Happy New Year Y’all!

Hi Family!

I hope y’all had a happy new year, and you didn’t party too hard on New Year’s Eve. We were told to be in our apartments or members homes by 5pm. We stayed in our apartment playing board games and I studied and finished preparing for my talk on Sunday.
My talk went really well! the topic was on Preach My Gospel (PMG), Ch 11 (commitments). I basically explained how making commitments is repenting; which leads to a Change of heart or being born of God (Mosiah 27:24-25) and I spent most of the talk using the guidelines in ch 11 to call repentance. I really took to heart a promise in PMG, pg 195 that says we should cry repentance and references D&C 15:6, “The thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people.” PMG, CH 11 also talks about bearing testimony, and I almost wanted to sing a hymn in the middle of my talk to bear my testimony, but I just read the words of “I Need Thee Every Hour” instead; which happened to be the next hymn. I took that to be a real sign of God’s love for me. I really related to “the song of redeeming love;” which Alma talks about in Alma 5:26-27 and I used that as a call to repentance for the congregations to fulfill their new year’s goals.
I’ve really been thinking about the idea of bearing testimony through music lately, since I met with an investigator who is basically converted to the music at his church. He loves to get up and sing and shout hallelujah, and it’s almost as if by that expression of love to God he feels like he’s done enough. To him, his baptism was just an expression or declaration of his love to God. However, he tells us over and over he has sinned and he wants to stop doing things like drinking and smoking, and he feels the Spirit when we come over; he just hasn’t been acting on those promptings.
I guess it’s interesting because I feel like music is a strong way of bearing testimony, but for some people, Satan deceives them to feel like those good feelings they get when they sing and praise God are enough to get by. He tells them their other problems will fade away as long as they keep praising Jesus. To a certain extent, that really does help; I love spiritual music and I really miss my cello because that was the best way I felt I could share my testimony; not just for others, but for myself because it makes me feel good. However, I feel like being a baptized member of this church who keeps those covenants makes those expressions of love for our Savior so much sweeter! I couldn’t imagine my life without the gospel!
Also, We got new sisters! Sister Ustach and Smith. Their very first day, they broke into someone’s apartment thinking it was theirs. Later, we sent them to a recent convert without telling them about her big dog in front of the house (woops). They’re great!
I need to wrap up soon, but here is a picture of my messy desk I thought I’d send you. This desk was a replacement to one a previous elder broke. We got it at the Christmas conference and I got to put it together around Christmas which was fun because I like putting things together.
Love ya’ll!
Elder Runyan

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