“Don’t Take No Wooden Nickels!”


Missions are crazy! We had lots of interesting, unexpected experiences this week! I posted pictures from last week’s snow which I forgot to include last time. It was all gone this week and the temperature got back up in the 70’s this week! I think I said this in my Christmas call, but there is a saying in North Carolina, “If you don’t like the weather.. wait a minute.” The title of my email is due to something that one of the members in our church always tells us in passing. “Don’t take no wooden nickels now!” He is such a fun guy! He took us out to dinner at an Asian style buffet this week and the food was so good! I would take his little saying to mean that we shouldn’t be fooled by things that appear to have value. True wealth comes from the blessings of the Spirit in our lives.
On Tuesday, we had interviews with the mission president in New Bern. We had a great discussion and he asked us a few questions about our branch mission leader. I talked to him about how I’ve learned to come out of my comfort zone and talk to everyone. That same day, I got the chance to come out of my comfort zone and lead an exchange for the first time, with Elder Davis. It was actually one of the most successful days all week! We got 2 new investigators, a mother and son, and we drove over to Bath to teach 3 less actives; all of which expressed their desires to come to church more. We had a really interesting discussion with one of them about how living the word of wisdom has changed his life. He was a really cool guy and we saw him in church this Sunday! I think the Spirit was helping us a lot, because I would have been totally scrambling to lead the exchange. Since Elder Staheli is the one who drives I rely a lot on him on where to go, but I’ve been learning the area a lot more (and using the gps).
Wednesday, we had Zone Conference in Greenville. We talked about some great finding ideas! One of them was helping members use Facebook to find friends they can share a quick online message with. If any of you at home have any other ideas for finding people to teach, I would love to hear it because as missionaries we tend to forget how normal people think and act about missionary work. President and Sister Weed shared some great thoughts about uplifting others during the conference. Sister Weed shared some stories from a friend of Hillary Weeks who would share her music with people who looked down, and her acts of service really played a big influence in changing their lives.
As we were coming home from zone conference I was feeling a bit queezy and threw up in a bag just as we were getting home. I had to sleep in the rest of the day. It wasn’t much fun. Some loving members brought by a pack of Ginger Ale to help my stomach. We decided it was probably food poisoning from me not refrigerating my sandwich at Zone Conference. The good news is that I felt better the rest of the week! On Sunday, a great member brought us pizza and soda to break our fast. I’m pretty sure she is an angel.
One last story. We saw a sign at a church just down the street from our house that said they were holding a food pantry on Saturday. We asked some people there if we could help, but the first thing they said when they saw us in our white shirts and ties and name badges was, “You better not go passing around Mormon stuff!” He was almost offended by the fact that we were all dressed up as if we were full of it or something. He told us we could come, but basically said we’d be kicked out if we weren’t in casual clothes. We came still wearing our name badges and he said, “do you really have to wear those” and we told him we just always wear them and he finally relaxed a bit. It was just funny to see how much he looked down on us for being so, what he thought was, uptight. The event was fun! We just had casual conversation with people and a couple people asked us about what we do.
I hope y’all are doing well! I heard there’s been flooding in California lately. They say the drought is ending. I bet y’all are just rejoicing right now!
-Elder Runyan

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