Friday, July 30, 2010

July 27, 2010

Hey everyone! Guess what? I'm getting transferred. How sad is that? I knew it was going to happen though. I really started to like this ward this last transfer and have started to see a lot of really good friends come from here and I've been able to see this place really progress and make a lot of progress since I've been here. So I figured since all of that has been happening it was really just time for me to leave. Sad, but true. But the good news is that I'm still in the west zone and I'm only going to be like a half an hour away from here. So I'll still be able to see missionaries and hopefully members from here every now and then. That's going to be sweet! So I'm going to an area named Cochrane. It is actually another city I think.... just a little one. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere and a little farm town. From what I hear at least. And we cover part of an Indian Reserve so that is going to be awesome! I'm going to go teach the natives! And the last people to be in that area, Elders Basinger and Estes, have seen a lot of success in that area so hopefully I can continue that out there! My new companion is Elder Mott. I don't really know much about him except that he is about a year out on his mission, and my zone leaders here say he is a pretty good guy. So I am excited to go over there and serve with him and see what good we can do together.

The rest of the week this week was a pretty good one too. We didn't do much on Pday except play basketball. It was actually really fun though because we told Richard that he should come and he did so that made things a lot of fun. I love that guy. He is hilarious! Then Tuesday we had district meetings and then we went with the Royal Oak missionaries, Gelwix and Lake, and taught Richard together. That was awesome! The lesson actually went really well and the four of us missionaries and Richard and Emma had a blast together. It's times like that that are really going to make me miss this area. I've had a lot of good memories and hopefully lifelong friends made here. Then after Richard we went and taught a bunch of members for the rest of the day.

Then Wednesday we went on exchanges so I went with Elder Lake into his area and had a blast. We planned our day and then went and taught Richard again. This time just me and Lake. And we couldn't take the car anywhere so we had Richard and Emma come to Royal Oak and then we taught them in the chapel in the building there. That lesson went really well too. And we had a lot of fun together then too. And afterward we spent a little bit of time throwing a football around and having Richard and Emma try to teach me how to throw a rugby ball.... I really suck at that game.... it's kind of sad. Then we went and had an awesome dinner with some members in their ward. They gave us delicious steaks and then ice cream cake. It was amazing. And they were a really funny family too. They had a bunch of kids and they were hilarious! And we taught them a lesson at the end of dinner and then went to someone else and taught them. It was a really fun day though. I really enjoy exchanges. It's kind of a break from your area and companion and just kind of a day to get yourself rejuvenated. haha

Then Thursday was a lot of fun too. We had weekly planning and then went and did some service for Sis Moraes and her daughter. They wanted to go get some dirt and then move it to the yard of their apartment to even in out. But we didn't have a truck so we just threw a tarp into their trunk and then threw all the dirt into the trunk. It was hilarious! The back of that car was very weighed down and it looked really funny as it was driving down the road. But we couldn't be in the car with them so we had to ride our bikes to the dirt pile and back twice. That sucked... it was a huge hill! I almost died! OK, not really, but it still wasn't fun! We had a lot of fun with that and then we talked to them for a while. They are a pretty fun family. I really enjoy being around them, and Sis Moraes is hilarious! She's from Brazil which for some reason just makes her even more fun to talk to. haha

Then the funniest thing happened Thursday night. We got a call from the AP's and they asked for me and then told me to put it on speaker and then asked if I knew what happened the Thursday before transfers and I said "training calls" and they were all, yep. So would you mind telling Elder Reese that he is training! And then I just burst out laughing! Because this whole transfer I told him he was training and then he just got mad at me. haha. But, indeed he is training and that meant that I was pretty darn sure that I was leaving the area. It is very rare that they make someone go into a new area to train. So I really just spent the rest of the week saying goodbye to people when I saw them. But that also meant that the next day on Friday we had to go to a trainers training meeting for Elder Reese. It went from twelve to five so it took up our whole day and we had to cancel on two investigators to go. And then we get there and it's all just about how the trainers need to act and what they need to do to be good trainers.... so what did I do? Just sat there with nothing to do because it was all directed at the trainers. They didn't even ask me questions or anything. So that was kind of a bummer. I basically didn't do anything on Friday. Tnd then we got back and Sam finally came back from his vacation and he wanted to take us to dinner so we went with him to Montana's and had some really good ribs. We talked to him for a while just about stuff. He said he would have us over on Monday night and we could have a lesson. But when Monday night came around he wasn't home. So I probably won't get to see him again ever. Maybe missionaries won't see him again ever. He is going back to Malaysia on Wed or Thurs to go see his mom who isn't doing to good health wise. And I don't think they have missionaries in Malaysia. So that was actually really sad for me. But I guess we planted a pretty good seed for him.

Saturday was awesome! Richard got baptized! I was so excited that I was able to be here for it. It really was a great day. The baptism went really well. It was pretty funny though because the Allen's did pretty much everything for it. They gave the talks, conducted, baptized him, and confirmed him. Which makes sense since it was Emma Allen who pretty much brought him to this point and he got to know the Allen's really well. But it was kind of funny too see them all doing that and it was also pretty funny because he had to be baptized into the Royal Oak ward but the bishop and ward mission leader in that ward didn't even meet him until that day... so that was really weird and semi humorous. haha. The service was amazing though. Emma's brother and Dad gave really good talks and it was awesome to see Richard be baptized. There is always a special Spirit at baptisms and I really enjoy going to them. Then after the baptism we went over to the Allen's house for some snacks and stuff and then we went and played some rugby. Again they tired to teach me how but I must admit. I really do just suck at that game. It is really fun though. I wish I was better at it. But we had a lot of fun with that. Then we went and I said goodbye to a couple more families and gave quick messages.

Then Sunday we went to our ward and that was pretty sweet. I said goodbye to a couple more people there and it was actually sweet because the whole ward, pretty much, met together for the third hour and bishop just talked a lot about how we need to always be looking for those opportunities to serve in our communities and make our presence as a church more well known and hopefully that will help to bring more people into the gospel. It was awesome to see that and to see how much the ward's outlook on missionary work has changed in the four and a half months I was here. It was sweet. And I also got a lot of comments from people about how much they appreciated the work that I had done in the ward and how great of a missionary they thought I was and how grateful they were to have had me here for this time. It was cool to see that. It was fun to hear all of those things and how much people appreciate the work that I do. It's nice to know that the work I put into this area is appreciated. It was so much fun to hear that. And I guess its a good thing that I am leaving this area now. I'm leaving it on a high note. With two baptisms! well.... one and a half.... Richard doesn't really count for this area. bummer eh? But I am excited. I love this area and the people here but I'm sure I'll like my new area as well.

Then Monday was pretty sweet as well. We did some service with the Atwoods and an older couple in our ward. We mowed their grass and weeded and then we went down to a potential investigators house and did the same thing for him. His name is Alf and then he showed us his 1940 Ford and his 62 Thunderbird.. they were pretty sweet. Then he took us for a ride in the Thunderbird. It was awesome! He's a pretty fun guy. Then we had a lesson with Mitch and Savanna. That went really well. Mitch is doing really well on quitting smoking and says he feels like a new man. So that was sweet to see! He just seems happier and healthier. The Word of Wisdom really does help with health! Then we had dinner with the Moraes and Emma and Richard at Angel's drive-in. It was delicious and fun! The six of us all squished into a little booth and we just had a blast. It was a great way to remember this area. I love it here. The people are great. The area is great and I just love it. I'm going to have to come back and visit one day.

That was my eventful week. A lot happened and it was awesome! And if it doesn't make sense I'm sorry. People keep calling and asking where I am going so I get distracted a lot. haha. Oh also, we went and found the Silver Springs on Monday. We walked down this wooden path to a place where these springs are coming out of the rocks and that is why this area is called Silver Springs. It was awesome. I cant believe a place like that was so close to me for four months and I never knew about it. It was amazing. Well, I cant wait to let you guys know how my first week in Cochrane goes. I love you guys! Have fun! Be safe!

Elder Townsend

'40 Ford
'62 ThunderbirdWalking to the silver springs
The waterfallTrunk full of dirt... haha

Me and Richard!

Matching ties!!
Me, Richard and Emma

Savanna, Mitch and me

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 19, 2010

Hey everyone! How is it going? Hope you guys had an exciting week. I did. Exciting and crazy. I'm so tired.... only ten more hours before I can go back to sleep. But that is still way too far away.... it's going to be a long day... haha It was a pretty good week though. Just a really sad one as well.

Monday it hailed like crazy! It was insane! I've never seen so much hail! It damaged a lot of cars. In fact all of the Mandarin missionaries were at the same chapel for Pday and all of their windshields got destroyed! It was crazy. So none of them had cars this week because they were in the shop. It was a good time for it though because it is half click month this month so we only get half of the kilometers we would normally get. Which doesn't really affect me too much. I'm just stuck walking all the time because one of the missionaries we are in a car share with got planter warts on his feet so he can't walk. So I've been walking and riding bikes all this month. Which really isn't that bad. Our area is pretty small compared to others.

Tuesday we had zone conference. That was pretty sweet. I got to see a lot of people from my first area. I saw my trainer Elder Byington and that was awesome! I miss that guy! I also saw Elder Crippen. He was one of my ZL'S in the south and he is officially one of my favorite missionaries I've met out here. I love that guy. It was a pretty sad conference though. They always have the missionaries that are new this transfer bear their testimony and then the ones that are leaving this transfer. And Elder Crippen and Basinger are both leaving this transfer. (Basinger was another ZL in the south and is in my zone here as well) this is a pretty big transfer that is leaving and I got to know a lot of them pretty well. Crazy. I'm gonna miss those guys! Also at the lunch break I talked to President Archibald about what he thought we should do with Richard who has a baptismal date for this Saturday. We have been teaching him but he is YSA age and doesn't live in our area but asked of we could teach him because he has come to our ward for two months and knows us really well and the YSA Elders creep him out. Pres said we couldn't teach him but he could be taught by the missionaries in the family ward he is in so we had to give him to the Royal Oak Elders. Richard wasn't too happy about that but it isn't bad because we have just been going on splits with those Elders when they go teach him so it has worked out pretty well so far. But it does mean that he won't count as my baptism anymore. But in the end that doesn't really matter. What really matters is that he got baptized right?

Then Wednesday we were going to do exchanges and Reese was going to go with Gelwix to teach Richard and I was going to go with Lake and do.... something. But turns out Gelwix and Lake were on exchanges with the ZL's so I went with Elder Bradley one of my zone leaders. That was actually really fun. He is a funny guy and a really good missionary. I didn't really have anything planned for us to do though because I thought I was going to go to Royal Oak ward and do stuff there but at the last minute plans changed an we stayed in our area. So Bradley said we should go look through the area book and then pray about formers or potentials we should stop by so we did and then made a list and then before we left the apartment we prayed that some miracle would happen that day. Then we headed out. Not many people were home since it was four in the afternoon but we were able to find a former investigator home and we talked to him for a while and he said we were welcome to come back! How sweet was that? I was excited! I was so grateful for Elder Bradley and him teaching me a lot about missionary work while we were together. Turns out Fred, the former, when we went and talked to him the next day told us that he doesn't really like us but just wanted to be polite.... but hey, at least we know that now! haha

Thursday was pretty boring. Just a lot of lessons with members. Then Friday sucked! Everything fell through! It was crazy! And we got yelled at twice for being up in Greenwood Village when we were visiting members up there in the trailer park because the managers got mad at us because they thought we were proselyting up there. Which we weren't but they didn't believe us. So we might get kicked out the next time we go up there.... that could be interesting.

Then Saturday was sweet! We had a big Stampede breakfast as a ward at the church! It was awesome! It was all you can eat pancakes and sausage and there was line dancing and everything! It was outside and we had a lot of non members come that we were able to talk to for a while.... none that would want us coming by though.... but we had a lot of fun. This ward is hilarious!

I'm really starting to love this ward though! I really hope I don't have to leave on the 28th... but I probably will. I've been here 4 1/2 months now and it would be my luck that right as the ward starts to like and trust me and we are finding success in this area that I would get moved. I hope not though. As for the success. We do have Richard getting baptized this Saturday at one. That doesn't really count for our ward anymore though but I am going to go to it anyway. And we have Heather Halstead being baptized on the 31st at 6:30. That is going to be an awesome one! But as for the Somante family.... we haven't been able to see them in two weeks now... they haven't come to church. They don't have a phone so we can't call them. And every time we stop by their car isn't there, the lights are all off and the screen door is locked.... I think they got evicted since they couldn't pay their rent. So that is really sad. But at least we planted the seed, eh? So in the last week we have gone from six baptismal dates to one. Not a bad week... but I am still excited at the progress we have made in this ward and area. It's been sweet!

Thanks for everything guys! I love you all so much!

Elder Townsend

PS. good luck on your MTC experience Eric! haha

Angels Drive In... DELICIOUS!
Ice cream!All you can eat pancakes!
mmmmm..... (Dad i miss your pancakes and syrup. haha)Bowness park
Ridin my bike.... haha
What the heck is a washroom?!?!Water bridge over the Bow River

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 12, 2010

Hey everyone! How is it going? This week was pretty awesome for me and I hope it went well for you guys too. It rained pretty bad on Monday so we couldn't go play soccer outside so we just went in and played basketball again like we always do. It was pretty fun though. There were two kids from Africa that came and played with us. They were amazing and it kind of just emphasized how much I suck at that sport, but it did make it a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. Then Tuesday we had district meetings and then we went and did some service with Duncan Badger in the community gardens. Then met with Mitch and Savanna. That was kind of interesting. Mitch has decided that he really needs to quit smoking. So we gave him a packet of how to quit and he's been doing really well. He still smokes but less then ten a day now, but he was really cranky when we met with him, which made things kind of interesting. It was still a pretty good lesson though. Then we had dinner with our Relief Society president, Sis Davis, and her family. She had two non member family members over which was sweet so we spent the night talking to them and stuff. They were pretty awesome. They don't live in our area though so we cant really do anything with them.

Then Wednesday was awesome! We did some service with Duncan in the morning again and then we had a lesson at four that we had to go to. So we were walking there and this old guy starts talking to us. It was hilarious! He thought he was an apostle and could heal people. He kept telling us how we needed to be baptized by the Spirit and that all he had to do was pray and it would happen. But he wouldn't do it there. He said we had to come to him another time. Then at the end when we said we had to leave and asked if we could stop by him sometime and continue to talk to him he said he wouldn't let us in. So that was kind of sad. haha. It was hilarious though. This guy talked to us for half an hour! And then we said we had to go and he was all OK well let me tell you one last thing and then went on for ten more minutes. He was sure he was going to convert us right then and there. I wish he would have prayed for me though. Then I would have a back up plan Religion wise. Just in case we are wrong. haha. But that made us like ten minutes late to our lesson. But it was OK and we had a sweet lesson! There is a girl in our ward named Emma Allen and she is dating this guy named Richard Pack. He has been coming to our ward with Emma for over a month and is pretty much the coolest kid I've met out here. I love him. He has gone to the singles ward a couple of times though because he is nineteen. And when he finally wanted to take the discussions he told us that he didn't want to be taught by the YSA elders (my zone leaders) because they creep him out and he knows us better and thinks of us as friends since we've known him for a while. So he asked us if we could teach him. He actually had a lesson set up for four with the ZL's but then we got a call saying that we should call them and cancel on them and then come in their place... so we did. But that didn't make our ZL's very happy. They were all excited to get someone to teach. So they called President and told him about it and they called us back and said that president said that we had to hand Richard over to them. So I asked if I could call President and give him our side of the story but they wouldn't let us so I'm just going to talk to President on Tuesday when we have zone conference. Because I really don't want Richard to have to be taught by Elders he doesn't like. I want him to be comfortable with who is teaching him so he can actually ask questions and learn. I don't care if he gets baptized into the YSA ward I just want him to really learn when he is taught. But all the zone leaders want is someone to teach. Anyway, mission politics suck. That's the only part of the mission I haven't liked so far. Anyway, the lesson went really well. He took it all great. Actually one of the first things he told us was that he wanted to be a member ever since he was eight and his best friend was Mormon. So we were all..... alright. Well we can make that happen. haha. So at the end of the lesson we asked if he would be baptized on the 24th and he said yes. So that was awesome! I'm so excited for that day and I know that I am definitely going to be here for it because transfers aren't till the 28th!

Although, speaking of transfers before baptism I'll get to what happened Thursday night. We met with Healther Halstead at our ward mission leaders house, Bro Wolff, and taught her the fourth lesson and then asked her if she had prayed about a date that she would want to be baptized and she said she wanted to do it on the 31st. Dang it!!! I might be leaving three days before that.... I was so sad but so happy at the same time. That is going to be a great day. She has known the church was true for seven years now but has just been waiting so that she wouldn't upset her dad. (her mom and sister are both members) She actually prayed about getting baptized back then and she said her answer was to wait. But this time she prayed and got her answer she needed to so that's a big thing for her! And it's a huge miracle for the ward. They have been waiting for that to happen for forever! We hope that her doing that will soften her dad's heart, she is kind of daddy's little girl and is pretty much his whole life. So we hope that he will see her do this and that he will change for the better. We asked Heather if she would talk to her dad and tell him about her getting baptized and bear testimony to him about it. And she did. She told us on Sunday that she talked to him and he wasn't very happy but she was going to go through with it anyway. So I am really excited for her and for the ward. I have a feeling it is going to be a very well attended baptism and a very good one at that. I just hope I'm still here to see it or at least still in the city so that I can come back for it. Also, just FYI, she is nineteen too, but for some reason the zone leaders don't care about us teaching her. haha

Also, the sweetest thing happened on Thursday. There is this family in the Royal Oak ward, the Sutors, who have this little place called Ed Williams Menswear that they always buy a bunch of ties from. These ties are all usually $120 but they go on sale once or twice a year for 5 for $100. So they buy a whole bunch and then give them out to missionaries they really like throughout the year. Well I don't know them very well so they don't really like me so I'm probably not going to get one from them.... sad I know. But the good news is that the sale started on Thursday and we found out where it was so us and the Royal Oak Elders were going to go there to see if we could buy some. So we get there, during our lunch break of course, and turns out that they are only 5 for $60 this time. SWEET! So we were all frantically trying to find five ties we wanted because we didn't want to have another one of us buy a tie that we wanted. The people there were really nice to us too. Everyone kept coming up and seeing if we needed help and just talking to us. Which was really nice. Usually people don't really talk to you when you are missionaries in stores. haha. We even met Ed Williams!!! Yes the guy who the store is named after! He was a stud! He was wearing an awesome blue pinstripe suit and had bright pink pocket silk and just talked to me for a while. So eventually we all got five ties and then went up to pay for them and when we got up there the guy at the cash register was all "put your wallets away boys." I was all... crap.... did we do something wrong? And then he said "your ties are free today." what?!?! Apparently someone from the Royal Oak Ward that was in there saw us walk in and then told the guys to put our ties on his account. Oh my goodness were we happy. I was planning on fasting for a couple of days to pay for these ties. haha. So I was all excited as you can probably imagine. We don't know they guy who did it though. Well we know his name but we don't know him so we are planning on going to his house and giving him a giant hug! I was so happy! Oh man. And they are pretty nice ties too. Although Elder Reese took one I wanted and won't trade me for it.... darn him. haha. Anyway, that was pretty exciting.

Then we went to Wendy's for a quick lunch and while we were eating a call came to our phone that Elder Reese was holding and it was an 801 number so it was from Utah. We were all joking that it was President Monson calling to chastise Reese. haha. Then he answered the phone and was all... "yea... here he is" and then handed me the phone. I was about to pee my pants. Why would someone call from Utah and ask specifically for me? So I took the phone but couldn't get myself to answer. I was just looking at the phone. All I could think about was why would someone from Utah look me up and then call me specifically. Not even just call President and then have him call and tell me something but call me on my phone. The only thing that came to my mind was that something was wrong with my family. And I just did not for the life of me want to talk to whoever was on the phone. It seemed like forever before I actually answered and then a woman's voice on the other end of the phone said. "hello, Elder Townsend. This is [so and so] calling from the office of M Russell Ballard..." this is when I almost passed out. I seriously almost hung up the phone right then. Then she said "and I am calling about a guy named Andrew [something]..." this is when my heart started beating again. haha. Andrew is this guy from England that somehow got hold of all the missionaries numbers in this mission and has been calling and bashing with whoever answers. We just call him anti-Andrew. Apparently President Archibald got fed up with it though and now the church is suing him for it. So all she wanted to know was when and how many times I had talked to him. Seriously though. That was the scariest thing I had ever encountered on my mission so far. I thought something serious happened. Family. I love you so much! That was quite the day. A big high and a low low. I was very excited to sleep at the end of the day. haha. That's pretty much the highlights of my week though. I hope all is going well for you guys! I love you!

Elder Townsend

more fun on the bike!

sweet! $120 ties! haha

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6, 2010

Hello everyone! How are you doing? I hope you guys all had a great week! I had a pretty good one! It was nice and busy! Last Monday after we emailed we went back and had some lessons and skipped the rest of Pday so we could go to the temple on Thursday. Then Tuesday we had district meetings all morning and then some lessons that night. That night we taught Heather Halstead. She is a young woman who is basically a member of the church but isn't. She teaches primary and everything and has a huge testimony but she doesn't want to disappoint her dad who isn't a member. She was taught about four years ago along with the rest of her family and her sister Heidi joined then because she didn't like her dad but Heather was more worried about what her dad would think. But we had a really good lesson with her about the plan of salvation and really focused on our life on earth and what we need to do here. Then Bro Wolff , our ward mission leader, was there as well and he was very blunt with her and told her that she needed to be baptized to have the full blessings of the gospel in her life and that if she got baptized and bore her testimony to her father that it would help soften his heart. So she promised she would pray again. We are meeting with her on Tuesday so hopefully then she will accept a baptismal date.
Then Wednesday we had interviews with President. Those went really well. I enjoyed them. They took forever though! We got there at ten thirty and weren't out until four. It was ridiculous. then we had some more lessons that night. then Thursday was our temple trip day! It was so sweet! We woke up and then went to the Pitchers house at seven in the morning. They fed us breakfast and then we took the three hour drive down to Cardston. It was really fun to get out of the city finally. It was nice to see some open fields instead of just neighborhoods. There has been a lot of flooding down there recently too so the rivers were pretty high and the fields had giant lakes in them which was apparently unheard of down there. It was so cool though because we saw Chief Mountain which everyone in southern Alberta knows as a landmark of where home is. It's crumbling though so it might not be there too much longer. Then we saw the little town of Cardston with a huge white building to the side of it and we knew we were close. The Cardston temple was beautiful! It was amazing to think what a huge job it would have been to build such a huge building in a little time when it was built. And it was awesome because Bro Pitcher knew some people in the temple and we met the temple president and he took us in to go see the baptismal font. That was amazing. It was my favorite one I have seen. And the rest of the temple was great as well. But I think I like the Mesa one better... maybe im just a little bias though. haha. But it was really great to go to the temple again. It was a great experience to remember those things and to feel the Spirit there again. I'm so grateful for the Pitchers for taking us all the way there. Then they took us to the bookstore afterwards too. That was a big bookstore. haha. Then we took the three hour drive back to Calgary and were home in time for dinner. It really was a great day and a great experience. Too bad I only get to do it once every six months...
Then the rest of the day was pretty good too. Pretty average. We taught some lessons. Did some service. We were able to go to a baptism from the Royal Oak Ward, unfortunately we weren't able to get any of our investigators there though. It was good though. Baptisms always have a great Spirit about them. And we had a good day at church as well. We had a non member family show up at church. That was sweet. We are meeting with them tonight so hopefully that goes well. It looks like its going to be a pretty good week coming up. I'll let you guys know how it went!
Elder Townsend

I've got a giant name tag! haha
Happy Canada Day!
Like my tie? hahaYou get tired on a mission.....
Making the shakes
Crushed exlax...Narayan
Porter, Estupinan, Stevens
There he is.
Here he comes!
There he goes...
Where did he go?
There he is!!
I can ride my bike with no handlebars... ok... maybe not....
But i can climb the stairs with no handlebars!YA!!!!!! I'M AWESOME!!!!!!!