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! 

Sister Ruffner 

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

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. 

- 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 


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, 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