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