Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 3: First week out in the field

Well, my first week out here has been pretty good. The day after we got here I was assigned to be a companion with Elder Gunnerson from Idaho. He's quite the character, he loves theater and Broadway, Mo Tab, so yeah he sings around our apartment a lot. We were assigned to serve in the Chino area, where Elder Gunnerson is a district leader (DL's and Zl's get to have phones, what a delicacy!) We went out and bought groceries and then hit the hay. The next day we had our study time and exercise time, then put in some service hours by volunteering at a local thrift shop. We organized books in the children's section, not too hard, but I'm glad we could help. In exchange for our service, they let us take home anything we wanted, so I took 3 classical music CD's, they're absolutely wonderful (we've got a CD player back at the apartment, and due to rules we are limited on what we can listen to haha)! 

I've been assigned with my companion to the more older part of Chino. A lot of the houses are small with small yards, but practically everybody drives a nice car. We're located where a lot of the area used to be farmland or cattle ranch country, so its pretty barren. Practically every evening we went to a member's house for dinner, and boy am I glad for home-cooked food! I'm glad I don't have to eat MTC food anymore haha.  For being autumn, it is very hot out down here! I'm really missing the cool weather back in Utah right now haha! We currently only have one legitimate investigator that we teach. Everyone else we visit are less- active members or former investigators, so our daily schedule isn't as rigorous as other missionaries, which is bittersweet. We will keep on trying to find people though!

Sunday was my first church attendance out in the mission field! The ward is very small, so is the chapel. The ward is called the Walnut Park Ward. Everybody is really friendly. During sacrament meeting they had their Primary Program, it melted my heart to see all the cute little kids walk up to the stand and give such a simple but beautiful testimony! While in the chapel I could feel the love that everyone has for each other, it was a great sensation.  And I love talking to the converts, I find them inspiring, they give me a desire to become more fully converted to the gospel like they are. You can't merely have a testimony of something in order to know if the Church is true, you have to become fully converted! You need to know with utmost surety, and not halfheartedly (I think someone gave a talk in conference about that, but I can't remember haha).

A great inspiration for me is Jerry, who was baptized last September and is currently working towards going to the temple to receive his endowment. He's a big guy with a menacing appearance. His arms and legs are covered in tattoos, and he's got the beard of a lumberjack, but he is one of the kindest people I've ever known. He's so easy to talk to, and is always friendly and willing to help out. His physical appearance can be intimidating to some people, and causes some to judge him. He recognizes that, but he doesn't care, because he just wants to be closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He truly is amazing to me.

And I made a connection with somebody, it's crazy! The bishop of the ward, Bishop Jeff Smith, saw my name tag said "Ruiz" and said "You don't happen to be related to Luis Ruiz, do you?" I was shocked! I told him I was, and that he is my uncle. Bishop Smith told me that him and Uncle Luis grew up in the same ward together back in San Jose. He had some funny stories that he told me. Wow, it really is a small world sometimes!

Well, I'm learning a lot as each day goes by, and my love for the people of Chino has grown. I have a strong desire to find those who are ready to receive the gospel, and invite them to come unto Christ. 

Thanks for all the emails that you have sent me, I'm glad to hear how you all are doing.! 

Talk to y'all next Monday!

Elder Ruiz
Me and Elder Gunnerson

Last picture at the MTC

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Safe and Sound!

I'm officially in Rancho Cucamonga now! We were told to email a picture of us to our family so our families wouldn't think we were dead or something haha.

My mailing address is:

Elder Haven Noel Ruiz
California Rancho Cucamonga Mission
6541 Woodruff Pl
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91701
United States

My email address is:

That is the address of our mission office, I will notify you when once I get the address of my first area.

Love y'all! 
-Elder Ruiz

Jacob 6:12

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 2: It's raining men! (Actually they're Elders)

Yay I'm so happy for the rain!

Ok, back to business. This past week has been a great experience. On thursday night we had a district inventory, and afterwards we a testimony meeting, and by the end we were all crying, ahhh I loved it so much, it was so spiritual. We were all crying at by the end (our district is all elders, no sister missionaries), our love for each other grew so much after that night. 

Our progress with our investigators...well, let's just say that we're not there to get people baptized. Elder McLaws and I made some progress with our investigators, we were even going to invite Matt-one of our investigators-to be baptized! We taught our lesson to him for longer than we were allowed, so we told him we would teach him about baptism the next day. But when we met with him the next day, he told us that he had gone out to Wendover and got drunk with his friends. He felt really depressed, like he would never be forgiven for what he did. Although we talked to him about repentance and the Atonement, I felt prompted to talk to him about it again instead of teach and invite him to baptism, to reassure him that there is a way back.

For our devotional yesterday our guest speakers were former BYU football player Chad Lewis and his wife. They were great, their testimonies are so strong, and they really do live the gospel every day. We should strive to do the same. 

Every time I go into the MTC bookstore, I am so tempted to but a pack of Spanish flashcards! I think I'll act on that temptation haha. 

Thank you for the packages, food and letters that you have sent to me here while I've been at the MTC! I received a box from the package office of Shirley's Bakery cinnamon rolls from someone by the name of Gina Jeppson...I have no idea who that person is haha, I first thought it was from the Jeppsons from Preston, Idaho, but I thought it would be strange for them to send me something since they barely know me haha. Apparently it was addressed to me because it had my MTC address on it, but on the box it's addressed to "Havier Ruiz". I was puzzled, but I wasn't about to pass up an opportunity for some good cinnamon rolls! It was when I opened the box that I realized it was from Sister Gina JACKSON, from my Orem 7th Ward!
There was a note that said "We love you and hope all is well! -The Jackson's" and I was like "Ohhhh, the Jacksons!" Yeah, so anyways I thought if was a funny moment. 

I hope all of you are doing well! I'll be leaving the MTC this afternoon and going to the SLC airport, where I'll be taking a 50-minute flight to the Ontario, California airport (I'm pretty sure this is the shortest flight I will ever be on, it's ridiculous haha.)

Choose the right! Eat your veggies and all that good stuff! Love y'all!

-Elder Ruiz

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 1: Drinking From a Fire Hydrant!

Well hello everyone, glad I can finally talk to people that are on the other side of this MTC fence haha. I joke with everyone here about how I live within walking distance from the MTC, yet the MTC is so isolated, it's like a whole different world. 

The thought of being a legit missionary still didn't hit me until Thursday or Friday morning, when I was sooooooo exhausted and had to wake up at 6:30 in the morning. I'm used to waking up this early by now though, which is good. The MTC is a lot like high school... except you can never leave (until they say you can)....and you can't flirt with girls...and boys can only give handshakes to girls...and you can't dance. #wow     We're expected to pay attention and absorb everything we're taught here, so I'm trying my best to do so.

 Last week I ran into Sister Noelle Walton at the lunch room, who's going to Russia. We both did marching band together back at Timpview, so it was nice seeing an old friend from school. I was about to give her a gentle pat on the back as a friendly gesture, forgetting that I can't do that. The rules must be REALLY drilled into hear head, because she screamed, and I swear she almost spilled her tray of food. And this was in the middle of the lunch room, so everybody turned around and were just staring at us hahahaha. #awkward 

I've seen a lot of friends from Timpview here at the MTC, including Elders Jonathan Chen, Tanner Kohler, Tommy Taylor, Abe Ogles, and Matt Larsen! I also saw Sister Noelle Walton and Sister Santa Maria (I can't remember her first name haha). I'll try and send pictures in another email today.

My companion is Elder Mclaws from Holbrook, Arizona, and he's going to my same mission as well. A little side note: He's the nephew of my neighbor across the street in Orem, Brother Balden. He's a nice guy, but he has a hard time with comprehension and being able to communicate with people (investigators). But I think there's a reason why I was assigned to be his companion. 

I'm the District Leader! I was called on Thursday, and I felt so inadequate at the time. But being a DL isn't really that hard, I basically just have to make sure that we stick to our schedules, pay attention in class, study, prepare, and teach for investigators, and take inventory on how our district is doing. Our branch president is President Gines, who typically falls asleep during sacrament, but he's a nice guy. 

Anyways, gotta go send off these pictures to you guys before I wash my laundry, talk to you guys next Monday!

-Elder Ruiz

P.S. I WOULD LOVE TO GET MAIL/PACKAGES while I'm here at the MTC!!!!!!!! I haven't received anything except for my itinerary for my flight to California next Monday hahaha. So yeaaaaah, that would seriously make my day. My mailing address is:

Elder Haven Noel Ruiz
2007 N 900 E Unit 63
Provo UT 84602

Thanks so much, love you guys!!!!