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

Braga Romana

Hello Everyone!

This week was way cool! Here in Braga, there was a Roman Festival; called Braga Romana. They actually went all out and it was pretty cool!

There were a few interesting things that happened this week.

  1. I recovered from my sprained ankle. So apparently when I called someone to come pick us up on Sunday, they were in ward council; so everyone knew! A lot of people teased me, but it was all good:)
  1. We found a new family of investigators to teach. They are from Africa and they´re really receptive. We´re going back this Saturday.
  1. We couldn’t actually go and do things at the roman festival, but it was in our area; so we got to see some things. There were a lot of actors in the streets and people dressed up like Romans. It was actually really funny. There was a couple of actors who were carrying a latrine with them and trying to get visitors to use it. They were just cracking a lot of potty humor jokes. There was also an apothecary with a giant cart. There were roman soldiers, mythical creatures, gypsies, and there were also some ladies of the night (that was weird).
  1. We taught Manuel this week. He is not doing too well. He isn’t hanging around the best crowd right now.
  1. We also had stake conference, it was pretty good. The theme was service. Right after conference, Sister Mauricio and Sister Parkinson had a baptism. We made cake for them but we couldn’t stay, because we had to leave with our ward on the bus.
  1. Yesterday, I was feeling kind of down because a lot of our appointments fell through; so I was praying for help from Heavenly Father. In that moment, a man in the street stopped us and asked for a copy of The Book of Mormon. His ex-wife is a member. He said that he likes to read The Book of Mormon; but he had lost his copy. He actually lives in Porto; but his second wife was in the hospital in Braga, with terminal cancer. We got his number and we´re going to see if we can bring the elders to his wife, to give her a blessing.

Anyways, there were a lot of cool things that happened this week.

Love you all tons and happy summer vacation!!!

Sister Runyan

Elder Bednar

Hello Everyone! This was one of the most interesting and exciting weeks of my mission.

  1. We went to the conference with Elder Bednar. It was really amazing to hear from a living apostle. You can really tell that he lives what he preaches. The main point of this conference was to show us a better pattern of teaching. We are to teach our investigators as agents and not as objects. As we teach, we need to be inspired by the spirit to recognize their needs and to help them answer their own questions. Elder Bednar is a master in asking inspired questions. He had a special meeting for church leaders as well and the bishop here made the point that he made little reference to the scriptures, because what he says is scripture. The unique purpose of his calling is to act as an emissary of the Lord. The pattern by which he teaches is truly inspired. It consists of addressing a certain topic then asking a question for understanding. After that it is essential to ask a question of application which allows the learners to commit to some form of action. I really needed to learn this because I realized that I don’t treat my investigators as agents. We can´t force our investigators to act; we can only help them to realize why it’s important. Overall, it was an incredible experience. I got to shake his hand and as we were leaving, I realized that this most likely was a once in a lifetime experience.
  2. Afonso came to church! He also invited us over to his house to meet his wife. I’m so excited for him; he is such an incredible person. He has a really busy schedule right now, but I hope he will realize the importance of making these covenants with the Lord.
  3. Haha. So I sort of fell yesterday. We were trying to find a less active member and I wasn’t wearing really stable shoes. Portugal is mostly cobble stone so I stepped wrong on my foot. I heard a pop and then I couldn’t walk on it. We asked the members to come and pick us up and take us to the chapel, but they thought it would be best to take us to the hospital. I knew it wasn’t that serious of an injury, but we went anyways. It turns out it’s just a sprain. It’s already feeling tons better. I’ll be back to normal in a couple of days probably.

Other than that, it was pretty normal.

Love you all!

Sister Runyan

Transfer Five in Braga

Hello Everyone!

I am going on transfer 5 here in rainy Braga!!! I’m choosing to see this as a huge blessing because I love the people here so much. I know there’s a reason why I´m still here.

We started off this transfer pretty solid. We taught Sol´s mom and brother. They were super nice. Sol´s mom still isn’t super interested; but she agreed to read the Book of Mormon and she really enjoyed talking to us. Sol´s brother seemed a little more interested. We´ll try and teach them again this week.

On Wednesday, we talked to Berta Ro, and Afonso. We watched Meet the Mormons with them the week before and they loved it. Berta lived in Germany for a while so she had already heard the candy bomber story several times; but she didn’t know that he was Mormon. She was very pleased to find out that he was Mormon. It was so cute. Also, we all started crying during the missionary mom when the son went on his mission. They all started crying too. They were very touched.

On Thursday, we just taught Afonso; because he has already expressed his desire to be baptized. His siblings are more catholic and aren’t as spiritually in tune. He told us about all the service he’s done in his life. He likes to visit and take care of elderly people. We were very touched by how charitable he is. We shared Mosiah 18: 8-10. It was very spiritually powerful. We then invited him to be baptized and he accepted! He is going to look at his work schedule to see what day works for him. The only problem is that it’s really complicated for him to get to church on Sunday. Please pray that he can have the circumstances to come to church!! If he got baptized, It would make my whole mission worth it:) He’s incredible!

Cecilia was having some really bad pains in her neck and shoulder. She didn’t end up coming to church:(

Mercy brought another one of her friends to church! Clemens. He’s from Ghana. I translated for both of them. There are a lot of PHD students from all over the world here and a lot of them don’t have the time to learn Portuguese; because all of their classes are in English.

Well that’s about it! We have the conference with Elder Bednar

and I’m so excited !!!!!

Love you all

Sister Runyan

P.S. Hey Hey amanda I found some purple windows.

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Also, this week the university had graduation. They have a tradition that each major makes a float and they just drink and party all over Braga. This picture gives you an idea of what kind of damage they left in their wake. It was kind of hilarious, because they had an entire clean up crew right behind them.

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Hello Everyone!

Happy Mother´s Day to all the mothers:)

This week we worked a lot with our members. We started working with the Carvalho family. They recently went through something really hard. The mom has been having quite a few health problems. A couple weeks ago she did some tests. The results came in and they told her that she has leukemia! She and her whole family fasted and prayed the whole week, including her less active daughter. Eight days later, she got a call that they had accidentally switched her test results with someone else. She did a retest and she was completely clean. Her daughter has been coming to church ever since!! The Lord works in mysterious ways.

We also worked a lot with Sol Amor. He is doing a fantastic job! We got 29 references from him.  He´s a big example to me, because he never hesitates to share the gospel with everyone that he knows. He may have a few difficulties in this life, but he really is a great missionary!:)

Transfers are this week and I’m feeling like I’m probably leaving Braga. I will miss Braga dearly. I will have been here more than any other area, almost a third of my mission.

Cecilia came to church this week!! I know that she’ll be baptized. I´m so sad that I won´t be able to see it. She is an incredible woman. She has been through so much and she has so much faith in the Lord.

Love you all!

Sister Runyan

 

 

Christ is Light

Hello Everyone!

This week was interesting. We invited half of Braga to our Meet the Mormons activity. Only one non-member showed up. It´s OK though; we realized it was poor planning on our part because it was mother´s day here in Portugal. So most people decided to stay home with their mothers, naturally. The guy who showed up didn’t even want to watch the movie. Instead, we answered all of his questions and ended up teaching a condensed version of all of the lessons. In the end, he still wasn’t very convinced. Later on, we realized that he was a reference from a member. We had asked this guy what religion he belonged to and he said that he preferred not to say. Immediately, I thought that he might be a Jehovah’s Witness. They are infamous for being extremely anti-Mormon here. Turns out I was right and he was a Jehovah’s Witness. Oh well.

This week, we had interviews with President Amorim. It was really good; I learned some really helpful things.

Transfers are coming up and I have a lot of mixed feelings. I´m going to really miss the members here I´ve already been here for so long that I´m practically part of the family. But at the same time, staying in the same area for so long can be hard. Most likely I´ll be leaving.

There weren´t actually a ton of interesting things that happened this week.

We taught a couple of new people last week. First we stopped by Fatima’s. Diogo André, her son, wasn´t home and she didn´t have a lot of time so we just talked to her about what their challenges were. Basically, she told me that she is really worried about her son. He is very intelligent and he exceeded in all of his classes in high school and college, but then something happened and he dropped out. Ever since then, for 5 years, he has been unemployed and living at home. His parents are very worried about him and don’t know what to do to help. I know that the gospel will help him with whatever he is dealing with. His parents, as well, need to be healed by the gospel. Fatima is the sweetest woman I’ve ever met. She has taken in homeless youth on multiple occasions and every day, she feeds 2 elderly ladies in her neighborhood, who live alone! She has so much faith, and has sacrificed so much of herself to serve others. Unfortunately she is missing the truth in her life. She is so kind but she told us that she is still worried that she is going to hell. I don’t know every detail in her life but she needs the gospel to fill a huge hole in her life.

We also taught an African man named Pedro. It was terrible because he only wanted to debate doctrine, instead of listening and accepting the invitation to pray. It’s so hard when people trust more in themselves than in the idea that the Lord can reveal universal truth to each and every one of us.

I´ve been studying a lot in the Doctrine and Covenants lately. One of the things that I think is so interesting is that Christ is Light. Light = Truth. Christ is all truth and all truth comes from Christ. The trick is being able to discern that light, because, as we know, Satan can also imitate an inferior form of light. Our job as missionaries is to help these people recognize this as well. So that they can decide for themselves that it is wrong to pray to Mary, or to pray by flailing and shouting, or that they need to obey the commandments. However, this can only happen if they can have the humility necessary to repent. After we had an influx of people stop talking to us, we talked about it and decided it basically boils down to the fact that these people are not ready to repent. Also, in D&C we learn that very few people will repent in the last days.  But there are many out there who will repent and we need to find them.

Well that´s about it. Happy early Mother´s Day to all!

Love Sister Runyan

25 de Abril

Hello Everyone!

This week was a little rough. We still had fun and I know that not a single effort we make is ever in vain.

We’ve been trying to find new people to teach, but for some reason we had a difficult time this week. We are preparing for a movie night on the 1st of May. We’re going to show Meet the Mormons.  So I made some invitations for that and so far we’ve printed 400 of them. We’ll probably have to print more. So we’ve been inviting everyone to that.

One of the things that was a little difficult this week was that we had a lot of really good appointments lined up, but almost all of them fell through. We are very used to this as missionaries, but it was happening at an abnormally high rate. I’m sure the Lord had a very good reason for this. I had a lot of time to do some self-reflection.

One of the interesting things about faith is we can logically reason that if God does not lie, then his promises are sure; which means if we knock, then we receive. One of things I’ve learned is there are actually some conditions on that promise. One is our own personal worthiness, another is whether it’s in accordance with the Lord’s will. Sometimes I wonder why things don’t happen the way I ask for them to. But then I remember that the Lord will try our patience sometimes, as a kind of test of endurance, but I figure as compensation we will be rewarded with far more than we asked for. In the meantime, we can try to improve our personal worthiness as much as possible, to be qualified for even more blessings. This process is very tiring and if we are not careful we can get dis-animated. That’s where faith and hope meet. Hope gives us the endurance to have faith; and charity should be our motivation.

So that is what I learned this week. Some interesting things that happened this week.

  1. We had lunch with the Marinhos for the first time in forever; because sister Marinho is feeling better now.
  2. We had a lunch with the ward on Sunday. It was great!
  3. We have been getting some nicer weather this week:) Soon it will be unbearably hot.

Also, today is 25 de Abril, a very important day in the history of Portugal. The day the dictatorship regime ended. Less than 50 years ago!!!

Love you all!!

Sister Runyan

PS  Guess What!!!!!! Elder Bednar is coming to our mission on the 19th of May! He will do a meeting especially for the missionaries!!!

Sister Kendall Runyan – Portugal, Porto Mission