Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I Looked Out the Window and What Did I See?

Spring has brought me such a nice surprise...
haha I just am loving the blossoms blooming everywhere! Especially the cherry blossoms. It is weird having Spring come so early, but I am LOVING IT!

I could write a novel about this week so many crazy things happened...

We met Chrissy not too long ago just going on a walk down the street and we talked to her, she said that we could come over and teach her. Her husband is in jail right now and she has three kids with this guy, Patrick. So we go over to her trailer that she lives in and another person answers the door, her name is Jessica. We find out that Jessica is married to Patrick (Chrissy's boyfriend who is in jail) but have been separated for nine years, and Jessica and Chrissy are living together in the same trailer while Patrick is in jail. They are good friends! It is pretty weird. So we have been teaching them, but Chrissy is really believing everything that we teach her. She is struggling a little bit with money and everything, so after food orders we gather the extra food and the Bishop brings it over with us. Chrissy said that Patrick called her and wants her to come to church with us. Yay! Before she was just going to wait until he gets out but we kept inviting her and promising blessings, and this happened. It was really crazy because she can't drive and has a one, two, and five year old, so that would be three car seats in one car and she also only had one car seat. So we had to hunt down a driver who had a big car with no one to fill it, and who had two extra car seats. She also didn't own a dress or shoes besides tennis shoes, so we went to good will to buy her a dress and shoes. Just like always, it all worked out and she made it to church. The kids were pretty crazy in sacrament meeting which was hard because we can't pick up or hold kids. Luckily a member was there to help us, and we handed them off to the nursery and primary after sacrament. Chrissy and her kids loved it and want to come back next week! Which is good but we really are going to need to find more help haha. Her boyfriend should be getting out in the next couple of days, then we just need to get them married and baptized! 
Right before church started, someone in the previous ward turned on the fire alarm and so the fire truck came and they checked everything inside to make sure it was safe, so that was an adventure! Good thing it was done for church. 

There is a family who is moving in a couple of days and the dad left a couple weeks ago for the mom to take care of the five CRAZY uncontrollable kids and pack everything. How rude. Anyway, so we went to go help just like tons of others from the ward and let me tell you, it was a struggle. There was mold, flies, and maggots everywhere. Think about the hoarder show on TV and then times that by ten. It was so gross. We were helping her pack the kitchen and throwing broken plates and other gross things away and she came and took them out of the trash and packed them. It was... gross. But hey, I'm just here for the ride.

Doug's surgery went really well! He is recovering better than expected! He was able to go home three days after his surgery. His wife is seriously the sweetest and I love seeing her at church and getting to go see her and Doug. I know that one day he will get baptized so they will be able to be sealed together! 

We got a new district, and also our ward boundaries changed so we have lots of new people to go meet! Our ward was lucky and didn't change too much, we just lost some less actives and gained quite a few more less actives. I am excited to go meet them though! There is one less active that we went and saw on Saturday, Koko Swann and she came to church on Sundayand bore her testimony in Releif Society. It was beautiful and inspiring, she has such a strong testimony and coming to church helped remind her of the truthfulness of the church. Her husband is a nonmember and she said that he has been wanting to try out our church as well!

I am so beyond grateful for all the success that God has blessed Sister Jackson and I with. I am so grateful to be an instrument in the Lords hands, everyday being led to those people who are so prepared and ready to receive the gospel! It really is the way to true happiness and eternal life! I KNOW this is the true church restored back to the earth for the latter days. I know that this work is led by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and it wouldn't work any other way. 
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY SOOO MUCH!!! There really is no greater calling. 

Love you all!
Sister Ruffner

Have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay

Transfers happened this week and Sister Sylvester left :( she has been
with me my whole mission. She was my sister training leader in
Tappahannok and then came to Fredericksburg with me and was in my same
district. I am going to miss her tons!! But the good news is, Sister
Jackson and I are staying here in Chancellor!! Yay!!

First, we were going to see some former investigators around and we
knock on Misty Hernandez door and her daughter answered and said she
would go get her mom. When Misty came to the door she said that she
had met with missionaries before but she wasn't interested. He
daughter turned to her mom and pleaded that she would let us in. She
kept saying, "Please mom, please let them in!" Over and over again,
(she was a crazy kid). Well she finally let us in and she just started
spitting out so many questions. We answered all of her questions and
she really liked what we said! She even asked us for a Book of Mormon
and gave us her number so we could meet with her again. She was super
interested once we started talking with her. She invited us to come
over again when her husband is here so that we can teach him too. She
pretty much told us that she is in but we just have to get her husband
to agree. Her daughter the whole time was telling her mom that she
wants to go to our church. 😁😁

Doug who is getting surgery and whose family all lives in Utah, his
wife flew out and we were able to meet her at church! She is super
sweet. Doug asked for a patriarchal blessing (he knows it works) and
was crying through the whole thing. The spirit was SO STRONG during
the blessing. When the blessing finished he said thank you and started
talking about how much sister Jackson and I were able to help him and
give him comfort and he just started crying! It really was the
sweetest thing. I am so glad that we were able to be there for him
while he has been out here. He is really scared for his surgery and I
am hoping something will happen to soften his heart. He always told us
how much his wife doesn't love him, but this is going to be such a
help as he decides what God wants him to do. His heart will be
softened, literally. 💕💕

As we were walking back from a lesson down the street we were walking
past a lady with a couple kids in her yard. She yelled out to us, "Hey
I love your outfits! That's my favorite color!" We both look down and
are wearing black haha. We walked over to talk to her and she said,
"I'm trying to quit smoking, can you guys help me?" Of course we said
yes!! Then she told us to come in and meet her daughter. We went
inside and her daughter is super nice, she is a Jehovah Witness though
so she tried to argue with us the whole time. But the Mom, Diane, said
that we could come back the next day. So when we go back Diane told us
that she has really studied the Jehovah Witness beliefs and tried to
give it a good shot but she just couldn't because she didn't believe
the same things. She said she had seen us walking down the street
before and when we walked down the street the other day that we were
glowing. She didn't know what to call out but she just had to say
something to get us to stop and talk to her. She is absolutely
prepared and has really been soaking everything in that we have taught
her!! 😇😇

As you can see things are really moving along! I am being so blessed
with finding such amazing people to teach! I am so grateful for this
opportunity to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord and to be in
the right places at the right times. Heavenly Father loves his
children and leads us to those who need us. I am excited to be apart
of even more miracles this next week!

Love you tons!!
- Sister Ruffner

John 3:16

First of all, funny story so we are coming home from district meeting and there is someone sitting on our stairs, when we walk up she says, "Hey the Mormons!" We were super excited that she knew who we were and wanted to talk to us. Dorothy is a former investigator who was taught by previous missionaries. She used to live in the apartment next to us. So she goes and gets her dog and tells us to walk her dog. We were really confused and then she started walking the dog with us. She didn't have shoes on and she had a drink in her hands. Later in the walk we find out it is tequila and she is super drunk. She said she normally doesn't drink but it was her birthday yesterday so she was just celebrating. We get back to the apartment and she says that she has some leftover food from her party that she wants to give us. We just go back to our apartment and 10 minutes later, we hear banging on the door. We open it and Dorothy has a handful of food. She said, "I know I'm not supposed to come in, but I just have so much food that I just need to come in and set it down." She just walks in and on her way out took our bananas! We were devastated! Whoever knows me know that I love bananas and peanut butter...

Doug Scadden went to get a small operation done the other day to test his heart and found out that he now needs triple bypass surgery. He is terrified. He called his family and his wife is going to come out and spend a month with Doug to help him recover. He said that he also thought maybe he needs to get baptized just in case. He knows the church is true but just won't admit it! He is excited for us to meet his wife. I think this is a blessing in disguise. His heart is being softened so much! I know that we go through trials for a reason. God has a plan for each of our lives and everything that happens is for our benefit.

Valentines day is tomorrow so I just wanted to mention the biggest most important act of love ever done and ever will be done in the history of the world. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Heavenly Father loves us SO much that He sent His son Jesus Christ to suffer everything for us. Jesus Christ loves us SO much that He did perform the Atonement. No matter what Christ was going through he continued to turn outward and help and serve others. The only thing that got Him through the garden of Gethsemane, is His love for us. As I have studied the Atonement more deeply I have developed a greater love for others. Something I have also realized is, all the chapters on the Atonement in the Book of Mormon are also about the Plan of Salvation. Jesus Christ performed the Atonement in hopes that we would use it to repent so that we can live with Him again. Our message as missionaries is completely of love. 
Our main message is that Jesus Christ lives. The good news is that the fullness of His gospel has been restored back to the earth. Because of that we have exactly what we need to be able to live with Him again, which is exactly what He wants. Eternal life is our choice. Because of the Atonement ANYONE can live with God again. It is kind of like the temple. So many people get disappointed that they can't enter the temple when "It was never intended that knowledge of these temple ceremonies would be limited to a select few who would be obliged to ensure that other never learn of them. It is quite the opposite, in fact. With great effort we urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience." It's never too late to prepare and become worthy to enter the temple. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with all of my heart. As He sends us to the people who are really struggling and need to hear the gospel, I know that He loves us so much!
I love you all!!! Have a happy Valentines day!!❤❤😘😘

Hit the Dooooors!

This past Sunday Belleh shared his testimony in sacrament meeting! He is really becoming such a great member. He is learning so much and progressing so fast! He is excited to get the priesthood and I am so excited for him! It is great to see the effects that the gospel has on someones life. It is great when I see people change and become happier, but when they see it in themselves it is all the better :) The scriptures are right, there really is no greater joy than bringing others into the gospel! 

We have some pretty awesome investigators right now who are slowly but surely progressing! 
Derrick is so afraid of baptism. He says that we are so lucky to have been baptized when we were eight so we wouldn't have to worry about it when we got older. I told him that if I was given the chance now, I would be baptized. That didn't convince him of much... What do you do when the Jehovah Witnesses start coming to your investigators house?! I don't know but it made me REALLY UPSET. Derrick is too nice to not let them in when they asked. The Jehovah Witnesses gave Derrick a pamphlet to read and wrote down their number and some scriptures to read and we asked Derrick if we could look at them and we asked if we could take it home with us so we could read it. So we took it back to our apartment hehe. Luckily Derrick said that he likes us teaching him better and he wouldn't join the Jehovah Witnesses because his birthday is too important not to celebrate. Hopefully when they find out Derrick is meeting with Mormon missionaries they don't fight back too hard. 

We also went to this random less active's house who the home teacher is in ward council and said he was nice so we should go see him. His name is Brother Miller and what a miracle, he is such a nice guy! He is married to a nonmember but still has a super strong testimony in the gospel. He knows that the church is true and defends it when his family talks about any anti. He said that he would come to church one of these days, and that he really needs to meet with the bishop and get his life back together. I am so excited to start meeting with this nice couple! 

What do you do when all your appointments fall through and you don't know what to do? Hit the Doooooors!!! We did lots of tracting this week, and had lots of funny experiences. I have really learned to love tracting. (going from door to door) Sister Jackson and I made up our own version of the scene from the movie "UP" when Russel goes to Mr. Fredricksens door to ask him if he can help him cross his lawn. 
Missionary version:
Missionaries: Good Afternoon, we're the missionaries. Are you in need of any assistance today?
Person at the door: No
Missionaries: We could... help you find the true church?
Person: No
Missionaries: We could...help you find true happiness?
Person: No
Missionaries: Well, we gotta help you find somethin!
haha you know, when your tracting for long periods of time ANYTHING becomes funny. 

Well, I miss and love you all! I hope you all have a great week and keep enduring to the end! Remember that this church is true, and the gospel can and will solve all of lifes problems if you let it. Jesus Christ is your Savior and he loves you more than you can imagine! 

❤- Sister Ruffner

Friday, February 3, 2017

Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts

We had dinner with Elliot and Philip on Monday! It went really well, we were just talking to them and Elliot was expecting Mormons to have these weird crazy beliefs that Elliot had never heard of before and wasn't going to believe. We shared the Plan of Salvation and Elliot loved it. Elliot agreed and loved everything that we had to share, and wants to meet with us again! So that went really well.

Wednesday was the world wide missionary broadcast where they officially announced to everybody the schedule change, and they also changed the key indicators which is what we focus on doing each week. It used to be a pretty long list of things we would keep track of, now it is only four things. I love it because it really helps me focus on my purpose and what I need to be doing. I love when Elder Bednar talked about making the doctrine of Christ one. We shouldn't be having all these lessons on baptism to try and get them baptized because that is not what it is about. We need to be teaching repentance and baptizing CONVERTS. We should be teaching faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end all together not separately. That is mostly what I have been studying this week. How to do baptism invites using the whole doctrine of Christ. 
A question was asked during the broadcast, how missionaries can be better teachers and how we could teach better lessons. Elder Oaks said to take the sacrament seriously. That was really interesting to me because that was not what I was expecting him to say. As I thought about it more, and as they talked about it more during the broadcast it made tons of sense. As missionaries, we need to be clean so that we can be worthy vessels of the Spirit. We are not the teachers here the Spirit needs to be the teacher or nothing is going to get done. We need to constantly be doing what we are teaching.

Friday was return and report! I don't know if you remember when I went there in the middle of my first transfer, but this is the middle of Sister Jackson's first transfer so we were able to go. It is when we go to Richmond and have a little meeting about how training is going, and then we get some training from President and Sister Smith, then we get to go street contacting in downtown Richmond (which is seriously my favorite thing in the whole world, SO MUCH FUN), and a testimony meeting. Since Richmond is pretty far away, some senior missionaries from the mission office drove a giant van down to our church and all the greenies and their trainers in our area could get a ride. Pretty much a van full of elders haha. It was fun though. There were only two sisters who came out so there were only four sisters at the meeting. It was lots of fun! We learned so much and found so many great people on the streets of downtown Richmond who are willing to meet with the missionaries. I was able to go with the other new sister who came out with Sister Jackson. Her name is Sister Kennard and she is seriously the sweetest!

Saturday... BELLEH GOT BAPTIZED! It was a long process getting it all together, but of course it all worked out. At first he said he was a little nervous. I wish I could show you his face as he came out of the water. He was the happiest person in the whole world. He took a big breath of relief and smiled from ear to ear. The Spirit was almost tangible in the room it was so strong. After he got all dressed he bore his testimony to everyone. He told his story of how he went from the bottom of being dirt poor, a professor at Mary Washington University. He is so grateful for all that God has done for him in his life, and is happy that he now has the gospel to help him as he goes through future struggles. Not to many months ago, he was very catholic. But as he read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it, he found that it was true. He knew that this is where he needs to be. It was such a beautiful baptism!! 

Belleh was confirmed on Sunday during Sacrament Meeting. Something that I have noticed with people after they are baptized is that they understand the gospel so much better! In gospel principles class the teacher was asking Belleh questions and he knew all of the answers! You could tell he was just so happy and he knew he had made the right choice!
Also I just have to tell you about the gospel principles teacher, he is HUGE. He works for the government to hunt down terrorists all over the world and speaks like nine different languages and has died twice. It is amazing how is testimony is still so strong in how we are all children of God. 

That was another long email, but so many great things are happening here in Fredericksburg I just had to share.
Love you all!

Sister Ruffner