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