Pure Testimony is Very Powerful!

Hello All!

I don’t have much time to email, but I just wanted to give a quick update! My new companion is Elder Gardiner! I can tell this will be a great transfer! It was also a great week because we found 3 new investigators and some very solid potential investigators!
Here are some scriptures:
Acts 5:39– (from Elder Gardiner) when we have negativity, we are serving the devil. As he put it “don’t be a double agent for God and Satan”.
Alma 4:19– Pure testimony is very powerful!
Sorry I had to keep it short! Take care y’all!
-Elder Samuel Runyan

Remission of Sins


Happy Father’s Day Dad!
I’ll be honest, I am pretty tired right now! Biking in Virginia weather is an experience! The past few days have been a mix of Sunshine and Thunderstorms in one day ranging around 75-90deg every day.  I hear it’s hot in California right now, but here you start sweating the moment you step out the door because of humidity. We got hit with 4 thunderstorms in one day this week with sunshine in between. It was hot rain. It’s really hard to describe.
Transfers will take place on Wednesday. Sadly, Elder Byrd will be leaving 😞. He is going to Nags Head, NC! That is on the Outer Banks! (The very, very thin strip of land between the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s probably less than a mile wide in most places.) My new companion will be Elder Gardiner! I don’t know much about him, except that he is still pretty new to the mission.
Not too much happened this week. We came up with a really great idea that I’m excited to use more! I have a bike bag that happens to be pretty well insulated, so we’ve started just putting 3 or 4 chilled water bottles in it. Now whenever we see someone running, working on their lawn, or something like that, we offer them water! Most people are really happy to take it, and it makes them more willing to talk for a few minutes! We have one pretty solid potential investigator from it already after 2 days of trying it out!
My bike got fixed a few weeks ago, but a spoke broke again, so I’m back to using a backup bike. This is a backup to the backup bike because that one is broken too.
Here are some highlights from my studies:
Helaman 5. I did the challenge I mentioned in my last email with this chapter! It was a great experience! Although it got tedious at parts, the feeling that this book must be true started to flood over me! I actually got drawn back to Helaman 5:10-11 afterwards while studying repentance. The words, in, from, because, conditions, unto stuck out to me, and I drew a little diagram shown here. The ladder made it easier for me to understand (if you ever find a poem called “The Holes” I think, it shows a similar picture.) Jesus can’t climb the ladder for us, but as soon as we start, He is there to help us, so that He can use His power to bring us to Eternal Life.
Repentance Diagram

I had been in that hole for a very long time
In the dark and the damp, in the cold and the slime.
The shaft was above me; I could see it quite clear
But there’s no way I ever could reach it from here.
Nor could I remember the world way up there
So I lost all my hope and gave in to despair.
I knew nothing but darkness, the floor, and the walls
Then off in the distance I heard someone call:
“Get up! Get ready! There’s nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder.”

This had never occurred to me– had not crossed my mind.
But I started to stack all the stones I could find.
When I ran out of stones, then old sticks were my goal,
For one way or another I’d get out of that hole.
So I soon had a ladder that was sturdy and tall
And I thought, “I’ll soon leave this place once and for all.”
I climbed up my ladder. It was no easy chore,
For from lifting those boulders, my shoulders were sore.
I climbed on up the ladder, but soon had to stop
For my ladder stopped short– some ten feet from the top.

I climbed back down my ladder and started to cry
I’d done all I could do. I gave my best try.
And in spite of my work, in this hole I must die.
And all I could do was to sit and think, “Why?”
Was my ladder too short? Or my hole much too deep
Then from way upon high came a voice, “Do not weep.”
And then faith, hope, and love entered into my chest
As the voice said to me that I’d done my best.

He said, “You’ve worked very hard, and your labor’s been rough,
But the ladder you’ve built is at last tall enough.
Do not despair. You have reason to hope.
Just climb up your ladder; I’ll throw down my rope.”
I climbed up the ladder, then climbed up the cord.
When I got to the top, there stood the Lord.
I couldn’t be happier; my struggle was done.
I blinked in the brightness that came from the Son.

I fell to the ground, His feet did I kiss
I cried, “What can I do to repay thee for this?”
Then He looked all about Him. There were holes in the ground
They had people inside, and were seen all around
There were thousands of holes that were damp, dark, and deep
The the Lord turned to me and He said, “Feed my sheep.”

Then He went on His way to help other lost souls,
And I got right to work, calling down to the holes:
“Get up! Get ready! There’s nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder.”

It now was my turn to spread the good word.
The most glorious message that man ever heard.
That there’s one who is willing to save one and all
And we’ve got to be ready when He gives the call.
He’ll pull us all out of the hole that we’re in
And save all our souls from death and from sin.
So do not lose faith; there is reason to hope
Just build up your ladder; He’ll throw down His rope.

~Scott Lewis and elders from his mission

Today, I studied the “Remission of Sins,” described often in the Book of Mormon. True to the Faith pg. 25 and Mosiah 4:11-12, 26 describe this well. I found a note in the margin which I forgot about, with the date 2/13/17, that said this scripture was a huge strength to my conversion. It explains how to retain a remission of sins in these steps:
  1. Remember God’s greatness and our nothingness
  2. humbly call on God daily
  3. Stand steadfast in your faith
  4. give to the poor and help the physically and spiritually afflicted
  5. (Really anything that has to do with repentance and enduring to the end)
The results are as follows:
  1. You will be filled with the Love of God
  2. You will grow in knowledge and glory of Him
  3. You will stand guiltless before God
To really appreciate these steps, we must first recognize what that precious “remission of sins” is. It is the feeling of profound forgiveness from our Savior which comes from no other source. Learn what this feels like through desire and sincere effort to repent.
One last note: We heard from a homecoming missionary, Tymon Zhou and a departing missionary, Katy Tackett on Sunday! They gave great talks!
I hope y’all are having a great summer! Be blessed!
Elder Samuel Runyan
*The first pics show a hole in our bathroom ceiling we are getting fixed. The last pics are a little trick Elder Weber, our district leader, showed us to make light sabers! You can probably figure it out if you look close enough

“IF There is ANYTHING Virtuous, Lovely, or of Good Report or Praiseworthy, We SEEK After These Things.”

Hello Y’all!

This is Elder Runyan here! We had such a great week! I would first like to recap the messages shared in the mission tour with Elder LeGrand R Curtis Jr. and his wife on Friday!

Before the conference, I asked God in prayer that I would receive an answer from the speakers about making my study and planning times more effective. I have no doubt God answered this prayer! The first thing Elder Curtis talked about was how to gain additional layers of testimony, (he used the analogy of a testimony lasagna,) through very prayerful study of the Book of Mormon. He recited Elder McKonkie’s promise that we can gain a testimony of it by reading it all the way through and praying after each chapter to ask “Is this the work of man or the work of God?” or maybe even doing the same thing with each verse of one of the great chapters of the Book of Mormon. He then asked us what we thought were some of those chapters. Almost everybody raised their hand! We talked about many different chapters and he had something to say about each one! This was an answer to my prayer because I learned that basing my study on building a foundation on the Book of Mormon will make me a much more effective missionary!

I want to extend this challenge to all of you! Read a great chapter of the Book of Mormon and pray after each verse to ask if it’s the word of God or of man. You can also pray after each chapter with the same question while reading the whole book. The former challenge is guaranteed to testify to you the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Here is a list of the great chapters we decided on with Elder Curtis as well as some of my own additions:

Something else that really stuck out to me during the conference was Sister Weed’s address to us. Since half of our missionaries will be leaving by the end of the summer, she decided to speak on enduring to the end which she also applied to serving diligently as missionary while we are still here. She did a very close evaluation of the 13th Article of Faith as it pertains to Philippians 4:8.

She gave the dictionary definition of three words (I don’t remember it perfectly):
IF= supposing any circumstances
ANYTHING= Any person, object, idea, etc..
SEEK= deliberately strive and desire

Rewritten, it looks something like this:

“Supposing any circumstances providing there is any person, object, idea, etc… which is virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we deliberately strive and desire after these things.”

President and Sister Weed are so inspired! She encouraged us to make this statement a motto for our life. Do not follow after the fleeting pleasures of sin; deliberately strive and desire things that are virtuous, lovely, and so forth.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and the wonderful things you do! I’d say more, but I have little else to report on.
Stay blessed!
Elder Samuel Runyan

I’m Becoming More Comfortable Talking to People!


What a crazy week this has been! Elder Byrd fell sick on Monday night, and we were cooped inside on Tuesday and Wednesday. That kind of inactivity can drive a missionary insane, so I spent a lot of time doing things that needed to be done around the house; made calls, and did a lot of personal study. I took this as an opportunity to look inside, and turn to God for answers to some of the deeper matters of my soul, about enduring to the end. I felt a very distinct answer, and an admonition to read my patriarchal blessing. I did so very thoughtfully, and it provided more answers to my questions that I hadn’t considered before. Looking back on the week, I can see my study journal is full of very valuable insight, specifically for me.
I have also learned so much about being an effective missionary from those around me. I want to recognize a wonderful ward missionary, named Evan, who told me early in the week, “You don’t need to sacrifice what isn’t needed,” which helped me to feel more confident in my efforts then later in the week. As he was helping us exchange back with the Yorktown elders, he showed his great example of being willing to talk to everyone. We were doing yard work for one of the Yorktown elders’ investigators, and he saw that we could use a hammer. Faithfully, he went door to door, undeterred by the awkwardness, and asked everyone if they had a hammer we could borrow and if they would like to meet us! He came back in a few minutes, with a woman who told us this was the strangest thing anyone had asked of her. To which he responded, “I’m just not afraid to talk to people!” The woman showed appreciation for what we were doing and showed interest in meeting the missionaries again to give them more service to do!
I’m becoming more comfortable talking to people! We have talked to just about everyone we see every day! I am starting to feel such a greater love for people! Something which confirms something I read in my patriarchal blessing. Read here for more information on Patriarchal Blessings I am really learning to follow Jesus’ example by becoming a servant!
Just so you all know, I am still a huge nerd! Elder Byrd and I have some Legend of Zelda music which we listen to sometimes, and we love to connect with people we meet who have similar intersts! (We even got the Breath of the Wild soundtrack from Elder Byrd’s little brother!)
Have a great summer!
-Elder Samuel Runyan

2 Nephi 2:25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

Exodus 3:16 (footnote b) – study material on God visiting His children
(I included a picture of some spaghetti I made which I was proud of because I put some sauteed onions and mushrooms in)