Last Week of My Mission

Hello Everyone!

This is the last week of my mission! I’m so greatful for everything that I’ve learned. I don’t have a lot of time to write, because we’re going to Geres for my last P-day. But I’m super excited to explain everything here in 1 week!
I love you all and I’m so greatful for all of your prayers.
See you all in a couple of weeks.
Love Sister Runyan

Heavenly Father’s Plan is Perfect

Hello everyone,

This week we worked very hard. And many wonderful things happened. But Saturday and Sunday were very difficult days. Sister Costa’s dad has been sick with cancer for a few months. Sister Costa actually left for the mission while he was sick. This has been very difficult for her, because she’s the oldest, and the rock of the family. On Saturday, a family friend contacted the Marinhos that her father was in a very critical condition. President gave her permission to talk to her family at the Marinho’s house. The next day, we received the news that he had passed away. She was able to Skype her family; they are so supportive of her and want her to stay here. She has so much faith and is very grateful for being on a mission. It’s been amazing to see how the Lord has put all the right people to help her; the Marinhos, Sister Dixon, Presidente and so many others. Watching someone being comforted by the spirit in a time such as this has really strengthened my testimony.
Please pray for her and her family that they can be comforted during this time. Her family was sealed in the temple and I know that their family will be together forever. Heavenly Father’s plan, although difficult, is perfect. I’m so thankful that we know that there is so much more beyond this life. As my time here in the mission is running shorter it isn’t really sinking in. I can’t imagine not being a missionary. I’m so thankful for all of the people and experiences that I’ve had here. I’m thankful for each one of my companions and the different things that they’ve taught me. I’m most especially grateful for the testimony that I’ve gained and the relationship that I have with my Savior.
I love you all, and thank you for your prayers.
Sister Runyan


Hello Everyone!

This last week was really great! First of all, Viva Portugal!!! They won the European Cup; which was actually a pretty big deal. They celebrated all night long. It was actually really cool, because when Portugal made the goal you could hear the entire city cheering.

Last week, we had found that family of Ciganos (Gypsies). Well, they are actually really interested. There are a lot of people in this family and it’s hard to keep everyone straight; so I won’t even try to explain who is who. But went out the house of one of the women, Rita, and we taught the 2nd lesson. She is very interested and wanted to come to church, but transportation was an issue. There is also another woman, Elsa, who is absolutely incredible. We taught the first lesson and she really liked it. We gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read it. When we had come back, she told us that after she had prayed to know if it was true; she felt something she had never felt before. She told us that she knew that it was true. She is very excited to come to church this week.

Vera has been out of town, so we haven’t been able to talk to her at all.

Gorete wasn’t answering our phone calls for a while, because she was staying at a friend’s house. But we got everything sorted out and now she is preparing to be baptized on the 30th of July. Please pray that she will be able to quit smoking.

Ana is amazing. It seems like she´s been a member for years already. She even went out and taught with us for the first time and everything. She bore her testimony and it was so sweet!

Yesterday was very busy! First, we had the mission conference. Then we came back and had to carry a very heavy box of BOMs. Later on, Sister Dixon came up to serve with us for 2 weeks! She’s incredible, and a wonderful example to me. This will be a great 2 weeks.

We have a lot of things going on this week. I’m going to work my butt off until the end. I’m so grateful for the mission and it’s becoming more real that it’s coming to a close.

Love you all!

Sister Runyan

Ana’s Baptism and Why Joseph Smith Didn’t Wear a Tunic

Hello Everyone

This week has been absolutely incredible! Ana was baptized and it was amazing:) So many other miracles happened; I don’t know if I can count them all.

But I will try…

  1. We taught Vera, who came to church last week. She explained that she wants to be a part of this church and accepted the invitation to be baptized! She is an incredible woman. It seems like she’s been a member for years.
  1. We found an elderly woman while looking for former investigators. Her name is Gorete. It was kind of funny, because when we found her, Sister Costa and I were thinking that she might not comprehend the lessons. But we taught her anyways and it was very spiritual! She also accepted the invitation to be baptized. 🙂 Heavenly Father loves all of his children.
  1. On Saturday, we were knocking doors and it was super-hot! On the very last door in the apartment building, a woman answered and let us come in to talk to her; something that very, very rarely happens! She has had certain things happen in her life to prepare her to receive the gospel so we are very excited to go back.
  1. Ana´s baptism was incredible. Another Brazilian woman was baptized as well, named Cris. She’s an interesting lady; very sweet and giving. Last Sunday, she had helped a woman who had been attacked. She got blood all over her clothes and we brought her a change of clothes at the hospital.
  1. Yesterday was also incredible! After church, we went out to teach a reference the elders had given us. They were quite receptive; not as comprehensive, but they’ll get there. The best part of the lesson was when we had to explain that Joseph Smith wasn’t wearing a tunic, because he’s from a different time period and that 200 years ago men wore pants not tunics. It was actually pretty funny. Ha-ha.
  1. Later that night, we found a family of Gypsies that live in Sol’s neighborhood. They kind of approached us first and asked who we were. They were very receptive and apparently they had already been taught by Sol about the gospel. He even explained The Book of Mormon and everything. They accepted the invitation to be baptized as well.

There were so many other things that happened! Sister Costa is an excellent missionary and we’re having a lot of fun together.

Thank you for all of your prays!

I love you all!

Sister Runyan

Six Transfers in Braga!!!!!

Hello Everyone!

This week has been the absolute best!

6 TRANSFERS IN BRAGA!!!!!!!! Presidente sent me a letter I thought it was pretty funny, “Você pode voltar para casa e dizer que bateu o record de permanência em uma área com o presidente Amorim.” (You can come home and say that you had the record for staying in one area with President Amorim.) Haha.

But I can honestly say I´m in the right place at the right time! First, Sister Costa, my new companion, is amazing!! She reminds me a lot of Sister Schill. We are working really hard here in Braga and things are going really well.

  1. Ana is soooo excited for her baptism. She told us the other day how excited she is to come to church. She told us that she feels so much happier and peaceful now. We literally didn’t have to teach her anything. She let the spirit into her life and it is showing her the truth. She automatically made little changes in her life without us having to say anything, like changes in her wardrobe. She is so elect and I’m so happy for this opportunity to witness her conversion. Also, this week we changed her baptism date to the 2nd of July!!!! She is very happy.
  2. We’ve been contacting a lot of people and we’ve been working on testifying of Christ in every contact and being bolder.
  3. We had a ward activity this week for the Festa de São João. It was the best activity I’ve seen since I’ve been here. There were 12 investigators total and 7 other less actives. We just spent the whole time talking to everyone.
  4. This Sunday, was also pretty amazing. A woman named Cris came to the activity. I had met her a long time ago, we tried teaching her but she was really busy during the time. She really enjoyed the activity and came to church. She told us during church that she would also like to be baptized this next Saturday!! Wow!
  5. To top it all off, there was a member that moved from the Azores, who said that she would come to church this week and that she would bring a friend. The friend loved church so much that she as well wants to be baptized!!!

Sister Costa and I were talking afterwards. Why does the Lord even want us to search for people when he can just as easily bring them to us? Why am I making all of these sacrifices when the Lord can do all of this himself. It’s so funny that we do all of this for our own growth but the essence of what we do has nothing to do with ourselves. But either way, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve.

One funny thing that happened this morning. There was a less active woman that came to bishop for help. I don’t know all the details but for some reason the only option was for her to stay at Manuela´s house. (The cute little old lady we bring the sacrament). Apparently, Manuela said that would be ok, but we think she has Alzheimer’s and forgot that she agreed. Anyway, she is furious! The woman stayed there one night and then had to leave. She left her things, and Manuela asked us last night if we could help her arrange the room. We showed up at her house this morning and she was fuming. We don’t think she remembers very well what happened. Anyway, she had called the cops and told us not to tell Bishop or any other member or we would be involved and she would never forgive us. Well, we left without pushing anything, and called Sister Marinho. She told us to call President. He told us that we should tell Bishop. He thanked us for keeping him aware, but that he is already very heavily involved in the situation. Man being bishop is not easy! Poor guy. I wish there was something we could do to help.

Anyway, this will be the best transfer ever!!

Love you all.

Sister Runyan

I Really Love My Mission!

Hello everyone,

This week was full of miracles!!! Best week of the transfer by far.

Thursday, We marked Ana for baptism on the 16th of July! She is so elect and is really feeling the spirit. She is a very happy and kind person and will really help this ward:)

Right after our lesson with Ana, one of Sol´s friends called us and asked to talk to us, because one of his friends had died. He met him in prison and his friend had been murdered in prison. This guy was pretty rough around the edges and is very lost. We were able to teach him about the atonement and resurrection. He´s seen so much in his life and he´s only ever responded by being bitter and revolting. When we started talking to him, his demeanor was very angry. He was listening to Portuguese rap music and crying. At first he didn’t really want to hear what we had to say. He was just so angry.  I felt very led by the spirit during that conversation. I felt impressed to say. “You’ve probably already said many things to God. Are you ready to hear what he has to say to you?” I opened the scriptures and he read Alma 7:11-13. Immediately, his countenance had changed. He was being influenced by the spirit. He confessed that he hadn’t been living a very righteous life. We invited him to change and offered our heart. With tears in his eyes, he accepted.

Unfortunately, he didn’t show up to our next appointment and we haven’t been able to get a hold of him. His friends probably gave him a hard time. Oh well, I just pray that he will at least have the desire to clean up his life a little bit. But I´m very grateful for that opportunity we had to help one of God´s children come a little closer to Christ.

We did a lot of walking this week. I wanted to contact in parts of Braga I had never been before. So we had to walk very far! (5 transfers and you get to know a place pretty well.)

We talked to a less active woman this week, who wants to come backed to church. She had been offended by someone, but she explained to us that she never lost her testimony. Her whole family went inactive during this time, except for one of her sons who is preparing to serve a mission right now. We will start working more with her to help her reintegrate with gospel living.

Yesterday, a lot of our appointments fell through so we decided to knock some doors for a while. It was pretty hot and we were very tired so we almost decided to go update some things on the computer. But instead, we listened to the promptings of the spirit. The first building we entered and the first door we knocked, answered a Brazilian man, who was a less active member for many years. It’s been 16 years since he´s last talked to the missionaries. He fell away because he had some doubts and he had moved to an area in the past where the church wasn’t very well established. He had lost his copy of The Book of Mormon, so we left him one and explained that it wasn’t by chance that we had found him. He told us that he was thinking about The Book of Mormon just the other day. He thanked us and invited us over another day to meet his wife and son, who are both not members. Those kinds of experiences rarely happen, but when they do it´s always because of diligence

This week, a returned sister missionary was visiting with her husband, who also served here. They met in the MTC. They had a baby too! I think she told me that she ended her mission in 2014! Needless to say, it kind of freaked me out a little. She was super cool. She’s English and he’s Irish. They apparently are teaching the baby Portuguese.

Man, there are so many interesting things that happened this week. I really love my mission. I love meeting new people, getting to know them and hearing their stories. I love helping people to understand the bigger picture and feeling more happiness in their lives. I love this gospel, and I feel extremely privileged to testify of Christ every day!

As most of you know I am now in my last transfer. I haven’t been perfect, and I haven’t always given my best, but I always try to give the best I know how. I love my Savior and I love this work. I just hope to be able to give my meager offering to the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart.

Love you all so much!

Sister Runyan

Festa de São João

Hello Everyone!

This week was the start of Festa de São João. It´s the saint day for John the Baptist, but it´s super huge here and it goes on for 15 days. There´s a lot of music and people and colors. Apparently, it´s the biggest festival in Braga, but it’s even bigger in Porto. There were a lot of street vendors today and I bought some hand carved elephants from Senegal!

There weren’t too many interesting things that happened this week, except for the fact that we contacted like a billion people. We are trying so hard to find new investigators, but it´s getting harder and harder by the minute. This week, we have plans to work with the members to get references.

Yesterday, Presidente Amorim came to Braga. Bishop has been inviting him to come since March. He was finally able to come and he trained the members on the listão that we’ve been doing. I hope this will help. Sol Amor continues to be an excellent example of a member missionary. He’s been taking us around to meet everyone he knows in his neighborhood. He literally has no reservations. We had a really good discussion about The Book of Mormon with some of his neighbors, and one of his friends was interested in hearing the lessons.

We´ve been teaching a reference from the elders named Ana. She’s half Brazilian, half Japanese. She is very sweet and loves to serve. Right now, she’s studying geriatrics. She is really accepting the gospel so far. We invited her to church and she came. It was actually kind of funny. In the third hour, Presidente did his training for all the members. At one point he asked how many people had introduced themselves to Ana. Not very many people raised their hands and he got after them. After church tons of people came up to her and introduced themselves. Fortunately, she really liked it. She said that she would come back next week.

This upcoming week, we’ll be finishing up the transfer. I hope we end with a bang.

Love you all!

Sister Runyan

Sister Kendall Runyan – Portugal, Porto Mission