Y’all take care!

Hello Family!

I don’t even know where to begin! This is a great mission and I love the people here! The last few days at the MTC were great, and like I said over the phone, I got to perform for the Senior Missionary welcome with Sister Aloua. It was sad to say goodbye to my MTC district because we had gotten really close, but we were all really excited to get out on the mission field!
     I flew in with Elder Adams, Workman, and Dryer. I was seated next to other missionaries on the plane, so I didn’t get to talk to strangers about the gospel, but Elder Adams and I did meet a nice woman at the SLC airport who lives in Utah, but is a nonmember. She loves the family friendly environment in Utah, especially since she was originally from Detroit. President and Sister Weed greeted us at the airport and they were very accommodating about calling our families, and the first night they had us stay in a hotel which was really nice. From Norfolk, they drove us to Portsmouth where we had orientation, and the next day we met our trainers at the mission center!
     My trainer’s name is Elder Staheli (pronounced Stay-lee), and he’s been out here (I think) 14 months. It was a 3 hour drive from Portsmouth to Washington, and I’ve gotta say, there is a different feeling out here in North Carolina then the cities of Virginia. A lot of missionaries really like it out here because it’s really chill and laid back, and pretty much all of us get cars for driving on these country roads. The people here are the nicest people I’ve ever met! I don’t think we’ve had the door slammed on us once! It’s funny though because you talk to anyone, and they are a preacher, or they’re related to one. I’m also working on my southern talk and all that. I’m getting really used to saying y’all.
A little more about my companion:
     He listens to country music, so in the car we listen to this band called the Nashville Tribute; they are a Mormon band that makes religious country music. I think it’s pretty good even though I’m not a country fan. He wants to be a diesel mechanic for all the big rigs and stuff. He talks in his sleep sometimes and wakes me up in the middle of the night to things like, “can we share a message with you about Jesus Christ,” and other indiscernible things. Anyways, he is a great companion and he’s taught me a lot about being a more confident and spiritually led missionary.
To answer Mom’s questions:
  1. For thanksgiving, I am helping set up for a thanksgiving dinner at the church for single members of the branch. There will be plenty there for us.
  2. We usually drive the car because our area is so large and spread out, but we try to get out on our bikes and talk to people whenever we can. It usually goes pretty well when we do that because people here are really nice and willing to talk to us. Pretty much most the people that we see on the street have talked to the missionaries before though.
  3. North Carolina/Virginia is beautiful. Virginia in particular has lots of trees. The intersections in our area though are pretty messed up. We have a lot of 5 or 6 point intersections, and a lot of houses are off of dirt roads. Pardon my language but the locals would agree there are a lot of hillbillies out here and all that.
  4. My biggest surprise about being a missionary is how easy God makes it for us to share our message about Jesus Christ.
  5. President Weed and his wife are really nice. They are really new to this, but I heard them in the Kinston Stake Conference this Sunday, and they spoke a lot about how the members are really helpful in taking care of the mission, and this is a wonderful area. The branch is full of nice people who have a lot of personality, and we’re really trying to help them support recent converts.

I love y’all so much!  Y’all take care!

Elder Runyan


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