Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 28: Brownie Waffles

Greetings fellow earthlings, this past week was spledid! Elder Morton and I have been doing a lot of tracting these past few weeks to try and pick up some new investigators. We had to drop one of our investigators named Bernie because he hasn't been keeping commitments that we have given him, but oh well, maybe he'll be ready in the future! Since my companion Elder Morton is the district leader, he went on exchanges with Elder Robbins in the Los Serranos ward, and his companion Elder Muhlstein went with me for the day in our ward. He's a great elder; he's from Riverton Utah and likes to snowboard. It's funny how many Utah/Idaho missionaries there are in this mission; a lot of us know each other from back home. For example, Elder Muhlstein knows one of my previous companions (Elder Jessee) from back home because they both went to the same high school! Haha it's a small world here in California being LDS. For dinner last night some members made us brownie waffles, and they were actually pretty good! The weather in Chino has been getting better these past few days (at least in my opinion haha); the heat streak finally ended early last week, and since  then it's been in the 80's during the day, and the nights have been very cool with a slight breeze. It's been great weather; we've even been sleeping with the windows open because it's so cool outside, it's great! 

I want to leave you with my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know it to be the word of God. I testify of the authenticity of it, and am not afraid to tell anyone that it is "the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and (that) a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." I cannot even describe how much the Book of Mormon can change people. I know that it has changed me for the better. I am eternally grateful for it. The blessings it brings are innumerable. It can strengthen you when you feel all hope is lost; you can find joy in its words; it can strengthen your marriage and family; it can answer questions of the soul; and you can find true peace as you study and live its teachings. It is evidence of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Christ lives, that through Him we can find eternal joy, and eventually return to live with our loving Heavenly Father. 

I love you all, and am grateful for each and every one of you. Choose the right, love and serve others; follow the loving example of our Savior Jesus Christ. He loves you. 

-Elder Ruiz

Also, I LOVE this testimony given by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles back in the 80's. He gave this speech only a few days before he passed away. It it so powerful and moving to me every time I watch it; to see his conviction and emotion, and his love for Jesus Christ. I hope it can inspire you in some way.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Week 27: Heat Streak

Howdy y'all, this past week we experienced many miracles and tender mercies. Elder Morton and I were tracting down a few streets in Chino, and we came across several people who were quite interested in learning more, and said we could come back. Also, we tracted into the parents of an investigator's family that the Spanish Sisters are now teaching! Now that was meant to be! They spoke very little English, but their son said they like Mormons and that we could come by this week and talk more! Woohoo, I'm so pumped! We went and visited less-actives with a returning less-active member, which was awesome! For the past two or three weeks my bike hasn't been working well, and on Wednesday I could no longer shift (it's the gear shifter lines that broke), so this afternoon I took my bike in to a bike shop to get fixed, and I'll be picking it up tomorrow. On Friday we had a great visit with a less-active member. Elder Morton and I taught him the importance of the Book of Mormon and challenged him to read it. I had such a strong feeling to just be direct with him and ask him why he doesn't come to church, so I just flat-out asked him, and he simply told us why, which is what I've been waiting for him to tell us this whole time we've been seeing him! It's amazing how when we act on promptings from the Spirit, we can do amazing things! I know without a doubt that I was guided by the Spirit to ask certain inspired questions, and that the less-active could feel the Spirit, as well as the power of our testimonies and the message we shared. On Sunday we had a great stake conference, and Adrienne (recent convert) came to all of it, which is good!

The Gospel is real, and the Church is true! If we want to see blessings, we have to live the Gospel; it's as simple as that! Have a great week, I love you all!
-Elder Ruiz

"The baking of life’s best cakes takes time. Don’t despair of tarrying and trying."

     -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Week 26: 5th Transfer

Hello again everyone, today is the first day of my 5th transfer out here on my mission, 6 month mark! Transfer calls came, and I'll be staying here in the Walnut Park Ward in Chino. I was looking forward to being transferred to another area, but it seems the Lord has something else in store for me haha.

Nothing too big to report about this past week, but it went well. On Monday we had our zone activity at a park in Chino Hills; we played Indian Ball (it's similar to football; I don't really know how to put it into words haha), and we also played capture the flag. Tuesday we had a great zone meeting, Thursday we taught the Plan of Salvation with Bishop Smith to a recent convert. Friday I could not stop thinking about transfers, because I totally thought I would get transferred (staying in one area for 6 months is pretty long), and the other elders in our apartment even said they thought I'd be leaving...but lo and behold, the call never came haha. Elder Morton and I are still companions, and he's been called to be district leader, so I'm looking forward to going on exchanges with the zone leaders! Chino received a fair amount of rain this past weekend, which I am very happy about. The storms keep the temperatures cool during the day, which I like. Sunday was great; while I was fasting I felt spiritually strengthened and nourished, and I even went up to the stand and bore my testimony (which I never did back home haha). 

I have been thinking lately about the difference between how I felt spiritually before my mission, and now during my mission, and how much my testimony has grown. And I can definitely say that I'm a lot better on my mission! This morning I thought of a question that I asked to myself: 

Do the things I say, think, do, or participate in:
-Help me grow closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?
-Help me feel the Spirit more throughout the day?

I encourage you all to ask that same question to yourself. I can't help but think of the phrase "Surround Yourself With Greatness" (I can't remember if that's a book title or something, but whatever).
By ourselves, we cannot make those changes that are necessary to align our will with the Lord's will. We must humble ourselves and ask Him to help us. And He will gladly help us, all we have to do is ask. Because through Christ we can do all things!

Applying the gospel to your life does not hurt you. It does not make life boring or hard. It does not make you seem weird to other people when you actively live it (and if they criticize you for it, then that's their problem). The gospel of Jesus Christ was created to help us return to live with our loving Heavenly Father. It helps us when we need all the help we can get. It can bless ourselves and those around us. It is a tool that can be used for any task; all we have to do is pick it up and use it! Stand up for truth and righteousness!

I love you all and wish you a wonderful week!

-Elder Ruiz

Our beloved Chino Zone! Two Elders are missing in the picture because they got a drink of water, but whatever haha. My companion Elder Morton is the Elder that's laying on the ground haha. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 25: April Fools!

Hi everyone! Welcome to a new month of the year! General Conference was totally AWESOME! Viewing conference on my mission has certainly increased the personal revelation that I received. There was much said that I would love to talk about, but I don't have much time haha. 

Wednesday was a MIRACLE, woohoo! We picked up two new investigators that day, and the first one -Harold, who we have been trying to teach for a while but just end up talking to on his doorstep- finally let us come in and teach him! It was crazy; we were just talking, and then all of a sudden he just stopped in the middle of what he was saying, paused, and asked if we would like to come in and sit down and talk a little more. Heck yes we did! Agh it was such a blessing, the Lord was really looking out for us that day! 

For General Conference we went to the stake center and watched it...and only a handful of people were there. Mostly because most of the members just watch it on BYU TV on their tv's back home or watch it on the computer; most of the people viewing at the stake center were us missionaries, since we don't have televisions haha. 

Watching General Conference has strengthened my testimony that President Monson, the Twelve Apostles, and other leaders of the Church, have all been called of God. They have the authority and power to say what they say. Taking heed to their counsel and applying it to your personal life will do nothing...but BLESS your life! What have you got to lose?

This current week is the last week of the (7) week transfer, so I might be getting transferred to another area next week...or I might be staying haha, whatever is the Lord's will. :)

Well, gotta go, I love you all! Make decisions that can draw you closer to the Lord. 

-Elder Ruiz
Laura and Kaivon, the owners of the non-profit thrift store that we volunteer at!