Hi all.
Sorry this is weird and I'm sending emails on a Tuesday, but yesterday Elder Neilsen from the Missionary Department came. He is the one who spoke in General Conference about his sister who had left the church, remember? His talk is called "Waiting for the Prodigal", it's awesome, so you should look it up. Anyway, so I'm writing today because he came here for a mission tour yesterday. A mission tour is just basically that. He comes and tours the mission and meets us all, and gives lots of instruction on ways that we can improve. We had a great discussion about the Atonement and were able to enjoy a whole day together. His spirit was so poignant and I loved hearing all his insight to our questions. You could definitely feel the mantel of his calling resting upon him as he shared with us yesterday. What an amazing experience to get to talk to and interact with someone who works on the other side of missionary work! 

During our discussion on the Atonement, I was able to feel the love of the Savior and the assurance that He knows me perfectly and individually. I know that Our Savior lives. I know He loves us. I know that He died and resurrected for US. Not only to redeem us from our sins, but to enable us to become more than we ever could on our own. The enabling power of the Atonement is maybe not something we think about very often, but as President David O McKay said "the purpose of the gospel is to make bad men good, good men better, and to change human nature". The center of the gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is by Him and through Him that bad men can become good (the redeeming aspect of the Atonement) and that good men can become better (the enabling power), eventually we will be able to change our fallen state of human nature to become the saints of God as King Benjamin says in Mosiah 3:19 "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." We may become saints through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. How amazing is that? I also received many personal insights on eternal personal progression. One of my absolute biggest goals in life and eternity is to continue progressing. No matter if I'm in the "bad, good, or better" state of something, I can always work toward "best" and "saint". I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and for His loving Atonement. I am so thankful that He chose to suffer for me. For my pains, my sicknesses, weaknesses, my sins, and also my mediocrities. God does not intend for us to be mediocre. He intends for us to becomes even as He is, and I know that it is through His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, that we will rise above our own abilities and talents. 

As missionaries our purpose is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." INVITE. We have to invite everyone. No one is going to learn things we don't teach them. They are not going to keep commitments that we don't extend to them. They aren't going to change if we don't invite them. Then I love this part "...others to come unto Christ". To come where? UNTO Christ. In order to invite people to come unto Christ we have to be there. We are not inviting people to "go to Christ", but to come unto Him. I have thought about that a lot lately and have tried to recognize the things in my life that maybe keeping me from being as near unto Christ as I should. In order to INVITE others to come UNTO Christ, I need to be living exactly as I should. As member missionaries and full-time missionaries alike, we need to be reading and praying and going to church and fasting and paying our tithing, living the law of chastity, keeping the word of wisdom and only then will we be able to invite others to do the same. I pray that all of you are praying for opportunities to share with others this glad message. I had someone ask me what the "glad message" was the other day. Well it's that SALVATION IS POSSIBLE THROUGH OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. What is better then that? Nothing. I love this gospel and this message. 

Hemet. Hemet is awesome. It is definitely the most secluded place in our mission so everyone calls it "the black hole" and "the armpit" of the mission. But I love it so much. I would not be anywhere else right now! Not even back in Jurupa serving in Mira Loma. Don't get me wrong, I miss that a lot, but I know that I need to be here. I have seen many blessings already being manifest to me here. My companion is awesome. She is definitely different from my other companions, but we get along great! I've loved her since minute one. She needs a lot of help with her Spanish and understanding some of the ways that we teach, but she is so willing to learn and I love that about her. She is always cracking jokes and making me laugh! We have some really solid investigators right now and we were able to pick up 10 in the last week (their average for finding new investigators last month was 2.5/week, so Heavenly Father really blessed us with 10). We have 3 investigators on date right now: Raul, Sulma, and Rogelio. Please pray for them! They need to make some changes in their lives to qualify for baptism, but I know that this is what our Heavenly Father wants for His children. Hermana Emerson and I will continue to work hard and prepare them for this sacred covenant. Our zone is our whole stake so there are a ton of us! I love it though. Hemet is reallllly small and there really isn't a lot here, but the people are humble and ready to learn. I have seen myself grow a lot as a missionary here in the last week. I am completely out of my comfort zone, but that's what I needed. I needed something new, I never want to get stuck in a rut and this is a complete curveball, so I'm thankful for this opportunity to learn. The work is different here. Everything is real spread out and it is HOT like 110 during the day the last couple days. Yesterday when we got out of our meeting with Elder Nielson and 5:00 pm it was like 106! Anyway, since this is our first pday together as a zone we all (well, almost all there are a few who were sick) went hiking this morning and then played volleyball for a few hours together. You definitely learn who missionaries really are on a hike haha. It was really steep and slippery with loose dirt all over the place, but eventually everyone made it to the top! What a great bonding experience! Tomorrow we are going to the temple as well so this week is just full of fun! 

I love you all and I want you to know I'm doing well down here. There isn't anywhere else I'd rather be. Thank you for all your support! 

Con Amor, 
Hermana Rutherford 

PS my new mailing address is: 1972 W Acacia #69 Hemet, CA 92549

All of us at the top of the hike today! Love my zone :)