Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 29, 2009

Hey Everyone!

This week was a pretty awesome one I'm not going to lie! Thursday was Christmas Eve! It was a lot of fun. We had our weekly planning session for the whole morning but then we went out and saw some people that we could. We ended up only being able to see a couple of people but it was pretty awesome! We stopped by Laura Hummell, the lady that is less active and just had a baby, she was so nice and so excited we could come over. We talked to her for a while and then Elder Byington gave a sweet thought about the three births of Jesus Christ. It made me really excited for Christmas and got me in the right spirit of Christmas even more! Then that night we went to the Davis's for dinner. It was pretty fun. They had her sister over and her non member husband. So that was awesome! We had steaks and twice baked potatoes. It was pretty good. And then we played some Christmas songs on some metal chime things they had. It was lot of fun. Then we went over to the French's house, the family with the kids we baptized, and they had a family night thing where they acted out the nativity and had some musical numbers. It was so awesome! Jordan, one of the girls that we baptized, is an amazing singer. It was so fun to hear her sing! Then we stopped by the Hawkes. We were going to go there for a first dinner but Brother Hawkes got sick so we just stopped by before we went home for the night and we talked to them for a bit. It was a pretty awesome Christmas eve!

Then Christmas day was pretty sweet too! we woke up and opened our presents. It was awesome! Being on a mission I didn't really need anything but I got things I could use like 12 ties, haha. and I got a lot of candy! Oh man... too much candy... I've given most of it away to people haha. But then we went and picked up some presents that Santa had forgotten to give to a less fortunate family in our ward and we went and delivered those for him. That was such an awesome way to start my Christmas day. They were so grateful for the presents and the kids were so happy to see them when we brought them in. It made me so excited that I could be a part of that wonderful thing and to see it all happen.

Then we had our Christmas calls! Oh man that was sweet! It was so nice to hear my family's voices! We only had 45 mins so we didn't get long but it was definitely amazing. But then after I was done while Elder Byington was talking to his family I went and made pancakes to keep my mind off of home. And yes dad, I did put salt in them this time. haha. But I didn't make syrup... and what we had wasn't very good... so it wasn't as good as I hoped haha. But it was still fun.

Then we went over to the Selways and we talked to them for a while and they fed us a little lunch before they went to their family. They are a really fun family and their kids are hilarious! Then we went over to the Lacustas for dinner. They has a couple family members over. We had an awesome Christmas dinner. They had a whole bunch of turkey and potatoes and stuffing and corn. It was pretty darn good! And the dessert was alright too. Not the biggest fan of it though. But then we played bingo for a while and then they gave us some presents to open and they opened some presents to each other. It was pretty sweet. They are such a fun family. And they are really nice to us since they have a son on a mission. It seems like that helps people be nicer to the missionaries around them haha. Then we played some more games. We probably stayed to long, but it's not like we would have been able to do much else. Everyone else was doing their own Christmas stuff.

Then Saturday was boxing day!! And no... there are not just a bunch of people fighting each other on that day... yes, I was disappointed too. haha. It's just a big day of a lot of sales. It started out as a day you would box up to things you didn't want or need and give it to the poor but it basically just turned into a big black Friday type thing. But since everyone was out shopping we didn't do much. We spent all morning and afternoon trying to find people at home. But nobody was home. So that was kind of a slow day. But the night was pretty good. We went over to Jason's and invited him to church. He didn't end up coming... but he still seems really excited to take the lessons. We just can't seem to find a time that ever works. He works a lot. And his family isn't all that into it. So hopefully we can start doing that.

Speaking of church. In Priesthood we had a very interesting lesson... Alan Dickson, a very strange man whenever I have talked to him, gave the lesson. But he basically just talked about the Masons the whole time. He is a Free Mason himself so he thought he would enlighten us. haha. It was so weird and definitely not a church lesson... and he definitely told us things that he wasn't supposed to say. Not really about our church but about them. I can't even really explain it but it was definitely weird. And he asked for questions and he never really answered them... like Bro Gardner asked him why he was a Mason since there wasn't and benefit for him and he was just all... I don't know. My family was just in it. And some one else asked something and he just said... ya I don't know. And then went of on a big tangent about something. I don't really know what he was doing. But he is pretty high up on the food chain in their organization. He said he is Master of the Lodge. But even he couldn't answer our questions... It was definitely weird. Made me happy that we didn't have any investigators there... not that we have any investigators anyway haha.

Well that was pretty much it for this week. But we found out who is getting transferred today. We thought a lot of our zone was going to leave and get split up. But most of us stayed. I'm staying and Elder Byington is too. He is not very excited about that though. He was all ready to leave. He has been here since July and we are in the smallest area in the mission so there isn't much to do that he hasn't done yet. He was pretty sure he was leaving. His bags are packed and everything. So we'll see how well he does this transfer. I am going to try my hardest to keep him motivated and try to find new things for us to do. But I have a feeling it is going to be rough. I am going to pray a lot and try my hardest so hopefully everything works out.

This transfer has kind of shown us that Gods ways are higher then our ways. So me and Elder Byington are here for a reason still. So I know that if we continue to try our hardest that God will bless us and hopefully well see some more good come out of this area!

Well, I am excited and nervous for the things to come. But I am ready for them to come. I am so thankful for all of you and the support that you give me. I love and miss you all so much and can't wait to hear from you again next week!


Elder Townsend

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Devin's Christmas


My name is Sister Lacusta and I just wanted to send you a few pictures of your son. We had the privilege of having your missionary in our home on Christmas Day. He was such a joy to have in our home. It made me not miss my son who is serving in the Las Vegas West mission quite so much. Your son is doing great and is a fine missionary. He is not freezing to death (Ha Ha!). We joke about it lots with him as we know he is from Arizona, I made him a wheat bag to keep him warm.

We are enjoying getting to know your son, he is a great addition to the Calgary Canada Mission.

Sister Pam Lacusta

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23, 2009

Hey Everyone!!

Well, not a lot went on this week so this one might be a little short. The biggest news that I can think of is that the weather here was amazing!! We had a Chinook wind all week and I LOVED it! It got back up into the positive digits! It was so nice! Oh, Man. It was like -8 and I thought it was heaven outside. I was walking around in my suit almost sweating! OK, not really... but that is what it was like when I first got here and I thought I was going to die of frost bite even with my layers on... Its amazing how fast you adapt to the weather. Although, I think I'm whiter than I've been in a long time. It is pretty ridiculous and I really miss the warmth of the sun on my skin. I don't even think I remember what it feels like! haha

Anyway. It is almost Christmas! It feels so weird to me. It doesn't feel like Christmas at all. But it has been pretty fun so far. It's going to be my first white Christmas in a long time! haha. Christmas on a mission though is a lot different. There really isn't anything I need or really want. So I've had a lot more time to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I've been thinking about the Savior and all that he has done for me and for everyone. It's so amazing to me that one person took on all that pain on himself. How one man could do that I don't really know but I know that He did and that He did it for me. And that knowledge has made my love for Him grow so much. And I know that He is always there for me. Lately I've been praying to ask for the Lords help in my life and I feel the happiness and the peace that comes from that.

Since it is Christmas time it has got me thinking a lot about my family and friends back home and about all the great times we have had together and all the memories we have of Christmas and the fun that is always associated with it. Its been weird thinking that I won't really have that this year. This is the first year that I haven't been home for Chistmas and I've had a lot of times where I find myself being really homesick thinking about home and everything that is going on there. These are the times that I have had a lot of opportunities to pray for help. I've been praying to always have the true meaning of Christmas in my mind and it has really helped. I always feel better after I pray. And it has really strengthened my testimony of prayer. It is so nice to know that there is always someone there to help me in those times. And my companion and the Elders from Cranston, Elders M and R, have been really nice and helpful too.

I think one of the problems tough is that we don't really have enough stuff to be doing to keep ourselves busy. We have a tiny area and not much to do in our tiny area. We don't have stores or really any public place we can go to and just talk to a bunch of people. And tracting is completely ineffective. People don't even answer their doors because it is so cold outside. They just wave us off from the from window... so we can't really do that. We do most of our work through the members. We actually just had a training on involving our members from the APs. It was pretty sweet. We have two ways of trying to get referralsfrom members. We try to get in and teach them lessons and if we feel like the family is willing or able we will leave them with one of two committments. The first one that usually comes first because it is supposed to be easier and easethe members into missionary work is one that we call the BoM Challenge. We have this whole thing that we teach the members how to do that they can do for a friend or neighbor. They can do it in just a normal conversation and try to bring up why we are called Mormons and then they basically tell the whole story of the plates and records and coming to the Americas and such and then leave them with a Book of Mormon if they can. Then the next one that they do is the seven day challenge. For those we pray about members we think could do it during our weekly planning and then we try to get in with them and teach a lesson. And then at the end we ask them if they would be willing to get a non member in their house in seven days for us to teach a lesson to. And we have a whole step chart for each day to help them and we drop by everyday to see how they are doing or call. I haven't actually done a 7 day yet and we just did our first BoM challenge so we will see how that goes. It has made me excited to find people to do it though and hopefully that will keep me and my mind busy enough to keep my mind off of the things at home and keep me away from the home sickness I've been having lately. And I think after Christmas that should help it go away too. So we'll see.

Well anyway. That is pretty much it for me. There really wasn't all that much going on in Canada this week. But I have gotten some Christmas packages and letters so I am excited to open those on Christmas. And I am getting really excited to call home. It hasn't been all that long since I was home but it feels like ages. So that will be nice.

I miss you guys all so much and I hope and pray that you guys are keeping the true meaning of Christmas in your minds and thinking about our Savior and all that he did and still does for us. I miss you guys and love you so much! I can't wait to hear from you all! And I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas as well!

Elder Townsend

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 16, 2009

Hey Guys! How is it going? This week went by really fast! It was a pretty awesome week. It has been pretty cold here the last week and a half or so. It has been down in the -30s. Which is darn cold! But it really isn't all that bad. Really it is just my face and my toes that get cold... and I am going to buy some snowboard socks today so that should fix the toe problem. haha. But today is actually really nice. A Chinook came in last night. Chinooks are pretty much the best thing in the world, I've decided. It was so nice when we walked outside this morning! I didn't need a coat or thermals or a sweater. It was awesome! But then the truck said it was still -4... that was weird... it did not feel like it was that cold still. That is like... 25 F?... I don't really know... but it doesn't even get that cold in Tucson. So I guess I really am getting used to it up here already... it is weird. Especially because it feels warm yet there is snow everywhere and I can still see my breath haha.

Well let's see. Most of this week was just a pretty normal week. Just walking around and trying to see as many people as we can and trying to teach as many lessons as we can. We are trying to get at least one lesson in every day. It is pretty hard to do sometimes though. But the highlight of my week was this Sunday!!! YES!!! The baptism actually happened this week! I was so excited! I got my first two baptisms in my first transfer! That is pretty much like unheard of here. It was awesome. And even though I didn't really teach them all that much and I basically just walked into them it was still a great experience for me. They were the first lesson that I actually taught out here. I taught them the second half of the fourth lesson and watched "The Testaments" with them and went over the baptismal interview questions. So I guess I did a little bit with them and I kind of got to know them even though they were not very talkative during the lessons. It was so awesome. Sunday was a very exciting day all together. I decided to fast for Jordan and Alexa and it made church that day very exciting. I couldn't really tell you everything that was talked about there but I just remember feeling the Spirit so strongly! It was awesome! And then we headed over to the stake center to make sure that everything was ready for the baptism.

The baptism was awesome in and of itself too! They had awesome talks given on baptism and the Holy Ghost by the young women's president and their rugby coach (yea... they play rugby. Isn't that awesome? Jordan is amazing at it! and she is HUGE! They are both like six two, six three. It's awesome.) Anyway, and their uncle/dad/guardian/willed parent... I don't really know what he is... and their other uncle performed the baptisms and the confirmations. We had font side confirmations too. That was an awesome experience. I was able to stand in the circle for them, along with like 15 other family members and such, and it was sweet. You could feel the love and the Spirit in the room so much. It made me so happy that they choose to do that in their lives. And it reminded me of my baptism and the covenants that I made there. It was sweet. And it really made me want to go out and find others to teach and bring that happiness into their
lives. oh man, it was a GREAT day. It made me so happy.

It made me happy that is... until I realized that now we have nobody to teach... dang... Well we have two investigators kind of. We haven't really taught them any lessons but we hope to soon. One, Jason, is an awesome guy. He is huge! He moves workout weight machines around for his job so he is one thick man. We haven't ever gone into his house though because his wife isn't interested at all. So we have just talked to him on his porch. He is reading in the Book of Mormon though and he is asking good questions about it though so that is good. And we kind of have an appointment with him to go to Bro Kollers house tonight, the ward mission leader who lives near him, and just talk about some things with him and go over the questions he has and maybe just read in the Book of Mormon with him. So hopefully we can do that and he can progress that little step farther so that we can eventually get into the lessons with him. That would be awesome!

The other one we have is Chris Burrows. We haven't really talked to him about the gospel at all yet... the missionaries before me went over when he asked a member friend if he could have a blessing before he went in to have eye surgery. So they did that and we have been pretty good friends ever since. Every two weeks or so we just go over and talk to him. Mostly just about life and what not. He is so fun to talk to and such an amazing guy. We add some religious stuff in here and there so he knows a little bit and we leave him with a message and prayer every time. So we hope to eventually get him out to church and maybe get into some of the lessons soon. That would be awesome. But other then those two guys we don't really have anybody else to teach but members...

Well anyway. so it is almost Christmas time! That is so exciting! We have transfers on the 30th... hopefully Byington won't leave me... he might though because he has been here like four or five months... but the missionaries that are going home this transfer are leaving early so they can be home for Christmas. Because the spent their first Christmas in the MTC and they don't want them missing three of them. So they are leaving this Thursday... that's tomorrow... wow... but one of them is one of our zone leaders. E Tompkinson. He is actually from Tucson... He lives on like Dodge and something... I don't really know where that is though. But I am so jealous of him. He gets to go back to the warmth... but this Monday at district and zone meetings we took a zone picture since he was leaving. So I got a picture of my zone that I will send you guys too! And also E Jensen who is actually from Canada but served here for a transfer until he could get his visa to go serve in Georgia. He is pretty sweet too. But it is weird to think that he came straight here and now is going to the MTC... I don't know how he did that but it would be a really interesting experience haha.
Also we got into the Christmas mood yesterday too! Sis Hawkes came over last night and brought us a little Christmas tree for our room. It was pre lit and had homemade ornaments on it. It was awesome and so nice of her. They are an awesome family! And now I have a place to put presents! haha any way. That was pretty exciting for us.

Also last night before dinner we went over to visit the Ady's, the older Ady's that live in the ward. So we have lived with the Stoddarts for over two years and they like us to only be there for a maximum of 24 months or something. So we have been looking for a house that we could move into with some members. The bishop finally found us one and it is the Ady's. They have a huge house and a giant basement that we are going to live in. We have our own entrance to the backyard and it is going to be sweet.

Well, that is really about all I have for this week. It was a pretty eventful week. I hope you guys have an awesome week and that you are staying warmer then I am! haha. I love and miss you all so much!

Elder Townsend


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 2009

Hey Everyone!

How is it going? It is going pretty good here. I've decided that Canada isn't all that bad. As long as you stay inside and you don't have to talk to anyone. haha So we didn't have the baptism on Sunday... mostly because the family that was going to come up from Cardston couldn't make it because of snow. It was pretty sad. It was weird though because the whole week before we were trying to get a hold of the French's to set up a baptismal interview and try to figure out the program of the baptism so we could get those printed, but they would not answer the phone or call us back when we left a message on the machine or with the kids. It was almost like they didn't really want it to happen. It was kinda weird but it sounds like the French's are kind of a sketchy family anyway so it might just be normal for them. Then Sunday night we did get a hold of them and they said they were planning on next Sunday now and they gave us the schedule for it all so we have the programs now... so let's pray that it actually happens this week eh?

Well other then that it was a pretty darn good week. On Thursday we went over to the Gardner's house. They are an awesome family. They are from England so they have an awesome accent. They told us that Sis Gardner's sister was in town from England and she was a less active member so they wanted us to come and "surprise" them with a lesson while she was there. So we dropped by Thursday afternoon and gave a wonderful first lesson to them. The lesson went really well and we answered all of her questions pretty good I thought. But she still didn't seem interested at all... I don't know if we changed her at all but we tried and did all we could do and it also helped us a lot in our teaching skills. So it was a pretty awesome experience!

Also on Sunday we had Stake Conference. It was pretty awesome. The talks were all about how the people that were giving them used their faith in Jesus Christ to help them get through hard times in their lives. It was awesome. It was amazing to hear all of their experiences even though most of them were pretty darn sad. But they also had to extend their talks a bit and they had some recent RM's talk because we were supposed to have a guy from the quorum of the seventy come... Elder Hafen... something with an H haha. that got stuck in Seattle on his way up here because the snow canceled all flights coming in and out of Calgary. It was kind of sad but it made for one awesome Stake conference anyway!

Sunday night we hitched a ride with the Coleman's, who we ate dinner with, (also a sweet family) to the First Presidency Christmas devotional. That was a wonderful experience. It got me ready for the holiday season and put me in the right mood for the Christmas time. I'm really hoping this Christmas I can really focus on the true meaning of Christmas. But thinking about Christmas and this time of year made me pretty sad that I wasn't at home this year. It is the first Christmas I'll have away from home... I don't know what I am going to do with my life... but I know it is going to be awesome and maybe one of the best Christmas's of my life so far. I am so excited for it and I hope you all are as excited as I am and I hope you are getting into the spirit like I am! haha

So you have heard me talk about the snow a couple of times already. But I don't think you guys understand what I mean when I say snow. I have never seen anything like that before in my life! It was so awesome and so much fun to see but oh so bad to be in! haha. Friday it started to snow a bit. It was really nice. It wasn't bad at all but it wasn't very much. Then we wake up on Saturday and it was perfectly clear it seemed like it was going to be an awesome day! But before we were done with our morning studies it was snowing again outside. So me and Elder Byington went outside and messed around for a bit and then went back inside to get ready to go out for the day. By the time we were ready it was getting worse outside and right as we were going to leave the zone leaders called and said the cars were grounded so we had to walk everywhere! Oh man. I was freaking out. I got all bundled up in about everything I had to put on. It was hilarious. So we headed out to walk all the way across our area in this blizzard!

It was weird. It didn't really snow all that much. At least for what it looked like outside. And it wasn't really all that cold just -8. But it was so windy! I don't think I have ever really seen snow when it was really windy. It was amazing. The snow was everywhere! As you were walking it just smacked you in the face constantly. It didn't matter which way you faced! The wind just blew the stuff everywhere! It was so much fun to watch. But walking around in it was horrible. We were out there from ten to two just walking from house to house and getting invited in a couple times for a bit. I actually stayed pretty warm except for my face and my feet. My toes were about to fall off. I didn't have boots at the time so I was walking around in church socks and leather shoes... not ideal for snow like that.. I thought I was going to die! But don't worry. I have some boots now. I borrowed some from this family near us, the Muirheads. They had a whole bunch of extra, practically new boots that their neighbor gave them when they moves to Texas. They said I could borrow them for this season. So sweet! I was pretty excited. I haven't used them yet though because the storm was gone by then. haha

It is pretty fun when it snows though. Because we walked around shoveling and getting peoples cars unstuck. Actually I guess it was Friday when it snowed pretty bad because then on Saturday we were walking to the Lacustas again to help them finish their basement and that is when we were shoveling and getting cars unstuck. I think a lot of people thought we wanted paid though so they didn't want us to help them... sad. That would be a really good way to make some extra money here though. Just go shovel for everyone. genius! Also, it made me realize how bad I need a touque (Canadian beanie) I saw one this one time up on Mt Lemmon back home that was blue and white and then had a big blue mohawk on it. It was so freaking cool! I wish I would have bought it! But I need to find one like that here or have my parents send me one for Christmas... wink wink nudge nudge. haha Anyway it was pretty fun.

Then yesterday we did even more service. The Stoddarts, the family I live with, wanted us to help them put a new floor down on their kitchen. So we planned for that and thought it would take like two hours. So we had the rest of the day planned too. Nope. That thing took ALL day! And we aren't even done yet! We started at ten and then took a lunch break at one and then worked until dinner. T Stoddarts fed us and then we went and taught a lesson to a member family at 630. Then at seven thirty when we got back and went to work on it again! haha. It was pretty fun though. I have never done anything like that before. But it made for an interesting day... and we had Miller and Holcomb come over at like 430. Well actually they just kind of showed up... but we were happy for the help! haha

But I think the highlight of my week was Monday night. We were driving around trying to figure out people to go see. And we were going to just drop by the Lacustas to see if we could just teach them a quick lesson. But Elder Byinton for some reason thought we should go over to the Irvines. So we went there and as we were pulling up they were pulling away. But we talked to them for a quick moment but they were on their way to the hospital because Sis Irvine is three months pregnant and was having some kind of problem. So they asked us to pray for them. So we got back into our truck and started to pray. But in the middle of our prayer we hear someone drive up next to us. So we looked and it was the bishop. So we talked to him for a bit and then the Irvine's drive back up to us and come over and ask if we could help give her a blessing. So me and Elder Byington went in and helped give her a blessing. Bro Irvine gave the actual blessing but it was the first blessing I actually stood in on out here on my mission. It was amazing. I could feel the Spirit and the love in that room so strongly. It was amazing and it was so awesome to see how the Spirit can guide us to places that we need to be and at the right time. It was also really
nice to see how quickly prayers can be answered. We didn't even get to finish that prayer but it was answered. It made me so excited to be out here on a mission and to be serving and helping the people in Calgary in any way that I can. I am so happy that I am out here.

Well I am so excited every week that I get to come and email you guys and to read the emails that I get. It is so nice to be able to hear about the things that are going on back home and that there is still a life going on back in the states. These darn Canadians are making me miss the states so bad! haha. Well it is so nice to be able to talk to you guys and to be able to hear how you are doing. I cant wait to talk to you guys again!

Elder Townsend

Those darn floors!
yeah, that says -27


me elder r elder m and elder byington! my hat was tiny! haha

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 2, 2009

Hey guys!

So in case you were trying to find Chapparel on a map I have some ways to find it. It is considered part of Calgary so if you are looking at a big map then youprobably won't find it. It's just be on the southern most part of Calgary. But if you get a map closer to Calgary it will be there. It is a tiny little group of houses right next to the road called 22x. Just in case any of you were wondering. haha

Anyway, not much has really gone on this week that was all that special. It all went by really fast. It was amazing. It seems like I was just writing a letter to you guys. It's weird.

P-day was pretty awesome. We spent the day at the stake center and played basketball and volleyball and indoor football with our whole zone. Then at six we just went back and had dinner and then had a normal night of stuff.

Then Thursday was Thanksgiving! It was awesome! We had this huge feast at the McDaniel's house. She is a caterer so she is an amazing cook and apparently feeds us well every time she has us over. But this meal was amazing! She had a turkey covered in cheese and then wrapped in bacon! It was so delicious! And she had mashed garlic potatoes and stuffing and corn and bread. Then she had pumpkin cake and cheese cake for dessert. It was OH SO GOOD! Oh man. I think I gained like ten pounds in that one dinner appointment. Then we had a pretty good message with them about being thankful. It was pretty awesome. I am excited to go back and get fed there again. haha.

Saturday was a pretty good day. We spent most of the day doing service. We have been helping this family finish their basement so we did some more dry wall there. Then we went over to the Vandeveld's and helped them move a GIANT TV. It was the biggest TV I have ever seen. It was like 6 feet wide and 5 feet tall and three feet deep. And we had to get it from their garage to the main floor and then up some stairs, that hallway up, and flipped completely around. It was intense but pretty fun! And we made it with only two holes in the walls. haha. They weren't too bad though so it was alright. I love doing service. It gets me out of a suit and it gives us something new to do other than just teaching or studying. And it feels so good to know that you've helped someone. I love that feeling. And they usually feed us lunch after so... that's a plus! haha

Saturday night was the first day that I have been here that we haven't had a dinner appointment. But this young couple, the Ady's, gave us some steaks the week before so we just fried them up. Oh man they were good. We had steaks and baked potatoes! It was so much fun and oh so delicious! We might have spent too long cooking them though. We realized that it was the 28th which meant that I had been out for a month so we decided that we had to party for my first birthday out here. It's pretty exciting. I have been out a month now. It is so weird, it has gone by fast yet it feels like forever... I don't know how to explain it... only 23 to go! haha

Sunday we had a lesson with the Grey girls again. They are the two girls that are going to get baptized! It was pretty awesome. We watched "The Testaments" and then talked a little with them about it. Then we talked about their baptism and planned it with them. My first baptisms are going to be on Sunday!! Well I won't actually be in the water with them. Their... dad... uncle... I'm not really sure what to call him since his sister in law died and left the two of them to this family... but he is going to do the actual baptizing. But it is still exciting. I am so excited to see them get baptized. I have only taught them two lessons though. And I don't know how much of the lessons they have taken in because they are so quiet. But I hope they are learning all that they need to. And they are in a wonderful family so I am sure they will do great!

But the biggest news I have for this week is that it finally snowed!!! It snowed a little bit on Thursday. Then Saturday night it really came down. It was awesome! It didn't actually snow ALL that much but it was still pretty exciting for me. And it gets really windy here so it made the snow that we did get feel like a lot more snow when it was coming down. There was a time when we were driving that we couldn't see like 15 feet in front of us. But that didn't last long. It has been fun to walk in the snow for a while. I think it is going to get really old fast though. And it has been freezing the last couple of days! It was -17 this morning and on Monday the high is going to be -23... I'm going to die!(all these are in Celsius... because I don't know how to convert it... but it is COLD!!! haha

Well anyway, that is pretty much it for me this week. I'm hopefully going to figure out how to send you guys some pictures. so that is exciting. I am so excited to hear from you guys! I love and miss you all so much!


Elder Townsend


Before and After pictures of the x22
our truck :)
the temperature outside!
me in the snow
the steak we had on Saturday
This picture came in the mail for Mom from the Mission President. It is them (President and Sister Archibald) on Devin's first day in Canada

Thursday, November 26, 2009

November 25, 2009


It seems like it has been forever since I've seen any of you! Well, I am here in Canada. It is pretty awesome! Actually it really isn't that different from the states. It is really cold and I think I might die of frostbite, but other then that it is nice. Also, I'm having a hard time understanding the language here, haha. The first day I got here my trainer, Elder Byington asked me if I had a tooke... a what?! Well, apparently that's what they call beanies here. A garbage disposal is a garberator. and a couch is... well I don't remember that one but it is kinda funny how many things there are. The gas is really cheap here! It is only 89 cents! But then i have to remember everything here is in the metric system so that is per liter... and the speed limit is in km and their money is weird! They have one dollar coins and too dollar coins (called loonies and twoies or something like that) but it is annoying! That means you always have to carry around change because the lowest bill is a five. I don't like carrying around change...

Well, things are going really well here. My companion is awesome. He has been teaching me so much and he is pretty fun to be around. He is kind of hard to wake up in the mornings but I usually just get ready and then he is awake. The Elders in our district are hilarious too! Probably not the most effective but they are pretty funny and fun to be around when we can be.

It is hard to find enough to keep us busy sometimes. My area is a tiny little town. More like a neighborhood, called Capparal. We only have one ward, the Chapparal Ward. So there aren't that many people to go see in a tiny area and apparently the people in Calgary aren't very receptive to our message so they tell us that we shouldn't go tracting all that much. So I haven't been tracting at all yet. They say that one in five people will answer the door and of those one in ten will listen to you at all. So we spend most of our time going around to members and talking with them and seeing if we can give a quick lesson to them. Most of the missionary work we do and the investigators we get are supposed to come from member referrals.

We have two girls that we have been teaching. Jordan and Alexa Grey. Their Mom died a while ago and their Dad left them so they are living with a family in the ward, the Frenches, and they aren't members. But they have become more interested so the missionaries have taught them the lessons. Which leads me to having my first actual lesson out in the field!

Last Sunday we went over to the Frenches house and taught the girls the secnod half of the fourth lesson. They already had the rest of them. It went pretty well. Elder Byington said I did great and I think it went alright too. They aren't very talkative and it is kind of hard to see if they are taking it all in or if they are really understanding it. We can't really get them to open up to us but they do want to get baptised!! They set a date on Sunday to be baptised on Dec 6th. Isn't that exciting? I already have two baptisms coming. I kind of just walked into them... but I think it will be a good way to start off my mission. I am pretty excited!

We have a couple more investigators but they are not that far along and we are still trying to find a time we can go and teach them the first lesson. I think they are pretty interested and we will eventually get in.

The members here are great. They are so nice and so far I have had a dinner appointment every night. They are all so nice and polite but it probably means that I am going to gain a bunch of weight on my mission. I should have done more research on Canadian culture before I came out here. More specifically before I bought my shoes. I am learning very quickly that it would have been nice to have slip on shoes because when you go into a persons house you are supposed to take off your shoes. And it takes way too long to tie up shoes. So I am just leaving my shoes kind of loose and slipping them on and off anyway. One of my pairs has a really high back to it and is pretty much impossible to slip back on... so we'll see how often I actually wear those shoes, haha.

I made a list of things to tell you but I forgot it back home as well as my camera so I'll have to send pictrues next week.

Well I am so excited to be out here on a mission and to learn to love and serve everyone I meet. I hope that by the end of the two years out here I have changed so much and for the better would be a good thing too. haha. But I know that if I work as hard as I can that I will do what the Lord wants me to do and that I will feel successful as a misionary and be able to come home with my head held high. I am so excited to be here and I hope I get to hear from you guys soon! I love and miss you all! I can't wait to hear from you and to be able to talk to you again next week!

Elder Townsend.

ps. I forgot to mention that we found a family that is going to feed us a Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! I am so excited! You dont even know! It is so weird to me that it is Thanksgiving time though. Which means that is is almost Christmas. It seems like when you are out on a mission none of that really matters... but that doesn't mean that I don't want Christmas presents! haha

Friday, November 20, 2009

I just forwarded your families a few pictures of your sons from this evening after dinner. Elder Townsend shared a wonderful message with us and is doing great. Elder Byington is a wonderful teacher and is very kind to his new companion. They are great Elders and have a true testimony of the work they are doing. Please know we appreciate them for their service and your families for your sacrifice..
May your feel blessed for all that you have done to prepare them .
I hope you enjoy the photos. They are about 2 hours old :):)
Have a great weekend .
Gary and Leslie Shaughnessy

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 18, 2009

Hey! So I made it to Calgary! It is kind of exciting here. I dont really have any clue what I am doing here though. There is alot going on and I am kinda confused. It is fun though. I am with my companion and we just came and got a library card so that I can come on and email people.

My companion is Elder Byington. He seems really fun and I am excited to learn as much as I can from him. I am in the smallest area in my mission. It is the southern outskirts of Calgary. So it is a lot of neighborhoods and suburbia like things. He said we live with an old couple who are really nice and make us a lot of food. But we don't know how much longer we are going to be able to live there.

We also drive a Silverado so that is pretty awesome, haha. But I don't really get to drive. I get to sit in the passenger seat and stand behind the car when we are backing up. Still very strange to me....

Well other then that it is really fun here. I am freezing and I think I am going to die. People say it isn't even cold here yet. haha. But we are going to go buy a coat when we are done here, Mom I don't really know how much you wanted me to spend on a coat but I'll keep it low. haha. My comp said that the first couple of days he was just confused and wanted to crawl into a hole... so I think I am doing just what everyone else is... I am kind of freaking out. but I know that it will all be ok and that my mission is going to be awesome! I just need to get into the swing of things first. Hopefully that doesn't take too long.

Well I don't really know what else to tell you. There isn't much that has really gone on yet. Just a lot of me meeting people and trying to figure out what I am supposed to be saying... Well I miss you all and I hope I get to hear from you guys soon! Hopefully mail doesn't take too long to get here. I love you so much!

Love, Elder Townsend
Hello Townsend Family
My name is Leslie Shaughnessy and I am in the Chaparral Ward in the southeast part of Calgary. Your son just left my home about 10 minutes ago with his companion Elder Byington(great missionary). I asked him for your e-mail so that I could let you know that he has arrived and is safe and sound. He is still a little shell shocked and is finding our temperatures rather chilly but otherwise he seems excited and ready to serve. We have a great ward and we love the missionaries. It is a great place for a new Elder to start. We have some great work going on here and he will be a big part of that.If there is anything I can do please let me know. I know it must be hard to say goodbye but what a great reason to do so. I have a strong testimony of missionary work and believe with all my heart that these are exceptional young men with a great spirit about them.Thank you for raising such a great young man that wants to serve the Lord. My family are converts and it was two young men just like your son and his companion that taught our family the gospel. It changed our lives forever. I hope a little news from the north helps to brighten your day and please know your son is safe and doing great.
Thank you
Leslie Shaughnessy

On his way to Calgary!

Yesterday Devin traveled to Canada and he was able to call Mom and Dad from the airport. They didn't get to talk for very long because he only had a 50 minute layover in Denver. Some of the things he told Mom are that he is traveling with 11 elders going to Calgary. He got all his packages from everyone. He gained 5 lbs at the MTC but he still fits in his clothes. He didn't have to give a talk on Sunday. He used some Nyquil from his first aid kit when he was sick. He said everything fit in suitcase and he didn't have to leave anything behind but it seems he has less stuff than everyone else but he can't imagine that he is missing anything. And he already knows it's 5 weeks until he can call again!

This morning mom checked her email hoping he could maybe send news of his safe arrival, but she was pleasantly surprised to find an email with these pictures! This is what it said:

"My name is Susan, and my son Tycen left for Canada this morning with your son. My husband works for Delta Airlines, and was able to come to the airport and see them and get some pictures. Being a mom, I thought you might also like to see how they were doing. My husband said they all looked really good, and seemed to be doing great. They were all really excited to get off and on their way. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures.

Mom thinks he's the cutest boy in the group...and I agree! We love Elder Townsend!

Monday, November 16, 2009

November 16, 2009

Mom and Dad,

Hey guys! So since I am leaving tomorrow and it is P-day, I won't be able to email you guys so I am going to write a letter while I'm doing my laundry instead. Which means if you want to put this letter on the blog you are going to have to type it out yourselves. Well, I would tell you that I need you to send me something but I don't think I need anything. I was going to send a box home but I didn't have anything to send home either...So I just have these pictures instead. It will make Kristen happy.

Well, here is what has been going on here. On Wednesday we went and hosted the new Elders. That was a fun experience. mostly because it was something new to do and we got to see a little of the outside world. I think it was pretty hard on some of us though. Elder Dastrup got really homesick from being so close to home and seeing a lot of his friends as they brought in other friends. But the next day we had a lesson in the TRC, or the Training...or Teaching...Resource Center. Just a place where we go teach volunteer "investigators". But in the lesson we had the Spirit very strong and at the end the man gave the closing prayer and I don't think I have ever felt the Spirit as strong as I did in that moment. And having that experience took Elder Dastrup's mind off of home and made it so that we could get to work again.

This last weekend has been rough. Everyone is really excited to leave. But we have been trying really hard to stay focused and still learn as much as we can before we go out into the field. But yesterday and today have been kind of rough. The Indiana missionaries leave at 4am tomorrow and us, Calgarians, leave at 6am. but the Bostonians don't leave until Wednesday morning. Lucky them...haha

Well, I am really excited to leave and I can't wait to get out the the MTC, on the other hand I am freaking out and nervous about going out into the actual field and doing actual missionary work.

I am glad to be leaving the MTC. The food has made me fat. The schedule is ridiculous and it is hard to sleep with all the noise at night. But it has been really nice. I have grown to love the Elders in this district and the teachers I have. It is going to be really hard to leave. I have learned so much in these last three weeks it is not even funny. I thought I knew so much already, but it is amazing to see how much I have learned about the gospel and how much I have learned about teaching it to everyone. There are so many things that I have learned that I haven't even thought about before. It is making me excited to get out into the field and see how much I can learn from people out there. I really hope I get a good trainer that will teach me as much as he can about what I need to know.

My testimony has grown so much out here that I can't even hold it in. I'm just going to have to spit my testimony out to everyone I see! Ok...maybe not. As you guys all know I don't like people or talking to people so I am going to have to get over that first.

I am so grateful that I chose to come out here on my mission and to serve the Lord with all my might for two years. I know that as I serve with all the diligence that I can muster that the Lord will bless me and help me teach the people I need to. He will also bless all of you guys as I am out here. I hope you are all doing great and getting all of the blessings that you stand in need of. I love you all and I can't wait to hear from you all soon. It might take longer to get to Calgary but it doesn't mean you shouldn't send letter still! By the way the Mission Home Address is:
Elder Devin S Townsend
Canada Calgary Mission
7044 Farrell Rd SE
Calgary, AB T2H 0T2

I love you guys so much and I miss you so much! I'll talk to you from Canada!

Elder Townsend

Me and Elder Dastrup
Elders, Hatfield, Mattson
Black, Craft, Fluckiger, me, ellsworth
Dastrup, Tukuafu, Banner

Elder Tukauafu, Fluckiger, me
The Canadians: Me, Hatfield, Dastrup

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 10, 2009

Hey everyone!

There isn't much more to talk about since last week. It is all pretty much exactly the same here every day. Wake up, study, eat, study, go to class, eat, go to class, eat, study, go to the RC, and get fat... I've gained five pounds out here already and I feel horrible about it. haha.

We have started on the second lesson now and it is hard to teach! Everyone knows all about it so well in the church and it is hard to keep it simple enough for investigators to understand. But I am working hard on it and I think I am getting better at it. And that is what the MTC is for. It is so weird to think about how fast this last week has gone by. The days go by so slow but the week feels like it was so short when I look back on it. It is also amazing how much I am starting to realize that I did not know before my mission. I am learning so much here about the gospel and how to teach it. It is A-mazing! If only I knew all this before I went to BYU and had to teach Sunday School... people might have actually learned something about something in my classes. haha

So I have been kind of sick for the last couple of days. It has not been fun. I've had the worst cough I can ever remember having in my life. And a headache and runny nose. And yesterday I sprained my thumb playing basketball. Seems to me that the Lord is trying to put me through some trials haha. But I know I can endure through them and hopefully start being in a better mood now that I am feeling a little better.

It is kind of nice being the district leader though. It is giving me a chance to get to know the Elders in my district better and everyone else in my zone. I also am getting the chance to get to know our branch presidency better. They are a lot of fun and are so spiritual.

Sundays here are amazing too. The first Sunday here was fast Sunday and the Spirit was so strong. Last Sunday was amazing too. The district that left yesterday for Thailand sang an acapella song in Thai and that was so amazing to hear. then the other district that is leaving tomorrow sang a song. it was awesome. every week the districts that are leaving that week sing a song in sacrament meeting which means that my district is singing one this Sunday. we chose to sing "high on a mountain top" which I love! it is such a great song.

Also on Sundays the Branch presidency picks two random missionaries to give talks about a subject. They give us the subject the Sunday before and then everyone is supposed to prepare a talk and then he picks two people. I have been lucky so far as to not have to give one. But next week my district and the other Thai district, and there are only two elders in hat district, are going to be missionaries that it isn't the first week they are there. So there is a high likelihood of me having to give one this week... hopefully I can give a good one if I am called on.

We are also assigned to be hosts tomorrow so we get to bring in the new missionaries. This is going to be a wonderful experience for us and it is very rare that an English speaking district gets to do that. They usually pick the districts that are going to be here forever. So I am really excited about it. mostly because it is something new and we get to see a little bit of the outside world. haha

well I am so happy I chose to come out here on a mission and I know that it is what the Lord wants me to be doing. I am getting really excited to go out into the mission field and get some real life experiences under my belt and to be able to see real investigators progress. I know that if I try my hardest to learn everything I can that the Lord will help when remember and know things when it comes time for me to do so.

Thank you all so much for the support that you give me and for the letters and dear elders you have sent. I love you all so much and hope to hear from you all again soon!

Elder Townsend

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 3, 2009

Hey everyone!!

I have made it through a whole week at the MTC. It is amazing. I love it here. The food isn't too bad and the people here are amazing! There are ten elders in my district and there are three going to Calgary and three going to Indiana and four going to Boston. Elder Dastrup, my companion, is awesome. He is so fun. He is from Provo so he knows a lot of people here which means I spend a lot of time watching him talk to friends that he knows because I cant leave him. But other than that he is great. We taught our first actual "lesson" yesterday and it went so well! We flowed together and we could feel the Spirit so much telling us what to do and say. The "investigator" was so fun but he made it kind of hard on us. But he said we did great and he would've let us come back and teach him more. So it was a great experience and set the mood for the rest of a great day.
The missionary field has been open a couple of times so it has been nice to get outside and run around for a little while. But the days in the gym are fun too. I just don't play basketball because I am not very good at it.
But it is awesome here. I am enjoying it so much and I am so excited to learn all that I can in the three weeks that I am here. We are already learning so much! Our teachers, Bro Larsen (who was in my Eng 150 class last year) and Sis Tan (pronounced tawn) are amazing. They are so good at teaching the things that we need to learn and telling us how to apply it to our lives. I have already learned so much and I am so excited to see how much I will learn in two more weeks here.
We went to the referral center last night and that was amazing! That is where people call in and ask for free brochures or dvds or a Book of Mormon. Or we can call people to make sure they got their things delivered or chat with people on the computer who have questions they want answered. I am so excited to go back there. I think I could have a lot of great opportunities to feel the Spirit and even more importantly to help people come unto Christ. Like our purpose says. as missionaries we are to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I am trying my hardest to invite everyone I can to come unto Christ.
Even though I am having so much fun here in the MTC I cant wait to get out into the field and be able to go and try to bring actual people in the world to come unto Christ. We already know the day that we leave. Or at least the "estimated day" which is November 17th. But it is making me so excited to leave. I do not know how i would be able to stay here for 11 weeks or something like some people do. We learned today that people in our zone got here before we did and we get our flight plans before they do... that is so weird for me to think about. but then again this whole being on a mission thing is weird for me to think about but I am so excited to be out here doing the Lords work. Our zone leaders are really fun too. One of them was in the dorms with me last year. They are leaving next Monday though.
My district is awesome. We all get along really well and we all have a lot of fun together. I was made the District leader so I am in charge of keeping them together and on track. I have a couple of meetings I go to and I have to interview the senior companions every week. It is a couple of extra things I have to do but I am excited to do the best that I can with it and to be able to do my best to magnify this calling and to get to know and love these Elders.
Well I don't have much time but I just wanted to let you all know how much I love and miss you all! I am doing great here and having so much fun. I know that this is what the Lord wants me to be doing right now is to be out here on my mission and put my life back home on hold for a while. I am so excited to go out and tell people of the gospel that has brought so much happiness into my life. I love you all and miss you so much! I hope I hear from you all cuz mail is what we live for here!

Elder Townsend

October 28, 2009

Hey guys! It's the first night here and they said I could write home. So I figured I would. Today was crazy. A lot of sitting in classes or meetings and listening to people welcome us. I've seen a couple people I know and my district is really fun. There is about ten of us and they are all great Elders. Only three of us new guys were going to Calgary and one of them is my companion. His name is Elder Dastrup. He is from Provo like two minutes away from here. He is really fun though. I think we are going to get along really well. Well, today was intense. It was a lot of fun and very exhausting. I will be very happy to be able to sleep tonight. Today was great though. I learned a lot about teaching tactics and I felt the Spirit so much around here. I'm unpacked and I pretty much have everything I think I need. Elder Dastrup has a whole bunch of everything. He makes me feel very unprepared. He already has a jacket and a pillow and a down comforter. I'm pretty sure they will have comforters up there thought. They can't expect us to carry those around. Well, I just wanted to write to you guys and tell you I'm here and okay. I'm doing fine and you guys should have gotten an email telling you what my address is. I love you guys so much and I am so excited to be serving a mission for two years. I hope that not just me but the whole family can grow and receive blessings from me being out here. I love and miss you guys so much and look forward to hearing from you! I'm sending this home because I don't have any idea how long it would take to get to Jen or Dani's house. I love you so much and thank you for all the support you give me.

Elder Townsend

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

He's off!

Devin was dropped off at the MTC today at 1:30 in the afternoon. I was the only sibling not there in person, but I was there on speaker phone. Here is the Fong's account of what transpired: "Goodbye's all around. All of the girls were holding together well but eventually they were crying and blaming each other for starting it."
He said he was excited and nervous before hand but Mom says she didn't seem him cry. I think he is one brave brother and I'm so excited to get the first letter from him!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tomorrow is the day!

Hello, my name is Devin Townsend. I have received my call to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for two years. I have been assigned to serve in the Canada Calgary Mission. I have been waiting for this opportunity my whole life and I am so excited to be able to serve the Lord for two years and to teach His gospel to the wonderful people in the Calgary area. I know that as I serve faithfully I will be able to mature and grow spiritually in my life. I know that if I work hard and am diligent in my studies and obeying the mission rules that I will be able to find people to teach and bring the gospel and happiness into their lives. And I know for myself that this gospel is true. I love it and I am so happy that I am able to have it in my life and I feel so blessed to have been able to grow up in a house in which I was surrounded by the gospel. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family and friends throughout my life. I love them so much and I am going to miss them while I am gone, but I know that serving a mission is the thing that I am supposed to be doing in my life right now and I know that I will be getting a lot of letters from everyone while I am gone... right? Haha. Well I am excited to go on my mission and thank you all for being here for me. And a special thanks to my sister Kristen for keeping you guys updated with this blog. I love you all and I will see you in two years!