4 days! September 29, 2013

That is how long it has been since I wrote last, 4 days. So as you know a lot has happened. Actually not much. First off I want to share a fashion tip for anyone who wants to start becoming more Hong Kong. G-Shock. Everyone has got one. They are neat, they are rad, they are watches. The goods.

Anyways this weekend was good.
I guess I will tell you a kind of funny story first. So we have these cards that we pass out here that have a QR code to link people to our online system and to mormon.org. Well I usually keep them in my Book of Mormon I carry around and my pocket. Well the other day we were out finding and I picked up some random Yuh-Gi-Oh cards on the ground. Well I had forgotten I put them in my pocket before I threw them away. So as we were talking to a lady, she was in a rush and needed to head to work. So I hurry and reached into my pocket to give her a card and when my hand came out of my pocket, I was about to hand her a Yuh-Gi-Oh card. It was pretty funny/awkward. I then hurry and grabbed the "I'm a Mormon" card and handed it to her. She had a good little laugh with us and went on her way. So lesson learned, don't put cards in my pocket. 

Well this week the Lord helped me out again. On friday, I was struggling in spirit with the language once again. Just not feeling as if I was able to do the Lord's work because I couldn't communicate. After a few fails in speaking and multiple long prayers in my heart, we continued on. As we were walking and I was dying inside, I felt that I should talk to this one man walking by. So I decided to do what I could to stop him. and I did. When he pulled out his headphones, out came english, thick scottish english. He was really cool. He had grown up in Scotland and just moved to Hong Kong again. He stopped and talked to us for a little. He was very nice and we talked about life and religion. He believes in buddhism. He enjoys that spiritual part of it and Nirvana. We were able to share out testimonies of the power of the Holy Spirit and how we can become closer to God. It was a little bummer when he didn't have interest and left after our conversation.

After the conversation, as we walked away gravity loosened its grip on me and I felt much more peace inside. I am so grateful that the Lord directed us to be in His path. It really is so true that the Lord answers us through others. He had prompted me to talk to this man, to stop and take a turn. Heavenly Father could have done plenty of things to have helped me, like allowing me to speak the language, but instead He allowed me to talk to my new friend. For all I know, he needed to talk that day. But I do know that God is fair and loving. That was just another witness of it.

 Another day this week as we were walking home one night, I said hi to this old man walking next to us and he turned and said something I rarely hear. "Hello friend, have you eaten rice yet?" (asking about eating rice is like have you eaten yet type thing) To hear him called me friend made me feel so happy. It's true the simple little things in life are so uplifting. So simple and so great. So now, as I walk around I am going to start letting people now that I see them as my friend because I know Christ would do the same. 

One scripture I have really enjoyed is 1 Peter 5:14. When you read this verse, I love how it says greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Charity is such an amazing thing and can be shown in many ways. I know that we can share that charity and give it freely. I have been shown it many times in my life. I also like how he uses the word kiss. A kiss is something people do to show love and affection. It is something special. So I know when we know that, we will start to treat others differently because love will be among us when we serve and lift up others. I also like when he says peace be with you that are in Christ Jesus. I know that is true. That if we are following our Savior, peace will be with us. Sometimes I find it hard to find in hard times, but eventually it is always revealed. I am thankful for Christ and I know He is our Savior. I know we have peace when we follow Him and that this peace is true. 
Elder Townsend

Little Miracles

Well today we were able to go to the temple and able to enjoy the spirit felt there so that is why I am writing on a Thursday. Since we are on 9 week transfers, I used a 6 week planner and now a 3 week. Bad choice because I forgot my 6 week with what I was going to write home about.

This week and a half has been a new experience. I was challenged by Buster to notice and write down the tender mercies each day, I have been able to open my eyes to how much the Lord loves me and everyone. 
It started with the day last week when Elder Kwan and I were searching for an apartment for a less active member, having the hopes to bring them back to church. When we found the apartment, the doors leading up to it were locked. It is one on the street next to the shops. Well we decided to wait 15 minutes to see if someone would come by to go up. 
As we stood there, we started to talk to the shop owner and his little sister. They were closing up shop and were willing to talk. As we talked with them, they were really nice and his little sister knew some members! Really cool. The best part is they were just super friendly. Well after 15 minutes, we left. As we were walking away, the shop owner yelled at us. We turned around and two people had come up to the door to unlock to go inside. We were able to get upstairs and leave a note for the person we wanted to visit. This was just proof to me of the Lord's existence in this work. There is no way that we happened to be there long enough to have a person show up after we left. Then I also realized, the importance of talking to everyone. Imagine if we would have kept to ourselves and then left. We would not have been able to get inside. It was so awesome. 

Earlier that day, while we were out finding, we ran into a lady. This lady seemed to have interest. While talking we came to find out that she had actually been to Utah and seen the Salt Lake Temple and just loved it and the peace around it. Then that was it. Then we happened to run into her and see her! What is the chances of a person going to Utah, seeing our temple, then walking one day in Hong Kong within millions of people and then seeing us.. I think the Lord wants her to come unto Him.
It was really cool the other day while we were walking home for dinner, we said hello to a man and he invited us to sit down with him. He is a sailor! He has been across the world and been able to see many things and speaks English! He was taught in school as a kid about Christianity. He really enjoys the bible. After talking for a little, we shared with him about the Book of Mormon. When he saw it, he said, "Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Wow. There has been more out there and I never knew it. I would love to read this book. I can tell by your words that you know this book to be of God. You sound honest and you only mean for good things. I will take your word my friend. I would be very happy to except this gift from you." This had made me feel so great. This is a man who truly desires to know God. He loves that we can read his words and feel enlightened. 
It reminded me of last week when we had zone conference and Elder Wilson, a General Authority, had said " I have read the great words of Shakespeare, I have ready many great books, but this, the Book of Mormon is the only book that has changed my life every day that I read it." I know that to be true. I know when we do read the Book of Mormon with purpose, it changes our life. This man that we had talked to was wanting more about Christ, wanting to become closer and I was very happy to share with him that the promise that  Prophet Joseph Smith said that this book will bring man closer to God is true. I am so thankful that we can have the Book of Mormon and the Bible. 

Anyways, I was grateful for the direction and the help that the Lord has given me this past week. Elder Kwan and I have been enjoying our time. He is really pushing me with the language (even though he LOVES speaking english).
 I found it really amazing that when we had talked to a guy on the street, we shared with him about our Heavenly Father and the power of the Book of Mormon and how Christ understands us. This guy we talked to has wanted to end life many times, in fact has tried a few times. But for some reason it hasn't worked. We had the blessing of stopping and talking to him. As we stopped to talk, he kept saying life is unfair, life is not worth it. That hope isn't even good enough. Elder Kwan and him talked for a while and I had practiced my listening. But finally I felt that I just needed to share my testimony. For one of the first times I felt that I actually had power in my words. I had fully trusted in the Lord to help me speak then. As I shared my testimony, I let him know hope is enough. Hope is what starts things. hope is the beginning of a fuse. as we press on the fuse burns more. then eventually we can find what we hope for. Some fuses are of many sizes, we don't know but we can hope to find the end. I promised him that he could find strength in his hope by reading the Book of Mormon because that is where I helped find mine. Finally he excepted the Book of Mormon. This just made me so excited because as he took it, he said "I will have hope."

Now I don't know what I have really typed because I am in a rush so it might be a jumbled mess. But I just am so thankful for the Lord. Helping me at all times. I am glad for Him helping me when I am blind and do not notice what He does for me. I know that this gospel is the true Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am glad I get to face challenges as I try to share our message. Why? because the more challenges I face the more I know it is true. 
So I guess the title of little miracles of this weeks letter is because of the little miracles I have been able to witness this past week. They are from meeting a new person on the street to even running into a friend. They are also from feeling we should be at one place rather than another place. Another miracle was the Lord allowing me to speak Cantonese a little better in a lesson and allowing the person to understand me. 
Well I am out of time. Sorry if the letter is lame. I will remember my planner next week. 
Elder Townsend
We had a typhoon and we decided to clean up the church. We bought a saw.. Well elder christensen did.
Elder T & Elder Kwan

Clean up after the Typhoon

He is so lucky- even Hong Kong has the ugly animal shirts!

Simple pleasures

This week I have chosen on to look and remember the simple pleasures in life. It has been much of a help to me and my missionary work.

 As we spent our time finding this week, Heavenly Father sure did listen to my prayers. We had sunshine, lots of it, all week! :) It felt so good. Anyways as we were out finding, I realized how happy life is and can be. 

For instance we were walking along the river and a man rode by on his bike. He stopped and said hello. This man had a type of special needs (i can't remember what to call it) But he stopped and was just bouncing on his bike smiling and happy as can be. Loves his bike. He then pressed his little bell that was electronic and was so excited. Then he rode off leaving two missionaries smiling very big and feeling happiness in their hearts. 

This week I noticed many things such as a little girl covered in ice cream and she was following her mum, a dog happy as can be when the dog and wife went to the bus stop to pick the husband, and a little kid hugging their dad saying i miss you, I love you, i miss you, i love you. 

These simple things around me really got me thinking just about how important simple things are in our lives and how fair our God is. He gives us real happiness in many ways and doesn't need to be complex to supply us with them. Noticing these just made me realize that in the simplicity lies the truth; just as with the gospel.

 The past weeks I spent too much time looking for bigger answers that I forgot to remember the simple truth. Such as God is our Loving Heavenly Father. I say that everyday to people, I had forgotten that wasn't something I only teach, but something I truly believe. I love how as missionaries how we are able to share what we believe and what we know to be true. 
As I talked to President Hawks for support and just for help he taught me some very good things. He is a very wise man and I sure do respect and love him. I had so much time on trying to understand what truth is and means, he told me that what I should focus on is what IS true. It doesn't matter what is truth until you know what is true. Through what is true we find the truth.
 He also said one thing that I really liked was don't expect 2 years knowledge until after 2 years. Time takes time. You also can't walk up to a large amount of weight and bench it your first try, you have to work up to it. That's when I realized how important it is to allow the Lord to strengthen us. He puts us through the trials so we can have the strength to overcome the later ones. I always think of President Eyring's talk "Mountains to Climb" and on how that the farther we go in life, the larger trials we may have. So as of now, I will be grateful for the trials that I have to give me strength.

Well the missionary work out here in Tai Po is going to progress, I know it. We were able to schedule a couple of contacts on the road to share with them more next week. This week was mostly only finding. Elder Kwan has been having terrible allergies and it is killing his immune system so that has been a bummer. 
This week we were able to teach an investigator and get to know her. It was a turn-over lesson. As we taught, we taught on the story of the ugly duckling. Elder Kwan had just watched the mormon message of that with President Uchtdorf and felt we should share it. We focused on the importance of who we are. Who are you? this was a question that we asked each person that was there. It made me think a little more as well as each person there. As we taught we focused on the importance of being God's children. That we have such a large potential especially when we rely on him for help. He knows best and will always help us reach the best we can be. How lucky we are to have prayer and the Holy Spirit so that we can be guided. That through serving others we will find Christ's help in our lives. The lesson turned out really well.I am praying that we will be able to meet her again and help her continue in the path back home. 

I love being able to teach lessons even though I am not a good teacher and can't understand much. I just like to feel that spirit there and see that Heavenly Father cares for us. That Christ wants so bad for others to come unto Him. He through the Holy Ghost sure does fill our hearts. I believe it. I know it. I have felt it. 

Well my hands are tired of typing so I will end there. Oh it is also the Mid-Autumn festival this week. They have these foods called moon cakes. They always say they are too dense for the white missionaries and that they don't like them. They are a lotus paste DENSE pastry with an egg yolk in them. I like the pastry part, but I am not too big into the egg yolk. Very different. haha

I am thankful that I am able to be here in Hong Kong helping bring souls unto Christ and also able to bring back souls as well. If I have one thing to say, help the missionaries bring back those who have left the church. It is sad to see how many people have fallen away. We need their strength.
Elder Townsend
1. First MoonCake!
2. Just my friends that show up an hour early for church. They live at the old folks home by the church and Peter (next to me) was baptized 30 somewhat years ago and just came back!

Rain or Shine Sept.8, 2013

This week has had a lot of rain but it ended with sunshine thankfully. When the weather here is gloomy and gray it can be hard at times, but when the sunshine comes out, that is when I feel so much happier.
Well this week nothing really exciting happened. We are out finding everyday, searching for someone that is ready to allow Christ to heal their lives. Elder Kwan is a really hard-worker and has been pushing me to talk to everyone. What I really like about finding is that when we are able to stop and talk with people is to think and know what Christ can do for them. He can give them happiness. He can give them helping hand. He can make their smile bigger. He can bring them closer to our Heavenly Father. Because He is their Savior. 
Yesterday we were able to eat dinner at the Bishop's house and talk with some members of our ward. It was a great experience. Being able to hear a conversion story of a member who I really look up to and how he brought his brother to church a little while later made me so happy. I thought that was so cool. Big brothers rule. As we shared a message before we left we shared on what is happiness? Afterwards we watched a mormon message that is Moments that matter most. It is all in slow motion. As we watched it again, I was thinking, what really is happiness to me. I thought of many things and people. Then as I thought more, they all came from our Heavenly Father. When everyone shared what happiness is to them, once again they were all gifts of our Father in Heaven. I just love that we have someone so much greater than us that is always willing to give us things to bring us happiness.
So this week we were able to meet with an investigator. As we taught, we brought up a question, what really is truth? Why does it matter? These are some questions that I have been playing over and over in my head for the last week or so. What really is truth? As I read, I found many answers and many things, but none of them were like oh yeah, that is truth! But as I read Christ's words, I found the answer. Christ is truth. He tells us "I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world" Now when I look at everything that the scriptures says is truth, I can put it to Christ. Because Christ can make it possible. Any trial can be possible to overcome. It just takes that faith and the humility. Just like Elder Holland said about too many times people focus on what they don't believe or what they are missing or their struggles rather than the little they do believe and do have faith in. So as we taught the lesson, I was praying so hard that we would be able to help him and that he would have the true desire to trust in God to find the truth. I know that this would help his life so much. That God would give him so much strength, take away the worries. But against my will, it didn't work out that way.
I find it interesting on how God works. On how He must work on us in order to have His help. That we must go through times that we feel gravity is a little too strong. Gravity is what pulls us down, it is what keeps our head down and gets in our way. At times I have felt the gravity is pretty strong here in Hong Kong. That how in the world, can I take this on. But then I remember that Christ is the truth. And by that simple knowledge I can know that no matter how strong I feel gravity is, Christ has overcome it. I am thankful to be here in Hong Kong. I am thankful to wear Jesus Christ's name in Chinese over my heart. Sometimes I don't feel grateful that I have to speak the language too, but that is when I rely on Christ to help me over those things. And He will help. It just can be hard to see. I have found a lot of that help in people here as in the other missionaries and ward members of Tai Po. I am so thankful that others are willing to shine Christ's light from themselves. 
Well I am sorry that my letter is short today, but that is all I have time to write. I sat here a little too long reflecting more on my week and realized that time went by really fast.
I believe in Christ and I believe He loves each and everyone one of us. Through His love, miracles happen. Big and small.
Elder Townsend

A few new pictures from Hong Kong

Pictures that were posted by someone from Hong Kong...thanks to Facebook!

Fresh... Sept. 2, 2013


Alright so this week was a little sad. My three-some companionship was broken up. Yeah, I got a companion. I am still in Tai Po, but no longer with Elder Christensen and Elder Crump. But it's all good, cause I got a companion now. So I am doing that whole 2 by 2 thing again. My new companion is Elder Kwan. Yep, you guess it right! He is a Hong Kong native. Or as we call here sounds like "boonday" So you could say he has pretty good Cantonese! haha The only bummer was the little Cantonese I did know completely left me once we became comps. I guess its good he can speak english too. It's hilarious though because he will tell stories and since Elder Crump is so new his ears don't understand Chinese toned English. So we will explain the story to him afterwards. haha pretty funny. Elder Kwan is a hardworker which is good, he will work me hard. He is a convert and will be hitting his 2 year mark in a few years. He is 22 and here to do work! This will be good, just pray that i will be able to learn a little bit of this language! Seriously, I am struggling with this language hard-core. You would almost thing I just got here still. The only difference is I know how to not look super confused and can make up stuff unlike the new guys! haha 
Well that is pretty much my week. Oh last week I got a suit. So hopefully i will look leng jai! haha It's like a nice sea turtle green suit. Trust me on this one. 

Well this week we had a cool thing happen. A very less-active member came back. It was interesting, they had no record of where he was or anything and then the sisters met him somehow and then brought him to church. Since he lives in our area we had a turn-over lesson. As we were talking to him he told us that he had been baptized into the mormon church 30 something years ago! He just couldn't remember where. He had a stroke not to long ago and his memory is bad and lost the movement and nerves on his left side of body. Pretty gnarly. We were able to give him a priesthood blessing and I thought that was pretty darn cool. Well now he is back and is putting himself back into the Lord's hands once again.
Well now that really is pretty much my week. Just adding oil and the chinese always say and eating rice and noodles. Oh Elder Christensen and I bought tuna and made sandwhiches. So good. especially with the pickles! haha
Oh sad news, my gangster/mob/Tri-Ad guy cut his long gangster/mob/tri-ad hair. He looks super tough and classy still, just i didn't recognize him at first.

 I totally know that God is our Heavenly Father. To think that this world has no God is impossible. But to think that God loves us is amazing. I just don't understand why people wouldn't want Him on their side. 
Its a good time to be a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Elder Tohng
I haven't taken any pictures so here is one a missionary sent me of Elder Falk and I being sporty. haha we found jerseys in the missionary closet.