Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up...

Monday, March 21, 2016                                                                 Port Arthur, TX

" Today we had Derrick( a Pentecostal preacher, who loves the missionaries) come out with us and he drove us around all day. Now he didn't shout out false doctrine, he actually gave us a lot of scriptures that helped us a lot in teaching the people. Everything he said he started off with, " Now, here is what their church believes...." but yeah he was cool. He saved us a lot of miles though!

We found out there has been major flooding in Orange, my last area. We started off our day by going to a Red Cross training in Beaumont. Then we went to Lamar University cause they had a shelter there for all the people to go to who had no where else to go cause their homes were destroyed by the flooding. So we helped out there all day serving food, counting inventory, showing people around, moving stuff around. President Drake said that we might even get to go to Orange in a couple of weeks to do service once it dries out. So I am pumped to go to my last area and see what happened to it. 

So we had exchanges yesterday and it was a good day. We rode around in the ghetto and then we went to the sea wall and hung out with the Spanish Elders and taught some people. Then a member from the Spanish branch fed us and the Spanish elders. They fed us this soup. Spanish people when they cook soup they put everything in whole. So he had a whole chicken, whole corn on the cob, whole peppers, and potatoes and rice on the bottom. Then he made some tortillas to put in the soup or dip in the soup or take stuff outta the soup and put in the tortillas. It was so good. After that we biked to the edge of their area just to find out that person was gone! Anyway we looked and found out we biked 27.4 miles that day!

A sad day today. 30 minutes before church, we went to our investigators house to wake him up for church. Right when we knocked on his door, he opened up all dressed so we told him we'd meet him at the church and then we left. So fast forward we were at church and it is 8:50 and church starts at 9:00. So there is no Justin. So we hop back in the car and drive back to his house and we find him standing outside. We talk to him and he said he is waiting for his ride to take him to church. Me and Elder Strong look at each other and we wanted to tell him so bad that we could give him a ride, just this once. His ride came then so we told his ride to follow us. We start driving and they're following us and then we get in the right lane to take a right and when I look back that car gets in the left lane and goes left. So we are confused and Elder Strong is like, "What now?" I was like lets follow them. So I turned around and try to follow them and they go on the freeway and I lose them. We go back to church and we are 25 min late. Both of us are so discouraged because of what happened. Our investigator got kidnapped by his boss. He wasn't answering his phone so we are pretty sure he got anti-mormoned. I have been here long enough to counter anti mormon stuff I'll update y'all next week....
Elder Saunders
Zone Conference March 2016
Sea Wall in Port Arthur, TX built to keep out the tides and waves from coming on land.... March 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Answer To My Prayer

Monday, Mar. 14, 2016 Port Arthur, TX

" So we had P-day and then after that we taught our boy, Leroy, and this guy was associated with a gang. He has a tear drop tattoo and everything. We went and taught him and he told us that every time he talks to us, he feels peace and joy. He told us he was so happy that we stopped by and talked to him because we saved him. During the lesson he was crying and told us how much he appreciates us. After we went and had family home evening with the Tegtmeiers and Bro. Tegtmeier said that he considers us some of his children.

Today we went on exchanges so an Elder from Bridge City came up. I don't really want to get into how today went, mostly cause it was a bad day. It rained all day. I can't really explain how the day went, but let's just say this: There was alcohol, screaming, there was fighting (not us but other people), angry hotel workers, Police, we were questioned by the police, there was a paramedic and a person went to the hospital, kids who were put in child protection custody, a fire truck, jerks on drugs. We got soaked by rain, and we were stuck in the hotel lobby where all this was going on for 3 1/2 hours. So ya, not my favorite day.

At the end of Thursday, we had a lesson with Mohammed. We just went back and forth. See, Mohammed is super smart. Like super super smart . So because of that he asks you really really really good questions. He can also argue your answers really well. So we have this back and forth 'debate' for two hours about Christ being the Son of God and also the Atonement and the need for it. Finally Mohammed says, "Okay, guys, I'll tell you what. Ever since you came over I have tried to find the true faith. So, if you can find one fault in the Quran, just one, I will change to your faith." This took us back and I honestly said to him, " Man are you sure?" He told us he meant it and we agreed and then had to leave.

Today we were visiting this part member family and when we got to the door, we found out that the family moved away. So we start talking to this guy named Jeremy. He says he believes in God but not in churches. We explained to him why there are so many churches. He said, "Wow, that makes so much sense." Then we asked him if we can stop by another day and he says, " Yeah but can you also teach my two kids and wife!?" Those words left me speechless. I was shaking my head up and down like a dog trying to get dry. Like that never happens. As we were biking down the very next street, I see my recent convert from Orange. He was working hard trying to install cable to this house so that was cool. He said that he goes to church every week. He is aiming for the temple and has stopped smoking. It is so cool to see him change and honestly he looked and sounded a lot better from the first time I met him. That was for sure a testimony builder. 

Today was a cool day. It started off by visiting the Tegtmeiers. We were talking to them and then Bro. Tegtmeier tells us how he woke up at 12 last night and how he couldn't go back to bed. He said he felt a strong impression to pray, so he prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. Then he said with tears in his eyes, " I got an answer. I now know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a Prophet." It was amazing. He was praying for awhile but that proves that God answers prayers. But that brought up the issue of can he get baptized. We're not sure, but at the very least, we've done as much as we can do. He has accepted the gospel in this life and will be able to be baptized in the next life. 

We then visited this guy from the Caribbean and we showed him the Book of Mormon. He couldn't read that well so he didn't like it. We told him about General Conference and he was super excited and gave us his phone number to remind him so he can attend. "

Elder Saunders
A church on every corner... Port Arthur, TX

My new cowboy hat and yummy juice! Mar 2016
We are still here....Reminds me of Easter coming and Jesus' final days Mar 2016

My new haircut by my Polynesian Missionary friend.  He gave me a part on the side of my head, ha ha. It's all good. Port Arthur TX  Mar 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Prayers Aren't Always Answered When We Expect Them to...But They Are Answered!

Monday, Mar 7, 2016  Port Arthur, Texas

"So today was transfer day and we started it out by eating breakfast at a members home. It is so cool. This member will not cook the same thing twice for us. Every time we go over he experiments and makes up new kinds of food. We have eggs with a unique seasoning and we also had pancakes with a little bit of pumpkin seasoning and we have had cranberries and choc. chips in the pancake mix. Like it wasn't bad, it just wasn't the greatest thing to be honest, ha ha. He has one rule and it is if you don't like it , don't eat it. As simple as that. So my companion packed some more and then our district went to Buffalo Wild Wings(so good-it has been a long long time since I have been there). Then we went to transfer meeting and I found out my new companion is Elder Strong. He was my zone leader in Orange and he only has two transfers left. So if I stay with him for another transfer, I will be here for 6 months.

We had another lesson with Bro. Tegtmeier today. We start off by asking him if he prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He answered yes. So, I'm like, sweet! What did you get from it? He answers, nothing. We tell him that it is important to keep praying cause sometimes God wants us to work for it. At that moment a thought came to my head and I smiled. I said, " Brother Tegtmeier, I have a story for you." I told him a story about how I prayed to know if I should go on a mission and every time I prayed, all I got was peace. I didn't get an answer. This happened for about 3 weeks of me constantly praying and receiving nothing. Up until it was the day before my farewell and I kept praying but still got nothing. I was freaking out and then at the last possible moment, my prayer was answered. I said, "So, Bro. Tegtmeier, I know exactly how you feel. You wanted an answer and you didn't get it. I also know how it feels to constantly struggle to find that answer and still not get it and I know how it feels to receive that answer after I had gone through all of that. That is why we want you to keep praying about it cause prayers aren't always answered when we expect them to be. Sometimes God wants to see how much we really want it before you get the answer you're looking for." Then I looked at him and he said, "I guess I could try some more." Then we talked about faith and prayer. We went to lunch at Jasons Deli, which actually is a super good place. Like who knew, right?

Today we were trying to get formers and found out that one of them got baptized in Austin. That was new, I've never had that happen. Then we stopped by this one formers house and we met his friend and actually taught him and he was pretty solid (He ended up dropping us after a couple of days cause he got anti-mormoned pretty hard by his friend) For lunch we found this BBQ place. We go in and they had this deal where you get a salad, baked potato loaded with cheese, sour cream, peppers, ground meats, and then they poured BBQ sauce on it. After that they gave us a hamburger steak and jalapeno bread- all for $8! It was the most Texan meal you could get. I was fixin to take a pic of it but my i pad died, so ya.

We had another lesson with Bro. Tegtmeier. I didn't think he got that much out of it, but when we finished, he thanked us for coming by. He told us that he knows we are dedicated to what we teach and because of that he is warming up to the idea of spending eternity with his wife, not just until death. So that was cool. 

After that we went with some members to a Mexican restaurant. They have the cutest kid I have ever seen. She's about 4 and she loves the missionaries. Like she sat in the middle of both of us and she just talked constantly and then would randomly give me a hug and then give my companion a hug. She talked some more and then grabbed her fake camera and "took" pictures of us. She was super cute. 

Then we went to visit another former member and he lives in a really, really, really nice neighborhood. Like these houses are mansions. Even the streets sound rich, ha ha. Like King Arthur Drive, Nottingham Drive, Yorkshire Lane and Round Tower Lane. His name is Bob and we knocked on his door and he answered and was super friendly. He invited us in and give us drinks and said his wife wasn't home. Then he told us how he found the missionaries and they gave him a Book of Mormon and he started to read it and couldn't stop. He finished it in a week! Then he told us about how he wanted to be baptized! His wife is a Southern Baptist and hated the fact that he wanted to be a Mormon. She told him that if he joins the church she will leave him. Then Bob looks at us and says maybe in the future, but I can't choose between this or my wife. Honestly, it was sad cause I knew what he was missing out on. I also thought how hard it would be to choose that. I told him to invite us to do service and his wife may change and he said, maybe. Then his wife came home. Let me tell you that the look on her face was priceless when she saw us in her home, talking to her husband. She was pretty nice and she made sure to tell us that she was a baptist. We have been out here long enough to know what us and the baptists agree on. So we start talking about Christ and stuff like that. She warms up to us and then Bob gives us this really expensive Italian soda and the flavor is Blood Orange. (it was so good). It was getting late so we told them we had to go. The wife gives us a giant container of cashews and Bob gives us more of the soda for the road. They told us to come by whenever we want or if we needed anything or if we just wanted to talk. Its weird, when we left I was talking to my companion and we both agreed that he will get baptized eventually in this life, it might take a few years, but I know he will. 

Today was like a super good day. Me and my companion walked around an apartment complex trying to find our investigators apartment. We ended up teaching 3 people before we reached his apartment and then we taught him. We then went to Port Arthur to find a referral and he wasn't home. His neighbor had tear drop tattoos and other tattoos and even some gang tattoos. Anyway, he told us he's done things but wants to change his life. So we taught him. Then we were able to teach a couple more people. Like it was going great! It was a day where we didn't get bashed at every other door and it was great! 

So we finally taught this investigator named Joann who we were trying to teach for like a week and we brought a member with us. We taught Joann and it was a good lesson. We invited her to church and Joanne said that she didn't know. She said she had to watch these kids for her church. Suddenly, Sis Borton (our member) says, "Well, hey, I can pick you up and drive you to church and you can stay for half of sacrament meeting then I will drive you to your church. And Joanne said, "No, I can't have you miss the Sacrament. " Sister Borton was like, " No, I'd rather pick you up so you can experience it." Then something clicked with Joanne. I think by Sister Borton's example, she was able to see how important the sacrament is to us. So she said she could drive to Sacrament but she might have to leave early. So we started the lesson by Joanne telling us there is no way she could come to church and it ended by Joann saying okay I'll see y'all tomorrow at church. It starts at nine, right? So that was a pretty cool experience.
Elder Saunders
Our newest fan! She loves the missionaries- 4 year old member with Elder Saunders and Elder Strong Port Arthur, TX Mar 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I'm still here....In Port Arthur!

Monday, February 29, 2016 -- Port Arthur, TX

"My companion is being transferred and the next transfer will be in 7 weeks. 

On Monday we went bowling which was super fun. Elder Tukuafu taught me how to spin the bowling ball, cause he is a master bowler. After that our zone with the zone leaders came down and we played chair soccer. At the end of p-day we went to see the older couple in the rest home and did a family home evening. We watched a movie made by the church in like the 70's called, "Forever Together". It was cool and at the end Sister Tegtmeier started singing along with the song and when it ended both Brother and Sister Tegtmeier started crying. It was a really sweet moment. Sister Tegtmeier asked me if I had a girl back at home and I told her no and she coached me to say the least. We brought Oreo's cause family home evenings suck without treats.

Today we watched Joseph Smith the Prophet of the Restoration with Bro. and Sister Tegtmeier. Man let me tell you there was a struggle cause there is two versions of the restoration. One that is 30 minutes and one that is 1 hour. They don't give out the hour one, however it is on So we downloaded it on a disc and took it over. Well, Sis. Tegtmeier's dvd player couldn't play it, so I got my flash drive and downloaded it on the flash drive and plugged it into their television but the television could only view photos on it. We eventually got her laptop out and all four of us watched it on that. 

We also visited this one lady who has had cancer four times. She can't come to church because she can't be around kids, but she is super funny. She told us that when she got cancer the fourth time a person asked her if she was scared to get it again. She replied, "Are you kidding? You can't scare me with Heaven!"

So today was the temple trip for us and we planned with the member driving us to leave at 9:30 for the 12:00 session. We started the day by doing a early study with the Spanish elders. At about 9:45, we got a call and he said that he just got out of the dentist. Yikes! So we arrived and missed our session but the President said we could go to the 1:00 one. Honestly, it was meant for us to be at that session. I can't tell you really what went on through email, but talk to me after my mission and I'll tell you what happened. So after that, the member who drove us took pics of us on his camera and is going to send them to our parents. The we went to Cici's pizza and had a competition to see who could eat the most slices of Pizza. I took 3rd place outta 12 people with 15 slices. Elder Tukuafu won with 18 slices. During the 2 hour drive back, I fell asleep on Elder Ludlow and Bigler. We finally got home at 7:30 p.m. and went to visit members.

We visited Brother Livingston. We walk in and he gets a phone call and says, "Oh, I gotta take this" and leaves. He comes back and tells us that it was his 'homie' from back in the day. I'm like, " Cool, where does he live?" Bro. Livingston says he's in Kansas City and he plays for the Chiefs. (now Port Arthur is actually 1st place in players who go professional, so in my mind I am thinking of 8 players who came from there and one of which is on the Chiefs named Jamal Charles!) So I'm like, " Is it Jamal Charles?" He was so surprised and said, "Yeah!" Then he goes on to tell us the story of how they met in 6th grade and have been friends ever since. They call each other about four times a week just to talk. He told us that Jamal Charles comes down every now and then to meet with him. So we are trying very hard to get a chance to meet with Jamal Charles. Especially cause he is coming down here in about a month. So we got a month to get things going, ha ha.

We gave our investigator, Mohammed, a church tour today. He was amazed by how beautiful it was. It was cool cause when we brought him into the chapel, he saw a couple of hymn books on the ground. He's like, " Oh, someone must have accidentally put these on the ground." He then went over and picked them up and put them on the bench. Also when we were showing him the sacrament, I put my Book of Mormon on the ground to show him the sacrament trays and he came over and picked up my Book of Mormon and holds it in his hands until I am done and then handed it back. Like it hit me that this guy that doesn't even know if it's a true book or not, realizes the importance of what it means to us so he will respects it and will not let it touch the ground. Like our investigator who is Muslim does a better job then I do at that! 

Transfers came in and my companion is leaving to become a zoneleader. It wouldn't have killed me to stay another 7 weeks. He was growing on me very very slowly but still growing. 

So today our investigator, Mohammed came to church. He actually liked it. He said he will probably come back again. It was funny. He sat by Sister Tegtmeier and she was telling him after Sacrament how he should get baptized. It was so funny. We visited a ton of families that Elder Ericson wanted to see and take pics with. 
Elder Saunders
Our Zone in Beaumont, TX 2016

My companion Elder Ericson and I at the Houston Temple Feb. 2016

My District Elders at the Houston Temple Feb 2016

The group we ended up going on a session with-Houston TX temple Feb 2016

I love to see the temple.  Feb 2016 in Houston, TX

It was a great day at the temple. Houston. TX 2016

Houston Texas Temple Trip with some fine looking Elders-Feb 2016

The group the Elders ended up going on a session with-Houston, TX  LDS temple February 2016

Elder Ericson, our investigator, Mohammed and Elder Saunders

Bro. Tegtmeier, Elder Ericson, Elder Saunders, Sister Tegtmeier Port Arthur, TX Feb 2016
Hey! There is a Buffalo Wild Wings in Port Arthur! The Elders in the Zone. Feb 2016