Semana 55: Houston, we have a problem

Howdy y’all! 

YES I’VE BEEN WAITING MY ENTIRE MISSION TO USE THAT SUBJECT!! Read 2 paragraphs down to understand. Prayers truly get answered. Anyways. 
Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve sent an email. I’ve been going through an interesting part of my mission and really don’t even know how to explain it. But I’m doing really well right now. Last Monday I was transferred to the Kemah branch. I’ll be working in another branch! I’m actually super stoked because this area seems AWESOME for me. The Elders haven’t baptized in something like 2-3 years so President sent me here to figure out why that is. We’re going to tear this area apart (in a good way). 
This area also has NASA!!!!! I live like 10 minutes away from it!! We also have this place called the Kemah Boardwalk (which we aren’t allowed to visit), the Texas City Bucees which is HUUUGE (Donald Trump voice [sorry if you have no clue what Bucees is, it’s the closest think to the Celestial kingdom in mortality 🤷‍♂️]), and we have Galveston in our zone. I’m loving my time here. 
Some other updates: 
– I finally hit my year one year mark on my mission! I actually have less than 11 months left at this point. I get home July 13th of next year so mark yo calendarios
– Our mission became famous 
– We baptized Hilda back in Brazoria
– I’m still a district leader but I’m totally happy with that. Any other leadership calling means less time spent working the area. 
– My new companion is Elder Haymore from Grantsville, Utah. He just got out of training so I’m having a fun time “breaking him”. He was trained by my good friend Elder Underwood who I was Companions with for 2 weeks and we both spent our first 6 months together in the same ward. But I am learning a lot from Elder Haymore and he is such a blessing.
– I’ve learned to heavily rely on the Lord to strengthen me and to help me overcome any fear which I face. At this point of my mission, I just wanna work my butt off. 
A cool experience that happened this past week is that we knocked into a man named Fernando. Fernando is from Guanajuato, Mexico (shout out to Elder Freebourn’s grandma) and has been here for about 17 years. He sat us down and asked us to teach him, so we did just that. We taught him the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how through the prophet Joseph Smith God restored the same church that existed in the New Testament. The spirit was really strong during that meeting. He invited us to come back the next evening, which was Sunday night. When we got there, I almost immediately asked him “Fernando, do you wanted to be baptized by someone who holds the proper authority of the Priesthood? He was really thrown off by that. At first I was worried I acted with overbearance. But then he said “I’ve talked to a lot of people like you missionaries, but no one has ever been loving enough to be that direct.” That was super cool, as I was totally being led by the spirit and didn’t know what I was saying. But I just felt so much love for Fernando and that allowed the boldness to be tempered with love. So now Fernando’s striving to learn more in preparation for the covenant path. I can just tell that Fernando’s going to progress very far. He is one of the most humble men I have ever met, and is such a lover of God. I’m really excited to continue working with Fernando, and we have an appointment with him Tuesday afternoon.
The Lord Lives. As Paul says in his epistle to the Phillipians: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” I am now a strong witness of this. The Lord builds us up when we build ourselves on Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen! 
Love y’all, have a wonderful week! 
– Elder Saunders

Semana 45: Rainin’ Mighty Miracles

Hola y’all!

Hey! It’s been about a month!!! Sorry about that. Been busy fighting off alligators and life-sucking mosquitoes 
🙈
. Well… I’ll be staying in my current area of Brazoria for 6 more weeks as District Leader! I’m totally stoked for that, I love being a district leader because things are just more personal. And we have some awesome new missionaries coming into the district so I’m just full of energy. We out in Bayyyyy City!
A couple things have been bumping lately!
Hilda!
Hilda whew. I’ve been teaching Hilda ever since I got here over 4 months ago. She was super close to getting baptized and then backed out an hour before. But now she is going strong again! We are actually hoping to go over tonight and help her set a new baptismal date. Hilda has been an amazing example to me of faith even when we have many trials in our way. She has held on so strong and has come to church every week for the past 6 months! What a baller. So please pray for Hilda by name! 

Elder Robinson!
Man I love my companion Elder Robinson. We get along really well and just have tons of fun. I’m trying to turn him into a workhouse out here in the hot, humid Texas summer. And it’s working .

Lots of rain!

There’s lots of rain. And it’s humid.

Exercise machine!

TENDER MERCY ALERT. So we went to go move this one lady this past week. Get this: Elder Saunders has really been looking to get some workout equipment so that I can come back swole in a year. Well, we walk into this lady’s apartment and boom right there is an exercise machine that could collapse and fit in our Corolla. I’m eyeing it the entire time we are there, just waiting to see if there’s any chance that it’s being left behind. Finally, we get to the end of the move. All of the sudden, she comes up and asks “Hey, would you like this exercise machine, I’m not taking it” and I literally go crazy. I pick that sucker up and chuck it in our car faster than a Hispanic worker leaving the plants in Clute on a Friday afternoon. I prayed for something that would help me wake up and exercise in the morning, and it came! Moral of the story: Prayers get answered!!!! (see Enos 1 for more info)

KAHOOT!

Hahahaha I discovered a secret. It turns out the missionary department doesn’t block Kahoot on missionary devices so I made a Kahoot on Teaching with the Scriptures for our last district council! hahaha everyone went crazy when I pulled it up, it was so fun. #ThanksMissionaryDepartment!
👍

Quick question! Respond if you want!

So I actually have a question for the probably 2.5 of you that are actually reading this. What gets you motivated to do missionary work? What kind of things can missionaries do to really excite you to share the Gospel? For those of you that served or have been involved with small (15-30 active member) branches, how did you help the great Work of Salvation progress? I’m not expecting to baptize the nations, I just would like to hear people’s thoughts. Feel free to email me back, I’d appreciate it a TON!

Well, other than that, I just want to bear my testimony of a special set of the Savior’s servants. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like being an Apostle during His earthly ministry. It must have been such a faith building experience to be right there alongside the King of Kings as He ministered to those that needed healing. Imagine the indirect impact of the miracles Christ performed. Imagine how He blessed those that witnessed the healings, casting outs, and raisings from the dead. The modern day Apostles have a special sanction that separates them from all other general authorities: they are to stand as “special witnesses” of the Savior. I invite each of you to study the teachings of the modern Apostles. Whether it be Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, Elder Cook, or Elder Gong, there is so much to learn from each of those 12 men. I promise that as you study their teachings, you will come to develop a “special witness” of Jesus Christ. I bear testimony that power has come to my teaching as I have studied the words of living prophets. I love those men so much, and pray for them. The organization of the Church is definitive proof that God has restored the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days. I know that Jesus Christ looks out for you! Just… look for Him! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love y’all! Have a dandy week!
– Elder Saunders

Semana 41: Love My Mission

Howdy y’all!

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.

Elder Robinson

2 weeks ago were transfers and I got a new companion named Elder Robinson from Chandler, Arizona. He’s only been out for 4 months and he’s taught me all about what’s happened in the outside world. It’s crazy! Tons of albums dropped. He keeps on quoting raps and I look at him confused and he’s like oooh that came out after your left. But for real Elder Robinson and I get along really well. We have a similar sense of humor and we just have such a good time. Literally my favorite start to a transfer so far.

District Leader

So I also got called as a District leader which has been an amazing opportunity. Our district is on fire right now in all aspects of the work. I love all the members of my district. It’s been so much fun and I actually want to share a cool experience I had just last night while on a call with the Zone Leaders. So the zone leaders are in our district so they account to me on how their week went, how the area is, goals for this next week. So at the end of the call I had an impression from the Spirit to ask an Elder a question about how he loves the people of his area. Since it’s his last transfer, he actually opened up and admitted that he’s struggled a lot with connecting with people especially with such a short time left. The SPirit filled me and I promised him that if he put every effort into connecting with the people, he would end his mission feeling like he did all he could. He expressed that what I had said was an answer to a question he has been asking the Lord. It was so cool, and I was grateful to be an instrument in that experience.
Meditation

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!!!!

Love y’all!

– Elder Saunders
P.S: Congrats to all my graduate friends! Let’s goooo!!

Semana 35: 8 Months!

Howdy y’all!

Your favorite Elder turns 19 this Wednesday! That’s basically the only cool thing happenin’ down here in what I call Beastzoria. Hahaha I’m proud of that one.
It’s been an amazing week and an amazing month! This has been pretty much the best month this area has seen in YEARS! SO that’s pretty dank. Welp, I’m just going to share a cool experience from this week.
March 29th, 2019
8:32 pm
Richwood, Texas
We walked up to the door of this trailer. With only one light on inside, we assumed that there was no one there. Knocking after 7:30 at night rarely goes well. So half-doubting that anything would come of it, we knocked the door. We waited. We knocked a second time. Then a short Mexican lady opened up the door. We talked for a second, and realized that she was a formerly taught person who was deleted from the system. So she and her husband let us inside and they let us teach them the Gospel. Sometimes you just gotta send it. Miracles happen! The Lord’s work goes ooooonnnn! 
Love y’all, thanks all for the birthday wishes. Have a wonderful week!
– Elder Saunders

Here are some pics

Semana 32: Fetchin’ Great

Howdy y’all! 

How’s it going? Things are just chilling out here in the big TX. This will be a decently short email because this week wasn’t too busy besides just balling out hard.

Actually, I probably am only going to include a couple highlights from this week because it wasn’t too eventful.

Getting fed infinitely by members

We get fed soooo much down here. I’ve gained a solid 10 pounds or so in the 2 weeks I’ve been here. The members are few but are super strong and so they feed us everything. We get so much food sometimes we don’t know what to do with it. Which is such a blessing honestly, and it’s teaching me to learn how to EAT!

Finding tons of people

We were able to start teaching tons of new people this week! It’s a record-high for this area at least, and 5 people came to church! For sure was an amazing week for the work of the Lord.

Learning the Uke!

I’m starting to learn the ukelele. Which I suck at but it is still tons of fun and Elder Perkins is teaching me well. I can’t wait for when I learn to play the Pokemon theme song.

Loving life!

Anyways, as you can tell these are happy days in Elder Saunders’ journey. I am really loving the people and striving my best to become a consecrated servant of the Lord. My advice: Be obedient! Obedience is key to personal revelation and feeling good about ourselves. YOU WILL NEVER FEEL BAD ABOUT BEING OBEDIENT if you do it with a love of the Savior, I can promise that.

Welp, that’s it for this week folks. Between the things above, I’ve just been cracking jokes, speaking Spanish, and playing Futbol. Love you all, hope you have a great week. 

Elder Saunders
Pics
1. We found a dope bridge called The Bridge and we hopped out real quick for a photo op
2. Ya bois serving at the Lake Jackson Sea Center