Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 24th E-mail

Hello Family and Friends!
This is the last week in the CTM!!!! I definitely have mixed feelings at this point! I am so excited to get out and be among the people. It has been hard to concentrate and study hard these past couple of days. I have a little bit of cabin fever after being in the same place and doing the exact same thing for two months. However, the fact that the Portuguese is a little rough worries me a tad. Next time you hear from me, I will be in the mission field!
Yesterday I went out onto the streets to proscelyte (I have no idea how to spell that). That was an interesting experience. We had four copies of the Book of Mormon. I was a little nervous to go out there, but the minute I stepped out of the gate, I walked right over to a lady sitting at a table and starting talking to her. She knew about the Book of Mormon, but didn't have one, so we gave one to her. The second Book of Mormon we gave away about 20 minutes later. We gave it to an old man sitting on a bench. He only had a couple of teeth, but he was so nice.......well at least I think he was........he was SUPER hard to understand. However, after that, I psyched myself out and got a little more nervous. The rest of the time was kind of a challenge to talk to people. It didnt help that it started POURING AND HAILING SO HARD!!! Anyway, although we didn't place all four, it was a good feeling to know that at least two more people in this world have a Book of Mormon.
GUESS WHAT???? Elder Ballard and Elder Anderson are both in Brazil right now! And guess what? They are both coming to the CTM tomorrow!!! One of the cool things about this MTC is that there aren't many missionaries here, so chances are I will get to meet them. I am really excited! Also, Sister Missionaries have to sit on the front row here at the CTM....I won't even have to fight for front row seats!!!
Sister Compton showed up this week! It was so good to see a friendly face from home. We just got back from running some errands in the area around the CTM. She is going to be a great missionary! I am glad my time at the CTM was able to overlap with hers for a few weeks at least.
I can't remember if I said this already or not, but I found out that my mission has the lowest baptismal rate in all of Brazil. (I really do think I already said this). Anyway, it is because of the heavy European influence down south. I am ready for the challenge!!
I will be leaving to go out to the field on Tuesday. The flight will be about an hour and a half to two hours long. This week I will be having a bunch of in-field orientation meetings and stuff like that! Yikes.....I am so excited and scared!
This truly is Gods work. One thing I have noticed is how God truly gives his missionaries great power and authority. I am around a ton of Elders everyday, and a lot of them are SO immature! Complete goofballs for sure!!! But then, when they can feel their great power! It is sometimes so surprising! I know that I have that I have that same power and is just sometimes really hard to see that in myself. I have gained a greater testimony of the Atonement out here. Oftentimes we just think of the saving power when we hear about the Atonement. But the Atonement also includes enabling power. Through the power of the Atonement, the Lord gives us strength and abilities beyond our own. That is one thing I always try to remember. I am weak, but the Lord can make me strong!
Love you all!!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 17th E-mail

Dear Family and Friends!

Life is good! Life is different, but it is good!
Brazil truly is a cool nation!
The most exciting thing that has happened this last week.......Sister Felber and I got two new roommates! Neither of them speak English! One of them, Sister Conegundes is from here in Sao Paulo, the other, Sister Ferinho is from Mozambique. They are both going to my mission! It has been interesting trying to communicate with them. It was pretty hard at first, but it is already getting easier. It is a little difficult because most of the vocabulary that we have learned is gospel related. It was kinda hard to talk about sheets, soap, etc....but its definitely getting easier. They are really cute and correct me everytime I say something wrong or struggle with a sentence. I like that about them....they are trying to help me!

This week we had to go to the Federal Police Station to get fingerprinted and confirm that we are here in the country. We took advantage of that and did some missionary work while we were waiting there for over three hours.

Today we went to a place called Rodizios....sound familiar? Yeah.....this food was amazing! Chicken hearts, spicy sausage, guarana. Lots of meat! Good thing I am a carnivore! And they had french fries there.....I have missed those!

So....the part of the mission that I was most scared about is almost here! In two weeks I am entering the mission field. I will leave on a Tuesday morning. I was nervous about getting my boarding passes and knowing what to do in the airport, but I will be with Sister Conegundes and Ferinho, so that is comforting to me.

The Portuguese is ok. I still struggle putting sentences together. Hopefully it will come. I know all of the learning is going to happen in the field....but its scary to go into the field not knowing the language very well! Pray for me! I have noticed that I have excelled faster than some missionaries in the language, but then there are other missionaries who are excelling much faster than I am as well.

We got a new MTC President this week. His name is President Degn (not exactly sure how that is spelled). He seems really cool. His wife is super friendly. I like them a lot. It will be fun to see what my Mission President and wife will be like.

I went to the temple again today. So much fun! I almost died about 5 times on the way there and back though. When I am in the middle of bus or van, I dont get too freaked out by the traffic, but today I sat in the very front of the van.....and being in the front of the van is a lot scarier. Crazy drivers!

I have loved all of the learning I have been experiencing here. It can be exhausting at times, but I love it. One thing I have learned as I have been here.....the scriptures truly answer every question in life. Any question that an investigator throws out can be answered in the scriptures. I know they were written for our day and contain the word of God.

I love you all! This church is true!

Sister Autumn Barnes

P. S. The weather is really warm! I dont really notice the humidity.....but it rains a lot!

Tell people if they want to write me within the next couple of days to start mailing to my mission address. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First E-mail from the Brazil MTC

Dear Family,
I am safely in Brazil! Agh....I cant believe they made us take that picture with the CTM President. That was right after we spent a day and a half on a plane. I was hoping they would give us some time to take a shower, brush our teeth, change our clothes before we got to work after arriving at the CTM. Nope....that is why I look so beautiful in that picture. That was me on no sleep (sleeping on the plane was impossible. I was jammed between two big men). Glad to know my beauty was displayed on my blog!
Wow....I feel so overwhelmed! There is so much I want to write with only about 20 minutes to do it. I am not in Kansas anymore! The first thing I noticed about Brazil was on the van ride from the airport to the CTM. The traffic is so scary here! Motorcyles literally drive in between the lanes.....between two big vehicles on the freeway. They all wear helmets....although I dont see how that would help if they were to get sandwiched. Yeah....and there are literally no pedestrian laws. I have become good at running across streets!
On P-days, we get to go out on the town. We just have to stay within some boundaries. Today was my first time out and about. It was interesting. I have noticed that although I know a lot of Portuguese gospel talk, my everyday Portuguese is kinda lacking. I managed to communicate what I needed to......but it definitely wasnt pretty.
Storytime: I was out with the Elders in my district walking around on the streets, and a motorcyclist saw us and pulled over to the sidewalk. He asked if we spoke Portuguese and we told pouco. He literally asked if we could give him one of our church´s biblias. I am so excited for the work here in Brazil. Someone just came up to us and asked us for a Book of Mormon!!!! We of course gave him one and did our best to bear our testimony to him about the truthfulness of the book. It was pretty exciting.
Second Story: I am in this little supermarket looking for their chip aisle (They have zero good chips by the way. I think I might die). When a nice man started talking to me. He asked my name all friendly-like.....then the man stroked my cheek......ugh......and called me bonita.......and kept pointing at his cheek saying beijo, beijo, bejio. He wanted me to kiss his cheek! I quickly got out of there!!!! I told the Elders in my district about that and they said if they would have seen that.....they wouldve been at my side in a second. They are pretty protective of me.
Which reminds me, the district I joined here is full of Elders that I knew in the Provo MTC, so we are pretty much already family.
The Brazil CTM is good. It is a lot more lax than the Provo MTC. It is just part of the Brazilian culture, but all of the Brazilian instructors are always late. I was afraid that the people that were here at the Brazil MTC the whole time would be a lot more ahead of me, but they really aren't.
The food is pretty good most of the time. A lot of different meats. Oh my heck.....I LOVE guarana!!! It is a really popular soda here. We went to this food place on the corner today, and I got this really awesome smoothie. Just like a jamba.......but jamba aint got nothing on this stuff. However, Brazils ketchup needs some work.
I love the weather here. The humidity has actually been pretty nice and has been really good for my drying, cracked skin.
My companion here at the MTC is Sister Felber, one of my companions at the Provo MTC.
This morning we went to the Sao Paulo Temple. It is literally one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen. They have beautiful stained glass, and the ordinance room was decked out in Brazilian wood woodwork. It was gorgeous!!
Some interesting facts about Brazil: from what I have seen, is rather than having toilet paper rolls, they have little sheets you pull out of a dispenser. Similar to paper towel dispensers. The water also tastes like a lake.....but I have swallowed my fair share of lake water in my time, so its no biggy.
Well, looks like my time is up.
I love you all. I have to say that being here has been hard at times. I get frustrated with the language and trying to fit into a whole new culture, but I wouldnt be anywhere else. These Brazilians are truly so Christlike! It is in these times of frustration that I have learned to turn to the Lord more fully. Love you!
Sister Barnes

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pictures from the Provo MTC

Autumn in front of the famous world map at the Provo MTC
Autumn, Sister Zeller, and Sister Felber pointing at their respective missions in Brazil
Popcorn and Cheetos fiends
Sister Zeller and Sister Barnes at Provo Temple

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Letter from the Brazil MTC

Dear Parents,

We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.

They now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting.  These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.

The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs.  He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple.  This will be either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on individual assignments.

Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.  We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “There is no mortal man that is so much interested in the success of an elder [sister] when he is preaching the gospel as the Lord that sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord’s children.”

Please accept our love,
President Donald L Clark and Sister Zaza Clark

ADDITIONAL  information . . .  
DO not send packages to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC and it arrives after your missionary has left for the field, please understand that the package can not be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you. The only other option is for us to open the package and forward the letters and photographs, giving the rest of the content of the package to the missionaries that are here.

WE Strongly eNCOURAGE sENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers.  The cost to get this type of correspondence is exorbitant.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Brazil MTC Address

Please do not send packages to the Brazil MTC.  Brazil packages should be mailed to the mission office and she will get them when she gets down to her mission (see side panel for the address). However, letters can be mailed to the following address. Her P.O. Box number and departure date will be given to her when she arrives at the Brazil MTC.  We will include that when we get it.

Sister Autumn Rae Barnes
Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission
Brazil Missionary Training Center
Rua Padre Antonio D'Angelo, 121
Casa Verde
02516-040 Sao Paulo - SP

January 2, 2012 E-mail

Dear Friends and Family!  
Happy New Year! Feliz Ano Novo! This week has been really interesting. On Tuesday, the sister that I was temporary companions with, Sister Feistner, left for Brazil. She was serving as the Coordinating Sister of our branch. The Coordinating Sister is like the Zone Leader for the sisters. After she left, I was called by the Stake President to be the new Coordinating Sister. I think it was just because I had some exposure to it because I had to go to some meetings etc. with Sister Feistner as her companion. Haha two days after I was called, I received my visa. Saved by the visa!!!! I sure got out of that calling! I was only Coordinating Sister for a few days, but I sure was busy with it. Our branch has the most sister missionaries out of every other branch at the MTC. There are 18 sisters in the branch. 15 are going to Portugal. Anyway, two of the girls were really sick those couple of days, so I had to deal with authorizing companion exchanges so the sick sisters' companions would go to class. Plus, it was kinda a nightmare because the health clinic was closed for New Years weekend. Not to mention I had to serve as the guidance counselor for the Sisters who were fighting with companions. Girls are so dramatic sometimes........I am SO thankful I get along so well with my companions! I cannot handle drama! Anyway, they released me from the Coordinating Sister position yesterday, and my companion Sister Zeller was called in my place.

Which brings me to a sad story. I received my visa Thursday. One of my other companions, Sister Felber received hers a couple days before me, on Tuesday. That means our other companion, Sister Zeller, whom I love so much, will be a solo sister for a month. She hasn't even done her electronic portion of the visa application yet, so there is basically no hope that she'll come to the Brazil MTC. In fact, she'll probably be reassigned for awhile. Anyway, I do not want to leave her. I have only known her for a month, but we have grown really close. We are basically the same person. I will send this picture to you when I get the chance, but we have a picture of the two of us wearing the same outfit. We just showed up here at the MTC and discovered that we had about 3 of the same items of we both wore them on the same day. Matching companions. Cute, neh? I will most likely cry saying goodbye to her. I won't see her until after the mission. We are going to completely different missions. I am praying that her electronic application will come in soon!

I will be flying out tomorrow. I am hoping to run into Teresa Rhodes! That would be great! I am going with a group of about 8 Elders in my branch and also one of my companions, Sister Felber. I am hoping and praying for missionary experiences in the airport and on the airplane.

I am really excited to be flying to Brazil tomorrow. It is a strange feeling to think that I won't be back to The States for 17 months! This is going to be an adventure! I am really excited to be among the people I will be serving. However, I am nervous as well. I am afraid that I will be totally overwhelmed at the Brazil MTC. I am afraid that I will be so lost when everyone is speaking only Portuguese. However, it is comforting to know that I have many friends at the Brazil MTC right now--3 Elders from my district that left a couple weeks ago for the Brazil MTC, other Elders from the branch, Elder Whitney. I'm glad I will have them, but your prayers will still be greatly appreciated!

New Years did not feel like New Years. I had even forgotten it was New Years Eve. It just isn't the same wishing in the New Year at 10:30 pm! Haha I was so happy to go to bed at 10:30 though. I was pretty exhausted, and probably wouldn't have made it to midnight even if that was allowed.

Something that we do to keep ourselves entertained here is spooning. Don't get the wrong idea now. That might be a slightly inappropriate title, but you'll understand why we call it that when I tell you what it is. My whole branch sits together during meals. Someone started slipping spoons into Elders' suits when they weren't looking. Now it has become a whole game. I'll be getting undressed at night and find a spoon in my pocket or in the hood of my sweater. One time, someone even slipped a couple spoons through the buttonholes of my sweater, and I didn't even notice till way later. We slipped a spoon into Sister Feistner's luggage when she was leaving for Brazil. Poor MTC....I do feel kinda bad that my branch has been taking their silverware.....

Family, if you could make sure that the Brazil MTC address is up on the blog, that would be great. If I get down there, and find another address for the CTM, I'll let you know. I also don't know how they will work this, but I will let you know when I get down to Brazil safe and sound as soon as I can. Mom, don't worry about me getting down to Brazil. I will be going with a big group and I will have all of the documents I'll need to get into the country. I will pack carefully and smartly. AND I'll call you from the airport!

I have honestly felt the Spirit so strongly here at the MTC. I swear I was crying a majority of the day yesterday. This work is so magnificent! The Lord's children are so magnificent and deserve the joy, peace, and comfort this gospel can bring them. This gospel has made me so happy. I know the gospel has the ability to make the people of Brazil more happy than they already are. All my teachers can talk about is how Christlike and prepared the Brazilian people are. I already have a great love for the people of Brazil. I can feel the Lord's great love for them! I know the Lord loves you all as well, as do I! I know the Savior lives and I can feel his steadying arm everyday as I do hard things!

Love you!
Sister Barnes!