I Believe In Christ

Howdy y’all!

Boy, time sure does fly by down here in Houston. It’s been a pretty rough week, but this next week is already looking a lot better so that’s good! I’ve been able to really improve with my Spanish this past week, I’ve been focusing a ton on learning new vocabulary. I feel bad because I haven’t been writing too much in these emails.

Miracles at this point are regular, but they’re still just as wonderful. Miracles like your companion having a flat tire on his bike, leading us to meet a guy that invited us over. Miracles like stopping last minute to talk to a passing Hispanic, and having it turn out that they are familiar with the church, know members from our ward, and commit to be baptized that lesson. It’s been real great. These miracles are what keep me going when it feels like everything else is falling through.

This week I’ve really been pondering on the nature of the sacrifice of our Savior, specifically when it is described as “infinite and eternal.” In my short time here, I’ve already met so many people that have struggled through stuff that I can’t even imagine. Sometimes I wonder how they are standing there in front of me; I wouldn’t be able to go through the same thing. But nevertheless, no matter the trial, Christ suffered it. And his Atonement applies to EVERYONE, ALWAYS. Infinite=Everyone; Eternal=Always. All you have to do is follow Him, and you can be covered under this infinite and eternal umbrella if you open up your heart to His message. The storms of sin and death cannot compromise this umbrella, and its only because he’s the one that is holding it. See what I did there?

Anyways, I love you all. I believe in Christ, I love Him and I know He loves me and all of us. Keep up the good work, thank you for all the support.

Til next week!
Elder Saunders

Just a couple of pics!

1- Elder Loar and I on exchanges. I met him on Instagram before the Mish, and now we’re in the same district and total homes.
2- Studying late Halloween night because it’s too dangerous to go outside past 7:30 pm 😁

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

Semana 10: La Conferencia General

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!

-Elder Saunders

Semana 9: Como le frijole?

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.

On Tuesday, we were able to have Zone Conference. It was a great experience, especially as we received the invitation from President Guthrie to study the Doctrine of Christ every morning in our Personal study. This includes Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. It’s been a great experience to act on this invitation for the rest of the week and further deepen my understanding of these topics.

On Friday, while we were out tracting, we stopped at Taco Bell. Well, a member from another ward that we know came in behind us, told us he was paying for our food, and threw a $50 bill at the cashier like a G. It was sick haha.

RIP I wrote out my entire email after this but then my computer crashed. I’m livid right now. 

OK I guess you guys get the abbreviated version. Sorry that this isn’t high quality, I promise the version I had before the crash was way better.

Saturday, we moved people for like 7 hours. Then we taught a super good lesson to some of the people we’re teaching.

Sunday, I gave a cool talk completely in Spanish. Although I have work to do, I am feeling more and more comfortable with the language and can say that I truly love the people. I am so thankful for the Holy Ghost as it provides me with direction, comfort and confirmation.

Love you all!

Elder Saunders

PHOTOS
1-Pic after TACO BELL
2-Not too sure, took a pic because I was bored. 
3-President owns a pair of Micheal Jordan’s first baseball shoes 

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Semana 8: I am sitting next to a future MLB player

Howdy y’all!

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!

-Elder Saunders

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

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Semana 6: Estoy Saliendo

Howdy y’all!

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!

Elder Saunders

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.