Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sister Ruff Ruff

Wow what an AMAZING week. 
Transfer meeting was on Wednesday and my new companions name is Sister Franks and she came out with me! It has been really amazing to serve with her so far. She is such an amazing missionary. I am serving in the Glen Allen ward in Richmond. It is so good to be here in the heart of the mission with SO many people around to find and teach! 
New Address: 
6712 Miami Ave
Richmond, VA

Friday I we went to the missionary leadership council and I learned SO MUCH about being a missionary and about being bold and helping people to make and keep commitments. How to set expectations the first visit you have with them so they who you are and what your purpose is and what you are going to do to help them come closer to Christ. I am extremely grateful to be apart of the missionary council. I am so grateful to be able to serve around such amazing missionaries, I have learned so much from them already! 

As we were leaving from a lesson, we pass someone who was walking into the apartment complex we were walking out of. I hate to say it but... we walked past him and didn't say anything. Since he was prepared and we were supposed to talk to him, the Spirit told him to talk to us. He ran up to us and said, "Hey are you guys Mormons?" We said we were and he said that he has some coupons to give us. GREAT. But even better, he had met with missionaries when he lived in Rode Island, and said that his favorite part of the Book of Mormon was when King Benjamin gives his speech in front of all the people and they couldn't all hear it so he wen't on a tower. His name is Desmond and he pretty much new a ton about the Book of Mormon! We met with him again yesterday and he had already read the scriptures we asked him to. He shared some super powerful spiritual experiences. I am just so amazed at how prepared he is! I know that Heavenly Father cares about everyone and put his missionaries in the paths of those who need it. 

We had dinner with a less active on Thurday (after we had two lunches I might add) and Brother Rodriguez had a GIANT dog. While we were talking the dog decides to go right in between my legs. Like seriously I felt like I was riding a horse! This was probably the most awkward moment in the whole world. Also Sister Franks and I were literally praying as they gave us desert. Bite after bite after bite. I never thought I would say this, I am sick of eating!

On Thursday the missionaries have a Book of Mormon class. Here I was able to meet the amazing Senior Couple who also serves in our ward, the Schrecks. They are super funny and great missionaries. I was also able to meet some of the recent converts we are working with. One of them is named Everett and he is seriously so funny. He bore his testimony for the first time this Sunday and went to the temple this Saturday for his second time, so he is progressing really well! He gives all the missionaries nick names and mine is Sister Ruff Ruff haha. 

This week I have truly felt the Savior walking with me. I know that we are never alone. I am extremely grateful each day to tell others who I am. I am a representative of Jesus Christ. As I think about those words and what they mean, they give me a greater desire to become more like Him. "What does it mean to walk with the Lord? It means to do what He does, to serve the way He serves. He sacrificed His own comforts to bless those in need, so that's what we try to do. He seemed to take particular notice of people who were overlooked and even shunned by society, so we should try to do that too. He testified boldly yet lovingly of the true doctrine He received from His Father, even if it was unpopular, and so must we. He said to all, "Come unto me", and we say to all, "Come unto Him."" I know that as we serve others and act the way Jesus Christ would, others will come to know Him through you. What a blessing that is. 
Alma 29:9
"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." 
There is no work more rewarding than bringing others closer to Jesus Christ. To help them see their potential and who they can become. I know as we forget ourselves, and focus on others that is when we will truly become instruments in His hands. My joy is completely full every day as I serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day-saints. 

-Sister Ruffner

King George and the super small church building, the awesome empty nesters family home evening group, George Washingtons birthplace, and Colonial Beach!
Sister Franks, and our MLC meeting

Monday, July 31, 2017

Goodbye Already?!

Tuesday we met a lady who was outside gardening in her yard, she is from the Philippines and LOVES Jesus Christ. Her name is Karina and she loves the Bible and reads and prays everyday. She actually believes a lot of the same things we do. She saw our name tags and said "Sister Ruffner... you do look like a nun." What does that even mean? I don't know, I was wearing a purple dress, but anyway haha. She also said that we have Spirits with us helping us through the day and she said that Sister Fletchers angel is aggressive, and mine is very kind. Don't worry, Sister Fletcher and I laughed about it for a while after. 
When we wen't to do service at the Opp Shopp on Saturday, she was there! We walked up to Karina and she was super excited to see us! She said that she has been thinking about us a lot. She has a very busy schedule this week but said she was going to stop by the church on Sunday because it is just across the street. 

We have been teaching sweet Sister Gumm the temple prep lessons with Sister Waite and it has been such a cool experience. She is so close to going to the temple. She is doing everything she can to be able to be worthy and ready to go when the time comes. If things keep going the way they are right now, she should be able to go next week!

Lexie is 14 years old and has such a huge desire to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized! She has been taught by missionaries before with her mom. Her mom stopped taking the lessons but Lexie was still really excited to learn, she knows that this is true. She is reading the Book of Mormon each day and her parents said that she can get baptized on her 16th birthday so she really knows and understands what she is doing. So we put her on date to be baptized on November 26th, 2018. That will be such a special day considering she will have worked hard and waited for that special date. 

We went to have dinner at a members house this week and we drive up and see the house has a pink door. cute :) Then, when we go inside we see that everything is pink. They even have a big family portrait on the wall, and the mom, dad, and two sons all dressed in pink. The ceiling is pink, the couches and all the furniture is pink, chandeliers are pink (yes chandeliers in every room). Pretty much it was the greatest thing ever haha :)

Sunday was such a spirit filled day. President Smith and his wife came to our ward council meeting, gave talks in Sacrament meeting, and then for the third hour meeting we set up chairs in groups of four and did some role plays with the members. Helping them to be more comfortable with sharing the gospel with their friends. "I like my church because..." Sister Fletcher and I had to do a role play of the restoration using the pictures in the pamphlet in front of President and the ward! It was a little nerve wracking not going to lie. By the end there were members who were asking for Book of Mormons to pass out to their friends!
Sister Deel has someone who she has talked to a couple of times who is a Native American. She knows all about the Nephites and Lamanites but, doesn't know anything about the church or the Book of Mormon. How cool is that? The Book of Mormon is literally the history of her people! She is going to LOVE the Book of Mormon.

Saturday was transfer calls... we had no idea if either of us were going to get transferred or not because we had both just gotten into the area. We were just eating dinner and then we get a call from President! Sister Fletcher will be staying in King George and I will be leaving and have the opportunity of serving as a Sister training leader! I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father and giving me this opportunity to learn and grow even more. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of us, and cares about our progression. I know that is what we are here to do, to learn and progress. Which is not always an easy thing to do. This life is short and we can know that everything that we go through will be for our benefit, good or bad. He is in the details of our lives, and we will always have Him to help us through. I know that our Heavenly Father stands ready to give us anything we need to accomplish our purpose of mortality. I love my Heavenly Father with all of my heart, I love my Savior and am so grateful for all that He has done for me. I study and strive to use His example to shape my life every day. 

❤- Sister Ruffner 

Video (14) from tracie on Vimeo.

The Two Blonde Ladies

First of all, Happy Pioneer Day! 
I don't have a whole lot of time to email today because for pday we went and did a tour at the FBI Academy and that was really cool! 

But this week we had a lesson with a less active named Brother Posey. Three days after his baptism his wife decided that they should move to Colonial Beach and he hated it! Ever since then he decided that God has been out to get him and his life is so miserable. He can truly tell you what life is like without knowing you have a Heavenly Father who loves you. He doesn't understand the true purpose of life and what we are here to do. It is so important that even when life gets hard, you look for miracles and blessings in each day. Don't ever stop praying and don't ever stop believing because I know that Heavenly Father cares. Even in the hardest times, there is good to see in each day. It made me very sad and kind of frustrated to talk to him. No matter how many miracles and stories you share with someone, for them to know for themselves they need to experiment upon your words. You share your miracles and you tell them to pray and experience it for themselves. 

We go and see some returning members who live in a trailer park every week and come to find out that they now call us the two blonde ladies. This is a very low class trailer park and no one comes in and out ever. So we are now the talk of the trailer park which is pretty funny. There is another trailer park we go to and try to see some investigators often and there is always a crowd of these little black kids and they are seriously the cutest and always touching and wanting to play with our hair. They are going to talk to missionaries for sure when they get older because of how much we have seen them. :) 

Brenda is doing so good!!! We went to go see her and she has been reading the Book of Mormon. Come to find out, she was meeting with missionaries where she was living before, was coming to church and everything. Her husband (or boyfriend, not really sure) decided that they needed to move to this house on Colonial Beach and she gave up everything to come out here. Her job and her friends and the missionaries and the stores close by. So when she was in her new house, she went online to Mormon.org and ordered a Book of Mormon so the missionaries would come by. Her husband does not like the church and her car needs some fixing before she can get it inspected. We asked if she needs a ride to church and she said that if she tells her husband that this is really important to her, he will be more supportive in her coming. As we were on our way out, she tried to set us up with her son. Needless to say, I think she likes us!

Sunday was such a great Sabbath as always. Sister Fletcher and I gave the talks in sacrament meeting which was really good. I think it built up the trust in the ward which is so great! My talk was on missionary work so pretty much I had a lot to say about that :) 

Throughout my life as I have read the Book of Mormon and thought about the pioneers I have wondered if I would be able to give my life for this gospel. I would like to say that I would, this gospel really does mean so much to me. I think that this was more of a threat in the past, and if I am not going to die for the gospel, I need to live for the gospel! Elder Holland said, "That’s the easy part, to die for it. Well, what God needs is people who will live for it, people who will go the distance, people who are in this race we’re talking about that will go all the way to the tape. And some may die along the way and that’s wonderful, but He needs people who will finish the work. He needs people who will wrap this up, and that’s the pledge I make to you, and that’s the pledge He asked." 

I am so great full for this gospel and for the opportunity I have to share it with all who I come in contact with! 
"Someday “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” that God’s ways are just and His plan is perfect. For you and me, let that day be today. Let us proclaim, with Jacob of old, “O how great the plan of our God!”" Elder Uchtdorf

❤️ Sister Ruffner 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Why Do Missionaries Have Such Large Bladders?

'Cause they only have one P day!!! haha

Last week during our correlation with the ward mission leader, we randomly get a text asking if this is still the missionaries in King George. We had no idea who it was from so we looked it up in the area book and found out his name was Joshua. It had his address so on Tuesday we stopped by. He opened the door and told the loud children in the background, "It's the missionaries so go and play." Sister Fletcher and I look at each other... he must know who we are! He said that he has been reading the Book of Mormon and asked when and where our church is so that he can come. He normally works on Sundays but is going to find a way to get it off so that he can come to church! It is rare that an investigator continues to read the Book of Mormon even when the missionaries leave. He believes most of what we believe with a couple of snags. We are excited to find out what those are as we continue to meet with him and help him progress! I love when Heavenly Father leads the prepared people right to us. Seriously we didn't even do anything!

Another huge miracle was when we received a referral a while back but haven't been able to get in contact with her because she lives so far away and never answers her phone. So I was kind of loosing hope in this referral. Not going to lie, not to much of these work out anyway. BUT we stop by at a different time one day and she is there. We give her the Book of Mormon that she ordered and she was super excited! She has been chatting with missionaries on Mormon.org. Her husband who lives there isn't interested at all...yet. Her name is Brenda and she said that we can come over three times a week! She lives like 11 miles away but I am completely grateful to blow our miles so that we can go and see Brenda. Wow she is so prepared. Another super prepared person that we didn't really do anything to get! 

I went on exchanges with Hermana Schmachtenburger this week which was such a blast! She is such a diligent missionary who is working hard always. She is going home soon so I learned so much from her. It is amazing how much you can learn in only 24 hours. We spent some time in Fredericksburg and Stafford trying to find all those prepared people who speak Spanish! 

Let me tell you, the days have been extremely hot AND humid. It was 97 degrees on Saturday but with the humidity it felt like 128. We only went tracting for an hour but by the end I was dripping for sure. We had a dinner in Colonial Beach though so as we are doing some tracting there, it started to pour down rain. We were visiting a very spunky member named Netty and she was telling us how when the missionaries were teaching her she refused to stop smoking and drinking her coffee. She said that she was not going to quit. Well the missionaries told her that they were going to keep praying for her. One day as she was driving, she felt the smoke and the coffee in her throat. It was stuck there and she could barely breathe, it was just stuck. She prayed to Heavenly Father that night and told her that she would never smoke or drink coffee again and she hasn't. The thought makes her sick. I know that prayer works and that Jesus Christ truly can change our nature. I also know that he answers prayers because as we walk into dinner we were soaking wet and the sweet Cubbages gave us towels to dry off and I ended the night cooled off from the heat of the day.  

As we are ending the night last night, we get a call from Brother Johnson. He tells us that there is a family that he is going to see on Tuesday night that has less active parents and unbaptized youth and he wants us to come with him! This is exactly what I am talking about how members and missionaries can work together to strengthen the kingdom of God! I am seriously so excited! I think that the ward is finally trusting us. It took a little while to break the ice, but more people are feeding us now, and asking to come out with us, and so many great things! I love King George!

My testimony is growing and growing more and more each day. The more I learn, the more I know that there is still so much to learn! If that makes any sense... haha well I hope that you all have a great week! 

-Sister Ruffner

Video (13) from tracie on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Let Us All Press On

King George: the days are hot and humid #freckles
the ward is super amazing #hasteningthework
we still have a huge millipede problem in our apartment #gross
AND... I love it #blessed.

Monday we went to go see Penny. She is a less active who the ward council wanted us to go see. When we walked in, she was super excited to see us! (You really never know when it comes to less actives). The first thing she asked us to do was sing a song. We sang so many hymns with her and it was so great! She is such a sweet lady who has a desire to come back to church. She is going through quite a few rough things right now and needs more direction in her life, and also wants some for her daughter as well! Sometimes hard things happen, but we always know that they are for our benefit. 

The fourth of July we went to a ward breakfast at a members house. The whole ward was there which was so great because we were able to meet some new members and be able to get to know them better. We also met with another less active named brother Foster. The senior couple who were serving here before us would go and see him often. He was a talker let me tell you. He only has a couple things to work out and then is going to head back to the temple! To end the night, since every one is watching fireworks, we had district meeting while the rest of our zone went to get ice cream with President... Since we were so far away from everyone, we weren't invited. But it was a great meeting and I am excited to serve with our new district for this area! 

Wednesday was a very busy day, but the highlight was when we had interviews with President Smith. Wow he really has the best advice for everything and I am so grateful to be able to serve with such an amazing President. He also is going to come to our ward on Sunday July 30th and give a talk in sacrament meeting, and give a training on how we can work better together as members and missionaries! It is going to be so amazing! 

There is a returning member who we have been talking to a lot lately, her name is Sister Norton and she is the sweetest and cutest in the whole world. She lives in this little trailer in a trailer park, and she invited us over for dinner. It was very cramped but I wasn't complaining because she was so sweet to have us over and get some food for us. 

On Sunday a less active showed up at church named Joshua. He said that he got baptized when he was 15 years old and didn't even want to get baptized, his parents made him when they joined the church. Some really hard things have been happening in his life which made him show up at church today. Remember before when I said that we have great members here in King George? Well we do, and Brother Johnson invited us and Joshua over for dinner as well as some others in the ward and we were able to share the first lesson with them and invite Joshua to meet with us two times a week for four weeks. He said that he would! He hasn't been to church in about 15 years so he is a little rusty. He doesn't really have anything right now, but now at least he has a Book of Mormon! "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." 

Something I have learned this week is that no matter what others are doing around you, you can still choose to follow the commandments and make the right choices. Sometimes you have to be bold and stand up for what you believe in, but you never have to give in. There are no excuses to not following the commandments and there are no short cuts to Salvation. It is going to be hard for everyone. But I also know that if we follow our Savior in all that we do, we will be okay. We can have faith that our Savior has "overcome the world." I know that it isn't always easy to make the right choices and to keep all the commandments (especially the small ones) even when those around you aren't. I do know that when we do, we can have confidence in Heavenly Fathers plan for us, and when we return to Him we can gratefully say that we did it. It was hard, but I did it. "While perfection is not complete in this life, overcoming the world keeps our hope aflame that one day we 'shall stand before our Redeemer; and see his face with pleasure,' and here His voice: 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.'" As you strive to do all that is right, regardless of others, I know you will be blessed with the strength and the power to press forward. Always remember when you trust and follow our Savior, the devil "shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereone if men build they cannot fall." Don't ever give up, there is happiness and peace ahead. I know this is true! "Fear not, though the enemy deride; Courage for the Lord is on our side. We will heed not what the wicked may say, But the Lord alone we will obey." 


Sister Ruffner

Video (12) from tracie on Vimeo.

1st Week in King George 👑

SUPER happy to be serving in King George! They haven't had missionaries in a while so there are so many prepared people, in the ward and on the street! 

Tuesday we went to the funeral for the two year old boy in our ward who passed away last week. It was a very special event, this has really brought the ward together. As we were welcoming people into the chapel, a member of the ward council comes up to us and tells us that they have a less active member who wants the missionaries to come over and teach her daughter. So we are definitely going over there today! 

Wednesday we went on exchanges with the Hermanas, our sister training leaders, and we went tracting all day long so that was exciting haha. But I learned so much from Hermana Morgan about missionary work so it was worth it! The next day we headed straight over to zone conference where we talked a lot about faith and how our faith is what causes miracles, and when hard things happen it is Heavenly Father helping us have more faith. I am here to tell you that Heavenly Father answers prayers, not always in the way that you want to but in the way that is best going to help you grow into the person He knows you can become. 

We have been doing tons of contacting and trying to find people to teach, and having so much success! We went to a trailer park yesterday and found four new investigators! I didn't pass out 100 Book of mormons in June, but I'm not giving up until I have passed out 100. Hopefully by the end of this month I will have accomplished my goal. 
One miracle in particular, we were walking down the street in this trailer park (on the beach I might add) and a lady was sitting on her porch and we go up to her and she is super receptive! She lets us share our message and we shared a short restoration and give her a Book of Mormon and when we were sharing the first vision her eyes got all big and she really loved our message. It makes sense that God wouldn't leave us alone in this crazy world. We are going back to see her tonight! It is so great to know that there are prepared people in each of our areas in Virginia, and Heavenly Father is leading us right to them! 

This week I have been thinking a lot about why I am on my mission, and who I want to become. As I strive to learn all I can about Jesus Christ and how I can be more like him, I have focused a lot on how Jesus Christ served and taught those around him. But lately I've been thinking about why Jesus Christ taught and served the way He did. That should be my reasoning as well. D&C 100:4 "Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls." Jesus Christ suffered more than we can imagine for the salvation of souls. That is why I am out here, to give others that chance. I love my Savior and that is why I am here, I open my mouth and talk to everyone for Him. I am not out here for anything else. I am a missionary for my Savior because I love Him, and He loves the people in my area. "When the Savior taught, His purpose wasn't to fill time or unload a bunch of information. Everything He does- including teaching- is meant to lead others to His Father. The Savior's whole desire and mission is to save Heavenly Father's children. In our quest to teach as He did, we can learn to be motivated by the same purpose that motivated Him." My focus and purpose of my mission has changed over the past couple of weeks and I am striving everyday to be a more converted disciple of Jesus Christ and a more consecrated missionary for Him. As my one full year to be a missionary is half way over I reflect again on my goal to give every ounce of energy, every conscious thought, and every drop of passion to this work-- to submit my will to God's will whatever it may be. I know that as I give my all, it will only be a small repayment of His all. I know that as we work our hardest to follow Him that our weaknesses will become strengths. I am super grateful for my Savior and all He does for me!! 


Sister Ruffner 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Modern Day Pioneer

Saying goodbye to the people of Charlottesville was super sad, I have met so many amazing people that I am going to miss so much. Especially my companion, Sister Buchmiller! I love her to death and can't wait to see her again soon. So we are sitting in transfer meeting and they are calling off all the companionships of who is serving where. We get to the end and I think that they have forgotten about me... nope we were just the very last names called. 
I am now with Sister Fletcher and we are OPENING an area called King George. We are also the FIRST sisters ever to serve here. You could say the ward was excited! Not only do they have missionaries in the ward again, but they also have sisters! Our area is huge, it is about 40 miles long and people are spread out everywhere. Including the BEACH! Yes I get to go contacting on the beach and it is the greatest thing in the whole world. Seeing the people out boating in the bay makes me really miss Lake Powell, but I can't complain...
I feel like I am back in Tappahannock sometimes. The same people, the same country, the same couch (they took out some of the missionaries in Tappahonnock and moved it to our apartment). Since we are two tall blondes, you'd be surprised how many people want to take their pictures with us. 

Our apartment... major bug problem and I have to wear slippers everywhere I go, it is all wood floors, the water smells like rotten eggs, and I'm not complaining. I'm just saying if this wasn't the Lords work you would not find me here. The lightning bugs are still amazing though and I don't know how anyone could get sick of them. 

We have been doing our best trying to contact the investigators the previous missionaries had been teaching. They are all spread out way far so we had to figure that all out but as we were trying to find this one guy, we meet Nicole! She was sitting at the park watching her son play on the playground and we go and teach her a short restoration and she loved it! She accepted a Book of Mormon and is a stay at home mom so we are excited to go teach her again!

We were going to a less actives house and found out that they don't live there anymore but another family does who the parents mostly speak Arabic but let us in and wanted to talk about Jesus Christ. They asked what we do, why we come and teach others of Christ and what our goal was. They are new Christians and didn't know too much. We said that we bring other closer to Christ and a way to do that is to be baptized. They said that they wanted to be baptized. They want to come to the church. That was completely unexpected for sure. 

We also met Lexie! She is so sweet, she is 14 and LOVES the Book of Mormon. She wants to get baptized really bad but her parents won't let her until she gets older. Her step dad told her not to read the Book of Mormon and takes it away when he sees her reading it so she secretly reads it in her room at night. Her testimony is solid and she said her mom almost got baptized once but just couldn't give up coffee and tea. She is so sweet and has the best hair on the whole world. All the kids have giant curly purple afros. It is the greatest. 

So the first day we get to Kind George, we meet with the Bishop and this ward is super amazing. They already have so much missionary work going. Our second day here we have dinner with the Relief Society President named Sister Waite and her family. They have the cutest family with so many crazy, fun kids. The next morning, we get a text from our Ward Mission Leader telling us that the Waites youngest child drowned the night before. So on Thursday after we had dinner with the Waites, they wen't to scouts and then when they got home the kids must have gone out to play and their youngest son drowned. This was a complete shock, we literally saw the child that night! The ward had a prayer at the church on Thursday evening. The members were amazed at how many less actives came. It is amazing to see how much of a family your ward family can be. We all knelt down and the Bishop said a prayer and then some testimonies were given. Brother Waite told us that we would forever be tied to their family because we shared their last meal with him. 
How grateful I am to have to knowledge that we do of our Savior and all He does and has done for us! We can know that we will all live again and that we can all be together as a family forever. I know that this is true, and my testimony of it has been strengthened so much lately. I am so grateful for the peace that comes through the Savior. I know that Heavenly Fathers timing is perfect and he truly cares about all of His children. I am extremely grateful to be doing His work. It really wouldn't work any other way. 
I love my Savior, I love this work, I LOVE YOU ALL! 

Sister Ruffner 

New Address 
10424 Cherry St. #102D
King George, VA