the church, and the Barnes Family fabulously!

This week has been kinda hard. Christmas Day, Sister Araujo fell and twisted her ankle. It got super swollen and she couldn't walk on it. The next day, we went to the hospital. She sprained it. The doctor told her that she was supposed to stay off of her ankle for TWO WEEKS, and they would have to put a cast on. We negotiated a little bit and she was able to  put on a boot and a promise to stay off of it for one week. is like the worst thing to stay at home all day on the mission. You can't watch TV, movies, play around on the internet. I asked pretty much all the members to go on splits with me, but everyone is traveling for the New Year, works during the day, or can't be exposed to the sun. Yep........sitting at home is THE WORST on the mission. I couldn't take it the other day, so I made Sister Araujo walked to the town square to make contacts. Her ankle hurt afterward, so we can't really even do that. Ahhhh.....pray for me and my companion! It has been rough!

Other than that, I am great! Learning and growing everyday! I loved being able to talk with the fam on Christmas Day!!!! I am so blessed to have such wonderful, supportive, and sarcastic people in my life!

Love you all and Happy New Years! May we all set good goals to live more fully in accordance with God's will for us!

Sister Aut Barnes

Monday, December 24, 2012


This week has been the craziest week of my life. Not to mention the weirdest Christmas I have ever had in my life.

Normally, when you are called to train someone, the mission sends you an email saying that you have been chosen to be a trainer! Yeah....I didn't get that email. So I went with Sister Matiaco to the bus station in Porto Alegre where we do our transfers thinking I was just going to be picking up my companion like normal. Nope. They told me I would be heading to the mission home to pick up my new companion. You know what that new companion is a greenie. Yes.....I am a trainer. Yes.......I was scared out of my mind. All of the trainers had a little training and pep talk from the assistants where they talked about he we pretty much have to be perfect because we are raising the next generation of missionaries in our mission. Yeah, I was feeling the pressure. Still am, but that's how we learn I guess! 

My new companion is Sister Araujo. She is from Rio de Janeiro. She doesn't live right in the city, but lives in a little town just outside of the capital. I knew we would get along just fine when she told me her favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice. I gasped and told her that I watched that movie almost on a weekly basis with my sister! Training is hard. Sister Araujo is embarrassed to talk. But it has been really good for me as well. You all know me. You know that I expect a lot from myself and oftentimes don't feel like I measure up in anything. Training someone fresh from the MTC, I have been able to see how much progress I have made since I was fresh from the MTC. I have been able to see how much I have grown since then. My confidence has grown a bit, and I can actually think of myself as a good missionary now. The Lord works in mysterious ways!!!!!!! 

You are not going to believe this. Sister Araujo was bit by a dog her SECOND day in the mission field!!! We entered someone's yard and the dog advanced on us. On me first, but he didn't bite me. Sister Araujo took off running, so the dog bit her in the leg. Second day training and I already had to call President to tell him the my trainee was bit by a dog!!!! 

You are REALLY not going to believe this. The next day, we were talking to a few kids. They were standing in their yard and we were on the other side of this little cement wall. Sister Araujo was leaning against the cement wall, and out of nowhere their dog jumped up and BIT SISTER ARAUJO's ARM!!!! Two dog bites in 2 days. I had to call President again, and he told us to go to the hospital. To make a long story short, the hospital wouldn't even look at her (pray that I never need to go to a hospital here!!!!!!! Not my idea of quality services). To make an even longer story shorter, Sister Araujo was given a blessing and is doing fine! I am an AWESOME TRAINER!!!!! Oh yeah.....totally protect my companion from evil. 

Anyway, things are going well. I am super excited to call home for Christmas! I am so grateful for the Christ child and this beautiful time of the year in which we commemorate his birth! Love you all! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Feliz Natal!!!!

Sister Autumn Barnes

Monday, December 17, 2012

Feliz Natal!

Yeah......I feel like a gingerbread I am being baked in an oven!!! Fazer o que né? I will send pictures, evidence of how my skin is being cooked to a crisp. I think you will get a kick out of it.

On to the important stuff...I think I forgot to tell you all. But transfers are today. This transfer was just a transfer of 5 weeks so all the missionaries who would have gotten home the day after Christmas if it were a normal 6 week transfer can be home for Christmas. I am staying here in Fernandes, but Sister Matiaco will be transferred. Everyone keeps saying that I will be training this transfer, but I haven't received the news yet! Pray for me that it is not true!!! Just kidding...if the Lord wants to give me this responsibility, I will gladly assume it. 

We had our Mission Christmas Conference this week. It was sweeettt. All of the districts had to present a skit or a song or something. My district's performance was one of the best if I do say so myself. We sang "So This is Christmas" a third in English, a third in English, and a third "mission style." Then we sang "Feliz Navidad' (yeah I know that is Spanish) complete with ayayayayayyyy's (hahaha yeah. no other way to describe it). Todo mundo adorou! And we received a little gift from President and Sister Wright.....the little mini Preach My Gospel's in Portuguese. It really is such a cool gift, because they are impossible to get here!!!!!! One of the Assistant's (American) is from the same stake as the guy who owns the Brazilian Airline "Azul." The owner was born here in Brazil, was raised in the US, served his mission in Brazil, and started this American/Brazilian airline. Anyway, the AP called the owner of this airline from his stake and made arrangements to have these mini Preach My Gospels flown into Porto Alegre before Christmas. It really was a miracle that we got them! 

We found some really good investigators this week. It has been really hard to find people that actually progress. However, we are teaching various member referals right now, and I believe that they will progress all the way to baptism. We are teaching a girl named Bruna right now. She is 15 years old and has told us that she has tried to kill herself about 5 times. She is super intellectual and understands everything that we have been teaching. I was really able to open up to her and show her how the gospel has made me happy, how it has given me confidence and purpose. I am convinced that the youth nowadays are naturally way more intelligent than passed generations! It is so much easier for me to teach younger people, because they have this amazing intellect! But......the youth these days have SOOOO many temptations! Especially here in Brazil, I think! The Lord armed these youth before he let them come to this filthy world in these last days! I am here to protect them from wasting away their potential or help them realize their true potential! This protection and realization comes through the gospel! 

Last night we went carolling with members of the ward to investigators' and less active members' houses! Amei! 

I hope you are all having a great Christmas season. It is really hard to be away from home and loved ones during this time, but it is not every Christmas that I will have the chance to testify of the Lord's birth, life, and Atonement like I have here and how. I know that he lives, and because of his sinless life, we too can gain eternal life! 

Amo vocês! Tenham um Natal maravilhoso! Até mais! 
Com carinho,
Sister Autumn Barnes
A family in the Ward
Me with my mini Preach My Gospel
My feet!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy dia 10 de dezembro!!

Life is a rollercoaster, isn't it? But isn't it great? 

As our Christmas present our District leader Elder Sampson and his companion, Elder Boeno worked in our area of Fernandes the other day. They spent about three hours making contacts and knocking doors to help us find new investigators. They talked to a woman named Rosa. When they passed her name and address over to us after their three hours were over, they explained, "I don't think she has very much interest. We'll see." So the other day, one of our appointments fell through (as is custom with these easy-going Brazilians), and I felt strongly that we should try to find Rosa's house even if it seemed to the Elders a lost cause. We went searching for her house. After a while of trying to find the address, we almost gave up. However, we decided to ask a woman that was standing in her yard if she knew a Rosa. She said that she did and pointed out where she lived. After talking to this woman a bit about the message of the Restoration hahahaha (you have to take every chance you get) we knocked the door of Rosa, or more accurately, clapped at the gate of Rosa. A young girl came to the door. We asked about Rosa and she said that Rosa did, in fact, live there. She told us to enter. However, when we entered, we found that this Rosa wasn't the Rosa we were looking for. This Rosa has alzheimers and doesn't talk. But we asked the girl, Jadye, if we could talk to her for a little bit. Jadye was really shy, but we knew from the very first that she is super special. We taught and set up a return appointment. A few days later on the way to this appointment, we found out that we were searching for Rosa on the wrong road!!!!! hahaha we laughed and laughed about how dumb we were. However, Sister Matiaco and I both believe that we were meant to find Jadye. The Lord left this trail for us to find her. 

At times we don't receive answers to our prayers immediately, but sometimes we do. I hate to admit this, but the other day I was crying to Sister Matiaco because I felt like I had no love for the people I am teaching, the people I see in the love. I prayed to the Lord to help me to feel more love for these people. Soon after this prayer, I had the strong impression that we needed to go contact a reference from the Bishop even though we had planned to visit her the next day. So we contacted her. It is a really long story, but the LOVEEE that I felt for this woman as she bore her soul to me was overcoming. I felt such a strong connection with her and I know I was able to help her. I thanked the Lord for giving me the opportunity to realize that I am capable of great love!! 

I taught an English class this week! It was super fun! The funniest moment was when an old man tried to say, "I am sixty (years old) and actually said, "I am sexy." Wow......tried to hold the laughter in on that one. I wonder how many times I have said something like that!!!!! 

I love you all! I am doing well! Hope you are all having a great Christmas season! I know the Savior was born, lived, died, and ressurrected for us! 
Feliz Natal!

Sister Aut Barnes

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yeah.....what? I hit my one year mark this last week. I can't believe that I have been away from home for more than one year. That just blows my mind. In ways it has gone by quickly, in ways it seems like it has been forever. I have a feeling these last 6 months are going to fly. Everyone says that the last 6 months is the time to shine! I intend to treat everyday as if it was my last. I have to take advantage of this sacred, dedicated, mission time that I have left!
I am still amazed that it is snowing at home while it is so hot here. Christmas just doesn't seem like Christmas without snow!!

I don't know what kind of perfume my companion is wearing, but 2 men (strangers) confessed their love for her this week (2 different times). Don't worry.....she didn't do anything to bring it on, the men were totally drunk. I usually try to keep my cool when talking to people, but the things they were saying were so ridiculous that I burst out laughing a couple of times. For all men out there: if you want a girlfriend, don't try a Sister Missionary......and don't try to ask her out while drunk. 

This week an 18 year old boy in my ward lost his mom unexpectedly. He is the only member of the church in his family. He came to church on Sunday and bore his testimony about the Plan of Salvation. Wow.....I was so amazed by the strength and surety that he demonstrated. I too know that this life is a gift from God. We are not here by chance. We have purpose and a mission to fulfill! I have met so many people that don't have goals for their lives. They don't have any hope because they don't have eternal perspective. They think this life is just full of suffering. They think they are nobodies because they don't understand their part in God's plan. I KNOW that there is more to this life than just suffering. Problems and difficulties faz parte de God's plan for us to learn and grow, but we are also on the earth to be happy to have happy families. Sharing this understanding with everywhen and watching the world open up to them is the most satisfying thing ever! I am so grateful for this!

I love you all and pray for your safety and happiness everyday! Don't let a day pass without reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and serving another!

Sister Autumn Barnes

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hmmmm....What to say?
MY ONE YEAR MARK IS THIS WEEK!!!! Yeah....don't even believe it. 6 months is going to fly. 

Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? I wasn't feeling homesick at all because I didn't even know what day Thanksgiving was!! 

This week was pretty normal. I think I mentioned this last week, but we are finding so many less actives! We met a TON this week, and we weren't even trying. We are working with a less active member who wanted us to teach a few of her friends. This less active took us to her friends house, and after a few minutes of talking, this friend said, "I was baptized into the 'Mormon Church.'" The less active member didn't even know! She just had a feeling that we could help this friend of hers! Haha we'll see what we can do! We also had 4 other people approach us this week to tell us that they were baptized a long time ago! 

We are also teaching a 10 year old girl named Suiany. She has been going to church with her cousin who is a member. She wants to be baptized............BUT her mom won't let her. GAHHH.....breaks my heart. Suiany literally lives in the slums. She lives in one of the most humble houses I have seen here in Brazil. There are three of these shacks on the same piece of land, and among these three shacks there are about 30 kids (many that don't wear shoes) that live there. It is heartbreaking to see the conditions that they live in. I have already seen many people that live in humble circumstances here in Brasil, but many people live comfortably. Suiany doesn't. That is why it is so sad for me to see her mom forbid her to be baptized. The covenants that she will make in the baptism will be such a strength and guidance for her!

Sorry for an incredibly lame email. I must be an incredibly lame missionary. Haha I can't think of anything to say at the moment!! Know that I love you all and I love this work!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Amigos e familiares!

I totally forgot that Thanksgiving even existed! Have fun getting FAT! I'll be sweating all of my fat off! AND.....Christmas is definitely a bigger deal in the States. Maybe it is because of the heat, but it doesn't even seem like it is getting close to Christmas at all! 

 As of late, Sister Matiaco and I are using our ward list a ton to find the less actives and the part member families in our area. This week we only had 2 investigators at church, but we FILLED our Principles of Gospel class with less actives!!!!! These less actives are members that were baptized like 15 years ago, that stayed active for about 4 months after, and have been inactive ever since. I thought this was a great feat (more like blessing from the Lord)  At times, missionaries just think about baptisms, baptisms, baptisms. That's ok, because it is our purpose after all. However, these children that have strayed from the path or never really understood what it was when they were baptized need help to gain eternal life as well. Baptisms will also come through these part member families or referrals from the less actives. 

This week we had a Conference with (a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy that has a really wierd, difficult Brazilian name that I won't even try to spell). He burned us all! After that Conference, I left with the promise that I will dedicate everything that I am to this work for my last 6 months! This Conference was really inspiring and really helpful. 

Well gente, I am doing great! The work is moving forward. There is nothing more gratifying than being the answer to someone's prayer! Love you all!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Obama. Odear. Yeah....this seems to be the thing that everyone loves to mention to me nowadays. Like the First President counseled, I will pray for our new president.

So just an update about Savio (that boy that we met a couple weeks ago). Well......he has soccer championships EVERY SUNDAY MORNING. I will let you guess where he decides to spend his time Sunday mornings. That is missionary work for you.  However, if it is not his time now......we are planting seeds and have introduced him to the truth. I am still praying that he will make the sacrifices necessary to find true happiness in his life. 

Transfers. I will be staying here in Fernandes with Sister Matiaco. I am content with that. I feel like I still have more to do here. 

We went to the Temple last Tuesday. It was AMAZING!!! After 6 months of not going to the temple.....I was soaking up my time there! I didn't want to leave that peaceful, holy place! However, I definitely learned a lot and received a ton of strength to carry on! I know that the temple is a peace of heaven on earth! 

Ummm....I can't think of anything to terribly exciting that happened this week to tell you the truth. The Primary had its primary program and yours truly participated. We taught and sang with the Primary "Keep the Commandments." 

Sister Matiaco and I will teach an English class this transfer. It is funny how so many people don't want to hear about the gospel but are fascinated by the fact that we are we will use this in our favor and teach English in the church! 

Well that is about it for today, folks. Don't you hair is getting burned to a crisp in the sun, the tan lines on my feet from my sandals are totally hott, my apartment is infested with ants, I am about ready to throw my clothes and skirts that I have worn about a million times out the window........but it's all good because I AM ONE OF THE LORD'S MISSIONARIES!!! 
Fiquem firmes! Amo voces!
Sister Autumn Barnes

The temple! The gardens are gorgeous!
At the temple with Sister Matiaco! 
A little unreverent and perhaps a little disrespectful......but everyone was doing it? Part of my zone.
The sisters in my zone on a crowded bus after the temple! It was hottttt in there. 
Yeah.....I was really tired that day....... (Taking a picture of me sleeping is something that dad would do!)
With a young man in the ward. His name is Danilo. He is super cool! This is our version of an appropriate hug!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

First of all, I am really glad that Amber, Derek, and the kids (and also Elder Rick Smith :)) didn't die in the hurricane. I think Brazilians like to exaggerate (how in the world is that spelled?) a little bit. I know that the hurricane was awful for sure, but all the Brazilians I talked to made it seem like my whole country was washed I wouldn't have a United States to go home to. Someone told me that the ENTIRE COUNTRY was without electricity. I played along a little bit, but was laughing on the inside. I was anxiously waiting to use the internet to see how Amber was see if the hurricane had affected her.
The whole world also wants to talk politics with me write now. If you were back home, who would you vote for? Do you like Obama or would you vote for "Meech Homney" (as they call him hahaha). Yeah.....I keep my mouth shut and tell them that I have no idea what is going on at home.......which is totally true!!!

Haha so the area I am serving in, Fernandes, is super small. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Haha I don't know if this is an advantage or a disadvantage, but we are pretty much famous here. Seeing as the area is small, we walk the same roads over and over and over. Everyone has seen us around. We are known as the two Americans that wear skirts all the time. It has become quite hilarious because Sister Matiaco and I will be walking down the street and we often hear punk teenagers messing with us by yelling, "What's your namey?" "I lovey you!" "Let's go!" (aka the only things they know how to say in English). Sister Matiaco and I just laugh our heads off. 

Sometimes on the mission, you feel like you aren't doing anything. You are not making much of a difference at all. That you are incapable. I feel like that sometimes. However, this Sunday we went to lunch at a member's home. The mom and her 8 year old daughter are active, but the father (who was once a bishop) and three more of her kids are inactive and heading down a rough path. I didn't feel like I did anything special, but as we were leaving and the mom was walking us to the gate, she thanked us through her tears for bringing the spirit into her house. She told us that because of the bad things her family often involves themselves in, the spirit doesn't abide much in her home. She thanked us, thanked us, and thanked us some more for eating there and for being a source of the Lord's Holy Spirit. It really strengthened my testimony that we don't have to do AMAZING things or say ELOQUENT words to be qualified to be a missionary or an example as a member of the church, we just have to be worthy and living in such a way that the spirit can shine through us. I was very grateful for that experience. 

Halloween. So lame. We went to the grocery store and bought candy and junk food. I dressed up as Brazilian Sister Missionary and tried my best to talk without accent! Whooohooo!!!! 

I love you all! Thanks for all of the support! Hang in there Lisa.....your call will come in the Lord's time! Wyoming or Temple Square is my palpite! 

Sister Autumn Barnes

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bom dia pessoal!
Dad, now is the season for me to become a (what did you call me exactly? a sweaty lobster?) Yes. From here on out, I will look like a sweaty lobster in all of the pictures I send home. Just my little disclaimer/warning. It is getting HOTT and HUUUUUMID. 

This week we were walking on the street (newsflash) and I decided to stop and talk to a teenager that was sitting on the sidewalk in front of his house. His name is Savio. We taught him the Restauration, and I invited him to be baptized right on the spot. He accepted. I also asked him if he liked to play soccer, because they young men in our ward get together every Friday night to play at the church. His face lit up and he began to rant about how much he loves soccer and how much he would love to play there at the church. We planned to pick him up on Friday and take him to the church to play. Friday comes around and we return to his house. We meet a few of Savio's little sisters. THE CUTEST LITTLE BRAZILIAN PRINCESSES!!! They were obsessed with us. They kept trying to hang all over us, give us hugs, and have us talk to them in English. We clap our hands (the Brazilian equivalent of ringing the doorbell) and his dad comes to the gate. This part is really cool. A week or so earlier, Sister Matiaco had the impression to stop and talk to a man on the street. He didn't have time to talk to us, but gave us his name and address. We hadn't found the time to go and find his house.............but turns out, we didn't have to go searching for it. This man was Savio's dad, and we recognized him instantly. Without a doubt, the Lord led us to this family. I was prompted to talk to Savio, and Sister Matiaco was prompted to talk to his father a few days earlier. Talking to them, we found out that the dad follows the Muslim religion (first time I have come across that here!!!) and that his wife died a little bit over a year and a half ago giving birth to a child. When he told me that, the biggest wave of love and compassion came over me. This man......alone.....raising 5 children. One of his little daughters said, "I miss my mom so much." The gratitude I felt in that moment for my understanding of the Plan of I simply said, "Did you know you will be able to live with your mom again?" This little girl looked at me with new hope in her eyes and said, "No." We were able to testify and teach a little about the Plan of Salvation. How blessed we are to already know these things! It was a really special experience. After this, we took Savio to the church to play. I was really nervous that he would feel super out of place, that he would be shy as we entered the church and walked toward the young men.......but right then I heard a young man yell, "Savio? Nao acredito! Sisters nao acredito que voces levaram Savio para a igreja!" This young man already knew Savio and couldn't believe that we had found him and brought him to the church. Perfect! He already has friend at church!

I taught a lesson in ENGLISH this week! We met a 19 year old boy that speaks english fluently! He wanted us to teach in English. Although I love Portuguese, it was SO NICE to teach and testify in my own language! 

We had a conference with just the Sisters in the mission. It was great! Lunch, talking with all of the Sisters and Sister Wright, and trainings. It was awesome! We also heard that by next year, Sister Missionaries will make up about 1/3 of our mission!!!!! GIRL POWERRRR!

Did you all know that Joseph Smith was born in Germany and later ran away to the States to found his own church? Yeah.......this lady swore by her life that Joseph Smith was born in Germany. I told her that we was born in Vermont (minor detail). What I really focused on was explaining to her that he didn't found his own church, but simply restored the church that  Jesus Christ has established and that was later lost. She didn't want to hear anything about the Restoration, she just wanted to make sure that I had my facts right....that Joseph Smith was born in Germany. Did I miss something? hahahahahaha how ridiculous.......

I will take part in the Primary program in a couple weeks! Sister Matiaco and I are teaching the Primary a primary song in English! 

Halloween in a few days!!! The temptation to trade my skirt for a costume is really strong. Dang. Send me candyyyyyyyyy!!
Peace and Blessings! Paz e bencaos! 

Sister Autumn Barnes

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


To tell you the truth, it has been a hard week for me. I am kind of ashamed to say that my mind and heart was at home. With Grandma's death,   I was thinking a ton about being home with my family for the funeral. I woke up on Saturday, guessing that the funeral would be that day, with absolutely no desire to leave my bed. Just the thought of walking in the hot sun and being rejected by people made me want to crawl into a hole to get some rest and a little alone time. However, I have found that the best medicine for sadness is work. Work work work. And that is what I have done this week. A mission is definitely full of really low lows and really high highs. However, I am grateful for the lows I have had, because I have learned to appreciate and value not only the highs, but the in-betweens. I have learned to count all the little teeny tiny blessings and tender mercies that I receive from the hand of the Lord daily. 

Things are going well with Sister Matiaco. I am so impressed by her love for the people. I have to admit, that I sometimes don't have the patience or charity that I should have.......she is teaching me that I should definitely be more Christlike in that respect. We have some really special people that we are teaching right now, but there always seems to be something that stands in between them and baptism! As an instrument in the Lord's hands....I am planning on knocking down those barriers! 

They don't really have Halloween here. Bummer. No free candy for me. **unless someone wants to send me a package hint hint* I'll even say "Trick or Treat!' 

On Thursday, all of the Sister Missionaries are going to have an exclusive conference with Sister Wright. GIRL TIME! I am pretty excited.....Sister Wright is amazingggg. 

I know that this Gospel is true and is worth every sacrifice in living! Love you all! 

Sister Autumn Barnes
All of the Sisters in my zone at General Conference
Me and Sister Matiaco

Monday, October 15, 2012

I just got the news that Grandma Lever passed away. When I left on the mission, I was I knew that I would probably never see her again, but I had that hope that because of that surgery, she would stick around for a little while longer. After the surgery, I knew this wouldn't be the case. I can't picture my life without grandma.....without going to her house for family parties and for holidays. I can't picture not receiving a bag of popcorn and five dollars from her at Christmas. I always pictured her present at my wedding. I will always remember when I sat with her in the Celestial Room of the Temple after going through for the first time and hearing her bear her testimony in that holy place. However, I remember how much she missed Grandpa and longed to be reunited with him. She lived a long and GOOD life. I swear there was not a bad cell in her body. I will forever be indebted to my grandma and for her testimony.....her insistance to be sealed in the temple. The righteous way she raised my mom who in turn raised me in righteousness. I am so grateful for the legacy that she has left. I love her so much and know that I will be reunited with her one day as well! I am really heartbroken that I won't be able to attend the temple, but it brings me peace to know that I am sharing the knowledge of a forever family with all these people here that don't have a knowledge. Mom, I love you as well and pray that you are at peace. Let me know how the funeral goes. Please send all of my love. I love you, Grandma Lever.

Sister Autumn Rae Barnes
Holy Cow!!!!!!
Sounds like the whole world is leaving on a mission! I bet it is a big deal right now. Poor Single's Ward Bishops!!!! However, I am super excited! The missions are going to start booming! I'm sure I'll still be around to see my mission start growing in these coming months! We need it!

A lot of really cool things happened this week. We had a zone conference on Friday (I was expecting to get a couple of packages that I know are coming for me, but the Elders didn't bring packages, just letters!! I was ticked! But also excited to get letters!) The Zone Conference really pepped me up, and I left feeling ready to scream the gospel from the rooftops! 

This is what followed: Sister Matiaco and I stopped to talk to a guy sitting at a bus stop. He couldn't talk nor hear. He was deaf. So we started talking to him by writing everything down. He would respond by texting on his phone. His name is Anderson and he is in the Air Force. We wrote a little bit about how God is aware of him and his trials and that one day the Lord will restore his hearing in the Resurrection. He made a gesture to signify prayer, pointed to the heavens, and then pointed to us. I am not exactly sure what he meant to say, but I took it as we were an answer to his prayers. He doesn't live in our area, so we took down his address and passed it to the Elders. I am interested to see what happens!

We also found an elect family. We were a little lost, searching for a road. A man called to us and asked if he could help us find the road we were looking for. He helped us out, and we introduced ourselves. We made a return appointment. We then went in search of the road, but decided to stop at a member's that was on the way. After a bit, we left the member's home and went in search of the road again when I heard someone call out, "Barneys" (my name here in Brazil. I can't even count how many people have teased me about a purple dinosaur. No one here understands that "Barneys" isn't how you actually pronounce my name). Anyway, Jeferson (the man from before) had been running and saw us walking. He thought that we hadn't found the road yet....that we had been wandering. He invited us to his house in that moment to meet his wife and two adorable daughters. They are amazing! The most beautiful family I have seen here in Brazil! They didn't really agree all the way with the Restoration, but they are reading the Book of Mormon and I am praying that they will be touched by the Lord. I can picture this family in white!

We also met a woman named Francisca. To make a long story short, she cried in our second lesson because she said that when we leave she will miss us and the feeling of peace that she always feels when we are around. We explained to her that she too could have this spirit of peace with her at all times by entering into the waters of baptism. She accepted right off the bat. However, she is not married and has a couple problems, so we will have to work through that, but I really feel like the Lord is preparing her. 

It is not too hot yet! I thank the Lord everyday that it isn't already burning hot!....I am not ready for that again! Now that it is getting cold back home, send some of that this way! Please and thank you. 

I am also reading the Book, Jesus the Christ, and I am learning so much! The more conhecimento that I gain in regards to the Savior, the more I am amazed by the sacrifice that he made. I love Him so much! 

Like I said in the last email, I am learning a lot from Sister Matiaco. We have been having the most meaningful companionship studies. I thirst for this everyday! I am so grateful that the Lord has given me this year and a half to learn A BUNCH about the gospel. 

A ton of Brazilians wear white socks with their dark suits. This has to stop. 

Love you all!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Monday, October 8, 2012

As my dear sister Lisa likes to say, "OH MY HECKFORD!!!" I did not see the prophet's announcement coming! Boys can now serve at 18 and girls at 19! That announcement would have been really convenient 3 years ago!!! Haha but I know that the Lord's timing is everything, and I am supposed to be serving right now. I am serving in a country where boys were authorized to serve missions at age 18 because of military requirements and such, so I have seen how the 18 year old missionaries serve. I feel like they are just as capable as any 19 year old missionary. I was shocked when President Monson announced that 18 year old boys from every country would be able to serve. My head was still reeling when he announced that girls can serve at freakin 19 YEARS OLD!!!! My hands literally flew to my mouth to keep me from letting out a huge gasp. My first thought was my little sister who would make an awesome missionary, but didn't know if a mission would fit into her plans if she had to wait two years. My second thought was actually a confirmation that we are truly living in the last days. The Lord is building up his missionary army. The gospel is going to go much farther than it has ever gone before. We will be receiving reinforcements of willing and prepared 18 year old boys and 19 year old girls here in our missions. I am sure that this announcement was an answer to many prayers.....prayers of youth wondering if they should serve a mission and the prayers of the people that will be found, taught, and baptized by these younger missionaries. I still can't believe it. I am proud to say that I was serving a mission when this monumental announcement was made.

As for other news, yes I was transferred. I am now in the area Fernandes which is a neighborhood in Canoas. I already served in downtown Canoas, so I returned to the city. My companion is Sister Matiaco, the first American companion I have had since I was made Senior. This is her 3rd transfer, so she is still pretty fresh from the MTC. Her Portuguese is really good already. To tell you the truth, I was really nervous to have an American companion. I feel even more pressure to speak Portuguese better now. I don't have a Brazilian companion to lean on if I need help. Things are going ok. I am learning about patience and charity and reliance on the lord right now.....but that is what a mission is all about. There are always things to learn from each companion we have. Sister Matiaco is very in tune with the spirit and very obedient. 

Conference was awesome. I loved it. It talked so much about being disciples of Christ. We all need to be better disciples of Jesus Christ. We had an investigator there at conference that said a worry and pain that she has had since she was much younger was lifted off of her shoulders. I know that the prophet and his apostles are called of God and are very inspired! 

I don't have much time, but as always, will write more next week! I love you all! 
Sister Autumn Barnes

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

It is P-Day, my birthday, Day before transfers, and a rainy day. 
So here is the big news.....I have been transferred! After 4 months here in Montenegro, it will be good to have a change. However, with transfers always comes the nervousness as well. I don't know what the next transfer holds in store! I am holding out for the areas, Canela (like the Park City of the Rio Grande do Sul) and Elizabete (which is actually in the city of Porto Alegre, close to the temple). We will see! I will for sure let you know where I am when I find out! Pray for me!

My companion, Sister Marques, was really bummed when she found out that she would be staying here. She doesn't like Montenegro or many of the members. I have to admit that this was a really hard area, but I survived and came out of it an even better missionary than I was before. I know that President Wright is an inspired man. I know he has authority to lead this mission. He told Sister Marques that he knew that she didn't want to stay. He said that he knew that she hates Montenegro. But he also said that there is someone here in Montenegro that only she will find. She has to stay here right now because there is a soul (or many) that are waiting specifically for her. She cried when she found out that she has to stay, but after she heard that, she was impressed by the inspiration of President Wright. 

This week, was one of those "I am really grateful that I am serving a mission right now. I guess I am actually making a difference here" weeks. Yesterday, an investigator named Maria came to church. She lost her husband a few months ago and has been feeling really empty. She LOVED church and was made right at home by all of the members. She told me and Sister Marques that she has felt so much happier since the day that we knocked on her door. She said that we have beautiful spirits and that she can tangibly feel the spirit when we talk about the gospel. I really feel like she will make it into the waters of baptism.....I won't be here for it, but I thank the Lord for the chance that I have to bring a special message of happiness to people that are suffering. 

This week is a week of anniversaries. Yesterday was my 10 month mark on the mission, today is my birthday, yesterday was 4 months in Montenegro, and Thursday will be 9 months since the last time I stepped on U.S. soil. Time is time. It keeps on moving!  

I don't know what I will do for my birthday today. Pack my bags and maybe eat something cool! Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Love you all!

Sister Autumn Barnes

Monday, September 24, 2012

Greetings from Brasil!

This week I was able to experience the biggest holiday here in the Rio Grande do Sul......Semana de Farroupilha. This holiday celebrates the time when the Rio Grande do Sul rebelled against the rest of Brasil because they wanted to be their own country. Obviously, they lost this battle, so I don't know why they celebrate defeat.......but whatever floats their boat. Anyway, it was pretty awesome (besides the fact that NO ONE wanted to listen to the missionaries that day). All of the men dress up in traditional Gaúcho clothing (cowboy hat, boots, bandanas, etc. I will send pictures) and the women in dresses called prendas. They have this huge parade with about a billion people on horseback carrying flags of the Rio Grande do Sul. I think it is a cool tradition. I enjoyed myself! We had District Meeting that day, so the Elders dressed up in their traditional Gaucho clothing. I am working on buying all of my traditional Gaucho clothing. One piece at a time. (I am a poor missionary). BUT, I have a pair of traditional pants called bombachas and a pair of traditional shoes called sapatilhas. 

One more week until transfers! After 4 months here in Montenegro, I am kind of looking for a change in scenery, but I will do whatever the Lord and President Wright want me to do. Also, one more week until my birthday! Praise the heavens that my birthday fell on P-Day. I am quite content with that fact! 

I am counting down the days until General Conference! I love it soooo much! I can't decide if these last 6 months went by fast or not, but I am just happy to be able to hear the words of the prophets again!

Sister Marques and Sister Castro have said that I have been talking in my sleep BIG TIME lately. Every night practically. According to them, I have introduced myself as Sister Barnes, tried to hold our weekly planning session, and talked about one of Sister Castro's investigators in my sleep. I am also eating A LOT lately. I have problems! 

This week, a 25 year old guy in my ward got his mission call. He was baptized 2 years ago and has been working since then to be able to pay for his mission. However, after he sent his mission papers in, he soon after heard from Salt Lake saying that they wouldn't be able to issue his mission call until he lost about 40 pounds. He has been working, exercising, dieting, praying for MONTHS to lose this weight so he would have the opportunity to serve the Lord. After months, he had only lost about 20 pounds. I saw him cry multiple times, discouraged that he would never be able to serve a mission. The other day, I got a phone call from him. I answered and he said, "I'm going on a mission to LONDRINA!!!!" (another mish in Brasil). His mission call came as a surprise in the mail the other day! I am so happy for him! I know he will make a great missionary because he will not take a minute of his time on the mission for granted! 

Love you all! 
Sister Autumn Barnes
McDonald's! Never really liked it at home, but I was in the mood for American Fast Food!
Stuck in a rainstorm!
My district in Gaucho clothing. 
 My Zone Leader, Elder de Oliveira. He will be going home in one week. I am wearing bombacha e sapatilhas. (traditional pants and shoes)
A traditional Prenda dress
Horses in the parade

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beloved Friends and Family,

I am still alive! Last night we had the worst storm that I have seen here in Brasil. Lightning, thunder, wind, and rain falling sideways. We got caught in it......there were times when Sister Marques and I literally couldn't move because the wind was blowing so hard against us. We had to link arms and push through the wind. We camped out at home because it was super dangerous to be out there. But, we survived.....and today is a beautiful day!

Today is Sister Marques birthday! 23! I think we are going to a salon and she will be getting her hair done. By the way......I am going blonde! Blonde! The sun is so crazy strong here that it is burning my hair to a crisp!

We found a guy named Marcos this week while knocking doors. He is 26 years old and you can tell he has had a rocky past. Tatoos up the wazoo, longish hair, various holes in his ears where he once had piercings, etc. I think he talked to us at first because he had the hots for Sister Marques. But after we taught him a little, he became interested in our message. We went back a few days later and he had read the pamphlet and prayed about it. We also gave him a Book of Mormon and while we bore testimony of it, the spirit was SOO strong. Sister Marques and I felt it, and there is no way that he couldn't have felt it as well. I always pray that my investigators will be able to submit to the spirit and resist temptation. I hope that he has submited to the whisperings of the spirit and has been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon!! I know it will make the difference that he is searching for in his life!!!.....I know it makes all the difference in my life!

Who is excited for General Conference? I am!!!! I wonder where I will be when Conference comes  round?! I have a feeling I will be transferred here in about 2 weeks! We'll see!

This week we had a conference in Canoas with an Area Seventy of Brasil, Elder Mazzagardi. It was super good. I could sit there and listen to him forever......although my fanny was starting to hurt a bit near the end. But wow......I was really surprised when he spent a huge chunk of time talking about the Law of Chastity. Not the law of chastity as it applies to our investigators........but to us. It scares me to death to know that a group of MISSIONARIES had to be warned of the all the dangers of breaking the law of chastity. He spoke very strongly about this. One thing that really stuck out to me is that he said that there is no distinction between the words "Law of Chastity" and "Exaltation." But anyway....the conference was awesome! I was also able to see a ton of past companions, friends, and President and Sister Wright!

I love you all! I am beyond grateful for the gospel! It has made all the difference in my life, family, and goals!  I love sharing it! Don't be afraid to open your mouth and share as well!

Sister Autumn Barnes

Monday, September 10, 2012

Family and Friends! 
Rain, rain GO AWAY!!!!
My word, it has been raining so much lately! Yesterday, Sister Marques and I left our apartment to meet with an investigator, Marcus, to take him to church with us. It wasn't raining at the moment, so we didn't think about taking umbrellas. we say in Portuguese, "A gente tomou banho de chuva." We took a shower in the rain. And to top things off.......Marcus didn't come to church because he had visitors. Awesooome! Another common mission saying, "The more you get rained on, the hotter your future husband will be." Oh yeah! 

This Friday we had a Zone Conference in a nearby town, Sao Leopoldo. President and Sister Wright were present, so it was good to talk to them. Sister Wright likes to use me as her translator. She is the cutest lady I have ever met. I love her to pieces. The four of us sisters in our Zone sang a musical number. We sang a Child's Prayer. Sister Young and I started by singing the "Heavenly Father, are you really there?" part in English and Sister Marques and Sister Castro followed by singing the "Pray. He is there" part in Portuguese. Then we sang  the separate parts at the same time, Sister Young and I in English and Sister Castro and Sister Marques in Portuguese. We ended by all singing in Portuguese. (hahaha that probably doesn't make any sense, but yeah).  It turned out awesome, if I do say so myself. Judging by Sister Wright's tears, it seems like she liked it as well! 

My last transfer seemed to drag by, but this transfer is flying by! Sister Marques and I are working a lot! We get home so tired that we plan for the next day, and then fall into bed! It is a satisfying feeling to be so exhausted from walking and talking all day! I often wonder where my strength, energy, and endurance comes from! However, the answer is simple.....from the Lord! The Lord loves his missionaries. He strengthens his missionaries! He sustains His missionaries. I know that he is personally strengthening and sustaining me each and every day. 

This week I received 9 letters and 2 packages! Paradise!!!!!!!! I tried to eat my flamin' hot cheetos slowly to prolongue my joy.........but NO! After months without flamin' hot cheetos, I devoured them! Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive in writing and such! I depend on your counsel and encouragement more than you all know! 

One thing I never understood before the mission.......the importance of home and visiting teaching. As a missionary, I see the duty we have as members of the church to strengthen others! Everyone do your visiting and home teaching! I have truly gained a testimony of its importance! 

I love you all! I love this work! I love the Lord!
Sister Autumn Barnes
Getting my nails done! Brazilians are so picky about nails!
Our quartet! We all live in the same apartment. Sister Young, me, Sister Castro, and my companion Sister Marques
With Sister Wright. Isn't she adorable? BTW.....I feel like a giant in this pic. 

During transfer at the bus station in Porto Alegre. This little girl is a member and wants to be a sister missionary one day! She came up to me and asked for a picture with me. Really, really cute.

Monday, September 3, 2012

August!!! What the crazy.....
I am doing well! I have realized that a mission is always hard, but it is so nice to have a good companion to help you get through all of it. I am really liking a Sister Marques. She is beautiful, talkative, and cheerful! She also knows English. She is the only Brazilian sister in our mission that speaks english fluently. Guess how she learned it? She never took a formal class or anything. TV, movies, and music. She knows all the slang.....which is really awesome.

So I am pretty sure that Sister Marques and I were visited by an angel or one of the Three Nephites. We were walking the other day (something we do quite often in fact) when we were stopped by a man. He started talking about how he learned about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a few years back. We talked a little bit, and set up an appointment with him. We went to his house for the appointment a few days later, and we saw him look through the window to see who was at the gate, and turn around. He didn't answer the door. I thought, "That is it. I will not come back if he doesn't want to talk to us." But, a few days later, I had the impression that we should try going to his house again. We arrived at his house, and he let us teach him. A few days later we go to his house and he tells us that he has some friends that live nearby that he wanted us to meet. We didn't have very much time, but we decided to go to his friends' house anyway. We got to the house and it was full of people. We started talking to all the people, and come to find out, half of the people there were members of the church that live in a different town. The couple that live in the house have already been to church with these friends. They were interested to hear about the details of church here in Montenegro....what time church starts, where it is, etc. We also found out that they aren't legally married yet, but they are just waiting for a birth certificate to make everything legal! A couple that wants to be married out of their own free will! That is a bit rare here in Brasil! Anyway, they are a really special family, they have friends who are members of the church, they will soon be legally married, they wanted to know about they are super prepared! I will keep you updated on them. The miracle of this story.....we went to the house of the man that stopped us on the street and introduced us to this family like two days after this happened. His house is completely empty! 

This week I went to the baptism of a boy I taught when I was in the trio. He technically lives in the other area, but I got permission from President Wright to go to his baptism because I taught him while I was covering both areas in the trio. His name is Jonathon and he is 22 years old. He loves Americans because he is learning English right now. The baptism was awesome, and he even bore his testimony in church the other day! 

Sister Marques and I are teaching SOOOO much right now! We are working super hard, walking a lot, sweating up the wazoo, talking with everyone. I know we will begin to see the fruits of our labors. 

Another cool thing that happened........I have been holding on to this one investigator named Malena. I have been teaching her for almost three months, and in these three months, she hadn't been to church once. It is definitely a no-no to spend precious time teaching people that aren't progressing when you could be out finding people that will progress. I have held on to her this long because I love her so much and I didn't want to give up on her. But, I really felt like I needed to drop her and move on. So, I went to her house and told her that I couldn't keep teaching her because she wasn't keeping her commitments. I was shocked by what happened next. She started crying. A lot. She got up to go to the bathroom to get tissue, so I gave her a hug. I told her that I loved her, and she said, "I WILL go to church this week. There is nothing that will keep me from going." Guess who arrived at church 20 minutes early yesterday. Malena. I was so so happy! I think she liked it, so we'll see what happens now! 

I know that God is a God of miracles! He is always waiting with miracles reserved for those who are willing to first exercise a little faith! 
I love you all! 

Sister Aut Barnes 

Jonathon's baptism
Some of the sisters and Sister Wright at the Bus Station in Porto Alegre. 
I finally met someone that can do the same thing with her thumbs! 
Helping Sister Holladay with her luggage!

Monday, August 27, 2012


I forgot to tell you all last week that my P-Day has been switched to Monday. will be on Monday from now on. I think it will be good! Before the mission, Sunday was a day of rest. Here in the mission field, Sunday is the hardest, most tiring day! You have to worry about investigators going to church. You end up walking in circles on Sunday because everyone is either gone or has family over and therefore don't have time to talk to you. P-Day on a Monday will be a good for my soul!

I was totally wrong about my companion! I knew that would happen. My new companion is Sister Marques from Curitiba, Brasil. She has a little over 6 months in the mission field and spent it in Canela (the area that everyone lusts for). I am learning a lot from her. She is studying journalism, so she is super outgoing and really knows how to talk to people and catch their attention. She literally stops people in their tracks in the street to talk to them, something that I don't do very often. She makes me laugh a ton. Yeah, so things are going well with her. This week, we pretty much focused on finding new investigators by knocking doors, making contact on the street, and asking for referrals. We are sifting through the people here in our area to find the elect! This is a really stupid analogy, but I will tell it anyway. I feel like a gold miner. I go out to work everyday with the objective of finding gold.....a golden investigator. However, I have to sift through a lot of mud, dirt, and sand before I find those few particles of gold. We are talking to a lot of people. Most of these people don't want anything to do with us. However.....we have to talk to everyone in order to find those few that are golden! 

There is also another new American that lives in our apartment, Sister Young. She is from Oregon and went to BYU-I for 3 years before leaving for the mission. She is really cool! 

I can't believe that General Conference is almost here! Just one more month! I can't wait! My first General Conference in Portuguese was a bit interesting because I didn't understand everything that they were saying. I am sure it will be a little better now! Oh how I love to hear the words of the prophets! 

Sorry this is a lame email......but my brain is absolutely dead right now! Oh, Vanderlei is still going strong! We visited him yesterday, and he was telling us about how he has been reading from the Book of Mormon everyday before work to start his day off right. One day he wasn't able to read before he left for work, so he called his girlfriend Monica and asked her to text him a verse from the Book of Mormon so he could at least read that much! I was very touched by that. He definitely recognizes the difference that it makes in his days! 

Today I was studying in Preach My Gospel. There is an activity in there that asks you to write down how the gospel affects how you look at your life and the world around you. I had the hardest time writing this down. Not because I didn't have anything to write, but because I had so much to write. The gospel isn't just a part of my life, it is my life. It defines every decision I make. It is so hard to make people understand that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn't just a church that we go to on Sunday. It isn't just a building that we go to on Sundays to worship. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church that Jesus Christ established. Why did he establish it? To fulfill the will of the Father. And what is the will of the Father? To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint teaches EVERYTHING we need to do to return to the Father and gain exaltation. It isn't just a church we go to on Sunday if it is convenient. The gospel of Jesus Christ is EVERYTHING!!!! 
I love you and pray for you all everyday! Choose the Right! 
Sister Autumn Barnes

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 more transfer under my belt. You know what is crazy? I only have 6 left.......and they go by quickly. After this next transfer, I will be the American sister with the most time in the mission. What???? I just entered the mission field yesterday! I am still a greenie!

So, if my calculations are correct, I think a Sister named Sister J. Fernandes will be my new companion. I don't know yet, but that is my guess. I already know her really well because she was one of the four that I lived with in Canoas. I like her a lot. She has a really big heart and helps me a ton with Portuguese. I will let you know next week if I guessed correctly! Also, Sister Castro (my temp comp and a sister that lives in the same apartment) will train an American sister. She is freaking out. She told me that I will be used a lot. Helping Sister Castro and an American sister communicate should help me with my own Portuguese!

Baptism!!!! So one of the baptisms fell through (it is a long story), but Vanderlei was baptized and confirmed Saturday and Sunday!! He was really excited and super prepared. He is dating a girl from the ward who has two kids. They make a beautiful family. The baptism was beautiful. A ton of members showed up to support and it went off without a hitch. However, during the baptism I couldn't help but think that this was just the beginning. I kept thinking about the temple.......about Vanderlei, his girlfriend, and her two kids being sealed in the temple. I will send a picture of all of them so you can see what I mean. hahahaha I made chocolate chip cookies for the baptism (They don't have chocolate chips here so I had to cut a chocolate bar up in tiny pieces. I don't even like to bake in the first place, so you can imagine how close I came to giving up on baking cookies after all that painstaking labor). But the cookies were a hit! Everyone kept asking what they were and if they could have the recipe! Woohoo! I actually cooked something that turned out well! Milagre! Miracle! 

A couple funny things that happened this week:
Yeah......we saw a teenager ride his bike into a parked car this week. Tried not to laugh.....but it was REALLLLY funny. Sister Castro and I DIEEED! You just had to see it. 
Sister Castro found a white hair in my head! Ahhhh! Na verdade, it was really really blonde. I think. But she swears it was white. Yeah........a mission is stressful. haha but it is so cool as well! 

It is getting really hot already. It is technically still winter. Hasn't even hit spring yet. Summer is going to be really long! I hear that the U.S. is experiencing a huge drought right now. Here as well. Barely even rained at all here this winter. 

I want you all to know that I love the mission. It isn't easy. Everyday is a new challenge. But would I trade this experience for anything? No. With every challenge, I am pushed to new limits. I know that the Lord is backing me up in everything. He didn't call me here to fail, but to succeed. This is His work, His glory and I am honored to be a part of it! 

Sister Autumn Barnes
1. My district
2. Vanderlei, his girlfriend Monica, and her two children, Henrique and Monique
3. This sweet tree that I love! 
4. Sister Castro, Sister Holladay, Vanderlei, and I 
5. Sister Castro with a puppy and me with Chimarrão 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Todo Mundo!!! 
I am tiiiiiired! But doing well! Covering 2 areas is keeping us beyond busy! Right now we only have time to concentrate on our investigators with the most potential. When I get my new companion, we are going to have to work on finding new investigators because there hasn't been much time for that lately. 

Good news: Two baptisms this Saturday! Can I get a "woot woot?" No, but I am really excited. Vanderlei is the boyfriend of a member and came pre-prepared and ready for baptism. It has been awesome to teach him. Jese, who is 20 years old, will be baptized as well. He is the boy I mentioned last week, the boy that always felt the spirit everytime he passed by the church. I know that they will be great leaders, great Priesthood holders in the church. 

This Sunday was Father's Day here in Brasil. I want to give a shout out to my Daddy! I love you and am so grateful for the way that you have raised, supported, and loved our family. I thought it was very fitting that I ate churrasco (Brazilian BBQ) on Father's Day. A TON OF MEAT!!!! Chicken, Steak, Sausage, Chicken Hearts, and more beef. I left the member's house about ready to puke! (Lisa remember how much STUFF we ate at Tucanos?) 

Today during personal study, I was hit with the magnitude of my calling. I have authority from God to rescue his precious children from spiritual death. I am affecting not only the lives of people aqui, but eternities!!!! The Lord and I are one in purpose right now! I received authority to be a representative of Jesus Christ when I was set apart as a missionary, but my prayer right now is that I can always be worthy of power from on high to magnify this calling and authority. 

Love you all!
Sister Autumn Barnes

P-Day will be on Monday because of transfers!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hello! Now where to start?

Last Tuesday, Sister Quiara and I went to Porto Alegre for her doctor's appointment. I was a little worried about finding our way to this doctor's appointment, but I found it just fine. Haha I was reminded of my trip to New York City. I remembered our taxi ride from the airport to Amber's house. We almost died. A thousand times. Yeah. That was nothing. The only thing worse than riding in a taxi in New York City......riding in a taxi in a metropolitan city in BRASIL!!!! Almost died. Two thousand times. Hahaha but I was laughing and having a good old time. 

So about Sister Quiara and her doctor's appointment: We got a phone call from President Wright on Thursday saying that he was going to come to our apartment to talk to me and Sister Quiara. (After frantically cleaning the apartment a little bit......shhhhh), President and Sister Wright arrived. President wanted to talk with Sister Quiara in private, so Sister Wright and I went into the bedroom to talk. The first thing that she said when the door was closed is, "She has to go home." I don't know what all of her health concerns are.....but they are serious. She has to be treated at home and will not return to the mission. I can't say that I got along super well with Sister Quiara, but when I heard this news, my heart was broken. I hurt for Sister Quiara because I know how hard this news would be for her. I talked with Sister Wright for a little while longer, and let me tell you, she is amazing. She reminds me SO MUCH of my mom!! Her presence and words are so comforting! A few minutes later, President entered the room and said, "Your companion has to go home to receive treatment. Help her pack her bags. We will pick her up tomorrow at noon. You will now be in a trio with the other companionship that lives here with you. Coordinate your visits." I have never been very good at giving comfort, being a good, strong shoulder to cry on.........but I had to do my best. President and Sister Wright left, and I was left with a Sister Missionary that was just informed that her mission would be over the next day. Sister Quiara cried for awhile, but soon she was filled with a spirit of peace. Mom, don't kill me.....but I gave her one of my luggage bags. She entered the mission field with barely anything.....only one bag. She accumulated a few things here, so she didn't have a bag to fit all of her stuff.....and she didn't have money to buy one. I'll have to buy another bag, but I have conditions...she didn't. The next morning, President and Sister Wright picked her up and took her away. Now I am with Sister Castro and Sister Holladay in a trio until the next transfer. We are working in two areas. Oh boy it is a lot of work. But.....we are hanging in there, and only have 2 weeks until the next transfer. This has been the craziest transfer ever! I have had four companions in four weeks.....Sister Machado, Sister Quiara, and now Sister Castro and Sister Holladay.

The work is moving along here. We are working with a couple of people that have baptismal dates coming up. One is having a hard time with coffee, but everything will turn out. The other's name is Wanderlei. He is the boyfriend of a member. We taught him the first lesson, invited him to be baptized, and he accepted. He has already been to church various times, and I always catch him taking notes and even crying. We also taught a 22 year old boy this week. He said that he always walks past the chapel and always feels the strongest desire to enter. The 2nd counselor in the Bishopric found him standing outside the chapel, talked to him, and set up a visit with us in the chapel that day. When he entered the chapel, he said "Wow. I had a dream one night and I was walking through these halls." There are people out there prepared to accept the gospel and change their lives. Sure, as missionaries, we have to sift through a bunch of people that aren't interested before we find God's elect, but they exist! We have to be fishers of men to find these special Children of God! 

Things are going well! I am getting along with the sisters in this trio really well. I already knew them because I have been living with them. I have learned however, that old habits die hard. Remember how Lisa and I would always laugh during prayers? Well, the other stomach growled REALLLLLLLLLY loud during a prayer........and I couldn't help it......neither could my companions. As they say here when you do something wrong or stupid, "Que feio." How ugly! I blame Lisa. 

I know this church is the true church of Jesus Christ and the only path back to the presence of our Heavenly Father. 
Love you all!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Me and Sister Quiara
Sister Castro said that she would give me five reais if I crossed this bridge. Sure it was only hanging on by a thread, but it was only like a four foot drop to the ground. Of course I would cross it for 5 bucks! 
Sister Holladay and Sister Castro
The night before Sister Machado was transferred.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sister Barnes here!

How is everyone doing?! 

This week has been very trying, but good. It has been interesting with my new companion, but the work must move forward! My companion has to go to Porto Alegre today for a doctor's appointment. We have to take the bus until the bus station in Porto Alegre and then from there we have to catch a taxi to the doctor's office. Advice from Sister Castro: (a Brazilian sister that lives in the apartment with us) "Make sure that Sister Quiara talks to the taxi driver and not you. If he knows that you are American, he will drive all around town before he drops you off. He will milk this opportunity to get a little more cash." Looks like I will have to remain silent! Dang accent! 

Hmmmm.....what has happened this week? We are cutting a lot of our investigators from our teaching group because they just aren't progressing at all. This week has been full of a lot of searching for new investigators, a lot of First Lessons. Searching for the Lord's elect! I know they are out there! 

Yesterday was my 8th month anniversary on the mission! Crazy. I am nearing the halfway mark. Whoa. Weird. Unbelievable. Strange. Haha you know midlife crisis? I think I am going through the same thing right now here in the mission. The realization: "Hot dang, I only have half of a mission left? What have I done up until this point? I haven't accomplished as much as I wanted to. I have to do everything NOW!!!" Yeah.....that feeling. I think it is good though. This will help me push harder and harder!

This week I spoke a lot of English. It was super weird. A man that served here in the Porto Alegre North Mission 15 years ago, returned to visit with his wife. They were at church on Sunday, and his wife doesn't speak Portuguese. I talked to her in English for awhile. Her husband also left her for a little while to use the bathroom. I was able to translate for her while her husband was gone. What an awesome feeling! Haha also, President Wright called me to set up this doctor's appointment with Sister Quiara, so we were talking in English. After I hung up with him, I started talking to Sister Quiara in English. Blank stare on her face. Haha it is really hard to switch between two different languages sometimes! Messes with your head! 

Well, have to go.....but this Church is true! The Savior lives and this is His work! How can we not carry on in so great a cause?
Love you!

Sister Barnes

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I have a new niece!!! Whooo!!!! I was so excited to hear about that! Lola Mae! She is beautiful! Congrats Derek, Amber, Tyson, and Eliza! Can't wait to see her (when she's about 10 months old). :)

So remember that one time when I said that a mission always pushes you out of your comfort zone? And remember how I said that I was really loving Sister Machado and was really content with her? Yeah.....received a phone call from the Assistants to the President that pushed me out of my comfort zone again. Emergency Transfer. Sister Machado would be transfered the next day, and I would receive a new companion. Don't take this the wrong way....I am not talking bad about my new companion.....but my new companion is the Sister that no one in the mission wants to be put with.  I really miss Sister Machado. I feel robbed because I only spent 2 weeks with her, but I know that being companions with this Sister will teach me a lot. I will learn a lot from her as well. Last week I received a reply email from President Wright. I want to tell you what he said to me. 

"Sister Barnes, if you only knew how wonderful you are! I would take a hundred of you any day. We love you so much. You will be great and the Lord will bless you with the language. My wife speaks so highly of you! Help your comp. learn English as she helps you learn Portuguese. Remember the Lord works with the humble in wonderful ways. Your weaknesses will become your strength. (Ether 12:27) I will need you to help out with other sisters who are struggling in other ways. 
Abraços, Pres. Wright"

So I read that email last week and, someday in the future I will have to help out some sisters that are really struggling. I didn't know that this day would come so soon. But, here I am trying to be clay in the hands of the Lord. I am trying to let go of MY wants and wishes and let him mold me into the woman and missionary that he wants me to be, that he KNOWS I can be. I doubt myself. Always. But, I don't doubt the Lord. I don't doubt the fact that he can work miracles through me. I don't doubt that he can make more out of me than I can of myself. I don't doubt that he can give me divine power and help from on high to do the things that I have been called to do. I don't doubt that he can make me an instrument in his hands. 

So here is what happened. Something went wrong in an area of Elders. The Elders were pulled from the area. My companion and her old companion weren't getting along very well, so President separated them. Sister Quiara is here with me, and Sister Machado is now companions with Sister Quiara's old companion and are opening the area where the Elders were pulled from. Haha make sense? Sister Quiara is from Para......northern Brazil. She lives in the region that most people think of when they think of Brazil.............the Amazon Rainforest. We have very different backgrounds, personalities.....but we are both here united in the same cause! 

Good news! Just got an email from the mission. My zone has now received temple privileges! All the missionaries in the zone can go to the temple once every three months now! What a blessing! I could really use a temple visit right now! Thank you President Wright for making the temple more accessible! 

Oh....I have decided that winter here isn't that bad. Yet. I don't know if it will get much worse, but so far it is completely bearable. MUCH better from that flippin' heat that almost killed me! 

I love you all! I hope you all know that I have a testimony of this Gospel. I know that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer and Exemplar. He opened the way for us to have peace and happiness in this life and forever after as well. Look to Him in all things, and you will never go astray! 

Sister Barnes

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I couldn't be any happier with my new companion. Her name is Sister Machado. (Bryce, Liza, Haley, Sarah......her first name is Veronica. Haha bring back any memories?). She is from Sao Paulo and she is amazing. Amazing. This is her third transfer. If I didn't see her arrive in the mission field with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe that she has only been in the field for less than three months. I swear this is her second mission. I think we work really great together. We think on the same page. She is super obedient and works really hard. This may seem like a stupid insignificant detail, hahaha but it is important to me........she likes to walk fast too! Haha walking with someone that just strolls along is one of my pet peeves. But with Sister Machado....whew!! We make good time! Sister Machado has a way with teaching. She knows exactly how to hit peoples' soft spot. Also the way she talks--the words and examples she uses to describe things.....perfect. I am learning SOOOO much from her. Also, the way she speaks Portuguese. is beautiful. 

The work is moving along here! We have run into a slight difficulty, but it is nothing that the Lord can't handle. It is really cold here right now. Church starts at 8:30 in the morning. Few people have warm cars to drive to the chapel in. You do the math. Members aren't even coming to church, so you can imagine how "easy" it is to get our investigators to come! However, those who truly have a desire to come unto Christ, will do what it takes to be in the house of the Lord on Sundays. So.....we are not giving up hope! 

We are working with a young girl named Tamires right now. She wants to be baptized, and had a date, but confessed to us the other day that she hasn't stopped drinking coffee. And......she doesn't want to stop. We are also teaching some other really special people. I have learned, however, that Satan never stops working. He will always be there, tempting our investigators after we leave the house. After inviting people to pray and ask about the truthfulness of the things we taught, a lot of people say, "Oh, I believe what you said". But, we always tell them how important it is for them to pray and ask for themselves. They need to have that conviction! And above all, they need to learn to trust in the Lord. They need to learn to build a relationship with the Lord. Why?  Us missionaries work for a large portion of the day, but we don't work for 24 hours of the day. The best thing we can do as missionaries is help others trust the Lord, not just us as missionaries. The Lord works 24 hours a day!!

I love you all! I am so grateful for all of your examples. I know I wouldn't be here today in Southern Brasil teaching the gospel if it weren't for all of your immovable testimonies! 
Sister Autumn Barnes
Part of my zone at zone conference. Yeah....we color coordinated....cuz we're cool like that. 
I LOOOVE the rain. (please note sarcasm)
With a couple investigators--Maria Alice, Malena, e Vitor. 
My new companion, Sister Machado!