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