Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Path That Rocks!

Is it crazy that is still hasn't hit me yet that I am on my mission? Everyday as my alarm goes off at 6:30am I think that it is just the greatest, craziest, thing that I am on a mission. I have been waiting to go on a mission for like five years and now it's already four months in? Wow. It just blows my mind every time I think about it. 

So this week we just finished correlation which we do every Wednesday night with the ward mission leader and the youth are all there doing an activity. Sister Jackson and I walk by these two youth and it looks like one is giving the other a tour of the church. So we go up and talk to them, and one is named Philip and he is a member and his friend is named Elliot who is not a member. We talked to them for a little while and Elliot believes in a higher power but isn't sure about God, or how it applies to us. So it will be cool to meet with her and start from scratch. I have helped people understand that God hears and answers prayers and that God loves them and wants to forgive them, but never help them know if He is even there. So this will be a really cool experience! We are having dinner with them tomorrow, so I will let you know how it goes. But, seriously what a miracle! I love when God puts people in our path, and I also love members who participate in missionary work!

At the end of the day on Thursday, we were just updating our Area book when we get a call from a less active member named Rhonda Holderman. She said that she was talking with one of her friends, Raquel, who is struggling with her church right now. Raquel has nine kids and gets made fun of a lot for that (she would fit right in), Her mom died recently and she has been going through a lot of stuff that way, she is troubled by the world and her kids get made fun of at school for liking the Bible. They really need some lds friends. Does she shout prepared or what?! So Sister Holderman who is not active in the church is even sharing the gospel with her friends. How amazing! I am so grateful for that! This was a huge miracle that really lit up our day, along with the triple fudge brownies we made with extra chocolate chips :)

Belleh got his baptismal interview and is so ready to be baptized this Saturday! He has been through a long journey of studying the church. He was very catholic not too long ago, but once he started reading the Book of Mormon everything changed. The Book of Mormon is so amazing! My testimony of it grows more and more every day. 

We had an amazing lesson with Doug on Friday. He invited us over for dinner and we know that he has been having a rough time. He feels so guilty of the person he has been and the choices he has made. He is always putting himself down so we planned a lesson on the Atonement. We asked him what he knew about the Atonement. He said that Jesus Christ died on the cross for us, you guys focus more on the prayer before he died on the cross but I think he did the suffering when he was on the cross and died for our sins. We explained to him about when Jesus Christ suffered for everything in Gethsemane, not just our sins on the cross. "There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, "no one knows what it is like. No one understands." But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power." I have such a strong testimony of this, and cannot fully express the gratitude I have for the Savior and what He did for me. He suffered and died for us so that we can repent and be made clean again. He wants us to repent and be forgiven and feel ultimate joy. The Savior wants to forgive us. I think one of the hardest things of repentance is forgiving yourself, and the way to get over that is to truly experience the love God has for you and the effects of the Atonement in your life. You are a white shirt. You may have spilt some ketchup on the shirt and it may have left a stain. All you focus on is the stain, not all of the white left on the shirt. You can throw the shirt in the washer and wash away the stain, but you can not wash away the white shirt because that is who you are. Anyway, it was a great lesson completely led by the Spirit, and moments like that are why I am on my mission. 

"I love the story told of a little girl who wanted to carry a gallon of milk in from the car all by herself. She couldn't, so Mom finally picked up the child and the milk and headed into the house, where the girl proudly announced to her father, "Look, I'm carrying the milk all by myself!" Isn't that how we must sound as we list off "our accomplishments" to God who all the while is holding us in his arms?" I am so grateful for all that my Heavenly Father does for me each day. I am so grateful to be able to be an instrument in Gods hands. How great is my calling?! Doing to Lords work I am able to see miracles every day. 

(Scene in Emperor's new Groove when the shoulder devil and angel are talking to Kronk) Devil: "He's trying to lead you down the path of righteousness, I'm trying to lead you down the path that rocks." I am here to tell you that the path of righteousness rocks! There really is nothing better than the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is here to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. Having the gospel in our lives can make the good times as well as the bad times a blessing. I love my Savior and I am so grateful for the knowledge of the gospel and the joy it brings! 

okay okay I'll stop typing....

All my love, 
Sister Ruffner 

Video (3) from tracie on Vimeo.

Friday, January 20, 2017

I ❤️ missionary work

Great things happenin over here in Fredericksburg!!
We have met so many amazing people this week and teaching some fun
lessons too!!
A crazy thing...
they changed the mission schedule! I feel like they are just changing
so many things! What a great time to be a missionary. We had such a
great zone conference this last week and talked about unity with the
Godhead, our ward, and our companion. It answered so many of my
prayers! I know that God answers prayers!
I love my companion soooo much! She is such a good missionary, always
being positive and getting excited about the people and miracles we
I love you sooo much and hope you all have a great week!
- Sister Ruffner

Video (2) from tracie on Vimeo.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Let it Snow

Monday for P-day all of the sisters in the zone went to skyzone which is a huge trampoline place for our last hurrah all together before transfers and before Sister Johnson goes home. I have never been to a trampoline park and it was so fun! 

Tuesday we go to transfer meeting. There were only two new sisters and lots of elders coming to the VRM so I could pretty easily guess which missionary I would be training. Her name is Sister Jackson and she is seriously the sweetest person ever! I love serving with her so far! She has so much faith and is so ready to get out there and work hard. We are going to see so many miracles together. Luckily the rest of our district stayed the same, so I am glad I still have that foundation to be able to help me when I need it. 

It is so fun being a trainer! A missionary fresh out of the MTC has so much faith and is ready to work hard. She also has so many good ideas of things I haven't done in a while. We are expecting to see so many miracles this transfer. It is cool to see her learn and grow each day and get better and better with each door approach. I also have learned the importance of being positive. My goal of being positive all the time? I am killing it. When training a new missionary I feel like it is the most important thing to do. I remember that with Sister Tibbits when I would get discouraged, she would always help by being really positive and having lots of faith and that is what I try to do. Sister Jackson thinks I'm crazy sometimes, but it's just so much better to be positive. 

Sister Jackson and I did a lot of finding this week. Like a lot. We have been working super hard all week. The hardest I have ever worked before. The weirdest thing is, I am super tired, and super cold, and SUPER HAPPY! I have never loved life so much before. I am not going to lie we received a lot of rejection this week but I am so happy to be out here serving the Lord. Because of the snow we had to bring our cars in by 5, two days in a row! That was a little bit of a struggle because we called every potential and every former investigator in the area book and only two people answered the phone. We had to get pretty creative in our missionary work. The greatest thing ever though is that we never go home discouraged. After a full day of rejection, the very last person we talk to before going in listens to our message, accepts a Book of Mormon and sets us a return appointment. I know that God loves me!!! Sister Jackson and I always go back to our apartment happy :)

It finally snowed!!! All throughout my life I wasn't a huge fan of the snow. I liked it and it was so beautiful to look at and to play in and things like that, but it's not like I was looking forward to it or anything. When I woke up on Saturday and looked out the window and everything was white... I WAS SO HAPPY!!! I bundled up with all of my layers that I got for Christmas and went outside and it was snowing most of the day and I loved it! It reminded me a lot of home. We were super duper cold when we went tracting and everyone thought we were crazy and told us to go home and be warm, but I was the happiest missionary in the whole world :) 

Last night we couldn't drive to our dinner appointment and it was pretty far away so we didn't want them to have to drive us there and back. The Spotsylvania sisters live right by us and they had a dinner appointment and we got invited to go with them! What a tender mercy. The dad was the first family in Liberia to be baptized. They had church in his house until they had enough people to make a branch. How cool?! So dinner was this really yummy African dish. I never thought that I would be eating African food going to Virginia. That is the coolest most yummy thing I have eaten so far. 

Well, another week down in Virginia. Heavenly Father just amazes me everyday in the things He asks me to do and the way He knows what I need to help me to grow and learn the way I need to. I love Him soooo much. I love sister Jackson and am so excited for what is going to happen this transfer. I love training! What a cool opportunity :)
I love you!

-Sister Ruffner

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Wow 2017 is already here! The years just go by so fast... I am so beyond excited for this year. A whole year as a missionary! I have made some goals to help me become who I want to be and who God wants me to be by the end of the year: 

1. TO BECOME A CONSECRATED MISSIONARY. "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."

- Any disobedience: I am going to be exactly obedient. Not only just be obedient, but to want to. 
- Fear: I am going to talk to everyone I see. Open my mouth at all times and in all places. 
- Pride: I am going to continue to look for ways to be better. Make goals every week and day for things to work on. 
- Being negative: I am going to be positive and always have a language of faith. No rejection will dim my enthusiasm for the work. 

3. TO TRULY GET TO KNOW MY SAVIOR. Study His life every day and strive to be just like Him. 


So... transfer calls happened on Saturday and I was just chillin thinking that Sister Stoker and I were safe because, I just got transferred last transfer and got a new companion and President wouldn't do that to me again. Then at 8:00 we get a call from PRESIDENT. Wow he just won't leave me alone! I am staying in Chancellor and training a BRAND NEW MISSIONARY. Sister Stoker is being transferred and finishing someones training. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ cease to amaze me every. single. day. " I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." I have learned a lot about relying on my Savior and the Atonement throughout my life, and I know that I am going to learn even more. As we do hard things, we really learn to rely on the Savior more and more. Heavenly Father is not going to let us be okay with our weaknesses, He will turn them into strengths. " Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." 

What a year it is going to be! I know that Heavenly Father is going to help me and assist me in my goals as I assist Him in His, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." He already is helping me become what I need to. I have found that every time I pray for help to become better, something happens. I need to stop being so surprised when I am asked to do something that scares me. Obviously Heavenly Father knows me perfectly and knows what I can do and what is best going to help me. 

This week we have met so many new people and have seen so many miracles. God is so good! He loves His missionaries and leads them to people who need our help! This gospel has all the answers to life's hard questions. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are always there for you when you need them. I am so excited to start this new year, to not look back and to continually become better and better. 

Love and miss you!! ❤❤❤❤
Sister Ruffner