ST. ANTHONY, NL – Angela Byrne has a gift to share with the world.
And later this month, she’ll be using it to help raise money for a good cause in Costa Rica.
The 29-year-old St. Anthony woman will be performing her own music at a Dec. 27 fundraiser all the way across the continent at the Zion Lutheran Church in Blaine, Washington, USA.
The church is raising money for supplies – such as books and crayons – for children at a Sunday school in Grecia, Costa Rica.
It may seem unlikely that Byrne would go so far to perform her music, but the Zion Lutheran Church has ties to St. Anthony through Byrne’s roommate, Cathy Baker, who is originally from Washington.
Through Baker, the church became aware of Byrne’s talent as a singer-songwriter, and decided they wanted her to participate.
Byrne is thrilled about the trip, which she calls “the biggest thing I’ve ever done.”
Not only will it be the first time she’s travelled out of the country, it will be her first time travelling outside of Newfoundland and her first time ever flying on an airplane.
“(It’s for an) awesome cause and I feel so honoured they would invite me to their church to share my talent with them,” she told the Northern Pen.
Byrne has selected 10 songs to perform for the program. She says the songs center God and how He guides people in helping others heal.
She highlights one song, “Compass,” as an example.
“It speaks about looking for your direction in life and how God is in the center of it,” she said. “He’s our compass. Whether we go north, south, east, or west, we always find our way with Him. He’s always the way out, that’s the way I look at it.”
Byrne has been writing Christian music since she was 12.
She says this was a difficult period in her life and her music helped her through it.
“I was being bullied at school very much and I was just in search for some peace,” she said. “I picked up the guitar on my own, learned to play it on my own, and the songs just started coming to me.
“That’s how I got my peace, I’d just shut myself in with my music and write my feelings down on paper.”
Since then, Byrne has written countless songs; in her own words, “too many to count.”
She frequently performs at the Bethel Pentecostal Church in St. Anthony and different community functions.
She continues to write not only for herself but to help others who are going through similar hardships.
One person who has been comforted by Byrne’s music is her friend, Cathy Baker.
After Baker’s fiancé Gordon Hedderson passed away in January 2016, Byrne moved in with her friend.
“I felt in my heart called to come and help her, to make sure she wasn’t alone,” said Byrne.
And Baker says her friend’s music has helped her cope with the grief of losing a loved one.
“I was devastated but her music literally really healed me,” said Baker.
The two roommates will both be travelling to Blaine, Washington.
A bench in the church will be dedicated to Baker and Hedderson.
Byrne wishes to thank those in her life who have inspired her to keep going.
“I want to thank everyone who believed in me,” she said. “They all know who they are. And for just inspiring me to keep on going when all I felt was to just give up. They gave me every reason to keep on going.”
According to Rosemary Meyers, Cathy Baker’s aunt and an active member of the Zion Lutheran Church, they’re not sure yet if the event will be streamed or recorded.
The church’s goal is to raise $2,000 for the Sol de Justicia’s Sunday school in Grecia, Costa Rica.
According to Meyers, the Sunday school’s supplies are limited.
She says any donations can be mailed to:
PO Box 434
Custer, Washington, USA