Monday, August 27, 2012


I forgot to tell you all last week that my P-Day has been switched to Monday. will be on Monday from now on. I think it will be good! Before the mission, Sunday was a day of rest. Here in the mission field, Sunday is the hardest, most tiring day! You have to worry about investigators going to church. You end up walking in circles on Sunday because everyone is either gone or has family over and therefore don't have time to talk to you. P-Day on a Monday will be a good for my soul!

I was totally wrong about my companion! I knew that would happen. My new companion is Sister Marques from Curitiba, Brasil. She has a little over 6 months in the mission field and spent it in Canela (the area that everyone lusts for). I am learning a lot from her. She is studying journalism, so she is super outgoing and really knows how to talk to people and catch their attention. She literally stops people in their tracks in the street to talk to them, something that I don't do very often. She makes me laugh a ton. Yeah, so things are going well with her. This week, we pretty much focused on finding new investigators by knocking doors, making contact on the street, and asking for referrals. We are sifting through the people here in our area to find the elect! This is a really stupid analogy, but I will tell it anyway. I feel like a gold miner. I go out to work everyday with the objective of finding gold.....a golden investigator. However, I have to sift through a lot of mud, dirt, and sand before I find those few particles of gold. We are talking to a lot of people. Most of these people don't want anything to do with us. However.....we have to talk to everyone in order to find those few that are golden! 

There is also another new American that lives in our apartment, Sister Young. She is from Oregon and went to BYU-I for 3 years before leaving for the mission. She is really cool! 

I can't believe that General Conference is almost here! Just one more month! I can't wait! My first General Conference in Portuguese was a bit interesting because I didn't understand everything that they were saying. I am sure it will be a little better now! Oh how I love to hear the words of the prophets! 

Sorry this is a lame email......but my brain is absolutely dead right now! Oh, Vanderlei is still going strong! We visited him yesterday, and he was telling us about how he has been reading from the Book of Mormon everyday before work to start his day off right. One day he wasn't able to read before he left for work, so he called his girlfriend Monica and asked her to text him a verse from the Book of Mormon so he could at least read that much! I was very touched by that. He definitely recognizes the difference that it makes in his days! 

Today I was studying in Preach My Gospel. There is an activity in there that asks you to write down how the gospel affects how you look at your life and the world around you. I had the hardest time writing this down. Not because I didn't have anything to write, but because I had so much to write. The gospel isn't just a part of my life, it is my life. It defines every decision I make. It is so hard to make people understand that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn't just a church that we go to on Sunday. It isn't just a building that we go to on Sundays to worship. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church that Jesus Christ established. Why did he establish it? To fulfill the will of the Father. And what is the will of the Father? To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint teaches EVERYTHING we need to do to return to the Father and gain exaltation. It isn't just a church we go to on Sunday if it is convenient. The gospel of Jesus Christ is EVERYTHING!!!! 
I love you and pray for you all everyday! Choose the Right! 
Sister Autumn Barnes

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 more transfer under my belt. You know what is crazy? I only have 6 left.......and they go by quickly. After this next transfer, I will be the American sister with the most time in the mission. What???? I just entered the mission field yesterday! I am still a greenie!

So, if my calculations are correct, I think a Sister named Sister J. Fernandes will be my new companion. I don't know yet, but that is my guess. I already know her really well because she was one of the four that I lived with in Canoas. I like her a lot. She has a really big heart and helps me a ton with Portuguese. I will let you know next week if I guessed correctly! Also, Sister Castro (my temp comp and a sister that lives in the same apartment) will train an American sister. She is freaking out. She told me that I will be used a lot. Helping Sister Castro and an American sister communicate should help me with my own Portuguese!

Baptism!!!! So one of the baptisms fell through (it is a long story), but Vanderlei was baptized and confirmed Saturday and Sunday!! He was really excited and super prepared. He is dating a girl from the ward who has two kids. They make a beautiful family. The baptism was beautiful. A ton of members showed up to support and it went off without a hitch. However, during the baptism I couldn't help but think that this was just the beginning. I kept thinking about the temple.......about Vanderlei, his girlfriend, and her two kids being sealed in the temple. I will send a picture of all of them so you can see what I mean. hahahaha I made chocolate chip cookies for the baptism (They don't have chocolate chips here so I had to cut a chocolate bar up in tiny pieces. I don't even like to bake in the first place, so you can imagine how close I came to giving up on baking cookies after all that painstaking labor). But the cookies were a hit! Everyone kept asking what they were and if they could have the recipe! Woohoo! I actually cooked something that turned out well! Milagre! Miracle! 

A couple funny things that happened this week:
Yeah......we saw a teenager ride his bike into a parked car this week. Tried not to laugh.....but it was REALLLLY funny. Sister Castro and I DIEEED! You just had to see it. 
Sister Castro found a white hair in my head! Ahhhh! Na verdade, it was really really blonde. I think. But she swears it was white. Yeah........a mission is stressful. haha but it is so cool as well! 

It is getting really hot already. It is technically still winter. Hasn't even hit spring yet. Summer is going to be really long! I hear that the U.S. is experiencing a huge drought right now. Here as well. Barely even rained at all here this winter. 

I want you all to know that I love the mission. It isn't easy. Everyday is a new challenge. But would I trade this experience for anything? No. With every challenge, I am pushed to new limits. I know that the Lord is backing me up in everything. He didn't call me here to fail, but to succeed. This is His work, His glory and I am honored to be a part of it! 

Sister Autumn Barnes
1. My district
2. Vanderlei, his girlfriend Monica, and her two children, Henrique and Monique
3. This sweet tree that I love! 
4. Sister Castro, Sister Holladay, Vanderlei, and I 
5. Sister Castro with a puppy and me with Chimarrão 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Todo Mundo!!! 
I am tiiiiiired! But doing well! Covering 2 areas is keeping us beyond busy! Right now we only have time to concentrate on our investigators with the most potential. When I get my new companion, we are going to have to work on finding new investigators because there hasn't been much time for that lately. 

Good news: Two baptisms this Saturday! Can I get a "woot woot?" No, but I am really excited. Vanderlei is the boyfriend of a member and came pre-prepared and ready for baptism. It has been awesome to teach him. Jese, who is 20 years old, will be baptized as well. He is the boy I mentioned last week, the boy that always felt the spirit everytime he passed by the church. I know that they will be great leaders, great Priesthood holders in the church. 

This Sunday was Father's Day here in Brasil. I want to give a shout out to my Daddy! I love you and am so grateful for the way that you have raised, supported, and loved our family. I thought it was very fitting that I ate churrasco (Brazilian BBQ) on Father's Day. A TON OF MEAT!!!! Chicken, Steak, Sausage, Chicken Hearts, and more beef. I left the member's house about ready to puke! (Lisa remember how much STUFF we ate at Tucanos?) 

Today during personal study, I was hit with the magnitude of my calling. I have authority from God to rescue his precious children from spiritual death. I am affecting not only the lives of people aqui, but eternities!!!! The Lord and I are one in purpose right now! I received authority to be a representative of Jesus Christ when I was set apart as a missionary, but my prayer right now is that I can always be worthy of power from on high to magnify this calling and authority. 

Love you all!
Sister Autumn Barnes

P-Day will be on Monday because of transfers!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hello! Now where to start?

Last Tuesday, Sister Quiara and I went to Porto Alegre for her doctor's appointment. I was a little worried about finding our way to this doctor's appointment, but I found it just fine. Haha I was reminded of my trip to New York City. I remembered our taxi ride from the airport to Amber's house. We almost died. A thousand times. Yeah. That was nothing. The only thing worse than riding in a taxi in New York City......riding in a taxi in a metropolitan city in BRASIL!!!! Almost died. Two thousand times. Hahaha but I was laughing and having a good old time. 

So about Sister Quiara and her doctor's appointment: We got a phone call from President Wright on Thursday saying that he was going to come to our apartment to talk to me and Sister Quiara. (After frantically cleaning the apartment a little bit......shhhhh), President and Sister Wright arrived. President wanted to talk with Sister Quiara in private, so Sister Wright and I went into the bedroom to talk. The first thing that she said when the door was closed is, "She has to go home." I don't know what all of her health concerns are.....but they are serious. She has to be treated at home and will not return to the mission. I can't say that I got along super well with Sister Quiara, but when I heard this news, my heart was broken. I hurt for Sister Quiara because I know how hard this news would be for her. I talked with Sister Wright for a little while longer, and let me tell you, she is amazing. She reminds me SO MUCH of my mom!! Her presence and words are so comforting! A few minutes later, President entered the room and said, "Your companion has to go home to receive treatment. Help her pack her bags. We will pick her up tomorrow at noon. You will now be in a trio with the other companionship that lives here with you. Coordinate your visits." I have never been very good at giving comfort, being a good, strong shoulder to cry on.........but I had to do my best. President and Sister Wright left, and I was left with a Sister Missionary that was just informed that her mission would be over the next day. Sister Quiara cried for awhile, but soon she was filled with a spirit of peace. Mom, don't kill me.....but I gave her one of my luggage bags. She entered the mission field with barely anything.....only one bag. She accumulated a few things here, so she didn't have a bag to fit all of her stuff.....and she didn't have money to buy one. I'll have to buy another bag, but I have conditions...she didn't. The next morning, President and Sister Wright picked her up and took her away. Now I am with Sister Castro and Sister Holladay in a trio until the next transfer. We are working in two areas. Oh boy it is a lot of work. But.....we are hanging in there, and only have 2 weeks until the next transfer. This has been the craziest transfer ever! I have had four companions in four weeks.....Sister Machado, Sister Quiara, and now Sister Castro and Sister Holladay.

The work is moving along here. We are working with a couple of people that have baptismal dates coming up. One is having a hard time with coffee, but everything will turn out. The other's name is Wanderlei. He is the boyfriend of a member. We taught him the first lesson, invited him to be baptized, and he accepted. He has already been to church various times, and I always catch him taking notes and even crying. We also taught a 22 year old boy this week. He said that he always walks past the chapel and always feels the strongest desire to enter. The 2nd counselor in the Bishopric found him standing outside the chapel, talked to him, and set up a visit with us in the chapel that day. When he entered the chapel, he said "Wow. I had a dream one night and I was walking through these halls." There are people out there prepared to accept the gospel and change their lives. Sure, as missionaries, we have to sift through a bunch of people that aren't interested before we find God's elect, but they exist! We have to be fishers of men to find these special Children of God! 

Things are going well! I am getting along with the sisters in this trio really well. I already knew them because I have been living with them. I have learned however, that old habits die hard. Remember how Lisa and I would always laugh during prayers? Well, the other stomach growled REALLLLLLLLLY loud during a prayer........and I couldn't help it......neither could my companions. As they say here when you do something wrong or stupid, "Que feio." How ugly! I blame Lisa. 

I know this church is the true church of Jesus Christ and the only path back to the presence of our Heavenly Father. 
Love you all!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Me and Sister Quiara
Sister Castro said that she would give me five reais if I crossed this bridge. Sure it was only hanging on by a thread, but it was only like a four foot drop to the ground. Of course I would cross it for 5 bucks! 
Sister Holladay and Sister Castro
The night before Sister Machado was transferred.