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.

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