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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday Temple Day - week 89

Hello all!

The island is a wonderful place! I really love serving here, it is a very busy place with tons of people, and it is a ton of fun! Elder Garcia is fun to serve with, he is growing a lot, his language is picking up which is fun to see, he is a good missionary with great potential. The Wan Chai branch is progressing well, it is very small, so there are lots of opportunities to serve, playing piano for hymns, teaching lessons, giving talks, blessing and passing sacrament etc. It is great to be able to do so much for them, I really love the members. The members all have a good attitude for the new branch, and Heavenly Father is sending his people our way! Just this Sunday, a guy and his gf from Shang Hai came into the church and loved it! After the meetings they asked us lots of questions, and have good desire to learn. They would make great additions to our branch! Our Branch president is a great man, very spiritual and has great love for the branch. He has been in it basically since the beginning of its founding, he knows many of the members and trusts us a lot. The branch is about to start growing like crazy! 

Last week was a great week! We had the opportunity to go to the temple on Thursday, which is always a great experience!
Temple Day!
I learned some new things this time around, as I do overtime. As always I am grateful for the peace, and raising of perspective that happens overtime I enter the Lords house and am taught by Him. I really love the temple! It is so nice to just go in and focus on the most important things. While I was in there and reading the scriptures I just felt a strong desire to have more faith in Jesus Christ and big desire to be learn more of Him, study who he is, and to increase my faith in Him. I was pondering about the many great missionaries in the Book of Mormon, like Alma, Amulek, Nephi etc and was wondering what the difference is between them, and us, and how they were able to do so much good for the Lord. And it seemed so clear one of the biggest differences (among many) is faith. They had unshakable, unwavering faith that drove them to sacrifice so much, and work so hard. And because of their faith, they were blessed with more faith! I love the words in Helaman to Alma 

"4 - Blessed are thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people.  And thou has not feared them, and hast not sougth thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.
5 - And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed..."

I can only work and hope that one day, he would say the same to me as I seek to increase my faith, belief, and serve Him.  I love President Monson's example of being on the Lord's errand, and as a result has become more and more like him throughout a lifetime of being in His service.  I am filled with desire to be the same!  In all my dealings with members, missionaries and myself, I think it is easy to see and feel those who have great faith.  They are always filled with light, uplift those around, and do much good.  I hope to always increase my faith, and help others to do likewise.  The world could do with may more people with a solid and dynamic faith.

Fun surprising miracle of the week, I just learned today from Elder Sargent that they baptized a little boy from our English class that we did together back when I was in Sham Shui Po ward, I remember talking about him back then and he was only 7 years old. Crazy it has been almost a year since then and he has been baptized! I remember we found him when I was with Elder Hui, Elder Hui was getting his haircut, and so was the little boy, so I talked to his mom who was sitting next to us. She had no interest in church, but was excited about the children's english class. And now, almost a year later, her son Ken was baptized and they are all attending church every week as a family. Amazing! We really never know what happens with those seeds that are planted, I am so blessed to see some of them come to fruition!! I am so happy that he got baptized, he is a great little kid who loved church and was always full of energy! Makes me so happy! Encourages me to continue to talk to everyone everywhere, because we never know what will happen in a year or 5 or 10 from now.
Ken's baptism!

We had the privilege to help teach and baptize three saints from mainland last week too, and it was one of the greatest baptismal meetings of my mission! It was with a branch that I have happened to help with baptisms every time they have been here for my whole mission, I was delighted to see when we met them that they were from this branch, one of my favorite of the great branches from mainland. It was touching to see many that I had helped in the past there strong and supporting their brothers and sisters, and going to the temple to do work for their family. They truly have an irrepressible faith and passion for the work that I have never seen before. One of the members was baptizing his wife, I felt the Spirit so strongly as he bore his testimony to her, and as he said the baptismal prayer in a voice thick with emotion. He truly understands the magnitude of what that day meant for him and his family. I have never seen a happier guy, he was all smiles the whole day, running around taking pictures, shaking our hands and thanking us over and over. It was so uplifting to be around him and the other members. Again, they have a tangible faith! I only hope that one day I can be likewise, their very presence is just uplifting because they are so faithful and excited! It's no wonder the retention there is almost 100%. They are a big family of faith! They all sang the hymns as loud as they could too, and after someone says a prayer they all say 謝謝! And they really are grateful for those prayers, and love and support all the new members. They have been some great examples to me on my mission, and have left an impact on me that I will never forget.
Three generations getting baptized

I look forward to many amazing things here on the island with the members and some great investigators, there is a very bright future here. I love being a missionary, and it is truly the most satisfying and heart filling work that there is. Especially when we do it His work His way. Thankyou for all the support! Love you all!
Elder Woolley

Sheung Wan

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter! - week 88

Happy Easter everybody!

We had a really great week! Overall the island is doing well, there is tons of potential and lots of work to do with the new branch, we are always busy, which is the best! Working with Elder Garcia is tons of fun, he has a great desire to be the best missionary he can be, and learn a lot as well. We are really good friends! 

On Monday night we had a miracle! We had nothing scheduled for after P-day ends, and we decided to go out on the street and do some finding, something we haven't done too much of recently, and decided to go to Hong Kong park. We were walking around, talking with everyone and only after a few minutes, two people invited us to sit down with them right away, which is super rare. And they said you must be Christians, we could tell by how we felt when you said hello! (it was too dark to see our tags very well). After chatting with them for a sec in Cantonese we quickly realized that they must speak better mandarin and they were from Henan! One of them lives here, the other just visiting. But the one that lives with us talked about how her mother randomly a Christian in mainland, and how she herself  had always believed, but recently had kinda wandered away from that type of behavior, and after talking to her for awhile she shared with us a desire to come back to religious life, as well as a desire to be baptized! I was almost speechless, I have never had an experience like that before! Her name is Liu jm, we met with her later that week, and she is just amazing! She asked a great question, one that I have been asking myself and asking Heavenly Father in prayer, "what do I need to do to follow Christ better?" What a great question! She is very enthusiastic and wants to follow Christ as best she can! What a great example to us. She also brought her son with her when we met, I feel she will be a great strength to our new branch, and is someone who will definitely be inviting others to come and learn! She should be getting baptized in May or June, depending on her travel schedule. Amazing! 

Heavenly Father is definitely supporting our new Wan Chai branch! It was the first Sunday as a branch, and it was exciting! Two of our big families were out of town, so there were only 20 or so people at church, but they are all rock solid! Great members that you can build a strong branch upon. I was so happy to see them step up their game and really go out of the way to talk to and fellowship the investigators that were there. We had the opportunity to share a brief talk as well as teach the 3rd our combined class, and I was just so happy to look out at our little branch. I really love these people! It is a special branch. I love the words from one of the recent conference talks, we come to know Christ and draw closer to him by being is His service and doing as he would. I certainly feel as I have served in this branch that I do at times feel and understand the Savior as I try my best to represent Him here, and do the work! He was certainly with us Sunday morning.

The first person to arrive at sacrament meeting that morning was Zhao jm and her not yet baptized son who is our pianist! I was so happy to see her there early with her son, she was absolutely beaming with pride for her son to be  playing for sacrament, and so excited to be at church. She is so great! She has really amazing faith. All the members of this branch really are pioneers, and have great and real faith. Though the numbers are small, they have a positive attitude and an increased desire to be more and do more for the branch here. We have a lot of great potentials coming up and I know the branch will grow quickly! May and June will be big months for this little branch!

The Easter season is a great time of year, though for us it didn't seem to different because we are always thinking about, studying about, and testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Atonement. However I spent more time studying and pondering about the Atoning in the Garden of Gethsemane and the Resurrection. It always fills my mind and heart with amazement and gratitude to think that he would do so much for all of us. It fills me with hope to know that death is not the end, death has no sting, we can and all will live again! I was pondering upon some of the people in the New Testament who were blessed to see the resurrected Christ, and find it interesting that many of the first to see Him didn't recognize him. Often times we ourselves are like Mary of Magdala, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, or Thomas, where grief, ignorance, or doubt prevent us from realizing or feeling that the Risen Lord is actually near, walking with us, supporting us, and blessing us. Each of those people had moments where they realized that He is there, and that He has risen. For Mary it was when He called her by name, the disciples when he entered their home, dined with them, and they finally recognized who he is, afterwards saying, did not our hearts burn within us? And for Thomas it was not until he saw Him face to face that he did finally believe. I hope we all don't all have to wait until the day that we die and are taken home and see Him before we believe. I know that He rose from the dead, He is our Savior and Redeemer. I know he is walking with me as the disciples on that road, and my heart does burn within me every time I bear testimony in His name. And I know that when I make mistakes, or am in need of comfort, that he does know my name, who I am, and is always reaching out to us to buoy us up. I  know that Jesus is the Christ! I invite everyone to really think about what that means to them, and what it can mean do them if they are willing.

I love being a missionary so much, this experience so far has been the biggest blessing and filled me with testimony and love of Jesus Christ. There is no better or more satisfying work than is His,

Thank you for the prayers and support,
Love you all!
Elder Woolley 

Sorry.. didn't take very many pics this week!

Lunch with Jason

The Big Bowl at Tam Zai

Friday, April 14, 2017

Conference - week 87


For starters, General Conference was excellent! I went in with a few questions spanning lots of different topics, and came out with many answers and comforts. I will send more about that in the weeks to come. I am so grateful for the prophet, what a wonderful man he is. I truly admire his life of being on the Lord's errand, it's something I want very badly to do as well! Is is amazing how their their words really do answer millions of questions around the world rising from all sorts of different cultures, situations, and lifestyles. It is the universal gospel of God for all His children! We recently had an unpleasant administrative problem that came up and I received particularly clear guidance and comfort regarding it, for which I am grateful.

I also absolutely love the church's Easter movement the Prince of Peace. I can't think of a more fitting movement for today's worlds especially in the insanely busy and materialistic society on Hong Kong Island. I can't tell you all how many people I have met and talked to that have no peace in their lives, and are searching for something that they expected to find in their position, influence, and wealth. I would encourage everyone to take a few minutes to check out the videos from the church, they are really amazing! - 

I had a great birthday last monday, my companion made sure to tell all the members it was my birthday the week before at church, so lots of members wished me a happy birthday, bought me cake, and made it one of the most memorable and happy birthdays of my life! It was really nice to feel the love and appreciation from the people that we have been serving! We had a funny experience that night, a really wonderful family that we ran into in the MTR invited us over for dinner, the mom is from Venezuela so my companion connected with her in Spanish and she invited us over! They are an incredibly nice family, they had us over and fed us a great dinner and even sang happy birthday and gave us little cupcakes. Amazingly friendly! I can't imagine myself doing the same thing if I was in there shoes, inviting over two random church missionaries for dinner that I didn't know at all. But they are a great family with good gospel potential. It was funny the way they greeted us was with a little cheek kiss thing which of course the Chinese never do, so it totally threw me off when after I shook her hand she leaned forward and was like are you gonna kiss me? Haha I don't know if it is because I am used to just speaking Chinese when visiting with people and eating together, but I have never struggled so hard to have a nice conversation in english before like I did that night. But oh well! They were a great family. Hopefully we can share some gospel principles with them i =n the future!

I was so happy to hear also that my buddy Chen Guo Wu's (from Kowloon) wife got baptized this last weekend too! She has been visiting Hong Kong for the last month and met with the missionaries, then joined her husband in this church! It is so wonderful seeing them come together, I am so happy for them! I am so happy to see the blessing from heaven poor out on them and into their lives!

The first week of meetings for the Wan Chai and Kowloon branch are comping up this Sunday, I am excited for them, and can't wait to see how they start off! We had a wonderful mainland visitor show up in Wan Chai for baptism this week (normally they are in Kowloon Tong) and it was a great blessing to be able to meet her so suddenly. Our Branch President came to help her out as well, I think it was a great Spiritual start for all of us and this new branch. She is a great woman, and again, as I always am when we meet these people, I was humbled by her sincerity, determination, and depth of testimony and desire. If all the members in the world were like the mainland visitors, General Conference talks would have much different topics and reminders. 

I love the talks on the Holy Ghost, charity, seeing others through God's eyes and treating them so. Such great reminders of what is most important, which really is the small things, and sincerely seeking the Spirit on our path to become like the Savior Jesus Christ.

My timing with emails was a little weird this week so I have to be short, but expect more next week! 
MCL with Elders Fung and Mcgowan

Love you all!

Birthday cakes

Seung Wan

The Split! - week 86

Hello everyone!  This week was an unforgettable week.  The week on the island is going fairly well, it has slowed down a little bit, not quite as crazy as the first month, we seem to have endless potentials piling up, but haven't been able to nail them down quite yet into solid investigators.  We are getting more and more potential every week, so soon it will be back on the move!

Zhao jm was confirmed on Sunday, she is good as always, one of my favorite people to teach on my mission, she is just so sincere and humble, and just a really good person in general. We are hoping to help her kids and eventually husband as well! With her faith, it shouldn't be too long before they join her.

Elder Garcia and I taught our first Spanish lesson too, a woman named Patricia from Colombia that is here as a missionary for her church.
Patricia from Columbia
It was a fun lesson that I contributed almost nothing to haha I can hardly say anything. I was surprised at how much I could understand of the small talk, but once she started talking about some other government or religious stuff I was done and just sat and smiled. Good experience though! Fun for my companion to be able to proselyte a little in his mother tongue. I am having a really good time with Elder Garcia, he wants to be his best and serve the Lord, it is fun being with him and seeing him grow. He's at the time in the mission where a lot of things start clicking and maturing and it's good to see it happening!

We had a great opportunity to help with the sacrament  in the everyday branch, they have no men and the international elders asked us to help for the day. And what a spiritual meeting it was! There is a special spirit amongst those saints, it must be because they choose to come to church and partake the sacrament on the only day they have off of the week, when they could use that precious time for so  many other things. I am impressed by their faith and desire to partake of the sacrament. I really pondered upon the words of the sacrament prayer, and felt the Spirit strongly confirm to me the truth and power of the bread and water that is sanctified for us. As I looked out at those few members, I was reminded of when Enos says he pondered upon the 'joy of the saints' and I truly felt the joy of the saints there, who, despite their difficult and challenging lives lived far from family and friends, gather when they can and partake of the sacred emblems. Truly they treasure the sacrifice of the Savior, we sung these words in the hymn, which stuck in my mind- "We may not know, we cannot tell,What pains he had to bear, But we believe it was for us, He hung and suffered there." They really do believe and know that it was for us, and I know it too.

Church on Sunday was one of the most bitter sweet moments on my mission. The long awaited branch split of Victoria 3 happened! It has been going back and forth for almost a year, but it was finally reviewed and accepted and on Sunday, they released all the callings, called and sustained the new presidency, and announced the boundaries for the two branches! crazy, I never thought the day would come. But there is now officially two mandarin branches in Hong Kong, with many more to come! The Kowloon Branch and the Wan Chai Branch. Both have excellent branch presidents. It is hard to describe the feelings I had as they had the members of the Kowloon Branch stand first, then next the members of the Wan Chai branch stand. Even as I type this now I get a little emotional thinking about that moment. I am SO proud of these Saints! I am so proud of the wonderful and strong Kowloon members, whose area I labored in for the better part of a year, inviting them, supporting them, crying with them, praying for them, testifying, baptizing, and strengthening. I know many less actives and members of other cantonese wards in the area who will be so blessed with the refuge of a mandarin branch so much closer to their home. I am so excited for them, and so proud of the great RC's I was privileged to teach out there, I know they will all step it up and do wonders! I will miss seeing them every Sunday, and I wish I could go see their branch! It was equally moving to then see the faithful Island members stand, many of them are the oldest in the branch, and have been solid members since the branch was founded many years ago. It was moving to see so many of the other new members stand proudly, though the island numbers are very very few, I know it will grow quickly on the pillars of these great families and members. We are down to only about 15-20 or so people, but I know it will grow very quickly! I don't know if I have ever felt such conviction as we all sustained the new Branch Presidents. Our branch president is President Huang, he is a legend, a faithful and selfless member of the branch for almost as long as it has been around, and he knows and keeps in touch with almost every less active. I came excited to work with him! It is amazing to think back to when the church was founded with only 6 people there, or to the moment when Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, it started with one boy. I don't think he could've possibly imagined that great day of the first vision, that one day there would be faithful Christian Saints in China, serving, loving God, and embracing the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Or when the branch was founded, there were under 10 members, they all looked forward to the day when the chapel would be full of Chinese saints. And now we are back again to a new and small start, but I know there will be a day soon when the chapel will be full again, and it will split again and again as the great work continues. 

I have really seen the hand of God here working with us. I am so grateful for the blessings he has poured out on us here, He is with us! He loves us! And I am grateful he has allowed me to feel a portion of that love for the people of China and Hong Kong.
It was a historic week, I am happy to be part of it, and look forward to helping and serving this little branch with everything I have.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes! I almost forgot it's my birthday today. Fortunately Elder Garcia has told lots of members and missionaries it is my birthday so I have felt the love today. 

Love you all!

Elder Woolley

Our RC Scott's new Tesla


our investigator May had a surprise visit to Hong Kong, it was great meeting with her, she is doing well, still helping her learn and progress!