Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Queridos familiares e amigos,

This week I am doing much better! I think it is always a little hard the first week after a transfer. I am settling in right now. 

The weather was nice yesterday.....warmer than it has been! I will be buying more clothes for cold weather today! Here, you can't escape from the cold! I don't go home to a warm apartment every night, I go home to an icy apartment! In fact, it is warmer outside than it is inside my apartment. No built-in heating! Let me tell you.......I find something seriously wrong with the fact that I can see my breath inside my house! If it wasn't in the Missionary Handbook that I have to shower on a regular basis, I don't think I would! The shower is warm, but the air is not! Wow.........the steam that I create from my warm showers in the cold bathroom is seriously impressive! The cold weather doesn't help my problem of having a hard time waking up in the morning. Leaving the warm bed...................a nightmare! This place is so crazy. I don't understand how this place can be sooooo flippin hot and soooooo flippin cold as well! 

I am living with three other sisters. My companion, Sister Ferinho from Mozambique, Sister Holladay from California, and Sister Castro from Manaus, Brazil. We have some pretty good times together. Last P-Day we played UNO for an eternity, watched some church videos, drank some Chimarrão, and laughed a lot. I found it a little difficult to play UNO in Portuguese. I wanted to say, "YOU BUM!" so many times. Nonetheless.....it was way fun. 

I was able to attend a broadcast of the Manaus, Brazil Temple dedication! It was so so so great. We woke up early and caught a bus to a stake center in a nearby city. We watched it there. The night before, we told our Zone Leaders over the phone that we didn't have white handkerchiefs for the Hosannah Shout. We show up at the Stake Center the next day and the Elders had white (or somewhat white) handkerchiefs (or somewhat handkerchiefs) for us. Uh yeah.....they cut up an old white dress shirt to make the handkerchiefs. Ghetto? Very. Did they work? Youbetchya. President Uchtdorf dedicated the temple. Elder Cook was also there. President Uchtdorf was cracking me up while they were doing the ceremonial cornerstone thingy. He is so funny! He had a translator.......but everything he was saying was not translatable (I am pretty sure that is not a word, but let's go with it). I felt kind of bad because all of the American missionaries were cracking up..... but no one else knew what was going on. Anyway, the spirit was so strong during the dedication of the temple. Brazil is such a special, blessed nation. The members here are so dedicated, so strong. During the dedication, I felt so privileged to be serving among these people! The people of Manaus and Northern Brazil deserve that temple. They worked so hard and sacrificed so much to finally see their temple be dedicated! It made me think about how lucky we are, at home in Utah, to have SOOOO many temples SOOOO close by! Take advantage of that! The temple truly is the House of the Lord.....a sacred place here on this earth. 

Oh, and Sister Castro.....the Sister from Manaus.....saw her sister, some of her best friends, and lots of people from her stake as they were participating in the dedication. She was pretty emotional! The dedication meant a lot for her! 

We are teaching a man named Jose Fabiane right now. He is really special. He has so much desire to be baptized, but he is working through some things right now. He is not happy, but he knows that through the gospel he will find true and lasting happiness. The other day I was telling him how the gospel is a gospel of happiness. He looked right into my eyes and said, "Are you truly happy?" Thanks to my Savior, Jesus Christ, His atoning sacrifice, His restored gospel here on the earth......I could honestly look straight into his eyes and say, "Yes. Yes I am." There are so many people in this world that aren't happy, that are hurting. With the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, we still have trials and heartaches.......but we have hope, we have family to support us, we can bear our burdens with faith. What a privilege it is to help people find this happiness. 

I love you all! I pray for you everyday! I know that this gospel is true. That it truly brings great and lasting happiness in this world and in the eternities. 
Sister Autumn Barnes
At the Porto Alegre Temple
Porto Alegre Temple at sunset
Sister Conegundes (I lived with her in the MTC) and Sister Wegener at a Zone Conference
My little Luiza after her baptism (Canoas)
A picnic that we had when I was in Canoas
Drinking Chimarrão in my apartment
My companion, Sister Ferinho, and I after the Manaus Temple dedication 
I taught this couple when I was in Novo Hamburgo. They were baptized the week after I was transferred. They are amazing. They gained a testimony the second they heard about the Restoration.

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