Monday, February 9, 2015

La Mort Blanche

Well, so far it's been snowing here for about 36 hours straight...absolutely just dumping mounds and mounds of snow everywhere. Y'all are welcome to come up here and take some of this snow back down there with ya. Warm weather seems like a dream to me right now, haha.

Glad to hear the Ward is still going well! Ryan is gonna have a ton of fun on his first temple trip! I can't even imagine that lil dude being old enough to pass the sacrament or go into the temple- man, time is just weird. Make sure Dad doesn't hurt himself trying to get back into the swing of things. Mom, it definitely sounds like you are keepin yourself busy... make sure Ryan keeps that room clean too...Thanks for all the pictures as well.

The Senior couple is from Utah- she sang in the Tabernacle Choir for 20 somethin years while he helped out with some backstage stuff for about 13. He served his mission in France and oddly enough- he met the Bishop's daughter who is serving on Temple square when they were in the MTC. She gave him a few lessons on how to speak "quebecois" before he came out here- and now he is in Sherbrooke. The Bishop freaked out when he found out it was the same person. It's weird having people around that don't understand French- it's weird to imagine that I was the same was just a little bit ago. Seriously, it's crazy how accustomed to things you get.

The Laroche family, the family with the deaf husband, is coming along well. The mother and the 21 year old son are coming back to church. They have already made so much progress. Beatrice is continually progressing towards her baptismal as well in March- I am so happy for her. Her attitude and desire towards the Word of Wisdom has changed so much within this past week- It really is such a privilege to be able to be a part of this process as she tries to make changes in her life. It's the same thing with Geraldine and Reida. Seriously, you just learn to love these people so easily. The less actives here continue to make leaps and bounds of progress as well- we had a lady from Africa finally come to church yesterday who hasn't attended ever since she moved to Canada a while back.

Along with all the successes, there have also been disappointments in regards to some of our less actives. We have had some serious lessons with certain less actives- it's sad to see some of the things they experienced or have gone through. I continually am humbled by just how much trust and confidence some of these people place on us- I really do think they forget I am 18 years old. It is something that our ward mission leader always talks about too- the fact that we are so young. Seeing all the challenges has really just made me think of the missionary work in the book of mormon and how those who were "converted unto the Lord," never did fall away. Having a testimony is great, but in the end, it's the true, and deep CONVERSION to the Gospel that keeps people deeply rooted. It's sad to see the people that came into the church for the wrong reasons- or the people that forget what their baptism meant, or the people that never really understood at all. Converted unto the Lord, that is the way missionaries have to teach, and that is the way we all need to continue to live to truly never fall away. If we don't teach people that way- they fall so easily. I've noticed that a lot of what this Gospel focuses on is the idea of "preparing." The Aaronic Priesthood, the Law of Moses, the missionary lessons- all are things that help people to prepare. This life is the time to "prepare" to meet God. We are continually in a process of preparing. As missionaries, we are preparing people by helping them keep the commandments to better follow the example of Jesus Christ- which better helps them to PREPARE for that Covenant they make at baptism which helps them PREPARE for the Covenants they will make at the temple some day. It's important that we understand that fact and that the people we teach understand that as well. We can't get so caught up in the means, that we forget what the ends are. That is something that we can't do, especially as missionaries, get so caught up in the means so much that they become ends themselves. I have seen both sides of it- and if people aren't prepared for the Covenants they make at Baptism, then we lose them so easily- they become confused and feel overwhelmed as all these other things seem to pile up on them. It's not doing anybody any good if it is done like that. THAT is why we don't "Baptize just to Baptize" That is why we have to teach people to be "converted unto the Lord" not to themselves, not to the missionaries- to the Lord. And THAT is why we always need to focus on the ends- the goal of this life, the eternal perspective- if we do that, then we don't become so easily lost within the means.

I'm sorry to rant- it's just something that has been on my mind heavily this past week. By the way I also was able to give two blessings in French yesterday- the French is just getting better and better and it makes me pretty dang happy to see. I also can't really imagine attending an English sacrament meeting anymore...that just seems really weird to me now, haha. Six months have gone by quickly. I wish it would slow down, but I don't really expect it to. I hope y'all have a great week down in the South! Send my Love to the people of Athens once again! Salut!

Love,

Elder Cody Warren Ritz

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