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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Itanhaem is a brand new start. Miracles expected!

Oi boa tarde!

Tudo bem? I made it here alive! Thanks to a member the transfer went smoothly and I got on a bus for 3 hours and made it up here. Let me just testify of the Spirit at work though. A random dude on the bus helped me know when to get off. Now mind you, I was traveling by myself without a cell phone and I hadn't talked to Sis Reis and Vangkue (the sisters picking me up) all day AND I didn't have the address of the new place. I got off the bus and no one was there...so sat on the curb with my suitcases and duffle bag and waited...it started to get dark quickly and I was like...oh shoot...I am not about to just sit here in the dark....maybe I should start walking in the direction my ex roommate had told me the apartment was...but I felt at peace where I was...which was the Spirit telling me stay put. So I did, I was getting nervous so I pulled out my scriptures and started reading, and lo and behold as soon as I did the sisters showed up and led me to my new home :) #Godisgood #theSpiritisreal

My new companion is INCREDIBLE I LOVE her! We got to our new area, but the sisters before us literally left us with NOTHING..the area book is a disaster and so it's basically like we're opening up this area. The ward has some problems, but that's why we're here, right? The bishop is a SAINT! He fully supports and trusts us as missionaries. He will go along with WHATEVER we want. We're organizing a Christmas activity that I'm super excited about, but I know it's going to be a TON of work. But hopefully it'll be worth it. Presidente Cabral always tells us that we are the Lord's Plan B in every ward that we are in. If the ward needs a YW leader, it's us. If the ward needs a pianist, its us. If the ward needs a Quroum president, that's us too. We're here to make sure there is no apostasy and help things run smoothly. Sis Allred and I have a vision for our new ward and we're excited to share it with the members. Our focus is going to be reactivation, because there are a TON of people who are inactive. Like we have over 20 pages of names...and only 76 people were at Church yesterday. There's no point of baptizing if people aren't going to stay. So we're hoping to build up the ward and leave them strong. And I'm confident that working with the members is going to help us find new people to teach anyway.

We had our first presentation of our Christmas cantata. Everything went wrong before it started, but we managed to pull it off and all was well. We are going to be traveling a TON these next two months. and I'm not excited to be stuck in a bus for hours and hours every weekend, but hopefully our presentation will touch the hearts of many people, and if nothing less, it has already touched my heart and is helping me prepare to have a spiritual experience on christmas and not just eat a ton....

Oh, back to how much I LOVE my companion Sister Allred. She has the BIGGEST heart EVER and is the sweetest person ever. She testifies boldly and we teach so well together. The Spirit literally guides our lessons. I missed that with my other companion. Sister Allred gets that it's not about teaching a lesson, it's about teaching the person and that simple fact makes ALL the difference! This new area is HUGE so we walk more than I've ever walked in my life, but during our walks we have awesome conversations about the gospel and make contacts, and agh! Miracles are going to happen here left and right!

Anyway, I love ya'll. Thanks for the emails. Be good and remember who you are :)

Love you

Sister Byrne

Monday, November 3, 2014

Reflecting a 1 Year's Progress As a Missionary | 3 Nov

Boa tarde!

Another week here in Santa Rosa. This transfer is a little funky; its 7 weeks instead of 6, so I get at least another week here! :) I LOVE this area! I honestly would not mind if I spent my whole 8 months here in Brasil serving in ala Santa Rosa. It's not perfect, and it needs a lot of work, maybe that's why I love it so much? Things are slowly getting better and attendance is slowly growing in sacrament meeting! yahoo!

R is our new golden investigator. She is elect! We teach her at H's house because she's friends with H's neighbor, and it's so interesting to teach her with all the other people there. Everyone else is interested and participates, but when it comes down to the invitation to DO something, everyone else comes up with a million excuses why they´re not ready or not willing to keep a commandment, but the Lord has been preparing R to meet us, because she accepts everything readily and LOVES the lessons. I love her so much! She has such a sweet heart and there's just something special about her.

B came to Church! She LOVED it, and said she cannot wait for next week to go again. She is planning to get baptized this week :)

S is hiding from us...not sure what happened. I think she finally prayed and got her answer about getting baptized, and knows its what she needs to do, but doesn't want to accept it...so she´s avoiding us because she doesn't want to get baptized. But hopefully something clicks and she meets with us again this week.

Not much else to add this week. I love this place with my whole heart. The other day I was walking down the street on the way back home and I just looked around and smelled the smells and listened to the evangelico music that is always playing in the streets at night and thought about how terrible it's going to be on my last night here when I have to say goodbye to all of this. But thankfully I still have six months to enjoy :)

The gospel is true. I LOVE it, especially the Restoration, who knows how many times I've taught people about Joseph Smith and the First Vision and, yet, every time I teach about it the Spirit touches my heart confirming the truthfulness of it. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and I could never ever deny it. That's my unique message I have to share with all these Brazilians, that Christ´s Church was RESTORED on the Earth. The priesthood is real and it´s back :) What a blessing. What a marvelous message to share.

I love ya'll. Have an incredible week! Don't forget to read the Book of Mormon :)


Sister Byrne

Movie Night and Esperistismo | 27 Oct

Olá! Tudo bem?

This week I hit my one year mark on my mission... I don´t really know what to think/say. It´s flown by incredibly fast. It´s already Novemeber, before you know it, it´ll be Christmas and I´ll be skyping with the fam, and then just 4 more months and I´ll be back home. I´m giving Heavenly Father all I´ve got because just being out here doing what I do everyday has blessed my life forever. There´s no way to describe it. I love these people. I love this work, and there is NOTHING I would rather be doing.

This week we had a special "Movie Night" at H's house. Have i already told ya'll how much I love him? Because i LOVE that man! We organized a movie night and brought over pop corn and explained that we wanted to invite some people over to watch "The Testaments", well he is the cutest thing ever and he set up the TV in the garage on a table with a TABLECLOTH, and he bought little white bags to put the popcorn in for everybody to have their own individual popcorn and he bought drinks and set up a sofa and a bench in the garage, all by himself. And we had a movie night :)

We brought an investigator with us and he invited his neighbors. It was awesome! Sunday he received the priesthood :) oh my little heart. oh and also he´s pretty much our only ward missionary. We had 4 investigators at Church on Sunday (one being his friend he brought with him) and he became bffs with the other man we brought and took him to all the classes and sat by him and even walked with him home after the meeting. Adorable? or Adorable? Later when we stopped by his house he was trying to convince his brothers to go to church next week, they were complaining that it was too long, but H said, no it's not, I feel like its not long enough! I just wish I could stay there all day! He is so wonderful! The Gospel truly changed him.

Oh, also, Bishop called me Saturday night to give a talk Sunday. I was super nervous because I still struggle with the language, not as bad as I used to, but it´s still a struggle. But Heavenly Father is so smart and so loving, and I had no problem Sunday at the pulpit trying to get out the words I wanted to get out. The Spirit is absolutely real and helps us do what the Lord needs to get done.

I don´t have much else to say, my new companion loves to cook, so we cooked lunch today. Fried chicken and home made french fries. mmmmm :)

We have a lesson tonight that I´m super excited about, It´s this lady named S, she used to be into Spirits (Espiritísmo) and stuff like that, but she is just eating up the gospel. She went to Church on Sunday and loved it! She´ll definitely be baptized soon! :)

Life is good. I love being here. I love every second of it. We´ve been studying the Living Christ and part of my Christmas Present to the Savior is to memorize it before Christmas. It´s been helping me get to know Him better.

Oh! Also, I´ve been thinking...and here I am all day everyday out here in Brasil preaching and teaching about Christ. Preaching about His gospel and testifying to everyone I meet about the divinity of who He is. I´m out here all day everyday preaching that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. That little blue book has helped me come closer to Christ and learn of his teachings, so I have a challenge for all of ya´ll. I have six months left. 180 days (give or take) and my challenge to you is to read the entire Book of Mormon before I get home in April. 6 months is plenty of time. And I´ll be doing the same thing here, but in Português, which slows me down. Read 3 pages/day and I think that´ll be enough to finish before I get home. What do you think? Challenge accepted?

I love ya´ll. I miss ya´ll. Keep on keeping on. Keep the main thing the main thing. Have a GREAT week!

Sister Byrne

Tapioca Man, Fishermen and African Companion | Oct 20

There is no way I have time to tell ya´ll all the stories that happened this week, but let´s just say Heavenly Father helped me fake it until I made it. I started this week with a new companion. I thought this week would be terrible and we would get lost and spend our whole day just looking for investigators´homes. I prayed A LOT all day, alright Heavenly Father, I THINK this is how we get there, if it´s wrong, just let me know. I´d start to walk and if it was wrong, I knew within 30- seconds of walking, if it was right, I felt nothing and just kept going. Now, ya´ll know how TERRIBLE i am with directions. How many times have I called you pops in a moment of being lost?

Now imagine, me in a foreign country, in a concrete jungle of the city Santa Rosa, trying to navigate...yeah...if it´s not a miracle that we didn´t get lost...I don´t know what is. Heavenly Father hears EVERY silent prayer.

We did a blitz in every area of our zone, where all the missionaries attacked an area for a day to find new investigators, well this week everyone came here...and lo and behold, miracles happened left and right! Some elders found a group of 4 fisherman who live together. When we went back to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ, two were firm and they wanted to learn more, they came to church the following day, and unfortunately, our lunch fell through, so the member just gave us money...but we weren´t about to buy anything on Sunday...BUT the fishermen invited us over to eat with them! It was so CUTE! They cooked fish and rice for us, and set up a little table with a table cloth and everything outside the house (we weren´t about to go into a house of just men despite how nice they were). They had everything set up for us by the time we got there and they even tried to go buy dessert...but the Lord is so smart and the market happened to be closed that day :) #keepingtheSabbathdayholy!

Anyway, we knew they were leaving for a month to go fishing, so we put together little presents that consisted of all the pamphlets for the lessons. We brought them with us to lunch and they were SO EXCITED to read them. like super excited, and unfortunately there is a lack of supplies here in Brasil(sic), so we only had one book of Mormon and we told them they had to share on the boat. and they were like, hey, we can read it together at night before we go to bed. #elect and they want to get baptized when they come back.

H, who got baptized, lives with 6 of his brothers...who have started taking the lessons, or rather, they drop everything they are doing and always come and listen. They are very timid and wouldn´t participate or answer questions, but things have changed and they have started participating! :) R and J prayed about getting baptized and they both got an answer of YES! BUT J has a "wife" and family in Baia, only they´re not actually married, and he only visits every 6 months...so we can´t baptize him until he marries his wife...so sad! but R is going to be baptized this Sunday :) and hopefully H is going to baptize him! :)

Life is good. God is great! The plan of salvation is perfect. I love ya´ll have a great week!