Tuesday, March 29, 2016

All Shall Be Made Alive

Jesus Christ is the center of the Plan of Salvation

Sunday (Palm Sunday) 
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people surrounded Him using their clothes to cover the ground he tread. They broke branches off and waved them in the air crying Hosanna. Jesus then cast out the merchants at the temple saying, "ye have made it a den of thieves" about the "house of prayer. " 
                                                               He heals the blind and the lame.                                                              
On Sunday March 20th 
Alexis was confirmed and Paul blessed the sacrament for the first time.  It was such  a beautiful meeting.  Paul was  beaming at the front doing his best not to make eye contact until he finally looked at me and the biggest grin I ever did see spread across his face. 

In the temple the elders questioned Jesus' authority, and He answered their question with a question they could not answer.  Jesus said, neither will I answer ye. (Jesus was really good at come backs) He taught multitudes, shared parables about repentance --the stone that the builders rejected, and the parable of the wedding feast.  He tells the pharisees that they pay big tithes, but they forget the more important parts of the law such as judgment, mercy, and faith.
He teaches that if we first cleanse the inside the outside will be clean also, and councils against being outwardly clean and filthy on the inside. (hypocrisy) Mathew Chapters 21-23
Monday the 21st of March
I talked to the fam via email and Sister C and I cleaned the apartment. I got rid of the mold in my shower (blessed humidity) and went to wally world to buy some yogurt and bananas.  We went to a lesson with Hannah and Jeremy and the kids where we learned of our worth in the sight of Jesus Christ.
We learned about His sacrifice, that
He overcame spiritual and physical death that we might not only live again, but live again with God. 

   Jesus fortold the destruction (sorrows) before He comes again.  He prophecies that in the last days (now) "many shall be offended" and because of iniquity the love of many shall "wax cold."  He teaches the parable of the ten virgins who are asleep when a messenger comes to awaken them for the bridegroom cometh! (the bridegroom is Jesus and Joseph Smith is the messenger)  Joseph Smith awoke the world to prepare us for the coming of Christ.  But only half of the virgins were prepared with enough oil for the wedding.  He related through more parables the importance of using our talents/gifts from our father in heaven.  And He invited the people and us to clothe the naked and feed the hungry because "inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of my brethren ye have done it unto me."               
Tuesday the 22nd of March
What a great day this was. We were able to visit a woman that left the church when she was a teen, and is now overcoming fears to have the gospel in her life.  She is one of the strongest people I have ever met. She has had some huge mountains in her life lately, but rather that blame her unhappiness on the trials she has been going through, she recognizes that the way to get through these things is through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  We could all feel such a sweet spirit in that home as we listened to her testimony.  She knows what she was taught long ago is where she will find joy, because she does not feel so now.  
It reminded me of my own testimony.  It was built line upon line, so gradual and so constant that I did not even recognize it was there.  The spirit was in my home, it wasn't until I knew what it felt like to live without the constant companionship of the holy ghost that I knew I had a testimony of the gospel.  Sounds super weird, but it was at that point that I worked my butt of to regain that influence of the spirit and as I did I knew that I knew, that this is the way.  He is the way.  
Jesus Christ is the light in a darkened world.  His gospel is how we access this light. 
Desire to believe, faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end by having faith, repentance (daily), keeping our baptismal and all covenants partaking of the sacrament weekly, staying worthy to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end. It goes on and on.
Another highlight of this day was the car ride to institute. 
Sister C has a flash drive full of music she has never heard so we experimented.  We listened to a bunch of songs with Alexis on the way to institute and came across a tribal african version of Israel Israel God is Calling by my main man Alex Boye' and we were so pumped.  I'm not sure what exactly happened, but it was probably dangerous for us all to be tribal dancing in the car like that. It was fun though. ;)


Also.. Institute was bomb. Brother Welty taught about the atonement but I think because I have been studying the Passion Week it just made the atonement (Jesus' sufferings to overcome physical and spiritual death) a lot more real and personal.  What a cause to have joy, the Lord of Lords has descended below all things and risen above all things that we might live again.
"all shall be made alive."


Jesus fortold the coming days being betrayed and His own death on the cross. The woman anointed Jesus with precious oils to which the apostles rebuked her for wasting money that could have been used "for the poor" Jesus rebuked the apostles and thanked the woman for her act of kindness and sacrifice for Him. Judas made the deal: 30 pieces of silver and he would betray his master to the elders and the high priests for their wicked purposes. (Mathew 26:1-16)

Wednesday March 23 2016
So much happened this day but the highlight unsurprisingly was Paul Paula and Sweetie.
They fed us and provided us with a Paula Prayer
"Please bless these screw balls that you invented.  That their mothers gave birth to.  They need extra help." Not to mention when we walked in the door Paul had set out one crouton on each of our plates because he said we need to go on a diet lol.  He said, "I told the elders the other day.  If you wanna eat somethin' you better go on and do it now, fore the piranhas get here." 
That marks the second time I have been called a piranha in my life.. must be my spirit animal. ;) 
Needless to say, Paul caved and let us have some delicious spaghetti that Paula made. Then we had a super cool lesson about the temple and were able to answer some questions because they are preparing to go do baptisms.  I was so happy to hear this, Paul has a friend whose wife just died.

Okay.. let me clarify.

I was not happy to hear Paul's friends wife just died.. hear me out.

Paul explained that he pulled his friend aside recently at work, and Paul bore his testimony about the importance of baptism and then Paul asked his friend if he could take his friend's wife's name to the temple for her to be baptized which the friend replied yes.
Paul and Paula are rockstars. They were baptized in January of this year and they have been to all five baptisms since then, even if they have no idea who the person is that is getting baptized.
Most of the long time members don't even go.  They are at church every week and Paul reads to Paula the scriptures and has a whole slew of questions for us every time we meet. I love these peoples. 

Jesus again fortold his betrayal and the apostles one by one asked, Lord Is It I?
Until Judas finally asked that question and Jesus said, "Thou hast said." 
The sacrament was implemented blessed and broke by Jesus.  They all went to the Mount of Olives where Jesus fortold Peters denial (three times before the cock would crow.)
 Jesus then suffered in Gethsemane while His friends slept.  Jesus bled from every pour.

When He left the garden to find a mob of people He was betrayed by Judas with a kiss.  Peter smote the ear off of one of the soldiers and Jesus healed it.  Jesus was then taken to Caiaphas' house where the elders/chief priests bore false witness against Jesus.  Accused Him of blasphemy and spit at and mocked Him.  Peter denied knowing Jesus three different times,  one of those times was in front of everyone at Caiaphas' house.  Two more outside to individuals. The cock crowed and Peter "wept bitterly." 
 (Mathew 26:16-end of chapter 26)

Thursday March 24 2016
Weekly planning, less active visits..
and a challenge.

The Stubbs were our dinner appointment that night.  They had been taunting us the last few days
about a challenge that they had had with the elders a few days before.
But they did not tell us what the challenge was.
I put it together that it must be a food eating ordeal because they had fed the elders as well... I prepared.
I am competitive.  One time I ate 14 breadsticks at Olive Garden.  (Shout out to Quade, my grandma, and the sickness that emptied me the day before for this victory at OG) 
The point is... I was going to beat the elders.
 I ate a very small breakfast and a piece of toast for lunch preparing myself.

We got to the Stubbs home and found out that the challenge was...

40 pieces of french toast between the two of us.


after the two of us ate 20 each (there was a lot of running around, and crunches involved) we were pretty pumped.

and the Stubs decided to give us some key info. The elders had together eaten 40 pieces of French Toast.. but we had both only beaten one of them.  Elder S only ate 14 but elder B ate TWENTY SIX


I couldn't do it.

I was sweating syrup.
My body was over heating and the lack of insulin in my body was absolutely horrifying.
My vision was blurry at one point. 

I ate three more and that was it.  I had had it. 

Brother Stubs. "I'm texting the elders right now and they're crying because you two beat them HAHAHA"

We couldn't move.  It was a struggle that night planning for the next day.  We could barely peel ourselves from the ground. 


never. again.

Sisters: 43   Elders: 40


In the morning, the chief priests and elders took Jesus to Pontius Pilate the governor.  Judas realized the depth of what he did when he betrayed the Savior, dumped the silver, and hung himself.
Pontius tried to release Jesus knowing that He was a just man.  Pontius's wife begged him to let Jesus go, but the Chief Priests and elders weren't having it.  Pontius brought out a murderer and asked the people which they would release as was their custom at that time of year.  The people shouted to release the murderer.  Pontius washed his hands and said that he was not responsible for the bloodshed of this "just man."  Jesus was scourged.  He was mocked with a crown of thorns, a reed in His hand.  He was nailed to a cross and even after all.. asked the father to forgive the people-- "for they know not what they do" 

He gave up the ghost

"it is finished"
 and was laid in a tomb of rock covered in cloth.  A stone door was rolled in front of the tomb.
(Mathew 27)

Friday March 25th 2016 
We had an incredible lesson about the Plan of Salvation with Alexis.  Jesus Christ is the center of all.
God loves us so He created a plan for us to return to live with Him, and to have all that He has. 

Later in the day we went to Mackey's baptism, such a sweet spirit was there as there always is when God's sons and daughters choose to follow His beloved son Jesus Christ and be baptized as He was.
Mackey is an eight year old boy in our ward, we were so proud of him. 

The wicked men got permission to seal the tomb that Jesus' body was in.  They also set a watch to guard it lest the disciples steal His body and pretend that the prophecies were fulfilled. 
So they set a guard or two, and sealed the stone door to the tomb. 
(The end of Mathew 27)

Saturday March 26th 2016
The elders have been working with a 13 year old boy for a while whose family had all accepted the gospel besides him.  He was baptized on Saturday!  I think it is truly amazing that as missionaries we don't ask people to believe that what we teach is true, we invite them to find out for themselves through scripture study, prayer, and coming to church.  That's what this boy did, and he received his own witness that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Jesus Christ's restored church on the Earth and it is true. 
Something extra that I loved was that at this baptism, Paul and Paula were matching hahaha they let me take their picture and Paul actually smiled kind of ;) 


"He is risen He is risen"

The final act that all mankind might live again was performed.



it fills me with such an amazing feeling.

 Death Is Conquered Man Is Free

Jesus' resurrection was the final act of the atonement.
He overcame spiritual and physical death.

Sunday March 27th 2016

This was a rough morning for my emotions. I opened the package my grandma gave to me and found a picture of my grandpas headstone at his grave site with three flags planted next to it.

One was Honduras (Elder Saunders, my cousin) one was Washington state (Sister Peterson, another cousin) and FLORIDA (me)

Yeah.. I lost it.
One thing about the mission is that along with spiritual sensitivity emotions are heightened as well.

Crying is not uncommon. 

Especially on the day that Jesus Christ destroyed the chains of death many years before,
looking at that picture reminded me that because of Him I will see Grandpa Lyle again.  His body will be whole, that cancer will be a distant memory, and we as a family will be together again.  

to be continued...

(not enough time to finish, l will update next week. love you.)

Easter package from home:)  My mom even sent Sweetie a surprise!

Matching Best Friends necklaces!  Oh Yeah!  lol

Be Sweet!  

Make it a good day! 
Sister Saunders