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, September 26, 2016

It's always nice to be listened to...week 59


Good morning everybody! I don't have too much time today so I will have to be brief!  Our work in Shum Shui Po is going well, I am honestly amazed at the blessings of the Lord, people just seem to coming out of no where, and the ward is starting to get excited which is awesome. Working with the members is always the best way, and our ward is starting to get on board with the work! We are looking for ways to continue to serve and get to know them. My companion and I are doing great as well, I have been blessed on my mission with a bunch of great and experienced companions, and  I feel that I learn lots of things form each of them.  I had some amazing moments this week, and for some reason most of them happened to be over the phone.

I had a feeling last week, on Tuesday, to call through some names that we had contacted a while ago, but the time didn't quite fit into our schedule. But I kept having a nagging thought that we had to call them. So we called them, and none of them answered until someone named Shuie. She answered and we had a little chat, and I asked about her work, and all of a sudden she just went off about her work, she had literally just quit her job minutes before we called, her family life problems and a bunch of other stuff. I just listened for around 10 minutes. She began to cry and say how tired she was, that life was just wearing her down. At that moment I felt prompted to bear testimony to her of God and His son Jesus Christ. It was one of the strongest feelings of the Spirit I have felt, and it was just over the phone, yet I know I was guided to say the words that left my mouth. I could literally feel the Spirit helping to her through the phone. She was quiet after, then thanked me for listening. She then said she wanted to meet with us again, and learn about God. I know we were led to call her at that very moment when she had the greatest need. It is a blessing to be the answer to the heavenward cries of help that people unknowingly send. We had a wonderful lesson with her a few days after. She is someone who's life aches for the healing and nurturing of the gospel. I am so happy to be able to help her access it.

The other experience I had was similar in a way. Without going into any details, there was a missionary with a problem, and President Lam referred him to call us. I felt the Spirit directing our conversation with him, and I knew as well that what we said was from Heavenly Father to one of His struggling children. It is amazing to be a part of.

I have learned a lot this week about the power of listening. There were many times when I listened and prayed for the person and pleaded to know what to say or do to best help them, and I continually felt an answer of, peace, just listen. And I would listen with all my heart, and again found the promise of the scriptures true, after I listened to them and the Spirit, when I opened my mouth, it was filled. Our words became His words, or counsel, His, our lessons and messages His as well. There is no greater feeling than teaching someone and knowing that Heavenly Father keeps his promises and touches those we teach. 

I also had a wonderful interview this last week with President Lam. Even though we work with him all the time, it was nice to sit down, and talk. After a little bit he said, Elder Woolley I just want to talk about you. Then he asked all about me, my family etc. It was really nice and refreshing to talk and feel the genuine love and care, especially after all the listening from the week haha. It's always nice to be listened to. In his closing prayer he said something that stuck out to me, he said something along the lines of Heavenly Father accepting my offering of sacrifice and service despite my imperfections. That is a great principle, I think sometimes myself and others often think what we offer is not enough, or get bogged down by imperfections, being busy, forgetful, or just because of the weakness that is innately part of our nature, but as we are truly trying our best, thrusting in the sickle with all of our might, mind, and strength, it is enough. Heavenly Father will always accept the offer despite our weakness. "We don't need to be 'more' of anything to start becoming the person God intended us to become."

I am grateful for a merciful, understanding, and loving Savior.

Love you all!

Elder Woolley

Monday, September 19, 2016

中秋節快樂!(Happy Harvest Moon Festival) - week 58

Hello everybody!!  I hope you all had a good week!  I had a good and faith building week.

This week was also the Mid Autumn Festival which was fun as always! Lots of moon cakes from the members, and lots of dinners with families, so fun! I love how naturally family focused Chinese culture is, they have a different way of showing it, but it is a family orientated society. I loved seeing families out with lanterns, just like last year. I can't believe it's been a year since then! I think it's this time last year that I gained some weight from moon cakes too haha. I had a funny experience earlier this week at a member's house, we were eating lots of different kinds of mooncakes, and a member gave me a big piece of their favorite kind, which I assumed was mango, but after a big bite I quickly realized it was Durian haha. I gagged pretty hard at the shock and had to try my hardest to not make any noise. I was super full from dinner and I thought I might throw up from the moon cake it was a struggle haha. The rest of the meal and moon cakes were excellent though.

The week was a bit of an up and down week, we weren't able to meet with Steven because of the holidays which was kind of disappointing. I feel had I been more proactive we could've figured out something earlier in the week but well be seeing him soon this week! We got to go on exchanges with some Zone Leaders which is always really enjoyable, it's fun to work with them and learn from them, they are all great missionaries! I was with Elder Guinn, and he came in and served here in Shum Shui Po with me for the day. 

Our Children's English is doing amazing. I love it so much! There are tons of kids coming every week and they all love it! We are trying to work now with the ward on the turnover from the class to the ward members and church. It's coming along, the kids all really enjoy church, and the parents really love the family feeling in the ward. We have some good investigators coming up right now, I'm excited to see them develop. There is nothing better than seeing testimonies develop in those that we teach.

We had an amazing lesson with a part member family in the ward! He has been pretty stubborn for ever, and we mostly have just been visiting the family and sharing simple messages for the past few months. Then last week we taught a sort of more up front lesson and just right for it and asked him lots of questions, it was kinda intense and afterwords I was a little worried that he wouldn't be very welcoming to us in the future. But this last week he was way more open with us! He was talking and sharing his thoughts and even was asking his wife to teach him how to pray. It was amazing. His family has so much faith and desire as well, I know he will continue to change according to them and their prayers. 

I was assigned a training topic in a meeting this week about how our example affects those that we teach. I had been thinking about something I heard in an old talk by Maxwell called 'The Man of Christ'. It is a great talk that really helped me to ponder my own discipleship and what I can do to continue on the path of conversion. It is very easy to be casual or let things get rote, especially in the mission because we do and teach the same principles every day. There is a great quote where he says "You teach what you are," and it's very true. As I thought about the way I go about the work, the way I interact with others, and the way I teach, I had a few thoughts. One is I am grateful to see changes in myself in the mission due to dedicating myself more to the Savior and striving to know him. And the other is that I still have a long way to go! Fortunately we have our whole lives to try to become like him. But the power of example is very real. Often times people won't remember specific things that we say or the words we use, but they will remember who we were, and how they felt when they were around us. Ultimately as Christians and especially for us missionaries, we want people to feel a little tiny bit of what it would have been to be around Christ when they are around us. I have thought about what it would have been like to be with him, to walk with him, be taught by him, or be healed by him. It would have been life changing. I know that as I strive to be like him and seek/heed to the Spirit, I can also help others change as they feel the Spirit. What a privilege it is to represent him, and to try to be like Him.

I love the work!

Elder Woolley

Ryan's "homie" Griffe

Elders still play basketball on p-day

The boys found some wigs at church :)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Meeting Asia Area Mission Presidents - week 57


We had a week full of memorable moments!  We are still catching up on the work after last weeks conferences, but we still managed to have a really good week!

On Wednesday we had a great MLC! And now we get to see how we in the mission can apply all that we have learned the past couple weeks of meetings. We have a really cool opportunity coming up in Hong Kong with the church, President Lam's childhood friend is the host of something called the Pearl Report on TvB, which is the most popular station in Hong Kong, and they decided to do a mini documentary on the church. It has been really cool talking with the journalist guy about it, being interviewed and having them come to church and meetings etc. I know President and Sister Lam have been handling all the interviews well, and we're excited for it to be released in November, it should be really good for helping change the public's view of the church, which is generally fairly negative, a lot of people just think we're a 邪教. Hopefully this will help move the work along!

Earlier in the week there was a Mission President's Conference held in Wan Chai, and we got to attend part of it and interact with a bunch of President's and their wives, I got to meet a bunch of my friends mission leaders which was awesome, but the best part was learning from them and feeling the power and spirituality of the different people. We did a role play with the Thailand mission president and he taught us from the scriptures, it was amazing how well he applied just the first chapter of scripture to my 'role's' life. It made me want to study the scriptures more. I was also being taught the principle of prayer, and my 'role's' question was how to know if God is real and what it means to myself. He invited me to pray everyday and ask the same two questions, ask if he is real, and ask if he is real, what he wants me to do. Good questions, and it got me thinking that I should be asking Heavenly Father every day what He wants me to do, and ask him to send me more promptings and 'personal commandments' to do to to further serve Him. It was a really cool experience and I learned a lot their examples. I also gained even more appreciation for my own mission President, President Lam. I know without a doubt that he guides this mission on revelation from God. It is an amazing thing to be a part of.

Unfortunately, Steven didn't have much progression this last week, but we had a good lesson helping him understand the scriptures and how to really read and apply them. I can't think of very many habits that are as life changing as reading the scriptures. I have really seen it change lives on my mission, including my own. The Book of Mormon means the world to me, and is part of the foundation of my own testimony. I am amazed by the power of it. All we have to do is read and ponder it a little every day, and it can fill us with inspiration and the Spirit, and bring about real change and miracles in our lives and in who we are, not just in our behavior. Personal study of the Book of Mormon every day has truly expanded my mind and taught me so much and really changed me. Most of the time I don't notice how much it has changed me, but I really felt it in the lesson with Steven, how much this habit has changed me, and how much it can change him, and how much it has changed and blessed every investigator that I have seen who actually studied and pondered it's pages. I love it!

I was happy to see some of our other investigators come to church on Sunday, one of them has a little 6 year old daughter who is like a little sister to me now haha she was super excited to see us because we haven't been able to meet for a few weeks. It was great to see her love church, and see it slowly changing her mother as well. The work is definitely starting to slowly pick up steam in Shum Shui Po, I am starting to feel good with the members and have the trust of our investigators which is good, and I can feel that it will start picking up lots of steam this month. I can't wait! We had a really fun FHE activity at a members house the other day, and played a game that is like charades but for Chinese idioms, so of course I didn't know like any of them because there are a million and they are all deep haha but I loved seeing the ward just having fun, and really welcoming the investigators. I started to feel a familiar love for them that reminds me of the love I get for every ward or branch or people that we serve, and reminds me again how blessed I am to be here serving and teaching such amazing people about Jesus Christ.

I had a quick thought that is also related to the thought I had last week about Christ and the Atonement. It was also brought up to us by one of the journalists for the documentary, and he asked why there are no crosses in our church. OF course the answer that immediately comes to mind is because we focus on the Living, resurrected Christ, and not on His death, or the signs of his death. Though we do talk about his Atoning sacrifice all the time, and say the phrase he died for us very often, sometimes I forget that He also lived on this earth for us, and lives for us today. Every single act of His life was for us to see how to live, love, and serve perfectly. He is the only person to have ever done so. He could have lived a sinless life without having gone out of his way to serve and teach as he did, but he knew that he had to live not only a sinless life, but one of perfect love and service, which entailed a lot of hard work and sacrifice. He lives today and "ever liveth to make an intercession for" us (Hebrews 7:25). He lives now for us, to plead for us above, to call us unto him, to forgive and cleanse us, to comfort and guide us. I am so grateful for a Savior who lived for us, atoned and died for us, and lives for us today. I know He lives. I know He did all that he did because he loves us.

Hong Kong is an amazing place, and I feel blessed every day to be here serving. Thank you for all the support and love!


Elder Woolley


Elders Woolley and Sy together again and one more Elder I don't know

Elders Woolley & George

I'm guessing a view from their apartment?

This one is for grandpa - oink oink 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Zone Conference - week 56

早晨! 大家最近怎麽樣呢?應該都好好啊!

Last week was one of the craziest, most stressful, and best weeks of my mission! We had another batch of missionaries arrive on Wednesday as well as the normal transfer which was pretty crazy, then right after that we had Zone Conferences from Thursday to Saturday.  Zone Conference is just when we see 3 different zones of missionaries come through and we, President Lam, Elder James, and some other various mission leaders and people do trainings and stuff. It was a little stressful getting everything ready in time, but it went so well! It was fun to see all the missionaries of the mission, including lots of friends and acquaintances. It was a privilege to listen to all the trainings three times and see as they changed according to the needs and the guidance of the Spirit. It was a testimony builder to me to see how everything was so connected in the meeting even though we never discussed a theme before hand. Our training went really well, everything ran smoothly, and the best part was that the Spirit was present throughout. I really hope it inspired and uplifted the missionaries. Our training was called "Teaching in the Savior's Way." It was a wonderful topic that I feel very passionately about, as does my companion Elder George, and it went very well. President Lam had a great training on the foundation of faith in the Atonement to help people truly repent, not just change behavior. Elder James had a great presentation on Sacrifice building faith. They were all wonderful and I could really write pages and pages on all of the topics, but I won't bore everybody haha.

Our investigator Steven is progressing very well. I'm amazed at how much we have changed, and how much we really enjoy teaching him and sharing with him. He is very receptive and listens. Most recently we emphasized the importance of scriptures. He is on track for his date in October, we have yet to tackle the problem of church attendance for him since he goes home to Shen Zhen in mainland every night. But we'll figure it out.

We had a huge blessing this week on Tuesday, which really set the tone for the rest of the week. I was feeling a little bit stressed on Tuesday because we have been so busy the past two weeks with office and mission things that we haven't been able to focus on the area and our investigators, so I was feeling a little bit like we weren't doing enough to magnify our calling to teach. And then this random mainland women came into the office from Henan and said she had a friend that she wanted us to teach. Of course we consented (somewhat hesitantly because of all the work we had to do) and went to teach her. As we began to teach her we learned that she is from Guangdong , so cantonese speaking, and lives in our area! And she was amazing, so many great questions and real interest in learning more! I couldn't believe how much of a miracle it was! I also couldn't believe that we were so hesitant to teach, and had such a limited perspective. It was a good lesson to me again to step back, and remember really why we are here. I am so grateful for that blessing, as undeserving as I am of it. He really does watch over us, and sends his children to those prepared to teach. I felt so grateful and happy that day, and was exactly what I needed personally to spiritually prepare for Zone Conference and everything. He knows what we need! Her name is Yip jm, and we should be seeing her again soon!

I pondered a lot about the Savior this last week, as everything we studied and heard really focused around him, who he was, and what he did for us. I am reminded of the words in the hymn we cannot even begin to imagine, or even understand the agony of Jesus Christ in those Atoning hours.

 - We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.

We cannot even begin to imagine, or even understand the agony of Jesus Christ in those Atoning hours. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the reality of the Atonement. Yet I know that it happened, and that it was for us, and I have felt it in my life. I am inexpressibly grateful that he went through it for us, and overcame the world, so that we don't ever have to go through anything alone. I love the verse in 1 Nephi 21:15-16 "For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee... Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.." The Lord kept the scars on his hands though he already was resurrected not just to prove to all that he truly overcame death, but to also remind us that he will never ever forget anyone of us. The enormity of the atonement is also very very individual, he has graven each and every person's life experience upon his palms, that is why he is able to rejoice with us, as well as mourn with us in sorrows, and truly carry us home. I love the Savior. I thought a lot about why people lose the faith, the desire to continue to endure, the passion of the gospel, and it starts at their faith in Christ. They forget the Savior Jesus Christ and all that he has done. Though he will never ever forget a single soul, people forget him all the time, let the Atonement and his crucifixion become something rote and common place, close their hearts to him, then eventually they forget the Savior and excuses soon follow. It is amazing to see the investigators that have true faith in Jesus Christ, they have everything, all the commitments soon follow, and they convert to him. But those who never develop faith in the Savior and His Atonement have nothing. They may change behavior temporarily, but true conversion eludes them, and they have nothing. I hope to help all the investigators and less actives understand what the Savior really does mean to them, and to help them feel it, for the first time. I love what James E. Faust said in his talk on the Atonement: “Let me not forget, O Savior, Thou didst bleed and die for me.” I wonder how many drops were  shed for me."
I thought about this question this weekend as well, how many drops were for me? How much did I add to the suffering of the Savior? I am so grateful for the Savior, I hope I will always remember the amazing gift of repentance, that helps me progress, and allows me to obtain mercy from the Father. It's impossible to talk about the Atonement enough, and it is hard to express my thoughts and feelings about it in words. But I know it did happen, it was for all of us, and I know he loves all of us.

I am so grateful to be on a mission representing Jesus Christ, it has been the best blessing of my life so far, I look forward to see what this week has in store, especially now that we have some more time to focus on the work!

Love you all!

Elder Woolley