Because I spent forever writing an email to congratulate my little sis on receiving her mission call to TEXAS.......I don't have much time to write much in this email!
But, I am super proud of my little
sister, Lisa, for her desire to serve the Lord! I know she will be a
great missionary and will represent Jesus Christ, the church, and the
Barnes Family fabulously!
This week has been kinda hard. Christmas Day, Sister Araujo fell and
twisted her ankle. It got super swollen and she couldn't walk on it.
The next day, we went to the hospital. She sprained it. The doctor told
her that she was supposed to stay off of her ankle for TWO WEEKS, and
they would have to put a cast on. We negotiated a little bit and she was
able to put on a boot and a promise to stay off of it for one week.
Wow.....it is like the worst thing to stay at home all day on the
mission. You can't watch TV, movies, play around on the internet. I
asked pretty much all the members to go on splits with me, but everyone
is traveling for the New Year, works during the day, or can't be
exposed to the sun. Yep........sitting at home is THE WORST on the
mission. I couldn't take it the other day, so I made Sister Araujo
walked to the town square to make contacts. Her ankle hurt afterward, so
we can't really even do that. Ahhhh.....pray for me and my companion!
It has been rough!
Other than that, I am great! Learning and growing everyday! I loved
being able to talk with the fam on Christmas Day!!!! I am so blessed to
have such wonderful, supportive, and sarcastic people in my life!
Love you all and Happy New Years! May we all set good goals to live more fully in accordance with God's will for us!
Sister Aut Barnes
Monday, December 24, 2012
This week has been the craziest week of my life. Not to mention the weirdest Christmas I have ever had in my life.
Normally, when you are called to train someone, the mission sends you an email saying that you have been chosen to be a trainer! Yeah....I didn't get that email. So I went with Sister Matiaco to the bus station in Porto Alegre where we do our transfers thinking I was just going to be picking up my companion like normal. Nope. They told me I would be heading to the mission home to pick up my new companion. You know what that means...........my new companion is a greenie. Yes.....I am a trainer. Yes.......I was scared out of my mind. All of the trainers had a little training and pep talk from the assistants where they talked about he we pretty much have to be perfect because we are raising the next generation of missionaries in our mission. Yeah, I was feeling the pressure. Still am, but that's how we learn I guess!
My new companion is Sister Araujo. She is from Rio de Janeiro. She doesn't live right in the city, but lives in a little town just outside of the capital. I knew we would get along just fine when she told me her favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice. I gasped and told her that I watched that movie almost on a weekly basis with my sister! Training is hard. Sister Araujo is embarrassed to talk. But it has been really good for me as well. You all know me. You know that I expect a lot from myself and oftentimes don't feel like I measure up in anything. Training someone fresh from the MTC, I have been able to see how much progress I have made since I was fresh from the MTC. I have been able to see how much I have grown since then. My confidence has grown a bit, and I can actually think of myself as a good missionary now. The Lord works in mysterious ways!!!!!!!
You are not going to believe this. Sister Araujo was bit by a dog her SECOND day in the mission field!!! We entered someone's yard and the dog advanced on us. On me first, but he didn't bite me. Sister Araujo took off running, so the dog bit her in the leg. Second day training and I already had to call President to tell him the my trainee was bit by a dog!!!!
You are REALLY not going to believe this. The next day, we were talking to a few kids. They were standing in their yard and we were on the other side of this little cement wall. Sister Araujo was leaning against the cement wall, and out of nowhere their dog jumped up and BIT SISTER ARAUJO's ARM!!!! Two dog bites in 2 days. I had to call President again, and he told us to go to the hospital. To make a long story short, the hospital wouldn't even look at her (pray that I never need to go to a hospital here!!!!!!! Not my idea of quality services). To make an even longer story shorter, Sister Araujo was given a blessing and is doing fine! I am an AWESOME TRAINER!!!!! Oh yeah.....totally protect my companion from evil.
Anyway, things are going well. I am super excited to call home for Christmas! I am so grateful for the Christ child and this beautiful time of the year in which we commemorate his birth! Love you all! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Feliz Natal!!!!
Sister Autumn Barnes
Monday, December 17, 2012
Yeah......I feel like a gingerbread man........like I am being baked in an oven!!! Fazer o que né? I will send pictures, evidence of how my skin is being cooked to a crisp. I think you will get a kick out of it.
On to the important stuff...I think I forgot to tell you all. But transfers are today. This transfer was just a transfer of 5 weeks so all the missionaries who would have gotten home the day after Christmas if it were a normal 6 week transfer can be home for Christmas. I am staying here in Fernandes, but Sister Matiaco will be transferred. Everyone keeps saying that I will be training this transfer, but I haven't received the news yet! Pray for me that it is not true!!! Just kidding...if the Lord wants to give me this responsibility, I will gladly assume it.
We had our Mission Christmas Conference this week. It was sweeettt. All of the districts had to present a skit or a song or something. My district's performance was one of the best if I do say so myself. We sang "So This is Christmas" a third in English, a third in English, and a third "mission style." Then we sang "Feliz Navidad' (yeah I know that is Spanish) complete with ayayayayayyyy's (hahaha yeah. no other way to describe it). Todo mundo adorou! And we received a little gift from President and Sister Wright.....the little mini Preach My Gospel's in Portuguese. It really is such a cool gift, because they are impossible to get here!!!!!! One of the Assistant's (American) is from the same stake as the guy who owns the Brazilian Airline "Azul." The owner was born here in Brazil, was raised in the US, served his mission in Brazil, and started this American/Brazilian airline. Anyway, the AP called the owner of this airline from his stake and made arrangements to have these mini Preach My Gospels flown into Porto Alegre before Christmas. It really was a miracle that we got them!
We found some really good investigators this week. It has been really hard to find people that actually progress. However, we are teaching various member referals right now, and I believe that they will progress all the way to baptism. We are teaching a girl named Bruna right now. She is 15 years old and has told us that she has tried to kill herself about 5 times. She is super intellectual and understands everything that we have been teaching. I was really able to open up to her and show her how the gospel has made me happy, how it has given me confidence and purpose. I am convinced that the youth nowadays are naturally way more intelligent than passed generations! It is so much easier for me to teach younger people, because they have this amazing intellect! But......the youth these days have SOOOO many temptations! Especially here in Brazil, I think! The Lord armed these youth before he let them come to this filthy world in these last days! I am here to protect them from wasting away their potential or help them realize their true potential! This protection and realization comes through the gospel!
Last night we went carolling with members of the ward to investigators' and less active members' houses! Amei!
I hope you are all having a great Christmas season. It is really hard to be away from home and loved ones during this time, but it is not every Christmas that I will have the chance to testify of the Lord's birth, life, and Atonement like I have here and how. I know that he lives, and because of his sinless life, we too can gain eternal life!
Amo vocês! Tenham um Natal maravilhoso! Até mais!
Sister Autumn Barnes
A family in the Ward
Monday, December 10, 2012
Happy dia 10 de dezembro!!
Life is a rollercoaster, isn't it? But isn't it great?
As our Christmas present our District leader Elder Sampson and his companion, Elder Boeno worked in our area of Fernandes the other day. They spent about three hours making contacts and knocking doors to help us find new investigators. They talked to a woman named Rosa. When they passed her name and address over to us after their three hours were over, they explained, "I don't think she has very much interest. We'll see." So the other day, one of our appointments fell through (as is custom with these easy-going Brazilians), and I felt strongly that we should try to find Rosa's house even if it seemed to the Elders a lost cause. We went searching for her house. After a while of trying to find the address, we almost gave up. However, we decided to ask a woman that was standing in her yard if she knew a Rosa. She said that she did and pointed out where she lived. After talking to this woman a bit about the message of the Restoration hahahaha (you have to take every chance you get) we knocked the door of Rosa, or more accurately, clapped at the gate of Rosa. A young girl came to the door. We asked about Rosa and she said that Rosa did, in fact, live there. She told us to enter. However, when we entered, we found that this Rosa wasn't the Rosa we were looking for. This Rosa has alzheimers and doesn't talk. But we asked the girl, Jadye, if we could talk to her for a little bit. Jadye was really shy, but we knew from the very first that she is super special. We taught and set up a return appointment. A few days later on the way to this appointment, we found out that we were searching for Rosa on the wrong road!!!!! hahaha we laughed and laughed about how dumb we were. However, Sister Matiaco and I both believe that we were meant to find Jadye. The Lord left this trail for us to find her.
At times we don't receive answers to our prayers immediately, but sometimes we do. I hate to admit this, but the other day I was crying to Sister Matiaco because I felt like I had no love for the people I am teaching, the people I see in the street.....no love. I prayed to the Lord to help me to feel more love for these people. Soon after this prayer, I had the strong impression that we needed to go contact a reference from the Bishop even though we had planned to visit her the next day. So we contacted her. It is a really long story, but the LOVEEE that I felt for this woman as she bore her soul to me was overcoming. I felt such a strong connection with her and I know I was able to help her. I thanked the Lord for giving me the opportunity to realize that I am capable of great love!!
I taught an English class this week! It was super fun! The funniest moment was when an old man tried to say, "I am sixty (years old) and actually said, "I am sexy." Wow......tried to hold the laughter in on that one. I wonder how many times I have said something like that!!!!!
I love you all! I am doing well! Hope you are all having a great Christmas season! I know the Savior was born, lived, died, and ressurrected for us!
Sister Aut Barnes
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Yeah.....what? I hit my one year mark this last week. I can't believe that I have been away from home for more than one year. That just blows my mind. In ways it has gone by quickly, in ways it seems like it has been forever. I have a feeling these last 6 months are going to fly. Everyone says that the last 6 months is the time to shine! I intend to treat everyday as if it was my last. I have to take advantage of this sacred, dedicated, mission time that I have left!
I am still amazed that it is snowing at home while it is so hot here. Christmas just doesn't seem like Christmas without snow!!
I don't know what kind of perfume my companion is wearing, but 2 men (strangers) confessed their love for her this week (2 different times). Don't worry.....she didn't do anything to bring it on, the men were totally drunk. I usually try to keep my cool when talking to people, but the things they were saying were so ridiculous that I burst out laughing a couple of times. For all men out there: if you want a girlfriend, don't try a Sister Missionary......and don't try to ask her out while drunk.
This week an 18 year old boy in my ward lost his mom unexpectedly. He is the only member of the church in his family. He came to church on Sunday and bore his testimony about the Plan of Salvation. Wow.....I was so amazed by the strength and surety that he demonstrated. I too know that this life is a gift from God. We are not here by chance. We have purpose and a mission to fulfill! I have met so many people that don't have goals for their lives. They don't have any hope because they don't have eternal perspective. They think this life is just full of suffering. They think they are nobodies because they don't understand their part in God's plan. I KNOW that there is more to this life than just suffering. Problems and difficulties faz parte de God's plan for us to learn and grow, but we are also on the earth to be happy to have happy families. Sharing this understanding with everywhen and watching the world open up to them is the most satisfying thing ever! I am so grateful for this!
I love you all and pray for your safety and happiness everyday! Don't let a day pass without reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and serving another!
Sister Autumn Barnes