Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sister Barnes here!

How is everyone doing?! 

This week has been very trying, but good. It has been interesting with my new companion, but the work must move forward! My companion has to go to Porto Alegre today for a doctor's appointment. We have to take the bus until the bus station in Porto Alegre and then from there we have to catch a taxi to the doctor's office. Advice from Sister Castro: (a Brazilian sister that lives in the apartment with us) "Make sure that Sister Quiara talks to the taxi driver and not you. If he knows that you are American, he will drive all around town before he drops you off. He will milk this opportunity to get a little more cash." Looks like I will have to remain silent! Dang accent! 

Hmmmm.....what has happened this week? We are cutting a lot of our investigators from our teaching group because they just aren't progressing at all. This week has been full of a lot of searching for new investigators, a lot of First Lessons. Searching for the Lord's elect! I know they are out there! 

Yesterday was my 8th month anniversary on the mission! Crazy. I am nearing the halfway mark. Whoa. Weird. Unbelievable. Strange. Haha you know midlife crisis? I think I am going through the same thing right now here in the mission. The realization: "Hot dang, I only have half of a mission left? What have I done up until this point? I haven't accomplished as much as I wanted to. I have to do everything NOW!!!" Yeah.....that feeling. I think it is good though. This will help me push harder and harder!

This week I spoke a lot of English. It was super weird. A man that served here in the Porto Alegre North Mission 15 years ago, returned to visit with his wife. They were at church on Sunday, and his wife doesn't speak Portuguese. I talked to her in English for awhile. Her husband also left her for a little while to use the bathroom. I was able to translate for her while her husband was gone. What an awesome feeling! Haha also, President Wright called me to set up this doctor's appointment with Sister Quiara, so we were talking in English. After I hung up with him, I started talking to Sister Quiara in English. Blank stare on her face. Haha it is really hard to switch between two different languages sometimes! Messes with your head! 

Well, have to go.....but this Church is true! The Savior lives and this is His work! How can we not carry on in so great a cause?
Love you!

Sister Barnes

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I have a new niece!!! Whooo!!!! I was so excited to hear about that! Lola Mae! She is beautiful! Congrats Derek, Amber, Tyson, and Eliza! Can't wait to see her (when she's about 10 months old). :)

So remember that one time when I said that a mission always pushes you out of your comfort zone? And remember how I said that I was really loving Sister Machado and was really content with her? Yeah.....received a phone call from the Assistants to the President that pushed me out of my comfort zone again. Emergency Transfer. Sister Machado would be transfered the next day, and I would receive a new companion. Don't take this the wrong way....I am not talking bad about my new companion.....but my new companion is the Sister that no one in the mission wants to be put with.  I really miss Sister Machado. I feel robbed because I only spent 2 weeks with her, but I know that being companions with this Sister will teach me a lot. I will learn a lot from her as well. Last week I received a reply email from President Wright. I want to tell you what he said to me. 

"Sister Barnes, if you only knew how wonderful you are! I would take a hundred of you any day. We love you so much. You will be great and the Lord will bless you with the language. My wife speaks so highly of you! Help your comp. learn English as she helps you learn Portuguese. Remember the Lord works with the humble in wonderful ways. Your weaknesses will become your strength. (Ether 12:27) I will need you to help out with other sisters who are struggling in other ways. 
Abraços, Pres. Wright"

So I read that email last week and thought......wow, someday in the future I will have to help out some sisters that are really struggling. I didn't know that this day would come so soon. But, here I am trying to be clay in the hands of the Lord. I am trying to let go of MY wants and wishes and let him mold me into the woman and missionary that he wants me to be, that he KNOWS I can be. I doubt myself. Always. But, I don't doubt the Lord. I don't doubt the fact that he can work miracles through me. I don't doubt that he can make more out of me than I can of myself. I don't doubt that he can give me divine power and help from on high to do the things that I have been called to do. I don't doubt that he can make me an instrument in his hands. 

So here is what happened. Something went wrong in an area of Elders. The Elders were pulled from the area. My companion and her old companion weren't getting along very well, so President separated them. Sister Quiara is here with me, and Sister Machado is now companions with Sister Quiara's old companion and are opening the area where the Elders were pulled from. Haha make sense? Sister Quiara is from Para......northern Brazil. She lives in the region that most people think of when they think of Brazil.............the Amazon Rainforest. We have very different backgrounds, personalities.....but we are both here united in the same cause! 

Good news! Just got an email from the mission. My zone has now received temple privileges! All the missionaries in the zone can go to the temple once every three months now! What a blessing! I could really use a temple visit right now! Thank you President Wright for making the temple more accessible! 

Oh....I have decided that winter here isn't that bad. Yet. I don't know if it will get much worse, but so far it is completely bearable. MUCH better from that flippin' heat that almost killed me! 

I love you all! I hope you all know that I have a testimony of this Gospel. I know that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer and Exemplar. He opened the way for us to have peace and happiness in this life and forever after as well. Look to Him in all things, and you will never go astray! 

Sister Barnes

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I couldn't be any happier with my new companion. Her name is Sister Machado. (Bryce, Liza, Haley, Sarah......her first name is Veronica. Haha bring back any memories?). She is from Sao Paulo and she is amazing. Amazing. This is her third transfer. If I didn't see her arrive in the mission field with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe that she has only been in the field for less than three months. I swear this is her second mission. I think we work really great together. We think on the same page. She is super obedient and works really hard. This may seem like a stupid insignificant detail, hahaha but it is important to me........she likes to walk fast too! Haha walking with someone that just strolls along is one of my pet peeves. But with Sister Machado....whew!! We make good time! Sister Machado has a way with teaching. She knows exactly how to hit peoples' soft spot. Also the way she talks--the words and examples she uses to describe things.....perfect. I am learning SOOOO much from her. Also, the way she speaks Portuguese. Ah....it is beautiful. 

The work is moving along here! We have run into a slight difficulty, but it is nothing that the Lord can't handle. It is really cold here right now. Church starts at 8:30 in the morning. Few people have warm cars to drive to the chapel in. You do the math. Members aren't even coming to church, so you can imagine how "easy" it is to get our investigators to come! However, those who truly have a desire to come unto Christ, will do what it takes to be in the house of the Lord on Sundays. So.....we are not giving up hope! 

We are working with a young girl named Tamires right now. She wants to be baptized, and had a date, but confessed to us the other day that she hasn't stopped drinking coffee. And......she doesn't want to stop. We are also teaching some other really special people. I have learned, however, that Satan never stops working. He will always be there, tempting our investigators after we leave the house. After inviting people to pray and ask about the truthfulness of the things we taught, a lot of people say, "Oh, I believe what you said". But, we always tell them how important it is for them to pray and ask for themselves. They need to have that conviction! And above all, they need to learn to trust in the Lord. They need to learn to build a relationship with the Lord. Why?  Us missionaries work for a large portion of the day, but we don't work for 24 hours of the day. The best thing we can do as missionaries is help others trust the Lord, not just us as missionaries. The Lord works 24 hours a day!!

I love you all! I am so grateful for all of your examples. I know I wouldn't be here today in Southern Brasil teaching the gospel if it weren't for all of your immovable testimonies! 
Sister Autumn Barnes
Part of my zone at zone conference. Yeah....we color coordinated....cuz we're cool like that. 
I LOOOVE the rain. (please note sarcasm)
With a couple investigators--Maria Alice, Malena, e Vitor. 
My new companion, Sister Machado! 

Monday, July 9, 2012


Hahahaha it's cold again. This weather is giving me some serious whiplash. Yeah. Cold. Hot. Really cold. Really Hot. Butt cold. Rain. I am getting a little taste of everything! 

This last Tuesday we met our new President and his wife, President and Sister Wright. They are awesome! I really enjoyed getting to know them a little better! GUESS WHAT??? Small, small, small Mormon world. President Wright and Kelly Wright are brothers! I told Sister Wright that I am from Morgan, UT and she freaked out on me. She asked me if I knew Kelly Wright. Yep. Then told me that President and Kelly are, in fact, brothers! Perty coool. Sister Wright told me with tears in her eyes that she and Sherri Wright used to get together once a week for two hours and study the gospel together. She misses Sherri a lot. 

More about Sister Wright. She is probably the sweetest lady I have ever met. The moment she walked into the room and we saw her for the first time, she went straight for us sisters to give us huge hugs. She doesn't speak Portuguese yet, so she is struggling with that, but everyone can feel the love that she already has for us. I had an opportunity to converse with her in English (which was great by the way). I pretty much bore my soul to her. By the end of our conversation, we were both bawling. She kept reassuring me, hugging me, telling me that I was strong. I have missed being able to do that with my own mom since I left for the mission. I have missed the conversations I always had with her and the advice that she always gave me. Sister Wright gave me a taste of that again this week. It was great. 

So....Sister Ferinho was transferred. I will be staying here, and will get my new companion tomorrow! Don't know who she is yet, but I am praying that she speaks Portuguese better than I do! This is the first time I have ever stayed in an area and sent my companion to another. I am really nervous. Really nervous. Prayers would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!! 

Oh boy......so I am pretty much the joke of the apartment (not that this surprises anyone). So maybe I left drool spots the size of Texas on my pillow a couple of times............And maybe, just maybe I left a drool spot the size of Texas on my companion's skirt the other day. I really don't see what the big deal is. Hahaha the other day Sister Ferinho, Sister Castro, Sister Holladay, and I had to catch a really early bus to go to a Zone Meeting in a nearby city. Sister Ferinho let me lay down on her lap. Yeahhhh............

So one skill that I am working on right now is how to be sarcastic in Portuguese. Hahaha it is hard sometimes.....I usually fail. So to avoid offending people, I am practicing my sarcasm/Portuguese skills. The other day I received a letter from Sister Zeller (my companion from the Provo MTC/aka my twin) and she said, "Brazilians don't understand 'Your Mom´ jokes. How sad." I died laughing because that very day, I tried saying "Your mom!" (Sua mae!) to my companion, but in vain.  

How was the 4th of July? I will have you know that I sang the national anthem all day long! The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave!

One thing that I have learned in the mission.......it is always pushing you out of your comfort zone! It is hard sometimes. It stresses me out always. But why does a mission push you out of your comfort zone? Because that is the way we grow. A missionary leaves for the mission and leaves every comfort at home--family, music, movies, friends, school, country, language....everything. When everything is ripped out from underneath you, what are you left with? The Lord. So who do you turn to instead of turning to friends, family, and music to relieve stress? The Lord. I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn more about myself and the Lord. 

Love you all! Fiquem firmes! 
Sister Autumn Barnes

Monday, July 2, 2012

Oi todo mundo!

First off, the weather here is crazy. Remember how I was complaining about how cold it was a couple of weeks ago? It has been hot this week. What the? I am praying that the cold will hold off as long as possible! (Although I am not a huge fan of heat either!)

So President and Sister Pavan have officially been released and are back home now. President and Sister Wright are here! I will get to meet them tomorrow! Tomorrow morning, we will wake up early and catch a bus for Canoas (my last area) where we will have a conference with three other zones. We will meet President and Sister Wright, be interviewed, and receive letters and packages!!! I am looking forward to it! 

So something funny that happened this week. We were at the house of an investigator named Malena. The lesson had gone a little long, but Malena insisted that we eat a little snack with her. We needed to catch the bus to make it home on time, and because we were running a little late, we scarfed down the food and quickly left the house. The second we leave the house, we see our bus leave the bus stop. But we saw another bus (that stops more or less close to our apartment) and figured that that bus would work. It too was leaving the bus stop, but would turn down the street that we were on and stop at another bus stop further down the street. (haha sorry if this isn't making sense. I can't explain it). Well, Sister Ferinho flags the bus down, but the bus can't stop until the bus stop. So we were running behind the bus until it reached the bus stop. Haha yeah.....my shoe flew off while I was running. I had to turn back and put my shoe back on. Then after this mishap, my planner flies out of my backpack. Had to turn around and pick it up. And all of this happened while the whole world was watching (everyone in the bus had their faces pressed up against the windows). How embarrassing! But, we had no other choice! Sister Ferinho and I were laughing so hard!

I have been really stressed as of late, but the work is moving forward! We are teaching some really special people! I pray everyday that I can do my part to invite these people to come unto Christ and that they will do their part to pray and ask God! Once again, sorry for another lame email, but I promise next week will be better! 

Next week we will have transfers, so P-day will be Monday again! 

I love you all! I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom here upon the earth!
Sister Autumn Barnes