Monday, July 4, 2016

Freedom

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY Y'ALL!!!

It's great being here in Ottawa - it's basically like having two national holidays in one weekend! Things were absolutely crazy here for Canada Day - we had some pretty interesting weather with some storms that came in but in the end everyone got their fireworks off. It was great to hear from everyone - thanks for all the pictures/thoughts/emails! It's all greatly appreciated! It's good to see that y'all are enjoying your time as well! Glad to see that Kaitlyn and Alex are enjoying their time out in the Motherland... I'm so confused by that picture of yoda with a canadian flag... haha.

Well I'll do my best to sum up things here, as we are running out of time today.

This week I got a hold of President Patrick just to confirm some information for me applying to teach at the MTC and we ended up getting a call from Thomas (Elder Patrick) his son that just got back from Tahiti. The same missionary that taught Elder Oopa(my current companion). It was a cool experience, especially for elder Oopa. I haven't talked to him since I was in the MTC either, so it definitely brought things around full circle.

This week we helped out a family that moved into our ward boundaries - the fiancé is actually not a member and we have been keeping in touch with him as he still lives in Montréal for the time being. It was a great service opportunity and we got some great Colombian food afterwards!

ALSO REJWANE GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Her baptism was this past weekend out in Ville Marie! I was so excited when I got the news! It's crazy to see how far she has come - I will never forget that experience we had in first teaching her about who God is as well as Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. So stoked for her!!!

The Riviere family here is also giving me a hard time for leaving before their baptism...They talk about how hard we worked with them and with the Bishop to make things happen and now I'm leaving them before the step is made - they are expecting me to get them a gift now since I won't be there, haha so now I have to think about that. I'm so excited for them and the ward! It's crazy to see how things have progressed - that was the big thing the bishop was excited about when we came into the ward, he was hoping to see some progression with that family and now that things are really getting underway - it's great just to see how happy everyone is. Also yesterday, Elder Oopa bore his testimony in English- he tried to do so his first time here, but ended up speaking french and yesterday he did everything in English. It was awesome. He is an amazing missionary and I have learned so much from him. In priesthood meeting the bishop got up and basically told everyone that we were witnesses of an experience of the gift of tongues - it was pretty cool. The gift of tongues is real y'all. You better believe it. I see it every day.

We also have a temple trip this weekend with the recent convert, Sebastian, and the ward!! We are getting him prepped with names to take to the temple and we are looking forward to it! It's gonna be a great experience!

And yes lastly, we now have a new mission president - President Phillips. I haven't met him yet, though I've heard he's awesome. I'll be meeting him tonight...I'm having my exit interview..............................................yeah I know, CRAZY. And then tomorrow we'll be meeting the rest of the family at our zone meeting.

My last thought is just how great it is to read through the Book of Mormon and see how many times the word "liberty" is mentioned. Especially in the book of Alma. With today being independence, I think it's an appropriate thing to do. One of my favorite quotes which I know I have said before is that "the gospel of Jesus Christ is the embodiment of liberty" - so dang true. Following Christ liberates us - which is a beautiful thing. It's a bit of a parodox too - as we live our lives in line with his teachings which encourage us to abstain from certain things or certain actions, we free ourselves. From an outside point of few, it can seem like a bunch of rules and restrictions that bind us down - but in reality, it's pretty AMAZING. Freedom is an amazing thing - and the more we follow our Savior, the more we discover things that we never knew existed before as new opportunities are opened up to us. God has a beautiful plan for us in giving us the ability to think/reason/act/choose for ourselves - in reality, His plan is based upon love and freedom. We find the most love and freedom as we follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nuff said.

Much love! Enjoy the day!!

Elder Cody Warren Ritz

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