Thursday, September 29, 2016

Final Week in the Mission Training Center

(DISCLAIMER: Jacob's group emails have not been going through so until he figures out whats wrong, if you did not get the email and usually do, check here for updates :) )


How´s it going back home everyone!!!?? I miss all yall a ton!! It is crazy to think I really am in the city of Madrid right now! Like this is really a crazy feeling haha! You would think it would have hit me a little earlier than it has haha but it has finally hit me that I am here and I am here for the long haul!!

This has been such a great week though! I can finally say I am truly having the time of my life here! This week we have changed over to speaking only in Spanish here in the MTC which is super difficult for a ton of people, especially me!! This last Sunday we decided to speak only in Spanish and it is amazing the blessings we have seen come from it. We all actually know a ton more than we thought we did. I have learned more this week speaking only in Spanish than I have any time before now! If anyone is ever trying to truly learn a language, I suggest that you try your hardest to just speak the language. It really is difficult but I know it is worth it.

My companion and I are really getting along!!! It is going super well! He is so awesome and we have the Spirit with us all the time which is awesome! We both are going a little stir crazy though hahaha we just want to get out there to Barcelona. We are teaching teachers who pretend to be looking into the church every day, twice a day in Spanish and Elder Hunsaker and I are teaching some great lessons lately. The last lesson we taught had us both in tears because the Spirit was so stron and even the teacher was in tears. Even though it was a fake situation it really is amazing how strong the Spirit can be when you bear testimony of what you truly know to be true about God and Jesus Christ.

The Park this week was amazing!!! We get a different companion every week for the park every week and this week my companion was Elder Bird from Idaho. He was so cool!!! We talked to so many people! One of the most interesting people we met was from Albania who spoke no English. In the park, Elder Bird and I said a prayer to have the Spirit help direct us where to go and who to teach. We got this prompting to go talk to this guy from Albania. We get up to him and he has tatoos of guns and grenades on his neck. So already me and Elder Bird are like what the heck. Then he proceeds to tell us that he believes in the stars (which I respect but still we were like what the heck again hahaha). But then we started telling him about Jesus Christ and about how He lives and we gave him a Book of Mormon and he was so thankful to us for it because he said that in Albania he has never even seen anything that talks about or even mentions a Savior. It was so humbling to see that people could be so excited to hear about Christ who have never heard of Him before. Never judge a person by how they look.

The thing I learned most this week was bore to me on Sunday through my prayers. So I already said how on Sunday we changed to only Spanish and I was feeling completely overwhelmed. I felt like I could never do it and that I would never be able to express myself. So I said a prayer for comfort. It did not come at first. Maybe an hour later it just hit me like a brick wall. And at that instand i got the impression that God knows us. God loves us all more than we can even imagine. God knows our struggles and he feels for us when things don´t go our way. But most of all God is proud of us! He is so proud of us! As long as we are trying to follow Him and His son Jesus Christ, there is nothing we can do that He will not forgive or understand. Jesus Christ lives and God loves each and everyone of us!

I also really learned that the Lord can help you have the strength with anything. I prayed and asked for the strength to truly be happy and have the strength to be happy a lot this week and it was so great!! I woke up every morning this week truly happy and I stayed happy all day!! God really does answer our prayers!

Also I heard Tech lost to Clemson which is sad.

I love all yall!!! Keep up the good work!!! Peace out Homies

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Week 3

Hola amigos!!!!!

How is it going back there in the States (and some of yall in Chile and Argentina)!!!!!!! I am having a great time here in the MTC! Spain is super cool! It was in the 100s for the past three weeks and then yesterday fall hit all at once hahahaha. The high today is 68 degrees which is ridiculous!!!! Three days ago the high was 100!!! Madrid is so cool though!!! But being here in Madrid just gets me more and more pumped for Barcelona!!! I am super excited to get there!!! I am over halfway through the MTC right now which is really cool and it is really starting to fly by!!! I can´t believe that in less about 20 days I am going to be out there in the field talking to real people in Spanish hahahaha!!!

My Spanish really is coming along! That doesnt mean email me in Spanish yet because I will not understand it probable hahahaha but I can hold my own in a conversation for the most part which is a really cool feeling!! Seeing as how I knew little to know Spanish coming in here to now knowing how to conjugate any verb into anything (except subjunctive haha) is pretty exciting!! I know it isnt me that is really hewlping me learn tho!! I know that is it only through Jesus Christ that I am able to be learning so quickly! Only after I turned to the Lord two weeks ago has my Spanish really improved!! Two weeks ago I was very frustrated and down and then this one missionary from Portugal gave a very powerful testimony! He said how in Europe not meny people know about the Gospel and how we have a super important role as missionaries in Europe because we get to bring the knowledge of the happiness that the Gospel brings to these people and we get to do it for the first time!!! That honestly turned my entire MTC experience around!! I am super thankful for his testimony!

We still go to the Park every Saturday and it is super hard to do every week hahaha!! We ride the Metro and try to contact there and it is super tough and then we contact at the park for 2 hours and then we sing in the middle of the park for 30 minutes which is really fun!!! This mission is so worth it!!

Somthing great I learned in the gospel this week is in Luke! When Christ is hanging on the Cross, suffering for all the sins of the people and suffering for all of humanity one of the thieves turns to Him and asks Him to save them! If I were Christ at that time and had just gone through all that suffering and this one stupid guy asks such a meaningless question in the grand scheme of humanity I would have been very selfish! But Christ does not do that!! Like he always does he turns outward and says to the thief to not worry because he is already saved!! This is such a great reminder to all of us!! Jesus Christ will answer all of our prayers! All we have to do is ask Him!! The Lord wants to help us out!! We just have to do our part to ask!

I love all yall!!! Keep up the good work!!!


Elder Bristol

Thursday, September 1, 2016

First Week in Madrid

Hello everyone!!!! It is so amazing here! The Missionary Training Center in Madrid is so nice! It really is like staying in a very nice hotel! We get fed very well and the teachers are so nice! So there is no need to ever worry about me while I am herein the MTC. 

We arrived here in Madrid last Tuesday and me and one other new American missionary got here 4 hours before any other American missionary (50 missionaries got their flights delayed and arrived late so me and the other American Elder were here by ourselves with 8 native Portuguese speakers. They were speaking Portuguese so quickly and it was so overwhelming for me. I had never felt so alone or intimidated in my life haha because I had no idea what they were saying. Shortly after being so intimidated I got to meet the President of our Madrid MTC and he is an amazing man. He has so much faith in Jesus Christ and knows the scriptures so well. He was an investment banker for a Wall Street firm before he got called to be a mission president. That is another reason why I love him so much because I have a true interest in that line of work. So talking to him really calmed me down and I know that it was a gift from Jesus Christ that I was able to feel comfort and love shortly after being so intimidated and feeling so alone. 

The first amazing thing we did was go to a park on Saturday (4 days into learning Spanish) and proselyte and try to invite people to come unto Christ. It was so hard! My Spanish has improved a lot since I got here but it has not been easy at all. The park was no exception. Me and a missionary from Utah who also knew very little Spanish tried our best to communicate with the people. We found two people who were genuinely interested and I know that it was not us that got them interested but it was the Spirit of God that testified to these strangers that what we were saying could bring them joy and happiness. It was a total gift from God that we were able to even talk to one person about anything let alone the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will go to the same park every Saturday until I leave the MTC so I hope I can communicate better each time we go there. 

Sunday's here are so spiritual. They are such a good break from trying to learn the language. Sunday's we start with a great church service and then our mission president gives a devotional that he thinks we need to hear and then later that night we have another devotional. We learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ for 11 hours on Sunday's and it is so inspiring. 

My companions name is Elder Hunsaker and he is awesome! He's from Logan, Utah and he is awesome!

Learning Spanish for 11 hours a day all the other days definitely is not easy though. It's easily the hardest thing I've tried to learn so far. What I have learned most from this week is that Spanish will come as I put my faith in Jesus Christ and recognize reason I am learning it (to bring happiness to other people's lives). This is what I want yall to learn from my experiences this week, we receive blessings from Jesus Christ only after we show our faith in Jesus Christ. Spanish will come as soon as I trust God and show that I know that it is not in my hands. But something else to learn is that blessings will not come until we act on our faith. Once we receive an answer from God we must act on that faith and show Christ that we love Him and that we will try our hardest for him as well. I love you all so much and I want yall to know that what I'm doing is worth it and I love Jesus Christ! Love yall!

- Elder Bristol