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, January 23, 2017

Entering the gates of baptism! - week 76


What an amazing week! This was one of the greatest weeks of my mission! We have really been blessed recently!

This week we had 3 great baptisms from mainland. One of them was an 8 year old girl, who's parents are non-members, but who has been faithfully attending church with her grandmother. She was really cute, and had great faith! The best part was that a huge part of the branch came down to support her baptism! I really love that branch, they are one of my favorite of the mainland branches, they are very faithful, come to support every baptism, and are at the temple often. They are the same branch that came down a few months ago for some baptisms. It was great to see them again, and even better was to see all 4 of the people who's baptisms I have been blessed to be involved in for that branch over the past 6 months or so. They are all doing great! The retention is amazing, they all attend the temple, they all come down to support people making those covenants that are so precious to them. There is something about those pioneers and faithful members in an oppressive society that we long time members just don't have. It is humbling to see them always treasure and act upon those principles and teachings that we have long since grown accustomed to and maybe forgotten. We sang the song I Know My Redeemer Lives as we waited for the girl to change clothes after her baptism, and wow I really felt the spirit and commitment from those members, they really do know! And all the recent converts that I have seen baptized came down, and are doing great! It makes me so happy to see them!
Amazing branch attending 8 yr old's baptism!

Then, the very next morning, we helped baptize a 92 year old women, which was quite the process. I did her baptismal interview, with some help from her daughter to translate, she only spoke some random dialect, which was similar-ish to Cantonese, but pretty hard to understand. She was quite hilarious in the interview, really cute, and she always said, of course I believe! I was amazed by her faith and desire, as well as her example, she grew up extremely poor, and was never educated, she can't read or write, and worked hard labor her whole life to provide for her children. She feels the Spirit from pictures of Christ, and knows that God watches after her and has blessed her family. The baptism was a process because she is wheelchair bound, and she didn't enjoy the water too much, but she happily bore her testimony afterwords! It was suprising how similar the 8 year old and 92 year old's testimonies were. Simple, but with conviction. I was really touched by these two baptisms, two people on completely opposite sides of the spectrum of life, one 8 year old girl, and one 92 year old women. But they are the exact same in God's eyes, and have the exact same potential and opportunity to receive the eternal blessings from God as they both entered the gate of baptism. It is amazing to see God preparing and giving opportunities to everyone to learn of Him.
Mainland branch members and the cutest PoPo getting baptized

PoPo ready to enter the waters of baptism

We went to the temple on Tuesday as well, which is always a pleasure. There is always so much clarity, peace of mind, and perspective gained in the temple. I had some promptings to work harder, not be idle or complacent, and to remember my missionary purpose! Good reminders, especially for this last quarter of the mission!
District temple day!

Elders Stratford and Woolley at the temple

Finally we had an amazing lesson on Saturday! There is a member in our branch Max, who is a recent convert of a few years, who's wife Livia is not yet a member. She attends church every week, believes in it all, yet has struggled to commit to being baptized. We brought them over to President and Sister Lam's apartment and taught a lesson with them, and it was absolutely amazing. President Lam is incredibly good at discerning the needs. After we invited her she brought up a few needs, and he began to share experiences and scriptures, and she kept saying, that's exactly my concern! And then he would resolve it. Amazing. Somehow, in the course of the lesson, she went from, I can't commit, to ok I guess I can set a date, to I want to tell everyone about the date we just set, they will all be so happy! It was amazing. She and Max were so happy and grateful after the date was set, and I caught a glimpse of their eternal potential, to be sealed together with their children in the temple. I am so happy and excited for her and their family, I have no doubt that she will make her baptismal goal! I learned a lot from President Lam in that lesson. He is an extremely loving, encouraging, bold, and spiritual teacher. I hope I can teach that well sometime in my life.

One of her concerns is something that I think all of us can relate to in some way or another, which is the feeling of not being good enough, which discourages us from committing to things, and causes us to hesitate and to doubt. I love what President Lam told her when she said, I don't think I am good enough to hold to what baptism is. He said none of us are. And on our own, none of us can do what He asks us to do. But we are not alone, and are never alone. God always qualifies whom he calls, and never calls us to do something we cannot do, because he knows and loves us. So He will always help and qualify us, as long as we trust Him and act on at least a particle of faith.

Something else I love that President Lam shared, he had a friend ask him how he could commit to sell his medical practice and retire to go serve full time for three years as a Mission President, and President Lam said, "I didn't make that commitment a year and a half ago when I was called, I made that commitment 21 years ago the day I was baptized."
God has qualified him ever since then to do all that he has been called to do.

I know that that is true because I see the same in myself, the times when I feel I am not good enough or have not done enough, I remember my identity as a child of God, and know that as I continue to act in faith, He qualifies me and magnifies my efforts. I am also committed to serving with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, and know that Christ's grace makes up all the difference, so we don't have to feel like we are not good enough! We are always worthy of being saved by the Shepherd simply because we are all His sheep!

I love the mission, and know that it is His. Thank you all for the love!

Elder Woolley


Mother and Daughter baptsim

Elder Cornilles getting wrecked by Peter, the Wing Chun master
Us and Li Jiu, the happiest humblest man ever

Jason dying from the hottest level noodle soup

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Goodbye Elder Sy - week 75


We had a crazy week last week, I'm pretty sure I gained like 20lbs with all the chengouts from members and investigators, it was ridiculous. I really felt the love from the members and investigators, it was a great opportunity to keep getting to know all of them for Elder Sy's last week. It was sad to say bye to him, he is one of my best friends in the field, and is really an excellent missionary. Very humble and faithful, he influenced me a lot in our time together! It was really good to meet with so many members and investigators as well as formers. Everyone is doing well and slowly progressing, every Sunday I am always so proud of Vic 3, so happy that I have been able to be in this awesome branch. There is so much work to do and so many service opportunities here! They have come a long way, and I am so proud of all the members! The work is really progressing miraculously well, we have so many potentials and people to work with, we just really need to slow down and organize, and then keep cranking out the work! Elder Stratford is also a fantastic missionary, very Christlike, humble, and has great integrity. I have been really blessed with great companions. I like listening to him share about what he learns in studies, he shares with excitement and I am always reminded of things I need to study/work on.

One of our new investigators, Patrick, is really coming along. He had a very interesting comment the other day about why he believes in the concept of a soul. He is a musician so it's fun to talk to him about music, he says when he plays really good music, it touches him in a hard to describe way, and seems to communicate with him. Even though it is not something that the body physically needs, it still is 'nourishing' to him. Interesting. I also really know that the song of the righteous is a prayer, and that music is a great way to feel the Spirit. I am always touched by great and beautiful music, it is a wonderful and inspired art. Patrick is a great investigator, he asks many good and deep questions about the purpose of life, and it's great to see the the gospel fill those holes in his understanding of life, expand his perspective a little, and lift his Spirits. The Plan of Redemption really is great knowledge.

This week I met an amazing family from *** China! (I'm not allowed to speicifically say which province) They are the coolest people. The mother went on a business trip to Korea, met the missionaries, and was baptized in one day there before coming back home. After a short time, she flew her son to Beijing to be baptized there (which is allowed because they are direct family) and then he went on to serve a mission. He just returned and the whole family flew down to baptize his aunts. They are the only members in their area, and are real pioneers! They are starting their own group, it's just amazing to see the faith and sacrifice. I had an interview with one of the aunts, and I was blown away by her faith in Christ, and desire to bring the Gospel to her family. It was simply amazing, and a blessing to witness and be part of the first members there. It is also really amazing to see how God prepares His children, and how He really is in charge of the work.I really can't say enough good things about them, I learned so much, and was really moved by their simple faith and desire. I know they have been prepared by the hand of God to found the church in their area. It is an amazing work to be part of, and it really my perspective as well to see all the work and miracles that are part of establishing the church.

I have thought a lot about sacrifice this week, I was reading in the Bible, and thought of how Peter and the apostles fell asleep as Christ was not far away, suffering and completing the most glorious, yet most difficult event in history. He said to them, "What, could ye not watch with me one hour?" They couldn't sacrifice that one hour of sleep, just to watch with the Lord? Sometimes I think there are lots of similar small sacrifices that we are asked to make as we strive to follow the Savior that we find difficult to make. But can we not just watch with the Lord, and participate in the great work of spreading the message of his atonement for the one hour that is this mission, or the short time we have on Earth? I really respect and admire the Pioneers for their faithful and willing sacrifice, I am always moved by them, as well as all the modern day pioneers I have been blessed to meet from China. I am grateful for the Savior's sacrifice, and hope that I can continue to sacrifice more for Him and for the work. I have always found that anything that seems to be a sacrifice at the moment, is always really a privilege to pay in retrospect.

Love you all!

Elder Woolley
Restaurant on an overpass with CHen Guo Wu!

Me with Shirley! Our investigators little girl, so 可愛!

Dinner with the great YSA men! (also Alan was in town from Cornell)

The family from China! 
dessert with winnie!
Beautiful Kowloon Tong!

Moving an apartment in Chai Wan

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lining up transfers - week 74

Hello everybody!

What a great week! It was truly an exhausting week, we just finished our second transfer week in a row, and it should be the last time like that because all of the different language groups coming here are lining up onto the 6 week track which is such a blessing! Multiple transfer weeks gets pretty tiring. But I really enjoy picking up the new missionaries, I love seeing the enthusiasm to get out there and do the work. There is much less skill of course, but so much desire and passion, older missionaries always have a lot to learn from the new missionary fire. I'm excited to see how they all grow and progress in the field. We were doing some teaching activities with them, and I couldn't help but wonder if I was just like that too when I got here. It's hard to see how far you have come in language, teaching skill, knowledge, and testimony until there is a direct comparison. It has also been a blessing to see new missionaries which helps us know and appreciate how much we have grown.

The two weeks following Chen Guo Wu's baptism were both transfer weeks, our area did take a little hit in terms of attention and care which led to a little bit of a disorganized proselyting weeks, but everything somehow continues to go well and develop! We are very blessed. I really love Vic 3 and all the members, they are the best! I am so proud of them and happy every Sunday, the branch has seriously come so far since last year! Serving with Elder Sy and Elder Stratford continues to be awesome! They are excellent missionaries, some of the very best quality Elders. Elder Sy goes home this week to Cebu, I will miss him a ton! I have learned a lot from him on my mission, a lot about humility, charity, and faith. We have a ridiculous number of meal appointments this week too, so I'll have to be extra diligent in my exercise haha. 

We met an awesome former investigator this week named Patrick, and he was asking us all sorts of deep questions about the meaning of life, the monotony of his life was really starting to wear on him, and he was wondering what's the point? Perfect question! I think that question crosses everyone's mind at some point, but everyone here seems to push it out of their mind and focus on work and money, but he was really looking. He told us his heart is really open to learning and he is really interested in hearing more. We are so blessed as church members to know what the Plan of Salvation is! It's just as Uchtdorf said last conference, I think we forget how special and amazing the plan truly is, I am blessed to see the  truths of the plan open people's minds and hearts to possibilities they had never imagined could be true! And the best part is that it really is true. I am excited to see where he goes this transfer!

I was feeling pretty scattered this weekend leading up to fast sunday and was pretty worn out from the week full of early starts and long days and was just not quite looking forward to the fast sunday. But as I sat down in sacrament I kept having the thought recurring in my mind about remembrance. That seems to be a recurring theme in my mission, the importance of remembrance. Remembering who we are, our most basic identity, remembering the blessings the Lord has given us and being grateful, remembering everything He has done for us, remembering the experiences and lessons we've learned, remembering the sacrifices our family has made for us, remembering to keep the commandments etcetc. In the scriptures time and time again, the people are quick to forget and slow to remember, when I read I am always amazed at how fast people seem to forget the Spirit and blessings they enjoy when they are righteous, and how slowly they are humbled and remember the Lord in times of trial or prosperity. But I realized I am the same way! I find myself getting that reminder all the time in one form or another, whether it be remember my blessings and be grateful, remember my duty, or remember my Savior. But this time I was reminded to remember my most basic responsibility and duty as a missionary. to invite others to come unto Christ and have faith in him. And I am grateful for the reminder! I pondered on how Christ, no matter how worn, tired, hungry, or persecuted he was, he always remembered to bring people unto him, minister unto them, heal them, one by one. I thought of when he was on the way to heal Jairus' daughter, and the woman with an issue of blood touched his robe. He could've left it at that as she was healed and continued on his way, I'm sure he was tired. But he stopped, ministered unto her, and finished the healing process of not only body, but Spirit as well. So I prayerfully organized myself, wrote down everyone we are working with or plan on working with as well as their needs, and pondered about how we can help them to come unto Christ and be healed.

I pondered on how we are all like the woman with an issue of blood, though are issues are much more diverse, and I am so grateful that we have the opportunity every week, to 'reach out and touch the Savior's robe' in faith by partaking of the sacrament. An important principle from the woman with the issue of blood is that she went before the Lord humbly, faithfully, "told him all the truth" as to why she touched his garment, and only then did Jesus complete her healing Spiritually and say "thy faith hath made thee whole." I have really come to love and value the sacrament, to prepare myself and try to be humble and faithful, and to honestly search myself and repent, and only then does the sacrament fully make "whole."

I love how the Savior can make anyone whole, can take anyone with any problem, and as long as they are humble, and faithful, they can reach to Christ and be healed! I have absolutely loved seeing people's lives come back together, and be made whole in Christ. It is an amazing process. I have loved feeling myself be filled at times with more love, patience, desire to serve, and hope then I would've thought possible! It is indescribable, but it does make people whole, even when they don't realize they need it. I love the Gospel, it is true, and Jesus Christ is our Savior!

We getting organized and ready to tackle this next transfer in Kowloon and I am so excited!


Elder Woolley


Dipal - a recent convert from Bangladesh
Elders Sy and Stratford

Hong Kong Skyline 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Elder Stratford - week 73

大家 it has been an awesome week!

First things first, we have a new companion moving in with us, Elder Stratford! Elder Sy and I are training him to be my next assistant companion for when Elder Sy leaves on the 14th. I am going to miss Elder Sy when he leaves, he is one of my best mission buddies! I am excited to work with Elder Stratford again! If you all remember, he was my MTC companion. He is an excellent missionary, it's really fun to work together again. I am blessed with great companions, I really do learn from them both each day. It has also been interesting to see the ways we have grown and changed since we were last companions. We teach really well together and have no problem balancing with three of us. If anything it has helped me focus even more on listening, and only speaking when the Spirit is really prompting me to.

They are also both really good at basketball too which is really fun, we had an investigator invite us to play basketball against him and his college buddies and we absolutely wrecked them. Afterwords they were willing to learn with us!

We had a great week, the mission really experienced a miraculous December, with a big push of faith, and action, we were able to baptize double the amount of people in December than in months past. Of course it's not about the number doubling, but it is about each individual who decided to take that step of faith, and start the journey of their lives. One of those baptisms of course was Chen Guo Wu, and to think that so many others were able to experience the same blessings as I've seen in him this week really touches me. It is a marvelous work and a wonder. It has been really fun to visit him, we always say the he has become the Buddha because every time we visit him he is just the peaceful jolly man, he is just so happy. I love it.

We had some miracles this week as well, we were visiting with one of our investigators Li Jiu in the tiny little shop that he works at, when his boss walk in and started chatting with us. Then she pulled out a Book of Mormon from her desk, and talked about how some missionary had given it to her awhile ago. She talked about how she has attended lots of other churches as well, but never really felt that the churches were fully right for her, that something was missing. Amazing! She also said her son has interest in our church too. It was amazing, the Lord really sends his prepared people to us, as long as we are prepared to receive them. We really have been blessed constantly by the Lord, we don't always have time to be out finding because of our duties here and lessons, but somehow we still manage to be meeting people every week! We had a couple of great potentials attend a Sham Shui Po activity as well, it was really fun to go to that and see those great members again, and to see the love and faith of members. I realized I really just love talking to everyone haha we had great time talking with the members, and really getting to know those investigators that came to the activity, it was a really good time for them. 

I have also noticed that Elder Stratford always goes out of his way to talk to everyone on the train, even if he is rejected or if no one nearby is convenient to talk to, and it has pushed me as well to always be talking to everyone all the time. It is great!

I feel very blessed this week with tender mercies from the Lord. Outside the temple I ran into my buddy Noel from Macau who just had gotten his endowment! Amazing! I'm so proud of him. And then that night, we ran into Liu Sai Ju, the first mainlander I ever taught and baptized in Hong Kong with Elder Sy a year and a half ago. It was her first time back since then and she was going to the temple. It was an emotional reunion for us all, she shared about how much she has been blessed, it was amazing to see her. She has really changed so much, when we first met she was fairly poor, very humble, and desiring the gospel so much. She looked great, full of light and testimony, and very blessed by the Lord. It was a tender mercy to see the fruits of her baptism, I was just so impressed and just so so grateful we got to run into her. I am so proud of her! She is doing so great! I hope to keep in touch with these people for my life. A large group of members came down from Sichuan as well, and they were just awesome. So passionate and excited about the work, and just sharing everything with us. Really generous and humble people. We witnessed a 3 generation baptism, a grandfather, his daughter, and her daughter. It was quite touching, and amazing to see the gospel influence the entire family. I love seeing the Gospel and the work progress, like I saw it truly is a marvelous work and a wonder, and such a blessing to be a tiny part in it.

I have been thinking a lot about the power of our examples and the way that we live our every day lives. I love 2 Corinthians 3:2-6 
2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 

I remember when I was in the MTC, President Nelson gave us all the challenge to become living epistles of Jesus Christ. In order to do so must have our testimonies written on our hearts, with conviction. We have an investigator who told us that the reason he first started wanting to believe, is because when he met with us, he really felt and saw that we believed and lived everything that we taught. I was really touched when he said that, and felt even more my responsibility to really do my best to represent Christ and to live and love what I teach, and to not become complacent. I am grateful for the gift of repentance, which can help us to always keep our testimonies in our hearts. 

I have much more that I want to talk about from this great week, but I am out of time, so it'll have to wait. Love you all, thank you for all the Merry Christmas emails and letters, I appreciate and feel the love!

Elder Woolley
All of us in the office 

My friend, Noel, from Macau went through the temple for the first time last week!

3 Generation baptism!

Sichaun snacks

The awesome members from Sichuan

Liu Sai Ju