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