A Visit From the Barbours

Kendall’s young single adult ward bishop and his wife were in Lisbon for business and they were able to meet up with her. We are grateful they took the time to visit with her and for the pictures of Kendall and her new companion. Here’s what the Barbours had to say:  “Had a WONDERFUL time with Kendall & her new comp–Sis. Da Luz. What a treat to get to see her. She’s amazing! I can’t believe how well she’s mastered Portuguese already. You should be really proud of her. Love that sweet gal.”  We are proud of Kendall and love her tons!!!

Barbours with Sister Runyan

The Barbours and Sister Runyan

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Sister Runyan and Sister Da Luz

First Baptism

 

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Sister Runyan and Sister Johnson with Edmilson on His Baptism Day
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Edmilson’s Baptism Day

We had a baptism!!! My first, it was really neat:)  Especially since we met the guy a week ago!!!!!!!!  Sister Johnson and I think he will really help the missionary effort here because he has already inspired so many people. He was a drinker before but he completely stopped and turned a new page. I just can’t even comprehend how the Lord blesses us sometimes.

The Saturday before the baptism we needed to do an interview. For some reason, our district leader and his companion were on a division with the APs.  All of them came to the branch president’s house. We had cachupa, it was great. It was time for the interview and we couldn’t get a hold of Edmilson. But lo and behold, the girlfriend of the son of our branch president, Dina, a woman who is not a member, said that she would come with us to go find him. She was incredible because she was so determined that he wouldn’t miss his interview for baptism. While we were in the elevator, she told us that she wants to be baptized! We had taught her before; but we didn’t think she would ever want that. While Edmilson was in the interview, the APs taught her. It was probably the most powerful lesson I have ever heard in my life. Elder Andre, from Angola, taught her that she needs to stop smoking. He taught her the importance of the atonement and baptism and how we need to be committed to live a different life before baptism. She says that she wants that and they marked her for baptism in 2 weeks. We also marked one of her daughters, who is 10, for baptism. She told us afterward, that if Edmilson could stop drinking, she could stop smoking. So we need to visit her every day to help her. She is so sweet and I know that she will be an inspiration to others as well.

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Sister Johnson with Dina and her daughter

Things in our area are about to change. Heavenly Father was tired of seeing so many of his children, who have a testimony, to live in darkness because they aren’t living the commandments. He sent Edmilson to us; who demonstrated so much faith, it’s insane. I can’t even express how grateful I am for his example.

We still don’t have a house. They gave the owner a deadline to make changes to our house, but he didn’t so they are now deciding to look for a new house. The process for buying a new house takes about 3-4 weeks, so not till the end of this transfer.

I love how Sister Johnson loves being a missionary. She is so cute and so fun to be around. Sadly, we had transfers and she is no longer my companion. She is serving in an area close to Porto.  My new companion is Sister da Luz. She’s from Cabo Verde and she’s super awesome!!! This will be a really fun transfer. I will learn Portuguese super, duper fast. (We learned that Sister da Luz speaks absolutely no English.) I miss Sister Johnson like crazy!! But I think this will be an amazing transfer and that I will grow a lot:) I’m really excited to serve with Sister Da Luz, I think we both want to work super hard and so this will be really great!

Thank you for all of your prayers it means a lot.

Love Sister Runyan

The Timing of the Lord

Hello everyone!

This week has been super interesting!

So first of all Antonia and Domingos are making us really sad right now. Domingos is a returned missionary; but he has been really inactive after his divorce with another woman who he helped baptize. Since then, both of them have been inactive and it hasn’t been till recently that he has been coming back to church. But he and Antonia are living together. They have separate houses; but she always stays with him. We have been trying to help them decide to either get married or live separately; so we can baptize her. We learned this week, that they are selling both of their houses and getting a new house together!!! We have Antonia marked for baptism this week; but we don’t think that they will change their minds before then. We tried having a lesson telling them how important living the commandments is but; Domingos has some really weird ideas about the atonement. He doesn’t want to repent and then make the same sin. We try helping him learn correct doctrine that he can’t delay the day of his repentance; but he doesn’t want to hear it from us. Antonia is a little lazy and has trouble getting motivated. We are running out of ways to help them. We have decided that we are going to move away from teaching her and focus our efforts on other investigators.

Next thing, we had a really powerful lesson with a man, named Floriano, in the park. We taught him the first lesson and we invited him to be baptized and he was like Of Coarse! 🙂 He is so elect and I have no doubt he will be a branch president someday:) We’re going to shoot for this weekend.

This was probably the best part of our week. We were preparing for our lesson with Antonia and Domingos. We were feeling a lot of anxiety and inadequacy to help them. We were in the chapel to print out a talk for them (something we rarely do). It was 6pm and a man approached us right when we walked out. He asked us if church was starting right then. He told us a man, named Marcus, told him church was at 6 on Saturday. We promptly told him no, church is at 10 am, on Sundays. We told him that we were missionaries and that we could talk with him. We taught him the first lesson. He told us that he has been thinking a lot lately that we don’t know when Christ will come and that he needs to be baptized as soon as possible. He told us that he made a promise to God that he would move to Portugal, find work have a better life and be Baptized in the true church of Christ. This man was literally sent to our doorstep, already completely prepared! God knew that we were feeling sad for our investigators; so he sent this man to us, I don’t know how; but I know that I will remember this for the rest of my life. The only thing is, a lot of the members know him, because he lives with one of our less actives. They say he smokes and drinks and he doesn’t have good friends. But I have no doubt, that through his faith that is already so evident and the atonement of Jesus Christ he will be ready for baptism.  His name is Edmilson.

He came to church the next day. He came to gospel principles and participated the whole time. He is incredible and I am so, so excited for him and the life he can have in the gospel. We had a lesson with him later that day; which was super cool because during church our ward mission leader invited these 4 boys off the street to come to primary. They were playing in the park when we were going to have our lesson and came up to us and asked “can you teach us more about Jesus?” Our hearts just about broke and we said of course; so we taught about faith and prayer and they were so interested and wanted to try praying themselves. It was such a sweet and tender experience. The oldest boy is 8 and I have no doubt that he will be baptized. Edmilson was touched by this experience as well. We taught him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the importance of Baptism. He decided to be baptized this week! I love the people here! There are so many people who are so prepared it’s insane. We will be working with Edmilson every day this week and next week you will be seeing some baptism pictures from me.

I have so much faith about the timing of the Lord! Sometimes things happen that are really frustrating like missing a train or having to walk for 45 min. from our train to our area every day. But time after time, the Lord puts people in our path who want to hear the word of the Lord. I never feel worried or anxious; because I know that every single thing that happens is for a reason.

This has probably been one of the most amazing weeks of my entire life. I always heard amazing mission stories from people, and I never thought that I would actually be living that someday. I am so grateful for this opportunity to see the hand of the Lord with my own eyes. My heart is always so full of love for these people and I know that I will be friends with them into the eternities. We still have heartbreaks. Antonia, Sara, Patricia, all of our less actives; but I have faith that someday their eyes will be opened and that they will have faith in Christ.

To answer some of the questions I haven’t answered yet.

The goats head wasn’t terrible, the brain had a really weird texture, same with the eyeball. Nothing tasted bad, but I freaked myself out when I ate the tongue; because it had the texture of a tongue. I was just like “What in the world! I am eating a tongue….. I have a tongue! I am eating a tongue with my tongue!” Ya, but other that, not bad. Maybe I’ll make it when I come home. 😉

The language can be pretty hard sometimes. But I never feel anxiety about it. Yesterday, I gave a talk in church about faith. The members loved it.  Some of them cried a little. I can talk about gospel related things a lot better than normal conversation. There is a lot of times when I only understand 10% of a conversation. But it’s getting better, I never feel super frustrated about it.

Love Sister Runyan

Ten More Things I’ve Learned About Portugal

So this week wasn’t as crazy. But some interesting things happened. We were asked by our zone leaders to focus on our progressing investigators and contacting new ones. So we’ve been working on getting them marked for baptism. A_ is already marked for the 25 and I know she definitely will be baptized. We´re working on sitting down with N_ and his family; but they’re really busy and they never have time to meet with us.

Sara is awesome! She struggles with the word of wisdom and law of chastity, but she is so interested in the gospel. We gave her a Book of Mormon and the next time we talked to her she had already read the first 5 chapters! She told us that when she reads, there’s a voice that says keep reading, this is good. 🙂 She also told us that when she reads she doesn’t want to smoke. She also told us that she struggles having faith when things go wrong in her life. Our next lesson with her we are going to talk about faith. The only thing is, she texted right before our appointment Friday and said that she couldn’t meet with us. Since then, she hasn’t responded to any of our texts or calls. It doesn’t make sense! She loves us in her home; she told us that. And she was so interested before. She told us that her friend wanted to meet us. I’m worried that her friend spoke badly about the church and doesn’t want us to talk to her.  Please pray for Sara! Pray that she will have peace in her family and that she will still have the desire to hear about the gospel.  It could be that she’s just really busy I don’t know but we’ll talk to her later this week.

10 more things I’ve learned.

  1. When people need to use the restroom they just say I have to pee or I have to poop.
  2. Literally everyone will point out my acne! It’s actually really funny because they’ll be like. Your acne is really bad; I have a cream that will help. And I’m like … Thank you that’s so sweet but I already have a lot of medication. Every single child has asked me, what’s on your face? It’s like they’ve never seen acne before.
  3. The streets always smell like pee.
  4. The people here work hard.
  5. Lunch is bigger than dinner here.
  6. Chocolate Salami!
  7. A lot of People immigrate to England.
  8. People will see our badges and trust us. For example, I didn’t validate my train ticket which normally would be a fine but the ticket checker was like you guys are missionaries I believe you. So that was cool.
  9. Portuguese men like to sit on the street corner and gossip for hours on end.
  10. I love Portugal!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers. I’ve felt so much strength from heaven these last few weeks it’s been great!

Love you all!

Sister Runyan

Coimbra and Santerem Zone Conference
Coimbra and Santerem Zone Conference

Easter Week

On Easter, we had a very special dinner with the Branch President and his family. They served us many things I have never tried before:) I ate every single one of them! I also helped prepare the meal the day before. I smelled “really good.”

  • Head of goat (the whole thing. . . brain, eyes, tongue, all of it!!)
  • Stomach of cow
  • Lungs of cow
  • Intestine of cow
  • Goat meat.
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Goat Heads

Because we are living in Povoa, which is a twenty minute train ride away, it is easier to work in another part of our area, Azambuja. We have many members there and so it has been good to spend time there. It’s older than Carregado, with old narrow streets and all of that. Carregado is just apartment buildings.

We have zone/district conferences in Santarém every week. On the train ride there, you can see the wall of an old fortress. I hope I can go there for p-day one day, but we don’t have any time! That’s the life of a missionary.

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Azambuja
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Azambuja Train Station
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Azambuja Train Station
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Zonce Conference

This has been a crazy week! I don’t have a lot of time to email because there are four sisters and one computer. We are staying with sisters in Povoa.

Yesterday was the first day that I really felt homesick. Especially since it didn’t feel like Easter at all with all that food that was unfamiliar. But I’m so grateful for the members here. They are so giving and kind. Dina, the sister-in-law of the Branch President, is taking care of us here in Carregado. She doesn’t have daughters, so she loves the sisters.

Tuesday

So Carregado is actually closer to Povoa than Azambuja, but Carregado’s train station is a 20 minute walk from the town. Azambuja’s train station is right in the city, so we worked there, visited our members and such.

Wednesday

We had a Zone Conference. We took a really fast train and got to see the countryside. When we came back, we had lunch with one of our members in Azambuja. The rest of the day, we contacted people in the street.

Thursday

This day, we had appointments with people in Carregado. We walked from the train stop with this really cool guy from Santo Main. The day before, we had received a reference from the UK. We met the reference and her family. She is the daughter of this Portuguese member living in the UK. Their house reeked of smoke, but that’s normal for Portuguese people. She and her “husband” (no one is married; I’m not sure if this couple is married) have 2 kids. Both are super cute! Their whole family sat for the first lesson! Usually it’s just the woman, but he stayed. He’s such a great dad with his kids too. We need more priesthood in Carregado, so this is great! I could tell they felt something.

Friday

We came to Carregado again. We marked Antonia for baptism on April 25! She wants to be baptized, but she doesn’t know if she’s ready so we’re working with her. We had a really powerful lesson with Patricia, a woman from Brazil. She isn’t married to her boyfriend, who is married to someone else. So she’ll take a long time.

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Patricia’s son

Saturday

We got picked up by President Miranda, because they came from Lisbon to get stuff for Easter. But Sister Miranda lost her wallet, so we went back to Lisbon, but it wasn’t there. They think it was stolen:( I helped bring in groceries. I carried all 11 goats’ heads! It was really heavy and I’m pretty sure I have permanent nerve damage in my ring finger. I still can’t feel it.

Easter Sunday

It didn’t really feel like Easter, but it was so good because we invited everyone to come to conference and hear a prophet speak. Before conference, we had dinner with President Miranda and his whole family. I already explained that part. I was so fun!

Conference was great. We didn’t have the best turn out, but we think a lot of people watched it online. Yesterday was probably one of the most interesting days of my life, but I have to admit I missed home a lot.

Progressing Investigators

Antonia: She is the girlfriend of a reactivated member. He has been on a mission and so he has been awesome at helping her learn about the gospel. She’s a little more quiet; but she is so sweet and I love her to death.

Nelson & Tais: Father and daughter. They are from Brazil. He is friends with the branch president. Nelson just got married, so he can be baptized. I’m not sure how ready he is; but President says he wants to. Tais wants to be baptized; I can tell. We’re going to ask them to be baptized this week! Pray for them please.

Sara & Fabio: This is our new family. They are so elect! I know they will be baptized eventually, but word of wisdom and marriage first. That could take a while, but if they have a testimony, maybe not.

Patricia: She has a testimony! However, she is catholic and she always tells us that it’s really hard to change faiths. Also, she has social anxiety and doesn’t want to go to church. She loves us and always welcomes us! Her boyfriend doesn’t really like missionaries; but he’s warming up. Her son is a wild child; but he’s so cute. I hope we can help her to see how to trust in her faith and follow the Lord and be baptized.

Calita: She is from Guinea-Bissau. She is awesome! She loves to talk. She always welcomes us into her house.

Solange: She’s from São Tomé. Her sister is a member. We want to get their whole family; but they don’t want to change.

Funny/Interesting Things

  • We ate the Easter Bunny! Antonia fed us rabbit this week and we were joking that we ate the Easter Bunny.
  • Tomorrow, we’re going to Coimbra for Zone Conference! That’s where the Harry Potter school is. We’re actually leaving in a couple hours and staying there over night with sisters there.

Question & Answer

What is your favorite part of being a missionary? The people and sharing my testimony with them.

What was your favorite General Conference talk? Holland.

Where is your branch president from? Cabo Verde.

Was their Easter dinner a traditional Easter meal for them? Yes.

How is the language coming? It’s coming slowly but surely.

Love you lots!!!!!!

Talk to you next week:)