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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Jason gets baptized! - Week 36

Da Jia Hao!

I don't have too much time today, but I really had an amazing week! It seems like I say this every week, but it was so up and down haha.

Jason got baptized!! What an amazing service it was! He asked me to baptize him, which was an absolute privilege. He is someone who really understands and knows what his baptism means. I think sometimes people think that baptism simply means joining a church, and that all we do out here is try and convince people to join a church and get bigger numbers of members. Of course there is so much more to it than that! We we're talking to him about baptism, and he always refers to it as the gate, or door.
Yang Kai and Jason! Golden converts!!
Getting ready to baptize Jason

Since the moment he read that verse that image has stuck out in his mind, and he knows of the truthfulness of that metaphor. It is just as Nephi so clearly states-
"17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
 18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive." It makes me so happy that Jason is fully aware that baptism by the proper authority of God allows him to covenant with God and is the gate that allows him to truly enter the path of discipleship which leads to eternal life. As he bore his testimony later of the miracles of his conversion and the blessings he has recieved as he has worked with his family to be baptized, we all felt the Spirit testify of the truth of what he has done. I have know way to describe how happy it makes me to baptize him, and to hear his testimony. I have no way to way to explain it, other than I know that it is of God.

The rest of our week has been pretty hard. As life often does, things went from being very smooth and great to suddenly quite hard. A bunch of our investigators just dropped us or left Hong Kong or we can't get a hold of them, and we found ourselves faced with days and long hours of street finding. After such a wonderful example like Jason, you would think that I was prepared and ready to get out there and find! But I wasn't, at least not at first. Somehow, in 2 long days time, I seemed to forget the amazing blessing of finding a prepared person. I seemed to forget how we are guided by the Spirit, and I seemed to forget the joy of that baptism. Instead I thought about myself, how tired I was, how long the finding was, and how tiring the rejection was. I was not finding by faith, but I was looking around in doubt. Without faith, how are we to find anything? Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind. I had a moment as I was in the midst of a long while with no one talking to us, when I subconsciously started humming a hymn in my mind, and suddenly I remembered the enormous blessings I have had here as a missionary, I suddenly had overwhelming love for our wonderful converts, investigators, the people, and the work. And I stopped thinking about myself, and got back to work! It's amazing how fast we can change our attitudes if we want to. I was amazing at how fast I could forget the blessings of just two days prior at Jason's baptism. I was impressed as I thought of the sacrament prayer, to always remember Him. " We live in a world that can cause us to forget who we really are. The more distractions that surround us, the easier it is to treat casually, then ignore, and then forget our connection with God." -(Elder Hallstrom). It is so easy, when times get a little tough, for us to forget the feelings we have had, for us to be negative, and for us to doubt. But our most basic identity is that we are literal children of God, and though we have heard it all of our lives, we need to get it 'from our head to our heart" (Sister Oscarson). I really felt that message powerfully today as I went to the temple as well, that we are all children of God, and that we must faithfully strive to always remember Christ, because life will make us forget if we choose not to actively remember, and if we choose not to actively take all this knowledge from our head, and inscribe it onto our hearts. Just as Elder Eyring encouraged and promised us in conference, we have to make "the choices that will create in your heart a more fertile ground for the good word of God to grow and be fruitful. "

I'm not sure if that long tangent made any sense, but I know that we are children of God! I know that we can choose to let the seed grow, and I know that the seed is fruitful. I know that the good and faithful servant is the blessed and successful servant, regardless of whether or not that success is seen by the servant. He is good, and faithful, and he is blessed. I hope I can always remember the blessings of this mission on my life, and always remember the Savior, though whom all things are possible. 

Love you all!

Elder Woolley
Meeting Elder Stevenson

District temple day

One last picture from last week's hike:  I love Hong Kong!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Finding Zero - Week 35

Hello Everybody!!

What an amazing week I had! Probably one of the most learning dense weeks of my mission! We had General Conference this weekend which was great, the hours in that meeting fly by so much faster than I remember it being as a kid, funny how things we used to dread can later mean so much to us. I loved too many talks to even begin to talk about it. Then we had a great zone training yesterday, and our district president, who just got called to be an area authority came and talked to us for awhile. Today we were supposed to go to the temple but it closed because the AC broke haha so next week we will! I feel like I received a ton of timely instruction from the Lord, the conference and meetings were really timed well for my efforts as a missionary. I felt like I needed a lot of new insights on how to continue to improve everyday and always have the desire, and this weekend certainly gave me more than enough.

Jason attended all the sessions of conference with us with his suit and tie and shirt that we gave him. It really touched me, he would ask us lots of questions just trying to understand. He is quite prepared, I am really excited for his baptism this Sunday!

Our other investigators have been harder to work with for some reason, it was a bit of a struggle week teaching everyone, but that's how it goes. It has again humbled me and sent me more earnestly seeking the Spirit in lessons and the guidance from the Lord because we can't do it alone and there are so many people that I just don't know how to help. It's humbling to have moments where I don't even know what to say. Because I find that if I begin to speak or testify in faith, the promise given to us in the scriptures is true, and my mouth is filled with what they need to hear.

One night last week we had a little bit of extra time and felt prompted to do some finding around Mong Kok. I had a really clear picture of a certain street enter in my mind and it didn't seem to go away, so we walked over to that street. It was poorly lit and no one was stopping, probably because we looked a little sketchy in the dark. But then this really young looking kid smoking a cigarette stopped and we started talking to him. His name was Zero (he had never seen the movie Holes though). We quickly learned of the hard life he lives. He left his home when he was young after his parents split and he didn't get along with who he lived with. He dropped out of school to work and was living with some people, and he had just gotten in a fight with one of them and damaged his hand when he punched and broke a window in the house. He told us that he used to believe in a God, but life got too hard, and he stopped believing in the possibility of something more, especially something that could care about him. I felt so moved, and new this young man desperately needed our help. So we walked with him to the hospital, continuing to listen to his story. When we arrived at the hospital we looked him in the eye and testified of the reality of God and His Son Jesus Christ, and more importantly, their love for him. At that moment I saw hope enter his eyes. We offered a small prayer together. He stood for a second with us, then said thank you. I later gave his number to the Cantonese Elders in our area. I don't know the outcome, but I know without a doubt that we were sent there to talk to Zero, and to be the conduit for our Heavenly Father to reach out to him and say, "Zero, I know you and love you."

This story really reminds me of Uchtdorf's talk about the 99 sheep and the lost 1. I'll quote him because he says it better than I ever could - "Over the centuries, this parable has traditionally been interpreted as a call to action for us to bring back the lost sheep and to reach out to those who are lost. While this is certainly appropriate and good, I wonder if there is more to it. Is it possible that Jesus’s purpose, first and foremost, was to teach about the work of the Good Shepherd? Is it possible that He was testifying of God’s love for His wayward children? Is it possible that the Savior’s message was that God is fully aware of those who are lost—and that He will find them, that He will reach out to them, and that He will rescue them? If that is so, what must the sheep do to qualify for this divine help? Does the sheep need to know how to use a complicated sextant to calculate its coordinates? Does it need to be able to use a GPS to define its position? Does it have to have the expertise to create an app that will call for help? Does the sheep need endorsements by a sponsor before the Good Shepherd will come to the rescue? No. Certainly not! The sheep is worthy of divine rescue simply because it is loved by the Good Shepherd. To me, the parable of the lost sheep is one of the most hopeful passages in all of scripture. Our Savior, the Good Shepherd, knows and loves us. He knows and loves you. He knows when you are lost, and He knows where you are. He knows your grief. Your silent pleadings. Your fears. Your tears. It matters not how you became lost—whether because of your own poor choices or because of circumstances beyond your control. What matters is that you are His child. And He loves you. He loves His children."

Just as Zero is, we are all worthy of rescue simply because we are the Children of God. It is inspiring for me to always think of our divine identity as Children of God, and to always keep that in mind as I teach and preach the gospel of Christ to all the sheep on their various paths and pastures of Hong Kong.
Thank you everyone for all the support!

Elder Woolley
Elders Woolley and Grayam befriended the workers at the local Indian Buffet
They all attend the english class now :)

They climbed Diaoyuwong

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Qing Ming - Week 34

Hello everybody happy Qing Ming day!

We had a real up and down week but it ended on the best note!

If you'll remember Jason went home last week to ask his parents
for permission for his baptism this Sunday. We have all been praying
and fasting and having faith that he would get the permission. When he
came back this Tuesday we met with him, and told us that his mother
would not accept it. I was low key devastated. I don't know if there
are many things in my life that I have prayed for and fasted for that
hard before, and I was just shocked. I thought, after all our work,
faith, and hope, why still no? We continued to meet with him, to try
and build his faith enough to make his own decision. He kept telling
us that he hopes and has faith that his parents will change, and on
the inside I thought, they probably won't, and you should just do it
anyways! He has amazing desire and faith. We told him to decide by
Friday if he was going to decide what to do. And you know what? He was
right. He called his parents one last time to ask if they would allow
him, and suddenly, they changed. Suddenly they said sure, on April
17th he can be baptized. Again I was shocked! It was like instant
chastisement to me and my lack of faith. My investigator had much
greater faith than I! I was immediately humbled. He just has the
purest, most innocent faith in the power of God and the Savior. In my
mind I thought his parents weren't gonna change any time soon, and
that we had to strengthen his faith enough to choose for himself. But
he had the faith that they could be changed. He constantly told us, I
think God will provide a way. And he was right! What an amazing
example of faith and miracles. It is sometimes so so easy to doubt.
Faith requires constant activity, but doubt is passive. You don't have
to do anything to doubt. But to have real faith, you honestly have to
work. Doubt and faith cannot exist in the same mind. Jason quickly
showed me true faith, and made me evaluate my own faith, and the
qualities of my prayers. I like the quote that "our actions are
children of our prayers" meaning that everything that we do should
reflect what we pray for. It should give us a course of action, to
actively strive and work to have faith to accomplish what we pray for,
then the lord provides.
This result was certainly a product of his amazing and
undoubting faith. I think sometimes we complicate things too much, we
consider all the factors of things and let them discourage us, make us
doubt, and we forget the greatest factor in our life, which is a
Savior, and faith in him. I forgot the simple principle taught many
times in the scriptures, that "Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith,
believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall
receive it." It really really is true, and this was a huge testament
to me of it. There is power in prayer. Heavenly Father, a real all
knowing and all powerful Father of our spirits who knows and loves us
is only as far as one prayer away. If we but have faith, we really can
receive miracles, we can receive very specific changes and blessings
that we thought impossible. I am so happy for Jason and his faith. He
is truly converted to the Lord, and I can't wait for the 17th! Elder
Sy gave him a suit, I gave him a tie, and Elder graham gave him a
white shirt, he was super hyped to wear them all to church! It's kinda
hilarious, all of our converts and strong investigators are all
starting to wear suits haha it's the best. Our RC Yang kai also got
the priesthood on sunday which was great! We are continuing to work
with him to keep his testimony growing and solid.

Today is the holiday Qing Ming, or tomb sweeping day.
It's a day when all the chinese people go the gravestones of ancestor,
clean them off a little, and pay their respects. I reflected on the
most recent time we celebrated that holiday in San Francisco with
Popo, spending hours trying to find uncle wing, goong goong, and other
various relatives graves. I remember Popo humorously kept insisting
that the gravestone was black, when it actually turned out to be
different and made it take forever to find. I love the respect that
this culture pays to their ancestors. And as I reflect on my ancestors
I am again so grateful for everything they went through to get my
family where it is now. I am grateful to both sets of grandparents,
and their amazing examples of service in this Hong Kong mission, the
affects of which I feel weekly from meeting members or old friends who
were touched by their examples. I am grateful for the early pioneers
of the church in my family, on both sides, and I am honored to be
preaching the gospel here in Hong Kong. I can't think of anything
better I could be doing right now, I really can't. It is the most
fulfilling thing I have ever experienced. I am grateful for temples,
and for a fair and understanding God and his perfect plan, which
allows us to aid and honor our ancestors progression. And as I turn 20
(so weird) I reflect on everything in my life that has led me to where
I am right now, and who I am right now, and I feel an immense
gratitude to the Lord and all of his mercies to me. I really feel I
don't deserve all the blessing I have received. I am grateful for all
of the amazing examples in my life, they are too many to number, I'm
grateful for the best family, and amazing friends. I am grateful for
mistakes, and for weaknesses, they have helped humble me, shape me,
and help me to learn what it means to rely on the Savior, and to use
his Atonement daily. I am grateful for parents who taught me that "we
talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy
of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children
may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."
I am happy to be doing the same for all the people of Hong Kong that I

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! I had a great day!
Elder Woolley