Sunday, December 27, 2015

It's Christmastime!

December 20- sorry for the late post - Janet

Such a wonderful time of year to celebrate. We are definitely staying extra busy, and for this Christmas week we have other missionaries coming in from outlying areas. So we'll be having 2 extra sisters in our area, which means we can do twice the amount of work! Like I was saying last week, it's such an important time to celebrate the Christ in Christmas, but there's also so much more we can do! We live fairly close to the mission home, and it was our mission mom's birthday this week, so we decorated her door and brought a present, leaving it on her doorstep before she even woke up.
Everyone in Australia seems to love Christmas fruitcake. One of our investigators made this cake, it was probably only 9x9 inches, but it weighed at least 10 pounds, it was so packed with fruit. She gave us a little corner of it, and we're still working on finishing it.

A scripture from my studies this morning comes to mind to share with you today. It is found in Alma 41:14 (in the Book of Mormon). It reads "Therefore my son, see that you are merciful unto your; deal justly, judge righteously,  and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, we shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgement restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again." I know that during this Christmas time it's a little easier to do good to those around us. But as we strive to continue with that attitude all throughout the year, we will little by little become better, and become who God wants us to be. Then, at that day when we meet God again, the attributes and attitudes we have developed in this life will be returned to us again. And when we have done all we can to better our fellow man, we will stand with a clear conscience knowing we did all we could. That's my deep thought for Christmastime, I hope you all enjoy this time to spend with your families and friends, and to remember our Saviour Jesus Christ. I love you all!!

Happy Birthday Sister Parker!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Angels We Have Heard On High

I love this Christmas season. It is such a beautiful time to be a missionary, talking about Jesus Christ all day long, when he happens to be on the minds of more and more people! It is so important to remember the true reason of why we have Christmas. Every day I get to share a video of how God loves us so much he sent his son, a savior, to be the Redeemer of the world.
We finally had our Christmas musical fireside, a presentation that we have been preparing for the past few weeks. It was the most beautiful spiritual experience for me to see all the hard work, practice and planning come together so well. This choir full of missionaries who didn't have much musical experience really did sound like angels singing together, and I loved it. What a blessing we had and have to sing and announce to the world that Jesus has been born, and will come again.
The Chinese lady we are teaching is named Giselle, and she said her first prayer this week! That by far is one of my most favorite parts of missionary work. Seeing people come closer to God and experience the love and comfort that it brings. She said her prayer in Chinese, and I literally had no idea what she was saying, but the Spirit was there, and she was so sincere, it was such a special lesson. I love this gospel, and I love my Heavenly Father and older brother Jesus Christ. I hope we can all try a little harder at this time to be the examples of Jesus Christ that He wants us to be, and let our lights shine.
I love you all!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Last Door

It happened! I've actually been waiting for the experience of the last door, every missionary seems to have one. But it happened this week. We had planned to tract this whole street, and didn't get to finish it before we had to go to another appointment. Afterwards, we decided to go back and tract instead of visiting someone else. There were so many people who just didn't want to talk to us, closed the door in our faces. By now it was getting pretty late and we would have to go home soon. But we knocked on this one door and a Chinese lady answered and was talking to us for a while, then invited us in and introduced us to her husband and their boarder. They were super interested and we were able to teach them about prayer and say a prayer with them! We went back later this week and invited them to baptism. We didn't put a date on it, they were still a little hesitant, but it was great to see the Lord preparing people for us to meet, at just the right time in their lives. There are little miracles all around us. I love this work, and am so grateful to be a part of it. I'm stealing a thought from someone else, but there is so much to be grateful for, and it's important to recognize God's hand in our lives whenever we can. So basically, all day every day :)

Monday, November 30, 2015


Saturday, November 28, 2015

November 22

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What Lack I Yet?

Recently we had General Conference, which is the time when our prophet and apostles can speak to us and give us modern day guidance on how God wants us to be living our lives. One talk that really stood out to me was called What Lack I Yet? by Larry Lawrence. He based his talk on the scripture found in Matthew 19:20. This is a story of the rich young man, who kept all the commandments and went to Jesus to ask what more he could do to achieve eternal life. In response to this, Jesus gave him very direct and personalized counsel that if he did, he would be closer to reaching that goal. Unfortunately, this man was not able to follow this counsel, and I don't know what happened to him. But the principle we learn from this is powerful. God knows each of us, our strengths and our weaknesses. When we ask what more we can do, He will tell us. This is something I've really been trying to implement in my life recently. It is so wonderful to be here in Australia serving a mission. I am here as a representative of Jesus Christ. But am I doing all in my power to fulfil my purpose here? There is always something we can improve on. When we sincerely ask God, He will tell us what to do. I've done that this week, and seen the blessings from it. That's my invitation this week, to ponder how we can each individually improve our lives, starting with the little things! Unless you want to do something big, by all means go for it :)

Something interesting about serving here in Australia is that there are missionaries here from all over. I was on a trade-off this week, where we trade companions for 24 hours to see how other missionaries work. We were riding bikes up this big hill, and I was just going and going, trying to make it to the top without stopping. But when I looked back, I could barely see my companion! She is from the Philippines, and likes to ride bikes much more slowly :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Birthday cake and Tim Tam Slams

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Plan of Happiness

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Week 7 already?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Week 6

This week I taught Sister Craig some American Sign Language, and she loved it. Now I can't get her to stop! She keeps spelling things, no matter where we are. But we just found out today that she's leaving, so I'll have a brand new companion next week! Or brand new to me :)
Catarina's baptism was wonderful. She was able to invite her mom, and they both really felt the Spirit. Sorry they just told us that we have to leave the library, I'll have a better email next week!

Some answers to our family questions this week...
Pretty weird week, being so close to the office we see the assistants and president more often than other missionaries, and since they were planning transfers, they were all weird and secretive, so we just had to ignore all that weird stuff and go to work :)

We get $120 every fortnight, or every 2 weeks. That covers food and whatever supplies we need to get. Don't have to worry about the rent :) and we have a separate card to pay for petrol.

We don't get a whole lot of time to cook, so pretty awful. We love Chinese cabbage and chicken, and just eating that like a lettuce wrap. Funny story from this week: we were supposed to have dinner with Brother Hann and his family, but they called us after church and said that their kids all had the flu, so we should just come by around 5:30 to pick it up. That sounded good to us :) then Sister Sparkes, who fed me my first kangaroo meat, texted and asked if we were going anywhere for dinner. Opportunity to be fed twice? We took it haha. So now we have lunch waiting for us at home.

I miss Mexican food here, we got told of this really good place that's close to us, and it was referred by someone from Mexico, so we know it's legit.

Sister Craig has 2 transfers left, so she's hopefully starting BYU-Hawaii in February, but we just found out today that she's getting transferred! I won't find out til tomorrow who my new companion will be, but it will definitely not be someone who's been here before. So, the burden's on me to lead the area. AAAHHHHHHHHH PRESSURE.

I am getting emails, it keeps me busy the 2 hours we're here, but I would love to receive letters. They are extra special, make me feel loved ;)

On Canadian Thanksgiving we had a zone activity, going to this trampoline place. It was so funny to see 20 missionaries walk up in our bball shorts, and there were mainly just little kids there.

It is getting pretty warm, 30 degrees Celsius has started to feel cool.

I love my hour in the morning for personal study. It helps me feel more relaxed, and it's a great place for revelation.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Week 5

I am enjoying this work, and the potential we have to bring to pass blessings for God's children is wonderful. This week, during our planning, we felt so strongly that we should challenge our investigator Catarina to baptism. She has been putting it off until after her cruise, but we felt that the push to do it this week would help her overcome her anxiety about it. She has been so prepared by so many missionaries, and when we challenged her last week, she hesitated and hesitated, then prayed about it, and when she prayed she spoke of how this would help her, and she could feel God was speaking to her through us. Her baptism date is set for this Saturday :)

Sometimes, when knocking doors, you meet people who don't want to hear anything we have to say. Other times, they just put up signs, saying, "All other religions. We are Catholic. Please do not knock." I thought it was so funny. We also saw a massive cactus this week.

I loved being able to watch General Conference this weekend. The prophets and apostles that spoke truly reaffirmed in my mind the truth of Amos 3:7 - God will do nothing, but he reavealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets. This same attitude can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 - whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. President Russell M Nelson gave a particularly powerful address on the importance of women in the church, and the value they have to the world. I loved it.

October 7

Funny story from this week. We were meeting with an Italian lady named Maria, who had invited us in before and wanted to learn more about what we teach. As we sat down at her table, her husband comes in and says he has lots of questions for us. He went on and on about everything that he sees that's wrong in the world, as well as asking us questions about religion, and what God's plan is for all of us. Every time we tried to answer him, he would start talking louder and didn't let us say anything. Finally after almost 45 minutes of this, he slows down and basically says no one has the answers to this, no one can help, and you're wasting your time as missionaries. We told him straight up, "We do! You haven't let us answer anything you've asked." After a bit of this, he softened up and we're going back today. The lesson I got from this is that there are people all around us who want to know the basic answers that the gospel of Jesus Christ contains. Because I've grown up in the church, I've taken for granted some of the knowledge that has been revealed by modern prophets. We really are blessed to be able to take this message to people like Dominic. Even if they don't accept the Gospel, we've given them the opportunity to and increased their knowledge of Heavenly Father's plan for us.

Some of the service we were able to do was out in the hills, and there was a koala on their property! So cool, and it was the first one I've seen :) Honestly I've been a little disappointed with the lack of wildlife that I've seen, but I'm in the city. Fun fact for anyone who wants to know about my mission: I could be transferred to Darwin or Alice Springs, my companion Sister Craig was in Darwin for 7.5 months before she came here. That's the really tropical part on the north coast of Australia, they just have wet and dry seasons.

One other really cool thing from this week was a man named Martin. He walked into church on Sunday on his own, none of the missionaries had ever seen him before. When he came to Sunday School the next hour, he spoke in class how he had researched our church and knew all about what we believed, and he said he'd been led here to find out whatever more he could. It was awesome, and a true miracle. As the lesson that day, the missionaries taught a basic history of our Church and what we believe, and he knew most of it. Anyway, he said he wants to be baptized!

There's been a big emphasis in the mission lately of being "exactly obedient", and of the blessings we can receive when we show God our desire to completely align our wills to His. Martin coming to church like he did is definitely one of those blessings. I know that God has many blessings He wants to give us, we just need to open our eyes to the miracles around us. Jesus Christ is the key to that, and as we come to know Him, we can truly know why we're here on earth, and what our purpose is (John 17:3).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Assurance of Faith

This week we got to have Elder Pearson visit with us. He's a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, and he shared some really powerful things with us. Something that really stood out to me was his explanation of faith. He read that faith is a gift of God, always given when righteousness is present. When we are striving to follow His commandments, Heavenly Father will give us more faith. As stated in Alma 32, faith is like a little seed. It starts out as a desire to know more about God. As we pray and strengthen our faith by keeping the commandments, that little desire can become a belief in God. This belief is somewhat stronger, but there's more work to be done. Belief can become hope, the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and his Gospel. But as we continue to become better, that hope can become an assurance of faith. When we have this assurance of faith, we know that God is there and that He loves us. The Bible Dictionary says that from this increased faith, we can have an assurance of our salvation in heaven. I love the emphasis Elder Pearson put on faith, because without it, we really are left with nothing. Faith gives us a desire to work for more, and to grow into what God wants us to be. He has a vision for each one of us, and part of the reason we're here on earth is so that we can discover that vision for ourselves, and apply it in our lives.
On Saturday, we met with an investigator who wanted to come witness a convert baptism. She said she would think about coming, then texted us and said she wouldn't be able to make it. But we practiced having an assurance of faith, and we knew that she would come. We encouraged her, and she ended up changing her mind and coming! It really helped her to see other people being baptized.
Photo- Some of the view, I forget how close we are to the ocean :) But we were visiting a member, and she lives way up in the hills. It was a great drive, and we got to see some signs warning about koalas, though I didn't get to see any.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Kangaroo Meat and Strawberry Tops

12 days in Australia, but I feel pretty comfortable so far. My trainer's name is Sister Craig, and she's pretty great. Well, we're pretty similar, and want to make the most of our time that we have here. Our area is in the Firle Stake, and we cover 2 congregations, Firle and Morialta. There are so many members to meet, and meeting everyone and remembering all their names gets a little tricky. The easiest way to get to know them is when they invite us over for dinner. The meal we had last night is what inspired the title of this email. We had spaghetti, and it tasted pretty normal, the sauce had meat and vegetables in it. But after we were finished, our host told us that the meat was actually minced kangaroo meat. I totally would have eaten it if she'd told us beforehand, but this way I didn't have any prejudices going into it. Apparently, it's pretty common to go and buy kangaroo meat, it's right there in the supermarket next to the chicken. She also gave us a fruit smoothie, with green flecks in it. When we asked what they were, she said strawberry tops. They just throw the whole strawberry into the blender! I thought it was kind of strange, but that's my experiences with Australian food this week.
We got to meet with an investigator named Viviana this week who hasn't had the missionaries over for a while. My companion said that the last time she was there, Viviana didn't seem that interested in our message. But when we went on Saturday, she had lots of questions for us and wanted to know more about the priesthood of God. I think she felt the absence of the Spirit in her home when she wasn't learning the Gospel, because she just didn't want us to leave. Hopefully that will continue, and we can keep helping her come closer to Christ.
I love being able to study the scriptures every day. We get one hour set in our schedule of just personal study of the scriptures and Preach My Gospel. I've been reading this week in the Book of Mormon, when Jesus visited the people in the Americas, and I feel so blessed to be able to read His words, and the message of love that He has for everyone. When we follow his commandments and His gospel, He can bless us in this life and the next.

Sister Townsend

Love at Home :)


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sept 16/17 email responses back and forth

Sept 16 email responses, back and forth answers to questions…
Photo descriptions:
was so excited to find Townsend St, I parked the car, and we got out and walked so I could get a photo :) and we talked to people along the way, so it worked out well

In our car Will 

There was hail yesterday. We were inside having lunch with a less active, but we saw it when we went outside, and then we found some more at someone's house that night! What was really weird is that its only like 10 degrees Celsius, but it hadn't melted yet!

 Hopefully this lets you see a glimpse of what I've been up to, it's still hard to think that I'm in a different country. I love you!

Those bikes tho ;)
And that's my district at the temple this morning.

Vivi: No kangaroos yet! I get to drive a really nice car around, but it's on the wrong side of the road! Ask mom what that would look like, it's pretty fun.

James: I LOVE being on a mission. I get to go around and talk to people about Jesus. Even if they don't want to listen, I get to tell them how much our Heavenly Father loves them and wants them to be happy. Isn't that great? My roommate is awesome, she and I never run out of stuff to talk about. Good for you with your tithing! Blessings will definitely come because of that.

Bria: I am alive! It was pretty good the first few days, now I'm just a little cold but handling it well. I love the people here so much :)

 Thank you all for your prayers, and I love you all so much! God is blessing me so that I don't have to think about yall too much, because I am so focused on the work here and what I need to be doing. But I'm praying for you as well, share all the emails you get from me with each other! Sorry it's hard to keep track of everything

Turns out it was really good (that we didn't get to talk when she landed in New Zealand). I struggled enough as it was talking to you that night. The flight was super long, and I spent about 5 hours of it talking to this guy about church, religion, you name it. I'm thinking of just taking pictures of my journal entries and emailing it to y'all, once I can get around to getting it fixed, something's up with the lens. SO, right now any pictures I send will be from my companion's camera. Food is so expensive here! It hurts me to go shopping, I think I'll just live on the meals we get with members about 3 or 4 times a week :) I AM DRIVING!!!! This great car, 2014 Toyota corolla, I never want to leave this area. It's wonderful, and we named him Will :D My area includes the temple and the mission office. It's in Firle, if you want to look it up on a map. We rode our bikes a couple of times, it's much easier to stop and talk to people that way. Sister Craig is from New Zealand, and she only has 3 transfers left!

First Pictures in Australia!

Abby driving!

 In hail or snow

 Those bikes! :)

Abby's district at the temple

Monday, September 14, 2015

Response from Mission Mom to Concerned Mom's Inquiry

Good morning Sister Townsend,

Let me first put your fears to rest, that your wonderful daughter is safe and sound. She is quite a missionary and is a leader in every sense of the word. In one week this I know about her.  She knows the Gospel. She has a powerful testimony. She is a delight to be with. She is a hard worker. She is happy! She will be in leadership very soon in this great mission.  We all feel that. Thank you for preparing her.
As soon as I saw your email this morning, I called and talked to her to see what the email situation was yesterday. She informed me that it is their districts turn to go to the Temple this week. That means that just this week, her pday is on Thursday. This is how our rotation goes.  One week each transfer, or every six weeks they have an opportunity to attend the Temple as a District . The Temple has asked our missionaries to come on Thursdays so they use that as their pday that week.  I am so sorry we caused you to worry.  We sent 2 missionaries out and I know the feelings when you don't receive an email and especially since she is a new missionary.  Please accept our apologies for causing you to worry.  Sister Townsend says it will most likely be around 2:00 in the afternoon (Australia time) when she will email you on our Thursday.  I know those will be 2 more long days but I promise her email will be worth the wait!

On another note, yesterday President and I were doing some Flat inspections and as you would expect, Sister Craig and Sister Townsends Flat was clean, well organized and had every indication that 2 Disciples of Christ lived there.

Please don't hesitate to contact us for any reason. Again we thank you for sending us your precious daughter to help hasten the work in the Australia Adelaide Mission. Today she will be in training most of the day as President and I have the privilege of sharing our vision of this mission and teaching doctrine, obedience and all that goes with missionary life.  It will be a great day!

Much love to your family,

Sister Parker

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Letter from her Mission President

9 September 2015

Dear Family:

Sister Townsend has arrived in the Australia Adelaide mission safely. Sister Parker and I are mindful of the great trust you have placed in us by sharing your daughter with us. When she arrived, we met her at the airport and she was taken to the mission office to be introduced to the office staff and assistants for orientation and pictures.  Our interview was followed by dinner and testimonies at the adjacent church with the other arrivers and senior couple missionary staff.

Sister Townsend’s companion is Sister Craig from Auckland New Zealand. They are serving in the Firle Sisters Area of the Firle Zone.  We are including a picture of Sister Townsend with President and Sister Parker.


Australia Adelaide Mission Office


PO Box 97

Marden SA 5070   Australia 

I am aware that the Lord blesses, in many special ways, the families of missionaries.  As your daughter serves, you will find that to be true.  Your support is greatly appreciated. 

You may contact the mission president, should the need arise, at any time. Missionaries are allowed to send and receive email from family and limited friends only.  They check it at the local library on preparation day, which is usually Monday.  Sister Parker has a mission blog if you would like to follow it at 
Warmest Regards, 

President Jeffrey R. Parker


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Last Post from the USA

Ladies and gentlemen, this should be my last entry from the United States for the next 18 months, so that's pretty fantastic. I fly out today, and could not be more excited for what I'll learn out in Australia. I fly Salt Lake to L.A. then to New Zealand, then to Adelaide, which is pretty cool. 
This week dealt with a lot of classes that I can use and apply for when I'm out in the field, and I'm still learning so much. We watched a video yesterday about how sometimes the Spirit reveals things to us like turning on a light switch. It's so brilliant from the darkness previously experienced that you cannot deny it. But the other way the Spirit can work with you is like a sunrise. Gradually, the more you grow, the more time you spend learning, you understand more and more, as the light gradually gets brighter and brighter. It already feels so much brighter, but I know I still have so much to learn. If my explanation doesn't make any sense, I encourage anyone to watch Patterns of Light, by Elder David A Bednar. He explains it much better than me :)
The best way I can describe this is with what I have learned about prayer. I have always known that God answers our prayers, but this week has really taught me why WE pray. Prayer is the aligning of our wills with God's, and when we make good choices about what we want to pray to Him about, what we want to ask Him about, He is that much more willing to grant us those blessings we are praying for. Making the choice to follow Him brings more and more blessings, which then makes us want to follow more of His commandments. It's a wonderful cycle. Mosiah 2:20-22 I think? It's in the second half of Mosiah 2.
Sorry I don't have a ton of time, we have even less time today, cause I leave for the airport in just a few hours. I love you all, have an awesome week, and remember that God loves you!

Sister Townsend

Monday, August 31, 2015

The day she went into the MTC, Aug. 26, 2015

This is on Aug. 26, after Jeri picked her up from the airport.
Abby in front of the Salt Lake City Temple

With Aunt Shelly and Allie by the Christus in the Visitor's Center

With Sweet Cousin Allie before entering the MTC

First Letter Home!

Monday, Aug. 31/15
UNBELIEVABLE the first week I've had. I quote I heard today sums it up perfectly. "The days feel like weeks, and the weeks feel like days". We learn so much every day, sometimes it's hard for me to remember the last time I slept, if that makes any sense haha.

The very first day I got assigned a companion, who I get to stay with 24/7. Her name is Sister Rougeau, and she is just so sweet. Sometimes when I get so excited about something I look over at her and am reminded that I am on a mission to love people, and I do. I love everyone here, it's weird. Then about 5 companionships get put together into a district, and mine is awesome. The guys are called elders, the girls are called sisters, and there are 6 elders and 4 sisters in my district. I'll try to figure out how to add pictures next week. I learn so much from all of them, they really are a blessing. Then there are about 6 districts in a zone, and we meet together about twice a week here. Sister Rougeau and I were assigned to be sister training leaders, which is like the zone leaders, we're just girls haha. This means that we have even less free time, with the extra meetings and things we need to prepare for the people in our zone. But I am so grateful for this opportunity, it's enabled me to see everyone in my zone and want to spend time getting to know all theses wonderful people I already love. 

They start you on teaching very fast here. The first day we got into a room, there was an investigator there, and they teachers sat us down and said, "Teach her!" We were all a little surprised, but then we just started asking her questions and bearing our testimonies of what we know to be true. Every day we spend about 6 hours in a classroom learning what we are going to be teaching, as well as how to teach it. This week is when we're really going to get started with planning our own lessons and teaching people that are coming to the MTC.

One thought I'd really like to share with y'all is something I learned on my second night here. The teacher quoted Elder Maxwell and said, "As you give yourself to the Father, that's when you become the real you." The truth behind that statement is so true. I've only spent one week here, devoting every second of my time to God and doing what He wants me to do, and already I feel more like someone He wants me to be, as well as who I want to be. 

What a wonderful week, I can't wait for all the stuff that's going to happen this week that I'll be able to share soon! I love you all, and want everyone to know that I know prayer is real. As great as it is here, there's a lot of hard stuff we are asked to do. When we turn to God in prayer, He gives you strength to make it through, and I've felt that love and strength from Him every single day. 

Sister Townsend

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

She's off!

We saw our sweet girl off this morning at 6am.  She'll get to SLC around 9 where our good friend Jeri Ashford will pick her up and take her around temple square for awhile, then to lunch and to the MTC.  Lots of hugs and tears at the airport.  We are so very proud of our girl!! She is a  beautiful, kind, valiant and faithful daughter of God. We couldn't be happier with her decision to serve the Lord for the next 18months in Adelaide, Australia!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Final Countdown...5 Days Left!

Hey guys,

So this will probably be my one and only post that I actually put on here. Once I am in Australia, my sister Dani will be taking over posting my emails to this blog. But I did want to take this opportunity to say just how excited I am to be going on an 18 month mission to Adelaide, Australia! I have been looking forward to dedicating my time to my Heavenly Father in a way that won't really be possible at any other time in my life.

I'll do my best to take lots of pictures so I can show y'all some of what I will be seeing, as well as share experiences of what I'm doing in Australia :) I would love to hear from everyone, let me know what's going on here in America, stuff like that. You can email me anytime at but I'll only be able to respond one day a week, and that time will be limited. You can, however, send me letters that I can respond to whenever.
That address will be:
Sister Abigail Rose Townsend
PO Box 97
Marden SA 5070 AUS

Adventure is out there!