The travels, travails and joys
of missionary service for
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
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Tuesday, December 31, 2013
A Missionary's Christmas Joys... and a golf cart
Anyway, we also had some adventures, like driving a golf cart all around in the country at the S's house. Playing with the cat tails. The plant not the cat body part. We got to play games and playaround with sling shots at the Sls. AND hang out with the LP family at night. Their kids are amazing! I seriously love them! And Sister LP is our mom away from home, she always takes such good care of us. I love her!
I got a package from grandma with my favorite Chinese Chews!! Mmmm :)
Also, Sister Allen and I have started this new tradition of coming home and making lemon water. Not lemonade...lemon water. Everyone here has lemon trees and always gives us a bunch of fresh lemons.So we are cleansing our insides by drinking it every night.
Our investigator is the bomb! He is progressing so quickly and is already recognizing the blessings the gospel brings into his life. Oh, speaking of, we had 2 less actives we had visited come to Church and 2 investigators!! Whoop whoop! Sister Allen made fun ofme because I kept staring at the doors and I apparently "freaked out"
when I saw them. It was so exciting to see them at Church though!! Ya'll know how excited I can be, imagine me at my most excited. That was me at Church.
Something cool I studied this week was Alma 26. The baby bear shared this chapter with me one week , so I decided to study it. Verse 27 really stuck out to me. Ammon one of the greatest missionaries ever felt depressed. The people weren't listening. They hated the missionaries, and they wanted to give up and go home. They probably felt like their efforts were a little wasted. But the, The Lord comforted them. He didn't say, okay, go back, it'll be easy now. He said "bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
Well, while we were tracting this week. We got pretty discouraged and didn't know what to do. I remembered this scripture and we decided to just keep going, because at least we were showing Heavenly Father we were going to keep working hard. Well we get to the last house on the street and run into this lady named Carissa. She was so interested in our message. We taught her the restoration and the plan of salvation right on her doorstep! She was from out of town but we gave her some info. And who knows, maybe she'll start meeting with the missionaries wherever she's from. It was so awesome. The Lord knows us and He knows our struggles and He ALWAYS keeps his promises!
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Quick Photo Scan - Her California Mission President
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Pre-Christmas Calm in Loomis, CA + iPad Mini's
This past week some miracles happened. I don't remember if I told you or not but we are Skype-teaching a guy in England names Christopher. He's awesome!! He is progressing so much, but he has been hesitant to meet with the local Elders for some reason. Anyway, we finally got him to agree to meet with them which was a big step for him! I can't wait to hear about his baptism (it'll happen soon. He's seriously incredibly prepared)
Investigator X, another investigator, is also incredible. He couldn't meet with us earlier this week and when we asked why he said he had to break up with his girlfriend because she wanted to start having sex, but he just didn't feel good about it. We hadn't Even taught the law of chastity lesson yet. What 19 year old does that??
This week I really started learning that despite Sister Allen's and my efforts of tracting and finding and working, all the miracles that happen have nothing to do with our own efforts. Heavenly Father truly does His own work and we're just blessed enough to have a part in it. So we just keep working hard because we know it qualifies us for the miracles to happen. Sacrifice definitely brings forth the blessings of Heaven. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of me and sees my efforts. He loves me :)
Anyway, tracting adventure of the week. So Loomis is an incredibly hilly town and the houses are all like 1/4 mile apart. So Sister Allen and I drive down a street, scope it out, then park at the beginning and start knocking houses. Well, one day we get to the very last house and no one answers, as we are walking away a man yells after us, who are ya'll? So we go and start talking to him. He's super nice but not interested. But he feels bad that we walked all the way up the huge hill to get to his house so he gives us a bottle of water and asks if we want to see a pig. What? So he shows us his huge pig! And then let's us feed it bananas with chocolate syrup!! What?? It was disgusting. Pigs are gross. Sorry William, but never get a pig! They start off cute, but they get crazy. And when they say eat like a pig, I know exactly what they mean.
One of Sister Allen's and my favorite things to do is listen to Josh Grobans Christmas CD. Angels we have heard on high is our JAM! It's so good! And it gets us motivated to leave the house and get in the car.
Oh! We sang at a nursing home this week. It was fun. Only 5 people showed up. Us, our mission leader, his wife, and Dacoda. It was hilarious, we are all terrible singers... Dacoda showed up late and said he was confused when he first walked in because all he could hear was snoring...bahahahah! But it was fun and we got to invite some of the CNAs to Church. So that was good.
Also, we came up with an idea one day tracting, because tracting is the most inefficient way to find. So we organized a night movie showing of the Nativity. It was pretty last minute and no non-members came. And no members brought their non member friends, but it was still good. The Spirit was super strong and I think we gained the members who came trust.
We are trying really hard to find. No one in Loomis really wants to talk to us. Not gonna lie, it can get discouraging. But I know that The Lord didn't send me out here to do nothing, there's somewhere out there waiting to hear the truth. Waiting for us to find them and tell them the good news. That Christ lives and this is His Church. So I'm going to keep working hard to find them. Even if it's just one person. Because I know that this gospel will change their life forever like it has mine.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Preacher to the über-rich California suburbanites!
|Sister Debbie thinking big thoughts.|
My new address is posted on my Facebook page for my friends, but, you can still send me stuff at the address listed on the left. It will get to me pretty quickly.
I think I already told ya'll about my mission president, President Weston, I seriously love him! I think that if anything else, I was called to serve here to get to know him. I am so excited to see him Tuesday, we're having a special conference because our mission.....is getting I-pads!!! CRAZY!!! We each get individual mini i-pads, like each missionary, not companionship. Also, we're allowed to FB... so that'll be cool. Ma...I can't talk to you on it though, so don't message me...
|Sister Allen and the |
Anyway, most people we run into tracting hate us. But it's okay, the Jews hated Jesus, so He gets me. Anyway, they always like to tell Joseph Smith was a false prophet and then proceed to tell us things the think we believe (that are not true) and then they tell us we're not Christians. So that's fun. We try to clear up misconceptions but they say we don't know what we're talking about and we really don't believe in Jesus, so it's cool that they know what we believe more than we do.... BUT we ran into this guy named George the other day, and he invited us back, so we went back to his house yesterday and taught him, his wife was pretty against us at first, but we started talking and our ward mission leader (who is amazing) came with us and he started a conversation with her and they let us come in and sit down and we just got to know them, BUT i'm excited to go back again and start sharing the gospel with them.
|Not sure why we are taking pictures of this, but, at|
least Dad didn't get a bill for $5000
Also, miracles happen like crazy out here! Like this kid comes up to us at the ward Christmas party Saturday and is like hey, I want to meet with ya'll. He was taught by missionaries before, but wasn't ready then, and Sister Allen found his info in the area book and then he showed up at the Christmas party. We're going to teach him tonight I'm pretty stoked!
So Loomis is interesting because although it's out in the boonies, the people are pretty wealthy and not too interested in the Gospel. And so our teaching pool is pretty small right now, but me and Sister Allen are working really hard on finding. And some awesome potential investigators have already shown up. Straight up miracles, I wish I had more time to tell you more about it. LIke this one random member not in our ward called us Saturday and was like, hey i know it's short notice, but can you come to our house and teach this family. and we were like ummm yeah! so we went and shared a short message and we're gonna stop by their house again soon (the family lives on our area).
Well, I cannot wait to hear from ya'll again next week. I hope you're having fun preparing for Christmas! and are enjoying the baby bear (Giancarlo) getting home. Enjoy him while you have him. Love ya'll. Miss you!
A Igreja e verdadeira. E milagres sao reis! sou grata de estar aqui no Loomis. mas tenho saudades de voces!
<3 Sister Byrne
|Not exactly living up to the poverty clause, here!|
Monday, December 9, 2013
Leaving the Missionary Training Center - Off to California (for now) - Bonus Encounter with Brad and Sandy Harris
|Debbie and Sister Allred|
|Brad and Sandy Harris - Nice Surprise|
|Clearly, Debbie hasn't changed much!|
Friday, December 6, 2013
Temporary Destination Confirmed - Roseville, CA
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Missionary Thanksgiving in the MTC
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Cold sores, smiley faces and the Holy Ghost
More and more missionaries are getting their visas now in other districts, so there is still hope! Like two missionaries that got her last Wednesday already got theirs and are heading for Sao Paulo this week! Bless their hearts.
Thanks so much for the letter ya'll sent me! I got it yesterday, and it definitely made my whole week!! It's so good to hear from ya'll.
I wrote pretty much everything else I had to say in the letter and I don't want to give it all away.... I hope ya'll have fun at Grandma's house. Give her a big hug for me! And all the Hoovers! And make sure to eat lots of food for me. The food here is good and there's always lots of it, but I'm definitely so over it already... I even had a dream of eating pasta piselli at home the other day...
Also, guess what?! I woke up today and guess who I found?? My good ol' friend herpes hanging out on my lip.... yup! It's so huge and it's so ugly! Ma, I have a question for you. They have abreva at the bookstore, but one tiny tube is like $15...should I get it? I bought this other ointment called Lysine+ and let's be real, my cold sore probably won't go away fast anyway because mine are just monsters... I'm so sad it came, I mean it could be worse, I could have a huge ugly lip ALL the time, at least this goes away!
But I told the Elders about it, and that I can't even look in the mirror at myself cuz it's so gross and they told me that they think I'm beautiful anyway... but not in a pg 33 kind of way. (pg 33 is the page in the missionary handbook that talks about not flirting) I love our Elders! They are so awesome and they always take such good care of us sisters. In like a sibling kind of way. Like Elder Chipman (he's serving in Santos too) always makes all the boys in the water line after choir move so Sister Allred and I can get a drink first. How sweet is that? And one of them (I can't figure out who) secretly puts smiley stickers on all my notebooks because he knows I love stickers. Adorable right? We're like a little family.
This week I've been thinking a lot about the Holy Ghost and how to recognize Him and follow His promptings, and this is what I learned. 1) The Holy Ghost is REAL! He is a real being and He spends all day e'ry day testifying of truth, comforting us, warning us, and leading us to do God's work. I knew all that stuff before, but all these basic principles of the gospel are really starting to sink into my heart more than ever before. 2) Sometimes we do things that are inspired of Him without even realizing it, and as long as we are doing our best to be our best the Lord will be able to use us as His instruments to do His own work. And most of the time, we won't even realize that our actions are inspired of Him, but others will notice because it blesses their lives. So as long as we are worthy and trying our best, the Lord will work through us to bless His other children.
Sorry to go into preaching mode, but that's kinda my job, yeah?
Amo voces muito!! A igreja e verdadiera! Eu sei que este trabalho e muito importante e devemos sempre tentar de compartiliar seu evangelho as todas as pessoas por que Deus ama todos e quer abencoar eles com tudo as bencoes que vem di vivindo o evangelho. Jesus Cristo vive! Eu amo Ele com tudo meu coracao!
<3 Sister Byrne
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Getting Ready for Thanksgiving in the MTC
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
A day in the life at the MTC
Families are meant to be together forever! And I'm lucky enough to be sealed to the best family in the world :) The sealer was this adorable little old man, and he got distracted talking to us a lot, but it was awesome. Unfortunately next week is the last week we get to go to the temple because the temple closes after that....oh well.
Also, I keep running into random people I know. It's awesome. Like I saw one of my best friends from the nursing program, she works here. Then I saw my old and favorite home teacher from my BYU ward. He works here. Then I saw my old Tongan Psychology professor from BYU-H. He and his wife are senior missionaries going out pretty soon. Then I saw Sister Harris, our old Bishop Harris's wife in Relief Society. The world is so small! Especially the MTC!
Friday, November 8, 2013
How to get your missionary Visa for Brazil (at least I hope this works) from Texas
We received a letter from the Church Travel Department that the Houston Consulate had changed the requirements for their police clearances. We have previously obtained one from the city of The Colony, but, apparently this one didn't have enough information in it.
If you received a similar letter and your missionary has already left home (either in the MTC or temporary stateside assignment), you have probably read that there are 3 options:
- Get a state police clearance.
- Get a city police clearance with the necessary documents.
- Get an FBI clearance. The problem with option 3 is that it will take 6 to 8 weeks to obtain.
The problem with options 1 and 2 are that they are impossible if your missionary has already left the state of Texas. The issue is that they require fingerprints and the state of Texas only accepts them from a company called IdentGo, which you can see from a quick review of the application form. IdentGo doesn't have any offices in Utah (so, no MTC option). If your missionary is serving temporarily in the field, they might be lucky enough to have an IdentGo office in their area. Their offices are listed on their web site.
(If your missionary is still in Texas, 1 and 2 are the best options because you can get the document quickly. A trip to Austin will allow you to get it the same day.)
So, how do you get the FBI clearance?
The FBI doesn't require a specific agency to take the fingerprints, however, they do require that they be on a specific form. What the letter from the Church did not tell you is that they will take care of the fingerprinting at the MTC. If your missionary is in the field, they can get their fingerprints at a police station.
Prepare a kit with the following:
1) The FBI Clearance Form. It came with the letter you received. Fill it out for your missionary so they don't have to waste precious time doing it themselves.
2) The FBI fingerprint form (see link above). Make sure you print it out on card stock. I went to Kinko's, but, you can probably have it done at a good copy shop, or, if you have a printer that will take the card stock paper, go for it.
3) A Money Order for $18 made out to US Treasury. I got one from my bank. Be sure you sign it!
4) The letter that states where the FBI is to send the completed form. This should be to the Church Travel department.
LDS Church Travel5) An envelope with the place your missionary will mail them from (the MTC in our case) as the return address, but addressed to the FBI address on the form. (Note: Previously I had said to send it to the Church's travel office address with the home address of the missionary as the address on the certificate. The FBI informed me that their system will mail it to the address on the certificate, so, you will have to remail it to the Church travel office. There is no need to prepare an envelope for the FBI or to spend money on priority mail or expedited postage as their mailing system just sends it regular mail to the return address on the certificate. I have heard of cases where the FBI was able to send it directly to Church travel, but, my experience was that this only led to unnecessary delay). You can print the label from the US Postal Service website. I highly recommend you add your email address for notifications so that you can follow the documents and see if your missionary has sent it or not.
50 E. North Temple St
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
If you have any questions, just post them here and I'll do my best to answer.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
First Experiences at the MTC
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Ugh... Brazilian Red Tape
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Debbie is now Sister Byrne
Her temporary companion is life-long friend Sharah Jabillo.
Setting apart was performed by Stu Alleman, President of the Frisco Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, with a minor assist from yours truly. She is now officially on the Lord's errand for the next two years.
God speed, Sister Byrne.
|My MTC Address:||Sister Deborah Connie Byrne|
2007 N 900 E Unit 92
Provo UT 84602
-Only good until 12/11/13
|Santos Brazil Mission Address:||
Sister Deborah Connie Byrne
Av. Ana Costa, 414, salas 24 e 25 - Gonzaga
Santos - SP - Brasil 11060-002
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I Hope They Call Me on a Mission. When I Have Grown a Foot or Two! ... Oh Wait...
As you know I have been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Santos, BRAZIL mission for the next 18 months. And I am beyond excited! If you want to learn more about my Church click here!
Before my Junior year of High School, I never ever even dreamed of being a missionary. I thought, who in the world would want to leave everything/one they love and are comfortable with behind to go live in a foreign place under strict rules ? Yeah...not for me.
Then, my Junior year of High School I started talking with one of my friends about the gospel and how immensely it has blessed my life. Long story short, he started talking with the missionaries and I watched as he gained a testimony, grew in the gospel, and found that part of his life that was missing, the part that made him happier than he ever was before. As I had that opportunity to see the gospel of Jesus Christ completely change my friend's life, I knew that inviting others to come unto Christ is the greatest work I could ever do.
I love super heroes! I used to wonder if I were Superman and the responsibility to save the world rested on my shoulders, if I would be brave and courageous enough to do it? To be honest, I'm not sure if I would, but fortunately for me - and everyone else - I don't have to save the world! Somebody else born about 2013 years ago already did that. So I'm going to leave my family, my friends, my school work, my whole world behind because I want to go share that good news to as many people as I can. I want to remind them that they are children of God and that Jesus Christ died to save their world.
I know my Savior lives and that He loves me, and you better believe that I love Him right back! I know He suffered for my sins -and everyone else's- because He loves us and wants us to come back and live with Him. And if we accept His invitation to "...come, follow me" (Luke 18:22) we will get to live with Him someday in never ending happiness. I know, without a doubt, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Christ's restored Church here on the Earth. You know how I know? I asked a question. I didn't just accept it because my parents and leaders told me it was true. I did my homework and I read the Book of Mormon so I could know for myself. One of last prophets in the Book of Mormon made a promise. He said "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." (Moroni 10:4) Then I put Moroni's promise to the test. I got on my knees and specifically asked God if it was true. I didn't see a vision or hear a voice. I just felt an overwhelming peace in my heart, and I knew. And I cannot deny it. And that book along with the Bible, both of which testify of Christ, have brought me so much peace and strength in my life I cannot even begin to explain it here.
So now, I'm going to invite YOU, if you haven't already, read the Book of Mormon. (Click here to get a free one) and then ask God if it is true. I promise He will not leave you hanging. He loves you and will tell you whether or not its true. He lives and He speaks to us if we openly speak to Him and listen. So why not find out? I say these things, in Jesus' name. Amen.