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Monday, January 27, 2014

Boys playing with knives in trees and other lovely insights

A lot has happened this past week! First off...drum roll please..... our investigator SET A BAPTISMAL DATE!!! He has been meeting with missionaries for 2 years. And before I got here the sisters would just go over there and visit with him and read with himself rom the Book of Mormon, which is great and all, but not that helpful to help him progress. So we've been teaching him for the past seven weeks and one day after prayer I felt like we should invite him to prepare for a date. So we went to teach him that day and we invited him to be baptized, assuming that we would have to beg and reteach about baptism...well...he said YES with no doubt. I was like whaaa? This is the first time in two years he has accepted a baptismal invite!! I am so excited for him!

Second, I've been Skype teaching with Berto. He lives in Rio and is pretty strong in his Presbyterian faith. But he has agreed to start reading the Book of Mormon. He is very nice and calls me Debbie. It sounds funny with his accent. Anyway, I love getting to teach him in Portuguese, and who knows maybe James will get to go over and baptize him when he gets there!

Parable of the boy in the tree with a knife:
Once upon a time there were two sister missionaries. They were sitting in the car trying to get ahold of one of their investigators when they saw a six year old boy up in a tree win a HUGE butchers knife in his hand, whacking away at parts of the tree. One of the sisters freaked out jumped out of the car and quickly went over to the young boy. "Boy" she said "do your parents know you have that knife?" The boy said they didn't and it wasn't a big deal, he did this all the time. The poor sister spent a good five minutes explaining to the boy that what he was doing was very dangerous and he could really hurt himself. And threatened to go knock on his front door and call out his parents. At that he decided to climb out of the tree. The sister watched and made sure he went to go put the blade inside and then went on her way.
Okay, so the sister was me. Anyway, after that little experience I started thinking to myself about it, and how much a freaked out and did not hesitate to go over and tell the boy that his behavior was dangerous and a disaster just waiting to happen. I felt a sense of urgency because the boy was in physical danger.
Then I thought about it in relation to spiritual danger and how it is just as dangerous as a boy playing with a knife in a tree, but that sense of urgency isn't always there. It reminded me how important this work is. How people around us are in spiritual danger. We can go and try to convince them to climb down, they won't always listen, but at least you tried. That little boy did not even realize how dumb he was being. He needed someone to come and teach him and help him understand.
As members of the Church we have that same responsibility to help our brothers and sisters understand the safety and truth this gospel brings.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Eye Trouble And New People to Teach

This week was fantastic! First off I would like to mention that yesterday was transfers...luckily no call for us, so Sister Allen and I are staying here in Loomis!

So this week was interesting, we spent a lot of time at doctors offices because Sister Allen has been having issues. Also, Thursday we were confined to our room because she had conjunctivitis, which is apparently highly contagious. And we didn't want to spread to everyone else...I either have an immune system made of steel or am very blessed to not catch whatever diseases she has. But I cannot tell you how often I wash my hands...and sanitize the phone...

Oh! We had to go to the eye doctor for her conjunctivitis and they had this big cup full of free pens. Well, as missionaries we use lots of pens...and those pens were free...so I pulled a mommy and took like 5 and a couple more on the way out. Also we have to go back for a return appointment and I already have a plan to get some more. They're really good pens!

Anyway, so many great things happened this week! We taught our investigator. He's been having a rough time and has been reading the Book of Mormon, but not really focusing or getting anything out of it, but in our last
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meeting we were talking about it and he looked down at the Book of Mormon in his hand and very solemnly said "I think I need to start reading this more." It finally sank in! And I'm so excited for him!

He's such a great guy! but Sister Allen and I decided that we're going to hand him over to the YSA Elders because although we love him, we think that it'll be better for him to go to a ward with people his age
and get the support from them and the elders that we just can't give cuz we're sisters. But we'll def totes go to his baptism still!

Thursday we decided to do a car fast...so we took bikes...he roads don't like that hilly when we are in a car, but oh boy, are they hilly! It was good though, we need the exercise. I tell you what though...skirts+bikes+16 miles= Exhausted sister missionary!

Anyway, some great miracles happened this week! this former investigator, T, randomly contacted us on FB. We haven't talked to him in months and he asked us to call him. He's having a really hard time and a lot of bad things have happened to this poor 20 year old kid. He didn't know what to do, so he called us, the sister
missionaries. We tried to help him out, but didn't really know what to say. Then we invited him to this open house and the Spirit was definitely there! he wanted to talk to bishop. So they had an interview and he came out with a Book of Mormon, and left right away saying "I want to go home and read this." What?! Can't wait to talk to him again and see what he thinks.

So since we spent all day inside one day, we spent 8 hours updating our paper area books to our iPads. I found this one former named D, and for some reason felt like we should call him and invite him to the open house. He said he couldn't come, but we got to talking and he says he wants to meet with us!! What?! So super pumped to meet him too! We have literally had 1 new investigator in the last 6 weeks and now they are starting to come rapid fire! Miracles happen when you do your best!

Also! We got a referral from a family for this guy in Brazil named Berto. He lives in Rio. Maybe I'll send James to find him. Anyway, found him on FB and started chatting and now we have a scheduled Skype lesson with him this week!! And I get to speak português with him! I seriously love him. He's going to make a great member!
Other things happened too, like K! Ugh, love her! but I ain't got time. Just know that last 6 weeks me and sister Allen worked real hard to get some embers going, and now Loomis is going to be on fire! It's exciting.
Scripture of the week: D&C 84:85
Neither take ye thought beforehand awhat ye shall say; butbtreasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be cgiven you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
I've been doing better this week about trying to follow promptings of the Spirit instead of relying on myself. One way has been that I've been praying in my heart for my companion and investigator during lessons. And it's definitely helped me feel the spirit more. I'm trying to do my best at keeping The Lord involved in His work. Cuz I do not have what it takes to be a missionary [without His help].

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Still rockin' Loomis

Does this mean Sisters Byrne and Allen are the whole mission?
So this week was fun. We tracted into a Jehovah's Witness. That was fun. She came to greet us with 4 versions on the Bible and lectured us about how wrong and pathetic we were. I'd never talked to a JW before so it was interesting to learn what they believe. I asked lots of questions and I found what they believed to be very hopeless...but it was interesting to meet with her. She told us we would be destroyed because we celebrated Christmas and Birthdays...so that's good.
Another adventure was Sunday, in between meetings at Church we went to "downtown" Loomis. If you can even call it that. And talked to the homeless men of Loomis. Terry, Steve, and Jerry. They were cool, except Jerry. He couldn't stand us so he went and sat on a different bench till we were gone. We invited them to Church and gave them Books of Mormon. They were probably too drunk off the vodka they were drinking to understand us though.
In other news, we had a meeting with President Weston this week. Have I mentioned how much I love him? Anyway, Sister Arthur, from my district at the MTC, was there and she got her visa!!! She's going to
my same mission. I'm so excited for her!! She is going to meet President Cabral in 7 days!!, crazy! It was fun to be able to speak Portuguese with her.
We challenged our investigator to baptism this week. He said he would pray about it, but that he believes everything we've taught him is true. I'm confident he'll get his answer and hopefully be baptized on Feb 1!
He's so wonderful and has such a great heart. Heavenly Father is going to help him become even more amazing and he's going to do great things to build up His kingdom.
We also contacted a referral named Sarah and she said we could come back!! Which Never happens. No one ever says yes, and she did!! Can't wait to meet with her this week! Agh! I love it. The Lord is definitely aware of the people out here in Loomis.
I hope they call me on a mission...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 - Best Year Ever!

Scripture of the week: Moroni 10:32

Yea, acome unto Christ, and be bperfected in him, and cdeny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and dlove God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be eperfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
That's the whole reason I'm out here. To teach people that they can leave the bad behind and be perfected in him. I'm so grateful for repentance. It's real. And it's amazing. Anyone can choose to change because of what He did for us. I love Him. I'm so blessed to wear his name on my tag everyday.

Happy New Year! 

Guess what I realized the other day?....okay I'll just tell you :) 2014 is going to be the best year of my life.

Why? It is the only year that I will be a missionary for the entire year!!! Pretty legit, yeah? 
I'm still working on New Years Resolutions. I'm really trying to be the best missionary I can be, I just need to put those desires into measurable goals and make a plan to accomplish them. We've been challenging the people we meet with to make at least one new goal for the year to increase their faith in Christ this year. So I'll challenge ya'll to do the same. One of mine is to read the Book of Mormon in 85 days (that's how long it took Joseph Smith to translate it) and focus on the word faith and examples of faith and then apply those principles in my life.

News flash! I'm using my FB now.

New Years was definitely one to remember. We had to be in by 6pm. But we went to the LPs for dinner and played with their kids and had sparkling grape juice and just had a good time. I seriously love that family so much! 

THEN I went on my first exchanges! I said bye to Sis Allen and hello to Sister Nitta for the next 20hours. I was super nervous because me and Sister Nitta stayed here in Loomis. Well she's never been here. I don't drive so I don't know where anything is, and y'all know how great my sense of direction is....and we don't have a GPS just a map.... So needless to say, we got lost the next day, but only twice! And it actually wasn't that bad. We probably wasted 40 minutes driving around looking for stuff though. Oh well... It was an adventure!
We are really focusing on trying to get members excited about the work, cuz we need some serious help in this area. So we go and teach members and play the referral game with them and that seems to be working. I think members want to share the gospel they just don't know how, so we role play with them and try to help focus them on who they can talk to and how. 

Also we went to YW on Sunday and role played with them. I feel like if anything, it's helping us gain their trust cuz from what it seems like they haven't had super diligent missionaries here for awhile.
Our investigator, D, keeps canceling appointments with us and it ruins our day. BUT this elderly lady named Patsy has been coming to Church with us!!

She's a sweetheart. And I think that she'll keep progressing just slowly. But she loves the members and some are going over to help her with family history this week!

Also, we tried something new this week. We hate tracting and it's the least effective thing in the world. So we went to local parks instead and creepily walked up to people and started talking to them. It was awkward, bUT a million times more effective. People weren't busy. They were generally happy. And they didn't have doors to slam in our face!

And we're now friends with a couple of them on FB! Yahoo! The most funny thing that happened was we were going on these trails and we would follow voices we heard and run into them and talk to them about the Church, but we tried that with this one family, we did our whole approachable and everything, and they were Mormon hahaha. Then they gave us candy. 

We also went to this museum and gave a Book of Mormon to the museum lady. So that was cool. Thanks for the package by the way!! You have no idea how happy it makes me to get mail. I have this huge candy stash now. And I love that hair stuff! My hair is much less frizzy now and feels so much better. You da best!!

Also, can y'all look up the story called "The Room" by Joshua Harris and Mail it to me? Or email. No news on the visa huh? I got an email from Darci Hallmark and she said she's leaving in Feb. I don't know how she knows that, but that's exciting. I try my best not to worry about it. I feel like I haven't lost any of my Portuguese yet, though! The gift of tongues is real! And I always to talk to Heavenly Father in it, so I practice :)

Well I love y'all! I'm glad all is well in Texas. Thanks for supporting me and helping me keep working hard out here. I miss you.

Talk to you soon.
Sister Byrne

P.S I love it here. It's really pretty and naturey. But I would never live in California and not be by the beach. What are these people thinking?