Mosiah 4:9-10

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend. And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things, see that you de them. Mosiah 4:9-10

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 7 in the MTC

Another awesome week down in the MTC! This was definitely a long week but only because something of my own doing that I'll explain later in the letter haha

Good bye to Sister Lund

This week was another week of sad goodbyes, on Monday Sister Haws and Elder Holmes left which was sad but I know that they will be great missionaries and are going to have amazing experiences! Then this Monday morning Elder Curtis left which was very sad, it's just close enough to me leaving that it's finally starting to feel real! It was very sad to say bye to Elder Roomie but I know he too will just be a studly missionary and I'm so grateful for his and all of my other missionary friends' examples.
Good bye to Elder Holmes - Portugal Lisbon Mission
I just love seeing everyone here working their hardest to serve the Lord, and I'm excited to see the changes that the mission will bring everyone! I read Alma 17 and was so inspired by the story of the sons of Mosiah who served 14 year missions and came back still close, and happy to have seen one another grow in strength and in their love for the Lord. It has also been a pleasure getting so close with my district and companion, I love all of them and it's been so great growing with them in the gospel, I know I'll miss them a lot when we go our separate ways to Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Good bye to Elder Curtis - Argentina Rosario Mission

                                                                                                       So this week was suuuper long because my friend Elder Hammond and I decided to go on a health diet-- disclaimer: I haven't gotten fat here (Allyson) haha I've only gained a pound, but the food is just so heavy and cement like that I always feel crappy after meals so I just decided to exercise my self control and do a diet-- it was so terrible. We forwent carbs and all the fatty foods and sugars and snacking which made our options very limited to basically just salads and occasional soups or rice. It was straight brutal but I felt pretty good after meals, but also hungry. A lot of times we would forget that we had eaten lunch because we would feel as if we hadn't eaten anything at all, but I made it through and was glad to see I could do it. And I saved up all the snacks and packages from throughout the week and went ham on them all last night. Anyways moral of the story is dieting is terrible, also I only lost like .5 pounds hahaha but I wasn't really doing it for weight loss anyways. Also I have been recovering from a pretty bad cold that's been going around our zone and finally am on the last few days of it which is so nice, I've never had to blow my nose so much in my life haha

Last good bye to Elder "Roomie" with Elder Hammond
Elders Hammond, Khang and Ball
Aside from the physical trauma of the week it was a very enriching week! It started off with a skype TRC with a real member living in Taiwan! I have very mixed feelings about how it went though. I had the feeling that we should teach about charity, so my companion and I taught a lesson about charity and loving others, which turned out to be perfect for her because she had just gotten in a fight with a sister in her ward there during that week! So I just felt like we had just been guided by the Spirit, and I also shared a verse of scripture with her that she loved and got very excited about. She did a loooottt of talking in the lesson and spoke crazy fast, so it was hard for me to                understand everything, especially with the connection not being the best quality. My teacher complimented us and said we taught her a perfect lesson from what he heard her say which made me just feel so great! HOWEVER I had the biggest curve ball ever thrown at me after the lesson when my teacher talked to her on skype after we left, he came back and we asked what she had said, and apparently she told him she felt darkness when we taught her. Darkness. Hahaha how on Earth did she feel darkness when we were teaching about charity haha so funny! Especially because I thought it had gone perfectly and that we had said what she needed to hear! So I was kinda crushed by that at first and our teacher told us that she probably hadn't meant the term darkness, but it might have been attributed to our response to her telling her personal story. She told us this personal story of how she had gotten in a fight with someone which was apparently fairly serious, but I didn't really understand all of it just the basic gist and so my companion and I just kinda nodded and said "fe chang hao xie xie fenchang ni de jingyan zhege yuanze keyi bangzhu ni de qingkuang!" -great! thanks for sharing your experience this principle can help your situation! So apparently we might have just kinda reacted rudely and continued teaching and offended her. So that was an interesting lesson, a good reminder that I always need to be checking my understanding with the people we teach to make sure we respond properly! Haha two other Elders in my district skyped their designated member and she answered them while riding a motor cycle in the crazy streets of Taiwan and proceeded to talk to them and was giving all her attention to the screen which was hilarious and dangerous, they kept seeing cars and building fly by and were like please hang up and pull over then call back but she didn't seem to think the safety was an issue haha. We have another lesson tonight with someone in Taiwan or Hong Kong so lets hope this one goes better!
Asian missions dorm reunion

My District

Our investigators are all progressing rather nicely as well, they both have baptisms coming up this weekend, but we have a lot to teach them to prep them for the interviews, we might have to postpone their dates a week which is kinda disappointing but it's better to have them ready than not. I just love my teachers here in the MTC they are AMAZING. We call Ouyang Laoshi the Pride of Guatemala, Guatemala's Treasure etc etc haha it's always funny and he just laughs and doesn't know how to respond, still never speaks English, and still inspires us everyday to work hard, be focused, and be our best. We call Liao Laoshi the Renaissance Man because he is teaching himself how to do everything and just has the coolest goals in his life. They are both spiritual giants and always get us back on task and focused on our purpose of inviting other's to Christ. Love them and their examples!
There was an awesome Devo given on Tuesday by an Emeritus General Authority which was an awesome, straight forward list of how you can be a successful missionary! They are:
1. Focus on the Lord.  2. Love the scriptures.  3. Forget about yourself.  4. Love the people, the culture, and everything about your area.  5. Follow your Mission President.  6. Learn the Language of the Spirit, be able to recognize and heed promptings, etc.  7. Work hard.  8. Be obedient.  9. Be a PMG missionary.  10. Prepare yourself to be a faithful member for the rest of your life- every time you commit an investigator to do something, recommit yourself to do the same for the rest of your life. 

I love these 10 things, they set up a successful missionary, and a successful life. They are all based around love as well. All these things come if we love the Lord, the gospel, and others. The Gospel is one of love! And I can't wait to get to Hong Kong and just get to meet so many people!! Speaking of which I get my flight plans this week!!!! So exciting!! My companion and I got released as Zone Leader's this week and what a blessing it has been to serve in that capacity here. We got to welcome in 24 new Elder's into our district and help orient them this week before we got released and it was just so fun! My good friend from BYU Elder Ball is in my zone so that was so fun to get to welcome him, and I loved showing the Elder's around and helping them out. I remember how much I looked up to the older Elders here when I first arrived and I hope we can all realize that and support the newer Elders. I've learned a lot about service, humility, and charity as I served and i definitely have felt a change in my perspective of other's and how quickly I am to judge. Of course I can always improve but it's nice to look back and see it.
As promised - a picture of the "Tie of Shame"
I loved studying humility this week, I found that a lot of it has to do with the perspective you approach things with. The most ultimate humility is that discussed by King Benjamin, the recognition of our place with God, and the Savior. God has created all of us and given us everything, even the dust He has created and we can in no way hold ourselves better than any other. We are indebted to Him for giving us this life, and everything that we do can't even begin to pay Him back. We are indebted to the Savior, who sacrificed and infinitely atoned and suffered in Gethsemane for every single one of us and for every single soul to ever live, who am I to deny anyone of it? I have this opportunity to try begin to do my part in allowing every soul I possibly can to rediscover the truth of a Savior, the real purpose in life, and to find their Creator.

I really loved these 2 scriptures this week, one is in DC 88:68 which reads "Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see Him, for He will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in His own time, and in His own way, and according to His own will." This is such a great scripture to keep in mind with patience, expectations, and just life. So many people get impatient with trials, ask why me, and expect so much because they have been faithful. But the everything is in His time, way, and will. I also enjoyed reading Ecclesiastes 3:1 " To every time there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" The rest of the chapter also has some profound scriptures about seasons of life etc but I really like this first verse. Life is full of different seasons, purposes. Right now my time is very clearly God's time as his missionary, and to this time the season and purpose of being a mission, to devote, and remember it isn't my two years it is God's to gather His children. We are all in different times and seasons, I hope that through all the different stages of my life I can find and remember purpose as a child of God. 

Thank you to all of my friends and family for your support, advice, and examples! I love you all and pray for you all every night! I also have lots of pictures which you may be getting, but if not I know my mom also has been posting them on my blog! 

Elder Woolley :-)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 6 in the MTC


Once again had a great week! Though this week has probably been one of the hardest, I definitely had some great experiences as well!

This week started off hard for me because so many of my friends and all of the older districts have all started leaving the MTC, I remember on Tuesday I just woke up with just the most tired attitude toward the MTC. I just intentionally was negatively looking at the mundane nature of the daily life here, and was really just getting bummed out that everyone was leaving and I still had many weeks to go. I realized my attitude was very negative that morning so I prayed hard to be able to somehow be helped to change my outlook, because I was just so grumpy that morning, and I didn't know how I could possibly do 4 more weeks of the MTC. It wasn't long before I felt multiple answers to my prayer throughout the day. During companionship study, two random elders came up and asked if they could teach us a lesson, of course we said yes, and they taught us a quick lesson in Mandarin about chishou daodi (enduring to the end). There lesson was quite simple, and not even particularly well delivered, but I felt the Spirit speak to me powerfully as I listened, the Spirit helped me realize that I have this time here at the MTC to prepare myself, that I would not be ready if I were to leave now, and that having a bad attitude would be pointless. I felt a witness about enduring, that my time here shouldn't be something i have to 'endure', but to take advantage of, to learn, and to grow. Later that night my district leader, who had sensed similar feelings in everyone in the district, decided to have us spend our Tuesday night district meeting bearing testimony of why we are all here, to really think deeply about why we have all decided to serve, and it was a very uplifting meeting, and has helped me get right back on track!

My district watched the mini videos about the start of the church in Taiwan and Hong Kong and it was just so cool! I really felt such a strong connection to the church and the members of Hong Kong, and so proud of my family and those early pioneers of the church in Hong Kong it was so amazing! And it was fun seeing Uncle Sheldon in a bunch of interviews talking all about the church, and I couldn't help but wonder what it must have been like back then when my grandparents joined the church there. I am so excited to get there and meet people from the mainland who themselves will be pioneers and missionaries for the church amongst there families, and I look at my family and how we are blessed with knowledge of the gospel, and how all of that can be attributed to the faith of my Grandparents, and the faith of those that taught them the Gospel. I hope I can help bring families and generations to come unto Christ as well.

I also got my first MTC haircut this week, and also won a bet I made with Elder Hammond in the process. In the first week he thought my hair would be way too long and that someone would tell me to get it cut within a few weeks, so we made a bet that I could go for 5 weeks in the mtc without anyone telling me anything, and I won! They're not nearly as strict as I thought they would be. Oh and the loser would have to wear the tie of shame, its this hideous super fat brown tie with ugly patterns and colors that has been in our zone forever, and whenever we make bets (all mtc appropriate of course) the loser has to wear the tie of shame, and they also have to tie it short so that the tie is at least a few inches above the belt. Unfortunately I have to wear it tomorrow so Ill send some pictures of it next week. It's pretty horrendous, my companion also wore it this last week haha it always makes the day a little better when someone has to wear it.

Our investigators continue to progress, we have both of our main investigators committed to baptism, attending church regularly, and reading the scriptures, and our newest two are also learning quickly. I also have the opportunity to act as an investigator (who's background story and personality I based off of one of my high school friends) and it's really fun! It's a great way to practice Chinese but it's also cool to see the lessons from a different perspective. I find that I learn a lot from the lessons, and feeling the spirit as my 'missionaries' really do try their best to address my concerns, especially since I have been asking them some questions that would be hard enough to answer just in English. But I have felt the Spirit every time they bear testimony to me, which always makes my day better!

I have also started to learn characters which has been so cool to learn and has also been a refreshing new thing for me to work on when my mind gets tired of everything else. The characters are all so interesting, and getting all the stroke orders down has been really fun, its kind of like drawing a bunch of mini pictures, and its soo cool to be able to start recognizing characters in our reading. It's still so crazy to me that people just casually read and write in characters, but hopefully I'll get there in a few years! We taught our last in person TRC lessons this last week and they were so fun! Today is my first lesson where I get to Skype with members in Hong Kong which is soo exciting!! I cant wait to talk to them! I already know Im gonna get railed by the langauge though haha no matter how much improvement I think I make every week, I am always humbled in the language. This weekend we watched this film all in Mandarin and I was mindblown, they speak so so fast, faster than our investigators who take it easy on us. I find that after a sentence is said super fast it takes my mind a little while to translate and by then Im already getting behind! I definitely have a loooong road of language ahead of me, but I know the Spirit will bless and help me as I work my hardest! My teacher really humbles us this week as a lot of us started again unfocusing and getting frustrated by the language too much instead of on our purpose as missionaries, and he gave a quick little lesson on the Atonement in Chinese, where he went around saying that Christ atones for each one of us by name, he thought of every single one of us as he Atoned, and he did it for the people of Hong Kong as well, and the Lord has trusted us, we are on His time now, and we have a responsibility to not settle for the mediocre, but to try our hardest, be the best, and give everyone we can the opportunity to learn about their Savior. With that in mind what else is really important? That day I had found myself distracted that day by thoughts of home, friends, family, the past etc etc, then I felt reminded from that little lesson about an experience from Gordon B. Hinckley when he was in Japan a long time ago. He was talking to a man who had joined the church, and because of it he was rejected by his family, fired from his job, and basically lost everything. He asked the man how he could give up so much, and the man said its true isn't it? Gordon B. Hinckley responded yes, to which the man responded: then what else matters? This really has been something I have been pondering this week, especially when I get distracted by anything or feel down, this church is true, this message is true, and people need to learn of their Savior. So what else really matters?

This is how they show love in Taiwan
(Sister Wang - center - will be leaving for San Francisco)
I have also been studying the idea of accountability this week along with the previous ideas, in Preach My Gospel it talks about how we are accountable to God for what we do with the opportunities we have been given. It makes me think about my own life, the opportunity I was born into, the responsibility of being raised in the Gospel, the talents I have been blessed with, the family and life experiences I have had, and the missionary opportunity, my calling, my leadership position, all of these and more are the opportunities the Lord has blessed me with, and I owe it all to him, and I owe it to him to make the most I can out of everything I have been given, and to serve to my utmost capacity using everything He has blessed me with. I have continued to study charity as well, and I think it's interesting that we are taught that "whosever is found possessed of charity" at the end will be saved, not who possesses charity, but who charity possesses. That is such an interesting concept, charity is a perspective and love that God gives us when he deems us worthy, and it possesses us, we don't just randomly work hard and then create it for ourselves. I have been working on being worthy for it, and changing my perspective about everyone I work with. I really liked something that Jeremy Belinski emailed me this week about perspective and Ill leave you all with what he said - 
Bumped into Elder Curtis and Sister Lund 

"We will all be tried like unto Abraham. Think about that for a second. His trials breached the sacred bond between parent and child in that he was to sacrifice Isaac. You and I may not be asked to endure exactly that trial, but our trials will be of the same depth, magnitude, and intensity as Abraham. How much easier is it to have deeper compassion on others when we know they might be in the middle of their own Isaac episode."
Saying good-bye to Sister Haws - she'll be laboring in
Ft. Lauderdale, FL Portuguese speaking
Some mandos from the zone and Elder Ming from BYU!

Thank you all for the awesome support, advice, and love!! I hope all you Woolley's had a great time at the reunion I loved hearing about it and seeing all the pictures! Also thanks for sending me the reunion shirt haha my district wrote the reunion motto on the board and made it our motto too!


Wu Zhang Lao (Elder Woolley)

Saying good-bye to Sister Odom, she will be heading for Moscow, Russia

My companion, Elder Stratford was sick this week and freezing cold

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 5 in the MTC

I honestly don't know which week it is here anymore haha my perception of time in the MTC is so confused! Sometimes during the day I forget what time it is and wonder if I've eaten lunch or dinner or what, it just blurs into one quick day and then suddenly the week is up!

This week was a pretty good week! It's been so weird throughout the week because the older districts here all got their flight plans and will be leaving early tomorrow morning! It's sad because I've gotten to be so close with all of them but I know they'll all be killin it out in Taiwan! And then once they're gone were gonna be the oldest district! With them leaving I really feel like I should be leaving to since we are all so close, but instead Ill be here for 4 more weeks. So I will make the best of the remaining time here!

Our investigator lessons are all going well, we were able to invite one of them to recieve baptism and he's been considering it and asking all sorts of questions about it which has been great practice for my Chinese. Both mine and my companion's Chinese continues to develop and we have gotten much better at balancing out our lessons between who's speaking and not interrupting one another. We've been really working on unit while teaching. We both do the choir here ever week which is always so fun! All of my friend from college do the choir as well so it's always fun to see them and sing with them. Just this last practice I got to sing with Elder Curtis (who's Spanish has gotten sooo good btw, far better than mine) which is always a pleasure! We ended up laughing at the people passing out next to us more than singing this time but oh well. But seriously the Elder next to us feel asleep in the weirdest way and his skin tone just made him look like a dead man it was hilarious. The choir director is also a serious stud and tells the best stories from his life and all about church history! Ill talk more about that later. My companion and I also started playing a cello/piano duet of the hymn consider the lilies and it is just so pretty! I wish I could send you all a video of it! My companion and I have also gotten filthy at this game called spike ball- it's like mini volleyball its super fun you should all try it- and we have just been cleaning up during gym time which has been tons of fun! We used to play it all the time at BYU too so it's always fun to play kids from school.

This Friday my district decided to do an only Chinese day (or English fast) for 24 hours and it was so fun! It was really amazing to see how much of this language we have all been able to learn in 5 weeks here, it really is pretty amazing. I know we have all been blessed especially as we learn with the Spirit. It really was so apparent to me that day how much the Lord has blessed me with the language here as I prepare to teach His children, it;s just amazing. I was so proud of everyone in our district trying their best to express themselves! It was hardest when I ran into my friends and had to try and somehow communicate haha but it was really a confidence and testimony builder of the work that we are doing! We are all truly blessed here as we give up so much to be here and have to live at a higher standard, the Lord truly does bless us more than we can know! It was so nice to wake up the next morning and speak English again though!
Everyone in Elder Woolley's Zone

I feel like I should tell you all a little bit about my teacher's because they are such awesome guys! They are Ouyang Laoshi and Liao Laoshi. Coolest guys! Ouyang Laoshi is from Guatemala and speaks Spanish fluently, Mandarin, english, and Cantonese #goals. Liao Laoshi is from California, served Mandarin speaking in New Zealand, and is learning Japanese as well. They both taught themselves over the mission how to read and write characters fluently which is my goal as well.
Elder Woolley with his teacher Brother Cordon
 He is an awesome guy, and I learn so much from their examples every day!

Sisters getting ready to leave for their area of labor
Funny stories from this week- While teaching a lesson in TRC we kept saying juti and the guy kept looking at us all weird, we thought we were saying topic but apparently we were saying pigs feet instead haha they are the same word juti, we were just saying it with the wrong tones which is always confusing. One of the sisters in our district was asking their investigator if they could call them later and accidentally told him she was going to "crap words" at him haha, da dian hua is to call, and dabian is poop, so she accidentally told his she wanted to poops words at him which was pretty funny he just laughed at them.
BYU buddies in the MTC - Sisters Pugsley and Bennion
and Elder Hammond

Also random coincidences- I taught this girl who lives in San Francisco and goes to the same Mandarin Chinese Ward as Grandma which was awesome! So i took a pic with her, and Im sure that it just made Popo's day! I also met someone here with the last name Woolley which was so weird bc I've never met another woolley. She says her Grandpa's name is Donald Woolley so let me know if you know him Grandparents! I just call her cous whenever I see her now haha.

I heard some awesome church history stories this week that I hadn't really known too much about so Ill share some brief summaries quickly. They are about John Taylor and John Tanner. They're are both such amazing men! One time John Taylor was going to give a sermon and was warned that the crowd that had gathered were actually there to tar and feather him. Upon being warned he went up anyways, quoted the Declaration of Independence and about how the country was founded originally by those seeking religious freedoms, and was then fought for to maintain all freedoms, then tore open his shirt and challenged the men present to go up and tar and feather him. None of them moved and he then proceeded to give a three hour sermon and converted a lot of people in the crowd. What a boss! He also got shot around 5 times when Joseph Smith was martyred and his life was saved by his pocket watch which stopped the sixth bullet from hitting his heart. So cool. John Tanner was a wealthy man who was dying due to an infected leg. He went to an early Mormon Church meeting in order to try and disprove them and ended up being interested in the message. He had the missionaries over who gave him a blessing which miraculously healed his leg. That night he walked the half mile to a lake to baptized and walked back after having not walked for half a year. He then sold almost all of his possessions (which included an island) and joined the pioneers, where he spent all of his money paying for families to cross the plains, and paid the land for temples and churches to be built until he had no more money. He then spent his time serving a mission. His faith and willingness to serve are so incredible, such a witness that he knew what his priorities in his life were, not money, but the gospel and his family. I love church history stories because the people just had so much faith!

Elders Curtis and Woolley giving the heave-ho to
Elder Olson as he get's ready to leave for his area
of labor in Jacksonville, FL

This week I have really been trying to work on charity and my own personal humility. It really has been a theme in my stay here, but now even more so as my companion and I serve as the Zone Leaders. It is so easy to judge others and I know I do it all the time. But having charity is having the pure love of Christ for others. Part of that is not seeing people for their flaws and for the things that annoy you about them (which I do allll the time) but instead seeing them as our Father in Heaven sees them, as our brothers and sisters, seeing them for their potential, seeing the good things in everyone, and seeing how I as a leader can help bring out everyone's best qualities and help us all be closer together as children of God and as we serve the Lord and one another. I really could go on and on. Every branch council meeting I get so humbled as our branch pres, Pres Teng, brings up things he thinks are important in leaders and good missionaries, I always feel like I have soo much to work on, but Im glad that i have been trusted with this calling. Im trying to be the best leader I can be, uplift everyone, help us all be unified and realize our purpose both personal and general (invite others to Christ), and be a good example. I know my companion is doing the same and we have gotten closer as we strive to do our best with this calling. I could talk about charity forever but Ill end with a quick quote from Alma 7:24- "And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works" As long as we strive our best and keep good perspective our works will be good and will benefit those around us. I love that, and hope to keep working on it.
Departing Elders
As always I love hearing from everyone, I especially appreciate the letters I get throughout the week they always make my day! The support I get from everyone has been so awesome! I love and pray for you all!
Pink tie Sunday
Wu Zhang Lao (elder woolleydunks)

More BYU buddies - Elder Holmes, Elder Hammond, Sister Stone,
and Sister Collins who arrived this week!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 4 in the MTC


This week was again a pretty great week! Time seems to fly by here but at the same time drag on, its so weird. Can't believe I've only been gone for 4 weeks because it seems like so much longer than that!

This week was fairly average except for the weekend. We continued to teach our 'investigators' Deng Zhi Xian and Mu Zhi Hao which is always fun, and I can feel my Chinese slowly getting better. They are both progressing rather nicely, though Mu Zhi Hao gets caught up on the most random things then asks questions about them the entire time we meet. I hear everyone seems to feel like they hit a wall 4th week with the language, and I can kind of see why. There's only so much you can learn and do before the best way to really learn is just to be thrown out into it! 

In the middle of the week my teacher asked my companion and I to be SYL (speak your language) coordinators, which basically means that we are to encourage and report to him about how well our district does with using  what we know, practicing our language, and being more confident. We are trying to make Mandarin be everyone's first instinct to use in talking. It's interesting that he asked us to do it because we are far from the best speakers in the class but we will do our best to encourage everyone's growth with the language! 
Patriotic District
We were all sad to hear about President Packer's death. He was truly an inspired man, and I enjoyed the relative bluntness of his persona. I wish I knew more about him and his teaching's, what I do know makes me want to know more. We all have the opportunity to see his funeral this upcoming Friday here in the MTC.

The older district is preparing to leave this next weekend and it got me very excited for when I leave, though it is weeks away. They are all so fun and are great examples, and Ill miss them! The one sad thing about going to Hong Kong speaking Mandarin is that all the awesome friends I have here that are speaking Mandarin are all going to Taiwan. I know they'll all be killer missionaries though and I'll definitely keep in touch with those I got close to!
Some of the older district missionaries that will be leaving the MTC
This weekend was one of the best weekends here so far! Last pday my friend Elder Poon (I call him cousin Poon because we could look vaguely related and people believe that were cousins) in my zone planned on making this Saturday, the 4th of July, our zone 'Treat Yo'self Day' so we all emailed our moms on Monday to send us good snacks and food in packages.
The treat yo self box

Elders Woolley & Poon
Then on Saturday we put all the snacks in big boxes which we called the treat yo self box and carried it around all day, we basically pigged out all day and treated ourselves it was hilarious haha.
Elders Krischner & Stratford with the "box"
One of my roommates Elder Kirschner is just the funnest to snack with he is always down for a good snacking and he goes so hard it's hilarious. And then Saturday night we had a great patriotic devotional. During the devotional we got to see all the people from around the world in this MTC, and where around the world everyone is serving, it was so cool to see how global this church is! It's just another testimony of it's truth! After that we all got to go out and watch the fireworks at Lavell from the parking lots which was so fun! It was a great way to break up the monotony that the MTC is, and I got to be with all my college buddies and zone buddies mixed together which was great!
Elders Hammond, Olson & Woolley - BYU buddies
We continued to treat ourselves throughout the fireworks with our treat yo self boxes, and shared our food with everybody. On the walk back to the dorms that night all these kids from the Polynesian Islands started singing this awesome islandy sounding song which was so coo, I could've listened to it for hours. The island elders are so fun they just have so much energy and cultural pride I love it! I was definitely proud to be an American this 4th of July, and feel blessed to live in this amazing and beautiful country, I hope we never forget how lucky we are! It was a great way to have one last American celebration before I go live in Hong Kong for 2 years.

I had an amazing fast Sunday this week as well, it was definitely the most sincere and fulfilling fast I've ever done before. I was so focused on my questions and purpose of the fast that I didn't even notice the hunger! That's something I've never felt before. Our branch leader President Teng also pulled my companion and I aside on Sunday morning and asked us to serve as the new Zone Leaders, I was a little surprised but my companion and I were excited to accept the new responsibility!
Ready to go and serve around the world!
We are now in charge of a lot, and are to watch over and uplift all the missionaries in our zone. It's a humbling calling, and I'm glad that we were trusted to take care and serve all the Elder we have here. I'm excited to be able to get to know all of them a little better, and hopefully to be able to be a good example and be a leader to all the missionaries! I look forward to welcoming all the new missionaries that come every week as well, and to getting to know President Teng better, he is a cool and smart leader so it should be great to learn from him! This new responsibility will also help solidify my companionship and help us to be more in touch with the Spirit for how we can help all the members of our zone. During the testimony meeting we were asked bear testimonies in Chinese of course, and I felt that I should, so I just walked right up and was able to say a confident testimony that actually made sense (according to this one Taiwan native we have here) which was such a cool blessing! I love learning this language and I can't wait to serve the people! We also saw the movie Meet the Mormons, which I saw earlier this year. It's interesting to see it from my new perspective as a missionary. I remember when I first saw it I was a little critical of it because it strayed away from addressing some of the modern points of conflict with the church, but as I watched it this time I realized that they don't need to talk about all that stuff because none of it has to do with what the Church really is about, and what it's really like being a member of this wonderful church. It definitely made me miss my family and normal life a little bit with mountain and skiing scenes, and it was weird seeing the goodbye part for a missionary because I've been through that now, but it was pretty uplifting. I love seeing all the worldwide cultures that click with this religion because it truly is God's church and everybody in the world is his children. It's amazing seeing how people accept it into their lives, how it changes them for the better, and brings them to Christ. It made me SO excited to get to Hong Kong, to be part of the awesome culture, to meet and get to know the amazing members there, and to find those who are ready to receive Christ's Gospel.
A few more BYU buddies 

This week was a big testimony builder to me on the topic of sincere prayer. I know that if we sincerely pray and address our Father in Heaven that we can receive answers. I know that He listens and hears every one of our prayers. I have spent more time on my knees in sincere prayer to the Father in my weeks here than I ever have before and I feel the blessings come from it. I know I wouldn't be able to speak and understand as well as I do if I wasn't being blessed, and I know that He has guided and blessed me through the good and bad here so far. I know if we truly desire in our hearts, believing that He will answer is, He will. I know it because I have experienced it in my life and it has helped me in so many ways. Prayer is a blessing, we are able to have a two way communication with our Father in Heaven. I hope we never forget how special this is, and I hope that I can continue to pray always and pray sincerely.
I love you all so much! I love getting emails from you all, and getting letters and packages from you all throughout the week it always makes my day better!


Wu Zhang Lao