Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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 clothing....so 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!

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