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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Merry Christmas! 聖誕節快樂! - week 72


Merry Christmas everybody!! I had a great Christmas this year, the best one of the mission! Had a great time talking to the fam on skype too, so fun speaking Chinese with Mom! 

The Christmas was really awesome, the branch members were so loving to us, they fed us a bunch of meals, gave us little gifts, I felt so loved! I love the Victoria 3rd branch so much, it's amazing to see how far it has come since I first served here a year ago. Really amazing. The branch has just opened up and we have had so many great people join the church and build the branch! We all went caroling in Tsim Sha Tsui as a district and it was awesome, there are tons of people from mainland in town this weekend for the big shopping sales, and they were all stopping to listen and take pictures and sing with us. It was so fun, the mainland people are so ready for the gospel! It was really fun, there were literally hundreds of people stopping and listening and taking pictures, it was great to spread the Christmas cheer!

Chen Guo Wu was confirmed on Sunday, and it went well. He is so happy to be a member of the church, he is always talking about how much he loves the commandments, he has been a good example of someone whose weakness has turned into his strength. He always wants to tell everyone about how great the commandments are because they have helped turn his life around. He really wants to take us on a tour in Xinjiang, where he is from. Everyone should google Xinjiang, it's a beautiful place!

I have loved seeing all the converts from this year grow and help build up the branch. It has been a blessing to be back in Vic 3 and see more and more of the fruits of our labor. I am so proud of all the converts, they are such great, passionate, and powerful members! The work continues to go well, though it's starting to reach the slower months of January/February where all the mainlanders are returning home for the new year and other holidays, but we continue to get great potentials every week, and I'm excited to keep working with them.
Elder Sy and I had another opportunity to serve this week, a recent convert asked for a priesthood blessing, she has been struggling a lot lately with some difficult circumstances from a divorce process, and it just made me feel so sad for her when we were talking with her. The Spirit really guided Elder Sy and I as we shared a few scriptures, and then gave her a blessing. Giving blessings is always a testimony strengthener for me, it is such a tangible feeling of God taking over and blessing His children through us.

This last week leading up to Christmas I was thinking a lot about Jesus and His disciples. It is so amazing to me that Christ walked by them, invited them to follow him, promised a blessing, and they immediately dropped everything, and followed him. They recognized the call of the Master, Jesus Christ. Though they didn't know him, and probably hadn't heard much of Him, or recognize him, these average fisherman heeded his invitation, dropped everything that was their life and followed him. And it is even more amazing to see those Apostles receive the promised blessing, "to become fishers of men" (Mark 1:17), where they had started as nothing but fisherman, and through following Christ, they became. They shaped history, founded Christ's church, performed miracles, and were powerful preachers of the gospel! It's been amazing to teach people of all backgrounds, from window cleaners and construction workers, to the owner of an investment banking company, and see them all heed to the Lord's invitation, and receive the blessing to become. To change into more than they could ever become on their own, to really become disciples of God. I am so grateful for the gift of the Savior, born two thousand years ago so that we could all overcome our sins, our weakness, and become more. I am grateful to be in Hong Kong and help everyone to get to know the Savior!

Merry Christmas, love you all!

Elder Woolley


Game Day - bring it!

Elder James performing the Grinch

Elders Woolley and Mangrobang

Christmas morning breakfast - Elder Cornilles and Elder Woolley
woke up early to make breafast for everyone

Christmas morning secret santa gifts

Lunch at the Liang's house

My first area - Sha Tin

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blessed to be serving - week 71

We had a fantastic week this week! We were so blessed!
Kowloon continues to be an awesome and flourishing area, Elder Sy and I are blessed to be serving here. I can feel the Lord pushing his work forward in the area as we prepare for some big changes in the future!

Chen Guo Wu got baptized this Sunday!! We were a little worried because we hadn't been able to meet with him the week before, but we decided to have faith and not doubt him, and when we met with him, he was so prepared! His baptism went smoothly, and his testimony was simple yet powerful. He is an amazing man. He has had a really crazy and hard life, lots of tragedies and difficult situations, and it has been amazing to seem him really change so much since I first met him almost a year ago. I am seriously so blessed! I started teaching him with Elder Grayam last January, when I left for Shum Shui Po he went back to mainland, and when I came back to Kowloon Mandarin we were able to help him make the last couple steps. It has been amazing seeing him grow! We found him through a 10 year old record we found in an old area book and decided to give him a call. The fact that we found the record and that his phone number was still the same was a miracle! And us calling him formed the base of his testimony; that throughout all the things that had happened in his life for those 10 years without missionary contact, God had not forgotten him. He really felt that God truly is his Father in Heaven, and that Jesus Christ is his Savior. And so he changed, from the bitter, angry, and sad man that I met a year ago, to the smiling, emotional, filled with light man that we baptized this Sunday! It reminds me a lot of the verses in DC 50:24 - "That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day." He has really come out of a dark place, and the gospel has filled him with light. I love how the gospel fills us with light, it's an inexplicable feeling, but it is real. I look forward to his confirmation on Christmas!

The Light the World campaign is going well in the mission too, everyone is just getting out and serving. We have been blessed with lots of service opportunities this week, which are pretty rare in Hong Kong for some reason. But we got to help some people move stuff to a bunch of members houses! Got some good referrals out of it too. We're always blessed when we do service.

I am enjoying the Christmas season of course, it has been great showing everyone messages about the birth of Christ, there's nothing quite like the special Christmas Spirit, it has touched many of our investigators members hearts. I love hearing Chen Dx share his story with the branch, it is amazing that no matter how far we wander, or how long we are away from the light, for 5, 10, 20 years or even a lifetime, God will never ever forget us, and has sent His Son for every single one of us. I love the last verse of the Hymn O little Town of Bethlehem :

"How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is giv'n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav'n.
No ear may hear his coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in."

The Savior entered the world so humbly not a soul noticed save a few. He enters our hearts in the same way, nothing flashy or extreme, but with the still small voice of the Spirit. I hope in this Christmas season and for the rest of my life, I can always have room in my inn for Christ to enter. It has been amazing to see people open their hearts to him and see the changes he has brought about. I am excited to keep serving the Lord for these last 6 months of my mission, I trust he has lots of work left for me to do!
Can't wait to talk to my family :-)

Have a Merry Christmas! 聖誕節快樂!

Elder Woolley


P-day Hike

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Miracles - week 70

Good Morning Everyone!!

This week was a week of miracles! The work is going so well in Kowloon, I feel really, really blessed.

This week we had our branch Christmas party and it was a huge success.  About half the people there were all investigator families, it was awesome! The best part was the surprise appearance of Santa Claus, played by our recent convert Guo Dx aka Boris. He supplied a pretty hilarious hoho merry christmas in his thick northern chinese accent influenced english, but the kids and investigators loved it!

Children's Nativity
Santa and the kids

Taishan investigator and his daughter
English class student
Elder Sy and I are working our butts off, especially since this is his last month :( This is the most busy my mission has ever been, Elder Sy and I are just running all over Kowloon preaching and teaching and taking care of all sorts of office stuff and trainings, it's a hard balance but somehow we are doing it! I have really seen the Lord blessing us a lot, and sending his prepared people our way, I am glad he is trusting us enough to send these great people for us to work with. They are just popping up out of nowhere! We started teaching a bunch of new people this week and I'm excited for all of them, many of them are families which is the best! I met one of my first investigators ever from Taishan, which is where my Grandparents are originally from in Guangdong. He was pretty hyped that my family is from there, and we'll be teaching his family, plus a few of his friends families this week. It's amazing! I'm not sure how we'll balance it all but I trust the Lord will help provide a way. The branch is also progressing, it's amazing to see how young in the church so many of the members are, and watching them grow in the gospel and in service in the branch. There was a young women baptized into the branch on Sunday and it was a great service! Her testimony was powerful, I was so impressed with her gratitude and conviction, you could feel that when she said I know and I believe that she truly knows, believes, and is grateful. I love this area and branch, it is the best!

Our investigator Chen Guo Wu is doing well, we are teaching him and preparing him for his baptism which will either be this Sunday or next Sunday, we are so excited for him! He is a good, humble man, I've talked about him a million times but he is just amazing, and I can't wait for him to be baptized and really begin his journey on the road of discipleship.

One of our other investigators is in the middle of having one of the biggest changes of anyone that I have ever seen! I talked about him a few weeks ago, he was the one who we talked to about peace etc.. Everytime we met with him he would normally talk about Trump or Oprah or other random things, but he had started to progress little by little after that lesson, and now all of a sudden he is really making big changes! He called us the other night and said he had a strong desire to just quit smoking and drinking and had a big desire to get to know God! I was pretty amazed, we had never shared anything about drinking etc with him before. He had finally humbled himself enough that his heart and mind were opened and he was really thirsting to learn and get to know his Father in heaven and his Savior Jesus Christ. We had a great lesson with him and have set a date for him to be baptized in January! He is on the right path and if he keeps going in this direction his is going to be great!

I have been reflecting a lot about the Savior, His birth, His life and ministry, and what he really means to me and my life. It is amazing, and almost difficult to fully grasp that the Savior of the world, the Son of God was born 2000 years ago in a manger, the most humble of circumstances. " “No room in the inn” was not a singular expression of rejection - just the first. Yet He invites you and me to host Him. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Monson). Throughout his life and in the world today the Savior faces constant rejection and ridicule, as well as the rejection of those times when we simply forget about him and let him not enter in our hearts. The first commandment is to love him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. I am so grateful that the mission has really helped me understand what it means in the sacrament to always remember him, to let him enter into my heart and every aspect of my life, and to love him. And it's because I am privileged to be in His service! Elder Bednar listed 4 steps of how we can come to know the Lord so that he would never say to us "ye never knew me." 

1.Exercise faith in him. 
2.Follow him. 
3.Serve Him. 
4. Believe Him. 

I liked how he talked about the difference between believing in him, and believing him. Before my mission, I really believed in him, I believed that he is the living Savior, and that this is his church, and I believed in it all. But believing him is knowing on the personal, individual level, that he is your savior, my savior, and each individual persons Savior, on a grand and personal scale. That is something that the mission has blessed me with, and something I felt as I pondered about His birth and life. I have really seen the personal ministry of the Savior with me, and through me in the lives of others as I have gone about serving in his vineyard. It is true that we don't serve alone, that he labors with us in his vineyard. I love Him and love being His missionary, and I hope I can continue to come to know him for the rest of my life as a disciple of Christ.

I look forward to these next few weeks, we have lots of baptisms coming up in the branch and I can't wait to talk to my family! Love you all!

Elder Woolley


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas time in Hong Kong - week 69


Sorry it is so late, we had some things come up in the middle of our last emails and had to make a quick couple car drive trips over to the ferry terminal and it took longer than planned. So I will be brief!

We had a good week in Kowloon, there were a few struggles this week with scheduling and some cancels, but things have been going too smoothly for awhile so it was almost expected. It was a good reminder to not ever take anything for granted. But the most important things are still progressing, that being the testimony and faith of our investigators!

Unfortunately, one of our good baptismal dates is looking a little bit less solid now, but I'm trying to doubt my doubts before I doubt the dates! Our most solid date is still Chen Guo Wu, he is progressing quite well. He has such an amazing story, and looking back on all the many times I have met with him, he has taught me just about as much as I have taught him. I am amazed by his humility, and his complete trust in God. Though his gospel understanding is of course still very basic and fundamental, he is a lot like Nephi as the angle asks him, 'knowest thou the condescension of God' to which he responds, Í know that he loveth his children, nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things.' Chen dx truly knows that God loves all His children, he has a very powerful testimony of that, and it drives him in all the things that he does. It's been amazing to see him commit to something, though he may not fully understand, because of his faith in a loving God and Savior. He should be able to make his December 18th goal! We are working hard and praying hard for our other investigators with dates, they are all so close! There are a lot of good potential baptismal dates as well for the future! A lot of our investigators are progressing towards getting baptismal dates which is exciting, the Spirit has been helping us teach them well!

We had a really great teaching experience this week, one of our investigators has absolutely no religious background and has trouble understanding most things. He is a humble man from Fujian who is a winder cleaner here in Hong Kong. Elder Sy and I were praying really hard throughout the lesson trying to figure out how to teach him according to his needs and ability to understand, and the Spirit was just filling our minds with tons of great analogies to use while teaching him based off of all the things he had shared with us while chatting. It was great! We related Christ to a window cleaner, us to the windows, he really liked that and was intrigued with how he could 'wipe' himself clean. We compared developing testimony to the developing of the province Fujian which he had talked about before. It was a really great experience, we basically used everything he had ever shared with us as an analogy as we taught him, just as the Savior did, and it worked so well! I had never seen him pick up things so fast and understand them. The Savior's way is always the best way, I felt I really got to appreciate a little more His great teachings and parables.

I love the Light the World movement. What a great Spirit and motivation to serve and find more opportunities to serve and really try to make the world a lighter place this Christmas season. This last week we had the opportunity to go with our branch president, President Zhou to go and visit a young women and her mother. The daughter is very young, 12 years old, and was diagnosed with leukimia recently. It has been very hard for her mother and her, she was just let out of the hospital briefly last week. We went over with the President to meet with her and give a blessing to her and her mother. When I went into the house, I found myself very quite. Uncharacteristically so. I didn't know what to say to her or to her mother. She was so little and just sitting there and struggling to eat, and the mother looked so faithful, yet so tired and worn. I didn't know what I could possibly say or do to help them feel some light. We did what little service we could around the house, chatted briefly, then gathered around her in a chair as brethren in the priesthood. We laid our hands upon her head and gave her a blessing. I felt the power in the room, and I felt the love of God for this little sick daughter of His. He really loves us. I wish everyone could feel that love. It is so real, so tangible, and so personal. After we closed this blessing we turned and gave the mother a blessing of comfort. Again the Spirit filled the room, I don't remember the words I heard, I doubt the child does either, but I will remember the feeling of the love that enveloped the room. I could feel him loving the girl and lifting her spirits and pains, and could feel him lifting and encouraging the mother to keep pressing forward. It is true what is said in the Doctrine and Covenants- "where two or three are gathered together in my name, … behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you” (D&C 6:32). We were gathered in His name, doing His work, and I certainly felt Him in our midst. I don't think I said more than 10 words in her house, but I know that what we did in His name was the greater service than any words, the Spirit they felt more important than any gift we could have given. I am grateful to be in His service, and hope that we will be continually blessed with more opportunities the help bring light to the lives of those we work with and encounter every day. Christmas is such a wonderful time to serve, though we should really be always serving as though it is Christmas. I love sharing about Christ, his life and his birth, they mean so much to me and I couldn't share about it enough!

Love you all!

Elder Woolley
Found a tree in our apartment, blessings of living in the temple apartment

Lai Dx, our window cleaner investigator


More Christmas!

Dim Sum with some Popo and Goong Goong friends

Monday, November 28, 2016

感恩節快樂! - week 68

Hello everybody 感恩節快樂!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! It is always one of my most favorite times of the year and this year was no exception. On Thursday, we had our Zone Thanksgiving celebration which was really nice and one of the few times we can just relax and enjoy everyone's company, it was very refreshing. Elder Sy and I were in charge of the stuffing and it was great! Or maybe it's been so long since I've had stuffing that I just think it was great and forgot what it's supposed to taste like haha. On Sunday, as a Thanksgiving gift to our branch and the members, we had a real American Thanksgiving FHE cooked by the missionaries and it was really fun and only slightly disastrous, only a few mistakes like using salt on accident instead of sugar in the apple pie, burning the pie, burning boiling noodles (didn't think that was possible) burning fingers etc. But the meal really did turn out great and everyone had a good time. I definitely learned to be grateful for my mom and all the hard work she puts into Thanksgiving meal!

The rest of this week was relatively normal, our investigators are all progressing along rather nicely, we have several preparing for baptism in December and January and are excited to watch them progress! Our buddy Chen Guo Wu is done with alcohol and cigarettes which is amazing! He is really changing, and has the most solid date for mid December. I can't wait!

We had Guo Dx, one of our recent converts who got baptized the week I left for Sham Shui Po, come to help teach him and I was amazed at his testimony and growth. He taught like a missionary! He shared great comments and thoughts without having to be asked, and even invited him at the end. I was blown away! It is especially good because 3 weeks ago we met with Guo dx and he was down and sad, something was really pressing down on him and it seemed like his light and normally happy demeanor were down. I was worried! We had a strong lesson with him and learned he wasn't doing the basic habits very much and that he had come upon some hard trials and big decisions in his life and he didn't know what to do. We emphasized the importance of the basic habits, and now three weeks later he is all smiles, all light, and bearing powerful testimony of Jesus Christ to our investigator. Amazing. Small and simple things, the basic steps make all the difference. They really do! We didn't even have to answer his question or tell him how to decide, he found it out for himself by feasting on the word and by communicating with His Father in heaven, who knows far more than we ever will. I am so proud of him! He told us that the whole day he really wanted to come teach the lesson with us and he felt pressed to come, and at the last minute his previous appointment cancelled and he was able to come and have a testimony strengthening experience! The Lord loves us and knows our needs, I know he will give every one of us testimony bearing opportunities if we are seeking it and if we desire to strengthen our conviction.

I already talked about this last week, but I just love Thanksgiving and the Holiday season, it is the best time of the year! I've been trying to take to heart the verse in Alma 37:37 -".. when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God.." and just praying and thanking for all the blessings I have been given, and for all the wonderful people I have been blessed to work with and know in my whole life and in my mission. It has made a difference every day to start off with my heart in the right place, thankful to God for all He has given me. I read an excellent talk called Living in Thanksgiving Daily by Joseph B. Wirthlin, and there are 3 ways he listed to help us be more grateful and more happy. 
1. Open your eyes- look for the good notice all the things around us to be grateful for. I love President Hinckley and his ever optimistic perspective and counsel - "My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we “accentuate the positive.” I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort."
2. Open your heart- Wirthlin gives this great counsel - "Pray with all your heart. Consider the love your Heavenly Father has for all His children. Open your hearts to His cleansing word. Feast on the words of holy writ. Cherish the messages of modern-day prophets and apostles. Forgive others who have offended you. Don’t waste another moment feeling self-pity. Every day drain from your heart the feelings of resentment, rage, and defeat that do nothing but discourage and destroy. Fill your heart with those things that ennoble, encourage, and inspire."
3. Open your arms - Go and serve others, work for them, be grateful and express gratitude for all who have ever opened their arms for you!

I am so grateful for the mission opportunity because it has forced my eyes open, to seek all small blessings in the greatest disasters, for having opened my heart, allowing me to really experience Christ's love for me and others, to understand the atonement, and for giving me an opportunity to open my arms to all the people of Hong Kong and China and do my best to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.

The three steps really connect well with the Church's Christmas Initiative, interesting how this year, unlike the last two, is not focused so much on teaching people about Christ, but in inspiring Christians to go out and serve, teaching others about Christ through their own examples. It is the best way of teaching. The video is inspiring and makes me want to get out and serve more! Each day of December has it's own little invitation and video, we are going to try and impliment it into the mission as well, you should all take a look! I love this season and hope everyone can love it a little more by serving as Jesus Christ served, to be lights in others lives, and lift them up as he has lifted us all up countless times. I love the Savior, and love Christmas where we can all think about him a little more.

Love you all!

Elder Woolley

as per request from my dad, more pics!

Missionary Thanksgiving

Wan Chai

Shueung Wan
Zhao JM (Sister Zhao)
Thanksgiving activity games
Scot and his little guy!

Branch Thanksgiving

Kitchen cleaning crew

Monday, November 21, 2016

Giving thanks - week 67


                   We had a really great week this week, very busy and very rewarding. It is great to be back in Mandarin work and be with Elder Sy! We both know how each others does the work, and have similar ways of working so the work has been going great! We have been working hard with our investigators and we are seeing some great progression. It is really good as well that we both have had good relationships with these investigators and members, so everything is going smoothly. It felt good this week to get everything passed off to the Sham Shui Po sisters and Kowloon West Elders, so I feel that we can really focus on our area and keep moving forward. We have also been trying our best to do the invitations as well, and the results are definitely there for us! I am so excited seeing the mission really stepping up and moving forward with boldness and faith, it is amazing to see everyone inviting others to come unto Christ and actually be baptized.

We have been able to extend a baptismal date every week so far which has been quite successful. I feel the Lord is more willing to send prepared people to missionaries who are more trusting in the Lord and his promises, who will have the faith to bring the people through the gate of baptism and set them on the path to return home to Him. There have been some investigators that have changed in ways that I never expected. Our investigator with the most solid date Chen Guo Wu is doing great! We were working on helping him quite drinking alcohol which was his last big obstacle before baptism, and this week he told us that he got some tooth ache and hasn't been able to drink for two weeks, and after those two weeks he no longer has any desire to drink at all! And whenever he even smells the smoke of cigarettes he is repulsed. It is pretty amazing how he has been blessed and given the strength to overcome these challenges in his conversion process. He has great faith, I don't think I have ever met such a trusting investigator, he really really knows that we are representatives of Jesus Christ, he trusts everything we say, and believes in all the blessings we promise him. He is starting to see the blessings in his own life. I felt the Spirit so strongly as he told us that he was finally done with alcohol, his last problem. I remember I had been working with him on these problems almost 6 months ago, and to see him now, it is amazing the change, not only in these behaviors, but in his very countenance. He smiles, laughs, feels the Spirit, and there is just so much more light to him than before. It is amazing, and is true repentance. The change is just night and day.

Our other investigators are all coming along well, we had a fantastic lesson on church in Sunday about temples, it was a powerful reminder to me of the power of those holy places. There was a member there with his none member wife and she was really touched by the lesson, especially by the members sharing their own testimonies of the eternal nature of families and the power of a temple sealing. 

I was reminded of a talk from general conference by Sister Oscarson, who tells the story of a woman who's son was being helicoptered to the critical care unit in Utah, "from the air, she looked out across the valley and could also see the Jordan River Temple, the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, and even the Salt Lake Temple in the distance. The thought came into her mind: “Do you believe it or not?” - I had learned about the blessings of the temple and [that] ‘families are forever’ in Primary and in Young Women. I shared the message on families to the good people of Mexico on my mission. I was sealed to my eternal companion for time and all eternity in the temple. I taught lessons about families as a Young Women leader, and I shared stories about forever families with my children in family home evening. I KNEW it, but did I BELIEVE it? My answer came as quickly as the question popped into my head: the Spirit confirmed to my heart and mind the answer I already knew—I DID believe it!  At that moment I poured out my heart in prayer to my Heavenly Father, thanking Him for the knowledge and belief I had that families truly are forever. I thanked Him for His Son, Jesus Christ, who made it all possible. I thanked Him for my son, and I let my Heavenly Father know if He needed to bring my little Ethan to His heavenly home, it was OK. I trusted in my Heavenly Father completely, and I knew I would see Ethan again. I was so grateful that in a crisis moment, I had the knowledge AND the belief that the gospel was true. I had peace.” 

I am grateful to have had such a strong reminder in that lesson of any own testimony of temples, the power of sealing, and that families truly are eternal. Listening to members share their own stories of being sealed, of loved ones passing away, of tragedy and struggle, but overall hearing the sure and tested knowledge and belief that the gospel is true, and that temples are the house of God strengthened my testimony so much. I really pondered again about those family members who I love who have passed on, and again received the wonderful spiritual enlightenment and confirmation that yes, I will see them again. We are sealed for eternity, the reality of this principle is amazing, and lifts the burden of grief off of millions of members and has lifted my perspective time and time again. I am very grateful for the Plan of Salvation and all it blesses us with.

I love this thanksgiving time, it always gets me thinking a little about what I am grateful for and a little bit less about myself which is always a good thing. I am really grateful that I learned a lot about the importance of the principle of having an attitude of gratitude. Having an attitude of gratitude has really shaped my missionary mindset, especially during the harder times. Trying to always being grateful has helped me recognize more blessings from the Lord and really brought me closer to Him when I really thought there was nothing to be grateful for in a day. That type of thought has changed my attitude on so many occasions, and has enabled me to learn much from the experiences I have been blessed with. I am so grateful for the mission, it has blessed my life so much, I can't begin to say how much the mission has helped me gain real testimony, and filled me. I am grateful for the Savior and his example, and all that he has done for me. Again it is hard to fully express my gratitude for him, for Joseph Smith, for the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for my family and parents, they are the best examples I was given in my life. I am grateful for President and Sister Lam, they have really helped me learn, repent, and grow, and given me so many opportunities and ways to serve the Lord in Hong Kong, I am very grateful! I am excited for the rest of this transfer with the mission and in our own area, I sense many miracles to come! I hope we can all be a little more grateful this time of year.

Thank you and Love you all!

Elder Woolley

Kevin :)
My man Chen Guo Wu

Huang family 

Ramen with Scott - he's a beast RC

Aberdeen with Scott - don't worry, we didn't go boating


One more of Aberdeen

When one door closes, another opens - week 66


Hello everyone I hope everybody had a good week!  We had a long and particularly exhausting week this week, but it has been rewarding.  We had a cool experience earlier this week, I had to help drive a fridge over to an apartment, but the landlord was not there to take it as we had planned, and our phone was dead so we had no way to contact her. We were waiting outside the apartment door when the neighbors arrived, I felt we should talk to them, so we asked if we could use their phone charger to charge the phone. They kindly let us in to their house to charge the phone. They were super nice ladies from mainland who are also members of a charity organization. We had a great chat with them and I just felt so grateful for kindness and genuine good people. We shared a little about the gospel with them, something they had never heard about, and it was a great time. I really enjoyed it. I love how Heavenly Father always gives us opportunities wherever we are if we are prepared to receive them. It happened quite literally in this situation, but when one door closes (or won't be opened) another door opens! We had a prayer with them and they left for mainland the next day. You never know what happens with the seeds you plant!

We also had another cool experience this week, a member from one of the wards was talking to me about one of the girls that we baptized here from mainland, she was converted by the missionary emails of one of her friends, who is serving in the same ward as one of my friends from BYU over in the states. It is amazing to see the many ways that the Lord does his work, like I said before we really really can never know how much good we do, and how much we can help the work. But occasionally we are blessed with glimpses of the fruits of our labors. Those are the most rewarding moments! The small and simple moments and blessings from Heavenly Father are really eye opening, and every once in awhile they bring in the Spirit so strongly and the gospel and the work and all that we do seem so clear! It is great to be in the Lord's service.

I am so grateful for the Sabbath day. I am not sure why but I was just exhausted this week, couldn't seem to catch up on all that we needed to do, and couldn't seem to get a hold on all the work we are doing right now in Vic 3 and in turning over Shum Shui Po, and I felt a little bit off. Needless to say I was really looking forward to the Sabbath day, the day of rest. But not physical rest and naps like before haha, but 'the rest of the Lord', as He beckons unto all of us saying - 

"28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . 
29.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 
30.For my yoke is easy , and my burden is light. " (Matthew 11:28-30)

I really felt the rest of the Lord this last Sabbath as I partook of the sacrament and strived to learn of him and take the yoke upon me, and just as it shows in verse 30, my burden, and all of our burdens become his burden, and his burden is light. I am grateful for the Sabbath day, where we can rest our souls in Him, transfer over our burdens to Him, and be recharged for the week! Elder Sy and I helped translate for some people for Sundays meeting and afterwords we talked about how wonderful it is to serve others in any way that we can, to be like Christ and think of others. I am grateful that the mission gives so many opportunities to serve and forget ourselves, we all need to.

I love the mission and the Savior Jesus Christ. He truly has provided rest to my soul on countless occasions, and I have seen him provide rest and peace to the souls of so many that I have been privileged to work with. 

Thank you all for the love and support, I pray for you all!

Elder Woolley

Working in the office :)

View from the apartment we helped open up this week

Some old friends from the Mainland - she got baptized a few months ago and brought her friend down

Our buddy Jason from back in the day

Wan Chai Chapel

Monday, November 7, 2016

Back to Mandarin - week 65

Hello everyone!!

It was a really crazy week of transfers.  It was really fun to see all the missionaries coming through here, pairing up with a new companion or trainer, and leave. I always love picking up the new missionaries, they have such great hope and excitement for the work! If only we all kept that energy for the whole two years, there would be much more success. Elder Sy and I had a great day of transfers, it was a particularly large transfer, easily the biggest one I have been involved in, and we ended up having to drive around some luggage and missionaries, and each of our destinations was on a different corner of Hong  Kong, from Tsuen Wan, to Causeway Bay, to Yuen Long, to Tseung Kwan O. It was a great time to see all of this beautiful place that we serve, and on the way home my heart was full of gratitude and love for the people and missionaries that we serve. It is a privilege to be here.

Elder Sy and I will continue to assist President Lam, but we have both moved back into covering Kowloon Mandarin! I have learned so much from Sham Shui Po ward, I am so grateful for the many wonderful experiences I had there, as well as for the challenges and humbling experiences. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn Cantonese, a special blessing to me and my family back home. I love them and will continue to keep a close eye on them and the investigators as they progress towards baptism!

My first Sunday back in the Mandarin branch was like de ja vu, it has changed a lot! It has only been 4-5 months, but the branch has grown, many La's have returned, young men serving missions, 3 investigators were baptized, new ones are coming, and the Spirit is in the meeting. It was a sweet reunion with members and recent converts. I love this branch! I can see the Lord preparing the future of mandarin work. Soon we will be opening new mandarin branches around Hong Kong! It is exciting to be working and laying the foundation for these new branches, they will start very very small, but I know the Lord is sending prepared people at this time for His work here. I can really really see his hand in the work in this branch, the changes and progress are amazing. The work is not slow!

I got to teach some old friends from before, one of which, Chen Guo Wu, is really progressing! Last I taught him he had just quit smoking, now he is working on drinking, and then he will be ready! He has great faith, and is very open to the Spirit. We had a powerful lesson with him, I really love the guy. I hope he makes his date in December. Our other investigator from before, Chen Hong Tu (the guy in the wheelchair) is also getting ready for his baptism in November 27th. We have really been putting our faith and heart into the work together and I know we are being blessed and used by him.  
Daniel (Chen Hong Tu)

We had a lesson the other night with a really energetic guy from Taiwan, he talks a ton and likes to go off on tangents about Donald Trump, HIllary Clinton, Schooling, and Oprah haha the lesson was pretty scattered, but all of a sudden it came to a head when he started talking about how unhappy it is to be in Hong Kong, the stress of the work schedule, the hours, competition, and how you can't be yourself at work, you have to be fake and cold to others. Then he said, I'm not even happy, I have so much money, but I'm not even happy, I don't even know who I am, I don't ever feel at peace. We shared the verse from John 14:27 -" Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid"- and then we bore testimony of the peace of the gospel, something I have been feeling a lot lately. It was very quiet, then he looked at us and said - you really believe this. When he said that the Spirit came in to me so strongly, I do believe this! It is not just something we say just to say it or because we are told to say, it's something we love, live, and we really really believe! It is such a wonderful thing, to believe. It is so much easier, so much less work to just doubt and disbelieve, yet infinitely more rewarding and fulfilling to live a believing life. Believing has led me to work, to pray, to trust, to change, and to become. I wish everyone could believe a little more, believe in God, believe in the promises from him and his servants. Believing leads to so much good. It is a joy to believe.

I love Hong Kong, I am excited to be back in Vic 3, the Lord has a lot of work for the mandarin missionaries in these upcoming months!

Elder Woolley
Driving through Kwun Tong

The Wan Chai track - missing the glory days, lol!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Catching the missionary fire! - week 64

Good Morning everyone!

It has been a couple of great days since you last heard from me!  The work is really picking up in Shum Shui Po, I don't know if it's just because my Cantonese has been getting better so I feel more comfortable in the ward or for other reasons, but the members are really starting to catch on the missionary fire! This last week our companionship got 8 people referred to us by members, which is a ton! I have never had that many people referred before my whole mission, and it was so wonderful to see the members just inviting their friends and having fun doing the work and not being afraid to share with their friends! Two of the referrals have great potential, and I see them getting baptized within the year! 

Our ward had a farewell party this Sunday for our Bishop, Au hd who is going on a mission, Elder George, and the Temple President Wong and his wife. It was a great event and I felt the ward's unity, there are good examples to me in this ward of how to be a good, dedicated member and builder of the kingdom of God. We also got new ward leadership, I am really excited for the new bishop, Bishop Choi. He is a great member with good vision for the ward! There is about to be miracles in Shum Shui Po! The member I was talking about last week, Chen hd also came to the party, it's the first time I've seen him for a month or so, and my heart dropped when I saw him. He has lost tons of weight and hair, the cancer and treatment is really ravaging him. He was wearing a mask and couldn't talk, but I saw all the members just supporting him and his family. When I talked to him and his family, I could see and feel their happiness and faith. I was so touched to see them happily coming to be with their brothers and sisters, and to feel the Spirit of being with one another. I am amazed by their capacity to be joyful and faithful in the face of such affliction. A big part of that is the support from the ward, and the rest of it is their personal faith and conviction in Jesus Christ. It reminds me of something that Elder Wong shared in our mission tour last week, he shared from 1 Nephi 1:1, Nephi says 'having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord.." He asked, how could Nephi say he is so favored of the Lord if he had seen so much affliction, and suffered so much in his life? How can we have an attitude of being grateful and faithful to the Lord, feeling that we are in fact 'favored' of him even when our life is full of trials? 

Nephi answers this question in 2 Nephi 2:2 - "Nevertheless..thou knowest the greatness of God, and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain."Heavenly Father can consecrate our afflictions. Just President Nelson says, who I quoted a week or two ago, -
"When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, which President Thomas S. Monson just taught us, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!

That is why our missionaries leave their homes to preach His gospel. Their goal is not to increase the number of Church members. Rather, our missionaries teach and baptize to bring joy to the people of the world!Just as the Savior offers peace that “passeth all understanding,” He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension. For example, it doesn’t seem possible to feel joy when your child suffers with an incurable illness or when you lose your job or when your spouse betrays you. Yet that is precisely the joy the Savior offers. His joy is constant, assuring us that our “afflictions shall be but a small moment” and be consecrated to our gain.

The Savior is the perfect example of this, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. "(Hebrews 12:2). He endured what he did because of the joy he has in loving and serving everyone of us. He knew that his afflictions would not only be consecrated for His gain, but for the gain of every single person ever to live, and through him ours can be used to help ourselves and others along their paths as well. I know that the Chen family is getting through this trial with an attitude of optimism and joy in the church because they know that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them, and have the infinite Atonement of Christ.The Gospel has suddenly become very real to them in their afflictions, and is one of the only things that they can hold on to, their testimonies of all these things. They are powerful examples to me of true testimony despite their afflictions and oppositions of life. The gospel is true.

I'm excited this week to see how we can keep the work going in Shum Shui Po! Thanks for all your support, I love you all!

Elder Woolley

Elders Woolley, Sargent & Sy after the mission tour

Elder Sargent and Ryan - first real milk shake since leaving the US

Elder Sy and Ryan with their "homie" Bob

The extent of Halloween in HK

Children from the English class the missionaries teach

Elder Sy and Ryan with little Jerry