“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

Be Not Weary in Well-Doing

Hey y’all!

Really, my big question from this week was knowing how far we should go on teaching people when they aren’t progressing. That has been a hard question to answer, and I’m still trying to understand what the Lord’s plans are for all these people. I’m not really sure where to start with this week, so I’ll just go day by day.
Monday:
We went fishing with our Branch Mission Leader! He is awesome! We didn’t catch any fish, but it was fun. Later that day, we taught an investigator we haven’t been able to see in a while! I was about to give up on them, but I guess the Spirit had other plans.
Tuesday:
We had some appointments fall through today (as usual,) but when that happened we asked the member with us if we could help him do his home teaching. We were able to see a less-active member who the sister missionaries have been struggling to get up with and the member with us shared his conversion story. It was awesome!
Wednesday:
We met another investigator I’ve been thinking about dropping. He went off as he did before, but I really tried to recognize that he is just saying these things out of a lack of understanding. He claims to believe only in the Bible but has not read it. We very carefully explained how the Bible and Book of Mormon testify of Jesus Christ together. I think I saw a little spark in him. We were also talking about dropping an investigator who has had a baptismal date before, (I’ve talked about her in the past,) because she has continually told us she would come to church every week, but still has not come. We didn’t end up dropping her.
Thursday:
We had a super fun Plan of Salvation lesson with the less active family we’ve been working with. I used the kit someone gave me as a gift before I came out on my mission. The mom wants her kids┬áto learn these things, so she is studying them on her own so she can teach them. We also found a new investigator from random tracting today!
Friday:
I was on exchange with Elder Oldroyd! The new investigator from yesterday didn’t answer the door, but we taught the family with a bunch of teenagers. They seemed to actually be listening this time, and we were able to count them as investigators.
Saturday:
Still no answer from the new investigator, but such is missionary life. We got an oil change in New Bern this morning. There was some problems setting up the appointment, so we spent a little more time there then expected. We went out with the New Bern elders and did some service!
Sunday:
I learned an important lesson from one of our members in the branch presidency. He took us out to give a member a blessing. I won’t go into the details of that meeting because it was very personal, she declined the blessing. The member shared D&C 64:33 which says “be not weary in well-doing.” That was a really profound scripture, not just for the visit, but for my whole week; working with less-actives, recent converts, and investigators who are not progressing, but we keep going back because we love them, and we want to help them. There was a very short turnout in church, and none of our investigators or RCLAs came which got me pretty down, but I don’t have to understand the Lord’s purposes in these things as long as I keep trying. I also learned that I need to be more attentive for opportunities to teach and serve new people, because even if we keep trying with the old ones, that doesn’t mean we should only focus on them.
Sorry for the long letter! Pretty much just spewed out my thoughts that I tend to have as a missionary. Hope y’all are doing well!
-Elder Samuel Runyan