Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Zone P-day again, but instead of doing it in the morning we switched to the evening and so we could go caroling :) It was fun going caroling with the whole zone I didn't think I would be able to go caroling this year. We then did a gift exchange and gave each other fun useless things haha. 
Christmas Conference! This was so amazing! We did a giant skype call with one of the missionary trainers from headquarters and he talked to us about the new technology that we are able to use on our mission. What a time to be a missionary! We then had another skype call with the football recruiter for a college out here (i can't remember which one) he talked about how during our adversity we need to look at it with an eternal perspective. That was cool and then so many amazing musical numbers. Wow this mission is talented. The whole mission was there and it was so good to see sister Johnson and sister Tibbits. 
We did lots and lots of service and delivering cookies to our investigators and painting doll houses and making more cookies. Then we were going to do correlation at the church and the ward mission leader was babysitting his grandkids so he couldn't come. So, we did correlation over face time! It was really cool because he wasn't able to come, but we were still able to do correlation. 
Yay! This day was full of miracles! So we did weekly planning just like all Thursdays. This was another one of those really awesome planning sessions totally led by the Spirit. I am so excited to go teach these lessons that we planned. Just have to wait for people to get home from family for the holidays. Then we went to go see this less active who wasn't home so we went tracting a little bit. We ran into this guy named Tyler who is wondering about God so we were able to have a short lesson on his porch and get is information. Yay! I haven't been able to teach a lesson in a couple to days so that was really awesome. Then we wen't to go see a family who we have only met the kids and we go back all the time and the mom either is busy or isn't home. This was their last chance and then we were going to drop them. We knocked on the door three times and then the mom finally opened the door! It was amazing! She is so prepared, when I pulled out the Book of Mormon and asked her to read it she was like, "Wow this is so tiny! I was expecting you to pull out this big Bible. Of course I will read it!" haha It was really great :) We also were finally able to catch this part member family who we have been trying to get in contact with. We taught a short lesson and they said they would call us to set up a time to come over when the whole family is going to be there. ALSO, the Dabneys, every time we go to their house there is someone else there. We just want to see Doug again! We have taught Doug, his sister Jane, and his son Isaiah. Tonight when we went to go see him though, Doug was there and we were able to teach him about the Book of Mormon and give him one. He said that he would read some of it before we come back (after the holidays of course). 
We went tracting in the morning and the first house we knock on they are like, oh the sisters and let us in. We were really confused and kind of nervous that we were walking into a members house and didn't know it. But, they aren't members there were two daughters and a mother there and we showed them the Christmas video. Then, they started asking lots of questions about our church and what we believe. (So they aren't members, they just have seen the missionaries a lot which is weird because they didn't know anything) We talked a lot about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. The two daughters were really interested and wanted to read the Book of Mormon to see what we were talking about. They love Jesus Christ and think it is cool that there is another testament of Him. They are just visiting from college, and one of them is good friends with another member who is visiting home from college. We set up a lesson with both of them and are going back on Tuesday! We also went caroling again with the just district! 
Christmas eve! Today my companion woke up very sick. So we spent the day at the doctors office. You would be surprised how busy it was for Christmas eve. I was able to drive though which was amazing! ( I really missed driving) I was able to go on a mini exchange for a couple of hours so I didn't have to stay in the apartment all day. Then we made cookies and wrote lots of letters for members and investigators so we could deliver them. We had dinner with the Lawrence's and read Luke 2. It was fun to do that with a crazy family because it felt more like home. Sister Stoker and I opened one present, watched the nativity and slept on the couches to wait for Santa (one of Sister Stoker's family traditions)
Christmas day! We woke up and opened all our presents. Thank you everyone who sent me packages and letters you are amazing!! Church was from 10-11. It was combined with all three wards and so some of it was Spanish. We went through the story of Jesus Christs birth. Sister Mcghee's husband came, his first time coming to church! He is not a member but loves it when we come over. He started talking with Brother Marker and he was pretty much taught all the lessons in 20 minutes haha. Brother Marker is such a good member missionary :) We went to lunch and watched a family open all of their presents under the tree which was so special! Then to see Sister Linthacum. Oh how I love to go see Sister Linthacum, she has dementia and lives in a nursing home. She is so funny, and is great at sharing the gospel with the other residents. Dinner at the Helzers, and calling my family! That was so special. It was good to see all of your faces, and hear all of your voices! And another dinner at the Markers with homemade burritos with homemade tortillas. yum. 

Well that is an overview of my whole week. I hope it wasn't too long but I just had to share :) I love and miss you all so much! I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing in my life right now. I love missionary work! I love being a missionary and helping my Father in Heaven accomplish his goal, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and being able to testify of Him every day, at every doorstep. It was so special to celebrate His birth while on my mission. I know that Jesus Christ lives! I am so thankful for all He did and still does for me every day. 

Love you!
Sister Ruffner

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Oh Let us Teach you the Gospel...

Monday was Zone Pday which was lots of fun! We got together with the
whole zone and played volleyball and dodgeball and lightning and a
game called Oompa. It was fun to spend the day with some fellow
missionaries. My companion Sister Stoker twisted her ankle pretty bad
a couple of days before so she wasn't able to play.
Of course to end the day we go tracting. One guy said that we could
come back tomorrow which was really nice. Another guy had met with the
missionaries before, like a lot. He has been in the lobby in the
temple to wait for some missionaries to do a session. Because of his
visits with the missionaries he decided to become a preacher and now
goes to lots of different churches and preaches. The told us that we
are the church, I don't go to church because I am the church. I asked
if he disagreed with what the missionaries taught him. He said that he
does and went off for a long time about religion now days and some
things that are different. He thought we were just God's creation, not
children. Which made me really sad! Because we are His children and he
loves us so much!!

We finally got a member out with us! The holiday season is crazy and
it is hard to get members out with us. Sister Grover and her little
girl Bonnie came with us. Bonnie is three and she would go up to the
door and start ringing the doorbell and we would stop her and then she
would try to go walk into their house haha. We had a list of formers
that we were going to go see, but none of them were answering the
door. There was one lady named Christie talking on the phone out in
the street and she was having a very serious phone call, swearing and
yelling. But we walked up to her and started talking to her and she
hung up the phone and talked to us and she was super nice and sweet.
She is in a really rough patch in her life right now. She is renting a
room in this house, but they are kicking her out in two weeks so she
needs to find a place to live and things like that. She said that she
loves Jesus Christ so much and that she prays every night. She doesn't
have a church that she goes to though. So I asked her if she would be
interested in building a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ and
going to church. She said yes that is what she really needed right
now, she asked us if we could come back tomorrow. Of course we said
yes, I know that the gospel is going to help her and bless her life so
much! Cute Bonnie went up to her and gave her a big hug (she is not a
shy little girl) and that softened Christie's heart a ton. Sister
Grover is so sweet, she fed us lunch after and made us some hot
chocolate and muddy buddies :)
We went to go do service at Carriage Hill which is an senior
living/rehab facility. We helped them play Bingo. This made me very
very tired haha. But I did see a guy there with six fingers!
Off to dinner at the Pratts. They were such a cute nice family. A
young family with two little girls and a little boy who just talked
your ear off. We had breakfast for dinner which was so good because I
think the last time I had pancakes was like a week before I left to
the MTC (thanks dad). We shared the Mormon message, the Reason Behind
Christmas and had everyone pick a gift that they are going to give
Jesus this Christmas. "I'm not going to brag about my presents."
There is this super nice lady named Sister Kozak and her husband died
this last week so now she is all alone and is having a rough time. So
we went to go see her and lift her spirits and make cookies.
We got to do 12 week training with sister Sylvester and sister Lane
tonight which was lots of fun. I like meeting and studying with other
missionaries :)

District Meeting! We had district meeting today at 10 and I gave a
training on the Atonement and how we can relate it to our
investigators and to ourselves as missionaries. I was so excited to
give this training because I have been studying the Atonement a lot
the past couple of weeks. The Atonement is the biggest most amazing
thing that has ever been done in the entire world. The greatest thing
about the Atonement is that it not only allows us to be forgiven of
our sins, but it gives us strength beyond our own.
We had dinner with the Torricos, and Brother Torrico gave us the most
hilarious advice. He told us to set up a booth at the mall with a sign
that said "Can we give you our number...?" Probably not the best
advice. But, then again, Brother Torrico is always telling us to break
curfew to teach the gospel at their parties. Haha

Anyway I don't have a lot of time today but here are some things from
my week. I am so excited for Christmas on Sunday!
Love you tons!
Sister Ruffner

Video (1) from tracie on Vimeo.

Video 2 from tracie on Vimeo.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Church is True

Hello hello hello!

Some fantastic things that happened this week...
We finally had our first FaceTime lesson! It was with Doug who has had
three kids serve missions and his whole family are members. He hasn't
read the Book of Mormon though, so we have been reading with him. So
we face timed him and read 1 Nephi chapter two. (Yes two, he read
chapter one on his own!) it's so cool how you can still feel the
spirit so strongly even through an iPad. I love being a missionary
right now with the tools that we have. He said the closing prayer and
called the Book of Mormon the word of God, so I'm pretty sure that he
knows the church is true but is just being stubborn. But how great
would it be if he got baptized! Then his whole family could be sealed
together in the temple!

Belleh his from Camaroon in Africa. Oh my gosh he is so cool. He used
to be dirt poor in Africa and went to college and then went to Europe
to get his masters and now he is here. He is a professor teaching
business and stats and Mary Washington right now. He has been
investigating the church for about 3 years. He said that once he
started reading the Book of Mormon everything changed. The Book of
Mormon is so powerful! He talked to his mom about him becoming a
Mormon and she wasn't happy about it but, he realized that it is his
choice and it is something that he wants. We invited him to come to a
baptism that was happening in another ward and he came! We had a short
lesson about baptism before and I asked him why he wanted to be
baptized and he gave this beautiful testimony! He is so ready and on
date for January 21st. After he gets back from Camaroon for the

On Thursday we did exchanges and I went with sister Garrigues to the
YSA ward in Fredericksburg which was so fun! I learned so much from
her. It was lots of fun teaching and meeting with people my age. I was
able to go to the street right in front of campus and did some street
contacting. I LOVE street contacting! No one can slam doors in your
face and they have to talk to you and everyone was really nice anyway.
We got 2 new investigators that day and passed out tons of the light
the world cards. YSA people are the best because they are still trying
to figure out what they believe and are way more open. I hope I can
serve YSA at least once on my mission. I was also able to go to
institute! We talked about faith hope and charity which was awesome :)

I seriously love President Smith so much! We had interviews this week
and I learned so much from him! Something that Brother Mills said when
he visited from headquarters is that when the apostles are looking at
your picture to decide where you should be called for your mission a
lot of times they say, "that person needs to be with President
whatever." I definitely believe that I was called to be with President
and Sister Smith.

This week for Christmas I have been studying the Atonement in the Book
of Mormon and I have gained an even greater love for my Savior Jesus
Christ and my Heavenly Father. I know that they love us so much. They
want so badly for us to be able to live with them again and they are
constantly helping us through our lives so that we make the choices to
be able to do that. I know that my Savior lives and is walking beside
me and helping me as I do this work. I love this holiday season so
much! What a great time to be a missionary! The best way to keep
Christ in Christmas is to love and serve others. Light the world!

Love you guys!
Sister Ruffner :)

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Work is Hastening

Hello everybody! Oh my gosh I just cannot believe that it is p-day again already! Wow this week flew by so fast. You know I am just so glad that I get to be a missionary full time. It is crazy never getting a break and sometimes you just want to take a nap and chill for a little while, until you get to a house that has the most prepared person you have ever met before. There are so many people out here who just slam the door in your face, but there are also people out here who are searching for the gospel. Searching for something constant in this constantly changing world that is going to make them happy. That is what we have! That is why I am out here serving a mission because Heavenly Father loves His children so much and He wants them all to return and live with Him again. If I can help them do that then that is just so great. This week was filled with finding miracles. Our days can go really rough but they always end with a miracle, God is really looking out for His missionaries.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!” --Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Christina is someone who we found last week and oh my gosh is she prepared. She has two kids and a fiance. She grew up Catholic, but doesn't really like what they are teaching. She doesn't believe that it is true. She told us that she has so many questions, and she really wants to get back to church. Her kids are at the age where they are starting to ask her about God and she doesn't know what to tell them! We told her that we have the answers that she is looking for. I am so grateful that we were led to her last week and we were able to see her again. This was a short restoration get to know you lesson and I am so excited to go teach her more!

Thursday was such an amazing day! We woke up at regular time but had to be at the church at 8:00am and the stls took us up to Richmond because we got invited to this super cool Mlc meeting. It wasn't just any meeting though, the Presidents from the missionary department from headquarters in salt lake came, they talk to apostles and things like that about missionary work. They came and taught us as well as the president and his wife. Only 40 companionship's were invited and sister Stoker and I are SO blessed to be able to go! It was such an amazing experience! We are able to use FaceTime and Skype now in our mission! That way it will solve so many problems like not having enough miles and members being too busy to come out with us, or investigators being to busy to meet with us. It will be even better than a phone call but it can be a face to face call! I am seriously so excited! I know that the Lord is hastening his work even more. This isn't going to change missionary work or anything but we can now have daily contact with our investigators without it being weird or overbearing. We already have texting and calling but this is so much better. We can even skype multiple people onto the same video message so that we can have a member and the investigator all together, even if they don't have time to leave their home and all get together. This is also a great way for returned missionaries to be able to stay involved in their investigators lives and lessons as well. I have felt the spirit so strongly in this meeting and I am so excited to be a missionary at this time in the world right now. The Lord said that He is going to hasten His work. This is the hastening! What a time to be a missionary. They also focused a lot on how planning is the key to missionary work. Planning= revelation. If you want to get the ratio of baptisms to the number of investigators to lower than you need to plan. For the mission right now you need 51 investigators to get one baptism. They predict that if we really take planning seriously and use all the tools we have to the fullest, that number will drop by half. One mission got the ratio from 9:1. On a mission we want people to progress, we need to teach according to needs. We won't find more people to teach but we will get more baptisms. 
I received a lot of revelation and a lot of answers to my prayers during this meeting. I am beyond grateful that I was able to go to it. I now know even more fully, that God is managing the fine details of our lives! I know that God loves His missionaries. The Lord is continually blessing us with tools to bring even more people to this gospel! 
Since we couldn't weekly plan yesterday because we were at the meeting all day, we did on Friday. It was the best planning session I have ever done in my entire life! After the meeting we had on Thursday, I thought of planning in a whole new way. It was all about the investigators and what they really need. I felt the Spirit so strongly as I was planning and received so much revelation for our investigators that day. We didn't have as much time to go proselyting, but it was one of the most spiritual days I have ever had! I know that planning is the key to baptisms and successful missionary work. 

Saturday was one of those days where NOTHING WORKED OUT. We started off the day great with a zone meeting which was amazing, then lunch with our investigator named Doug. After that, every lesson fell through and people just slammed the door in our face over and over again. But hey, what is missionary work without days like this? There has to be opposition in all things. The sour makes the sweet even better, right?

Sunday my favorite day of the week, and it was fast Sunday so even more blessings! We fasted all day and were so hungry when dinner rolls around and go to our dinner appointment and it ends up being another late thanksgiving. A Polynesian thanksgiving. Yes, we were stuffed leaving and so grateful! They even gave us four plates of leftovers haha.  
Today we found 4 new investigators! The greatest feeling is when you know that you need to tract this one street, and then you tract for a while and people are not interested and you keep tracting and then finally, you find the person. The person who is so prepared. Kiera opened the door and said come in! Her friend died a year and two days ago and she has really been thinking about God and what His plan is for us. She really wants to know what God wants her to do so that she can be a better person. She even told us that this was not a coincidence! We came to her door for a reason and I know that we were led there! 
You know it is the greatest thing when the kids can talk to us because the kids know who we are! There are so many times when we go to someones house and the kids are so excited to talk to us and the parents are all like, this really weird she is normally really shy. The kids are always excited to talk to us. If we could just teach the children that would be so amazing because they feel the Spirit so easily. 

Wow missionary work is like being on a roller coaster all day every day. Something that I learned this week is that our message is not the restoration. It is that Jesus Christ lives and He performed the Atonement for us and because of that we can live with our Heavenly Father again. The good news of the message is that the gospel has been restored. We need to not ever change our focus from our Savior Jesus Christ. Just like when Peter was walking on water, when we change our focus to other things that is when we are going to sink. "But Joseph Smith had multiple wives." That is irrelevant. Don't focus on commandments, focus on why Jesus Christ wants me to do this. Jesus Christ has always been the central part in Gods plan. I love my Savior Jesus Christ with all of my heart and I am so grateful for all he has done for me. Remember, that God is in the details of our lives! He loves you so much and with Him we can do and be anything! 

Don't forget to light the world! In 25 ways, over 25 days. I know that if you serve just like Jesus Christ and become more like Him, it will make this holiday season so much better! Check it out on mormon.org

- Sister Ruffner 

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Book of Mormon is True!

So my new companions name is Sister Stoker and I love her so much! So thankfully I am not training a greenie (a brand new missionary) I am co-training with Sister Stoker who came out with me! So we are the same age in mission years and are training each other. It has been an amazing experience so far. Neither of us really know what we are doing half the time so I have learned to rely on my Heavenly Father even more than I ever have before. I can say that I know this is His work and that He loves His missionaries. I know that He is guiding us to where He needs us to be and I am so grateful for that. We are going to see so many miracles!

On Tuesday I finished packing up everything I own and taking it to Richmond to the transfer meeting. We started with a trainers meeting for all of the trainers and then they let the greenies in and paired them up with their trainers. I was now sitting alone because I am not training a new missionary. I had to wait until transfer meeting to get my new companion. It was weird not having a companion for a couple of hours. But we had lunch and I talked with three other missionaries who I had come out with, who are also training. I really wanted to know what was going to happen, who my new companion was, and where I was going. Finally we have transfer meeting and they announce that I am going to the Chancellor ward in Fredricksburg and I am companions with Sister Stoker! 

Things about my new area that differ from Tappahannok: 
There are neighborhoods with houses right next to each other!
The ward feeds us every night
There are lots of stores
Most people know about Mormons
The church actually has benches 
It reminds me more of home

There is a man named Ray that we taught. He started to read the Book of Mormon and he prayed about it and wanted to know more, so he turned to Google... :( He typed in Joseph Smith and now he thinks that Joseph Smith is this terrible person. He is so caught up on everything that he has read online that he won't read the Book of Mormon! He says that he wants to believe the Book, but he just can't because he doesn't have any evidence. He kept asking us how we know it is true. We bore our testimonies over and over again but he just wouldn't accept it because it wasn't tangible proof. We told him that the Book of Mormon is tangible proof! and that if he read it the whole way through that he would know. I really hope he just gives it a chance. 

Thanksgiving was so much fun! We went to the Helzers, and the Grovers and sister Boggs and her son Jarom were there too. It was good to be there, it felt like one big happy family. And I got to try Sister Grovers famous apple pie, which I must say was deeeelicious. :) We talked about everything that we were grateful for which is always nice to reflect. Later that night we went to another members house and had some pie and shared a video about Jesus Christ and shared how thankful we are for Him. I cannot imagine a life without Jesus Christ, I am so thankful for everything that he has done for me and still does for me. 

On Friday we visited this less active named Sister Rees. She was having a really rough time. She just didn't want to go to church, her life has been really hard lately and she felt like she just didn't belong there. Sister Stoker and I taught a really powerful lesson on the Atonement and showed her my favorite mormon message of all time, Mountains to Climb. She cried a lot and said that it is exactly what she needed to hear. We asked her if she needed help with anything and she said that she really needed her leaves raked and her kids wouldn't do it. So we went back on Saturday to rake the leaves and oh my gosh it was so fun! I have never had so much fun raking leaves before. Just the feeling of helping someone who really needed it was so so good. Then as we were raking one of her sons comes running out to help us. He was a really funny kid. We made a super big leave pile and filled up 9 bags of leaves! It was a lot of work! 

As we were tracting on Friday, we were on this street and I just didn't feel good about it. My companion also was not sure what to do so we said a prayer and both decided to go to another street somewhere else. We got in the car and decided on Basil Ct. It felt so good to be there I was practically skipping from house to house. It was weird, I have never been so happy to tract before. We talked to a couple people, no special conversations or lessons or anything. Then our time for tracting was almost up, but I had seen someone in the blue house go to get the mail, and so I knew they were home. We went and knocked on the door and a man came outside and sat on his porch and let us teach him! He was a super nice guy and is interested in coming to our church! His name is Mike and we started to teach him the Restoration but he interrupted like half way through, but we are definitely going back there! 

Funny moment told from companions point of view: 
"So, we got gas today, and had to go into the store
to get our receipt, but as we were walking back to the car, this car
pops up OUT OF NOWHERE. So, being the scaredy cat that I am, I yelp
(it wasn't a full-on scream) and jump a little bit. Well, Sister
Ruffner, no joke, flies off of the ground! Literally, it was like 2
feet! It was hilarious! We laughed for like 20 minutes!! 😂 Anyways,
that's all."

We wen't to see this man named Doug. His whole family are members, but he just doesn't beleive in organized religion. So I am so excited to work with him. He even came to church on Sunday! He only stayed for sacrament but, yay! He thinks that our church is the closest one to what Christ would have wanted, so we are so close! He even had two kids go on missions. 

Sunday was a really rough day. Church was amazing and the lessons were amazing and everything. I said the opening prayer for sacrament, they also made me stand up in front of everyone so they could all see the new missionary for the ward. Sister Stoker and I got to teach Gospel Principles which was fun, I knew how to do that haha ;) But we wen't tracting and got caught in this couples house and were bombarded with how our religion isn't true for like an hour. He would not let us leave! They thought that we don't have prophets today because after Christ came, everything was done. They don't even believe in miracles! How sad is that?! People take the Bible so literally. Then we kept tracting and getting shut down. Finally we were driving down this street and we see someone on their porch and we almost run to them because God puts prepared people on our path! He had never heard of Mormons before! What a relief! It was so cool to teach him. We felt a lot better after that and kept tracting. We made 3 return appointments that night! How amazing! I truly know that Heavenly Father loves His missionaries, and is watching out for us. 

"The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly it ill carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrow and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him-- the Way, the Truth and the Life." - Elder Holland

I have never had my testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon more tested in my entire life. Wow there are so many people out here who just do not like the Book of Mormon and who really do not like Joseph Smith. I have done so much study on the Book of Mormon this week. I know without a doubt that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and translated the Book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and no matter how hard people try to convince me other wise, it just isn't going to work. If you want an idea of what people are like out here, read 2 Nephi 29. After the crazy week that I have had, and the people that I have met, this chapter gave me a lot of comfort. Heavenly Father knew that this would happen, and He knew that people were going to act this way. I also know that there are people out there who are prepared and I am determined to find them. I love my Savior and I love this work! Check out the new Christmas video on mormon.org and Light the World! 

All my love, 
Sister Ruffner

New address: 
11816 Forbidden Forest Cir. Apt. 303 Fredericksburg VA 22407
(yes I live in the forbidden forest)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Goodbye Warsaw

WHAT A WEEK! I have so many thoughts and feelings right now. I can not believe that I have been out on my mission for 2 months today. Also, my first transfer is over. Wow it is so crazy how time flies!

On Wednesday this week we did exchanges with the sister training leaders. I went with sister Manson in Mechanicsville until Thursday. It was lots of fun serving in a different area with a different companion for a day. It is a little less country in Mechanicsville which was nice. We went to see a less active family and they let us in (which is unusual for them) and we shared a message with them! They also decided to take us to Chick-fil-a for dinner, which was such a huge treat! The only places to eat in Warsaw are Mcdonalds and Hardees and ya those places are not my favorite. Anyway... I had lots of fun doing exchanges this week!

You know what it feels like when you are super excited for something to happen but you aren't sure what is going to happen and you don't know if it is going to be good or bad so you are just really anxious and nervous and excited all at the same time and you really just can't wait any longer?! Well that is what this whole week has been but Saturday especially. We got transfer calls on Saturday, and if you get a call from the President that means you are getting some kind of leadership position, if you get a call from one of the Presidents assistants then you are getting transferred to a new area, and if you don't get a call nothing changes and you both stay there. Well, Saturday at around 4:30 we get a call from PRESIDENT! Oh my gosh my heart was racing so fast. My companion Sister Tibbits is staying in Tappohannock and training a new missionary. I am being TRANSFERRED to a new area and I AM TRAINING!!!!!! For those of you who don't know, when you first come out on your mission, you go through 12 weeks of training. Either with the same companion or sometimes a new one, but you still are in training for 12 weeks. I HAVE BEEN OUT FOR 6 WEEKS. I am only halfway done with my training so ya, I am still not sure what to think.

In college when I was called as Gospel Doctrine teacher, I thought that I was called to help me learn how to teach by the Spirit, which it did. But I think what it also taught me was to trust that Heavenly Father knows what He is doing. To trust that when I have been called to do something scary, I am not alone and I have divine help to accomplish everything that the Lord asks me to do. I know that I am supposed to be a trainer at this point in my mission. I full heartedly know that I can not do this by myself. I feel like I keep learning again and again that I can do hard things that scare me with Jesus Christ. I have already used the Atonement every day in my mission but I am learning how to really use it to strengthen me. I know that through Jesus Christ our weaknesses can be turned into strengths. I trust my Heavenly Father with all of my heart and I am so ready to start this new adventure on my mission. I don't find out who my companion will be or where I am going until tomorrow at the transfer meeting. So I will let you guys know next Monday!

Yesterday was a crazy day saying goodbye to everyone at church. They were all like, "But you just got here!" Which is true, just one transfer in an area is so fast! I am going to miss the ward and the people that we have been teaching. At the beginning of this transfer I was not too happy being put out here in the middle of the country, but I have grown to love it so much! 

Last night was such a crazy night! We went to the German's to say goodbye and German had made us "something special" to say thank you for everything we have done for him and his son. But when we got to his house, his brother and his wife were not there. Which means that there was no female in the house and we were not able to go in. Last time Sister Tibbits tried to explain to him that we can't come in without another female there because it is the rule, he got really offended. With the language barrier he just didn't understand. So we said that we would be right back and drove to the nearest member, but she wasn't home and she wouldn't answer her phone! We did not know what to do! We either had to break a rule, lie and tell him we have an emergency and can't stay, or try to explain why we can't come in and hope that he doesn't get offended. I finally suggested that we say a prayer. I just started explaining to God what was happening and that we needed help and we didn't know what to do. Sister Tibbits and I made the conclusion that we needed to head back to German's house and try to explain why we couldn't come in. On our way home I kept having the thought, when you get back to his house German's brother and wife are going to be there. But I thought I was just wishful thinking. When we got back to German's house, a car started to follow us down the road and pulled into Germans driveway right behind us! It was German's brother and his wife! Yay! What a huge miracle. I know that God hears and answers prayers! We were able to go inside and eat the nice meal that he made for us. The funny thing is, German had no clue what had just happened. Both German and his son said that they are going to miss me. German Sr. said that his house is our house and if we ever need a place to stay to just come over and he will go outside so that we can stay in his house. He is seriously so sweet! I always have the best time meeting with them. We also had a random extra spanish Book of Mormon we gave to Germans brother!

Since Thanksgiving is on Thursday, I want to make a short list some things I am grateful for: 
My Savior Jesus Christ
My family
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Book of Mormon
That I am able to be a missionary
Prophet Thomas S. Monson
My testimony
The Holiday Season
Pumpkin Pie :)

I love you all and am so grateful for all of the opportunities that I have had while being on my mission so far. I am so excited for the ones to come. I know that this is the Lord's work and it will always keep moving forward, even with someone like me being a trainer. I hope that you all have such a happy Thanksgiving!!

- Sister Ruffner

Thursday, November 17, 2016

But Baby it's Cold Outside

Remember how I talked about the Hallowclean? Well it was a contest and
Sister Tibbits and I won for our zone! Our apartment is so homey and
we even put up the Christmas tree which makes me so happy. It is
getting colder and colder as the days go by. When we woke up the other
day and looked outside everything was white! It was all frost, it
hasn't snowed yet but it is very cold! Which normally would be a bad
thing, but people feel bad for us when we knock on the door and let us
in out of the cold.

That crazy part member family that I taught on my very first day here,
well we have been teaching their daughter named Kiersten all of the
lessons. She has the sweetest spirit and decided to get baptized! It
was such a special moment for her she was so excited and ready. She is
9 years old and it has been so fun going to teach her and her family
all of the lessons. I know that she will set a good example for her
parents and her siblings as she lives righteously.

I don't think I have ever talked about Ella before, but Ella is an
older woman who has grown up in the Pentecostal church. Her dad was
the minister but has since passed away. That is the thing that is
holding her back the most from being baptized, she feels like she
would be betraying her father. She always keeps her reading
commitments and things like that and she knows that our church is true
but she just doesn't want to change. We invited her to the baptism and
she actually came! It was such a wonderful surprise! She came 30
minutes early so that we could give her a church tour before the
baptism. Of course the time we have an investigator here for the
baptism, Kierstens family is 40 minutes late! Ugh It was not a great
first impression but she was able to stay and see the baptism
performed. I think she was surprised at how simple it was. But she
enjoyed it and I am excited to follow up with her.

We have also been teaching a girl named Paula. She loves God and loves
the scriptures! She loves it so much when we come and visit her, she
also has a disability so she is always home when we come over. Which
is so so nice (and sad) People are never home, seriously everyone here
is just way to busy or is avoiding us a lot. I like to say that they
are just really busy. :) Anyway, she was having a rough day the other
day and we went and talked to her about Gods love for her and that she
can be with her family again. She can be with her family forever
through the temple. We invited her to be baptized and she said yes
that she would work towards her date! Now we just have to figure out
how we are going to get her to church with her wheelchair...

I finally finished the cigarette box that we made for Janice! I really
hope that it helps her. She is getting so much better but still has to
quit before she can go to the temple. She loves to invite her friends
to church which is so fun! She is such a great member missionary. :)

In case you forgot, I love being a missionary! This work is so
important and so special! My testimony grows more and more everyday. I
miss and love you all! Happy Thanksgiving!

Sister Ruffner