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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Even a bad week can change with a bag of taralli from your Italian mamma!

Hey y'all! Tudo bem?
This week started off very slow... Like all weeks, during the week everyone flaked on us and the days seemed super long because we just weren't busy at all...and we were disappointed that nothing was working out. And to top it off P told us she wants a break from us...and let's be real here, by break she means she doesn't want to talk to us anymore. That was Thursday, so by that time I was feeling pretty bummed about our whole week, but then I checked the mail that day and my sweet mamma sent me a package with taralli and cookies and chocolates! When I opened it I turned to Sis Soliai and said "Awwwww the people here in Loomis might not love us, but my mamma always will!" Anyway, after that night the week totally changed!
Friday G went to the temple to get his wife baptized. I so wish I coulda been there! But the pictures are almost as good as actually being there. He loved it! Also, Friday we went to the park and met this guy named S who grew up LDS but took a "break" from going to Church in his 20's and never came back. He expressed to us his regrets and how his life might have been different if he stayed faithful. He said the past couple years he's really been thinking about whether or not he believes in a God and it's about time he figures that out. So we're gonna meet with him again in a couple weeks.
What it feels like when the mailbox is empty!
Also our boy Z was at the park with his stoner friends and came up and started talking to us and we invited him to a service project we were doing the next day and he was so down. So Saturday he shows up freshly shaven, dressed nicely, and ready to work. He worked so hard for 2 hours helping out with the Stoddards lawn. After we went to the park and taught him and his friend the plan of Salvation. His friend, Sc, is interesting and believes in incarnated angels that don't have sexual organs and all sorts of weird stuff... But Z loved the plan of salvation and although he doesn't like to admit it, he believes everything we've taught him so far. It's sad because he's done a lot of wrong in his life and thinks that he has no chance at returning to God's presence.
So later Saturday we go teach Tom. And start talking to him about baptism. And we invited him to be baptized again and he said YES! His date is April 19th!! So excited for him! He came to church again on Sunday and during Sunday School he always pays a lot of attention and really tries to understand the lesson. We were learning about the Fall of Adam and Eve and by the end he said the lesson answered so many questions for him and he had never understood why God made the tree of knowledge of good and evil if he didn't want them to eat of it. And he didn't understand why they partook of the fruit, but by the end he totally got it! He is so excited about the gospel and it's amazing to see how much his life has already changed and it'll be exciting to keep watching it change as he makes steps towards baptism.
Also, Saturday we went to see this guy the sisters have been working with a long time who smokes and says he wants to get baptized but cannot quit. Well, we set a baptismal date with him too. May 24th. Well he's the one who set it. He actually believes he can quit. And he has never said that to the sisters in many years that they've visited him. It's pretty exciting!
I am so stoked for General Conference!!!
Also, I keep forgetting I'm going to Brasil. I mean I still study português, and all, but it's like I forget until someone brings it up. A kid from our ward just got back from serving in Brasil and gave a home coming talk. I talked to him a little after in português, and I got a little jealous that he was just in Brasil speaking that beautiful language all the time! Maybe someday I'll get there.
Anyway, love y'all! Thanks for the emails. Have a great week!
<3 Sister Byrne
God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it. (The Laborers in the Vineyard)
Sou dicípulo de Jesus Cristo

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tracting and finding... yes! Not going to the club.

Soooo many wonderful miracles happened this week! I cannot even begin to tell you about all of them, but I'll share a few of the most special.

On Wednesday when we got home for the night I started really thinking about the work here in Loomis, and I realized that I had developed this terrible habit of doing the same thing every week and expecting different results. I think that's the definition of insanity....anyway, I prayed really hard and asked The Lord what He wanted me to do in this area to help us find more people to teach and the answer I got was make goals and go tracting. Tracting?! That's like the least effective way to do missionary work. Well, as I went with that answer we were able to find 3 new investigators this week! It was crazy!

We tracted into a referral from a family and she is very strong in her faith but said we could come back. We tracted into a family and for the first time in all of my mission life, they let us in right then and there! It was so awesome. I remember as we walked in and sat down I thought "wow! This great! Oh wait...I've never gotten this far before...what do we do now?!" Hahah it was just a moment of panic before we started talking with them about the gospel. The husband is a Catholic with lots of faith and the wife doesn't even know if she believes in God. They enjoyed our time together and we cannot wait to go back! :)

Another day we went to try to contact a former investigator and turns out this guy we met at the park like a month ago lives with this former investigator! I thought I'd never see him again! But Heavenly Father loves him and led us right to him. We left him a Book of Mormon (which he literally would not even touch the first time we saw him) and he owes the community some service hours so we told him we'd find some opportunities for him, so we'll see more of him soon. That experience was so awesome! It really helped strengthen my testimony of how much Heavenly Father is aware of His children!

John 15:18-19

18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

I could go on and on about more finding miracles, but I wanted to share a super special miracle for me this week. Friday we were going about teaching lessons almost all day and in the middle of the day my stomach started to hurt. I was like hmmm... This is weird, maybe I just need to go to the bathroom. So every house we went to teach I asked to use the bathroom...nothing. The pain started getting more and I just ignored it because we had things to do. By the end of the night when we left the B's I literally could not stand up straight my stomach hurt so bad! We got in the car and started to drive home. As I was driving I got super light headed and felt nauseous. I quickly pulled over and opened the door because I thought I was going to puke. But I just gagged. (This guy was in the parking lot and asked if we were at the Valencia Club earlier...I explained that we were actually missionaries....I don't think he believed me) my companion drove the rest of the way home and all I could think was, "okay, I have no idea what is wrong with me or how to fix it. I need to ask Brother T for a blessing." I did and he and a neighbor gave me a priesthood blessing. They blessed me that I would feel better immediately and Be able to rest and get back to work the next day. The Spirit was very strong in the room and as soon as I stood up the pain was completely gone. The priesthood is absolutely real. And I am so grateful for righteous men who are worthy to hold and use the priesthood.

I love being a missionary. I love being a part of this great work. It has changed my life forever.

I love y'all and miss you! It's crazy to think that at the middle of April I'll already have been out 6 months. It's flying by too quickly!


Sister Byrne

Sou dicípulo de Jesus Cristo

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Goodbye Sister Allen, hello dog bite

This week was nuts! On Monday we had to get everything packed up for Sis Allen and go say goodbye to everyone. She has soo much stuff! It was crazy, so we had to go buy her a duffle bag at the store.

Anyway, the next day I drove up with her and Sis Larsen all the way to Chico, her new area, and all the way down to Antelope to pick up my temporary companion for the night. ROADTRIP! It was fun to see all the beautiful countryside of Cali. So many orchards and hills. It was hard to say bye to Sister Allen, but she'll do great things up there.

So then that night we helped the YW with a mock MTC activity which was super fun! We always get called to do activities cuz we're the only sisters around here. It was so fun!

The next day I picked up my new companion, Sis Soliai! And guess what?! She's Polynesian!! She's from Utah, but her family is from Samoa. Being with her is like being back at BYUH! She is amazing, so humble and loyal to the gospel. I'm so blessed to get to serve and learn from her. She's got that "greenie fire" which is so motivating and has helped me rekindle that fire and we've been working super hard this week!

Right after we got home I took her out tracting and we found two potentials in the one street we tracted before dinner. It was a miracle! I loved Sis Allen, but we often wasted time just sitting in the car if we had an awkward amount of time, and it bugged me, so, now if we ever have even just 5 minutes we go hit a couple houses or walk around and find people to talk to.

The next day we went to T and D's trailer. I LOVE them. They have some major problems and yell at each other and call each other the spawn of Satan and whatever, but they are such great people! And the gospel is going to bless their lives so much. Not gonna lie, in the moment, when D pulled us aside and started crying to us about how sad she is to see her life at the point it is now and how heart broken she is that everything has fallen apart, I had no idea what to say or do. There were no words to say to heal her broken heart, but we just testified of her Heavenly Father and His love for her. It was a humbling experience.

And T ended up coming to Church on Sunday!!! He brought his Bible, got dressed up best he could, and even brought money to pay tithing. It was so awesome to sit by him and watch him as he felt the Spirit for the first time. He has a lot of things to work out in his life, but I honestly believe that as we keep meeting with him and he keeps making steps to come unto Christ his life is going to change. It won't be easy, but it'll be worth it.

Thursday we taught T2 again. It's been three weeks since we last taught him the first lesson, but we finally found a time to meet with him again and it went super well! And hopefully we can teach him again next week.

MIRACLE: so we've bent trying to get a hold of D for over a month and he has not called or texted us back even though we tried to contact him everyday. We we're driving home the other day and decided to call him...and HE ANSWERED! Literally a miracle. We set up an appointment for this week. Super excited!

We also found a new person to teach. Well, the bishop did. It's one of his friends, but she has no religious background at all. She knows nothing about God or prayer or Christ or anything. So we got to teach her and it was super awesome to teach just basic truths. She has so many great questions, like why are there so many churches? What happens when we die? Why do good things happen to bad people? Etc. she has a super sincere heart and is so ready to hear the good news of the gospel! She even came to Church with them last week which is what started all this. I love her already! She's awesome!

So as you can tell, the work is starting to pick up here in Loomis. It's so sad, the sisters have been teaching the same people for like the past year and we are finally starting to get some new people in the books! I'm super pumped to be more busy and actually have people to teach!

G is doing great btw! He got the priesthood on Sunday and is going to the temple for baptisms this week! :) I love him!

Funny story of the week Sister Soliai got bit by a dog yesterday. Yup. That actually happens, I guess. I could not believe it. And she was all calm and didn't even tell me until we got into the car. So we went to the church and I got to clean it out and all that fun stuff. - I miss being a nurse- but yeah, she didnt even make it a week out in the field and she got bit!!! Poor girl.

Also, I got to play with a lamb this week :) Remember when I wanted one so bad? I'm so glad we didn't actually get one....they're not as glamorous as they seem...

Anyway, I love y'all! Thanks for all the emails and support. Ill talk to you next week.

Scripture of the week Mormon 9:19 Heavenly Father is definitely a God of miracles! I see them every day!

Love you long time,

Sister Byrne

Sou dicípulo de Jesus Cristo

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

From greenie to trainer via specific prayers

Wow! What an unexpected week! On Monday we had a zone barbecue and had the opportunity to teach a woman named T. She was really nice but probably did a lot of meth... But we had the chance to share with her the restoration and teach her about the book of Mormon. Then just the usual we went and talked to T2 in the trailer park. And actually, sad news, we have 0 progressing investigators now... We have a ton of others, but basically we're back to square one.

This week I learned two very important lessons. 1: Heavenly Father has a sense of humor 2: He actually listens to my prayers.

So I was praying very fervently this week that my visa would come. Not that I want to leave, but I figure if He wants me in Brazil, but needs a little extra prayer power to get my visa through, I can do at least that much. My prayers are getting more and more specific, so Wednesday I prayed that my visa would come by the end of this week and that the mission office would call.

Well about 20 minutes into comp study the phone rings....it's the mission office. I didn't say anything to Sister Allen, but my heart went into tachycardia it was beating so fast. I answered the phone and the lady on the other end says, "Is Sister Allen there?" My hear stopped as soon as it started and I handed the phone over.

It was the most random call in the world! She asked if we had been to a nursing home in the past 6 months because they got a call about us... but, we hadn't even heard of the place they were talking about.

So the next day I'm praying before studies and I pray that my visa will come this week and that President Weston himself will call. At the end of the day sister Allen and I were walking home, because it was car fast Thursday, and the phone rings....it's President Weston. Well y'all know how I am, I accidentally screamed in excitement and freaked Sister Allen out. I was sure it was my visa.

I answer the phone, "Is sister Allen there?"....he was just calling to check on how her tummy was doing.

I figured my prayers weren't specific enough... so the next day I prayed and asked that president Weston would call and say he has my visa. And in another prayer I prayed that G's grandson would be home so we could get to know him and eventually teach him. No call. But his grandson was there only for a few minutes, right when we got there and we got to talk to him for a bit. Hahahaha.

As I thought about this experience I was like Heavenly Father is hilarious! He's teaching me to make my prayers more specific and answering my prayers in such obvious ways. What a great object lesson for this little missionary. Obviously I'm not supposed to be in Brazil yet, but I absolutely know Heavenly Father knows who I am and is aware of me. He hears my prayers.

We got to go to the Roseville fire station this week. We were going to finally have the chance to commit T to baptism. He puts walls up when his family is around and won't be straight up with us about his concerns around stepping into the waters of baptism. But Satan knew what we were up to and literally 3 minutes after we were there he got called out to go save someone... And was gone the whole time... So we'll keep working with him. BUT I got to ride in the firetruck and put on the headphones and the call actually came in while we were in the truck!

I've been inspired and I'm dropping out of school when I get home to be a firefighter! Okay joke, maybe I'll just have to marry one....?

So last night was transfer calls. We were kinda freaking out all week because I kinda felt that if my visa didn't come they were sending Sister Allen out of here. So we get the call and Sister Allen is going up to Chico to be a Sister Training Leader (basically a girl zone leader) and I'll be here getting a new companion straight from the MTC.....what?

I don't know who thought that was a good idea, because I still do not know what I'm doing. I'm seriously so humbled that Heavenly Father is not just trusting me enough to be training a new missionary and try to teach her how to be a good one, but also be in charge of Loomis 3rd ward.... And we literally have 0 investigators right now.... So it will be pretty cray up in here! I know I won't be able to do this without the Lords help, so I'm excited to see what he wants us to do with this area.

Well we have a ton to do today getting Sister Allen packed up and getting ready for the new girl. It's going to be an exciting/nerve racking week. Keep me and my new comp in your prayers.

I love y'all! I miss you!

<3 Sister - Don't Know What She's Doin - Byrne

Sou dicípulo de Jesus Cristo