It's New Years for the world outside China! Dec. 28, 2014

Well this week we had a solid Christmas. We went over to the Lefler's home and it was a great time. They put together a Santa hat and some goodies in it for us! Then we had dinner and some other families came over too. It was a grand ole' time and brought the Christmas Spirit. It was a Christmas! After their place we stopped by the Church's flat (because we don't have a chapel) and we wished a Merry Christmas to the Filipina sisters in the branch and sang a couple of hymns with them. After that we spent the night walking around and looking for people to help out, give a candy cane, or wish a Merry Christmas. It was raining outside so not too much was out there. Elder Campbell needed to call home so we ended up home a little earlier that night. It was a great Christmas though. I am just super grateful for the members in the branch and the love and support they give us missionaries. They are great!
Also the Chan family in the Chinese branch that invited us over on Christmas Eve were the best. So great and made us all feel like gold. It was nice to practice the Chinese again as well! Their little daughter Cming won the award for the cutest little girl ever. She gave us all little presents and told us Merry Christmas. 

We went over to the Brother and Sister Cruz's home also on boxing day and it was awesome. Some of their kids were home and so it was a great, happy time. They still had the Filipino spirit of the holiday burning. It was so great listening to them all laugh and joke together. We shared the He is the Gift message and talked about why we love Christmas. It was great to hear everyone's reasons. 

This Sunday was fun, we were heading to class and the primary president, Sister Bentley, walks up to us and asks if we have something to do and if we can help. We told her of course and she smiled. We then went and taught the 9-11 year olds primary class and also the two youth in the branch. It was hilarious and very energetic. The lesson was on the priesthood. We acted out the First Vision of Joseph Smith, when he got the Aaronic  Priesthood, and the Melchizedek Priesthood. Then some kids shared about how Priesthood blessings have helped them or family members. 
It was pretty fun time.. the only thing is now I owe all the kids a treat. Looks like I'll be going to the clearance candy isle this week!
I am not sure what else to write. This was a fast week.
Elder Townsend
these are  Christmas
We are all wearing the ties the Chan's gave to us

Merry Christmas! Dec. 21,2014

Well this week there was a little change, I got a new companion for my last transfer. I will be serving with Elder Campbell out here in Discovery Bay. I am super stoked to be here for the end. This is the BEST branch ever. They are the coolest members.

Well this week was a quick one, it included much more knocking on doors which was a great adventure! We ended running into this massive water buffalo and it was a shame I didn't have my camera on me because it was huge. I thought it was a statue outside of this house until it turned to look at us. Pretty cool. 
Then while we were out knocking on a door there were these two dogs just laying on the sidewalk and they seemed to be pretty relaxed so we kept going. When we went to knock on this little house door, the ugliest little shih tzu dog that looked like an e-wock? (stars wars) jumped to bite my hand and then started yapping. Next thing we know the two lazy dogs and then another appear out of nowhere barking. I was think get out of here so I put my hand in my pocket and starting walking. Elder Campbell said he froze in fear and just stood there looking at the door. Well the person opened the door and closed it, but that was good enough to stop the dogs. Man, dogs here are wild. Literally. Elder Campbell and I have had some good laughs though and I am really looking forward to this move with him. It'll be interesting and a great adventure. We are super stoked to work til we drop which is nice!

Well this past week we were able to meet some nice people but there really isn't much to write about. We met another man named Joel who speaks French as his mother tongue! Except he is from Africa not France. If he ever will come to church, that would be awesome. African Joel and French Joel. 
We met with a man named Klaus this week. He is the one from Germany who had contacted us about a month back. Well we went and met up with him and our Branch Mission Leader Brother Bentley came with us. It was a good lesson, we were able to share about the Book of Mormon and get to know him more. Brother Bentley is super great guy and really emphasized that the most important thing is that we find things that make us better people and that we are willing to serve our fellow neighbor. Klaus is really nice and a joke maker. But he has interest to find things in his life that are truths and wants to learn. He said that he is willing to add to or change things he believes now if he finds things that are more true than what he believes. He really is willing to be constantly learning.

A cool quote that a member said during her talk yesterday at church really stuck out to me. It was "too many times a man is willing to die for his faith but not willing to fully live it." 
I really found that interesting. Especially with this Christmas season. We fully know the sacrifice and the life our Savior Jesus Christ lived and what He gave as well. It had me thinking a lot on how often that I need to fully live my faith that religion is part of me. That I am loving others and trying to be a better person to them. 
One thing I have really noticed in these members here in the branch is how they live their lives. They are living in the attitude of fully serving and loving those around them. It is incredible the Spirit of Love that is evident in this branch. They are always lifting each other up and finding ways to serve. While on the streets it has influenced me to think and act on how I can be more concerned of others. While talking to people, the days I love best are when we at least make some one laugh, smile, or a little less stressed. Not all the times are people willing to accept our message, but they are usually willing to accept a laugh so we will give it to them. We work and pray for the success in bringing others to Christ, but I believe that maybe that smile is what we needed to help them with that day. 

Also I have found it is so true that what we pray for is what we get. Little acts of service are always needing to be done. I feel bad for the days I don't really have any because I realize that those days I had forgot to look.
Super cool was just last friday. A less active member that we are helping, David, had left a few weeks ago to work at a dog kennel and hopefully live. This was a good opportunity to get away from friend that weren't the best influence and hopefully get his life out of the trouble he got back into. Well after a week there, his phone went out. We couldn't contact him and couldn't find him. I was getting a little nervous about him and just praying he would be alright. Well then he gave a call on Friday night saying that he was in the hospital for the past week. He said he felt he needed to call us and let us know. It was such a relief  to hear he was doing alright. He said that while there, he started to share about the Book of Mormon and one of the guys there has started to read it and really enjoying it! Also he said that he know God was there for him because the first people he met there names were.. this is what he said: "John, and then Peter, and then I meet Simon, and then of course to add on I meet James! They are all Chinese though. But I am telling you mate, God is here and He's watching out for me. No worries mate, it is going really great here. I am enjoying it."

I sure do know that He watches out for us, Heavenly Father sure does love us. 
Merry Christmas.
Elder Townsend

These are the baptism pictures and also of Joel's son Gabriel. He is hilarious. His mum made the entire outfit for him! 

This is some gnarly thing they eat in the Philippines. It is pronounced Ba loot. It is a somewhat developed egg that you break out of the shell and then eat up. I am talking veins, feathers kind of, bones, and yeah. It is an aborted egg. It is gnarly but you gotta eat it. some people really enjoy it. Sorry the pictures are fuzzy. We did this a couple weeks ago. Our friend Perla gave them to us for Christmas.

Joel's baptism Dec. 14, 2014

This week was really great for Joel, why? Because he got baptized! 
The weather this week had been terribly cold and his baptism was going to take place at a rock pool out here in Discovery Bay. Well we kept praying along with the branch and then what do you know,Sunday was the perfect day for a baptism. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and the temperature had raised a few degrees. All of the branch members were smiling and excited. 
We all gathered at the rock pool and started the service. (pictures next week) Two people were greatly touched. His wife and son.

On the light, funny note, his son was very proud of him. We were all gathered around the pond of water and Gabriel was at the back. After his dad came out of the water he let out a "Woohoo! Yeah!" and a couple claps. Then he pointed to this boy near him and yelled "Hey boy! BOY!" Then pointing to his father and chest puffing with pride yelled "That's my dad!" It was a great thing to see how much Gabriel adored and was proud of his father. 

Joel's wife, Jennifer, is from Mainland China so there is not a christian or religious background that she has. She has been raised and taught otherwise. Well that week she wasn't quite sure if she was going to attend his baptismal service. When we came by on Saturday, she had decided she would. Her english is not the best, so most of the time talking to her is very simple or has Joel translating or me trying my best mandarin to her. That Saturday she brought up to us that religion gives people direction and will help them with purpose, but she already had direction and purpose. She said that they do it to feel happy and it is not needed for the Chinese. She brought up that we are just different people. Different cultures and lives. It was an interesting conversation that took place. 
The following day at Joel's baptism was very neat. After the ordinance had taken place we had gathered back up to close. Perhaps lost in somewhat confusion of what was happening, she stood next to her wet husband. "Oh my Father" was what we would all sing. She stood their looking at unfamiliar words, but then something happened. Tears streamed down her face. They came from a source that may have never been felt before, Jennifer, I believe, was starting to feel her Father in Heaven's love for her for the first time. 
The Holy Spirit had come to her and was so strong, emotions could not stay in. She, in the midst of her tears, tried to sing. This may be the beginning of the journey for her. Joel had testified after receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost that sacrament meeting about the journey he was on. He testified of how he started to see God in his daily life. That he was able to notice all of those tender mercies that are the Lord letting us know he loves us. He spoke of this journey and that he will never abandon the path that he had entered. Joel said that he had been looking for this path and is grateful to be on it. It was a powerful testimony borne. This was a very neat experience for Jennifer and pray that she will never forget it. Whether it be the seed of faith had just been planted or that it had just taken root, I do not know. I do know that God does love her and she is starting to understand that now.It was a very powerful experience for all to see.

This week was a good week and we were able to see the Lord help His children. I am grateful for the power and the blessing of this Living Church. That the priesthood is here and it allows us to make covenants with God and that Christ is truly directing this work. May it ever continue on!
out of time pretty quick today..
Elder Townsend

Traveling for the Holidays! Dec. 7, 2014

Maligayang pasko! (Merry Christmas in Tagalog)
This week we had to use so much money in travel. We even had to take the fancy ferry to HK Island so it cost a lot. There is the fun fact.
Well this week was super quick and I don't know what to write about.
We went around visiting some less-active members and also investigators and members sharing about Christmas and getting the Spirit of Christ alive in the hearts of everyone! We shared a lot form the December Liahona on the First Presidency message and also Elder Perry's talk. If you haven't read them, check them out. The past week as I was going through Elder Perry's talk the beginning and the end really stuck out to me. Especially the invitation he gives to us 
"I challenge you to rise to a new sense of commitment. I challenge you to help God’s children return to their Christian faith and to the strong religious foundation that is so essential for peace of mind and real happiness in this period of mortal probation.
May God bless you with the courage, boldness, enthusiasm, and desire to restore faith in the gospel of our Lord and Savior."
When I had read this the first time, I was thinking "How can I improve, what is needed for me to be better than I was last month, last year?" I really was searching on how I can be a better missionary, time is running out out here. When I read Elder Perry's challenge, i knew. He speaks of bringing all back to Christ. To have a new sense of commitment. I love when he lets us know that God will bless us with courage, boldness, enthusiasm, and desire. It hit me so hard. I thought of each one of those and how the Lord could help me and what I could do to have His support. I can tell you that He has been supporting. 
This past week as we finally had some time to go finding, I have felt that increase of each of those. I feel with the Christmas Spirit and testimony of the Savior, I am much more bold in declaring who He is and how He is the gift. The Church's campaign or whatever it is called about "He is the Gift" is so great. I watched the video today. It is great. I am so stoked to share about Jesus Christ to more and more. I just feel the fire of Christ building and burning! I love it. The Church stole the slogan from our mission though, back in August we made the mission goal of 65 baptisms in December for a "Gift to Christ" So they just changed it a wee bit. 
We had a lesson with an investigator who hasn't been really keeping commitments. We have been working with her and trying to help her in any way. Just been trying to make sure we understand her viewpoint. She is great and we really respect her, but we just need her to try out what we invite. Everytime she does, she will pull something bad out of a commitment. Well just a couple of days ago, she pulled a Bible scripture on us to almost condemn us. Her intent was to say that we will be accursed for teaching the Doctrine of Christ restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. 
At that moment, I felt some fire in my heart. It wasn't of anger but of the Spirit. I believe my companion felt the same. We both bore our personal testimony to her of the Savior and His gospel, of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the work he did. Our member who was there bore her testimony as well. It was like the room was filled with burning fire. It was very powerful and intense. She felt the Spirit. We left her knowing that she has the option to start the search for more truth or not. We left her with the choices. It is kind of like this by President Uchtdorf "Brothers and sisters, as good as our previous experience may be, if we stop asking questions, stop thinking, stop pondering, we can thwart the revelations of the Spirit. Remember, it was the questions young Joseph asked that opened the door for the restoration of all things. We can block the growth and knowledge our Heavenly Father intends for us. How often has the Holy Spirit tried to tell us something we needed to know but couldn’t get past the massive iron gate of what we thought we already knew?"
I am so excited for this Christmas season and the work of the Lord that we get to do! I am so excited to share the Gift. I pray that we may find those that are in need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to come to it for the first time or come back. I love the Spirit of Christmas!
Elder Townsend

Happy Christmas Time!! Dec. 1, 2014

Well today is December 1st for us so that means I found the little tree inside of our apartment and set it up last night. I made a star out of the "I'm a Mormon" cards that we give out. It was nice. I will send a picture if I can get on another computer that will allow me.

This week was pretty good. I actually had a real Thanksgiving! We met as a zone of missionariesThursday noon and were able to cook a feast. We had a couple of turkey's and a whole lot of mashed potatoes. My great friend Elder Woodburn, started mission together, is in the same zone so we were able to cook together and be thankful together. It was fantastic. In fact, he was my zone leader and we had gone on exchanges the day before! It worked out that we were able to  go on exchanges together, not too often does that happen! Exchanges with him were so great. 24 hours in about 1 hour. We were able to teach some cool people and one of their investigators from Nigeria. She was so great. Then the following Saturday there is a family in the ward who brings over many friends for a thanksgiving dinner at their home on this super cool island. This island only has bikes and no cars or anything. It was a great time and we were able to meet some really great people!

This past week we had a pretty interesting experience. So the week before we met that guy Douglas. Well we were to meet him on the following wednesday. We got a text from him on Tuesday telling us that he would be moving that afternoon to mainland. He was offered a place to stay and a more stable job. He had to catch the bus that afternoon if he wanted it. Well the way it all worked out was really neat. We had an appointment that afternoon with someone out in a place away from where he'd be so no way of seeing him. Well right after we got off the phone with him, our appointment called an cancelled. This opened up and we were able to meet Douglas for a few minutes. When we got to the station he asked if we wanted to sit for two minutes before he left. We walked over to a bench, sat down, and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. After that, he left. 
As we got up to walk away, I noticed a man who headed straight toward us. He was carrying a sandwich so I thought he really wanted our bench or the other was he wanted to cause us some trouble. Well instead as we were walking he asked us in his German accent "you guys come around here a lot and just talk to people?" We turned around and started to talk to him. He told us of a story while growing up around age 4 in Germany that missionaries were over at his home and they had cooked popcorn. We talked with him and shared about what we do. When we asked if he would have any interest to meet with us he said yes! He then gave us his address and scheduled us for the coming friday. It was such an awesome thing. He is a very nice guy. When we met with him, the lesson was a little bit different than expected but hopefully we will be able to guide him and help him as we continue to meet! 

Well I am not too sure what to write about. This week was fairly quick. We are still meeting with Joel and he is doing fantastic. We are praying that he will continue to do well and be able to make his date on the 14th! He will make it. It is exciting. Hopefully the weather will continue to be warm so he can be baptized at the rock pool in Discovery Bay since we don't have a font anywhere near to where we meet. We don't have a chapel for us. We meet in a school and meet in some of its classrooms. 
This week I have been pondering a lot on what it means to be a shepherd and not to be a sheep herder. I have been thinking a lot about how a shepherd knows his sheep. He knows the one that likes to sway to the left. He knows the one who stops more frequently. He knows them all. I have been focusing on really understanding others as the Savior would. It is really neat when you have been praying a lot for an investigator and then when meeting with them, thoughts guided by the Holy Spirit allows us to discern and help. Knowing that we are all little shepherds or supporting our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. I have been pondering a lot on how he will treat them, what he would do.
Anyways I can't think. Construction is loud and my typing is terrible.
Elder Townsend

Just a couple of days....November 23,2014

Well I guess I wasn't too informative last week which means I am supposed to write more today? Aiya, not sure what to write.
Well this past week/weekend was an interesting one. I didn't realize that it would seem so hard when I heard that Babsie had passed away. It really just hit hard for that day. Not sure how to describe. But then events happened and it just made it powerful. In fact, I just felt the power of having grandma Babsie here with me. That night we taught a lesson to a lady that we had helped move some stuff a couple days before. When she was asking questions, I just felt that I was truly able to bear my testimony. It helped me have a bigger perspective and really made me look and see where my faith was in towards God. Too many things kept taking place that just let me know that He takes care of us. I will always be grateful for Babsie and the cherished relationship that we do have. She really meant a lot to me and I am so grateful for her example. It was great because the next day we went to go meet with a Sister West from the branch who just moved here. She was sharing about her life and her experiences. She had such a great attitude and warmed our hearts. She reminded me of Babsie a whole lot so it was just a great time. 

Well this week we met a new guy, Douglas. He approached us and had some questions. We were able to schedule him and invite him to church. He ended up coming and had a great experience. He said that this branch just felt so much love. Which is true, Discovery Bay branch is the coolest, most loving branch. It is a huge family. After church we got to know him and share about what we do. We let him see that the main thing we can do it teach him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help guide him in developing a relationship with God. He seemed interested in how to learn. Many years have gone by and God has never heard his prayers it what he had said. But he feels maybe this time, this opportunity, God will hear him. It was really neat because I felt that messages at Church were directed to him and us all very strongly. They were on of gratitude, the Lord being our Shepherd, and then on prayer.  He has seemed to have a very hard life so it will be an intense journey for him. I just believe and know that this Gospel will allow him to understand more and guide him. I am so grateful for faith.
Joel is doing very well. He is such a great example to us. He is demonstrating so much faith in the Lord through all that he has to go through. He originally started to learn the gospel so he could help his son on a path of religion. He told us, I have made my mind up about the gospel, I know it is true. His baptismal date is for December 14th!

Also this less-active member and her son Lila and Leo Siwa were able to come to church this Sunday! So exciting. She had requested Sunday off and knew that it was going to be a busy week, but she really wanted to attend church. They made it! Her son is hilarious and loves to learn the gospel. He is 9 and a character. He just wants to make sure to always do good. 
This weekend went well. I am just so grateful for the Lord and His love. He is love. Man, it sure just made me realize that I just need to show so much more to those that I come in contact with. Companion, roommate, elders, members, investigators, and everyone! Sometimes I think of how am I going to help this person or support them. It is probably a lame solution and much more out there found by the wise, but I just think "just love them." I have learned that love is expressed in so many ways. Seeing the way that the Lord spread that love to me this week helped me open my eyes. I hope that I can always help these people here in the wild world of Hong Kong can just feel good. feel loved. It is pretty good stuff! 
Sorry, but a lame letter. 
Elder Townsend

the pictures are a few weeks old. We went on a hike to a water fall and it ended up being a trickle. This is a picture of an FHE that we had with some members and investigators. Joel is the man next to me. the other picture is with David who is a less active from a long time ago.

Aiya November, 20,2014

I only got a couple of minutes because we live way far away and went to the temple today. There was a really neat Spirit there today and I cool feel it as I prayed. Very grateful for the temple.
This week was so fast I am not sure what to write. 

We had a really great speaker in sacrament meeting. He spoke on two things that I really enjoyed. He talked about himself being raised as an atheist and how he was to always question everything. He spoke on how later in his life he started to question Atheism. As these things occurred, he found evidences of God. Whether they be blessings to him or whatever they may be. Later though came to hard parts, having faith and trust in what he came to know. He said, you can't have the faith to see things because you can be deceived anyone can trick you, but there are times when that faith is so strong, you don't want to see. As he continued with that he shared that the principle and power of faith is something that brings us up. That not much can lift us up. 
I thought about how knowing about the Atonement of Jesus Christ does us no good unless we have faith in it. There is no power until God allows us to exercise our faith. Waiting for opportunities to exercise it just delays us of becoming a greater man. It is in the moment we choose to exercise our faith and give to the will of the Lord is when we will find blessings. He went on to talk about what do we give to the Lord that is the greatest. This man spoke of giving our will to the Lord. How much that can be for us. When we give our will to the Lord, we become His. We enable ourselves to have the glory that is designed within us. Whether it be those blessings from heaven now or the ones in the future. I have been thinking a lot about how and have I given my will to the Lord. This thought that I have been pondering a lot has been very helpful.
This week we were able to help some people out and meet some investigators and less active members. It was good. I am loving this branch. 
I am out of time. sorry. I just don't know what to write today.
Elder Townsend

G'day mate. Nov. 9,2014

Well this week was one of those weeks where I felt a lot more like the missionary image potrayed/heard of before my mission. 
How so? Well let me see. I always had the image of missionaries running from some dogs... Just yesterday my companion and I were going out to a village to go and try to meet up with this guy that had previously been contacted. It was starting to become evening time. The first set of dogs while we were walking there we got a good view of and as they started to come up to us we walked away. 
rWell after we made our attempt to visit the guy, he had some company over, we were headed home and it was dark. As we were walking back, we were walking on the road that ended up being by a construction site (we had picked up rocks before just in case..) As we were walking, a deep big growls and barking came from two dogs. I stopped to squint and see where they were and saw a very large black creature coming at us with another behind. I turn to see my companion running off already (already had an experience.. ha) so I start running with hearing these dogs chasing us. As I look at my companion, I see that he isn't running he is hauling. So I put down my head and start to go to. Those dogs were pretty fast. 
Well eventually we were running down a little path and trying to get away. We eventually heard them not pursuing us anymore so we jogged for a second and stopped. That is when we were at a 3 way road in the middle of trees all around us. My companion had no idea of where to go. As we sat there, we decided to say a prayer. There were two ways to go and one where the dogs were. After the prayer a strong feeling came to to go one way. We started down that way and it was feeling good. The only problem was that it could possibly take us back. As we were going though, Heavenly Father wanted to make sure we knew that we were on the right path as we had asked Him to guide us, the out of nowhere a little family comes walking and the boy has got a flashlight. They confirmed we were on the right path and continued on with them. We were so blessed and thankful to Heavenly Father for guiding us through the Holy Ghost.

Here in Hong Kong most locals are Buddhist and do Ancestor Worship and if not they are Christian or attended a Christian school. Not many times are they too educated and they don't really take the time to try to tear you apart. Well I moved to Discovery Bay and I love it. Most of the people we talk to are nice and occasionally chat with us either on the bus or the street. That was my view and I still believe most people are nice. Well we went to zone conference and I was chatting with elder from a England. He told me he was glad he didn't serve in England like his cousin because "Brit's will tear you up. They can be vicious." Well I laughed and told him that most people were fairly nice and enjoy talking. Then we met a man who happened to love to try to tear down Mormon missionaries. It was ironic because it was the same day that he told me that this happened. We were on the bus with this man and he had his time. We took it well and pretty humbly, I feel. I just avoided arguments and would answer questions.
 Afterwards though I just felt a lot more like a missionary and like a disciple of Christ. It was a very interesting experience though, I feel that before my mission I would have just looked at the bad in this man and just want to do what he did to us. Return the fire. But this time, as I sat there, I thought a lot about how much Heavenly Father loved His children and even those who were lost. I thought about how the Atonement could really truly help this man. I didn't full understand why I had felt a love for this man. Then I thought of His apostles such as Paul. As Paul teaches about Charity in 1 Corinthians, I thought a lot about his life and how he must have developed and grew to understand that charity he testified about. It was a really neat experience and gave me a larger out look on life. It was good to because I had been studying more on charity again and prayed to learn it in new ways as well. Just barely am I realizing that is how Heavenly Father wanted me to have another view.

We also went knocking on doors! It was great because we went to this one house and rang the bell. The lady invited us to come back and meet with her! That is a first time for me!
It has been really neat this past week to see how the Spirit has been working on people. Really changing their hearts and helping them accept the gospel. We have an investigator who isn't admitting to feeling the Spirit but after church, she had really felt it was true. We tried to get her to recognize what it was, but she wouldn't say it out loud. Joel our investigator is also doing fantastic. He is such a neat guy and really just looking on how to internalize the teachings of Christ. Each time when we meet with him, I walk out of there having learned a lot. One thing I really enjoy about him is that he sees the purpose in everything and sees why the Lord will do things the way He does. Joel is also very quick to observe. He works very hard for what he must do.
Alright, that is all I got.
At zone Conference President Hawks really touched up on the point "Always be where the Lord can find you." It was great. He related this with 1 Samuel. It was great. I have been pondering that much more./
Elder Townsend

Miracle Bay!! Nov. 2, 2014

That is what it is called after this week, Miracle Bay! 
This week was a pretty awesome. So my area is pretty cool. Being on this Island, we travel to all the towns that are built around it. They are these cool little beach towns like this place called Mui Wo. One of the other cool things is that when we go to teach Joel or go to HK island we take a ferry! It is so great to sit there on the water and travel somewhere. I love it. This letter will be quick though.
Well this week we had a cool experience happen. On thursday night we went to the Steimle's home and had dinner and shared a message and talked about the people they are working to help. Well they brought up a person named David. He had been baptized a long time ago and they had somehow met him and came to learn he was a member. Well David hadn't been to the church in a long time and has had some pretty hard things happen and is working to fix things. He had gotten back to HK and needed to get some help. Brother Steimle had been helping him and wanted us to meet him. David doesn't work right now so we were hoping that we could schedule him. We got his number and planned to call him that night. Well after their home, we headed to go and try and visit another less-active member and also see if we could meet with her and her husband. After visiting with her, we left to head home. While walking down the path, there were homes to our right. Outside of a little home that sold drinks and treats were two men sitting at a table having some beers. They said hello to us and we walked over to chat. Elder Young was saying hello to one of the guys and I with the other. The one guy I was talking to was pretty tan sitting there with a sailor hat on, some scruff on the face, and a vest on. He asked me how long I'd been out and I told him. In his british accent, he responsed "wow, almost done with two years" I said yes and asked how he knew we did two years. He responded "My name is David and I'm a mormon too" Wow, this was so exciting because we had just talked about him with the Steimle's! Right then the other friend asked if he could buy us a beer, we told him we didn't drink and offered to buy us an american drink of Coke! We sat down with them so we could talk more with David. It was great. He told us he'd attend church on Sunday and we'd see him there. Then this Sunday he walked into church with the Steimle's. It was so great. We'll hopefully see him this week! 
This has been a solid week filled with lots of teaching. Joel is doing really well and just a builder of my faith. He shares what he learns and it is so powerful. We are working with him so that he can prepare himself for baptism. His son is also doing well. We just need to teach him, but he seems to be doing well with the primary! I am needing to work on my Mandarin because that is all his wife speaks. My mandarin is so terrible! ha She really likes us, but doesn't have too much interest. Joel had watched 17 miracles and really enjoyed it. He said, I will never complain about me going to church! All i have to do is catch the ferry and then hop on a bus! Joel is so great. 
We also have this investigator who is pretty stubborn about what we teach and is using her Bible knowledge to understand. This is great, except she wasn't willing to read the Book of Mormon nor praying about it. After we taught her a couple of times, we made sure to bear testimony of the truthfulness of our message. The Spirit was really strong. Well she had sent us a text and had been reading the Book of Mormon. The funny part was that she asked if the candy we had given to her for Halloween had a spell in it! haha that is the power of the word of God!
It is going well. We are making sure we stay working hard and humble. I really enjoy talking to the people here. I was at first nervous of the thought of going proselyting and speaking in English but in fact it is really fun. We have talked to some really hilarious people. It is nice. It can be hard and a lot different from Chinese work though. Here, people have a Christian background while Chinese work not so much.

Elder Townsend

Discovery Bay October 26, 2014

Well good news, Jason got baptized this Sunday and his mum attended the baptismal service! At least that is what I am told... Say what? Yep, I have been transferred to a new area.. But it is all good because it is great. I am now serving in Discovery Bay which is an international branch out here on Lantau Island! Yep, that means I am speaking the English! My companion is Elder Young (first non-chinese companion in over 9 months.. haha) At first I was feeling a little bummed because I wouldn't be there for Jason, but after I ran into president on moves, meeting members and investigators, and Prayer, I know I am at where I need to be! I LOVE IT! This branch is super great and they are the nicest people. Also, i actually completely understood the church meetings! haha It went by so fast.

Some cool things about Discovery Bay is that there is a family here, the Steimle's, that were in the same ward as my dad in Draper! I had ran into them once a month ago and had recognized them and was excited to see them, now I am in their branch! They are so great and it made it so cool walking into the branch and feeling their warm welcome. I am excited to work with them! They are super involved in missionary work and the branch and you can just feel their love radiate off of them! We will be heading over to their home this coming week so I am stoked for that.

Well I don't know what to write about. I guess I will start with the week. I found out I was moving on Tuesday and we had Jason's baptismal interview on that night. So since he had to try on the whites for baptism, we snagged a picture. haha The computer I am on can't send photo's but I will try later. Then I got to say goodbye to a couple of less-active members we had been working with and bear my testimony one last time to them. Mike and A-Chong have such great progress and are reading the Book of Mormon a lot. Their testimonies were such a strength to me, sure do love them! Well then on Wednesday, we went to Crossroads. Oyo had found out that it would probably be Elder Cordon's last week and maybe mine there, so he had a present for us. He sewed us some of his very own shorts! He is very good at it so it was so awesome. Just like the ones he makes. Then we were able to get a Crossroads T-shirt so Elder Cordon and I were so happy. That was such a great time serving there and just fell in love with all the workers/volunteers there.

Well this week we went and met with an investigator named Joel. He is from France and is the greatest man ever. We had sat down to share with him about baptism by fire, he had baptized as a Catholic when he was a baby, and had some questions. Well it ended up being a great lesson and he showed us his wisdom. He had read 2 Nephi 31 previous to the lesson and had a great comparison. He compared baptism by fire to a forest fire or a controlled one when a person must rid the land of weeds, old plants, and other things. Then the fire goes through and destroys it all so that a pure, rich soil can be made and then new plants can grow to their fullest. It was amazing when he was sharing this. 
Going into the lesson, we didn't know this would happen. He hadn't accepted a baptismal invite before, then that night he was teaching us. We extended a baptismal invite to him and he accepted. He also has a son named Gabriel. Gabriel is such a creative boy and hilarious. Joel is hoping to guide his son in the light and on the path to God. We walked home in complete awe that night. I was amazed at the faith and desire in that man. I hadn't seen such a deep understanding and desire of the scriptures until that night.

Later we met with a sister and then a family who are from the Phillipines. They are so great and I love them. Their is the Cruze family who are just the greatest people. It is a father and mother at home now. The faith and strength that they demonstrate is great. We are hoping to see them come next week to church. Walking into their home, I just felt such a peace. We shared a message from Alma 14 and they shared experiences where God had blessed them through Priesthood Power.
It is going well out here. When I first got out here, I was missing chinese people so much. After so long with them, I felt like I could relate to them so much more and to be honest, I was pretty nervous to talk with people in English and also to not locals. But after meeting the members and investigators, I felt a lot more peace and excited to go forth. The branch is just great. We had started a 40 day fast in Tuen Mun and I decided to ask my companion about it and he like the idea. So we talk witht the Mission Leader and Branch President and will be starting just in time that it will end before Christmas! It'll be a great way to open opportunities to bring other unto Christ for Christmas!
One thing that is really hard, praying out loud in english. I feel so awkward and always go to say something in Chinese. I have to translate as I pray. Especially with all the Thy's, thou's and thee's. 'th' is pretty rough. haha I have been working on it though!
Well it is going good, i am excited.
Elder Townsend

你妤 October 20,2014

Well this week went by fast and turned out a little different than expected where we weren't able to have so much time to go proselyting as we had wished. We ended up having the opportunity to do some baptismal interviews for other missionaries which was great.

Well to start off the week, the office elders had brought down a nice shipment of copies of the Book of Mormon for us and our zone. We had the goal of each district passing out 65 in this month and well the missionaries have really taken on the challenge. Having 3 districts of 8 missionaries in each, we had planned there to be 195 copies given out. Well as of today (not even done with the month) our zone has given out over 300 copies!! So great. 

Anyways we had to go pick up the boxes from another chapel and take them to ours. There was 3 boxes so the other elders came with us. As we were waiting for the light rail to come, we put down our boxes and sat on the bench. I wanted to save a little room so I sat on mine. Well after I sat down, across the track came another light rail. it stopped at the station to let people get on and off. Well at the window was this man. He looked at me and smiled. I smiled back. Then he started to chuckle a little. So I started to chuckle. Then he started to grin and laugh, so I gave him a thumbs up and laughed as well. Their train was having a lot of issues getting people on and off so it was their longer. Anyways eventually he was laughing so hard looking at me and we were all getting a good laugh too. This went on for about 2 minutes. We kept eye contact the entire time. It was pretty funny. For some reason, seeing me sit on the box was hysterical to him. Many of the people on the train around him were looking at him why he was laughing and then looked out to see us all smiling. They were probably confused.  It was a great way to start off a laugh for the week.

This last Saturday, between two of the wards was a sport's night for the youth. Since our ward is so small we were invited with Jason and one of our investigators Leonardo.  We had the baptismal interviews at that chapel so it worked out for us. Jason showed up with some other youth. Watching him play around with them was great. He just seemed like a priesthood holder. He is such an example. 
Well then that night the games went on. We came back and it seemed to be going well. When we came outside we noticed a new man who had joined in playing with all the boys. He was "like a NBA star! So strong and dark!" said all the young men. haha he was from Berma and saw everyone playing(court is outside) so he stopped by with his wife and started to play basketball. We talked with him and his wife, they were super nice and great. His wife was from HK. Well after the games we had ice cream and had everyone gather around. Not sure if they just felt out of place eating it or what but they went off to the side of the court where a ping pong table was set up and started to play. I invited them but they said it's alright. Well here is the cool part. Towards the end, while all the people were eating ice cream and talking, two young men that are brothers went and filled up two cups. Then they walked over to them, split at the same time and gave them ice cream. They wouldn't leave until they took it. 
I loved this story because how great of an example is that! Two young men just demonstrated noticing and loving others. They didn't just notice the people didn't come over, but they thought and acted in a way of involving them and feel loved. It was just such an example and reminder to me of the importance of striving to be like Christ in all ways and all time. I just loved that.

Cool News. not sure if I wrote about it or not. So the ward has a temple day on the November 8. They'll be heading down to do baptisms. Jason really wanted to go and take part, the only thing is that he needs to have the priesthood to go in the temple. Bishop Wong has arranged that Jason will have a temple recommend interview and also be able to receive the Aaronic priesthood the day he his confirmed and receives the Holy Ghost. Bishop has seen how Jason is and acts and says he is ready to hold the priesthood. He has also interviewed him before and thinks he is an incredible man. the Young Men's leader, Hyde Leung, is so excited. He will be baptizing Jason and we are beyond excited!! Brother Leung has been such a great support and help to Jason. He always is there for him and takes time to pull him aside and chat with him. Between conference sessions, he talked with him and is helping him with his Duty to God. So awesome. this just made me so  much more grateful for the young men's leaders I had. I don't think they will ever know or understand how much they mean and what an example they have set for me. I love them so much. 

Well this week was pretty good. Just really quick. So excited for this Sunday for Jason. Also moves calls are tomorrow so pray that I stay in Tuen Mun!! I have been here for 6 months already.. But I have faith I will stay! :)

hello 大家 October 12, 2014

Well this week was a good one. 
As missionaries, we do something called weekly planning. It is good, sometimes it is pretty hard to stay actively awake. For some reason, every time it starts, instant fatigue hits me. So this past thursday, elder woo and I were sitting down discussing our plans. Well I was getting tired and I decided to think with my eyes closed. Elder Woo was talking about some stuff and what not. After a a minute or two, I shouted out "Hello" scared me to death. What happened was I went in to a day dream and a guy was walking up to us so I tried to contact him and spoke out loud. That experience just showed me how focused I am as a missionary, skipping the planning.. haha just kidding.
alright Miracle!!!

Well fasts and prayers were answered! Guess who's parent said he can be baptized...! Jason!!!!! Yeah it was so amazing. So he went to talk to his parents the night after everyone in the zone had prayed for him. That night he went and talked to his parents. Well when he brought it up to them, they said sure. Yeah seriously nothing like before, hearts were softened!! Such a miracle. Since jason wants to get baptized by himself, he will be getting baptized on the 26th of this month!! It was so great. since our phone is our alarm, I heard it go off the night he asked his parents and it had characters on it in a text from him. I thought it said baptism three times but wasn't sure. Then we got a text from him and I recognized a couple characters and thought it said his parents were no problem. Well Elder Woo confirmed it that morning and we all had a little celebration. SO great.
 Also Jason attended all sessions of General Conference and really enjoyed it. He is great. The other cool thing was the night we were meeting with Jason to give him a baptismal form for his parents to sign, Bishop Wong was at the church. He heard about Jason and congratulated him. Bishop a few days before was talking about how is a miracle in ward council and then he said that another miracle had happened for him in being allowed. It was so cool because Bishop told Jason, "you know missionaries may leave and times will be hard, but the most important thing is that you have faith in Christ. Then you must always endure to the end. That is a very important part. But just so you know, I will always be here to support you." My heart felt so much strength and happiness then. It was so great to hear Bishop tell him that and just see the love he showed for him. Bishop Wong is the best bishop ever.

This Friday we decided to do a Book of Mormon find/pass out. It was so excellent. There is obviously is a lot of opposition here, so we decided to fight it with the Book of Mormon. We set up a banner and passed out and shared about the Book of Mormon. In about an hour and a half, we had given out 52 copies of the Book of Mormon! It was so cool, people would walk up "I hear your church is evil and has that book, I have been curious why.." We then would tell them here is proof it isn't and share about the Book of Mormon, they'd walk away with a copy. It was so cool, we had people walking up and asking if they could have and read a copy. Of course we gladly gave them and they would walk away looking at the book.
Right at the end, there was one book we couldn't give out. No one seemed to stop and take it. We had been giving them out so quickly and frequently, it was weird that it wouldn't go out. Then all of a sudden a man was right in front of me looking at the book. He said, I have always been very curious about this book and church. Why it has this book and why people will say it is the truth or why others will avoid it like it is deadly poison. Can I please read this? I have always wanted to read a copy." It was so cool because I just knew that the Spirit had placed us both in each others paths and kept this copy for him. I am praying that he will find the truth and feel of the power of the truth!

Wow General Conference was so powerful. Our investigator Barry was able to come to Saturday night session before work and enjoyed it. Then he decided he would also come sunday morning because he enjoyed it so much. The coolest part is that he only got an hour of sleep that night because he works night shifts, but because of how powerful and much he enjoyed it, he skipped sleep to watch it again!
Well i can't think too much again
Elder Townsend 
This is our hike to Tsing Shan, 2nd highest place in HK and 1st highest in the New Territories. This over looks my area and other missionaries areas. 

Elder Woo and I on top of the world

 Throwing on Elder Tam's glasses. 
Looks like Harry Potter kind. 
He is super MK (Mong Kok) type of Hong kong style!


Us with Jason!

Hello there... October 5, 2014

Well this week I don't have too much to write about. I am stoked to watch General Conference though! I heard that they did sound overs rather than subtitles.. Aiya, that means we won't be able to hear Elder Wong speak in Cantonese! Super cool though!

Well Jason is doing super well. He is working on the Duty to God program. He said he really wants to be able to go to the temple. This past fast Sunday we with the youth and leaders and Jason fasted so he will be able to be baptized on the 19th of October! Jason was loving it and also even donated to Fast Offerings. He wants to have all the blessings and is doing great. He brought his friend to church this Sunday and was so stoked. After church he said, whenever you get a new investigator, call me. I will help you teach. I am pro. haha It was great. He is feeling the joy of bringing people to Christ and not afraid to share what he believes. He is great. He reads 3 chapters of the Book of Mormon every night as well. This was his own goal and he is on top of it! Go Jason!

Honestly, this week was so quick and I am not sure what happened. Just been busy with zone stuff and what not so nothing interesting to write about. We are doing some cool things these coming months though. To use the power of prayer, as missionaries we are each night kneeling down and praying for a specific investigator from a companionship from the zone. So we have all the nights broken out and then we send out a text for who we are all praying for. It is pretty awesome knowing that there are many missionaries praying for the person. We send a little bio of them so they also know what to pray for. 
Also in December we have the goal of 65 baptisms and 65 less actives coming back to church and receiving a call. This is our mission's "gift to Christ". To help keep up the excitement we are having each district pass out at 65 Book of Mormons this month. With the rate of some of the Districts this past week, they pass out much more! It is cool to see the excitement. Also we want people to feel the power of the Book of Mormon and President always reminds us that when an investigator reads the Book of Mormon, they will overcome problems with much more strength. 
Honestly I don't know what to write about today. Hopefully next week I will. 
I know that this is the Lord's work and that He strengthens us. I know the gopsel is true!
Elder Townsend

What a week September 28, 2014

Well today is a special day, we can't go out for Preparation day today. Even out here in the New Territories. Nothing too big at all, but President Hawks wants us to be safe. Since this week is when HK went back to China, there are a lot of protests and riots going on. More than last year. But hey, no worries because they are mainly just college students that are doing this and lets be honest, they had to study A LOT to get here. Nothing condescending, just meaning that hopefully they won't go too crazy. There are some pretty big crowds, but we will be fine. Also in the New T's we don't see anything. Looking out the window looks like another average day. ha!

Well what food do I like. I like it all. Chinese food and other foods. There are a lot of middle eastern people and Indian people that live here in New T's as well so we get killer curry. All missionaries love this place called Tam Jai Sam Gor. It is noodles. The first time you have it, not too good. Second time, decent. Third time you are addicted and get it once a week. It is a pretty good spice too. Numbs you right up!

Jason is doing super great! He brought one of his friends to meet with us and was a super great missionary! He would be like, "hey talk about this!" and what not. He also went and grabbed a Book of Mormon for his friend. The best part was when he said, "read this book. It is true. It is the best. I know the church is true because of the Book of Mormon. I know it is the word of God." That was so powerful coming out of his mouth. His friend has interest and is going to meet with us again. Jason loves to talk about the church to his friends and his older sister when he see her. She lives in mainland so when she comes down, she wants to learn. Jason friend wanted to learn because they grew up together for a long time and he saw Jason get a lot more mature and he also wakes up early every morning to go to seminary. He was wondering why on earth he would do that so that is why he came. Jason is such an example. 

We met with Anderson this week. We taught with Brother Yu. Anderson we have had some cool experiences in the past with, so I was excited. we had a lesson plan to share with him, but I just felt like I wasn't too sure on it. Well when we sat down to meet with him, he shared some things and then Brother Yu started sharing about the Plan of Salvation and how God has arranged things for him. It was so powerful. Brother Yu is an amazing teacher and just teaches from his heart. It was just such a reminder and testimony to me that when we share the truths we feel in our heart, the Spirit enters and then that is when the Spirit teaches. 

We got a call this week as we were about to start dinner from a member. She said she had a friend who was sick and needed a blessing. She was wondering if she could have one even though she wasn't a member. We said of course as long as she had faith. We showed up and seeing the lady, my heart hurt a little. She has had cancer for the past almost 2 years. She had some surgeries and from the medicine and surgery her entire arm was swollen up to where she couldn't use it and also her legs were. So we shared with her about the priesthood and Jesus Christ and His atonement. Afterwards, we gave her a blessing. After the blessing, she sat back on her couch and kept saying.. "I believe, I believe, i believe.." I believe the Power and Love of God had touched her for the first time. She is doing better, having more strength. She said when she gets well enough, she will come to church. She prays every night as well too.
 I am thankful for the Lord supporting us in times of trials. I know He supports each and everyone. It is an amazing work that we are doing out here. I just pray that I can be where the Lords wants me to be and that I will always keep myself ready for His work. It is real and I know it is true.
Also all members are a missionary! We had this old grandma member bring a friend she made at an old folks home to church! He was like 90 something and was as deaf as an old man. haha I don't know a comparision. It was awesome, he was just smiling big most of the time. haha
Elder Townsend
I had one picture, but I forgot my attachment. Better luck next time.