Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tall weeds and Planting Seeds

Monday, Nov 30, 2015

"Elder Hunter gave Elder Lawrence a haircut today. We did emailing a little early today because we have no money for groceries, so yeah having no money really simplifies your life. Then we went to the park and played tennis and then we went to the Evans house and had a bonfire which he poured a whole gallon of gasoline on then lit it. It was huge! Then we played sardines. I was the one to hide so I went in their field full of tall weeds. I took off my striped long sleeve shirt. Under that shirt, I had a dark blue one on. Honestly, I had two people come within a foot of me and almost everyone came within 10 feet but they didn't find me for about 10 min. It was way fun and after that we had pizza and homemade hot chocolate. Brother Evans gave up some of his homemade hot chocolate.

So today was one of the worst days. Not because we got cussed out or everyone bailed out of our appts, but because I woke up with a sore throat. Apparently my parents were inspired because they sent me a sore throat remedy in the Thanksgiving package. The only problem is that the remedy did not work. It helped but not as much as I needed it to. Now normally this would be okay because on a normal day we have no set appointments. However, this was the only day where we actually had set appointments. So we left and went to Orange County services where we bagged another 185 bags for Christmas, then we sorted out a bunch of stuff. We came home and I slept for an hour, then we went to our lesson with Casey( the lady who we recently baptized) It was actually really cool. She hadn't been to church for 2 weeks so we asked why and she said that her job (a waitress) has her working on Saturday and it is the busiest day of the week. She gets home at 3 am. She said that she has been so tired that she couldn't make it to church. Then without missing a beat, she said that she had talked to her boss to see if she could move her day off from Wednesday to Saturday so she could be well rested to go to church. It is honestly so cool to see a person who you met from day one and see her change right in front of you. At first she never said prayers and now she always jumps to say a prayer. She is always telling us how life is so much easier now then it was before. She is also inviting a friend over so we can teach her at her house. We also brought a member with us-Judge Dunn. He was like, "Okay, Casey, what do you need for Christmas? She told him she didn't need anything. Judge D was like, so would you rather have cash or gift cards? Again Casey said honestly I'm working long hours so I don't need to depend on people and then Judge D said, okay gift card it is.

After that Judge Dunn took us to Dairy Queen, but then a person called him and he had to go to an investigation, so he handed us $20 dollars and said buy whatever you want, then he left. We then met an investigator close to Vidor who actually isn't in our stake boundaries but she will only go to our ward. So with the Zone Leaders approval we drove there and taught her husband. The wife is a member but the husband is solid and honestly has been the most solid person I've taught, yet. He answered questions to perfection. He asked questions and paid attention because when you spoke he would look you in the eye. The only problem is he is being trained in Houston for his job and won't get done until Jan, so I will be gone for that. We can teach him at least 3 times before he goes back  to Houston. My throat is dead and I need some sleep.

So I woke up today and I wasn't much better, so today I just tried to chill and get better. We then get a phone call from President and he said to meet us at the gas station in 20 min. So I hurried and took a shower and got dressed and met him and he just talked with us. He left to go give a leaving interview to an Elder in Sulfer. So we came home and checked the mail to see if my package came and it did, however, it was ripped open and the stuff inside was stolen! I was upset and then I remembered, 'Is my salvation worth what was in that package? Then I was thinking, well apparently whoever stole it lost theirs. Just kidding. Lets just say whoever stole it, their future will be a little bit hot!!

So today was Thanksgiving and I'm still sick. I am getting better but still sick. We had breakfast at the Hammonds and she made us smoothies and she also made us a cheese ball that we dipped chips into. 

We then went to a Baptist church and helped them out because they had a free Thanksgiving dinner for all the people who couldn't afford a meal. So we helped them out and after they expressed how thankful they were and how it ran smoother then ever. They asked us where we were from and we said Utah and Idaho. They were amazed and asked us how we could have the same church in Idaho and Utah because the Baptist churches are ran by the pastors, so every church is run separately. A Baptist church is like a snowflake, we never see two of the same kind :) So that was pretty funny. 

We had thanksgiving dinner at the Burgins, which was super good. She invited all four elders and we had the best stuffing that I have ever tasted and one of the best turkey's I have ever tasted. Of course, the other things : yams, potatoes, cranberry sauce, yum! The we played cards with the family. I went for it all at the end to win and lost it all. Then we had the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted (sorry, mom) . That was my Thanksgiving because we were told to not go out and proselyte. We had exchanges and I went with Elder Wood to his area which isn't that bad. I mean their area is straight hood, but their apartment is so much nicer than ours is. My bed is terrible and kills me but the bed in his apartment is brand new and soft and so comfy. They have two nice bathrooms each with a really nice shower. We have one bathroom with a stream that we call a shower but it has no pressure. 

So this is the day after Thanksgiving. So anyway we woke up and went to district meeting. We then went over to the Lovelaces because they had family come from all over. So we arrive there and they have a miniature cannon( still pretty good size) there and once we came, Bro Lovelace was like, "Alright, y'all, the Elders are here. Let's light this sucker up. So they light this long fuse and blasted it! I mean it was powerful. There was no ammo in it, but there sure was some gunpowder in it. When it was lit, it made a huge sound that you could feel the vibrations from. It was so powerful, it raised the front end of the cannon pretty high. Yeah, that is Texas for you. We went inside the house to eat and we feel like celebrities. Everyone is lining up to talk to us and people are taking pictures. We finally manage to make it to the food table. We took a count and there were about 40+ people there. 1/2 of them brought something to eat. There was southern Mac n cheese(good), three chip dips(great), this rice stuff that I forgot the name of but it is southern and really good. I kid you not there was craw fish casserole(which was actually super good) oh man it was good. It had big chunks of crawfish and other things. Also they had Gumbo which is super good and other things. The desserts were two tables full! It was crazy! Now let me say that we tried just about everything: 10 pies, a couple of puddings, other cakes, this super good cinnamon roll filled with cream cheese casserole thing, many cupcakes and so many other things that will make my stomach ache. We ate so much.

So while we were eating this feast, a guy was talking to us and he asked us where we are from and we say Utah. He said that was cool because I am from Roy. So we talk and and he asks if I went to Northridge or Layton. He said he knows the football coaches at Northridge so we talk about that. I told him I have some friends on the Roy football team and he said he coached them. It may seem like a pretty pathetic story, but honestly it made my day. The only places in Utah people know down here is Salt Lake and Spanish Fork. Nobody usually knows Layton, so it is always good to see someone who not ony knows where Layton is but also knows some of my friends there. We then played a game called washers and threw a pine cone into the pond that was by their house and the dog dove in to get it. When we left, me and Elder Wood biked forever to see a person, then we found out she wasn't home. We talked to people until it was dark, then we biked forever back(cause their area is in the ghetto so they tell you to never contact in the dark). We almost got hit by two cars-one not on purpose and the other one tried to hit us and got a lot closer. We made it back in one piece, though. That was the end of our exchange.

So we woke up and had missionary correlation and breakfast at the Hammonds. Then we did some things and we were biking around and then we came across an atheist. To make matters worse and not dramatize it, here are some highlights. He told us that we are idiots and that what we do is evil. He said that we follow a con artist. Then he told us some other things but I'm keeping this PG here. Honestly he was the cockiest guy I've ever met. He condemned us for an hour and told us that he thinks our talk helped us more than it helped him. Now that is where I came in and was like, "Well, not to burst your bubble but you're not the first guy to say this. Many others have talked to us and said the same things. But here is what I know to be true. We follow what you call to be false and foolish but yet we are happy. We are experienced and we don't need to trash talk people to feel better. We come out to help people and give them a chance to use what we call agency. I can see that you have used yours, so instead of going on for another hour, let's shake hands and get out. I can tell you won't change and I know of a surety that I am never changing what I know to be true."We then exchanged some more words and left. It is just really sad because this is a good example of a person who used his the wrong way. I mean I run into people a lot who hate us, but at least they believe in Christ. This man you really have to feel sorry for because he was not happy. He is pretending to be a big shot. You can tell by the car that he drives and the job that he said he had, that his life needs a major change. His life is falling apart, yet he hates the only one who can help him. In doing so he passed up his only chance to be happy. I'll tell you right now that I did not have an answer to everything he said. Some of it was really thought out and you could tell he has studied this and expressed this to many people. Here is what I do know, I don't have to convince myself that it is true. My faith is pretty much a knowledge and that knowledge has turned into a fact. He wanted us to give him facts that they were true. I said no and he asked us why we believe, then. I told him that time after time that if you knew how crappy life has been and how much better it is now, you'd see that as a fact. Now that my rant is over it really brings to life that some people really don't like you . They will, if you give them a chance, try to bring you down to their level. This is why we are told to hold fast to the iron rod, to put on the armor of God, to keep our bodies as temples. All these things if done right will purify you and turn your faith into personal facts. I can promise you it is true. 

So let me give you some back story first on this last one. The 2nd counselor of the Bishopric moved away. We were all taking bets on who was going to be the next one. So it was us four elders and Brother Evans and some others. (Bro Evans is our ward mission leader) Brother Evans said that he takes this seriously and said he thought it was gonna be Brother Arrington. We thought it was going to be Brother Evans. So we put in our bets and then Sunday came, the day of truth. So us 4 elders were still thinking about who was going to replace the 2nd counselor and then the thought came to us that Brother Evans wasn't going to be the 2nd counselor. He was going to be the Bishop! We thought this because his dad came and he had meetings. He kept saying that he will talk to the Bishop and get things changed starting next week. So after that we quickly found out who the first and second counselors were and approached Brother Evans and said and I quote, " Brother Evans, do you really think it is a good idea to put Brother Fisher as 1st and Brother Arrington as 2nd?" He looked at us so surprised and confused for almost a second and then he changed his expression back and said, "Elders, once you put in your bids, you can't change them." Ha Ha. Then he walked off. Later we were right about it and who were called. Now, why did I share this story with you? Quite honestly, I don't know. I needed something to put down for Sunday and I thought this was a pretty funny story. 

Now for the Texan word of the week, The word is 'pine straw'. Definition: Basically all it is, is pine needles on the ground. That is it.
Example: We have all this pine straw on the ground after the winds came through. More to know: If the needles are in the tree, they are still called pine needles. If they fall from the tree to the ground, they evolve to pine straw :) "
Elder Saunders
Santa's helper Orange, TX  Nov 2015

Title of Liberty  Orange, TX 2015 ( Love the picture of Christ above the flag)

Sister Madsen, Sister Wilson, Elder Wood, Elder Saunders, Elder Hunter, Elder Lawrence in Orange , TX  Thanksgiving at the Lovelaces home Nov 2015

Sister Madsen, Sister Wilson, Elder Wood, Elder Saunders, Elder Hunter, Elder Lawrence in Orange, TX 2015

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Lovelaces in Orange, TX


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