Monday, February 26, 2018

My Heart is FULL

Well, here it is, the last email from Sister Ruffner. I seriously never thought I would ever be typing this. 
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, miracles from this week...

We met with Michael again and found out that his real name is Ivan. But he brought his friend to our lesson and his girlfriend Cindy was there again. We sat down and Ivan was doing something else for a minute so we started to talk to his friend Christian. He said he saw this Book of Mormon sitting on Ivan’s table and picked it up and became really interested. He said he is Christian (Christian the Christian haha) but just hasn’t been able to find a church that has everything the Bible says. We told him about the Book of Mormon and the restoration and he really liked it. He asked if we believe in gay marriage, if we fast, etc. and after we answered a lot of his questions he said, “I must be in a dream! This is the church I’ve been looking for.” Ivan made us some tea... he keeps forgetting that we don’t drink tea. Christian asked what else we don’t drink. We told him tea, coffee, and alcohol. He asked why and we said because the prophet told us not to. He then said, “Well if that’s what the prophet said than I am going to stop drinking those things too. I am going to need to if I’m going to join this church.” What?! This guy is super prepared and has such an open heart! We were able to read a few chapters with them all. It was awesome! 

Another day we drove all the way out to Grottoes (which is like a 30 min. drive) to try some people and go tracting for the day. In the process we met Derek who met the Elders but was never able to meet with them very often because he was really busy. But he said he isn’t busy anymore and that he wanted to come to church and meet with us more! He was super interested! 

We also moved to a new house on Wednesday! Yes, I did say a house. Sister Kirkby and I went from sharing an apartment with 2 other sisters to having our own 3 story house. Yes, I did say three stories. It is an old slave house so it has some creepy things like locks on the outside of these large closets, and a cellar in the basement. The basement is VERY creepy, so we don’t go down there unless we have to... But our ward mission leader Brother Hebdon just gave us tons of Ensigns so we are going to decorate the place :) 

Anyway, it has been an absolutely fantastic week and an even better year and a half here in Virginia. There are no words that can accurately describe the feelings I have for my mission and more importantly my Savior. There is no better feeling than knowing you are being an instrument in the Lords hands. When you feel the Spirit working through you in blessing the lives of others. I am sure Heavenly Father does not need a ton of kids to spread the gospel. But I am extremely grateful for the opportunity He gave me to be a part of this great work. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the work of Jesus Christ. It is a marvelous work and a wonder. I am very grateful that I was able to be a part of miracles every. single. day. I know that Heavenly Father lives and is aware of us and is in the details of our lives. He is the author of the great Plan of Salvation. I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God who suffered more than we can imagine to strengthen us through our trials, forgive us of our sins and mistakes, and help us to become perfect like Him. He truly has given us the opportunity to come back home to Him. I know there is no other name given whereby we can be saved. I know the tomb is empty. Jesus Christ lives! I have witnessed the changes He can make in someone’s heart when they decide to follow Him. I know the strongest testimony of Jesus Christ is found in the Book of Mormon. That Book changes hearts. It has definitely changed mine. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to the boy Joseph Smith. This started the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ back to the earth. The church continues to grow each day. He is gathering His sheep from all the ends of the earth. I know this church is TRUE. It IS the church of Jesus Christ. 
I absolutely love my mission and the things I have learned while here. 
I love the people of Virginia. I would not be who I am without them. 
I love Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

❤️ Sister Ruffner 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Faith to Find

Monday was lots of fun because we hiked to high knob. I haven’t been hiking in a while and it was great! Lots of fun :) 
Tuesday we had another small zone conference while we had interviews. We talked about having the faith find and how sometimes we pray for something to happen in our lives and we just sit there and wait for our circumstances to change and to let Heavenly Father just take care of it. Jesus Christ performed the Atonement so that we could be given added strength to accomplish all he asks us to do. With Jesus Christ, we have the power to change our circumstances ourselves. “Sometimes we pray for the strength to endure yet resist the very things that would give us that strength. Too often we seek the easy way, forgetting that strength comes from overcoming things that require us to put forth more effort than we normally would be inclined to do... No matter what our trials, we should never say, “It is enough.” Only God is entitled to say that. Our responsibility is to ask, “What more can I do?” then listen for the answer, and do it!” -Elder Groberg 
We then talked about how we can be more bold, more personable, and use more of the questions of the soul in our missionary work. 
Interviews were absolutely wonderful. This was my last one with President Smith so it was extra long. We walked down memory lane and talked about a lot of great things for my future. Weird. AND he took us to dinner!

We went on a district blitz (where all the missionaries in the district serve in our area) and went on campus for a couple hours. As we were walking around Sister Kirkby and I just started getting super nervous. I was really scared to talk to these people because there are just so many who have been so rude to me before. It is hard when everyone looks at you like your nuts. Well, as we were walking around I started to pray really hard to know the things to say. That I would be given the courage to talk to people. Then the thought came to my mind, “Hi, we are the new missionaries in the area and are trying to get to know more people. Can we walk with you?” So that’s what I said to the next person I saw and we walked with them back to their dorm. Then the next person and the next person and this approach was actually working! It was super cool! 
One persons name was Noah. He grew up going to catholic school and as we were talking with him he stopped us and said, “You know what, you aren’t going to be able to convert me. But it was nice talking with you.” Okay so we gave him a card and told him to have a good day. And turned around and walked back to the front of the path that we would start. We walked for a while, we were almost at the front and I heard someone behind us say, “Hey!” To get our attention and it was Noah! He said that he didn’t have much to do right now and he did have some questions for us. He asked how our religion was different than other Christian religions, how we were raised, if we have more than one mom, etc. He than said that he grew up religious and it was great and everything but, he doesn’t think he believes it anymore. There are some things that just don’t make sense to him. He said he was looking for a new religion. Woah! Now when people tell me that they already go to church I’m just like, are you sure? It was a cool miracle! Since this was Valentine’s Day he proceeded to ask me if I have any dinner plans... 

We also met with this really cool guy that Sister Kirkby found on Facebook. His name is Kieth and he is in the music program, which makes him really busy but he still met with us. He is the fastest talker I have ever met. It is good though because he just speaks his thoughts. He tells us his needs. There were things he learned about himself as we asked him questions and he just kept talking. He goes to the Catholic Church and has been since he was little. He told us that he doesn’t think he would keep going if it weren’t for his friends who go with him, he has been to mass for 20 years and has never felt the Spirit. We promised he would if he read the Book of Mormon and prayed to know if it was true! Excited to meet with him again this week. 

Turns out, this area is getting bikes in the near future and so we are moving apartments on Wednesday. Crazy! I know. I made pink German pancakes for dinner on Valentine’s Day. We gave Michael another Russian Book of Mormon for himself, went on exchanges with Sister Dumas, and met Sarah who is super prepared and went to church with her Mormon friend growing up. Overall, it was a super great week!

❤️ Sister Ruffner 

Monday, February 12, 2018

I Said... No 💍

Well folks, it has to happen to everyone right? It happened to me this week, I got proposed to. 
It started off as this super great miracle. I was on exchanges with Sister Bleak and we were waiting for Philip to show up at the library so we could teach him. The bus drove up to the front and we walked out to greet him but, he didn’t come out of the bus. Someone else did. His name is Rico and as he walked past us, looked at us and at our name tags and asked if we go to a church. Yes! We told him about the church and gave him our card and he said he would call us and let us know if he would be able to come to church. We get a call a little later in the evening from the other sisters (who have our phone) saying that I got asked on a date. What?! How could that happen if I wasn’t even with them? Well, Rico called them three times and asked if Sister Ruffner could go to the movies and if I could hang out with him. Um... he called again that night and asked for me to talk and I told him about the church. 
He called us three times that night, and then in the morning as well. I finally answered and he asked me if we believe in marriage, am I lookin for my significant other on my mission and so on... Don’t worry, I told him my purpose and our lesson with him cancelled. Hopefully you won’t hear of Rico again :) 

We met Jennifer this week who got baptized in California and then 2 days later moved to Virginia. She is super funny! Super glad we were able to meet with her. The missionaries gave her the Book of Mormon and that day she read it. Then she read it backwards and then she read it again. She is getting married soon and wants us to teach her boyfriend! 

Roshat has been super busy lately and so when we were on Facebook we saw that he was active. So we just pushed the video button and were finally able to talk to him! 

This Sunday was absolutely wonderful because we were able to partake of the sacrament! Last week church was cancelled because of the snow. I know... terrible! It really made me realize how much I absolutely love the sacrament. What a special time we have to remember the Savior and repent and set goals for the rest of the week. How grateful I am to know of Jesus Christ “He is the greatest Being to be born on this earth--the perfect example--and all religious things should be done in His name. He is Lord of lords, King of kings, the Creator, the Savior, the God of the whole earth, the Captain of our salvation, the Bright and Morning Star. He is in all things, above all things, through all things, and round about all things; He is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; His name is above every name and is the only name under heaven by which we can be saved.” -BD 

❤️ Sister Ruffner 

Monday, February 5, 2018

I Love to See the Temple ❤️

Update! Remember Last week when I told you we met this guy who wanted a Book of Mormon, and gave us his address so we could go over and read with him? Well, we went by this week and he said he was not expecting us to come. His name is Michael and we taught him about the restoration and he said, “Wow, that is deep.” He really liked it. He read the beginning of the Book of Mormon and was telling us the things he read! He also tried to feed us and give us tea but since it was just a drop by we didn’t take any. 
We go back a few days later and his girlfriend, Cindy made us some spaghetti. So we ate and Michaels cousin, Alex stopped by and we taught all three of them the restoration. At the beginning Alex was being pretty critical and looking at us like we were crazy. He kept asking questions and we were answering them to the best of our ability and I started to feel the Spirit really strong. He started to nod his head and think about the things we were saying. He started to get really curious and wasn’t trying to trick us anymore but started to ask sincere questions looking for the truth. It was amazing! Like a light switch happened and the Spirit was there and his whole demeanor changed. We are getting them Book of Mormons in Russian and Cindy one is Haitian. Super excited to keep teaching them! 
It is super interesting because last week we had a lesson with Diran, who didn’t believe in God at all, and now we have a lesson with these cool people and we asked Michael if he believes in God and he told us, “Of course! Look outside, everything out there tells us there is a God. Who else would have made that.” If you look for Gods hand in your life, you will find it. 

What an amazing week! One of the best for sure because after 100 days of preparation,  I went to the temple! The Washington DC temple is absolutely beautiful. I am super glad I was able to go before it closes for a while. Every question that I brought to the temple was answered. The feeling of peace, comfort, and joy was overwhelming. There truly is no better place to get away from the world and receive the revelation and strength you need. Some people say to go to the temple to get away from the real world, but the real world is in the temple. Those are blessings and promises given to us for eternity. The world we find outside of the temple is always changing, there is truly nothing we can count on besides our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They made the way possible to be able to not only live with Them again but to become like Them. To have all that They have. What a loving Heavenly Father that would make it possible to do that! As we come unto Jesus Christ, we will become perfected. “... ‘Make no mistake,’ He says, ‘if you let Me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other than that. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you do not push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, not let you rest, until you are literally perfect— until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with Me. This I can and will do. But I will not do anything less.’”
There is no one that can keep us from being perfected like the Savior, except us. Sometimes we are going to take steps backward and sometimes life will get hard, but if we press forward we will have the Savior on our side and we will see miracles in our lives. Perfection is possible but only with the Savior. 
I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to go to the temple this week. I am excited to be able to go for the rest of my life and prepare for the wonderful blessing of exaltation. I love my Heavenly Father and am very grateful He has given us the many temples and churches we have all throughout the world. How grateful I am to be able to be a part of this beautiful work.

❤️ Sister Ruffner

Video (2) from tracie on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Prince of Peace

I just thought I would start with this story, I was saying a prayer in a member dinner and a kid farted right in the middle of it and I started laughing! Oh my, well there is a embarrassing moment for the week :)

This week at dinner, we are trying this cool thing where we pray with the family and ask for the Spirit to guide them, as they pick a road for us to tract. They picked a road not too far away and we went that night. Everyone was rejecting us and then this guy walks up to us asking if we are selling anything. We say no and tell him about the Book of Mormon. He asked if he could have one and kept asking questions about it. We gave him one and he asked if we could come over and read it with him! Yes we can! It was a great miracle!
We also found a guy named Dimple. He is pretty into his religion and is from India. He is going through some trials right now and said he was excited to read the Book of Mormon! We are going back soon. :) 

We had a lesson with Diran and it didn’t go to great. He doesn’t believe in God and doesn’t have too open of a heart and mind. I asked how he finds peace in his life and he didn’t really know what to say. He didn’t have a very good answer. We bore powerful testimony at the end about the Book of Mormon and what will happen as he reads it. He said he would give it a try and read it. 

I know that the only way we can find true peace is through our Savior, Jesus Christ. So many people look in fame, or money, or popularity or wherever they look to find happiness. It comes from no man. Only through Jesus Christ. “He is indeed the author of peace, “the founder of peace” (Mosiah 15:18), The “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), to all those who come unto him.” 
Christ was about to be beaten, betrayed, and crucified. “All this lay ahead, and yet he could say, “Be of good cheer.” Why? Because he would overcome the world; he would descend beneath it all. He would make it possible for every person of every age to overcome every obstacle, every weakness, every sin, and every tinge of guilt. Because of the Savior’s sacrifice, Alma’s experience may be relived by each of us: “I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy... and I did find peace to my soul” (Alma 38:8) 

I am extremely excited for the wonderful opportunity I have to go to the temple THIS Wednesday! I haven’t been in a while and I am very excited! I know the temple is a way where we can escape the world and be able to feel more of that peace. If you can, go to the temple this week and feel the wonderful effects of the Saviors Atonement FOR YOU :) 

❤️ Sister Ruffner 

Killing it with the Doby pranks :) 
We are fishers of men

Monday, January 29, 2018

100 More Book of Mormons in Virginia

Another great week out here in Virginia! 91 days ago I made a goal to prepare myself for the temple. (yes I am going in 9 days!) The goal was to pass out 100 Book of Mormons. When I became companions with Sister Sorensen, we decided we were going to hit the goal before the end of the transfer. On Monday we still had 3 left to give. Someone walked into the church and asked for help and we were able to give him a Book of Mormon. Someone asked on Facebook to learn more about the Book of Mormon and I sent him a link there. As we were about to head to family home evening for the rest of the night, we prayed to know where to go to be able to give away a Book of Mormon in 20 minutes. As we were driving I felt really good about going to these apartments. We went and started knocking. The first person wasn't interested but, the second person answered the door. We started talking about the Book of Mormon and he said he hasn't read it but, has been wanting to look more into it. Cool! So we gave him a Book of Mormon. That makes 100! 

Transfers are usually on Wednesday, but we get a call on Monday saying that because of a storm they had to change it to Tuesday! So one day short of being with Sister Sorensen. Tuesday was pretty fun because while our companions all drove up in the transfer van to Richmond, Sister Bleak and Franks were my companions!
While we were together, there was a huge miracle! We texted someone last week named Steven. He was just a random number saved in our phone who had been taught about 2 years ago. Well, he decided to meet with us in downtown. We met up with him and he said he did studies about the mormon religion and one night got a DUI. He felt pretty bad about that and realized that his life is in a downward spiral right now, and he is going to need to change something. He knew that mormons were good people and that would be a great place to start. The missionaries taught him a little and then he kind of just stopped meeting with them. He asked us some really great questions. Why are you on your missions? How does the gospel bring peace? Tell me more about the priesthood. How do you know this is the only church with the priesthood?  He said he still wants to change his life but he isn't sure if this religion will help him. We asked if he would be willing to give it a shot. He said yes! He took a Book of Mormon and said he would read it. It was a really cool miracle. He was asking a lot of sincere questions. I love lessons like that!

We drove 30 minutes all the way out to Grottoes this week to go to an appointment with a new investigator and right as we got there she was driving away :( sad. So we started to tract this trailer park we were in and met Linda. She has a strong belief in Jesus Christ. She has been going to her church for the past 20 years. When we brought up the Book of Mormon she was immediately turned off by that and said she isn't into that stuff. We testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and how it testifies of Christ and will grow her testimony of Him. She then started to get interested. We were able to give her a Book of Mormon and by the time we left, she was excited to read it! Wow, the Spirit is super powerful and this work would be impossible without it. 

My new companions name is Sister Kirkby from Las Vegas. She is super sweet and a really good missionary. I am super grateful to have her as a companion for my last transfer. We have set some great goals and are ready to work our hardest every day! 
I am super duper grateful to be serving in Harrisonburg again for this transfer. I am loving the people we are working with and we have continued to see miracles every day! 
The more I think about my mission and the miracles I am able to see each day, the more I know that this truly is the Lords work. As we share the gospel we are preparing the world for the second coming of our Savior. What a special time to be alive! I know as we serve with all our heart to do the will of our Heavenly Father, we will know that this is His work. I know as we stay on the path and keep our covenants, we will have the opportunity to receive every blessing promised by our Father to His children. As we attend the temple, we are qualified to receive the greatest gift, eternal life. Let us live our lives with the end in mind. I know if we ever step off the path, there is always time to come back. Repentance is real, and as we rely on the Savior we will have peace. People in the world search for peace but they search in vain until the find Jesus Christ. The peace found by being made whole by the Savior cannot be replaced by anything else. "Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world." (Helaman 5:47
I love being a missionary with all my heart. What an amazing calling I have to help other find this peace! 

❤ Sister Ruffner

(We are pranking the sisters who live with us by putting Doby in their shower haha. Seriously he is pretty terrifying.)