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, May 29, 2017

Amazing Week - week 94

Hello everybody!

Time is going too fast!! I wish it would slow down haha, this last week was amazing, one of the best weeks of my mission for sure.

The island continues to be an amazing place to serve, Elder Zhou and I have been doing everything we can to help the branch members, less actives, converts, and find and teach. It has been very busy, but also very rewarding and productive! 

The week started off on a great note, we had a meeting with Elder Cook, Elder Shares, Bishop Wadell, and some other leadership of the church. They are truly powerful men, and hearing Elder Cook's apostolic witness and blessings changed the way I view them and the leadership of the church. It changed the way I think about the Savior, and the way that I will now listen to and study conference talks. The Spirit was very powerful. I also learned how much better my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ could be. Still have a long way to go! They are great examples of men who have lived their whole lives in the service of Christ, and it is something I really admire and strive to do myself, in whatever capacity or situation I can.

This week was truly a great week! We have been so blessed recently, it is so satisfying to see hard work, effort, and prayers work out. I forgot to mention from a few weeks ago, had dinner with Yip jm, an investigator from my time at Sham Shui Po, she has been meeting with the sisters again recently and will be getting baptized! She came over to the island to meet up and thank us and chat. It was great to see her and see her changing her life. I am so blessed to have seen these fruits, and I know throughout my life I will continue to receive blessings from the work we have done here! 
Yip JM next to Elder Woolley

We had many powerful lessons this week and great spiritual experiences. I have had the chance to do several baptismal interviews recently, and everytime I am strengthened by the people that we interview. I interviewed someone from India, and from Thailand for the International District. And they were both amazing! It is a wonder to see people of all different backgrounds accept the gospel, and find the comfort and joy of the Savior in their lives. It is a testament to me of it's eternal and universal truth.

We have been blessed with several great investigators recently that are trying to find truth. I love the real intent and desire to learn that they have, it makes for some powerful lessons. Their attitude is so important! If I had always had that same attitude towards learning I would have much more knowledge today haha. They are progressing well, we have a lot of work to do really, and I feel like not enough time to do it all!

Mei Wo BBQ 

Wan Chai branch activity
This Saturday we had the Wan Chai branches first activity, we all went to Mei Wo for a BBQ! The turnout was great, we had a bunch of investigators come and a few less actives that we have been working with for a long time! The best part was just how much of a good time it was, everyone in the branch has grown in love and unity. All the kids were playing with everyone, and the investigators were being fellowshipped really well by our branch. I couldn't help but feel so proud for our little branch. I know that the Lord has been with us especially ever since the split. I have been working with Vic 3 since December 2015, and have stayed with these members since then minus a 5 month stay in Sham Shui Po. It has been incredible to see how far they all have come. Every Sunday for the year or so of time i have been the branch, when we partake of the sacrament, I have prayed my heart out for our branch to grow, to be strengthened in unity and faith, to love one another and the new people we bring in, and to bless the lives of all those there renewing their covenants with God. It is so touching to see the difference since December 2015. I really love them all so much, it has been a life changing experience serving with them. And the past few months with the new branch have been even better, much more work and service to do! I really enjoy doing all I can for them. Of course our prayers and work are not the only reason for the slow change of Spirit in the branch, I have felt the Spirit confirm to me that our little branch is being blessed and lifted by all of our efforts, prayers and faith. There is no better feeling than that. The branch has a bright future, and we currently have many prepared people who will be great additions to the branch.
I love these words from the Doctrine and Covenants-

33: Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also realp; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
34: Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

We have been striving our best to just do good, and I know that we have only just begin to reap all the we have sowed. Our branch is truly built upon the rock of the Savior, they have great faith and potential. I have also come to know that what is said in Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" is true. The Lord is with us in His work, I know it and have felt hime pouring his Spirit on our small branch, where we have gathered together in His name to worship Him. I don't think most of the members realize it, but I have felt it and seen the influence of the past years on the faithful.
The work of God is truly the most fulfilling thing I have ever been a part of, I hope to be a part of it for my whole life. When we start to spend our life engaged in the work of salvation, the work of salvation starts to engage in our lives. My testimony has been made a hundred times stronger and I have felt truly what it means to be strengthened by the enabling power of Christ's atoning sacrifice, and what it means to walk with Him in the work. What a privilege it is to serve!

Elder Woolley
Eating Balut!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Happy Week - week 93

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone had a great week! Today's letter will be a little short, our Pday is short today because we have Elder Cook coming to visit! So no complaints. I remember last year when Elder Stevenson visited, it was amazing and I learned so much. I am excited for later today when we meet with him!
We had a great week! I have enjoyed these few weeks so far serving with Elder Zhou. Serving with someone who is from the country is super fun, very different from Americans. We are doing great work together. He is a great teacher, uses lots of Chinese Idioms and references to culture that to teach that I didn't really know before, so I am learning a lots from him!

We had a lot of great teaching experiences this week. Taught a new investigator I am excited for, he has a great desire to learn and asks lots of good questions. That is always the best type of investigator. Proactivity is such a valuable trait! We taught our rc Zhao Jm the Plan of Salvation abl all from the scriptures, we are so blessed blessed with scriptures that so clearly outline things for us. I love the scriptures, they truly enlighten my mind and inspire me everytime I read. It is great to see her testimony growing, she is a great rc! One of my favorite people I have met here. I love seeing all the people grow. I love keeping in touch with all my friends from Kowloon Branch grow as well. I feel the Lord has blessed me so much.

I was so happy this week, we were teaching another rc Scott's wife. Scott is a great rc, he fellowships every single person that we bring to church and shares with his friends all the time. He is a very generous and humble man, despite how ridiculously successful he is in the business world. He is a great man, also someone I have loved to see grow in the gospel. Anyways we were finally able to invite his wife to join him as a member in the church, we she happily accepted! We have been working with her for awhile, and it finally felt like the right time to invite. Right after she accepted they started happily talking together about when they could be sealed together as a family in the temple. I am so happy to see there family coming together in the gospel, and I know it will influence their three little boys lives forever as well. It makes me so happy to see her preparing and learning. I knew I as moving to the island a little ahead of time because I was in the office at that time, and as I was preparing and praying about it, two people came to my mind that I knew I had to help, one was Zhao jm, baptized back in March, and the other is Lin! I really feel a great sense of accomplishment, and I am happy I have still have time to do any thing else that the Lord wil require of me here for the next few months.

I am grateful for the Restored gospel, I know that the fullness of Christs truth has been restored on the earth today for the blessing of us and all the world. I am grateful for living prophets and I can't wait to hear from one today. I know the church is true, and is not misnamed. Truly it is The Church of Jesus Christ.

Thank you all, I love and pray for you!

Elder Woolley

no time for pics, Ill send some next week :) 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Happy Mother's Day! - week 92

Cheung Chau
Hello everybody!

My email time got a little messed up with the call home today so not much time, but no complaints here!
First off, Happy Mothers Day to everyone! 
I love my mom, and am so grateful for her and everything she has done for me. I am so grateful for the mission for helping me learn more about my mother's side of the family. What a wonderful country and culture we come from. I am so happy to be able to speak to her and that side of the family in Chinese. It is just one of the many many blessings of the mission.

I will share a phrase that my mom has told me almost every week of my mission since week 1, talk to everyone as if they want to listen! Simple, but great advice. Also very hard to do, but the days and weeks when I really have just tried my best to talk to everyone as if they really want to listen, I have seen miracles, met amazing people, heard inspiring stories, and come more to love the people we serve amongst. I am grateful for my mother's faith and diligence. There are many great role models in my life and family, many of which I didn't fully appreciate until the mission, but I am grateful for knowledge that families and learning are eternal things.

This week was a great week, super busy! My companion and I got off to a great start to what will be one of the best transfers of my mission! The work is really moving! We are working with a great number of people with good potential. Our greatest challenge- helping those people see and realize their own potential! Sometimes I think that is one of the harder yet more rewarding things of teaching and building people, helping them realize their great and eternal potential, and giving them the confidence to act and change on their faith in Christ. There are a great number of really good people we are working with, they are all progressing well, and within the next month or two I know there will be a solid amount of them joining the fold and building up the wonderful Wan Chai branch! I hope I can see some of it before I leave!

We had International District Conference this week, it was inspiring. Elder Toronto of the seventy was there, I did the translation for the Saturday night session which was fun, if not a little stressful at times with random words like beanie babies that I don't know how to say haha but over all went well! Gift of tongues is real. The Conference was very uplifting, a big focus on the Sabbath day, family learning, and staying actively converted in the gospel. Our District is trying very hard to grow, and there were a lot of great tips given out to help us grow in unity and love as a group, as well as grow personally to rise to the challenge.

Something I particularly liked was what President Holyoak shared about the way we close our prayer. Too often we rattle of a quick in the name of Jesus Christ Amen without pausing to think about the importance of that name, and the communication we are enclosing it with.  Without that name, we literally cannot communicate with God. It was a good reminder to me to conclude prayers with more reverence, sincerity, and gratitude for the name of our Savior who makes all things possible.

Elder Zhou and I had a great lesson the other night with a part member family, about the plan of salvation, and getting answers to questions. Elder Zhou gave a great analogy to prayers being answered and parents, its like giving your kids ice cream. You only give them how much is best for them, not what they want, and you give it to them after they eat dinner, all the veggies etc, and when it is 'time'. Answers to prayer are the same, we don't and can't expect to get them when we want it. All is in the time and wisdom of He who knows infinitely more than we do, our Father in Heaven. Simple principle, but very true, and sometimes hard to understand and feel when we are the one waiting on the answer. On that very night, I was on the MTR to the lesson, not many people were around, so I flipped open a book I had with me, and suddenly the answer to a question I had prayed earnestly months ago jumped out the pages at me. I am grateful for the answer, and it strengthened my testimony of God's timing. I had long since acted on what I felt was best, and waited until last week to get a fur sure confirmation that yes it was right and I knew all along that it was. It was a wonderful lesson, we taught as their little kids ran around the house. We involved them as we could and as I looked in their youngest baby boys eyes I really felt again the Spirit confirm to me the truth of our identity. I know that we are children of an all powerful all knowing and loving Heavenly Father. I looked at him and knew, there is no way we are here by accident, only to live, form short relationships, and die. These family relations are eternal. We have a divine inheritance, and the potential to become something so amazing. There is truly a soul residing in that little boy, as well as in all of our bodies, that yearns for us to seek good, do good, and become better. I really know it is true. I am grateful that I know, and hope to help all our investigators continue to realize what they truly are capable of, especially when linked to the redeeming and enabling power of Christ's Atonement.

I love you all, and was so happy to talk to the fam this morning! I can't believe how fast time is going, I wish it would slow down a little bit so I can take a breath before its over, but I will continue to do my best and cherish this little time I have left as a set apart representative of Christ working amongst such wonderful people.

Again Happy Mother Day!

Elder Woolley

P-day in Cheung Chau

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

6 Weeks to Go! - week 91

Elder Garcia leaving for Kowloon 

Hello Fam!
Hard to believe my last transfer has officially started, but we had a great start!! It is going to be a great 6 weeks, there is so much work to finish before the end!

My new companion is Elder Zhou, from Tao Yuan Taiwan, he is a really fun guy, found the church through English class, and joined 8 months or so after. His dad is from Hong Kong, he grew up in Hong Kong and Taiwan, so both languages are perfect! It's been really fun being companions, I don't think I've ever spoken so little English before haha. I have really enjoyed serving many times with converts as my companions. I am always amazed by their faith and commitment, to have joined the church and then wanted to go out and share more even though their knowledge isn't always as deep or learned as someone who grew up a member. But they are aways out for the right reason, and I always learn much from them.
Elder Zhou, last companion before going home

We are off to a great start, this week had the most people so far at our branch, and there were tons of investigators there! It was a little bit crazy with all of them there, and everyone in a different place of understanding and background. The members did a great job too chatting with them etc. I am proud of our rc Scott, he is so great! He always talks to new people, adds them on We Chat and starts talking to them, inviting them to eat with him etc. Such a stud! I I love Wan Chai branch, it is such a great opportunity to serve, helping them with so much. They are great members! We some great new potentials, so many people to work with that all will be great additions to the branch! We are very busy with many different people and lessons, so I forget sometimes what to say haha. It was also a pleasure to Elder James and Elder Tai visit our branch and share testimony with us. Both of them were good friends with my Grandparents back when the church was first getting started here. I always love meeting people from that time and talking with them, reminding me of my heritage, the great early saints of Hong Kong and their faith, and that I have big shoes to fill! 

We met a new investigator, someone I have met off and on before, his name is Tiger, and has a complicated life. He spends half of each month in Shang Hai working, and then the other half of the month here in Hong Kong with his wife. So throughout all my time on the island I have seen him occasionally. However when we met with him last week he seemed very different. As we were talking to him he just started telling us of lots of feelings of guilt and sadness he has been struggling with recently due some poor choices he has made in his life. And he was sharing with us that no matter what he did he couldn't seem to really fully shake the feelings away, hide from them, or move on from them. It was great to see as we shared about the Saviour and repentance and change his countenance changed, he became hopeful, excited, and truly willing to do whatever it takes to change. I think we all have moments like that in their lives, maybe not to the same degree of guilt etc, but where we want to change, to be and become better and something more than we are! I have similar feeling after every big meeting, after every sacrament meeting, after every personal study! The difference between me and him and others is that we know how to truly begin the change and the process of becoming, which is through the Saviour Jesus Christ. Tiger wanted to change and overcome the mistakes and habits of his past, but really didn't know how other than to just try to forget or run away from them. 

I am so grateful for the knowledge of the Atonement, and how it can help us fulfil the desire to change and be better. I was pondering about this and read a great talk by Henry B. Eyring, called Come Unto Christ. It is so good, I want to share a part of it : 
"Now your impressions will not have been quite like mine, but you have felt a tug, maybe many tugs, to be someone better. And what sets those yearnings apart from all your daydreams is that they were not about being richer, or smarter, or more attractive, but about being better. I am sure you have had such moments, not just from my experience, but because of what President David O. McKay once said. Listen very carefully:

Man is a spiritual being, a soul, and at some period of his life everyone is possessed with an irresistible desire to know his relationship to the Infinite. . . . There is something within him which urges him to rise above himself, to control his environment, to master the body and all things physical and live in a higher and more beautiful world. 
That pull upward is far beyond what you would call a desire for self-improvement. When I felt it, I knew I was being urged to live so far above myself that I could never do it on my own. President McKay had it right. You feel an urging to rise above your natural self. What you have felt is an urging from your Heavenly Father to accept this invitation:

32.  Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in him, deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

33.  And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.  (Moroni 10:32-33)

So we invited Tiger to come unto Christ, and it was what he desired most, and what we all naturally desire to, even without realising it.  Once he realised that he truly did want to come unto Christ, he was willing to do everything, much like Lamoni's father in Alma.  I have loved seeing people have this desire in my mission, seeing them really want to rise above themselves, and in the end, begin the life long journey of coming unto Christ.  I have also felt the tug many times in my mission and realised how far I still have to go, but I am grateful for a patient and loving Saviour, who pulls me up every time I don't measure up, and pulls up everyone because none of us can every really measure up.  I know Jesus is our Saviour, and descended below everyone so that we could be lifted up by Him.  I am grateful for how much he has helped and blessed me here, as well as how many people he las blessed through our missionary efforts.  I love the mission so much, there is no better way to get to know yourself, your relationship with God and Jesus, than being in His service and trying to give you best to His work.

Love you all, looking forward to talking with the fam on mother's day!

Elder Woolley

P-day ride in the Harbour

Elder Hilado is going home

Final 6 Week Transfer! - week 90

Hello everybody!

We had a busy week this week! Moves calls came last night, Elder Garcia will be leaving to go to Kowloon with my last companion Elder Stratford. I'll miss him, he has been a great companion, lots of fun to serve with! My new companion is Elder Zhou, from Taiwan, I'me excited to serve with him! He is a good Elder, and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin fluently which will be fun! We have a lot of work to do together this transfer :-)

This week was great, we had a good meeting with our branch president President Huang, he gave us some good direction and some people to work with. There is a lot going on in our little branch. I got to give a talk this Sunday which was fun, but it was probably the smallest attendance so far, only about 15 members! Crazy haha but they are all really strong members, and we have good plans to strengthening the semi actives, bringing back the less actives, and bringing in new people! I really love the branch, although there are so few people, we all know and love one another, and they have gotten really good at fellowshipping and caring for everyone we bring. They are truly invested in the work now! We are working with a lot of people with great potential, and have a few baptismal dates and good new investigators to work with, so I expect big things for this next transfer! 

I really enjoy seeing our recent converts grow in the gospel. We taught one of them with her friend, and basically she just taught her friend the whole lesson, then halfway through the lesson she just paused and said I learned something new! It is fun to see people be excited about learning the gospel! It really is true that the teacher learns as much if not more than the student. She also talked about how every time she hears the message of the Restoration, it always brings the same familiar and peaceful feeling. She is very in touch with the Spirit. Her friend, Peng jm now has a baptismal date we hope she will make it!

I was reviewing the articles of faith, I really love the 13th article!
"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed we may say that we follwo the admonition of Paul- 
We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things."  If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."  When I read it, the word being really stood out to me, these are not just things that we week to have or to obtain, but it is what we really should be. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about changing our natures, not just behaviors, and becoming that way, so that when we return back we will recognize him and truly will be like him! I hope I can always serve and live in such a way that I can always be becoming more like Him! I really like that article of faith., it really represents the type of positive, hopeful, and believing attitude that I have strived to have for the mission experience, and it has blessed me a lot! I hope to always be able to do good to all men. 

I love the mission, I can't believe it is on to my final 6 week transfer, I never thought I would be this far into my mission. I am so grateful to be able to finish here on the island in this branch. I am excited to help them grow and give them everything I can! There is much work to do and a lot to learn!

Love you all!
Elder Woolley

Li Family
Michael and Harry

Zhao JM family

Sister Nora's baptism