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, December 28, 2016

Merry Christmas! 聖誕節快樂! - week 72


Merry Christmas everybody!! I had a great Christmas this year, the best one of the mission! Had a great time talking to the fam on skype too, so fun speaking Chinese with Mom! 

The Christmas was really awesome, the branch members were so loving to us, they fed us a bunch of meals, gave us little gifts, I felt so loved! I love the Victoria 3rd branch so much, it's amazing to see how far it has come since I first served here a year ago. Really amazing. The branch has just opened up and we have had so many great people join the church and build the branch! We all went caroling in Tsim Sha Tsui as a district and it was awesome, there are tons of people from mainland in town this weekend for the big shopping sales, and they were all stopping to listen and take pictures and sing with us. It was so fun, the mainland people are so ready for the gospel! It was really fun, there were literally hundreds of people stopping and listening and taking pictures, it was great to spread the Christmas cheer!

Chen Guo Wu was confirmed on Sunday, and it went well. He is so happy to be a member of the church, he is always talking about how much he loves the commandments, he has been a good example of someone whose weakness has turned into his strength. He always wants to tell everyone about how great the commandments are because they have helped turn his life around. He really wants to take us on a tour in Xinjiang, where he is from. Everyone should google Xinjiang, it's a beautiful place!

I have loved seeing all the converts from this year grow and help build up the branch. It has been a blessing to be back in Vic 3 and see more and more of the fruits of our labor. I am so proud of all the converts, they are such great, passionate, and powerful members! The work continues to go well, though it's starting to reach the slower months of January/February where all the mainlanders are returning home for the new year and other holidays, but we continue to get great potentials every week, and I'm excited to keep working with them.
Elder Sy and I had another opportunity to serve this week, a recent convert asked for a priesthood blessing, she has been struggling a lot lately with some difficult circumstances from a divorce process, and it just made me feel so sad for her when we were talking with her. The Spirit really guided Elder Sy and I as we shared a few scriptures, and then gave her a blessing. Giving blessings is always a testimony strengthener for me, it is such a tangible feeling of God taking over and blessing His children through us.

This last week leading up to Christmas I was thinking a lot about Jesus and His disciples. It is so amazing to me that Christ walked by them, invited them to follow him, promised a blessing, and they immediately dropped everything, and followed him. They recognized the call of the Master, Jesus Christ. Though they didn't know him, and probably hadn't heard much of Him, or recognize him, these average fisherman heeded his invitation, dropped everything that was their life and followed him. And it is even more amazing to see those Apostles receive the promised blessing, "to become fishers of men" (Mark 1:17), where they had started as nothing but fisherman, and through following Christ, they became. They shaped history, founded Christ's church, performed miracles, and were powerful preachers of the gospel! It's been amazing to teach people of all backgrounds, from window cleaners and construction workers, to the owner of an investment banking company, and see them all heed to the Lord's invitation, and receive the blessing to become. To change into more than they could ever become on their own, to really become disciples of God. I am so grateful for the gift of the Savior, born two thousand years ago so that we could all overcome our sins, our weakness, and become more. I am grateful to be in Hong Kong and help everyone to get to know the Savior!

Merry Christmas, love you all!

Elder Woolley


Game Day - bring it!

Elder James performing the Grinch

Elders Woolley and Mangrobang

Christmas morning breakfast - Elder Cornilles and Elder Woolley
woke up early to make breafast for everyone

Christmas morning secret santa gifts

Lunch at the Liang's house

My first area - Sha Tin

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blessed to be serving - week 71

We had a fantastic week this week! We were so blessed!
Kowloon continues to be an awesome and flourishing area, Elder Sy and I are blessed to be serving here. I can feel the Lord pushing his work forward in the area as we prepare for some big changes in the future!

Chen Guo Wu got baptized this Sunday!! We were a little worried because we hadn't been able to meet with him the week before, but we decided to have faith and not doubt him, and when we met with him, he was so prepared! His baptism went smoothly, and his testimony was simple yet powerful. He is an amazing man. He has had a really crazy and hard life, lots of tragedies and difficult situations, and it has been amazing to seem him really change so much since I first met him almost a year ago. I am seriously so blessed! I started teaching him with Elder Grayam last January, when I left for Shum Shui Po he went back to mainland, and when I came back to Kowloon Mandarin we were able to help him make the last couple steps. It has been amazing seeing him grow! We found him through a 10 year old record we found in an old area book and decided to give him a call. The fact that we found the record and that his phone number was still the same was a miracle! And us calling him formed the base of his testimony; that throughout all the things that had happened in his life for those 10 years without missionary contact, God had not forgotten him. He really felt that God truly is his Father in Heaven, and that Jesus Christ is his Savior. And so he changed, from the bitter, angry, and sad man that I met a year ago, to the smiling, emotional, filled with light man that we baptized this Sunday! It reminds me a lot of the verses in DC 50:24 - "That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day." He has really come out of a dark place, and the gospel has filled him with light. I love how the gospel fills us with light, it's an inexplicable feeling, but it is real. I look forward to his confirmation on Christmas!

The Light the World campaign is going well in the mission too, everyone is just getting out and serving. We have been blessed with lots of service opportunities this week, which are pretty rare in Hong Kong for some reason. But we got to help some people move stuff to a bunch of members houses! Got some good referrals out of it too. We're always blessed when we do service.

I am enjoying the Christmas season of course, it has been great showing everyone messages about the birth of Christ, there's nothing quite like the special Christmas Spirit, it has touched many of our investigators members hearts. I love hearing Chen Dx share his story with the branch, it is amazing that no matter how far we wander, or how long we are away from the light, for 5, 10, 20 years or even a lifetime, God will never ever forget us, and has sent His Son for every single one of us. I love the last verse of the Hymn O little Town of Bethlehem :

"How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is giv'n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav'n.
No ear may hear his coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in."

The Savior entered the world so humbly not a soul noticed save a few. He enters our hearts in the same way, nothing flashy or extreme, but with the still small voice of the Spirit. I hope in this Christmas season and for the rest of my life, I can always have room in my inn for Christ to enter. It has been amazing to see people open their hearts to him and see the changes he has brought about. I am excited to keep serving the Lord for these last 6 months of my mission, I trust he has lots of work left for me to do!
Can't wait to talk to my family :-)

Have a Merry Christmas! 聖誕節快樂!

Elder Woolley


P-day Hike

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Miracles - week 70

Good Morning Everyone!!

This week was a week of miracles! The work is going so well in Kowloon, I feel really, really blessed.

This week we had our branch Christmas party and it was a huge success.  About half the people there were all investigator families, it was awesome! The best part was the surprise appearance of Santa Claus, played by our recent convert Guo Dx aka Boris. He supplied a pretty hilarious hoho merry christmas in his thick northern chinese accent influenced english, but the kids and investigators loved it!

Children's Nativity
Santa and the kids

Taishan investigator and his daughter
English class student
Elder Sy and I are working our butts off, especially since this is his last month :( This is the most busy my mission has ever been, Elder Sy and I are just running all over Kowloon preaching and teaching and taking care of all sorts of office stuff and trainings, it's a hard balance but somehow we are doing it! I have really seen the Lord blessing us a lot, and sending his prepared people our way, I am glad he is trusting us enough to send these great people for us to work with. They are just popping up out of nowhere! We started teaching a bunch of new people this week and I'm excited for all of them, many of them are families which is the best! I met one of my first investigators ever from Taishan, which is where my Grandparents are originally from in Guangdong. He was pretty hyped that my family is from there, and we'll be teaching his family, plus a few of his friends families this week. It's amazing! I'm not sure how we'll balance it all but I trust the Lord will help provide a way. The branch is also progressing, it's amazing to see how young in the church so many of the members are, and watching them grow in the gospel and in service in the branch. There was a young women baptized into the branch on Sunday and it was a great service! Her testimony was powerful, I was so impressed with her gratitude and conviction, you could feel that when she said I know and I believe that she truly knows, believes, and is grateful. I love this area and branch, it is the best!

Our investigator Chen Guo Wu is doing well, we are teaching him and preparing him for his baptism which will either be this Sunday or next Sunday, we are so excited for him! He is a good, humble man, I've talked about him a million times but he is just amazing, and I can't wait for him to be baptized and really begin his journey on the road of discipleship.

One of our other investigators is in the middle of having one of the biggest changes of anyone that I have ever seen! I talked about him a few weeks ago, he was the one who we talked to about peace etc.. Everytime we met with him he would normally talk about Trump or Oprah or other random things, but he had started to progress little by little after that lesson, and now all of a sudden he is really making big changes! He called us the other night and said he had a strong desire to just quit smoking and drinking and had a big desire to get to know God! I was pretty amazed, we had never shared anything about drinking etc with him before. He had finally humbled himself enough that his heart and mind were opened and he was really thirsting to learn and get to know his Father in heaven and his Savior Jesus Christ. We had a great lesson with him and have set a date for him to be baptized in January! He is on the right path and if he keeps going in this direction his is going to be great!

I have been reflecting a lot about the Savior, His birth, His life and ministry, and what he really means to me and my life. It is amazing, and almost difficult to fully grasp that the Savior of the world, the Son of God was born 2000 years ago in a manger, the most humble of circumstances. " “No room in the inn” was not a singular expression of rejection - just the first. Yet He invites you and me to host Him. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Monson). Throughout his life and in the world today the Savior faces constant rejection and ridicule, as well as the rejection of those times when we simply forget about him and let him not enter in our hearts. The first commandment is to love him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. I am so grateful that the mission has really helped me understand what it means in the sacrament to always remember him, to let him enter into my heart and every aspect of my life, and to love him. And it's because I am privileged to be in His service! Elder Bednar listed 4 steps of how we can come to know the Lord so that he would never say to us "ye never knew me." 

1.Exercise faith in him. 
2.Follow him. 
3.Serve Him. 
4. Believe Him. 

I liked how he talked about the difference between believing in him, and believing him. Before my mission, I really believed in him, I believed that he is the living Savior, and that this is his church, and I believed in it all. But believing him is knowing on the personal, individual level, that he is your savior, my savior, and each individual persons Savior, on a grand and personal scale. That is something that the mission has blessed me with, and something I felt as I pondered about His birth and life. I have really seen the personal ministry of the Savior with me, and through me in the lives of others as I have gone about serving in his vineyard. It is true that we don't serve alone, that he labors with us in his vineyard. I love Him and love being His missionary, and I hope I can continue to come to know him for the rest of my life as a disciple of Christ.

I look forward to these next few weeks, we have lots of baptisms coming up in the branch and I can't wait to talk to my family! Love you all!

Elder Woolley


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas time in Hong Kong - week 69


Sorry it is so late, we had some things come up in the middle of our last emails and had to make a quick couple car drive trips over to the ferry terminal and it took longer than planned. So I will be brief!

We had a good week in Kowloon, there were a few struggles this week with scheduling and some cancels, but things have been going too smoothly for awhile so it was almost expected. It was a good reminder to not ever take anything for granted. But the most important things are still progressing, that being the testimony and faith of our investigators!

Unfortunately, one of our good baptismal dates is looking a little bit less solid now, but I'm trying to doubt my doubts before I doubt the dates! Our most solid date is still Chen Guo Wu, he is progressing quite well. He has such an amazing story, and looking back on all the many times I have met with him, he has taught me just about as much as I have taught him. I am amazed by his humility, and his complete trust in God. Though his gospel understanding is of course still very basic and fundamental, he is a lot like Nephi as the angle asks him, 'knowest thou the condescension of God' to which he responds, Í know that he loveth his children, nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things.' Chen dx truly knows that God loves all His children, he has a very powerful testimony of that, and it drives him in all the things that he does. It's been amazing to see him commit to something, though he may not fully understand, because of his faith in a loving God and Savior. He should be able to make his December 18th goal! We are working hard and praying hard for our other investigators with dates, they are all so close! There are a lot of good potential baptismal dates as well for the future! A lot of our investigators are progressing towards getting baptismal dates which is exciting, the Spirit has been helping us teach them well!

We had a really great teaching experience this week, one of our investigators has absolutely no religious background and has trouble understanding most things. He is a humble man from Fujian who is a winder cleaner here in Hong Kong. Elder Sy and I were praying really hard throughout the lesson trying to figure out how to teach him according to his needs and ability to understand, and the Spirit was just filling our minds with tons of great analogies to use while teaching him based off of all the things he had shared with us while chatting. It was great! We related Christ to a window cleaner, us to the windows, he really liked that and was intrigued with how he could 'wipe' himself clean. We compared developing testimony to the developing of the province Fujian which he had talked about before. It was a really great experience, we basically used everything he had ever shared with us as an analogy as we taught him, just as the Savior did, and it worked so well! I had never seen him pick up things so fast and understand them. The Savior's way is always the best way, I felt I really got to appreciate a little more His great teachings and parables.

I love the Light the World movement. What a great Spirit and motivation to serve and find more opportunities to serve and really try to make the world a lighter place this Christmas season. This last week we had the opportunity to go with our branch president, President Zhou to go and visit a young women and her mother. The daughter is very young, 12 years old, and was diagnosed with leukimia recently. It has been very hard for her mother and her, she was just let out of the hospital briefly last week. We went over with the President to meet with her and give a blessing to her and her mother. When I went into the house, I found myself very quite. Uncharacteristically so. I didn't know what to say to her or to her mother. She was so little and just sitting there and struggling to eat, and the mother looked so faithful, yet so tired and worn. I didn't know what I could possibly say or do to help them feel some light. We did what little service we could around the house, chatted briefly, then gathered around her in a chair as brethren in the priesthood. We laid our hands upon her head and gave her a blessing. I felt the power in the room, and I felt the love of God for this little sick daughter of His. He really loves us. I wish everyone could feel that love. It is so real, so tangible, and so personal. After we closed this blessing we turned and gave the mother a blessing of comfort. Again the Spirit filled the room, I don't remember the words I heard, I doubt the child does either, but I will remember the feeling of the love that enveloped the room. I could feel him loving the girl and lifting her spirits and pains, and could feel him lifting and encouraging the mother to keep pressing forward. It is true what is said in the Doctrine and Covenants- "where two or three are gathered together in my name, … behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you” (D&C 6:32). We were gathered in His name, doing His work, and I certainly felt Him in our midst. I don't think I said more than 10 words in her house, but I know that what we did in His name was the greater service than any words, the Spirit they felt more important than any gift we could have given. I am grateful to be in His service, and hope that we will be continually blessed with more opportunities the help bring light to the lives of those we work with and encounter every day. Christmas is such a wonderful time to serve, though we should really be always serving as though it is Christmas. I love sharing about Christ, his life and his birth, they mean so much to me and I couldn't share about it enough!

Love you all!

Elder Woolley
Found a tree in our apartment, blessings of living in the temple apartment

Lai Dx, our window cleaner investigator


More Christmas!

Dim Sum with some Popo and Goong Goong friends