Semana 28: Edify

It’s been a great week. Having to do service for 10 hours a week has made the work go a bit slower, but it just means that we get to be more diligent in everything else we do! Something that has been on my mind this week is how important it is that we are never content. I know that sounds like a recipe for frustration, but here me out. What I mean by this is that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can ALWAYS improve. No matter how good we think we are doing, we have to work harder to be better. And it may just be small changes, but we must always be progressing. Something that I realized is that whether it’s swimming against a tough current or swimming with it, we have to keep paddling to make it to our destination. We can’t control the current, but we CAN control how we interact with the current. Don’t float along in mediocrity; keep striving to become more!

Monday: On P-Day, I played the best game of basketball I have played in my life. Dad you would be proud of me, I was hustling HARD. We lost by 1 😦 but it was still a stinking great game. After P-day ended, we went and had a great member-present lesson with our Obispo (Bishop). Whew I love this ward so much, I think I’m going to be transferred here soon which makes me really sad 😦 We also stopped by the Relief society president and shared a cute little message.

Tuesday: We were able to go to the temple. It was such an amazing experience, I was able to really feel the Spirit as I was there. The Houston temple is really pretty, it’s not too big but it just is beautiful. The biggest takeaway I got from this temple visit was the need to EDIFY. Edify means to instruct and improve others. It means to have charity as you talk and work with those around you. I am really going to strive to edify everyone else. I know that the Lord will bless me for doing so, so I’m pumped. I’ve always had really sharp words, therefore I hope that I can do this to help make others feel the Spirit more.

Wednesday: We went to District council, where we talked a lot about our missionary purpose. It was a great council. Afterwards, we went to the mission office to drop off Elder Freebourn’s broken bike. After that we came back and studied. We were then able to go over to the Perdomo’s for dinner. After being baptized a few weeks ago, they have continued so strong! We taught the Restoration again (We teach all of the lessons again after baptism). I’m so happy with how they are doing. The Spirit is really strong in their home now. They are pumped to go to the temple next week to do baptisms for the dead. Anyways, after that we stopped by some more members. We are really focusing on working with members, plus they are like family to me at this point. With this particular family we always answer the door saying we are from a different group. I’ve already used the J-Dubs, Pentecostals, Immigration, and Solar Panel salesman @HunterSaunders. So I need some ideas for what else I can do.

Thursday: We helped old people learn Spanish at the Senior Center. Doing service at the senior center has been really fun, and the people there love us. We help out with a chess class, 2-3 Spanish classes, some computer classes, and a Spanish club each week. Anyways, after that we had a 3-hour long weekly planning session. But it was really baller and we got some good plans going. The mission has really taught me how important setting specific goals is. Thursday night, we taught the most dope English class. We taught about Houses and Rooms. By the end of it, we basically had our 3 students ready to graduate from real estate school.

Friday: Elder Freebourn and I decided to stop by a store to buy some lunch. This place was called Aldi’s. It is a grocery store but the building is like a CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid building so I just thought it was another one of those. Boy was I wrong. This place has deals out the wazoo! Like stuff here is so cheap, it’s amazing! But it’s like really nice! Brothers and sisters, you don’t know how big of a deal that is for a pair of 18 year Olds living off of $140 individually every month. So you already know that today (Monday) we hit that place up SO HARD.

Saturday: We got a call from some sister missionaries at the LA Visitor’s Center, turns out they had a referral for us through Mormon.org. We were super siked, because these kinds of referrals are super fire, they almost always lead to something great. Welp, we got the referral and it turned out that it’s the nephew of another dude we were teaching like 4 months ago but decided to stop teaching. And they live in the same apartment! So we basically got a referral for a dude that we already know. But we are still siked, we have an appointment with him tonight.

Sunday: Your boy Elder Saunders woke up with a stomach bug that made him absolutely destroy the bathroom. That was fun. At least I had my Spanish grammar book to keep me company as I was unleashing the wrath of the God’s. Because of that, we missed church 😦 It feels really weird to not be at church as a Missionary. Luckily I’m feeling a lot better though. I decided to suck it up, so at about 2 pm yesterday we left the apartment and went HARD. We found three new people to teach, and knocked tons of doors. And visited a couple of members, and set up appointments, and also helped this one lady with some yard work for 30 mins. It was awesome.

Life is good. The mission? Call me McDonald’s because I’m (buh-duh bah-bah-bahhhhh) LOVING IT! Sorry that was cheesier than their new Cheesey Bacon fries. But the mission has brought me so much happiness and so much growth. Keep swimming! Love you all!

– Elder Saunders

Also here are some pictures

Photos 1,2, and 3: Just your boy modeling in front of the temple
Photo 4: My son (trainee) and I
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Photo 5: Houston Zone Spanish Elders! Strongest force in the mission🙏🙌
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Photo 6: My new phone background
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Photo 7: A pic from zone conference a few weeks ago that I forgot to send out. The district + my trainer Elder Stites
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Photo 7: The squad + the Asian dude is an AP 🤷‍♂️
Photo 8: A picture of Joseph Smith that I really like
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Mo’ people to teach, mo’ baptisms

Howdy y’all!

Hope you’ve been able to have a swell week! This week has been a great one over here in H-Town! We have seen the Lord touch MANY hearts and the work is progressing like never before. Before I get into what happened this week, congrats to LAUREN RASBANDDD! She got her mission call to Paraguay Asuncion North this past week, and while we already know that SOUTH missions are the best (#THSM4Lyfe), she’s going to do sooo amazing! I’m so pumped. Even though there are tons of Hispanics from basically every Latin American country here in Houston, I’ve actually never met anyone from Paraguay! But anyways, esto fue lo que paso esta semana:

Monday- After P-Day ended, we went over to one of the people we are teaching’s place. She hasn’t come to church yet, so we went to go see what was up. Well, her husband who isn’t too fond of us was there, and tried to argue with us about his Pentecostal beliefs. You already KNOW your boy shut him down with one question: “Where did your authority come?” Anyways we actually really got on the same page, and we both ended up sharing our life stories with each other, as his wife and my companion just sat there listening. It actually turned out to be a pretty tender lesson, gracias a Dios.

Tuesday- I was able to go on exchanges with my boy Elder Underwood. He’s just in the south area of the Houston 2nd Ward. He came into the field with me and we both have been here in this ward for 4 transfers together. We were also companions for 2 weeks because of a weird situation. Anyways, it was basically like hanging out with a best friend. We went and did service at a Senior Center, then ate some gucci hamburgesitas at a member’s house.

Wednesday- shoot I just looked back at our schedule for Wednesday and we did literally one thing of note: went to a Relief Society Party!! Jajaja at least I didn’t have to wait for my mom to get done talking so we could finally go home #ThrowbackToTheDays sorry mom I love you.

Thursday- We did weekly Planning. Real talk (whenever I say Real talk, it means that I’m actually being serious), one thing that the Savior has really helped me with is my planning skills. A lot of the Elders that have come on exchanges have said that we have good weekly plans. I’m really grateful that the Lord has blessed me with the ability to plan.

Friday- We taught a homeless, wheelchair-bound dude we are teaching in the Denny’s parking lot. I’ll probably talk about him in a later email, when he really starts progressing. But not much happened.

Saturday- I was feeling sick so we didn’t really get out other than at night to go teach this one lady named Mari.

Sunday- What a baller day. We had 3 of the people we are teaching randomly show up to church, then we got all 3 of them on date. And we also got that one lady back from Monday on date for baptism. The grind never stops, even on the Sabbath.

Anyways, just remember that the Lord is with you no matter how you are doing. It’s so amazing that he can always be with us every step up the way. Hold onto that. Love you all, have a great week!

– Elder Saunders
Pics
Some cool pics of some street art here
Friday night District Futbol!

Milagros y Blessings (Semana 25)

Howdy y’all!

This week was great! It was also pretty cool because my trainer Elder Stites was able to be with us for a few days this week. It was nice to have him back, and I’m pumped for what he will be doing after the mission. Anyways, you’ll notice I’m taking a different format for my weekly email this week. I know it seems extra, but here is an account of each day of this week. Hopefully this will help you all see the wonderful joy my mission has brought me.

Monday: After P-Day ended, we tried to get out working as quickly as possible. We went to a nearby complex to try by a few people. As we were walking towards the first door we were going to knock, a less active family whom I had never met before despite being in this area my whole mission, two people came up behind us. As we were walking, the Spirit said “Yo dude, those are the people you are looking for” SO I turn around and sent it. Turns out it was! They kindly let us into their homes and we were able to share a spiritual Thought with them. We will be working on reactivating them going forward! We were able to go over to a members place after and have a super bomb Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with tons of members and also the Perdomo who were baptized this last Thursday (see below). I shared a message about Ether 12:27 which I guess made sense. But it was a good night! We ate Heavenly taquitos and chocolate cake. We also manages to setup some other appointments for later in the week.

Tuesday: We helped out with this service for setting up for the Houston Marathon. I set up toooons of chairs. SIDENOTE: My mission is participating in a pilot where, starting February, each companionship is required to “prestar”-(sorry I forgot the English word for it)- 10 hours of service each week. So that’ll be really cool to start doing here soon. We are scouring for opportunities to begin regular service. Anyways, Tuesday I also had a doctors appointment that took up a good chunk of the day.

Wednesday: Réunion with Elder Stites, my trainer and previous companion! Had some fun re-destroying our area together. We were able to knock a door and immediately have it lead to teaching somebody new. Which doesn’t happen too often. And that was the VERY first door we knocked that day. #milagros

Thursday: The Perdomo were baptized! It was such an amazing experience, they have been being taught for over a year now. They were supposed to be baptized a month ago, but there was a car accident just hours before their baptism, and as a result it got moved to the 17th of January. But what a cool experience. They’ve been through so much in the past few years, and seeing them enter the waters of baptism brought me soooo much joy. For any of you reading this that are considering serving a mission, DO IT FOR THE BAPTISMS. You’ll understand what I mean when it happens, and you’ll thank me later.

Friday: We tried to follow-up with some of our contacts without a lot of success but that’s how the work goes. I did get to eat some good McDonald’s chicken nuggets and pedal a bike that only had one pedal. My companion’s pedal fell off his bike rest in peace #rip.

Saturday: I was able to participate in an MLK March. I even got a certificate for it. No for real, we did some service helping with Houston’s MLK Honorary Children’s March. It was a great experience, I love how deep the culture is here. No matter what race, God loves all of his children the same. That was the main message, and boy is it true. The rest of the day we got schwhacked (pronounced shh-whack-d, basically means we got wrecked) by bike problems so it was super hard to be productive. Sometimes, it do be like that.

Sunday: The Perdomo’s were confirmed. I was able to stand in the circle for all 3, and whew was the Spirit strong. What a baller family, I can’t wait to be with them when they take out their endowments and are sealed as a family next year.

This week, I was able to have the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th baptisms of my mission. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve a mission. It has changed who I am for the better in almost 6 months. I know that mission will benefit me for the rest of my life. As I’m writing this, the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour” comes to mind. We all depend on the Savior so much. Where some might see that dependence as a burden, I have been blessed to recognize it as hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a bright future despite the darkness that increasingly looms over us.

Family and friends, no matter how you feel right now, please look to the light of Christ. Realize what he has done for you. I BEG of you. With all my heart, I tell you that THERE IS HOPE IN HIM. I love you all, and may hope carry us through to brighter days. Amen.

Elder Saunders

Fotos!

– Perdomo’s baptism. The one kneeling in white is Hermano Fernández, Fredy Perdomo Sr’s brother that baptized them.

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– RIP Elder Freebourn’s bike pedal

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– Just your boy looking fly in downtown Houston. This was Tuesday after doing the service for the Houston Marathon. PC: Elder Freebourn

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Enjoying some comida with awesome members and missionaries:

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A special visit

Howdy y’all!

It’s been a fun week. Honestly not very much special happened besides a member of the seventh coming to the Houston Stake’s stake conference this past weekend. He went and visited some of the people we are teaching and will be baptizing next week, and it was a really special experience for them. Elder Torrez is clutch, he actually extended a baptismal invitation to our investigator’s super-Catholic dad, which the dad accepted. So he got someone on date for us haha.
Anyways, I just want to share my testimony that we CAN become like Christ! Choose an attribute of His this week and WORK TOWARDS IT. How will you become like him?
Anyways, love y’all!
– Elder Saunders

Howdy y’all!

What a week! Last Monday, I was able to pick up my new trainee, Elder Freebourn! He is from Washington, and he’s super cool. We’ve had quite the week biking around and teaching people in our area. It’s been really stressful to have to train this early in my mission, but it also has been a huge blessing to realize exactly what I should be doing as a missionary.

One fun experience we had this past week was teaching a lady named Laura. My trainer Elder Stites and I were able to teach her a lesson two months ago, but then she fell off the face of the planet. We’ve stopped by every now and then, but never found her home. Well, Elder Freebourn and I were able to find her this past Friday, and we taught her a super spiritual lesson. She committed to being baptized on January 5th, but then it turned out that she was baptized over 20 years ago in Mexico! It’s crazy how many people are prepared. We’re still figuring out exactly what the situation is, but it’s still super cool to just be able to have miracles like that.

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about how the Holiday season is such a good time of the year for missionary work. Our area alone will be baptizing 9 people this transfer, so we’ve been able to find a lot of success as we’ve trusted in the Lord to guide us through the Spirit.

If any of you missionaries out there are reading this, BE BOLD and INVITE PEOPLE TO BE BAPTIZED. As long as you prepare them for the invitation, the Spirit will work and will help them know that it is what the Lord wants for them. So just DO IT!

And to everyone back home, just know that the mission is such a good time. It’s so spiritual, it’s so stressful, it’s so rewarding, and I love it all.
Love y’all, have a great week, and don’t forget to #LightTheWorld!
– Elder Saunders
Here are some pics:

Semana 12: First Transfer D U N DUN

Hola a todos. I love you all. Don’t have like any time, but here is a miracle I saw this past week.

This past week we were knocking 8 times on an investigator’s door. He had loud music playing when we got there for our appointment, so we knocked. And knocked. And knocked. No answer. We sat there in the pouring rain trying to figure out what to do. I knocked 3 more times out of desperation. Defeated, we went to another apartment in that we had visited before. That guy wasn’t home, so we just decided to go back to our apartment. We passed by the original investigator’s house one more time, and I decided to knock one last time. Lo and behold, our investigator opened the door. We entered and had an amazing lesson. I learned to just rely on the Spirit, even if it seems pointless.

Another mini miracle.

We were just biking along between apartment complexes in our area and I was leading so we stopped to talk to this one guy outside this complex we visit occasionally. We get talking, turns out he’s talked to the missionaries before, he seemed pretty interested. Then I felt inspired to ask if he knew these recent converts that live in the same complex. Turns out he does, and then he gave us his wife’s number and we gave him ours. Then last night she called us at like 10 and was like really wanting to have us come teach them. We will see what happens. Miracle for sure.

Anyways, have a great week! If you want to send me mail or a package, my address is

602 Eldridge Road
Sugar Land, TX 77478

Welp love ya!

Elder Saunders

 

Semana 11: His name is Jeff

Howdy y’all!

This week Elder Jeffery R. Holland came and spoke to the three Houston missions here. It was amazing and so uplifting, he didn’t roast us as much as I thought he would. We also had the chance to shake his hand and meet him. What a cool experience.
This past week I realized I like never talk about the actual missionary work I’m doing so I’ll take a bit to talk about that.
So yeah when I got here things were decently rough, they hadn’t found good people to teach in a while. And those that had been found weren’t progressing in faith. But good news! We’ve found some solid people and by the looks of things should have a solid 2 or 3 baptisms by the time I’m done in this area. Where we once had struggles, the Lord has blessed us with success. One of our investigators is named Roudy. He was in an accident in California a couple of years ago and lost the use of his legs. So he’s in a wheelchair. But it’s SICK because he travels around the country playing wheelchair basketball, I guess he’s pretty good at it. Anyways haha he’s a cool guy, and loves God.
Then we have Carol and Fredt, our most promising investigators. I love these people they are so cool. They have one son, and they had a daughter that passed away about a year ago. They want to get sealed in the temple, and they’ve come to church 30+ times. They are basically members, they just want to get baptized in December around Christmas. But we’ll see if they will accept a date earlier than that. This past week we found this stud named Manuel, from El Salvador. He’s a cool dude, has a wife and a cute baby. I’m excited to see where that goes.
Well, the Lord has humbled me a lot this week! Seriously, just completely destroyed any pride that I had. And I’m so grateful for it. I’m growing and learning more than ever, and I’ve already seen so many miracles that it’s impossible to deny the Lord’s hand in this work.
Love y’all, have a great week!
Elder Saunders
LAS PICTURAS
1- Elder Stites making me chocolate milk like a good companion 😊
2- LIT studies
3- ooh ooh ah ah