Monday, January 11, 2016

Lifeblood

So good to hear from y'all as always! I appreciate all the emails, insights, and thoughts that y'all shared! Seems like the Sacrament meeting was a hit! Seriously though, that defnitely is something special to have such a solid group of missionaries from one ward. Athens II pride! It's good to see that good things are happening from y'all's side of things amongst the stress in starting up the new year at school and such.

Our week has been pretty crazy- I am realizing more and more how much I am becoming a city slicker... haha. We had to drive out to an area not too far from Sherbrooke called, Drummondville, this week to pick up something. It felt super weird to be in a suburban area again- I've gotten so used to the fast paced every day life of being in the heart of Montreal - it is weird how that works. Also, Pierre in Sherbrooke got baptized this past weekend!!!!!!! I was so excited when I found out how everything went! I am keeping in good contact with the Elders over there: keeping tabs on that place. They give me updates on what's going on and I give them ideas on people they need to see or places they could go. I may be out of the area, but I still think about that place all the time! I love the people there.

I also got to go on an exchange with Elder Keller, one of the Zone Leaders out in Kirkland (west island). He is in the same transfer as me- we had a good time in the MTC (gotta love those basketball memories). He even reminded me of how I broke my pinky. We had a great exchange and it was just really cool to talk to someone that came in with me- we spent a good bit talking about how much people have grown up or changed over time and how different things are now that we have spent a decent time out in the field. It's crazy just how much your perspective changes over time as a missionary. Love that guy! Elder Keller is a stud. I also got to meet some cool people in my time over there: some african families, some Canadian families, and one Italian leather designer.

WE ALSO WENT TO THE TEMPLE WITH ONE OF OUR RECENT CONVERTS THIS WEEKEND! Evens, is his name. I was actually at his baptism back in October when I was in the Lasalle ward, I got to know him really well even before I got transferred because I saw him almost every week as he lived close us and was attending the French ward. He is awesome! He is from Haiti, and we went to the temple this saturday with the Elders Quorum President to go do baptisms and confirmations for his dad and grandpa! So incredible! Elder Brooks did the baptisms and I did the confirmations! Such an incredibly insanely awesome experience! I can't even begin to tell y'all! Such a powerful spirit that accompanies the work done in temples! We got to spend some time with the temple president and his wife, and I even saw a couple people there that I know from Sherbrooke! It was great! I really am grateful for the great connections I have been able to make with people in the Montreal area and in the south shore- it's hard to go somewhere in the church here without seeing somebody I recognize.

I also have a few thoughts to share about missionary work (obviously). Prophets have said that ¨missionary work is the lifeblood of the kingdom¨- that statement is so true. It is something that I was reminded of again this week after our missionary correlation meeting and our ward council. Think about the term, lifeblood,- it signifies what gives an organism life. Without blood pumping constantly through the body giving proper materials to all the vital organs, life cannot be sustained in an organism. The church of Jesus Christ cannot be sustained without missionary work. Missionary work should flow though every part of the organization- all the auxilaries of the church should have some sort of missionary aspect running through their structure whether it be the relief society or the priesthood or even the youth. People NEED to feel that spirit that accompanies the work of salvation. That's one reason why we want to get the youth to the temple as early and as often as possible. Almost all of the little problems ¨housekeeping¨problems or motivational problems that a ward could possibly have can be solved by simply increasing missionary efforts. It's simple: when we share our testimony with others and take part in a conversion experience- our conversion is deepened as well. A lot of issues can be resolved as we just look outward and look to those who we can help- we all know who they are. Christ told Peter to strenghten his bretheren after his conversion for a reason- if not, we become weaker in our foundations of faith and testimony. Missionary work is what keeps the Church of Christ alive- it's what keeps our testimonies alive. It's what keeps em moving. I have seen so many good and bad examples of that over my time as a missionary. I can also say confidently that if it wasn't for the spirit that missionary work brought into my life, I would not be here today. The experience that I had in my teenage years in helping someone with their own conversion experience was what strengthened me- and in the end it's what saved me, it is why I am here today emailing you on this computer 1000+ miles away in the freezing cold tundra of Quebec. It's because I love this Gospel and I love participating in the Conversion experience time and time again. We need to always be seeking for opportunities to strenghten others- in turn, we strengthen ourselves.

Thanks for all the love and support! Y'all are the best! Have a lovely week!

Love,

Elder Cody Warren Ritz

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