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 :)