Townsend 2 taiwan

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Deseret News story: Our own Elder Townsend!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Now the real mission begins...Hello Taiwan!

Taiwan is so beautiful. It’s unreal. But first I'll give all of you the flight details and make my way to today.
At the airport nice and early, slept from Salt Lake to Detroit. Easy. Also in SLC they decided to take my carryon bag since there wasn't any room. In Detroit I discovered the black people there are way nicer than the white people.
Had a nice talk with the parents.
Did you know that there are birds inside the Detroit Airport? I thought I heard birds and then I saw them diving and doing bird things. So next set of flying. I didn't sleep at all from Detroit to Tokyo. We left at 2pm Detroit time and landed 430? Tokyo time. It was cool we flew over Russia and Iceland!!! On the plane I talked with this lady named Mary Jane. Ah she was great! Elder VanDenBerghe and I had a great conversation with her and we taught her the first lesson (most of it) at the end we gave her a Book of Mormon and got her address so we can send her a post card from Taiwan.
Next Tokyo, well it was Tokyo. Nothing too exciting and I couldn't speak Japanese. Also I talked with this man name Ramadan (I think that's how you spell it) He was cool, he DJ’s in Taiwan and Asia. He also teaches a dance class in New York. But it was sad though, he was telling us how he had a son in Mongolia that he has never met. Also- he told us how he was planning on trying to get him to come live in America with him.
 Taiwanese people are the best. There was an old couple teaching us and telling us all these little things. Now the next plane ride. Slept the whole way. Out like a rock and the others were as well.
So we arrived at 1030 and they lost my carryon bag. Go figure right? Well it’s all good. I talked to some Taiwanese people with just as bad English as my Chinese. Got a claim and off I went.
Now I see my Mission President. From the second I saw him, I was excited. He is the greatest man. Just truly called of God. He is energetic and loves to crack jokes. He doesn't seem at all like your normal mission president and he isn't. His wife Sister Grimley is just as great, a happy sister. Make it to the mission home and we fall asleep.
Next day, we go running around jiang kai shek, it’s a memorial like Abraham Lincoln's except its surrounded by a beautiful garden area. It was great, there were a ton of old people and you would yell, "Ama zao an" or Agong zao an! (Means grandma or grandpa good morning!) They in return would say zao zao zao zao.... It’s great! So at the memorial the mission president shared a few things with us and some history. Later we ate a Taiwanese breakfast, soo soo good! It was a sandwich, with egg, meat, tomato, cucumber, and I think a sauce? But still, awesome.
We did a little orientation and ate some more. A Taiwanese Elder, Elder Yu, joined us. He was serving in Hong Kong, but the Taiwanese govt has a mandatory military service so he had to come back and stay in the country for a year. He is the greatest. We asked him what his favorite English words are and he said "that's legit". He is fantastic.
Now the day we meet our new companions. But first the morning activities. We went to the Grand Hotel. Awesome! We went to this little place that was part of it and Pres. Grimley told us how it was the place where they dedicated Taiwan. He then asked us to go off and say a little prayer and dedicate ourselves to Taiwan. The Spirit was so strong. Just further testified to me that this was the Lord's work.

OK, now you made it through this much of the letter you can find out who my trainer is and where I am serving. We walked into this room in the chapel of the church sang Called to Serve. President listed everyone off and it came down to Elder White and me with two missionaries across from us. He called us real quick. Said Elder White's then mine. My companion is Elder Sessions! He is from Vermont and we are serving in Taidong!!!!! Taidong is the heaven, Hawaii of Taiwan. We are on the east coast, with jungle, mountains and the ocean to other side. It’s unreal. We took a 6-7 hour train ride to get to our area. On the train I talked to a Taiwanese lady and she gave me some fruit. lian wu. It’s like a little wax apple my trainer calls them. It was really good!
The members here are so funny. The first night they feed us. It was in a bike shop and let's just say not an American bike shop. SO messy! But that's how they work. They told me I look like Brad Pitt. Yeah, I can see what they mean come on look at the suit, the tie, and the shoes. Totally flows.
 They food was good but I am 87% positive that in the eggs I ate were egg shells. We ate with their whole family. The Wang family, Wang ma and Wang ba they have been members for 35 years. The members here still belong to a branch. Only branch left on the island. They love to make fun of the new missionaries who's Chinese is not great. Yep, lots of fun. Maybe I'll be sarcastic and see if they understand.
Well, we taught a couple of lessons and the people are amazing. I found out that Taiwanese people really don't like to lose face. All good though. You'll talk to them on the street, be nice, get info and that's the last of them. Sometimes they pretend not to listen or ignore you. I still love all of them. Taiwanese people here look more Poly then Chinese then you are used too and they are awesome too.
Well Church was great and I also understood a lot too. But when it comes to something other than church I am lost, all good, I have a senior companion.
Pday we went and looked at the beach, saw an island, it’s in our area but we aren't allowed to go there (stupid previous elders). It was great. Also I spent most of my pday cleaning the bathroom of the previous elder. Ahhh.. Nasty.
Well Hope you enjoy lots of Love and Remember God loves his children wherever they are!
Love, Elder Townsend

I had to fix a few things and could have fixed a lot more but figured it was better to be authentic...who would have ever guessed he passed AP english!

More MTC pictures

Buster drew this picture and gave to Kioko(their temple friend)            

The Taipei Elders and Sisters

This is the comment from Buster: "Lehi dwelt in a tent, I dwelt here". ( What a goof!)

Elder Wyatt, Buster and Elder Bell

Elder Mayberry (their special Spanish Elder)

Elder Wyatt's birthday party!

Elder Wyatt, Luck , Bust and Brusmaser
Elder Hermansen

Elder Oaks (BYU bud)

Here is the famous Kioko (temple friend) Buster thought she was great because she would talk to them....

Elder Bryce Beckstrand (Riverton High)

Tobasco Saturday(some wierd MTC tradition)

Elder Carter (Riverton High)

Elder Jordan Byers (BYU friend)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Down to the last 12 hours.....

Time flies when you are learning Chinese and the gospel! This mtc experience has been great. Spiritual, trying, and a great learning experience. It really taught me how to love and I am so excited that I get the opportunity to go and teach and love the people of Taiwan! I am a bit scared out of my mind, but I know the Lord will provide. He will take every step with me. I am putting my whole heart into that belief and going to try and be like one of the Stripling Warriors and doubt not.
Well this week I did something that will surprise all you. I sang in the MTC choir. Yes, I actually participated in it. Weird and awe striking but it did happen.
Also this week we had the opportunity to meet with the MTC Presidency. It was really cool. They are amazing men and they truly valued our input and ideas on we can be better zone leaders and improve the MTC experience for new missionaries.
Went to my final doctor appointment and the toe almost looks too good except for the fact that a slice of my toenail is missing.
I am grateful for the amazing teachers I had here in the MTC. They are my heroes. They have really helped me develop and become the best possible missionary I can become here and how to continue out in the field. I will really miss them.
Spiritual thought. Comes from Mosiah 26.3 it says. . And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God, and their hearts were hardened." I was thinking about this and we can really flip this around. Because of our belief we can understand the word of God. When we ask God, our hearts will be softened. When our hearts are softened, we can come to knowledge that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer of the World. That he does not give commandment that would not benefit us.

Talk to you next in Taiwan.
Elder Townsend

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week 10! Now we really are counting down....

(That's from one of the most popular languages at the mtc) Things are going great! I forgot to mention that we were in the New York Times the other day. Check us out.

Also this last week was definitely an interesting one. I had this killer headache for six days straight. So I went to the health clinic they gave me a couple of pills. Doing fine now. At the health clinic I happened to mention that I had an ingrown toenail. It was a little infected. (I think partially due to the fact I tried to pull it out myself) So they sent me to a podiatrist (I think) He cut part of my toenail out (now my feet aren’ beautiful anymore since part of the toenail is missing.) Then it gets better. I wasn't feeling too good, little nauseated whatever, so my teacher told me to go to the health clinic, I did and the nurse was worried asked the doctor and they decided I need to go to the BYU Health Center. Lucky me! I went they checked me out. Wondered if it was my appendix, and decided to take a blood test. Test came back and I am normal and will survive. I can still go to Taiwan.

So that is my extraordinary week. It really taught me the importance the co-pays are... I am a missionary so I'll just say they are tebie, special.

Yeah so on a lighter note, we leave next Thursday! We have to report to the travel office at 4 am (again lucky!) Go to Salt Lake, after fly to Detriot, have an hour layover give or take then go to Taiwan making for a 22 hours 40 minute flight! Tell me you aren't jealous. It’s all good because we are doing this for the right cause! I am thrilled I have this opportunity to serve and learn how to love this people and help them.

Well the spiritual thought for the week is about the Atonement. We had Bro Heaton speak (Love when he speaks) he said the atonement is more than just coming at one with the Savior and God, it’s also coming at one with family. Through the Atonement our families can be strengthened. More than that, they can live together forever, what a marvelous blessing that the ones who take care of us can always be with us. Also in Doctrine and Covenants 15.6... I think... it says we can be together with those we convert as well. They will be eternal friends. Again I am so thankful for this gospel and know it is true and the church is Christ's Church today.
Elder Townsend

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 9......

It’s down to two weeks left before I leave to Taiwan. Very strange. But its ok I need to get out there and share the message. Nothing really exciting has gone on down here. Just studying like crazy. We have this goal of not speaking any English now. I figure since this is writing it’s ok to be in English. It’s hard but it's really fun. The dictionary has become my best friend.
The other day I spent trying to translate a verse in the Book of Moses. It’s fun but honestly hard.
I am so thankful for Joseph Smith who translated the Book of Mormon. He did that with the Spirit of God without a doubt.

Deng zhang lao has an alternate ego called the purple prince. He loves purple. So we created an archenemy, the crimson crusader. It’s hilarious we have four or five elders in this. We do random little things and leave notes from the crimson crusader. For example, last night we flipped over his bed. The other night we had an elder dress in red and come "attack" him. By attack he grabbed his purple "cape" and ran.

The last trc we had was great. I can't believe we can actually communicate in another language. A lot of the time we don't understand what they are saying but the Spirit takes care of that part and helps us understand. That's the great gift of tongues.

Well, I guess since I don't have too much I'll leave you with the spiritual thought. Moroni 10:4-5. Prayer is the most crucial tool we have been given. It's wonderful to know that if we have a sincere heart and ask God for an answer, we can receive through the Holy Ghost. There are two things we need to do to receive this. The first I just mentioned. Have a all heart sincerity ask God and We need to have faith in Jesus. That means we have to act upon our answer. God won't keep giving answers if you don't act. You aren't really using a sincere heart if you aren't willing to act. I challenge everybody to take Moroni's challenge and to sincerely ask God if the Book of Mormon is true, read it, and then Act upon it. Prayer truly is our way to communicate with God.
Elder Townsend

I can see that Buster is starting to phrase things as if he were speaking Chinese, meaning the order in which he puts together a sentance. I try not to correct too much.... but I am afraid the gift of translation will be needed in Buster's letters as he moves forward to Taiwan!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week 8! Counting down to Taiwan!

Awasyio! (Hello in Korean)
Wow, it's insane to think that I now only have 3 weeks left! Pretty soon I will be in Taiwan wondering what language they will be speaking. Anyway, today was my Companion's bday and for his birthday I bought him a new pen. That's the hot commodity at the mtc, which kind of pen you rock. I have been really digging the pilot g and this new highlighter. Now don't tell my life can get more exciting than this. This week we taught the second lesson in Chinese in the trc all in zhongwen for the first time. It was crazy, I was surprised at how it went. My companion and I were able to understand a lot. We have learned that the best way to teach is straight out of the scriptures and just ask questions. It puts all the focus on them and their relationship with God. We just help them understand how the gospel affects them now and how it applies to them.

I can't think of anything crazy deng zhang lao has done this week. Sorry to disappoint. The quote though from him is" wild dreams are what dreams are made of". Not bad, it had us rolling on the floor.

We had some pretty cool speakers Elder Kearon from the seventy and Stephen Allen. During Bro Allen's talk he had  elders and sisters share some of their turbulence they have have been facing. One elder hadn't seen his dad in two  and half years talked to him for 3 hrs before coming on his mission and his dad was redeployed again when he got in so he won't talk to his dad for another two years again. Rough. Just have to remember there are others who are sacrificing so much more than I and are facing harder times than I might ever will. Trust in the Savior and he'll provide.

For the spiritual thought. It comes from an experience I had this week. Our teacher told us to say a prayer, prepare whatever you feel and just go out and teach that one person who needed to hear whatever message we are prompted to share. It was a bit intimidating but it was probably one of the most spiritual experiences thus far. We came in contact with an elder in the laundry room who was preparing to go out to the field. Not knowing what to share with him we just started asking questions. We found out he was feeling nervous. All of the sudden I was impressed to share Alma 57. 26-27. it’s about the stripling warriors and not doubting in the power of God and their preservation. I bore my testimony and the spirit was super powerful. I can tell you we must rely upon the spirit. When we do and just like the 2000 stripling warriors, never doubt and go do. The spirit will fill our mouths with words we need to say and we exercise the power of God.
Elder Townsend