Sugar Land, TX 77478
Howdy y’all! Hope you had a great week!
I’ll make this short. General conference was amazing! I love hearing from our prophet and I hope that each of you recognizes the inspiration he receives for all of us.
Wow 2 hour church, they are putting so much trust in the members now! This is for sure a sign of the times.
It’s humbling to see how people can have so little here yet still have a firm belief in God and in Christ. It honestly gives us no excuse for lacking faith. I testify that we all have the potential to trust completely in our Savior, this week I invite you to recognize one thing that might be holding you back from deeper conversion, and pray to find a solution. I promise blessings if you do this!
Love you all, have a great week!
Howdy y’all! How ya’ bean?
This week was pretty normal. We have been grinding away here in the Houston 2nd Ward, just trying to find people that God has prepared to listen to this message. It’s been humbling as I’ve had the chance to work with the members of this area, they are amazing and so faithful.
Saturday, we moved people for like 7 hours. Then we taught a super good lesson to some of the people we’re teaching.
It’s been a good week. I’m learning so much everyday, just getting into the groove of being a full-time representative of the Lord. It’s a ton of work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
One experience I would love to share is about a lesson with our most promising investigator, his name is Angel. He has met with the missionaries before, but we picked him back up like the second day of me being here. He has a really strong knowledge of the Bible, and I can tell that his faith has been developing as we have been teaching him. Anyways, this past Friday we had a lesson with him about the Restoration. Everything was going great, the Spirit was really strong, but then his roommate woke up and started talking with him about the Book of Mormon and all that. Just about how it doesn’t matter what church you believe in, it matters more that you only believe in God. At first we had no clue what to do, but then I just started talking with this guy. We talked about tons of stuff, and I understood him perfectly. I cleared up what we believe and that we only are teaching Angel the doctrine, and that he has to accept it to really grow in faith. By the end of the lesson, we had Angel on date to be baptized and it was just a really satisfying experience. I just want you all to know that I have a testimony that the Spirit will put words in the mouths of the Lord’s servants, and this experience just demonstrated this so strongly.
I like saving stories for when people ask me individually, but I guess that I should explain the title of this email.
So when I got to the MTC, there was this former ZL that had just left the day before who was like a legend. His name is Elder Hansen, and I guess he is like this baseball superstar. He was supposedly like just one of the coolest guys, he got a contract to play in the MLB but decided to serve a mission instead. Anyways, I took the bed that he had when he was at the MTC. Boom the first night I’m here so like 2 weeks ago, I go up to him and say “Hey dude I slept in your bed in the MTC” and since then we have been homies. Anyways he’s sitting next to me emailing right now which is pretty cool. Such a good guy.
Anyways, this church is true, love you all! Have a great week!
Crappy picture of me biking in the rain
Here is a pic and link to a cool story from President Guthrie and Elder Hansen:
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Here you have a pretty unique lineage of missionary service & baseball talent: I was drafted in 1997 in the 15th round by the NY Mets but eventually decided to serve a 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Spain, Bilbao). 5 years later I began my professional career as a 1st Round Pick by Cleveland in 2002. I pitched my last game on April 8, 2017 & I'm currently serving another mission for The Church of Jesus Christ with my family living in Houston. I met Taylor Cole (@tayjcole) 10 years ago at church in Las Vegas when a mutual friend connected us. As a high school standout pitcher (Bishop Gorman) he was selected in the 26th round by the LA Dodgers in the 2007 draft but elected to attend College of S. Nevada. Following his freshman season he was drafted again in the 31st round by the Diamondbacks but elected to serve a 2 year mission instead (Toronto, Canada). Following his mission he pitched at BYU & signed after being drafted in the 29th round in 2011 by the Toronto Blue Jays of all teams. He currently pitches for the LAA Angels. Elder Brett Hansen (pictures on right) and I met via phone last August as he was entering his senior year of high school. We discussed baseball, life, and missionary work with our faith. Following a spectacular senior season in Pleasanton, CA he made his intentions to serve a mission known to all 30 teams yet the SF Giants still selected him in the 38th round. After being drafted he spoke via telephone with Taylor after their fathers had a chance encounter at a baseball tournament. Taylor shared some of his personal thoughts & experiences which were impactful on Elder Hansen. Elder Hansen was offered a contract that would have awaited him while serving 2 years as a missionary but he chose his scholarship to Vanderbilt instead. He will continue his baseball career when he returns in July of 2020. As for now he is crushing the bike w/his companion while speaking Spanish in the streets of Houston! Neither of us knew we would be missionaries when we first spoke on the phone 1 year ago, but now we serve together. We recognize this as God's hand in our lives. #TenderMercies #GodsArmy
This past week has FLOWN by. It’s been really nice because I’m ready as heck to get out into the field. I leave the MTC this coming Monday at 4:45 am! I’ll fly from SLC to Houston, and get there somewhere around 2. I’m SO PUMPED. It’s going to be such a cool experience, I’m smiling just typing this out.
The MTC has treated me well. At times I got sick of it, and it got sick of me, but it’s all good because in the end, it provided me with experiences that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. The Lord has allowed me to learn so much Spanish here. And also has taught me how to recognize the Spirit more than ever.
Something I learned that I want to share with y’all this week is just how important member missionary work is. Missionaries are the ones that teach repentance, baptize converts, and prepare for ordinances. Members + The Spirit literally do everything else. Take every opportunity you can to fellowship those around you and invite the Love of Christ into their lives.
I’d like to extend a special invitation to any of you reading this: Pray sometime this week SPECIFICALLY to see how you can better become a Disciple of the Savior. I promise that as you do so, and as you listen for an answer, you will be amazed to find out that the small changes in lifestyle lead to large improvements in happiness.
Welp, don’t have much else to say, nor do I have too much time. I have to finish packing 🙂 But I want you all to know that this mission has already changed me so much. I’m still the same old goob that makes stupid puns and gets cranky a lot, but I’ve really been able to realize just how real this Gospel is.
Love y’all! I’ll make sure to get some stories ready for next week when I’m finally out in the field! Email me if you have any questions!
Yes, that is Elder Zach Hair and me holding a picture of our dads when they served their missions together in New York City. Such a cool moment.
Friend Elder Danny Hatch.
Friend and awesome cross country runner Elder Benson.
The MTC has been quite the experience. It feels like I’ve been here forever, but also that it’s been no time at all. This week has been especially uplifting for me, I’ve been able to see the Lord’s hand in my life sooo much.
Our room is called the Alamo because we are all either going to Texas, Mexico, or Salt Lake City (yeah, that last one is a bit of a stretch). Elders Pershing and Beus leave on Monday so we are all pretty sad about that. They’re both going to the Mexico Veracruz missions, and I know that they’ll do great. We’ve all been able to get really close and it has been a humbling experience to have so many role models around me as I begin this journey.
On the topic of humility, that has been the Christlike attribute my District has been working on this week. Now, you’re probably thinking like “Wow that must have been really hard for Elder Saunders” and it WAS. But as I studied and worked on becoming more like the Savior, He has truly made my weaknesses strengths. Here in the CCM, I’ve been able to do things that I know I otherwise couldn’t without the Lord’s help. Like memorize 2,500 Spanish words and 500 phrases in 5 weeks. Or 9 scriptures. Or about 20 grammar topics. Like, PEOPLE, I still sometimes forget my name tag walking out in the morning. I definitely know that this isn’t me doing all this work. But I’m putting in all the work I can, knowing that He will make it worth it.
Welp, I only have one week left here. To all of those still in school, stay in school. To any of you not, don’t be a fool. That… is what’s cool.
I have no clue, I just started rhyming while writing that, sorry.
Anyways, I want to leave you all with my testimony that Christ is the redeemer, He is why I’m here, and I’m grateful that he trusts me enough to wear His name on my chest every day. A scripture I memorized in Spanish this week was Moises (Moses) 1:39, I testify that God wants us to return to Him. Through our trials, we can do so.
Love y’all. Thanks for the support.
– Elder Saunders