#Light the World

Hello!

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 Mormon.org about it after Thanksgiving.
#LighttheWorld Calendar
Sincerely,

 
Elder Samuel Runyan
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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!

Commitments

Happy Halloween!

To put our week in a nutshell, Elder Allen and I have become much more powerful teachers! We had the courage to ask a member how we could improve after he came to a lesson with us. He told us to be more straightforward and focused and we have been slowly improving on that. One of our investigators really opened up to us as we encouraged him to be baptized. His fears get in the way of him doing what he knows he needs to do and he recognizes that. It seems like that is a common trend for people! Just remember that that is Satan trying to stop you!
We had another powerful lesson with an investigator who didn’t see the point in living the word of wisdom or law of chastity. We explained as well as we could why he should keep trying even though he doesn’t understand it yet. We strongly encouraged him to read the Book of Mormon. In the end Elder Allen powerfully told him we couldn’t keep coming if he wasn’t willing to keep commitments and even explained that we were literally messengers from God sent to tell him this whether he believes it or not. He just isn’t ready yet; I hope he will be in the future because I can be confident that missionaries will come around again!
Something that has really helped me this past week is looking back through my notes of different commitments made at district meeting, zone conferences, and other things. There have been many great commitment made over the course of my mission! Here are some notable ones:”Extend commitments boldly!” – Elder Rogers (District meeting)

“Ask God how much you mean to Him.” -Elder Staheli (District meeting)

“Ask God if your heart is in the right place.” -Elders Godfrey and Anderson (Zone meeting)

Give and receive correction clearly, humbly, and with dignity, “Strive!” -President Weed

“Bring the Spirit with you to lessons by having focused studies and planning.” -Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr.

“Don’t try to improve 100% all at once. do 1% at a time.”   -Elder Godfrey
I wish I had more time to write! If I can leave y’all with anything right now, it would be to keep going! Don’t let life pass you by! At the same time, don’t get stressed out by missed opportunities!
“You’re eyes are in front of you.”
                                       –  Brother Langdon (our ward mission leader)
I love y’all!
Elder Samuel Runyan
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Here is a wonderful family that has taken us shopping and to lunch several times! The LaRose’s are awesome! ​

Improving My Prayers

Hello everyone!

This has been a great week! We have found a few new investigators which we will hopefully see how that goes this week!
The investigator who I talked about going 3 days living the Word of Wisdom has taken a lot of our focus this week! He actually did the 3 days! He slipped the next day, but we were encouraging to him and he really seems to want to change! We took him on a tour of the church and he was all set to come to church on Sunday! He wasn’t able to come because of his work schedule, but he promised to come next week! There are still some big hurdles to overcome, but we have high hopes for him!
My prayers have been improving a lot this week! I have been getting into the habit of waiting after I pray long enough to articulate spiritual promptings into words. It is amazing how the Lord’s thoughts are not our thoughts! Some of the ideas I get don’t make much sense at first until I ponder on them for a little while.
I can’t think of much else to say, but have a great Halloween!
-Elder Runyan
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Elder Allen and I took some fun low-light pictures of a pond

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A picture of our district.

“Hold Off”

Hello everyone!

This has been a pretty great week! We had a great district meeting in which the ward mission leader from the Kempsville ward shared his conversion experience and gave us advice on how to teach people without a christian background. He basically said to be very straight-forward with them about what you expect them to do even from the very beginning telling them you hope to see them get baptized, etc.. He also said to let them share what their ideas about life are than answer all their questions with the gospel, then to point out what the Spirit feels like. One thing the missionaries who taught him did on their very first lesson was tell him to “postpone” drinking an alcoholic beverage he was about to drink. That really impressed him and he agreed!

Well, his story really motivated us so Elder Allen and I started taking it into effect! We had two impromptu lessons on Saturday both of which became new investigators. One of them is already set on a baptismal date and guess what! When we first met him he poured a glass of alcohol and we asked him to “hold off” on drinking it until after the lesson so the Spirit would be there and he did! Now we have him committed to go 3 days living the word of wisdom just to see what it’s like! I’ve never done anything like that in my mission! I am excited to keep doing this with the people we teach! I think it will make us much more powerful teachers!

We also had a miracle finding another new investigator then taking him on a church tour the next day! We couldn’t have done it without sister Goings who you can see below. She is an angel!
I wish I had more time to write, but unfortunately I have to go! See you all later!

Love,

Elder Samuel Runyan

Pictures:

This is the pond behind our apartment complex. The weather has been like that for most of the week! It goes between misty and rainy.

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This is our friend Sister Goings who was baptized a year ago, just got endowed, and is an amazing ward missionary!

“Holy God Book”

Hey y’all!

I just want to start by sharing a couple funny stories!
Yesterday, we were biking down the street when I saw something across the way. I immediately stopped and told my companion, “Oh my sweet molasses! We have to talk to that thing!” He looked at me really confused and said, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” I told him to look and we saw a kid in a blow-up dinosaur costume! Of course we couldn’t let this opportunity pass by! Dinosaurs deserve the gospel too don’t they? We carefully crossed the busy street to ask him what he was doing. He was just like “why not” and we just said “awesome!” and gave him a high five. We asked what kind of reactions he gets and we were totally able to relate to him on that! Apparently, people just see missionaries as blow-up dinosaurs biking down the street! Of course we told him about the church and hopefully he wants to learn more! (I realize now we should have taken a picture with him. Huge mistake.)
Another story comes from the heading of this email. One of the families we visit has a little daughter who is pretty funny. She was trying to remember what to call the Bible, so she just called it the “Holy God Book.” It was really cute!
Here’s another funny story for the road. We were heading home Tuesday night when we saw a stranger walking by with a… wait a minute… “Is that a rat on your shoulder?” Well, she is now investigating the church, so that’s great!
One more! Elder Allen and I were studying together and we decided to role-play teaching a lesson to someone. We looked for something to teach to then it became so clear! If you look very closely at the picture I attached, you will see Elder Allen conversing with our dragon. He was just in our apartment when we got here 🙂

Elder Allen Teaching A Dragon

Elder Allen Teaching A Dragon

I will finish by sharing a little bit from a talk our ward mission leader gave in sacrament meeting yesterday. He talked about commitments and it was phenomenal! It would be very hard for me to share the feelings from the Spirit he shared. The main idea I got from it is that we should strive to never even break the smallest righteous commitments because when we do, it greatly affects our character and makes it easier to break others.
Have a great week everyone and remember your commitments!
Love,
Elder Samuel Runyan

“The Man in the Arena” -Theodore Roosevelt

Hello everyone!

How is everything going!
We had some good lessons with people this week! One of them has a lot of potential and should be baptized soon! I’ll try to get pictures with people soon!
Most of our work has been with talking to random people on the street and sharing our message with them! We’ve seen lot’s of blessings from that! One example just from today was with our district at Chick-Fil-A sitting next to some cute girls. They had lots of questions and Elder Cooper and Fannin will be meeting with them soon to share more 😉
General Conference was amazing! There is so much I loved from General Conference! Y’all should definitely take Elder Anderson’s counsel to study them throughout the next months! If there is one thing I would suggest we all take from it, it would be to take Elder Zwick’s advice to let go of ANYTHING that blocks our spiritual vision. Watch it again and pray what that thing is for you.
The quote in the heading is a part of a much larger quote from Theodore Roosevelt which Sister Weed shared in Zone Conference. Look it up! There is an important message there about trying your hardest!
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We received some great counsel from the stake presidency about teaching members and inviting them in the Savior’s way to show them that doing missionary work answers their deepest desires. What are your desires/needs? Ask God how missionary work or the gospel can help you answer these and get back to me on what you learned!

Here’s a scripture I really liked! It’s 2 Nephi 10:20.

20 And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea.
Have a great week!
Elder Samuel Runyan