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, November 28, 2016

感恩節快樂! - week 68

Hello everybody 感恩節快樂!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! It is always one of my most favorite times of the year and this year was no exception. On Thursday, we had our Zone Thanksgiving celebration which was really nice and one of the few times we can just relax and enjoy everyone's company, it was very refreshing. Elder Sy and I were in charge of the stuffing and it was great! Or maybe it's been so long since I've had stuffing that I just think it was great and forgot what it's supposed to taste like haha. On Sunday, as a Thanksgiving gift to our branch and the members, we had a real American Thanksgiving FHE cooked by the missionaries and it was really fun and only slightly disastrous, only a few mistakes like using salt on accident instead of sugar in the apple pie, burning the pie, burning boiling noodles (didn't think that was possible) burning fingers etc. But the meal really did turn out great and everyone had a good time. I definitely learned to be grateful for my mom and all the hard work she puts into Thanksgiving meal!

The rest of this week was relatively normal, our investigators are all progressing along rather nicely, we have several preparing for baptism in December and January and are excited to watch them progress! Our buddy Chen Guo Wu is done with alcohol and cigarettes which is amazing! He is really changing, and has the most solid date for mid December. I can't wait!

We had Guo Dx, one of our recent converts who got baptized the week I left for Sham Shui Po, come to help teach him and I was amazed at his testimony and growth. He taught like a missionary! He shared great comments and thoughts without having to be asked, and even invited him at the end. I was blown away! It is especially good because 3 weeks ago we met with Guo dx and he was down and sad, something was really pressing down on him and it seemed like his light and normally happy demeanor were down. I was worried! We had a strong lesson with him and learned he wasn't doing the basic habits very much and that he had come upon some hard trials and big decisions in his life and he didn't know what to do. We emphasized the importance of the basic habits, and now three weeks later he is all smiles, all light, and bearing powerful testimony of Jesus Christ to our investigator. Amazing. Small and simple things, the basic steps make all the difference. They really do! We didn't even have to answer his question or tell him how to decide, he found it out for himself by feasting on the word and by communicating with His Father in heaven, who knows far more than we ever will. I am so proud of him! He told us that the whole day he really wanted to come teach the lesson with us and he felt pressed to come, and at the last minute his previous appointment cancelled and he was able to come and have a testimony strengthening experience! The Lord loves us and knows our needs, I know he will give every one of us testimony bearing opportunities if we are seeking it and if we desire to strengthen our conviction.

I already talked about this last week, but I just love Thanksgiving and the Holiday season, it is the best time of the year! I've been trying to take to heart the verse in Alma 37:37 -".. when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God.." and just praying and thanking for all the blessings I have been given, and for all the wonderful people I have been blessed to work with and know in my whole life and in my mission. It has made a difference every day to start off with my heart in the right place, thankful to God for all He has given me. I read an excellent talk called Living in Thanksgiving Daily by Joseph B. Wirthlin, and there are 3 ways he listed to help us be more grateful and more happy. 
1. Open your eyes- look for the good notice all the things around us to be grateful for. I love President Hinckley and his ever optimistic perspective and counsel - "My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we “accentuate the positive.” I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort."
2. Open your heart- Wirthlin gives this great counsel - "Pray with all your heart. Consider the love your Heavenly Father has for all His children. Open your hearts to His cleansing word. Feast on the words of holy writ. Cherish the messages of modern-day prophets and apostles. Forgive others who have offended you. Don’t waste another moment feeling self-pity. Every day drain from your heart the feelings of resentment, rage, and defeat that do nothing but discourage and destroy. Fill your heart with those things that ennoble, encourage, and inspire."
3. Open your arms - Go and serve others, work for them, be grateful and express gratitude for all who have ever opened their arms for you!

I am so grateful for the mission opportunity because it has forced my eyes open, to seek all small blessings in the greatest disasters, for having opened my heart, allowing me to really experience Christ's love for me and others, to understand the atonement, and for giving me an opportunity to open my arms to all the people of Hong Kong and China and do my best to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.

The three steps really connect well with the Church's Christmas Initiative, interesting how this year, unlike the last two, is not focused so much on teaching people about Christ, but in inspiring Christians to go out and serve, teaching others about Christ through their own examples. It is the best way of teaching. The video is inspiring and makes me want to get out and serve more! Each day of December has it's own little invitation and video, we are going to try and impliment it into the mission as well, you should all take a look! I love this season and hope everyone can love it a little more by serving as Jesus Christ served, to be lights in others lives, and lift them up as he has lifted us all up countless times. I love the Savior, and love Christmas where we can all think about him a little more.

Love you all!

Elder Woolley

as per request from my dad, more pics!

Missionary Thanksgiving

Wan Chai

Shueung Wan
Zhao JM (Sister Zhao)
Thanksgiving activity games
Scot and his little guy!

Branch Thanksgiving

Kitchen cleaning crew

Monday, November 21, 2016

Giving thanks - week 67


                   We had a really great week this week, very busy and very rewarding. It is great to be back in Mandarin work and be with Elder Sy! We both know how each others does the work, and have similar ways of working so the work has been going great! We have been working hard with our investigators and we are seeing some great progression. It is really good as well that we both have had good relationships with these investigators and members, so everything is going smoothly. It felt good this week to get everything passed off to the Sham Shui Po sisters and Kowloon West Elders, so I feel that we can really focus on our area and keep moving forward. We have also been trying our best to do the invitations as well, and the results are definitely there for us! I am so excited seeing the mission really stepping up and moving forward with boldness and faith, it is amazing to see everyone inviting others to come unto Christ and actually be baptized.

We have been able to extend a baptismal date every week so far which has been quite successful. I feel the Lord is more willing to send prepared people to missionaries who are more trusting in the Lord and his promises, who will have the faith to bring the people through the gate of baptism and set them on the path to return home to Him. There have been some investigators that have changed in ways that I never expected. Our investigator with the most solid date Chen Guo Wu is doing great! We were working on helping him quite drinking alcohol which was his last big obstacle before baptism, and this week he told us that he got some tooth ache and hasn't been able to drink for two weeks, and after those two weeks he no longer has any desire to drink at all! And whenever he even smells the smoke of cigarettes he is repulsed. It is pretty amazing how he has been blessed and given the strength to overcome these challenges in his conversion process. He has great faith, I don't think I have ever met such a trusting investigator, he really really knows that we are representatives of Jesus Christ, he trusts everything we say, and believes in all the blessings we promise him. He is starting to see the blessings in his own life. I felt the Spirit so strongly as he told us that he was finally done with alcohol, his last problem. I remember I had been working with him on these problems almost 6 months ago, and to see him now, it is amazing the change, not only in these behaviors, but in his very countenance. He smiles, laughs, feels the Spirit, and there is just so much more light to him than before. It is amazing, and is true repentance. The change is just night and day.

Our other investigators are all coming along well, we had a fantastic lesson on church in Sunday about temples, it was a powerful reminder to me of the power of those holy places. There was a member there with his none member wife and she was really touched by the lesson, especially by the members sharing their own testimonies of the eternal nature of families and the power of a temple sealing. 

I was reminded of a talk from general conference by Sister Oscarson, who tells the story of a woman who's son was being helicoptered to the critical care unit in Utah, "from the air, she looked out across the valley and could also see the Jordan River Temple, the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, and even the Salt Lake Temple in the distance. The thought came into her mind: “Do you believe it or not?” - I had learned about the blessings of the temple and [that] ‘families are forever’ in Primary and in Young Women. I shared the message on families to the good people of Mexico on my mission. I was sealed to my eternal companion for time and all eternity in the temple. I taught lessons about families as a Young Women leader, and I shared stories about forever families with my children in family home evening. I KNEW it, but did I BELIEVE it? My answer came as quickly as the question popped into my head: the Spirit confirmed to my heart and mind the answer I already knew—I DID believe it!  At that moment I poured out my heart in prayer to my Heavenly Father, thanking Him for the knowledge and belief I had that families truly are forever. I thanked Him for His Son, Jesus Christ, who made it all possible. I thanked Him for my son, and I let my Heavenly Father know if He needed to bring my little Ethan to His heavenly home, it was OK. I trusted in my Heavenly Father completely, and I knew I would see Ethan again. I was so grateful that in a crisis moment, I had the knowledge AND the belief that the gospel was true. I had peace.” 

I am grateful to have had such a strong reminder in that lesson of any own testimony of temples, the power of sealing, and that families truly are eternal. Listening to members share their own stories of being sealed, of loved ones passing away, of tragedy and struggle, but overall hearing the sure and tested knowledge and belief that the gospel is true, and that temples are the house of God strengthened my testimony so much. I really pondered again about those family members who I love who have passed on, and again received the wonderful spiritual enlightenment and confirmation that yes, I will see them again. We are sealed for eternity, the reality of this principle is amazing, and lifts the burden of grief off of millions of members and has lifted my perspective time and time again. I am very grateful for the Plan of Salvation and all it blesses us with.

I love this thanksgiving time, it always gets me thinking a little about what I am grateful for and a little bit less about myself which is always a good thing. I am really grateful that I learned a lot about the importance of the principle of having an attitude of gratitude. Having an attitude of gratitude has really shaped my missionary mindset, especially during the harder times. Trying to always being grateful has helped me recognize more blessings from the Lord and really brought me closer to Him when I really thought there was nothing to be grateful for in a day. That type of thought has changed my attitude on so many occasions, and has enabled me to learn much from the experiences I have been blessed with. I am so grateful for the mission, it has blessed my life so much, I can't begin to say how much the mission has helped me gain real testimony, and filled me. I am grateful for the Savior and his example, and all that he has done for me. Again it is hard to fully express my gratitude for him, for Joseph Smith, for the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for my family and parents, they are the best examples I was given in my life. I am grateful for President and Sister Lam, they have really helped me learn, repent, and grow, and given me so many opportunities and ways to serve the Lord in Hong Kong, I am very grateful! I am excited for the rest of this transfer with the mission and in our own area, I sense many miracles to come! I hope we can all be a little more grateful this time of year.

Thank you and Love you all!

Elder Woolley

Kevin :)
My man Chen Guo Wu

Huang family 

Ramen with Scott - he's a beast RC

Aberdeen with Scott - don't worry, we didn't go boating


One more of Aberdeen

When one door closes, another opens - week 66


Hello everyone I hope everybody had a good week!  We had a long and particularly exhausting week this week, but it has been rewarding.  We had a cool experience earlier this week, I had to help drive a fridge over to an apartment, but the landlord was not there to take it as we had planned, and our phone was dead so we had no way to contact her. We were waiting outside the apartment door when the neighbors arrived, I felt we should talk to them, so we asked if we could use their phone charger to charge the phone. They kindly let us in to their house to charge the phone. They were super nice ladies from mainland who are also members of a charity organization. We had a great chat with them and I just felt so grateful for kindness and genuine good people. We shared a little about the gospel with them, something they had never heard about, and it was a great time. I really enjoyed it. I love how Heavenly Father always gives us opportunities wherever we are if we are prepared to receive them. It happened quite literally in this situation, but when one door closes (or won't be opened) another door opens! We had a prayer with them and they left for mainland the next day. You never know what happens with the seeds you plant!

We also had another cool experience this week, a member from one of the wards was talking to me about one of the girls that we baptized here from mainland, she was converted by the missionary emails of one of her friends, who is serving in the same ward as one of my friends from BYU over in the states. It is amazing to see the many ways that the Lord does his work, like I said before we really really can never know how much good we do, and how much we can help the work. But occasionally we are blessed with glimpses of the fruits of our labors. Those are the most rewarding moments! The small and simple moments and blessings from Heavenly Father are really eye opening, and every once in awhile they bring in the Spirit so strongly and the gospel and the work and all that we do seem so clear! It is great to be in the Lord's service.

I am so grateful for the Sabbath day. I am not sure why but I was just exhausted this week, couldn't seem to catch up on all that we needed to do, and couldn't seem to get a hold on all the work we are doing right now in Vic 3 and in turning over Shum Shui Po, and I felt a little bit off. Needless to say I was really looking forward to the Sabbath day, the day of rest. But not physical rest and naps like before haha, but 'the rest of the Lord', as He beckons unto all of us saying - 

"28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . 
29.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 
30.For my yoke is easy , and my burden is light. " (Matthew 11:28-30)

I really felt the rest of the Lord this last Sabbath as I partook of the sacrament and strived to learn of him and take the yoke upon me, and just as it shows in verse 30, my burden, and all of our burdens become his burden, and his burden is light. I am grateful for the Sabbath day, where we can rest our souls in Him, transfer over our burdens to Him, and be recharged for the week! Elder Sy and I helped translate for some people for Sundays meeting and afterwords we talked about how wonderful it is to serve others in any way that we can, to be like Christ and think of others. I am grateful that the mission gives so many opportunities to serve and forget ourselves, we all need to.

I love the mission and the Savior Jesus Christ. He truly has provided rest to my soul on countless occasions, and I have seen him provide rest and peace to the souls of so many that I have been privileged to work with. 

Thank you all for the love and support, I pray for you all!

Elder Woolley

Working in the office :)

View from the apartment we helped open up this week

Some old friends from the Mainland - she got baptized a few months ago and brought her friend down

Our buddy Jason from back in the day

Wan Chai Chapel

Monday, November 7, 2016

Back to Mandarin - week 65

Hello everyone!!

It was a really crazy week of transfers.  It was really fun to see all the missionaries coming through here, pairing up with a new companion or trainer, and leave. I always love picking up the new missionaries, they have such great hope and excitement for the work! If only we all kept that energy for the whole two years, there would be much more success. Elder Sy and I had a great day of transfers, it was a particularly large transfer, easily the biggest one I have been involved in, and we ended up having to drive around some luggage and missionaries, and each of our destinations was on a different corner of Hong  Kong, from Tsuen Wan, to Causeway Bay, to Yuen Long, to Tseung Kwan O. It was a great time to see all of this beautiful place that we serve, and on the way home my heart was full of gratitude and love for the people and missionaries that we serve. It is a privilege to be here.

Elder Sy and I will continue to assist President Lam, but we have both moved back into covering Kowloon Mandarin! I have learned so much from Sham Shui Po ward, I am so grateful for the many wonderful experiences I had there, as well as for the challenges and humbling experiences. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn Cantonese, a special blessing to me and my family back home. I love them and will continue to keep a close eye on them and the investigators as they progress towards baptism!

My first Sunday back in the Mandarin branch was like de ja vu, it has changed a lot! It has only been 4-5 months, but the branch has grown, many La's have returned, young men serving missions, 3 investigators were baptized, new ones are coming, and the Spirit is in the meeting. It was a sweet reunion with members and recent converts. I love this branch! I can see the Lord preparing the future of mandarin work. Soon we will be opening new mandarin branches around Hong Kong! It is exciting to be working and laying the foundation for these new branches, they will start very very small, but I know the Lord is sending prepared people at this time for His work here. I can really really see his hand in the work in this branch, the changes and progress are amazing. The work is not slow!

I got to teach some old friends from before, one of which, Chen Guo Wu, is really progressing! Last I taught him he had just quit smoking, now he is working on drinking, and then he will be ready! He has great faith, and is very open to the Spirit. We had a powerful lesson with him, I really love the guy. I hope he makes his date in December. Our other investigator from before, Chen Hong Tu (the guy in the wheelchair) is also getting ready for his baptism in November 27th. We have really been putting our faith and heart into the work together and I know we are being blessed and used by him.  
Daniel (Chen Hong Tu)

We had a lesson the other night with a really energetic guy from Taiwan, he talks a ton and likes to go off on tangents about Donald Trump, HIllary Clinton, Schooling, and Oprah haha the lesson was pretty scattered, but all of a sudden it came to a head when he started talking about how unhappy it is to be in Hong Kong, the stress of the work schedule, the hours, competition, and how you can't be yourself at work, you have to be fake and cold to others. Then he said, I'm not even happy, I have so much money, but I'm not even happy, I don't even know who I am, I don't ever feel at peace. We shared the verse from John 14:27 -" 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"- and then we bore testimony of the peace of the gospel, something I have been feeling a lot lately. It was very quiet, then he looked at us and said - you really believe this. When he said that the Spirit came in to me so strongly, I do believe this! It is not just something we say just to say it or because we are told to say, it's something we love, live, and we really really believe! It is such a wonderful thing, to believe. It is so much easier, so much less work to just doubt and disbelieve, yet infinitely more rewarding and fulfilling to live a believing life. Believing has led me to work, to pray, to trust, to change, and to become. I wish everyone could believe a little more, believe in God, believe in the promises from him and his servants. Believing leads to so much good. It is a joy to believe.

I love Hong Kong, I am excited to be back in Vic 3, the Lord has a lot of work for the mandarin missionaries in these upcoming months!

Elder Woolley
Driving through Kwun Tong

The Wan Chai track - missing the glory days, lol!