Townsend 2 taiwan

Monday, January 30, 2012

Long nian! The Year of the Dragon!

Long nian! The Year of the Dragon!
Well this week has been great with fire works, the shops closed, and finding people! The holiday is pretty much over. School kids still have some time off, but other than that we have ourself a group of people to go talk to! Well this week... I would say that I ate a lot of food provided by the wonderful members who make some of the best grub ever! Other than grub we had some really cool things and miracles happen.
The first thing is that happened is we had a specialed training and guess who was asked to translated for the natives? Me! It was a bit scary at first because I have tried to picture translating for president before and it is not easy. ha He uses lots of idioms and just funny stories. For example a dime in a dozen, and my fingers were frozen to the bicycle handlebar and my companion had to use a heat gun to dethaw my frozen hands! ha but in the end I survived and learn lots of great things that we strove to apply this weekend and as a result we saw many blessings and miracles.
In our specialized training we talked about chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel. It focuses on time management. There is also a talk in last general conference where a general authority talked about using Chapter 8. (So you might want to check it out and learn how to apply these principles now) One of the things we learned was set goals, set plans, and go do. It focused on our we effectively using our time? We could be the busiest person in the world, but the least productive and effective person as well. It mentioned how we need to focus on key indicators. So when Elder Slawson and I planned we did exactly that. We decided we wanted to find 12 set ups to meet with us next week. After we set plans to help us accomplish that. The Lord sancified and we found all of those set ups! They didn't affect our key indicators right then but they will affect them next week! We did that same thing for sunday and we saw a lot more than we planned! We found an additional nine set ups! So next week we can just teach, teach, teach, and get them to baptism!
Also Sunday we were so happy to be alive. We saw 4 people come to church. It was funny three of them came together. When they got off their bikes and before they came in the church they spent about 5 minutes fixing their hair, making sure they were still fly. ha it was pretty funny.I was smiling so big as I followed them inside of the church. They were all so good! Well one of the people who came, Mr. Wu, he had come the previous week and told us that he probably wouldnlt come back. Well he was there Sunday and when I talked to him he said that when he got home he said he heard a voice in his heart talking to him in Chinese telling him that church was a good thing and stuff. He then started to say that he thinks it was the bread and water, because he couldn't see anyone and he couldn't see the bread and water and he felt it come it so he concluded it must be because of the bread and water. He decided he was curious and came again. Who knows this guy is a bit special and has also seen the ghosts of roman soldiers walking down the aisles of catholic churches. Oh I think he has said he saw Jesus and Mary as well... Finally we head home after following our plan pretty well and we say our opening prayer for our Dailly Planning session and I look up at the time. Its only 8 o clock. We still have an hour to go out and teach. Ha It really weirded the two of us out. We don't know where they time came from. We did want we planned and yet we still had an hour. It was as if God had added an extra hour to our lives. He wanted us to still go out and do work! So we did! I guess you can say my testimony of time management and planning was strengthened. God is a planner and He has planned from the beginning so if we want to be like Him, we need to become effective planners. 
Finally I just want to add my testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. It is the word of God. As I have sought to use it in my missionary experience I know I doing it the Lord's way. That these people can feel of God's love.  
Well lots of love,
Elder Townsend

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

Xin nian kuaile! The Dragon has come! Its guonian (Chinese new year) and things are changing up! I am still here in xinzhu, but the people aren't! We still have some obviously, but a vast majority of the shops are close(luckily the internet cafe isn't and seven/eleven never sleeps) and the people on the streets aren't as many! A lot of people head to their parent's house for this holiday, eat, sleep, and eat some more. So last night we had a member invite us over. It was so good. I really don't know what was my favorite. Maybe the lamb slabs with this mustard sauce on it or the fried shrimp or the fish or the raw fish with the intense wasabi sauce that burns the hair of your nose I don't know. ha I really did love it all! So there is a little bit about the culture note.
This week has been really long and pretty busy as well. I would have to rank this week as one of the slowest moving in history, but I could be wrong. This week we said good bye to one our investigators. His grandparents really oppose and his parents think its best if he waits tills after he does military service and his grandparents go the ways of the earth.
This week was a bit strange we had a lot of contact with foreign missionaries for some reason. The first one, his name was Victor and Victor is from Portugal. The xiang shan elders gave us to him and told us he was a catholic missionary. We call him he said we could still bring a book of Mormon to give him. We get his address and head up. Well the address we pull up to is a Catholic cathedral. We go to the front and victor pulls up and we go inside to share and have a lesson. It was a first for me to preach the Gospel in another church. I guess that's how they did in old times to right? ha We gave him the book and invited him to read it. The next one was when I was talking to some kid who said his name was eminem (yes like the rapper) and out of now where appears this sharp dressed black man. He said he thought we were his brethren, but realized we weren't the brethren of his faith. He was a Jehovah Witness pastor. Sterling Lewis. Ha Really nice man, he decided he wanted to share some scriptures with me and I know what it is like to proselyte so I let him talk which he likes to do and also because his voice was very relaxing, (I started to doze off) I also know realize why black men make the best pastors. They just sound fantastic. Anyways we invited him to read the Book of Mormon which was a no, but he did surprise me because he knew that nephi was inspired by the words of isaiah. Sterling really liked the words of Isaiah. He shared a scripture with me and it was interesting because it read it incorrectly. The written meaning from their scriptures and what he said are completely different. In their bible it said there will be no savior and what he said was no other savior. I pointed that out to him and we invited him to read the Book of Mormon another testament of Jesus Christ.
Ricky Zhuang came to church today!!! He was great he was wearing a very hip suit. Ha it was a tan jacket with pin strips and in the front pocket had a bright yellow pen. He also had on a blue button up shirt and on bottom had these blue pants with grey and brown pin strips. That's right Ricky knows how to make a fashion statement watchout new statement coming in! He still is having a difficult time with church but man man lai (Slow slowly come? I don't know best English translation) He is working on a few commandments right now trying to get things fixed and we are really hopin this week that we can help him build his faith in Christ. Pray hard! He is truly amazing!
We had another pretty cool miracle. We were out knocking doors and it was time to go. As we were leaving we heard some pretty loud chinese rap music come out of a door with tigger on it. I couldn't resist. I knocked. A man came out and we talked he had been to church before. He believes in Jesus. The last year he had quit smoking and betel nut. Just being totally prepared. We set up and we are excited!!! Just goes to prove that the Lord can use loud means to find those prepared people.
Well I have so much more, but not enough time. Just know I love you all, the Savior Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon. Read it! Do not take lightly this powerful instrument the Lord has given us to come closer to Him. It is his word!
Lots of love,
Elder Townsend

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I am still in xinzhu

Well I got some pretty wacky news. I am not moving! I am still with Elder Slawson. Same area. Same ward. Same bed. Same desk. Same work. Same xinzhu. Apparently someone told President when I was young that I didn't like change, I don't know. This means after this next transfer, I will have spent 7 1/2 monthes in the same place. I still can't believe it. ha Its not a bad thing this is just unheard of unless you are a sister. Sisters usually don't move so I guess I might be a sister? Surprise?
But it is ok! All is good I get to see my investigators here get baptized!
Daniel Huang came to church yesterday wearing a suit. He looked good. Still has a little smoke in him hasn't cleaned it out of him quite yet. He is going to gaoxiong for guonian so he'll be heading out this weekend.
Ricky Zhuang is doing pretty good! He is quiting coffee. He is a little bit sad about it, but he is willing to do it because then he can get baptized. He is a great guy and really does work. Unfortunately he has a hard time coming to church. His first time at church wasn't the greatest experience and ever since then its been a bit difficult to get him back to church. He also work sometimes, but we'll keep working on him.
Ping Wang! I realized last night as I was laying in bed that Ping was closer to you USofA folks than he was to me. He was in Texas for a while spending some time with his girlfriend. Well he is back and is doing pretty spectacular! Keep in my mind that we haven't met with him since the beginning of december, but he has read all the way to the Words of Mormon and he loves the Book of Mormon. When I was talking to him on the phone he was telling me how he was trying to read faster (he meant he wanted to read more). He is really absorbing the Book of Mormon. He shares with us how he has some favorite scriptures and how the Book of Mormon just brings peace into his life. He is so funny and just a great guy.
Ok this week you can say I found another family except it isn't your young family with little kids. Mr. Tian is 77 years old and his wife is 68 I think. He is a funny man. So we get to their house and we sit down, they offer us tea, we reject so we get fed fruit and chocolate wafers. Mr. Tian starts sharing about his life and his father. Apparently his father was some brilliant scientist. He said his dad created/design the glasses that tint themselves in the light and some other important things now they are still using. Well Mr. Tian back in the day was a Doctor in New York China town. He was telling us when he was there he got mugged/shot by a man carrying a rifle. He said it missed his heart and stuff. Due to his father becoming old and his health he had to come back to Taiwan. After all of that he started to share with us how he was trying to get retirement benefits from the US. He was hoping that we could help him with that. First off we weren't really sure what he wanted us to do and second I don't know anything about retirement benefits from the US. I am a missionary preaching Jesus Christ here in Taiwan. Anyways after many times we tried to share a message with we were about to throw the towel in (Keep in mind the whole time his wife was trying to show us every picture to us of her kids, family, etc. Hmm it must be a grandmother type thing) and finally we had success! We said a little prayer, shared Joseph Smith's experience and the Book of Mormon. We invited them as the learned and found out if this message is true or not that they would be willling to be baptized. Mr. Tian was willing. His wife said she has never studied Jesus stuff before so it was a bit big step, but she said she would because she has felt his existence before. Mr. Tian from the time we introduced the Book of Mormon till the end was holding onto it tight. If I understood him clearly he mentioned how he was looking for something like this in his life. After they started to argue about whether he was democratic or communist because he stems from the mainland. Ha it was a classic.
Oh I don't know what is going on in America, but I met a somewhat drunk American who lives in china, but what he was saying is that mitt romney was going to win the presidential election, the US was going to convert and when that happens he said he would become a mormon too. Ha it was pretty funny and he told us that he doesn't believe in joseph smith, (then pulling from his pocket an alcholol bottle) says I believe in this man, Jack Daniels. Moral. I don't know, just make good decisions in life I guess.
There is so much that goes on in a week and so many miracles but unfortunately I don't have time to share all them. Just know that all God is a God of miracles. His word is being fulfilled. Everyone man, woman, and child will hear the gospel in his own language. I still don't know everything, I know I am not the best, but I know I can take comfort in the Lord and that as I look forward to future in faith that I take knowledge in the fact that everything will be ok.
Lots of Love from Taiwan.
Elder Townsend

Hello! One year!

Well looking back now have a year experience under my belt or under my tie, is quite weird. To think that I have been responsible for the eternal welfare of the people of taiwan for this long. Its a bit strange, but I would say it has been one of the most humbling. I have really learned that not one person has the same situation as the other person, yet despite that fact, the Savior, Jesus Christ descended below all of that to understand that one person as he has the redeeming power to rescue all of us.
Well I know the Savior cares for all of them as this week I meet with my first family in Taiwan. It was the most spectacular thing ever. Yet was the hardest thing ever. When we started to teach I could feel the Savior's love for this family as I just bore simple testimony of prayer and family prayer. The lesson went pretty well, wasn't the best, I was so nervous. Fortunately I found out that the mother had a friend that belonged to our church. I asked her to accompany our lesson (peike). She did great and after she talked to the family. The family didn't set up a next time to meet, but as I was talking to the member after she shared how the husband had investigated other churches and was really improving a lot. I guess when I invited him to pray it was his first time to pray and more than that he was willing to kneel down and pray. She also mention how the spirit was present in the lesson so that was really good and hopefully as we keep in contact with them and follow up on commitments that they will come and learn more.
Next we met with Roach Ling. Ha what a funny man. He is a bit eccentric, but none the less just great. He wrote down his "prayer" he had the other night so we met with him he showed it to us. His English or at least his writing is actually really good. We were doing our best not to laugh because he is really intense. I can see him being in the ward now and the future missionaries looking at this guy thinking who baptized him? Just because he is so into the gospel. Well anyways our peike (The member) was a bit special as well. In the lesson he told us how the missionaries forced to be baptized in a week. It was a bit of rough patch in our lesson, but we got it smoothed out and he mentioned some of the great things from baptism. So let that be warning be to all missionaries. Don't be stupid. Work in the Lord's way or it will affect the future. This also accounts for our incredibly high number of less actives. For every three active we have 7 less active I think... Also our member after the lesson decided he wanted to teach word of wisdom. That was our second time meeting with him, but once again I just talked to Roach, got it figured out and we will share word of wisdom with him this week. 
Finally I had another great experience on the power of prayer, the scriptures and being at the right place at the right time. During dinner I felt like I wanted to read the scriptures so I said a little prayer and asked the lord to help me better apply the scriptures in contacting and to find something that will help someone I will meet tonight. I opened it straight up to Moroni 10.32-33. I love those scriptures as it has brought so much peace to my life. Well our plans got changed up so I decided we can go a busier place to contact since that was rainy and hadn't had much success. I was getting rejected left and right, but kept going knowing the Lord would provide. I met this guy and I started to talk to him. I asked him about sharing with him and he said he had to buy something and he would be right back. He took off running and I thought dang, I got suckered, but then I realized that was the wrong attitude so I kept a little hope in my heart he would come back. He did. I started sharing with him and getting to know him. He said he was feeling like he was having a battle within himself. That was disappointed and that simply put, he was frustrated that he couldn't be perfect. I opened up the scriptures with him and read line upon line and explained the meaning to him. At the end I shared about prayer and my dinner experience with prayer and scriptures, and prayer does work. I asked him what he thought of the scripture he said it startled him because it was exactly what he needed to hear. We set up another time, but I know all that was put into place by going, doing, and asking the Lord for his help and after accounting for how diligent we are in being obedient and working. 
Oh by the way the picture is daniel huang. He is on a smoking plan, set a new baptismal date and is going to do it for sure this time!
This also could be my last week in xinzhu after about 6 months tearing up this town. So we will see where I will be next week!
Lots of love,
Elder Townsend

Monday, January 2, 2012

More pictures!

Buster and Elder Slawson

Nothin' like getting your feet wet!

xin nian kuaile!

Hello one and all!
Yes they did celebrate the new year here in Taiwan not the same as we do in America, but they did celebrate it. We woke up to the mass of fireworks going off at 12 am right next to our apartment. It wasn't too bad of a show.
This week the Lord blessed us extremely. We found 5 new investigators and all five of them have baptismal dates! I will tell you a little about them one of them came from our free English Class and they call him Roach. Yes his name is special and so is he. He came to my intermediate class and afterwards I went up and talked to him. He said that the church has a special feeling to it and that he really liked. He said the feeling was the strongest during the prayer as well. Set him up and were excited. He called us the day after and asked if he could change to that day we decided that would be ok so we met with him. We said an opening prayer and he ate it up. He said he felt it go from his heart to his mind, and from his mind to his heart. Said he loved it. Also he said he felt like a "white hand" was inside of him. I have no idea what that means and hope it is a good thing and not some crazy loony thing. Shared with him a bit and he just shared how he had looked and studied lots of different religions, but nothing had brought this feeling before. We started to invite him to baptism by saying, "As God answers your prayers..." and he immediately said he already has. We told him that was great, but we still like you to go home, ponder up the things we share, then to ask God. He set a baptismal date and is stoked out of his mind to come to church this week. Finally his closing prayer was amazing. Some parts were a little bit funny, but for a first timer it was amazing. He said he had no idea what to say sometimes and was just going to close, but he would open up his mouth and God would put more words into it. I thought that was the best part that he was voicing his desire to serve God and bring others unto Him and Son Jesus Christ. It will be a long and difficult process but one worth it.
Well this week we had a couple of invites from the mission, one of them is to study about obedience and diligence from preach my gospel, also memorize the quotes that are there as well. Work, work, work! There is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work! This invite was awesome. It kept me going all week long. Everytime I maybe wanted to slow down and catch a breath, I would remember this and try to go a little bit farther. The Result, meet great people. Just constantly and carefully doing what we are supposed to be doing while being obedient allowed us to receive the blessings of the Lord. I met this rad guy named jay huang who also has a baptismal date. Its really an amazing thing to see the Lord guide. I know sometimes I don't see it, but reflecting back upon it now, its all in the Lord's will.
Also this week I went on exchanges with the zone leader Elder Bogle. He is great and fantastic. We loved tearing up xin zhu. It was pretty funny we had people come up to us basically. We went to the church to grab the English Boarding stuff and we saw a guy checking out the church. He asked if we had a free english class here. We told him we did and we asked him if we could give him a small tour of the church. It went well set him up and passed him over to the xiang shan elders who had a great lesson and I believe they said they set a baptismal date with him. Finally at night we we were going to have a meeting with the ward mission leader, but it was cancelled because sister holm got sick. As we were leaving, we ran into some man and who came to the church. We sat down got to know him and share a little message. He set up again and we passed him over to the other area missionaries. Also people were pulling over for us all night too. It was really cool.
Oh I have an English Student named Simon. I have sent a picture out of him before. He is great everytime I am sharing and I ask something he gives me two big thumbs up and says awesome! (Occasionally an excellent or two) Yep, that's right I taught him that. Ha
I have so much to share but not enough time. I know Christ lives and if we have faith in Him, Not in something, but that Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer of the World, we can do anything that is expedient in His name. I know of Christ's divinity because of the Restoration of the Gospel which blesses families and individuals.
Lots of love from a small island.
Elder Townsend