Semana 27: No Facebook

Howdy y’all!

This week was a fun week. I’ll keep this email relatively short, just because there wasn’t too much going on.
Monday

P-day.

Tuesday
We had zone conference. It was really great, and we are starting a Facebook fast for 40 days in order to improve our use of that great tool. Some other take-aways are that things are getting in full swing for the 10-hours of service a week. It’s a really cool initiative.
Wednesday
I felt really sick so we weren’t able to get out too much.
Thursday
I felt really sick so we weren’t able to get out too much. We weekly planned and ate Chinese food.
Friday
We went and worked at the senior service center. It’s been super fun, we helped out with a Microsoft Excel class. I’ll take some pictures this next week.
Saturday
We had tons of lessons, some of them fell through, so we knocked doors. I love Hispanics, they are so fun. They always have mops outside their houses, and also these small grills.
Sunday
We got Ana to church finally after trying for 2 months. It was really nice to have her. Also, broke my fast with Ramen which was a highlight of the week.
Anyways, we get to go to the temple tomorrow so I’m pumped. Go to the temple this next week! Whether it’s baptisms or something else, go! There are so many blessings there.
Love y’all have a great week!
– Elder Saunders

Milagros y Blessings (Semana 25)

Howdy y’all!

This week was great! It was also pretty cool because my trainer Elder Stites was able to be with us for a few days this week. It was nice to have him back, and I’m pumped for what he will be doing after the mission. Anyways, you’ll notice I’m taking a different format for my weekly email this week. I know it seems extra, but here is an account of each day of this week. Hopefully this will help you all see the wonderful joy my mission has brought me.

Monday: After P-Day ended, we tried to get out working as quickly as possible. We went to a nearby complex to try by a few people. As we were walking towards the first door we were going to knock, a less active family whom I had never met before despite being in this area my whole mission, two people came up behind us. As we were walking, the Spirit said “Yo dude, those are the people you are looking for” SO I turn around and sent it. Turns out it was! They kindly let us into their homes and we were able to share a spiritual Thought with them. We will be working on reactivating them going forward! We were able to go over to a members place after and have a super bomb Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with tons of members and also the Perdomo who were baptized this last Thursday (see below). I shared a message about Ether 12:27 which I guess made sense. But it was a good night! We ate Heavenly taquitos and chocolate cake. We also manages to setup some other appointments for later in the week.

Tuesday: We helped out with this service for setting up for the Houston Marathon. I set up toooons of chairs. SIDENOTE: My mission is participating in a pilot where, starting February, each companionship is required to “prestar”-(sorry I forgot the English word for it)- 10 hours of service each week. So that’ll be really cool to start doing here soon. We are scouring for opportunities to begin regular service. Anyways, Tuesday I also had a doctors appointment that took up a good chunk of the day.

Wednesday: Réunion with Elder Stites, my trainer and previous companion! Had some fun re-destroying our area together. We were able to knock a door and immediately have it lead to teaching somebody new. Which doesn’t happen too often. And that was the VERY first door we knocked that day. #milagros

Thursday: The Perdomo were baptized! It was such an amazing experience, they have been being taught for over a year now. They were supposed to be baptized a month ago, but there was a car accident just hours before their baptism, and as a result it got moved to the 17th of January. But what a cool experience. They’ve been through so much in the past few years, and seeing them enter the waters of baptism brought me soooo much joy. For any of you reading this that are considering serving a mission, DO IT FOR THE BAPTISMS. You’ll understand what I mean when it happens, and you’ll thank me later.

Friday: We tried to follow-up with some of our contacts without a lot of success but that’s how the work goes. I did get to eat some good McDonald’s chicken nuggets and pedal a bike that only had one pedal. My companion’s pedal fell off his bike rest in peace #rip.

Saturday: I was able to participate in an MLK March. I even got a certificate for it. No for real, we did some service helping with Houston’s MLK Honorary Children’s March. It was a great experience, I love how deep the culture is here. No matter what race, God loves all of his children the same. That was the main message, and boy is it true. The rest of the day we got schwhacked (pronounced shh-whack-d, basically means we got wrecked) by bike problems so it was super hard to be productive. Sometimes, it do be like that.

Sunday: The Perdomo’s were confirmed. I was able to stand in the circle for all 3, and whew was the Spirit strong. What a baller family, I can’t wait to be with them when they take out their endowments and are sealed as a family next year.

This week, I was able to have the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th baptisms of my mission. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve a mission. It has changed who I am for the better in almost 6 months. I know that mission will benefit me for the rest of my life. As I’m writing this, the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour” comes to mind. We all depend on the Savior so much. Where some might see that dependence as a burden, I have been blessed to recognize it as hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a bright future despite the darkness that increasingly looms over us.

Family and friends, no matter how you feel right now, please look to the light of Christ. Realize what he has done for you. I BEG of you. With all my heart, I tell you that THERE IS HOPE IN HIM. I love you all, and may hope carry us through to brighter days. Amen.

Elder Saunders

Fotos!

– Perdomo’s baptism. The one kneeling in white is Hermano Fernández, Fredy Perdomo Sr’s brother that baptized them.

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– RIP Elder Freebourn’s bike pedal

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– Just your boy looking fly in downtown Houston. This was Tuesday after doing the service for the Houston Marathon. PC: Elder Freebourn

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Enjoying some comida with awesome members and missionaries:

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A special visit

Howdy y’all!

It’s been a fun week. Honestly not very much special happened besides a member of the seventh coming to the Houston Stake’s stake conference this past weekend. He went and visited some of the people we are teaching and will be baptizing next week, and it was a really special experience for them. Elder Torrez is clutch, he actually extended a baptismal invitation to our investigator’s super-Catholic dad, which the dad accepted. So he got someone on date for us haha.
Anyways, I just want to share my testimony that we CAN become like Christ! Choose an attribute of His this week and WORK TOWARDS IT. How will you become like him?
Anyways, love y’all!
– Elder Saunders

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:

Trio Power

Howdy y’all!

Hope you all had a great week! I sure did! We were able to have the Vazquez family with us at church, and they loved it. We are planning on baptizing them January 12th. I’ve been running our area by myself, but luckily I’ve been in a trio. It’s been a lot of work but luckily the Lord knows how weak I am and that I needed a lot of help. There’s only one more week in this transfer, so that is exciting! Next week I’ll know what I’ll be doing for Christmas and the New Year. Amyways.
Houston is such a cool city. There are literally people of every kind here. White people, Hispanics, Ethiopians, Nigerians, Muslims, Jews, people that walk, people that breathe, EVERYTHING. It’s pretty cool. I like learning how to say hello from each new person I meet in their native language, so I’ll keep you updated on how many different languages I learn!
The Lord strengthens us when we need it the most. Sometimes I wonder how I get up and do this everyday, and then I realize it’s only because I have the privilege to do it for my Savior Jesus Christ. He is YOUR Savior too, and if we have faith in Him, repent of our sins, make covenants with Him, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end we can do ALL things which he commandeth us. I love you all, thank you for your examples to me. I hope you have a great week.
– Elder Saunders
Here are a couple 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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