Sunshine Jan. 18, 2015

It has been great and there has been sunshine the past little while. Loving it.
Alright well I just feel as if I barely wrote a couple of days ago..
Life is going well. We are going to be having some great things happening. Sister Arlyn and Gabriel both have the baptismal goals of February 1st and are looking good for it! It is pretty exciting. We just need to pray the weather stays nice and warm for that day since our baptisms are outside! 
We were able to meet with Joel and Gabriel a couple of times this week and it was great. Gabriel is the funniest kid ever. My friends and I used to do this ridiculous faces for when we would laugh and act surprised. Well we were teaching Gabriel and he goes.."Hey, hey, I got a question. What is the difference between Satan and Set?" We answered him about Satan being the Devil while set is some egyptian god. Elder Campbell new about Set. Gabriel said "so he doesn't look like some armadillo face right? Ha it is so funny and weird I could show you a picture if you would like?" it was pretty funny. He is great at learning the gospel though. He really understands concepts and is very great at sharing them with us. 
We were able to do some service this week with Brother Bishop and his family. It was a great time and we were able to be able to do service. I love it so much.

Well I don't really know what to write about today, i wasn't too prepared.
One thing I really though was cool as when we were teaching Sister Arlyn, she was sharing about why she wants to be baptized. She was talking about how she has felt the Spirit, but not too many times. As she read the Book of Mormon, she learned that we don't always have big times of feeling the Spirit, but we must continue to act and do what is right. God will provide the way. One thing she really enjoys is the teachings of families in the Church. It is something she really desires for her kids and that it is one of the best ways she can provide for them. Most domestic helpers come to work in Hong Kong because work isn't great in the Philippines and it pays better to support your family. Being out here and supporting that way is pretty hard, but they do their best. I really like how Sister Arlyn is seeing how the gospel will help her family and know that God will be her support. It is so true though, God truly is our support and the support of those that we love and that will accept him. 
Alright I am out of time.
Elder Townsend

Cureloms & Cumoms Jan. 14, 2015

This past week and a half was good. I really enjoy being companions with Elder Campbell and we are able to work well together. There hasn't been to many dry moments. He says some pretty hilarious things and it is good. Been able to enjoy the time. This last week we were able to spend a lot of time finding. Not terribly too much came out of the people we talked to, but the Lord blessed us for our efforts and the willingness to keep going.

Last week while we were on the bus to Discovery Bay, I noticed a Filipino family get on to the bus and how all the kids seemed to get a long really well. I really liked that. The bus was crowded so we weren't able to be near the parents to talk to them, but closer to us were 3 of the kids. They got off at different times then us so we were unable to talk to them after as well. For some reason though, they just really stuck out to me. Well later that night,7 hours later, we were on the bus headed back home to Tung Chung. While we were pulling up to the last stop before heading out of Discovery Bay, I noticed the family. The older of the children recognized me and pointed us out to their parents and were laughing. What are the chances, right? Well we were on the back of the bus and they were on the front, so my goal was that when we got off the bus we would run over to talk to them. There is no way that we can let a double opportunity pass us, for all we know these people need to hear our message. While on the bus, we talked to someone and it made me forget the family up front. After the ride, we were walking away from the bus and I wasn't looking for them because I was thinking of the conversation we had with the other man. Well thanks to some styles being bright colored because right in front of me shone the bright colored beanie of the daughter of the family! We were able to have a good little talk with them while they walked to catch a bus home. They live here in Tung Chung too and were very friendly. The father gave us his number and we'll be trying to find a time where we can meet up. It was really great. That day had been a very long one of finding without anything but right at the end, we were able to see someone interested to talk. Who knows, what if we would have been able to talk at the beginning! ha 

On Sunday, we met with our investigator Sister Arlyn. She has been coming to church about the same time I got here to Discovery Bay. Her employers are members in the branch and they invited her to church. She has gotten along really well with the sisters in our branch and also enjoying church meetings. We have been teaching her and she has started to make more of an effort to read the Book of Mormon. We have invited her to baptism about twice and both times she said that she needed to feel the Spirit. With that we have made an effort to teach even more by the Spirit, but help guide her to ways that she can personally discover it. She has written down in the back of her Book of Mormon some things that she would like the Lord to help her with while reading the Book of Mormon. She has seemed to really enjoy it and have a personal drive to read more. Now the cool part is that just this last sunday night, we got a call from her. She said that she has decided that she wants to be baptized and she is ready. She wants to be baptized on February 1st. This was very exciting and we are looking forward to supporting her and preparing her for that decision. She has heard most of all the lessons and is progressing very well. 
Joel's son, Gabriel, also has a baptismal date for February 1st. Joel received the Aaronic Priesthood this past week so he will be able to baptize his son by that date! That will be exciting. Gabriel is a hilarious 9 year old and retains a lot of information. It was fun because as we teach him he seems to always pull out analogies. We had planned to teach him the Plan of Salvation as a test at school and what not, then he ended up bringing it up before we did. He also drew out the whole plan and asks great questions. It is hilarious teaching him. Making me learn how to teach more simply but to also how to answer his questions. Joel has a printed out Plan of Salvation picture and around the Celestial Kingdom there are asteroid type things. He is always making stuff out of clay at home so he asks "So in the Celestial Kingdom can we make stuff out of those asteroids? Can I make a statue?" We told him probably can and he was stoked. Also he was trying to ask us which animals are the best and what not so we pulled out Ether 9:19 on him about the cureloms and cumoms and told him that was our favorite. It was interesting picture I had to draw up. But don't worry, I told him it was a "very rough" version of one. It was cool. He is an awesome boy. 

David, the less-active member that we are working with, came to church! I wrote about him before giving a call about how he was in the hospital. We ended up visiting him there and it was great. Well he finally got out and was able to find some work and also return back to Lantau Island. We didn't know and he hadn't called us. While greeting people as they came to church, he walked up! I was stoked, it had been a little while. He had a great time at church. Now the cool part is 
 an awesome little thing about following spiritual promptings. There is a member in our branch, Brother Suzuki and he is awesome. He is from Japan and shares the same birthday as me, sweet. Anyways after our church meetings were done, David was walking out of the classroom. I had seen brother Suzuki pull out a pepsi and some snacks in a bag. I was thinking he may have been really hungry. Well he walks up to David and says, "Since your off drinking, here is a Pepsi to drink instead and some snacks to have." David was very grateful and accepted it. Brother Suzuki and then said, the Spirit had told him to get it. This was so cool because, he came to church with this prepared and had not had time to go home or to know David would be there. It got me thinking about am I constantly listening to the Spirit or better yet allowing myself into situations to hear it? 
Well don't have much to write. Since today was a temple day it is pretty rushed. 
Elder Townsend

Taking down forests! Jan. 4, 2015

This week was pretty awesome, it feels like so much and so little. Lots of things felt like they happened! It started off with New Year's Eve. 
We had only a little time that night after we got home from spending the day on Cheung Chau island doing some proselyting. There wasn't really any success there, but we met some nice people visiting from Israel. That night we went on splits with the Tung Chung elders (the only ones we ever see because there are only 4 of us out here and we live together) and did some chinese work. We were able to also talk to some people and I had to remember some of my gospel vocabulary which felt weird speaking back in Cantonese again! We usually just tend to the noodles and rice vocab. Anyways we were all walking back that night to our house and feeling the energy of a new year. Across from our little place is a pizza shop. We decided to check out the prices, pizza is pricey out here. There seemed to be a good deal so we debated it. While talking to the lady, we heard some big booms and ran out of the place only to see about 15 seconds of fireworks in the sky!! No idea where they came from, but with that excitement we all spent a little more for that late dinner! Probably lame for normal people, but for us missionaries it was great!
It was super cool because this week we were able to have some service opportunity. This area we have not had an opportunity to serve. The past few weeks it had just kept coming up in my mind and my studies that we need to find a service opportunity. After a week of asking around, Brother Bishop had a project for us! He is going to be putting together a little community center out of this old school and needed some help clearing it out and all the work needed. That week, he set up a day, got some more members and we went out and did some work. He had been working for this and planning for a long time and we were able to help. He also thinks it'll be a great tool for service and missionary work in the future. It was a great time. Machetes hacking and saws going to work. We basically removed 10 years of growth from this place and took down a huge tree that had fallen into the place. It was nice to do a little more hands on work and get tuckered out from that. I love doing service projects they just make it so great.
This week we met an awesome lady and her two daughters. It started off with my companion saying "hey, we're the missionaries!" and her responding "and I'm not! Got my cup of beer on me!" We laughed and started to talk to them. It ended up being a great conversation and walked with them to their place. After her two girls, about 11, said they would love to come to church! The lady seemed open to the option as well. On saturday night, we called and confirmed them. But then on sunday, they didn't show. It was a bummer just because we spent this week mainly being rejected and had met these great people. It is alright, we'll keep going!
Sunday was a great experience during sacrament meeting. The first person to share his testimony spoke on how with New year's we always focus on how we can improve and what we did wrong or not so good.  He then shared the that he felt a great gratitude for the year and all that had happened. What stuck out to me most was the story he related from the Bible. He shared about the 10 lepers and then as they were healed, one turned back and praised the Lord. After he shared this, I had a great appreciation for this past year as well. It was a year completely in the service of the Lord. I thought of what was learned and what had happened. I thought of how much I must praise the Lord. There was another member who stood up and shared about the simpleness of following little commandments and how little blessings come to us. He said that as he thought of last year and how terrible it had been he also realized how amazing it was. That through the small and little things, that life was strengthened. He and others shared a lot of how much the fellowship and love from others in the branch had strengthed them. Brother Deynu, Joel, got up and bore his testimony and it was very powerful. He testified of the power of the Lord and the confidence he brings. Then to wrap it all up a member shared his testimony about how he lost his boys, went around running and looking for them and then found them on a bench, crying and praying that Heavenly Father would help their parents find them. The member shared that is when he felt like all those things he does are worth it and that he'll "just keep trying." 
I loved that little thought. Enduring to the end was also a theme, but not slowly, but with enthusiasm, strength and most importantly gratitude. I felt that I was able to pull some great messages out of their testimonies and pumped up more for the work. Not going to lie, I am super tired, but with others it gets me what I need. It'll be a good year and I am excited to work harder this last little bit. 
That is all I can think of for today. Happy new year and happy day.
Elder Townsend
We went to Big Buddha and Elder Falk came out to it! We live near buddha out here. Also that is my nice picture of my new years treat of Shave Ice and red beans! Then the service project. I built a swing for the kids out of a vine on the big tree. Scotty was the best at swinging on it. Then the other picture is of my companion and Luke working on a tree. Notice the branch that Elder Campbell is standing on and the branch they are sawing. Also how far Luke's saw is into the tree. hahahaha It was funny.