Townsend 2 taiwan

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last piece of parchment

Hello Everyone.
Well this is my last official online email. Time flies right? I still feel like I'll just continue on here and that I am not going home. The reality hasn't quite struck yet. Maybe when I get to Utah and my feet hit the snow it will all come down on me. It is really hard to leave this people. They have become my family and my friends. They are so dear to me. Spending countless prayers in their behalf and welfare and now to get up and leave that is really hard. However we still have great communication tools, facebook and all that new stuff that I haven't even laid eyes on yet. Yikes another shock, I won't know how to use any of those things.

On Saturday we had a fireside and they ask me to share a bit and bear testimony. As I reflected upon all those things and talk about charity and how a mission is so powerful I got a little emotional. I think that's the real first time I have shed a tear in front of a Taiwanese person, not to mention a chapel of them. It was truly a blessing to realize the love I have for this people and the love has for them as well. Hey it was ok because I wasn't the only one who was feeling it. Charity is the point of all of it. Love is the whole reason. As Christ has said without charity we are nothing. That's it. I am glad I Got to experience in a very small matter how precious these souls are and what charity means. I still have a lot to learn but I am excited to continue to learn.
The Lord gave us a lot of time to find this week. Elder Seneca spent a lot of time out on the pavement and visiting people potientals doing whatever we could to find families and new investigators. It was a bit hard at times, but we kept pushing. I feel the Lord in the end did bless us for our effort. Again how it always turns out Sunday Night 8 PM rolls around and still nothing. Well I felt prompted to go visit a potiental. We go to visit him and he wasn't there. However his girlfriend was, as we took the opportunity to contact her, the potiential comes back, we talk to him, and he tells us he is busy. However he told us his brother lives in the same building so he took us down to meet him. We start meeting with his brother and his girlfriend. His brother shared with us at one point in his life how he is really interested in baptism. We continue to share and by the end both of them accepted the baptismal invite to be baptized. How wonderful to find two willing people to study the gospel and accept our invite. Its a blessing that his brother took us to him. I really think the Lord does lead us through others. In that case, he lead us by the hand. Asking for referrals does work, it just needs time and patience, but will bring forth fruit at one point.
We had other great miracles, from Sister Zhang setting a baptismal date, and her kids ridding their bikes over to church with us, and just enjoying all the lord has given us. I definitely feel blessed and made so many great friends that will last pass this life. I know christ lives and he walks with us, He is leading a prophet today. The Book of Mormon and the Bible are the word of God and interwine together to confound the wise and is at the cornerstone of my testimony. Joseph smith did see God the father and the Son jesus Christ who through him restored the fulness of the Gospel. I see more witnesses come to this truth everyday. God's work will never stop, just because I am going home the Lord wont stop.
Lots of
Elder Townsend

Monday, December 3, 2012

a couple more pictures...

 Xiao ye liu

Hello! Baptism!

Hello Family and Friends!
Its official! The You family is baptized and confirmed members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What a miracle. I had the privilege of baptizing Sister You, President Cai (District President equivalent of a stake President) baptize Bro. You and my companion baptized the sister's investigator Sister huang(She probably thinks Elder Seneca is super cute is my guess, because she asked right after the interview) so in total 3 people were baptized this weekend. What a tender mercy from the Lord. I have never seen a family, mother and father, get baptized before on my mission. I have usually seen a single person (married, but usually unmarried) get baptized, but never a family. The feeling is quite different. Its still a soul joining Christ's fold, but knowing how that family can grow in the gospel and that they were in it together, made it much more powerful. The Ward came and supported them. When the ward saw a FAMILY get baptized it fired them up to do missionary work and do more to help build up our small yet humble little branches here. The District President spoke after and mentioned how touch he was to see this family and how it reminded him of when he was baptized with his wife when their first child was small.

This week my companion found another little family this weekend right before he headed home! It really was a miracle. We prayed, went forth, saw a little alleyway, felt like a good place to go down, so we did, hit the first door, which didn't look to promising with some of the buddhist things inside (They had a photo of monk in their family who had passed away, couple of paintings of buddha, the whole gig) and out comes a Vietnamese woman and her 11 year old boy. Turns out she is christian, joined the church when she was back in vietnam and her chinese is actually pretty good, actually really good. Usually Vietnamese people do not speak really any chinese or very poor chinese, and when it comes to church things they don't understand anything, but she got it! She has a desire to go to church but doesn't know where to go. What a marvelous little miracle. We will still have to put a lot of work in, but it is amazing the littlest things can bring great things. Listening to the spirit can take so many different ways. For us, going down the alleyway because it looked good to us was what we needed.
This week was also full off other powerful instances. This week felt good as we remembered that we are witnesses of Jesus Christ and we can add our powerful testimony and witness of Him and The Book of Mormon brought happiness and peace. As I share the Gospel with these people my love for the people grows and its making it hard to leave here but everything will work out. That's trusting in the Lord is about. So in that I'll see you before you know it. 
Lots of Love,

Elder Townsend
PS food wise I love bajiao. I am not sure what it is in english. Its like a short chunky banana, but better. If they have them in America I will be so happy.

Happy Thanksgiving! Nov. 25th

Well this week wasn't a diamond crystal clear (or perfect in any many or form), but I believe its helping cut clear and clean of those who are prepared and how we can improve ourselves. We just get back up and go for it again. Overall the Lord does bless us. This week was a good example of being grateful. It taught me how be grateful for all of the things I do have despite of our challenges we are facing. We hit some major road blocks, but the Lord pick us up and lifted us over in the end. I felt the importance of the sacrament this sunday. One as I pondering I thought of how the sacrament is renewing our covenant of baptism, how at baptism it represents the Savior's Atonement and resurrection. How I truly can become a new. A Scripture came to mind I believe its 3 Nephi 12.47 old things are done away, all things are made anew. That's it I can just start over again and keep doing the Lord's work. It was a peaceful moment.

Going out with Elder Ruan (Member of the 70 in the Asian District) to go visit some less active members was an interesting experience. I was expecting him to share a spiritual message that would motivate them, dust the dirt and whatever burden was keeping them from coming to church, and get them back to church. However, he got to know them, said we miss you at church and welcome you back, and finally said a closing prayer and said good bye. At first, sitting there, I was wondering what he was doing how come he hasn't shared some super message, I watched him as he sat there listened to the spirit and reacted with we hope to see you at church, christmas is coming up and hope you can celebrate with us the birth of Christ our savior. After however, he talked about all the missionary finding opportunities and ward members could provide a particular service for this member. I was so impressed how he used every resource and the spirit to help him find. He was an amazing example of finding. I was something I am going to able to my work.
This week we met an older couple who are willing to study the gospel. They really have some challenges in their lives to say the least. Bro. Gu was really humble and wants to find christ and a way to have it last the rest of his life. The amazing part was that he found us. I rode by him waving and he quickly called us back. We go talk to him and invites us into his home. Bro. Gu is such a sweet little aborigine man.
Well one exciting piece of news is the You family will have their baptismal service this week. I am really excited and a little anxious. I really don't want Satan to eat them. They are a good family and have been through a lot so I hope we might forth our effort and heart to help them unto christ. This is the way and I am grateful to be part of their conversion.
Well lots of love to all of you!
Elder Townsend

The pictures are of our district in guanshan climbing on the shark and the other is of member's house that he has builting onto. It was sweet! 

Hello Pirate Mateys! Nov.18th

To all of my fellow mateys aboard the ship to paradise,


We have a missionary, Elder Bowler who taught me a while back about peanut butter noodles with hot sauce so this Sunday I made it for the singles in our ward. At first they were scared of it but after trying it they went nuts on it they loved it. 


Taiwan had its second annual surf contest down here in taidong. We saw a few aussies and all the other good crowd. Of course we didn't go to the actual event but if you have a chance, check it out on the web or something. I heard it was good. 


Well Things are going well here in Taidong! We had some changes, but we are still going good! We were planning the You family getting baptized this weekend, but they will be gone on that date so they moved their date a week back. Brother You has been really worried about being baptized so he keeps checking he has a baptismal date. I'm not worried that he will forget. 
Well I think one of the biggest miracles this week was one of our investigators Yang cai jun brought his older brother to church to meet with us. At first his older brother was skeptical and hesitant about coming in, but as we shared the message we had planned this dear brother felt the spirit. He was feeling the spirit and said that this plan, the plan of Salvation answered quite a few questions he had in heart. However he lives in Taizhong so we couldn't continue to meet with him personally. On Sunday I get a random phone call and it is from him our investigator's brother! He told me he just got out of church and loved it. He said he was so grateful to come in contact with the church and so grateful that he could meet us so he could meet the missionaries over there. It was gentle reminder that the Lord has his way of bringing all his children into the church. Even though I won't continue to teach him I am so grateful that the Lord has given us that opportunity and privilege to teach him for the first time. 

The next miracle I would like to share is about our investigator Sister Zhang. We gave her homework to do and she didn't do it. She told us all of her challenges and how it has been really stressing her out. She shared how she was scammed by someone. She was trying to decide what to do and she has been praying about it and has been receiving some answers which gave her a bit more stress because she is not sure what to do now that she has these answers. However I knew the homework we gave her had some answers to resolve these current problems. Well we did what preach my gospel says, read it with her. We helped her apply the homework to her current situation and mention that as we do the simple things and read the scriptures the lord will help us resolve concerns. Well in the last day and a half after that she read 12 chapters in the Book of Mormon. Teaching and testifying of the Book of Mormon will change the hearts of investigators. She learned from experience that the Book of Mormon can help us resolve concerns. 

Well lots of other things happened, but I forgot what. However despite my typing skills I know the Lord is leading this work and He loves us so much he lets us average people who make mistakes to carry forth his work. How wonderful is that? The most powerful being in the universes lets us, lets us participate in His purpose to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I think that means we better not forget to acknowledge who really is doing this work.

Lots of love!

Elder Townsend

Hello!!! Nov.18th letter

First off Congrats to Condorian! That's awesome! President Day called and told me about your call. That's pretty exciting. I am sure you will there was I have here develop an enormous love for the people. They are for the mass majority of them very lovable!
Well Elder Seneca saw many miracles and lots of miracles in the making! I don't know where we can start, but I think the greatest miracle for me this week now reflecting upon it is how the Lord loves these people of Taidong more than anything else. Whether from helping our family we are with to prepare for baptism and have the whole ward showing their love for them. The District President spent half an hour after church talking with bro. you about the blessings of the gospel and how they resolve our family problems. The You family is really doing amazing. They are close they are having spiritual experiences and really growing. They still need prayers and some distance before they get baptized but its just around the corner.  
Then another blessing is we are working with a less active and returning member and they are providing referrals or referrals in the making. It is sparking the flame of faith in their hearts.
Finally we ran into a 25 year old less active american who wants to get his life back in order. It might not look like much here in the email, but listening to him talk about his life and the inspiration it took us to lead us to him is simply put amazing. I trully believe the Spirit led us. We were obedient, worked according to Preach My Gospel and the scriptures and we had the spirit. The Lord let us be agents and if something wasn't right he told us. How great is that?
There is so much that went on but I am running out of time. However I just want to share how my testimony of the Savior has grown as I bear testimony of him. Heavenly father knows all us and Christ perfectly understands us.
ELder Townsend

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Na Ai ho November 4th

Na Ai ho.
That's a little amis. Zhang mama has been so gracious to take it upon herself to teach me amis and feeding us snails. Aren't I a blessed young man?
As I just mentioned Zhang mama cooked up some sea slugs for us. I have to admit they were awesome. Zhang mama has got me hooked. Her food is awesome. Also The Hou family had us over for dinner. They are amazing. I love this family so much. Well what they had us make were these little seaweed wraps. They were really good and fun.
This last week we put for a lot of effort to find and teach. We probably taught more families than we ever have before. I know the Lord wants us to teach families, but He also has reminded us of the individual member is so precious. This week we found Brother Yang. Planning, prayer, and opening our mouthes put us in his path. We were going to Ning Bo street. I saw this young man talking on the phone, thought about talking to him but he seemed a little engaged in a phone call, right after I passed by he hung and Elder Seneca stopped. We started to sharing the Gospel and shared a prayer with him. He felt the spirit so strongly and wanted it. His soul hungered for it. We invited him to pray and he said that he could express gratitude and his prayer was amazing. Everytime we have meet we have a spiritual lesson and he wants it. His previous background from when he was younger was leading down a dark and dangerous path, getting involved gangs, and dealings with it, but decided to leave and now he wants to help protect people as military man. He still has a way to go, but I know the Lord is watching over him. 
Another great miracle was that we set a solid baptismal date with the You family. Elder Seneca and I were so thrilled! Bro. You was funny he said he could get baptized this weekend but his wife might need some time which is ok. It was almost as if he wanted to get baptized first. He has had a complete change. Still has some of his old little Bro You quirks (Random english moments) but now he wants the Gospel in his life and to change. In church I asked the members if there would be any volunteers who would read the scriptures to Bro. You (Because of his eyesight is almost gone) and our Elder's Quorum president volunteered. I am excited! Also an other Brother from the Branch told us he had the Chinese Book of Mormon on tape so we will also try that as well! So grateful for an amazing Branch who is willing to support this family.
Spiritual Message
Lately I have been studying the Atonement of Christ and answering the question "why do I need Jesus Christ?" I am enjoying the answers I am finding. One of is Mosiah 5.8 We are made free. Christ paid the debt so we can be free from sin, the feelings of sin, fear, doubt, and loneliness. God blesses us spiritually. Those are the greatest blessings he gives. Of course we can still receive other blessings but they are all for spiritual blesses. If we maintain good health and are blessed with more, how much easier is it to have the spirit communicate messages from our father in heaven?
ELdre Townsend