Families Are Forever

We find out about transfers this next week so I guess we will see what happens. We were able to teach a guy named Lino and we are way excited for him to progress. The great thing is that he has a strong desire to change so we are excited to see what is to come.

We had a wonderful day at the temple Saturday where Elder Cooke was sealed to his family for time and all eternity. It was one of the coolest experiences in the world and I felt the spirit so strongly. I know that only through the temple can families be together forever.

I know that the temple is the House of the Lord. I now know that the temple is my goal for me and my future spouse, no doubt. I love this gospel and what my Savior Jesus Christ did for ME.

Sorry such a short email, but thanks for all of the support and love.

Con Amor,
Elder Saunders

Parents Comments:

A little more on the incredible experience of Elder Saunders companion Elder Cooke and the temple. Elder Cooke’s mom is a covert to the church and so they have never gone to the temple. They finally did a couple of months ago. Then they wanted to be sealed as a family in the temple. After a couple of conversations with President Bartlett the decision was made to have the entire family fly from Missouri to Idaho. Then on Saturday they all were able to go into the Twin Falls Temple where the Cooke Family was sealed for eternity. It was truly a special experience for Elder Saunders as his mission president, President Bartlett and his sweet wife were able to be there as well. This is the type of experience that will bring so many blessings. As parents we feel so humbled for our son to experience this.

Pictures from that special day.

The Cooke Family outside the Twins Falls Temple
Elder Saunders wit President and Sister Bartlett, his incredible mission president and wife
Elder Saunders with Bishop and Sister Carpenter, some of the sweetest people in the world
A happy Elder Saunders
Elder Saunders and his companion Elder Cooke

Catching Up

I am so sorry for not emailing the group email the last two weeks, I ran out of time and wanted to be obedient so I just didn’t email anything, but good thing that I am emailing now!

Elder Cooke and I have been having a great time this last week and met 78 teenagers at the fair and know all of their names and so we can’t wait to see them around, call them by their name and talk to them about the gospel. Also this week we had the opportunity to go to Zone Conference and we learned that the people we should be focusing on are:

  1. People between 15-25 years of age
  2. Part member Families
  3. People who are spiritually poor
  4. People who are temporally poor

We have been doing quite a bit of service and love it. I am learning all the ins and outs of being a cowboy so ya’all better watch out.

That is what we have been doing and we are hoping for a lot of new investigators in the coming weeks. We have 12 Potential Investigators from people we have contacted and we are praying to make them new investigators.

We have been trying to set something up with the Gallegos but that are saying they are busy so we are just going to show up one night and just teach them. haha But please pray that the love they feel will overcome the fear they have of being rejected from their family.

I absolutely love the people here and we are just trying to talk to everyone and find those who are of the House of Israel. I love the gospel and I am so grateful I was born into it, but more importantly that I was able to have my own conversion to the doctrine.

Thanks so much for all of the love and support, the area and people need them, and I know there are people everywhere waiting to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love,

Elder Saunders

Parents Addition:

We have been blessed to receive texts on a weekly basis from those where Elder Saunders is serving. They share their deep love for him and his willingness to serve. They send pictures which bring us so much joy and happiness. Here are some of those text and pics:

Great time with the Elder Cookey Monster

Parents Note: Elder Saunders was sick for almost a week so they are just getting back into the swing of things.

We want to be sure and thank both the Ibsen Family (from our home ward) as well as dear sweet Sister Carpenter (from the ward where Elder Saunders is serving) who were able to connect and get Elder Saunders a box of needed items. The blessings of unconditional love and friendship are very real.

Honestly I have just been having so much fun working hard and having fun with Elder Cooke (aka Elder Cookey Monster) these last couple weeks it has just been great!

We had a temple trip today and it was absolutely amazing and it just really grew my testimony of the peace that the temple can bring so that was great.

I have really been thinking about the importance of daily repentance lately and how impactful it can be on the companionship of the spirit. I truly am trying to be like Jesus and man I am just falling short everyday, but that is expected!

We have been talking everyone, literally and found two new investigators named Rigo and Nyla who are 10 and 12 and such good kids and we will be meeting with them this week but we are excited to see what else is to come as we talk to everybody.

I don’t want to say that I love the members here in this area just like in all my areas thus far. They are such humble, hard working and caring people. I have been blessed and taught by them in many different ways. Oh how the Lord knew exactly where I needed to be right now.

Well that is all this week. Thanks so much for the love and examples you all have been to me.

Con Amor,

Elder Saunders

Same Area, New Companion

This week has been absolutely crazy! On Monday night we got a call, Elder Castellano and I needed to go to Boise and so we left at 9:30 in the morning. We weren’t sure the reasoning but found out soon enough. After leaving Elder Castellano with the President Bartlett, I was made companions for 2 days in Kimberly with Elder Stokes and Elder Ethington and it was great! They are great missionaries. I am so humbled to serve with so many awesome, obedient and spiritual missionaries, IBM is the greatest mission in the world.

On Thursday I finally received my new companion Elder Cooke and man he is awesome! He is like a carbon copy of me except he is tall and lengthy and I am somewhat short and, ummmmmm, husky. He LOVEEESSS GOLF and Ping pong, and played baseball his Freshman year, and picked up golf late when he was a sophmore. He listened to rap a lot before the mission and loves people, and honestly is sooo cool, man I love him!

I do miss Elder Castellano, and it was an honor to be companions with an Assistant, thats right! He got made assistant!

Elder Cooke is from Hannibal, Missouri by the way and yeah he is so awesome. We were able to teach the Gallegos and tried to resolve some doubts but now I know that what we have to do is shower them with lots of members so they can feel how much love the ward has for them so they feel welcomed and now that the Lord will take care of everything.

I know that this church is true and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to declare the word like the sound of a trump. I love the Spanish people and hope that the Lord will help us to find people that are ready for the gospel. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Con Amor,

Elder Saunders

 

Elder Cooke and I

Staying Focused

We had a good week this week. On Monday we played Ultimate Frisbee and that was way fun (see pictures). It is always an interesting balance the week leading up to transfer calls. You try and stay as focused as possible but its hard not to have your mind wonder about what might happen. I am just thankful the Lord is the one who oversees this important work and I know I am and will be where I am supposed to be.

We were able to have the Gallegos come to church for all three hours and we think that they enjoyed it and they are back on the train to baptism and we are really excited for them! We hope that we can resolve any doubts and teach them the rest of what they need to be ready for baptism.

This week we were able to also have the Barrett’s come to church and we had a great lesson about the importance of the sacrament.

I invite you to read the talk from Dallin H. Oaks Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament. (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/sacrament-meeting-and-the-sacrament?lang=eng). There is such great spiritual power that comes from being able to worthily take the sacrament each week. I have seen this in my life many times.

Thank you for all the love, prayers, and support. I testify of the sacrament and the importance of the sacrament. I know that he suffered on the cross and in Gethsemane for me, and for that reason I thirst after righteousness so he doesn’t have to suffer more than he needs to. I know that Jesus Christ is my friend and that we have a loving Heavenly Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Con Amor,
Elder Saunders

Great week grinding 

This week we had an awesome week, mostly because we had a Zone Conference on Thursday and that was amazing and just what we needed to hear. We talked about the power of the Book of Mormon and also talked about deciding each day that you are going to make it a great day, and lastly about leaving meetings not being a turkey, but rather leaving soaring like an eagle by applying the stuff we learn in the meetings. I had exchanges this Tuesday with Elder Willis and they were way fun and we ended up contacting and meeting a lot of new people, and met this lady and her son on the street named Sister Juarez and we taught her about our purpose as missionaries and have an appointment for Thursday at 1 so that should be good hopefully. The picture is inside the waiting room of a car shop while our car’s ac was getting recharged. We finally met with the Gallegos Tuesday night and they expressed their doubts and why they haven’t been coming to church and keeping commitments and so now they are ready to start up again and get serious. Because of that, we had to move their baptismal dates to July 15th but pray that they will come to church so they can be baptized please!
We had a great lesson on Sunday about the Gifts of the spirit in Sunday School and the spirit testified strongly of what was being taught was true. Pam and Kenyon Barrett came to that class and I think they really needed it so that was awesome as well. We have been painting at a family’s house named the Hutchings and I will send pictures of when it is done but they truly are awesome. He is a veteran from the war, and they are a great family. On Monday we had an awesome time in the Rupert Stake Center playing Frisbee and soccer and the best part was when the sprinklers came on and cooled us down. There is a picture of that as well. Well that is pretty much all for this week but thank you for all of your service and the power of your prayers. Love you all so much!
Con Amor, 
Elder Saunders

The Spirit of the Work

This week was great and really have felt the spirit testify and tell me what I need to work on to become a better missionary. We found two New Investigators and one of them is named Sofia and she is baptist and absolutely loves talking about God and Jesus Christ and gets really emotional when she does so, but the great thing is that she has said that she doesn’t have faith in the religion, but faith in God and Jesus Christ, which is awesome!

We taught the Barrett’s a great lesson. They asked a lot of questions and we responded to the questions by saying “Now the real question you should be asking is if Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, as you come to know that and read the Book of Mormon to gain that knowledge, you will know that all of the teachings of Joseph Smith and the current prophets are the word of God.” The spirit was super strong.

I am absolutely loving the area and the people. My companion is amazing and we have really found what works and what makes us in harmony and that is such a blessing! We are hoping to set up a baptismal date for one of our investigators Lakeisha so please pray the spirit can touch her heart.

I know that the key to gain the spirit is simply, to obey ALL of God’s commandments. I testify that those who are baptized, as they live worthily of it, will have the spirit to guide them to follow the will of the Lord, which is the best path we can follow. I know that Jesus Christ established his gospel on the earth through the prophets and apostles and that through Joseph Smith, the gospel has been restored in its entirety. Thank you for all the love and support.

Con Amor,

Elder Saunders

IMG_9450

Received these on Father’s Day:)