Monday, August 3, 2015

A Sense of the Sacred

Quoi de neuf Y'all?

I know how sad y'all are to be having to return back to Georgia after a great vacation but cmon... it aint THAT bad. Hope you're enjoying going back to school this week Ryan ;) Now that the summer is reaching an end, I have to strap down again for the next 6 months as football season comes up...dang, you just can't think about things like that when you are out here- haha but it doesn't help when you see some of the football teams practicing and getting ready for the season. Thanks for all of the pictures and emails from everyone- it has been nice to feel close to the activities- though I am sure my picture enjoyed it all plenty enough for me. I hope everything goes well with the second reception this week too! haha enjoy your last hoorah mom! And that's really just weird thinking about the Ritzs and the Ouzts getting together without Ethan or Cody... Enjoy the week! And have a good first day at school Ryan ;) I can only imagine how excited you must be for that.

This week was a great and a busy one- the fireside went really well! John and I co-conducted the entire event- it was pioneer and camping themed and literally was a "fireside chat"- the members loved it and it cultivated a great spirit to the ward here that we have been constantly trying to maintain. President Patrick is awesome, and the people here are awesome. Nuff said. I also got to play a little guitar...which felt kinda nice.

Louise is doing well at the hospital as she has a constant stream of people to see her and support her- she is losing self consciousness at some points as the cancer continues to progress and the medication takes a toll as well. It really has been quite the experience and continues to be- We are all supportive and patient with her and the Lord- even though it hasn't been easy. I had a good conversation with her this week- she has been to France multiple times, but has never gone to Paris, so she told me I had to go for her and take advantage of my ability to speak French. So I'm going to Paris. It's a done deal.

Yesterday in Sacrament I also got to see Xavier ( we spent a little bit of time with him back in Lemoyne, it was with him that I gave my first blessing in French). We freaked out when we saw each other and he started explaining everything that is going on with him right now and how well he is doing. He was out here camping and they came to the closest church which happened to be our chapel. I have seen him a couple times since at conferences and such but man it was SO good to see him! He has come so far and is just doing great in his life right now! I have had the chance to see a lot of people progress from my first area- the ties between the two wards are very strong and they also are in the same stake- I have so many good relationships with people back in my first area and it is just so great to see how they continue to move forward even after you are gone. I have been really blessed to see how the Lord was able to work through us at the time that I was there and how he has continued to work through the people after I left. I just love the people of Lemoyne and Sherbrooke- the Longueuil stake is where it's at.

I also have had a lot of time to think about the last words of Elder Perry that were shared at his funeral service regarding the sacrament and how if everyone would take the sacrament really taking the time to reflect on where they are in their life- then all of the problems that the people have in the church would be solved. That is something that really hit me when I first thought about it. And it made me think a lot about our Sabbath Day worship in general. A quote in Preach my Gospel says that "when a community or nation grows careless in its Sabbath activities, its religious life decays and all aspects of life are negatively affected." And it brings me back to a talk given at BYU by Elder Christofferson titled, "A Sense of the Sacred." Do we have that sense of the sacred? What does the Sacrament mean to us- not just what it symbolizes- but WHAT does is mean to US? personally. I have realized more and more how much I need Sundays- on my mission, that is the day I look forward to the most. We NEED the Sacrament- I feel that need now more than ever as a missionary. If we don't have that sense of the sacred for spiritual things, we lose it- and ALL aspects of life are negatively affected. It brings us back to our relationship with the Savior- how close are we to him? what are we doing that brings us closer to him, and what are we doing that distances us from Him? Our viewpoint and understanding towards the sacrament is directly dependent upon our own Personal Relationship with the Savior Himself. Do we seek Him daily? We can't lose that sense of the sacred, The Sabbath Day was made for us- but do we really feel that need for it? It is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately- we all need to heighten our sense of the sacred. It has been something we have been trying to focus on with our ward in particular- especially regarding the sanctity of the sacrament meeting. We are all trying to heighten our sense of the sacred, so that we can help others do the same. "Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament" and "This Do in Remembrance of Me" are two great talks that we have been focusing our message on.

I'm so grateful for the work that we are able to do here with the people that we are able to spend our time with. I love y'all and hope ya enjoy the last bit of summer before school starts again!

A la prochaine le!

Love,

Elder Cody Warren Ritz

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