Townsend 2 taiwan

Monday, April 25, 2011

I am thinking this Elder loves Taiwan....


Wow! Not sure you could call that the breakfast of champions?

Learning to love all kinds of delicacies!

Happy Easter or Fuhuo Jie which means Resurrection Day

Zao an,
First Congrats to everyone with the mission calls! That is awesome! Enjoy your time in the MTC. The MTC is crucial. All the ancient prophets and missionaries went as well. We have Almulek, Alma spent some time at his house and had angels come visit. Hmm... Sounds a lot like the MTC... Even our Savior, Jesus Christ, also spent 40 days with God in which he fasted and prayed. I can't believe how much of a time difference we have. The Prophet Joseph Smith had the Camp of Prophets (I think that's what it is called)(school of the prophets) and some of the best church leaders and missionaries came out of that camp. 
Also, congrats to all the other amazing accomplishments.

I am starting to think my body is finally realizing that the time zones are different.

Well Happy Easter! Easter was yesterday for us and you would have never had known if you hadn't gone to church and even then it was a huge thing. We had Branch Conference and since we are a branch the Mission President came down and spoke. Ha- I love President Grimley. So, thankful that Heavenly Father can assign a man like that to help me begin my mission.
Easter here is called fuhuo jie which means resurrection day. I thought it was pretty sweet that what it means is exactly why we celebrate. No hidden meaning. Straight to the point.

Quick Recap of the week and any needed elaboration.
Monday was as always Preparation Day. We went golfing! Luckily for me they had ONE left handed club. A number 7. Pretty good, felt nice to swing a club.
Tuesday went to Yuli. We had companion exchanges and I was pared up with Elder Lusupudan. He is an Aborigine. Super fun. We went out contacting and I saw this kid, probably in high school since he was still wearing his uniform. (I think the uniforms here are actually pretty cool.) I started teaching and it went great. Apparently his family had met with the missionaries the night before but he wasn't there so it all was good. He was willing to be baptized.
Later I saw an older women pushing a baby and I decided to contact her. Went great and she really likes the things the church teaches about family and the things that they do. Hopefully that will go all well!
I also that night anointed a blessing in Chinese. Weird how I have to do everything in Chinese. Pretty soon I'll forget the English... Maybe?
Thursday we ate at our Branch Mission Leader's Restaurant because he had to cancel the night before so he rescheduled it for today. So good!
 We also met this older guy Li. He was awesome. He pulled some chairs from out of his house and we taught a lesson right there on the spot. Agreed to baptism, set a date, and today we will meet with him again!
Friday we contacted all day pretty good and met lots of people. Set up lots of appointments but none of them showed up on Saturday.
Trials and adversity brings about rewards. 2 Nephi 2:1-2, Lehi talking to Jacob about how he has suffered much from his brothers and having been born in the wilderness. He said the Lord will consecrate thy afflictions for thy gain. Remember- the trials and the hard times will let us receive a better reward in the long run. We might not know why things are they way they are, but I do know that Lord plans on making those experiences if we handle them well, an eternal reward. A reward where we might be able to help someone else in this life.
I want to thank all of you for your example, support, and love. I pray daily for you and your safety. You all have made my privilege of coming to serve a mission such a blessing and make all those rough times of rejection, and sadness for the people a burden easy to bear.
Elder Townsend

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pictures and more pictures!

 Museum and preaching the gospel... would this qualify as one who's heart is as cold as stone?
 Fei yu ( he knows the Hakka so self explanatory)
 View from apartment...guess that is better than the view inside!

 Island, Sanxianta 
exploring all the caves and finding creatures!

Week 4 Taiwan

Things are going great! Just loving life! So last prep day we went out baxiandong and sanxiantai. Unreal. I didn't like baxiandong because they destroyed these ancient caves were they found artifacts and put in little miaos. (Temple type thing) It was so weird you could feel the spirit leave from those places and it was yeah- just weird. But the hike was awesome! We decided afterward to go to this island, sanxiantai. Wow... It had this wickedly awesome bridge that went out to an island. We could have explored the island for days! It was awesome! It had lava rock and creatures. Saw the weirdest bug/creature thing ever. It is something I've only dreamt of yet its real... That was great!            
Tuesday we went to hualian for zone conference. It was really good! I had an interview with President. He is so great. One of the many things I admire about him is his ability to make us feel comfortable. He has such a happy and optimistic personality. We talked about how we can apply the doctrine of Christ to our lives, becoming sanctified, and finding! It was good and I think the worst part of it was getting mail at the end. The reason I say this is that we can only open mail on Mondays during prep day. Well, zone conference was on Tuesday, so no biggy, just wait a week to read. Thanks for the letters!
Thursday the branch mission leader invited us to his restaurant to eat. It was awesome. We had hot pot. Ha. He was loving it because I was so clumsy and he just watched me the whole time. I think his favorite part was that I was starting to sweat a little. I'm sorry I am wai guo ren who hasn't adjusted to the humidity! Ha all good he laughed and helped me along with eating. We talked about the baptism service this Saturday. SO..
This Saturday was Lin Chao Wei's baptism! It was great! Huo dixiong baptized him. He was funny he was scared he was too big to go into the water and huo dixiong would drop him. Ha we just tried not to laugh at the man man lai (slowly come)
This spiritual message is about fasting. So last fast Sunday we fasted for one of our investigators hermie that he might be baptized. Well his parents didn't let him right then be baptized but this Sunday his mom said he could be baptized! Fasting does work and I am so grateful for it! It’s such a privilege and blessing to fast.
Lots of Love,
Elder Townsend

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week 3

Le ho!
Awe! It has been an interesting week! On Monday we went to the National Museum of Prehistory, I loved it! Except, it was prehistory, so we probably should have taught the law of chastity to a lot of the statues. Next time we'll be bringing shirts and pants. So many cool things! I basically believe that some of the natives here descend from Hagath. AKA they are part Nephites. They don't know where they are from but they are just here!
On Tuesday, I had a pretty cool experience, my companion decided that he would make phone calls and I could stand on the corner and contact people. Yippee!!.. Contacting is not my favorite. It’s just crazy and I hardly understand them sometimes. They didn't teach me that stuff in the MTC!
 Sometimes it’s hard to tell if they speak taiyu or Chinese. Everyone speaks taiyu. Anyways, I took a deep breath and said a quick prayer. I then pictured the Savior standing at my side as I was about to contact. It was amazing and a miracle! People pulled over for me and I was able to share the message. It was cool to think the difference it made to have the Savior by me as I contacted. We had another cool miracle. We went to visit the wu, the daolu laoren (Mainland china old man); he wasn't home so as we were leaving I suggested we visit our other friend on the floor below. He was home and we shared a message and help answer his questions. It was really powerful and it was something he needed. He has so many doubts and we are just trying to answer and guide him along the way.

Wednesday. This basically turned to a service day. We went to Feiyu's (Flying fish, he is an Aborigine) He lives in the mountains and it overlooks the sea. SO AMAZING! It’s unreal. Anyway, his wife told me I could come back there one day I just had to bring my future wife. I am ok with that. So he is building his own house and he had a ton of broken concrete we needed to move from his house down to a little path. It was definitely hard work. It was such a sunny and bright day. We had a lunch break and there was a chicken foot... Feiyu told me that he only gives the chicken foot and chicken jelly (Basically chicken fat, it’s like fish oil) to his best friend and that happened to be me. So I got over the nasty feeling of feeling the chicken nails scratch against my face and the chicken skin and went to town. Surprisingly the chicken foot was pretty good. I liked it. haha The chicken jelly on the other hand, another day. Finished working saw wild monkeys and other animals. It was great.
Taught Jiang xing han, hermie, the kid is golden.

Thursday went to Hualian and had a zone leader meeting obviously I am not a leader but my companion is. I therefore had to go. I sat in the meeting and it was really good and I got to contribute! That's where my spiritual thought comes from. They were talking about sanctification. What is Sanctification? Sanctification to me is willing to give up the worldly things, taking upon the cross, and most importantly allowing the Holy Ghost to purify us from sin. Sanctification is purification. We are gold. We must go through the refiners fire completely immerged in it to remove all the draws, impurities. As we do so, the Savior will move us and more importantly he will mold us into what he wants us to become. Then one day when we see the Savior again he will say,"Oh thou beautiful instrument of my hands, come unto me and abide with me." I know the Savior will shape us into what he wants us to be.

Loved General Conference! All so great and I challenge all of you to watch and read ALL of it. There are so many things we can apply. Use Elder Holland's talk to guide you.
Sunday we had one of our best investigators drop us for no reason, he loved church. It sucked.
Anyways lots of love and Remember God knows and loves you individually!

Elder Townsend

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Week 2 Taiwan and some pretty exciting stuff!

Dear one and all. da jia hao!

Get the business part out first. If you want to contact me you can either write me letters or send packages (send those to the mission home and they will forward them to me) or you can send me emails. The only problem with emails is that I can only write family back. I will have to write you a letter and that will take some time to send to you. Next, I did receive my carryon bag, sorry if I didn't make that clear. And last but not least prep day is on Monday for me, but remember I am 14 hours ahead. Now- to the fun stuff.

I totally forgot to talk about my Dan Jone's night! So the first official day in Taiwan we had to go out proselyting that night. We received a "babysitter". We had a lesson so we had to book it. On the way we talked to a lot of people and saw many miracles. We hopped on the train and took it. (The MRT)
When we got off we had to ride bikes. Scariest day of my life. First off the bike was for an Elder that was over six feet, next, it has been a while since I rode a bike, it was night, and I was in Taiwan, Taipei. Craziest city ever. The drivers are nuts! I was praying so hard not to die to continue my mission. We almost got hit a couple of times.
Well we got off and started talking to this older man. He knew some English and he invited us to his gongzuo (work). We started talking and he was a really neat man, he gave us his son's info and said his son really needed our message. After we got to the church and taught.

So last Sunday I ate at a member's house. The zhang jia ting (family). They are the best one son is a member (he's around 40 or so) and his wife and son and the member's mother. Zhang ma. So we started and her native tongue is an Aboriginal language. I didn't know that. So she starts praying and I am so confused because I can't understand a word. All of a sudden it started sounding like a tribal chant and she began to get louder and louder. She was almost yelling at one part, calmed downed and ended the prayer. I was trying so hard not to laugh, so funny. Her second language is Taiyu (Taiwanese) and she knows very little Guoyu national language.
The dinner was great, they had chicken feet, but I decided to pass on those this time. Still getting used to it.
Teaching quite a few people, it’s cool. One of our investigators’s (I like friend's better) quit smoking and is getting ready to accept baptism next week!
Also we had our first baptism on Saturday!!! Wu mao rui, he is in the military and the coolest guy you'll meet. Has a cool conversion story. I had the opportunity to baptize him. I was more excited for him to get the gift of the Holy Ghost, You can really see the light on people as they change and accept the gospel.

This week I got in a gnarly bike wreck. We were on exchanges since my companion is district leader. It was night and we were flying. We started going down this hill and I thought I could just keep going fast since we were going to go straight. Nope, Elder Peng decided to slow down and hit the brakes pretty hard, I didn't notice till I was pretty close on his tail. I hit the brakes and went flying over the front of my handle bars. All good, no major injuries just sore and cut up hands, and my pants have a good ding in them. 
I also ate at McDonald’s this week! It was weird it was practically the same as the one back home but less options and for Taiwanese money expensive. We ate with one of our friends, he wants to be baptized but his parents won't let him because it will offend their gods they believe. Anyways we are praying lots for him and his family.
Also, in Taidong we do tons of street contacting. It’s a little nerve racking trying to talk to people in Chinese while your companion is talking to another. We have found some really cool people and hope we can meet with them and teach them and for them to feel the Holy Spirit and learn of Jesus Christ and His love for them. And hopefully bring their soul unto him.
Spiritual thought is just that missionary work is more than just teaching, baptism, and a number. It’s about their soul and that this is the most singly important decision of their life. That they need to know God loves them and that He has a plan for them to be successful. In the Doctrine and Covenants it says the worth of souls in great in the sight of God. Everyone is special to God.
Love, Elder Townsend

Pictures from Taiwan

First baptism in Taiwan, Wu mao rui, he is in the military and the coolest guy you'll meet (according to Bust). Elder Sessions is Buster's companion and I am guessing very gracious to let Buster have the opportunity to perform the baptism

At the beach in Taidong, Elder Peng and Sessions.

Grand Hotel, this ground is where Taiwan was dedicated for the gospel to be preached. President Grimley and  Sister Grimley took the missionaries there and asked them to  pray and dedicate themselves to the Lord and to  teach  the people of Taiwan.

Taiwan, Taipei Temple

They went to this memorial the first morning they were there with their mission president and wife. Got a good run in!

Taking the train with Elder Sessions
Buster and Ben (BYU roommate and friend)

MTC group

All on board and heading to Taiwan!

Spencer Knaras (good friend from RHS who will be serving in Albania)