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Monday, June 30, 2014

President Weston's Last Hurrah And An Attitude Adjustment

President and Sister Weston are going home next week, so I used up a lot of time writing him my last letter. I love them SO MUCH! I'm so blessed to have had them be a part of my life. And they are definitely going to be a part of my life forever.

Anyway, this week was good. We went on two exchanges and I got to go with a Spanish sister to her area. Let's just get this straight...SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE ARE NOT THE SAME LANGUAGE! Hahaha I tried my best to talk to people though. It was super duper fun! And bless the heart of that sweet little greenie. She straightened me out and inspired me to be more diligent in my language studies. I lost a lot of my motivation for studying the language, but she helped me make goals and I'm back on top of things.

Then I got to exchange with another sister that used to be in my zone in Loomis. She struggles with depression really bad, but we've been friends since day one, so she talks to me a lot about stuff. I love her so much! We had a fun exchange...we may or may not have accidentally stayed up till midnight talking...it was like having a sleepover haha. :)

M IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!! :) it has been a struggle to get her to this point. We have had to be extra diligent and persistent. She texted/called us everyday telling us not to come over for one reason or another...but we still went and had to fight off whatever the excuse was. And in her prayer she cried as she thanked The Lord for sending Sis Giani and me here to Tempo Park Ward. She said she's been waiting her whole life for this moment to know the truth and know God. She's the sweetest and I love her dearly.

Prayer works. Giani and I were having some contention this week, which is totally normal, it happens to all companionships, especially around that time of the month...anyway, I had a terrible attitude toward her and I prayed that Heavenly Father would help me to have a better attitude, but I felt like at that point in time it was impossible. Then a thought came into my head clear as day. "You think I can't do that? I created the world. I designed your circulatory system and you think I can't help you have an attitude adjustment?!" It humbled me and my attitude adjusted.

I love y'all more than a lot. Have a good week.


Sister Byrne

Monday, June 23, 2014

Helping A Struggling Missionary

Oi família! Tudo bem?

This week was a learning experience for me. So much happened and I wish I could express it all in this email but there's just no way.

We had zone meeting on Wednesday and Giani and I as sister training leaders had to teach about becoming faith filled finding missionaries. We talked about how prayer is directly connected to the work and how as our prayers become more full of faith and are more sincere we will become strengthened as missionaries and have the courage to do what is required of us.

After he meeting a sweet sister approached me and asked if she could talk to us privately. We knew this particular sister was struggling, but she hadn't talked to us about it yet. We met in a room and tears started streaming down her face. As she told us about her struggles Giani and I cried right along with her. I was praying so hard deep in my heart that we would know what to do or say to help this sweet sister. All I could think was, we need to say a prayer. I choked out a prayer and we started discussing the situation. She told us that all she could think about every minute of the day was running away. She wanted to go home so badly, but President was encouraging her to stay. She told us that if we let her walk out that door she was certain she'd run away before the weekend.

So we decided to go on an emergency exchange. Giani went with her and they were just going to relax and not do work for a couple days while me and her companion covered both areas. We talked to president and worked out an emergency transfer for that Friday (which so many things surrounding that transfer were miraculous) and just did our best to take care of both sisters who were struggling. After those two days all of us were just emotionally exhausted. I felt like I gave everything I had to these two sisters and it wore me out!

Through this experience I pondered and recognized that that's a glimpse of how the Savior must feel. His character was to always turn outward when most of us would turn in. I also learned that The Lord qualifies whom He calls. Let's be real y'all, I grew up a boy. All my friends are dudes. I'm not very good at handling girls and drama situations and now I'm thrown into all of them in the zone and have to try and resolve them. There's no way I could handle it without the Savior at my side helping me know how to take care of them. Its definitely been a humbling calling even after just 3 weeks.

Anyway, M is still on date for June 28th!! She is a roller coaster sometimes, but I love her so much and am so grateful I'm here to have met her. She has taught me so much about having better scripture studies and pointing everything in my life to The Lord. She is outstanding and has such great faith, she is making me a better disciple of Christ.

I got to talk to Sis Soliai on the phone. And Loomis doing great. D is 5 days sober! B and A came to church!!! And A2 is getting baptized! It's awesome to see the work taking off there.

Miracles are happening here too, but different kinds of miracles haha. We're talking to everyone and picking up investigators. We picked up a family this week that I'm super excited about.

I could go on and on, but y'all are probably getting bored. I love y'all and I miss you! I'm glad Didi had a good Father's Day, I can't express how much I missed y'all on Father's Day....so worth it though. Being a missionary is the greatest calling in the world!


Sister Byrne

Citrus Heights : People Everywhere To Talk To

Oi Tudo Bem?!

This week was incredible! I miss Loomis still. It will always have a very special place in my heart, but I'm starting to fall in love with Citrus Heights! Our ward LOVES us. Mostly because we're sisters, but that's okay. We'll take what we can get. :)

Also, there are people EVERYWHERE! It's like a video game where there are people everywhere in the background and we try to talk to as many as we can! It's super fun, and we meet a lot of very interesting people that way. We've picked up 4 new investigators this week that are pretty solid and a few others. Our favorite thing to do, okay, MY favorite thing to do, is walk down Greenback and just talk to as many people as I can. We get rejected a lot, but I have a solid testimony that The Lord puts those who are prepared to hear the gospel in our way. It's happened too many times for it to be coincidence.

M is on date for baptism June 28th! She is beyond excited for it, and we are too! Sister Giani and I had a goal to have a baptism in one month, and that is going to be wonderful M! It was a miracle. She is so prepared and she is such a great example to me of faith. She NEVER stops talking about God. She always points everything in life to Him. I love being around her for that reason.

The C's are one of my fav families. They are recent converts and they immediately pulled us in and made us feel like family. I love them to pieces! They made us breakfast for dinner last night. So good! And Bro C loves just talking about the scriptures so we have some great gospel discussions with them. They are so involved in EVERYTHING. I want to be like them someday. I told sis C to add mommy on Facebook. So hopefully she does :)

Another one of my fav fans are the A's. They're real life hippies. Like dread locks, herbs, garden, metal water bottles, the whole bit. The little boy Z LOVES me! They came to church in Sunday and he left his mom to come sit by and snuggle with me during church. It was adorable. And he always holds my hand! So cute! I think the worst mission rule is not being able to hold kids. I miss it so much!! But this family is amazing and I love them.

This week I went to my first missionary leadership counsel meeting in Gridley. Sister Allen was there and it was super good to see her! I miss her so much! Anyway, it was President Weston's last meeting because he is going home at the end of the month and it breaks my heart. Anyway, we talked a lot about prayer and I learned so much. Prayer is such a simple principle of the gospel, but it's such a big deal. We are literally talking to God. Our creator. The most omnipotent being in the universe! We get to talk to Him whenever and wherever we want and He listens. That's a big deal! Then we call down the powers of Heaven on our behalf and ask for help, for ourselves or others. When you out it that way, there ain't nothing prayer can't do, if it's the Lord's will of course. President said something that really touched my heart. He said something like, if all the miracles that you prayed for happened, how many more miracles would you see? Are we praying just to pray? Or are we praying for miracles. Are we specific or vague? Do we have confidence that He can strengthen us to endure the waves of our crazy lives? So I challenge you to make your prayers more meaningful this week. Take the time, slow down, and talk to your Heavenly Father. What a blessing that we even can.

Anyway, y'all are probably getting bored of my extra long email this week. But I love you. Have an amazing week! I miss you more than you know, but it's okay because I only remember on Pday :)


Sister Byrne

Sou dicípulo de Jesus Cristo

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Adjusting to the city and pinkwashing

Hey y'all,

Tudo bem? So this week has been a week of much change. I had to say goodbye to Loomis which ended up being much harder than I thought it would be. Who knew I could fall in love with such a small Northern California town. I miss it a lot....thank goodness for Facebook though! I've already gotten messages from the people I worked with there. What a blessing to be able to keep in touch and help me even though I'm not there anymore. The LPs drove me down here and took me and Sis Soliai out for lunch and gelato. They spoiled us :) I love them! Also I got to see one of my other fav families because sis Giani got to go back to Rocklin for a baptism and they found out I was going so they came to this random person's baptism just to see me. It made me feel pretty loved.

So my new companion Is from an Italian family just like me, but her dad was born here, so they're more New Yorker Italians than real Italians. But she is hilarious and we get along great!! We might have too much fun together, but that's okay:)

Citrus Heights is much more city than the colony and Loomis. I was getting too used to country life. I love being in a city though because there are people EVERYWHERE! And one of my favorite things to do is talk to strangers and teach them about the gospel. It's way better than tracting. Also, we do not have a car here, so I'm on a bike!! I love it so much! It's such a great stress reliever and gives me time to think without having any music or anything else in my head. Don't worry ma, I always wear my helmet. Me and Sis Giani are doing what they call "pink washing" we replaced elders, which is really hard because our apartment was filthy and they kept terrible records so we have nothing to work from, but the ward loves us already!

Being sisters in a ward that has only had elders for many many years is kinda like being a celebrity. Everyone wants to feed us. It's awesome. Oh! There are also elders in our ward. We double cover the area. Elder Champagne and Elder Johnston, elder Johnston is from Amarillo, waiting for his visa to Brazil, and studying to be a doctor. He's basically me in guy form....it's super weird.

The ward had a talent show this week and we were in it. We pretended to be elders and the elders pretended to be sisters, it was HILARIOUS! I wish y'all coulda seen it. Also people make fun of me for saying y'all a lot more here....it's a bummer.

The work has been pretty slow the past week as we've been trying to get set up and figuring out our new area, but we made lots of contacts and met a potential family. We're gonna go teach them this week. I'm super excited. Also this lady the elders passed off to us, M, came to church, she quit smoking cold turkey two weeks ago and got up to bear her testimony about it at church. It was so humbling! She has such great faith. We're going to try to set a baptismal date with her this week.

So with all was changes going on in my little life I've been thinking a lot about the question, is it better to have loved band lost or never loved at all? Y'all know that I'm a helpless romantic, so I always said loved and lost. Well during my studies I've decided that that's what Christ would probably choose too.

"Partaking of a bitter cup without becoming bitter is likewise part of the emulation of Jesus." -Elder Neal A Maxwell

We all have different bitter cups we have to drink. Mine this week was leaving behind a place and people I had come to leave so dearly. Open your heart and love those around you, heart break is a bitter cup, but it's worth it to have made a difference in someone's life.

President Kimball said "All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God."

It's about enduring those bitter cups we have to drink with patience. When the tough times come our way it's not about thinking about why it's happened to you, but rather thinking how can I react to this in a way that Would make God proud? However we act to difficult situations has to make things better not worse. That's what heroes do. They make things better.

Anyway, I gotta go, but I love y'all with all my heart. Be good. Remember who you are. I pray for y'all every night. I miss you.


Sister Byrne

Sou dicípulo de Jesus Cristo

Sunday, June 1, 2014

BFF Baptism, Transfers, New Responsibilities (May 26)

A got baptized this week!! :D it was such a sweet moment. Getting him to that point has been such a miracle in so many ways. I'll tell you all about it when I get home. But I love that kid and it's been a blessing to be a part of the change that's happened in him. The gospel is going to bless his life forever and I'm excited to see where it leads him.

The baptismal service was beautiful. His grandpa who was baptized in February gave a talk that was so sweet and just made me smile from ear to ear. Then Aa, A's BFF from grade school, performed the baptism. Such a sweet moment. Aa has kinda been on the fence about serving a mission for the past year, but after coming out with us to teach A and seeing how much of a blessing it is to take part in the Lord's work he has decided that he wants to do that full time and be a missionary. What a huge blessing for him to catch the vision of missionary work and decide to serve a mission. After the baptism I asked A how he felt and he just smiled and with a sincere heart just said, "I feel really good." What a tender moment! I love being a missionary.

In other news, Sis S taught me how to cut hair this week! She let me use her salon scissors and everything! I got to cut D's hair after having an amazing lesson with him. The APs came and as we taught with them the Spirit filled the room and we all left that lesson a little better and a little brighter than we went.

Oh! Also I got to go the temple! I love the temple with all of my little heart. Sometimes I think, I wish I could just live in the temple, and then I remember that despite how nice that would be, the point of going to the temple is to make covenants, and we have to leave in order to keep those covenants. But I sure love that place. :) the Sacramento temple is beautiful and has a special place in my heart.

Loomis is amazing and I love this place! We're crazy busy with teaching appointments. We taught 25 lessons last week!! That's a huge deal for this area! It's just lighting on fire. there is so much going on here now. But....I'm sad.....because I'm getting transferred! :( it broke my heart to get the call last night. I'm going to Citrus Heights to serve in the Tempo Park ward. It's only like 1/2 an hour from here, but I am going to miss Loomis so much!!!

Also I'm going to be a sister training leader, which is like a girl zone leader, which basically means on top of doing the missionary thing I get to serve other sister missionaries too, which basically means I have no idea what I'm going to be doing.

My new comp is Sister Giani. Yup, she's Italian. I already know her and I love her to pieces! We're going to shot gun this area, which means we're going to be new to the area and not know anyone or where anything is. We're replacing some elders up there. Sisters are taking over :) hahaha.

Anyway, so yeah I have to go say my goodbyes today and get my life all packed up. Not a very fun PDay! I already said goodbye to my favorite missionary Elder Herrera. He is my hero and I have learned so much from him. He's going home tomorrow :( but he asked me for ya'lls number so if you get a call in a few days from a random Utah number. It's him.

Well wish me luck on my new adventure. I hope Citrus Heights treats me as well as Loomis did. Love ya'll.


Sister Byrne

Sou dicípulo de Jesus Cristo

Pizza, Found Pigs, and the Power of Prayer (May 19)

A pig we found and took care of.
The pig is on the left.

So me and Sis Soliai decided that using a regular old computer would be a lot easier than always using our iPads to email, so our dear sweet Bishop let us come to his office and use the computers there :) We will see how it works.

SO MUCH happened this week, but as always, I'll just share the good stuff. So we now have 3 investigators on date for baptism. A, who is getting baptized THIS Saturday!! :) Super excited for him! D, the 19 year old red head, is set for June 7th. And THEN the other D, our friend set a date for July 14!! He has to work through some problems, so, pray for him.

Also, we had a LUAU! It was super fun. Sis Soliai did this crazy Tahitian dance in a grass skirt, and I wore a mumu grammy had. It was a huge hit and they are thinking of making it a new tradition in the ward. It was also incredibly convenient because I've been here for 6 months and next Sunday is transfer calls...so let's be real, I'm probably a goner... so I got to see everyone from the ward and take pictures :)

We also had Zone Conference this week, which just means a bunch of missionaries from this area meet with our mission president. And they always ask the missionaries who are going back home to get up and give what they call a "departure testimony". One of my favorite Elders is going home :( He has seriously been my hero and taught me so much.Anyway, the AP gets up and announce that he, Elder Johnson, and Sister Brian would all be sharing departure testimonies. Well...I didn't know who Sister Brian was, so I was just chilling. Then President Weston makes eye contact with me and motions me to go up on the stand...oh! by Sister Brian they mean Sister Byrne. But I was insanely confused. I thought, okay either President Weston is sending me home early and this is how he's telling me, he forgot that I had only been out 6 months and not 18 yet, or he got my visa and thought he'd surprise me...So Elder Herrera (my favorite) bares his testimony and of course I start to get emotional..then the other Elder, then I'm getting ready to go up and I stop and shake President's hand, and say "President, you know I'm not going home yet, right?" Then he just smiled and I went up. Well I bore my testimony on the power of prayer and miracles I've seen happen because of learning to say specific prayers.

I sat down and President gets up and with tears in his eyes starts talking about prayer, and basically uses the stories in my testimony to teach us that we need to pray more fervently and more specifically that he feels like there are families in our zone that we need to find and teach, and so we need to start praying specifically to find families to teach in our areas.

I know me recounting this story is not doing it justice, but it was an incredible experience. I still don't know what President was thinking when he called me up to bare (sic) my testimony, but I know it was inspired. It was also such a tender mercy for me. 1) I got to bare my testimony along side on of my mission heroes. 2) It was our last zone conference with President Weston because he is going home soon, so I got to share my testimony with him one last time. 3) I got to be an instrument for the Spirit to talk about exactly what the Lord wanted me to talk to about. I LOVE the Spirit and how real He is. I know that He leads and guides us if we are worthy for His companionship and are willing to listen and do what it prompts us to do.

We also had exchanges this week, so I went up to Auburn with Sis Lohman. It was SO fun! She is seriously such a bomb missionary and we are kind of like the same person. We may or may not have accidentally stayed up way too late talking. I hope I get to serve with her at some point. We had this awesome miracle happen. One of our appointments fell through and we didnt know what to do, so we went around the corner of the building and prayed that we'd find someone to teach. Then literally we walked back around the corner and someone was walking towards us. We looked at eachother then smiled and started talking to him, and pick him up as a new investigator. Prayer really WORKS people!

We are so excited because we have such a busy crazy awesome week ahead of us. We are literally going to be busy every single day this week. I'm pretty excited. :) Hopefully it all works out. Pray that it does please!

I love ya'll! Have a FANTASTIC week! Work hard. and know that Heavenly Father hears every single one of our prayers. I know without a doubt that He is listening, even when we feel like we're not getting an answer. He is looking out for us. Prayer is seriously like a super power. We can call down the powers of Heaven to be by our side at any time, any where. That's kinda a big deal.


Sister Byrne