Monday, December 21, 2015

Joyeux Noel...or somethin like that

(Montreal Temple Gingerbread House)

Greetings to one and all! Holiday greetings from up here in Quebec where the temperature is sitting at freezing and there is surprisingly no snow on the ground! It's a Christmas miracle! No but seriously, I would like another white Christmas while I'm here...gotta get as much out of my time in Canada as I possibly can.

First off, THANKS A TON for all the great emails and cards full of /thoughts/love/support that y'all give to me! Seriously, I got the best support group a missionary could have! As for the skype, mama before you freak out, we will be skyping at 1:30 on Christmas. Unless they don't have two computers for us to use, if not, then y'all will get the call around 2:30... so if ya don't get a call around 1:30, don't call President Patrick, I am fine. So yeah that's basically the plan for Christmas.

It's good to see that everyone is enjoying their time back home for the holidays! Thanks for all the pictures- glad that dad is still taking his power naps every now and then. Thanks for not leaving me to be the only one that got sick around this time of year Kaitlyn! :D Hope ya feel better soon! As for star wars...I don't even wanna hear about it, haha.

This week was absolutely jam packed with a lot of administrative affairs. We picked up the new missionaries from the airport Tuesday evening and drove them to the Patrick family home for dinner. I GOT TO DRIVE THE MISSION VAN! :DDDDDD That thing is a straight up boat... it was so much fun! We loaded the thing up with all of the luggage and took off in 3 separate vehicles. Basically, the week was just a blur...we were getting everything figured out with transportation and organization of transfers as well as having office meetings and planning for the Christmas devotional tomorrow. We have a solid group of missionaries that came in! They are all super excited to get to work! We have 3 elders and 5 sisters that came in- one of which is now in the Ville Marie ward. We spent most of Wednesday morning/afternoon training the new missionaries as well as making sure everything went smoothly for the transfers. We also helped all the departing missionaries with their luggage and dropped them off at the airport the next morning which was a bit weird to see. It was a little weird to go back to the airport, but it was cool to see both sides of it with new missionaries coming in and with old ones leaving. That was the last transfer before all the sisters that came in at the same time as me go home...dang, I'm getting old. We also got to make breakfast for everyone at the Patricks' home for BOTH days :D good thing we know how to cook a thing or two... it was made pretty easy with their high tech breakfast sand-which makers.. I have no idea where they get some of these things. In the end, it was great to see everything come together after a lot of planning and hard work was put into it. Now, we are just trying to get everyone prepped for our mission wide Christmas devotional tomorrow!

Y'all may not believe this but we actually got to go grocery shopping with President Patrick! We had to get some supplies and other things for the Christmas devotional Saturday morning and the Patricks needed some help so we went with them and basically ended up just helping out the Patrick family with their Saturday morning errands, haha. It was so much fun! I promise we still do normal missionary work...

Along with that we had a great day at church yesterday full of lots of love from the members over here. They gave us a Christmas basket stacked with like 40-50 pounds worth of food...it's ridiculous...these Haitian mamas know how to take care of you. It was just a great day yesterday and I got to see a Haitian family from my old area back in Lemoyne. We ended up eating dinner with two Haitian families last night (one of which just had a daughter return from her mission in California)- We had a great dinner with them (as always) and I got to see Blondine and her family from Lemoyne! I really am grateful for the areas that I have been able to serve in and for all the people that I have been able to meet! It's so nice just knowing so many people in the Montreal area and having so many good connections! I'm telling ya, we are gonna be SPOILED whenever we come back here to visit.

We also met a new AFRICAN FAMILY last night that we have now officially started teaching. They are from Burundi and have been through a lot over these past few years. It's incredible to hear about their experiences, but yet the faith that they have in God and Christ is soooooo strong. They received our message seriously with love- they were so grateful for us and were interested in finding out more about the fullness of the Gospel that we share. It really is humbling to see people in those circumstances and to be able to be there to help them find the guidance and strength that they need through what the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers to us. Plus they are from Africa, which automatically just makes me love them even more!

Life is good and we are looking forward to the holidays here in Quebec!!! Thanks again for everything that y'all do! I look forward to seeing y'all later this week! Take care and joyeux noel a tous!

Love,

Elder Cody Warren Ritz

(Missionary Christmas card)

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