Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It doesn't feel like I am living in an oven anymore!

Friends and Family,

Sueli was baptized on Saturday! Wow. To be perfectly honest (and I am ashamed to admit this) I wake up some days and think, "Why am I here?" But, when I saw Sueli enter those waters of baptism........there was no question in my mind. I am here to bring others unto Christ. My purpose as a missionary is nowhere near trivial. The message I have has the power to change the lives and ETERNITIES of people here in Brazil. Seeing Sueli make sacred covenants with the Lord made all of the work more than worth it. I know why I am here........and I will work hard during the short time I am here. 

So about the Toebe Family. Irmão Juares is the Ward Mission Leader. He has been a huge blessing. They have opened up their home to us. Three of the kids from the family (Dwayne, Tina, Carol) always take us to lunch on P-days or play volleyball with us at the church. Oh my....I am to the point where I can pretty much understand everything that people say.....except when I am at their house. There are 11 of them.......so naturally, there are always like 5 people talking at the same time. They also use a lot of slang and tell a lot of jokes and stuff. hahaha so it is difficult to understand what is going on half of the time, but it is fun! It is good for me! It is definitely helping me to converse better! 

Being an American definitely has its benefits sometimes here in Brazil. There have been so many times when people haven't been very interested in our message, but after they ask where we are from......they are suddenly interested. Usually not interested in the gospel, but in us rather. However, it gets our foot in the door. Oh boy, does it. The Brazilians down here love to hear about the United States. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked if I live close to Justin Beiber. It is actually quite ridiculous. Haha it is hilarious when Brazilians try to tell me what America is like. "Oh, it is cold all the time there." "People only eat fast food everyday." But anyway, it is a good conversation starter!

It is starting to cool down! I now sleep with a blanket at night! Whoo! Soon I will have to wear sweaters when I go out! Thank heavens! I love Autumn! (ha, get it?) 

I love you all! There is nowhere I would rather be than here. No one I would rather be than a missionary of the Lord! 
I am so excited for General Conference! Go here the voice of the Prophets! We are SO blessed to have a living prophet on the earth!

Sister Autumn Barnes

My district. Goofs!

Sueli's baptism. Bispo baptized her. I know she doesn't look happy, but trust me....she is. 
 Bad quality.....but this is a picture of us at Irmão Liege's birthday party. Lots of food. Yeah.
My planner! Ethan asked if we cover our planners to protect them. Yep. This is how I covered mine! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 20th E-mail

Oí Family and Friends!

Things are looking up! I went through the last transfer with what seemed like not even a speck of success. No one was accepting our message, I was really down on myself, the language barrier was hard, and the like. This transfer is already going better. The Lord gave us a present on Sunday. We were at church, and there was a lady there whom I had never seen before. Her name is Lurdes. Turns out she hasn't been active for some time, but decided to come back to church. She brought her nine year old grandson with her. After sacrament meeting, Lurdes approached us and said, "Marco (her grandson) wants to be baptized. Will you teach him?" My jaw literally dropped. We went and taught him yesterday, and turns out he has been reading the Book of Mormon and is in Mosiah already. He is nine years old! While I was teaching, I asked the question. "Do you know what kinds of things Jesus did when he was on the earth?" I expected to receive a nine-year-old response like, "He helped people." No, this kid started with the birth of Jesus and told me all about His life up until His Resurrection. He will be baptized inbetween General Conference sessions. 

We will also have two more baptisms this month. Sueli is an older woman who lives alone. We have been teaching her ever since I arrived in the field. She is a woman of great faith, and has a solid understanding of the Bible. She has been coming to church with us every week, but was having a hard time accepted the concept of the Priesthood Authority.....which means she hadn't received a testimony of The Restoration yet. Well, this Sunday...guess what the lesson was about in Relief Society? The Priesthood. And guess what the lesson was about in Gospel Principles? The Priesthood. Let's just say....this was a huge blessing. Sueli will be baptized this Saturday. 

There is a family here in the ward that has become my second family......my Brazilian family. The Toebe's. Irmão Juares, Irmã Liege, and their NINE children. At times I feel like I am in a whole different world.....but in their home......I feel at home. They have been a really big blessing to me as I have been adjusting to the mission. I will tell you more about them when I have more time! 

If I could offer any advice to you all.....it would be this.......keep the commandments. I have truly gained a testimony of just how much they protect us and make us happy. Drugs and immorality are HUGE here..........and it is so so so sad. Disobeying these sacred commandments ruins lives and tears families apart. God wants us to be happy, and he has provided a way for us to be so. Follow him and keep his commandments, and he has promised to bless you! 

I love you all! I know the Savior lives and his church is upon the earth today!  I will write more next week as I will hopefully have more time! 

Sister Autumn Barnes

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 12th E-mail

Dear Mom and Dad! Sorry.....I don't have much time. I am also sorry that I forgot to tell you last week that my P-day will be today because of transfers. I will be staying in Novo Hamburgo with Sister Wegener this transfer. I am doing well! There is a chance I will be able to email tomorrow because it will still technically be P-day (because of transfers!) Sorry! I love you so much!

Autumn Rae
Novo Hamburgo
My District. The Elder with the red tie thingy is wearing traditional Gaucho clothing.
My zone.
At lunch with some cool members of the ward I am serving in! Carol, Dwayne, and Tina.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6th E-mail

Dearest Loved Ones,

Sister Barnes here! This week definitely had its ups and downs. 

Well, Geni's baptism didn't happen. It was all planned for last Saturday, but we visited her on Friday.....and guess who was drinking coffee? That was really disappointing. But, we are still working with her. Even better, the Lord is working with her as well. 

Things have been kinda tough lately. We have been working really hard.......and we are not seeing the fruits of our labor. It is really frustrating at times. I just want to shake sense into some people. However, everyone has their agency, and agency truly is one of the greatest gifts given to us from God. 

This week we had Zone Conference. We took a bus and a train to Canoas, which is pretty close to Porto Alegre. Wow, it was awesome! I learned so much from President Pavan, and from the other missionaries there. Sometimes during the week, I get discouraged and tired, but after going to District Meetings and Zone Meetings like this one, I get pumped to go out there and do my best! I was also able to see Sister Ferinho. Sister Ferinho was my roommate in the MTC...the roommate from Mozambique. I was so excited to see her! I was also excited because I can communicate with her much better now! 

Yesterday was a really good day. We taught a girl named Milene. Milene is living with her mom, who is living with a man who is a less-active member of the church. Milene is 17 years old and has two kids. Her husband/boyfriend was shot and killed a couple months ago. Milene is really special. She is really attentive while we teach. She accepts our commitments with a lot of determination. Sister Wegener and I were worried that the one thing that would hold Milene back is her mom and her mom's boyfriend. Her mom's boyfriend, like I said, is a member of the church. His name is Helder. He has a strong testimony, but doesn't go to church for a couple of reasons. He works on Sundays and he is a bit ashamed because he is living with this woman. However, yesterday while we were there, he told us that he decided he will close his business on Sundays now so he can come to church. SO.....he, his girlfriend, and Milene will be to church on Sunday. The Lord truly prepares people to receive the gospel. I will keep you updated on Milene. 

Well, time to go....but I love you all! This church is true! We are so blessed to be able to partake of the blessings this gospel brings into our lives!

Sister Autumn Barnes
A picture of me and my first package received in Brazil (from Mr. Ethan Mecham!!). Contained Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Made my life. I received it at Zone Conference. Unfortunately, it started raining really hard while we were on the bus coming home. We had forgotten our umbrellas, so we had to run home in the rain. I was soaked!!!!
A picture from my balcony one morning. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012


With Onilda. Onilda is a less-active member whom we visit on occasion.
With Geni. Geni will be baptized March 10.
Happy Late Birthday, Mom. I didn't have time to send this picture last week. 
My desk!
This was the night that Carnaval began. We had our own party with pizza and quaraná! Excuse how gross I look. Long day.