Karaoke n' Potlucks July 20, 2014

Well this week was super quick mainly because my companion and I went on two exchanges with missionaries in our zone. So that was pretty tiring not sleeping in my bed.. ha! It was good though, we were able to get to know some fairly new members of our zone and also able to see what their strengths were and also how we could help them out. It is a great time to be out here in the New Territories. We are starting to see a lot more success and unity, so it is getting pretty exciting.

Oh and the typhoon? yeah it rained and winded but that is it. Hong Kong is pretty protected so nothing really ever comes from it.

This Saturday our ward had our first ward activity since I have been here so I was pretty stoked! We had potluck and karaoke night. It was hilarious and great. One of the young men leaders had lived out in Canada and he likes tacos. So the young men made tacos for the potluck! So good. They were toned down a lot, but they were pretty dang good. It has been awhile! 
The activity was a lot of fun though, everyone was happy, gathered around food and the karaoke was pretty funny. I guess our ward invested in a super legit karaoke machine. When we were there, I saw this brother using this touch screen machine thing that hooked up to a tv to play a video while you could search out other ones, and I thought wow, maybe that is his job or something; but then my companion told me it was the wards! So yeah, pretty cool you could say. It is always fun watching people karaoke.

Jason is doing pretty well. The young men leaders are so awesome here. They just want to build up their young men so much so they are always helping and what not. Jason hung out with them all Saturday making tacos and just chatting. He is doing a lot better as well. He is reading the scriptures and just learning everything. He was called on to pray in class again and did! Then our teacher was asking what we had learned last week and he answered and shared what fasting was and how it can bring us miracles. It is so cool to see how much he has grown in faith. He ended up being a little late for church because we called him that morning and asked him if he could dress up a little more nicer for church. Well it turns out he was going to be early this time but turned around, went home, through on a suit jacket and pants and came to church. Everyone was calling him "leng jai" "handsome boy" when he got there. I should have snagged a picture but didn't have my camera. 
Jason was reading in the Book of Mormon about Nephi having to have many attempts to get the plates from Laban. We had talked with him about that and how that may be how it is with him talking to his parents about baptism. He has talked to them, but they have said no. We bore testimony on how when we do things with the Spirit and being led by the Spirit is when it will work out. He said he would pray and have the Spirit help him as he spoke with his parents! He is so great, just wanting to be a better person. Seriously since we first met him to now, he is grown a lot. Just the way he talks and acts. So cool to see his faith in action.

Well that is all I really have for this week since that half of it was spent other places. I guess I just want to write on how grateful I am for the Savior and how much I love Him. Each day I learn on how I can love Him better and how He loves me. I am so grateful for Him in each part He supports me in my life. I sometimes just wish so bad I could just shake people here until they would get out of their busy lives and realize how amazing His love is. I know that He came to earth and that He lives. I may not now too much as those who have more wisdom, but I am so grateful for which I do know. Christ lives and He loves each of us. His Atonement is eternal and each time I see myself or another apply the Atonement in their lives, I just feel so happy. I feel full. That is one of the greatest things that I have come to know and continue to learn is about Jesus Christ is how He gives us such great purpose in our lives. I just don't know what to write except that I love Him. Sometimes I get asked what the hardest thing of being a missionary is. I believe is not seeing someone just understand how much Christ has done for them, that He has overcome the world. When I read those words in John 16:33 I can't help to smile with peace and just feel the power of those words. So amazing.
Well that is all I got for now.
Elder Townsend
This is a picture of us hitting up yam cha/ dim sum for Preparation day!
Basically you just eat tons of little snack foods/meats/stuff that is super good and probably not the best for you, but hey, we walk lots. 

Joe Sawn July 13, 2014

That's my best way of spelling Good Morning. Joe Sawn.
Well this week went by incredibly fast and I am really enjoying things that happened! This keyboard is super sticky so i'll see what I can write..

Alright, one of the best benefits of serving in such a small mission, you have the chance to run into members of the wards that you served in! So this Saturday we had what is called the "Peak Service" They haven't had once since '93 so it has been awhile. This is a little spiritual fireside type thing where we gather as a group of Saints at the Peak (highest point in HK)  and they share about the church. In July 14, 1949 was when Elder Matthew Cowley came and said a dedicatory prayer in HK for the missionary work. So they gather together to remember it. In a rock on the peak you can even see the rock where they etched in the date still to this day. 

Anyway since the church has grown, it wasn't approved by the government to meet there so we ended up going to Wan Chai building to meet. I was stoked for this to hear of the pioneerage and also to see some members that I miss! 
Well we got to Wan Chai and I got to see Yu Man Kit! He is my favorite person ever. He helped us out so much back in TST so I was so stoked to see him. The place was pretty busy so I got to see some other members from TST ward and I was so happy to see them. I was bummed because Vox was in mainland and I didn't get to see the other recent converts from TST, but they are doing well. I was just so happy to see Man Kit, so I will post the picture of us! Then as we were leaving, i noticed in front of us a member that we had helped out in Tai Po. She had been less active before. When I was talking to her she told me that she got her mission call and will be serving in the Temple Square mission!!! So awesome to hear about that.

Then yesterday at church, a member of TST came to Tuen Mun and I was talking to him. Brother Lau had also helped us out a lot. Well as I was talking to him he was telling me of this one less active member that we had visited many times together. He had real long hair and wasn't dressing/living up the best he could either. Well anyways we started to get him to church but he'd still show up in a hoodie and jeans. Well then Peter told me that he had kind of stopped coming again but he went to talk to him and got him back while I was gone. He said that this member had cut off all of his hair, took out his ear rings and started dressing up for church!!!! So awesome to hear.

Well we had a great lesson to start off the week. We met with an investigator Eric. I had only seen him once when I first got here. As we talked with him, you could just see the tiredness in him. He is going to school right now and also working. He is trying to get a better job and what not. also it is all in english so it is pretty hard for him. When he first got there, he had us help him out a little. I was like oh great, just came to get help for his college homework. So we helped him, but I knew he'd be willing to listen to a message.
 As I sat there looking at him, I kept praying to Heavenly Father just to help us know what to do for him. He looked so worn out and I just wanted him to be happy. Well we started our lesson and started to share some scriptures on things to help him out. But eventually, we sat there, praying to know what to do to really help him. Well since I will struggle with words a lot in the Chinese and I wanted to him to know the love that God was having me feel for him to help me let him know things will be better, I have found how useful it is to share scripture to speak for me. (which is always better in english or chinese anyways)  So I shared one of my favorite scriptures. 
We both started to share with him how the Book of Mormon really is that key to help us understand God and partake of Christ's gospel. As we started to bear testimony, the Spirit came to the lesson. It was really good as we had shared a lot on how the true help is trusting God that this book will inspire him. That it will give him hope. That the Book of Mormon will bring him closer to his Father in Heaven. It was really neat the love that was there as we shared how God has loved us and answered us. Afterwards, Eric accepted a Book of Mormon! This was awesome because he used to always say no thanks. He didn't want one. He said he could read it online and also that it would save the enviroment. those kind of things. But after we had shared testimony of the Book of Mormon, I believe he felt the Spirit and that the Spirit guided him to know of the help he could receive! just a miracle!

Jason is doing well as well. His mother won't let him be baptized until he is 19 so we are still just teaching him an d building his testimony. It is so awesome to see his faith to follow commandments. We teach him the Word of Wisdom, he asks a couple questions, then he goes alright, i guess i can just drink chocolate milk tonight.  So great. Also it was amazing because he prayed with us out loud this week! He won't because he is shy and is afraid. We talked with him a lot and shared about prayer and then he prayed! Also he then prayed in class on Sunday!!! So great.

Well I am tired out typing on this keyboard. We have a potluck this Saturday so it'll be good. When the 2nd counselor of the bishopric was announcing it he was stoked because he loved to have them at BYU Hawaii so I am stoked for it too. Jason is cooking food with the young men so that is pretty great. Hopefully his family could come!
Oh last thing. Best day of my life on wednesday. There is a Mongolian man that I think is the coolest. His name is Oil. He works at crossroads. Well anyways we were working with him and he bought us cream sodas and had him sit and drink them with him. I will explain how great he is one day. Just know, best thing ever.
Elder Townsend!

Hello! July 6,2014

Well this week was a crazy one. Super tired. But feeling good. 

It started off with us going to a scout dinner, meeting. award, event thing. It was good, we got to meet a lot of people and talk a little. It was really cool because a lady that we met there attended english class and church this week with her daughter! They attend the other ward, but still so awesome. Since I didn't ever do scouts, I avoided questions about them, but they don't rank in HK so no problem. All the people loved that I did Air Force ROTC though, ha! If only they knew I just worked out and went to a class..

Then we had Mission Leadership Council with President and Sister Hawks. It was great as always. President taught us and shared about the Book of Mormon. It was incredible the way he taught on it. He talked about that the Book of Mormon was not at all a history of the people. That it contained a timeline but what it contained was the full doctrine of Christ and that it expounded on how we must live our lives. One thing that President had shared that I realized that I could be doing better was helping others get more involved with reading the Book of Mormon. I always would talk and read about it with them. But it really stuck out to me that this book as Joseph Smith said "a man will get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." I thought about that a lot. I always share about how things will bring others closer to God and that baptism will be one of those things, but I have lacked to emphasize how powerful the Book of Mormon is. 

In the gospel of Jesus Christ we share about enduring to the end. As I thought about that, what thing that really keeps us enduring is that reading in the Book of Mormon. I thought about my experiences with it and what has led me to know it was true. I wouldn't say I got an answer saying the book was true, but as I did what prophets wrote and as I tried to live by the teachings in it, that is when I felt closer to God. That is what allows me to know that it is the word of God because it has never failed. It always strengthens my testimony. So we have put a new emphasis on teaching the Book of Mormon and helping others understand the importance of it. Teaching it in a new way, making sure we bear strong testimony and looking at it from the perspective as those first missionaries in the past. I love when missionaries were first here, there was no chinese translation. They would do Book of Mormon classes, but there Chinese was bad. But the testimony of the Saints here say that when they heard the words of the book and saw it, the Spirit bore testimony of it. Now they are able to read it and love it. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. 

Well then we had our zone training. We are going to be focusing on being committed to win. Not to finish, but to win. The commitment it takes to desire to have success. Then we are focusing much more on unity. Also we are going to do as President and Sister Hawks encourages, evaluating with Gratitude. Sister Hawks is a great example of that. She has taught me so much more on gratitude since I have been out here and helped me notice all the other amazing examples I have had in my life that demonstrate gratitude. It is funny because after we set our zone plans and actions, we saw that each one was something Sister Hawks had taught us with us and in the past zone conferences. 

Well then later this week we attended the temple. It was truly amazing. I felt the Spirit super strong and it just pumped me for July!
Then we finally got to find!! Yep Saturday we finally had 6 hours of straight finding in the nice, hot, humid sun. I love it. I love the heat and humidity. I don't know why, but i do. It makes it hard to talk to people though, no not because that I am covered in sweat, but because no one really likes the sun to much here. If they are out, they are using umbrellas and it makes it hard to contact them. But hey, there is always fellow summer lovers so they stop to talk. 
Jason is doing well. He has a baptismal date for the 20th! we have a lot to teach him still and hopefully his parents wont be so opposed to the church.. He is such a great guy though. He came to church again and gets along super well with the other young man in our ward. So great. He seems much happier as he keeps coming as well. I love it!
Alright that is all i got.
Elder Townsend
happy 4th! Elder Chan and I went to lunch(after the temple) at the most American place we could go. Dan Ryan's. Yeah, that is an American behind us in the picture. 
We went to TST area and saw statues for the World Cup and went on the ferry.

Pres. Hawks asked the missionaries to always have a Book of Mormon in their hand- wherever they go

Where did June go?? June 30,2014

Wow, time has flown. I wrote that I was going to write friday, but with such a hectic week preparation day got changed back to monday, we still go to the temple friday though! This next week will fly by. My companion and I tonight are going to this big ole' fancy dinner with tons of leaders of schools and churches, and scouts of this area. It is put on by the Scouts and we'll see how it goes. We will be the only missionaries there with a member that is taking us! There is supposedly over 200 hundred people. So I spent my language study learning scout terms! haha

Alright, a little funny story of yesterday. While we wait for our church meetings to start we greet the members, there is another ward in our little building that meets 30 minutes before us. So there is a little gap between when people come. While we were sitting on the bench waiting for people, a sister from the other ward asked us to go to the bathroom and tell a little boy to come out and see what his old up was. When we walk in to the bathroom he was in the stall and talking to someone in there, but that guy was leaving. He opened up the stall door and we were like "are you ready to go? the teacher is waiting for you." He said he didn't want to leave and go to primary class. So we talked to him, he said he was 7 and 1/2 years old. We asked him if he was going to get baptized when he turned 8 and he said possibly. It was just funny because he had both arms up on the doors with his skinny pants and a little belly so he just looked like he was a model or something haha anyways we finally convince him to go get a drink of water with us, so he goes with us. The teacher walks over and grabs him to take him to class and he kept saying he didn't want to go because he doesn't like sitting with the girls. That was his hold up, he just didn't like those girls. Bummer. 

Well this week was good. We were able to teach an investigator who is totally in with the young men. They are all pretty good friends (all 3 of them now) and he went to an activity with them on saturday! Jason is pretty cool. He has a lot of interest in learning and a nice guy. He has family opposition so hopefully as we continue to teach him, the Lord will help his parents see the blessing of the gospel! Also we have this guy that comes to english class named Dick. He is the best man ever. Dick is always happy and just high on life. He loves his wife and loves to go traveling with her. He always is upbeat and makes my day. We taught him once before but he always is busy with work and taking his wife out to dinner. But they went to dinner early on friday, so Dick took us out for a drink afterwards so we could talk. We went and drank some gnarly chocolate drink that was interesting. We talked and then shared on how important this gospel is to his family. How it will allow him to be with his wife forever. It was a good chat and I pray he felt the Spirit to teach him the truth of that. Dick is really just the best guy ever. He always is laughing. 
Well that is all I got.
Elder Townsend
View from apartment window