Monday, November 30, 2015

A Pretty Chill Week

Monday,  November 23, 2015

"So this was more of a chill week than the last one. I don't have any cool dog stories or anything exciting like that so I will try and make the stories I have to tell more dramatic so let's ease on into it.

We taught the Book of Mormon and the sisters had an investigator there and throughout the whole thing he would stop us and then give this story that had nothing to do with what we were talking about. We kept trying to refocus the group. He starts to talk about all the scriptures and how they were supposedly voted out of the Bible and said that most of them were written by women, which is why they were thrown out. First of all that is false. By him bringing that up, everyone was giving their opinion and we again had to calm everyone down. Four times we had to say that it doesn't matter which books were left out because God has given us all that we need and that didn't do anything. Everyone was still arguing, so Elder Hunter tried and Elder Wood and finally Elder Lawrence said that we needed to get back to the book we know God has given us. That finally did it!

We found these squirt guns in the apartment and invited the other elders which were on splits with the Zone leaders and ambushed them. A bit unfair because Elder Hunter's squirt gun was a super soaker :) 

We were teaching a person today and then her husband came in and started to listen. He has only been there one other time but he was in and out then and never talked. This time he stayed and talked to us and shared how his mom and step dad were Mormon. He actually went to church a couple of times. He is more solid then our original investigator. After that, we get a text from a member that was going to feed us and she said she couldn't feed us but will buy us groceries. She asked us what we wanted, so we said hamburgers and buns. She said she was going to drop them off in the church fridge before Priesthood meeting. So we went to Priesthood meeting which was good up until the last speaker who went 45 min over! I took the stats on what he talked about- Bluebell ice cream-four,  Bible verses-three, Book of Mormon verses -four, Plan of salvation-three, Gospel of Jesus Christ-one, Commandments-one, Tithing-one, Law of Chasity-one, Laws and ordinances-one, Baptismal interview questions-zero. Total time 1 hour and 10 min. 

I used the teaching lessons that we teach investigators as a guide to follow minus the Blue Bell. His talk was supposed to be on Keeping the Sabbath day holy. But what can you do? You may not know what Bluebell ice cream is because it is only a South thing. It is really good ice cream that was recalled and is now back. The first speaker said and I quote, "Brothers we have suffered a lot , many times we have prayed and have hungered. It has been a year and 2 months, but I stand before you, today, and tell you the famine is over!" That is no joke. Each speaker used it at least once and the last speaker used it 4 times. After the meeting we ate almost melted bluebell because the people who took it out didn't expect the meeting to go over 45 minutes but it was still good.

After the meeting, we went to the fridge to get the hamburger and buns from the sister who couldn't feed us. We look in the fridge and it is filled and there is a note that said for Elders  Hunter and Saunders. Everything that is bagged is yours. It was a ton of food. Probably like a full week of food-all kinds-from milk to cereal-sausages, hamburger, and fruits and desserts. It was amazing because me and my comp have a total of 50 cents combined. What a blessing!

We returned to Orange County Services today. It was a great day to come. We came right as a 18 wheeler came in, so we unloaded it and sorted it. Then we went to the back room and sorted about 20 boxes, each weighing 40 lbs. We made 300 bags for the Thanksgiving packages. We finished all that in 2 hours and 30 min. The people there were so surprised. They said it would have taken them at least 6 hours to do what we did. They said we were so efficient and work well together. After OCS we taught a man and he said he is going to try and cut down his work on Sunday so he can come to church.

We helped a person move today. We showed up to his house and found out that us four elders were the only ones who showed up. So we unloaded everything and packed it into the truck. What we started to do was if it was light like a mattress, two elders would stand on the bottom and snag it. We did that until one of them almost got crushed by it. So we just carried it down the stairs, again. Afterward he was so thankful and said that without us there was no way he could have carried everything. Let me tell you, I don't think the word light came to mind when I was carrying those boxes. Plus he lives in a big apt. on the second floor. So as we were carrying things to be unpacked, Elder Lawrence saw an ice cream maker, so we asked him if we can use it tonight and give it back tomorrow and he said yes. So.....we made a gallon of berry ice cream.

We had a fun family history conference and the whole zone came which was fun to see everyone again. 

After the conference , us and the others came over to the other elders apt and we made cookies and ice cream. We went to correlation and planned and then went to the Thanksgiving Party. Man it was so good! It was the first time we had fried turkey. It was so so good. We also had smoked turkey and it was actually pretty spicy, but it was really good. Then we of course had smoked ham and cranberries and yams. I'm not sure how everyone does yams at home but here the had them with apples and spices and it tastes really good. It was strange but in the south or maybe it is just in Orange, there was not any pies just 6 cakes. We asked a person and they said in the south they don't have pie, very rarely, so that blew my mind. Over all we got a ton of food that was left over and I'm probably going to get fat. 

When we got home from the church, we helped a person in our ward who had a stroke and can't move the right side of his body. We moved him and got him settled in. A member took us out home teaching and we saw some people in a retirement home. Pretty much all of them had no idea what was going on and tried to talk, but we couldn't understand them very well. It really makes you appreciate life. "
Elder Saunders
Zone Conference in Kingwood, TX Nov 2015

Giant Texas Star in Vidor, TX Nov 2015

Famous Blue Bell ice cream is back! Nov 2015

BBQ and Houses Made Out of Bottles

Monday Nov 16, 2015

"So honestly this week was pretty exciting. There was a lot of fun things that happened that filled up the week and made it fly by. 

After emailing we picked up the other elders and then went to Vidor to meet with the Vidor ward. We saw a bottle house, which is just as it sounds-a house made out of bottles. Elder Lawrence was trained in Vidor and this house is no easy task to get to. We had to travel over huge logs and fences and through mud. It's weird cause not very many people know about it because you have to travel through the thick swampy woods. It is so beautiful and at the end I will post some pictures of the bottle house.

We then went to a BBQ place in Vidor(* note from mom: Small world-Bro. Hogge's son-in-law runs the Barbecue and it is called Wrights Barbecue) The owner is a member so his staff is well trained. When a missionary comes in they give them major discounts, so I had ribs which were super good, fall off the bone. The mac n cheese was pretty good and the I had the best banana cream pudding I have ever tasted. Honestly, I don't know what was in it, but it was definitely celestial worthy. Also the restaurant on the inside is super cool because it has all these old poster and toy car collections and they were playing country music. Honestly, I liked country music before in Utah and down here I love it. When it came on in the restaurant we all started to sing and there is always people smiling. 

We then went up to meet the Vidor wards and played some soccer and basketball and then we went outside and had a water balloon fight and a slip n slide. Don't worry, we didn't go swimming but we got a little wet. Also we brought the slack line and honestly we are getting a lot better at it. After that we talked with everyone.

We went to a members house and we asked him if we could have a bonfire. He said ya and got on his huge tractor. He went down the road and then came back 5 minutes later with two fully grown trees in the claw of the tractor, so we grabbed chainsaws and cut up trees while he took his tractor and grabbed two more trees. We stacked them super high and then he went into his house and grabbed a gallon of gas and pours it on the pile. Let me tell you that mountain of wood went up real quick and it was entertaining.

The next stop during the week was St Mary's Catholic Church to serve in their soup kitchen. A lot of people talked to us and asked us questions about our church. We were asked about 7 times if we wanted tea or coffee. We said we couldn't and they were a little freaked out. They fed the volunteers first and then everyone else. They asked if we could eat cake or drink lemonade, or eat nuts. A bunch of questions. It was good. The spaghetti was super good because the person who made it is Italian and they are always super good cooks. All the people came in from outside ( there were over 150 people). They asked me to say the prayer so I said a prayer in front of the huge crowd. The priest then said the 'Lords Prayer" and Hail Mary and he thanked the veterans. Then we served people and I took a picture of this statue against abortion. 

We had a zone conference this week and we had homemade Cafe Rio. The sisters had all the salad and we were left with rice and beans but hey, it is only food. 

It gets dark at 5:30 now. It is like pitch black, not just dark. So we are doing Hour of Power in this neighborhood and it is pitch black. We are going to these houses and then we hear growling and these two dogs come out and are growling at us. We go to the other house across the street and we hear a dog over there barking. We skip two houses and go up the driveway of the next house and suddenly Elder Hunter says, STOP. I stop and then I hear this noise through the grass. I look and one of the dogs from the other house is charging at us. The problem is we can hear it but we can't see because there are no lights at all. I am getting ready to brawl with this dog and then he gets about 10 feet from us and growls and barks and starts to snap at the air. We call it quits and the thing that I've learned is to never run away from an animal, so we start walking backwards and the dog is still barking. The other two dogs come over and trap us in the driveway. One of the dogs is polar bear looking and a german shepherd. We start going to the side and we are still far away from the car. It takes forever but we make it close to the car and the first dog comes with a foot of me and bites the air. I grab my Book of Mormon and step at him and pretend to swing at him. ( which I realized if super stupid and it was in the moment) But I did it and he jumps back. The problem is that now instead of a stranger, I am an enemy. He stays back and then comes charging forward so I do the same thing because now I have to. We are about to the car and I tell my comp to get in and open my door. So he does it and I am standing there swinging at the dog and he jumps back. I book it and the dog chases after me and I dive into the car.I am about halfway in and I look just in time to see  the dog to open his mouth  to bite my shoe but my comp presses the gas so I fly away from him and get fully into the car and into safety. While my comp was driving away the tiwi is shouting agressive driving and slow down, so my comp is racking up tiwi points just for getting me to safety. So for the record, I have been chased by 3 dogs but this is by far the closest. My comp said he has gotten bit by a dog more than once. I asked him how bad it was and he never answered but I am guessing a batman band aid wasn't enough.

The week got better because we met with a investigator that we couldn't get a hold of and she has been reading the Book of Mormon. That is great and we have set a time for her. We take pride in our small steps. Alma said it best, Alma 37:6:  "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." After that we went to another investigators house and her daughter invited us in and we talked to her mom, the investigator and then we did some service and talked to her for about an hour. She told us she didn't want to keep us long but would we please come back so we said "yes of course! I found out in Orange that they only believe in Choc filled donuts because I bought some donuts that said they were raspberry and lemon filled and biting into them, they were choc filled! That was one of the most disappointing things that I've experienced on a mission is biting into a choc donut thinking it was raspberry. I was depressed for a good hour. Spent $1 on disappointment. You know, I can't even talk about this, I'm done for today.

We had this Special Angels rodeo that we served at today. It was way fun. It is a rodeo for special needs children. We filled out a form about a week ago and then we walked in to volunteer. They pulled up our names and everyone was a buddy except for me. They sent me to games and I was in charge of this football game and it was fun. You throw a football through a tire. I was trying to be the funnest one there and I think I accomplished that because my line was the longest. Not because I was slow but because everyone had a good time. Even the people who couldn't throw because of their disability. I tried to make it fun for them. Then I was switched out and didn't have a job so I went back to the volunteer station and so they had me be a buddy. I got this sweet kid named Harold. He was probably the most energetic kid I've ever seen. I had to hold his arm to keep him from running around. He was so funny and just a great kid. He dad was Mexican and I think his mom was part. Sometimes Harold would talk to me in Spanish. Most of the time I could not tell what he was saying but I would respond in Spanish, "Are you excited?" and he would laugh and smile. I probably said that about 25 times. I walked around with him for about an hour and a half. Then his parents came and picked him up. 

Trump came to Beaumont so that was cool. We wanted to go see him but as a missionary, it is not possible."
Elder Saunders
Entrance to the Glass Bottle House Vidor TX Nov 2015

Inside of the glass bottle house Elders Wood, Lawrence, Saunders, Hunter
Vidor, TX  Nov 2015

Another view of the Glass Bottle House Nov 2015

beautiful glass bottle house in Vidor, TX 2015

Special Angels special need kids rodeo in Orange, TX L-R Elder Saunders, Elder Hunter, Elder Lawrence,  Elder Wood. November 2015

Special Angels rodeo in Orange TX. Sister Wilson, Sister Madsen, Elder Saunders, Elder Hunter, Elder Lawrence, Elder Wood. Nov 2015

A cool sign at the Bottle house in Vidor, TX November 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Another Week Down....

Monday, Nov 9, 2015

" Man it is a struggle to type this everyday, to capture the real catchy way they speak down here, like I read over and over and still some of them get through. I do want to have everyone at least have faith that I can come back somewhat not a redneck. So here we go, please buckle your seat belt cause this is going to be a gentle ride because nothing happened this week.

So on P-day we went to the park and played tag with the district. We did exchanges to Vidor again(cause Elder Hunter had this leadership training thing which is an 8 hour long meeting) I am not in a leadership position so I did exchanges with Elder Boyack. (I came out with him from the MTC.) I guess I'm a good luck charm. Right when I got to Vidor, we went to go teach a person that they have been teaching forever, and when I got there it took 20 min. and we committed him to baptism. Also, I had Blue Bell ice cream for the first time and really is super good.

So I am apparently like a pet whisperer or something like that. We met with some members in Vidor and they have wolves as pets. I didn't know that so I was like, 'wow, these are sweet dogs.' I started to pet them from beyond the gate and the owner like flipped and said that usually a random person can't just go up and pet them cause they are wolves! We saw some less actives and as we were talking to her, this really fat cat comes up to me . I start to pet it and the owner freaks out and says that the cat is super shy and hates people. She said I was the first guy in 5 years that she has let pet her. Then we got a ride from this old guy to go to our dinner appointments and he almost killed us. He said he can't see at night so he told me to keep a prayer in my heart. Honestly, that prayer probably saved our lives. So we got to our dinner appointment which was at an elementary school. It was fun because a bunch of high school kids were there and we talked to all the people. One of the girls is a member in the church so she introduced us to her crew. After that we visited another member and talked. We went back to Orange and then went on exchanges again but this time with Elder Hobbs.

The mission president made a rule that you have to do 10 hours of service each week, which is a ton. We now work everyday at either a soup kitchen or a food bank. Today we went to the food bank-OCS. It was a good day to go. We were helping them and then at the end a person brought in a turkey and stuffing and vegetables and cranberry sauce. We had a pre thanksgiving workout. We then went finding and I yes I tried. Today was a pretty average day of battling with the Bible lovers. We knocked on this persons door and she answered. She was kinda hesitant but we talked with her and she warmed up. She told us that her nephew is Mormon and one of her co-workers goes to our church and we are good friends with him and she wants to come to church. We set an appointment on Tuesday and we got a member to come with us tomorrow so hopefully this works out. 

We knocked on some more houses with no success. We were heading back and we saw these people so we rode up and talked to this mom and her daughter. They said that they were visiting family down here. They were in the garage and the mom said they were atheists that really hate God. The funny thing is that she tried to offend us and told jokes about Jehovah's Witnesses. We laughed and she was confused so we told her we were LDS. She asked us if we wanted a beer, as a joke of course, (over here in the south you have to be able to answer people by saying something they don't expect so they don't trap you and makes them think more) So she asked us if we wanted a beer and I was like, "No, I gotta be thinking clearly if I'm going to share a message with you." Her daughter was smiling cause she didn't expect that. So her mom was taken back, but then said, 'Okay then, I'm going to go and drink beer." I said, 'Cool, what kind of beer is it?" She was so fed up that she just ignored us and sat down. Her daughter started to talk to us and said it was Bud Light. I was so happy when she said that because if any of you watch sports, Bud Light has the best commercials. So I was like, 'Sweet, their commercials are so funny." Finally her mom gets really fed up with us and said in a super mean voice (which was average to us because we get that every day) " What in the ***** are you still doing here. I just laughed and said, "Well, if we could sit down with you for 10 minutes, we would love to tell you." We decided to leave and said thank you. I didn't think much of it but later on I hoped that her mom would change, but instead if the mom would have not been there, her daughter might have listened to us. I was sad because it is almost like I could feel that she needed God but she was raised hating God. I don't know where they are from cause they were visiting family. I just hope we planted a seed.  After that we ate dinner and the member who fed us was born in Layton, UT-in the same hospital! So we talked about Layton cause no one knows what Layton is. I usually tell people I am from Salt Lake City because most people know have heard of that city. We went home and Elder Hobbs went back to Vidor and then finally I got Elder Hunter back. Elder Hunter and Elder Lawrence bought a slack line so we do that for exercise and sometimes P-day and it is so fun. We can't do tricks yet bu we are getting okay with it and that is the first step. It is seriously a good workout believe it or not.

The next day we went back to OCS cause we thought since we do 10 hours a week, that is where we were needed most. We get there and surprise everyone. The good thing is that while we were there 3 trucks came to drop off food. One of the trucks was carrying 45 bags. Each one of the bags weighing 50+ pounds of oranges. So if  you do the math thats....fifty...carry the two...add the five...and its 2, 250 lbs of oranges. Some of the other trucks came with cranberry sauce and some other things for thanksgiving packages. When we left, the person in charge thanked us cause usually older people work there and it would have been a huge task for them to carry all those heavy items in and sort them. Instead 4 missionaries showed up and did all the work and had fun while doing it. She was amazed and said that God had to have told us to come.  We then went to lunch and I had a 1 pound burger and fries and some other missionaries had the same thing. When we were done the waiter came out and was amazed that all of us ate everything. She said that she has never seen anyone actually finish one. So add that to the books. We then taught a lesson and after that Elder Lawrence got super sick so we went on splits and I am now staying with him while he sleeps like a baby. The other two are teaching people.

"We taught Casey(who was baptized in the last post and her son) and she was talking about how happy she is and how ever since she got baptized she has wanted others to know about the gospel. We then talked to a potential elder and he loves the church and especially the missionaries. He made us dinner. The problem is that he didn't believe the Bible and the Book of Mormon are true, it was just man's writings. We were still able to get him to invite us back and we made sure to leave an open Book of Mormon on his table. He said he would feed us again. We went home and went to bed and when we woke up, it was pouring rain. We went to the elders and made hot chocolate and pancakes. We then went to the church because we have a potential elders list that we had to divide up between the areas. So we did that and came back to our apartment and with the other elders made a pasta for lunch. It was actually very good and we added chicken to make it chicken Alfredo. We put on some of the 'punch your daddy' sauce and it was perfect. We had a bunch of people cancel and at the end of the day did some solid night lining.

Here is how to be Texan: The word is 'yonder'. Ex: The shop is over yonder. Sorry, its a pretty boring word, and there is no story behind it. Hey, sometimes life is disappointing and this is one of those times.

Anyway, love y'all and I will try to help out in any way possible. Also, about the whole LGBT policy, if you watch the video by D Todd Christofferson it says that it's the same rule as if the kids grew up in a polygamist family. Why they ruled it 18 years is because the church doesn't want the kids to have to leave the family to be baptized. At age 18 they are considered adults so they are able to make their own decisions without the parents permission. This way they can get baptized if they disagree with the parents actions but still be part of the family. Now this doesn't mean you have to hate the parents. You can love people but dislike the choices that they make. What this means is that you can have the best of both, you can love your family and be part of the church. Also, this doesn't mean that the kids are automatically going to hell-they can participate in church, young mens/young womens, scouts, and they can receive blessings. They can do it all. Being baptized is one of the most sacred covenants that you can make. There is nothing wrong with being baptized later than some. If you aren't able to be baptized, but still follow God and say prayers, read scriptures, you can receive the light of Christ. God loves all of us and will help all of us. If you ever start to think that the church is no longer true, then think about this: Is it the church policy that has changed or your mindset that has changed? God policies don't change so if you are going to turn your back on the church and say it has gone downhill, maybe you should stop asking the people on Facebook their opinion and you should ask God what his is. If there is one thing I learned from being out here is that too many times(and I was apart of this, too) people share how they feel through social media. Then they forget to express it to the one that will actually help you-Heavenly Father. I can't tell you how many times during school when life was rough and I was tweeting about it instead of praying for my trials to be lifted. Yet somehow I was convinced that his was supposed to make me feel better. Satan uses many things to try and prove us wrong . One of the easiest things he uses is pride. Pride is if a person asks to help you and you say no. How many times has the Lord asked to help you and you say, 'No, I got this." Then you screwed it up more and asked God why he put us through these hard trials. This might be a surprise to some but God doesn't give us trials all the time. Sometimes we use our agency and create situations that cause us to be stuck. How about instead of cursing God, we look at him the way that he is, the only one that will truly help out. How about instead of questioning whether God made the right choice, we be as Mosiah says,"as a child, submissive , meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." Sometimes we may feel confused and question what is right, but the power of the Holy Ghost will tell you the truth of all things-not may tell you, or lead you to come up with your own conclusion- he WILL tell you. I pray that you will pray and know this truth for yourself. I gave you pretty much a bunch of topics and hope one of them will help you someone today, if not then maybe I will read it over and it will be a good note for me.

Love y'all. If you have any questions or if I said false doctrine, please know I am a teenage boy on a mission, and am not a prophet of God. I am just a man with too much emailing time."  Love ya,
Elder Saunders
Park in Orange, Texas

Eating lunch with my district-Orange, TX

Elder Hunter and the district in the background

P-Day at the Park

Rain, rain and more rain in beautiful Orange, TX

Monday, November 2, 2015

Same old, same old.....

Mon, Nov 2, 2015 Orange, TX

" It is hard writing emails because you spend so much time, but you have to because then people will email you back and it is so much fun to read emails. So just to say, if you want a longer email, email me during the week, cause then I can't read it ahead of time and write it out during lunch or something. So anyway, sit down because class is about to start and imma  finna hit y'all with some truth. 

So today was basically a p-day and we shopped and emailed then we taught a lesson to a guy who tried to get us to change our faith and tell us why we were wrong, but we answered all our questions and he was impressed so much that he wants to come to church this Sunday.

This week is super stressful and it has been so hard because our district is like a reality TV show and there is so many things that have happened to all of us. We were knocking on doors and the door opened automatically. We took a look inside and there is this guy on his death bed and he looks at us and says no, then presses a button and we just stare at him while the door slowly closes. How weird is that? We got a door closed on us by a guy in his death bed. First time that has happened.

So we had a baptism and it was stressful because we didn't set every thing up until 10:05, the night before it happened. It all worked out and a ton of people showed up. I gave an amazing talk.  Brother Evans(Ward Mission Leader) baptized her, Casey,  and it was way cool. Her son, Khalil was baptized, too. She lost her husband 7 years ago in a car accident. She shared with us how glad she is that we met her and how we have changed her life for eternity. It really makes you think cause we found her trying to contact someone else. They were not home so we were tracting their street. We saw Casey sitting outside, so we went and talked to her. It makes you think what if we never talked to her? How much would her life have changed if both of us just passed her by. Its almost crazy to think about how talking to everyone is so important because even if you get rejected 9 out of 10 times, you will get that one person whose life will change because of that. It made me realize that we change lives. How cool is that? 

We got hit hard by rain and I mean hard! We were told to not go out and we had to because of the baptism. I drove home and the water was like a foot deep and we somehow got home and everyone's apartment was flooded except ours. I was walking to go to the other Elders apartment-also not flooded-and the water was mid calf-like the parking lot.... We hung out with the other elders until things dried up. We had a ward Halloween party and then went to the other elders for crepes. It was good. 

On Sunday Casey and Khalil were confirmed. Brother Dunn confirmed Casey and Brother Evans confirmed Khalil. It was super good. We then went to Gospel Principles and after class  I saw a person that looked familiar. I didn't think much of it but in elders quorum it hit me-she was an investigator we met once and could never get a hold of. So after church we found her and she was crying. She basically said that life was hard and she wasn't doing so good so she came to church to get a priesthood blessing, so we gave her one and we are going to try and see her this week. 

We went to a members home to visit and they invited us in and her husband is a big hunter and fisherman. There were bear pelts, deer heads and antlers, alligator heads and skins, and bobcat pelts. So we sit down and he grabs this pan and asks us if we want some crocodile and fries. So we had crocodile which I really can't explain the flavor-if any of you have had shark, it tastes a lot like that. For those of you who haven't had that either, it kinda tastes like chicken and fish. The member said to come back because they have a pool table and a ping pong table and other things. She told us that 'in Starks no one will rat you out, we keep our mouths shut", ha ha. It's pretty much like what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but in a completely different way. They also gave us some Mayha jelly (almost positive I didn't spell it right) *** mom's note-I googled it and it is mayhaw jelly****  It was super good. I guess it's a fruit that grows in the swamp, so they just collect the berry like things and squeeze the juice out of them. Also, it is still raining pretty hard for 3 days, non-stop. 

So I forgot to do it last week, but now it is time for how to be Texan. Rule 8: When giving directions, be specific but not specific at all. Example: "So to get to the park you go down this road for 3 miles, then you will see two dirt piles. Go quarter and then you will see a blue fence. Turn right at the next turn, then go 4 miles and you will see a bunch of cars and that is where we are at." Like no kidding, those are actual directions a guy gave us to go to a BBQ.
Peace out homies,
Love Elder Sainders( they still can't get my name right)

Lots and lots of rain outside our apartment-8 inches and still coming!
Elder Knebel( he was able to come), Casey and her family, Elder Saunders
Casey and her son, Khalil's baptism
Elder Hunter, Khalil, Casey and another child, Elder Saunders
Elder Saunders and his new companion, Elder Hunter-picture taken by a sweet man in Orange Ward that drove them up in bad weather to Kingwood and stayed and then brought them back-thank you Brother Knipp :)

Hurricanes and Transfers!

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2015  Orange, TX

" Okay so hopefully y'all liked the new format. I can write a little each day and not try and do it all at once on P-day. Sorry about being a day late, it was transfer day. I'm going to say Hurricane Patricia was just as it sounded-a lot of drama and not much action. It rained quite a bit but it wasn't bad at all. We only got 7 inches. I guess that is pretty average here. 

So we were tracking in the hood part of town, I mean there are these beat down trailer homes everywhere. Suddenly, there is this huge statue so we follow it. We come to this mansion. I mean it is this huge house with a big lake with a fountain in the lake. They have two new Cadillacs, a new corvette, a huge barn, and massive amounts of land. The strange thing is that it is in the middle of the hood. So I suspect that it is the drug dealers house and that they control the hood-I may be wrong but hey, I might be right on the money. Our suspicions were looking true when we saw them ride by on a golf cart and proceed to go to each house and honk 4 times and then someone would come out of the house and then they would talk and he would go on to the next house. 

Then we met with an investigator and he was like and I quote, " Man you two look good. Y'all should go to Lamar(its a college). Man y'all would convert all the girls if y'all went there." This guy was way funny and he made our day.
We did have a bomb lesson with an investigator that made her cry, you'd be surprised how quick a girl will cry when you mention her weight, just kidding, we didn't do that . It was a good lesson taught by the spirit. 

Today we spent 7 hours planning, but then we had an hour of power and we found this cool guy whose brother is Mormon and he is interested and he looked up a bunch of stuff and he pretty much knew the restoration. He just didn't know how it affected him until we taught him. Then he took our Book of Mormon and promised to read. He said that he has read our Book of Mormon before with his Bible and he knows that it is true and also that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He is just not sure about our church yet. After that we rode around with a member. We then went on exchanges with Elder Roberts to Vidor(which is actually in the top 5 of the most redneck cities in the USA). It is Elder Roberts last week so no pressure, but I gotta finish strong.

So my exchange is with Elder Roberts today. Elder Roberts is such a fun guy. We saw a lot of people. One of them was kinda crazy and he saw and talked to Devils but he was pretty cool. Another guy we talked to was a MMA champion who survived colon cancer and he was excited to take a Book of Mormon. We had a member take us out to lunch at this small diner called the Red Wagon. I ordered a chicken fried steak, and it was soooo good. It came with potatoes and a huge salad. We also went to a members house for dinner and had roast. In Vidor, they feed you well! The missionaries there get fed everyday. It was way cool! I guess we are supposed to get a huge hurricane that is a grade 5. I will keep you updated. It was a good last exchange for Elder Roberts. At the end is a picture of him and his district because they wanted a pic and I'm in it so why not share it, ha ha.

I woke up and found out I had the stomach flu. I couldn't keep anything down during personal study and companion study. I took some medicine to calm my stomach, then the other elders came over and gave me some more medicine. The sisters stopped by and gave me even more medicine and Elder Lawrence came to stay with me while my companion and his companion went to the store to get me a Sprite. Then we went out because the work never ceases. We taught and tried to find people while it was raining and I still felt pretty sick. We came back and I slept for 3 and 1/2 hours. We then went to teach our investigator. We came back and as I am writing this, I feel horrible cause I'm a mess and am super tired. The sister came by and dropped off a supply package. Now Elder Knebel was saying that he probably wasn't getting transferred because it was 10:00 and I said now you will get a phone call. I kid you not, right after I said that-he got a call and...He is leaving to be a Zone leader. So I will get a new trainer on Mon. It is sad y'all know because even though we both are stubborn, he trained me well. I told him I would see him again when he is a assistant to the Mission President.

So I got a new trainer and his name is Elder Hunter. He is so sick. He is super outgoing and funny and really athletic. He already has plans for P-days to make them fun. Elder Knebel went to Pine Trails to be a zone leader, so pretty much all of today was driving. 

I keep forgetting to add this in but Nephi explains the south perfectly in 2 Nephi chapter 29, verses 3, 6-11. I will give you a brief summary. He looked into the future and for sure saw the south, cause honestly I have heard people say these exact words. It is so cool because I put my voice in for Nephi's and I have said these same things to the people I am talking with. Read this and you will get a taste of the south and also read the whole chapter if possible: 
Chapter 3: "And because my words shall hiss forth-may of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible and there cannot be any more Bible."

Chapter 7 -'Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all nations of the earth."

Chapter 8- "Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together, the testimony of the two nations shall run together also."

Chapter 10- "Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible, ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused  more to be written"

Everything is big in Texas-so much land !
I mean straight fire....It's cool because later on in the chapter he talks about how there are actually more than two books, there are books from all the tribes of Israel.
The roads wind around and around in Orange, TX 
Love, Elder Saunders
Beautiful Orange, TX country Roads

Elder Saunders, Elder Knebel, Elder Lawrence, Elder Wood, Sister Madson, Sister Tavoien
Sneaking in on another Zone's picture: front row: Elders: Saunders, Roberts, Hanson, Mitchell, Boyack, Moos 2nd row: Sisters-Castaneda, Sessions, Ryan, Sanderson.

Elder Saunders and Elder Roberts giving the peace out sign(he is going home)
At our beautifully decorated apartment: Elder Knebel, Elder Saunders, Elder Strong, Elder Roberts