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.

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