Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hello Friends and Family!

I was transferred! Surprise! I have no idea where I will be going or who will be my companion! I am actually a little nervous because 5 sisters will be going home tomorrow. With them leaving, we are SUPER SHORT on senior sister missionaries. So who knows what will happen! Pray for me!

This week was pretty good! I had one of those days this week. One of those days that no one wants to have. I don't know why......but I literally had no desire to do anything but cry. All of our appointments fell through, I was sick of knocking doors and being turned away, I was tired of people saying "Wow, you aren't from around here. I can tell because you don't talk very well", I was homesick, I wanted to kick all of the annoying dogs that kept barking at me. Yeah.....one of those days. I am not saying all these things to complain, but rather to bear my testimony that the Lord will never leave of us comfortless. He will always pick us up when we fall. Later that night, I met one of the investigator's of the other sisters I am living with. His name is Jose. Meeting this man literally changed my day around. He wasn't going to be able to attend Stake Conference on Sunday, so Sister Pereira and Sister Fernandes invited him to the adult session the night before. He brought his 2 little kids with him. You could tell that he tried to dress as nice as possible. You could also tell that he was REALLY nervous. He mentioned how scared he was to come, but he knew that it was something good that he should do. A member of the Seventy, Elder Itenose (pronounced Itchy Nosey......I couldn't help but laugh everytime I heard his name) spoke. Jose really enjoyed it. After the meeting, I found out from Sister Pereira and Sister Fernandes that Jose does drugs. Addicted. Also, that his wife passed away. Ah....my heart swelled in love for this man. This man who has major problems and heartaches in life, but this man who is honestly trying to do the right thing. And you know what?? My desire to work hard, my desire to forget about myself and serve these people came rushing back. I am not here for any personal benefit. I am here for the Lord and for his lost children.

So......I don't know what my next week will be like, but it will be an adventure for sure.....new companion, new area, new Mission President!

I love you all! I pray for everyone back home everyday! Stay safe and stay strong! Don't forget to share the gospel!

Sister Autumn Barnes

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22 E-mail

Oi Queridos Amigos e Familiares!

This week was great! Want to hear my blonde moment for the week? So a person from Rio de Janeiro is called a Carioca. The word for "bald" in Portuguese is careca. See where I am going with this? Instead of saying that my companion is a Carioca (a Rio de Janeiro native), I said, "My companion is a baldy!" oh. my. shooooootme.

This week I also had two baptisms: Luiza (10 years) and Luiz (9 years). They are the children of a less-active member. They are so so so so special!!!!! Ah....I love them so much. Little Luiza is already a little missionary. Every time she sees me, she yells, "Sister Barnes!," comes running and gives me a huge hug. Let me tell you about their baptism.......only in Brazil. The heater wasn't working, so the water was ice cold. Luiza was the first to be baptized. She was being baptized by a young priest who had never baptized anyone before. So they are standing in this ice cold font, and the boy performing the baptism can't get Luiza's name right. Want to know why? Her full name is Luiza Maria Vitoria Martins Pereira Cordoza. He had to try several times before he got her name right. After he finally got through her name and the prayer.......he didn't immerse her whole body. Take two. After struggling over her name again, he made it through the prayer and fully immersed her. BUT the witnesses informed him that he goofed up a couple of words in the prayer. Take three. By this time, Luiza is crying!!! Poor child! However, third time was a charm! I was standing at the top of the stairs watching, and when it was all over, she ran up the stairs and into my arms.....getting me all wet! After she was dried off and warm, she was so happy and so proud to be baptized! When Luiz entered the font, he yelled, "Ahh! Agua gelada!" Even though his full name is long as well, Luiz Vitor Jarede Martins Pereira Cordoza, he was good to go after the first time. I want more than anything for them to remain strong in the faith. I want them to keep their innocence and pure faith forever. They are really special. True children of God.

For P-day we had a picky-nicky at this really cool park and went to the zoo. The zoo wasn't much but had some really cool ostriches (I thought of Prince of Persia), monkeys, parrots and stuff. Then we went and played on some of the park toys..............and got in trouble. Haha a missionary I may be right now, but a rebel I will always be!

My P-Day will be on Monday next week. This transfer is only 5 weeks long for some reason.

I have some pictures to send! The whole mission with Elder Holland and my zone for Zone Conference. President and Sister Pavan only have one more transfer before President Wright steps up!

I love you all! I know I say this every week, but it is truly an honor to be one of the Lord's missionaries in this fight for righteousness! Now, more than ever, I KNOW this gospel is true!!! I know it, I know it, I know it!

Sister Aut Barnes

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15th E-mail

Friends and Family,

It was so good to talk to you the other day! Holy cow those 40 minutes flew! It seemed like 2 minutes for me! I also had so much to say.....but feel like I didn't say any of it! Hahahaha also I hope you don't think I am some sort of slacker missionary for saying that I have trouble waking up every morning! I promise I wake up when I am supposed to! I just have to really will myself to actually leave the bed. Oh boy. It will be really hard when it gets really cold here.....pray.for.me.

Funny story.....so after I was done talking with you, I started talking to my companion, Sister Freitas, in English. Totally didn't even realize that I was speaking English to her and that she doesn't speak English. She just looked at me with a blank stare and then started laughing!

Mom, you asked about Marco the other day, the 9 year old boy that was hit by a car.....I found out today that he was baptized! Whoohoo!

On Saturday we will have the baptisms of two kids, Luiz and Luiza. They are really special. Whenever we arrive at their house Luiza yells, "Sisters!" and comes and gives me the biggest hug. She is already a little missionary....sharing the gospel with all of her little friends!

On Thursday, we will have Zone Conference. Here, President Pavan will say his goodbyes. I probably won't see him again after that. His mission ends at the end of June. He has been so great! It will be interesting to see what happens with a new Mission President....especially an American Mission President.

Things are going well! I can't believe that I pretty much have 6 months in the mission already! I am already a third of the way through! When did that happen?

I know this gospel is true! That is the reason I am here in Brazil so far from home! A mission is not easy! But is it worth it? Yes. More than yes. It is also full of the most gratifying, joyful experiences as well. The change that comes into peoples' lives, families, eyes when they accept the gospel is amazing and undeniable! I know the Lord directs this work. I know that he loves all of His children and prepares the way for them to hear and accept His everlasting gospel.

I love you all!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8th E-mail

Dear Friends and Family!

Today is temple day! I am so excited! Like I said in my last email, the city I am serving in is pretty close to Porto Alegre, so we get temple privileges! I have missed the temple so much! What a blessing it is to have a temple in my mission! I am also excited because this will be my first temple session in Portuguese. When I went to the temple in São Paulo, I went with all the other American missionaries, so the sessions were in English. I am looking forward to experiencing it in Portuguese!

MOTHER'S DAY! I am so excited to call home and talk to my family!!!!

Things are going great here! I am still learning a lot everyday! More Portuguese, more about the gospel and scriptures, more about Brasil. Haha I have never learned so much in such a short time span, I think!!!

I heard from Sister Zeller, my companion in the Provo MTC! She arrived in Brazil about 3 weeks ago! I was so happy to hear that! She had to wait forever to receive her visa. We are definitely going to hang out a ton when we both return.....she is amazing!

My companion is great! Like I said, she is really quiet.....but she has great knowledge of the gospel. I am learning a lot from her.

Canoas is good as well. It is a lot more poor (I don't know how to say that correctly in English. is that right?) than Novo Hamburgo. The food is not quite as good....but that should be good for my weight!

I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ. I know it was restored to the earth by the Prophet, Joseph Smith. I don't even have words to explain how special it is to have the gospel in our lives! We are so blessed! The Lord has entrusted us with such a special thing! SO....don't keep it to yourselves! Everyone deserves the eternal joy, peace, and blessings the gospel brings!

I love you all!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hello Friends and Family!

So Sister Wegener was totally wrong! I am not companions with Sister Grant and I am not in a place called Campus Norte. My companion is named Sister Freitas. She is from Rio de Janeiro. I am serving in an area called Canoas Centro. Haha this transfer is going to be pretty crazy. This area is really big......so Presidente Pavan sent two companionships here. (It is usually only covered by one companionship of sisters). So....there are 4 sisters serving in one ward. I am also living with the other companionship as well, Sister Pereira dos Santos and Sister Fernandes. I am living with three other Brazilians......haha I am learning a lot of Portuguese now!! They have been helping me a lot. Our apartment is teeny. When I say teeny, I mean teeny. One small bedroom with two bunkbeds and two wardrobes jammed inside. But....it's ok. All of the other sisters are way cool, so it is working out just fine.

I know President Pavan knew that this arrangement would be good for me. I am living with 3 other Brazilians, so the Portuguese is coming. Not to mention, my companion is really shy and quiet. Really shy and quiet. So.............I have had to step up my game a little bit. With Sister Wegener, she was always really talkative and loved to take charge. Sister Freitas is really timid. I am usually not that timid to share the gospel, but I have been pretty self-conscious about talking to people in my broken Portuguese. Right now, I have had to put some of that fear behind me and just go.....just talk. It is hard.....but it is good for me. Also, Sister Freitas has a really strong accent and talks really quiet and mumbled. She is hard to understand at times. BUT, if I can understand her.....then I can understand anyone!!!

ELDER HOLLAND!! It was amazing. Guess where I sat? Front row directly in front of the pulpit. Literally 4 feet from Elder Holland!!!! And.....I got to shake his hand. And.......he spit on me. Yeah. You know how he gets really excited, talks loud and powerfully, and spits? Yeah.....he sprayed me. Was I disgusted? No. I was honored. That man truly is an Apostle of the Lord. He is so dang powerful! Some of the things he said:
1. The greatest compliment the Lord can give us is to call us his representatives, his witnesses. (I am so honored to be a representative of Jesus Christ right now!)
2. He said, "I think nothing that I have would be mine if I had not served a mission." He included his Apostleship, marriage, children, career in this.
3. He said that we as missionaries are the closest things you can get to an Apostle. The word Apostle means "one who is sent."
4. He also said that a mission is not a childish thing because Gethsamane was not a childish thing.

I will write in more detail when I have more time. But, let's just say that the spirit was so powerful there, and I pretty much bawled throughout the entire thing. This work is so important! I don't even fully understand its importance. This work affects eternities!

Two of the people that I taught in Novo Hamburgo were baptized Sunday! Sad I couldn't be there.......but so happy for them!

Canoas is much closer to Porto Alegre than Novo Hamburgo, so I will likely get to go to the temple sometime this transfer. Super excited for that!

My P-Day is still on Tuesday if you were wondering why I didn't email yesterday. Brazil had a holiday, and the whole city shuts down.....so no access to computers!

I love you all! Hope to have more time next week to write!

Sister Autumn Barnes