Monday, October 29, 2012

Bom dia pessoal!
Dad, now is the season for me to become a (what did you call me exactly? a sweaty lobster?) Yes. From here on out, I will look like a sweaty lobster in all of the pictures I send home. Just my little disclaimer/warning. It is getting HOTT and HUUUUUMID. 

This week we were walking on the street (newsflash) and I decided to stop and talk to a teenager that was sitting on the sidewalk in front of his house. His name is Savio. We taught him the Restauration, and I invited him to be baptized right on the spot. He accepted. I also asked him if he liked to play soccer, because they young men in our ward get together every Friday night to play at the church. His face lit up and he began to rant about how much he loves soccer and how much he would love to play there at the church. We planned to pick him up on Friday and take him to the church to play. Friday comes around and we return to his house. We meet a few of Savio's little sisters. THE CUTEST LITTLE BRAZILIAN PRINCESSES!!! They were obsessed with us. They kept trying to hang all over us, give us hugs, and have us talk to them in English. We clap our hands (the Brazilian equivalent of ringing the doorbell) and his dad comes to the gate. This part is really cool. A week or so earlier, Sister Matiaco had the impression to stop and talk to a man on the street. He didn't have time to talk to us, but gave us his name and address. We hadn't found the time to go and find his house.............but turns out, we didn't have to go searching for it. This man was Savio's dad, and we recognized him instantly. Without a doubt, the Lord led us to this family. I was prompted to talk to Savio, and Sister Matiaco was prompted to talk to his father a few days earlier. Talking to them, we found out that the dad follows the Muslim religion (first time I have come across that here!!!) and that his wife died a little bit over a year and a half ago giving birth to a child. When he told me that, the biggest wave of love and compassion came over me. This man......alone.....raising 5 children. One of his little daughters said, "I miss my mom so much." The gratitude I felt in that moment for my understanding of the Plan of I simply said, "Did you know you will be able to live with your mom again?" This little girl looked at me with new hope in her eyes and said, "No." We were able to testify and teach a little about the Plan of Salvation. How blessed we are to already know these things! It was a really special experience. After this, we took Savio to the church to play. I was really nervous that he would feel super out of place, that he would be shy as we entered the church and walked toward the young men.......but right then I heard a young man yell, "Savio? Nao acredito! Sisters nao acredito que voces levaram Savio para a igreja!" This young man already knew Savio and couldn't believe that we had found him and brought him to the church. Perfect! He already has friend at church!

I taught a lesson in ENGLISH this week! We met a 19 year old boy that speaks english fluently! He wanted us to teach in English. Although I love Portuguese, it was SO NICE to teach and testify in my own language! 

We had a conference with just the Sisters in the mission. It was great! Lunch, talking with all of the Sisters and Sister Wright, and trainings. It was awesome! We also heard that by next year, Sister Missionaries will make up about 1/3 of our mission!!!!! GIRL POWERRRR!

Did you all know that Joseph Smith was born in Germany and later ran away to the States to found his own church? Yeah.......this lady swore by her life that Joseph Smith was born in Germany. I told her that we was born in Vermont (minor detail). What I really focused on was explaining to her that he didn't found his own church, but simply restored the church that  Jesus Christ has established and that was later lost. She didn't want to hear anything about the Restoration, she just wanted to make sure that I had my facts right....that Joseph Smith was born in Germany. Did I miss something? hahahahahaha how ridiculous.......

I will take part in the Primary program in a couple weeks! Sister Matiaco and I are teaching the Primary a primary song in English! 

Halloween in a few days!!! The temptation to trade my skirt for a costume is really strong. Dang. Send me candyyyyyyyyy!!
Peace and Blessings! Paz e bencaos! 

Sister Autumn Barnes

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


To tell you the truth, it has been a hard week for me. I am kind of ashamed to say that my mind and heart was at home. With Grandma's death,   I was thinking a ton about being home with my family for the funeral. I woke up on Saturday, guessing that the funeral would be that day, with absolutely no desire to leave my bed. Just the thought of walking in the hot sun and being rejected by people made me want to crawl into a hole to get some rest and a little alone time. However, I have found that the best medicine for sadness is work. Work work work. And that is what I have done this week. A mission is definitely full of really low lows and really high highs. However, I am grateful for the lows I have had, because I have learned to appreciate and value not only the highs, but the in-betweens. I have learned to count all the little teeny tiny blessings and tender mercies that I receive from the hand of the Lord daily. 

Things are going well with Sister Matiaco. I am so impressed by her love for the people. I have to admit, that I sometimes don't have the patience or charity that I should have.......she is teaching me that I should definitely be more Christlike in that respect. We have some really special people that we are teaching right now, but there always seems to be something that stands in between them and baptism! As an instrument in the Lord's hands....I am planning on knocking down those barriers! 

They don't really have Halloween here. Bummer. No free candy for me. **unless someone wants to send me a package hint hint* I'll even say "Trick or Treat!' 

On Thursday, all of the Sister Missionaries are going to have an exclusive conference with Sister Wright. GIRL TIME! I am pretty excited.....Sister Wright is amazingggg. 

I know that this Gospel is true and is worth every sacrifice in living! Love you all! 

Sister Autumn Barnes
All of the Sisters in my zone at General Conference
Me and Sister Matiaco

Monday, October 15, 2012

I just got the news that Grandma Lever passed away. When I left on the mission, I was I knew that I would probably never see her again, but I had that hope that because of that surgery, she would stick around for a little while longer. After the surgery, I knew this wouldn't be the case. I can't picture my life without grandma.....without going to her house for family parties and for holidays. I can't picture not receiving a bag of popcorn and five dollars from her at Christmas. I always pictured her present at my wedding. I will always remember when I sat with her in the Celestial Room of the Temple after going through for the first time and hearing her bear her testimony in that holy place. However, I remember how much she missed Grandpa and longed to be reunited with him. She lived a long and GOOD life. I swear there was not a bad cell in her body. I will forever be indebted to my grandma and for her testimony.....her insistance to be sealed in the temple. The righteous way she raised my mom who in turn raised me in righteousness. I am so grateful for the legacy that she has left. I love her so much and know that I will be reunited with her one day as well! I am really heartbroken that I won't be able to attend the temple, but it brings me peace to know that I am sharing the knowledge of a forever family with all these people here that don't have a knowledge. Mom, I love you as well and pray that you are at peace. Let me know how the funeral goes. Please send all of my love. I love you, Grandma Lever.

Sister Autumn Rae Barnes
Holy Cow!!!!!!
Sounds like the whole world is leaving on a mission! I bet it is a big deal right now. Poor Single's Ward Bishops!!!! However, I am super excited! The missions are going to start booming! I'm sure I'll still be around to see my mission start growing in these coming months! We need it!

A lot of really cool things happened this week. We had a zone conference on Friday (I was expecting to get a couple of packages that I know are coming for me, but the Elders didn't bring packages, just letters!! I was ticked! But also excited to get letters!) The Zone Conference really pepped me up, and I left feeling ready to scream the gospel from the rooftops! 

This is what followed: Sister Matiaco and I stopped to talk to a guy sitting at a bus stop. He couldn't talk nor hear. He was deaf. So we started talking to him by writing everything down. He would respond by texting on his phone. His name is Anderson and he is in the Air Force. We wrote a little bit about how God is aware of him and his trials and that one day the Lord will restore his hearing in the Resurrection. He made a gesture to signify prayer, pointed to the heavens, and then pointed to us. I am not exactly sure what he meant to say, but I took it as we were an answer to his prayers. He doesn't live in our area, so we took down his address and passed it to the Elders. I am interested to see what happens!

We also found an elect family. We were a little lost, searching for a road. A man called to us and asked if he could help us find the road we were looking for. He helped us out, and we introduced ourselves. We made a return appointment. We then went in search of the road, but decided to stop at a member's that was on the way. After a bit, we left the member's home and went in search of the road again when I heard someone call out, "Barneys" (my name here in Brazil. I can't even count how many people have teased me about a purple dinosaur. No one here understands that "Barneys" isn't how you actually pronounce my name). Anyway, Jeferson (the man from before) had been running and saw us walking. He thought that we hadn't found the road yet....that we had been wandering. He invited us to his house in that moment to meet his wife and two adorable daughters. They are amazing! The most beautiful family I have seen here in Brazil! They didn't really agree all the way with the Restoration, but they are reading the Book of Mormon and I am praying that they will be touched by the Lord. I can picture this family in white!

We also met a woman named Francisca. To make a long story short, she cried in our second lesson because she said that when we leave she will miss us and the feeling of peace that she always feels when we are around. We explained to her that she too could have this spirit of peace with her at all times by entering into the waters of baptism. She accepted right off the bat. However, she is not married and has a couple problems, so we will have to work through that, but I really feel like the Lord is preparing her. 

It is not too hot yet! I thank the Lord everyday that it isn't already burning hot!....I am not ready for that again! Now that it is getting cold back home, send some of that this way! Please and thank you. 

I am also reading the Book, Jesus the Christ, and I am learning so much! The more conhecimento that I gain in regards to the Savior, the more I am amazed by the sacrifice that he made. I love Him so much! 

Like I said in the last email, I am learning a lot from Sister Matiaco. We have been having the most meaningful companionship studies. I thirst for this everyday! I am so grateful that the Lord has given me this year and a half to learn A BUNCH about the gospel. 

A ton of Brazilians wear white socks with their dark suits. This has to stop. 

Love you all!
Sister Autumn Barnes

Monday, October 8, 2012

As my dear sister Lisa likes to say, "OH MY HECKFORD!!!" I did not see the prophet's announcement coming! Boys can now serve at 18 and girls at 19! That announcement would have been really convenient 3 years ago!!! Haha but I know that the Lord's timing is everything, and I am supposed to be serving right now. I am serving in a country where boys were authorized to serve missions at age 18 because of military requirements and such, so I have seen how the 18 year old missionaries serve. I feel like they are just as capable as any 19 year old missionary. I was shocked when President Monson announced that 18 year old boys from every country would be able to serve. My head was still reeling when he announced that girls can serve at freakin 19 YEARS OLD!!!! My hands literally flew to my mouth to keep me from letting out a huge gasp. My first thought was my little sister who would make an awesome missionary, but didn't know if a mission would fit into her plans if she had to wait two years. My second thought was actually a confirmation that we are truly living in the last days. The Lord is building up his missionary army. The gospel is going to go much farther than it has ever gone before. We will be receiving reinforcements of willing and prepared 18 year old boys and 19 year old girls here in our missions. I am sure that this announcement was an answer to many prayers.....prayers of youth wondering if they should serve a mission and the prayers of the people that will be found, taught, and baptized by these younger missionaries. I still can't believe it. I am proud to say that I was serving a mission when this monumental announcement was made.

As for other news, yes I was transferred. I am now in the area Fernandes which is a neighborhood in Canoas. I already served in downtown Canoas, so I returned to the city. My companion is Sister Matiaco, the first American companion I have had since I was made Senior. This is her 3rd transfer, so she is still pretty fresh from the MTC. Her Portuguese is really good already. To tell you the truth, I was really nervous to have an American companion. I feel even more pressure to speak Portuguese better now. I don't have a Brazilian companion to lean on if I need help. Things are going ok. I am learning about patience and charity and reliance on the lord right now.....but that is what a mission is all about. There are always things to learn from each companion we have. Sister Matiaco is very in tune with the spirit and very obedient. 

Conference was awesome. I loved it. It talked so much about being disciples of Christ. We all need to be better disciples of Jesus Christ. We had an investigator there at conference that said a worry and pain that she has had since she was much younger was lifted off of her shoulders. I know that the prophet and his apostles are called of God and are very inspired! 

I don't have much time, but as always, will write more next week! I love you all! 
Sister Autumn Barnes

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

It is P-Day, my birthday, Day before transfers, and a rainy day. 
So here is the big news.....I have been transferred! After 4 months here in Montenegro, it will be good to have a change. However, with transfers always comes the nervousness as well. I don't know what the next transfer holds in store! I am holding out for the areas, Canela (like the Park City of the Rio Grande do Sul) and Elizabete (which is actually in the city of Porto Alegre, close to the temple). We will see! I will for sure let you know where I am when I find out! Pray for me!

My companion, Sister Marques, was really bummed when she found out that she would be staying here. She doesn't like Montenegro or many of the members. I have to admit that this was a really hard area, but I survived and came out of it an even better missionary than I was before. I know that President Wright is an inspired man. I know he has authority to lead this mission. He told Sister Marques that he knew that she didn't want to stay. He said that he knew that she hates Montenegro. But he also said that there is someone here in Montenegro that only she will find. She has to stay here right now because there is a soul (or many) that are waiting specifically for her. She cried when she found out that she has to stay, but after she heard that, she was impressed by the inspiration of President Wright. 

This week, was one of those "I am really grateful that I am serving a mission right now. I guess I am actually making a difference here" weeks. Yesterday, an investigator named Maria came to church. She lost her husband a few months ago and has been feeling really empty. She LOVED church and was made right at home by all of the members. She told me and Sister Marques that she has felt so much happier since the day that we knocked on her door. She said that we have beautiful spirits and that she can tangibly feel the spirit when we talk about the gospel. I really feel like she will make it into the waters of baptism.....I won't be here for it, but I thank the Lord for the chance that I have to bring a special message of happiness to people that are suffering. 

This week is a week of anniversaries. Yesterday was my 10 month mark on the mission, today is my birthday, yesterday was 4 months in Montenegro, and Thursday will be 9 months since the last time I stepped on U.S. soil. Time is time. It keeps on moving!  

I don't know what I will do for my birthday today. Pack my bags and maybe eat something cool! Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Love you all!

Sister Autumn Barnes