Sunday, February 7, 2016

Chance of a Lifetime: To shake the Hand of a Man of God

Monday, Feb 1, 2016

"So it was a good week and it is kinda long, so if you wanna skip some of it, at least read the Russell M Nelson quotes. But if you wanna be cool, read all of it.

We did our usual p-day stuff and then we went to see this girl who we contacted earlier in the week. So we knock and this middle eastern guy answers. We see very quickly that the girl we talked to gave us a false address, but we just start talking to him. He is very interested to hear about our faith. He is Muslim and so he explains his faith and we explain ours. We talk about the Book of Mormon and he is like, "Does it come in Arabic?" We said ya and he searches one up online and says, " Oh, it's only $3.00. I'll just buy a couple. We told him he could get one for free and he's like, " You can? That would be awesome." But yeah he's super cool and he loves us and wants us to come back to see him whenever we have time. Then after that I went on exchanges with Elder Hepworth. He is a Spanish Elder. We get to the apartment and he starts playing Spanish music and sings it in English so I can understand. It was the funniest thing.

So I'm on exchanges and we head out and we go to find this one former investigator. We bike for an hour. Then we found out that she moved, so we biked back an hour in the rain. The went to teach a lesson, by teach I mean Elder Hepworth talks to the Spanish lady and the lady looks at me and says something in Spanish. I answer in Spanish that I speak little Spanish. So Elder Hepworth teaches the whole lesson while I look at them and smile. I say the occasional 'si'. We taught three people and had some dinner with Spanish members and it was so so good. I would write it but I don't know how to spell it, I can only say it. Honestly, the only time we talked was when it was just me and Elder Hepworth. It was a good day and I guess he got 4 people to commit to baptism. I didn't know cause he spoke in Spanish but he told me after each lesson what they said and what happened. Then we biked to the church and played basketball and then exchanged back. I did the math and we rode a little under 25 miles today.

So we helped out this soup kitchen and then went to Port Neches and saw some potentials. One of them a guy answers and lets us in and is super nice. Then he hits us with all this anti-mormon stuff, like he has been researching stuff to use against us. He brought up scientific research and said that science has proven the Book of Mormon wrong many times. I asked him how so? And he told us they did DNA research and there are no Indians that are from Jerusalem and I'm told him that at the time there was no proof but then a guy did some more research and found out there is this one tribe from the Great Lakes region and they found out they are actually from Jerusalem. He was stunned and mentioned other things but we shut him down quick. He tried to tell us how Joseph Smith was going to ---- and stuff like that and how we should not follow him and pray to know the Book of Mormon isn't true. We left eventually and went to see this other potential and she invited us in and said she loves to talk to the missionaries. 

We then went to to this recently baptized person house cause she needed to sign something on the baptismal form. We go over and she's like, "I'm glad y'all came. My son is really sick. Can y'all give him a blessing?" So we gave him a blessing and afterward she said, "Did y'all eat?" We said no, so she fed us 'craw fish etouffee' -craw fish over rice. Then she gave us German Chocolate cake. It was so good. I think when we don't have a dinner, God puts us in the right path, cause out of 6 days without a set dinner, I've had only one of those days where we had to feed ourselves.

We went to see this investigator. We go to his door and ring this door bell thing and then we start to hear this voice and he's like, "Sorry guys, I'm not home. I am at work." I guess he gets updates on his phone if someone rings his doorbell. There is a camera on it so he can see and talk to people on his doorstep. So that was pretty cool.

Then we went and knocked on this one door and this woman answered and she was pretty nice, but then her husband came out and told her to go inside. Her husband told us that he studies the Bible everyday and he can argue any point that we bring up. Then he starts talking about Noah and creationism and Cain and Abel. He kept asking us questions and when we couldn't figure out what he wanted he mocked us and asked us why we weren't teaching him about the Bible. We told him we were there to talk about Christ. He just kept bashing us and after awhile he's going off on some tangent. I just start to daydream about an actual solid investigator who wants to find the true church cause he is confused and we teach him and he gets baptized in three weeks. We finally had to leave him in his ultimate confusion.

Well, fast forward a couple of hours and we are teaching a person for real and it's a super good lesson. The guy is super funny and he is cracking jokes and asking questions. At the end of our lesson we asked him what he would think if he found that our church was the one true church? He got super quiet and then he finally says, "Y'all might think I'm crazy, but I would feel peace. I have done a lot of soul searching and if I could find the true church that was the one Christ established, then I would be so happy." By this point I'm ready to jump up and down screaming that we found a Golden Investigator!! So we invite him to be baptized and he said, yes. We continue talking to him and he says, " Yeah, my girlfriend should be home anytime. I wonder what is taking her so long? We are like, "Girlfriend?" So he told us there is a lot of tension with that one. What we got from him is that she's lives with him and he wants to marry her but she is not ready for it. Then my face drops cause now we have a solid investigator with a huge problem on his hands and now he can't get baptized....So yeah.... I got my companion (who was on a no fast food diet) to eat fast food and it was so good, cause I haven't had it in forever.

Today we taught and helped a person move and other things, but it was pretty average. The only thing special was we ate at a members house. He cooked fried deer. So that was amazing and yeah that's about it.

Today we woke up at 4:05 am and picked up the squad and headed to the doughnut shop. We bought Kolaches( large spiced sausage or brisket with egg mixture in Kolache bread and a bunch of doughnuts.  Like this place is in the absolute ghetto but we can get really cheap doughnuts.$6 for a dozen of mixed. Then we head out to Houston cause we gotta see the second string prophet, Elder Nelson. When we  got there we were super early so we talked with some missionaries from other missions and stuff like that. The meeting finally started and President Nelson came out and shook all of our hands. I'll be honest, I was so nervous. Like what if it was a bad handshake and I have to live my life knowing it. It was so strange, like the closer I got, the bigger my smile got. I tried not to look like a goon, but honestly I could not stop smiling so when I shook his hand with a great big smile(it was a great handshake) and he said 'Good Morning" the spirit was strong.  The meeting started and honestly President Russell M Nelson is super funny and he was cracking jokes. He is 92 and is in better shape then most 70 year olds-He raced up the stairs, jumped up and down in his seat, I mean he is in better shape than me. So I wrote 2 1/2 pages of notes but I'll just put some of my favorite quotes that I wrote down.
President Russell M Nelson:
---"If we keep doing what we've done, we will never be better than we have ever been."
---"You are the ones who will be the link that connects them to the other side of the veil(ancestors)"
---"Heavenly Father doesn't care how many are in his church. Whether it is one million or one-hundred million, what he wants is for them to be worthy enough to live with him again."
---"In the scriptures it says 'angels will guide them to the knowledge', Well, you are the angels and you will be guided on who to teach and what to teach about."
---"Others on the other side of the veil are guiding you to find their descendants so they can do family history for them."
---"You can strengthen your family more being on a mission then you could at the dinner table.
---"Don't spend one minute today worrying about the past"
---"We were a minority in Christ's day and we're a minority now."
---"You have been reserved for the gathering in the last days, it's like when a coach puts in a team late in the game and says, okay, we are down 1,380,000,000 to 6 but we have a plan, and don't worry cause we're going to win." 
---"The Lord likes the unlikely to accomplish the impossible."
---"Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon in less than 3 months while 116 pages were lost, having to translate an ancient unknown language, having to move from place to place, being harassed by mobs. ....The miracle of the Book of Mormon is something to never take lightly." 

After the conference we got stuck in traffic for an hour. Then we accidentally went through downtown which was actually a good experience cause we were able to eat at 5 guys. I went big and spent a ton of cash, but it was so good, so so good. We had a long car ride back and then we saw some people. A great day.

We visited a lot of part member families, today. A lot of them had moved away or weren't interested. We taught Mohammed again today and when we walked in he said since we were going to get him a Book of Mormon in Arabic, he would give us a Quran(Koran in Arabic) in English. He grabbed two of them and gave it to us. So yeah now we have a Quran and a study guide to go with it. The price was on the back of it, he paid $25 each, so he spent $50 on us. We talked about Dubai. I guess they are so rich that their police have Bugatti's. They are also building an underwater city. Mohammed is super cool and it will be interesting to teach him cause they believe Mohammed is a prophet. We believe he was just a good man. 
Elder Saunders
Driving into Houston at 4:30 am to see President Nelson speak.  We are 6 hours away from Houston. Jan 30, 2016 in Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas near where President Nelson is speaking. Jan 30, 2016

Leaving Houston, Texas-Only 6 hours to go....until we are back in Port Arthur. Jan 30, 2016

President Russell M Nelson waving goodbye to 700 missionaries in Houston, Texas. Jan 30, 2016 Chance of a Lifetime!

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