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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Last Week In Bertioga and Last Week of Mission, Baptisms

I LOVE this place! What a special week this past week has been. Miracles left and right. Sister Arthur and I have been giving everything we have and more, sprinting to the end of our missions and serving the Lord with all our hearts, might mind and strength.

This Sunday was one of THE most special Sacrament meetings in my life. Before Church B and U were baptized. I cannot even describe how happy my heart was to see them both in white jumpsuits. All of thier family came. 10 investigators at the baptism! And BR (a man baptized one month ago) baptized them! :) While they changed into their dry clothes after the baptism Sister Arthur and I applied what we learned in the California Roseville Mission from President Weston and taught the Restoration. The Spirit flooded the room as we testified of Joseph Smith and his one prayer answered that changed the world forever!

B's mom (L) and U's mom (P) stayed for the Church Meetings. Sister Arthur and I missed Relief Society (like every Sunday) runing around town getting more people to Church. This Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and I looked around the room and felt immensely grateful for where I was, surround by these wonderful saints here. Then to my surprise U went up to the stand and bore his testimony of how the gospel changed his life. P cried her eyes out and hugged Sister Arthur and I as tight as she could and just thanked us for being the "angels" to rescue her son. What a sweet tender moment. U is incredible, he left behind a life full of addiction and sin and literally has started his life over. Was born again through the sacred ordinance of baptism. B was beaming the whole time. And after the meeting I talked to her mom L and she wouldn't let me go. She thanked me for bringing the gospel into B's life. And she cried the cry of a desperate mother because she wants desperately for her other 2 children to change thier lives like B has. L said she'll be at Church next Sunday and we are excited to go and teach her tonight.

We've also picked up many new investigators with a lot of potential! R is one. He is suffering from a severe addiction to drugs. He is a good man. married, works hard, but is dragged down by this horrible addiction. One day we went to go teach him at work and when we got there, there were tears in his eyes as he quickly directed us in. He said "thank goodness ya'll are here, I have been waiting for 8:00pm to come. I need to talk to you" R is 30 years old, and it just amazes me how much people trust us. We're just 21 year old girls, we don't have degrees, nothing, but we have been set apart by the power and authority of the priesthood to represent the Savior of the World. And people with sincere hearts recognize this and they trust that through what we teach they can be healed.

The night after teaching R, I laid in bed and tears rolled up in my eyes as I thought about how much I am going to miss this! I have been blessed with the privilige of being on the front-lines of God's army the past 18 months of my life. Helping people let Christ in and watching the Atonement change people's lives. In reality, God doesn't need me. He does His own work, but He allows me to play a part and I thank Him for this great tender mercy He has given me. It has been a PRIVILIGE to walk this 18 month journey to come to know my Savior. During the Sacrament on Sunday I was watching the men prepare the Sacrament and I thought, "how did the Savior feel as He was doing this with His apostles that final night?" He must have thought something like: Please don't forget me. Don't forget what I've taught you. Don't forget what I am about to do for you. And don't let anyone else forget either" That must be why in the Sacrament prayers it repeats the promise that we will ALWAYS remember Him.

I love my Savior. He is my best friend. I always fall short, but I know that He loves and I am so grateful with His patience with me.

I love ya'll. Thanks for all your support over these past 18 months. Have a great week! And pray for me as I sprint to the end.

Sister Byrne

Friday, April 10, 2015

Challenges and Blessings, Overcoming Smoking - Dateline 06 April 2015

First off: Update: U didn't get baptized this week, because he slipped up and smoked a cigarette...whoops, BUT we rescheduled for April 11th and he and B are going to be baptized together! #socute! #ilovethem!

We spent most of the week out our area because of our special Easter mission conference and General Conference. We live super far away form the misison center, so it's complicated, and Conference couldn't be broadcasted in our local Church building, so we spent all weekend in Guarujá, which in reality was a HUGE TENDER MERCY for me! #WhyisGodsonice?

I got to see all the wonderful people I love in my first area here in Brasil. I got to see H yesterday and I about cried as we talked. He thanked me for "pulling him out of the hole" he was in. He told me he's going to miss seeing me and we reminisced on the wonderful times we had in his little garage. He will recieve the Melchezidek priesthood in May and he wants very badly to go to the temple. It makes my heart so happy to see him progress in the gospel. I also got to see all the youth. I LOVE them! They wouldn't leave my side and it was great to be able to catch up with them and see them progress in the gospel as well.

Irmão Sergio gave us a ride to the sister's house Sunday night and as he shaked my hand goodbye he thanked me for everything I did in their ward and it melted my little heart to hear him tell me that I am an excellent missionary.

General Conference was marvelous as usual, if you didn't ahev the chance to watch all of it. Take the time and watch the talks. Feast on the words of Christ that come from his servants the prophet and apostles.

Anyway, this week is going to be AMAZING! Miracles are going to happen here in Bertioga. and I CANNOT wait for U and B's baptism.

Oh! and I just wanted to share really quick a story. There is a recent convert couple who got baptized just two short months ago. It was the second time that they recieved the missionaries in thier home. The first time around, many years ago, they were too "busy" to get baptized.

This time, the husband was out of work because his sweet wife had been battling cancer and he had quit his job to take care of her. She was cancer free and they took the lessons. She quit smoking and was baptized...except, when she quit smoking they discovered that she had 3 cancerous tumors in her brain. Smoking had prevented her from feeling the the symptoms, but when she stopped the doctors found the tumors. She battled for a month against this cancer.

The branch supported them best they could and Manuel practically lived at the hospital with his sweetheart...she passed away last night. It broke my heart, not because I don't understand the plan, because I know Manuel is heartbroken. Anyway, what is so incredibly beautiful about this story is that God gave her time. She was able to break-free from her addiction and not have to deal with it on the other side. She was baptized and thus the gate was opened for her journey home. And they have the gospel in thier lives. They are members of the only true Church on the face of the Earth. The only Church that has authority from God to seal families together forever. In one year, Manuel will go to the temple and be sealed to his sweetheart for time and all eternity. And it will all have been worth it.

Sister Byrne

Sprinting in Bertioga - Dateline 30 March 2015

Our choir of missionaries. Santos Mission Tour 2015. "Vinde A Casa do Senhor"

How is it going? wow, WHAT A WEEK! I LOVE BERTIOGA! So Sister Arthur and I have been sprinting all week long to make high goals and reach them, and oh the Lord pours down miracles when we give all we have. It's so beautiful what happens. We give EVERYthing that we have. Every last bit of energy to Him and then His strength replaces our own and miracles happen.

Last P-day we had a goal to teach 5 lessons. It was 8:30pm and we still had 2 lessons to teach...so we said a prayer explained our situation to the Lord and humbly asked where He wanted us to go before heading home. My companion was inspired to go to the beach (ps. the Spirit is so smart to inspire her and not me because I'm pretty sure if He told me to go to the beach I would toss out the thought quickly because I LOVE going to the beach and would think it was just me wanting to do what I love). We go and teach a couple security guards who weren't all that interested and then we saw a man sitting on a bench by himself smoking. He saw us and then quickly hid the cigarro. The first thought that ran through my head was.."hmm....if he's hiding it, it's probably not just a regular cigarro..." but my worn out blistered and bug bite full feet kept walking towards him and Sis Arthur hesitantly followed. We sat on the bench with him, taught him a quick lesson and arranged to meet him at his daughter's mother's house the next day.

Next day: we ran late after helping a member do something and missed our appointment with U and B, but decided to pass by anyway. He wasn't there but she was and hesitantly let us in. After about 2 minutes of talking to her, I felt like she was my long lost best friend and we just hit it off. We taught a short lesson and arranged to come back the next day to teach her and U together.

Next day: taught them both and gave them the Book of Mormon. (oh by the way, she doesn't like him because he has a little "growing up to do" and he is still in love with her but won't admit it)

Next day: We decide to teach them seperately and teach U a 15 minute version of the Restoration on the bench on the beach where we found him.

Next day: we teach U at his house in front of the beach and he told us that he prayed about what we taught him. He said that very night he ran down the beach to his favorite place to sit and think and he kneeled and prayed asking God if what we had told him about Jospeh was true and he had a Remarakable answer that I'll wait to share until I get home because of the sacredness of it, but God told him that it was all true. And he was extremely happy to tell us his answer. And is super excited for his baptism THIS Saturday!

Next Day: He and B went to Church and it was ADORABLE because they sat together to be with thier daughter and they were happy and smiling the whole time! I absolutely know that the gospel is going to change U'forever and B too (she's ready to be baptized too btw, she is just waiting for an answer. She has already read like 20 pages of the Book of Mormon and LOVES it! so I'm praying that she can be baptized this SAturday too) My secret wish is to watch the gospel change U into the man of God he has the potential to become and then B is going to want him back and they are going to become a family again and be sealed in the temple a year from now :) I can see it. They are so perfect for each other, the only thing missing is the gospel.

Also, we have this AWESOME member in our ward, R. He is a recently returened missionary who hasn't founda job yet and he LOVES coming out with the missionaries. He spend half of his night with us and the other half with the other dupla of sisters here. He went out with us on Saturday and thank goodness because he ended up giving two priesthood blessings to help 2 of our investigators. I LOVE the priesthood! It is so REAL! One woman we were teaching was very sick and could barely walk when we got there, he gave the blessing and by the end of the lesson she was walking perfectly and even kneeled for the final prayer! whaaat? :)

Also, I gave a talk on Sunday, President Melo, called me and my companion up last minute. haha i love being a missionary. #semprepronto

Anyway, I love being a missionary and having an area and getting to WORK! there is nothing greater in this world than the work of Salvation.

Oh! And DON`T FORGET!! This week is General Conference! :D yayyy!! I'm super excited to hear the words of the prophets on such a special weekend;...EASTER! Prepare your heart to recieve revelation and I promise that the Lord will speak to each of us individually through His prophet and apostles. I LOVE CONFERENCE!

Love ya'll. Have a great week!

Sister Byrne

I got to go back to Santa Rosa one last time. I LOVE THAT PLACE. What a tender mercy from the Lord that I got to see so many of the people I love so much, including H!! :D He is doing great! faithful and happy :) he has a ton of friends in the ward now and he lost 10 kilos! i told him he needs to take better care of himself and eat more...(oh, no I'm turning into mommy) haha anyway, my heart will always have a special place for Guarujá! ahhh :D

Called to repentance, bus contacting, skipping Sunday School - Dateline 23 March 2015

This week I got some GREAT news!! yahoo! Well, first of all Elder Aidukaitis came to visit. I had the privilege of going to two meetings with him. the first one was strictly for leaders of the mission and oh man...he burned us! He very sharply called all of us to repentance....it hurt...but it was good and I am a better missionary/person for it.

Also, we called President this week and he told us that we can go back to our area now!! Yay! so Today I am in Bertioga and I am here to stay! :) I feel much more relieved to know that I can do normal missionary work now! :D

Oh, also, Sister Arthur and I have been feeling the urgency of hastening the work. We got here Saturday night with zero investigators, nothing, nada. And we decided to start making contacts and knocking doors, so we used onw of our new favorite tactics "you get one side, I get the other" and we knock doors and the first to get let in calls the other over and we teach a lesson in about 0 minutes, invite to baptism, feel the Spirit and then leave as soon as possible so the Spirit stays there with them. We have been teaching a TON of lessons, and in 2 days we already have a good size teaching pool.

Also, we decided we weren't going to go to Church unless we had an investigator there, so we left super early and started contacting everyone in the streets....(I live in like the tourist town of Santos so not many people are up early on Sunday morning)...we found a bunch of new investigators, but no one came in. We went to Relief Society, but during Sunday School decided to hit the streets again, and ended up teaching 2 lessons and finding a bunch of new people to teach. We're going to teach Luciano tonight. He is AWESOME. Oh, also R, she was a quick contact, but super interested and invited us to come teach her and her family tonight!

Oh also, we've started another really fun thing. When we get on the bus, we stand at the front and one of us yells to get everyone's attention and we say this "Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, we are missionaries and we have a message to share about Jesus Christ. That His Church is on the Earth today and led by a prophet. We know there are people on THIS bus that are interested in learning more, so we are going to walk down the aisle and ask each one of you if you are that person. Thank you" And then we get to work! It's super fun and I've never picked up so many referrals in my life. Sure, some people get mad, but we just say, okay, thank you for your attention, but then there are some people who are SUPER interested! And we get their address and tell them that this message will change their life forever.

It's been SUPER FUN!

Well we had choir practice in Santos hoje, so I don't have time to write any more, but I love ya'll. Keep reading the scriptures and praying. Life is good.


Sister Byrne

God is so good! Dilma Impeached. Riots. - Dateline 19 March 2015

Gerlad went to the temple and was sealed to his sweet wife who passed away a year ago!

This is what it is ALL about. Baptism is just the gate. There is no GREATER joy than seeing someone you love progress in the gospel. So happy to know that Gerald and his sweetheart are going to be together FOREVER!

What a week! It's incredible to me to see how involved God is with the details of our lives. Exchanges this week were inspired! For so many reasons, but I'll share the super sacred ones with ya'll when I get home. An e-mail just doesn't do it.

We went to Guarujá and we started this new thing where if two duplas (companionships) of sisters live together we just do trios (three companions together) and Sister Arthur goes with one dupla and I go with the other. Well, I decided to not go to Santa Rosa because everyone we visit just gets super excited to see me and it's hard to have a spiritual lesson because no one can concentrate.

Anyway, I went with the sisters in Guarujá and Sister Pratt got super sick...BUT because I was there me and Sister Sweet were able to continue the work and keep going as poor sister Pratt just fought to keep up. BUT it's always in these moments of sacrifice that miracles happen and we found a new investigator for them, A, and I tell you what she has been prepared and as she was talking it was like she was just screaming for us to teach her that she can see her mom who recently passed away again. It was such a tender moment for the 4 of us and my heart just aches to think that some people don't know that they can see thier loved ones again.

Then we went back to "our area" Bertioga and Sister Vergara got super sick the morning we were going to do exchanges. We decided that I'd stay home with her (because I have better skills at taking care of people due to my "nursing experience" haha) I was super bummed to have to stay in all day and not work, but I got to use my talents of taking care of people and Sister Castillo and Sister Arthur got to work! And they taught a man who went to Sunday the following day and wants to be baptized on Saturday!! wohoo!! oh Bertioga, what a blessed place.

Sunday we skipped Church....and by skipped Church I mean we were not allowed to leave the house because it was dangerous in the streets. Dilma was supposedly impeached, but I'm not really even sure if it actually happened because we don't watch the news....but yeah I guess there were supposed to be a ton of riots and stuff, so I had to stay in another day...

I don't have lots of time today because of some various events that occured today, but I just want ya'll to know that I LOVE Jesus Christ. He is my best friend. I try my best to be like Him. And I am so grateful for the Spirit. The Spirit is my Comforter and He has been at my side so many times this past 2 months. Leading me, guiding me, and holding my heart together. God is good. The gospel is real.

Sister Byrne

Monday, March 9, 2015

A very long bus ride, mending relationships, the tender mercies of Christ

This week was great! We literally went from one end of the Mission to the other in one day on the bus! São Sebastião to Registro! The sisters in Registro were having troubles do we did a 2 day exchange with them. It seemed to help a lot, and then transfers happened and now they are separated, which is really a bummer. It's never a good feeling to leave a companion without being her best friend ever, BUT things drastically improved while we were there, so that was a giant tender mercy from the Lord.

In Ocian, we had a noite familar with a family where one of the sons is not a member of the Church. He's 20. It was chill, good family home evening and the family made mini pizzas for the lanche at the end. As we were eating I started talking to the non-member son. he doesn't talk to anyone seriously about the Gospel, he just shrugs it off, but we started talking and he wanted to practice English, so we started speaking in English, then somehow the conversation got turned to, so why aren't you baptized yet and we had a really real conversation about the gospel and we discovered his problem was that he hasn't been praying specifically. He had prayed before, but it wasn't specific so he didn't get a specific answer. But he decided he'd go to Church the next day and start praying again. WHAAAAT?! Blessings of having a family member on a mission.

This past month has been very different. I'm not living normal missionary life, and sometimes I feel really inadequate for what the Lord wants me to do with this last part of the mission He has given me to serve. I've definitely had selfish thoughts of "I just want to serve in a normal area, have a companion and get to work! and BAPTIZE! I want to finish MY mission doing what I WANT to do."

Wow, how selfish of me. This week I've been thinking a lot about the Atonment (Easter is coming up you know!) and I wrote this in my study journal about the enabling power of the Atonement "You just keep going doing what He wants you to do, and then you think you can't anymore and THEN Christ takes your hand and somehow you make it. The strength of Christ replaces your own and you make it." How incredibly blessed we are to have a Savior. I stand ALL AMAZED when I think of what He did for me. I often marvel and wonder WHY? Why is He so nice? But He is. His love is real and His Atonement doesn't just cover our sins, but it enables us to do what He needs us to do. He doesn't ask if we are capable, just if we are willing.

I love ya'll. The Church is true. The gospel is REAL. Christ is our brother and our friend and I love Him and I feel beyond blessed for the time I have to get to know Him.

Have a great week.

Sister Byrne

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Zone Conferences, Fasting, Killer Borrachudas

What an AWESOME week! On Monday night we went home to Bertioga for the first time in a month. We decided to trade our suitcases for duffle bags and started back on the road the next morning at 5:00am. President invited us to attend all of the zone conferences in the mission. It was AWESOME! Not only was it incredibly uplifting to go to 4 zone conferences, but we got to hang out with President and Sister Cabral for 2 days straight! #whatablessing I LOVE them. I absolutely adore them and feel so blessed for the opportunity I have to serve with them.

So I know that I'm a missionary and I probably should have already had a solid testimony of this already, but this week I honestly gained a personal testimony of fasting. I know, it sounds absolutely ridiculous that refusing food and water for 24 hours can help someone get closer to God, but it is REAL and it WORKS! I was fasting to know what I personally need to do do reach my full potential. I knew there was something missing, but I was having trouble identifying what that was. So I fasted and spending the day with Pres and Sis Cabral I found my answer. I discovered exactly what it is that I need to place on the altar of sacrifice to become more sanctified. Then I fasted again on Sunday for the Lord to give me the strength to overcome and apply what I learned in my first fast. It was a very sacred experience for me, so I won't share everything, but fasting is real and God is incredibly wonderful to give us this tool to come closer to Him and be more receptive to the Holy Ghost. If it's been awhile since you've fasted, give it a try, think of something you want to ask God to reveal to you and then pray and fast to discover a response.

Besides that this week was chill. We are in Ilha Bela right now....and I tell you what it sure is an Ilha Bela...but like we learn in the Book of Mormon there is opposition in all things, and the opposition of Ilha Bela are borrachudas....they are these little tiny black bugs that bite you and I just so happen to be allergic to! hahah. One got me right when I got here and my ankle and leg swelled up quite a bit. It was funny because the sisters who live here were like...ummm yeah..that's not normal....and so they sent Sis Arthur and I to the hospital. Which at first I saw as a pain in the butt to waste time in the hospital when I cold be out working, but turned out the hospital was the PERFECT place to make contacts. It was raining so there was no one in the streets. We got the address of the receptionist AND....THE DOCTOR! boo yah! The doctor was super nice, he's from Columbia and was really hard to understand, but when I started teaching him about the Book of Mormon he got really excited and anxious to learn more. I felt kinda bad because there was a huge line behind me of people waiting to see him, but we talked a good 10 minutes about the Book of Mormon (bless those patients hearts who had to wait, but it was for the salvation of the doctor, so I think it's okay). The sisters are have an appointment marked to teach him and his wife this Thursday! :)

Oh! also, did I mention how much I LOVE making contacts! It's especially fun when you're traveling all the time, because we meet people from EVERYWHERE and everyone is always waiting on something so there is always time to teach at least part of a lesson. :)

All is well. I'm happy as can be. Life is Good!

Lots of Love.

Sister Byrne

PS, ma, don't worry my leg is fine. I took some anti-inflammatory medicine and the swelling is going down :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Missionary or Nomad?

Where do I start? Well, I had the tender tender mercy of going back to Santa Rosa this week. There are no words to express how much I LOVE that place. As we were driving through my old area on the ônibus, my heart was just absolutely overflowing with happiness. Just driving by the old streets I used to work on brought memories back. Every street has a story.

Anyway, I guess the sisters gave the members a heads up that I was coming back and everyone wanted to see me, which made it hard to fulfill the purpose of the exchange (help Sister C. S. become a better gospel teacher), but the Lord is good and we were able to teach several investigators (including some ex-investigators that I taught while I was there. Remember F? Yeah, he has had some major changes in his life. I asked him when he was going to get baptized and he just looked at me and said "let's start preparing". Sister C. S. marked a time to go back. I am so excited to see what happens!) and she opened up to me about what was holding her back from working with all her heart might mind and strength.

We made some goals about improving those things and she is going to be able to reach the great potential that she has. But, yeah, so I got to see a bunch of people that a absolutely LOVE and as I prayed that night and poured my heart out in gratitude for being able to see and help them, I just felt an overwhelming peace come into my heart that the Lord is very pleased with my service as a missionary. It was one of those special sacred moments for me.

I also got to go out with Sis Culley. She is one of the most incredible human beings I know. She has a tumor in her hip, it's not cancerous, but it is growing and pushing on her nerves, so when she walks a lot it gets inflamed and she can't walk, so she only gets to work 1/2 a day, but I tell you what: she makes that 1/2 day count! We WENT TO WORK! It was awesome, we practiced using good questions to discern the needs of our contacts and gave baptismal dates to 2 people in the street! It was awesome! AND while we were on the bus in Morrinhos, I saw an ex investigator from Santa Rosa who couldn't get baptized because he was always out at sea fishing for work, but he quit his job and is now living in her area and accepted visits from the missionairies again!! :D and his daughter asked for his Book of Mormon because she wanted to read it, and has been reading it for like a month. The sisters are going to visit them this week. I am super excited!

Yesterday I got to go on exchanges with my old African companion. It was such a blast! She opened up and told me how much I helped her while we were companions and I was shocked! I had no idea how much she said she learned from me. It was humbling to know that I was able to help her become a better missionary.

I'm not sure what else to say. I'm trying to become the best Sister Byrne I can be. I love the Lord and I am finally getting to know Him more personally. We talk a lot. Prayer is essential for my survival these days. Things happen with sisters and I have no clue what to do. Absolutely no clue. So I go into another room, pray to know what He wants. Maybe I have the wrong attitude, but I'm like, Okay God, you put me in this position, we have a problem here and it needs to be resolved. I don't know how, so I need you to tell me. He always does :)

Life is good. Missions are great. I love my life.

Sister Byrne

Oh! scripture of the week is Mosiah 24:13-16

13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.

#it's real God lifts our burdens, takes tiredness away, gives us the strength we need to keep going.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Carnaval - not for missionaries! Contacting with the Spirit, Asking for Referrals, LOTS of Rain

Hey ya'll what a week!

We started the week in Rio Branco and now are in Casquieros. Carnaval started!! wahoo!! Fortunately, our mission president has banded us from going out after 5;00pm every night for 5 days. Apparently things get pretty crazy on the streets...there's lots of fireworks and yelling and music. during the day we see huge floats being prepared for the parades, but we don't even bother trying to look at night because we know it's just a bunch of naked women and drunk people, so we just stayed in our bedroom and had a mega companionship study. It was perfect. #ilovebeingamissionary

Sis Allen, my trainer taught me that miracles happen on exchanges and I've always been a firm believer of that and seen that on my mission, and I am blessed to exchange with sisters everyday, so I'm seeing incredible miracles everywhere, but I'd just like to share two.

1) Sis Menezes and I were walking down the street, I always try to have a prayer in my heart of who to stop and talk to whenever we're walking. It would be impossible to talk to EVERYone, so I rely on the Spirit to tell me who is ready. We passed a woman on the stairs and I felt like we needed to talk to her, soo...I grabbed Sis Menezes arm and whispered, we need to go back and talk to her..well turns out she had been stopped by the other sisters earlier that day on the ônibus and the day before by Elders when she was in their area. God was apparently wanting missionaries to teach her. We asked to go inside and taught the Restoration. The Spirit was incredibly strong and she recognized that God had answered her prayers by us stopping to talk to her. she recognized us as representatives of Christ. It was such a tender experience and evidence that God hears and answers our prayers.

2) Sis Nahimann and I were evaluating our teaching and we realized that we were forgetting to ask EVERYone for referrals, so we made a goal to literally ask EVERYone we talked to for referrals. We did and received MANY referrals, especially from people we didn't know in the street. We ended up teaching a horrible lesson to a young woman (there were so many distractions and the Spirit had no chance to be there because of her mom and other weird factors), but we asked her or a referral and she took us to her friend's house down the street. We knocked, introduced ourselves and one of the young woman was like, yeah, I was baptized in ya'lls Church....that's cool...then we found out that she was a less active Sis Nahimann and her companion had been trying to find ALL transfer. She had gotten in a fight with her parents and left and no one knew where she was. Also, she was one of the first people my girl Sis Allred baptized when she got here, and Sis Allred had talked about her a lot and wondered whatever happened to her. She let us in we had a powerful lesson on the Book of Mormon and then with tears in her eyes she looked at us and was like "I need to come back to Church, huh? I'll be there tomorrow". She called herself to repentance! #mightychangeofheart

Oh if only I could write all the wonderful experiences I've had this week!

Yesterday we and the assistants had a 4 hour meeting with president deciding how we were going to fix the mission. I LOVE President Cabral, I love him. I am so grateful for him and the other mission presidents I've been blessed to serve with. They are such inspired men. It was an incredible spiritual experience for me to counsel with him and for us 6 to recieve revelation together. #theChurchistrue

I feel incredibly blessed, The Lord knows me and I am trying my best to get to know Him. I love HIm. I love His work. I love His commandments and His gospel. I love that He sees potential in me that I cannot see. I love that He believes in me and allows me to struggle and fall so that He can teach me. I know Christ lives. This is His Church.

Have a great week ya'll. I love you! Be good and try not to get too trunky for me ;)

Sister Byrne

Teaching the teachers, traveling


What a week! I don't think I've ever spent so much time on a bus....but it's been GREAT! Right now I'm in Samambia, but after emails, we're getting on a bus to go to Parque dos Bandeiras. wahoo!

Also, I got to go back to Itanhaém which was definitely a tender mercy of the Lord. I LOVE it there! I got to see A and M again :) I cannot even describe how much I LOVE them! It's sad for me that M holds them back. A wants to get baptized so bad, but he does not want to get married. It's so dumb. But before I left I had a real meaningful conversation with M and basically told him that once he reads the Book of Mormon, he's going to feel the Spirit testify to him that it is true and he's going to WANT to get baptized, but he's going to discover that in order to get baptized you have to be living the commandments, one of which is the law of chastity and he's going to WANT to get married so that he can be baptized and become a member of God's only true church. I think it's the boldest I've ever been with him and he felt the reality of my words because he didn't make a joke about it afterwards.

Divisions have been interesting....we've been asked to evaluate how the sisters teach, the technique, and well...it could be worse, but mostly it could be a lot better.

BUT one thing that has become more real to me is the power of testifying of God's promises. We are always inviting people to repent, but hardly anybody wants to change because they know it will be hard. aka: they don't trust that God has something better waiting for them. But we as member of the Church know. We KNOW that when we live the gospel we stop eating dog food and start eating the steak dinner. But it's scary because we have to believe in something we can't see (or in other words have faith). But when we ponder our own lives and recognize the blessings that have come to us from keeping the commandments, we can testify with power and others who haven't yet experienced the sweetness of the gospel will be able to taste it through our testimony and our boldness in promissing that God will actually bless them. It's not just a fairytale and they are not the exception. The blessings and promises are real, we just have to have the faith to grab God's hand and walk with Him. We have to testify of these things because we know it's real, others may not know yet, but we do so it's our responsibility to share it.

I don't know what else to say...I love the sisters, sure they give me a bit of a headache but really they are AMAZING. Many of the Brasileiras and Hispanicos are recent converts themselves and only members of their family and I am just amazed at their faith and courage to serve. What great examples they are to me.

I love ya'll. Have a great week. Be good and make good choices. And always remember that "it's easy to forget that everyone's hurting just as much, we all have our problems, we've got our own imperfections. It's easy to remember that we're all in this together, and our Heavenly Father loves us all the same."


Sister Byrne

Adventures as a traveling training leader

Okay, so I WISH I had more time to write ya'll because so many miracles happened this week, but you'll probably be more interested in the update as to my calling as a missionary.

So....I have been called as a Sister Training Leader along with my AMAZING companion who I love to pieces, Sister Arthur....I already had the privilige to serve as an STL in Cali...only this time....we are the only sister training leaders in the entire mission...oh yeah also we no longer have an assigned area....or investigators....or anything that normal missionaries have....we will be touring the entire mission this month doing splits with ALL the 42 sisters in the misison. And we are living out of our suitcases and will not be returning to home base in Bertioga until March....yeah

So we spent 7 hours on a bus today getting to Registro to do divisions with the sisters here tomorrow. And Presidente Cabral has given us the special assignment of evaluating how the sisters teach. The baptisms in our mission have been slowing down and he's worried that it's because the missionaries are not good gospel teachers, so we have to evaluate all the sisters and their ability to teach.

I have NO CLUE why God has called me to have this position for the next month. He's probably just trying to stretch me a little more before I go home to help me reach my potential, right?

Anyway, this month is going to be exhausting mentally, physically, and emotionally for me. I kinda feel like I'm looking at a giant mountain knowing that I'm going to have to climb it. But when I look at the top I think...well shoot, there is no way i can get there, so I use one of the anti-stress techniques I've learned as a missionary and i just keep saying to myself "All I have to do right now is_________" Just keep praying for me. :)

We found 2 amazing families on Saturday in Bertioga, one of which came to Church, oh how my heart loves them! D and M. They are very humble and ready for the gospel. D is illiterate and M reads very poorly but she read everything to D. So cute. In the lesson we had, after teaching that they could pray to ask God if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, he and his sweet wife and we kneeled down in the tiny living room/kitchen and D said the first prayer of his life, It was humble and definitely not a traditional prayer. He kept his eyes open and was unsure what to say, but he prayed with a sincere heart, and God answered his prayer with us right there in the living room with him. When we opened our eyes he had a light shining from his and he said that he felt "muito feliz". He told his son to get a pen and mark the 14th of Feburary on the calender for his baptism. M is less excited then D, but she too is a sweetheart and ready to follow the example of her husband. We passed them off to the other sisters in Bertioga, and i hope to get pictures from them of their baptism soon! :D

Anyway, no time, I gotta run. But I love ya'll. Keep studying the scriptures, keep praying, and know that I LOVE the Lord. I love Him. And I feel very humbled that He trusts me with this new assignment.


Sister Byrne

Transfers - Promptings of the Spirit

Hey ya'll,

So President Cabral is officially the craziest of the 3 mission presidents I've had... transfers never happen on transfer day, they're always a surprise, and yesterday we got a call as we were preparing on of my companions to go home (yup she should be getting on the plane right now to go hug her momma...weird!). I am getting transferred to BERTIOGA!! I'm going back to my first stake here in Brasil, Guaruja!! AND my new companion is a sister from my MTC district who was also reassigned to the California Roseville Mission! She only stayed one transfer, but she got a taste of the greatest state-side mission there is.

AGH! I wish I had more time to write, but I used most of my e-mail time going to the house of a beloved investigator family. agh! It was so hard to say goodbye....and the dad, M, even got teary-eyed as we said our goodbyes. I pray every night that his heart will soften so they can get married and she can get baptized and they can live happily ever after in the reino celestial!

Miracle, yesterday I saw a guy on the hill by himself and he looked like he was crying...i felt like i should go talk to him, but I had to enter into the matto a little to get close enough for him to hear me. my companions were like, no he's probably just a druggy leave him alone...but.....can't just ignore a prompting from the Spirit, so I went and talked to him. My companions left me to go take pictures because it was Sis Oliveiras last day, but luckily my girl Sis Allred was there too, she joined me and we taught him about baptism. Turns out he's a twenty year old homeless man who has already separated from his wife and all he wants is to repent and be right with God. So....we invited him to baptized of course! He was super excited when we taught him about repentance and baptism, he accepted to be baptized next Saturday and is extra excited to go to Church. #miracleshappen #followpromptings #ilovethegospel!

Anyway, I gotta run, still have to write president and I have like 10 minutes left..yikes.

Love you all! have a FANTASTIC week! Thanks for all the e-mails. And if you have time, look up the mormon message "Hope of God's Light" it is too good!


Sister Byrne

The Refiner's Fire - Balance

Oi família!

Tudo bem? This week has been one of learning. Faith is not something that disappears after things don't go your way. but it's having confidence, that even when the Lord's will is not your will, it will be for the best.

I've been having a tough time these past 2 transfers trying to balance everything. I've often felt like I've been drowning. Just too much on one little missionary´s shoulder and it´s been a refiner's fire for me here in Itanhaém. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DIIgm6xABQ) But God is good and He knows what will make us stronger. And I just want to share with ya'll that the Book of Mormon has become one of my best friends. Weird right? It's a book. but I am eternally and forever grateful for the prophets who labored diligently to carve these inspired words into plates of gold. Especially the words of King Benjamin. He's always been one of my favorite people. He's an old man who just says it how it is, because he does not fear man, but fears God.

This week I fell in love with Mosiah 7:33

But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.

This promise is real. And when the Lord says bondage, He's not just talking about the bondage of slavery to the Lamanites, He's talking about the bondage of sin or sorrow or heartache or fear. But when He says deliver you, He doesn't mean He´s going to make it disappear and make everything cute and fluffy, He means He´s going to help strengthen you to get you out of it.

The key to that strength comes from sincere prayer. Ask and ye shall receive, ask and it shall be opened unto you. We have to ask. I used to always get embarrassed by Mommy because she would always ask people for ridiculous things, like blue pens....then when the receptionist gave her a couple handful of blue pens she was extra happy and had what she wanted. But what was the key? ASK! She always taught me that if you want something you have to ask for it. and the worst that could happen is that someone says no. what a life lesson! You'll NEVER know until you ask.

Anyway, I've also learned that the Lord is so nice, and I often wonder why. He knows us so personally the Lord in His infinite wisdom has given me tender mercies to cheer me up. For example, my zone leader has diabetes, so at our zone meetings, once a week, he brings his syringe and I get to give him his insulin shot. So silly how something so small could make me so happy. And it´s something very personal that only God knows, but He DOES know. There´s also a little girl in the ward who for whatever reason is in love with me and she always comes and gives me HUGE hugs. and holds my hand and just makes me feel like the greatest person in the world. She is my angel. The Lord loves us and He knows us and He wants us to be happy!

I love ya'll. Have a great week. Make good choices and remember that He only breaks us down to lift us even higher.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New couples to teach, fixing shoes, stores in Itanhaém

Well, just another week here in the grand city of Itanhaém. It's soooo hot here. Like, even in all my years of lifeguarding at TCAP I have never been so hot and sweaty in my entire life. Our area is incredibly large and we are incredibly poor, so we walk all over creation. but don´t worry mama, I put on sun block (spf 50) AND use an umbrella...yup, it´s gotten to the point of using an umbrella to block the sun. I feel so ridiculous, but I am weak and cannot endure this scorching sun without my umbrella...
so we have been searching for investigators. The difference with the work here is that just about anybody is willing to accept you into their home and let you teach them, but when it comes to them having to do something of effort, like pray or read....it's another story. So we have to separate the wheat from the tares and figure out who actually has a broken heart and contrite spirit and who doesn't. unfortunately most of the people we talk to don't...
BUT we found 2 new couples that I'm extra excited to teach.
1) C & D. they are Jehovah Witnesses. super faithful, they even gave us some of their literature and when we stopped by to teach them, he apologized that he had to leave to have a "study" with one of his investigators....kinda weird, but imagine him as a faithful Latter-Day Saint. Best home teacher ever? I think so. He seems sincerely curious, so hopefully we can teach them in a way that the Spirit is there and helps them realize the truthfulness of our message.
2) N & S. they were a miracle find. we were looking for a different Nelson who was a referral from the Elders. Nelson the pharmacist, well the address we were given didn't exist, and no one had heard of him, but they knew of a Nelson the construction worker. Tired and sweaty and just wanting to teach a lesson we went to talk to him. We asked if he knew the other Nelson...he didn't, but then he looked at us and asked if we wanted to come inside. I just looked at him desperately and shook my head up and down. We went in and started talking. Simone had recently lost her brother (I cannot even imagine that, Giancarlo, William, you´re not allowed to die first okay?) so we taught the Plan of Salvation and they LOVED it. They're Catholic, but they both were like we agree with everything that ya'll taught. Nelson said the closing prayer and he was so cute, he said "God, if it be thy will, let these three wonderful people come back many times to share more with us".....I'm pretty confident that IS God's will :) They're going out of town this week, but will be back this weekend, and I´m excited to go back.
That's one of the issues with this area is it's beaches and so it gets FULL of people, mostly from São Paulo and the people who live here have to stay at work extra long and don't get their normal days off because they have to take care of all these people here. # beachlifeproblems

Little M
M, A, and little M
A is doing well. she's supposed to have her baby here in 2 weeks. I am so excited!! I pray every night that M will soften his heart and want to get married so she can get baptized because I LOVE that family, more than a lot. Seriously, I don't think I've ever loved a little girl as much as I love little M. She is 2 and perfect and I want a girl just like her some day. and A is Incredible!! She arranged for us to go teach her dad, she had her mom wait for us at the super market near their street to show us where the house was. #membermissionary Her dad is elect as well, but he too has to get married, only he's technically still married to someone he married when he was 19 and never divorced....she lives in Macéo... which is far away and it's going to be complicated to resolve, but he will be a great leader in the ward if we can help him get baptized.
Oh, also, we helped someone paint their house. it was super fun. :)
ummm.....there's probably more things, but I'll stick to that for now. oh wait! I want to share one of A's prayers. She is seriously so cute. she was praying and said " Heavenly Father, please help these girls to have the strength to walk and share this message with.....well let´s just say all of Itanhaém because there's only 3 of them, and all of Brasil would be a lot for just them." SO CUTE!
I love ya'll. Have a great week. Keep the faith. I know sometimes it's hard, but “When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives.”
I love ya'll more than a lot. Please keep praying for me. I need it.
Sister Byrne


 this is how the local businesses work here. there´s a doorbell...and well,  you push the doorbelll which rings in the house of the person in the apartment complex behind the kiosk and they come out to attend you.then they ask you what you want, go get it from the freezer in their house and bring it to you. soo good :)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Just Pictures of a Missionary Christmas in Brazil

3 Girls In Brazil, Faith in the Priesthood, Praying for a Wedding

I don't feel like writing too much today, so I'll probably just send a bunch of pictures. but we had transfers on Monday. I'm still here in Itanhaém, but I'm in a trio now! Sister Reis left, and a Peruvian came in her place and my companionship gained another Brazilian, Sister Oliveira. She goes home in 3 weeks, and was exactly what I needed here. She is incredible! and I am so grateful for Pres Cabral following the Spirit and putting her here. I needed her. She was a relief boat for me.

A came to church this week! It was so good to see her and her big pregnant belly in the chapel. MIRACLE! She has friends in the ward now :) and she WANTS to be baptized, but she has to get married...and her "husband" doesn't want to get married...grr...but a miracle happened and we were able to teach him the restoration. (he is usually ALWAYS working), but I'm just waiting to get there this week and talk to him. and he's going to be like "Sister Byrne...I prayed and asked God if Jospeh Smith was a prophet of God and I got my answer. I want to be baptized". It´s going to be soooo good :)

Also, we picked up a new investigator who smokes 3 packs of cigarettes a day. I have NEVER met anyone as addicted to cigarettes as her. I´m excited to see a miracle happen and help her quit, because she has to quit, or she´s going to die, the doctor told her, but she hasn't found the strength to do it yet. Little does she know, the Gospel is true and miracles happen as we apply its principles in our lives. plus we have the priesthood, the power and authority of God to help her.

Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.

Scripture of the week, Alma 5:46 - answers don´t always come easy, but THEY come. but we have to show God that we really want it. Fasting is real. watch mormon message "hope of God´s light"

Love ya´ll have a great week!!

Sister Byrne