Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hola Perfect Easter Sunday

What to say about week 27 out here in Virginia...

Remember John? Well, he is now officially a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Wow Saturday was such a special day. John has worked so hard for this very moment. He got a hair cut, trimmed his beard and said that he is now the new John, and the new John doesn't look scruffy. He has been taught by missionaries for about a year and all the missionaries that had taught him came to the baptism which was really cool for John. Something that I have never done at a baptism before is, we had each person stand up and say their name, how they know John, and why they came to his baptism. John's daughter and granddaughter came which made him really happy. It was nice talking to her and we hope to be able to teach her soon. There were so many missionaries that came and that was really good to have that spirit there. The room was filled with so many people who all love John and have seen how much he has progressed over the last year. 

We also went to go see Sis Kennedy again this week. She had made us some cake with creme and strawberries and blackberries to take home and some brownies, AND some pizza with homemade crust. Like what?! She has only met us once and practically adopted us as daughters. She has had a very cool experience coming to know God and the love he has for her. I am so excited to continue to teach her more and more about the gospel!

Jean is a super sweet old lady who has a son who is a member. All of her family lives pretty far away, the elders had tracted into her one day. She is another nice lady who is always calling to see if we are alright, if we are homesick or if we need any food or anything. Don't worry mom, I am very taken care of out here! We were asking her if she had been reading the Book of Mormon and she said yes! She says that she knows it is true and it reminds her of the Bible. She also loves family history and has become good friends with Sister Quillon who is a family history master. So Jean is creating great memories with the church!

I wen't on exchanges on Thursday, which means I become companions with my sister training leader for a day, and she is an hermana so I was able to do some Spanish missionary work! I took two years of Spanish in high school so I did recognize words, and if I focused I knew the idea of what they were talking about but couldn't say much. "Hola...Muy Bien... Buena Noche!" Hermana Agulera translated my testimony so I was still able to have some say. I still did learn so much from her! She is so enthusiastic about missionary work and talking to everyone which is what I strive to be! 
While we were doing Spanish work, we did run into a man who we shared the Easter video with and after he asked, "Wait, so we will live again?" We of course told him yes and asked if we could come back and teach him more about it. He said that we could! He is going to love the Plan of Salvation!

As we were out one day looking for people to teach, we go into this building and then when we came out there was just a man standing there. We asked him if we could share the Easter video and he said yes. He started to cry after the video and told us that he was just thinking about God and what he would want him to do in his life right now. He said that his sister died not too long ago and it has been really hard for him. He kept saying that he is so lost. Sister Buchmiller and I testified of God's love for him and that we met him for a reason and we do have what he is looking for. It was a powerful testimony builder that God really does lead us to those who are prepared. 

And to top off this fantastic week... a beautiful Easter Sunday. 
John was confirmed a member of the Church, Sister Buchmiller and I said the opening and closing prayers at sacrament, some little kids gave us Easter eggs with candy inside, we were able to partake of the Sacrament, it was an absolutely beautiful day, and one of the best Easter Sunday's ever :) 
"That first Easter sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life." -Elder Holland

How grateful I am to be able to be a part of this great work. There truly is nothing that brings more joy than the effects of the gospel. I came to know again this week that our Heavenly Father loves us all so much and is in the details of our lives. When we struggle, if we turn to our Heavenly Father he is quick to pick us up, dust us off, and help us keep going. Enduring to the end doesn't have to be so hard. Endure joyfully, be happy, and feel peace through the Savior. One day, "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess" that Jesus is the Christ. 


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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tally Ho

First let me tell you about John! John is a super amazing guy that the elders before us had been teaching. He has been working really hard on keeping the word of wisdom. He smokes blacks and drinks beer every day and to quit things like that people normally would go to coffee and he has to quit that too. He said that he used to do some heavy drugs and one day knew that this isn't what he wanted for himself anymore so he knelt down one day and prayed that he would be able to quit. He immediately quit that day and didn't have a problem with it again. This is a little harder for him but he has been working really hard. But because of that experience he had he knows that God is there and is going to help him through. This week Sister Buchmiller and I focused on repentance as we helped him to quit. Repentance truly is a joyful choice, you are able to have heavens help as you try to keep the commandments. He has officially decided to obey the word of wisdom 100%. He has been drinking lots of water and koolaid and sucking on lots of candy but whatever helps is good! He was interviewed for baptism this Sunday and is ready to be baptized this Saturday! Wow John is such a cool guy! He has also made a goal to get his whole family to come to church as well. I think that John just started something big! I'm excited to see how his family reacts. They have already seen a big change in him and hopefully will want that same change in themselves. 

The biggest miracle of the week I think is when we were going tracting on Tally Ho dr.... we'll we were going to go tracting but the first house we go to knock on Kathy is in her yard holding a little bird. We walked up to her and she greets us super enthusiastically, wow she is such a sweet lady. She said that the windows on her house are so shiny and birds are always flying into them. She will go out and help them until they are good enough to fly again. So she started talking to us like we were her daughters and said how her daughter was best friends with a Mormon and wanted to go into the temple but couldn't. She said that she has read the whole Book of Mormon. She invited us to come inside and she gave us a whole chunk of the cookie dough she just made to take home and make cookies. She also wrote down our names so she can remember us when we come back over, and to call her sis Kennedy haha. We were excited when she said that! It was a huge miracle to have someone welcome us right in and want us to come back! 

Another day we were walking down the street and a girl on the back porch yells out to us, "Hey are you mormons?" We said yes! And she said that she had just gotten baptized the end of October. She said that the church shunned her in her last ward. So when we finally were able to meet with the Bishop (he left for spring break this last week too) he told us that her records had just gotten moved into the ward. He said that he was going to reach out to her but he was just too slow because she called out to us! Heavenly Father really cares about his children and I know He leads them to us or us to them! 

We had interviews with President this week which was amazing!! He really is such an amazing president I feel so much love and support from him which is what I need! He helps me become a better missionary every time I meet with him. What a spiritual boost. 

Well this next week is Easter! What a great holiday that we are able to celebrate our Savior and all that he has done for us. "He was crucified, died, and rose again the third day;" which changed the whole world. Because of that we are able to live again, to repent and be free of all feelings of guilt, we are able to become like Him and to live with Him again. I am so incredibly grateful for my Savior and the Love he has for all of us. Let's all remember Him this Easter season.

Just like always have a great week! 
Sister Ruffner :) 

New address: 
2120 Arden Creek Way #5104
Charlottesville VA 22901

Video (5) from tracie on Vimeo.

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Pink Wash

What a crazy week it has been saying goodbye to Sister Jackson and
great friends in Fredericksburg and hello to Sister Buchmiller and the
people of Charlottesville! I call it a pink wash because we are
replacing elders in this ward. White washing really is a new
experience and I am having lots of fun meeting new people with Sister
Buchmiller and doing lots of finding.

Wow wasn't conference the very best thing in the whole world?! I loved
it so much. I have been thinking about change a lot and becoming
completely converted to the Lord. I was completely overjoyed when
multiple talks were based on that very thing. I know the Heavenly
Father hears and answers our prayers. He loves us and cares about our
conversion. Everything that we go through is for our benefit, to
change us into the people that God needs us to be. I have found on my
mission that whenever I start to feel comfortable, things change.
There is no growth in the comfort zone, and there is no comfort in the
growth zone.
Conversion is not a one time event. Faith is a living organism that
you constantly need to feed, exercise and take care of. Repentance is
a journey, it is change. Change takes time. If you feel that you are
constantly struggling, don't get discouraged you won't see the results
until later but if you are trying to change then you are in the
process of repenting. Change is not something that you can do alone
especially in the world that we live in today. Jesus Christ said, "In
the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have
overcome the world." Jesus Christ has overcome the world and he wants
us to overcome the world as well. I know that Christ loves us so much
and he wants us to be of good cheer and to rely on him for anything
and everything. Heavenly Father sent His Son to show us the way. He
truly can turn our weaknesses into strengths. He can change our hearts
and our nature. Something I have learned is that you have to let Him
change you. You have to want to change. I also know that there is no
greater joy than turning your heart over to God. He wants what is best
for you.
Christ's perfect love can cast out all fear. Don't fear but press
forward with faith! Christ is the light of the world. He gives meaning
and purpose to all that we do. In a darkening world the light of
Christ will grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Diamond in the Rough

CHRISSY GOT BAPTIZED!!! This was such an amazing experience. She really has changed so much since the first time we met her and the first time she came to church. It was such a special day because Chrissy got baptized, right after we had a relief society dinner, then the women's conference. What a spiritual day. Chrissy glowed after she was baptized. She might have a really rough situation going on around her, but she has decided to change her life and get on the straight and narrow path. We truly found a diamond in the rough. 
Right after she got confirmed on Sunday during sacrament meeting, she told us that she felt all tingly. THE HOLY GHOST IS POWERFUL. It can change hearts and I have witnessed this with Chrissy. What an amazing experience. I thought my joy was full last week, but this week it was even fuller. There really is no greater joy than bringing others into the gospel.

Sister Jackson and I both bore our testimonies this Sunday because right before the baptism we get a call for transfers... 
Sister Jackson and I are both leaving and Chancellor is getting Elders! We freaked out when we found out but it is probably for the best haha. I hope they take good care of all our investigators! Also, I am training AGAIN. I have been out on my mission for 6 months and have not had a month without training. 12 week has turned into 32 week! It is probably good, I must need all the training I can get. I have really grown to love the people here in Chancellor and am really going to miss them! 

Here's to more miracles and adventures in Virginia...

-Sister Ruffner

God is SO Good

I know I talk about miracles all the time, but this week was filled with blow your mind crazy miracles. 

First of all, Chrissy is getting baptized on Saturday! After she wen't to the baptism last week, she really wanted to get baptized. Her progression sky rocketed after she made that decision. We have taught her everyday this week and she got her baptismal interview on Sunday. She is so ready! When we were helping her learn how to pray, I told her that she can ask a specific question like, is the Book of Mormon true? She said, "I already did that, and I know. I felt in my heart that I know it is true." Chrissy ceases to amaze me. It is so comforting to know that the Spirit is teaching her even when we aren't there.
“… The Book of Mormon teaches us truth [and] bears testimony of Christ. … But there is something more. There is power in the book which will begin tflow into your lives the moment you begin serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life,’ and nowhere is that mortrue than it is of the Book of Mormon. … ‘Every Latter-day Saint should make the studof this book lifetime pursuit’”  
When we first met Chrissy she was a completely different person. She is getting a lot of junk out of her life and getting on the straight and narrow path. The Book of Mormon changes people. It has changed me, and it has changed the people who I have been teaching. There is power in that book!  I love Chrissy so much and am SO grateful that I was able to be here to see her progress so much.
Just to clear up some stuff, Chrissy is the nanny who takes care of Patrick's kids. It was funny the other day we went to teach Chrissy and all of the kids decided Sister Jackson and I were a jungle gym, it was getting crazy. So Patrick said, "Don't hit the church ladies, or you'll have to answer to Jesus." The boy, PJ innocently said, "But Jesus isn't here." haha! It was funny 😁

Last Monday we get a call from a guy named Junior. He said that he has been reading the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price and he just has a couple of questions. WHAT?! We have also been teaching him about every day this week. He said that the San Diego temple is the most beautiful building in the whole world and he is going to build one just like it when he gets some land. He has some hard questions, but has such a huge desire to know the truth and full intent to do what God asks him to do. 

Last Monday when we were having our P-day in the church, a guy walks in name Jowan. He is looking for a church and his friend told him to try out our church so he just showed up. Good thing it was Monday and the church was full of missionaries! He is the coolest. He had cancer when he was two years old and the doctors told him that he was never going to be able to have children, then he had a son. He knows that God has been there for him and he has a really strong testimony in that. We taught him the restoration and he soaked it in! He said that he believed it and it made tons of sense to have a prophet today because without one, we would be lost. He said that he has been to so many churches and finally this one is giving him answers. 

Heavenly Father is literally leading the prepared people who are searching for truth straight to us. It is amazing to be apart of. Alma 26:12 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. 16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
I wish I could express to you the joy that I felt this Sunday in sacrament meeting when all of our investigators came to church again. I know that the Lord is hastening his work and I am incredibly grateful to be able to be apart of it. God is SO Good!!! 

Something Dallin H Oaks said, "The greatest miracles almost always go unnoticed." I know that God loves you just as much as he loves me, and all these people who he is bringing into the church. You can see miracles in your own life as well! Don't let some of God's greatest miracles go unnoticed in your life! I KNOW that God LOVES his children SO MUCH! He is so aware of you and your circumstances. Matt 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 
Go and see some miracles this week! 
-Sister Ruffner

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