Oh Remember, Remember

Howdy y’all!

It’s your boy Elder Saunders back here with some more of that Tapatio-infused goodness that is my weekly email. Sorry I didn’t email last week, I was too busy enjoying la Navidad. I was able to talk to my family and that was SUCH a good experience. I’m so grateful for them, y’all already know they’re super lit.
Happy new year! Wow, time has flown this year. This year, I made my last Blue-And-Green week video, won Spirit Bowl, received my mission call, became an adult, received the Melchizedek Priesthood, graduated, received my endowment, helped my family move houses, built a shed with my dad (haha, that is my proudest accomplishment), worked a ton, left for my mission, flew threw the MTC, arrived in Texas, got trained as a missionary, took over an area, and started training my own missionary. This, without a doubt, has been the best year of my life. I am sitting here typing this telling you all that the Carson you knew back 5 months ago isn’t the same Elder Saunders that has been completely transformed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The biggest thing I have learned out here so far is my reliance on Him. My pride – which was my biggest stumbling block for most of my life – has been stripped down as I have biked in the rain, against the wind, just to share the beautiful news that is this Gospel. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for His sacrifice, which allows us to have new beginnings. Another big thing I have learned out here is this: Forgive Yourself. 
President Guthrie shared this parable with us recently, and I love it:
“Imagine if there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. Is carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course? Each of us has such a bank. Its name is time. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against tomorrow. You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost health, happiness, and success. Make the most of today.”
Build yourselves on Christ. As Helaman taught his son Nephi in preparation for the latter’s mission: 
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” [Helaman 5:12]
My prayer this New Years’ Eve is that you may all feel the love of Christ pierce your soul like it has mine. It compels. It transforms. It saves.
I share these, and my love with you all reading this, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
– Elder Saunders

It was so wonderful to speak with my family.

 

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:

The Grind Never Stoppeth

Howdy y’all!
This week was great. Things are finally starting to look up in all aspects of the work. It’s just the grind to get people to turn their hearts to Christ.
Had an amazing miracle happen this week!
Saturday morning, we got a call from some Sisters in Austin, and they gave us a referral for a family that was previously being taught, they had lost contact with for quite some time, and now they reestablished contact, but they live in our area now. Anyways, we stopped by later that night and this family is GOLD. The parents are Alejandro and Yuri, then they have 3 kids: Hector, 13; Jana, 10; and Carina, 9. They sat and just listened to us teach and were super engaged. Then the mom bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon, and she started crying. Then Alejandro started talking about how much he wants them to live this gospel, and how he wants to follow the example of Christ. It was truly amazing. So we have another appointment tonight, and we’re going to try to extend a baptismal date if possible. But I’m super excited.
I think about all of you a lot. Many of you have had such a big impact in my life and have helped me become the weak, submissive servant that I’m able to be for my Father in Heaven now.
Thank you all. I love ya!
Elder Saunders

 

 

Pic- lol my dad’s same kinda car. Right after I took this picture I learned a bit of Ki’che from a lady that spoke both that and Spanish. Ki’che is an indigenous language from Guatemala that I’m teaching myself! It’s a fun pastime.
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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 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 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 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.