Craziest Week of My Life

This has been one of the craziest weeks of my life! To answer your question about my address mom; I don’t have one currently. Let me tell you why. So the people in charge of procuring housing didn’t ever really like that apartment. There was a little bit of a mold problem and the fridge doesn’t really work and things like that. The owner isn’t really accommodating either. He’s a member, but he’s not really happy with the church right now for whatever reason. They had been telling him to fix our fridge. I felt bad; because one night he showed up at11:30 at night to, bring us a new fridge. We didn’t want to let him in that late at night; but he lives in a different city a ways away and this was the only time he could come. I could tell he was not happy. Well the day before that, we received a note in the mail that said that our elevator was going to get shut off on Friday; because people weren’t paying. We live on the 11th floor! So that wasn’t really the best news in the world. So we have been walking up 11 flights of stairs every day since Friday. The church has not been happy with our living situation anyways; but this was the final straw, so they sent us to Povoa to live with another set of sisters. This house is a lot better. And they have an elevator! The only thing is, we will have to take a train to our area every day.

In the meantime, they are looking for a new house in Carregado. But this is good; because we get a change of scenery and we’re closer to Lisboa. And we get two new fun roommates Sis. Mendes, and Sis. Puertes. I’m not going to give you an address until we find out how long it will be till we move houses.

Anyways, on to better stuff! So the people of Carregado are awesome! We have so many people who are almost ready to be baptized. We had a confirmation this week! His name is B­­arbosa:). He’s the father of a reactivated member who is awesome! His son’s name is Domingos. Right now we are working on converting Domingos’s girlfriend, Antonia.

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Barbosa with the sisters and Lucas, the Miranda’s grandson.

There is another family from Brazil that we are just about ready to baptize. It’s a little harder with everyone else we are teaching; because no one in Portugal is married; but they live together.

Real quick here are 20 things I’ve learned in Portugal.

  1. No one lives the law of chastity.
  2. Everyone smokes
  3. The food is fantastic; Google these dishes. Cachupa (Cabo Verde), Bacalhau, Pastel de nata, Bolo Brigadiero (Brazil). There is so much more but this is all I remember.
  4. There is graffiti everywhere.
  5. All the countries in Africa that speak Portuguese; Cabo Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Mozambique. I have met someone from each country:) The Africans are the best! Every time that we talk to them on the street, they are so friendly and so ready to welcome us into their homes. I love being surrounded by so many different beautiful cultures!
  6. People love to correct our Portuguese.
  7. The elevators are tiny.
  8. There is a lot of wind.
  9. I miss dish washers.
  10. A lot of people clean with ammonia.
  11. The T.V is always on!
  12. Everyone watches this soap opera called “Boogie Oogie”. I MEAN EVERYONE!
  13. Everyone is super nice.
  14. The pastries are the best.
  15. I’m going to get fat.
  16. The members here are amazing!
  17. Cars will run you over if you’re not careful.
  18. The word for a cold is Gripe. (I think that’s funny)
  19. Everyone gossips.

I miss you all and I want you to know that I’m doing really well! Happy late b-day Sara!

Love Sister Runyan

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In Carregado, Portugal and Focused on the Work

Hello everyone!

I have a lot to cover; so I’ll start from the beginning.

(Wednesday) We left the MTC at 3:30 in the morning; and we took the train to the airport. On our way, there was this awesome guy who works for the Liahona. He talked to our group about miracles he’s seen from other missionaries. He also talked about how he was one of the people who helped write Preach My Gospel. He told us how the apostles and the presidency of the church were heavily involved in this process. He shared his testimony with us and how it was a divinely inspired book.

I got to call my family at the SLC airport and then we left for New York. We got to New York and we had a little bit of time to get something to eat and call our families again. While we were there, Sister Steagall, Sister Miller and I met these women in the bathroom who were from the Dominican Republic. It was really cool because they only spoke Spanish; and we only knew a little bit of Portuguese; but we were able to communicate a little. They noticed we were missionaries and asked if we were Christian. We told them yes, and after, she shared a video of one of her favorite Christian Latin singers and we showed her a Mormon Message in Spanish. We didn’t have anything to give them; so we went back and got one of our pass along cards to give them. We told them that they can ask for a BOM (Book of Mormon) in Spanish. That was a really cool experience for me; because it was my first real missionary experience on my mission; and I wasn’t even in Portugal.

We eventually got on our next flight, to Madrid. I sat next to this woman who was a member from Utah. She was going on a business trip to Madrid. She told me she had been reactivated a few years ago. She was really cool and I was so glad I got to sit next to her.

When we flew into Madrid, it wasn’t what I was expecting. Madrid isn’t really all that big. But I can tell it is beautiful. The airport was neat but it wasn’t that busy when we came in. Sister Dixon and I looked around at all the shops. They had a lot of cool jewelry there.

Our flight to Lisbon was on a fairly small plane. Some other Elders and I got assigned to first class for some reason. The only thing different about it was they served food and drinks. We arrived in Lisbon and quickly got our bags; to meet the Elders who came to pick us up. All the Sisters drove with Sister Fluckiger. It was really cool to see a little bit of Lisbon. It’s a very beautiful city. We all met at a chapel near the mission home. The AP’s spoke to us, then we each had an interview with the President. We met our companions too. My companion is Sister Johnson! She is awesome. She’s from Idaho Falls and she went to school at BYU-Hawaii. After the meeting, we were all sent off to our different areas. Sister Johnson and I are assigned to Carregado.

Sister Johnson, Sister Runyan, Sister Fluckiger & President Fluckiger
Sister Johnson, Sister Runyan, Sister Fluckiger and President Fluckiger

We had to wait at the chapel for a while because they needed to drive us to the train station; and the first group they took had to go further. We got to the train station, and headed off to Carregado. It was late, so Sister Johnson had to call members in our ward to pick us up from the train station and take us home. We have some really awesome members! One of our members, Domingos, had recently been reactivated and his Dad was baptized last week. He came with his girlfriend, Antonia, and took us home. We got to our apartment and I went straight to bed.

The next morning, I unpacked a little and we got to work. I met the Branch President, President Miranda. He is really, really amazing. Their family takes up about half of our branch. He has been the branch president for the last 15 years! Carregado has not been the most fruitful area, but we are probably one of the most productive areas in our zone. Santarém is our zone; and this Sunday we had a stake conference there. All the members drove there on a bus together. That was the first time I had met a lot of them. Friday and Saturday we met a lot of investigators and less actives. Saturday I got to try food from the locals.

Most of the people here are immigrants. I’ve only met a handful of Portuguese people. There are a lot of people from Cabo Verde, Brazil, and Guinea-Bissau. We eat a lot of Chicken, rice, and fish. Africans love to use a spice called piri piri and I actually really like it. It’s probably slightly milder than a jalepeno; but the flavor is really good! I almost forgot! Here in Portugal, there is a distinctive smell. It’s everywhere too. It’s not bad, but it’s not really good either. I think it’s because of something in their soaps. So when I come home, I will definitely smell like Portugal.

The people here are very nice. Although they don’t have a lot of Money, they are very giving and very kind. Some people have made fun of my Portuguese; but most are very kind and helpful. I love the people already!

Our investigators that have the most potential are Antonia, and a man named Nelson and his daughter. A major road block for baptism here is that no one is married! Marriage is a huge problem. I guess they don’t really see the need to get married; but people live together all the time. We have to teach them why it is important to be married to the person they are living with, before they can be baptized. This can be difficult sometimes.

I am going through a huge learning curve right now; and there is so much to do in so little time. I am so focused on the people I’m serving, I haven’t been thinking about people from home.

This is going to be an amazing 16 months! I’m so excited to learn Portuguese and serve the people of Carregado.

Love Sister Runyan

 

Preparing to Leave the MTC

Note from Kendall’s mom:  Last week, the missionaries in Kendall’s district received their travel itinerary. They were to leave the MTC Tuesday at 11:30am (Utah time) and arrive in Lisbon at 6:00pm on Wednesday (Portugal time). Twenty Two eager missionaries were packed and ready to leave at the appointed time; when they received word that their flight was being changed. Their mission president felt that the 6:00pm arrival time was too late, so he had the flight changed. Unfortunately, the missionaries didn’t get the changed flight plan in time and by the time they did, they had already missed the flight. Within a couple hours, they had their new itinerary and they are now all on their way to Portugal. Kendall emailed this blog post when she gave me the updated itinerary.

So this week was just about getting ready to leave. We had a seminar called In-field orientation. It was very long and at times very difficult to stay awake, but it was good and I got a lot of good ideas. Both of our teachers talked a little about their missions and the people they taught this week.

Irmão (Brother) Lemperle talked about Portugal and answered our questions. He taught and baptized a lot of people. From what it sounds like the work is definitely going forward in Portugal. He was an amazing missionary, so dedicated to the work. When he came home, he said that was the worst day of his life. He meant it. He is such an amazing example to me. He speaks with a lot of authority and power. I hope I can be half the missionary he is.

I am so excited to experience the culture of Portugal. From everything that has been said it seems like a beautiful place and I am excited beyond words. So when our flight was canceled this morning I was a little disappointed. But everything is great now and I am so ready to leave the MTC and officially start my mission.

I don’t really think I have any expectations for what the mission field will be like. I’m just ready to do the work of the lord. The MTC is great, but it’s not my mission. I know that things will get really hard and honestly I have no idea how to prepare myself for some of the trials that might come. But I know I will never give up! I’ll always push forward until I have given my very all. There are some missionaries here at the MTC who have already had almost unbearable trials. They are examples to me and their faith and determination to keep going inspires me everyday.

I love you all! I pray for the health and strength of all who are dear to me.

Love Sister Runyan
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Irmão Lemperle had a birthday, so the sisters in Kendall’s district made him a piñata 
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A final picture of Kendall’s MTC district
Sister Runyan & Sister Elliott with the MTC Presidency and their Wives
Sister Runyan and Sister Elliott with the MTC Presidency and their Wives

Obedience Brings Spiritual Growth

This week has been full of ups and downs. Sometimes I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster; but as things come to a close here at the MTC, I have been thinking a lot about just how much I have learned. I didn’t expect to change this much in such a short amount of time. I don’t feel like the person I was almost 6 weeks ago. The difference is that I have come to deeply understand the correlation between obedience and spiritual growth.
When we are obedient, we exercise faith and that is when we start to feel it [the Holy Ghost] testify to us the truth of what we are doing. I still have a lot of growth to do, but I feel as though I am ready to preach the gospel to people. Maybe not so much in Portuguese;  but that is another thing. No offence to my wonderful French teacher. I could never have learned as much french in this amount of time as I have Portuguese. The reason is that I am not learning Portuguese so that I can know Portuguese. I am learning Portuguese so that the people of Portugal can know the Gospel. When we are on the Lord’s errand he blesses us in innumerable ways.
I have grown a deep appreciation for all the wonderful gospel truths that have blessed my life. I just got back from the temple. That was the last time I will have been to the temple in a year and a half. I was thinking of how blessed I feel to know that families can be together forever and that we can return to live with our heavenly father again. I know that this is the true gospel, and the only way to be truly happy in this life is to come to know our savior Jesus Christ. Because without his atoning sacrifice there would be no such thing as happiness. I love you all so much and I pray that all will be well with you.
Love, Sister Runyan

Testimony

So this week Sister Elliot has been having a lot of stomach pains. But she pushes through it like nobody’s business. I am so proud of her and her determination. When we teach with the spirit we work really well together so it’s great.

It was fast Sunday this week. I think this is one of the first times in my life that I’ve ever fasted for a full 24 hours, but it wasn’t even hard. I feel the spirit so strongly here and it’s amazing to see the changes it makes in my life; even if it’s as simple as having the will power to go without food.

Sunday, we had an amazing mission conference. Some of the things they talked about were repentance and how it means to turn towards God. Pres. Burgess talked about our missionary purpose and what it means to be a full purpose missionary. At the end, he shared a clip from the district. These sisters taught this part member family and got them to be baptized. After their missions, the sisters came back when the family went to the temple to be sealed. I felt the spirit testify to me that my purpose as a missionary is to bring families to Christ and then watch their lives change. I know that there is nothing as important as what I am doing now. We teach lessons everyday here and it is such a sweet experience for me to bear my testimony even if it is in a language I can barely speak.

My teacher Bro. Lemperle is an amazing example to me. He was an extremely diligent missionary and it shows. He has been off his mission for 2 years, but he still misses it like crazy. The way he talks about the Portuguese people gets me super excited. Have any of you looked him up at all? Like I said he sings for Vocal Point. He is an amazing teacher and I feel so blessed to be taught by him.

We get to watch church movies every Sunday. This Sunday our district decided to watch Joseph Smith. I love that movie because It shows how he suffered so many things during his life. I think very few people suffer as many trials as he did. He was an amazing man and even though God asked a lot of him, he made him be able to bear all of his trials. I think I’ve come to realize that this life is unfair and God asks some people to do and to bear more than others. But I find the example of Joseph Smith so incredible, because he knew that those trials were essential to his own personal development.

We get our flight plan this Friday!! so I guess that means we have our visas. I’m not sure though. I am almost done with my time in the MTC. That just blows my mind! It feels like last week that I said goodbye. But I’ve learned quite a lot since being here. I’ll share my testimony in Portugeus but I don’t know how to type accents sooo. Cela! (whatever)

Eu sei que Deus e nosso amoroso Pai Celestial. Eu sei que Deus quer nos voltar a ele. Eu sei que Jose Smith vi Deus o Pai eternal e seu filho Jesus Cristo. Eu sei que Jose Smith traduziu O Livro de Mormon e que ele e um outro testemunho de Jesus Christo. Eu sou grato por isto o evangelho e eu sou grato por meu salvador e redentor Jesus Cristo. Eu digo estas croises em nome de Jesus Cristo Amen.

Love you all

Sister Runyan

district sisters
Sister Miller, Sister Steagall, Sister Dixon, Sister Barron, Sister Elliott and Sister Runyan
Kendall's MTC Zone
Sister Runyan’s entire MTC Zone will be going to Portugal! The mission will be split in July.

Kendall's goofy district likes to have fun.