Monday, August 21, 2017

The Call Of A Lifetime....

Monday Jul 31, 2017                                                    Lake Charles, LA

" Well, Folks, this will be my last email. I hop on a plane Thursday. Since it is transfers today and I am in the farthest east that you can go, they are sending me to Houston to trio it up for a few days. This last week was a little crazy. We had to do so much in such a little amount of time. Our week flew by. 

I would like to end this incredible journey by saying that I have loved my mission so much. I've found love for all the people I taught. I love the people here and I've grown so much spiritually as well. These past two years have flown by. It seems almost like a dream. I am glad I came out. I testify that this church is true. That Joseph Smith is a prophet and that this is Christ's church on the earth preparing a way for Christ's second coming. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that by reading it, you will gain a testimony of Christ. I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and loves everyone of us. In Jesus'name-Amen.

I thank all y'all at home. For your constant support. The people of Texas and Louisiana will always be in my heart- 

As I return home, Alma2:23: "And it came to pass that on the morrow, they returned into the camp of the Nephites in great haste, being greatly astonished , and struck with much fear. "

Elder Saunders

A note from the parents: Thank you Texas Houston East for taking care of our son as if he were one of your own. Words cannot express the love we have for you. He is doing well. Has developed quite a love for 'Slap your mama' hot seasoning and anything Cajun.So many families fed him incredible food. We witnessed miracles as he served. His companions are his forever friends. Brothers in the Gospel. Thank you Elders Knebel, Hunter, Ericson, Dial, Moos,  Anderson, Jones, Woodhouse, Abbott, Esplin, and Ludlow for your examples as companions-and to many other missionaries that touched his life through exchanges and district/ zone leaders and those that came through the MTC with him. To the many good missionaries in the mission: Enjoy the journey..... 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I've Come So Much Farther Than I Thought I Would...God is Good.....

Monday July 24, 2017                                            Lake Charles, Louisiana

"So this is pretty much it. I am starting my last week of my mission. We still have a lot to do!!

On Monday we spent most of it at the hospital cause one of the elders in our district had to have surgery. We spent most of the day with his companion and us.

Tuesday we drove to Orange to switch out cars and the guy came late so it took a bit of time.

We taught this guy who is a manager for Ihop and every time we teach him, he gives us free breakfast ideas. Amazing!

It has also been pouring down rain all week. Flooding everywhere.

We ate at this Cajun place called, "Steamboat Bills' and was so good. I ordered the Shrimp Etouffee and it was amazing.

Another cool thing is that we're teaching this lady who is really cool. but we knocked on like 4 houses on this street and we met the lady's mom that we are teaching. That is pretty cool.

It wasn't the most exciting week but it went by so fast and I am pretty sure this week will go by even faster. See y'all soon!
Elder Saunders
Flooding in Lake Charles, LA July 2017
Patriotic Gator Lake Charles, LA July 2017

Elder Post's surgery. Elder Armstrong, Elder Saunders and Elder Ludlow. July 2017

Mom finally got her tag picture... July 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Power of Prayer.....

Monday July 17 2017                                           Lake Charles, Louisiana

" We went on an exchange with Elder Post in Jennings. It was super good. Their area is super country. We had a lot of good moments: I held a baby alligator, taught a bunch of people and took a picture of a cool church.

We have this member who is a cross fit trainer so all this week she has been sending us workouts that we can use at the gym. We are sore but are getting back in shape from the all the amazing cooking in Texas and Louisiana. 

We met this guy named Beau and he is pretty cool. He is like 17 and pretty interested. 

The person we had on date for the 29th just got extended 3 more weeks, so we won't be able to baptize him before we both go home. But we did get a couple more people on date for baptism. 

On Sunday for church we had two investigators come and also this less active come that we have been teaching and it was her first time at church in 15 years, so that was cool. 

Miracles are happening here all because of the Power of Prayer...
Elder Saunders
Me and the Baby Alligator Jennings, LA July 2017

Me and Elder Post in Jennings, LA at this cool church July 2017

My district in Louisiana July 2017

Miracles and the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Temple....

Monday, July 10 2017                                                     St Charles, Louisiana

" This week was kinda slow with everyone gone for the 4th of July but here is what happened.

On the 4th we had an early ward breakfast and it was fantastic. After we played a little football, baseball and volleyball. We went home and changed into our suits and drove down to Orange for a meeting. It was for the whole zone and we got to meet our new mission president, President Hewlett. It's funny cause he reminds me a lot of our last president but a bit younger.

We had a cool miracle. We have this investigator named Su. She is from South Korea and she speaks not much English, so it is really hard to teach her and no one in the ward speaks Korean. We were informed by our Bishop that a family just moved into our ward from South Korea, so we went and visited them. We found out that the mom is a returned missionary! Answer to our prayers. We told her about Su and she is excited to meet her.

We had another member who gave us a referral and so we went and taught her and she came to church and is pretty solid. 

On Wednesday we volunteered at Sulphur High School for this fund raiser. We were plating dinners for like 3500 people. 

Thursday we went to the Baton Rouge Temple!!!! It was amazing. We got to cross the Mississippi River. We did baptisms for the dead with some recent converts and then went to Olive Garden. We made a quick stop and visited LSU stadium. That place is huge. It holds 100,000 people, its huge.

Elder Saunders

Elders Ludlow and Saunders at Baton Rouge Temple July 2017

Mississippi River July 2017

Elders Ludlow and Saunders -Tiger Stadium July 2017

Arriving at Tiger Stadium July 2017
Tiger Stadium

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saying Goodbye is Hard...Change of Mission Presidents....

Mon July 3, 2017                                                      Lake Charles, LA

" This week we had a zone conference. It was a goodbye to President and Sister Drake. It was sad and I learned so much from him. I am still so impressed that he golfs with Elder Bednar. He is a good man.

We took this member, Pierre, to see one of our investigators. When we came inside the investigators house, he looked at Pierre and shouted, 'Pierre, Pierre!! Is that you?" He gave him a big hug and we were all confused. It turns out that they were good friends in high school. Like, twenty five years ago. It was so cool.

This member gave us a referral from this girls friend who came to Youth Conference with her. She's so solid before we even taught her. She read 5 chapters outta the Book of Mormon and had a signed permission from her parents saying we could teach her. She even came to church on Sunday and she asked us if she could bear her testimony. We told her yes and she literally sprinted up to the pulpit and bore a super good testimony.

We ate at this place called, Darrells and apparently it's super good. It lives up to its name. I got a poboy which is like a sandwich but not but is. it was amazing. We also ate dinner at a members house and they taught us how to make gumbo. It was good!

We have 6 more people on date for baptism, so that is cool. One of our most progressive investigators is going off shore for work for three weeks and he's planning on being baptized when he gets back, which is our last week! So that's cool. 

Elder Saunders
Elder Saunders & Ludlow at his birthday Celebration Jul 2017

Yum, Choc cake and Blue
Bell icecream cone.

Saying good bye to President and Sister Drake July 207

Friday, June 30, 2017

Last Companion, Transfers and Hurricane Cindy.....

Mondays-Jun 19 & 26                                                    Lake Charles, LA

*Super short emails for both weeks so I combined them and they are still not very long. But there are pictures-oh yes there are pictures.... 

" We had three people at church this week, our Korean friend and a girl named Cher and her son.

We gave a blessing in a hospital and we had to put on protective clothing. It is getting hotter outside and college just started up. 

My companion, Elder Kent is leaving today so I get to drive 3 hours to Houston and 3 hours back. Elder Kent is awesome. 

We woke up at 4:oo this transfer day (June 19) and went crabbing. 

This past Monday (26th) the wifi was broken for the longest time, so sorry for the long wait but it finally started to work. My new companion is Elder Ludlow and he goes home Aug 1, so just a short transfer with him. He is pretty tight and a good elder to end my mission with.

Most of our week was full of people warning us about tropical Storm Cindy, so we were pumped to see it. When that day came, we waited and waited and nothing. It finally started raining and it only rained for like a couple of hours and then it was just a drizzle. A little disappointing because we love to do service but at least now I can say I've been through a tropical storm. 

We met a ton of people this week. We have a couple of people on date for baptism. We did a lot of sandbagging for people for the storm. 

God is good. 
Elder Saunders
Giving a blessing of protection while we wore protective gear

Our district before transfers.....


The calm before the storm-Tropical Cindy....

Fun p-day at the beach

Rad p-day at the beach 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Stay With Me....Stay With Me!

Monday Jun 12, 2017                                             Lake Charles, LA

"We are teaching two people-Mike & Crystal. Crystal is pretty solid. Mike is working through some alcohol issues and is pretty vocal. We went by and they invited us in. We sit down on their couch and Mike asked us if we needed anything to drink or eat. We told him that we were good and he brought us drinks and warmed up some Boudin anyway and gave it to us. After that Elder Kent said that he would like to start with prayer. Mike said he would like to give it. He sits down and all of us bow our head and he sits there super quiet so I look up and right when I look up, I see him leap to the floor. He started yelling" I KNOWS I AM NOT WORTHY OF YOU, STAY WITH ME, STAY WITH ME!! He proceeds to go on like that for 10 min and Crystal kept trying to get him up. Finally he ends and we start to teach and Crystal is understanding. She is going to need a lot of prayers... 

The next day we started off by going to a hospital to give someone a Bible. We eventually found her and were able to teach her a lil bit. We also had one of our recent converts talk to her friend whose is eight and she wants to be baptized. Her parents said it was okay so we are hopeful.

We found this lady when we knocked on her door and she was not sure of us at first, then she invited us in. We had a nice talk with her. She has been through a lot of trials and is currently dealing with a huge health problem. We taught her and then we came back the next day and she was ready for us. She even told us that the previous day she was praying for help and right when she finished, we knocked on her door. She said she was about to send us away when she realized that we were that answer to her prayers. She's pretty solid. A really good person.

Today we woke up at 3 a.m. to go crab fishing with some members. It was super fun and we caught a bunch of crabs. Maybe 50 or so but a lot were too small, so we kept about 12 of them and plan on going to the members house to eat tonight and have the crabs for dinner. 

Ether 12:4: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast." 
Elder Saunders
crabbing in Lake Charles 

boardwalk in Lake Charles 

Henderson Bayou

wear and tear from almost two years on a mission ....

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Plan of Salvation-Our Happily Forever After...

Monday, June 5, 2017                                                    Lake Charles, LA

" This week has been a bit rainy, but still good. One of our investigators got a new job, but he's going to go work off shore, so we're probably going to have to push back his baptismal date just a bit. He works 14 on 7 off. 

As far as food, I found out the best drink at Sonic is the Ocean water with a pineapple add in. It's amazing!

We ate at this super fancy place called the blue dog cafe. Apparently it is named after this famous painter who literally just paints a blue dog on pictures. (I've included a few pics). I have a hard time getting used to popular art. I got the seafood gumbo and it was really good. 

One of the members had us over to eat crabs. They boiled them. They shake when you toss them in, its actually kinda sad but they taste good.

We also went on splits and we went with this recent convert to go see his friend. We were teaching his friend and she seemed really interested. We taught the Plan of Salvation cause she lost her brother. She randomly asks me, " So do you believe there are other books out there, like the Book of Mormon? " So I tell her yes and she gets all happy and starts talking about how she believes that too. She has been trying to find the Book of Moses. The recent convert that I was with was like, "Book of Moses? isn't that in the Book of Mormon?" She is so happy and keeps saying, "Is it really in there?" So I explained that it was actually in the Pearl of Great Price. I explained how we got the Book of Moses before I even explained who Joseph Smith is or anything. Right after that she told us that her dad went to a Mormon church once. She asked lots of questions and we were there for an hour and forty min. We covered half of the Plan of Salvation and it was all good.

We also had Sujin come to church again and that was way cool. 

" We all search for happiness, and we all try to find our own 'happily forever after." The truth is, God knows how to get there! And he has created a map for you...All you have to do is trust Him enough to follow His plan...and that path will take you to your happily forever after... President Dieter F Uchtdorf....

Elder Saunders

Southern Hospitality...... June 2017

Blue Dog Cafe-Blue dog June 2017

Basketball at the church (sent by a member). June 2017 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sweet Is The Work......

Monday, May 29, 2017                                                       Lake Charles, LA

" Tuesday we drove to Orange for a meeting and then after that I got interviewed for the last time by President Drake. He goes home soon and we are getting a new mission President in July. We came back and we got this referral from this door to door salesperson who is a return missionary. We contact them and they are pretty solid. They came out and said , Oh it is the Jesus people. We taught them and they sounded pretty solid. A member took us to get ice cream after. We also got another referral from the same sales person and we dropped by and she seemed pretty solid.

On Wednesday, I had an exchange with my son(I trained him) Elder Jones and all of our appointments cancelled. We visited some investigators and members and helped a member move. We got this thing called a fidget spinner and it is cool. It was great to see Elder Jones again. He is a good missionary.

The next day we got this referral for this lady moving from Korea. We went over and had a nice time talking to her. Her name is Sujin and she speaks okay English but she has a sweet heart. For dinner we went to a part member's home and had a water balloon fight and then we had a BBQ.

Sunday, Sujin came to church and stayed for all 3 hours. I asked her how she liked it and she said, "I didn't understand anything, but good." So we think she liked it and at felt the spirit. We went to this house to teach this family and when we came in there was 9 people! We taught them all and put them on date. That's cool. After that we saw another investigator and he told us that he wants to get baptized. 

So I am late emailing today cause it started at 4:30 am when we woke up. We had a member pick us up and we went crabbing with chicken legs. We went to the beach, then they fed us. We came back and showered and cleaned our apartment and then went to a BBQ and then emailed. We have a couple of appointments later. A good week!
Elder Saunders
Back to  my Roots....Started out my mission in Orange, TX  Love this giant metal star....May 29, 2017.

A member took this picture and sent us. She just had surgery and the Elders came to check on her. She said that Elder Saunders cracks her up. A little worried about those stitches.....May 2017

The Courage to Believe...

Monday, May 22, 2017                                                  Lake Charles, LA

" On P-day we went with some members and some missionaries to this gator trail and it was super cool. We saw some pretty cool gators and at times we were close. It was farther away then you think-I say that for my mom. The members would never let us get hurt. After we went to this Asian place and there was this super good food. My companion, Elder Kent, got chicken strips, ha ha. I learned how to peel a crab.

Tuesday I had a dentist appointment in Atascocita which is 3 hours away. We left at 11:00 and I drove. Elder Kent slept the whole way. We got there early. Come to find out that the dentist was a member in Kingwood and I actually knew him kinda well. While we were up there, we had our car checked for emissions. We drove back and got home about 7 and had dinner.

The next day we helped a member pack cause she's moving. She put on the Moana soundtrack and it was playing while we were packing. It sounded amazing. I'm excited to see the movie cause the track sounded good. Also we had dinner at some members house and the wife knew knows my cousins. ha ha. 

On Thursday a guy tell us we needed to leave a trailer park and actually threatened us with a dog and on Friday this guy waved us down and tried to bash us about prophets. As missionaries I am glad we have the courage to believe. To believe that we know that God lives and he sent a prophet to teach us. The courage to share Christs message with others. Good things happened, too. We talked to this lady in an apartment complex and she seems pretty solid. We also stopped by this part member family and he is inactive but he wants to feed us. We had dinner on Friday with some recent converts and they fed us lobster and steak. It was so good. 

Saturday we stopped by this part member family. We talked with him and he pretty much believed everything. He told us he believes the Book of Mormon is true and even told us he'd pass one out to his friend. He even said he would consider being baptized. We also met this other part member family. The daughter is like 16 and not baptized. Her mom is always gone and she asked for a Book of Mormon, so that is cool. 

We had this lesson with an investigator who we taught for the first time. She was taught a while back. We taught her the restoration and she said she believed it the first time she was taught and she believes it still, so we asked her to be baptized and she said, yes. So that was cool and she made us cheesecake and it was super good. 
Elder Saunders
Our district on the Gator Trail......

Gators on P-day- Quite a sight for a Utah Elder...

Strawberry pie that Elder Kent and I made....

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hello Lake Charles, Louisiana!

Monday, May 15, 2017                                        Lake Charles, Louisiana

" So I got transferred to a place called Lake Charles. It is in Louisiana. I'm pumped that I can say I actually served in Louisiana. Our area is awesome-it is super city and so easy to contact people. Goodbye to knocking doors. We have a college in our there are tons of young people. Our apartment is super nice and has a really good gym-so we are hitting that up. It is a perfect area to end my mission in. 

This week we cleaned up an investigators home. Cockroaches and spiders everywhere-and you know how much I love Spiders and Cockroaches. 

We talked to a bunch of people but not really any cool stories, yet, but we did have quite a bit of success. 

We had a crawfish boil at a recent converts home. It was so awesome. I ate a ton of crawfish. He boiled some pineapple, corn and potatoes. It was amazing. Really, really good.

On Sunday we went to church. The ward is super young-like 90% are like low 30's  and under. Pretty crazy. I got to Skype my family which is always a plus. My last one before coming home. After we had burgers and Boudin. Yum. I am in an another area with amazing member support. 
Elder Saunders
Lake Charles, Here we come! May 2017

This ones for you, Mom! I know how much you like bridges May 2017

Keep on wishing, Son! May 2017

Utah Boys Eating Crab May 2017

How do we do this? Elders Saunders and Kent May 2017

We can do this! May 2017

Last Skype call May 2017

Mothers Day dinner at the Sanders! Yum!

Mothers Day Burgers and Boudin(stuffed Cajun sausages) It was amazing!