Sunday, October 26, 2014

I love y'all

(written and sent on October 20th)

Dearest Mother,

President Patrick called me last night and relayed the information to me... I can't say it's exactly what a missionary wants to hear, but I am grateful that everything is going well and that he is on the way to recovery. I am also grateful for everyone's thoughts, prayers, and support. I KNOW that the Lord is taking care of each one of us, and there is no doubt in my mind that I am where I am supposed to be- it's not easy hearing that and being all the way up here, but in reality, despite the fact that I am up in Canada right now- we are ALWAYS together as a family, no matter where we are.

This week has been the hardest week of my mission thus far but also the best. We went on exchanges this week, and I was with another missionary who has only been here for a few more weeks than me. Usually that doesn't happen. We had to get the car fixed that day, and I was the one delegated to go to the shop. The day was full of a lot of walking and was a little different because we weren't sure what was going to happen with the car, but that day I realized that I really am quite capable of getting things done out here now. I can communicate with people good enough to get things accomplished, and I really am feeling good about all that will be asked of me out here. We have also had some discouraging experiences with people that we find, and we also had an investigator that has dropped us. Needless to say, it's been a tough week, but we continue to work hard.

Also, this week I had the opportunity to do two things: give someone a blessing in French and give someone the priesthood. The blessing was for an older lady in our ward who got in a car crash. She turned out alright, but her car was totaled and she is at a point in her life where she is unsure about what is going to happen next. So we went to give her a blessing as well as a less active member, Xavier, who shares the same house as her- because she wants someone to be with her and he needed a house up here- and he is trying to quit smoking and come back to church. Both of them wanted priesthood blessings, so Norman and I went with a member- Brother Roy- to give them blessings. We went on Friday morning, and the drive was really tranquil- it's hard to describe, but it had a special feeling as Brother Roy talked to us about his testimony and how he loves the missionaries (he is a recent convert who has an AMAZING testimony- he is the one I told you who talked to us about angels and his wife was a member for 37 years and he just joined last year. Anyway, I had an overwhelming feeling like I was going to be saying one of the blessings that morning. When we got there, we talked for a little bit, and I ended up giving a blessing to the lady- Sister Boulay- in French. I have no idea how or why I said some of the things in that blessing. It was incredible, and I was so touched by the experience. Xavier couldn't believe that I had only been here for 5 weeks with the way that I spoke French. It was a really incredible experience, and it is one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

On Sunday, we went to the Bishop's office after church to go help give the Priesthood to a new convert who was just baptized a few weeks ago in our ward. He worked with the sisters, but we went to the baptism and have gotten to know him pretty well over the past month. We went with him to the Bishop's office, and there were a few other young men there and their families as a couple of them were getting ordained to various offices in the Aaronic priesthood. Right before Daniel sat in the chair, he turned to us and said that he wanted me to do the ordinance in English. We were so caught off guard by it, and that is something that I never imagined myself doing for anybody any time soon. I was so incredibly touched by that experience as well- there is so much power in bestowing the Aaronic priesthood to a new convert and ordaining them as a priest.

I really can see so many ways in which the Lord is using me as an instrument in his hands- I am grateful for these experiences and I continue to pray for them. Also, with Geraldine and her family, we are waiting for the missionaries to contact the dad in Nigeria so he can see the church and give his approval for them to get Baptized. We had dinner with them last night- the African food was divine- and we really just talked about the scriptures. Apparently in Relief Society that day, they were talking about missionary work, and she stood up and bore her testimony about how grateful she is for the missionaries in her life and how they have helped change her and her family for the better- that's what the sisters told us. We taught her the Word of Wisdom and she accepted it without hesitation the other day- we were so surprised. They have such great faith, I really can't wait for them to be able to get baptized. They really have been prepared by the Lord, it's nothing that we have done- we really have played a small part in the whole process. Seeing a family like that, though, that's just the whole point of missionary work right there- and I really just feel the same joy I did that day when I got to baptize Daeshaun. I love this work, and being able to share this happiness with others really is such a blessing especially as we see the changes it makes in people's lives firsthand and really just learn to LOVE the people. Truly Love them as Christ would, and I really feel that way with Geraldine and her family.

Lastly, I love y'all. Tell Dad that I wish him a speedy recovery and that he should start wearing my ties more often ;) I am working hard out here- I am representing the Ritz family well, and I wear my name proudly as well Christ's name. Tell Ryan I am proud of him as well. It's sad how oftentimes we really don't realize how much we love someone until we spend a substantial amount of time away from them. The time I get to spend with y'all will never be taken for granted. Y'all are the best. Until next week.


Elder Cody Warren Ritz

ps- Tell Dayne that I appreciate his email. I don't have time to respond to it today, but I will.

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