Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week 58: Gobble Gobble Gobble

Last week we...wow, I can hardly even remember what we did because we were so busy serving people and helping others! We stacked firewood for a single lady in the ward, we worked at the orchard again, and we volunteered at the horse stables again and cleaned out stalls. On monday we helped a member in the Oak Hills ward move furniture, and then I got a haircut so now I have shorter hair! We had zone conference and all the missionaries in the high desert got together again for that. The zone conference was really focused on working through and with members in our area. Seriously though, working with and through members is probably the most effective ways to carrying out missionary work, but it's also difficult in many areas. The Varieur family that we are teaching had a power outage during the week at about 9 at night, and our ward mission leader was able to contact a member of the ward who is an electrician. He was able to come over and temporarily fix the problem with their electric circuit. Talk about a great guy! We have been teaching them a lot to get through the lessons so they can be baptized on December 10th! They are really excited! The wife asked me to baptize her, and their oldest son asked me to confirm him. I am very honored to participate in their baptism and confirmation. Yesterday it rained, and during the night it rained even harder, and when we woke up this morning, we looked out our back window...AND THERE WAS SNOW ON THE MOUNTAINS!!!! I'm really excited about the snowfall! Thanksgiving is good, but I am so pumped for the holiday season!

We are kept busy with plenty of service opportunities around us. We are blessed as we serve others.

I think we can all be grateful for many things in our lives, especially our Savior Jesus Christ and his Atonement that he completed. I am eternally grateful for his sacrifice that he performed in behalf of us.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, enjoy your week and have gratitude!

Elder Haven Ruiz

Week 57: "You did not choose the stud life...the stud life chose you."

Howdy! For those of you in America I hope Veteran's Day treated you well. I forgot to mention last week that I was called to be a district leader for this transfer! I'm really excited for this opportunity to learn and grow.

Elder Wedel and I participated in a variety of service opportunities this last week. We pruned trees at a member's orchard and repaired a cracked water line and flattened out some of her property with a tractor, we directed traffic and shoveled manure at a fundraiser for donkeys, helped a nonmember family move some furniture, and we operated games at a fundraiser carnival for the local Cub Scout pack. The carnival was a lot of fun, the Varieur's that we have been teaching all came to the carnival and they had a great time. Yesterday after church Elder Wedel and I participated in the baptismal services of Elias, our ward mission leader's son. We each bore our testimonies at the end and we both felt good testifying directly to Elias of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

We have been teaching our investigators Scott and Vanessa, and last night we set a baptismal date with them for December 10, and also taught their two oldest children and picked them up as new investigators! They love coming to church as a family, and have already made several acquaintances with ward members. They even came to an Elder's Quorum service project in the ward on Friday and helped us clean a garden. We taught another investigator the Gospel of Jesus Christ and before we even brought baptism up to her, she expressed her interest in being baptized. She is eager to learn more about the gospel. Plus, Carrie and Vanessa are the first two people I have ever taught on my mission that actually filled out the study guide in the pamphlets we give to people we teach. It goes to show just how serious and interested they are about this! It is so great!

Yep so that about sums up last week. I am so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ and his infinite Atonement. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have of my Father in heaven who loves me very much. Have a great week!

Elder Ruiz

Elder Wedel ad I posing for some cool photos on the tracks!

Our "work equipment" at the orchard.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 56: Just Serve

I hope everyone enjoyed Halloween last week! Don't get too many cavities with all the candy haha. 

So, the nonmember family that we were notified about through the referral system, the Varieur's; we picked up the mom and dad as new investigators and we taught them the Restoration on Wednesday morning. The Spirit was there, the lesson went smoothly. Later that day we taught our other new investigator Carrie (the lady that's been a friend of a member in our ward for a while now) the Plan of Salvation. She had some really confusing questions and deep doctrinal questions about the Spirit World and the Resurrection and Judgement, but we were able to resolve her concerns she had. 

On Saturday afternoon we were asked by the sister missionaries in Wrightwood if we could come and help an older Korean lady move out of her house. So Elder Wedel and I drove up there, and boy there was a TON of stuff that was in that house! Her name is Krista and she is not a member of the Church, but a member of the Wrightwood ward was told by a friend that Krista need help moving out of her house because she had to be out by Tuesday this week, so that member contacted the sister missionaries, who in turn asked us to help them with the moving. Anyways, Krista was diagnosed with cancer some time ago and has undergone chemotherapy, and so she is not physically capable of doing all the moving by herself in time before Tuesday. She was a fashion/interior designer before she was diagnosed, so she had A LOT of nice women's clothing and accessories, as well and very expensive lotions and topical creams. One cream that she has is used by the Queen of England! And she has a lot of kitchen equipment (very expensive kitchen knives and glassware), even though she told us she is not very good at cooking haha. She even gave a $6,000 German kitchen knife set to the Wrightwood ward mission leader (he is a chef) for 50 cents! Talk about a good deal! So we packed up her clothing and belongings until 9:00 at night or so, by which time we had to go home for curfew. But we weren't even close to being finished with the packaging and moving! So Elder Wedel and I contemplated about coming back on Sunday to help finish packing up her belonging. He told me an experience he had about helping someone on the Sabbath, and basically what he was saying was "We can either do the right thing and go to church, or we can do the right thing and serve someone." That was a really powerful statement. And if you think about it, Jesus Christ healed a person on the Sabbath, and that is what helped me decide to help this lady. So we went to sacrament meeting in the morning to partake of the sacrament, then we immediately went up to Wrightwood to help with the packing. And it was worth it! We gave Krista a Book of Mormon in Korean that we just happened to have in our truck, and she was more than happy to have missionaries come see her at her new home. So we are going to send her in as a referral for the missionaries that are serving where she is moving. And Krista said I am good-looking and look like Matt Damon! I've never heard that one before haha. 

Sunday we taught the Varieur's again, but this time we brought a member with us, and the lesson was AWESOME! Overall, the week went well.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Ruiz

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Last week was filled with miracles! First off, Elder Wedel and I have been trying harder to be even more obedient (not that we are apostate or heathens or anything of that nature haha), and for some reason on our Tuesday was practically perfect! We got to our morning studies on time, and we made it to district meeting on time for once! The meeting was really spiritual and powerful for all of us. After district meeting that afternoon we received a referral from Church headquarters for a nonmember family that moved into our area from Riverside, the Varieur's, and they had been taught the Restoration by missionaries down there who saw that they needed some extra hands to help them load their moving trailer. During district meeting we had talked about referalls and how important it is to try and contact them within 24 hours, so we were quick in our attempt to call the Varieur's and contact them. During the time that we were going to call them, we were at our ward mission leader's house, and when he heard we were about to call this family, he told us he would talk to them. Now technically missionaries are supposed to contact the referral, but Elder Wedel and I felt completely fine with him doing that, so we let gave him the listed number and he called them. Turned out it was the mother's cell phone, Vanessa, and she answered. And as our WML and her conversed over the phone, we were blown away by the fact that he was telling her just what she needed to hear at that time; mainly that we had people in the ward who could provide them with dinners for the week (they hadn't brought a fridge with them and were keeping their perishable food in a little cooler) and that Elder Wedel and I would go and ask around for a washer and dryer (they didn't have those either). Miraculously, just the day before, Elder Wedel and I helped an elderly member of one of our wards move an old washer and dryer out of her garage because she was going to give them to DI, but she said that if there was anybody in the area that need a washer or dryer we could give them to those who needed them. How cool is that, that we just happened to have a washer/dryer set that was being given away for free by a member, right when someone needed them most! WOW! We helped them Varieur's move in to their new home, and they were in need of a fridge so we delivered a fridge that was donated to them from another family in the ward. This family is ready to join the church! They have been looking for a church to join, "a church that we feel is the one that's for us", and they feel like our Church is the church for them! They enjoyed church services yesterday, and they have been reading the Book of Mormon since they first met the missionaries down the hill. They are a family with good values, and they want to take the lessons, so we will be starting the lessons this week with them and teaching them twice a week! 

We also were blessed with another new investigator! This lady has been a friend of a member in our ward for some time now, and after 4 years of continued fellowshipping she now is wanting to learn more about what we believe. We met with her and her member friend on Wednesday and taught the Restoration. She was quite receptive and had many questions, and we scheduled another appointment with her for this Wednesday! Elder Wedel and I are very grateful for these new people that we have been blessed with that we have the opportunity to teach. We both felt that these blessing are attributed to our desire and efforts to be more obedient. I look forward to getting to know them better. 

This morning Elder Wedel and I went on a hike in the mountains with some other missionaries and a member of our ward. It was beautiful, I love the mountains! 

Happy Halloween and have a great week! 

Elder Ruiz

Our humble abode.

Week 54: RAIN!!!!!

Last week I got to go on exchanges with our District Leader Elder Robbins, who served in the same zone as I did in Chino. We were able to tract for a few hours in Phelan and help a member with some fall cleanup. 

Nothing big happened last week. We were able to teach our investigator Kari the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and after praying about a baptismal date for a few weeks now she feels like she should give it some time before being baptized. We talked to her and her husband Tommy about the Atonement. The Holy Ghost was definitely present during that lesson. 

 We are keeping ourselves busy with plenty of service to do. 

And yesterday after church...IT RAINED!! Well actually it sprinkled but all of last night it rained and the thunder and lightning was awesome! But yeah it was my first time experiencing rain here in the high desert so I was pretty excited about that!

I love being a missionary, and I am grateful for the knowledge that I have that I have a Father in heaven who loves me very much! 

Talk to you next week! 

-Elder Ruiz