Saturday, June 25, 2016

Weekly....Featuring The Three Nephites....

Monday, Jun 20, 2016                                                                   Kingwood, TX

"This week starts off a little different. There is a cool story that happened to me and some parallels that I found-then I'll get into my usual writing style.

We had exchanges and things were going good up until I got a flat tire. So we ride to a place that we could pull over and try and fix it. We finally patch the hole and pump it up and there are two holes! We only had one patch so we're like okay this sucks. Just then a guy pulls up in his truck and he says he's a member in Spring, which is a town close to Kingwood. He told us that his route rarely comes over there. We talk and he goes on his phone and he finds a bike shop that is four miles away. He told us he would go buy a tube and then come back. We thank him and he leaves. 

So we're sitting there waiting for him and then suddenly Brother Smith calls us and says, "Hey, Elders, I'm going to a bike shop to get a new tire. Do y'all need anything?" We laugh and tell him that I got a flat tire but that another person is taking care of that. So he tells us to call him if we need any more help. 

We are still waiting and another guy pulls up and he's like, "Man it is hot today." And we're like yeah it is hot. He then said, " Why did God let you have a flat tire? If you are doing his work, why wouldn't he protect you?" His question really surprised me but then I started to smile. Honestly after getting a flat tire, and having all these people stop by, I felt Gods love more. So I said, " Well, maybe it's because we're supposed to talk to someone here, or maybe he wanted to send people to us to show us that we have to be patient and he'll take care of us." The guy was silent and then said, " So am I the one you're supposed talk to? And we smiled and said, maybe you are. So he was like, " Well, I don't have anything to give you but y'all stay safe and then he drove off. 

After that the member from Spring came back and I was going to pay him back for the tube, and he told me $5 isn't worth it so just keep your money. He starts talking about his mission and how he got 8 flat tires in one week and he continues to tell us more stories. Then he checks his clock and sees that he's late so we say bye to him and he leaves. 

So we are trying to pump up the tire and a lady pulls over and asks us if we want water, so we say yes! Cause we're super thirsty. We thank her and she drives off. We're there for about another 15 min trying to pump up the tire. We realize that Elder Biglers pump is broken, which was weird cause it worked in the morning.. So we can't pump up the tire. We call the member that called us earlier and ask him if he could come and get us and he says, yes. We didn't want to sit there forever so we decide to lock up our bikes to a pole and start tracking....

As we're trying to put my deflated tire back on the bike so we could walk it over to the pole, suddenly a truck comes outta nowhere. Three Spanish guys hop out and start walking toward us. We turn around and they don't speak English but one of the guys says, "Inflate?".  I'm like, "Yeah, my tire is flat and our pump doesn't work. The guys go into the truck and then pull out this compressed air can. So he comes over to my tire and puts it on and within seconds it's full. So Elder Bigler made a joke and was like, "Man, we should carry those around with us. So the guy goes, "It's yours" and hands it to me. I thanked him and all three of them got back in the truck and drove away. Me and Elder Bigler are just amazed at what just happened and Elder Biglers like, " Man, we just got visited by the Three Nephites!

The moral of that story is that God looks out for his children and will send people to them. However, Satan also can inspire people for bad. I think the guy who pulled over, who asked why did God do that to you?, either knowingly or unknowingly tried to tempt us to be angry at God and make us wonder, yeah why would he do that to us. 

In the midst of so much good there is always evil that arises. In Matthew 4, right after Christ was on a spiritual high and fasted for 40 days, the devil came unto him and tempted him saying, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." It's like Newtons law, for every action, there is an equal or opposite reaction. For everything you do there is a good choice you can make and a bad choice you can make. Both sides are having a war over us but in the end it's up to us to choose what team we are going to play on.

After that we exchanged back and I came back to my area and we ate at our investigators house. It's super weird-the mom is not a member, but she has been investigating the church for years and comes to church every single week. Sometimes she helps teach gospel doctrine but she isn't baptized cause she wants to be baptized with her family. So we were talking with her and we got to talking about family history and she told us how she has gone back to the 800's in her and her husbands line. No one has done even one temple work for all of those many many people. We talked to her husband and he wasn't really sure about it. He's on the fence whether or not he should get baptized. We talked to him about a lot of things and I told him if he got the Priesthood, he would be able to baptize his kids. After I said that his face lit up, so I think we struck a cord with him. 

We had a lot of investigators come to church today. After church we got in with this part member family and they were super solid. We taught them and her husband was almost about to cry during the lesson. But yeah it was a super good lesson and then they fed us super rich cheesecake. The husband and his boy talked a lot about star wars but all was good. 
Elder Saunders
Reading the scriptures is the 'Right Way"  as on the sign. Kingwood, TX 2016

Choose the right way and be happy.  Kingwood, TX Jun 2016

The above signs are located in an area just outside Kingwood. The story goes that the man choosing the sign names thought it would be funny to have all these different signs and it was supposed to be approved and never was but the order went through anyway.  June 2016

Fathers Day Card that Elder Saunders made his dad. Our hearts are full.  June 2016  Kingwood, TX

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Called to Serve....

Monday, June 13, 2016                                                             Kingwood, TX

" So this week was filled with a bunch of service. We had our third 20+ hours of service for three weeks straight.

We had family home evening at the Bishop's home which was sweet cause his house is huge!! It has built in speakers all throughout his home. We invited one of our investigators and their family. They came over and we watched, "Finding Faith in Christ". It is like a super old movie, but still decently good. 

After that we came home and I found my helmet sitting by our door. Now the story to that was I lost it in a members car like 4 weeks ago. The member asked if we needed a ride to someplace. We threw our bikes in his truck and we started off. Well, I forgot my helmet in his car and the member was a member in Atascocita and I didn't get his name. So my helmet was gone and I didn't put this in my weekly for so long cause I didn't want my mom to flip out at me for riding without a helmet....But it is back now!!(***note from mom-I did flip out because I have seen videos where they ride right along side the cars.... Hence why we pray for our missionaries safety. He must have one tired guardian angel to go for four weeks without a helmet ***)

Today we spent the whole day in service clothes asking people if they needed service. We got a couple of people tell us that they would call us in a few days. There was this one lady when we were biking through these condos that was outside and we asked them if they needed help. She told us, yes. We got off our bikes and helped her remove dry wall and stuff like that.

After I planned on our Thursday planning day, ( notice I said, 'I planned-no interest from my comp :(    we went and gave service to that one lady from yesterday. So we went in and she told us to break up the tile. I had a sledge hammer and I broke up those tiles, and man it was hot today. Sweat was literally pouring off of me. So while I was doing it one of her neighbors came down and told me I was being too loud. He just stood there and stared at me. I was slightly annoyed but kindly said, 'Well sir, we're going as fast as we can. We're sorry but this tile needs to come out and it would be a lot faster if you went back in your house cause when I hit these tiles it flies everywhere. I don't want to hit you." He then told me he was fine and stayed there. So I finish the tile finally and he goes back to his house. So after that we help the lady take out more sheetrock. 

It was a rough day, today! It was super hot and all three of our set appointments cancelled on us. We ended up biking from place to place trying to teach people. No one was home. We were both soaked from sweat and we finally got in to this former investigator and he is super cool and said he would be interested. We found out after that our dinner cancelled on us, so we called another member. It just so happens that his wife and kids were outta town. He told us to come over and then he got us some pizza and we kept each other company. We got him to order us some Z sticks or devil sticks. When I get them in a week, I will send y'all a pic of them.

We woke up and a member picked us up at 7:15 and we went to cut up a tree at this non members house. After that we rode down to this restaurant. The member we were with is on this Rugby team, so the team went down to one of the Restaurants that is sponsoring them and helped them clean out their flood damage. It was so great. The people were super funny. There was good ole country music playing in the background. They brought doughnuts-it was perfect except for the fact that I stepped in a giant hole that was filled with sand and water. It was super humid but you can't win em all. It was funny though because one of the members on the team was asking us a bunch of questions like, did we do sports and what we liked to do and if we could play sports on a mission. We told him we could play sports and he said, 'Sweet! What are y'all doing on Thursday?'  I asked him what Thursday was and he said it was Rugby practice. 'How bout y'all join the team?". I wanted to say yes so bad , cause that would be legit! I explained that we couldn't. 

We then helped another guy who called us to help with flood cleanup. We arrive and the guy comes out with this back brace and he told us he hurt his back so he couldn't work. We told him that we were here to help. He told us he needed the bottom part of his house washed off.(now his house is on stilts, so underneath his house is his workshop). Since it flooded, he needed help washing off all the mud off of everything. We asked him what we could wash it off with and he shows this fire hose! He told us to attach it to this water pump that he has connected to the lake he's by. We turn it on and oh man that hose was powerful! We eventually washed every thing off with that fire hose cause that's how they do it in Texas!!

Found this sign in a flooded area and thought it was cool. I guess when homes get flooded , looters come in and start taking stuff cause no one is home. 

These are Z sticks or devil sticks. They are basically ancient
form of juggling sticks with origins in Asia, West Africa, and
Central America Indians.
Elder Saunders
No looters sign. Was our elder mistaken for a looter?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Come Ye Children of the Lord....and they did Come.... to Sacrament Meeting! ...

Mon. June 6, 2016                                                                                    Kingwood, TX

"So first off I would like to say that it has rained everyday this week. I'm so so so sick of the rain. But hey, our area made the news! (I will include the pic.). 

It was transfer day today. Neither of us are getting transferred. However, it is p day for both of us, so we took advantage of it and went to the church for P-day. We arrive at like 1:00 and we are playing soccer for awhile and then missionaries started to arrive for transfers at 4:00. I walked out to the foyer in my basketball shorts-my Nike elites, and my short sleeve shirt. We started to talk to all the missionaries. So I'm talking to a lot of em and then President Drake comes in and is shaking the hands with all the missionaries. He gets to me and looks super confused and says, "Elder Saunders, you look really.....comfortable!" And I'm like, " President, I feel great!" He smiles and tells us to just make sure we are dressed for transfers. He starts to walk away and then turns around and said, "Wait, You aren't getting transferred. " I explained that we were there for P-day and he understood. 

We talked for a bit and we decided to go into transfer meeting and sit in the corner. President starts to call out the companionship's and he gets toward the end and finally calls out the last companionship. He then asked if everyone got a companion besides Elder Saunders and um...Elder Moos. Then we left. President came back up to us and started to talk and we thought he would be mad, but he was chill and asked us what we thought about the companionship's. Yeah that was it...

Today is Wednesday and we are coming from the library because we did our time. We're riding over this bridge and then suddenly my bike started shaking super bad and it gets hard to pedal. I stop and yep I got another flat tire. The thing is Elder Moos didn't see me stop so he just keeps on cruising. Eventually he notices and comes back so we're beginning our 2 mile trip back to our apartment-walking on foot and holding our bikes and then it begins to rain. A guy stops us and asks if we need a ride and I'm like, Heck, yeah! So he gives us a ride and that was amazing! Cause that would've sucked to walk all that way.

Since our area was so flooded, we decided to go and bike down to the flooded parts in our street clothes and offer service. Many people were cleaning out their houses and we ask to help them and all of them say no :( We kept trying a few more houses and a couple of people tell us to come back next week when everything dries up. After that we helped this member of our church, a sweet old lady, pack some things so we could put up Sheetrock. After we helped her we helped a less active member move some stuff outta his house and man it was the best thing ever-he had country music blasting and he is a super funny guy. We had a grand ole time and he was telling us, " Actually guys, this was kinda a blessing. My ex wife painted the walls that color and now I get to literally tear them down. Plus, I get updated stuff now that the old stuff got ruined." After we helped him, he took us to dinner at this BBQ place. It was so good.   

Today we had a lesson with this person named Michelle. She is the one I talked about a few weeks ago, with the giant mansion house. We had a set appointment so we biked over. It rained super bad earlier that day so all the green belts were muddy and flooded. We get to her house and my pants are pretty muddy and soaked but she invited us in anyway. We walk in and her house is massive like everything is so big and expensive. We asked her if she had some old towels cause our pants were muddy and her couch expensive. We sit down and she has just a few questions. Honestly she expressed to us that if she found the true church she would take her whole family! So we talked with her and she liked us and wanted us to come back. She checked her schedule( like she is way busy-she literally squeezed us in today from 2:25 to 3:45 -like, who schedules people in without rounding it up?, but she works full time in downtown Houston making mega bucks ;)  She had to go so she asked us if she could take us home cause it had just started to rain. She told us her son was coming with her so we said yes. We go to her driveway and we see five brand new F-150 trucks-all King Ranches (which is an expensive leather). We saw two jeeps and a couple of other cars. So she takes this really expensive truck and drives us home. It was so nice. We are fixin to baptize her and her family!

So we start out at 9:00 today to go muck out a members house. We arrive and start on dry wall, the door frames , nails, etc. We worked until 1:00 and we are done with his house for now. We go to anther house and do the exact same thing. A member stopped and got us Wendy's and I got a large Dr. Pepper. We finally finish both houses and it is about 5:00. When we got back a member ordered pizza for us. We take a shower and eat. It starts to rain and I'm ready to go out and work. My companion says he has a hurt toe from when he kicked the dry wall and he thinks his nail came up. He doesn't want to go out and make it worse. It is super hard for me to have to stay in the apartment but it is what it is.

On Sunday we went to church and our mission President came in and is talking to me and my companion. He is super impressed cause we're killing it in Kingwood, like the ward has never seen so many baptisms since we came in. After that he sits down and we sit down and then we just start seeing our investigators come in right and left. 1 then 2 come in. Then we see a part member family come in and then another investigator and she brought her family. These two kids show up and neither of us know them(we later found out that both are non members, but their parents are members but didn't come with the kids. So honestly we were freaked out all through Sacrament cause we have 6 investigators at church. At this point it feels like Christmas cause of all the people that showed up. As I am looking around, I catch President Drakes eye and he gives me a big thumbs up. Honestly we didn't do anything, they just came. So yeah we looked a lot better than we actually were today!
Elder Saunders
We made the front page! Elder Saunders mission area in Kingwood, Tx in the news. This picture is around the corner from their apartment. June 2016  ( **note from Mom and Dad-this is not Elder Saunders in the canoe.., a random kid)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

We Looked Out Our Window And What Did We See....

Monday, May 30,                                                                                 Kingwood, TX

" On Monday we taught Michaela ( pictures of her baptism, below) and she again was super solid except this time she was pumped to be baptized. We talked with her and I asked Michaela what changed, "Last week we gave you a date and your eyes went big and the first words you said were, "Well the dates not final, right?" She laughed and then she was like well I was super nervous and so I talked to my mom and she comforted me and so I'm ready to be baptized. So we're pumped and the Bishop was there and he shared a couple of stories about Baptism but it all went good.

We got in touch with Ashley, finally! She just said that she was stressed out so she didn't answer us. We talked to her and she was still sick so she couldn't meet with us, but she called her friend and he was actually pretty interested so we taught him. He is having throat surgery so we can't meet with him for a couple of weeks.

Today we stopped by and finally taught Ashley. She invited us in and her boyfriend was there and it was kinda awkward but we got through it. We then visited an inactive members house and he said he would have a big Texas BBQ and invite us over so we could try it. 

The first half of our day was trying to figure out how to help Ashley because lets just say stuff went down and she has 60 days to move outta her apartment. So we tried to figure that out but she didn't feel like talking. We rode around and got some sweet new investigators and I popped my tire. We walked back to the apartment and I fixed my tire, took a shower and got ready for the baptism. We got a call to go and give a blessing. We got a member to pick us up so we got dressed in our suits so we could go to the baptism after the blessing. The member pulls up in a jeep with no doors and the top is off. So here we are, two missionaries, driving through Kingwood in a jeep wearing suits and it's like 85 degrees out. After the blessing we go to the church and fill up the font. Michaela got baptized! Transfer calls came in and both of us are staying, actually everyone is staying except the district leader.

We woke up at 6:00 am to a member calling us to ask if we were okay. We were confused and said yes, why? He told us that there was major flooding so we looked outside and there was some water. We then walked outside and found out that half of our apartment complex is under water! We got showered and everything and then the Assistants to the President took us to church cause the highway was closed so they couldn't make it to theirs. When we got back from church, we decided that we would go down to the flooded area to see how much of our area was flooded. We began our journey and a lot of times we had to hop off our bikes cause the water was over the path (over as in 5 feet over) so we walked in the street and found out that literally half of our area is inaccessible. Four of our members got 5+ feet of water in their house. So yeah it is a pretty big deal. We were told so many times that it was the worst flood they have ever experienced. 
Elder Saunders
Mail delivery by canoe? Elder Saunders said that Bishoprics were delivering food by canoe to families that were hit hard by flooding on Sunday.  Kingwood, TX 2016

High tide in Kingwood-no work today :) May 2016 in Kingwood, TX

Elder Saunders by the main road to their area , which is now under water -May 2016 in Kingwood, TX

Another view of our parking lot on the other side. Kingwood, TX May 2016

We need to switch to canoes. We are up a creek without a paddle. Kingwood, TX May 2016

Main road to our area under water May 2016 Kingwood, TX

Elder Saunders, Michaela, Elder Moos -Michaela's Baptism-May 2016 in Kingwood, TX

Michaela's Baptism in Kingwood, TX May 2016