God’s Hand was Guiding Us the Whole Time

Olá Familia,

This week was fun, but also really hard.

  1. Margarita broke up with us.
  2. Pedro was flipping out and he disappeared for like 2 days.
  3. We found tons of cool people and they gave us fake numbers.
  4. We almost had no investigators show up to church.

But with all the bad things that happened, we saw that God’s hand was guiding us the whole time.

First, with Margarita. She is deciding to ignore the spirit. She doesn’t feel comfortable changing religions. We thought that her son, Alexandré, still wanted to talk to us, but I think he’s a smart kid and he knows now is not the right time. He said the prayer in our last lesson. In his prayer, he asked that God would give him another opportunity to talk to the missionaries and that the next time he would be baptized. It was really sad and we miss them a lot.

Next, Pedro freaked out because he started asking a lot of questions and they started dominating. Also, he’s going through a lot of changes right now. He just got a job, but it’s at night. It starts at 2 and ends at like 9 and he walks the whole way. Plus, he’s trying to quit smoking and he’s getting kicked out of his house. His brother owns the house and he’s working in France. He apparently doesn’t like the idea of his brother living with his wife. So we think that the mixture of all these things led to him not wanting to talk to us. He finally called us Saturday. We found out his issue is that he wants to be baptized, but he doesn’t want to affiliate himself with a church. He is freaking himself out about other tiny details. He did come to Stake Conference on Sunday and he felt the spirit. So we think he’s okay now.

Cool thing. We met this really awesome African family. Descio is from Angola, but he’s living here for his cancer treatments. He’s in remission and he says he’s doing great. His wife is in Angola for work (they’re mega rich). He’s here with their 4 small kids. They have a maid to help him out. He was so excited to invite us into his home. We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to teach them.

There’s another woman, Margarita, who has an abusive husband. We don’t know how to help her except to bring the gospel into their home. But maybe they need professional help too.

Today for p-day (preparation day), we visited the La Torre dos Clérigos. It’s the tallest bell tower in Portugal. It was really neat and we had a good time.

Stake Conference was also really good. We heard about the Lisbon temple groundbreaking there. We got soooo excited.

We’re doing a really neat project with our members. I want all of you to do this as well.

  1. List every single person you know that isn’t a member, friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc…
  2. Pray for guidance.
  3. Listen for prompting from the spirit and pick 5-10 names that are ready to receive an invitation.
  4. Ask the missionaries to help you!!!
  5. Think of an invitation/gift. Ask the missionaries to come with you to give the gift/invitation in person.

I know this model is inspired and I challenge everyone to try it! God will always bless our righteous desires.

Love,

Sister Runyan

A Week Full of Miracles

We’ve had a week full of miracles!!! I definitely miss Sister Smith, but Sister Schill is an incredible missionary too.

Miracle # 1: Monday night, we were contacting and we came across this guy who had a broken nose. He was smoking and he looked kind of Scary, but Something in Sister Schill motivated her to contact him. He told us that earlier that day he had broken his nose while defending a woman’s nose. He was at a metro stop with a good amount of people and there was a gang of men who were beating this woman kicking her on the ground and everything. He was furious that no one was doing anything and he just kind of went in there not thinking and distracted them long enough for her to run away. They broke his nose and he went to the hospital to get stitches.

We’ve been teaching him all week long. The other day he told us that he was outside praying that God could send someone to show him the way to follow Christ. Unlike most Portuguese people, he was never baptized catholic. His parents weren’t religious. But for some reason, he strongly believes in God and in Christ. Right then we came by and started talking to him. He has already received the spiritual witness that this is the true way to follow Christ. Right now, we are working with him to quit smoking in time for his baptism on the 30th. He is sooooo elect. It’s fun to teach him and watch him get so excited about it all.

Miracle #2: Tuesday, we were looking for menos ativos (less actives) and we ran into the daughter of a menos ativo that already passed away. She is catholic and really does not want to be baptized. She agreed to have us over the next day though. We came back and taught the 1st lesson to her and her son Alexandre. The spirit was so strong in that lesson. We asked Alexandre to kneel down and ask in prayer if Joseph Smith was a prophet. He did it and it was so simple but so powerful and he stayed there kneeling for more than 10 minutes; just listening to the spirit. He is the sweetest 12 year old I’ve ever met. He told us that this was the happiest he ever felt. His mother felt the spirit as well. We came back for another appointment but she hid from us and didn’t want to talk to us. We stopped by again and discovered that it was because her other son is a stinker, for lack of a better word. He is completely against religion and had been telling her that we had been brain washing her. Luckily, Alexandre still knows what he felt and still wants to talk to us. We’ll keep trying, in hopes that next time her stinker son won’t be there.

Miracle #3: We had a lot of people in church this week. We started teaching an old investigator family, who in the 4 years that they had been taught, had never been to church, because the wife didn’t want to. They came to church and they liked it 🙂 She is a hard woman to teach, because it’s almost as if she’s uncomfortable feeling the spirit. Every time we got to an important part in the lesson, she interrupted. But we were happy to see that she came to church and that she liked it.

Today we went bowling as a district it was pretty fun.

Bowling on P-Day
  Bowling on P-Day

I love Sister Schill! She’s an incredible missionary. We’re going to give it our all this transfer, because she’s going home. We started out strong we just need to continue.

Love you all!

Sister Runyan

The Lord is so Involved in this Work!!

Transfers are here!

I’m still in Gaia, but Sister Smith left for Leira. My new companion is Sister Schill! She’s so nice. This is actually her last transfer:( but we’re going to have a lot of fun together.)

We had our zone conference. It was really good. President Amorim really wants us to get more member references. What we will do is with each family in the ward we will sit down with them and have them list every single person they know, acquaintances, friends, family, everything. We’ll go home and pray about it and bring back 10 of those names. They will look over the list, change anything if they want, and then they will pick at least 3 of those people to do something with. It could be give them a gift (church movies, book of Mormon, etc..) or invite them to an activity. It has to be something they feel comfortable doing. I’m excited and I will do the same thing myself. I challenge all of you to do it as well.

DSC02034

This week, we’ve been focusing on finding less active members. We have found a handful of people who still live in the listed addresses who are interested in coming back to church. The Lord has been helping us as well. One day we were walking to our area and we contacted a random guy in the street, it turns out he was on our list of people to find, but I couldn’t find his street on the map. He is actually a friend of Avelino’s and wants to start coming to church again. We also were looking for another house, but it was abandoned. We left for the other side of our area. I contacted a woman and had the impression that I should try to get her address. It turns out she is the woman we were looking for, but the number listed for her was wrong. That was crazy for me. The Lord is so involved in this work!!

The ward did a special fast for the missionaries and our investigators this week. This ward is so great! We’re helping out in our ward choir for the upcoming stake conference. It’s fun to hear Portuguese people sing.

Today, after we dropped Sister Smith off at the bus station, Xeca and I walked around Porto a bit. She took me to an American store. That was funny. I explained things about American food to Xeca and I bought a Dr. Pepper. After that, we ate a Francisinha. It’s a fried sandwich with a ton of meat, cheese and egg and special sauce. It’s really fattening, but it’s the specialty of Porto; so when anyone visits they have to try it.

I love you all!~

Sister Runyan

 

Conferencia Geral!

I love general conference. Hearing all of the powerful testimonies of the Savior’s atonement and the restoration of his church reaffirmed my testimony and witness of the truthfulness of this message. I felt so inspired and blessed to receive guidance in my life but also it gave me so many ideas on how to teach my investigators, and answer some of their more perplexing questions.

This week, our efforts have been focused on finding people. We are doing a treasure hunt of sorts, to find all of the less actives in our area, to invite them to come back to church. Thus far we have found 2 families who want to come to church again! We are also looking for people in the streets. Little by little, the Lord will start to put people in our path who have been prepared.

Something I’ve realized is that the gate called baptism truly is straight and narrow. It is very difficult for so many people to qualify themselves to enter. To find the desire to change one’s ways, there needs to be a testimony, but how does one gain a testimony without following the precepts of the gospel? I am realizing now more than ever that our power to teach and enlighten people needs to come from the spirit. The spirit is the only factor that can give people the hope and faith to continue forward in uncharted directions. Whether it be quitting smoking, coming to church every Sunday, living the law of chastity, or anything that is causing a separation between that person and God. It is our responsibility to help these people understand, through the spirit, that

  1. They are in desperate need of rescuing.
  2. There is a rescuer who will rescue everyone, without exception.
  3. In order to be rescued, they need merely acknowledge that there is a need for a rescuer and follow His directions to the best of their ability.

As missionaries, we need to be so worthy of the spirit that this message can be so clearly conveyed even a child could understand. After that, it is up to the person to accept the spiritual prompting they felt or not. The trick is being sufficiently worthy of the spirit. It is hard. It means exact obedience, and frequent repentance.  I can say without a doubt that this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. There are many days when I come very short; but as long as I can continue with faith in the lords timing everything will be alright.

I always blank about the events in the week when I sit down to right. But next week we have a Zone Conference with the mission president. It should be really good. I’ll write all about it. Next p-day could be transfers. I don’t know.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support.

Love, Sister Runyan

Here’s some pictures from Kendall’s companion, Sister Smith’s blog.