Monday, April 6, 2015

Cabane à Sucre

So I am writing this email a little earlier than usual because we are going to a Sugar Shack with some of the members today. Overload of maple syrup- can't wait for that.

Seriously mama, it takes me like 10 minutes just to look through all the pictures you send me in one week haha. They are very much appreciated. I can't believe Kaitlyn is graduating :') she is all grown up. And if she had gotten me a shirt like the one she got Ryan pshhh, I would have been wearing that every day. All I got was Bacon haha. I am not a Ham... It seems like y'all had a great Easter weekend. We had an egg hunt of our own haha. We went to teach the Laroche family on thursday - we walk in and they tell us that they will be teaching the lesson that night. So we sit down and they hit us with an array of questions like what is our favorite scripture, or why we are serving a mission - and we were rewarded from each question by being able to go find an egg they hid in the house. Haha, it was definitely the most interesting "lesson" I have ever had - I love that family.

Conference was amazing as usual- Elder Holland speaks with such power. I found it interesting how Saturday focused a lot on the family and Sunday was more focused on the Savior, rightfully so. But it was just interesting to see the theme behind all of the talks and a lot of them were JUST what some people needed to hear including some of our investigators. A lady that the sisters teach- Louise- she has been going through a lot of cancer treatments lately. I have known her for a while - we helped her move into her new apartment back in January, and she has also asked us to give her blessings from time to time. She decided that she wants to get baptized this month and she wants me to do it - which I would be more than happy to do so. We showed her and Beatriz the baptismal font on Saturday and it was just incredible to be there with them and explain to them how the ordinance is done. Both of them became fast friends as well and will be there supporting each other at their baptisms. It's super exciting to be a part of this! We definitely will be helping them prepare for the busy month ahead.

I also found out earlier this week that Brother Roy, from my old area in Longueuil, passed away. He had some cancer show up in January that I had heard about, but he recently just took a plunge for the worse. He was literally The Man - our go to guy we could always count on. He loves the missionaries, and has such a beautiful testimony and conversion story- he`s was baptized only about a year ago. We established such a great relationship with him and his family and he was always a great encouragement to me as I was just starting out in my first area- he ended up being the one who was able to baptize Geraldine as well. I would just ask that y'all would keep his family in your prayers at this time.

Brother Roy's life was such a beautiful example of how the Atonement can work in us to change our very natures. I was amazed by how many times Romans 5 was referenced yesterday at conference- in the book of mormon, it references the word "Atonement" 39 times. In the bible, it references it once: Romans 5:11. Sadly, that only applies to the English translation. Nonetheless, Romans 5 is one of the most well written chapters in the scriptures that talks about the Atonement (in my opinion), and I have really grown to Love the teachings of Paul in his different epistles. The Bible bears such a strong witness of the Savior and his divine mission and the more one reads it, the more they can see how it fits directly in line with the testimonies of the Book of Mormon prophets. They all testify of one thing: Jesus Christ. I loved what Elder Holland explained about his Atonement- I`m not gonna repeat it but I will encourage you to look at it again. In the Bible dictionary it talks about the Atonement being the setting "at one" with those who have been estranged. Sin is what causes the estrangement. And no matter what has happened or where we are, we all have need of the same Atonement. I have seen it work in my life- and I continue to see it work every day for me- and I have seen it work in the lives of others. And I am so blessed to be able to help others learn about and understand how they can apply it in their lives- there is nothing more rewarding than that. I have seen it change people that I have been blessed to be able to work with thus far on my mission, and I know it is changing me in the process to become better. Granted we will never become perfect- it's not about that. "God doesn't expect perfection, but he does expect progression." And it's through the Atonement-understanding it more and more each day and in learning about the Savior's life-and using it's power continually that changes us as we do our best to "become a saint" And I loved the quote from conference "A Saint is a sinner that keeps on trying" How true that is. I love my Savior and Redeemer, I love His work. I love this time that has been given to me to help others come unto Christ, I love y'all- my family and friends, and I love the people here that I am able to teach in their own language. There is no greater happiness than that which is found through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Y'all have a lovely week! Enjoy the warm weather down there while the snow slowly melts away here... even though another snow storm rolled in yesterday morning...

Y'all take care now,

Love, Elder Cody Warren Ritz

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