Tag Archives: baptism

Ana’s Baptism and Why Joseph Smith Didn’t Wear a Tunic

Hello Everyone

This week has been absolutely incredible! Ana was baptized and it was amazing:) So many other miracles happened; I don’t know if I can count them all.

But I will try…

  1. We taught Vera, who came to church last week. She explained that she wants to be a part of this church and accepted the invitation to be baptized! She is an incredible woman. It seems like she’s been a member for years.
  1. We found an elderly woman while looking for former investigators. Her name is Gorete. It was kind of funny, because when we found her, Sister Costa and I were thinking that she might not comprehend the lessons. But we taught her anyways and it was very spiritual! She also accepted the invitation to be baptized. 🙂 Heavenly Father loves all of his children.
  1. On Saturday, we were knocking doors and it was super-hot! On the very last door in the apartment building, a woman answered and let us come in to talk to her; something that very, very rarely happens! She has had certain things happen in her life to prepare her to receive the gospel so we are very excited to go back.
  1. Ana´s baptism was incredible. Another Brazilian woman was baptized as well, named Cris. She’s an interesting lady; very sweet and giving. Last Sunday, she had helped a woman who had been attacked. She got blood all over her clothes and we brought her a change of clothes at the hospital.
  1. Yesterday was also incredible! After church, we went out to teach a reference the elders had given us. They were quite receptive; not as comprehensive, but they’ll get there. The best part of the lesson was when we had to explain that Joseph Smith wasn’t wearing a tunic, because he’s from a different time period and that 200 years ago men wore pants not tunics. It was actually pretty funny. Ha-ha.
  1. Later that night, we found a family of Gypsies that live in Sol’s neighborhood. They kind of approached us first and asked who we were. They were very receptive and apparently they had already been taught by Sol about the gospel. He even explained The Book of Mormon and everything. They accepted the invitation to be baptized as well.

There were so many other things that happened! Sister Costa is an excellent missionary and we’re having a lot of fun together.

Thank you for all of your prays!

I 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.


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.




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

I Met the Most Incredible Woman Ever!

HI Everyone.

This week I´ve been adjusting to a new area. Braga is beautiful!! People are a lot more receptive here as well. I’m really happy to be serving with Sister Nagliati as well (the g is silent). A little about her. Her parents were both born in Italy, but they moved to Brazil. She was born and raised there. Recently, she spent a year in England, before her mission. So she speaks English very well. She is so cute and fun, and an incredible missionary.

Here in Braga, we have a ward with an excellent bishop. He will actually be a mission president next year. There are two sets of missionaries that serve here; Sister Nagliati and I, along with Elder Pedro who is serving here with a brand new missionary, Elder Jensen.  This ward has about 70-80 people in regular attendance. We have an abundance of investigators to teach as well. People are generally receptive and friendly. There is a recent convert here that loves to teach with us as well. His name is Antonio. He’s about 65 and he loves going out with the sisters; because he’s retired and he has nothing else to do. He is the funniest little man and he makes us laugh every day.

There are a lot more Brazilians that live here than I’ve already seen. There are a couple universities here, with a lot of historic sites and lots of tourists. There is a lot of Shopping centers here as well. This is the most well developed city I’ve yet seen in Portugal; except for one thing, they don’t have trash bins here. You leave your trash bags on the side of the road and they come and pick it up. I promise I’ll take more pictures this week.

We have some progressing investigators right now. We have a Brazilian woman named Eliane, who we taught on Monday. She is very receptive; but she doesn’t have a lot of time to talk to us during the week. We talked to her again on Friday. And that night she passed her friend as a reference to us! That has never happened to me on the mission. We’ll go and teach her friend this week. We are also teaching a couple of African women who have a lot of potential.

Since Sister Nagliati is Brazilian, she doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving; but she was nice enough to let me make a “nice” lunch for us. The turkey just wasn’t the same unfortunately. It kind of looked like one of those Thanksgiving dinners they give at homeless shelters; but what can you do.

Yesterday, no one came to church. We will try even harder to help people to come next week.

Yesterday, I met the most incredible woman ever! She lived in Angola during the Revolution there. Her husband had a high position in the government there; but they were on the side of the Angolans. Her husband stayed home with their children, with guards protecting them while she went out and fought. She was one of the only 2 Portuguese women who fought in the revolution. I think she was a nurse or something; but she had a gun. She said she never killed anyone though. Also, she made all of the furniture in her house. She’s writing her life´s story right now and I hope I can read it someday, I don’t know how she found the gospel; but she has so much faith. She has a lot of pain; but her spirit is still so youthful and lively she’s just a joy to be with.

I can tell this will be a great transfer. Please continue to pray for Pedro and Descio. I got the news that Pedro got baptized this Saturday! I am so happy for him. The first year is critical; so he still needs a lot of prayers.

Love you all

Sister Runyan


We Can’t Even Believe How Good the Lord Is

Dear Familia,

First, I am leaving Gaia. I am absolutely heart broken. I’m moving to Braga; which I’ve heard is a beautiful area. My new companion is Brazilian. I still haven’t met her yet.

Second, yesterday was a day of miracles. Sundays are usually hard for us because no one comes to church. But Descio (Descio is from Angola, but is in Gaia receiving cancer treatment) and his family decided to come and say goodbye to Sister Schill; because they love us a lot. It was the Primary Program!!! Descio had been hesitant in the past to come; because he had been hurt by other churches. But he finally decided to try it out. He loved it!! We had been praying for a family to be baptized all transfer. We didn’t get to see a baptism; but Desciosaid that he would come back for the rest of his life. Also, his wife, who is working in Angola, will be here for Christmas. So the whole family can be baptized! We can’t even believe how good the Lord is.

Third, Pedro came to church as well. Which is actually a huge struggle; because he has a job that asks him to come every Sunday. Pedro decided to turn down the job yesterday and come to church. That same day he got a job that has him come in every day except Sunday. THE LORD LOVES THAT MAN! We are so happy for him. He will also be baptized this Saturday, like Susie. (Susie is our mail carrier and friend in Folsom. We are very excited that she is getting baptized!)

I am sad to say goodbye to everyone. I cried my eyes out last night, when we found out they were closing our area. We have so many people preparing for baptism; but I know that the Elders here will take good care of them.

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.

Staying in Carregado!



I’m staying with Sister Da Luz! That means I’m in the Porto mission. No Azores grandma. Sorry. (The Azores are in the Lisbon Mission) They changed up our mission presidente. Now he’s an American. I don’t know his name though. (Originally, Joni Koch, from Brazil, was announced as the Porto Mission President, beginning in July)

We had a week with some sad moments. We dropped Sara, she hasn’t been progressing at all and we stopped by for the last time and she told us that Fabio doesn’t want us teaching them anymore; because he feels that we just want to change their lives. We promptly told her that our purpose is not to force them to change, but give them the opportunity to learn for themselves how to choose the right. Honestly, I feel so sad for them. They could be so much happier if they accepted the gospel.

It has been really enlightening serving with Sister Da Luz; because her family lived in really poor circumstances, there were times when they had absolutely no food in their house. But they were happy!! They had each other and understood what is important. She gets really frustrated with PortuguĂŞs people sometimes; because they always complain that life is so difficult and are constantly miserable. They say they are poor and don’t have food, but they have Money to by tobacco. She tells me they have flour, rice, pasta. “When we had rice in our house we had a festa!” I learn more and more with her every day.

It is so true that we need to put things into perspective and learn how to be grateful. When we have gratitude, we can be happy in any situation. We have tried teaching these people how to apply the atonement in their lives and give them the recipe for happiness, but often times they choose misery. It makes me so sad sometimes. When it comes to families, the children will suffer so much more than the parents. And it turns into a cycle of children learning misery from their parents.

I have witnessed a lot of unhappiness already on my mission. This week, one of our investigators had been struggling with her boyfriend, she had scars on her face. We were pretty sure that he had beaten her. I haven’t told you this yet, but Portugal has one of the highest rates of domestic abuse in the world. These women endure so much pain, and sometimes I have no idea how I can help them have peace in their lives. But then I remember the atonement and even though I can’t understand their pain, he can. If I can teach them about the Savior, that is all they need to remember their worth as a daughter of god.

We had happy moments too! Kaity is awesome! He is 20 and has been an investigator for a few weeks. He asks a lot of questions and sometimes the questions are really funny. He asked us why he can’t just wait to be baptized until he’s really old and die and be saved. He was joking. He was baptized yesterday. It was really cool; because it was an activity for our district; so President Fluckiger was there.

This transfer we are going to baptize a lot of people!

Love you all

Sister Runyan

Questions & Answers:

How are you feeling about being in the Porto mission?

Good. It will be fixe! (Pronounced feesh & means cool)  It is also literally cooler there and so I’m really excited about that.  It is getting really hot here and no one has air conditioning!!!!!! I will die. They all have air conditioning in their cars, but they don’t use it. I think they just don’t believe in air conditioning. I’ve already seen Lisbon and now I will be able to see Porto too!

Are the streets in Azambuja really dirt or do they bring in dirt to cover the streets for the festival?

They bring in dirt. Now it’s all gone. I think it’s to soften the fall?