Friday, January 31, 2014

thanks so much for the chips& ques o and the brownies you're the best mom ever!! We're going to have a going away party. The three sisters got their mission calls and there all going to LA CA!! So its pretty exciting stuff and my companion is going to Minnesota! I got the sweet hearts and the picture of me and Sophie so cute!! I'm glad Blake like fruit ninja!! I'm sure Grandpa had a blast with that!! I'm going to miss getting all the letters and packages so quickly! I cant believe I get to go to Brazil this Monday it's gonna be crazy!! If Sophie is missing me really badly have her send me and email and tell her that I'll say something back soon! Or use the dear elder site. I'll try to send another letter home before I leave. I got to host yesterday! the elder I hosted is from Tongan islands and is probably going to be playing football for BYU! I also taught an investigator with my companion in front of 150 new missionaries and we did awesome! The spirit was in the room and my teacher said that we did outstanding and he was really proud of us! Today I had infield orientation and its classes to review how to teach in the field and its 9 and a half hours of classes but it was awesome! There's a show called the district on and the district is about missionaries and a documentary on missionary work non-scripted so its interesting to see how missionaries react to different situations! And some of the missionaries that were in that show were teaching me today in class! It was way awesome! A sister from the district spoke at the devotional on Tuesday night and it was great! A lot of my devotional nights I have members of the 70 come and talk with me and they always have great testimonies and experiences to share! The mtc is awesome and I love you guys so much! I'm super busy here and on Friday or Saturday I'll be packing for Brazil! I'll try to write another email then before I leave I'll definitely call home on Monday! I have a five hour layover so I'll call then! I'll talk to you soon! 

Elder Barrus! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's official…he's going to Brazil on February 3!

I got my VISA!!! I'M going to BRAZIL!! I leave Monday morning!  I'm so excited!
Oh no,  poor Blake!!  My visa is complete and I should be getting it soon!  Do the packet the best you can but I don't think it matters - it was just an extra step in case Brazil was picky!   Always somthing crazzy going on! How did he break it?? Was it during football?  I havn't got my re-assignment yet but when I do I'll email you right away even if it's not on pday! A lot of people are enjoying the blog!  Thanks for doing that for me and setting it up.  People are really enjoying it!  I'm going to the temple for the last time today and am going to make it worthwile!   My teacher said my Portuguese is doing really good.  I could be going straight to Brazil, or I'll be in the US for a few weeks and then go to Brazil.   But I'm definitely getting my visa fairly soon!   I'll write to you again soon!   Oh, yeah -  so my last name means dirt in Portuguese! SO  I'm gonna be Elder dirt in Brazil so that'll be interesting!   I'm glad everyone liked the letters. I wish I had more stuff to talk about but I spend every day just studying. I feel like I've really improved with the language a lot!  I'm enjoying the MTC and I loved all the cookies and brownies.  I ate so many!  My district was worried when I ate 6 of them in one day and each cookie has 400 calories of sugar.   I was wide awake all day and totally crashed at 10:30.  It was otimo!   Send me some questions if you have any and I'll respond later in the day! I'm all done being a zone leader so Im back to being a normal missionary.   On Wednesday we got a new district of missionaries and they're going to Cape Faraday; an Island off of Africa!   And they all speak Portuguese but it's with a weird accent!  f there are two s's next to each other they have to make a shhh sound when they pronounce words so its kind of hard to learn but they can do it!  I got to conduct traffic for the new missionaries!  I would park cars and tell them where to go and it was  a lot of fun!   The new missionaries are super excited to get out to the mission field.   So that was definitely the highlight of my week.   I'm going to host missionaries tomorrow.   So when they get dropped off I'll show them where their class is and where they eat and sleep, and it's gonna be awesome!   I'm glad you got my letters!   Seeing Elder Bednar again was fantastic and I learned a lot.   I have loved everymoment at the MTC and it is such a great experience, and I can't wait to get out to Brazil!   How crazy is it that I'm going to Brazil soon??!! The US would've been cool but getting out to Brazil right away is gonna be great!   I'll send you lot of pictures!   Eu prometo!! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I'm going to Sacremento California!!!!   I report to the mission field on the 28th of January!   This is my last week at the MTC and today is my last temple day!   As a zone leader I just make sure everyone is getting along and going to bed on time.   Don't send me anymore packages cause I'll be gone -  wait until I give you my new address.   Portugese is going great! I  'm going to be totally lost but from what I've learned I can pick up the language fairly quickly and I can say short basic sentences so thats good.   I loved the photo copied animals!   I saw that you put dog treats on the copier that was pretty great!   How did you get the cat on there with out scratching the heck out of you?! I   got the cookies they were great!!   I ate all of them!   I didn't get any dictionaries yet but I'll probally get them soon  . I got Sophie's I love Austin card so that was way cute.   I got a much needed haircut so that felt great!   Glad Blake is going crazzy and doing good.  Looked like Kit's birthday was a hit!   I'm sure Ashley had fun with everyone there and I'm glad Mike got to see Bryce and Blake and that was probally alot of fun!!   But yeah, a great week!  I'm enjoying the MTC but Im glad to get out to the mission field.   On my first day in CA I'm probally going to be giving a Book of Mormon to handout to random people so that'll be interesting!!   Well,  I love you guys!   I'll write later tonight!   Give me Grandma and Grandpa Barrus' adress since I'll be close by!   Well Dad, I might be in your old neighborhood soon!  

This is my zone!

A new photo of Austin with his district.

Information from the Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission

To avoid changing mailing addresses and so that your missionary get his/her letters and boxes faster, we wrote this e-mail with the Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission mailing addresses.

Boxes costing more than U$ 40.00 will get stuck at the post office due to extra taxes. Please, don't put stickers of Saints or Christ, it doesn't work to avoid your boxes getting opened. The only way to avoid it is sending boxes costing U$ 40.00 or less. If you want to send something more expensive than U$ 40.00 you can spread out the cost by sending several boxes with the previously stated value.

If you send, for example, 2 t-shirts costing U$ 10.00, the total value is not U$ 10.00 but U$ 20.00. So you have U$ 20.00 left instead of U$ 30.00.

- To send LETTERS:

[Full name + (name on nametag)] Ex: Weslley Andrade Frazão (Frazão).

Caixa Postal 13008.

CEP: 91010-971.

Porto Alegre - Rio Grande do Sul.


- To send BOXES:

Full name + (name on nametag)Ex: Weslley Andrade Frazão (Frazão).

Av. Visconde de Macaé, 245.

Cristo Redentor

CEP: 91350-290

Porto Alegre - Rio Grande do Sul.


If you have any question, please contac us.


Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 14 - bonus pictures and emails!

This was a bonus in my day!  Around 5:30 I got a "ping" that I received a new text.  Attached were these two pictures with the message, "Wonderful day at the temple!  We love you!!:)"  It was sent from an 801 number.  What was funny though was the text set off an immediate response from all the parents.  Somehow these kids managed to text photos out to all their parents.  We all went crazy with excitement - all within a minute!  We live to hear from our missionaries!   Here are our responses:

"Who is this?  I have not gotten this number programmed"
"Hey, that's my girl!  Thank you whoever you are:)"
"Thanks for the pics!"
"Thank you to whoever sent these!  I love seeing our missionaries!  Have a  great day everyone :-)

 Elder Barrus, Sister Bobelenyi, Sister Stevens, Sister Green, and Elder Tensmeyer

I also got a couple extra emails tonight.  One from Austin and  one from Sister Stevens.  She's too sweet.  

Yeah,  my camera works great thanks so much!  Just got your donuts -  thanks so much my district loves you! They were SO good I love you they were awesome! The snow in a can was alot of fun! 

Dear Mama Barrus,
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! The donuts and cookies and goodies have been thoroughly appreciated and devoured rapidly. May God bless you for your kind heart and soul.
District A
Sisters Stevens, Bobelenyi, Green, and Elder Tensmeyer. And Elder Barrus.

January 14th - pictures

 This is my zone.  We're all going to Brazil!

 Me being awesome….

 A view from the MTC.

 The first picture of me with my name tag.  This is where I email you guys.

 Here's my name tag!

 Me and my companion as zone leaders with the previous zone leaders.

My companion reminds me a lot of Blake!

January 14, 2014


It's week 4!  2 weeks to go -  time is going by fast!!  My visa is doing great I-  did an online application here at the MTC and now Im all set.   I could get my visa at any time!   My guess is I wont get it for a month or so but hey fingers crossed!  

 Alright next week I'll have an amazing picure of me with a name tag! 

My week this week was great! I had a great spiritual experience!  I was teaching an investigator with my companion all in Portuguese and we were teaching the importance of prayer and faith. Then I started to bear my testimony and I felt this cold shiver start in my chest and move down to my fingers.  Then I started saying random Portuguese words and when I talked with my teacher after the lesson he said that I spoke very well!   So the gift of toungues is very real and it was amazing to experience it.   I know that if you have enough faith anything is possible.   I'm not worried at all about learning the language now. I know that as long as I have faith I'll be able to speak the language, and I need to keep working very hard of course too!   But Im learning alot and I love it here at the MTC the spirt is so stong here! 

 Being a zone leader is awesome. I check up on the other districts and make sure they're not home sick and make sure that there's no fighting and that everyone is getting along.  So far everyone is and there are no issues.  The new district is doing a good job with the language.

 I didn't get Krispie Creams but I got a big thing of candy, two boxes,  and a large cinnamon roll with sparkling cider.  So me and my companion and the 3 sisters had a little party.  It also came with snow in a can and that stuff is weird! It was very sticky and gross but I had fun with it haha. 

I'm not allowed to leave the MTC and I'm starting to miss the real world. I get to see cars drive around on Sundays - haha but I spend almost all my time in a classroom studying nonstop.  

I've learned a lot of new vocabulary and I've had to learn a new sentence structure that's not in English called the subjunctive infinitive. The sentences sound weird if they were in English.  It would be me saying, "if you pray that you will get blessings."   Or,  "if you run that you will be healthy."   Weird right? 

The new missionaries are all Elders.  I got a package with letters from Sophie and those were super cute!  Today Im going to the temple so that'll be a cool experience!  I'm so glad that the temple opened up!  I'm sure you deserved a well earned break!  I'm glad you were able to get to the gym thats always fun. I 'm sure my eyes would hurt from all the pink!!   Yea, send me some pictures -  that'll be fun.  I'm going to send some letters either today or tomorrow.  I sent a letter yesterday so look for that!   Sundays are interesting -  I don't think I told you this but our Sacrament is done all in Portuguese!   We even sing in Portuguese!   I wrote a talk yesterday all about the Holy Ghost in Portuguese!   Where did Blake get lasers at?  Sounds like he's his normal crazy self!   Im sure Carter loves being the oldest now -  he's probably trying to act good so that should be interesting.   How did the water gun thing work out?   hahaha.   Mason sounds a lot like me I hated homework when I was his age!   Mom lectures are so much fun!   Haha he's probably going into with drawl since he can't have screens!   Hopefully he'll get better with his homework and stuff!   I can totally see him loosing control when you call the cat Tu-Tu.   I wonder who thought of that name? haha .  Thats good Sophie is doing so good in school - she's totally going to be in all advanced classes!  Hopefully she starts to not miss me so much after some more time passes by.  It's still weird to think I'm going to be gone for 2 years! I  miss being out in the world!  I'll be able to call home when I leave the MTC and I'm at the airport.   So you wont have to wait until mothers day to hear from me!   Well, everything is going great and I'll talk to you again soon!   Thanks for making a blog for me -  I know it cant be easy to correct all my spelling!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 7

Thats crazzy how cold It is!   When I leave the state it acually gets cold! Thats crazzy it's in the negatives! It sounds too cold to go outside! 

Can You mail me The Book of Austin and make a copy of it?  It's by the Gamecube underneath the big tv in my room.

 My companion and I became zone leaders. It's pretty awesome and I'll get to welcome the new missionaries on Wednesday!  There will be 8 of them so that'll be fun!  

 Nothing to do with my visa everything is all set I had to re-do the online part but other than that everythings been going great.   DC is the fastest growing consolate so thats good news! 

The missionary support group? That sounds fun I'll have to give you some spiritual stories instead of dumb pranks that I've been doing!   I taped the Sisters belongings to the ceiling and I also got nasty air freshener and sprayed it in another districts room.   Then they got our district back :( So that was pretty funny!

 I'm doing great with the language - that's what my teacher told me so thats good.   I don't feel stressed out at all and I feel great here.  Its awesome here! 

January 3, 2014 - First pictures!

Here's my most recent questions for you:

1.  What kind of room do you live in?  You said since there are only 3 of you you each have your own bunk bead.  Is it a room meant for 2 people, 4, 6?  Is it a dorm?  Or do you have a small apartment type space with a kitchen, desk, etc.?

2.  What did you learn this week?  What's new?

3.  What's your favorite food there?  Do you eat 3 times a day?  I've heard missionaries gain weight there.  Have you eaten 17 burgers yet?  haha

4.  Are you able to open the emails from my i phone with the photos that I send?  I hope so.  This will be an easy way for me to keep you up to date on your family!

5.  What's  your favorite thing you get to do at the MTC?  

6.  Tell me what Sunday is like at the MTC.

Yea,  I got all your photos,  and I loved the Dear Elder letters  and the cinnamon rolls!   We have a room meant for 6 people,  and its just me and my one companion so we have lots of room!   

I learned more Portuguese.  I teach different investigators each week and my Portuguese has come a long way.  I'm working on conjugating different words. 

My favorite food is candy and I drank soda for every meal for the first 8 days.  It started making me sick so I switched to water.  

Sunday is the bomb!   I get to relax from all the Portuguese lessons and the only Portugese that I have to do is prepare a talk.  And if I'm called to give a talk in sacrament meeting then I'm prepared.  There's about 20 missionaries and 3 sisters  in our zone.  I'm the district leader so I'm in charge of meeting and making sure my district is getting along.  It's extremely easy since it's only me, my companion Elder Tensymer, and the three sisters.

 Food is a buffet for all three meals. Wednesday and Friday is all you can eat ice cream and on Friday night is pPapa Johns! 

My favorite thing to do is sleeping - everyday is so busy.  

 This is my first day at the MTC when we had four Elders in our room

 This is my current companion looking for candy in the ceilings.  There was a rumor from the previous missionaries so he investigated.  He's a lot like Blake!

 These are the Sisters in my district.  We have fun and they are the ones who decorated the Christmas tree.

 My favorite thing to do on Sunday is walk around the temple grounds.

 Taking a walk around the temple grounds.

 We decorated the Christmas tree!!

 Christmas lights at the MTC!

 This is my companion.  He drank 12 glasses of water at lunch.  I don't know why?!

 Utah mountains are so awesome!!!!

  This is my district.  The other Elder got his visa.  He was my first companion and kept me in line - haha.  But he always knew what was going on.  So now me and my new companion have to step it up!  On my P day I like to explore the book store and look around.  That's fun.  I go to the gym and I run 6 miles a week.  I have gym 50 minutes four times a week.  I also like to play Knockout - it's this basketball game.  Blake knows what it is.  I started the Book of Mormon challenge so I read it 30 minutes a day.  So that's all the type of stuff I do in my free time.

This is my zone.  These are all the missionaries who leave for Brazil the same time I do.  Eight of them are leaving in two weeks.

 Me desk!

We have three bunk beds in our room.  The one you are seeing is the one that I sleep on.  

A little tidbit

In Brazil there are currently 1,209,974 members, and 27 different missions, and 6 temples!   Alright,  now I really have to go!   Talk to you next week! 

More from December 27

One of the coolest things here at the MTC is the investigators.   They have return missionaries teach the languages and also act as investigators.   My companions and I taught an investigator named Pedro, and he acted as a 17 year old boy that he had taught on his mission.   He only speaks Portuguese the whole entire time.   My first lesson when horribly wrong since I didnt know any Portuguese,  and it was only my 3rd day being there;  but as the days went by my companions and I became better and better with the language.   I still got a long way to go but im getting the hang of it finally and can understand short phrases.   Like,  I'm good, how are you? , I'm tired,  I believe in, I know that, (things like that.)  "m just working on memorizing the short phrases so I can peice together bigger sentences.  

I got Pedro to set a date for baptism and pretty soon I'll be starting my next lesson with a new investigator.   

I saw your story of how Blake crawled through a nativity set and had to clean the gym -lol! 

Well I love you guys and I'll send in some pictures off one of the sister's camera in my district. 

I can call guys Elders and girls Sisters for two years so thats taking some getting used to as well.   Well if you have any more funny stories let me know!  I think I said this but I got all your packages and I sent a couple of real letters your way!

But yea, Christmas was awesome!  DId blake like the xbox one and was he able to set it up okay? I got your picture of Blake it was awesome! I'm so busy here im constantly doing stuff nonstop and by 10:30 i just pass right out.   SInce there's only three elders in my district right now we each have our own bunk bed.    Well I love you guys I'll talk to you again soon!

December 27th

I have been advised by experienced missionary moms to ask your missionary questions, especially if your missionary is a boy.  I guess are girls are better with details?   Anyway, here's a quick email I sent Austin.  His answer is below.


For your first email, I'm impressed.  There was a decent amount of detail and I'm not left wanting more.  Well, that's not entirely true, I'll always want to hear more.  I'm sure I'll send you another email by Friday but hear are a few more quick questions.

1.  What is the name of your companion?  Where is he from?  Is he nice and do you get along OK?   Is he going to Brazil too? 

2.  Are you getting the letters from the DearElder service?  Did you get your Christmas package on Monday?

3.  Did you get your camera yet?  I'm DYING for a picture.  That will be my second best present next to your first email.

I wrote you a letter about Christmas morning in the DearElder site, but you won't get that until next week, but Christmas was fun.  We're all just relaxing today.  It feels so nice.   I'm excited to hear what Apostle visits today.  My fingers are crossed for Elder Uchdorf, but anyone who comes will be amazing.  Make sure you write in your journal what he spoke about, but more importantly the way you felt while you were listening to him.  This is such a cool day for you.  


His name is Elder Dolkey and he's from Tennessee, and he grew up kinda in the middle of nowhere, and has a farm and worked at Wendy's cause he wrecked his car.  He's 22,  and we get along well.   I  have another awesome companion as well.   I acually have two companions now because the other one got his visa and his name is Elder Tensmyer. He's from Cincinnati, Ohio,  and the three of us are having a lot of fun!   

Yea ,I got my camera but I can't put into the computer because there's only usb slots and no way for me to put in my sd card :(   

I got all your packages!    I decorated the Chrismas tree you sent me with the help of the sisters, of course haha.

 Elder Bednar visited the MTC.   It was the coolest thing ever!   He handed out 200 phones to all the missionaries and said "if you call home, I will hunt you down and do bad things to you!" haha it was super funny,  and then we could ask him questions.   The phones were to email and text him questions.   HIs wife was there as well,  and she would answer some questions too.  But it was awesome and there are 15 MTC's in the world.   I  thought there were only 4!   And the missionaries at the other MTC's could email him too and all the questions would go to his i pad.   He told us that there are good  questions,  and then there are better questions. He was super funny.  

Merry Christmas!!

Hey family! 
I dont have much time so I'll make this quick!  The MTC is awesome.  I love it here.   There are so many amazing people. My companion is awesome and the spirit is so strong here.  I feel like im in a giant bubble though.  I got to see the real world on Sunday when I walked to the temple.  It was closed though since it was Sunday.  It was fun I got to in the snow and stuff! I  got to have one of the 70 talk to me yesterday and today I'll have one of the apostles talk to me.  I don't know who yet!  Also send me letters.  I'm the mail man for my district and I check mail 3 times a day since I'm the district leader. My district is awesome.  My "pee" day hehe is on Friday so expect an email from me then.  I wasn't allowed to email last Friday since I was still getting adjusted to the mtc. But I love it here and its awesome.   I'll definetly have a once in a life time Christmas!   Also I found a sister here a sister BARRUS how crazy is that?  Her name is Taylor and she is serving in Mexico!  I also saw Brenton Jackson but no sign of an Elder Brown - he must be in a different zone. The first day I got here  was a blur.  I had an older missionary lead me around and help get my books and he helped me find my dorm and classroom.  I spend most of my time in the classroom learning, studying, and preparing to teach the gospel.   I have an investigator named Pedro who is a returned missionary, and he pretends to be a 17 year old boy that he taught on his mission.  He acts just as the Pedro on his mission would act so it's alot like im teaching a real person.  The first day I taught him I knew so little Portuguese.   After we said the prayer he kinda pushed out of the room and my companion got frustrated but I thought it was awesome.  That was on the third day!   I can now pray and bear my testimony in Portuguese though so thats awesome!  It's deffinetly a great experience.   I'm learning the langunge extremely fast!   I made 250 flash cards or so and the Elders and Sisters in my ward made a bunch as well so we quiz each other and we're all improving a lot!   Tomorrow I'm having an English fast where I only speak Portuguese!   It's going to be so hard but I know that ill learn alot.  In my district (it's a very small district) I have myself and 7 missionaries -  and one of them got their visa!   I told him to email me to tell me what the MTC in Brazil is like!   Oh yea,  and on Sunday I had to write a whole talk on repentance in Portuguese and we sing hyms in Portuguese too!   I'm deffinetly glad Portuguese is a pretty language or I think I'd go crazy - haha,  but I love learning the language and its awesome!   My schedule:   At 6:30 I wake up and shower.   7:05  - I leave for breakfast.   From 7:30 to 11:55 is personal and companion study.  Depending on the day is classroom instruction.   I'll have a teacher teach me more Portuguese and that helps a bunch!   12:00  is lunch and then from 12:30-4:50 is more companion and language study.   Somtimes I'll use this program called TALL and its a lot better than Roseta Stone!   Learning alot!   Then I have dinner at 5:00.   From 5:30-9:25 is more language and personal study, or depending on the day,  3 hours of classroom instruction.   At 9:30 I head back to my residence hall (dorm room) and get ready for bed. From 10-10:15 I have companion study where I go over the day with my companion, and talk about what we want to improve on.  Then I write in my journal from 10:15-10:30 and then have a prayer and go to sleep.  By 10:30  I'm exausted! I love you guys so much.   Have an awesome Christmas.   I can't call you from the MTC because its a few thousand phones short  - haha.   On my first day here on Wednesday (Dec.18) there were 784 new missionaries that arrived!   Have an awesome Christmas.   I'm having a blast here just getting to hangout with all the other missionaries.  Feeling the spirit and stuff its pretty awesome!   Oh yea and that sword was a pratical joke  - I advise you to take that thing away immediately -  haha!  I just wanted to make Chrismas without me a memorable one.   hahhahah.   love you guys peace out!!!


MTC day is here! December 18th

 Randy dropped Austin off at 12:30.  He was so excited to arrive and be on his way!

Made it! December 17

After a short flight to Utah, Randy and Austin got to spend the day with a bunch of family.

 Hanging out with cousins - Devin, Austin, Lindsay, Dallon, Austin, and Sienna

 Family dinner - Uncle Delane and Aunt Sarah in this one.

 The headed over to Uncle Dan and Aunt Nancy's.  Cousins Eric, Natalie, and Ryan are in this photo.

Randy with Austin's cousin Justin.

 Austin and his cousin Alicia.

Flying to Utah - December 17

Austin was originally supposed to fly directly to Brazil on December 27th.  But since his visa still isn't ready he is going to go to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah for 6 weeks.  He reports to the MTC tomorrow at 12:30.  He is going out to Utah with his dad, and will get to see a lot of family.  The good-bye part was no fun at all.  He will be missed!

Officially a missionary - December 16th

On December 16th Austin was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He will serve two years in Porto Alegre, Brazil.