Saturday, December 31, 2016

We're Not In Kansas-I mean Beaumont Anymore.....

Monday, Dec 26, 2016                                                                        Beaumont, TX

** So our sweet Elder was transferred recently to a new area. This was a bit of a shocker for us because we had never heard of Onalaska, TX. Yes, that is where he is. He is on a small peninsula jetting out into Lake Livingston. One of my first questions when I googled was, " Is there alligators in the lake?" Yes, there are-(my answer) I just hope they stay in the water and not venture on land. Interested in his email on Monday to see how he is doing.(Pictures of Onalaska at the end since he sent no new ones this past Monday.*** note from parents**

" Here we go. On Monday we got a text from our investigator, Rita, that we shouldn't come over today but maybe next week. I texted her that it was fine but it would mean we have to push back her baptismal date. She sent a text saying she doesn't want to be baptized and that she is fine with her church, so depressing for us. She is a good person and hopefully it will be better in the future.

On Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Johnson and we had a lot of fun. We visited Pearl and we brought Brother Blount with us. Pearl was talking about how she is struggling with her health, so Brother Blount told her that the elders could give her a blessing. We gave her a blessing and it was one of the coolest blessings I ever gave. It was the type of blessing where right when we put our hands on her head, your mind goes blank , but your mouth can't speak the words fast enough. She was crying. We put her on date for the 14 of January.

On Christmas Eve we tired to see some people and drove around for forever. We stopped by this apartment complex and tried to share a bomb Christmas message at this big party but they weren't too welcoming and had a lot to drink. People were asking us for money so we left, quick. We went to this gated complex and met these two people who have met with Mormons before and we taught them and made an appointment to talk with them more next week. After that we went to a Mexican BBQ . It was super good. Then at night I found out I was being transferred. 

Christmas Day us and the other Elders across from us woke up early and opened presents-we made breakfast. We went to church and then I got to Skype my family :) We had an amazing dinner and played a couple of games after that. 
Elder Saunders

Aerial view of the peninsula of Onalaska

Sign to right welcoming you to Onalaska

How you get to Livingston that actually has a Walmart :)

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Very Merry Mission Christmas

Monday, Dec 19, 2016                                    Beaumont, TX

"On Tuesday we stopped by this Bible referral and he told us that his wife just recently passed away and he's been really struggling. He was looking at and he liked what we had to say and so he got interested. We taught him about eternal families and I told him that he would be able to see his wife again. He looked at me and said, " Do you really think so?" The spirit just hit me and I said in the most confirming voice ever, " Yes, yes. I know it's true." We were actually able to stop by twice more that week. He is so solid and humble. He is super stressed out cause he has three daughters-one is just a couple months old and the other two are three and six years.

Wednesday we had a Christmas Conference. It was really cool. A member in Kingwood has this chocolate fountain company that she runs. She is called the 'Chocolate Fountain Lady'. She was at Christmas Conference so all the elders that served in Kingwood 3rd ward took a picture with her. We also watched 17 Miracles. It was so good. When Christmas conference was over, we made a Buc-ee's run. 

I had an exchange with a mission buddy, Elder Wood, that I came out with when I first got to the mission. It was amazing. We went caroling with a member to a couple of our investigators houses and then taught them.

Merry Christmas!
Elder Saunders
Elder Wood, Elder Saunders, Chocolate Fountain Lady-Sis. Harris, Elder Palualosa, Elder Galbraith ..Ward Mission Christmas Conference Dec 2016

Half of our mission Christmas Party Dec 2016
Elder Jones and Elder Saunders with their Christmas stockings. Dec 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Teaching With the Temple President!

Monday, Dec 12, 2016                                                           Beaumont, TX 2016

"Alright so on Wednesday I went to Spanish land with Elder Fraley and we had a lot of fun. They have this Mexican top thing that I got pretty good at. We were able to contact a lot of people and get some good stuff set up. We then went to the Institute building and the next three hours were filled with me interviewing people for baptism. The area is red hot and we are thankful. We had dinner and exchanged back.

We had a lesson with Debra and we got her on date for January 7. After that we did some service for some members. For hour of power we went to this one street and we found this guy named Herbert. He is cool. He let us in and we were able to share a message with him. 

We knocked on another house and a young guy answered and his name was Josh. He's about our age and he's like, "What's up guys? Glad you came but this is a really bad time. Can you come back another day?" 

So we knocked on the house next to him and a couple of people answer and ask who we are. This guy steps out and says how amazing this is because he lost his dad a couple of days ago and he has been feeling down. We shared the Christmas message and he loved it. He wants us to come back and he even said he would like to go to church. 

Then we knocked a couple more houses and we came across this lady who asked who we were. We told her and then she asked why we were there. Elder Jones told her that we wanted to share a Christmas message with her about Christ. She started to freak out and says, " Don't y'all tell me about my Lord and Savior. Y'all better get off my property or else I will bring out my dogs." Poor Elder Jones. We left and we're walking down the street and she comes out of her house again and starts to yell at one of her neighbors that was about to hop into his car. She said, ' Are those young men bothering you, too?" and he answered, 'No'. She continued on yelling to him about how we think we can come to her house and talk to her about her Lord and Savior-Didn't they know? She just kept going and the neighbor was answering one word answers and then he escaped in his car.

So we stopped by Rita's and she was home and invited us in. We talked to her and put her on date for the 24th of December and she also tells us that she has Sundays off now! After that we had some good tamales at this small shack. Then we went and taught this guy, Herbert, from our Hour of Power, the other day. He's pretty solid . We stopped by Josh's house, also from our Hour of Power. We knocked on his door and his friend answered. He was like, "Hey, hows it going, guys? Man, this is a bad time cause we're leaving for Houston right now, but hey come in while I finish packing." We go in and he leads us to his room where he is packing and he has five of his friends there. So we're talking to them and then he told us that they had to go and they were already thirty minutes late. We then go outside and he's like, "I'll be here tomorrow around 3. Do y'all think you could stop by then?"  So of course we say yes and then we leave.

Sunday we had Rita come to church and it was a bomb. It was the primary Christmas Program and it was super good. After church we went with the Temple President and we taught this person who he met a couple weeks ago. We then went and visited a less active. After that we went and met those young guys from over at his house. We talked to them for awhile, then we taught them about our church. After that they invited us to a party, but we weren't able to make it. 
Elder Saunders
Elder Jones, Sweet investigator, Elder Saunders Dec 2016 (met while teaching with  Houston Temple President Hayes)

Elder Saunders, Sweet investigator, Elder Jones Dec 2016 (met while teaching with Houston Temple President Hayes)

Elder Wood, Elder Saunders, The Choc. Fountain lady, Elder Tapusoa, Elder Galbraith

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

Monday Dec 5, 2016                                                                  Beaumont, TX

"We had a lesson with Atiti and it went well. They understood and they said they would come to church. For hour of power we drove out to the boondocks. We found this street and it was pitch black. We went to the first door and knocked. A lady answered and came out and asked if we wanted some wassail. It is hot orange kinda cider with spices drink. We took it and then we just talked with her for awhile. She's pretty sweet.

Today we met with this part member family and we scheduled a time to come over. When we came over, we found out that the wife who is not a member, is from Ukraine. She speaks little English. We shared with them the Christmas Initiative, 'Light the World." They gave us cookies and we ate them and talked with them. I asked about her past and she told me that she was a Baptist preacher back in Ukraine. And with that she told us that she is not really interested in learning more and that her and her husband argue a lot about the church.

So today was really, really, wet. It pretty much rained all day, but even with that we started off our day by going to a Ward Christmas party. It was really cool. They had these tables to play games on and other things. Our thing was the Gifts of Christmas. So they gave us gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We got to smell it. For those who haven't smelled either of them, myrrh smells like cherry cola, and frankincense smells like a quality retirement home. After that we had a lesson with one of our investigators who we haven't seen in a while. It went well. We taught him and then gave him and his wife a blessing. Then we went to contact a referral and she wasn't home but we taught her boyfriend and he is pretty solid. 

Spiritual thought is Luke 2: ....'Glory to God in the highest , and on earth, peace, good will toward men.

Elder Saunders
Elder Jones and Elder Saunders sharing the gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The kids liked making boxes with their gold, frankincense and myrrh- Dec 2016

A member let us borrow a tree and I am showing off my Christmas/birthday cowboy boots. Yee-haw! Dec 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Light The World

Mon, Nov 28, 2016                                                                Beaumont, TX

"We started off the week by having a sweet lesson with these people named Ty and Atiti. The first thing they said was, "My mother is a big Southern Baptist and when I tried to tell her what y'all taught me, she said it's not true. Are there any scriptures that I can share with her to help her understand?" So we shared those with her and then we taught them the plan of salvation and they loved that and took notes. One of them wanted a blessing cause she was sick and going to the doctors in a couple of days. So we gave her a blessing.

On Thanksgiving we had it with some members, the Halls. It was great! We had a ton of great Southern food including all the southern favorites of pies: sweet potato, pumpkin and pecan pie. After we played some games with the family. It was super fun.

Saturday, I went on an exchange with Elder Bohne. We went to this less actives house. They answered and it was crazy! They had family stay over and they were insane. Then we biked and biked and biked. No one was home. We were talking with this girl. We asked if we could pray with her and she said the prayer. She said, "Dear father God, please bless us that we will stop listening to dem hoes and that I may think clearly and make that money, amen."  She walked away right after that. So that is definitely the first time I've heard hoes in a prayer. As we were biking out a person hopped on a car hood and started dancing. It was pretty crazy. They were having some big party. There was a lot of people. We were also able to teach Bone and he told us that he stopped drinking coffee so that is great.

On Sunday we introduced the Christmas Initiative, "Light the World" on to our ward members and they loved it. There are super good videos and starting on Dec 1, there are days of service ideas through the 25th. It is pretty sweet.

The spiritual scripture I have been thinking of is in Doctrine and Covenants 76:22: "And now after the many testimonies which have been given of him, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!"

During this Christmas season it's the easiest time to talk about Christ and all he has done for us and that he does live! He's already done the hardest part and all we're asked to do is to share that with everyone.
Love y'all,
Elder Saunders

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Teach Me To Walk In The Light.....

Monday, Nov 21, 2016                                           Beaumont, TX

" So this weekly is going to be short cause nothing really happened but here are some cool things that did happen. We stopped by our investigators house who we haven't been able to meet with. We knocked and her friend answered and said she wasn't home. So we thanked her and was about to leave and then the friend asked us to wait. "How bout y'all teach me and my friend?", she said. So we agreed and we taught them both and both are pretty solid. One of them has a friend whose Mormon and served a mission.

We also taught that homeless man about four times this week, so that was cool. We also talked to this lady who was a bit crazy. Imma gonna put in a quote from her. First she would make bunny ears and would say bunny ears and then she would put her fingers over her eye and make the Gucci sign ( * parent note: "we have no idea what the Gucci sign is)
Then she would say, "seven, lucky number seven". Then she would turn her hands and say, "Illuminati, seven, seven million, I gave three million to a guy once and then gave it back and gave him five million. Then I took that five million back and gave him seven million, seven, bunny ears, seven, illuminati, lucky number seven, lottery all sevens, jackpot, seven, lucky number seven, illuminati, bunny ears and seven" We were not sure what to think.

Scripture for the week: 3 Nephi 18: 24 : "Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up-that which ye have seen me do. Behold, ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed."                           After quoting this verse, Elder Jeffrey R Holland stated, "The praying Christ. That is the example to which we are to point others. The Christ of humility. The Christ of spiritual communion. The Christ who is dependent upon his Father. The Christ who asks for blessings upon others. The Christ who calls down the powers of heaven. The Christ who submits, yields, and obeys the will of the Father. The Christ who is one with the Father in at least one way that we may be united with him as well--through prayer. That is the light we are to show to the world. It is the image of Christ praying and speaking such things." 

Elder Saunders
District in Beaumont, TX. A Canadian elder shared a dish that is popular in Canada. French fries smothered in cheese and then gravy poured over. It looks like five out of six liked it  :) Nov 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016

How Beautiful Thy Temple, Lord......

Monday, Nov 14, 2016                                                       Beaumont, TX 2016

"So we started off the week by having a cool lesson with one of our investigators who finally opened up to us. He asked us the usual questions about becoming gods and multiple wives and stuff. It's good he asked us that cause he's had those questions for a while but was too scared to ask them cause he didn't want to offend us. 

We also stopped by this less active family who recently lost a baby. It is sad. The wife pretty much lost her faith in everything, so we taught her about prayer. She really wasn't understanding it. I raised the question, " Do you think that God knows everything?" And she shook her head, which really surprised me so I asked her, " Do you think there is a god?" She was quiet and then shook her head and said that she wasn't sure. We talked with her a bit more and then she said, "When you come back, could you teach me about God?" So later on in the week, we stopped by and started at square one with who is God. Our hearts went out to her. 

On Thursday we went to the beautiful Houston Temple and then stopped by Buc-ees.....and taught some lessons when we got back. 

Friday we were biking in the Ghetto and this homeless guy calls us over and he's with like 25 people, all spread out on this empty lot. We went over to talk to him and end up teaching him. As we were teaching him, right across the street we saw a couple of police officers pull this car over and there were three people in it. They had drugs or something cause they got in a fight and the cops arrested them. Like everyone in the whole neighborhood was watching it. People just appeared outta no where.

On Sunday I woke up and I lost my voice, so I'm sick again, That means I have still kept the streak of getting a sore throat every transfer! D& C 42:43: " Nourish the sick with tenderness, herbs and mild food." 

Elder Saunders
* Parent note: He is now a district leader and still training Elder Jones. We are so proud of him.*
Elder Jones and Saunders at Houston Temple, Nov 2016

Elder Jones & Elder Saunders at the beautiful Houston Temple Nov 2016

Beaumont District before Nov 14 transfer : Top row L-R : Elders Bonny, Saunders, Hill, Moos, Jones, Ericson. Bottom row L-R: Sister Lowe, Hermana Skidmore, Hermana Butler, Elder Lowe.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

I Stand All Amazed......

Monday, Nov 7, 2016                                    Beaumont, TX

"So this week has definitely been quality over quantity, ha ha. 
Pretty much we had a few lessons, but the ones we had were bomb! 

We ate lunch with some other missionaries and they brought out this huge summer sausage that one of them got in a package, like this thing was huge! It weighed about 6 lbs. So he shared it and we were eating it and it was so good with BBQ sauce. I ate too much and when we went to one of our investigators, Rita, she cooked for us again. She made us spaghetti with big chunks of meat. It was so hard to eat it, but after that sausage, I couldn't hardly eat meat. Somehow I ate all of it and then she gave us a huge salad and a bowl of fruit and also deviled eggs. We taught her and she was so amazed. She kept asking questions and we taught her the plan of salvation, temples, baptisms for the dead, temple sealings, and the Word of Wisdom. She made the comment, "It's almost like I don't want y'all to stop talking cause everything you say is so interesting that I want to learn more and more and more." After that we invited her to be baptized. She even accepted a date for the baptism- 26th of November.

Today we met with Rita again and we gave her a church tour. She was super excited and had a lot of questions. She asked us if she could get baptized tomorrow and we told her that we would love to, but that there are still some things to be done before that. We told her all the steps. Right then and there she committed to come to church.

On Sunday, church was about to start up and Rita wasn't there. We went to the foyer to call her and she answered and said her sister came up from Houston and she couldn't make it this week. I was so bummed out. All of a sudden I see her blue mustang pull in. I'm like, "Rita, is that you that just pulled in? " She starts busting up laughing. She was able to make it and she loved it. She was crying....

I chose one of my favorite scriptures to share: Moses 6:60, " For by the water ye keep the commandment, by the spirit ye are justified, by the blood ye are sanctified." This scripture underlines what Baptism really is. It is a commandment. By the Spirit you know it is right and without Christ there would be no reason.

Elder Saunders

Sweet hat and paws that mysteriously showed up on a members phone and she laughed and sent it to me. Nov 2016 in Beaumont, TX

Beaumont Warriors at the Halloween Christmas party  Oct 2016  Elders Tukuafu, Jones, Hill, Moos, Fraley and me layin sideways)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Meetings, Mohammed and Messed Up Pumpkins.....

Monday, Oct 31, 2016                                                     Beaumont, TX

" So this week was pretty much filled with meetings and events, but we had a good day on Tuesday. We went and saw this woman we contacted last week. She was telling us how she wanted to find a church to start going to, again. We taught her the first lesson and she was very open, so hopefully she stays that way. We taught another lesson and then went to see Debra and she has quit smoking. To end our day we had a meeting with the Assistants to the President. 

Wednesday we had new missionary training so the Orange Elders came and slept over last night. We rode down to Kingwood. The meeting lasts forever, ha ha. We stopped by Buc-ee's. (See the giant Beaver picture below). It is this giant gas station with a bunch of shops. We came home about 7:50 p.m. so that was our day.

On Friday we went to a Muslim church. It wasn't too bad just kinda weird. They talked in Arabic like 70% of the time which was interesting. I saw a guy named Mohammed who I taught in Port Arthur. That was cool. We then biked 8 miles to this appointment that fell through, so that was crazy and we had to come back. 

Saturday we had the ward Halloween party and that was fun. We were called to help set up for it and that pretty much took up our day. That was our week, not too exciting. Also we carved pumpkins and I messed up on mine so I didn't take a picture of it. 
Elder Saunders
Elder Saunders at Buc-ee's giant gas station in Texas. Oct 2016.  Looks like the giant beaver is going to hug him, ha ha!

Elder Saunders and his Buc-ee beaver hat and wax mustache that we sent him for Halloween Oct 2016 in Beaumont, Texas

Sunday, October 30, 2016

James The Mormon.....

Monday Oct 24, 2016                                                     Beaumont, TX

"We had a lesson again with Debra. We taught the word of wisdom and we found out that she does smoke, so now we are working on trying to get her to stop. She said she doesn't smoke a lot so hopefully it will be easy to quit. 

Taught Michael Penegar, today. We talked more about the Book of Mormon. We even had him commit to read a chapter tonight and pray about it and to send a text when he is done. He did it and we got a text about 9:30 saying he just read it and he is now going to read it.

After that we went to dinner with some members and it was sweet. We found out the members son does the instrumental/lyrics for 'James the Mormon'. So we were talking to the son that does the lyrics-instrumentals and he's flying up to Provo to do a concert for like 6,000 people in a couple of days! I asked him if he could get us some autographs and he said yeah. He even said that if I got home sooner, he'd set up a time for me to meet him. But he's a super cool guy. He's only eighteen and he is writing lyrics and instrumentals-he has a pretty good thing going, but he is going to stop for a while and go serve a mission!

Today we had this early appointment that was pretty far away-a good six miles. The only way to get there is on busy roads with no sidewalks. We arrived and they aren't there, so we biked around and found a person to teach. She didn't seem super solid but at least she'd hear us out. After that we went to the less actives funeral of the baby that died in childbirth. It was a good service. 

We biked around forever and then we rode up on these two guys working. As I pulled up, one of them asked, "Y'all Mormons?" So I told him, yeah. He told us that he was, too. I thought he was kidding, but then he went into his conversion story. He told how the missionaries came and helped him. It was pretty cool. Apparently he hasn't been in years and his records aren't in the ward. We are trying to get him to come to church. After that we taught this person named KaSandra and her son, JaHarlod. 

Finally we biked a super long way to Ernest whose apartment was thick with smoke. It was so hard to breathe. We taught him the restoration and all three times he really didn't seem interested and it didn't get any better throughout the lesson. We asked him to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon and we would get back to him. Later we called him and he didn't read it, so we had to drop him, cause he wasn't in the proper mindset. That is always hard to see. 

Elder Saunders
A sweet text from a member in Beaumont whose son left for a mission-Elder Saunders, Elder Worley and Elder Jones Oct 2016

Elder Saunders and Elder Hill in Beaumont, TX  Oct 2016

**note from parents-'he is slowing down on pictures lately. Hopefully he is just in a slump....

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Let The Savior Be Your GPS (Global Positioning System)....

Monday Oct 17, 2016                                     Beaumont, TX

"On P-day one of the elders got his dad to ship him down a Sams Club card, so we all went and got these great deals for buying in bulk. Like we got 72 waffles for $10! And stuff like that. 

Tuesday we taught Rita. We went over to her house and she prepared for us a feast. Homemade fried chicken, fried fish, chili, corn, greens, fruit salad, turkey. Then she gave us cake and ice cream. It was so good we ate a ton. There was still a ton left and she made me eat more. It was so good and so bad. Her favorite show came on, 'Let's make a deal," so we had to teach her between commercials, haha. 

We started off our day by having two appointments fall through, but after that we went to the church and taught one of our members friends. He is a really cool guy. He met us at the church, so we gave him a church tour and then taught him the restoration. He seemed really sincere and he said he'd come to church, but he ended up not making it but said he would come in two weeks.

We went to the Episcopal church Bible study. I was pretty mad because they ran outta breakfast and that's one of the reasons we go. They read outta the Bible, but what everyone finds interesting or new, we have already heard about it in Primary. That is how far ahead we are, haha. At the end of the day we did hour of power. My son choose a really scary street. It was this super long street clear in the ghetto. We knocked about every door and we talked with an atheist that tried to prove that that Christ didn't exist with astronomy. It was really weird, but when we ended we asked if we could come back and he said I could. We also had some other stuff happen but I will talk more about that after my mission. We had to walk about 1.4 miles down this ghetto dimly lit street at 8:00 p.m. So here we are walking down this pitch black street, and right as we walked past them, they turned off. So that was kinda creepy. We did help a Mexican guy get his dog after it escaped, so that was cool.

On Friday, B team picked us up for zone meeting. They told us that a person broke into their car and stole both of their GPS's, so after Zone meeting, we went with them to a few pawn stores to see if we could find them. We did find a store that they said a guy came in with two GPS's but that pawn store doesn't sell them so they turned him away and we had no luck.

We went on exchanges with our zone leader so we made sure we were nice and good, ha ha. It was a super long and hot day. We wore out our Zone leader. At the end of our day, our members made us these huge steaks and baked potatoes. It was super good and a great way to end the day!!

Sunday we were contacted by these less active members and they told us that she lost her baby in delivery. So sad! We contacted the ward cause no one knew about it. We talked with them and hopefully helped. That was our week.
Elder Saunders
I think I wore my companion, Elder Jones out. He is hardly moving. Beaumont, TX Oct 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Man On A Mission.....

Monday, Oct 10, 2016                                              Beaumont, TX

"So my son's name is Elder Jones. He is cool and a quick learner. He is from Kaysville.
Our area is now a bike area. The area boundaries are 35 miles long and 10 miles width, so it's a big area. It's starting to cool down.....Finally. Training is like the best thing ever though. 1. Your companion has to do what you say-so you get to make all the plans, haha. 2. You get an extra hour to study while he does this training thing.

We start off our day by helping some members clean out a storage unit which was big. They fed us lunch so we can't complain. We taught Debra and she told us that she wants to be baptized but she has to wait because: 1. She has to get surgery on her foot and she's not sure it can get wet and 2. She wants a friend to be there and he will be gone for about a month. After that we went and taught another guy and then had to hurry and bike over to our dinner with a part member family. We taught him and had a good discussion, but he's really hard headed so that was frustrating.

Early the next morning we visited this apartment complex and we talked to a lot of people and taught a couple of them. We taught this Bible referral person who actually invited us in and listened and invited us back. Another one of our investigators told us that if we got into any trouble to tell him, cause he has some contacts. He assured us that he wouldn't hurt them, just make our problems go away, ha ha. He was part of a gang a while back and has some serious contacts. 

Today we started out by teaching our investigator, who loves to talk. He talked for about 90% of the conversation but he told us how to make doughnuts and a bunch of other things. He's a super good chef. Like he's cooked for 3 Iron Chefs, so we are trying to get him to feed us one day.

After that we taught a person and it was going good and she stopped us and said that we have to cut it short cause she has to drink a beer. She told us to come back, ha ha. We biked to this investigators house and he's like 17. We get there and he's not home, but we ended up teaching his brother. As we were saying the closing prayer, his mom comes out and pretty much orders us inside. We get inside and she's like, "Why didn't y'all invite me to join?" We get to talking and she's saying how appreciative she is of us. She grabs some groceries and tries to get us to take them. We refuse but she wouldn't give up. She gave us toothpaste and a bunch of other things. She fed us a quick snack and then we taught her and we're coming back next week. 

We taught Stan and we had a really good lesson. He said he found an answer that is leading him on the path. Then we went to go teach this Bible referral. We go to the door and knock and he comes out and says, "Guys, let's sit down. So we all sit and then he says, "What do you want to share with me?' I just start teaching him and every now and then he sidetracks the conversation with some random subject. I then bring it back and he takes off again. We're doing this like the whole time. Finally he points at me and he's like, "Ya know, I really like you. You're a man on a mission. I gotta admit I've been drinking one too many so come back next week when I'm sober." Ha ha so we're coming back next week.

And yeah, those were the highlights of our week!
Elder Saunders
Me and my greenie companion, Elder Jones. Beaumont, TX Oct 2016
( *note from parents. No pictures with his email and lo and behold-this is the third time it happened-A sweet Sister W sent this picture when she was feeding them dinner :)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

I'm Now A Dad!

Monday Oct 3, 2016                                       Beaumont, TX

"First thing is my companion is getting transferred. I'm getting a son. In missionary language it means that I am training a brand-new missionary. The bad news is they are taking away our car(they are five short in Salt Lake), so we're going to be a bike area. Our area covers 40 miles, so this is going to take a lot of faith. 

Today we had a pretty solid day. We taught Martha Washington. (y'all heard me right-Martha Washington). Our member that we brought was golden, so all that worked out. We had a sweet lesson with her, and afterward I gave her a blessing. After that we taught Debra and she's always super solid and said she would watch conference but she would have to see it late cause she works. We brought June to that and she was good at fellow shipping. Later Genesis made us dinner and I also got this sweet hat(see pic below).

We went to a place today called Sour Lake. It is honestly the closest place you can get before you hit the telestial kingdom. Okay, maybe not that bad but pretty bad. We spent five hours there and on the plus side we got 3 potentials, and we taught a less active. On the down side, we drove 80 miles round trip!

It was a good day today. We visited this referral who ordered a bible, but she wasn't home so we decided to stop by this potential investigator who we contacted this past week but he seemed really not interested. We stopped by his house and he was super friendly and we ended up teaching him and he told us to come back on Sunday. He is this sweet big black guy who rides bulls for rodeos. We stopped by this apartment complex afterward to teach some less active members. After we taught them we walked around the apartments and we ended up talking to these kids. There was about five of them, so we taught them. Every now and then their mom would pop out and one of those times she was like, " Man, they're actually listening. My companions like, " Oh yeah. Kids, what are prophets?" They shout, "MESSENGERS FROM GOD!" It was super cool. After that we biked to this ghetto street and we talked to a lot of sweet people on that street that seemed somewhat promising.

Elder Saunders
Fire and Rescue Station in Beaumont, TX Oct 2016
He's da bear! Me and Smokey- Oct 2016 Beaumont Texas

Me and my bud Smoky-Beaumont, TX Oct 2016
My Sweet hat-Beaumont, TX Oct 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Let God Take a Pikachu.....

Monday, Sept 26, 2016                                                   Beaumont, TX

"We went on exchanges today. We didn't get a lot done. We biked around forever and nothing. We came back home and grabbed the car and went to our lesson with Debra. It went amazing! We taught her and she was very open. She now wants to be baptized but can't yet because she works on Sundays. We talked to her about how she could still do it. We set a date to come to church and she even mentioned that if she has to she will quit her job. She is so solid! Debra already has the 16th of October off , and is planning on coming to church today. With General Conference coming up, if she comes to that-it counts as church-she can get baptized! 

After that we had dinner with Bishop and his family. It was pretty good. At the end of the day we had a referral, who we haven't even contacted yet, send us a text and say that she has a family for us to teach. So our referral give us a referral!

Today we were on exchanges with one of the zone leaders. We had a pretty interesting day. It starts off by one of our crazy dropped investigators texted us and asked if we could stop by so we stopped by. He told us that he has had all these white blurs talking to him. He said that they told him that he is Christ and that he was born to do some purpose. He talked about the moon and the sun and stuff like that. He wanted us to let our church be aware that he is there. He said some other things but I couldn't really follow along cause it was pretty weird. The he started to say that every time he opens the scriptures and reads a story in them, the story happens to him. So I made a little joke and was like, "Well, whatever you do, never open Jonah." He didn't find that amusing so pretty soon we left.

We had dinner after that and had the best Mexican food I ever had. It was so good. We knocked on a bunch of doors and then knocked on this one potentials door. Another person answered and said that they weren't home. We thanked her and left and knocked on the door across from them. As we were knocking, I looked back to the house we just came from. We see both of the people who "weren't home" walk out of their home and get in their car and drive away. Sad!

We did Bishop's Storehouse today. Stan came and we talked to him for a bit. He told us that the doctors say that his cancer came back! We're going to go over and give him a blessing of healing. He was a champ and worked super hard to help out other families get their food. Love that guy.

Next we met this kid named Elijah. He is about 9. He was freaken sweet. I stopped next to him and fixed his bike cause it was broke. He was joking with us and telling us all the people on his street. He turned toward me and is like, 'My names Elijah but my friends call me Deshawn. I just laughed and he's like, "What?". I'm like, "Your name is Elijah not Deshawn. Then he told me that  I could call him 'Lil E'. So I told him sweet-imma gonna call you 'Lil E. We told him that we gotta go. My companion was driving that day so he hops in and starts to back up. I'm standing outside with Lil E and my companion is going literally one mile an hour in reverse. He asked why he was going slow and I explained that we needed to be careful. Lil E said, "Well my grandma goes faster and she is 90 years old. I laughed and then we left.

Today we went to a Presbyterian church and after that we attended our church...of course. Then we went home and put a roast in the crockpot. (*note from parents-Holy cow, he's using a crockpot! He said he would never use one-ever, ha ha.) We quickly ate lunch and then went to an appointment with a referral. 

As we were talking to the referral she says, 'Y'all aren't the bad guys? I thought it was a joke but she was dead serious. She explained saying that everyone says we tear people away from their faith and try to force them to to join us and she said some more stuff. We cleared up some things and we're teaching her and she is more involved now and asking questions. We get to the Book of Mormon and we ask her if she's heard about it. She's like, "Well, yes I have. I've  heard not to read it cause it messes with your brain and takes you away from your faith." Once again we were able to clarify some things but she wouldn't take the Book of Mormon so we asked her to take the restoration pamphlet and read it and pray about it and about the Book of Mormon before we come back. She agreed and then she changed a lot and she was joking around with us. It was really cool. I think she finally got past everything she heard about us...At least I hope she did.

To end the day we went out with the temple President. (*note from parents: What? Like President Hayes of the Houston Temple? He casually said yes and we were surprised. How cool is it that President Hayes takes the time to go out with the missionaries!) We took a less active to the cemetery to see a loved one who had died. We tried to find the grave and we couldn't. We drove to the funeral home and there was a Mexican funeral service that just finished, so we had to weave our way through all of that. We asked the workers where it was and then the worker started to talk and ask us questions. We found the grave and she started to cry. The temple President gave a short spiritual message and told her to do his family history for his grandparents who are waiting for her to do their temple work. It was pretty powerful. 

After that a guy called us over and wanted a Book of Mormon. He had been taught some years ago by missionaries and wants to get back in with them so we ended up teaching him and we are coming back in a couple of days. We were pretty busy, today....

Love ,
Elder Saunders
Found this sign, 'Stop being rude." after we knocked a bunch of houses and not one of them listened to us. Beaumont Texas Sept 2016

Pokemon go is alive and well in Texas. We had to laugh at this Evangelical church sign in Beaumont, TX Sept 2016 'Pokemon Go: Stop here. Come let God take a Pikachu!"


Sunday, September 25, 2016

He Will Heal Us....

Mon, Sept 19, 2016                                                                    Beaumont, TX

" I've been pretty sick this transfer, which makes it that I've had more sick days on my mission than healthy days. In each of my areas I have had at least 2 sore throats which then evolved into a full blown cold, except for the MTC. I did have food poisoning there and then a cold. So yeah, fun fun. I blame it on the air quality down here but anyways here we go.

So I went on exchanges this week. We start off our day by trying to mow this lady's lawn. We decide to mow the backyard first. So we go to the gate and it's locked. We called the owner and she said to go through the garage. She told us that there's two dogs in the back yard. My companion opens the garage halfway and the dogs are in the garage, so he quickly closes it so they don't escape. He then decides to jump the fence so he climbs the fence. The dogs run around to where he is and start jumping at him and kinda nipping. Eventually he is able to get off the fence and he goes to the garage while I try to distract them. I hop the fence. The dogs are going crazy and jumping on us and all sorts of things. We got the lawn mower out and then we managed to get the dogs in the garage and literally barricade it closed. We're trying to start the mower and the dogs are pounding on the door. We realized that there is no gas in the mower! So we open the garage again and the dogs attack us again. We put them in the backyard and barricade us inside the garage. I have to hold the door cause the dogs are pushing it open. It honestly felt like I was defending against a zombie apocalypse. We found out that they forgot to get gas so we left. 

The next day we taught this kid who was high which I contacted him and he has all gold teeth. He is pretty sweet, tho. At least he said he wants more of his friends to be taught by us. 

On the following day we were trying to find this former investigator but she wasn't home. We contacted this couple outside her door who told us to come back in an hour. We came back an hour later and they were still gone, but we contacted another couple of guys outside that same door. We actually taught them and they said we could come back on the weekend. We found out from the guy we taught that the former we went to see was his wife and that the couple we contacted was his grandson and his girlfriend. So we taught the whole family that day.

Lastly on Sunday we taught at a Presbyterian church. It was pretty sweet! We had a class of about 30 . We taught them about the restoration and then we answered their questions for another 30 min. It was super good though cause some of them had crazy ideas!
Elder Saunders

**note from parents:  We did not receive any pictures so I googled some and found out the following" He kept telling us that he was one of the few missionaries that served in the golden triangle. Beaumont is one of the major petro-chemical refining areas. Along with Port Arthur and Orange, Beaumont forms the golden triangle-a major industrial area. He is one of the few missionaries that has served in the golden triangle(each of these areas). Maybe this is a big reason why he is sick so much?
Oil refineries and the Port of

A scripture that comforts us when we heard  he has been sick so much is the following in the Bible, Exodus 23:25: "And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and they water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. "

Saturday, September 17, 2016

God Did This.....

Monday, Sept 12, 2016                                                   Beaumont, TX

"Today we taught Debra again and she is so solid. She agreed with everything in the plan of salvation. She still works on Sundays so we are working with that so she can get baptized. After that we taught this person named Jessica and man it was one of the hardest lessons I've ever taught. Not because she was a bible scholar, not because she was hard headed, not cause she didn't want to talk to us, but because of her kids. I have never heard so much crying in one lesson. It was crazy. It was so hard to teach and we felt so bad for her because she kept apologizing cause she couldn't focus. It was bad so we ended up getting a return appointment at 8:00 am so that one of the kids will be at school and the other will be asleep. 

We had a powerful lesson with Stan and he said that he could see himself getting baptized in our church. He's also said that he has had visitations and in one of them an angel told him that he would use his hands to spread the gospel. He told us that he thinks it very well could be that he needs to be baptized and ordained so he can have the priesthood so he could use his hands to bless people. That is super cool but he's still cautious about joining until he knows it's right, but he's gotten a lot closer. 

A couple of days after that we started our day by teaching a lesson at 8:00 am to Jessica again. We went in to teach her and she is amazed and saying how we were sent by God and all of that. She would stop us mid phrase so she could say a prayer of thanks to God for having us over. It was a great lesson.   

After that we went to zone meeting and then stopped by our investigator, Homer, and taught him. The we went to a less active family called the Collins. We created a stop smoking plan. At the end of the day we stopped by our investigator Stan again. His sweet wife is having a lot of medical problems so that's hard. We're trying to get him to know the gospel is true and that becoming a member can help him through it and he is slowly coming along. After that we got a call from Jessica and she told me that she didn't want us by anymore and that she was going to stick to the Bible. So apparently she got 'antied' pretty bad, so that's sad especially after our sweet lesson. But a scripture that popped into my head was Galatians 1:6, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel." It fits so perfectly with her situation so that was frustrating. 

We started off our day by giving a blessing. We went with a member who is a doctor. So we get into the hospital and he uses his pass to get into all the doors. I felt like I was part of the CIA! Everyone was staring at us and all of us wearing suits, haha. It was great. After that he bought us chick-fil-a and then we had a lesson that fell through. We biked to Jamari's house and we met his friend who has been feeding Jamari all his crazy ideas. 

We knocked on this house with this banner. I thought it was cool and wanted to take a picture with it. 
Elder Saunders
Loved this banner: 'God did this" He trusts me to share the gospel and bring souls to Christ.  God did this and I will be forever grateful. Beaumont, TX Sept 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Book of Mormon, Biking and Bibles in Beaumont....

Monday, Sept 5, 2016                                                         Beaumont, Texas

"Today is Elder Anderson's birthday, so Brother Hall took us to Kolachi Factory. After the birthday lunch we went to the church and played some games and then we had dinner with the Millers. After dinner we played cards with Bro. Hall.

On Tuesday we went to Fudruckers with Jane and then we taught Stan. It was a super good lesson. We had another appointment with a guy named Sam. He is from the Church of Christ and unfortunately he wanted to bash us for nearly an hour. Every issue he brought up we answered, but he probably could only answer half of our questions. We then went to one of our investigators house and actually helped his daughter with her math homework, so that was kinda different. We had dinner with this less active family and after that we taught them the plan of salvation. He is really hard headed and wouldn't change, so that was a bummer.

Wednesday we were biking and it was super hot. We looked over as we were biking and saw this old grandma struggling to mow her lawn, so we biked over and I asked her if I could finish. She said no, that's okay. She went to get some water and I waited until she was inside and I grabbed the mower and started to mow her lawn. When she came out, my companion started to talk to her. It was even better cause she lives on one of the busiest streets in our area, so there was so many people who saw this missionary mowing someones lawn in the heat of the day, wearing church clothes.
One person even stopped by and took a pic of me. We also taught this person named Debra. She is a referral and she is solid. We came in and she was already reading the Book of Mormon. So we taught her and she is so open, it was amazing. Only problem is that she works on Sunday, so that may be a bit of a problem but we will work it out. 

We went to Golden Corral today and then we did some weekly planning. We then did our Hour of Power and as we were biking, we see this group of 5 really big African American guys chilling off the road a bit, so my thought process was-Why not? So I biked up to them and all of them are staring at me. I tried to break the ice and started asking them questions and shook all their hands and they were legit! Apparently they were having a party that was about to start, cause all these cars start pulling in. The group I was talking to turned from five guys to twelve guys real quick and they are all big guys. It was pretty chill and I started contacting them and they are answering questions and making jokes. One of then tried to bash us and got mad when we answered him. So he told us to leave and one of my homies taps him on the shoulder and tells him to go and start the fire. So he leaves and we are still contacting them and I even invited all of them to be baptized. They were surprised but hey we planted a seed.  

So after that we contacted this referral that ordered a Bible. We gave it to her and she was so happy. Then we explained the Book of Mormon and she was even happier. We shared a quick message and got a return appointment. As we started to leave, her husband came out-completely wasted. He started cussing up a storm and told us to get off his property. I started to talk to him and he's like, "Don't talk to me. Y'all are Mormons and we are Baptists. We don't mix." I was like, "Well they do if you have the right recipe." Probably not the best thing to say to a drunk guy cause he was slurring his words and then he grabbed his wife and took her inside. She came back out and gave us both the Book of Mormon and the Bible back and said she was sorry but it's not worth the fighting. So that was super sad. After that we biked to this part member families house and we taught them and they are super solid, too.

We started off our day by our recent convert dropping off ice cream to us-sweet! We went and tried to contact a referral who wanted a Bible. So we got into the complex and we knocked on the door and....nothing. So we saw this African American guy sitting on his balcony with his shirt off and he was smoking and drinking and wearing a hat backwards. We go and talk to him and he is freaken sweet. We start talking and he's legit. He agrees with everything and even went off on his own topic that was actually doctrinally sound. After we taught him, we asked when we could stop by and talk to him again. He's like, "Well, I have to go pick up my girlfriend from her job. Wanna come with me and then y'all can teach both of us after that?" So we find he doesn't have a car so we walk with him 2 miles to pick up his girl and then we walk back with her and teach them both. They both were really solid and it was so cool. 

Today we moved three people out back to back. We started at 9 and finished all of them at 3:30. We had a late lunch and the we got a new investigator at the laundry place.

Elder Saunders
He didn't send a picture this time-but we were so blessed when Sue's phone went off and a sweet member had sent this to us. 'Eating dinner at the McDuffs. He sure is a sweet guy."  Sept 2016 in Beaumont, TX.