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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 :)