Monday, November 29, 2010

God Bless America and Thanksgiving!

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving! We definitely did!

Before we get into that, I have a new companion! His name is Elder Cook! He's from Centerville, UT! He's the 4th child of 5 too! He plays soccer! He's an incredible missionary!

In fact, we had a great opportunity yesterday! We got to teach a Sunday School class at First United Methodist Church of Lawton! The Sunday School director called us a couple of weeks ago and asked us if we could be a "guest program" for their class. We actually got to do it yesterday and it was great!

There were only about 10 people in the class and all except one were 60 years of age or more. It was like teaching a class full of really nice grandmas and grandpas! We were grateful that they were very respectful and friendly. We taught the message of the Restoration and also the Plan of Salvation. We gave each of them a copy of the Book of Mormon, a "Restoration" pamphlet, and a "Plan of Salvation" pamphlet. They followed along and had a lot of good questions! I think the Plan of Salvation stood out to them a lot. They also asked how we get 50,000+ young people to be missionaries. We told them, "It's because we all know it's true!" Elder Cook testified a ton about reading and praying. It was a fun experience :)

We had two dinner appointments for Thanksgiving (I love food!). The Hodgsons fed us in the early afternoon and then the Womacks fed us later on that night. We had a couple other appointments set up with members throughout the ward, so we taught them too and had a good time. Oh! We also got to play FOOTBALL! Our ward had a turkey bowl game at 8 AM and President Taylor allowed all of us to play for 2 hours as long as there was no contact involved. We played ultimate football (which is essentially ultimate frisbee with a football) and it was so fun! It was also really cold (mainly windy, but wind+humidity="interesting") so we all had a good time trying to keep blood pumping through our hands! I love this place!!!

That's all for this week. Keep being great and working hard! I love you! :)

Elder Woolley

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekly Letter - 22 Nov. 2010

Dear Everyone,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SARA/SISTER DONAKEY!!! For those of you don't know who I'm talking about, I hope you get to meet her someday! She is an incredible missionary!!! :)

Transfers are this week and.... I'm staying in Lawton!!!!! God bless America :)

This past week has been fun! Elder Norman (and some others) went home a week early to beat the Thanksgiving travel rush, so I got to spend the last week of this transfer with Elder Keil! He's originally from Samoa, but he has lived in St. George, UT since he was 9. He's been a lot of fun and we have a lot of fun experiences!

In fact, here's one! We were tracting and talked with a woman named Barb. She wasn't interested or too open about accepting the message, but we talked with her for a few minutes. Before we left we asked if we could say a prayer. She told us her name was Barb but then said, "My grandkids call me Granny, so you could pray for 'Granny' and then that would cover all the other Grannies our there too." I was going to say the prayer and was confused about what to call her, so I just started praying! As I prayed, I asked Heavenly Father to "Please bless Granny Barb" and then had to pause because she almost started laughing (well, we all almost started laughing) and then kept praying and ended it. She was smiling and was more open after the prayer and we talked a little longer. It was a great experience! All Elder Keil or I have to do is say "Granny Barb" and we start laughing. Oh, Granny Barb. Haha!

Over the weekend we went to visit another investigator, Brother Johnson. He wasn't home, but someone who was driving by stopped and said, "Hey! Are you Mormon?!" "YEAH!" we replied. As we talked, he stayed in his car which was parked in the middle of the road (it wasn't a busy road anyway). He said he just wanted to know more and wanted to get right with God. We talked a little, then tried setting up an appointment (he said he had to go soon), and then he ended up saying, "You on bikes or car?" We replied, "On car" (which I am still EXTREMELY grateful for :) He told us, "I'll give you 30 minutes. Follow me." We got in the car and followed him to his house.

As we got in and started talking, he vented about how sick of Satan he was. He was angry at himself for always falling back into drugs, alcohol, and women, and how much he wants to get everything right with God again. He pounded his fists on the ground as he kept saying over and over, "I'm so sick of him! I'm sick of that guy!" Elder Keil and I spent most of the time listening. This man (we'll call him John) expressed that he always goes to God in prayer when he needs to repent but he never thanks Him much for anything and he knows he should. We asked, "Can we do that right now?" "Yeah, let's do it," he replied. We got on our knees and he prayed. He prayed. It was so sincere. We talked a little longer and promised him that reading from the Book of Mormon everyday and praying everyday will help him gain strength to resist Satan's temptations. He was very grateful for our visit and is excited to read and pray. We were all edified and rejoiced together. :)

That's all for this week. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes and I hope the Donakeys are having a blast in Hawaii! P.S. Dad/Mom -- what do "Lani" and "Ashkii" and "Kalienuemanomano" (?) mean?

Have a great week! I love all of you very much! :)

Elder Woolley :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Weekly Letter -- 15 NOV 2010

Hello Everyone!

How is everything?! Last week was incredible! I went to a Leadership Training Meeting for 4 days and got to stay in the mission home, so that was awesome! Talk about edification! Everything is great here! Thanks for all of your love and support! Thanks for all of the Veterans Day wishes! I love each of you a lot, even if I don't know you! Have a great day and keep reading the Book of Mormon! :)

Elder Woolley

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We just finished having dinner with two of the nicest men...thought you might like another picture. These guys are the greatest...I know you are proud of each of them. We sure love them too.

~The McCollister's

Weekly Letter -- 08 NOV 2010

Dear Family, Friends, and your dogs too (if you happen to own one),

This past week was great!

Steven Gordon was baptized! After he was baptized he shared his testimony with everyone. He said, "Brothers and Sisters, I know that the Church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know the Bible is true, King James Version. And I know the Church is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." He's 13 years old and stands five feet tall, but he was a giant of a man as he testified. I'm not sure how to explain what it was like other than his spirit was magnified and it filled the whole room, especially immediately around him. It seemed like he was eight feet tall. It was like watching a prophet testify. I'm deeply grateful that I get to be a part of his life. I love him a lot.

Yesterday, I felt a little overwhelmed with everything (it happens) and decided to figure out how to not be overwhelmed. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple in nature, when it comes down to it. "Well," I thought, "then what are the one or two things I need to know and go back to? What are the things that, if I only focus on them, will take care of everything else, more or less?" I pondered for a while and then THE question came. "Is Jesus the Christ?" In my opinion, that is the question of questions. A closely related one would be, "Is the Book of Mormon true?" Those two questions feed into each other. If Jesus is the Christ, the Book of Mormon is true. If the Book of Mormon is true, Jesus is the Christ. And if those are both true, then we know exactly what we need to do, say, and think. If Jesus is the Christ, then we know why we should pay our tithing, fast, read scriptures, repent, pray, etc. If the Book of Mormon is true then Jesus is the Christ, and if Jesus is the Christ then everything He says, goes.

It makes me think of a quote my mother had put on our fridge. As she would cut my hair in the kitchen (in my earlier years) I would look at the quotes on the fridge. One of them was a cut-out from a newspaper column. I've forgotten the name, but it was an "Ask Suzy" column (supposedly, she held a world record for "Highest IQ" or something to that effect). One reader wrote in and asked, "What is the most powerful concept in the universe and why?" Suzy responded, "Truth. Because whether you like it or not, there isn't a thing you can do about it."

Jesus is the Christ IS the Truth, so what else matters?

He gave us two great commandments. Only two things we need to focus on in this life and the eternities. They are: 1) Love God, and 2) Love your neighbor. All other commandments point to those two. I felt the Spirit immediately comfort me when I came to a realization of this simple truth. When we hold up our thoughts, words, and actions up to the light of, "Does this express love for God and/or my neighbor?" then it's easy to discern and decide what to think, say, or do. I love the gospel. :)

That's all for this week. I hope you're okay with just reading my personal spiritual growth every week. I'm not sure what to write about a lot of the time and the gospel is always a worthwhile topic. :)

I love all of you! Mom, you're the best ever!!!! Don't forget it!!! I love you!!! :)

Elder Woolley

PS I just remembered something fun that happened this week! We had dinner at the Stringhams' again and they had a HUGE bowl of candy. It was all of their kids' consolidated candy. Anyway, one of their boys ate 27 pieces of candy in a half hour, so they dared me to break the record. So I did. 30 pieces of candy. And a funny feeling stomach. And a huge sugar high. And a huge sugar crash.

Oh, to be eight again :)

Monday, November 1, 2010



Bro. Revilla...funniest quiet guy ever!

Come, Let Us Anew

Dear You,

Come, let us anew our journey pursue,
Roll round with the year,
And never stand still till the Master appear.
His adorable will let us gladly fulfill,
And our talents improve,
By the patience of hope and the labor of love,
By the patience of hope and the labor of love.

Our life as a dream, our time as a stream
Glide swiftly away,
And the fugitive moment refuses to stay;
For the arrow is flown and the moments are gone.
The millennial year,
Presses on to our view and eternity's here,
Presses on to our view and eternity's here.

Oh, that each in the day of His coming may say,
"I have fought my way through;
I have finished the work thou didst give me to do."
Oh, that each from his Lord may receive the glad word:
"Well and faithfully done;
Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne;
Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne."

This week was great! We set some new goals and committed through prayer and the Lord has blessed us richly and opened up doors!
Last night, we had a lesson at a member's house with one of their friends, Sam. It went very well! The work here is burning stronger and stronger and the Lord will provide as we all do our part! This is fun! :)

This week, I realized that Elder Gene R. Cook's old "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" BYU devotional has changed my life. Believe, commit, and do it! Missionary work is so incredible! I hope all of you are reading and studying "Preach My Gospel" because if you aren't, you definitely should! That's my advice, at least! :)

That's all for this week. Oh! Just kidding!

When Elder and Sister Zwick were here, Sister Zwick talked about the importance of asking questions. That's basically how we teach now: asking inspired questions. I think I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but she said that Elder Bednar doesn't go to the temple to get all of the answers to his questions, but he does to find the right questions. Questions are so important! Next time you think you completely understand something ask yourself a question. For instance, with repentance, you could say that a step to repentance is to "Identify that what you're doing is wrong" and then leave it at that or you could ask yourself, "How can I tell if what I'm doing is wrong?" or "Why does is matter if I identify that what I'm doing is wrong?" and let the vitally important pondering process begin (as President Eyring talked about last conference). Questions are where spiritual growth comes from. Questions are inherently progressive. Joseph Smith had a question. How has Joseph Smith's question effected your life? :)

I love you! Thank you for all of your support and prayers and love and letters and happy thoughts! I hope all of you have a great week! The church is true! Jesus is the Christ. Let us go on in the work He has sent us to do! This isn't the work of the full-time missionaries only! ;)

Elder Woolley