Monday, December 29, 2014

Bonne Année!

Well, I guess it was pretty cool to talk to y'all on Christmas... No really though I loved it- it almost felt like I was right back at home in the living room with the family on Christmas day. It`s so great just to see and talk to y'all at the same time. I still can`t believe how much Ryan`s voice has changed...and Kaitlyn, I am glad you have finally come to terms with who speaks the better French. And thanks for all the pictures as well! Baby Josh just keeps gettin bigger and bigger.

There isn`t a ton of stuff to update y'all on after the Christmas talk. Geraldine and Reida got baptized though!!! That really is the best Christmas present a missionary could ask for- even though I couldn`t be there, I am so incredibly happy for them. I got a phone call that night from the Elders in the South Shore telling me how it all went. I am a very happy missionary. We also picked up a new family of investigators last night. The guy`s name is Mamado- he and his family are from Senegal. Another African Family! y'all know how excited I am for that one. He was contacted by some sisters in the metros of Montréal and he is super open to learning what he calls "more truth." He is Muslim, but a lot different and more open than the multitudes of Muslims that I have already met. I am super excited to work with them- Mamado, his wife, and their three young boys. They are unbelievably nice and they offered to feed us next time we come over- seriously, I just love all the Africans here.

Also, I have started getting my companion into the habit of saying "y'all"- that brings me much joy. I just gotta get the rest of the missionaries saying it as well. The South is where it`s at. Really though, my pride in where I come from really has grown so much since I left. I never realized how dear it was to me until I got pulled out of it. How I long for another meal of Biscuits-n-Gravy as well as some Sr Sol.

Somethin that I have always thought about since the MTC-Our Branch President always focused on "putting off the natural man" and reaching the point where we "expect miracles." Really, the process of "Becoming a Saint" like the Mosiah scripture mentions is a life long process. We are coninually in a state of "putting of the natural man" and it's something we can only attain through the Atonement of Christ. I have really learned a lot more about myself so far being a missionary for these past few months and as this year comes to a close. I have learned more about my weaknesses and really what it means to be a missionary. Coming out here, it is easy to see the missionaries who quite literally have wasted their time for 2 years and those who have given their best to the people and the Lord. Seeing the difference is enough motivation for me alone. In the end, as long as we give it our best- we can never be dissatisfied and neither will the Lord. In continually trying to put off the natural man- because as a missionary I have needed it now more than ever- I have learned more about myself and my weaknesses- What I need to do to overcome them, and my relationship with the Savior has increased tremendously in that process. And the more we develop that relationship- the more we realize our own gifts and talents that have been given to us to protect and bolster us to the highest state we can be- and help others reach their full potential as well. That is what it is all about right there.

I Love being a missionary. I love all the support I have from the family and friends back home. I love everything that this past year has brought us and I hope y'all have a great beginning of 2015! I will talk to y'all next week!

Love,

Elder Cody Warren Ritz

ps. Thanks everyone for all the Christmas Gifts!

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