Monday, December 20, 2010

Weekly Letter -- 20 DEC 2010 "Robot No More!"

Hello Family, Friends, and Everyone Else (You can be my friend too!),


This week was GREAT!! Lots of fun stuff happened, especially one story that I'll tell you (even if it is a little embarassing) :)

So here's what happened:

On Friday, I was on exchanges with Elder Smith. We went and taught an investigator of ours. As we started teaching, our investigator (Brother Norman) said, "That's pre-plot! I don't want you to tell me pre-plot stuff. Just flip through the book and read whatever it lands on!" I wasn't sure what to do since we had planned on teaching about prayer (what we thought he needed). I started flipping back and forth through the pages and Elder Smith started talking with him about prayer. Brother Norman thought it was nice, but persisted that we flip through and stop on a certain page. We complied and read a random verse. I don't remember what it was, but it was a good verse and it was sort of relevant.

After a while, we started to teach him the Restoration again (since he had mentioned that "It doesn't matter what church I go to. We'll all end up in the same place). As we did taught, he said, "That's pre-plot! See? You tell me about His Church and then they all die and the table breaks into a million pieces and people start taking pieces and making churches based off of those and then you keep going. Pre-plot. I don't like pre-plot. That's why I asked you to just open the book and read whatever it lands on."

Elder Smith and I weren't sure what to say. We sat in silence for what seemed to be an eternity, and then he said something that I will NEVER forget. He said something that has changed my whole attitude on missionary work. He said something that has filled me full of life.

He said, " You know, sometimes when you're sitting there and we're talking, I feel like I'm talking to a robot."

YES! A robot! I am SO GRATEFUL that he told me that!!! What would have happened if I had gone the next 18 months teaching like a robot?!

It makes me think back on when I sold pest control door to door in Tennessee. It was in the summer of 2006 and I was trying to do my best at it. One of the managers went out with me one day and we started going door to door. I wanted to know how to be better at sales.

He told me that what usually happens is that people work and work and do their best at sales but they're still giving a canned presentation. After a while, they get really frustrated and basically say, "Forget this stuff!" and then they speak like a normal human being and they're successful!

That's what happened to me, more-or-less. I came out of that lesson thinking, "Forget all this stuff! Forget every little missionary phrase I learned! Forget these analogies that have been passed down from missionary to missionary! A robot?! I'm not going to be a robot!" Then I went out and worked, put on a BIG smile, was bold and upfront, and just TALKED. It has been GREAT!!!!!!!!!!! People respond well, we teach to their needs (more so than before), and it's effective! God bless Americans for their frankness :)

So that's the major breakthrough of the week! Also, there isn't any snow here, in case you're wondering. It's going to be in the 60's and 50's most of this week. Maybe a storm on Christmas Eve or Day, but we'll see. Surprisingly mild winter in Oklahoma this year!

Thanks for all of your prayers and support and letters and love! I love each of you and I hope everything is going well! Smile a lot! :)

Elder Woolley :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekly Letter-- 13 DEC 2010

Hello Everyone!

Merry Christmas! (it's not for a couple weeks, but it's still fun to say :) This past week has been great! We had a trainers meeting on Tuesday and then had surgery on my nose on Wednesday (so I can breathe clearly) and then went on a couple exchanges! It was a fun week!

Everything is good with Elder Cook. He's from Centerville, UT. He's a testifying machine. He's a great missionary. And he likes to play soccer :)

We had a family home evening with a member family and their non-member friends on Saturday. It was so fun! We made peanut butter pies (which consist of crust and a mixture of cream cheese, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and whipped cream). They were very delicious. I love America :)

Lately, I've been thinking about the Doctrine of Christ and it's evil brother, the "Doctrine of the Devil." I was pondering about all of the churches around here. The thought came to mind, "He who is not for me is against me" (see 2 Nephi 10:16).

The Doctrine of Christ is faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism by the Priesthood authority, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. This is the way that each and every soul can find happiness and peace in this life and the life to come. This is the way and there is no other way.

The Doctrine of the Devil may seem similar, but it is so far off. The Doctrine of the Devil is everything that isn't the Doctrine of Christ.

The Father and the Son bear witness that "they that are not for me are against me" (2 Nephi 10:16).

Jesus Christ is the way that His doctrine works. Because of what He did (the Atonement), faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism by the Priesthood authority, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end actually have some weight. I know this is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Master.

Thank you for your love, support, letters, and prayers! I love each of you a lot and I hope everything is going well! I love you! :)

Elder Woolley

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekly Letter-- 06 Dec 2010

Hello Everyone!

We went to the temple on Thursday! It was perfect! I can't wait to go to the temple a lot when I'm back home! While at the temple and afterwards, I pondered on the covenants I made there. I finally am beginning to understand the significance of the temple...maybe... :P The Spirit bore witness of the significance of the covenants and I was suddenly much more awake to what I'm doing and ought to be doing with my life. Thank heavens for the temple!

It got pretty cold here a few days ago. The high was in the 40's, but Oklahoma wind is like no other wind I've felt in my life. It's very... brisk. :)We haven't had snow here yet, but I've heard it's supposed to snow this week sometime. I'll be in Lawton at least until 2011, so we'll see what the weather is like in the upcoming weeks!

We didn't get to watch the Christmas devotional because we were at an investigator's house and they had little children to look after and put to bed around when the devotional ended. That being said, we did have a GREAT lesson there! Everyone was engaged and it was a blast!

A few days ago, we were riding our bikes around and I saw a flock of birds. They were small, agile birds and there were about 50 of them. They were flying straight and then they suddenly dropped. Then they heavily pulled up, straightened themselves, and kept flying. I've been pondering on the scene for the last few days. I don't know the science behind why a group of birds behaves like that, but it seemed to me that there must have been a singular bird that made the command decision and said (or chirped), "Let's go this way now."

From that experience, I've thought about the influence a leader can have. Any deviation in the course and the rest of the group follows. Nephi was impressed by the Spirit to kill a man because he would have led a nation into unbelief. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to exercise their own agency and decide which way they want to go, but a leader can have a heavy influence on their thoughts and beliefs.

I have to go now. I love each off you and remember, God cares :)

Elder Woolley