Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One week til Montréal!

Salut ma famille!

Andy, thank you again for the sports news. Glad to see both of our football teams are starting the year off strong! I also just want to thank everyone for all the emails/letters/packages that I have received. I can't begin to tell you how great it is. I can feel the love and support from everyone, and it really makes things that much easier for me. I am doing my best to personally thank everyone, but it is not always easy to find the time. Mom, thank y'all for the Georgia stuff every week as well. I am sportin my Georgia pride well, trust me. And my District also thanks you for the chips and salsa.

So I guess you wanna hear the big news, huh mom? SO WE GOT OUR TRAVEL PLANS LAST FRIDAY! Our flight leaves SLC at 7:30 in the morning, and we have an hour layover in Detroit. From there we fly to Montréal! I CANNOT WAIT to get back on east coast time again! haha. We have to leave the MTC at 3:30am! Which kinda sucks. But they want us there SUPER early to avoid all possible complications. Also, I actually won't be able to call from the airport anymore...apparently it's not allowed...Nah, just kiddin. Scared ya, huh? Mama, I will be calling the house phone from the airport around 5:00am Utah time, so 7:00 y'all's time. So be expecting a call next Tuesday morning. I'm extremely excited!

This week has been a pretty eventful one for us in the MTC. As you already know, we got our travel plans. Also, I forgot to tell ya, but our Mission President's son is actually here in the MTC with us! He is going to Tahiti speaking French AND Tahitian. I can't even imagine doing that. But anyway, we talked to him a little bit about his family and stuff--it was really neat. I mean, what are the odds of that??? All the missionaries going to Tahiti left yesterday.

I got my international driver's permit this week as well! I'll show y'all a picture of that at the end of the email. I finally found out where the teacher from Oregon is from! He's from Salem--Dad I told him you were from there too, and he freaked out. His last name is Kunzler. We talked about Oregon and Georgia for a little bit--apparently he has family in Sandy Springs. It was pretty dang cool. He also wants to know what high school you went to, Dad. My other teacher, the one from Spain--he is amazing. He just loves giving me a hard time, but he just makes everything so fun. He has a really deep accent, and he tells me not to make fun of him when he speaks English. Kaitlyn, I wore the frog tie you and Alex got me from NYC a few years ago, and he said it was ugly(which he pretty much says about all my ties haha). But I told him it was a gift, and he asked from who? I said "my sister," and he said in his spanish accent, "she does not love you." I also really enjoying talking with one of the counselors in my branch presidency about the Book of Mormon and deep doctrine. He is brilliant. We spent like an hour last Sunday just talking about the timeline of the Book of Mormon and just sharing all these stories he's had with people he has met. I really enjoy it! He always gives me such great encouragement. He owns like three vineyards and is bringing some of his "Chateau Markum" bottled grape juice to my district on our last night at the MTC to celebrate. He served his mission in Paris, so he also has a lot of cool French stories.

I got my first haircut since my arrival at the MTC. The lady did a pretty good job--you'll be able to see it in the pictures from this week, mom. It looks pretty much the same. It was cool to talk to the lady, though, she just had a lot of questions about Georgia (most of the Utah people do),and it only took like 15 minutes. I have just really enjoyed meeting new people this past month here. Rumor is that we are getting ipads in Montréal--keep your fingers crossed for that one! That'd be really cool!

This past week there have been a lot of people getting sick too. A bunch of nasty bugs have been going around. I've been trying my best to stay healthy after getting that nasty cold. Last Tuesday our district gave a blessing to one of our Elders who had to go to Salt Lake to get his knee checked out--he had hurt it again playing soccer. That was a really cool experience to be able to participate in my first priesthood blessing. Thankfully everything is alright with him. Then, just a few days later, on Saturday one of the sisters asked me and my companion to give her a blessing. She had a pretty nasty stomach bug. I felt bad for the poor girl, and I was caught off guard when she asked us to give the blessing. Elder Lloyd anointed, and I said the blessing--my first time doing that as well. Better in the MTC than anywhere else I suppose. But it was incredible, so hard to describe, but I definitely will remember that experience for the rest of my life.

I am extremely grateful for the time I have had to spend in the MTC this past month. This next week is gonna be hectic as we get ready to leave--and we also have a General Authority coming to speak tonight! I have grown so much this past month, and I feel SO ready to get out there in Montréal and start speaking French to those people! I am very excited for what these next 22 months have in store for me and everyone else back home! I am always grateful for everyone's love and support. It does so much to strengthen me. I cannot even begin to tell ya. I love this Gospel, and I love the French language. I love the people of Montréal already! The skype sessions have gone so great with them!

Tell Ryan to not forget to make sure his zipper on his pants is zipped up the first time he passes the sacrament! Bro Hobbs can attest to that.

The next time I'll send an email will be in two weeks; By then I'll be in beautiful Montréal! I'll talk to you in a week, mama! I love you!

-Elder Cody Warren Ritz

p.s This morning, we went to the temple to start off our p-day...it started pouring. Like monsoon weather. Extremely windy and raining hard. It started when we were walking out of the temple and... the picture says it all. It's quite the walk from the MTC to the temple, so me and 3 other elders in my district were sprinting in the midst of the storm in our suits to get back to the MTC. We were quite the spectacle when we got back haha. All of our stuff got soaked, but oh well. When you see a guy running in a suit, you know he means business. When you see a guy running in the middle of a storm, completely soaked in a suit then you know he REALLY knows what he is doing. People were taking pictures of us as we got back to the MTC.

soaked!

Beautiful day at the temple.

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