It’s been a little bit since I’ve sent out a nice, juicy weekly email. Welp, I’m stuck in bed all day today because I caught the stomach flu so I thought I’d crank out this bad boy telling y’all about some experiences I’ve had the past few weeks. The subject for this email comes from 2 Nephi 31:21, which President Guthrie is having us memorize in preparation for Zone Conference this week. I love this scripture!
I’m here in Kemah still, I’ve been here almost 2 months. I’m still with Elder Haymore. We have lots of fun together (don’t worry, not too much). We’ve been working really hard, sometimes it feels like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done that we’d like to/need to, so I’ve really learned the importance of effective planning. Plus, President Guthrie lately has really taken the mission towards a planning-focus, which has been really good for me. For any of you that know me, you know that I’m a much more “do it in the moment, live life on the edge” kinda person so it’s been humbling to learn and apply the divine principles of planning in this great work.
We are working with a lady named Eva. Eva is here from Mexico on a workers visa making some mula. She moved in with a member family a few months ago, and that’s when we started teaching her. Well, about 3 weeks ago she moved out of the member’s home into an apartment with a couple other ladies that she works with. Thankfully, we’ve still been able to meet with her regularly and help her start gaining a testimony of the Restored gospel. I have a strong feeling that Eva will choose to be baptized soon.
On the note of baptisms, I think that it is so interesting to note the regional differences in baptisms across the world. For example, down in Brasil (shot out to Elder Roberts) they dunk like it’s a Harlem Globetrotters marathon. Mexico and Africa aren’t super far behind either. Whereas in places like Europe, it’s much more difficult to help someone enter the waters of baptism. Obviously, there could be a bunch of explanations for why we see this difference. I just think it shows that there’s still so much work to do before the second coming of the Savior. ALSO, on that note, it’s crazy because Houston is like the most diverse city in the United States. Seriously, this place is sooo cool. So you have some areas that baptize a lot because they cover a lot of diverse backgrounds. Whereas you have some areas out in the boonies that have a much harder time because there is so many options for organized religion hahaha. I don’t know, I just find it fascinating.
A sweet miracle we’ve seen since I arrived here is the building of trust with the members of the branch. Some previous missionaries had done some things that broke down a lot of the trust with them, and made it difficult to work with together. Well, our entire focus my first transfer here was to build up trust with by showing how much we care and love them and boy has that led to some awesome fruits! We now get approached by members who ask us to start teaching their friends, or who need help with a sensitive issue, and I’m just like dang these people are amazing. In just 2 months we’ve managed to really turn around the work here in this area. I’m so grateful that the Lord puts me in situations where my faith is tested and strengthened.
I’ll be totally honest, I have had lots of ups and downs on my mission. As many of you know, I struggle with anxiety. Before my mission, I was so worried about coming out here and not being able to handle the stress. There was even a time where I thought it might stop me from serving a mission but I had to put my faith in the Lord. My faith has truly been tested with the some of the things I have experienced the past 14 months, I am absolutely positive that Ether 12:27 in the Book of Mormon is a life-changing principle. Being a weak servant of the Lord, I was worried that I’d never be able to be a strong disciple of Christ like many of my friends and family are. But as I have gone to the Lord in prayer, he has made many of my weaknesses become strengths. I’m a first-hand witness of the power of the Atonement!
I’d like to share a really cool experience I had about 2 weeks ago. I was sitting in the apartment, and all of the sudden I kind of started panicking about something small. I prayed to the Lord to deliver me so that I could work effectively that day. However, I continued to be worried and anxious for the next 15 minutes or so. I laid down, attempting to take a nap to maybe “reset” my mind. Then, I had a scripture enter my mind, I can’t remember the reference but it simply is “Be still, and know that I am God.” All of the sudden, the anxiety was gone. A light entered my life at that moment that has continued ever since. I have been much more patient and obedient since that experience. I know that God allows us to struggle so that we can learn to rely on Him.
What a Conference! I loved how making Christ a priority was such a prevalent theme. Also shout out to my homie Sister Craig, her talk was amazing! My favorite talk had to be Elder Vinson’s, the dope Australian Seventy. I have learned a lot about diligence out here on the mission, and his talk just resonated with me. Living the Gospel isn’t a “one-foot-in, one-foot-out” kind of experience. Cmon this isn’t the Hokie Pokie. You gotta go all in!
Well, this has been a fat email. Congratulations if you made it this far! I bear my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. I know that God has a plan for each of His children. I invite you to pray to Him to know that plan, and he will reveal it unto you as you keep His commandments. The Gospel is true, it is one of love, and I love the Gospel with all my heart. It has changed me eternally. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love y’all, have a great week!
– Elder Saunders
Here are some pics.
One year ago, I left my family in Utah to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All I can say is that was by far the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m so grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity. I don’t know much, but here are four things that I do know for sure: I know God is our loving Heavenly Father. I know he sent his son Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and overcome death. I know Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Hace un año, dejé mi familia en Utah para servir como misionero por la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los Últimos Días. La única cosa que puedo decir es que esa fue la mejor decisión que he tomado en toda mi vida. Estoy muy agradecido que Dios me ha dado esta oportunidad. No sé muchas cosas, pero yo sí sé estas cuatros cosas: Sé que Dios es nuestro amoroso Padre Celestial. Sé que el le envió a su hijo Jesucristo a la tierra para superar la muerte y expiar nuestros pecados. Sé que José Smith es profeta de Dios. Sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero. Yo sé todas de estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amén.
MASSIVE DAMAGE done these past few weeks. Sorry I haven’t sent out any weekly emails, I’ve forgotten half of the English alphabet and so it takes a lot of work to write. Welp we remodeled our entire apartment today and so I don’t have tons of time. I’m just going to give a breakdown of what has happened the past few weeks.
One thing that I have been doing lately is when I have felt stressed, I have stopped and meditated for just 10 minutes. It has been a total game changer! I don’t do any weird hum chant or anything, just focus on having a clear mind. Elder Stites if you’re reading this, thanks for teaching me to slow down to speed up!
Anyways I’m super happy with how my mission has been going lately. I know that the Lord is looking after me and that he is blessing all of you for your prayers. I know the Savior LIVES! He LIVES everyone! His hands, marked at the palm, are extended to catch you when you fall. His legs, pierced at the feet, take every step along side you. Look to Him, and He will carry! That’s my testimony that I would like to share with the world. I stinking love this work!!!!
I had a dream last night that I was the DJ for a dance back in high school, it was super dope. Anyways now that that’s out of the way, how’s it going? Over here in Brazoria, we just chilling doing missionary work and the such. Actually, we’ve been working hard to keep the work progressing. Something that bothers me is that a lot of people call this zone “exile” because it’s so far away from everyone else and because they say the work is a lot slower. But we are the only zone hitting out monthly goals, so we are literally just flexing on everyone. For any of you other missionaries that get sent to “exile” areas, don’t even listen to that kind of stuff. The Lord prepares people EVERYWHERE, EVERYDAY. Just go in with the mindset that if you are obedient and work hard, the Lord will bless you with success. But also remember that SUCCESS DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL NUMBERS.
Now it’s time forrrrrrrr theeeeeeee newwwwsssssssss.
Monday was super awesome, we got to go play baseball with our mission president Presidente Guthrie because our zone hit our monthly baptismal goal in March and April. It was super fun, after hitting around a little we played a game of baseball with the tennis ball. Our team was the Little Squeezers, that’s what Elder Perkins and I call Little Caesers and so it caught on quickly. We won the game because President Guthrie hit a walkoff home run, it was super clutch and just a good time overall.
We went around and put up some fliers for English classes. We then helped Hermana Reyes with her yard. While we were out walking around, we talked to this super awesome lady named Jennifer. She has tons of faith and really connected with the message we share. We talked with her about the Come Follow Me program and how it blesses the home with a Spirit not felt before. She is interested in learning more, and said she loved what we do. People down here are usually super awesome, I love Lake Jackson. We wrapped the night up by teaching English Class and then talking to Hilda, who is going to be baptized May 17th.
Wednesday we had district council as usual. During district council, we were told that the Mission-wide policy for music has changed: we can only listen to music that would be appropriate for sacrament meeting. Oof that hit me hard. Because I have a tons of missionary music like raps about the Gospel and parodies (like one of Justin Beiber’s “Boyfriend” called “Convert”). So I immediately deleted any music that wasn’t approved by these new standards. It was really hard, but one of the best lessons I have learned on my mission is when the Lord commands, DO IT. Later onWe met this kid named Kevin, he is actually the son of a lady we are teaching named Ana. Anyways this kid is super solid in the Baptist church he goes to, even though he is only 8 years old. His parents don’t even go with him or force him to go. He’s just been going there for like 3 years or something like that. But I’m praying he will be open to listen and come to church.
We helped this one lady move and her house was kind of freaky. She literally had a shrine to Dolly Parton, had tons of picture of her son photoshopped next to Dolly Parton, had statues of her, it was actually hilarious. But she was a nice lady so it was all good!
Insert thoughts or feelings when you don’t have your….wait was that a squirrel? Those that know will get this.
DUDE SATURDAY WAS TIGHT!!! So we went and drove up to a service project where we helped America Red Cross install free smoke detectors in a bunch of Cambodian and Hispanic homes. It’s literally this place called Little Cambodia right in the middle of nowhere Texas. They had a freaking MONASTERY here! Plus we met some super cool Hispanic people that were all from Guanajuato (think I spelt that wrong but too lazy to check) Mexico. It turns out they were all family. The best part of the service is that a bunch of missionaries from other zones showed up, so I got to see a lot of old friends including my trainee Elder Freeborn. It was really good to see him. There was this super cool Cambodian guy that played these magical instruments that I didn’t know existed. He was getting dang HYPE on these things. It was soooooo lit. Anyways Saturday we also had dinner with the Stake President, call me fresh . And at night, we found this cool guy from the Caribbean named Alex and started teaching him.
Normal Sunday activities. Plus we had a General Priesthood Session of Stake Conference over in Bay City. It was pretty dope because they talked about missionary work and a lot of stuff I have been talking about with members recently in order to get them involved in missionary work in natural ways like just inviting people to things.
There is the rundown. Sorry I’ve been flakey on sending out weeklies, I honestly am too lazy to write out an email sometimes. Jajajaja así es. I want to hear from people this week though! What’s been going on in your life? What’s been bumping? I can’t wait to hear from all 3 of you that read my emails Welp, that’s it for today folks. I love the Lord, He has helped me become a tool in His hands. I want to invite you all to check out these DOPEEEEE new videos about sharing the Gospel that can be found in the Gospel Library App. To get there, you just gotta go:
Missionary > Sharing the Gospel > Come and See Videos.
Here’s a link to one of the videos: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/video/come-and-see-videos/2019-04-0010-inviting-others-to-come-and-see-1080p-eng
The “Inviting Others” videos are honestly super awesome, I love them and know that if put into practice the Gathering of Israel will hasten.
Anyways, love y’all, have a good week!
– Elder Saunders
Here are some pics