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." 

THE CHURCH IS TRUE
I LOVE YOU ALL ❤😁

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!! 

LOVE YOU ALL ❤❤

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! 

Love, 
Sister Ruffner 

New Address 
10424 Cherry St. #102D
King George, VA 
22485



Monday, June 19, 2017

Scripture Power

Transfer calls were on Saturday and I am getting transferred to somewhere else and Sister Buchmiller is staying in Charlottesville second ward! I am going to miss these people SO MUCH. I love the ward and I love the people we are working with! But I am just hanging on for the ride, excited to see where the Lord takes me next. 

June 13 was the day that we decided we were going to drop Jerry. We felt like he wasn't progressing, he didn't have much faith and wasn't willing to try. He has been through some really hard times and he just ends up talking about them the whole time. In our last attempt to help,we gave him a paper with certain scriptures to read each day and a question to answer about the scriptures and how they apply to him. WELL, we go to see him on Tuesday and we start talking to him to see how his day has been and he read all of the scriptures! He did all of the "homework" we gave him and we didn't even remind him! SO we decided not to drop him. Good thing to because, the next lesson we have with him he said that he gave all his money away so he won't be tempted to buy and beer and drink anymore... whatever works! (He works at burger king and gets all his food there, don't worry he gets a salad) He also read all of the new scriptures we gave him each day. Needless to say, he reads the Book of Mormon each day and is applying it to his life! Something else we have been trying to help him to do is to pray for himself. He struggles with that. He says that he doesn't need anything but he prays for us, and he prays for the babies. Well, we had another lesson with him on Saturday and he said that he has seen such a difference in his life from obeying the Word of Wisdom and from reading the Book of Mormon and praying each day. He even had money in the house and didn't buy any beer. At the end of our lesson, he said an amazing prayer! He also prayed for himself! This is a huge miracle! I truly know that the Book of Mormon can change hearts. It all starts with a desire, then you have to act in faith, and then you will receive a witness. He also came to church yesterday even though he got called into work and didn't get home until 3:30 in the morning. Jerry has changed SO MUCH since we first met him. 

After dinner one night we had some time to go tracting. We wanted to pass out at least two Book of Mormons and we only had one hour. So we prayed that we would and went to work. The second house we knock on, a really nice girl answers the door and is so excited to see us! We testify of the Book of Mormon and teach her about it, and she asks us if we have one that she could read. Of course we do! That was miracle one of the night. 
We knocked on some more houses and reach a fork in the road. Straight, left, or right. We only had about ten minutes left. We prayed which way we should go and both felt we should go straight. So we knock on the first door and a really nice man answers the door but isn't interested. We look over and there is someone playing in their driveway. We go and talk to him and teach him about the Book of Mormon and he is so interested! He takes the Book of Mormon and says that he is going to read it. Miracle number two of the night. So we passed out two Book of Mormons in one hour and our prayers were answered! I know that when we show Heavenly Father that we are ready and willing to work, He is going to help us. 

Our appointment fell through on Thursday night so we went to try a couple of houses before we go back in for the night. The first house we knock on opens the door and is super interested in what we have to say. She is says that she doesn't read the Bible as much as she should. We introduced her to the Book of Mormon and she was excited to take one. 

Went on a power exchange Friday. We switched companions with our Sister Training Leaders for a few hours. I was able to go with Sister Valentine. We went tracting for a little while and the very first house we knock on... this guy answers the door and says that he goes to an lds church. For a minute I think that we knocked into a member and that is a little embarrassing. He then tells us that he isn't a member but his wife is and that he has been coming to our church. I ask him if he has a Book of Mormon and he says that him and his wife read it every night together! WHAT?! They just moved in and he says that he has just started studying so he doesn't know much yet. We just walked into the most prepared person in the history of the world. haha jk idk if that is true, but STILL. SO COOL! We for sure saw him at church on Sunday :)

John got his temple recommend at church yesterday and should be going this Saturday! I am super excited for John! It is so cool to see how much he has progressed since his baptism. He is also practicing to say the sacrament prayers. He is really nervous for that one, but I know he will do so good. He even has invited his wife to come to church with him and she should be coming next week! You know someone is converted when they start to share it with others. 

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to the best dad in the whole world! Thank you so much dad for all that you have done for me. I am super lucky to have a dad like you! :) How grateful I am to have such an amazing dad as well as a loving Heavenly Father. I know I would not be the person I am today without both of them in my life.  

All my love, 
Sister Ruffner

1. Sister Sorenson who always gives us food every time we go over no matter what time it is. 
2. Rocky, returning member we go see every week. Has a ROCK SOLID testimony. 
3. Jerry
4. Jean 
5. Sister Moseley, we go help her clean her house every week.
6. Christine, recent convert
7. John Hester! 
8. Judy and Suzie






100 Book of Mormons



This week was a spiritual high! I was able to hear from three different General Authorities. First on Tuesday Elder Schwitzer came to our zone conference, then Elder Clay and Elder Curtis came to our Stake Conference on Saturday night and Sunday morning. It was a big deal because they changed the Stake Presidency. It was really cool and I learned so much from them! 

We have been teaching Illuminee and her roommate Kate and they are from Rwanda. So they don't speak English very well. Their first language is french and we were able to give them french Book of Mormon's on Thursday and it was really cool. They were so excited and started reading right then and asking so many questions. They are really trying to understand! Illuminee told us that she believes that this is true, and Kate is taking a little longer but now that she has a french Book of Mormon she is going to progress so fast. The Book of Mormon teaches the gospel a lot better than I do anyway, so as we use the scriptures a lot in our lessons with her than she will really be able to understand. 

Friday we wen't on exchanges with the Hermanas and I was able to go with Hermana Sanchez. She is absolutely amazing! She is going home in a week and a half so she is just full of so much knowledge and is working her hardest before she goes home. We were able to have some powerful lessons even while translating throughout. The Spirit truly does speak all languages. 

The other day we get a call from the missionaries serving in the temple visitors center in Arizona. They told us that Betty was not a member, but her son was getting sealed in the temple and she came and felt the Spirit so strongly sitting in the entrance to the temple waiting for her son. They said her son told them that he has been working on her and she has finally decided to meet with us after that special experience in the temple. She lives in Charlottesville and gets back in town on Monday. We are so excited to go meet her! 

Because of the powerful talk President Thomas S. Monson gave this last conference, our mission president has challenged each companionship to pass out 100 Book of Mormons in the month of June. Imagine... 10,000 Book of Mormons given out in Virginia! I am so grateful to be a part of this special work. As we flood Virginia with Book of Mormons, I challenge you give out a Book of Mormon to someone who needs it. 
Because of the Book of Mormon we can know that Jesus is the Christ. The Book testifies of Christ by affirming the reality of His life, mission, and power. It teaches true doctrine concerning the Atonement- the foundation for the Plan of Salvation. I know with a surety that if you read the Book of Mormon it will change your life. No matter how many times you have read it, read it again. The Book of Mormon is true, and "man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." 

I love this work, I love my Savior, and I love the Book of Mormon. 

LOVE YOU ALL
- Sister Ruffner

Sister Buchmiller will not give up her shoes....
Half the mission with Elder Schwitzer of the Seventy and his wife
Hermana Sanchez and Yasmin 



Throwback

What a long week! So many good things but, I now know why we have P-days every week haha. Oh my I am so exhausted... Good thing exhaustion doesn't stop the miracles!

There is a less active that we have been trying to meet the whole past two months that we have been here. We were meeting with Kate one night and she walks in the door! Her name is Special and she moved so we haven't been able to see her at all, and finally she runs into us! It was really cool, she said she misses coming to church and she misses relief society and all the people at church. It was such a miracle to be able to talk to her.

Remember how Sister Buchmiller and I both started our missions in Tappahannok? Well, someone that I had met, and Sister Buchmiller had taught, got baptized on Friday and we were able to go! It was a 3 hour drive so we needed a member to take us. The Rannoks took us to Fredericksburg and then Sister Heath (she was already in Fredericksburg for a job) took us the rest of the way. So I was able to go to both of the areas that I have served in on Friday! It was so fun to see those places again. It was also fun to go see Melissa get baptized, and all the members in the ward that I first served with. It took them a while to recognize me without my glasses on. 

Jerry came to church this Sunday! He said that he loved church, which is so great! Also an amazing member came up to Jerry and asked if he would like to come over for dinner one night this week. So Jerry has already made some great friends. Not to mention that when he saw John they both got excited because they grew up together! What are the odds?! It is such a miracle. We have been meeting with Jerry about two times a week and he said that since he has started meeting with us, and reading the Book of Mormon that two of his problems in life have gone away. His life is becoming easer and better because of the gospel! 

Monday, amazing Sister Roberts set up an appoitment with us to go teach her friend. We go to her house and share a powerful restoration lesson. Her name is Pat Foster and she said that she felt it and understood the differences in our church and a need for a living prophet. She said that she is going to read the Book of Mormon to know if this really is true. It was a great lesson because our words were backed up with Sister Roberts' testimony. People listen to their friends more than they listen to us haha. 

Tuesday was amazing! Elder Schwitzer, who is a General Authority Seventy, and his wife came to our mission and we had a little conference with just the Sister's and then our zone conference with half the mission. It was really amazing and I learned so much from him about how I can be a better missionary. Which is what I strive to do each day.

I truly do know that the gospel brings peace to us in our lives. Something that Jerry has been struggling with is why he needs to go to church and keep reading if bad things are going to happen to him anyway. I know that disciples of Jesus Christ don't have perfect lives. Just because you are doing the right thing, doesn't mean that you aren't going to go through trials. I am so grateful for the trials and hard things that I have been through. Heavenly Father gives us those times to make us stronger. The gospel isn't going to change your circumstances, it is going to change YOU. Through Jesus Christ and the Atonement, we are able to be given the strength and power to overcome anything. "The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah. I testify and promise the Savior will help us to bear up our burdens with ease. As we are yoked with Him through sacred covenants and receive the enabling power of His Atonement in our lives, we increasingly will seek to understand and live according to His will. We also will pray for the strength to learn from, change, or accept our circumstances rather than praying relentlessly for God to change our circumstances according to our will. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon. We will be blessed with spiritual traction."- Elder Bednar
"He defeated death, and conquered sin. He offers peace to all who follow Him. He can calm troubled seas, and troubles souls. He can heal broken lives, and broken bonds. He can turn water into wine, and heartache into hope. He lived, died, and rose again the third day, so we will all live again. His resurrection gives us peace now and forever. He is Jesus Christ. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. The Prince of Peace."

I know that true peace comes from our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that as we follow Him, we can feel peace and joy in ANY circumstance. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth. The Creator of all things from the beginning, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity. And I love Him with all of my heart. 

❤ Sister Ruffner


SO busy SO happy

Wow we have been so busy and it is the greatest thing in the whole world. Being busy as a missionary is goals, because I am doing what I was called to do... TEACH! Sister Buchmiller and I are finally seeing the fruits of our labors. 

John passed the sacrament this Sunday at church and it was such a cool thing to watch. He said he was really nervous, especially walking up and down the stairs haha. But it was powerful to see John be worthy to pass the sacrament and hold the priesthood. I am so grateful for all the young men who keep themselves worthy to pass the sacrament. I really would be so lost without it every week.

We have been trying to meet with Illuminee for a while now. We have stopped by her house multiple times and she is never home. She answered the phone once and said that we could stop by and she wasn't there... One day she finally answered the door! But, she said that she was going to be busy for the next 7 months and to come back then. So pretty much we put her on the back burner. UNTIL we get a text from her saying that she is going to be home on Thursday at 6 and we can come then. It was such a surprise! We went on Thursday to teach her and her roommate Kate was there as well and we invited her to join and she asked so many questions! We taught them the restoration and they both said they would be baptized. We are meeting with them both again this week!

We got another surprise text from Crystal, saying that we can come over on Wednesday night. We go and teach her the restoration and she had so many questions as well! She grew up religious but isn't sure what she believes anymore. She said she would come to church and she is going to bring friends! 

We also had a lesson with Maria which was really cool because she is VERY hard of hearing and so we had Sister Stradling come with us and interpret our lesson into sign language. It was a very interesting lesson and we had to make it very simple for her to understand. She is excited to watch the Book of Mormon in ASL on lds.org, and come to church! We are meeting with her again this week.

Linda has been really studying the Book of Mormon and the things we teach with real intent. Her husband found her Book of Mormon that we gave her and took it and is really suspicious of us and what we are teaching. Linda told her husband to give it a chance, because if this is true she is going to have to join the church. We have only taught her the restoration but she has been studying. It is so awesome to see someone actually giving it a real chance! 

Jerry is progressing! He still has more to go but he is doing better and better each day! He read the Book of Mormon again and took notes. He also promised that he is going to come to church this week! He lives on the bottom floor of this apartment building and we sit in chairs right outside of his apartment for our lessons. In the middle of one of our lessons with him a giant white trash bag hits the ground right next to us. It scared me to death! Someone on the floor above us threw down her trash so she didn't have to carry it down the stairs. Might have affected the Spirit just a little bit. But pretty funny :) 

As always I am loving my time here in Virginia serving and being a representative of Jesus Christ. I hope you all... HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!

❤ Sister Ruffner

Enjoy Sister Buchmiller falling asleep while writing in her journal :) 

Joyfully Teaching John, Jean, and Jerry



John is progressing so well! He received the Aaronic priesthood on Sunday and is going to pass the sacrament next week. He peeked in the ward after us and saw his cousin in the chior. He also ran into his nephew in another ward as well. Come to find out, John does have some family in the church! 

Jean has been super duper sick. She has terrible allergies first of all, so her eyes are all swollen and she can't read the Book of Mormon. Her computer also broke so she couldn't listen to the Book of Mormon. But don't worry! We printed out a couple chapters for her in large print so she could read them even with her swollen eyes. She told us that she has already read them twice! So we stopped by one day to give her some more chapters to read and since she is super hard of hearing she doesn't hear when we knock on the door, ring the doorbell, or even sometimes call her. So we went to go stick the papers in the door and we noticed a huge spider sack at the top of her door. Sister Buchmiller told me to poke it with a stick. She got me a long stick and just as I was going to poke it, Jean opens the door! I scared her so bad she jumped so high! I felt pretty bad. She just opens the door to see if she dropped her credit card when she was coming in earlier in the day, and finds me standing there holding up a stick. haha It was pretty funny. At least we got in contact with Jean!

We taught Jerry the Word of Wisdom on Saturday. I was really curious to see how this was going to go because Jerry drinks a lot. After we had taught him the blessings and the reasons why we keep the Word of Wisdom, he said that he would keep it! The only reason he drinks is to be able to fall asleep. He has a night job which makes him not be able to sleep so he uses beer to knock him out. He said that he is going to find a new job so he can get his life back together the way it should. 

Terri texted us the other week telling us that she just wasn't ready to meet with us yet. We texted her back and told her that our message was filled with love and joy and to just give us one chance to meet with her and she won't regret it. She said that we could come over on Wednesday. So we met with her and she had so many great questions! She isn't sure if God is really there, but wants to know and is willing to study it out. We shared experiences of times when we have doubted and how we got through and how God answers our prayers and sometimes we need to walk in faith until we can know more. We read Alma 32:21,22 and she said, "Oh that is exactly what I needed to hear, is that in the Book of Mormon?" we said yes and she said that made her really want to read the Book of Mormon. She is going to wake up early each morning and read. It was such a powerful lesson. Walking into it, I had studied the Jesus Christ and His Atonement and how that is how God has shown His love for us, but I really had no idea what we were going to say. It was completely led by the Spirit and we are going to meet with her again next week!

One night we decided to go see Sister Roberts, a super nice lady in the ward. As we were driving to her house, we see her walking down the street. We stop and go to talk to her, she was just going on a walk to strengthen her knee after surgery. She needs it to be strong because she is planning on going on a mission soon. (She is in her 60's and her husband died a few years ago). To practice for her mission she tracted her neighborhood and gave them all Book of Mormons! WHAT A BOLD MEMBER MISSIONARY. That is what I'm talking about! haha Anyway, she told us that one of her neighbors was really interested and wanted to meet with the missionaries. We wen't to go see them right then! We walked to their house and they let us all right in and we had a great discussion on the restoration! It was a huge miracle to end the night. 

Every Wednesday and Saturday we go do service at Loaves and Fishes food bank. We get people a cart and take them around helping them get the food they need. One lady told me that she was a member for 17 years and then found out "the truth". She told me that if I really read the Bible I would find out that the church isn't true. I pretty much told her that nothing she says would be able to make me think the church wasn't true. It made me really sad to talk to this lady. This shows the importance of doing the little things each day. Reading the Book of Mormon, praying, partaking of the sacrament each week, going to the temple as often as you can etc. It also taught me that you can be in the church but not be converted. It is so important that we are active in the gospel, not just active in the church. Going to church meetings isn't enough! We need to always be repenting and serving others. The scriptures say that in the last days, even the elect will be deceived. But the prophet told us this last conference, "I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so... If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. However, once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scriptures study." 

There truly is nothing that anyone can tell me to make me believe this church isn't true. There are too many things I have experienced, too many prayers answered, and too many miracles witnessed. Last Sunday we finished the meeting singing "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" I ended the song with tears in my eyes and a powerful feeling of confirmation in my heart. I can truly say, I know that my Redeemer lives! Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives. What a comfort it is to truly know of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

I love you all and hope you have a fabulous week!
-Sister Ruffner




Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

Exciting news... I cut off 5 inches of my hair 😁
AND I love it

Also, we went to go teach Linda the restoration and she loved it! She said that we can come back again on Wednesday
I don't think I have told you about Jerry yet. So Jerry is a great guy with some anger problems. He always tells us a story of how someone did something to him and that he wants to kill them. "I'm gonna kill 'em" Is what he says. BUT we haven't given up on him yet because the Spirit told us not to, he also reads the Book of Mormon and takes notes and writes down questions from the things he reads. He has stopped hanging out with his friends who cause him trouble and so we are making progress here! It is always so great going to teach Jerry. 

What a great Mother's day! There are so many amazing women who have blessed and influenced me in my life. I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today without my mom. She is an amazing example of love and service. I strive to be more like that each day. Thank you for all that you do for me mom! 
"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."
Church yesterday was absolutely great, as usual. It is always so fun to see the primary kids go to the front and sing. Of course they gave all the women chocolate so that was another plus of the day. But the best part of the whole day was when I talked to the family! Oh my gosh I love my family so much! 

HAVE A BLESSED WEEK

-Sister Ruffner



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Open Your Mouth

Good news! This last Saturday was transfer calls and Sister Buchmiller and I did not get a call. Which means we are both staying here in Charlottesville 2nd Ward! I am super excited to stay here and continue to teach the people we have found.

We were finding a lot yesterday after church and we went to go see a former investigator named Terri. She said that the Elders before had answered a lot of her questions and then she got busy with other things. But, she recently picked up her Bible again and started to read. She said that she hasn't been going to church and she is on a journey to get to know God better. She is so willing and wanting to meet with us! She is also Johns neighbor, so he can be a good influence for her. Wow God's plan is so perfect.

We were walking around this apartment complex and a lady with her son Nathan was walking back from the bus stop and we stopped and talked to her. She willingly took a Book of Mormon because she loves the Bible and wants to read anything about Jesus Christ that is going to bring her closer to Him. She loves her Savior and wants us to come back on Tuesday morning!

Linda is from Africa and said that she had seen missionaries walking around in Africa, but didn't talk to them much. She loves Jesus Christ as well and accepted a Book of Mormon. She says if it's about Jesus Christ than she is definitely going to read it. We are going back this week to teach her more!

"You are surrounded by people. You pass them on the street, visit them in their homes, and travel among them. All of them are children of God, your brothers and sisters. God loves them just as He loves you. Many of these people are searching for purpose in life. They are concerned for their families. They need the sense of belonging that comes from the knowledge that they are children of God, members of His eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world of changing values. They want "peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come", but they are "kept from the truth because they know not where to find it"".
There are so many people that we have found just by talking to everyone we see outside. God has commanded us to open our mouths at all times and in all things and in all places and He will fill them. I have come to know that this is true! It does take a lot of faith to share the gospel with others and to open your mouth and share it with everyone that you see. But, you never know who really needs it or who is searching. It is so important that we share this restored gospel with everyone! You may still see disappointments but, you won't be disappointed in yourself because you know you did your best.

I love this gospel with all of my heart and learn new things about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ every day. There is always more to learn and more to share. God knows you and He loves you. I know that He answers prayers because He continually answers mine every time. I also know He is answering others prayers by sending Sister Buchmiller and I to them. The gospel is true and it really does change lives!

HAVE A GREAT WEEK
-Sister Ruffner

ALSO... I just got the best news in the whole entire world!!! Remember
Doug? Well he is getting BAPTIZED!!!!!!
His heart has really been softened in the past couple of months and it
has been great to see! Wow the church is so true! I almost had a heart
attack myself when I heard the news! He told the Elders to let Sister
Ruffner and Sister Jackson know because they are the ones who really
influenced me to do this.
The feeling I felt when I heard that Doug is getting baptized
confirmed to me again why I am on my mission. The Joy that comes from
bringing people to the gospel and able to be sealed to their families
is indescribable. My joy is so incredibly full!
Doug's wife and kids and grandkids are all members and now Doug can
join them in the temple and be sealed to them! This gospel brings so
much happiness!!
To refresh your mind...

1. Sister Kennedy made Sister Buchmiller and I each a pie. She loves us so much! She won't read the Book of Mormon but will make us "homesick pies filled with love".
2. Also our mission did something called "More Fit for the Kingdom" and each companionship competed for our zone and....... Sister Buchmiller and I won for the sisters in our zone!
3. The Rotunda building, wow University of Virginia has such a beautiful campus!
4. The other day I rang this doorbell and it crumpled under my finger...