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