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Elder Ritter - 12/4/2023

Hola a todos!

Sorry, didn't get one out last week because we had such a crazy pday but I'm gonna try and let all of you know how much stuff happened last week. Buckle up cuz it was a lot. 

•Miguel Angel

Our random friend Miguel who popped out the Facebook woodwork was able to meet with us EVERY DAY for a week. That never happens. He was super receptive to the gospel, had a during faith in Jesus, but told us that he's going through a rough patch in his life, so he was starting to lose that special feeling he had. We started teaching him, he was reading the Book of Mormon, everything was going great, and we invited him to be baptized. He said yes!!! Unfortunately he is moving to Granada, but that don't matter! We were able to plant the seed and give it to the missionaries there ready to harvest. We're still working with him because he hasn't exactly moved to Granada yet, but we're very excited. 

• The Gutierrez family

We've been working with a great family in our ward named the Gutierrezes and they are AWESOME. Super funny kids, and very musically talented, so we get along super well. We invited them to watch a special video called The Christ Child with us and to bring a friend into their house to watch it. And that they did! Sara (their daughter) brought a university friend over to watch it and she LOVED it. Said she was going to bring her husband and her son the next time. The next time did roll around, and her husband couldn't make it, but we read about Jesus in the Book of Mormon. She told us, "I think there's a reason why I'm here with you guys." Elder Tomsen literally looked at me with that cheesy raising-eyebrows-smile and we were super excited. We hope to see Marce progress soon! 

• Thanksgiving

We had the great opportunity to get together as 2 combined district and enjoy Thanksgiving lunch together! It was so much fun! We all brought one dish for each companionship, and because we can't find all the ingredients for a true Thanksgiving dinner here in Spain, we just made it our own. Me and Elder Tomsen brought enchiladas and beans, the ZLs brought homemade stuffing, Hermana Callahan brought delicious mashed potatoes, Hermana Glandorff brought curry chicken, Hermana Pitt and her companion brought pasta salad and so many other dishes! We sang, we talked, we laughed, and overall had a great time. It was one of the better Thanksgivings I think I've had. It was a little slice of home out here in la Costa del Sol.

• Talent show

We had a ward talent show, which meant that the missionaries ALWAYS have to do something. The hermanas did a fun line dance and me and Elder Tomsen sang "Ella Baila Sola." Everybody loved it! And then after, while they were fixing the sound system, they made me play 4 more songs. Took me back to my busking days on the pier! Then our recent convert Yorvis went INSANE with a crazy breakdace routine that nearly caused a riot with how much people were freaking out over it. He has a style of dancing that uses a lot of flexibility, and so his arms bend at TERRIBLE angles. But he absolutely brought the house down and had a big smile on his face when he left after that. Super fun. 

• Baptisms!!

We had 2 Baptisms these pasts week in two different wards, which was awesome! On our part, the hermanas finally got their friend Gabriela in the water, and in the 2nd ward, they got their friend Rodrigo down there too. Both of them had been waiting a very long time to be baptized, and when they came out of the water, you could just see how happy they were. I got the honor to be in the circle of priesthood holders while we gave Gabriela the gift of the Holy Ghost. She told me after that when we put our hands on her head she felt a heat start from the top of her head, and flow down into every part of her body until she was hot all over. Two more doors opened to the kingdom of God! That's what it's all about!

• Miracles 

These past few weeks have been PACKED with miracles. So many people popping up out of nowhere, people's problems suddenly resolving immediately, doubts disappearing, etc. I literally had a lady call me out of the blue the other day to ask me to tell the hermanas (who were busy with another baptismal date) that a problem that was sttopping her from being baptized was officially resolved. Shes been taught everything, has her BAPTISMAL DRESS hanging in her front living room, she is READY. It feels like for this last push of the year, God is raining peolle down on us. This truly is His work. As a mission we have a goal to have 365 baptisms this year for our mission, 1 every day. That was a HUMUNGOUS number at the beginning of the year. Now, it feels like nothing. We are at around 340, with so many more to come. We're exercising all the faith we have to pull through this last month, and God is pulling through. Currently in the mission, we have over 80 baptismal dates, the most the mission has ever had in its history. Málaga zone alone has around 20 people ready to be baptized. It's only a matter of time before all those people enter the waters of baptism. This truly will be a white Christmas.  

I'm so grateful to be in Spain at this time, for all the missionaries who are hard at work, and for the powerful experiences we see every day. Our mission president shared with us a scripture from the Book of Mormon the other day that perfectly encapsulates our feelings after this crazy year.

Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?

We are rejoicing, not because of OUR work or OUR efforts, but because we pray every day that God will magnify our efforts. He is the one who causes these crazy experiences to happen. To paraphrase the New Testament, if this work was not of God, we could do nothing. Sometimes being a missionary is hard, but it is oh so worth it. If you've read all the way through congrats, this was a long one. Here's a gold star 🌟 

¡Cristo vive! ¡El Libro de Mormón es verdadero!

¡Os amo!

Elder Ritter 



Pasta Primavera that we made. I'm proud of it (thanks mom)

Pueblo moment 


Hand turkeys

Jared Gutierrez teaching us calculus (I miss school)

Elder Tomsen's Chili Rojo


Ran into Hermana Tomala!! That was fun.


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