Six Transfers in Braga!!!!!

Hello Everyone!

This week has been the absolute best!

6 TRANSFERS IN BRAGA!!!!!!!! Presidente sent me a letter I thought it was pretty funny, “Você pode voltar para casa e dizer que bateu o record de permanência em uma área com o presidente Amorim.” (You can come home and say that you had the record for staying in one area with President Amorim.) Haha.

But I can honestly say I´m in the right place at the right time! First, Sister Costa, my new companion, is amazing!! She reminds me a lot of Sister Schill. We are working really hard here in Braga and things are going really well.

  1. Ana is soooo excited for her baptism. She told us the other day how excited she is to come to church. She told us that she feels so much happier and peaceful now. We literally didn’t have to teach her anything. She let the spirit into her life and it is showing her the truth. She automatically made little changes in her life without us having to say anything, like changes in her wardrobe. She is so elect and I’m so happy for this opportunity to witness her conversion. Also, this week we changed her baptism date to the 2nd of July!!!! She is very happy.
  2. We’ve been contacting a lot of people and we’ve been working on testifying of Christ in every contact and being bolder.
  3. We had a ward activity this week for the Festa de São João. It was the best activity I’ve seen since I’ve been here. There were 12 investigators total and 7 other less actives. We just spent the whole time talking to everyone.
  4. This Sunday, was also pretty amazing. A woman named Cris came to the activity. I had met her a long time ago, we tried teaching her but she was really busy during the time. She really enjoyed the activity and came to church. She told us during church that she would also like to be baptized this next Saturday!! Wow!
  5. To top it all off, there was a member that moved from the Azores, who said that she would come to church this week and that she would bring a friend. The friend loved church so much that she as well wants to be baptized!!!

Sister Costa and I were talking afterwards. Why does the Lord even want us to search for people when he can just as easily bring them to us? Why am I making all of these sacrifices when the Lord can do all of this himself. It’s so funny that we do all of this for our own growth but the essence of what we do has nothing to do with ourselves. But either way, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve.

One funny thing that happened this morning. There was a less active woman that came to bishop for help. I don’t know all the details but for some reason the only option was for her to stay at Manuela´s house. (The cute little old lady we bring the sacrament). Apparently, Manuela said that would be ok, but we think she has Alzheimer’s and forgot that she agreed. Anyway, she is furious! The woman stayed there one night and then had to leave. She left her things, and Manuela asked us last night if we could help her arrange the room. We showed up at her house this morning and she was fuming. We don’t think she remembers very well what happened. Anyway, she had called the cops and told us not to tell Bishop or any other member or we would be involved and she would never forgive us. Well, we left without pushing anything, and called Sister Marinho. She told us to call President. He told us that we should tell Bishop. He thanked us for keeping him aware, but that he is already very heavily involved in the situation. Man being bishop is not easy! Poor guy. I wish there was something we could do to help.

Anyway, this will be the best transfer ever!!

Love you all.

Sister Runyan

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I Really Love My Mission!

Hello everyone,

This week was full of miracles!!! Best week of the transfer by far.

Thursday, We marked Ana for baptism on the 16th of July! She is so elect and is really feeling the spirit. She is a very happy and kind person and will really help this ward:)

Right after our lesson with Ana, one of Sol´s friends called us and asked to talk to us, because one of his friends had died. He met him in prison and his friend had been murdered in prison. This guy was pretty rough around the edges and is very lost. We were able to teach him about the atonement and resurrection. He´s seen so much in his life and he´s only ever responded by being bitter and revolting. When we started talking to him, his demeanor was very angry. He was listening to Portuguese rap music and crying. At first he didn’t really want to hear what we had to say. He was just so angry.  I felt very led by the spirit during that conversation. I felt impressed to say. “You’ve probably already said many things to God. Are you ready to hear what he has to say to you?” I opened the scriptures and he read Alma 7:11-13. Immediately, his countenance had changed. He was being influenced by the spirit. He confessed that he hadn’t been living a very righteous life. We invited him to change and offered our heart. With tears in his eyes, he accepted.

Unfortunately, he didn’t show up to our next appointment and we haven’t been able to get a hold of him. His friends probably gave him a hard time. Oh well, I just pray that he will at least have the desire to clean up his life a little bit. But I´m very grateful for that opportunity we had to help one of God´s children come a little closer to Christ.

We did a lot of walking this week. I wanted to contact in parts of Braga I had never been before. So we had to walk very far! (5 transfers and you get to know a place pretty well.)

We talked to a less active woman this week, who wants to come backed to church. She had been offended by someone, but she explained to us that she never lost her testimony. Her whole family went inactive during this time, except for one of her sons who is preparing to serve a mission right now. We will start working more with her to help her reintegrate with gospel living.

Yesterday, a lot of our appointments fell through so we decided to knock some doors for a while. It was pretty hot and we were very tired so we almost decided to go update some things on the computer. But instead, we listened to the promptings of the spirit. The first building we entered and the first door we knocked, answered a Brazilian man, who was a less active member for many years. It’s been 16 years since he´s last talked to the missionaries. He fell away because he had some doubts and he had moved to an area in the past where the church wasn’t very well established. He had lost his copy of The Book of Mormon, so we left him one and explained that it wasn’t by chance that we had found him. He told us that he was thinking about The Book of Mormon just the other day. He thanked us and invited us over another day to meet his wife and son, who are both not members. Those kinds of experiences rarely happen, but when they do it´s always because of diligence

This week, a returned sister missionary was visiting with her husband, who also served here. They met in the MTC. They had a baby too! I think she told me that she ended her mission in 2014! Needless to say, it kind of freaked me out a little. She was super cool. She’s English and he’s Irish. They apparently are teaching the baby Portuguese.

Man, there are so many interesting things that happened this week. I really love my mission. I love meeting new people, getting to know them and hearing their stories. I love helping people to understand the bigger picture and feeling more happiness in their lives. I love this gospel, and I feel extremely privileged to testify of Christ every day!

As most of you know I am now in my last transfer. I haven’t been perfect, and I haven’t always given my best, but I always try to give the best I know how. I love my Savior and I love this work. I just hope to be able to give my meager offering to the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart.

Love you all so much!

Sister Runyan

Festa de São João

Hello Everyone!

This week was the start of Festa de São João. It´s the saint day for John the Baptist, but it´s super huge here and it goes on for 15 days. There´s a lot of music and people and colors. Apparently, it´s the biggest festival in Braga, but it’s even bigger in Porto. There were a lot of street vendors today and I bought some hand carved elephants from Senegal!

There weren’t too many interesting things that happened this week, except for the fact that we contacted like a billion people. We are trying so hard to find new investigators, but it´s getting harder and harder by the minute. This week, we have plans to work with the members to get references.

Yesterday, Presidente Amorim came to Braga. Bishop has been inviting him to come since March. He was finally able to come and he trained the members on the listão that we’ve been doing. I hope this will help. Sol Amor continues to be an excellent example of a member missionary. He’s been taking us around to meet everyone he knows in his neighborhood. He literally has no reservations. We had a really good discussion about The Book of Mormon with some of his neighbors, and one of his friends was interested in hearing the lessons.

We´ve been teaching a reference from the elders named Ana. She’s half Brazilian, half Japanese. She is very sweet and loves to serve. Right now, she’s studying geriatrics. She is really accepting the gospel so far. We invited her to church and she came. It was actually kind of funny. In the third hour, Presidente did his training for all the members. At one point he asked how many people had introduced themselves to Ana. Not very many people raised their hands and he got after them. After church tons of people came up to her and introduced themselves. Fortunately, she really liked it. She said that she would come back next week.

This upcoming week, we’ll be finishing up the transfer. I hope we end with a bang.

Love you all!

Sister Runyan

The Mormon Mexican Restaurant

Hello Everyone!

So I made the mistake recently of saying that I had never been injured or gotten sick on the mission. Apparently, this was a terrible mistake. In the last 2 weeks I have both been injured and gotten sick. Currently, I am fighting off the flu. I got put down pretty hard the last couple of days.

So this week’s letter will probably be a lot shorter than normal.  Some interesting things that happened.

  1. We had a Zone meeting that was pretty fun. Our zone leaders are pretty funny.
  2. We taught a reference from the elders named Ana. She is from Brazil. She’s super nice and she really likes history. She seems very interested and we’re super excited to teach her again this week.
  3. As I was sick, I slept a lot and I had some interesting dreams. In one of my dreams, I dreamed that I had returned home and for my first Family Home Evening with my family we had invited Robin Williams (In my dream he never died). He was super nice, but then I suggested that we all read scriptures because it was Family Home Evening; he got offended and was rude afterwards. It was a weird dream, but it made me laugh.
  4. There is a new Mexican restaurant in Braga. (It wasn’t very good) that being said we got the cheapest thing on the menu. It was really pricey. It was actually kind of funny, because we walked in and one of the waitresses recognized us and told us that she was a member, but not active. Apparently, she had moved to Switzerland with her boyfriend and during that time had lost contact with the church. Later on, the relief society president, with her husband and sister walk in and explain that they were friends with the waitress and that she invited them. We joked that it was the Mormon restaurant. We´ll probably go back, just to reach out to this lady and help her come back to church.
  5. The sisters from Viana do Castelo came down for a doctor’s appointment, so we spent some time with them and that was fun. 🙂  note from Sister Runyan’s mom: both the Viana do Castelo sisters, Sister Parkinson and Sister Mauricio, are previous companions of Sister Runyan.

Well, that´s about it for now,

Love you all

Sister Runyan

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Zone Conference