Monday, March 21, 2016

L'Accalmie

So great to hear from y'all as usual! It feels kinda surreal to see my schedule set for classes in the fall... chapeau à toi, Maman, pour tout le bon travail que tu as fait! Je t'aime bien.

Good luck with all the traveling and trips over the next week! Driving in Atlanta will be a breeze for me once I get home...I think I've become well seasoned will all this winter driving in Montréal...frapper du bois.

As for our week, the storm of transfers is finally passed and now the calm is finally setting in. We finally had the chance to take a breath and get back to being a normal missionary doing normal missionary things. These transfers were a little bit crazier than the usual.

I'll explain how:

On Tuesday morning we were doing calls at the office with all the zone leaders and sister training leaders as well as running through final checks with transportation and housing for missionaries being transferred. In the midst of doing all of that, we found out that 4 elders missed their first flight from Utah...So we ended up having to put some changes in the schedule and basically to sum it all up,we did the usual transfer routine of picking up the new missionaries in the airport two days in a row- the 4 elders came a day later...on a flight that arrived in the Montreal airport at 10:38 P.M. Needless to say we were both whipped by the time everything was finished. We definitely had a lot of fun, I can assure you.

And it was a nice reminder of the promise that is given in D&C 84, that as we are on the Lord's errand taking care of work, he will strengthen us in our efforts. We felt that a lot as we had lessons with people planned around the barrage of transfers for the week. We also had our first lesson with this guy named, Michel, who is a friend of a member in one of the Spanish wards on the island. He reminds me so much of Frank! It's very clear to see that he has been prepared in his heart and in his mind for a long time before we finally met him- and it's because of his friend in the church that has been there to soften his heart...hastening the work y'all...that is what it is all about. In the end, it just feels like we are helping this member with HER missionary work rather than her helping us with our missionary work. In the end, it's the Lord's work and it's accelerated through the involvement of the members of the Lord's church. It's something I never really realized before my mission. President once shared a story about something Elder Andersen said to him at one point that "any worthy member of the church should feel comfortable with inviting someone to be baptized at any given time." Granted, as missionaries, we consecrate our time for that specific purpose, but any disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ has the right to invite others to follow Him. That's what the #Alléluia is about!

Anyway, we are stoked for Michel's baptism on 23 April and Annick's baptismal date is also for that same day!

This week we also met this Haitian family who is currently staying with another family in the ward... one of the most heartbreaking stories I have heard. They had two daughters that were coming to Canada to study, a week before they left the oldest daughter was kidnapped and held for ransom. Once they gave them the ransom, they killed the daughter anyway. Apparently it was a nation wide news story that everyone knew about- shortly after they all came here. This all happened in December, the other daughter has been here since then and the parents arrived just the other week. Talking to them really was one of the saddest things I've ever done, but it was also great to share with them the message of hope tied in behind the message of Christ and Easter. Goodness, You just don't get experiences like that anywhere else.

We have a busy transfer ahead of us with leadership meetings, general conference, stake conference, and zone conferences- but we are looking forward to it all! Time is just flying by and I have no doubt that this transfer will be more of the same. Seriously, to all missionaries: just take it all in and enjoy it- you won't get a time like this again in your entire life. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity that we have!

Thanks for the emails and thoughts of encouragement and support! The people of Athens are the best!

Peace and Love,

Elder Cody Warren Ritz

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