This week was indescribable. I cannot explain the joy that comes from missionary work! I was able to go back to my first area to be with my first companion this last week. The De Anza ward is amazing. It was a beautiful experience to be able to go back and work again with those same people who had changed my life so many months ago. The Soler family, Maritsa, The Cuiniche family, Josue, Maria Galvez, Maria Guzman, Maria Arellano, Dagoberto. I was reminded again and again of the love of our Heavenly Father and I was able to feel that love magnified in myself! I remembered this week why I love the work so much. Every day we worked hard and we loved every second of it. I've never been companions with someone as they've gone home so that was another new experience for me. Hermana Castrillon was a great example of someone who allows the fire of the gospel to burn inside of her and allows it to drive every decision she makes. It was so hard to say goodbye to my best friend, but I am so blessed to have been able to be with her for so long and be so touched by her service. I know that she will continue to bless many lives in New York! 

These last couple of weeks our mission has really talked a lot about FIRE. We need to let the fire of the gospel roar and lead us along. We must work with passion and love and desire. We need to remember the eternal perspective and what we are working for. I see that fire in all the missionaries I serve around, sometimes more brightly, and it strengthens my drive and determination to let that fire burn my soul and refine me into the person who the Lord wants me to be. Something that a friend shared with me this week is that one of the attributes of fire is that it leaves a mark on everything that it touches. That's why I'm here. That's what I'm working for. 

In Jeremiah 20:7-9 we read:
7 O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.
8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.
9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
Even Jeremiah felt at times that he could not go any further. He thought that no one listened to him, everyone mocked him and what he was doing wasn't making a difference. He determined to not mention the Lord any more. He decided to give up. But he could not. The work was in his heart. It was a burning fire in his bones. He could not stay. I cannot stay! At times on my mission, I have felt discouraged, sometimes I have thought that what I'm doing is not affecting anyone, but I cannot stop. This is forged within my soul. I know that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ, that we belong to His great church and that He is at it's head leading and guiding us today. When I went back to La Sierra this week, I truly saw how this fire touches people's lives. When I was tempted to think that no one there remembered me or the things I had shared with them, and at times that my time there was ill spent, the Lord gave me a wake up call. People truly can feel this. It works! The gospel blesses lives!!! The adversary wants us to think we are not making a difference, but I know that we are. I have never loved being a missionary more than now! What a great work we are a part of. I will never let this fire die.

On Saturday we had transfer calls. Guess what? I'm staying in Hemet! A lot of crazy things going on in the mission, but I know I'm supposed to stay here. I'm still going to be in a trio! With Hermana Babb and Hermana Horne, and I will still be serving as a STL. I'm really looking forward to this transfer and sharing the gospel with everyone! What a better time of year to do so? We also had a training on a new video coming out for Christmas called "A Savior is Born". You'll love it! Make sure that you share it with everyone and keep that fire burning strong. 
Los quiero a todos. 

Con Amor,
Hermana Rutherford