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, March 28, 2016

Easter! - Week 33

Mainland baptism!!
Fuhuo jie Kuaile!

Happy Easter everybody!! I hope everyone had as good of a week as I did!
This week I met lots of interesting people. I met an old Kung Fu master who came to our English class, he was trained by the son of Ip man, the famous trainer of Bruce Lee. He was super intense haha and was showing me some moves. He was surprisingly really strong and fast, I'm pretty sure that guy could wreck me, he would tell me to hit him and then when I would go in he would just go and like deflect it and do all this crazy stuff. I'll try and send a video next week haha. Also one of my roommates is the 8th best ping pong player in the Philippines and is sponsored by Manny Pacchio! (forgot how to spell his name), His name is Elder Hilado, he's so fast at it it's unreal. Gained some respect for that sport. Anyways, the mission is full of amazing people with their own stories, and I love getting to meet so many people and hear so much about them!
This weekend Jason has headed back to his home in Wei Zhou to get his father's permission for baptism! We are all praying super hard for him, but he is deteremined and has lots of faith, we know he can get it! I was rreading in the scriptures about baptism and the 'qualifications' for it such as humility, repentance etc, and I felt the Spirit strongly manifest to me that Jason is truly prepared. I see it in his countenance, and a light that seems to emanate from him when we meet that he is has truly repented and is coming unto Christ. There is no joy greater than that feeling. I know thatwhen his first date had to be cancelled that it was all in the will of the Father, to give him adequate time to truly be ready and prepared for baptism, and I feel now that he needed this extra time to really strengthen his testimony. It's been amazing to see him grow!
Elder Woolley with their investigator, Jason
This week there was another influx of mainlanders coming over to be taught and baptized, and I had the privilege of interviewing a bunch of them and helping one sweet old popo to be baptized! Their humility and desire to be baptized continues to blow me away. I don't know their lives, but I feel that it is truly a blessing to be involved in this short moment in the eternity of our journey and get to experience the joys of baptism with them. I am always touched by the supporters who sacrifice to come down as well, sometimes spending days on the train. The mainland saints are wonderful and so sweet. Their testimonies and knowledge are incredible!
I really love holiday seasons, especially ones that are all about the Savior! It's a special spirit this weekend when a lot of minds, believers or not, are drawn to think about Jesus Christ, the magnitude of his teaching, his example, and the life he led, his unimaginable suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, his crucifiction on the cross, and finally, his Resurrection.I love the verses in Alma 7 about our Savior -
"11. And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."
My mind was filled with amazement as I spent a personal study hour to read about, and ponder about Easter, about the Atonement, and about that amazing Easter morning. I thought about the first exchange that anyone had with the Ressurected Christ, which was Mary.Even his first words were words of comfort and love. He said, "women, why weepest thou?" In all of our difficult, tragic, lonely, confused, frustrated, or depressed time of life, our Savior asks us the same question- "why weepest thou?"  After Mary, without looking to see he who speaks asks where the body of her Savior has been moved, he comforts her with one word "Mary." The first word of comfort that he said to her was her name. In like manner whenever we cry out to him or weep for need I know that Christ comforts us by name. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and he can make us more than we can ever become on our own. I know on that beautiful Easter morning that He rose from the dead. I know the reality of it can be hard to fully grasp, but I know that it is true, Resurrection is a gift given to all freely, because our Savior overcame it for us on that glorious morning 2000 years ago. I think back on the deaths in my family, to my grandfather, and my cousin Dallin, and I can say with all my heart that I know we will see them again because of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for him, and for eveything that this Easter Holiday truly means.
 I was touched by my Aunt Becky's testimony that she forwarded and really liked the Uchdorf quote that she shared and I would like to share it again here -"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful. How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."
Elders Grayam and Woolley with a less active member - Sun Dx

Elders Grayam and Woolley preparing a mainland baptism

I know my Redeemer Lives!

Elder Woolley

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lots of Miracles - Week 32

Hellooo Everybooddyy!

We had a great week in Kowloon this last week, a big improvement over the previous week which was really encouraging! We have had lots of miracles this week, and everyone in the district is just working so hard, our district is really killing it in the branch right now, Heavenly Father is moving the work in this area along and I'm excited for the future of this area for Mandarin work!

Quick updates, our recent convert Yang Kai will be getting the priesthood, yay! I'm so proud of him! He is great and really likes watching mormon messages, especially about love haha, he continues to wear the same suit as me to church every week, it's the best! Jason is working hard with his father to try and get his permission for baptism on April 3rd! I really hope it goes through! We have been praying and fasting hard for him, I really have faith that this is Jason's time! He really has huge desire to be baptized, the branch has done a really great job strengthening, fellow-shipping, and being understanding to him, it's been really great to see their help and love, the work here has come a long way! We were in church the other day when Jason leaned over and said, I've been thinking about it, and I want to serve a mission. Those words touched my heart, to see his desire and testimony grow, and desire to serve a mission too is just amazing, I can't explain how happy that makes me. I feel like I don't deserve such a great investigator sometimes, it is a privilege to teach the gospel. He still has a long way I know, but with his faith and his great goals, I know these obstacles will fall before him. I can't wait for his baptism! We also managed to give our buddy Chen Guo Wu a baptismal date which was also great, I'm not sure if any of you remember, but we started teaching him a month or so ago, he was taught long ago, and when we called him again it was a sign to him that God had not forgotten him. He went out of town and just got back recently. He has a very hard past, and I can see how the hope and love of God's light will bless him so much. He readily accepted a baptismal date, it will not be an easy process, but I know that Christ's atonement will heal him. I can't help but be overwhelmingly excited for him to feel that amazing feeling of the Atonement working in his life, and to help him experience the fulness that this change brings. It will change his life! Our other investigators are all man man lai but it's really picking up recently!

We had another great experience while we were finding, we were in an area that we hadn't been to before, but had felt prompted to go finding there that night. We had no idea really where we were going, so we just walked around, I kept praying to know where to go, but felt nothing really specific so we just kept walking, making turn after turn and talking to people, but nothing really special happened. Finally we were walking up a hill and saw this guy up ahead, I joked to Elder Grayam and said 'there he is' and we started talking to him, and to our surprise it really was him! It was amazing, he was a former investigator of awhile ago, and he recognized us right away as missionaries. We had a great conversation with him, and hope to be meeting with him again in the future! I was shocked, we had prayed the whole time, but had not felt any promptings, or even any small impressions, yet somehow we were guided by the Lord still! It reminded of two quotes, one by Utchdorf where he says something like we can't sit on the road to Damascus waiting for a Saul-Paul experience, we have to act, and another quote by maybe Marion G. Romney where he says "we have to move our feet in order for God to guide our steps." I think a lot of times we don't really notice how we are being guided by God to do his work. It doesn't have to be large obvious feelings, or even ones that we notice. As long as we are willing to walk, to act, and faithfully move forward He can guide and use us sometimes without us even knowing. That is why we have to have prayerful hearts and be worthy of the Holy Ghost, so that we, who bear the "vessels of the Lord", are pure and can be whatever means He needs us to be to administer to His children. 

I am so grateful for this mission for teaching me a lifetime of lessons in just these months that I have been here for. I am so happy I have so much more time left to learn how to consecrate myself more, and to try my best to give Him my all! I wish I could write more but time today is short!

Thank you all for all you have done for me throughout my whole life! 
Li PoPo


Elder Woolley!
Saturday family with Elders Grayam and Woolley
(Grandma & Grandpa Woolley served in there area when they were in Hong Kong)

Construction work is done on bamboo scaffolding!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Happy Missionaries - Week 31

Da jia haooo!

The weeks just come and go so fast, time really just seems to be a blur here in the Kowloon Area! I am so happy to be here and just keep building momentum in the area, and especially within the branch! We had a pretty tough week this week, it seems like everything just was working against this week, and Saturday we had 4 lessons cancel, and I was pretty bummed. It can be hard to always be positive and enthusiastic within hard weeks, but we find a way to always love the work. I was in a bit of down state about all these people we are working with, I love them so much and it just is straining when they are not progressing, or I am unable to meet with them, or it seems as if everything in the world is going against them progressing, when I read the scripture in 3 Nephi 18:32 .."For unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them." What an amazing verse! We continue to minister unto the people that we love, we don't give up, tire out, or doubt, because we never can know but what they will return and repent. When they do so Christ will heal them, as he has healed us in this process, and it is a gift given to us, his servants and disciples, to be the means of bringing salvation unto them. What an inspiring verse of scripture. I know God speaks to us through the words of his prophets both ancient and modern. I know it is my duty and my joy to continue to minister the people, to love the Lord's investigators, my companion, my district, the branch, and to help all to come unto the Lord so that they can allow him to heal them. All we have to do is be the means, to help people realize that they can simply use their agency to choose to be healed! There is no greater work than this.

Jason is doing so well this week, he loves to pray and feels the peace os it, sometimes when we call him at night he asks to pray with us over the phone, which is a great way to help him feel the Spirit as often as possible! He wants to be baptized, we shared a powerful lesson on the Savior with him, and he told us that his father doesn't support his desire to get baptized. I really didn't know what to say, other than tell him I know that the Redeemer lives, and more importantly, I know that he knows the Redeemer lives. We can only pray for a change of heart in his Father, and for Jason to have the faith and courage to follow his Redeemer in the face of such intimate adversity. I have faith that it will all be ok in the end. I translated the quote to him "it will all be ok in the end; and if it's not ok, then it's not the end." He really seemed to feel the truth of it. I know it will be ok in the end with him.

Our other investigators are progressing slowly, we are continuing to teach them the simple gospel truths, and continue to minister unto and nourish them. They all have great potential!

I have been preparing a training for my district and I am really happy with the topic that the Zone Leaders assigned, which is always having the name of Christ on our lips. I can't talk about that topic enough, I talk about him every week in my letters, and every day on the street, and it's because he is why we are here. His Atonement changes lives, I have seen it. Saying even his name in sincere testimony changes lessons and attitudes, I have seen it. Yet sometimes amidst all the lessons and doctrines and info it the true conviction and passion can be lost. Sometimes I just say a testimony or teach a lesson and don't truly feel it at the moment or don't make the needed connection between the lesson info/ doctrine, the person's life, and Savior's role in it all. I thought about that a lot. I asked myself, every time I teach, every time I bear testimony, do I really have that testimony, the conviction in what I am saying? Do I bear real testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ every time I say his name?

3 points came to mind with this idea.
1. "Except ye be converted" (Matthew 18:3): Our personal conversion to the Savior, to have his name "written always on your heart" (mosiah 5:12), We have to have our own testimony!
2. Be thou an Example! have his image "engraven upon our countenances" (Alma 5:19). "Our lives should be a confession of Christ" -Elder Christofferson 
3.Testify of Him! To "Hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I (Jesus Christ) am the light which ye shall hold up.." (3 Nephi 18:24)
Everyday is an opportunity to hold up the light to all, and to invite everyone to come and see clearer,l and to feel of it's warmth! I love testifying of my Savior, and I hope that I can always testify with sincerity and conviction. I love the Lord's mission with all my heart. I love the people I serve, and I love the Lord whom I serve. I think being on my mission has been a time when I have constantly felt true happiness, as Ghandi said "happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." We as missionaries are so happy because we think say and do the gospel of christ 24/7 for 2 years! What a blessing it is. Sorry for a bit of a ramble and all the quotes and scriptures today I don't have any time to compose myself haha

Thanks for the encouragement, advice, and support from everyone!

Elder Woolley 胡/伍长老 :-)


Monday, March 7, 2016

9 more weeks in Kowloon!! - Week 30

Hello Everyone!

I can't believe how fast time is going, it seems like I was just doing emails a day ago, and the week has already flown by! I get another 9 weeks here in Kowloon, didn't get moved 2 weeks ago, which is really nice! I have moved every move so far, so it is nice to really keep the momentum in our area, and keep working with the same people. No one in our district moved which is great! There are great things happening in our branch right now, I can really feel the work hastening here, everyone is just working so hard and doing great in our branch!
Elder's Grayam and Woolley at the top of Lion's Peak

A view of Ryan's first area - Tolo Harbour

Elders Fung and Woolley at Lion's Peak

We had a powerful lesson with Jason this last week, he has some doubts and fears, I think most of which come from his family which might not really support him, and a fear that he may not know enough, but we had a great lesson and the help of a really great member, and the Spirit was able to comfort him through us. We were able to set him another baptismal date for April 3rd! What a great b-day present for me! But I really think that this date will stick. the work around the world has been emphasizing teaching repentance, and baptizing true converts. I really think that this set back for Jason was an excellent opportunity for his faith to be tried, and it seems that he is becoming stronger than ever! We had a lesson in the lobby of the temple, and the Spirit was so powerful, We all unmistakably knew that this is Jason's time to fully come unto Christ. I'm excited for him! He says he has gotten so much happier, optimistic, and even more social from the gospel. It really does bless all aspects of life!

We have an investigator named Edward Zhou, he has been investigating for a really long time, and has made not to much progress spiritually, but has learned lots of information. These past two weeks I have seen one of the most dramatic changes in a person in my mission. At the beginning of my time here, and for the long months before, he was always quite stubborn, always referring to the mainland way of life, thinking, how the society works there, and how he could not possibly accept all the things we were teaching as truths, though he was always very respectful. I often left lessons with him a little frustrated, we could never seem to be getting him to progress. And then we met with him last week. Something in his countenance seemed different. He seemed brighter, happier. We shared a simple message of the importance of daily reading the scriptures and praying, daily 'feeding' ourselves spiritually. He was so happy with our message, he said Elders I have been reading and praying and I feel that I am on the right path! I have a desire to have these things for my family! I was pretty shocked. Then this week we taught a lesson on raising a family in the gospel. He has an adorable little daughter named Shirley, she is 4, and often comes to our lessons. We taught about the gospel blessing families. He talked of some family stresses lately, and I knew that we had shared exactly what he needed to hear, and that the Spirit had touched him. To close the lesson he sat his little daughter on his lap, and had her repeat the sentences of his prayer as he prayed to help her learn. It was one of the sweetest and most touching prayers I have ever heard. He was so sincere in simply desiring to know the truth, and desiring the best for his family. The Gospel blesses families. I know that to be true. And I know that it is as the scriptures say, the Lord,by small and simple things causes great things to come to pass. Daily prayer and scripture study changed him, it's as simple as that.
Cute chubbers!

Mainland baptisms!

So exciting to see the work progress for our mainlanders
Elder Stevenson visited our mission two weeks ago and bore the most powerful testimony I have ever heard. The Spirit just filled the room it was amazing, and what he said was so simple, yet filled with real conviction and was a real witness of things he knows. It reminded me again how simple we can be, and how powerful a simple, but real testimony is. I will never forget the feeling that the room had as he bore his testimony on the reality of a Savior, and the reality of his restored Gospel on this Earth again.

Quick last thought, I was reading in the scriptures some of the teachings of Jesus, and I really was struck by a verse in John 13:35, "By this shall men know, that ye are my disciples, if ye have love, one to another." It is an often quoted verse, with good reason, it has so much meaning. When Jesus came he really established a new law, and new way of thinking for the people, it wasn't so much about what was outwardly done or shown, but rather on the condition of the hearts of his followers. In the end it is about how much we have loved, it's about where our desires, where our heart is. A true disciple of Christ loves, not as man loves, but as Christ loves. Everything we do to improve ourselves is to be able to try and see and love others as he did, to truly have his charity. I love the Lord's mission and I love Hong Kong!

I hope everyone has the best week this week! I can't believe it's already March!

Elder Woolley