Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28th E-mail

Hello Family and Friends!

Greetings from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil! 
This week has been great! It rained earlier on in the week, so it was a bit cooler! That was totally welcomed! 
Both my companion and I got food poisoning or something, but we are better now! I knew that had to happen eventually!

This Sunday, I spoke in Sacrament Meeting. I spoke about Missionary Work, specifically the need to open our mouths. I can tell you one thing.....I will never be afraid to give a talk in English ever again!! I mentioned that to my companion, and she said, "Psh....once you have gone 16 months of only sharing the gospel in Portuguese, you will be afraid to give your welcome home talk in English. I am going home in a couple months, and I am scared to death to give a talk in English!" Haha, we'll see how I feel when I get to that point. 

My companion and I have been working with two people who have baptismal dates. The first one is named Geni. She is in her 70's, lives alone, and is really poor. She learns at a really slow rate, so we have been going over to her house a lot to make sure she is ready by her baptismal date. She is addicted to coffee, so that is really testing her. It is really sad because she told us that coffee is pretty much her sustenance. She doesn't really have much food. I have faith that the Lord will help her through this as she prepares for baptism. 

We are also teaching a man who will be baptized on March 24. His name is José. He is a very simple man....he can't really read, but he said he prayed and knows the church is true. He is humble, and because of this, he has been open to revelation from the Lord. 

Remember the story I told about Sally? The woman who was searching everywhere for the true church? The woman that was touched by the fact that I was here struggling to preach the gospel in a foreign language because it was so important to me? I now know what it feels like to be devastated when someone who has felt the spirit, rejects the gospel in the end. Sally has neighbors who talk very negatively about the church. Sally was feeling the pressure. She didn't want to be persecuted by her neighbors. Really sad. She won't come to church. She is done with us. This reminds me of Lehi's dream. I know she felt the spirit, she partook of the fruit, but then looked around as if she was ashamed and allowed herself to be led away anyway. I know that we did our part, and I have faith that with the tools Sally now has, she will one day be willing to make those sacred covenants with God. 

I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I try everyday to become a little more like Him, so I can serve these people as He would. I feel myself growing in knowledge and faith everyday. I have tried to maintain the attitude that all the hard things that happen aren't trials per se, but rather experiences to learn and grow. 

I love the scriptures. I can honestly say that my scripture study has always just been mediocre, or a tad worse. I love studying the scriptures. I have 3+ hours of gospel study every morning, and it isn't enough. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it contains everything we need to know to return to God and find happiness in this life. 

I love you all!!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 21st E-mail

Hello Family and Friends!

It's the Grande Greenie Gringa here! Yep....that's me! I am new to South America and I am new to the mission! I am doing well! I have realized that a lot of my emails have been really complain-y. I don't mean to be that way. There has been a lot to get used to, but I really am enjoying my experience!

This past week has been the week of Brazil's world famous Carnaval. That has been interesting! We were told by President Pavan that during Carnaval, we all needed to be back home at night by 8 pm. Things get pretty crazy after dark. It has been interesting trying to teach this week because everyone is either at the beach, or they have visitors....so a lot of our appointments fell, but the appointments we did have were really great.

I am getting fat, I think!!!!! This is how every lunch at members' homes go: "Oh, you Sisters are too skinny. You need a lot of energy to walk out in the heat all day." They then proceed to fill my plate. And no, they aren't filling my plate with fruits and vegetables. They fill my plate with every carb known to man. Seriously, down here in the south, an average lunch consists of pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, and beans with some sort of meat. I may not be recognizable pretty soon. I hope you will all still love me regardless.

The language is getting better and better everyday. Still very hard. I have a world of things to learn. Literally. I have to learn a new word for everything in the world. But, it really is so cool to learn a new language and I am slowly becoming more comfortable.

Time is up, but I love you all!
I promise to write more next week!

Sister Barnes

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Febrary 14th E-mail

Dear Family and Friends!

It's me again! I survived another week! Just kidding....I have been enjoying myself. That doesn't mean that my experience hasn't been without a significant amount of stress though. The main source of stress, once again being that of the language. Everyone who knows me, knows that I can be a bit of a perfectionist sometimes. It has been really humbling for me to learn a new language. I can't express every thought and sentiment perfectly and clearly, I can't teach very well because I just stumble over words, I feel like I have lost a bit of my personality because I can't joke, be sarcastic, or talkative with people in this language yet. I am definitely learning patience. Learning a language is a process. Over time, I will begin to feel more comfortable around the people and with myself. I realize that the amount of Portuguese I know, given the time I have been studying it, is a miracle in itself. I just need to realize that I don't have to be fluent right now. However, your prayers would still be greatly appreciated. 

People call my area the hole of the mission. I refuse to think that. Yes, there are days I think that no one will accept the gospel of Jesus Christ here. So many people here are Catholic and they vow they will be till the day they die. Our goal was to have at least two baptisms this month. Coming into the field, I thought, "Two baptisms a month? This is Brasil.....that will be easy!!" Oh boy, have I ever been humbled. We are working so hard with some really great people, but so many of them are not keeping their commitments, are not coming to church. However, I am trying to keep the faith that the people we are teaching will have a change of heart. I wish I could communicate with these people better just how much this gospel will change their lives....will be their whole life. This gospel is not just my religion, it is my life....my way of life. It influences everything I do. I pray everyday that I will be able to communicate my testimony to these great people. 

More about Brazil:
I have been eating a lot of beans and rice!!!!! Before the mission, I never really cared for beans.....but now I don't really see what I thought was so bad about them. They also eat a ton of tomatoes, and strangely enough, stroganoff. 

I have given up trying to look super good everyday. I get so sweaty and stinky anyway. 

My city doesn't have a ton of European influence as far as architecture and stuff goes, but there are a lot of Germans that live around here. Everyone asks me if I speak German. 

I love you all! I am doing great! This church is true! I rediscover that more and more everyday as I apply it and learn more about it. The Lord loves us and has a plan for each one of us!

Churrasco. Mmmmm. Yeah, people have to pay like 25 bucks for this in The States. I got it for free at a member's house. Oh. Yeah. 

Sister Compton and I at the CTM.

Sister Compton, Me, and Sister Felber at the São Paulo Temple. I know it looks fake because it is so darn beautiful....but it's not. It's the real deal. 

In the CTM wearing my new Grêmio jersey. Grêmio is a futebol team of Porto Alegre.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


The first picture is me drinking a Chimarrão. Ew. And I look super gorgeous in this pic ...but that is it.
The second is the picture of the view from my apartment. Pretty, huh?
This is a picture of me with my companion and two boys from the ward here. The one on the left just got his mission call to Salvador, Brazil....and the one on the right is going to the Ogden, Utah mission. :)
A picture of my district in the CTM.

February 7th E-mail

Dear Family and Friends,

It seems like it has been years since I have talked to you. I wasn't able to last week because I left for Porto Alegre on the day that I emailed from the CTM. 

I am safely in Porto Alegre. I was greeted at the airport by the President and Sister Pavan, both of which don't speak English, and the Assistants to the President. We went to the mission office, received some instruction, ate some lunch, and then headed to the bus stop where I met my companion. My trainer is an American from Sandy, Utah. Her name is Sister Wegener. She has been gone for about 14 months, but has only been in Brazil for 9 months. You see, she too, had some visa problems. However, she was reassigned to the Birmingham, Alabama mission and spent 3 months there before she was able to come to Brazil. I was somewhat relieved to know that my companion was American. I thought that would kind of help me to ease into the mission field. Haha....I guess it doesn't really matter that she is American though, because she doesn't speak any English to me anyway. She went to BYU as well, and will return for one more year after she comes home at the end of May. She is a great teacher and I have learned a lot from her. 

So I guess I will just tell you a little bit about my experience so far. I am currently in an area called Novo Hamburgo. You can probably look it up on the internet. I guess it is not one of the favorite areas of the mission, but I don't know any differently, so it is fine with me! We live on the eighth floor of an apartment building. The apartment is nothing special in the least, but after a long day, you don't really care what the shower looks like, or how comfortable the bed is.....you just want to shower and sleep! Being on the eighth floor is really nice. We get some good breeze at night up there, so I sleep pretty comfortable. Ok, excuse my french, but.....................it is BUTT-HOT here!!! (Don't edit that out either, Mom). The other day it was 116 degrees farenheit here. 116!!!!!!!!!!! With 95 percent humidity. I. AM. MELTING. However, I know the Lord truly is blessing me. You know how I get really bad headaches when I am out in the sun for a long time? Haven't really had one. I have a couple minor ones, but considering how hot it is here, and how long I am out walking in it......I know the Lord is blessing me with health and strength. Some other interesting things about Brazil: They don't flush their toilet paper here. They just throw it away! That has been an adventure! Oh. So I don't know everything about this yet, but the people down here in the South are called Gauchos. They have a lot of pride in their culture and have many traditions. Gauchos often drink what is called Chimarrão. I will try to explain it. It's this metal cup that they fill with this nasty green herb that tastes like grass. Then they pour boiling water into it. You drink it from a straw that has this filter type thing at the bottom so you are only drinking the water. It is nastiest thing. I still don't understand why they drink it......or why they enjoy drinking boiling hot water in 116 degree weather. I will try to send a picture of it. 

Things are going well. I am really overwhelmed though. The language barrier has been really tough for me. I really don't know how to say much, and it's really hard. Sometimes I feel like I am a child because I am in this new, unfamiliar country and I can't communicate worth a darn. It can be pretty humiliating. However, I know the Lord will help me through this if I work hard and have faith. I was having a really hard day the other day. I was super frustrated with Portuguese. I want to tell you about an experience I had yesterday. We went to the house of an investigator named Sally yesterday. She has been searching, searching, searching for the church she should join. The other day, we met with her, and she promised to read and pray about our message. She seemed very willing and we know she felt the spirit. Anyway, we went to visit her yesterday, and she had a friend sitting on her couch. The moment we got in there, this neighbor started tearing us apart. Her friend was a Jehovah's witness and was doing her best to convince Sally that our church was a load of crap. Sally was going for it too. I said a quick prayer in my heart, and the neighbor left a few minutes later. I was afraid we weren't going to be able to get Sally back after that....she seemed kind of closed and hard. But my companion started talking to her. I wasn't saying anything, because I really didn't know what to say or how to say it. Finally I just bore my testimony to her in really bad Portuguese. Sally was touched by the fact that I would leave my home, family, country to come out here and share the gospel in a language I obviously can't really speak. She realized that this gospel was THAT special to me. I think she really felt the spirit, so we will have to see what happens. Anyway, that really helped my day. It made me realize that my even my bad attempt at speaking Portuguese can touch people's hearts. However, I would still really, really, really like to be able to speak Portuguese. One of these days.....it's a process. 

Family: I love you all. Being down here has really made me miss you, but I am doing fine. It's a sacrifice, but I knew it would be. I am really glad you were able to go to Ethan's releasing. I have no doubt that it was nothing short of amazing. 
I found out that this is the address you are supposed to send letters and packages to. If you have sent it to the other address, it is fine, but start sending to this address: 
Sister Autumn Barnes
Missão Porto Alegre Norte
Caixa Postal 13008
Porto Alegre-RS Brazil-CEP: 91010-971

You can tell everyone that they can email me. I won't be able to respond via email, but they can email me.  I love you. I will write in more detail next week, but I had two weeks of email to catch up on this time.

Sister Autumn Barnes