Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 17, 2014

These are answers in response to some of the questions Randy and I asked Austin in our emails…

(I asked where the photos were taken last week)
"The baptism picture are inside the church.  The church is a one minute walk from my house.  The language is good.  I can speak it but not really understand it yet because it is so fast.  It will take a few more weeks but each week is getting a lot better and I'm learning a lot. 

 (We told him we wanted to see how big the giant cockroaches actually are.  I told him to kill and trace one since an insect body wouldn't' make it through customs - haha)  You want me to send you a giant dead cockroach?!  Haha!!!  You guys are crazy!  Tell Blake to open his email and respond to me!!  

(I asked him about the people he's teaching and about the members)  "The investigators are really nice.  They usually offer me water.  Members offer us more and more and more food so me and my companion eat a lot! 

 (I asked him if he had any funny stories or mistakes he was making with Portuguese)  "Here is my best and most embarrassing language story so far.  I was trying to ask for stamps but I kept saying breast!  So I went to the store and said, "Hi, I would like some breasts please."  Then they looked really confused.  So I said, "I need breasts now." Then my companion, who speaks English said, "Elder, they don't have those here."  I thought my companion was telling me that they don't have stamps there, so I said, "darn it, I really need breasts now…"  And then we left.  So lesson learned that when you are learning a new language you make a lot of mistakes.  Awkward, bad mistakes!"  

(I asked him about the man who approached him on the street)  "The man who walked up to me and said "baptize me" was being serious.  We went to his house and clapped - but he didn't answer.  So my companion and I started to leave but I felt an impression to go back and to knock.  He answered and we taught him and it was great and hopefully we are going there again this week.  Last week my companion baptized a little girl of a non-member family, but I don't think her family is going to join the church anytime soon.  The grandma attended the baptism, but not the mom or the sister.  We didn't even teach the grandma but she is coming the church now with her granddaughter and it is great."  

(I asked Austin who lived with him and his companion)  "It is just me and my companion, Elder Seidmann.  He is an awesome super hard worker."

(Happy Valentine's Day)  "The Valentine's Day of Brazil is in June so I'll tell you I love you then - haha.  That's cool that I can get letters from them here.  I have a binder that I'm putting all my letters in. Love you too!"

"Yes, Monday is my P (personal) day.  (Day off where missionaries do their laundry, shopping, and hopefully have a little break.)  I'm in a city called Sapriana.  I'll send the address and you can google map it and see my house and see where I walk around.  My area is a busy town with lots of people.  It is really hot but this week it rained and it cooled off which was nice.  Like Nick, I walk everywhere but I enjoy it.  My companion is s a super hard worker.  He was sick last week but we still went and taught 12 lessons.  I bore my testimony of how the Book of Mormon is a guide in my life in Portuguese.  So I love my mission!  Each day is a new adventure with lots of awesome new people!!  And the food here is so good!  On Sunday we have a huge BBQ with the members and it is sweet."

(I asked him about his financial situation)  "You always give the best mom lectures - haha!  Everything is going great.  I've used 50 Reals of the money you gave me only because I didn't know how to use my card the first week.   I'm saving 150 for emergencies.   I have a good amount.  I get 135 Reals for 2.5 weeks, and 30 of it goes toward the bus.  The rest is for food and toiletries.  The members feed us each day.  Brazilians eat lunch as a huge meal.  On Sundays there are BBQ's and it is awesome.  I have to be frugal so I eat really cheap stuff.  Ramen noodles and hotdogs which is pretty good.  But lunch with the members always fills me up.  I ordered a pizza one day.  I was starving.  My companion paid for half of it.  I will tell you more about Brazilian pizza next week.  Members are super good about feeding us.  We always have a member feed us or give us money to eat out and then we go to a restaurante or buffe.  So food wise I'm way good."

"I do a lot of traveling between Saprianga and Novo Hamburgo.  I call it hamburger city.  My companion is the district leader so we travel to the other city twice a week."

 It rained like crazy last week in Brazil.  When it rains it rains!

 I baptized my second investigator - it was awesome!

 Me and my companion chillen….

 Got to travel to a city called Novo Hamburgo.  I go there twice a week.  This is a view from the zone leaders's apartment.  Pretty sweet.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Elder Barrus in Sapiranga, Brasil

Brazil is awesome!  It's hard not being able to talk with anyone but soon eu sei I know that I will get the language.  I only speak Portuguese here.  I was talking to an Elder who has been here for a year and a half and it's difficult for him to speak English.  He has to translate from Portuguese back to English.  He  knows all his English words and stuff but when he speaks it it sounded weird - haha.  So I know that speaking is hard right now but soon in a  few months I'll have the language down.

Everything is going great here.  I'll take more pics and send them to ya next week!  Endure the cold and try not to freeze to death!!!

I had to walk in 120 degree weather this week.  My arms got pretty sunburned but they're tanning nicely now.  The people here are so nice.  The food is great.  Meat!  I love the meat here.  It is the best thing ever.  Brazilian pizza is my favorite thing.  People are very welcoming here.  It's part of their culture and so anyone we see we can pretty much go right up to them and start teaching.

I do a lot of walking.  Tons of walking.  I have to do stretches or else my knees will tear and I'll have to go home so I do exercises everyday.  toto did totos as dias!  All the homes have gates around them so I have to clap outside to get in.  A man came up to me, put his arm on my shoulder and said, "baptize me" so I am going to baptize him.

I can speak some Portuguese but I can't understand it and sorry for my grammar.  I'm using a Brazilian keyboard and it's hard to type.

There are evil cockroaches in my house.  I found one last night.  It was very very big.  It's scary!!  My house is very poor, and all of the floors of houses here are very dirty because it's Brazilian culture to always wear shoes.  The heat is insane.  It got to be 120 degrees and I thought I would die - haha.  I drank 1 liter of juice and 1 liter of water - it was heavenly.  Don't worry about me!  I love it everyday.  It's hot and sweaty but I love the heat.  I hate cold weather.  So happy not to be in Utah anymore.  I love hot weather.  Also - in Brazil men never wear shirts and everyone owns a motorcycle and everyone wears flip flops.  EVERYONE is pretty sweet though.  I could live here.  It's a pretty laid back lifestyle and the meat here is to sweat for.

The people here are crazy drivers.  It's why we can't have bikes and why I walk everywhere.  My investigators are a one hour walk away from my house and its very hot but I drink lots of water so no worries.  My mission is difficult because I can't communicate with the people but what little I say to them they understand.  I can testify of the gospel and say lots of church things but the hard part is understanding.  But it will come with time.

Everyone here owns dogs.  Everyone!  And all the dogs are little and bark like crazy!  Also poor people always have tons of cats and dogs.  I don't know why!  There was this huge bee during a lesson and when it went near the ground dust flew up around it.  It was scary.  eu no gust de bees and cockroaches muito mal!   We teach lots of people each week.  My trainer speaks a little English but honestly I never talk in English anymore, mostly all Portuguese.  Other missionaries tell me I'll be fairly fluent in 6 months so that should be awesome.  It seems far away but it will go by fast.

I'm making cheeseburgers tonight so that should be awesome.  I'll take more pics and send them to you guys next week!!  My p-day is on Monday and I have no idea what time is it where you are, probably like 7 in the morning.  Well, I love you guys.  I sent a letter and you should get it in two weeks.  Don't send packages over 40$ or the Brazilian government will make me pay for them.  Also don't let them know if you send anything electronic.  An iPhone 5 charger is 115 reals, a smart phone or tablet is over 1000 reals.  No one has a tablet or smart phones here because they are so expensive.  There are some really nice rich homes but it's mostly a lower class and poor area, with very loving humble people.  Seriously I love my mission so much and it's awesome I'm learning so much each and every day.  Love ya guys.  Peace out!  (paz fora)

Eu amo Brazil, Brazil e ochimo!  Uma comida e muito bom, arroz e carne!  Viver e beleza os missionarieos peinsan que come eu falo "muito bom!" E engicado eu gosta de pizza do o brazil, brazil pizza e o bamba!  eu no entendo muitos palavras mas no sais mas eu sei que todos as palavras e todos as coisas porque eu estudio muito!  Voce meu cara vocew lembra que!  Paz fora!

 I'm in Sapiranga, Brasil

 Well, this is my  house.  The hammock is broken!

 I have freezing water in the morning which I like cause it's burning outside and hot water at night because the air is so hot!

 Nasty cockroach!


meu filho batizador!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

A letter from President Wright

Dear Family,

After spending a few hours with your missionary, we sense his spirit, preparation, and testimony.   Our hearts are filled with gratitude for parents that sent us such a fine young person.   We thank you for your sacrifice and know that Heavenly Father will richly repay you and your missionary as he serves the Lord in this part of his vineyard.

We read in the Book of Samuel of Hannah, who promised, if she were granted a son she would consecrate him to the Lord.  Blessed with the son she asked for, she took him to the temple and lent him to the Lord.  You have done something very similar to Hannah.  What is marvelous is that, by offering our children to God, they become ours forever.

We are happy we have the opportunity to be called with your missionary to serve in this mission.  Rio Grande do Sul is a marvelous place with people anxious to hear the gospel.  Sometimes the work will be hard, and your weekly letters will give him inspiration and encouragement.

Every young missionary, often through difficulties and challenges, grows a lot.  He will have sacred experiences as he is obedient and dedicated.  Great things are happening in the work of the Lord and it is marvelous your missionary is playing a part.

We will most certainly take care of him and love him as if he were our own.  We thank you one more time and pray the blessings of the Lord be with you.


President D. Layne Wright and Sister Marion Wright.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Elder's Barrus' first letter from Brazil.


Arrived in Brazil today!  It is awesome and so hot here!  The people here are very friendly.  The missionary next to me gave a restoration pamphlet to a person on the airplane and he was very happy to read it.  I can't wait to start learning the language even more and teaching people the gospel.  I had fun today talking to you guys.  It sounds like everything is going good and it is crazy as usual so that's good!  The plane ride was super long but I was able to sleep a little.  Porto Alegre is awesome!  I'll send pictures as soon as I can!  The part I'm in right now is a town, a lot like Puerto Rico but I'm probably going to go somewhere else soon!  I don't know what area I'm serving in yet.  I'm going to take a bus later to my mission home and I'll be serving there!  I'm so excited!  I feel like I'm on an awesome adventure!  I'M IN BRAZIL!!  I can speak Portuguese!  It is going to be sweet!  I love you guys.  Keep choosing the right and all that good stuff!

Elder Barrus

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Austin met his cousin at the MTC!

This is Austin's cousin, Taylor Barrus!  She is going to serve her mission in Mexico!  They met his first day at the MTC and figured out they had to be related somehow.  They are 4th cousins and share Benjamin Franklin Barrus and Lovina Ann Steele as Great-Great-Great-Grandparents.  Benjamin and Lovina had 12 children.  They had 7 boys and 5 girls.   Austin's family line follows that of their 6th son, and Taylor's follows that of their 2nd son.   I was humbled to read about these people.  I've included a little of what I've read about them below.
By Benjamin Franklin Barrus
This is the 26 March 1920 at Grantsville, Utah. I B. F. Barrus feel impressed to write something of my life. I was born 30 May 1838 in Cattarugus County, New York.
As this was the worst year of the persecutions for the Church of Jesus Christ in Missouri, my parents sympathized with the Saints in their afflictions. I suppose it was impressed on my character and disposition in so much that I have sympathized with the oppressed at all times.
My parents received the gospel in 1833, and left New York in 1839. They went to Missouri. They spent the winter in Jefferson City, Missouri.
They arrived in Nauvoo in the spring of 1840, and bought a city lot. They cleared, plowed, and planted some apple and peach trees which were just coming into bearing when the Saints were forced by a mob to leave the city of Nauvoo in 1846.
My grandfather, Freeman Nickerson who came with us, was a preacher of the gospel from 1833 until his death which occurred in January 1847. he baptized a great number of souls. We arrived at Ferryville on the Missouri River (Council Bluffs) in the spring of 1847.
We expected to come to the valley with the pioneers, but our provisions came after the company had gone, so we built a home there and stayed there until 1853, and then we crossed the plains. I was in my 15th year. I drove a herd of loose stock across the plains and took my turn standing guard with the men.
We arrived in Grantsville in October 1853. I also herded and guarded the stock after we arrived, as we had no feed for the stock. I herded summers for several years. I got my education on the range.
I received my endowments in the endowment house in 1855. We moved south on account of Johnston's Army in 1858, expecting to have our homes burned and fields laid to waste, rather we returned to our home rejoicing. On September 29, 1861 of this same year I married Lovina Ann Steele.
I was then called to drive and ox team to the Missouri River for immigrants. Our first child was born in August, 1862, while I was away. I returned home in October of the same year.
I have tried to be a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints all my life. I have served 2 terms as a member of the city council, have been a Sunday School teacher, member of the Sunday School board 42 years, President of the 31st Quorum of Seventy, and was President of the Elder's Quorum several years. I went on a short term mission in 1872 and returned in 1873. I was ordained a High Priest by Abraham Woodruff. I was ordained a Patriarch by Matthew Cowley and Francis M. Lyman. I have pronounced 182 blessings. I have seen sick made whole by the laying on of hands and anointing with oil. Evil spirits have departed at our bidding.
The Lord has been good to me and mine.
Lovina Ann Steele Barrus
Soon after the birth of Lovina her father moved his family to Nauvoo, Illinois, where they were subjected to mob brutality. They followed Brigham Young to Winter Quarters, staying through the winter of 1846. Lovina's father settled his family at Mount Pisgah.
During a prayer meeting he heard a voice tell him that he was wanted at home. Upon arriving home, Lovina was very sick and in a great deal of pain. She had been playing before a fireplace, a coal popped onto her hot dress and it was ablaze. Lovina had ran outdoors and the blaze spread very quickly. She recovered but carried the scars to her grave.
When Lovina was six years old her mother deserted the family and left for the gold rush in California. Her father went to Utah and left her and her little brother with friends who were to bring them across the Plains. These friends left the children to fend for themselves. They were hungry much of the time and after this Lovina could not stand to see food wasted.
Upon arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in 1852, they were homeless. A widow named Nancy Bailey Orton offered to care for them with her own two daughters. The two children were a sad sight; thin from malnutrition, dysentery, and head lice.
Their father, Samuel, located his children and came for them but they clung to Nancy who had been good and kind like a mother to them, within a few moths time, Samuel persuaded Nancy to become his wife and they moved as a family to Grantsville.
When Lovina was seventeen, she married Benjamin Franklin Barrus. They built a large rock home on Main Street in Grantsville and played an important role in civic and Church affairs. After her husband's death, Lovina moved to Salt Lake City to live with a daughter.
She died having lived a life of hardships and challenges as a pioneer and settler of Grantsville. To her family and neighbors she was famous for her honey candy.

Austin's teacher sent us an email - it made my day!

Dear Barrus family, 

My name is Dan LeFevre. I am one of Austin's two teachers in the MTC. I just wanted to let you know that he has done great here. We're so excited that he gets to go to Brazil. He has improved so much over his stay. He is speaking well and ready to hit the streets of Porto Alegre. He has always helped everyone stay happy and optimistic. He keeps everyone laughing and has been such a great person to have in the classroom. Thanks for sending such a great son! 


Dan LeFevre