Holy Week in Braga

Hello Everyone!

This week was Easter!! Braga during Easter time is sooo cool! We prepared a 5 minute lesson about Easter to share with people in our contacts. It went really well and we got a few new investigators because of that.

We also had our Easter activity. So we did the Easter egg symbols with the plastic eggs. The people in this ward loved it. All of the kids got really involved. After that, we watched a movie about Christ. It was going to be the new Mormon message, but we couldn’t get it to work. After that, we had an Easter egg hunt for the kids and a game for the adults. It went really well and a lot of people told us that they really enjoyed it. So yay!!!

We had a few lessons with Cecilia this week. It turns out she slept in; which is why she didn’t come to church. We are going to make her a Book of Mormon chart to help her to read more regularly and have better spiritual habits. Being a missionary is weird; because normally I´m not used to hounding people like this (unless it’s my siblings). But it’s the way that we help them; because they need to do these things and they need to understand how important it is. For some people, they won’t get to that point unless someone pushes them. I just keep remembering that the reason that we do all of this is for the Christ-like love we feel for these people.

As I was studying the life of the Savior this week, I felt extreme gratitude and awe at what he did for us. But there was something else that really struck me this week. As I was reading, I noticed something in Peter that really resounded with me. As we know, the night before the Savior was crucified, Peter denied him 3 times. Peter was always so confident in his loyalty to the master. There were so many times that his human frailty is so painfully visible. But something so wonderful about his example is his story of spiritual growth. As I empathetically ponder the agony he must have felt after he denied the Savior, I can’t help but relate this to me. How often do we profess to be Disciples of Christ and deny him in some form, most often through our own disobedience? But the story there is far from over; because we too like Peter can become a rock, with a strong foundation in our love for Christ. We too have a call from the Savior to feed his sheep and withstand all forms of adversity. I will apply what I’ve learned in my missionary work and have the faith that I too can overcome my human frailties.

Processions that we saw this week!

Wednesday: Everyone was dressed up in bible costumes and it basically went through the story of the bible, leading up to when Mary and joseph fled to Egypt. It was a wooden statue of Mary on a donkey. Why? I have no idea. At the end, all the kids sang this really cute song and it was stuck in our heads the rest of the week.

Thursday: The Ferricocos opened the parade. They have these wooden sound makers that they swing above their heads that are really loud. They are like the signature part of all of the processions. They’re kind of scary looking but it was really interesting. Apparently the tradition goes back to the black plague. They thought everyone was sick because of sin, so they’d have these guys go out and call everyone to repentance. That sounds awful.:( The rest of this parade was really boring.

Friday: It was sprinkling, but they still had the parade. Everyone was dragging crosses on the ground. They had a few representations of Christ. One where he is bound by roman soldiers, one where he was carrying the cross and one where he was strapped to a cross. It was really interesting but also really somber; because in the Catholic Church they focus on the death of Christ and not the fact that he lives. But it was still really well done and very reverent.

Saturday:  They were going to burn an effigy of Judas, but it was raining so it didn’t happen.

That’s about it. Transfers are this week so we’ll find out what happens.

Love, Sister Runyan

Dungeons and Dragons in Portugal

Hello Everyone!

This week was actually really special!!

We got special permission from president to go to a baptism in Porto. Sis. Parkinson taught a family in Porto where the less-active mom was a member and her boyfriend was not; so they had a wedding ceremony and a baptism. There was also another guy she taught that was getting baptized too. The whole week we were looking for an investigator to bring, but it was looking like no one was going to be able to come; since this Saturday is Father´s day here in Portugal. There is a couple in Braga with a similar situation; where she is a member and he is not, but he wants to be baptized they just need to get married first. So kind of last minute it worked out that they could come with us. It was actually kind of a miracle how it all worked out. It was a really special experience. The best part was is that he had never seen a baptism and he really liked it. He said a couple times “that will be me.” We also got to see Carlos , from Gaia! That was great; since I didn’t get to say goodbye.

During the week, we taught Cecilia a couple of times and we got her to commit to coming to church. Unfortunately, she didn’t come 😦 We got to church and it had already started so we decided to go get her. We walked all the way to her house but she didn’t answer; so we came back and missed half of sacrament meeting. Life of a missionary… One day, Sundays will be relaxing again. It’s kind of funny, because it almost feels like Sunday is the hardest day. It most definitely is not a day of rest. Hopefully, we’ll find out what happened this week. That night, we took the sacrament with Manuela.

I’m getting excited for our Easter activity! I hope it all goes well. It’s this Friday.

The holy week has started! Yesterday, we got to see a little of the processions. There was a parade with a man dressed as Christ, with roman soldiers. It was actually really beautiful. I didn’t have my camera though 😦

We prepared a little Easter lesson to share with people really quickly and it actually went really well we got a few new investigators just from that.

Carlos was out of town the whole week; so we didn’t get to talk to him.

I can’t remember much else that happened. Oh!! We went to the new Ikea opening day for lunch:) It was actually disappointing. The food is the same, but we thought there was an unlimited soft serve machine. But there wasn’t!!!! The machine operates with a token and it perfectly measures out the ice cream for you. But other than that it was same old, same old. But a taste of the familiar none the less.

Today we went to Guimarães for P-day we saw the castle of the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, and a 16th century palace right next to it. It was really neat:) We all got really into character (Thus the title of this post.).

Love you all.

Sister Runyan

 

Primavera

Hello Everyone!

This week was pretty good. We got the news that Braga will be opening a new Ikea this week. I will get Swedish meatballs! Also we’re prepping for our Easter Activity. I hope it will go well.

Easter Activity Flyer

Highlights for the week!

  1. Carlos met with us Tuesday. He brought his friend (also named Carlos) and we taught the first lesson and it went really well! He said that he would come to church but he didn’t 😦 I don’t know what we can do to help him commit more.
  2. We have been teaching Cecilia. Her situation is really complicated right now. We´re just praying that she can hold on to what we are teaching her and that she can decide to come to church and keep her commitments as well.
  3. We had a lesson with Viriginia this week. She was feeling a little sad, so we shared a scripture, Alma 7:11-13, and we shared with her the power of the atonement. We are praying for her family.
  4. We’re really looking for new investigators lately; because we want to find people that will progress. We were contacting a lot this week. We contacted one guy and asked for his contact so that we could talk to him later. He told us that we could talk to him right then. We taught him the first lesson and it was really powerful. I felt the spirit really strongly. Afterwards, we wrote down his number. Later on we realized it was missing a number; so I was pretty sad about that.
  5. This Sunday, one of our members, Mercy, from Nigeria, brought 2 friends to church. That was great!!! She only speaks English, and she’s super cute.
  6. Today for P-day, some missionaries from Porto came in and we went to the center and afterwards, Bom Jesus.

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I’m trying to think of other exciting things that happened, but there isn’t much to say. It was a pretty solid week.

Love you all!!

Sister Runyan

PS. Oh and best story! Include this in the weekly report.! So today we were walking by one of the churches in the center. Lately they’ve been putting out posters every couple of days with and inspirational message about the savior. Today we walked by and it was a picture from the church bible videos!!! So we joked about how they were advertising for our church:)

The Proposal

Hello everyone!

This week was great! We had zone meeting in Porto which was long. Carlos is talking to us again!!! Yay! 🙂 Also, our investigator, Cecilia, is progressing. Also, the whole situation with Virginia appears to be going well.

In the beginning of this week, not much special happened. We fasted for Virginia on Tuesday, and the next day we went to check on her. It seems as if everything went well. The next step in the process comes next month. I guess they’re going to interview the little girl. It´s all a very delicate situation because her mom is lying to her or something. For example she was really traumatized one time and they asked her why, and she said a boy named Sergio in her class beat her up. There are no kids in her class named Sergio, but her mother´s boyfriend´s name is Sergio. So we’re just praying that everything will go well.

We are teaching this Brazilian named Cecilia. She had been taught before and was almost baptized. We had a funny lesson with her. We bring our recent convert,  Antonio, around with us sometimes and he was kind of out of it that day. Well she starts telling us how she’s trying to get a Visa right now. So Antonio thinks he’s being helpful and he tells her about the time he married a Brazilian woman to help her keep her green card. She was like 40 and he was like 60!! He told us how he totally lied to the government! It’s like “the Proposal” with Ryan Reynolds, only as an old man. 😉 Ha-ha. Afterwards, I told him that it was not appropriate to say things like that during our lessons with investigators. He apologized, but I still don’t think he gets it, but it’s ok.

We taught her again and we are really going to help her get ready for baptism. She has a few things she has to sort out first; so we’ll make goals with her to help her get there.

The best news is that we finally got to teach Carlos yesterday! It appears as though the Lord has been preparing him in the time we haven’t seen him; because he was really recognizing the spirit and he was understanding the scriptures so much better this time. He definitely will be baptized. It just has to happen when he’s ready.

Right now, we are planning our Easter activity. We’re going to do an Easter egg hunt. They don’t really do that here, but it will still be really fun. We are going to plan a spiritual part with the symbols of the last week of the life of Christ in the plastic eggs. It will be fun. I’m excited.

That’s about it. Today we hung out with Jessica in the center. We tried this place called Casa Bolos de Berlim which serves Portuguese donuts. Normally, I’m not the hugest fan of Portuguese Donuts; because they fill it with this sweet egg yolk filling, but at this place you get to choose your filling. It was really good! Also, Jessica showed us a few secrets from the Cathedral of Braga. For instance there is a devil carved into part of it. Apparently, the pagans were slaved into building it and they put a lot of anti-Christian art in it.

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“Devil” Downspout on the Cathedral of Braga

Well Love you all!!

Sister Runyan