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, August 31, 2016

To take us to the Divine - week 55


I hope everybody has had a good week!

Our week was craaazzyyy! These past couple of weeks have been so busy, and this coming week will be the busiest of all! We have the main transfer this week, with some new Cantonese missionaries arriving, as well as our Zone Conferences! I'm really looking forward to Zone Conference, getting to see all the missionaries and do our trainings with them. I also look forward to this week being over, haha, next week we will finally be able to resume a little bit more of a regular missionary schedule and give Shum Shui Po ward the focus it deserves.

Our investigator, Steven, is doing great! This week we talked about alcohol, cigarettes, coffee etc, and he accepted it no problem! I was a little shocked honestly. I expected him to bring up lots of problems as people normally do, but he said, "it makes sense, I believe it's from God, I'll do it!" If only it always went like that. I'm excited for him, I have already seen a big change in his behavior in lessons from the past 3 weeks. The first time we met with him he talked a ton about whatever entered him mind, and it was really hard to focus him. But now he listens intently, and asks great questions. It's amazing how the Spirit and the Gospel can do that to people. Hopefully all will go well for his date in October. His living situation is a little complicated, but we'll make it all work out.

The ward is really great, the members are loving, and have a lot of potential, we just have to tap into it and really help bring the missionary fire. I still feel I have a ways to go with our relationships, but soon we will have much more time to focus on it and build up our area!

I have really enjoyed picking up the new missionaries from the airport, the most recent group was 5 mandarin elders, much like my group last year. I went out and taught a lesson with one of them, and it was great to see the excitement and passion! He couldn't say very many things coherently, but what he could say right was simple and powerful. He said, "I know God is our Heavenly Father and that He loves you."  I felt the Spirit and so did the member we were visiting. A simple testimony is powerful!

I was pondering about the miracle of the fish and bread in the New Testament, where Christ feeds the 5000 with just some fish and loaves of bread. I always thought it was interesting how Christ doesn't just give enough to satisfy the needs of the people, but he gives extra, so much so to fill baskets and baskets after everyone had eaten their fill. I think there are so many things that could be taken from that miracle. Christ's mercy, his grace, and his atonement, are not given to us just to satisfy the needs of our weakness as the mortal, natural man. But His bread of life is meant to take us  "out of our ruts and routines, out of our problems and our pain, out of our earthly little arguments and ignorance and sins, and take us to the Gods — to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost — ultimately to take us toward our own Godhood. In short, to take us to the divine" (Holland).  What a wonderful gift that is, that we will not just simply be filled up and fixed up by applying the Atonement, but that we will be taken so much farther. I know it is true, and I have felt it in my life and seen it in the changes of others as they feel the love in their lives. It is a real power.

I love the mission, the future always seems to be getting brighter with each week and that is certainly a blessing from Heavenly Father.

Love you all!

 Elder Woolley

1. Great family from Beijing! Met them in the same spot a year ago when I first arrived!

2. The new mandarin missionaries! and Elder Grayam

3. Pit stop on the way to getting the new missionaries

Monday, August 22, 2016

Learning Balance - week 54


This week was a good lesson to Elder George and I about the importance of balance and being good at scheduling and order. We had a lot of things in the office we wanted to get done, including transfer things and planning for Zone Conference, and weren't as on top of our scheduling, so the time in our week worked out a little bit odd and led to a harder week in terms of the work in Shum Shui Po. I'm glad that both of us recognized our need to balance things better right away, and we set some plans and worked more proactively at church and throughout Sunday, and this week is already better planned and scheduled out than last week! We are both still working at balance, which is extremely important, and is something that the gospel teaches and us and helps bring into our lives. I'm grateful that we are able to recognize our weaknesses and learn from one another. Elder George and I get along quite well, I had a great time planning for Zone Conference together this last week, we really felt the Spirit guiding us and prompting us. Sometimes we would feel the Spirit just thinking about our training, so we are working hard at it and know that it is what the Lord would have us teach the missionaries!

Our investigator, Steven, is making progress! We taught him a very good lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I enjoy teaching with Elder George, he is a good teacher. The lesson got out of hand at the end, unfortunately. Steven always goes on long tangents. But in the end we were able to give him a tentative baptismal date in October! It honestly feels good to be moving the work along again, and to have someone with a date who is on the path. He has a great desire to follow the Savior.

Our other investigators are coming along, but slowly. There are many with potential, we just have to meet with them, and help them feel the Spirit.

This week there was a whole branch here from Henan and it was so great to see all of them! The members are so powerful, they all saved up to come together as they do every year to go to the temple. They truly treasure their covenants with God. I played with a  bunch of their kids, so cute! Afterwords, they had a big banquet which we attended briefly and they treated us like we were celebrities. It's amazing how much they value missionaries when their country will not allow us to enter. Many of them have sons and daughters serving abroad as well which is amazing. They recognize the servants of the Lord!
Henan Branch Activity

Cute kids from the branch

I was studying about charity this week and received some needed promptings from the Spirit to love the investigators, area, and ward more. To have more space in my thoughts, prayers, and heart for them. After I felt that, it was suddenly very clear to me that last week I needed to continue to work on my personal balance, as well as outward as I mentioned above. In my other areas, it was never hard for me to love the areas and everything in them and just put all I have into it, but sometimes in this assignment it can be easier to focus too much on other things. I am grateful for the prompting and as I took the sacrament on Sunday I prayed hard for the ward, our investigators, and the work in Shum Shui Po. I feel good about this upcoming week, and will continue to do my best to serve the area and the assignment with all that I can!

As I was preparing for Steven's lesson this week I read 2 Nephi 22:4, which says "declare his doings among the people," it was a great reminder to me, and something that I have thought a lot about before, which is to teach more about Christ's life, what he did, who he was, and to help our investigators feel it. I thought about the song we sing as kids, tell me the stories of Jesus: 
  • 1. Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear,
    Things I would ask him to tell me if he were here.
    Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
    Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

  • 2. Oh, let me hear how the children stood round his knee.
    I shall imagine his blessings resting on me;
    Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,
    All in the love-light of Jesus' face.

  • 3. Tell me, in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea,
    Tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee!
    And how the Master, ready and kind,
    Chided the billows and hushed the wind.
We should teach simply, as children, just like how we were taught as kids in the church. I pondered on the totality of the Saviors life, everything that he did and continues to do today. It is incomprehensible to think of his role in everything, from something as grand as the Plan of Salvation, to the as small as knowing the very details of our personal lives. I am grateful to be able to teach and preach of Christ, to be able to apply his atoning sacrifice personally every day, and I am grateful for all the he has done.

Artwork from the kids

Love you all, and Happy Birthday to Abby!! 

Happy Birthday Abby!!

Elder Woolley 


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Guan Dong members - week 53

Good Afternoooon!

We just had one of the busiest weeks of my mission so far, but I enjoyed every minute of it (almost). 

We had a miracle contact with one of our members' brothers! We went over to visit the member, and they had forgotten about our appointment so we waited for awhile and then decided we should leave. As we were walking outside we ran into them and their nonmember brother, and had a great conversation! We then set an appointment with them the next night for an FHE activity and it went great! He has taken a particular liking to me for some reason haha and as we walked out together for dinner he just put his arm around my shoulder and told me all his thoughts about the gospel. It was great! The Lord has been providing for us so much, we really can't do it without him.

Our ward has a return missionary who is really powerful, one of the first things he did was introduce his friend to us and we had a great time with him, and he has really solid potential. He is a great example of what every member really should be like if they were as missionary-work conscious as an rm.I'm excited to keep it all developing with him over these next weeks.

We had an awesome lesson with Luk jm and her daughter this last week! We talked We showed them the Bible video about Christ's birth and her daughter loved it! It was really cute, she gets really excited about Christ, and fortunately it is rubbing off on her mom, who gets more and more personally curious about the Gospel every time we meet. I love seeing it grow on people when they start to understand that it is something of great worth, and if it's true, which I know it is, then it means everything for them and especially for their families.

There was a huge group of people that came down from China this week that we got to meet with, one of which was the first mainland baptism I saw on my mission my second week here! It was so great seeing her again, and being able to see how she has grown and strengthened the branch she is in. It was so cool! Elder George and I got to teach a women with her nonmember friend and daughter from Guang Dong all the lessons, and she was amazingly receptive. She loved every single thing about it, and by the end, her friend asked us if she could be baptized too. I thought man why can't everyone be like this, so receptive! Miraculously we were able to jump through all the hoops involved in baptizing someone from mainland in a relatively short amount of time, and she was baptized the next day. I have never seem someone smile so big as her as she came out of the font. The spiritual cleansing of baptism is real, and I love seeing people go through it.

I love seeing our investigators marvel and wonder at the gospel when we share it. Especially those who are truly prepared to receive the gospel. Luk jm's young daughter watching the birth of Christ in wonder and excitement reminded me of the scripture "come unto me as a little child", and the truth in that principle. She was so excited by the video and believed it was true and was excited to explain it to her mom, her friends, and tell us al about it! She was excited to pray marveled at how Jesus could be born in such humble circumstances. It was so refreshing to teach a child, and was a good reminder to myself of never forget how wonderful, and amazing the Gosepl and our Savior Jesus Christ really is. We can never let the gospel become mundane, boring, or repetitive, but must be as the humble, excited, curious child!
The gospel is a blessing!

Elder Woolley

Sisters from the first mainland baptism that Elder Woolley ever attended
the sisters they taught from Guan Dong

Guan Dong members

Monday, August 8, 2016

You are not alone in the work - week 52

Daaih Ga Hoooo!

Hello everybody! This week was crazy and just flew by!  I drove my companion along with all the other leaving missionaries to the airport which was super weird. But, instead of feeling trunky and wanting to go home, I felt happy and blessed to still have so much time and so much left to experience in Hong Kong! After that it was just Elder George and I in the car, fortunately we didn't get lost on the drive back and only drove the wrong way down a street once, so that's a good sign of what we are going to do together as assistants together haha.

Our investigator Steven is progressing slowly, he has tons of questions, when we teach him it's like stream of conscious. But he really trusts us which is awesome, we have been trying our best to invite the Spirit in and bring it unto him, hoping that he will accept it into him. We had a strong lesson one with him, it didn't quite answer his questions, but when the Spirit was there he was focused and listening to every word. Fortunately he also speaks mandarin so whenever I get in a Cantonese jam in the lesson I can express myself in Mandarin! The Cantonese is coming along, keeps me humble all the times I say things wrong haha. 

We also have a new investigator from our English class! She is Luk jm and is really great, she desires very much for her daughter to learn and believe. She herself believes she can't learn gospel things because it is too complicated for her. There are a lot of parent's like her here, that see and feel the goodness of church and want it for their children, and seem to think that they themselves can't benefit from it or won't understand it. But as we taught with her I could see her own desire start to form, especially as we focused on the most basic relationship of God being our Heavenly Father. I shared a lot about my own family to her as well as I talked of how the gospel blessed us. I am again so grateful for my family and the blessing of having grown up in the gospel! She was amazed at how great the families were in the church, and I thought, of course the church encourages and raises great families, because we believe our most basic relationship is that we are all one big family, all children of God! Hence the brother sister etc. That is why we are taught to love one another, because we are really one big connected human family. I was so happy our ward did a great job of demonstrating to her that the gospel blesses families.

We had a great MLC on Wednesday, the topic was about faith, and then applying faith to our finding new investigators, specifically through members. It's a topic I could talk about for hours. It is amazing the power in a missionary who has real, dynamic faith. Who believes with all his heart, trusts, and works hard. It's amazing to see the faith grow in myself and others as we serve deliberately, and pray with faith. I thought of President Hinckley's quote ; you never know how much good you do.' I have experienced on my mission many times that when I am being faithful and hard working, the Lord uses us to accomplish his work, whether we realize it or not. Whenever I am being faithful, prayerful, and willing, I am always prepared to do whatever the Lord has asked of me or sent my way. It's a lesson learned also through all the times that I wasn't prepared or didn't listen to a prompting as well. The more I trust the Lord, the more he trusts me. I hope to be someone he can always trust.
Elders Sy and Woolley at the MLC

 As I was reading 'You are not alone in the work' by President Eyring (a fantastic talk) he talks about how the greatest joy in the work of the Lord is the  knowledge and "a confirmation that the Lord had been working with and watching over" us in his great work. Just as Elder Holland said, we "were baptized not only into Christ’s church, but into his life and his death and his resurrection, into all that he is and stands for in time and in eternity." And as such he will always be with us in His work as long as we are striving to draw unto him, trying to be like him, and do it his way, not our way. The greatest joys of my mission have not just been baptisms which of course are amazing, but they are the moments when I listen with faith to the Spirit, act, then feel the amazing confirmation that I did his will, that he is there with me in the work, he knows me and all of his investigators, and that he will guide us. I seek that guidance every day, and am so grateful for it.

The work is His, the church is His, and it's all true! Love you all and hope everyone is having a great last few weeks of summer break!

Elder Woolley

Monday, August 1, 2016

Being watched over - week 51

Good afternoon everybody!!
I'll have to be short this week sorry!

My companion Elder Hui leaves this week, and my new companion Elder George just got in this Sunday! He is a good missionary, I have never served with him before, but he is a great guy, and I look forward to getting to know him and working together. We have already discussed how we want to find more ways to minister to the missionaries around the mission, which is great!

This last week was packed full of change outs because Elder Hui is leaving, and we we're really busy prepping the office for Elder George. We got a lot of stuff done and downsized, including our missions new language evaluation system! I'm most excited for the future of our area in Sham Shui Po, we have been simplifying and streamlining everything in the office and it is basically down to the best point where we can maximize proselyting and really magnify our roles! It's going to be great.

This week I feel especially blessed and watched over by Heavenly Father. The past two weeks we have been really busy and struggled to be on top of scheduling, but we had some help from above which really just picked up the slack. The other day we went to dinner in the mall, and sat and ate lunch with some random guy. After we talked for awhile he told us he was really interested in service opportunities and things he could do with us which was great! He has good potential. Then afterwords as we were leaving we ran into an LA who we hadn't seen in a long time and had a great visit with him. Later as we were going down the escalator this women yelled "Elders!" we were surprised to hear english, and turned around to this women who then asked us to teach her daughter. Neither of them are members, but she had attended the church before in America and wanted her daughter to learn. WOW. What blessed stop at the mall that was! Later on in the week a member from the Kwun Tong ward, someone who Elder Hui and I have both worked with in the past, came up to us and asked us to teach her co worker Steve who was on the way to the church which was ngaam ngaam ho and we taught him a great lesson! He asked really good questions and is striving to be a good husband and future father! At our Children's English class one of our great mothers brought her friend who wanted to learn more about our church, she was really into the idea of baptism. I was absolutely blown away by the tender mercies of the Lord this week. We have been praying so hard and putting all of our trust in the Lord and we were blessed so much! I know that when we are faithful and believe, the Lord will give us what we ask of him. It is as simple as that. Of course the timing isn't always as wonderful as it was this week, but the promise in the scriptures is true, that "Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it" (Enos 1:15). I know that as we are faithful, we can do what He either asks of us, or will be prepared for whatever is put in our paths. He trusts the faithful and blesses those that trust Him with His trust and more opportunities to serve Him. Our area is just getting started again and has great potential!
Kids from the children's English class

We had a huge group of mainlanders come down this last week and it was so great! I love seeing all of them and their faith, love, and humility. They are such good members, so supportive of one another. I always feel the Spirit strongly when I see so many of them come to support one another and visit the temple. It's a blessing to have those moments of charity!
Mainlanders here to support new baptisms

I liked a parable I read this week in a talk by President Packer, about a man who found a perfect pearl. He was so happy about the pearl and wanted everyone to see it, so he went and got the finest, most beautiful box crafted for the pearl. He then put it on display. Soon he was sad as he saw people admiring the box and not the pearl! This parable can be applied to many things, but in this talk Packer emphasized the Holy Ghost as the pearl, a precious gift that we as every member of the church are blessed with, but that we can easily forget, or muffle as we crowd our lives with other things. Missionary work is the same way, it is easy to muffle or crowd away the pearl that is the Gift of the Holy Ghost by listening to other voices, doubts, worries, fears, selfish desires, or even our own good thoughts. But their is always better, and always best, and the Holy Ghost has the ability to always lead to the very best. I have been thinking a lot about the Holy Ghost and the power of the Holy Ghost in our every day lives, as our companion, and His role in teaching and converting. No one can be converted without the Spirit working upon them, and no one can convert anyone beyond their own conversion. I hope to consciously focus on the Holy Spirit as I work in this assignment, and throughout all that I do, whether it be training, teaching, serving, speaking etc, and through the Spirit, invite all to come unto Christ in all the we do. It is a wonderful gift that has influenced so much of my mission, and I hope I can allow it to influence and use our companionship even more to further the work!

 Also the Temple trip was great, full of revelation as always, love it!
Great Temple trip

Ryan and Elder Hui in front of the Temple

Thank you everyone for the emails, I love hearing from everyone!

Elder Woolley