Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28, 2010

Happy New Year everybody! It isn't quite that time, but it's close enough. It's weird that it is almost 2011... I come home in 2011... not that I am thinking about that at all yet though... haha. I've still got 10 months and I'm going to make each of them great! Anyway, I hope you all had a great Christmas! I did! It was a lot of fun. It was really a great week all together! We had a great Pday of basketball last week. Then Tuesday was a lot of fun as well! We went on exchanges so I went with Elder Stevens into his area. It was great. We talked a lot and got a lot done. Well... we tried to get a lot done... we stopped by a lot of people, but nobody was home... but we did have a dinner, which was a lot of fun. It was with a great family. But then sadly the investigator lesson we had canceled... so we spent a little extra time at the dinner and they had a bunch of people over and made ginger bread houses out of graham crackers. It was actually a lot of fun. Mine turned out pretty sweet. I made an Arizona Christmas house. haha. Then we stopped by a couple people and were actually able to get a lesson in with one of their less actives. Then Wednesday and Thursday were both packed with things to do. Thursday we had two investigator lessons. That was awesome! It's rare to have more then one in a day here. haha. The first one was pretty sad. It was my first time meeting with them and the second time the missionaries have been there. The first time they were really solid and Elder Newman was sure they were going to be baptized. But this time we went over and started teaching lesson two. It was just a big gong show. Their kids were going crazy. The mom kept giving them toys and letting the dog in and out. The husband went and started talking to a heater guy that came and then checked his mail and was reading a bill he got while we were trying to teach them about the atonement... it was awesome. So we just stopped in the middle of the lesson and told them that if they didn't want us there then we didn't want to waste their time. So we asked if they were still wanting to learn or come to church and they were kind of hesitant. They said they would try to come to church next week. So if they don't show up I think we are going to drop them. They aren't going to go anywhere. So that was sad. But the other lesson was awesome. we went and taught Travis again. This time we did the stop smoking program with him. That went well. He seemed to be really receptive and willing. We had a lot of fun with it as well. Unfortunately he hasn't aswered any of our calls since... so we don't know how he is doing... hopefully it was just because it was Christmas time.

Then Friday was awesome. We had a really good Christmas eve. We were allowed to play some games with our district so we got together in the morning and played some games and then went over to Stan's house. I love him. He is so much fun and such a great guy! He fed us the biggest, most delicious steaks. They were so good. We told him about the lady that we talked to that lived in his building that was going through a hard time and he went into his kitchen and filled five bags full of meat and bread and eggs and ice cream and frozen waffles and all kinds of stuff and told us to go deliver it to her. So we did. That was awesome. When she saw that she cried and gave us huge hugs! (awkward) But she had us come in and we talked for a while and shared a couple Christmas scriptures. It was awesome. Then we went to the May's house. That was fun. They are a fun family. We talked for a while and they opened some presents and gave us some presents. American mountain dew! I'm not a big soda drinker let alone mountain dew. But I do have to admit that Canadian mountain dew is disgusting. So whenever people go down to the states and ask missionaries what they want they always say mountain dew or Oreo's. (Canadian Oreo's are also disgusting!) or fruity pebbles. haha. So that was awesome!

Then Christmas came! That was fun. We opened presents with the family we live with. That was a lot of fun. They have three little kids so it was fun to see them all excited. I haven't had a Christmas with kids in a long time. Then came the phone call home. That was awesome! It was so nice to talk to my family. I loved it. It's nice to hear their voices and know that they aren't just words in an email. I love you guys so much! Thank you for being such a great family! You are awesome!! Then we had lunch with our bishop and played ping pong with his family for a while. It had been forever since I played that game. I love it. Then all the missionaries and some members got together and played basketball and then we had a dinner that was pretty good. Kind of awkward but the food was great! Then we went to another families house and had a lot of fun there. It was weird that it was over so fast. So much time spent building it up and then its gone... it's really kind of sad. But the Spirit of Christmas doesn't have to leave! I gave a talk in both wards yesterday about how we should always have this great Spirit with us. Christmas time is such a great time of year because everyone is focused on Christ and loving and caring. But why can't we do that all year long? We should... I know I don't... (not as a non missionary at least) but we should! haha.

That was pretty much our week though. It was a great and a fun filled fantastic one! I loved it! Thank you all so much for everything and for the gifts! I am getting more mail next week because its transfers. So if I haven't gotten yours yet, hopefully I will next week! Hope you all had a great Christmas and have a great week this week! I love and miss you all!

Elder Townsend

Arizona ginger bread house!

me and my house

Christams morning and all my presents! Thanks everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas everyone!!! Isn't this just an amazing time of the year? I love it so much. Especially as a missionary. Because we don't have to worry about anything. We just get to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and remember Christ and all that He has done for us. It truly is amazing and I know that all the presents and parties and stuff are good and fun, but don't let them make you forget about the reason for the season. This shouldn't be a stressful time of the year. It should be one of love and peace and... stuff. So I hope you all remember that as we are getting close to Christmas in order to have the best Christmas ever we need to remember Christ!

Anyway, I am excited for Christmas. It's going to be a good day. We have a lot planned. But I'll tell you about it next week. But this week was pretty good as well. We were able to get in a lot of really good lessons. We met with Travis again. I think I told you about him last week. He is doing great. I am a little worried about his motives though. When guys come into the church just for girls, it can be bad. haha. But we had a great lesson with him on Wednesday and he brought up that he needed to stop smoking... before we even told him that he needed to. So this week we are going to go over and do the 7 day stop smoking program with him. I think that will be really good for him. We will see how motivated he is in this. So that will be good. I am looking forward to that lesson.

Then Thursday was a pretty good day as well. It was kind of sad because we were supposed to go on splits and have like 5 lessons that night... but everything canceled... well almost everything. We ended up with two lessons... which isn't bad, but not as good as we were hoping. We also had a training from the assistants and Pres and Sis Archibald that day. That was pretty good. They talked all about planning and finding. Which was awesome. It really made me excited to try some new things. Well... things I should have been doing anyway... haha. And then at the end of the training they took us into another room where they had hot chocolate and cookies and Pres and Sis Archibald told us Christmas stories and then they gave us all of our packages. The mission holds all of our packages until Christmas so we don't open them. Which I think is a pretty good idea, but not all missionaries were too happy about it. haha. Now I have a bunch of packages in my room and I am so tempted just to open them all! But that would be sad because then I wouldn't have anything to open on Christmas.

Anyway, so have I told you that Elder Newman is a music major? He's pretty good at piano and singing. It seems like everyone wants him to perform. Saturday we went to a funeral and he sang "Amazing Grace". We hadn't even met the guy who died. It was good though because there were a lot of non members there. I think it's funny though because I never thought I would get so many weird looks in our own church... yea, we get weird looks all the time because we are missionaries, but I mean come on... its OUR church! haha. And then we had another ward Christmas party that night and he performed again there. I love ward Christmas parties. They are a lot of fun. A lot of good food and it is a great way to get to know people. So many people brought non member friends. It was awesome! These wards are pretty good at that.

Then Sunday morning Elder Newman woke up with a sore throat. Which wasn't good because he was singing in sacrament meeting. haha. But he still did it and sounded pretty good but by the end of both Sacrament meetings he was dying. So we went home and he took a nap. Then we had a couple of lessons that night he went to but we had one with a less active guy, Bro Finch, who we had an amazing lesson with last Sunday. He didn't feel good at all so I went with Bro Judd, a member for the ward. It was a pretty good lesson. He's a great guy! I really hope we can help him come back.

That is pretty much my week! Thank you guys for everything! I love you so much and I hope you all have an amazing Christmas! And family, I can't wait to talk to you Saturday!

Elder Townsend

Elder Newman in a wheel chair... this was our lunch break from weekly planning... weekly planning makes you a little crazy haha.

The only picture I have of me this week...

The roads were really slippery one day... Elder Newman almost hit that fence. It was pretty ridiculous. haha

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13. 2010

Hello everyone! How was your week? Mine was pretty good. Kind of crazy. Full of surprises. Tuesday we had an awesome lesson with a guy that we met at church. His name is Travis. He has a friend, Braelynne (or something like that...), who brought him to church and wanted he to learn more so we went over and had a pretty good lesson with him. We had it at our bishops house. He wasn't able to be there though. But we were able to teach him a pretty good first lesson. One of the better ones I've had. And he didn't have much religious background so we were able to keep it really simple but still teach everything that we needed to. So that was awesome. He even said that he would be baptized. We weren't able to set an exact date with him... he said he was going to be out of town on the date we suggested. But he was willing to be baptized! Which is awesome! We gave him a Book of Mormon and some chapters to read so hopefully he does. We are meeting with him again this Wednesday. So I am really looking forward to that lesson and seeing how things are going with him.

Then we had another really big surprise. We got a call from our bishop... and later from the mission office saying that the people we were living with didn't want us in their house anymore. So they were kicking us out by the nineteenth. But our bishop decided he wanted us out of there as soon as possible because he was sick of dealing with the lady we were living with so our ward mission leader, Cam Cervo, said we could go live with him so Saturday morning a bunch of people came over and helped us move. Taht was pretty exciting. Cam is an awesome guy and has a sweet family. It's been pretty fun so far. We have only been there for a couple of days though. We aren't living in the biggest space which is alright and he does have a couple of kids so it isn't the quietest place either. Especially when it comes to morning study time. We found that out this morning. haha. But it isn't bad and it isn't with the Nohrs. So I am pretty happy with it.

Then Saturday was a lot of fun. We had some really good lessons and a Ward Christmas party that night. It was awesome. Really good food and a lot of people and a lot of fun. Elder Newman is a music major so they had him sing a song while playing the piano while this guy played the trombone. That was awesome. I love the sound of that instrument. And he was good. He does that for a living. It was pretty sweet. I got a picture with Santa... it isn't on my camera though... sorry mom. But they'll print a copy of it for me later.

Then Sunday was awesome as well and ended on a high note. We had some really good lessons and then at 830 last night we went over to a less active guys house. Bro Finch and had an amazing lesson there. He really opened up to us and we were able to help him a lot. But his big concern was something that we can't really help him with. He is going to have to read and pray and find the answer for himself. We could tell him but it isn't going to mean much. So I really hope that he does. We are meeting with him next week. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. The lesson was amazing and the Spirit was so strong during it. Especially when we gave him a blessing to help him get through this and make it back. I think he really wants to do it for his kids, but any reason is a good reason right?

Well that was my exciting week. I am really looking forward to Christmas. It really is a great time of year. Especially for missionaries. I love it. And I love Christ. I am so grateful for everything He has done for me and will do for me. Thank you all for everything! I love you guys so much!

Elder Townsend

Elder Hurley, Trymer, Angie and myself

me and Elder Hurley

Elder Hurley got me started on this license plate game where you have to find all the numbers in order. So I found 000 with him and now, six weeks later, I found 001. At this rate I'll be at like... 100.... when im done.. haha

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 6, 2010

Hello from Medicine Hat! The small exciting town with three sets of missionaries in it. One of the furthest places from the mission home I can be. It was quite the ride down here. Wednesday morning me and Elder Hurley packed all of our stuff into the car. Which is really hard to do. Trying to fit all of both of our stuff into a little Malibu. But we made it. Then we went to the transfer station and we put all of our stuff into the trailer that they pull behind a thirteen passenger van and we took that and about five cars full of missionaries down to southern Alberta. We stopped at a place called Fort MacLeoud. We dropped the people that were going there off and the people going to BC met their companions there and headed out. So that is where I had to say goodbye to Elder Hurley. That was sad. We had an amazing six weeks together. One of my favorite transfers. I love that guy. Then the rest of us headed down to Lethbrigde where we met the other missionaries. That was awesome. I got to see a lot of missionaries that I haven't seen in a long time. Elder Gelwix, Elder Mott, Elder Estupinan, Hatfield. It was a sad day but seeing all of them made it better. Then I met Elder Newman, my new companion. I don't know if I ever said anything about him... but he was in my zone when I first came out. So we already knew each other which was fun. Then the two of us drove the last three hours down to Medicine Hat. So it was a lot of driving for me. We started at 8:30 and ended in Med Hat around 5:30. Just in time for dinner. But I am here now and so far I am really enjoying it.

We have been able to do a lot of lessons with members and investigators. We have a lot of investigators which is fun, but we don't have very many that are progressing from what I have heard. We spent a lot of this week planning and organizing our area book and finding people that we can stop by while we are here. It's going to be a good transfer. I have a feeling that we are going to get a lot done while we are here. And hopefully I am here for a while. I don't like moving very much. haha. We have a lot of service that we can do here too. We work at the Canadian Red Cross and the food bank and this other place I haven't gone to. So that's fun. So far I really like my companion. He is a lot of fun we have had a lot of fun together and we work together pretty well. It's so nice to have companions that have been out on their missions for around the same time as you. It just seems like you work together a lot better. I am really enjoying it and I think we are going to have a good couple of transfers together. He has only been here one transfer longer then me so we will probably be together for two. Which will be nice.

The place that we live in is pretty nice as well. The members are down in Utah for the winter so we have the place to ourselves. But don't worry. We aren't destroying the place. Someone comes and checks up on us every Thursday. It is pretty nice though. We have a huge Jacuzzi tub which is really nice after a long day. haha. We have our own car, but we only get 900 kilometers every month so we will have to be walking a lot I fear...

It was really sad to be transferred right before Christmas. It means that I don't know anyone here and they don't know me, but it will be a fun Christmas. I have been in a little bit of denial about it being Christmas just because I don't want to be away from home again. But Saturday we were in the stake choir (Elder Newman is a music major so he likes to sing) and it was awesome. I suck at singing, but we performed a bunch of Christmas music for the stake and then on Sunday night we went to the First Presidency Christmas devotional. It was awesome. It made me really excited to be here and for the Christmas season. Last Christmas was a lot of fun and I hope this one is too.

Unfortunately... when I got transferred here I left my backpack in the van... so I don't have my chord to plug in my camera... so no pictures again.... and I also don't have my bathroom stuff or my scriptures or my pillow or "Preach My Gospel"... it's back in Calgary... sad, eh? I'll get it when our zone leaders get mail, but being so far away from the mission home means I only get mail once every three weeks or so... sad day...

Thanks for everything guys! I love you so much and I hope you are getting into the Christmas Spirit! It's a great time of year!

Elder Townsend