Saturday, July 30, 2016

Help Me Teach With Inspiration.....

Monday, July 25, 2016                                                          Kingwood, TX

" Today we finally got in to see Michelle. We had another great lesson and we committed her to come to church and she agreed. We were so excited. Then she told us that she is going on vacation for 3 weeks and she leaves in a couple of days. So that is sad cause depending on when I get transferred, I might not be able to see her baptism. But yeah, she is getting closer to baptism.

So at the end of the day we stopped by this Honduran less active member's house. She invited us in and asked us if we wanted to eat cause she just made dinner. Both of us said, no its okay, we just ate. She looks at us and says, "No one in my house has ever rejected food and no one will." So we sat at her table with her family and she gave us probably one of the best salmon I have ever tasted and all these other foods. It was so great.

We stopped by this part member family. She is a member but her husband isn't. We are good friends with them. We talked to her and her eight year old daughter, who is not baptized. The eight year old was talking about how she wants to be sealed to her parents. Her daughter speaks up and says, " Mommy, what does sealed mean?" So her mom explains it to her and she gets a big smile and says, "Can I be sealed with you and daddy? 

I look at Elder Dial with this huge grin. The mom kinda pauses and then says, "Of course you can be sealed to me. " The conversation goes on a bit and Lisa (the mom) was talking about how she wishes she would've raised her first child in the church more cause she's in college and is dating a Jehovah witness and he's really controlling. 

As we were talking to her it hit me that when I become a parent, I need to step it up. I don't want any regrets. I don't want my 8 year old to ask me if I can be sealed to her. Like she is a good person, but it's so sad how much of a mess she made for herself, just because she didn't appreciate what she had till it was too late. But it's alright cause if every member was perfect, missionaries would have a lot more time to knock doors, which isn't much of a good thing.

After that we went to our apartment to wait for food to come. The food came so we walked out and there was a envelope taped to our door that was addressed to the Mormon Missionaries. We took it and opened it up and basically it was from a guy in our apartment complex. He was a Catholic Priest turned Atheist. Basically the letter said that we should be Atheist because of this and this and this. He told us how he has like 1100 videos on you tube. I mean honestly we just laughed at it and were sad that someone would get to that point. He gave us cards with his phone number on it, so me and Elder Dial have been calling him for three days straight and left voice messages. He hasn't called us back, so apparently he's scared to talk to us in person.

Then we went over to the Snows and met Brother Snow's son-in-law from Arkansas. Man that guy is so country, its funny. We talked a lot to him and asked him to come to church. We played monopoly with him and by the end of the night, he told us he'd come to church for sure. That was pretty sweet. Also, with Monopoly, for any of you who were wondering, I did not win. I got cursed with thee dice and rolled 5 '3's in a row, and landed on every non property space there was! I'm over it now.

On Saturday we taught Preston and Ashley. Apparently, Preston works for a member in our ward, so we got her to invite them over to eat. We also found that they aren't married, so that is a huge setback for us but it's still possible.

We then went and helped out Bro Snow and his son-in-law(Sloan) cut a hole to put in the AC unit and then we put insulation in his whole garage and built frames to support new cabinets. It was pretty good and he fed us lunch and dinner. 

On Sunday we taught Mary Ann and her husband again and we taught them about the Word of Wisdom which they have some problems with but they said they would live it. So that was pretty cool. The only down side is that the Bishop is going to be out of town for three weeks , so it's going to be a stretch to get her husband interviewed to be able to baptize her. They will get baptized, so I'm not worried. 

Here is a picture of the letter that he sent us. I changed the name cause the last thing I want to do is give this guy free publicity.  

Elder Saunders

A sad letter from an Atheist in our apartment building to the Missionaries.  So thankful for the Gospel. Kingwood , Tx  July 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dear To The Heart of The Shepherd.....Dear Are The Sheep of His Fold....

Monday, July 16, 2016                                                Kingwood, TX

"We started off our day at the Shannon's house cause Elder Dial had to do laundry. After, Bro Shannon took us shopping and then they fed us. We went and tied to contact a referral and we went to these apartment complexes and tried to find the right apartment and we found it and knocked on it. A Japanese guy answered and couldn't speak English. He wasn't the one we were looking for so we knew it was a false address.  After that we went and saw some members and they hooked us up with some more names.

So we were able to get in touch with our investigator, Gilbert. He told us that he's been thinking about what we taught him about how every church has some truth but not all of it... He told us that he sees all these churches have truth, but they fail in other stuff. So we taught him and asked him to come to church and he said no cause he has to go to his church. So...He's a work in progress. After that we were traveling around and we stopped by this family called the Carters, who are non-members. They have a lot of Mormon friends and we've stopped by a lot and they love us. So we stopped by and she invited us to come back and they will feed us. She said we could read from the Book of Mormon when we came back. We then went and taught Uzziel (picture of his baptism below) and went over the baptismal questions.

Today we had weekly planning and then we did some biking and saw some members. We were biking back and I blew out my tire. ... Yes, again! We had dinner and we got dropped off at the church cause Uzziel had a baptismal interview. So after that we set up the baptism with Uzziel and Nancy and we asked Uzziel who he would like to assign the talks to. For one of the talks he named his dad, who is an inactive member so we weren't really sure if he could give a talk but we said okay. We got a call from the bishop and from our mission president to change it. So we called Nancy again and she told us that she wants him to speak, so it was very stressful but we got it resolved.

We biked around in the heat, like it was so so hot and we were dying and tried everything to get out of the heat. Somehow we survived and we had some members pick us up and take us to a lesson with Michelle. It was a super good lesson and she committed to come to church. I think she'll be baptized. After that we visited with the Snows and it was so great. We taught them about the tree of life.

Our day started off by trying to piece together the rest of the baptism and find a ride to it , but we got it done. The baptism started and Nancy started speaking and then she switched to Spanish midway through the talk, then back to English. The dad gave a talk in Spanish and after he spoke, our ward mission leader stood up and translated what he said, and it was pretty powerful stuff. Our ward mission leader started to choke up and he said that Uzziel was inspired to assign his dad to give a talk, cause it was a powerful talk. After the baptism, Nancy brought food for everyone and it was really good Puerto Rican food.

We came home and got a call from some members who needed a trench dug to put in a pipe so they could remodel their house. It had to be done and in by Monday and it was Saturday. The family had been working since 8:00 and we arrived at 2:00. We started to help and the trench was 36 in deep and so big it engulfed me. We were digging in 100+ degree weather and let me tell you that I have never sweated and drank more in my life. It was so bad that I got a huge headache that never went away. We came back and took a shower and went to visit a part member family.

Today is Sunday and after church we planned to help this non member lady. We changed our suits and started out and went down one step and yup my tire exploded! We walk back to the apartment (which was 20 steps) I'm trying to find the holes to pump up my tire and it is not inflating. Then our pump breaks and deflates my tire in the process. Like literally the handle part comes unattached so it is complete trash. I took out my hand pump and it's not broken but it might as well be. I would say that the devil almost won cause we got stranded and everything broke down. Until dinner, when we got picked up and then we went to teach the Lowerys'. I wore this sweet Star Wars tie that I bought and when I came in, Alexanders eyes got real big and he freaked out. It was pretty funny. We had a sweet lesson and committed her to baptism and gave Alexander a blessing. We also committed her husband to be worthy enough to baptize her and to be prepared. He is an inactive member, but he said he would do it. The missionaries pulled a late victory over the devil cause we were able to put someone on date and everything else that went well. 
Love,  Elder Saunders.

*the first four pictures are from the member who I talked about a few emails back that stopped by the church and took pics of us when I was on exchanges. The last one is the baptism with Uzziel. The missionary to the far right is my comp Elder Dial in the baptism picture.

Elder Saunders and his MTC buddy, Elder Andrew,  serving in the same mission. Kingwood, TX July 2016 

Elder Andrew and Elder Saunders in Kingwood, TX Jul 2016

Elder Andrew and Elder Saunders -Kingwood, TX July 2016

Elder Saunders in Kingwood, TX July 2016

Elder Saunders, Uzziel, Elder Moos and Elder Dial. Sweet baptism... July 2016 in Kingwood, TX

Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Country Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty...

Monday July 11, 2016                                                              Kingwood, TX 

" So today was the Fourth of July. We started off our day by doing laundry and stuff like that. Then a member invited us over for a BBQ at 1:00. We get there and we just chill with them. We played some games and we threw some knives at a target. He showed us his gun safe with tons of guns and ammo in it(see pic below). Then they had a pool party and we dipped our feet in the water and got splashed. The member took us shopping and he bought us groceries and them we went back to their house and they made us chopped brisket sandwiches... So good! Then they drove us home cause we were told to be in by 8:00. We got in and watched the fireworks from our apartment. Summers breeze.

So Wednesday we had exchanges, which some of you might be thinking "wow, that is a lot of exchanges!". Well let me tell you that is no coincidence. There is a reason but my mom told me that I cannot bag on my comp anymore. Everyone has their own struggles. ( *note from parents-Oh that boy- he is obedient) So just use your imagination and times it by three. 

On the bright side, I was able to read 'Jesus the Christ', Mark, Luke and John from the New Testament, finish Genesis, and get almost halfway through Exodus. I read 2 Nephi and all but one chapter of Jacob(while using the institute manuals for all but one of them. I started memorizing a scripture every other day and I'm up to 10 scriptures! I've cross referenced more scriptures than I can count. I've started to read 'Preach my Gospel' over again and I'm doing the activities in there. So far I've finished the activities in Chapters 2,3,5, 8. I have reorganized everything I own multiple times. Numerous talks read. I'm currently working on being good with my juggle sticks and I am working on being good at juggling a soccer ball. This is all after we get home at night and for exercise in the morning and morning studies. 

So on to the exchange. We tried to see a lot of people but they weren't home. We street contacted a guy who tried to give us a lot of insight on life, but he was really crazy and didn't make sense. I didn't understand any of it. Good guy though. 

We did service for a less active who got his house flooded a while back and I talked about him last week, I think-Darren. We put insulation in and he was playing oldies country music. It was great! 

We also taught Michaela some more of the new member lessons. So we were on the Plan of Salvation. We always teach Michaela at her boyfriends house (who is a member). We sat around their pool table and underneath it is a box of toys. I start it off and introduce it. Elder Bigler gave the first topic which is pre earth life. He grabs the white cue ball and places it down as he is talking and then I see a wooden block so I grab it and right when he says, 'veil' , I put it down next to the ball. So I start talking about the creation and he puts down a wooden guy and girl. I then put down a rubber snake I found and talked about Satan in the garden of Eden. We go on putting these toys down that came together perfectly. We teach the entire plan of salvation using toys and billiard balls without even planning for it.....It was great!

On Thursday we stopped by this part member family and started to talk to the husband who is a non member. He is sweet. He was telling me about this truck he ordered that is extremely rare. It is a Ford F-150 with a NASCAR engine made by Roush. To be able to support the engine, the truck has to be completely taken apart and they replaced the frame and a bunch of other stuff. He was telling us that it's barely street legal. He also told us that it's such a rare car that they make them one at a time, piece by piece. The owner of Roush comes and signs the back of the truck before they put the protective clear coating on the truck. They also engrave his name some place else on the truck and also the engine. (to show it's not faked). He wouldn't tell me how much it cost, but he did say that he had to call a few of his contacts in Indiana to be able to purchase it. I'm sure it cost him a pretty penny but he is going to take us around in it, so that is all that matters concerning the truck. 

So my companion is getting transferred and I may have or may not have seen the transfer board. (note from parents *-His new companion is Elder Dial and he is from Idaho. He has been out two transfers earlier than Elder Saunders, so just over a year. He told us that it already is a good match and they are going to set Kingwood on fire! 
Elder Saunders.

Elder Saunders and Elder Moos chilling by the pool on his first 4th of July in the mission field. Kingwood, TX July 4, 2016 

The scriptures are our ammo to protect us and guide us(his words) Kingwood, TX July 4 2016 

Holding a sweet little mouse. Kingwood TX July 4, 2016

Chilling by the pool. Elder Moos got to have the hose to combat us being splashed. July 4 2016 Kingwood, TX

July 4th, 2016 BBQ at a members home. Elder Moos and I look stylin" in our 4th of July sunglasses that my mom and dad sent. Kingwood, TX

Saturday, July 9, 2016

His Truth is Marching On....

Monday, July 4, 2016                                                      Kingwood, TX

"Today I went on an exchange with Elder Andrew(MTC buddy). We started out mowing a really old members lawn. I didn't bring jeans to the exchange, so I used Elder Andrew's camo cargo pants. Those things were small! Like skin tight. I felt like a hipster with skinny jeans. Anyway we went over and helped her. She fed us some fruit and Powerade. After that we went home and had lunch. Man, Elder Andrew made some bomb spinach and cheese quesadillas. Then we biked and talked to some people and a member stopped us and told us he was taking pictures on a film camera. He said he had taken all the pictures he wanted and he still had 6 slots left and then he saw us. So he took 6 pics of us and he is going to send them to our email after they develop. 

We ate at a members house for dinner and they started to talk about the new Tesla car, cause it can do a bunch. We then went on some member visits and lets just say that K-1 does a pretty good attempt at a member visit...but K3 is way better at it!

We taught a couple named Preston and Ashley. It was sweet. We went over the Plan of Salvation and the spirit was strong throughout the whole thing. They've been asking great questions. We were getting to the end and we start talking about the celestial kingdom and we planned to invite them to baptism and it was going super well! Then there was a knock at the door and this water sales lady said Preston won a $25 gift card from Home Depot and would he listen to a very short presentation. She took 3 hours! They wanted us to stay and it was cool seeing her experiments and things like that but it took so long. Ashley and Preston felt bad and cooked us lunch and we talked to their mom cause she was over and she's pretty sweet, too.  So after the lesson was hijacked, we quickly recapped the lesson and touched on points we didn't get to and talked about the church and the Book of Mormon before we left. We didn't invite them to baptism cause the spirit left 3 hours ago. We are going to catch them later, but it was still a solid lesson. 

After that we were riding our bikes and then I got another flat tire. So we called the Kingwood 2nd elders and they didn't answer. We walked a little over a mile with my bike propped up to it's balancing on one wheel. I'm pushing it and then K2 calls back and they pick us up and take us to their apartment to patch the giant hole. We pump it up and there's another hole right by it. So we patch that one up and pump it up. It is then that we realized that the hole happened on the seam. So when we patched it , it would just rip farther down the seam. So we trashed the tube and K2 drove us to our apartment and a member picked us up for dinner. I told the member about my bike and he goes in the back and gets me one of his tubes. Now I have a tube so we have an amazing dinner and go back to our apartment. When I went to put the tube on, the members tube is way too big for my bike, but it was a good thought and very kind. I'm fixin to give it back to him. 

Oh, also one of the member families lost their cat two days ago so we prayed with them and that night the cat came back. So that was cool!
Elder Saunders aka The Cowboy Down Yonder

*Note from parents-not sure what this picture or hashtag mean- So, we will let you use your imagination.. Kingwood, TX July 2016

Ha ha! He is pretty sad that he couldn't go to the parade so with the stuff that we sent him, he is the parade. Kingwood, TX July 4, 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sweet Is The Work

Mon, Jun 27, 2016                                                                Kingwood, Texas

"Yesterday, Darren called us. He is an inactive member, but is super cool. He asked us if we could help him out cause his house got flooded. We tell him yes and he said he would pick us up tomorrow at 11:00. So he picked us up and the first thing he does is buy us lunch. After lunch we are driving to his house and we  ask if his two daughters are baptized and he says, no. The he proceeds to give us hints that he still knows it's true, but he just isn't living the right life to come back. He told us that his biggest fear is that when he dies, God will look at him and tell him, "Darren, you traveled halfway across the world to teach people the gospel(he is a returned missionary) , but you didn't even teach your own kids."

We get to his house and he has already gutted everything out. He brings out this sideways jackhammer to remove the tile. His house is not that small of a house. He turns on the oldies country station and grabs gatorades, and water and Dr. Peppers and puts them in the cooler. We started to work and it took over 5 hours with a couple of breaks to finish. He told us funny story after funny story. He wanted to take us out to dinner but another family signed up for today, so he's feeding us tomorrow!

We taught Michaela for the first time since her baptism, cause she was on vacation to Greece. When she came back we started to teach her new member lessons. When we saw her she had more light in her eyes and looked different than she had before and acted different, too. The cool thing is that her boyfriend (who is a member) has been coming to Gospel Principles with her every week. He said that since she got baptized, he has felt happier and feels a greater connection with the church. It has been really cool to see them change.

We found out that one of our converts, Jennifer, had slipped and broken her ankle a couple of days ago. So they signed up to feed us today and her husband Clay drove us to this New York style pizza place. He bought us this really good but expensive pizza from this small corner shop that was packed with people. Like you had to fight for a table. We were constantly having to say sorry cause people were trying to get around you. 

Clay says, "Man, this shop right here has literally been my life since Jennifer broke her ankle. It's been so crazy, and I just want the calm again." I just wanted to tell him, "Clay, you just got baptized... Sorry, man. It only gets harder from here on out." But we just told him that we would stop by and share a message or send him a text to uplift him. He was super thankful that we would do that.

Today we had an appointment at the edge of our first area, first thing in the morning. We biked and it was super hot and humid at 8:00 am, like what the heck? We finally make it there and their home so we go in and they are pretty solid and everything goes great. After we biked home and it was even hotter. I literally had sweat pouring from me. 

We then went to a non members house and helped her paint a room. Man, painting is hard! Like who knew? It is a lot more work than I thought. We planned to go back and she told us that when we come back, we could share with her our message if we wanted to. Of course we said, yes. The bad thing is that she is moving in a couple of months. The good thing is that she could be baptized in a couple of weeks, so yeah.....We're killing it right now!

So today I woke up and as I was getting outta bed, I felt a little different. I then got a prompting to take one of my Vitamin C packets. My first thought was Dang it! I'm fixin to get sick. Sure enough within 4 hours I had a full blown sore throat. I suffered through that and it's about 7 p.m. and we have a lesson scheduled. We are teaching this family and it is going good and then my nose starts to run. By this point I am sick of it. Like I can deal with a sore throat and a stuffy nose but not a runny nose. Many tissues later we somehow made it through the lesson. 

Elder Saunders aka 'The Cowboy Down Yonder' 
*note from mom and dad-no pictures this week. He must really be sick.... *