Conspiracies, False Doctrine, and Miracles

Hello!

This week was seriously one of the best I’ve had yet on my mission! I can’t believe how much the Lord is working here and with us! He has a lot of good stuff planned for us, I know it!
We had an awesome experience on Tuesday! The previous week, the Assistants to the President texted us and set up a trio exchange with us on Tuesday. After our interviews with President Weed in Greenville that morning, one of them, Elder Richins went back to Washington with us for the day, and we brought him back to his companion the next day, at zone conference in Kinston. It was seriously the best exchange I’ve had yet! We saw lots of miracles! We had set up lots of appointments for that day and were prepared for it to be a great day. We also had this extra energy or something from it being a trio. We saw an investigator with Brother Randall; which went really well. Then, as we were driving back, I felt impressed to pull over and talk to this lady who was struggling with some bags. We had a great lesson with her; she is struggling right now and her only transportation, a moped, has a flat tire. We all had so much compassion for her and are trying to do whatever we can for her. We taught 6 lessons that day with Elder Richins, 2 with members present, and got 2 new investigators. We had a super spiritual experience at 8:45 that night; which is usually just the worst time for us to talk to people, and we weren’t sure what to do. Elder Richins suggested we pray. We did, and decided to visit a nearby investigator. On our way, we saw a man walking his 2 dogs and decided to pull over and talk to him. He let us walk his dogs with him and we ended up talking for about a half hour about how he used to meet with missionaries. He was super cool, and I am so grateful for the power of prayer! The Lord truly watches out for us when we turn to Him in prayer and fasting!
Speaking of prayer and fasting, the Sisters and we decided to fast on Friday for missionary opportunities and ways to help this Branch. The sisters found a great talk about becoming pure; which suggests we make a list of things we need to do better/ stop doing. because of our fast and efforts to become pure, the Lord has brought us to 14 new investigators in Washington, 10 of them from the Sisters who also have 2 investigators set with baptismal dates. (Sisters are the best, can’t argue that.) I’ve also found we have a lot more success when we work with members.
To address the first two parts of my title, we’ve also had some crazy experiences this week. I’ll be careful talking about it, but one person was sharing some crazy ideas about Abraham Lincoln’s ethnicity, and a lady shared some interesting facts about Michelle Obama’s actual gender. The Illuminati is real people! Seriously though, kinda threw us off, and they also had some misunderstandings of the Bible and Book of Mormon; which we labored to clear up.
I forgot to talk about Zone conference. President Weed shared some intellectual evidence of the Book of Mormon’s reality, based on it fulfilling prophecies of Christ’s coming; which the New Testament did not fulfill. I wish I could help the many people here who think the Bible is and can only be the only Word of God realize how true the Book of Mormon is! The Bible just isn’t complete! It is so hard for people to see that because they are just so used to the Bible. President Weed advised we don’t share this intellectual evidence with others as they will not understand it, but at least we can have it to know for ourselves so that when we speak of the Book of Mormon, we can speak with the convincing power and authority connected to our calling as missionaries. For example, those conspiracy theorists I talked about couldn’t understand the least bit of intellectual evidence we threw at them, (Not even the least!) but they could not deny our testimonies even when they tried. Their tongue would be tied and they would be confounded.
Alright! That’s it for now! If you have any questions, ask me. Little Washington is the best! I sent some pictures we took this morning.
Take care y’all!
Elder Samuel Runyan

Service is the Best!

Hey’all!

This week was pretty much awesome! Thank you Dad for sending that quote from President Hinckley about optimism last week!
As a missionary in England, Elder Hinckley worked hard to follow his parents’ counsel. He and his companions shook hands each morning and told each other, “Life is good.”4 Almost 70 years later, he suggested that a group of missionaries in the Philippines follow the same practice. “Yesterday was a great day in my life,” he told them. “Every day is a great day in my life. I hope every day is a great day in your lives—every one of you. I hope you can get ready to go in the morning and shake the hand of your companion and say, ‘Brother (Sister), life is good. Let’s go out and have a good day.’ And when you come in at night, I hope you can say to one another, ‘It’s been a good day. We’ve had a good time. We’ve helped somebody along the way. … We’ll follow up with them and pray and hope that they will come into the Church.’ Every day ought to be a good day in the mission field.”5
That has been a big motivator for me! I Just love this mission and everything about it! This week we’ve had some great experiences working with members. The sisters and we have been fasting and praying to know how to help this branch, and I’ve had some amazing spiritual experiences from that, confirming to me why I am out here on a mission.
Our Elders Quorum President, Brother Kukahiko is awesome! He went out with us on Monday and we visited some less active members. He is a great missionary, and shared his testimony well! He has that attitude of being helpful the way missionaries are. This branch may have its struggles, but the members here are some of the most missionary minded I’ve seen! We worked with Brother Kukahiko to get the Branch’s FHE nights going again. The members really liked when we did them, and they were a lot of fun! We are helping plan for it.
We got a couple new investigators this week. One of them was pretty interested; the other one we dropped shortly after he became an investigator. The whole lesson he was trying to tell us why we were wrong, and we didn’t want to get into bible bashing, so I asked, “Have you felt spiritually uplifted during this visit?” and he said no, so we decided he didn’t have much desire to change. A lot of appointments with our investigators fell through, but I think that gave us a chance to re-evaluate our approach to missionary work. We want to try working more closely with members so they can develop more trust and confidence in us, and we can uplift them more.
This week we did a lot of service for people; which was awesome! We dug up a bush for someone, cleaned out someone’s shed, helped someone move, and just did little things like smile and talk to people. When we are serving, I can feel so much more love for people, and they become a lot more open and trusting with us. We also had to do a training in Zone meeting and taught a lesson in church. We were kind of feeling blocked as we were preparing for these, but we felt the Spirit’s guidance very strongly as we taught, and those we taught were able to learn a lot by the Spirit as well as ourselves! The missionaries in our zone were able to receive revelation for how to resolve their investigators’ concerns, and our Sunday class learned a lot about sacrifice. That concept of sacrifice and the Law of Consecration has meant a lot to me, because I’ve realized how little I can offer to the Lord compared to what he’s given me. Despite this, I will give as much as I can, because I know what incomparable joy it brings! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and I love the opportunity I have to wear His name on my chest!
I hope y’all are doing well!
– Elder Runyan
These are pictures of my old planner versus my new one. It’s crazy how beat up they get!

Elder Aland is Awesome!

Hey y’all,

How is everything going?
I had an awesome week! My trainer, Elder Staheli is a zone leader in Goldsboro now. My new companion is Elder Aland who is the new district leader now! We are getting along really well together! I am the designated driver now though because he crashed a car in his last transfer, (woops.)
The day before transfers (Tues), Elder Staheli and I had a busy day. We saw several less-actives and recent converts, and taught a new investigator. We had lunch and dinner with members, and I took lots of pictures for Mom. I’ve really come to realize how much Elder Staheli has taught me, especially about opening up and loving all the people you work with. I’ve also had some hard lessons about loving investigators too much when they aren’t willing to progress, but I’m growing a lot more than I ever have.
Transfer day (Wed) and the next day were pretty hectic! Just as I was introducing myself to Elder Aland, I was getting a stream of texts from someone who needed our help. That kinda crashed Elder Aland right into all the drama of Washington, and we were able to give this wonderful person a priesthood blessing. (If you have questions about what that is, ask the missionaries.) Besides that, I had to adjust to driving again, We got Elder Aland’s groceries and I got a gps, then we had Dinner with members and Correlation meeting. With all that going on, we were also able to schedule a lesson with an investigator at the church with some members. and taught several others It was a busy and eventful two days! The next day was no less busy! As Elder Aland had to prepare to lead his first district meeting; which was awesome! He has done a great job getting to know the members and investigators here, and we have looked through the area book a lot together! I’d say this was one of my busiest weeks of my mission so far!
Unfortunately, several investigators have experienced tragedies either this week or previous. We really love them and ask for your prayers. Also, we had many people who we fully expected to come to church, but none came. We have followed up with many of them, and will work to get them there next week! I want to work on have a more optimistic attitude this week, because I’ve seen great miracles this week. Even if that doesn’t show in the numbers or what other people see, I know our efforts aren’t in vain.
That’s about it for my week. Hope y’all are doing well!
– Elder Samuel Runyan
A little bit about Elder Aland:
  1. He is from San Diego, CA! The members here are excited to have non-Utah missionaries now!
  2. He likes country music and trucks, (I’ve pretty much found out that’s a necessity if you are serving out here.)
  3. He has 4 sisters and a brother.
  4. He has been out for 8 months
  5. We’re pretty similar in some ways

Basketball is an Important Missionary Skill

Hello everyone!

This was a great week! I’m going to try set this email up day by day like I see lots of missionaries do.
Monday:
We got haircuts and did other p-day stuff. We met with a new investigator who I think is pretty cool! We are going to try setting him with a baptismal date today.
Tuesday:
We did service most of the morning for a really cool member of our church! He moved in a few months ago and was less-active, but has made it to church every Sunday since we met him about a month ago! We always have great gospel conversations with him which are lots of fun! We moved stuff out of his storage unit for him. He lives out in Bath, so travel time eats up a lot of our schedule.
Wednesday:
We taught the mother and daughter who were set with baptismal dates. Since they haven’t made it out to church, we asked them to pray and set a new date. They don’t have one yet. I realized today that basketball is an important missionary skill! We played ball with one of our investigators who is 14 and did fine, but then these older guys wanted to play with us and smoked us! For a lot of the kids out here, basketball is all they do their whole lives. We’ve found out that it’s more show-play than real basketball because they are mostly trying to look cool. They still smoked us though. We played with the young men as well tonight and had to try to break that habit of looking cool and making shots by getting them to pass the ball more. Their game is on Saturday! (We probably played too much ball today.)
Thursday:
We met with a couple recent converts. One of them is really struggling to do what he knows is right. We gave him a priesthood blessing. Please pray for him; he really means a lot to us and comes out with us often. The sister missionaries gave a great lesson tonight about faith! (We always teach a scriptures study class for members and investigators on Thursday nights.)
Friday:
After District meeting, I went on a trio exchange with the New Bern Elders (Elders Davis, Oldroyd, and Collier.) Elder Collier is just working with them until he gets his new companion on Wednesday because we lost Elder Ward. It was super fun working with a trio! It was like we had extra fire when we were in lessons. We worked really well together! (Plus, we can go into single ladies houses without needing another adult male with us!) Elder Staheli also had a successful day with Elder Davis getting 2 new investigators and 2 member present lessons!
Saturday:
We had several media referrals in Plymouth, so we got our branch mission leader, Brother O’Brien, to drive us out there. We had 3 solid lessons out there! One of them even told us he wanted to become a member of our church! It was really a miracle! We also got Transfer Calls this morning! I will be staying in Washington as the designated driver and my companion will be Elder Aland! (Pretty sure he’s also going to be the new district leader.) Elder Staheli will be a zone leader in Goldsboro! I’m done with training now!
Sunday:
Lots of people bore their testimony, and it was a great fast Sunday! We met with the Young Men, and The young men’s president gave the boys his testimony. It was really powerful! I think he is meant to really bring these boys together, and make them strong leaders that their friends can look up to. President Whaley told us meeting with the young men was is his favorite thing about being Branch President.
Well, that was my week! I’ll send whatever pictures I have in a bit. Hope y’all are doing well! How’s the MTC Josh?
– Elder Samuel Runyan