Monday, November 7, 2016

Everyone a Missionary

Oh my gosh has it already been a week since I emailed you last? Wow this week has gone by so fast! Time sure flies when you're having fun. 

The leaves are changing here and it is absolutely beautiful! Oh my gosh there are so many trees and they are all turning orange and yellow and red! I seriously love the fall so much.

This week we had something called return and report where all the trainers and trainees go to a meeting together in downtown Richmond. Which means that my first transfer is half way over! Crazy right? I feel like I am still a newbee not knowing what I am doing, but at the same time, I feel like I have been here for years and years. It was so awesome because I was able to see Sister Johnson my MTC companion who I missed so much! She is seriously the best! We had a couple meetings and then we got a new companion for the next two hours and went out street contacting on the streets of downtown Richmond which was pretty sketch but SO many people to talk to! Seriously there were so many people. It was a dream! In the Tappahannok area where Sister Tibbits and I are right now, you can walk down the street for hours and run into probably 2 or 3 people. There really aren't sidewalks either so that is a problem. Anyway we sometimes run out of people to teach. We have tracted every single street in Warsaw (which is where are apartment is) and we are limited in miles so it is hard to drive other places. Anyway, the whole talk to everyone thing kind of stressed me out in the big city. My new companion for the day was sister Rowndy who was super nice and sweet! Another thing about Tappahannok is that no one is really ever in a hurry. In Richmond everyone was running around and no one had time to talk so we decided to talk to this nice girl just sitting eating an ice cream cone. We talked to her and she said that she had met with the missionaries before but then moved. So we gave her a little restoration lesson and gave her the Book of Mormon and got her number to give to the missionaries who actually serve in Richmond! It was seriously so awesome! Richmond was crazy and I was so exhausted by the end of the day. (Luckily I got a whole extra hour of sleep on Saturday night) Whoever serves in Richmond always has people to teach and find! You also really have to practice teaching in 30 seconds because that is all people will give you. You have to have tough skin to be a missionary in the city. Overall it was such a great experience! 

The day after we had a zone meeting which was a huge spiritual uplift. It was good to see and talk to other missionaries. We talked about our mission vision which is, 
We will act to teach repentance and baptize converts to meet the potential the Lord has for us. 
I love this because we need to act to teach. Which takes so much faith! Something I have learned is that you have to have so much courage and be bold to be a missionary. Not only talking to people but inviting them to do things, and being devastated when they don't keep their commitments. But I also know that this gospel is so important, and it is so important to give everyone the chance to either accept it or reject it. The only thing that I can do is to try my very hardest and the Lord will do the rest. Continuing to change and become better and continuing to look for the prepared people to teach, and continuing to grow my faith. President Hinckley taught, "Just do the best you can, but be sure it is your very best. Please don't nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept your effort." I love this so much! When we can't find people to teach, and people are rejecting us, I can know that I tried my best and that is all I could have done. People have their own agency to do what they want. I also think that the Lord isn't just preparing other people to be taught the gospel, He is preparing and refining me. So that when I do run into that person I need to teach, they will be prepared to hear the gospel and I will be prepared to teach it to them. Everything has a purpose. No effort is wasted. 

Something that Sister Tibbits and I have been sharing with a lot is members is a message on missionary work. "Members who share the gospel experience joy and have the Spirit of the Lord more abundantly. As we share the gospel, we appreciate how precious and meaningful it is to us, and we feel a greater love for God and others. The Lord commanded His followers to preach the gospel in all the world, giving every person the opportunity to accept or reject it. When people are baptized, they make a covenant to always stand as witnesses of God. They are commanded to share the gospel with those who have not yet received it. As they live the gospel faithfully, they will set an example, showing their family members and friends the great blessings that come from living the gospel." I love this so much because I have seen this on my mission. As I share the gospel with others I have experienced so much joy and appreciation for the gospel in my life. I invite you to go and find someone to share the gospel with. You will see so many blessings as you do this. I know that is true. 

I love being a missionary. We have such a unique and important message to share with the world. I know that through and only through the gospel is how we can experience true and everlasting joy! 

Sorry this email is seriously all over the place. But I love and miss you all so much! 

-Sister Ruffner

Here are some pictures from return and report.

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