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Monday, September 29, 2014

Missionary Roller Coaster, Preparing for Conference, Repentance.... again!

This week was a roller coaster! Just like every other week here in the Santos Brasil Mission.

F doesn't want to get baptized anymore...he straight up told us that living the commandments was too much work. It broke my heart. I think that the real problem is that he has a new girlfriend and he doesn't want to live the law of chastity...seriously? but hey, M is going to come to lessons with us this week, so that's good.

H came to a baptism with us this weekend and LOVED it! He said he felt the desire to get in a jumpsuit and get baptized right then and there. Bless his heart straight to heaven, he has been sober for 2 weeks now!! When we stopped by his house yesterday all his buddies were in his..garage?...drinking and having a bbq, but he was inside by himself because he didn´t want to be around it. So we took him to FHE at a member´s house instead. He loved it. His baptism is THIS Saturday! :)

We also have another investigator on date for this Saturday, B. She is 70 years old and super duper sweet. She also came to the baptism and felt the Spirit. She described it as feeling "leve" light.

And you know what else is this Saturday.....GENERAL CONFERENCE!! yahoo!! :) I discovered a secret talent this week....I´m crafty. Our ward struggles A LOT, we have lots of issues. (which is why we have to put the new area we wanted to open on hold...so sad the potential saints there have to wait to receive the gospel because the members here have to get it together) Anyway, Sis Reis and I have been thinking and praying a lot for our ward and we think they just need to be more united and friendly towards each other. SOOO we´re organizing activities and doing cute things for them. We made 3 extra cute posters for General Conference.

Also we had a Mission Conference this week, in which President Cabral "quemou" us, which basically means called us all to repentance. It seems like the more I study the gospel the more I realize I need to repent. It´s a never ending cycle....

So many stories, but so little time. Just know all is well and that the work is progressing here in Santa Rosa. Pray for H and B. And that we can find new investigators. But for now our focus is going to be the ward itself and what we can do to unite these wonderful saints!

DON`T FORGET TO WATCH CONFERENCE and invite every one you know! Conference is such a privilege. We get to hear from a prophet of GOD! If that´s not a big deal I don´t know what is. Prepare yourself spiritually so that you can FEAST on the words of Christ. I´m beyond excited to hear the messages of the prophet and apostles. #soblessedtohaveaprophetontheearthtoday

Love ya´ll. Be good. And send me your favorite notes from Conference next week :)


Sister Byrne

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Four miracles, trading drugs for faith in Christ | 22 September 2014

Well shoot, what a week! Miracles beyond Miracles. We decided to bring a guy in our ward, CH, with us to give F, his son, and H priethood blessings to help them overcome their addictions.

  1. We found out that F has more problems than we thought...so he couldn't be baptized this Sunday...and I´m not sure if he really wants to let go of all his worldy pleasures yet..but some day he will.
  2. F's drug addict son, M, has stopped using drugs....yeah, no joke. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and loves asking us super thoughtful questions when we come over. HE´S PROGRESSING!!! AND he was going to come to Church on Sunday, but he only has a bike and it was POURING rain...so he didn´t come. but ya´ll seriously, he is having a mighty change of heart and its the most beatiful thing I've ever seen. He is so different from who he was 3 weeks ago. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH! he is so cool. and he loves singing songs in english when we come over. He is solid and i am so excited for him.
  3. H has been sober the past 4 days!! how do you say...BOO YAH! The blessing Charles gave him was so powerful and left H in tears and speechless. Pray that he stays strong so he can be baptized this week!!
  4. M came to CHURCH! yes, C's M. Half way through the week she had a mighty change of heart too and she is normal around us, and she is always home (aka not out doing drugs)!!! :) She said she definitely wants to come to Church again next week AND.....bom bom bom....she and C are going to go to the cartorio to mark a date for their wedding! :) and then they are going to be baptized!! oh yeah oh yeah!! :) She isn´t 100% sure if she wants to marry C, but he is the best guy ever and he loves her so much. I have full confidence that it´ll happen. We knew that she would be the key to this family. Pray that she too can stay strong and stay out of trouble.

It´s the start of a new transfer here in the Santos mission and we have some high goals, so I'm excited to see what happens in the next 6 weeks. General Conference is coming up and i cannot wait! :) Life is good. The gospel is true! It changes lives. The priesthood is real! What a blessing from God that He lets worthy men exercise a part of His power to bless His children.

This week I've been thinking about and doing a lot of repentance. William and Giancarlo might remember this, but I've always been one for do overs. For example, everytime we would play pokemon on the gameboy and I would find a weakness in my team of pokemon or I would think of a better way to have done something I would start over. For whatever reason, I love starting things over. Probably because I´ve already done it once, so I have a little better idea of how to do it better. Unfortunately in this life we don´t get to start over in the sense of entering a time machine and going back to a place or time we were before. You just can't do that (despite the efforts of many). BUT we can always repent and start over in our hearts. Wipe away all the mistakes, all the stupidity, all the guilt. Swipe it all out and repent and become new. It's a beautiful aspect of the gospel.

I can´t help but think of M. He was doing some pretty terrible things that caused pain to him and his family. but now, he is in the repentance process and if he continues to work hard and change he's going to be right there in the celestial kingdom standing on the right hand of God. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHERE YOU´VE BEEN OR WHAT YOU'VE DONE. WHAT MATTERS IS WHERE YOU ARE HEADING. God's love is infinite. Christ's atonement is infinite. It's up to us.

I love ya'll. I miss ya'll. but all is well. :) Life is great. Have a fantastic week!

Sister Byrne

Mister Bus, Dangerous Brazilian Attack Dogs (or not) | 15 Sep 2014

Minha familia!

This week was better than last. I´m starting to understand more and speak more. Little by little. I wish I could just download Portuguese into my brain...but that would be no fun. haha Sis Reis and Alice (this girl in our ward who is leaving for her mission in Argentina next month, who is ALWAYS with us. I LOVE her so much) always teases me because I say things that don´t make sense or make up words. hahaha note to everyone: jokes that are funny in english are not funny in portuguese!

anyway, this week we did a lot of traveling. I´ve never been on so many buses and ferry boats in my life. We had almoço (lunch) with a member in a part of our area I´ve never been to before and it was right on the beach :) oh yeah! such a temptation. I wanted to touch the water so bad, but we can´t even go on the sand #missionlife #imsogoingtohoneymoonhere also, we are opening a new area. Part of our area is super far away and all the members there are less active because the Church is crazy far away and no one has money to bus there every week. SOOO...we have to find 20 people who are willing to come to church on Sunday and open up a group. We´ll have sacrament with them there in someone´s home until we can get more people and hopefully eventually they´ll be enough members to build a chapel there in Santa Cruz de Novagente! How tight would that be?!

I can´t remember what I wrote last week about our investigators, but M and C are not doing good. We were trying to get them married (nobody here is married) but M got into some heavy drugs and C isn´t sure he wants to marry her anymore and she doesn't want to marry him at all...its so sad. C is so ready he´s asked us like 3 times when he can get baptized and we have to explain every time that if he wasn't living with the mother of his daughter who is a crackhead he could get baptized. It breaks my heart. #ihatedrugs BUT we had a bomb lesson with C this week. His daughter Nicole (who does not stop) quieted down, (Alice entertained her) and we read from the Book of Mormon. THE BOOK OF MORMON IS POWERFUL! We read the book of Enos with him, and he did not want to stop reading. He loves the Book of Mormon and he relates it to his life. C gets it.

F is still stuck on his cigarettes. Bless his heart. He cries every lesson we have with him. At first he would try to hide it, but he doesn't even try anymore. he´s going to get a priesthood blessing tomorrow to help him overcome his addiction. He, too, wants to get baptized desperately. He came to church again and it was awesome! I LOVE him so much. His son M is also a drug addict...but we´ve been talking with him more too and he says he´s coming to church with us next Sunday.

H...I love him! He calls me his North American, Mister Bus. hahaha they struggle with my name here.He was sober for 2 days after we invited him to be baptized, but he relapsed Saturday and didn´t come to Church sunday. his baptism is scheduled for this Saturday. PRAY FOR HIM!

Also, I´m part of a special choir in the mission that is going to do a mission wide musical devotional for Christmas. I´m one of 4 sopranos...yeah...ya´ll know how well I sing... BUT our choir director, Elder Clark is bomb and is helping us a lot! Also, I got to see Sis Arthur from my original MTC district! It was so good to see her again!!

Well ya´ll...life is good. Brasil is amazing. I love it here. I cannot describe how much I love these people. It´s been one week and I already feel like they are my best friends.

I love you all. Pray. Read your scriptures and go to Church. okay? I've been realizing and understanding more and more how much the Gospel has blessed my life. I´m not perfect, and my life isn´t perfect. It hasn't always been rainbows and butterflies, BUT I was able to avoid much of the heartbreak that comes from breaking the commandments. I have been so blessed in my life. Mosiah 2:41 It´s real!

Love you all,

Mister Bus :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Santa Rosa, but, in Brazil this time | 8 September 2014

okay for reals... where do i even start?

My new area is in Guaraja, and my ward is Santa Rosa! My new companion is Sister Reis. She is Brasiliera (from the north) and is my hero. I love her to pieces and I probably would have cried a lot more than I already have if it wasn´t for her. She is one of the best missionaries I´ve ever known and I am learning so much from her!

I live in an apartment with 2 other sisters, who are HILARIOUS! I love them too. One is Brasileira and one is American like me.

I LOVE the Brasileiros. Its crazy how willing they are to talk to EVERYONE. We talk to tons and tons of people and they just open up their homes and let us in and feed us. All the time. what the...? definitely not Roseville. The ward is pretty small only 75 people were at church on Sunday and 3 of those were our investigators :) but more about that later. I struggle because I can´t communicate as well as I used to in my other mission, so I´m definitely being humbled by the Lord. Its been hard, but its been good. The members feed us super well. I never thought I'd love rice and beans as much as I do! oh baby soooo good!

Another humbling thing about Brazil is the condition people live in. On Sunday we had almoço (lunch) in a favela with a rockstar awesome family. They literally had holes in their walls in the kitchen. All 6 of them slept in one room. And they didnt have a table, so they made a table out of a random piece of wood and put a table cloth on it. And me and sister reis sat at the table while they all sat on the sofa in their tiny living room. Bless their hearts straight to heaven!! They have nothing, but they want to give all they have to the missionaries.

WE have one investigator on date. His name is Fagundes! and I LOVE him! He reminds me a lot of Zio Arcangelo for some reason. His son is a hard core drug addict and lives with him. and steals all his stuff to go buy drugs. And then leaves for days while Fagundes sits at home and worries. My heart just aches for him. But its a common problem here in Guaraja. There are TONS of drugs everywhere....

Anyway, bless FAgndues´heart. We told him to pray about Joseph Smith and the first two times he didnt do it, but the third time we went over and asked if he had done it and he was like, yeah i did, and I got an answer. I fel t so uplifted and slept the best Ive slept in months. I even had a dream of my mom. I about cried as he was telling us all this. He came to church on sunday and gave us all his coffee (we have so many cigarettes and coffee in our house its ridicuous). He smokes, but has made goals to quit. and hopefully he´ll be baptized next Sunday (his brithday).

Another of my favortie investigators is Engenio. Everytime we go over to his house he is WASTED! but he is the sweetest thing. He showed up to church on Sunday 1/2 an hour early and completely sober, and he also had a dream about water and entering into the waters of baptism. but we havent had a chance to teach him the word of wisdom because like i said, he is aways drunk...yet he keeps all his commitments to read and pray...anyway, i love him.

Life is good ya´ll. Im not going to lie, of course i struggle with the language and trying to figure out whats going on, but it´s the same work here. inviting others to come unto Christ. Its the best thing there is. Prayers are real. Heavenly Father hears and answers every single prayer. I love Him.

I love ya´ll. have a great week! :)

Sister Byrne

On my way to Brazil - an Elder for a companion? | 20 August 2014

I finally made it to Brazil. what an adventure it was to get here! I was companions with an Elder, stayed at a hotel, found a bunch of other missionaries, survived a 10 hr flight, but we made it! Its pretty late already, so we didnt get too good of a view of Sao Paulo on the way here, but it looks just like Italy. Theres even an italian pizzeria on the corner. The MTC is surrounded by a giant gate. and we just found our like 2 seconds ago that JEFFERY R HOLLAND IS GOING TO BE HERE TOMORROW!!! I am THE most spoiled missionary in the world. Anyway, I love yall. Ill talk to you next week!

Last Week in California - Leaving for Brazil - 18 August 2014

This week I just want to tell y'all about someone that I absolutely love. Her name is TH. TH has a boyfriend, G, who served his mission in South Carolina. He was a bomb missionary and did some great things, but after he came home he started making some poor decisions and soon became inactive in the Church. He and TH fell in love and long story short moved out to California where two Elders came knocking on their door to meet her boyfriend. Well G introduced her to he Elders and she quickly fell in love with the gospel. She read the Book of Mormon and got an answer that it was true. She loved when the Elders would come by and the Spirit they brought with them. And she eventually decided to get baptized....only problem was she and G were living together and he wasn't ready to get married. So they stopped coming to Church and meeting with the Elders and returned to the life they had been living.

Fast forward about 6 months. Two sister missionaries are given TH's address. They stop by 15+ times at different times of the day, Facebook her, call her....nothing. But for whatever reason they felt strongly that they should keep stopping by. One Sunday night the Sisters were in the bad part of town where TH lives, which was unusual for these two. It was already 8:30pm and they still had to bike all the way home, but they decided to just go knock on TH's door. Might as well since we're here. They knocked and waited....knocked and waited....then finally the door opened and it was TH. She welcomed them in with her thick southern accent and poured out her heart to them. She felt horrible. For the past six months she's been fighting an inner battle between what she knows is right and the man she loves. She told us at she felt like she was choosing G over God and she knew it wasn't right. She wants to just go to a court sign a certificate to be married and then go get baptized. She's ready for it and she wants it more than anyone I've ever met. We cried with her and encouraged her to tell G what she told us. That night they talked about it and G knew that they needed to change and told her they would. We set a goal for them to get married Nov 1st! And I'm going to miss it! And the baptism! :(

But y'all. I seriously love her sooo much! Like I want to be her best friend. She is so sweet and when we left she said the prayer and I've never heard such a powerful sincere prayer in my life. I'm so sad I'm not going to get to watch her and G progress. :(

This week was no fun. I had to say goodbye to everyone. It still hasn't hit me that I'm actually leaving tomorrow. I love this ward so much and am going to miss everyone SO MUCH! I LOVE them!!! I finally got my bags all packed (which was a miracle in and of itself. We went on exchanges this week and the sister that came here with me is a bomb packer, so she basically packed my bags for me)

Love y'all. I'm probably not going to email anyone anything else. This is like he craziest Pday of my life.