President and Sister Amorim Have Arrived!

7/20/15

Hello all!

The new President has arrived! He’s incredible, I’m really excited to serve with him. He is very different than Pres. Fluckiger but he will be just as beloved. He is pushing us to be obedient with exactness.

This week, Monica received the gift of the Holy Ghost. She is incredible! She has so many gifts of the spirit. She feels the spirit very strongly. He testifies to her that this church is true and she listens. He has guided her with a still small voice and she follows. She will be an amazing member, mother, and disciple of Christ and her children will be so blessed.

This week, one of our members gave a talk in church about gossiping it was really powerful and I hope that people took his words to heart. So many people in the church are driven away who have weak testimonies.

I’m going to finish this transfer here with a bang. I’m going to use this opportunity with a new mission president to have a blank slate to start again 100% dedicated to serving the Lord.

I love you all

Sister Runyan

7/27/15

Hello all!

This week has been really nice. Since our new mission President has arrived, he has been challenging us to be more obedient and to work harder. This week, Sister Da Luz and I have woken up exactly on time and exercised every day. We also kept our goal to do at least 40 contacts in the street every day. We have seen a big difference in the quality of our work, and we found a lot of people that seem to have a lot of potential.

Monica is still incredible.  Some of my other recent converts are struggling a little. Kaity is starting to hang around a bad crowd and doesn’t seem to be progressing. He came to church by himself yesterday; which I was very happy about. Edmilson is making a lot of excuses for why he isn’t coming to church; but I won’t give up on him.

Yesterday was really good. Church was great we had 6 investigators in church, and one of our investigators marked for baptism, Lara, the daughter of Dina and sister of Fabiana. She is really special. We had 3 youth in church; instead of the usual 1 and she loved it. We prepared a young women’s class for just her, but she loved it. She said a prayer with us for the first time and it was so sincere and sweet. I know that she will be baptized and that one day Dina will finally follow the example of her daughters.

We watched the Testaments for a family home evening in the home of Lara. It was great; I always feel the spirit during that film.  And I think they felt it too.

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about Joseph Smith and the things he did for all of us. Every time I teach about the first vision, my own testimony that he is a prophet called of God to save us in these latter days grows. I am eternally grateful for the work and sacrifices he made to help all of us.

I love these people and sometimes I just want to open their eyes. But I have come to see that there are people who are humble and searching for something more; and there are people who are lacking the same truth and happiness but they become bitter and prideful.  It is our responsibility to find the people who are humble and already prepared to accept the things they don’t have.

I love you all, have a great week!

Sister Runyan

Advertisements

Things I Will Never Forget and Things I Want to Forget

7/13/15

We had a week of miracles. Many things happened that I will never forget. Also some things that I want to forget.

First, we had a really hard day when Upili said that she doesn’t want her sons to be baptized. Sapa comes to church every Sunday and he wants to be baptized :(. One of our members from Guinea explained to us a little more about her customs. They sacrifice animals and literally make pacts with the devil. It’s kind of awful; but it’s also really sacred for them; so this will not be easy for us to help her. Last time we stopped by, she didn’t welcome us in like usual. We think the Jehovah’s Witnesses are teaching them now. They have books for children from them. I read one of them. It was bible stories. They changed a lot!!! They believe that if Eve didn’t eat the fruit, we’d all be in paradise right now 😦 When they talked about Christ, they explained that he was crucified and that he was resurrected, but nothing else. They don’t believe in the Atonement! I seriously wanted to cry. It’s seriously awful. The saddest part is that there are more members of Jehovah’s Witness in Portugal than our church. They also believe that only 137 people will be saved. I don’t really get it.

We were in the house of Hironette. We’re trying to help Solange get baptized. Her Dad walked in a little tipsy and started arguing with us. He said “I’m perfect, I’m Jesus, faith is impossible, the scriptures were written by men not god etc… blah, blah, blah.” We tried to leave. He got upset with me because he thought we were judging him; but really he wasn’t letting the spirit reside in their home. Sad Day:(

Beatrice, the daughter of the new family we found, was baptized in Lisbon Saturday! We had permission to leave our mission for her baptism. It was really great. The only thing is that the Bishop there doesn’t want their records to be moved to our branch; because they’re friends. It’s kind of bad; but we don’t have the keys to do anything about it. Only our branch president can talk to him; but he doesn’t want to. He wants to leave it to our new mission president.

We had another baptism yesterday! We had planned to do it at three; but we called the Elders of the chapel where we do baptisms that morning and they said they were going to have a baptism at one. We asked if we could do our baptism at the same time. In hindsight, we realized we followed the spirit. That morning, Monica was feeling tempted by the adversary. She didn’t really want to come to church; but she came. We left for the baptism right after church, with Monica. Our mission leader and branch president came along. We got there right in time and she was baptized after a little bit of confusion over the baptism clothes. When we asked her how it went, she said that she can’t feel her feet on the floor. She said that when she left the water she felt something heavy leave her. She felt clean and perfect. She felt the effects of the Atonement. Later that day, she told us that she was called in for work one hour earlier. If she had been baptized at three, like we had originally planned, she wouldn’t have been able to return in time. This experience testified for us that this isn’t our work but the Lord’s; and things happen the way they are supposed to when we follow the spirit. I felt in my heart that we truly have the power to receive revelation to help our investigators.

I love you all and I’ll tell you all how transfers go next week!

Love Sister Runyan

Beauty for Ashes

This week, we have 8 people marked for baptism! I’m really excited. Here is a little bit about each of them. Please pray for them that they can prepare for that special day.

Upili: She is a woman from Guinea. She has 3 sons. Her husband passed away last year. We started teaching her family and found out that they were already taught by the missionaries. She loves having us in her home and always gives us food even when she wasn’t expecting us. We love her a lot and want her and her family to have the gospel in their lives. Right now, she wants to wait for baptism, because of rituals she has to do in Guinea. We are going to help her understand the importance of following Christ in all things.

Francisco: 18 years old, Upili’s oldest son. He loved talking with the elders when they were here. He especially loves videos from the church. He wants to be baptized; but the other day he told us that he doesn’t really feel ready.

Sapa: 11. He is the only family member who has come to church. The others always have something going on. He loves coming to primary and he’s really excited to be baptized.

(The youngest son, Emanuel, is 7. He loves primary too. He loves to talk and ask questions during our lessons. It’s really cute. He reminds me a lot of Amanda.)

Solange: 15. She has been an investigator for a really long time; but we finally convinced her to kneel down and ask if being baptized is the right thing to do. She said she felt good afterwards. She says she wants to call her mom and tell her first; because she baptized her in the Catholic Church.

Monica: She is absolutely incredible. She is from Guinea and she is extremely humble and positive and she loves to pray and read the scriptures. During a division with our sister training leaders, Sister Da Luz met her and she said that she already came to church and the moment she walked in she already knew that the church was true she accepted to be baptized the first lesson. We gave her for the strength of youth and she said that she absolutely loves it. She couldn’t come to church this Sunday, but she will the next. I am so excited for her!

Sonia/Isabelle: Mother/daughter. The daughter is 8. They are not as firm. They have already been taught by the missionaries; but they aren’t really progressing. They didn’t come to church and whenever we try and stop by, they’re always busy.

Candida: She has already been taught by the missionaries. Last week, we had a really powerful lesson about the importance of acting. Since then she has gone from 6 cigarettes to 1 cigarette each day and instead of coffee she drinks tea. She is coming to church next Sunday. She is incredible as well and I’m so proud of her.

I never have enough time to tell you all the things that happen each week. So make sure if you have any questions, be sure to ask me. I love you all and I’m so thankful for this work. The Lord already knows who will follow him and who won’t. It’s our job to give everyone an equal opportunity to make that decision. Today, I studied about the Atonement. There was a phrase that stood out to me that I don’t think I ever payed attention to before, Beauty for Ashes (Isaiah 61:1-3). Really, this is life; we will rise from the ashes and be even more beautiful than before. This applies both physically and spiritually. Another thing that stood out to me, Elder Holland said that if we don’t heed the admonition “be of good cheer” during our trials, we are in essence saying that we don’t trust the atonement of Christ to care for us and truthfully we are rejecting him. I love the Savior and I want to use this time to know him better.

I love you all have a great summer!

Love Sister Runyan

Questions & Answers

Has the new mission president arrived in Portugal? Have you met him?

He still has not received his Visa; so right now we’re praying that it will come quickly.

Has the new mission president been able to communicate with the missionaries through email?

Nope. Right now the mission president in Lisboa is acting as our mission president.

How are the 2 new families doing?

Upili and her sons are awesome. Upili’s husband died a year ago. Guinea has cultural customs after death. They do a lot of voodoo there. She says she wants to wait till after she does these rituals because she knows that it’s not in accordance of the laws of the gospel. We are going to help her understand that she needs to forsake the traditions of her fathers and instead follow Christ. I have learned a lot about African culture since being here. They are a kind and loving people. They give so generously and are warm friendly and inclusive. It’s also really interesting to hear of all the people who do voodoo (makumba). Satan’s power is real and for people who haven’t yet come to know Christ many people are sorely confused. There are others who are fully aware that they are using Satan’s power. It’s really dark, scary and sad.

The other family is incredible. They already have a goal to get married in the temple, do the work for their family who has passed away and one day serve a mission.

Right now, they are assisting church in Lisbon; but that will change because there records will be moved to here. I am so excited for them. Their kids are going to EFY and they want to be baptized as well.

Is there an EFY in Europe, or are they going to EFY at BYU?

Yep, there’s an EFY in Portugal! Portugal, England, France, Germany, Italy every country has one:).  Sister Da Luz had one in Cabo Verde too. She loved it.

What makes this district great?

We´re all really good friends. We motivate one another and we know how to have fun together too. I have enjoyed my mission the most when we´re together. Sister Fernandes is from London! She is awesome and she just reaffirms my solid belief that England is the place I want to live someday. British humor is great.

What did you do for p-day this week?

For p-day, we went to Santarem and ate lunch with our district and after we had a water balloon fight. It was really fun.