2 years in a flash! Feb. 22, 2015

I cannot believe that the end is here. It is so weird and I am shocked. I will miss this place a whole lot. I have really come to love it and the people here. I feel very blessed to have served in Chinese branches and also the International branch of Discovery Bay. It was a very powerful time and I will miss it greatly. 

Just this morning we woke up early and headed up a trail to Sunset Peak with Brother Bentley, Brother Steimle, Brother Lefler, his daughter, and Brother Bentley's father-in-law. It was a great hike and spending time with them was perfect. It made it probably a little harder on me to say goodbye, but it was great. I am so thankful they were wanting to do this! I enjoyed walking that trail and chatting. I see these members as friends that became family and I wish I could have more time to spend with them. Being busy with missionary work made that harder, but we still found time.

Well hmmm... these two years.. I am not sure what to say or how to put it in words. 
It was a time that I will think a lot about. Many things that I may wish that I did differently but I am grateful I was able to learn through those. I was able to learn on how to rely on God more and help others to understand that as well. It was a learning process for me and all those who listened. God allowed our wheels to spin and we could learn. I had a lot of ideas of what I wanted to happen while I was out here, amazing things to take place, and big miracles to occur. Not many of those happened, well as I thought, but what happened was what was needed. It was grand.

I think the most important thing, and what I will hold most dear, is the testimony I have of Heavenly Father and of Jesus Christ. That they live and that they Love us. That they are eternal and I can have a personal relationship with them. That love I came to understand more while I was out here.
 It came something I desire in my life and in my heart. It is what I would love my life to be filled with. The Love of God is real. I believe I have seen Him in the workings of my life. I didn't notice it all the time but looking back it was there. 
Sometimes I get asked why I was sent out here on my mission, I usually respond that I am not sure but there is a good chance that God needed me here to help some people and do some good. That is a hard question to answer because I just have faith that it is the right thing to do and I trust that it was by inspiration I was sent here. I feel that a lot of the time you just got to go for it. That's it, that you just got to go with your gut and if it feels right then do it. 

God has given us our free will and He lets us acts for ourselves. I don't think it is necessary for Him to prompt me to help someone because it is what He already wants. Early on my mission and still now I will think "should I go help that person? Should I say that?" I despise that should word. Yes, do it! God loves all those we see each day, that is my what I strongly believe. When there is less questioning going on about whether we should or shouldn't and just doing, I believe that is when we are looking to Jesus Christ as our example.

 I learned there is no set of rules on how we should serve or love. Do what is right and know He will help you. I know  that God gives us personal revelation and will guide us if we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit. I have learned that when I have Him on my mind, I am thinking of what He would do. it becomes easier and more desirable to serve. It becomes easier to be obedient to God. It is easier to be happy. The Holy Ghost will be with me and making sure I have what I need to make sure what needs to get done gets done. 

When I choose that I will use Christ as my guide or mark of the target, life is more fulfilling. President Hawks has really taught that principle and it is something I love. When Christ is our target then we don't have to question what we do is right or wrong because He will lead us to what is best. His Gospel is what I love to live. It is what I love to share. It truly will bring us the peace and joy in life. I think of the times when I felt most happy or thrilled with what I was doing. It was when I was fully focused on the Gospel and allowing to be in everything. 

I hear a lot that when you have a goal in life and you are doing it, you will feel happier and more satisfied with life. I have set and worked on a lot goals in my mission. It was satisfying accomplishing them and I was happy, but as I live the principles of the Gospel, I cannot contain my happiness it is so great. 
I love in the Book of Mormon the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehi people. It shares about how when they were converted to the Lord that they put away their weapons of war, they lived and engulfed into what they had just added to their lives. They were willing to stick true to what they were converted to even if it meant death because they didn't even fear it. They lived their lives by example. Our example is the best way we can spread the Gospel.  Even when their lives were being destroyed, they stayed true to their God. By that act, which is incredible to me, they changed other's lives too. They could not be destroyed because they loved and lived for their God. 

I hope and pray that my life and those I met out here will always live to serve God. I pray that we may all be able to stay true to our Father in Heaven and know where the riches are found. That is why I love the scripture in Mark 10:21. It is a humbling scripture and reminds me of where I put my riches and my attitude to God. I have found happiness in giving up some of my riches now and following Christ. I still have more to give and more to learn but I love that the Lord keeps us progressing.

I am not sure if I am making sense but all the little thoughts that come to me I type up. I cannot put into words what I feel or think, I just can only cherish it. This experience has been amazing. I will miss it deeply and those that I was blessed to serve. It honestly hurts a lot to say goodbye to them. There have been people that I look up to greatly here and mean a lot to me. Today was rough saying goodbye to a couple members that I look up to greatly. What I love most about them is that I can see that they live the Gospel and the blessings of it. Their examples are really powerful to me.

To sum all of my little thoughts up is that I know that God is part of our daily lives. He will always help us no matter who we are or where we are. When we allow ourselves to accept Him, the tender mercies come out. Our eyes are opened to understanding and out gratitude is magnified. I imagine when one of His children turn their hearts to Him or even back to Him, His joy is magnificent. I feel it when I see that occur and I don't think my body could comprehend what He must feel. This Gospel is of God and I know it to be true. I firmly believe and have faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Redeemer. I have experienced the power of His Atonement and Priesthood. It is amazing. I love Him and my Heavenly Father. All of this puts a smile on my face and makes me grateful beyond measure.
I hope I made a little bit of sense in my rant.
I am very grateful for this time and the people I met. I will miss them a lot. I learned through them and pray they learned something too :)
See everyone in a few days. Wow, that is still weird to think.

Loves (for the last time from email in HK)
Elder Townsend 

Chinese New Year Feb.15, 2015

Well the best way to go out will be this way. We have Chinese New Year so I get to enjoy the last bit of the Hong Kong culture of this time of the year. Pretty cool how that all worked out. Also two days before I fly out, Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve will speak to us missionaries with other General Authorities and then on the day before I fly out he will speak to all members of HK. It will be pretty rad, but the BEST part is.. I will be companions with Elder Falk for my last two days as a missionary!!! Woohoo!! It'll be a grand time and also the Senior Couple missionary in charge of the office and flights helped us out. She put Elder Falk and I sitting right next to each other for the flight home. Pretty cool. 
Well this last week was good, fast, and sick. Not sick as in cool, but as in I didn't step a foot outside on friday. I must have gotten some kind of food poisoning or bug. It was a bummer but I dropped a few pounds.. 
Well let me see here.. this week.

We had planned to visit Joel on a Thursday and see if our Branch Mission Leader, Brother Bentley (who is the coolest guy ever. I will miss him a ton.), wanted to come with us. Then we could start going over some "after baptism lessons" for Joel. Well he couldn't go on Thursday, but Wednesday would work. We were able to schedule that day and head over.
 On our way, Joel sent a text saying that he might be a little later than us because he had to go to the doctors office, wasn't feeling to well that day. When we got there we found out that he ended up having a staph infection. It was going up the leg and pretty serious. We talked about it and offered to give him a priesthood blessing which he gladly accepted. Brother Bentley was able to give him the blessing and it was very powerful. After a couple of days, his fever is gone and now is just resting up. I just thank God for arranging us to come over the night that he went to the doctor's and able to give him a blessing. 

I think that is one of the most powerful things I have learned over these past two years. God arranges everything to work out for the good of His children. It is so true that he is a part of our every day lives. That He prepares us and uses us. It is my prayer that I can live a life where He can trust me and that I live prepared to serve others and help them. Seeing the great strength it brings to others and how the Lord works makes me really desire to have that opportunity. Being in His work is great. There is a quote from President Ezra Taft Benson that says "who does God's work gets God's pay." I  really enjoy that and hope I can do His work to get  His pay. His blessings are great that He gives to me and others!

We spent some good time on the street this last week talking to some people. It has been interesting on how my view has changed since being out here in Dbay. Before, in Chinese work, we could teach street lessons almost every day if not every other. People seemed to be curious about us. Then I come here and well, I haven't taught a lesson on the street to a westerner yet. I have been able to talk to them for a little while and have great conversations, but not a lesson. It really taught me the importance of focusing on the individual. It was almost easy to just teach the same things each time. But here, it is a challenge (which i enjoy) to apply the message to these people. To always just bear testimony from the heart and do "real talk." Not all the time they have the time to listen, hardly ever, and not all the time they have the interest. But I have found that the name of Jesus Christ has power and when it is spoken in testimony, conviction, and love it will leave a feeling in the heart. for me and for others. I am so grateful for this missionary opportunity.
Alright sorry, I am in the Apple store and it is hard to type. Some people are yelling over some stuff so harder to focus.
I have one more preparation day next week so I will write more then. Until then, much love.
Elder Towsend

Woohoo! Feb. 8, 2015

Well this week was BEYOND fast. Where did it go? I do not know... It was a solid week though. I remember being happy and having a good time. It was a bummer because I got sick but I thought it may be allergies so I blew some money on allergy medicine and then I come to find out it is mainly the common Chinese cold. Aiya, only plain rice for this week.. haha 

Well for the first time on my mission I spoke on Sunday. It was great experience, I enjoyed it. Way more fun that we were asked the morning of rather than before because it definitely just makes the energy work in me and the Spirit help me know what I want to talk about. 
Ended up sharing about why I love the work of the Lord and how the Lord can ask us to His work. The theme of the talk was based on Mark 10:21
I talked about how the Lord will answer us on what more we can do. He is always progressing. The way we respond may be due to us having our own desired answers or just can't give something up. I talked about how this has applied and the ways I have reacted to it over the years. Then tied it in to the parable on the Lost Sheep. Ended with the fact that when the Lord responds to that young rich man, it says that he said it with love. The Lord will always answer and direct us with love. I love the fact that He always expects us to grow and progress. This gospel and the blessings it brings are so rich. Anyways, don't know how to explain what i talked on.

This week we met some people who were pretty nice and talked with us. I had been thinking a lot on how we can better help people and just serve them. These particular people all said the exact same thing which I thought was neat. They said "you know, you guys are good people. I really respect what you do and it helps me focus better when I know others are doing that. Keep working hard and staying positive. Each time I see that, it is nice. Keep going." It wasn't anything large or profound, but it helped me the reason of why we must do it all with love. 

President Hawks had asked us missionaries to write down and do one small and simple thing to greater feel the love of the Lord and the Holy Ghost in our lives. I thought of many things but realized it must be small and simple. I wrote down, "I will smile more with people. and give a high five when the opportunity is there." Wow, it has really helped. Just been feeling more energized and looking for kids that I can give high 5's to. It can be weird with the adults.. So when we talked to those people this week and mentioned that the happiness helps them, I was grateful for the goal and that Heavenly Father honored my small and simple goal. I had debated changing it because I thought it was lame and not profound, but I had decided to keep with it. I am glad I did.

I really love enjoying serving in this branch. One thing that I really enjoyed was a member had said something at church that really struck out to me even more. He said that rather than look to see the differences and how things can be better for one than another, we can help others and have the ability to bring more choices for them. More opportunities. I really enjoyed the thought of that, always being able to help others and help them have more choices in life, ones to help and support them. I truly believe that this Gospel and those who follow it find a greater peace in their life filled with many opportunities. It offers what is necessary. I love that. 
I can't think too much today.. sorry. 
Elder Townsend
This is an Family Home Evening that we had with some members in the branch. They are so awesome. 

Too good! Feb.1, 2015

This week has been a memorable one and really neat! It was really interesting because it all got so much more prime by Friday. I guess I will write a funny story, i think, and then the goods.

Well on Monday we were at Joel's and we were talking about Chinese dynasties and found out we both had the same Chinese last name, Tong. We were talking about it and said we were related. Elder Campbell  couldn't believe it and asked how. Kind of joined a little late I guess? Anyways Joel and I said we had very distant Chinese relatives and that is where we are linked. He was asking generations but we both said we didn't remember. Elder Campbell wasn't fully convinced so I showed him my skin and said "look I have some yellow in my skin and it is different than yours!" He showed his pink white skin and realized that I must have chinese descent in me! haha 
Then a few days later we were with the Filipina sisters and talking somehow about tan or what not and Elder Campbell brings up the point that I wasn't full caucasian because I had Chinese down my line. It was hilarious. He is convinced.

Alright, well I had my last zone training meeting this friday and that was weird. It was good and I made sure I had fun. haha At the end, they called up the ending missionaries and had us share a few thoughts, I hadn't expected that so I had to scramble for words. 
What came out was the importance of being ourselves as missionaries. Not to try to be that "perfect" missionary because there definitely isn't one. We must be ourselves and be what the Lord needs us to be. He sent us as individuals to bring what He has given us. I feel the most joyful time in my mission is when I haven't worried about being that picture perfect missionary and just been myself, learning to shape that more like Christ, but being myself. I love being out here, it's too good! 

At the end, a missionary approached me and he said, "Elder Townsend, when I first got to the mission a year ago, you shared that you would write down the daily miracles each day in your planner so you could see the good in each day. I want you to know I am thankful for that. I have done that everyday since and now I can always look back in gratitude." I thought that was really cool, this elder continued to do this always to see on how he can always be grateful. I also had realized that I had stopped doing this everyday and not been seeing each day's tender mercies. With that, I decided I will continue on that practice and do it again, just to see what I could find.

The next day, we were out in DBay for a lesson and what not. We ended the lesson and were going to catch a bus to head home for the night and have dinner. We decided to walk to a farther bus stop in hopes to meet someone before that. While we were walking, we were talking about how neat it was that their were families that still continue to eat dinner together and not let the business of lives overcome them and ruin that. There was this mum walking with her boy and I thought, I wonder if they heard that? anyways, they were walking quick and we couldn't talk to them. Eventually we were farther down the road and the turned the corner to walk by us. I said Hello! They stopped and asked if we knew how to get to the North Plaza. we said yep, and started to walk with them to take them to a place they could catch a bus, walking would take long and they had a birthday party to get to and were running late. It was a good chat with them and we got to the bus stop. The bus came and stopped. She asked how much and it was about 5 dollars. She opened up her wallet and they didn't have any small change or bills to pay. She said "oh this is so embarrassing, but you two wouldn't have 5 dollars that we could have?" Elder Campbell and I reached into our pockets and both pulled out change for them each. They got into the bus and headed their way. While walking away, I turned to elder campbell and asked him how often he carries change or usually how much. he said "not too often, but when I do it is usually 3 or 4 dollars." I looked at him and said "me too."

The baptisms and Sunday was FANTASTIC! It was great. Unlike the last, the sun did not come out. Neither did the water feel warmer. But hearts were warm and filled with excitement. Arlyn, Gabriel, and Evan were all excited. The service went well and they each froze in motion as they made their first steps into the water. It would be a memorable day for each. 
When each came out, there was a gasp for breath and stumbled to get out to a warm towel. It was awesome. Joel also baptized Gabriel in French, it was so great. He did great and it had much more meaning to him and being the one to bring his son into the waters of baptism. This journey for him all started with him wanting to put his son on a good path and be believing in God. Now look where he is. The best part of the service was the closing prayer. Joel offered it. It was one of the most heartfelt and powerful prayers I have heard in my life. It was one truly speaking to God the Father. Joel thanked him for the experience and thanked Him for the blessings. He thanked Him for his grandmother that set him on the path of faith and led him to God. After expressing much faith, Joel said "o God, please hear my prayer and O God, please hear the Lord's prayer as well.." He then said the Lord's prayer and then ended. The Spirit was there and testified that God was pleased. Never have I heard the Lord's prayer said more powerfully and with more meaning than that day. It was incredible.

 At sacrament the three were able to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Brother Lau conferred sister Arlyn. She was able to feel the Spirit very strongly. She had mentioned before she hadn't felt it too much all the time, but new what was right to do. That day, she received her confirmation of doing the right thing. She received a very special blessing from brother Lau and it was very powerful. God bless her on this journey and that she will be able to bring her children into this faith with her. To one day be sealed to her husband and children for all eternities. 

This whole day and events left so much joy in my soul. Seeing what the past 3 months had brought left me feeling once again as Alma did in chapter 29 in the Book of Alma. It was great. The branch had done miracles. From the start of the branch's 40 day fast, miracles came. We saw a father receive baptism at the close of it. Then a month and a half later baptize his son. We saw a mother of 2 children receive baptism with goals and hopes of being sealed to her husband who has already passed. We saw miracles in all our lives as well. It was amazing. I couldn't hold it in and went up and bore a simple testimony. 

When I got up there, i went to say my testimony but at first my love for the branch came out. I didn't know how to express so I just said, i love this branch and everyone in it. I just love you all. I pray that I will never forget these experiences. I testified on the power of fasting. That the Lord will honor those sacrifices. The beauty that He will allow us to test ourselves and put more faith in Him. Then I ended with my testimony of the Savior. I believe He is endless and that His atonement is infinite. I believe this so much it consumes my energy and I feel joy. I believe that He has touched my heart, but much more than that, He has testified to me that I know that He lives. 
It was a great day in the Discovery Bay branch. I love this branch so much. It has the most special spirit and members. 
Sorry if the letter is choppy, we are at the Apple store today.
Elder Townsend

2 years at it. Jan. 25, 2015

Well this week will mark my 2 years as Elder Tong, well actually it is Elder Townsend now.. In order to celebrate the elders that we live with (only others on Lantau island) and us will go out for lunch at our favorite noodle place Tam Jai. We already go once every week, but this time we will get the most spicy soups go can get. This soup is a hot and numbing soup so it'll be great. So stoked. 
This coming sunday will be fantastic as well! Sister Arlyn and Gabriel will be baptized!! Gabriel will be baptized by his father Joel. That is very special and will be such a neat experience for them. I am so excited.

This week was quick and I am not sure what happened. Maybe because I slacked on the journal writing this week. darn, i will fix that. 
We had interviews with President Hawks and it was great. They are only for 10 minutes which basically feels like 1. Every time we meet with him I respect him more and more. President Hawks is an amazing man and truly does the Lord's work. That is one thing I really enjoy about President is that he teaches us to be humble and obedient to the Lord's will and what is best for the work. One of the things that he does, I am very grateful for. He has asked that missionaries do not baptize any investigator, that a member does. This will help the bond build between members and new converts and help them receive support. I thought this was neat and was very smart. 

Then just this last week, Sister Arlyn asked if I could baptize her. Instantly, what President Hawks has asked came to my head. I thought of that but then also the thought that she has never had any male fellowshippers to help, so maybe it would be alright if I did. I also wanted to, she will be the first person I teach from start to baptism on my mission. I thought that would be really neat. But I knew what President had asked. We talked about it with her. She ended up deciding that the family she works for dad, Brother Lau could baptize her. She thought about it and decided it would be good. 
At first I was thinking man, that would be cool for them, but then I also thought of how much more special it will be to watch and that Brother Lau will do the ordinance.
 I respect Brother Lau so much and he is such a great role model. He will always be there to support Sister Arlyn along with his family.  This made me realize even more the importance of obedience. That it is understanding and doing the Lord's will. I am thankful for the inspired leaders I have to help guide me to do it. 

In Elders quorum we had a lesson that involved a part on the importance of voluntary obedience. President Hawks has a quote that he always says from President Ezra Taft Benson. "When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, at that moment God will endow us with power." I think it even goes past irritant to the point of we do it because we just do. I believe obedience is something we desire to learn and live. Not learning to live to follow rules, but to understand them and then to understand God's will.
 It made me think of when we taught primary and we were portraying God's Plan and Satan's plan. On  how they were brought up. The kids ended up saying, one plan was good because it had rules. It helped us be safe and do right. I thought, yes that is true, but how much better are those when we understand those "rules" and then we can better live them to the advantage that they can be to our life. Because religion is definitely not something that we have in our life, but it is our life. It should be something we live each day. That is what I have come to see how it plays effect in the members lives and also mine. When living obedience and religion is what I do and think, it makes it so much more enjoyable to share with others and also gives me guidance. The simpleness of just obeying. 

We were in a lesson with an investigator who has some great questions that can be pretty big. There are a couple members who help us and it goes really well. One thing is that they bring up a lot is how they understand what it can do for them and what things do. It is because they desire to understand and I really like that.  We help her understand the principle of faith and what it really takes. That faith isn't something that is thrown around or that it should not be taken lightly, it is the very core of why we do the things we do. That there must always be faith. We can have as much evidence, but there must be faith too. I have been pondering that lately.
Holy cow, I am sorry, I went off on a rant and now I am confuse with myself and almost out of time here... haha
Anyways, I will write in my journal this week so I will know what to write about next week. Being a missionary is pretty rad and I like it. Thanks for the prayers for me to have energy. I feel it. Not so tired as much. 
Elder Townsend

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