Monday, August 30, 2010

Transfer Week!


This week is transfers. We had transfer calls last night (when they call and let us know who's transfering and to where). "DRUMROLL PLEASE!"................................................. I'm staying! and so is Elder Jackson! So we're both in Lawton for at least another 6 weeks. I'm excited!! It's awesome being here! So yes, that's the good news :)

Let's see... what else happened this week... oh! Brandon and Katrina Evans were baptized on Saturday and confirmed yesterday! I got to do the confirmations, so that was a cool experience! After they were baptized on Saturday, we stopped by their house to ask them how they felt (to help them recognize the feelings). They said they felt good. They said they’ve felt good before, but now they feel GOOD! And that was before they were even confirmed! After they were confirmed, the change was immediate. I could sense that they really did have the Holy Ghost with them. Brandon carried himself like a new man. It wasn’t really a conscious thing, I think, but he just seemed more…manly. Is it manly for one man to call another man “manly”? Who knows?! It’s the sense of direction and purpose that is now in his life that has wrought that change. Huzzah for the gospel!

We’ve been riding around and tracting a lot still and trying to see who actually wants to know more and who doesn’t, so it was a good week! We were tracting in one neighborhood and we met this awesome guy. We told him who why we were out and about and he just said, “Alright, thanks!” and looked at us with a smile. We asked him if he had talked to missionaries before. He said, “Yeah, but they weren’t to fond about what I said about the upcoming zombie invasion.” I said, “Yeah, you gotta stock up!” “Assault rifles!” he replied. HAHAHA!!!!! I love tracting for so many reasons! He didn’t want to be taught anything, but it was still a good refresher. :)

And then something else happened. I really should write litte notes down so I can remember.

That’s what journal writing is for, right? :p

Today, our district is getting together for our last P-day this transfer. We’ll probably play basketball and go out to eat or something.

Oh! Basketball! So, if you have ever played basketball with me, you may have been able to tell that I’m not the most proficient with a basketball. No need to fear! Elder Jackson is here! We’ve played basketball a few times over the past weeks and he has given me tips to help me out. Slowly but surely, I’m getting better at basketball! We played on Wednesday and I was doing okay and then I went on an exchange to Altus, OK on Thursday. And what do they do on Thursday nights in Altus? Play basketball! So I got to play some more. I’m getting a lot more handy at it all, so it’s good. Oh, “a lot more HANDY at it all”. Yeah, get it? Okay, it wasn’t that funny :P Anyway, I like basketball now that I’m partly proficient at the game.

I’m trying to think of some spiritual stories I have had, but it’s all a blur!

Here’s one! Elder Jackson told me yesterday that I’m like Ammon. I was like, “……..okay? thanks?......” Then he shared Alma 27:16-18 with me. Verse 17 reads, “Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth.” That’s what happened to me on August 11! Hahaha! AWESOME!!! Verse 18 reads, “Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which non receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.” So if you REALLY want TRUE happiness and you pray and serve and try to find ways to express love to people, you WILL get this happiness!!!

Anyway, I think that’ll be all for this week. Thanks again for all your love and prayers and stuff! I hope you're enjoying this totally sweet blog (and if you're getting this directly and haven't looked at the blog, check it out!) My sister made it and maintains it!!! Props to Adj Woolley! Woot!

Anyway, I love all of you a lot! Go be happy and say "I love you" to someone!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

Elder Woolley

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


After our ride home in the rain.

All Smiles!

Genuinely Genuine! Welcome to the Heartland!

Hello hello hello!!!
The past week has been great! I can't even remember what happened! It was THAT good! :P hahaha

O.K. Let's see...

Can I just say that being bold is the best thing ever? President Taylor commited us to extend the baptismal commitment on the first lesson every time unless the Spirit whacks us over the head with a 2x4 and tells us not to. So that's what we do! And it's awesome! We've prayed to be led to people who are looking for the truth or for them to be led to us or put in our path, and we find them!

Let's make one thing clear as well: tracting is AWESOME!!! Everyone that we have taught, found, and committed to baptism was off of tracting. While tracting isn't the MOST effective way to do the work, when all other sources aren't putting out, tracting WORKS! We pray to be led to know which streets to tract, then we look at the map, and then we pick a few streets that we feel strongly impressed to check out, then we tract and find these people! It's awesome!!

Embarrassing moment of the week: yesterday two of our investigators came to church (Brendan and Katrina - a young married couple that's getting baptized on Saturday!). Brendan was introducing himself to someone and the guy asked, "Brennan? Or Brendan with a D?" He replied, "With a D." Elder Jackson and I have been calling him Brennan this whole time! When Brendan says his name, the D isn't as emphasized when he says it than when others say it. So we've been traching someone for a month and we find out we've been calling him by the wrong name. Yeah. That's special. :P

Oh! So you may wonder why I titled this letter "Genuinely Genuine! Welcome to the Heartland!" Well, here's why: the people here are REAL!!! Some of you may not understand what I mean by "real", but for those of you who do, it's awesome! Almost every single soul here is sincere and genuine and genuinely kind. Even if we're tracting and they tell us they're never going to go to our church and they think we're weird, at least they're genuine about it! And then we find people to teach and we teach them and they say stuff like, "I really do appreciate it. Thanks so much." But it's not the "I know that I should say 'I really appreciate it' so I'm going to say it and give you a faked smile." THEY REALLY MEAN IT!!!

I don't mean it to come off as judgemental, but people can tell if someone is being genuine or not. It makes me cringe when people say stuff because it's the "(insert compliment/statement of gratitude here)" thing to do. Basically, I LOVE the people here! It's so nice to be around real people all of the time. There aren't any fake personalities here in Oklahoma. Just good ol' Americans doing stuff the American way and just being themselves. I've met the most genuinely kind people here. They're so sincere. They don't use fancy words or way of speech or try to say stuff like General Authorities or anything. They just talk from the heart and I can FEEL what they're saying, not just hear it. A conversation here isn't just words and words. It's hearts and hearts. I love this place :)

Speaking of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met in my life, Brother Revilla had us over on Saturday for birthday dinner. He turned 40 last Wednesday and made US dinner to celebrate HIS birthday. I LOVE THIS GUY! He made some Peruvian food for us (he's from Lima originally) and it was DELICIOUS!!! We offered to help him but he kept saying, "Thanks, Elders. It's okay. Have a seat, Elders." He's Diego's dad, P.S. So that was really nice.
Then the Brisolaras had us over for dinner. They have a big family (12 children between the ages of 11 and 29, something like that) and they're all really cool. Brother Brisolara and I had a nice chat and it just reaffirmed to me that the people here are so loving and genuine and charitable. This place is incredible!

Oh yeah! It rained really hard last Monday. We were at a dinner appointment and were just about to leave as it started to pour down rain. Luckily, we had our bikes outside waiting for us, so we rode the 4 miles home in the rain! It. was. AWESOME!!! We got inside and took pictures of how soaked we were (it was a memorable moment since it's been 105 F all the time!). So that was fun :)

I think that's it for now. Life is fine and dandy like sour candy! haha :P Thank you, everyone, for all of your prayers. I can FEEL the power and strength from the prayers said in my behalf and in behalf of the people of Oklahoma.

Oh yeah, praying for large groups of people to receive the Spirit works! We just started praying that the Lord will pour down His Spirit on the people of Lawton, Oklahoma to prepare their minds and hearts for the message we share and I can already see the difference in the conversations we have with people! It's INCREDIBLE! (or, een-cred-dee-blay as we say it in Gringo Espanol). So, PRAY! 'Cause God hears you! And He wants to help you! And if you try to think of what Christ would pray for if He were in your same situation, then your prayers will be SO POWERFUL you won't even know what to do with yourself! I promise you that this is true!

Have a wonderful week, everyone! I love you! Testify and be happy!

Elder Woolley :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Birthday Dinner

Happy Birthday to me!

Me and the Stringhams

DIEGO! He's Bro. Ravilla's son. Bro. Rivilla is in the Army and is basically the nicest person I've ever met in my entire life! I think if Diego's energy could be converted to electricity for houses and stuff, he could power the whole world for a long time!
Patching Elder Jackson's bike tube...again... :)

Birthday/Miracle Week

Hello Family and Everyone!

First off, I love you!!! Thanks for all of your birthday wishes!!! This week was a fun one!!
So my birthday was on Tuesday and we worked just like we would any other day. We have a calender that we pass around at church for people to sign up to feed us (God bless America! :) and one of the guys we're working with put "Elder Woolley's B-Day" on the top of the 10th. A family named the Stringham's signed up. They're a really cool, down to earth couple who are really nice. They called us on Monday night and asked me what I want to eat for my birthday. "Lasagna! (my favorite food) No! Wait! Chinese food... yeeeeaaaah.... :)" I've had a hankerin' for some o' that Chinese food!!!

So we worked all day and then they picked us up for dinner. We ate fried rice, homemade egg rolls, steamed veggies, white rice, and kim-chee! Kim-chee? Kim-chi? I dunno. I loved getting reacquainted with kim-chi (thank you Evan Phillips and Derek Wakamatsu!!) even though it burned my eyes :) It was really good! We ate till we were stuffed and then we had BIRTHDAY CAKE!!! They made a German chocolate cake with German chocolate cake muffins and put candles in it and I blew it and made a wish and it was awesome!!! So they definitely scored points for the cake. And then candles. And the Chinese food. MMMmmm.... Chinese food....... :)

O.K. On to the Miracle part of the week!

We had Zone Conference on Wednesday. We talked about Our Purpose and The Gospel of Jesus Christ and some other stuff. It's part of the new training we're all getting. Anyway, it was really good and I learned a lot. At the end of Zone Conference I asked President Taylor for a moment. We went into a room and started talking. I told him about my struggles with feeling charity for people and being frustrated with trying to love people more. He told me to just show love for other people (serve them, say "I love you", etc) even if it seems robotic or I'm just going through the motions at first. Then he told me something that has changed my perspective a lot.
He told me he had similar struggles when he was a missionary and after a while, he said he started looking at everyone as if we're from the same graduating class in the pre-earth life. Some a little earlier than others, but basically the same. We all came down here TOGETHER and he said he would just put himself out there and say, "Hey! Here I am! You don't remember me or know me, but we came down here together! And I'm going to do EVERYTHING I can to reach out and grab hold of your spirit and try to communicate with your spirit!!!" I've been thinking about that a lot and it has helped me see people for who they really are--my brothers and sisters :)

After our meeting I was in the bathroom and said a quiet "thank you" prayer. I looked at myself in the mirror and I started laughing. I had no idea what was going on, but I was laughing and I felt REALLY GOOD!!! I kept on laughing and laughing and everytime I looked at myself in the mirror, I laughed harder!!! When I looked at myself, I FINALLY saw the genuinely happy person I've wanted to be my whole life!!! It felt like a huge weight was lifted off my chest and I could finally breathe like I never have before! The Atonement of Jesus Christ took away ALL of my burdens and ALL of my pains. I could finally really forgive myself for everything I've done (I've been told I'm too hard on myself) and I just kept laughing and laughing and laughing. I couldn't even stand up!! The answer to my prayers was a cathartic experience. All of the stress I've ever felt, all of the hatred, all of the sorrow--it was ALL GONE!!!

Elder Jackson came in and saw me and thought I was going crazy or something. I told him everything I just wrote in the paragraph above and kept laughing. And laughing. And laughing! At first I thought I was going crazy too, but that's how God answered my prayer! He gave me an experience that purged all of the stress in my heart and soul and basically gave me a clean slate to work on! Even though it's still difficult/awkward to express my love for people, it's a lot easier because of the work of the Atonement in my life!

GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS!!! It may take A LOT of praying (and I mean A LOT A LOT A LOT of praying) but He answers prayers! I KNOW He does! So if you need help, get on your knees. If you don't feel happy, get on your knees. If you hate someone, get on your knees. If you want to be more friendly, get on your knees. If it feels like everything is crashing down and you want to give up and you have NO idea what to do, GET ON YOUR KNEES!!! Tell God what's up, and He will talk with you. Give Him time to speak, and you'll ALWAYS have a conversation with God EVERY TIME YOU PRAY!

Another evidence of this: a couple weeks ago, Elder Jackson and I were praying to know which streets to tract to be led to those who are praying for us and looking for something more and looking for happiness. We were led to Oklahoma Ave. We met a lady (Dorthea) as we were tracting that vented for about 30 minutes on how her life is horrible and she's worried about her grandkids and all that (she really is in a bad situation). So now we're teaching her and she's scheduled to be baptized on Sept 4th.

So there ya have it! God answers prayers! :)

That's all for this week. Thanks to all who follow faithfully and pray for me and write to me! You do not go unnoticed! I love you a lot!

Have a great week! I love you!

Elder Woolley :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Elder Woolley!

Phil's 22nd birthday is tomorrow, August 10. I should have warned everyone last week. Phil would love to hear from you. You can email him at He can only send email responses to immediate family, but he promises to write letters to anyone that emails or sends him snail mail. Here are a couple of pictures he sent us this week. All captions to his pictures are provided by Elder Woolley.

A picture of my new favorite that's on an old trailer.
And the chapter heading about tools in one of my bicycle maintenance books (must be missionary approved!)



I'm in Oklahoma (as you may already know) and it's wicked fun! Like, totally righteous! Get it? WICKED fun?! Totally RIGHTEOUS!! Yeah, I don't get it either.

This past week was a doozie of a good time! And guess what, time is already going a bazillion trillion miles an hour because it's like I breathe and an hour passes! So does that mean every time I breathe I've moved a bazillion trillion miles? Hmmm.... interesting....

Uplifting story time!

The other day I was trying to take apart my rear hub on my bike. There was a rattling sound as I turned the wheel slowly (a sign that some of the ball bearings had fallen out of place). We had an appointment to give a blessing to an investigator in the Sisters' area a few miles from where we live at 2 PM. I was taking apart the rear hub as best as I could with the tools I had, but soon realized I needed some wrenches. I prayed to be led to an adjustable wrench. As I looked for it, I was led to the heating and A/C repair guy for the apartments. We lent me a pipe wrench (I think that's what it's called? The big red one? Monkey wrench?) Anyway, that helped me get the cassette off (the cassette is the gears on the back of a bike), but I didn't have another wrench to disassemble the hub.

I was getting a little frustrated since without our bikes we're a A LOT less effective. And it was already after 2 (we called them and told them we'd be late). I got on my knees and prayed and told Heavenly Father that I have no idea what to do and asked to know what to do. He told me to give the blessing, so I put my bike together, told Elder Jackson, "The Lord will provide!" and we went to give a blessing.

When we got there, the Sisters were in there already talking with a man, a woman, and a young boy. They all wanted blessings, so we gave all of them blessings. We gave the man, Kevin, a blessing to help him overcome his addiction to coffee so he can be baptized. We blessed him with a bunch of other stuff and then afterwards we all sat and just talked a little bit.

Kevin just sat there with a face of awe and wonder, stroking his long, wavy, black hair every once in a while, staring at the ground a few feet in front of him. After a few minutes, he looked up and said, "So this is real." YEAH!!!!! We talked about his feelings and that he was feeling the Holy Ghost right then. He said, "It's like all of you know something that the rest of us don't. It like, you just know it, and it's different. And I think I know it. It's like I really KNOW it. Like, I didn't know something before and now I KNOW it." Hallelujah AMEN Brotha! He KNOWS! Clap yo' hands togetha! Sing PRAISES! Sing it wit' me now!

OK. I went a little Gospel Choir on you there. My bad :P

Anyway, it was really cool and I couldn't stop smiling the whole time and I love that guy and I just want to give him a big hug. Maybe I will sometime! Hmmm......
So that's that.

OH! I remember something else that's awesome and amazing and going to completely change everything about missionary work (not COMPLETELY, but definitely make all of us missionaries more effective). There are going to be 8 lesson/section things that we're going to be trained on over the next year. They're short and simple, but very powerful. I think eventually it might be added to Preach My Gospel (at least that what the MTC Admin Director (who's basically in charge of all of the training missionaries go through and was a big part it the development of Preach My Gospel) said at a fireside while I was there).

This past Thursday we had a trainers meeting. It was for all of the new missionaries (me and the 4 others I came with) and our trainers. President Taylor taught us about part of one of the lessons. The lesson was called "Teach People, Not Lessons". He outlined 4 steps and we trained on them. The 4 steps are:

Ask inspired questions.
Listen in love
Discern which way to go
Teach the doctrine

Basically, we focus on listening to the Spirit more and being comfortable with silence while we listen for what to say. AND IT'S INCREDIBLE!!!!!! Missionary work is about to get SWEEEEEEEET!!!

Also, he asked all of us to study and reconnect with our purpose as missionaries, "To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." So Elder Jackson decided to use that as we contact people and it works crazy good! People are like, "Okay, that's cool" and then we teach them a little and Elder Jackson committed a lady to baptism right there! It was INCREDIBLE! So we're going to do that more and more. The gloves are off! The gospel's comin'!!!

I think that's about it for this week. Thanks for anyone and everyone who's praying for me. Prayers are an act of faith and things happen when faith is practiced. So thanks! :) Keep true to the faith! Read the Book of Mormon!!! A lot!!! Really, A LOT!!!! It'll make you happy :)
Ok, I love you! Have a great week!

Elder Woolley

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thems is pictures right there!

A picture of Elder Jackson and I in our room.

We ran out of milk, so I can Pops cereal in V8 Splash juice, topped with blueberries and crumbled up chocolate cake. You know, for fun! I could only stomach half of it :p

And I fix bikes. A lot. It's fun though, so it's all good! :)

Another Week! MMmmmm...

Hello Family and All!

This week was fun! And hot! And sweaty! Mainly fun though :) Ok, so we've been tracting and been finding a lot of people to talk to and a few to teach. We have a family that we're teaching that we found while tracting when I first got to the mission. It's a young Army guy, his wife, and their 13-month-old son (who loves to grab/take/steal anything and everything we have when we come over, so he's fun to have around). Haha yeah, so they read 3 Nephi 11 and prayed about it like we had challenged them to do last week and they did it! They weren't sure if they had received and answer or not, so we talked a little bit about what it feels like when the Spirit gives us an answer. Elder Jackson whipped out a cool scripture (Galatians 5:22-23) about the fruits of the Spirit. So that was cool! And then we taught them the Plan of Salvation last night. They really liked how it was all broken down and whatnot. They said, "People have tried to explain all that kind of stuff, but they couldn't break it down like that." We "soft committed" them to baptism ("If you get an answer to your prayer and know what we're teaching is true, will you get baptized into our church?" something like that) and they accepted, so it's not official per se, but they're getting there!

Let's see... it's consistently 105, 106 degrees outside, so we get our daily detox everyday as we ride our bikes and tract. It's not too bad!

Speaking of bikes, I've become the "go to bike repair guy" in the mission. I've been working on my companion's bike a lot (hooray for flats!) and it's been fun to adjust our bikes and fine tune them. They're our only mode of transportation besides walking, so it's important that it's all working and working well and whatnot. Terry's Bicycle Shop (the local bike shop up the road) is now one of our favorite places. Anyway, bikes are fun :)

So to answer a few questions from my faithful readers, there are probably some interesting historical sites here, but I don't know of any yet. It doesn't really feel like the "South" down here. Some people have accents, but they aren't very heavy (most of the time). People here are genuine (no "Hey-ya, buddy! How are ya?!" kind of keeping up appearances) so I really really really like that. Even when they tell us frankly that they're a member of another church and they aren't going to change, they're genuine and respectful, so I look up to the people in general for that.

Yesterday we had dinner at a member's house (PS Last Friday, I had THE BEST ribs I have EVER had in my life! God bless America!!!). They're a young couple and the husband reminds me of Jerry Lewis. Anyway, he has a garden and told us this story:

"I was back in my garden a while back and I saw this little green ball that was growing there, so I thought, 'Oh! A cucumber!' Then it grew a little bit and I thought, 'A squash!!' Then it got even bigger and had little lines and designs and I thought, 'A WATERMELON!' Then it turned orange. A pumpkin. PSH!"

Hahahaha he was so excited during all of it and then he reached the pumpkin part and had a disappointed face. Hahahahaha it was so funny!!! It may have been one of those "you had to be there" kind of moments, but Elder Jackson and I laughed really hard. Hahahaha it's still funny!!!

OH! Here's a good story! We had one of those "An Evening with a General Authority" firesides last Saturday. Elder Stephen (maybe Steven?) L. Fluckiger of the Seventy spoke, as well as President and Sister Taylor. It was all about how we can stengthen families. One of the key things that each of them hit on was saying, "I love you" everyday to each family member, especially those who are having a rough life at the time. They all testified that doing that alone will help resolve many problems in family life. They added their testimonies to Elder Bednar's from his October 2009 General Conference talk, "More Diligent and Concerned at Home." So tell people you love them!

After the fireside, Elder Fluckiger was talking with some Sisters who had brought an investigator with them. He talked to the investigator a little bit and then asked, "So when are you going to be baptized?" The investigator responded, "I don't know." Elder Fluckiger replied, "How about next week?" "Sounds good!" Talk about bold! Haha it was awesome! I'm going to be more bold in everything now. We have the truth, we know it's the truth, and we know people need it. If they're receptive (or even if we're just talking with them at their door) might as well be bold! Of course, we'll let the Spirit guide too :)

Anyway, that's all for this week. I'll try to remember weird/crazy/funny/odd/happy/interesting stories that I can tell all of you next week. I love all of you and thanks for your thoughts and prayers in my behalf! Have a fantastic day! :)

Elder Woolley