Monday, July 10, 2017

Marathon Week

Hey y'all

Tortosa just keeps spitting out miracles and Elder Riggs and I have a
front row seat.

This week was the marathon week. Normally as a missionary we have a
couple meetings or something to break up the super hard work but this
week we had no sort of thing! We worked a ton of hours out on the
streets and in people's houses but it was one heck of a time! I had a
great time! It was a lot of work though haha.

This week's miracle stems from a miracle that happened two weeks ago
as well. Two weeks ago our friend Orlin called us to tell us that he
finally got out of work! He was the miracle man that we prayed with
until he got an answer that he needed to be baptized. Right after that
he took an all day every day job and was not able to come to church
nor meet with us for over a month. Now he finally got out of it! But
that's not even the biggest miracle. A member from Honduras just moved
into Tortosa with some friends and we did not know where she lives for
a while. We were trying to visit her and help her feel welcome for the
past 3 weeks but never had been able to do it. Well this week our
friend Orlin invited us over to eat with him and the member was there!
She is renting a room out in the same apartment as Orlin! How amazing
is that! And even more amazing is the boyfriend of this member who
also just moved here from Honduras. We asked him if he was a member
and told us "aún, no" which is basically saying that he know that he
will be one day soon! His name is Juan Carlos. So this new member that
we have in Tortosa is going to be a great asset for us and so will her
boyfriend and Orlin! We are very excited for their progression and
their baptisms coming up here soon. Whatta promised land!!

My companion Elder Riggs is amazing! We just had the longest week a
missionary could probably have. Here in Tortosa there is no meetings
with church members because the leaders live in Tarragona and this
week we had no Distric Meeting because of interviews for Tarragona. So
Elder Riggs and I had the maximum amount of hours for proselytize time
possible! For some missionaries that could be tough to go that hard
and never have a time to just sit down and be in a meeting! But Elder
Riggs never even complained! He worked hard the entire week without
letting up one bit in the end! Elder Riggs is a workhorse!

I am still progressing very much! This week I studied a lot about the
basics of missionary work! I even studied about how to better my
studying! And as I studied throughout the week I found my studies
improving and improving! I am looking forward to personal study now
with anticipation!

I love this mission. I'm glad to be here in the greatest mission on
the earth's great face!

With gratitude for Tortosa,
Elder Bristol

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video

Tortosa On My Mind

Hello to all,

Well it is official. Tortosa is the promised land. It is the land of
miracles. Elder Eiggs and I have seen more miracles than I thought was
possible 3 weeks ago. The Lord loves Tortosa and sure wants the gospel
to be preached to everyone here! And it is so fun as well. Elder Riggs
and I always have a smile on our face and it is just a great time to
be here with him.

This week we decided to start focusing more and more on finding men to
teach. We did that because here in Tortosa we have a ton of women and
many strong women that are helping the church unit here. We do not
have many men that regularly attend the branch so we have turned our
focus to finding men. We asked God for help with this goal and then
the miracles came as if the flood gates had opened. We were contacting
one night and we decided to cross the street to talk to an old
Spaniard man who was smoking. We started to talk to him to see what
his religious background was and he told us that he has had
missionaries over before and he loved it. That was a miracle but even
more of a miracle was what happened next. We realized in the middle of
talking to this man that a car had stopped in the middle of the road
behind us. The driver was a man from our English class who wanted to
say hello. We went over with him and then he invited us into his car
and drove us to our next destination. While in the car he expressed to
us that he wanted to know more about our church. He said he was
Catholic for most of his life then recently changed to Evangelical.
But he said that he has always admired the Mormons and how they live.
He was the answer to our prayers. Right now he is a leader in his
church but he said he is taking seriously the teachings we are giving
him and that if God answers his prayers he will join our congregation
in a heartbeat. This man, David, then offered a prayer and thanked God
for us "the representatives of Jesus Christ here in Tortosa". What a
miracle!

Elder Riggs is amazing! He is the perfect missionary to have here in
Tortosa! I could not think of a better missionary to be here. He is a
spiritual giant and works his tail off and is full of energy. I hope
to one day be half the missionary that he is! It is such a blessing to
be here with him.

As for me I am doing really well. I feel like I have found a new gear.
This transfer I have taken a new motto. It is actually a quote from
Tim Tebow that I have always loved. It was after he lost a game that
he should not have lost while he was quaterback at the University of
Florida. My mission modified quote of him says, "I promise you one
thing. A lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any
[missionary] in the entire [mission work] as hard as I will [work] for
the rest of the [transfer]. You will never see someone push the rest
of the [companionship] as hard as I will push [Elder Riggs] the rest
of the [transfer]. You will never see a [companionship work] harder
than we will the rest of the [transfer]." And it is my promise. There
is no one that will work harder than Elder Riggs and I for the rest of
this transfer.

I love the Lord. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and a son of God.

With Vigor,

Elder Bristol




Elder Riggs the Spiritual Giant

Hello one and all!

Good day to you here from Tortosa! Everything is going really well
here! Elder Riggs is just what this pueblo needs and I am so excited
to be able to work here with him! We are having such a great time and
are working really hard to grow the branch here. At times it is a
little tough without any other men that live in Tortosa but we are
doing our best and the Lord is blessing Tortosa a lot lately!

Elder Riggs and I have decided to put a big emphasis on a couple of
our friends that we are teaching this week. We saw a great miracle
from it! We have this man named Dani who is from Tortosa and has been
learning from the missionaries for over three years. He actually does
everything we tell invite him to do and is a great man. He has a 9
year old son also named Dani who is really great. Well we had a great
visit and for the first time we were able to get the 9 year old to
participate in a lesson with us. Elder Riggs, being from Las Vegas,
knows a good amount of card tricks so we got the 9 year old to come
participate with the card tricks. He came and then we taught a lesson
about our purpose here on earth and that while we are here we must
follow Jesus Christ and learn more about him. So what we did is we
invited the 9 year old to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized and he
said yes! Then we invited the father and he gave us a half-yes. The
father's father just recently died and he has been struggling with
that lately but we are working on helping him regain his faith and
regain the desires to follow Jesus Christ. Also if Dani and Dani Jr
decide to be baptized, then Dani Sr's brother will shortly follow! So
we had a great miracle and are looking forward to their progress and
decisions to follow Jesus Christ.

Elder Riggs is an absolute machine. He is a spiritual giant. I could
not have picked a better companion for me right now! He is exactly
what I need and I am so happy to be with. I am strengthening my
testimony and my faith just by walking beside him everyday! He is a
great one!

As for me I am doing very well. I am still focusing on my nightly
prayers. I pray out loud now at night and I am praying with more
emotion so it seems more like a conversation with my Heavenly Father
than just a repetitive monotonous thing. I am surely progressing
spiritually and it is muchly due to the prayers I have been having
lately!

I don't know if I've ever written this but we have a rule here in the
Spain Barcelona Mission that we must be home by 10pm. We are allowed
to be outside until 10:30 if we are in a teaching visit. But if we are
out in between 10:00-10:30, instead of walking home we sprint. We run
to show our obedience and dedication to the Lord. Well this week we
ran home a lot and had a great run! We had to run 2 kilometers on full
stomachs and we did it in about 9 minutes. In our regular missionary
attire. Needless to say we got home very hot and sweaty and it was
kinda gross. But it was a fun run!

Aight, have a great week!

Elder Bristol

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Tortosa is the Land of Miracles

How y'all doing?!

How excited I am to tell yall about this past week! It was an amazing
week with my new companion Elder Riggs. He is an amazing missionary
and an even better person. I know for a fact that this was an inspired
companionship and I am going to be learning so much from Elder Riggs
in our time together! It was such a great week needless to say.
Tortosa is still the promised land and I am so happy to be here!

This week as a miracle I would say it was the miracle we had of people
stopping us to want to talk to us. We were walking home one night at
9:45 when a woman called us over to talk to her on a bench. We
thought, "well that's strange, we are usually the ones stopping
people". So she stopped us and it turns out she had met a member of
the church about a year ago but had never met the missionaries. She
was really interested and we got to meet with her this past week for
the second time and we will meet her tonight again to teach more about
prayer and the Book of Mormon and the Bible and the similarities found
in both and the necessity of the Book of Mormon. Then during the
conversation with her when she stopped us, a man and his son came up
to us and interrupted the conversation. He asked us if we were the
Mormons. We responded in the affirmative and then he began to tell us
that he has been looking for us and that he wants to learn more as
well. Elder Riggs and I split up and he finished talking to the lady
on the bench while I talked to the father. Then when elder Riggs was
finished we testified very strongly to this man that God has a plan
for him and his family. The man was so receptive and invited us over
to his house! It was amazing. Miracles are waiting around everywhere
here in Tortosa. You do not even need to search hard.

Elder Riggs is truly going to make me want to be a better human being.
I have never met anyone more sincerely converted to the Gospel of
Jesus Christ as my great new friend Elder Riggs. He is absolutely
amazing. I have truly been blown away by the power of his testimony in
Jesus Christ and I am so excited to be with him! It is an absolute
honor.

This week I have really focused on my nightly prayers. They have
improved so much and I love it. I am applying something I learned from
Elder Muncy where he would open and read a story from the scriptures
after his nightly prayer as well. In all of the random openings of the
scriptures this week, I opened time after time to the phrase that says
"I am the Lord thy God". Through this it has truly confirmed to me
that God has a plan for me. I just need to try my best to be in tune
with the Spirit to receive his guidance.

Also this week a little punk kid tried to spit on us and I got very
lucky and it landed in between my shoes. It was pretty funny and it's
even more epic now haha. But no worries I am 100% safe here in
Tortosa.

Blocking out the haters (or spitters),

Elder Bristol



video

Goodbye Elder Cushing

Well! Elder Cushing has left and it was an amazing last week with him!
It was such a blessing being able to work side by side with someone so
dedicated to the work! He was super good and ended with a booming 8
friends who are not members in church on this past Sunday! It was so
good and such a huge miracle! I am so thankful for the opportunity
that I have had to learn and grow these past 12 weeks here in Tortosa!
And it is absolutely true! I have learned so much these past twelve
weeks and grown so much!

The miracle this week has to be the 8 people that were able to come to
church for us! We worked really hard to make this last Sunday for
Elder Cushing the best one it could have been and it so was! We had a
great time and invited everyone to church. 4 of the eight that came do
not speak a lick of Spanish. One is from Jamaica and the other three
are from England. We have been working very closely with them trying
to get them to accept the gospel into their hearts and they all
finally came to church this Sunday! It was a miracle! Another girl who
came to church was a girl named Anggie who we have been working hard
with to accept a baptismal date and she came for the first time! Two
Spaniards came as well. One of them just had a death in the family so
we have been helping him to keep his faith in God throughout these
tough times for him. His son came with him and his son has a lot of
potential to accept the gospel as well. Then a girl that is a member
of the church came for the first time in 4 years to church and brought
a friend who is not a member! It was such a miracle! We jumped from
our usual 30 people in church to 44 this past week! It was amazing! It
was such a good week! Great miracles!

I learned a ton from Elder Cushing and I'm truly gonna miss him! He is
a great man and I really got along with him! I learned most from him
about how to just be happy in whatever circumstance. So that was
amazing! I am so excited to be with my new companion Elder Riggs! He
is a great missionary and I have heard nothing but good things about
him! He is so happy and I am going to learn a ton from him!

I am really growing a lot here in Tortosa! I am learning a lot about
how to be a beacon of light for people. Because here in Tortosa there
are not a lot of members nor believers in Christ so I have truly
learned how to be a beacon of light for the non-believers here and I
absolutely love it!

My new companion Elder Riggs is from Las Vegas and is amazing! We are
going to get along very well and we are truly going to become close
friends! I can just feel it!

Sending love from Tortosa!
Elder Bristol




Elder Cushing's last go around

Hello Family and Friends!

Everything is going very well here in Tortosa. The branch is going
well. The members are stabilizing and everyone is working really hard
to grow the congregation! It's so great to see the branch working so
hard. Also Elder Cushing is coming to an end of his time here in the
mission and he is still working as hard as he can! It's great to see
the determination in him. He will not quit until the final buzzer
sounds and is a great example to me! I have been super blessed to
learn and grow with him for the past eleven weeks and we will see how
this last week goes for him!

This week was filled with miracles as always but we saw the biggest
miracle in church on Sunday. We have had a little bit of trouble
getting people to come to church lately because of the distance or
because of work. So this week we took a focus on helping all people
come to church (those that are and are not members). We worked really
hard and tried to make sure everyone could come to church and actually
would come to church. We saw a miracle with a family that we have been
teaching my entire time here. They came to church for the first time
in a really long time. They are from Jamaica and from England. They
are very strong Seventh-Day Adventists but they took the step of faith
and came to church here! It was so great to see them! They were even
the first people at church. Another miracle we saw was with a member
of the congregation had not been to church in more than 5 years. She's
a young lady that has lost the faith and we just starting working with
her two weeks ago. She came to church! We are super happy for this!
Our great friend Iru has been really busy lately. He has been working
a lot so we have had to postpone a lot of things with him.

Elder Cushing is amazing. He has done so well enduring to the end.
People always label him as the energizer bunny because he is just so
full of energy all the time! He is great and has no off switch.

I am doing well. I have been studying hand really thinking about how
we are going to make Tortosa a great self sustaining congregation out
here. I have been thinking really hard and praying really hard about
how to best fortify this branch. I've gotten a couple answers and we
will see how it goes!

Elder Cushing and I were talking today about how great this mission
is! Here in Barcelona Spain basically every area has the beach in it.
The landscape is literally a dream. We take a bus that goes by the
beach like 2 times a week and a train once a week. It's so crazy how
blessed I am to be here!

Elder Bristol

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Tortosa = Heat

Hello to all!

We had a wonderful week finished off with a great conference yesterday
with 40 missionaries! It was very good! I learned a ton from the
conference. President Dayton, the mission president, taught about how
we can get the most out of our missions. He taught about truly giving
our hearts over to the Lord instead of just grudgingly following his
commandments. Because there is a difference! We need to follow the
commandments because it's truly what we want to do not because we
don't want to get in trouble. Then we are truly disciples of Jesus
Christ!

This week was very good. We had a very normal week. It was fairly
stressful with problems in the area and with our friends that are
learning about the gospel. But our biggest miracle would have to be
our dear friend Iru. We were only able to meet with him one time this
week and it was amazing. We walked up to the place where we were going
to teach him and he was talking to 5 Spaniards that did not believe in
God. The amazing thing is that he was testifying to them about our
church. He was testifying to them about Jesus Christ. He was
testifying to them about the Book of Mormon and the Bible. It was so
great to see. He even asked all five of them if we could come share a
message with them one day. It was so rewarding to see the conversion
that has taken place with him. We are a little worried because he has
started to work a lot more lately and we do not want that to stop his
progression. So we are working with him to understand the importance
of church and the Sabbath Day. But he is moving swiftly towards a full
and wonderful life as a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints Saints.

Elder Cushing has had a very tough week. He has had to deal with a lot
of problems here in the area and in the district and he has handled it
very well. I am impressed every week with his humility and his ability
to lead. He is a great leader!

It is super hot out here now. The people are saying that it's way too
hot out here for May so I am not looking forward to the heat to come
in the later months of summer. Pray for me.

Elder Bristol

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