God Has A Lot Of Work To Do!

We didn’t schedule our p.day very well today, so I won’t have much time to email, sorry! Since yesterday was Christmas, we got today as a p.day as well. I was happy to call my family yesterday too! They asked a lot of good questions! My Mom also made a list of questions to answer, so I will just try to answer some of those right now! Sorry if I don’t get to all your emails this week, but I will read them!
1. How many investigators do you have right now? Who are you teaching currently?
We have over 20 investigators right now, but many are on hold for the holidays. We are actively teaching 10 of them.
2. Who is the person in the ward or branch that has made the biggest difference for the missionaries? What have they done?
I don’t even know where to start with this one! This ward is so missionary minded! There is one member I know, Wayne, who previously helped baptize over 2 dozen people in, I think, a year, but that was a while ago. He said this ward used to be the 2nd most baptizing on the East Coast! There are at least 7 people who have been a tremendous help to missionary work since we got here! They are Chris, Bruce, Stella Goings, Margie, Joan, Wayne, and Rolf. Most of them are recent converts who have developed very strong testimonies of the gospel! Rolf was only baptized onĀ November 11, and he is so eager to help is in any way he can! He takes us, (and our bikes,) on rides often and always says, “It’s the least I can do for all you do!” Stella, Margie, and Joan are like the dynamic trio who visit all the less-active sisters in the ward, and come to missionary lessons whenever they can. They work tirelessly to help some of our investigators work through personal challenges that are keeping them from being baptized. Chris is our ward mission leader, and does so much! He works a lot as it is, but still magnifies his calling as much as possible by following up with us on investigators, and helping us teach lessons! With all that going on he still makes it to the temple often! (even though it’s about a 4 hour drive!) Bruce is often willing to help us when we are in a bind with scheduling and transportation, and has a really positive attitude even when things don’t work out. Wayne is the high priest group leader, and he understands the scriptures very well. Whenever we take him to a lesson, he prepares an essay, and offers in depth understanding to investigators who are willing to learn! He also keeps track of the members in the ward who need service projects done, and gets the ward involved.
3. Does your mission have a theme?
Lighthouses and the hymn “Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy” Ask Sister Weed about it. She cries every time we sing it!
4. Describe the area that you are living in? Hills? Rivers? Flat? Etc
Flat. very very flat.
5. What do most people do for work in your area? Is it a rural community? Urban? Suburbs?
6. Do you know any of your neighbors? Are they friendly?
Yes! We are trying to teach one! One watches TV very loudly every night when we are sleeping, but that’s ok… we love them anyways!
Oh! well I’ve got to run! We had some very powerful lessons this week, but maybe I’ll tell you about them next week! I hope y’all had a Merry Christmas, and thank you for your prayers!
Elder Runyan

Calm Down Elders!

This was a busy week! I have some pictures I think, but I left my camera behind.

I heard this was graduation week for y’all in Folsom! Congratulations to Sara and all y’all who graduated! This is a big step in your life! Be willing to embrace the changes that will push you to be an active member of society and help you to draw closer to God. It’s only been a year since I’ve graduated, and a lot has changed since that time. It is a good thing! I also want to recognize those who have given their lives for this great country in honor of Memorial Day. I found very hopeful verses in the Book of Mormon for those who have given their lives in such a way (Alma 24:19, 27:12).
This week, we met with several families in the ward to invite them to invite one friend to church this month. I have learned a lot about how to continue to do missionary work after my mission and I have learned a lot about how to really gain the trust of members and those you teach.
One particular learning experience was our zone conference on Wednesday! The focus was on Chapter 12 and 13 of Preach my Gospel I learned so much from this meeting, but two points I took away are that we need to actively prepare investigators to continue in the gospel after baptism, and when talking to members we need to show lots of respect and charity. Sister Weed smacked down on this! She gently rebuked everyone and told us we need to start every active member meeting by getting to know them; we need to remember their names and things about them; we need to be on time or call if we will be late; we need to set up lessons at least 2 days before; we need to be professional; and we need to be at church early to greet everyone! At the end, stake President Hamilton and his family shared their experiences and blessings from being actively involved with the missionaries! The daughter talked about how she would make CDs of appropriate music for the missionaries. If I may be so bold, I would invite anyone reading this to be more involved with the missionaries. Tell them about your friends, and ask them to follow up with you on your missionary efforts. Offer to help them (Don’t just ask them if they need help and let them get away with a sheepish “we’re good”.) Doing missionary work will make you happier! The gospel will make you happier! I have seen the difference in people that are more engaged and those who aren’t. Of course, in the end, don’t push yourself too hard.
I learned this for real this week. Elder Byrd and I had an awesome exchange with one of our zone leaders, Elder Anderson. He was a great example to us, and gave us the push we needed to be more aware of our surroundings and more willing to talk to people. However, the next couple days, I was getting discouraged. I wanted to be where he was, but I felt like I was going further back. In church, a member passed by us and said, I think, “You are working too hard elders! Calm down!” We were both very confused by this comment; Elder Byrd didn’t even hear it. Then, during Elders Quorum meeting, while we talked about acting on spiritual promptings, I realized that my head was too boggled with wanting to do everything all at once. I learned that I need to calm down and clear my head to recognize promptings better. The experience will come as I make little steps. I also remember a memorable quote from a Sister who spoke in sacrament meeting, “We don’t need to do a balancing act on the iron rod, we just need to hold on.”
Thank y’all for your prayers! I am grateful for all of your examples in my life!
-Elder Samuel Runyan
Galatians 6:9-10

9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

A Wallet and A Crushed Cell Phone


This has been a week full of miracles a changes! We had our last ever zone meeting last Friday! There will be no more for now on. I’m pretty sure this is a church wide thing. We now have more frequent zone conferences (bigger meeting) which will include training from our individual zone leaders. The next zone conference is actually this Wednesday, so that will be fun!
There are also a lot of families coming in going in the ward because of the military, so the ward is gearing up for a lot of calling changes and things.
We also had a really fun time at Jamestown, but I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


Elder Runyan and Elder Byrd by John Smith Monument




Elder Byrd and Elder Runyan at Jamestown

Our big focus this week has been helping the members do missionary work. In our recent Stake broadcast, there was a huge focus on members doing missionary work. After that, the Stake President gave us a challenge to reach out to as many families as we can to help them fulfill the stake goal of inviting at least one person to sacrament this month. He is hoping this will spark a real desire for the members to do missionary work. Lately, we haven’t been able to have very many lessons with investigators, so this is helping us feel like we are really doing something here. Most of the members we go to already have someone in mind they want to invite, but just have to get over the initial fear of doing it. I don’t have any big stories as a result of this push yet, but I feel like this will make a big difference.

Otherwise, we’ve been walking this whole week. A lot of my pictures came from stuff we saw as we were walking; including the dead bird on the side of the highway. I do have one pretty cool story from all the walking. We saw a wallet and crushed cell phone on the side of the highway. It had everything including SS card, so we called our ward mission leader to deliver it to the address on the driver’s license. They were very excited and our ward mission leader had the idea to give them a Book of Mormon. They were very excited and said it might be a sign! The Yorktown elders are setting up to teach them now!

Yorktown Wildlife


Yorktown Wildlife


Yorktown Wildlife

Not much else to share, Thanks!
-Elder Samuel Runyan