Christmas Starts This Friday!

Hello everyone!

I know it’s still a little early for Christmas, but as far as I’m concerned, Christmas starts this Friday! Why? Because that’s when #Lighttheworld officially begins! Of course, you can get started now, but don’t miss out this year! Every day in December, there is a different video with a way to serve each day! There is a scripture and several different ideas for each day. Of course you can get creative too! The most important thing is sharing the Savior’s light with the world through service! Even if you aren’t very religious, this is a wonderful opportunity! Be sure to post what you do on social media so everyone can get excited about making this Christmas season special! Below is the video for the first day, Dec. 1st. I think you will find it very inspiring!
Last night, the Virginia Beach Stake kicked off this program in an amazing way!  You should be able to see videos and pictures with the hastag #Lighttheworldvb, or #Lighttheworld but if not, I should be able to share a video of it next week. The zone leaders in this stake had the idea to put little LED lights in helium balloons with #lighttheworld pass along cards attached. Everyone wrote an encouraging note on the cards and we let all the balloons go into the night (with permission from the city of course,) and it was an amazing experience! #lighttheworld is a good way to inspire others this year, and I feel if we all do everything we can to make it memorable, it will change the way we see others, and hopefully inspire to do good for others always! Don’t be a bystander, get involved!

Virginia Beach Stake #LighttheWorld Kickoff.

Ok, I just had to get on my soapbox about that! I am so super excited about this! Sorry I don’t have any pictures! There were several times this week when I was going to, but forgot 😦
One of our investigators, Tony, really got on my case to speak up this week! It was funny because I really wasn’t speaking THAT softly, but he has a really friendly personality and was telling me, “You’ve got to be STRONG when talking about the Lord! So I raised my voice and said, “Will you be baptized?” He said he had already been baptized in another church, then I said, “Well, this is the true church. Do you believe the Book of Mormon is true?” and he said yes, but he doesn’t wan’t to be a “church” person, and is hesitant about coming to church with us. However he wants us to keep asking him because he likes us and thinks we’ve got guts!  (That’s what you get for calling me “soft- spoken!” jk, lol.) As we were leaving, Elder Allen said, “See you at church tomorrow!” and he said “ok.” then Elder Allen said “Gotcha!” and we biked away.
The kid who quit smoking after he met us apparently got kicked out of his house recently, so we are trying to call him and meet up with him, but he hasn’t answered his phone 😦
We had Thanksgiving with a family from the ward, then we had thanksgiving with an investigator named Simone! She is awesome, and treats us like her kids! We told her about the Book of Mormon and she promised to read it!
As for me, I’ve learned a lot about letting go of past mistakes and repentance in general. I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the phrase “That they may ALWAYS remember Him” in the sacrament prayers; it is so important to seek for the Spirit in everything we do.
Happy Holidays!
Elder Samuel Runyan
*Oh, by the way, I attached a pdf for how members can now refer friends to the missionaries anywhere in the world with lds tools and It has to be with the friend’s consent of course 🙂 Be sure to take advantage of this useful tool!

“Scatter Sunshine”

Hello y’all!

This has been such a great week! Amazing things are happening! This upcoming Saturday, our stake is holding a kickoff event for #LightTheWorld! I am super excited for it, because this initiative can be really great if we make it great! From what I heard, there will be an event inspired by last year where we will put uplifting notes and a light in helium balloons then let them all go. When the balloons pop and fall down somewhere, anyone could come across the note inside it, so I think that’s fun! We are planning on inviting congregations from different churches to attend, so hopefully this becomes huge!
Elder Allen and I had our own way of lighting the world the past few days, thanks to the young women and relief society sisters in the ward! They put together dozens of goodie bags with our church address and time as well as our names and phone #’s which we gave out to random strangers! A lot of them had fun notes on them, so that was super exciting! I just thought of the hymn “Scatter Sunshine” which I think is what Light the World is all about! Get excited and be creative!
I’ll probably be back on in a few hours, but here is some pictures of a cod this man caught in the pond outside our apartment complex! It was over 8 lbs!
Y’all are amazing!

Elder Samuel Runyan
Just one cool story to share! We met a young man on the street one day and talked to him. We found out we had met him before! He asked us then if we smoked weed and we told him no. He told us he quit smoking after that day! We taught one lesson to him already, and he definitely has desires to change! Missionary work is so awesome!

#Light the World


We had some great experiences this week! Some people we met were pretty crazy! One lady was a former investigator; her record said she was a little crazy. She was pretty loopy, and she was drinking a beer, so she said some funny things about making a deal with the devil. Besides that things are going really well! We focused a lot on inviting people to church this week, and although many didn’t come, they told us they wished they could or did, so we are making progress!
This Saturday was also the baptism for the other elders in our ward’s investigator, Rolf! He is awesome! After his confirmation yesterday, you could see he was glowing! Maybe I could get a picture of him to show you but I think the lens glare would be too bright to see, so sorry!
One of our investigators, Amy, dropped us 😦 She told us we have been deceived and she doesn’t believe in the priesthood, Book of Mormon, or following a prophet. She was still super sweet about it and we still love her! I came across a quote from Elder Oaks in Preach my Gospel about how we shouldn’t be led in all things, but that we should use our God-given reasoning powers as well. I am grateful for a prophet today of whom the Spirit testifies to me is truly inspired (Eph. 4:11-14).

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

I have also learned a valuable way to receive answers to your deepest questions. Our ward mission leader told us about his lesson to 12 year olds where he had them pray then lie down on pillows and meditate on a question they have. I did that last night, and it really helped. If you really are intent on hearing God’s voice, I promise you will.
Well, that is my week! Y’all have your own stories! Be more than you think you are! A wise man once told me, “God is willing to give you more than you ask for if you are humble.”
Also, with the Christmas season, make sure to do good for others! Whatever your religious beliefs are, there is always good in doing good for others! The Church has some good ideas for how to do that with #LightTheWorld! Here’s a calendar with the basic ideas for 25 days. There will be more on about it after Thanksgiving.
#LighttheWorld Calendar

Elder Samuel Runyan

Miracles Everywhere!

Hello everyone!
This has been a week full of miracles! I am so happy to be a missionary! Here are some of the things that happened this week! trust me I’ve got some good stories!:
  • We are meeting with an investigator named Amy who is in a wheelchair, but we are already making plans to help her come to church, and she is so excited for that!
  • An investigator named Andrew told us he was mad at God for sending His son to die. We told him that Jesus did it of His own free will and that seemed to soften him up a little. He still wasn’t willing to pray, but I sure hope he does! It was honestly a testimony builder to me of Jesus Christ!
  • We raked some leaves for a former investigator. She was so nice, and would probably join the church if it wasn’t for her being rooted in her Baptist faith. We asked if she would be open to someone doing temple work for her, and she was! She really liked the idea of still being married to her husband in heaven which her church doesn’t believe.
  • One day, we were visiting an older sister in the ward, and I felt prompted to knock a few doors afterwards. It didn’t lead to much, but after we knocked one door, we heard someone yelling out in pain, and someone else yelling. We didn’t comprehend it at first, but then we immediately biked over there as fast as we could. It turned out an older man had been lifting a heavy box of decorations, but because of health problems, he fell over and his head hit the concrete. He was on blood thinners so he was bleeding pretty badly. Thankfully, his neighbor got there before us and was applying pressure to the wound. I called 911, and Elder Allen gave him a priesthood blessing. He started saying he wanted to go to sleep, and went in and out of consciousness. His wife arrived right in the middle of this, and Elder Allen gave her a hug and we offered words of comfort. The ambulance came and took him, and we asked if we could come back in a few days to see how he was doing. When we came back, they were so happy to see us! He is at home, and he is doing ok! She offered to have us back over for “tea”! We are excited to go back and teach them the gospel!
  • On friday, we had an exchange with our zone leader who had served nearby before. He recognized the house of an investigator which he met on a previous exchange almost a year ago, and we knew nothing about it. We knocked the door and met Simone! She remembered Elder Davis right away and was so excited to see us! She actually offered to have us over for dinner sometime! She told me to tell my mom, that she will take good care of us! She said, she couldn’t do it if she was you! Don’t worry mom! I’m doing alright!
  • Again, on friday, we were biking down S. Rosemont, and came up behind a young woman walking down the street. She turned around and saw us and immediately started crying! Literally, the first thing she said was, “I’ve been looking for you!” I am not joking! This really happened! We asked what was wrong and she told us she has been wanting to come to our church! I mean, are you kidding! Of course we wanted to help her come to church! Then she told us, she was really upset because she lost her dog, Jackson. We said a prayer with her, got her number and started looking for the dog. We ended up sticking with our planned activities, but we literally asked everyone we passed if they had seen a lost dog. We didn’t find it, but we called the next day and found out that her friend had found the dog shortly after we prayed! She came to church to the YSA ward! It was pretty awesome! Apparently, she was baptized around 2012, but has been inactive since, and her friend convinced her to come back to church. I think she saw us as an answer to her prayers, so I was just glad we could be there!
  • On Saturday, we met a man named Jamar just sitting on the sidewalk right after I had prayed to find someone to teach. He started talking about his ideas about God, and we listened very intently. A lot of it was in line with the restored gospel, so we responded by giving him a Book of Mormon. He opened it right up to Mosiah 5:15. We told him how the ordinances on the temple open the path to salvation. It was a surreal meeting. We have his phone number to follow up. We told him how the ordinances on the temple open the path to salvation. It was a surreal meeting. We have his phone number to follow up.
Well, thank you to everyone that has supported me! The little things you do for others make a huge impact in their lives! That is true happiness! To know you have been the answer to someone else’s prayers! That’s what all of you have been for me!
Happy Holidays!
Elder Runyan
*this morning, went to the beach and took pictures of the sunrise!