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, 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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Temple Day - week 63

Helloo everyone!

Sorry it has been so long, our Pday got moved to today for temple day!! (10/27)

Last week was awesome! One of the greatest weeks of the mission. We had a mission tour with Elder Wong, and he is awesome, one of the best teachers I have ever seen! The tour was interrupted by typhoon Haima, but it only pushed everything back one day. I can't remember the last time I saw wind that strong, it was pretty fun! I was blessed to attend each day of the tour, and I learned so much from him! I felt quite inspired by a lot of the things he said and taught us, I can't wait to apply all of it and keep pushing the mission here in Hong Kong forward! 

One of my favorite things that he told us in a leadership training was about desire. He said that the most important thing that a leader can have is a desire to serve Jesus Christ. If we really have a desire, the qualifications come, he qualifies us to do whatever he calls us to. He shared a story about a couple that was really struggling on their mission and having medical issues as well, but because they truly desired to serve, they were qualified, and served successfully. I felt my own desire grow, and it continues to grow the longer I am here. I just want to serve him with all I've got for these last 8 months!

Elder Sy and I are having a great time serving together in Shum Shui Po, I really love the ward. They are a great ward, and are so loving to us missionaries! They feed us way too much haha. I have loved watching how well they have fellowshipped the less active members. We almost don't have to do anything, which is how it should be. Whenever they show up, the members (for the most part) welcome them back and take them in. I am especially impressed with how they have all come together to help Chen hd, who is currently suffering from some severe cancer in his gums. They are just all taking care of the family, it is wonderful to see.  I am also impressed with the Bishop. He is a good man.  The other week we had a bunch of members here from Mongolia visiting, it was almost impossible to communicate with them. One of them had recently had a stroke, and couldn't use his arm, he was asking for the help of a doctor with it, and our Bishop, who is a doctor, offered it all for free. So the next p day we took the Mongolian member over to our bishop's office. It was wonderful to see his act of service, and the Mongolian member was emotional after the visit. Our Bishop told him, you don't need to thank me, we are brothers. Even though he didn't understand what he said, I'm sure that he felt the love and charity from our Bishop. What a great example of christ-like love and service. We are all brothers and sisters, children of Heavenly Father, and the mission has been teaching me to always treat others that way.

We were teaching a lesson together this last week to a woman who stopped by from Beijing. She was asking lots of great questions about the church, Christ, baptism etc. Then she asked us why we believe, why we decided to go on a mission etc. Elder Sy began to share his own personal conversion, as he shared I pondered upon my own beginnings of testimony, and suddenly I saw and felt clearly who I was 2-3 years ago, and what Elder Sy was like as he was sharing his story. I saw the change that we have gone through, I felt moved to realize where I am now and who I am now. I really felt how amazing the Atonement and this gospel are, that it can take these high school and college boys and turn them into the Lord's missionaries, who have true testimonies, a strong understanding of the doctrine of Christ, and who truly love the Lord. I am ever so grateful for the blessings of this mission. I am trying my best to be the Lord's missionary, to do the work and to serve him. I desire to do so with all my heart, and I know that the work we do here is his. I also know that the Gospel can take any normal person's life and heart, and fill it to the brim with blessings and happiness that they have never before experienced, and can't understand until they have tried. God is always waiting for us to try.

I wish I could write more but I gotta run, love you all and thanks for the support and prayers! 

Elder Woolley


Weird snap chat filter?!

Ryan and his former trainer, Elder Sy
Lunch after temple day

Monday, October 17, 2016

Back with Elder Sy - week 62

Hello everybody!

It has been a crazy week, but lots of fun!  My time is short today, so I will have to be brief.  Elder Sy became my full time companion this week which is awesome! It's so fun to see how much we have grown and learned since the last time we were companions, it's great to see us just applying all that we learned to do our best together now! We are working together great already, I'm excited to keep working together until he leaves! It's pretty funny having us two mandarin missionaries now in a cantonese ward, it can be a struggle sometimes, but we have learned a lot!

Our investigators are really starting to progress it is great! Our investigator, Shuie, has started to pray every night.  I love the way she says it, she says I just talk with God, I tell Him everything that is going on, and I have really started to feel peace, like someone is actually listening! The amazing thing is that someone really is listening, and it is a loving Heavenly Father.  It's been great to see the slow change in her, she has been able to sleep at night, and care better for her daughter. 

We also went to dim sum with an investigator Luk jm, her daughter, and some of her friends. It was great.  The friends were asking us all sorts of questions, and at the end we didn't even have to ask - they asked us to share a message! I felt like I was with my own mom talking to her friends about how the gospel has blessed us, what it means to me, and what it can mean to them and their families. They are all quite interested in learning more, I love teaching families!

This week we had an excellent Zone Training! In the last portion we were invited to think about our names, Woolley (伍), and what they mean to us. I reflected a lot on both sides of my family, the Woolley side, and the Ng side. I am very appreciative to the Woolley side of strong faith and proud pioneer ancestry. I also am so grateful for how much closer I feel have gotten to the Ng side of the family while here in Hong Kong, a side of the family that I knew, but didn't fully understand or appreciate until I came out here and served. I pondered on the sacrifice, hard work, and examples of both sides of the family. We watched some clips from 17 miracles and I was again so amazed by the faith and perseverance of the pioneers. Their stories are amazing, I love the quote from one of them who said that in the extremity he got to know God, and he would not have done it any other way. Amazing. I was inspired to be a better missionary, stand taller, be better, and raise the bar to represent my family and all they have done for me! I am so grateful for them!

I also found Grandpa Woolley's talk at BYU, which I read this morning, it was really good! I could totally hear his voice in the talk. As I read what he said, I really saw that his talk was about some of the principles that he has really built his life and family on- "to work, to respect those with more experience, to make the best of situations without complaining, to obey, to sacrifice, to wait for what I want most instead of compromising for what I want now, to respect agency, to face accountability, and to value humor." I have seen this in my dad as well, and the way that our family was raised. I will quote his encouragements from the end of the talk : 

1. Build your life on a foundation of strong spiritual and academic principles.
2. Have faith in the experience of others and learn from their experiences and from your own experiences.
3. Seek all the information you can and assess its quality before you make a decision. Be cautious as you extrapolate or judge.
4. Trust in the future value of learning, both learning in breadth and in depth.
5. Remember those character traits of lasting value, including humility, civility, integrity, industry, rigor, and accountability.
Great advice, especially through a missionary lense.

After that, I pondered on the other name that we wear  and represent, the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. His name is one that is even harder to live up to than the Woolley/伍 name, and I am ever so grateful for his example, and his sacrifice. The best thing is that he will ever call and qualify us in our weakness, and build us to become more and more worthy to bear his name. I have been thinking about a quote I heard from Elder Bednar about missions  and missionaries, he said something like- the mission is good for every missionary that serves, but not every missionary that serves is good for the mission. It is a really true quote, I have thought a lot about how I need to continue to work hard to take it to the next level, from having let the mission be good for me, and to keep trying my best to be good for the mission. It's like in the Bible, when Jesus heals the sick man, and tells him to take up his bed and walk, and the man immediately trusts, rises, and walks. Sometimes we ask why don't miracles like this happen very much anymore? But I believe that Jesus lifts up anyone everyday who trust him, who is sincerely repenting and gaining testimony, and tells us all to take up our beds, and start walking. I really feel like on my mission, the Lord has picked me up a million times, let me really experience the Atonement, and told me to now pick up my bed, plant my feet firmly on His path, and walk! And once converted, once we have been lifted, we need to bring others to walk with us on the path!

A big focus of conference and in my own week last week was the plan of salvation. I thought a lot about families, taught some families, and again pondered on the priceless value of the Plan of Salvation. We are so blessed to know that these relationships we have formed and cultivated will last for the eternities. It is amazing to look at all the millions of people here in Hong Kong and everywhere who are all children of divinity, all with the same potential as myself to return to live with God and be like Him. The Plan gives a clarity of perspective that the world greatly needs. I am grateful to teach others about it!

Love and pray for you all!

Elder Woolley :-)



Sommy teaching me how to play the GuZhen!

Last day of companionship with Elder George


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Conference! - week 61

Hello everybody!

We had an awesome week here in Hong Kong! It was very spiritually filling.

It's been fun and a little crazy managing a sort of tripanionship here with me, Elder George, and Elder Sy, but we're making it work! It is really fun working with these two Elders, they are great guys. I have also been going on some exchanges with Elder Grayam on the days Elder Sy comes in for training and serving in mandarin work for Kowloon, which has been quite enjoyable. I love seeing how the people we worked so hard on before are still progressing and turning to the Savior. I don't know if any of you remember Chen Guo Wu, an older man with a hard past that I was teaching in my last area, but he is doing great! Happy to see that he has kicked drinking and smoking fully, and is progressing towards baptism! It warms my heart, and I feel blessed to see some of the beginning fruits of our labors. He is really changing and it's amazing!

One of our investigators, Luk jm (jm is short for jee muy, which means Sister) came to both Sunday sessions of conference and brought a friend with her too, it was great to see the ward really fellowship them two. They were touched by the talks, especially the ones that talked about children. They both have great interest in the gospel and bringing it into their families which is exciting to see. Whenever we teach them I feel their desire growing little by little, and it all starts at the desire.

General Conference was fantastic, such a refreshing and timely reminder of the basics of the gospel. I really loved the overall optimistic and encouraging themes of the talks, particularly President Nelson's on the joy of the gospel, and Eyring's on Gratitude. I feel as though recently in the mission as well as in the people that we are teaching, we are serving many people who are suffering from emotional issues. This last week, while I was on exchanges, I had a powerful spiritual experience I feel to share. As I was praying one night I had the specific image of one the missionaries here come into my mind, and had an impression to reach out to him, write him a letter, or something. As the day got busy I forgot about the impression and went about the work. During my study time this Elder's companion came in and said he didn't no what to do about his companion who was having an emotional breakdown. I knew that I had to reach out to him, so I got up from studies and went to go find the Elder. I found him on the floor in the bathroom stall, and asked if I could come in. I sat in there with him and was quiet for a few moments as I prayed to Heavenly Father asking him what I am supposed to do. I asked some questions and we started talking, he spoke of how he couldn't feel the Spirit, or God's love, or much of anything but depression like walls closing in on him. I couldn't personally connect with him, I don't know all of his background or experiences or why he suffers from these emotional problems, but as I looked at him and listened, I felt the Spirit so strongly. I felt God's love for him, and I knew God had sent me to tell him of this love because he was beyond feeling it at that point and had to hear it from someone else. I told Him of God's love for his children, of the Savior's understanding, his happiness in the work and sacrifice of his children, and of the peace and encouragement of the Savior, and of the hope and optimism that come from knowing that Jesus Christ has Atoned for us, walks with us, goes before us, is on our left and right, and sends his angels round about us. I don't remember too much of the details of what I said because I know the word's weren't fully mine. It is a privilege to be used by Heavenly Father to tell others of His love, and to have experiences where I get to truly feel what it means to be an emissary of Christ, to truly be the Lord's missionary. I was benefited just as much if not more than the missionary I chatted with in that smelly bathroom stall.

 One of the questions I had in my heart as I watched conference was why are there so many people suffering from these problems, and how can I help them?

Again I loved the optimism of this conference, the focus on the basics of real powerful prayer, the scriptures, feeling the clarity of the plan of salvation etc. 

This portion of Nelson's talk says it better than I ever could -
 "Saints can be happy under every circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year!  My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.

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!"

I have been feeling some direction recently like that is something I need to focus on and seek to do more - spread the joy of the gospel that is centered in Jesus Christ! Lift up others, help pull the investigators out of the ruts and sad lows of their lives, strive my best to help missionaries and members feel the joy of being a member of Christ's church, and getting to participate in the great work. I can definitely testify to what President Nelson said, especially from mission experiences, that real happiness, joy, comes not from our circumstances and what is happening or not happening, but from the focus, the center, the foundation of our lives and what we truly value. I love the gospel, and am so grateful for living prophets and apostles who give us continual and clear revelation for how to approach and deal with the trials of our times.

Thank you all for the support and love! 

Elder Woolley 胡長老

View of Hong Kong

Looking a little excited about office work today

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Motivation - week 60

HELLOOO 怎麽樣 fam!

What a faaast week!

It feels like I was just emailing you all like a day ago haha. I'm super excited for General Conference next week! It always seems to come at just the right time, when we need to be reminded and uplifted the most! I'll have to be brief today, I don't have much time this week!

Elder George and I are doing well, every week our area seems like it's on the verge of having some big things happen, and then things get delayed or pushed back and it keeps on building up in potential, but not as much on the results yet! We are giving it our work and love, I trust the Lord and I'm sure things will continue to improve. Our relationship with the ward is great, we have been visiting members like crazy and it is so enjoyable to meet so many amazing people, each with their own stories! The church is still relatively young in Hong Kong, it is great to hear so many conversion stories. It is really inspiring to be a part of. Another exciting thing is that Elder Sy is coming into the office with us! I'm really excited to work with him again. He was my trainer and is an excellent missionary! I am really looking forward to getting into the work with him, we have worked well together every time we had exchanges or anything, so it's gonna be great!

We have had some great lessons with Shuie (the woman from the phone call last week). It seems as if everything that leaves her mouth is perfect for a gospel principle to fix. Every time we meet and listen to her, I just feel so happy to have the thing that can help her understand all of her questions and problems. She has had a very difficult life, and is currently trying her best to find a way to run away, forget, or hid from all her problems, both past and present, and just start over new with her children. I taught her when I was on exchanges with Elder Sargent (my roomie Elder Curtis's cousin) and it was a great lesson. We could really feel God's love and care for her. It hurt me to hear of how she really believes that God is real, but that He doesn't love or care for her, because she believes he has done nothing for her. I've met many people with this mind set, but it is especially hard when it comes from someone who has had a hard life. Again we bore testimony of His reality, His love, and His understanding, and she began to feel it, and realize it. I feel so blessed to have the perspective of His plan. Of course people will still have hard lives, of course it is unfair, bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people, but our perspective and understanding is limited. These things don't define our lives and existence. We shared a message of peace with her, as Christ said "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.The amazing peace and calm that comes with a firm belief in Christ, this doesn't mean immediate removal of problems, or an ignorant forgetting of problems, but instead being at peace with where we are, a desire to never weary of doing good works, a hope, and a trust in our Father in Heaven. I know the Gospel brings a peace to troubled lives that nothing else can bring, because it works from the inside out, not the outside in. Christ works on us in that way, peace he gives unto us, in our souls, and in our hearts, despite our fluctuating surroundings and circumstances, he gives us peace. We need not be troubled or afraid by anything, "look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not." 

I thought this week of motivations for serving, motivations and reasons for doing everything I do here as a missionary, and was again reminded of the highest motivation, serving because of a love for the Savior. I evaluated myself, my motivations, why I teach, serve, train, testify, find, and do all that I do, and am striving to align all of the thoughts and reasons that go through my head with the most basic and true reason, which is that I love my Savior Jesus Christ. He is why I am here, he is why I have been so blessed to serve Hong Kong and meet and love all the wonderful people here, and my love and gratitude of him is what drives me to help and share with all.

I love Hong Kong, and all my great friends and family!

Elder Woolley

Ran up Lion Rock this morning!