Monday, February 23, 2015

Ouai, c'est beaucoup, beaucoup mieux

Bonjour Famille!

Thank ya kindly once again for all the pics, and thanks for lovin me even though I lost my camera. Ryan needs to step up and be a man- quit lettin Kaitlyn do his hair. And it's weird seeing pictures of the ground with grass and leaves and all that good stuff- I really don't remember what that is like. I don't remember what it feels like to be warm to be honest- I can't remember the last time it was above freezing haha. You definitely get used to the cold weather after a while.

That's so awesome to hear about Riley's call! I knew he would be serving a states mission! I CALLED IT! I didn't know there were Spanish people in Minnesota either...that's super exciting though! Man, him and Elise will be speaking Spanish- such a shame it ain't French ;) Really though they are gonna do great. Keep me updated on how everything goes!

It's been a pretty dandy week here in Sherbrooke- last P Day we went to this little quaint town called Coaticook about 30 minutes from here. Basically, just picture stereotypical Canada with log cabins, snow everywhere, and old style houses and that's it. It is actually reallly cool there and they have an old ice cream factory that still makes ice cream that ships all over Canada. Everyone here is crazy about it. They also have a giant gorge there which was super pretty to see.

There's been a lot of religious conflict going on around here with all the extremist activities happening in France and some down here. It's nothing that has posed any direct danger to us, but we hear about it from almost everyone we talk to. We talk to so many different types of people too- I love it. I am really grateful to be able to serve here because we really get all sides of the French language- The quebecois is basically like the Deep Southern English- it takes a while to get used to the accent and the language they use but after that you're fine. We also talk to all the Europeans and French people with their own style of Speaking. Even the French people vary from what region they are from. And we also get the African French as well- it's just so neat to see all the different styles and ways of speaking- the way we talk changes depending on who we are talking to. But one thing is for sure: the Quebecois are the hardest to understand, haha. Seriously, we talked to a Parisian the other day and we just left wishing that all the people here talked like that.

I also had another African meal with some people that we haven't eaten with yet. I've gotten so used to eating with Africans, and they were so surprised when I had the sleeves up, the tie tucked in ready to eat with my hands. They love spicy food- so naturally I love it as well. I've really become familiar with African cuisine in my time here so when you go to their place knowing what to expect, being familiar with their traditions and culture and talking to them about it, and just eat a ton- they love you. They said I eat like "les vrais Africains." I feel like in an alternate world I would have served my mission in Africa- seriously, such a wonderful people.

I also had one of the coolest experiences in my life happen to me this week- Beatrice, our investigator with a date at the end of March, whose name is also spelled B e a t r i z (we just found out) called us on Thursday in tears. She had just found out that her daughter who is about a year old is in the hospital in Montréal right now. It`s a long story but right now she doesn't have custody of her two kids so they are being take care of by the Aunt right now in Montréal. Currently, she is working to get them back as she is making some serious life changes. Anyway, she called us and we went to see her at a friend's house- she was hysterical, crying the entire time- basically we just sat there and consoled her for two hours. The next day we met with her and she came to us with some serious questions regarding the Family in relation to the Church. She also had a daughter who died a few days after birth about three years ago- so she came to us with some major concerns about that as well and she was seriously distraught. Sooooooooo, about 2 years ago, the Sunday after the SHES(Sandy Hook Elementary School) shooting, I was the only one in the Young Men's that was there that day with Bro Beckstead and Bro Baxter. Because of the recent events, we ended up talking about the Shooting and relating it to Alma 14. I also made a reference to D&C 137:10 during the discussion and I distinctly remember Bro Baxter looking me straight in the eyes and telling me "remember that scripture. That is one you will be using in the future." For some reason, those words resonated in my head and I had envisioned myself at the time, being a missionary someday and sharing it with some grieving mother. It is something that I have always had in the back of my mind these past two years and something I even shared with my MTC companion. Whether or not I would use it on my mission- I didn't know. But here I am, two years later, 1000 miles away up in Canada, serving a mission speaking French-and Beatriz comes to us with a concern that applies directly. Bro Baxter`s words came ringing back to my head and we shared the scripture with her and also related it to Moroni 8. We could instantly sense a feeling of comfort come over her and the scriptures seriously touched her. It was incredible. I cannot even begin to describe how deeply that whole experience hit me down to the core. What a testament to the fact that I am exactly where I need to be exactly WHEN I need to be here, and how the Spirit seriously works through each one of us. I absolutely Love this work, I love the peace, comfort, and direction the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our lives, and I LOVE the people here.

Thank you for all the support and love y'all give me as well- I seriously have the best Ward support ever. I can feel the love and strength y'all give me constantly every day and it means a lot to me. Mama I hope y'all have a great week!

Love,

Elder Cody Warren Ritz

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