Choosy Moms Choose Jesus

Hello!

This is the week of transfers! Elder Byrd and I survived! We are both staying in Poquoson! 6 more weeks with this awesome missionary!
​​As for the title of this email. I got it from a random church billboard. I really wish we had those in California! They can be really funny sometimes! ​​​​​​Also, I realized I keep forgetting to write clever title to my emails, so voila. Also, I posted pictures of a turtle, and what we are now calling “vulture alley.” It’s a stream outside off-base housing were a lot of the fish went to die. Every day we went by there were more and more vultures.
I will be brief today.
This was a great week! We were on foot the whole week, since the sisters had the car and my bike is getting fixed (again.) This time a spoke on the back tire broke. Luckily a member of the ward is good with bikes, and is willing to help missionaries with bike problems! I will be honest, the work here is a bit slower on foot. Our area consists entirely of highways, and residential areas; there aren’t a whole lot of people walking around to talk to. However there are certain areas we can usually talk to a lot of people, and all the walking gives us the chance to be really excited whenever we see someone! I feel like I’ve become a much better missionary this week! I will share a few brief stories.
Saturday was a particularly busy day! We did service for a part-member family in the morning who wants to take the whole zone to one of the nearby colonial settlements sometime! Later, we attended a funeral for a family that lived in our ward until recent boundary changes. He was an engineer in the air force, and it was an honor to see the air force perform the ceremony. In the evening, we were walking to see an investigator, and saw him outside playing with his son! It was a nice conversation, and we gave him a Book of Mormon asking him to read it. As we were walking home that evening, a man waved us down and immediately asked us what our church thinks about Heavenly Mother (a less-taught doctrinal topic the apostles of our church have mentioned which you can learn more about at lds.org if you want.) It was an interesting conversation, but he agreed to meet with us again sometime!
Sunday was an area-wide broadcast stake conference meeting (I think it’s a new thing they are doing.) It was a great, spiritual meeting, and Elder Oaks gave some direct counsel about member missionary work. He said missionary hours are not being fully utilized when they spend so much time finding people to teach. Part of that responsibility as well as the responsibility of working with less-active members is given to the members of the church. The missionaries really liked that part! I’m not sure what the members thought! Later on Sunday, we met a man who had questions about our religion. We had a nice conversation and although he felt the Book of Mormon was not true the last time he started reading it, he was willing to “take another crack at it.”
Well that was my week! Hope y’alls was great!
-Elder Samuel Runyan
Virginia Weather
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I Got To Play A Cello!

Hello!

Elder Byrd and I have had a great week! Elder Byrd is especially awesome! This morning, we just had a zone p. day. A member let us use their gymnastics gym for a while; which was lots of fun! This is a great zone! The other missionaries are really uplifting and encouraging! All of our district and zone meetings are great, and I can feel the Spirit very strong in them!
So the highlights of the week:  We taught a newly returning, less-active member in our ward’s mission prep class; I had a great exchange with Elder Brown (Yorktown Ward,), in which we met a lukewarm bible-basher; I got to play a cello! (finally!), We saw some dead fish in a ditch!
We actually met the returning less-active member visiting her former mother-in-law. She was living in Utah for a while, and upon moving back here she’s decided she wants to be active again! She actually posted on the ward Facebook page to see if anyone had a cello I could borrow to play in the Ward talent show which was on Saturday! It turned out someone’s son had a cello he hadn’t played in 4 years. Even though it was a 3/4 size, it was great to play a cello again! I didn’t have any unaccompanied pieces on me, so I just printed out Prelude of Bach Suite I and played that. We were actually able to use me playing in the talent show to get an investigator to come! A member also brought her non-member friend she had told us about, so it was a success!
On Wednesday, we were asked to teach a segment in our ward’s mission prep class on the MTC and first weeks of the mission. We had previously asked the youth leaders how we could help with the youth because we want to help them have a missionary mindset. We ended up teaching the whole class and it turned more into a conversation of what serving a mission is really all about. That was a great testimony builder for me to be able to share my experiences and inspire others with the Spirit.
After our awesome district meeting this week, I went on exchanges with Elder Brown! I guess I had my first real bible-basher experience. A man was watering his lawn and asked us why we think we need the Book of Mormon to be saved. We basically went through the whole first lesson to help him understand why God needed to provide further witness of Christ. However, his question persisted; He simply could not understand why we would need any further witness than the Bible. We also explained that we are not saved by the book itself, but by grace and our adherence to the gospel, but he did not see the distinction. I could tell no matter how we explained it to him, he would deny us, so I gave him my testimony that the Book of Mormon was true. He couldn’t argue that, so he told me his testimony was that it was not true, but I could not feel the Spirit in his words. We left that man with a prayer of peace, and an even further conviction in our hearts that the work we have been called to do is of God. He did restore the fullness of the gospel to the earth along with the priesthood, and I know that is true!
Well, I just want to let y’all know that I pray for you, and I am deeply grateful for the people in my life who have helped me become a better person! Keep on being awesome!
-Elder Runyan
Baby birds are ready to leave the nest.
Dead fish in a ditch

We Saw Elder Cook!

Hello!

This week was awesome! We found 2 new investigators, (more than we usually find in this area,) and 3 investigators came to sacrament meeting.

Tuesday:
We had an interesting lesson with an investigator. He likes to go off on tangents a lot, so we tried to just teach the lesson. He agreed that next time he will try try to let us actually teach the lesson. He was on the verge of saying he was good with his faith, but we helped him to realize that he hasn’t given us much of a chance to say what we need to say. Later, we had dinner with a family in the ward with a returning less-active member. The son is a ward missionary. We had a great discussion, and enjoyed reading the Book of Mormon together!
Wednesday:
This was just a normal day in the life of a missionary. We dropped off some tupperware that the sister missionaries asked us to return to people, and all the members we brought them to asked if we could come over for dinner.
Thursday:
I went on an exchange with the district leader, Elder Rogers. It was awesome! He is a great missionary! We were on foot the whole day. We taught a less active member about Easter and an investigator about the Book of Mormon. We focused on bearing testimony frequently in those lessons, and I noticed a real difference when we did that! Meanwhile, Elder Byrd and Brown had a great lesson with one of our long-term investigators.
Friday:
I studied a lot about the last week of the Savior’s mortal ministry. That has been a very inspiring study for me. We finished the exchange finding a potential investigator. The rest of the day was pretty normal.
Saturday:
We saw Elder Cook and his wife! It was a wonderful meeting, and probably the only time I’ll ever see the whole mission gathered in one place like that! The previous mission president was President Baker, so President Weed joked that it should have been the Bakers to welcome the Cooks. Elder Cook talked about the importance of Easter. He talked about the various appearances of the resurrected Christ, (something I felt inspired to study beforehand,) and He mentioned something cool about D&C 110. It was on April 3 which happened to be Easter and Passover, a rare event. The resurrected Christ appeared at the Kirtland Temple. Shortly after, Moses commits the keys of the gathering of Israel, (missionary work.) Similarly, other accounts of the resurrected Christ in the New Testament make mention of missionary work, (i.e. “Feed my lambs”). Clearly, Christ is telling us missionary work is an important part of this dispensation, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints sends out more full-time missionaries, (currently 70,000,) than anyone else! Also, in D&C 110, Elijah committed the sealing keys on the Passover and Easter when Jews everywhere where holding an open seat for him to come! He actually came! I thought that was so cool!
There were other great messages shared as well! A member of the 70, Elder Calderwell talked about how we do well teaching repentance unto baptism, but need to do better teaching continual repentance forever, (he called it “real time repentance”,) and he shared lots of scriptures, (D&C 11:9, 14:7-8, 15:3-6, 18:13, 58:42-43, Isaiah 1:18) Elder Cook also talked about inviting, and his wife talked about Christlike attributes in the context of hymns. The 2nd line of “Lord I would Follow Thee” has a great story behind it! The writer was with a woman who was buying burial clothes for a baby and the merchant didn’t know what it was for. He said things like “she will look, so lovely in this,” but the lady held her composure. In the end of the meeting, Elder Cook gave us an apostolic blessing, (my first!) It was a wonderful experience! We all got to shake his hand in the beginning as well, and before the meeting, we took a mission picture with Elder Cook and his wife!
To end this wonderful day, we found one new investigator, and had dinner with a member family!
Sunday:
We had a great Easter! Probably my best because I was so focused on the Savior. We sang “He is Risen” in the Ward choir, and I got to know more of the members! Later, we had dinner with a member family, and shared a message with several families. We spent the rest of the day biking around trying to see people. We met one potential investigator who was about to go fishing, and a less-active member we’ve been trying to see for a while. He was really nice!
Well, that was my week! I forgot to mention the pictures! Some were just nature scenes with Spring happening right now. also a picture of a nest of chicks on someone’s door! I have a video I will send as well, and another video of some “chucks!”
Hope y’all had a happy Easter!
-Elder Samuel Runyan
 

Loving the South

Hey y’all!

Transfer calls came last Saturday! I’m going to Poquoson, VA; which is in the Newport News stake! It is a biking area, and there’s a big military presence there. I’m going to miss Washington! I’m not sure if Virginia still counts as the south. If not, I am really going to miss being in the south! You have no idea how much I love it! Anyways, I’m still excited to go to a new area, and meet new people! I haven’t really started packing yet, but I will! Sorry I didn’t take too many pictures! I will be taking pictures with some people before I leave, so I will send those next week.
As for the pictures I do have, One was me trying to take a picture of these weird crab things they have at the waterfront. The other is from our car’s accident this week. We were parked in a Family Dollar parking lot, and as we were exiting the store, a guy driving a truck backed into our car right in front of our eyes. He got out of the truck, and felt really bad. I just feel bad for our vehicle coordinator who has to get all the repairs approved for the car. We still haven’t taken it in for the first thing. Well, I guess I won’t have to worry about cars in my next area anyways!
We have seen some miracles this past week! One happened while we were tracting an apartment complex without much success. Elder Aland told me he had been saying a prayer that someone would at least open their door. We knocked on a door, and a very nice lady came out, and said, “sure! I’d love to talk to you!” We came back a couple days later, and taught her family a great lesson! Right off the bat, she told us she had a really good feeling with us being there, and she warmed up to us very quickly. Towards the end of the discussion, we helped her realize the feeling she was getting was the Spirit. Somehow, during the lesson, the Spirit allowed us to teach her well enough that she was saying it made a lot of sense! It was a great experience!
Church yesterday was also great! We had Branch Conference, and the sister missionaries brought an investigator to church! The first meeting was sacrament and we heard some great messages about the importance of the Book of Mormon and temples. The 2nd meeting was all about Religious Freedom. After that, we had a big lunch prepared for everyone, then we went into different meetings. The missionaries and our branch mission leader met with the Stake mission representative/ mission presidency person named President Rappleyea. It was a great meeting, and we really focused on our stake mission goal; which is for everyone to pray with real intent for inspiration to share the gospel. We talked about how sharing the gospel is really the responsibility of everyone in the church; not just the missionaries. We also discussed how missionary work shouldn’t be a compartmentalized part of the gospel, but an integral part of everything we do in the church.
– Elder Samuel Runyan