A Screaming Crazy Lady With A Mustache

Hello Everyone!

This week was great!! Sister Parkinson and I get to terrorize the city of Braga for another transfer. (Joking, we´re mostly the ones who get terrorized)

So now we have 2 new elders! The missionary work here is definitely going to pick up. They’re pretty cool Elder Ward and Elder Michael. Elder Ward is half Portuguese and Elder Michael is in his first transfer. It´s kind of funny because our district was so small last transfer we kind of were a family, now these elders are here and they´re great, but it’s not the same.

We had some cool things that happened this week. We finally got in with Cecilia, a Brazilian we contacted a while ago. She is amazing and was actually almost baptized a while ago, but I guess she moved or something. She remembers exactly the story of the beginning of the BOM; which doesn´t happen very often. I definitely think she’ll be baptized 🙂

We also got in with Eliane. It was actually kind of a miracle; because it was her first day off since December. She is absolutely exhausted and super depressed. I guess she fainted at work, so she got the day off. She said she´d call us the next time she has work off. I don´t know what we can do to help her 😦

We´re also going to do a fast with one of our investigators tomorrow. Her granddaughter is being abused by her daughter-in-law. I guess her daughter-in-law is addicted to drugs and has been doing some shady things to medicate the little girl so that she is less hyper. This week they’re going to court and they asked us to pray for them; so we said that we wanted to fast with them. I know the Lord will provide.

Those are some pretty heavy stories. On a lighter note. we had something hilarious happen on Saturday.

So we were looking through old investigators and we stopped by one lady with a mustache, named Delfia. She was a bit odd but we thought nothing of it. We saw her in the street on Saturday and we asked if we could come over. So we dropped by; but all the warning signs were on. We rang the doorbell and then she opened the door and just screamed AAAAAAAAAHhhhhhhh! Then she just says “Just kidding haha. You can come in.” Then she says very casually, “there isn’t any light though; they cut my lights yesterday.” It was literally pitch black inside and she didn’t have any candle or anything. Then she goes “wait there´s someone I want you to meet. Manuel! Come here and meet the meninas (girls).” So out comes the homeless man that is always hanging outside the mall. He comes to greet us and the customer is to give kisses on the cheek. Normally, it isn’t a problem and we just put our hand out to shake instead. But this guy wasn’t all there; so he kind of just dived for it. Sister Parkinson kind of karate chopped him away and was just like “no, no, we can´t” and then he went over to do the same to me but I yelled “hand shake only!”  We´re all just kind of standing outside, but Delfia is just like “No we should come inside. It´s better.” so we walk into her super dark house. Luckily, our phone has a flashlight; so we had that and we asked if we could say a prayer but she just goes “I can do it.” So she has us all stand in a circle and she started yelling this prayer about how she is a really good person and that everyone is jealous of her and that they all need to be nicer. After that, Manuel said a prayer and he just went on about how tomorrow he will come to church with us and meet the bishop and that he will help him out and just making all these promises and then he turns to us and goes “Am I lying?” And we just go “uuuuuhhhhhh.” Anyway, we planned to meet him at the bus station at 9, before church on Sunday and he never showed up.

This Sunday, we all gave talks again. I talked about the first vision and I cried. It was embarrassing. We ate lunch at the Dias’; which is always amazing. We did the “Listão” with them and they liked it a lot and might do it with their missionaries when he’s a mission president in Brazil. We also brought cookies to the Marinhos. Sister Marinho has been sick with bronchitis for the last month poor thing! She´s going through a rough year so far.

Other than that, not much.

Thanks for all your prayers

Love Sister Runyan

 

Teaching In A Way That People Will Understand

Hello Everyone!

This has been a really interesting week. The coolest thing that happened this week was the mission conference we had with Elder Kearon. He was hilarious!!! If any of you remember, he was the one who gave the talk on the sting of the scorpion. He has that classic British humor that I love; so it was great. Sister Kearon was great too. She´s actually from California; so I was thinking to myself, if she can marry a British guy so can I 😉 (jk)

Some of the highlights were that we need to internalize our message more and live as though we are children of God. He also told the importance of starting out the morning right; something that has always been a struggle for me. He also told us how mad he gets when people say we don´t baptize in Europe. He made the point that most of our ancestors are from Europe. It was great! I was pretty tired though, because the office made us get a really early train.

The rest of the week was pretty good. We taught a reference that Bishop gave us. Apparently a less active man came into the chapel one day and asked if the missionaries could come over and clarify some things about the church with his wife. So we went over and at first she was apprehensive, because when she was living in Canada I think she learned some things about the FLDS church. Anyway, we taught her the 1st lesson and she just kept saying that there was not much difference from what the Catholic Church believes. By the end of the lesson she said it was a positive experience and they invited us to come over every week. That was a great miracle for me.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about and it was actually one of the things we discussed in the conference is the importance of teaching in a way that people will understand. I always think about the way that Ammon taught King Lamoni. King Lamoni believed in a great spirit (see Alma 18). That was his only concept of God; so Ammon had to use that concept to teach important principles. Sometimes, instead of getting so caught up in correcting people, it is very important to just teach principles with the ideas that they have which will allow them to correct themselves. I have found when teaching Catholics, it does no good to tell them to stop believing in saints or to stop praying the Lord’s Prayer or whatever misconception they have. These things are not keeping them from understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ. The important things to tell them are principally the steps to personal revelation and the steps of repentance.

This Sunday, I had to translate a talk given by a girl from Nigeria who is studying for her PhD here. She is super cute. It was actually really neat, because I remember having to translate in my second transfer and it was nearly impossible, but now it´s not too bad. Antonio keeps making us laugh. During church he gave me and Sis. Parkinson 2 packs of Halls mints. It was really funny, because the Elders were standing right there. He does really jerk things sometimes and it’s hilarious. Later on, we gave the elders one of our packs.

Elder Erickson had surgery on his big toe because of ingrown toenails; so he can´t leave the house very much. We feel bad for him.

Anyway, that’s pretty much it. We still don’t know transfers. The word goes we won’t know until tomorrow afternoon. I hope I stay. Braga goes crazy during Easter time.

Love you all

Sister Runyan

Icebergs

Hello everyone!!!

So to answer everyone questions, yes, they do celebrate Valentine´s day here. It´s not nearly as big. They had heart decorations in some stores, but there aren´t any traditions or anything. We, naturally, seeing as we are living the nun life currently, did not celebrate Valentine´s day.

This week, nothing in particular happened. We finally taught Carlos again after some time of him kind of avoiding us. We tried to find out why it is so hard for him to commit. In the missionary world we say that he has an iceberg; meaning there’s some underlying reason why he isn’t progressing anymore. We´re really trying to receive that revelation as to what our next step should be with him.

We met some interesting characters this week. Antonieta, she is this middle age woman that lives alone with her dog. She agreed to meet with us. She recently lost her mother, so she´s kind of struggling. But she considers herself very experienced and spiritual. So first she asks us if we can teach her something that will make her feel better about her mother’s passing. Naturally, we start teaching the plan of salvation. We talk about the pre-existence and earth-life and she gets frustrated with us because she wanted a powerful scripture specifically about her mother. We explain to her that we will get to that and to be patient. To move things along, I pull out my hand painted plan of salvation visual aid. At that point she gets very upset and just tells us how offended she was. She was just like “I´m sorry this is very childish. I already knew all of this ever since I was a little girl.” She actually picked it up off the table. At that point I was a little taken aback and frankly very frustrated. I was feeling the spirit leave and then I decided to pray in my heart to have more charity towards her. I prayed the Lord would grant me patience to talk to her with the spirit. After that quiet prayer, the lesson began to turn around. She got kinder and more reasonable. We shared our testimonies with her and it was actually quite a pleasant experience. I just thought that was so interesting that I prayed to change my own heart, but what ended up happening instead was that she was the one who changed her behavior. I could have easily asked for her to calm down, but I didn’t. I asked that I would be the one who would change. That was a neat experience for me.

We also had a lesson with one of the investigators who comes to church very regularly. Sister Nagliati taught him once and said that it wasn’t worth it to keep trying. I wasn’t planning on teaching him but we decided that we would try it out because he seems so nice. Well it was quite the experience I’ll tell you that. He basically tried teaching us the whole lesson. He studies the bible very intensely and thinks he knows everything. Basically, he believes in the apostasy, but also that the true church hasn’t been restored yet and that eventually all churches will come to the unity of the faith. We tried so fervently to get him to pray if these things are true but he is very firm in his beliefs and very prideful. The saddest part was that he gets so wrapped up in profound doctrine that he misses the essence of the gospel. He doesn’t even believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. We just ended that lesson as best as we could and happily sent him on his way. I hope one day he’ll get it.

Also, Antonio gave his first talk this Sunday. It was pretty adorable. Also, Manuela has been sick lately. Bishop actually told us that he had a dream that she was in the last days of her life. I love her to death I would be so sad. Other than that, not much else new.

Love you all

Sister Runyan

We Are 2/3 Through Our Missions

Hello Everyone!

This week was pretty great! Sister Parkinson and I are officially 2/3 of the way done with our missions. The elders in our district were super nice and they even made us a card. Not many exciting things happened this week. We´ve been really focusing on having great member relations. We´ve been making cookies and passing by people´s houses as a surprise. It´s nice to really try and be a part of every ward you´re in. I love it here in Braga the people here are fantastic.

This week, people have been booting up for carnival. For anyone who´s wondering, its nothing like Brazil. The only thing that happens is kids dress up in costumes like it´s Halloween. It’s really cute actually. But it’s crazy to think that Easter is only 40 days away. This week, we saw a group of people in Braga Park, with tiny Portuguese guitars. I took a few videos. It was adorable. After that, I decided that I needed one of those guitars.

This week, we had a lesson with Carlos that didn´t go so well. He´s not so into tithing and he´s kind of losing interest. As he sees that there are more and more things he has to give up and start doing, I think he is feeling more and more disinterested. It´s hard to help him see that these things are blessings. Because, the only way you can have a testimony that things are true is by trying it out first. We have been praying and fasting for him. I hope that the spirit can touch him and influence him to have a change of heart.

That is a really interesting thing that I´ve been thinking about. I think often times as missionaries we think about what we need to teach instead of how we need to teach. I know I for one am a culprit of this. The secret has been and will always be to teach with the spirit. I can´t honestly say I know how to do that yet. But I do know that Elder Bednar told us that we can teach with the influence of the spirit without knowing in that moment that we were being led by the spirit. In that instance the best way to know if we are teaching by the spirit is if we are worthy of the spirit. This is the importance of obedience and hard work. This principle applies in all aspects of our lives. We will naturally be led by the spirit if we are being worthy of the spirit.  I really want to help people on my mission; so in order to do that I need to be doing my part.

We had a pretty funny experience this week. We had a morning run and we decided to check out the nearby nunnery. We went through the front gate; because it was opened. We ran around the grounds for a little bit. We saw a sign that said exit that we thought would take us to the other side. We followed the road but the gate at the bottom was locked. We freaked out; because we got locked in the nunnery and we didn’t know if we could be there or no. So we kept looking for ways to get out; but there was no way out except for the way we came. It was quite funny. We kept on cracking nun jokes the rest of the day. Haha.

Today, we had a fun little p-day. First, I bought my earrings. They´re really pretty:) Second, we had cupcakes with the elders but the place was all full and it was wet outside; so there was nowhere to sit. We decided to go to McDonalds to sit down; but they kicked us out for bringing food in. I asked if we could buy something and they said no. (That sounds like a terrible policy if you ask me. you should never kick out customers.) So we ended up walking for like half a mile and we ended up in the food court of the nearest mall. It was really awkward. We also stopped in this tourist shop that had those little guitars. Apparently, they are the fathers of the ukulele. They have a different sound but they are the same shape. I really, really want one.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Kendall’s Viana Heart Earrings

That´s about it. Love you all!

Sister Runyan

A Life With Christ Is Sweeter

Hello Everyone!

I’m officially 21 now! I don’t feel any different. Also, there weren´t a ton of highlights for the week. For one, all the leaders in the mission had a 2 day conference. President made us these binders with scriptures and pictures to present to people during our lessons. It’s actually pretty cool.

We have been working with a handful of investigators lately. We have Isabelle and her mom. She used to be the elder´s investigator but she moved to our area. She is from Brazil, she´s 40 something, never been married and lives alone with her mother. She has some social disorders and she feels very lonely, especially now that her mother has Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. She broke down crying in our lesson with her this week. She feels that she has so much faith, but that god doesn´t answer her prayers; because she doesn´t get what she asks for. We taught her about not only having faith in the Lord but also trusting him. She felt a lot better afterwards. She needs a lot of love and care.

We also have João. He has been an investigator of the sisters for a while. He stopped taking the lessons for a while and then Sister Parkinsion and I invited him to come to church and he came. This week, we had a lesson with him and another really solid member. It was very spiritual and I hope we helped him get closer to gaining a testimony. We explained how we receive answers from the spirit; but I still feel like he doesn’t get it. He says that he always feels like the spirit is with him and doesn´t agree about being bound by rules. We try helping him to understand; but I think he is maybe being a little hard hearted and he doesn´t necessarily want to understand. Please pray that his heart will be softened.

This week, we´ve also been working with a few less actives. I think that is just as important as helping people to be baptized.

I didn’t really do anything big to celebrate my birthday. We woke up and had crepes. We had bowtie pasta and pesto sauce for lunch. We went to teach Antonio and his friends at a café and they all wished me a happy birthday. We love them. They´re so sweet! The next day we got cupcakes at this really chic cupcake place, and I picked up my scriptures from the book binding place. They turned out really cool!! On Sunday, we had lunch with the Dias family. It was really nice.

We are going to try out a new contacting idea this week. We believe in the magic of cookies; so we have decided that we are going to try and give cookies out for free with a sign that says “cookies are sweet, but a life with Christ is even sweeter.” We´re going to see if we get any more people that way.

That´s all for now. Love you all!!!

P.S. funny note we have this investigator that looks like Robin Williams. It´s a woman and it´s kind of scary. Well this week, I was really tired and I was saying that we should pass by her; but I said “robert williams I mean william Roberts.” We thought that was pretty funny.

Sister Runyan