Elder Sanders

Elder Sanders

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Home !!!!

Matthew 25:21

"His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

Monday, June 24, 2013

My last Mission letter and testimony - Week 98, 1 week left. 8 days I'll be home !


Well well,

Before I get into my final testimony and all, I`d like to re-pass the week`s news! So, it`s true, this is my last letter to you guys! Monday and Tuesday I should follow the flight plans as says in the ticket, but I`ll call you if I can.

I also attached photos of some last minute activities. Here is me at the ECUATOR, at last! The whole purpose of ECUADOR!!! And other fun activities there, such as balancing an egg on a nail between the two poles of the earth. Good fun.

This honestly feels just like I`m having another change, and not finishing the mission. I`m content, happy, and most important, working. I`m really just trying to do as the scriptures say, `Perseverar hasta el fin.` or say, Endure to the End. And I will!

I was really moved by the mighty capitalization that we saw Sunday from the Prophet and first presidency of the church. I REALLY HOPE that EVERYONE at home saw it, because for me, it was wonderful! (For those that didn`t get the chance, 
It seems that there is a whole new world of missionary work to come forth, and the Lord truly is personally working with us to bring it forth. I did wonder why that one scripture from Daniel, the one about the stone cut from the mountain without hands, (which is a prophesy of the Lord`s church/work in the last days), was quoted about 6 times or so during general conference in May. Now I know why. With over 70,000 full time missionaries in the field, (and soon to by 70,001 with Chantel!!!!) the Restored Gospel of the Lord is bounding the land!

I cannot describe all the ways that the mission has blest me... I actually tried to make a list the other day, which consisted of 15 or so items. But it seems that the in the start of the mission, I began to gain a testimony. Before I left, I did believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the only true church on the Earth, or at least, just enough to go on a mission! But within months, as I TRULY felt the spirit, and TRULY learned and lived the doctrine, I actually gained a FIRM CONVICTION of the truthfulness of the restored gospel.

And that was only the beginning! By the spirit, and the spirit alone, did I learn that The Book of Mormon was a book from God, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that the Atonement of Jesus Christ truly heals sins and changes people. Before my mission, I feel my testimony was based on human knowledge. Like Logic. It`s was logical the church was true. I thought that was enough, but as soon as you get a taste of the REAL power of God, you really know that just learning about something isn`t enough.  For me, it was a start, but a true testimony comes only by the spirit, and we must Seek the Spirit. Honest prayer, peaceful environment, and a true desire to know. that`s the formula! 
James 1:5, aIf any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that cgiveth to all men  liberally, and dupbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Step two of mission magic comes by means of Conversion. It`s possible to have a testimony, but not conversion. but it`s impossible to have a conversion without a testimony. Conversion is being true to Christ and his Restored Gospel in every moment of our lives, whether someone is watching or not, with intentions to obey not out of obligation, but of love for God and others. When one begins to be obedient to commandments, or in my case, mission rules, it seems you first do it out of obligation or duty. Good right? It`s a start. I learned that you should obey Commandments and rules not out of routine, or because it`s easy or correct by view of others, but obey because you Know God lives, that he will bless you, and you need no other reason to obey than by what it says in 3 Nephi 27:13

Behold I have given unto you myagospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you葉hat I came into the world to do thebwill of my Father, because my Father sent me.

The main motivation Christ had to obey His Father was from one reason: because God commanded him to do so. We should follow that example, to do God`s will just because God asks us to. That`s True Faith, to trust that everything will go well if we make sacrifices to keep his commandments and standards.

 And then blessings follow.  And just like it was stated yesterday in the conference:
When we act in faith, the blessings we receive are not what we expect they will be.  

And lastly. A week ago, whenever I thought about finishing my mission, my initial emotion was sorrow. Interesting, right? Sorrow to leave here. Everyone says a mission in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the BEST TWO YEARS of their life. Why? All you do in those 2 years is forget yourself (EX: abandon your name and take upon yourself Elder or Sister. Try to be a representative of Christ and his church, not yourself), serve others, and do nothing but study the gospel and live it. And the result is blessings, and happiness. Thus, the best 2 years. `How sad that it has to stop!` , I always thought.   Then, in the conference, I watched how members of the Church did deeds to help others come to happiness and the church, by being an example of Christ in all times, and in all places, and in all things (Mosiah 18:9).  And then I thought, I`m not going to be missionary in a week, but a member. MEMBERS CAN DO MISSION WORK!  Those best two years don`t have to stop!!!! And again, when one leaves on a mission, he receives a blessing called being `Set Apart`, in which they are literally set apart from the world, from the carnal, from evil and worldly things.  But when you finish the mission, you never receive a blessing that ends that period of being Set-Apart... it actually keeps on going! You can STAY set apart from the world!   Just like Christ said to his disciples, `Be in the world, and not of the world.`!

And That is what I Intend to Do.

I love you all, those I do know personally and those I do not.  You are all important to me.  And I will do all I can to ensure that every single one of you has the chance to hear of the Restored Gospel and prepare to meet God during this life.  My wish is that all you make it to the Celestial Kingdom, and the only way that is possible, is by these conditions:
  19 And ano unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his brest save it be those who have cwashedtheir garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
20 Now this is the commandment: aRepent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and bebbaptized in my name, that ye may be csanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may standdspotlessbefore me at the last day.
21Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is myagospel; and ye know the things that ye mustdoin my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;
22Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

This scripture came from the mouth of Jesus Christ, and was written by ancient prophets and is recorded in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I share it every week, because I know that only what it says is true, but that the Book itself is true.

Pray everyday to fortify your testimony of Christ, the Book of Mormon, the Church, and your faith.

These years have been wondrous! I`ve had both the best and worst experiences of my whole life here!  I cannot wait to share my testimony in person!

Good bye from Ecuador !
Until the airport,

Elder Sanders.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My penultimate letter, Week 97, 2 weeks left. Ill be home July 2nd

Well well well! You know it!  This is my penultimate letter, or say, second to last, for those not yet used to large unimportant words. :)

Dearest family and friends!  This has been a fine week!  And it sounds like everyone is more excited for my arrival than I am!  I feel that the reality of me finishing the mission hasn`t quite `hit me` yet. But that`s alright!  I`m not as trunky!
So, me and Elder Ospina have been working well!  We have 3 people with a specific date for baptism, and are working with a couple others to do the same.  Our next service will actually be my last Saturday in the mission, with good old Luis and Mario.  

Luis is great!  He is to be wed in a week! But alas! Problems with his marriage papers!  And he has just begun his driver`s license course, and can only find him on the weekends!  Just when it seems mission work is just slip-n-slide of fun, you realize that your plastic tarp in not laid upon an American lawn of sweet mattress like grass, but a rocky field of cactus barbs and gravel! Opposition has struck every single one one of my converts!  And once again, we will face opposition and slap evil right in the face!  (So we are resolving those problems very quickly)

And Mario, is just... well.. rolling!  He should be good to go in no time.

And so, with the mission split and everything, we did have some changes!  And today, Elder Ospina and I will be receiving a THIRD companion!  Yes... just like the Triforce we shall be a Force to be Tried with! Ha Ha!  (pun AND zelda reference... I still do have an inner nerd!)

His name is Elder Alcarraz, and he should get to our sector in about 30 minutes.  So we hope all goes well!  We still need to find a third bed though....  we`ll try to get one by sundown.

But, I really think I see these last 2 weeks as 2 more weeks on the potter`s wheel.  Never before will I be in such a high spiritually plane such as the mission, and I need to use every moment I have left to bring about the last changes needed for real life!  So, when anyone of you leave on your mission, always remember that!  The mission is meant to CHANGE you!  Both in an increased testimony as a more advanced conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  What a great opportunity it is to come here, and have no limits of progression!  The only thing that can limit you is yourself.    But it`s true, we can do that when we`re at home as a normal Latter-Day Saint, but I will say, nothing like it is being SET APART from the world!  It almost seems like the phrase being in the world, but not of the world really takes on a more literal meaning.  We don`t even have time to meddle or think or speak about worldly things such as movies or sports or politics, which is great, because all my desires to do things of that nature have greatly diminished.  Not that they`re bad things, but just as an apostle said, many of them are just `Idle Pursuits`, and halt us from heeding toward eternal progression.   

So, if we can always put things such as personal prayer, scripture study, and sabbath day observance BEFORE all that worldly stuff, then All Is Well in Zion!  Because don`t get me wrong, Movies are great!  Drawing superheroes is great! Working as a creative director at Trafalga is great!  But ONLY when placed in the right order in the chart of Eternal priorities.

SO! Do wholesome things, choose the right, and may you all have a great and stirring week!

-Elder Sanders

PHOTOS!- Me and good comp at a baptismal service in our zone,and us with some other missionaries, making them a delicious Ecuadorian

griddle-style Quiche as a reward for having the most street contacts last Saturday.  All is well,

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 10, 2013 Week 96, 3 weeks left

You had better believe it! I just feel as great as a grape! (which are pretty great by the way...)

So this has been a rather busy week, but quite well.  Elder Ospina and I are tearing it up here, making delicious exotic foods and trying not to get too Trunky! ( home sick )

To begin, Email Answers!:

1-I am fine, our week was fine, and our investigators are fine.  Hm.  At least, most of them are fine, but only one of them is GREAT!  And that is because only one has a baptismal date, good old Luis Z! He is to be wed in 2 weeks!  So we hope all goes well for him. And for everyone else, it`s usually pretty easy to find them during the week, and then when the clock tolls 12 on the transition from Saturday to Sunday, they all turn to dust and vanish! And they don`t materialize again until exactly 9:00 PM Sunday, because that`s when we are no longer outside of the house. So we hope that we can find them soon so that they can attend church!

2-What am I doing for the last 3 weeks?  Well, I plan to bring others to Christ and the Atonement through the laws and ordinances of the gospel, or say, just plain missionary work.  I hope that just like a runner in a marathon, I can burst my lungs on the last stretch of the racetrack and live the end of my mission to the fullest.  And in fact, in our ward we have 2 great young lads preparing for missions also!  So great things are in store!

3-And although I live 40 minutes from the Ecuator, I have only seen it from a distance, but never visited it.  WHOOPS! I can`t leave Ecuador until I do that!  I`ll get to it soon enough! (And never fear Mom! I will buy your hammock!)

4-Well, the reason that no one knows about the travel plans is because they haven`t bought the plane tickets yet!  I heard that we should be leaving Monday night, VERY LATE Monday night. But I`ll keep ya`ll informed.

So, that`s the news!  It seems that especially today I`ve been getting really longing for home, Brandon coming home from his mission, 4 other missionary's in my zone finishing, and so on and so forth.  But I`m glad you all have planned how it`s going to be when I get back, because I have no idea!   (Ugh, there`s this guy sitting next to me with the worst rat-tail haircut if you know what I mean... poor guy)

But with some events for the week, it seems that Ecuador just can`t stop making poor power lines. Remember the story of how the transformer exploded 2 weeks ago? Well, this morning, whilst we were studying in our house, FOUR OF THEM EXPLODED!  Within the course of an hour, from different directions from our house, making our lights go out 
for a few seconds on each one.  (That must mean there must be 4 more pigeon grilled delights out there in the street for some lucky street vender!)

But, leaving the unnecessary topics, this has been a fine week.  I`ve been seeing many efforts made by myself to share my testimony with the world. It seems that lately, we`ve been having the knack to teach families in which everyone is a member with the exception of the dad.  And every single father seems to be clinging on to the doctrine of Nehor, saying such things as: `Oh, I don`t believe in a true church. Everyone says their`s is true, has their own bible, and believes in God.  I think that all Christians will just be saved, so long as you believe in God.`   WRONG.   What about baptism? Temple work? The fulness of the Gospel? Hasn`t anyone read 
Matthew 7:21-23?
 21 ¶Not every one that asaith unto me, bLord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that cdoeth the dwill of my Father which is in eheaven.
 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we notaprophesied in thy name? and in thy bname have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
 23 aAnd then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: bdepartfrom me, ye that work ciniquity.

These poor husbands are so wrapped up in their personal pride, that they don`t even believe their own wife and kids when they say Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true.  Life would be so much better if they just gave them a chance!  But, one way or another, they`ll get there.  In fact, that`s how it is with Luis Z!  His wife had been inactive for a while, and he always didn`t feel baptism was necessary yet.  Until now!  That`s one down, four to go!  (Yes, we have 4 other families with the similar situation) And every time, my testimony burns like a mighty forest fire!  

Well, stay true to the truth, read your scriptures, and like the apostles, always be ready to give your testimony in any moment, and in any time.

-Elder Sanders

PHOTOS!: Here is part ONE,

Some shots of the baptisms of the family Cortez, us with some rad new tie knots, my companion after cooking delicious potato balls filled with meat and vegetables,


-Elder Sanders 2x

Week 95 , Mountain Cayambre 4 weeks left

Well well, greetings to one and all!  But I`m sorry to say, that today we had a mega activity, and arrived incredulously late, and thus have no time to write!  We went as a zone up to Cayambe, which is a giant mountain (for once, not a giant active volcano! That`s a first...) which is absolutely cold, wondrous, full of snow, and mystically enthralling! I`ll send photos and I will un-thaw my camera...    ...that was a joke!   

Us in Cayambe, yet another majestic mountian of Ecuador.  TWAS QUITE FREEZING!  You can`t tell, but the reason we are screaming in half the photos is because the wind was so strong it could have easily knocked you over (and carried you to distant and daring lands... )  

But what I can say is that: Robert C was baptized!  And then he baptized his 2 daughters!  What great news!

-Tomorrow is my last Leaders council, and I will get to bear one of many `last testimonies`

-And Elder Ospina and I are just doing swell, life is going quite well.

Well, I`ll see if I can get some photos, but for the moment: 

-Elder Sanders