Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekly Letter -- 18 JULY 2011

Dear Everyone,

Hello! What's life like there?! Life is spectacular here! I remember glancing at a TV screen the other day while the weather man was showing the next 7 days. Everyday was "Sunny!" and temperatures of 105, 103, 107, 105, 106, 104, 103. Some are calling this the "Great Drought of 2011." It's pretty toasty :) I'm just glad we a car!!! :) :) :)

Our ward is getting more and more into missionary work. A couple of investigators showed up to church yesterday and people were introducing themselves. It was awesome! Our bishop, Bishop Davis, is really big about members teaching with us, so we're expecting more of that to happen soon.

I remember listening to a General Conference talk this past week. I can't remember which talk it was, but it was about the Atonement. The Elder said something like, "The Savior chose to experience pain in mortality in order to better understand us. Perhaps we need to experience the depths of mortality to better understand Him." This means that our trials are opportunities to get to know the Savior more. Our trials are there to help us grow and understand and be patient and humble. I'm glad God gives us trials. I'm grateful for my own trials, because I always learn something that I probably couldn't learn any other way.

I think that's it for this week. I'll try to get more stuff to write about next week. Thanks for all of your love and prayers and goodness! :) Love ya! :)

Elder Woolley

Oklahomans love their trucks!

A Yoo-hoo cooler!!!!! What could be cooler than a Yoo-hoo cooler?!?!

'Nuf said.

We ate these tiny peppers (called pequin peppers) at a member's home yesterday. It was HOT HOT HOT!!! I had to get up and walk around and drink milk and wait a few hours before the burning finally went away. Good stuff! :)

Weekly Letter -- 11 JULY 2011

Hello Everyone!

How's it going? Fun fact about Oklahoma: this past week, Oklahoma was the hottest place in America! A few days ago, it was a new level of "HOT!" Yeah, it was really hot here, but I guess that means more all-natural sweat detox! Good stuff! :)

We had a baptism on Saturday! His name is Brother Eddie Johnson. He's about 50 years old and is really firm in the gospel. It was cool to hear him talk with other members after his baptismal service. They'd say stuff like, "Oh! You used to go to that Baptist church over there? I used to go there too!" Hahaha it's fun to be around so many converts from the big melting pot of Christian religions that make up Oklahoma. So that was a good time :)

We also had an awesome show on Friday! It was "Weaving the Tapestry of Faith through the Heartland." The youth from all 7 stakes in Oklahoma had a youth conference this past weekend and part of it was a free show in the Lloyd Noble Center (OU's basketball arena). We've been giving tickets to people and promoting over the past few weeks. It was a huge show (over 900 youth participated in various ways!). It was full of singing and dancing and Preston Taylor! Preston is President and Sister Taylor's son (I think he's 16), and he can sing like it's nobody's business. He had a solo and sang, "I'm Proud to Be an American." It was AWESOME! Anyway, I'm pretty sure everyone in Oklahoma knows who he is by now because no one else can sing like he can. So that was cool!

The big lesson I learned this week was about trials (the God-given type, not the type that we sometimes bring upon ourselves through disobedience or being unwise). I learned that trials are opportunities in disguise.

Growth can only come after and through opposition (a muscle cannot grow stonger unless it is worked out first). If we were to go through life without trials, what would we learn? How could we grow? And so, life is full of trials.

When the trials come, there are a few ways of reacting to them. The first way is to rely on our own strength, or "the arm of the flesh." When we do this, we use our own understanding, reasoning, and intelligence to work out a solution to our problem. We try out different methods of relief. We do what we can to make it all seem less painful. When we only do this method, not much is learned (if anything), there is little growth (if any growth at all), and at the end of the trial, we are exactly the same way we were before, if not worse.

Another way of dealing with trials is to turn to God. We turn to God, hearken to His word, and do His will. That's right! TURNHEARKENDO! Instead of focusing solely on relieving the pain that has been caused by the trial, the focus turns to God. We continue to do everything He has asked us to, even if it seems contrary to what would relieve the pain.

Perhaps the test isn't only to see if we'll turn to God for help when a trial comes, but if we will continue to turn to God throughout our trial. (It's "Endure to the End" on a smaller level).

Here's the way I imagine it: If we rely on the arm of the flesh, we don't really get anything out of it except a lot of pain. If we turn to God, it's as if God is standing a little down the road with a big slice of "Atonement" to give us. If we make it down the road, He gives us the slice of "Atonement," which not only heals us but exalts us and makes us more. And so, trials are opportunities to take advantage of the Atonement on a deeper level than we could otherwise. When we take advantage of the Atonement, we grow more than we could otherwise. I'm convinced that God often gives us trials to correct our character flaws. He loves us :)

I also learned that God answers prayers through other people. I've had multiple prayers answered through other people lately, and it's neat to see how it all works.

That's all for this week. Thanks for all the prayers and love! I love you! :)

Elder Woolley

A group of youth from the OKC South stake (my stake). Preston is standing front and center (the tall one). He looks a lot like President Taylor.

Elder Goodrich, Elder Glazier, Brother Johnson, and Me

Weekly Letter -- 05 July 2011 "God Bless America!"

Hello Everyone!

God Bless America!!!!

That's all for this week!

Just kidding! ;)

I can't even remember what happened this past week. Something super-cool was that we got permission to stay out till 11 PM last night so we could watch fireworks. It was AWESOME! In Oklahoma, July 4=BBQ! Altogether, yesterday, I ate 3 hamburgers, a bratwurst, a couple of cups of potato salad, A LOT of Doritos, some BBQ chips, a few deviled eggs, and some good blue drink (any kind of juice/mix is _____ drink (it depends on the color)). It was good :)

Yesterday, we went to downtown OKC to go to a few things. We went to the Botanical Gardens. There's a thing called the Crystal Bridge. It's basically a huge bridge/tube where they grow a whole bunch of exotic plants and have waterfalls and walkways through it all. It was really cool! Probably like being in the Philippines ;) Here are some pictures of it.

"It's SO HOT!"

"Ancient Nephite ruins!!!!"

We also went to the OKC Bombing Memorial. It was a reverent experience. There are rows of chairs that represent where the people who died would have been sitting when the bombing happened. I felt like I was walking on sacred ground as I looked at all of the chairs. I felt gratitude for this nation. I felt gratitude for the freedoms we have and the value that freedom has in the hearts of Americans and people everywhere. I love freedom. God bless America :)
The OKC Bombing Memorial

The Chairs

The somber reading at the entrance of the OKC Bombing Memorial

Playing the Ukulele


The people we watched fireworks had chickens, so we had fun chasing them around and trying to catch them while the food was cooking on the grill. :)

This past week, I remember listening to a talk by Elder Nelson from this last general conference. From listening to it, I learned that there are two ways to go through trials: God's way, or by "the arm of the flesh." God gives us trials and circumstances to give us an opportunity to choose His way or to go by the arm of the flesh. So trials=opportunities. Maybe that's how it works in the way of the gospel. When God wants to give us greater opportunities (for our own growth and/or the growth of others), He gives us greater trials. It's interesting. The Gospel at first seems to be a giant paradox. I suppose that's what makes it such an adventure. :)

That's all for this week. THANK YOU for all of your prayers and fasts and letters and everything. I love all of you!!! :)

Elder Woolley :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekly Letter!! - 27 June 2011

Hi Everyone!

This is going to be a short one! I'm going to bullet point things and then you can fill in the blanks. Ready, GO!!!

-I held a chameleon for the first time! They have crazy tongues and it felt cool to put it on my head.
-Chocolate shakes at Sonic are delicious!
-Talked with a Vietnamese guy last night. He was a POW and was able to come to America because he knew John McCain! Cool, huh?!
-Didn't see any fireflies this last week, but I'll be on the lookout!
-Great Value strawberry yogurt in a 2 pound tub=delicious with anything.
-Food is good
-It's 105 degrees today (and it's humid). God bless America :)
-4th of July is new week!!! WOOO!!!!
-I hit my year mark this Thursday (Get trunky!!!!! jk ;)
-Life is good :)
-I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful. Say it with me! "I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful." Isn't that better? ;)

I gotta go now cause a whole bunch of missionaries are waiting for me. Love ya! :)
Elder Woolley :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekly Email -- 20 June 2011

Hello Everyone!!!

the turtle we found while cleaning up in a field

We had transfers and I'm in the OKC 2nd ward now!!! It's awesome!!! It's full of "experienced" people, so it's like serving around a whole bunch of grandmas and grandpas!! Sweet, huh?! I'm in a threesome, so my new companions are Elder Glazier (from American Fork, UT) and Elder Goodrich (from Roosevelt, UT). Elder Glazier trained Elder Goodrich last transfer, and Elder Glazier goes home at the end of this transfer, so in our companionship we have a new missionary (Elder Goodrich), one that's half-way (me), and one that's about to go home (Elder Glazier). It's awesome!

We went to the zoo last Monday! It was awesome! There were a couple of elephants with a baby elephant. They were cool. My favorite part was watching the sea otters swim around. They were so graceful and it was beautiful. It was like watching an underwater dance. I'm a fan of the otter :)

Saturday, we did more tornado cleanup! I tell you what, those tornadoes are a force to be reckoned with! Cleaning up from a tornado takes a long, long time! The house we helped clean up belongs to the neice of one of the senior missionaries that works in the office. It was a good time :)

Yesterday, in Elders Quorum, we talked about the role a father has in the gospel. I learned that it's the father's responsibility to make sure the gospel "happens" in his home. So he's the one who makes sure FHE, family prayer, family scripture study, etc. happen. That was cool to learn about.

We also taught some recently-baptized kids yesterday. They're the son and daughter of a couple who are both converts of about 5 years (he was Baptist, she was Apostolic). They're the Partons. The kids names are Elisha (8 years old) and Leila (9 years old). We taught them the Restoration. It was fun to try to keep their attention! When we talked about the Book of Mormon, the idea came to mind, "Sing 'Book of Mormon Stories!'" So we did! They didn't know it, so we sang it once (complete with hand actions) and then sang it again while they did the hand actions with us. It was awesome! The kids were much more alive after that. Good times :) Elisha prayed at the end of the lesson and it was nice to hear a child pray again--they're so good at it!

That's all for this week. Thanks for all of your prayers and good wishes and letters and whatnot. Love ya! :)


Elder Woolley :)
the house we helped clean up

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekly Letter -- 13 June 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

WELCOME HOME, SARA!!!!!! :) :) :)

Life is good in Oklahoma :) We're going to the zoo today! It's going to be awesome! I'm going to try to pet a monkey (only not really, because it'd probably bite my fingers off). The last zoo I went to was... ? Anyway, zoos are good. And that's what's going on in Oklahoma!

Just kidding! Transfers are coming up next week, so it'll be fun to see what happens with that. I promise I'll write more soon. The past few weeks have been... interesting :) so life is good :)

Love ya! :)

Elder Woolley

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weekly Letter -- 07 June 2011

Hi Everyone! :)

This is going to be a short letter, probably. Really, I'm practicing writing short letters. You know, it's for fun. :)

We did more tornado clean up last Saturday. There's another stake-wide service project this Saturday for the affected areas. It's crazy. We could work all day and it seems like we'd only make a dent in it.

The gospel is good. Live it :)

Elder Woolley

PS Thank you for writing to me. I'm sorry for not always responding quickly. Life is busy. :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011




SO! We had a lot of tornadoes in Oklahoma on Tuesday!!! Let me tell you the story!!!

It was Tuesday, and the leaders of the mission and a few others were in Moore, OK for a leadership training meeting at the stake center there. The meeting was going well, and then in the early afternoon, President Taylor was talking to us, stopped, and told everyone to get ahold of all of the missionaries in the mission. A big storm was on the way from the west. As missionaries were doing that, President Taylor had his phone out and showed myself and a couple other missionaries what the radar looked like through Oklahoma. Basically, it was a line of storms running north and south through Oklahoma, moving from the west to the east (basically, it was sweeping Oklahoma from left to right, with tornadoes and stuff along the way). Once all of the missionaries in the mission were accounted for, we all knelt together and President Taylor offered a prayer.

After continuing the meeting for another 10 or 15 minutes, President Taylor said, "We need everyone to get in the hall." We all filed out of the chapel into the hall next to the restrooms. The storm was headed our way. There was a reported tornado touchdown a few miles away from the stake center and if the storm continued it's course, it'd plow right into the stake center. We all went into the girls bathroom (the safest place in a stake center (who would've thought?!)) and waited. It was a pretty good time! We were all talking and coming up with possible outcomes of our situation. After about 10 minutes, we were allowed to go back into the hall. It was around dinner time and thankfully, the Mazios guy showed up with our pizza!!! I tell you what: if you ever want pizza in an environment full of tornadoes, call Mazios! They are hardcore about their pizza!!!!

We all sat in the hall and ate pizza as President and Sister Taylor and the Assistants to the President were in the lobby, monitoring what the storm was like outside while listening to a storm radio. We were allowed to go 2 at a time to the lobby to see what the storm was like. As I was standing near the hall at the edge of the lobby, I looked outside and watched the rain come down. The storm seemed to have weakened and there wasn't a whole lot of rain coming down. Suddenly, as we watched through the lobby doors, sheets and sheets of rain started pouring down and sideways. President Taylor yelled, "Everyone get in the bathroom NOW!!"

We all got in the bathroom and waited. I was standing next to President Taylor and Elder Ellsworth (one of the Assistants to the President). Elder Ellsworth was holding the storm radio while President Taylor was looking at his phone. The storm was right over us. If a tornado would have formed, it would've been a bad day. We stayed in the bathroom, listening to the chatter on the storm radio. It was a little unnerving, listening to the radio. There were a couple of weather people giving the updates on all of the areas. I remember vividly one of them saying, "Paul's Valley. Paul's Valley. We have a tornado warning for Paul's Valley. Abandon all trailer homes. Seek shelter now." (P.S. a tornado watch means there's possibility of a tornado forming; a tornado warning means one has already been sighted). I remember thinking, "We have missionaries is Paul's Valley!" Thankfully, all of the missionaries were in shelter and okay.

After the storm settled, we were allowed to go back into the hall. A little bit later, the "all clear" was given for Moore. We ended the meeting a little early and President Taylor gave us the instructions for helping people out (doing tornado service). Everyone got gloves for all of the missionaries in the mission and then we headed home. Norman wasn't hit, thankfully. Supposedly, there's a tale that a long time ago, a Native American man buried a hatchet and blessed the land against tornadoes. There's also a river near here, so that helps too.

All of this happened on Tuesday, and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we went to Newcastle, OK to help clean up. There were some houses that had good chunks of their roof completely gone. One family we helped had a trailer that was completely demolished (see attached pictures). There were HUGE trees that were uprooted and tossed around. When I saw the trees, that's when it hit me. I thought, "Wind did this?" It's mindblowing that the sheer force from powerful wind could completely uproot a 75-100 foot tall tree. The wife of the family who had the trailer; she was still in a little bit of shock. We asked how we could help. She had a hard time specifying what she wanted cleaned up immediately, so we just helped pick up the wood from the frame of their trailer and really big branches and things. She wanted to wait to sort out the belongings that she still had. It was sad.

Another time, we were at the city tornado shelter where the Red Cross was stationed with food and things for the people who were affected by the tornadoes. We had just finished up for the day and were walking outside when a lady with a large, black garbage bag was walking outside. She looked worn out, so we helped her with her things. Some old guy, not knowing the whole situation or spending time to evaluate it himself, jokingly remarked with a wink, "Ah, you don't have to spoil her!" As we walked outside, she said, "My house just got leveled. I think it's okay if I get spoiled a little bit right now."

And so, the Norman Stake has organized service projects for the Newcastle/Blanchard area and we will be going out again this Saturday to help again.

I'm glad the gospel is here. I'm glad the Church is here. Priesthood leadership is so awesome! In behalf of anyone and everyone here in Oklahoma, thanks for your prayers and good wishes.

And God bless America!!!!

Elder Woolley

The first people we helped on Thursday got hit pretty bad.

This is/was the trailer we were helping pick up. Off to the left (outside of the picture) the family was sleeping in a tent. All of the boards and things in the picture are from the trailer. Where the trailer stood, there is only torn up cement, nothing else.

That's what it looks like when a tornado goes through.

Bad focus on the pic, but these are some of the trees that were uprooted

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekly Letter -- 23 MAY 2011

Dear Everyone,

This week was good. Everything is going well out here. I don't have a lot of time. The church is true. Read the Book of Mormon. Love everyone, no matter what.

That's all for now. Love ya!

Elder Woolley

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Pictures!

The Youngbull family from Elk City (Leslie and Eagle Soldier (aka Frankie) with their kids,
Halona (the girl) and Lakota (the boy).

The Thackers (Dan and Sharon) from Elk City (SO AWESOME!!!)

An oil rig off of I-40 that we saw when we were going to OKC for transfers

Oklahoma has the craziest clouds

We ate at a place called "Taste of India" in Norman. It was REALLY GOOD! And the flat bread made me want to go back to Afghanistan (yes, it's possible to miss the country I was once at war in)

Weekly Letter - 16 May 2011



This week has been great! My new companion is Elder Timoteo (originally from American Samoa, now in Seattle, WA). Here's why Elder Timoteo is awesome: A) because he's always happy, B) because he is very good at communicating openly with love (which is something I'm going to learn a lot about from him), C) he's Samoan, D) he likes to work hard and he knows how to clean things, E) he can do the haka (and he's good at it), F) he can hula (but he hasn't done it for me yet), G) he smiles a lot, and H) he's a fearless OYM-er. I am Elder Timoteo's 14th companion!! He goes home in December and has never been with a companion for more than a transfer for his entire mission. Basically, Elder Timoteo is awesome and it's no wonder he's had so many companions--everyone has to wait their turn to work with him and learn from him!

I finished reading the Book of Mormon a couple of days ago. This time, I marked the references to the Godhead, the Atonement, and the doctrine of Christ (the whole mission has been doing it). It was awesome :) Moroni's promise is still true. Reading through it has made me ponder about what to study now and for the rest of my life. I remember President Taylor once that his family studied "For the Strength of Youth" for a year and I got thinking, "What if I studied 'Faith in Jesus Christ' for a whole year? and then went through the rest of the principles of the doctrine of Christ for a year each, making a 5-year personal study plan for after my mission?" I've still got some time to think about it, but I look forward to personal study for the rest of my life.

Something I discovered yesterday, the Norman 4th ward is INSANE!!!! (Insane in a good way). Everyone here is connected to their purpose and it's AWESOME!!! I've never seen anything like it! We're walking through church, people are asking, "Hey, did that get done?" People are volunteering to help each other out. It's crazy. I have never in my life been in a ward that even comes close to the "connectedness" that the Norman 4th ward has. We have a baptismal candidate, Harrison Hipp, that is 13 years old. The young men and their leaders are reaching out to him a ton and coming to lessons with us. Now I understand why everyone calls Norman, "The Promised Land". If I ever live in Oklahoma again, Norman would be the choice place (I haven't seen much of the rest of Oklahoma, but Norman is awesome). It's also the home of the OU Sooners. The town shuts down when OU football is going on, so if I'm still here when football season starts I'll get to experience it myself!

That's all for now!!! I'll fill you in on awesome stories as they come along. Thanks for the prayers and love and support! I love all of you! :)

Elder Woolley

Pictures from May 2 - Elk City

It rained a lot and started hailing a little bit too! (it was just little hail, so it wasn't bad)

Me, on our patio, in the rain. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weekly Letter -- 09 MAY 2011



Happy day-after-Mother's Day to all of the mothers (present or future) out there!

Guess what?! I'm getting transferred!!! Sad day? Yeah. Happy day? Yeah. Exciting? YEP!
I'm going to Norman, which is the home of the OU Sooners (football!!!!!). It'll be a party! So today I have to pack, which means this is going to be REALLY short.

This last week:
Youngbull wedding/baptism was postponed so more family members could make it. Sad? Yeah, but they're still solid.
I ate Braum's frozen yogurt (SOOOOO GOOD!!! You should come to Oklahoma just to eat at Braum's. Yeah, I'm talking to YOU!)
Elder Garner and I got Yoo-Hoo (the 16.9 ounce glass bottle kind (the best kind) at a gas station in Burns Flat, OK).
We ate more food (for some reason, the only thing that comes to mind right now is "food").

I have to pack!!!!

Today, tomorrow, and always:
Thanks for your prayers, love, and support!!! I love you!!!

I gotta go!!! I LOVE YOU!!! :)


Elder Woolley :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekly Letter - 2 May 2011


First item of business, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARY DONAKEY!!

Second item of business, Osama bin Laden is dead. That's really crazy. I'm not going to get into politics or too deep into all of it, but needless to say, I think every military member and their families are VERY relieved that this has finally happened. I know I am!

Third item of business, the gospel is true. That's what makes it work so well! :)

Forth item of business, Oklahoma has crazy weather. It's been the driest Spring in a long time, so a couple of weeks ago, the bishop announced that the Stake was going to join in fasting for rain. So yesterday, as we woke up and looked outside, it was raining! So yeah, fasting works. I give it two thumbs up :)

Fifth item of business, Oklahomans love BBQ. That's why I love Oklahoma. Actually, I love Oklahoma for a lot of reasons, but especially because of BBQ. The second counselor in our stake presidency, Pres. Curtis Crane, lives in Oklahoma City but drives out to Elk City once a week for work. He took us out to dinner at a place called the Hog Trough. All I can say is that they have some good ribs. Big, hefty, delicious ribs :)

Sixth item of business, I'm trying to think of something spiritual to say, but I'm stuck on those ribs now. They really were that good!

Seventh item of business, we should be having a baptism in the next couple of weeks (Elk City's first since the area opened in January). It's a part-member family and they're really awesome!

Eighth item of business, if any of you haven't met my family, you have to! They're awesome!

Ninth item of business, my favorite thing to do out here (or at least one of my favorite things to do) is to tell people I know the Book of Mormon is true. People just can't mess with that!

Tenth item of business, we had zone conference on Friday. It was a good time and an all-day event for us (since we have to drive to and from Elk City).

Eleventh item of business, I'm sure a lot of missionaries think this about their mission president, but my mission president is THE BEST! I just wanted to let you know that :) If you ever get a chance to meet President Nolan Taylor (whether he's still "President" or not) take it! He's knows his stuff and he's basically like Moroni. "If all man had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto [President Taylor]... the devil would NEVER have power over the hearts of the children of men." (emphasis added) :)

Twelfth item of business, I think this is all for this week. Transfers are in 10 days, so I'll find out next Sunday if/where I'm getting transferred.

Thirteenth item of business, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY NEXT SUNDAY!!! Moms are awesome.

Gotta go now. Love ya! :) Thanks for your letters!

Elder Woolley

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekly Letter 25 Apr 2011

Dear Everyone,

HAPPY EASTER!!! I listened to Rob Gardner's "Lamb of God" to celebrate. And also, people fed us a lot of food (which is always a good thing in Oklahoma--BBQ!)

This past week was grand. (If you say "grand" slowly and with a British accent, that's the kind of "grand" written.)

Steve Moon is progressing and went from thinking that he couldn't REALLY quit smoking to "I think I could quit in a month." He is the near-perfect example of someone with a "broken heart and contrite spirit" and also becoming "as a little child." He came to church again yesterday and slept through a little part of it, but that was okay. We're hoping that as he receives the Holy Ghost in his life more and more, that he'll be able to make better life decisions and attain the independence in life that he desires. Elder Palmer (one of our Zone Leaders) also taught someone that had a slight mental condition that seemed to go away completely as he got into the gospel, so we have good hopes for Steve!

We were going to get a ride to church with a part-member family yesterday, but as we met them at their house, the member was gone! His girlfriend said he never came home last night, so yesterday, as we went about our normal work, we were also detectives. It was pretty fun! Long story short: the member is with his "bad influence" cousin in OKC for the weekend and they're probably back in town now. The things that happen as a missionary.

Here's a good story! It's a testimony about sticking to plans that are made while under the influence of the Holy Ghost.

As Elder Garner and I doing our weekly planning, we go through each step, writing down everything that we need to for each person, and then we plot down when we're going to see that person that week. The idea originally came from Elder Soto, who had a paper he taped into his planner each week that had a schedule for the whole week. Then Sister Grant and Sister Jenson had the idea to copy the Week 7 page from the planner and tape it in on Weekly Goals page each week. So along with our list of investigators to attend sacrament meeting, less-active members, etc, we have an overview of our schedule for the week. As we list the people we want to see that week, we plan on exactly when we're going to see them.

So, 10 days ago, as Elder Garner and I weekly planned, we planned to stop by Sister Weaver's house at 3 PM the following Saturday (being 2 days ago). We stuck with our plans and she pulled up to her house just as we were about to get there. We waved at her getting out of the car, stopped the truck, and went over to talk with her. We then got to talk with her a little bit about Craig (her love interest/an investigator of ours) and talk about the temple and some other stuff.

Basically, it was the perfect situation! She pulled in. We waved. We stopped. We talked with her. It wasn't us randomly knocking on her door and trying to get a conversation started about Craig. It was natural, casual, and just perfect! The rest of the day, Elder Garner kept saying, "I can't believe we planned for her 10 days ago, and SHE WAS THERE!" Hahaha good times, good times. I found more and more that the way to find out if our plans are being lead by the Spirit is to follow them exactly as we wrote them down. It's a John 7:17 thing. Do the will, know the doctrine. Awesome!!

I've been really enjoying my time here in Elk City. I love it like crazy! Maybe it's because I get to drive a truck around. Maybe it's because people who barely even know us will buy us lunch (it's only happened once, but still!). Maybe it's because everyone here is really friendly and they all wave at each other! (Utah readers--take note: WAVE AT PEOPLE! ;) I don't know what it is, but I love this place, I love the people here, and I LOVE OKLAHOMA!!! Also, I love BBQ. A lot :) and the longer I stay here in Oklahoma, the more I love it! God bless America! :)

That's all, folks! Love ya! Thanks for the prayers and goodness! :)

Elder Woolley :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

This Week's Pictures

We went to the NATIONAL Route 66 Museum last Monday! Good thing it happens to be in Elk City, OK!
Get 'em good water at the well!


"I'm goin' off on to the big city!"

68 MPH winds on Friday in Elk City and Clinton (this was in Clinton)

I took this mainly for my hair, which is slightly poofier than normal.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekly Letter 18-Apr-2011

A lot of good stuff happened this week, so I'm just going to get right to it!

On Monday, an appointment fell through and so we tried a couple of potential investigators. We had a potential investigator, Steve, who Elder Kimber and I saw a few weeks before whil on exchanges and it seemed like he was going to get dropped. So, for whatever reason, we went to Steve's again. He invited us in and we started talking.

He started out by telling us that we showed up at the perfect time. He said his conscience was telling he's guilty and he wanted to change and follow the truth but he didn't know HOW to do it. During our conversation, he said something like, "So you two are like Jesus, if He were here right now. And I should do what you say because it's going to help me." We were both astounded and said, "Yeah! That's exactly right! We're going to teach you the exact things Jesus would teach you if He were here." After we invited him to be baptized, he said, "As I understand it, I'm supposed to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." Here is a 49 year-old man who most people would be scared to talk with (he has some ragged, dirty clothes) and he understands the Bible more than 95% of the preachers in Oklahoma. Oh, that's another thing he said: "I think there's a difference in knowing the Bible and UNDERSTANDING the Bible." He is GOLDEN! We're just helping him quit smoking and then he'll be okay.

Yesterday at church, we had 5 investigators come! They were: Brother and Sister Thacker, Steve, Leslie Youngbull (wife of a part-member family) and Craig Richardson (a member referral). Steve liked how everyone was so friendly! Everyone else liked it too! Especially the Thackers! We saw them at 3 PM yesterday and talked about what they thought of church. They LOVED it! They felt that everyone was there because they genuinely wanted to follow Jesus Christ. Also, my testimony of using a Progess Record was strengthened! Here's how the story goes:

A few weeks ago (the week before General Conference), we had a PEC meeting and talked about the people on the progress record we had prepared for the meeting. We told them the Thackers were planning on coming to a session of General Conference, most likely the Sunday morning session. So the Bishop and everyone knew who Dan and Sharon Thacker were. Before the Sunday morning session of General Conference started, Brother Thacker showed up! The Bishop greeted him and our ward mission leader and a couple others introduced themselves to Bro Thacker. Yesterday, about an hour before church started, we asked our ward mission leader to notify some of the ward members about the investigators that were coming to church. When the Thackers came to church, our Bishop and ward mission leader said Hi to them and called them by name. When we visited with the Thackers yesterday, Bro Thacker was VERY impressed that people remembered his name, even after a few weeks of not seeing him. He brought it up 3 or 4 times during our visit and they definitely plan on coming to church more! HOORAY FOR PROGRESS RECORDS!!!

Yesterday, we also visited the Youngbull family. They're a small, young family. The husband and wife are Eagle (aka "Frankie") and Leslie, who are both only 20 years old or so. The have two kids, who are 2 and 3 years old. We've been working with them, helping them get into the habit of reading and praying together. They've got the praying part down, but haven't started reading. We emphasized again the importance of reading daily from the scriptures to build our faith and keep it strong. After a few minutes of that, Frankie started pouring out his soul to us about how when he was younger he wanted to be missionaries like us, but now he can't, and also about a lot of his past struggles in life. They committed to read one verse a day, just to get them into the habit of reading daily.

The real lesson for me, however, came as Elder Garner and I biked away from the Youngbulls' apartment. We talked about how the visit went and then Elder Garner said, "Now we just have to get him to open up to God the same way he opened up to us." I thought about what he had just said and wondered, "Do I need to do the same thing?" I began analyzing what my prayers have been like and discovered that lately, I've fallen into some routine prayers. I decided that I need to open up to God, too, and just tell Him how I feel and why. I love being a missionary :)

That's all for this week! I love all of you and thanks to those who have written letters and ESPECIALLY to those who have sent packages!!! You're awesome!!!

Elder Woolley :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Elk City pictures

Sheb Wooley is from a town called Erick which is in my area (about 20 miles west of Elk City, just along I-40). Relative? I'm not sure. Cowboy star? Definitely :)
A sign with some wise advice. It was in the Rafter T restaurant in Erick, OK.
A mailbox!!! It's a scaled-down version of the oil rigs that are all over the place out here. Good ol' oil country! (or "ole country" as the natives say it)
All of us went to a ranch south of Delhi, OK in "the Breaks" (barren land that can't be farmed on). These are the 4 Elders in our district (from left: me, Elder Kimber, Elder Garner (my comp), Elder Teisina)
Some cows started running along side us. Cool stuff :)
We got a little lost on a bike ride the other day. Actually, the map we had was just a little funny. BUT we had an awesome ride through some pretty farmland! (Elk City is a few miles behind me in the picture).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekly Letter -- 11 APR 2011

Hello Everyone!!!

Happy Birthday, Becky Donakey!!!

First, we'll start off by answering some questions!

How many people do you have who come to church?
We have about 80 people at church, on average. Our ward boundaries includes 5,000 square miles of western Oklahoma, so there are members strewn across the whole lot of it. There aren't a whole lot of active members in our area (probably 3 or 4), so we do a lot of less-active work.

What's the church like there on Sundays?
Church is great! Since it's a small ward, everyone knows each other and is friendly with each other. Just like it should be :)

Is there a local leader or are you the leadership?
There's a bishop and counselors.

What about the Relief Society and the YW/YM and Primary?
The Relief Society probably has a dozen women in it, maybe. There are about 6 Young Women of various ages, and about 3 or 4 Young Men that consistently come to church. There are a good number of Primary kids (20 or so?). And they're just crazy (but that's what kids do, right?)

How often do the other Elders come out and do splits?
Once a week, maybe. Most of the active members live in Clinton or Weatherford (which are 30 minutes and 60 minutes away, respectively), so it's a little more of a challenge to have it happen here. There's a less-active member who will go to teaching appointments with us, though, so we try to have him come out with us without burning him out.

Comments/concerns/questions? Please email us at ;)

So this last week was great!

I've been listening to "The Lamb of God" lately. It's about the final days of Christ's ministry and His Atonement. I'm very grateful for music. Music makes Christ's mission and ministry come alive like no other way.

One of our investigators, Cheyenne, has lived with a less-active member, Jeremy, for the past year or two. She has been investigating for about a year and a half, has a deep testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, etc, and has been so close to getting baptized for a long while now. There have two things that have been holding her back: smoking, and living with a person she isn't married to. A few days ago, one of those obstacles was overcome.

Elder Garner and I were in the apartment eating lunch on Saturday when we got a 3-page-long text message from Cheyenne. It read:

"I'm sorry I haven't called. Things are really rough for me right now. I have left Jeremy and am staying wherever I can. I cannot stay with him if I want to be closer to God and do the right thing. Right now he is not doing the right thing and doesn't want to let God in his heart. I am going to try to come to church in the morning."

Needless to say, our minds were blown away completely! She stayed with a friend Saturday night and plans on staying with her grandpa in Elk City for a while. She came to church, met some members (the Johnsons (the Relief Society President's family), who invited us and Cheyenne over for lunch), and is now doing everything she can to quit smoking!!!!

The Spirit WORKS!!! I was wondering for a while if anything was really happening with her!!! She said the straw that broke the camel's back was when we visited her and Jeremy a few days ago. We taught them the Doctrine of Christ and Cheyenne was really into it. Jeremy, however, wasn't paying much attention at all.

Yesterday during lunch, Cheyenne apologized for Jeremy's actions. Brother Johnson asked her if she was a member of the church. She responded, "Not yet, but soon." YES!!! So happy!!!

So things are happening here, slowly but surely. Thanks for the letters and prayers and love! I love all of you! :)

Elder Woolley :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Weekly Letter! - 04 Apr 2011


Wasn't General Conference great?! Yes, it was :)

This week was grand! We had transfers! My new companion is Elder Kevin Garner. He's from Gilbert, AZ and is 6' 4". In fact, of the 4 Elders in our district, I'm the shortest, and I'm 6 feet tall! Everyone in the ward is like, "Whoa! We have a bunch of giant missionaries!" Elder Kimber's new companion is Elder Teisina from Bountiful, UT. All in all, our district is really great! :)

Let's see, what happened this week... OH!!!!!! KELLY!!!!!!

Kelly is our totally crazy but totally awesome neighbor!!!! He works for one of the oil companies out here, and he's totally crazy and really fun to be around. In fact, he likes to BBQ a lot. And he has a lot of meat when he does. And sometimes we'll hear a knock and the door and, lo and behold, there's Kelly! "Give me a plate!" he says with his hand reached out. "Alright!" So we get a plate and a little while later we have a plate full of BBQ pork or hamburgers or chicken or (my personal favorite) BBQ-ed onions with seasonings on them. SOOOOO GOOOD! And yes, the more BBQ we eat, the better life is. It's just one of those laws of the universe!

Anyway, I gotta go now. Sorry it's so short! I love you still though! Love ya! :)

Elder Woolley

PS It's all about the love :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekly Letter -- 28 MAR 2011


This week is transfers!! And I'm staying in Elk City!! Elder Phillips is going to a Spanish branch in OKC and my new companion is/will be Elder Garner (who speaks Spanish and has been out about 8 months total). Sister Grant is staying in Woodward and is training, and Elder Kimber is staying in Clinton and is training. 6 missionaries in our district with 2 of them being fresh from the MTC! We're VERY excited!!!

This week we did a lot of sifting through potential investigators. It was a grand adventure with lots of people to see.

Yesterday, we went to the Thackers' home to teach them. Brother Thacker brought up his ever-looming concern: "If polygamy is righteous, then why did it change? If it isn't righteous, then how could Joseph Smith be a prophet?" The past few weeks, it seems like this has been brought up a hundred times when we see them. Sister Thacker is more humble and willing to change. Brother Thacker knows the scriptures a little better.

We left the appointment a little frustrated. We've emphasized over and over again "Read and pray. Read and pray." If there's anything robotic about my teaching now (especially with the Thackers), it's seems to be the ongoing chant, "Read and pray. Read and pray." We've also explained to Brother Thacker that it all goes back to, "Was Joseph Smith a prophet?" Regardless of what we say, Brother Thacker always seems to come out with his old polygamy argument, "It has to be one way or the other. It's either righteous or it isn't!"

So, today, as we real played in companion study, I started out as Brother Thacker. (PS "Real Play" is role playing but with the Spirit involved). We tried a little teaching, and then evaluated. We were still lost as to what to do. We switched roles and re-real played. I was lost as to what to teach and we sat in silence for a couple of minutes. Then Elder Phillips' eyes went big and said, "Oh! I got it!" He explained that we should use our "Communicating Effectively" model with Brother Thacker (our "Communicating Effectively" model being, "When you do _____, I feel _____").

We tried it out and basically said, "Brother Thacker, when you keep on bringing up the polygamy thing, we feel like you're misunderstanding what we're saying." Elder Phillips was like, "That's it!!!" YES! REVELATION! We've been trying to figure out how to help him for a while now. Real play totally works! Communicating effectively totally works! :)

So that's really it for this week. We're really excited to have a couple of fresh missionaries in our district. It'll be a fun adventure!

Thanks for the letters and prayers and love! I love you! :)

Elder Woolley

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pictures from this week!

YAY! Oklahoma Science Museum! We went there for P-day last week. It was fun!
Elder Ellsworth and I
 Do it for America!
Our whole district went to the LTM! (from left: Sister Jensen, Sister Grant, Elder Adair, me, Elder Kimber, Elder Phillips)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekly Letter -- 21 Mar 2011

Dear Everyone,

This morning, we had our sliding glass door cracked open for some air flow. There are blinds that cover the door, and as I studied, a cat walked through the door into our living room. I saw him out of the corner of my eye and thought, "Cool! There's a cat in our living room!" And then I stood up and it ran out the door.

Have you ever tried riding your bike against the wind? We've done that a good amount the past few days. Note to self: Tour de France training=biking against the wind in Oklahoma. Luckily, I like to ride my bicycle :)

This past week was the LTM in the city (Oklahoma City). Super fun! I stayed with the Zone Leaders again (Elders Madsen and Ellsworth, same as last LTM). It was a blast! There were a bunch of super spiritual meetings and I learned a lot!

As I was in the LTM, I wondered why the LTM's I've been to have always had a spiritually profound impact on me. It's because the Spirit is very strong there, and we're getting taught and guided by the Spirit in an intense way all week. It's the same as why we go to Church--for the Spirit! (Read Elder Bednar's address "Receive the Holy Ghost" in the Nov 2010 Ensign for more!)

Also, another note to self: armadillos jump/bound. We saw a live one as we were driving down the road in El Reno (an area the Zone Leaders cover). Seeing a live armadillo is a big deal! Elder Ellsworth has been out 18 months and it's the first live one he's seen! So we got out of the truck and circled around it (there were 5 of us: the Zone Leaders, Elder Hawker, Elder Cook (the one I trained) and myself). After a few seconds, the armadillo realized that it was surrounded. It ran and then started into some bounding hops. Those things are quick! We never did catch it, but supposedly they're dangerous (which we didn't think about at the time, but it was probably good that we didn't catch it).

Speaking of creatures, I've wondered about how some creatures fit into God's plan. For instance, camel spiders: A) they're big, B) you can only kill them with a bazooka or a big, green notebook, and C) they're attracted to red light for whatever reason. I'm not sure how they fit into the grand scheme of things, but I guess that's one of the lesser "mysteries of heaven" that will be learned someday. Cool creatures though!

OK. This letter needs to be more spiritual for all of the people reading this, right? Right. So here's some great scripture!

It's in "Nephi's Lament" in 2 Nephi 4:26-29:

26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine enemies?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

I like that scripture a lot. How about you? :)

Love ya, everyone. Have a great week! I love you! Thanks for the letters and prayers! :)

Elder Woolley


Last P-day we went with Brother Gilliland to a ranch that he manages for a lady. It was AWESOME! We fed cows, wore cowboy hats (we had to become true Okies someday!), and learned phrases like "Jeet?" (Did you eat?) "Yannoo?" (You want to?). It was a great time! I love being out in the middle of nowhere :) It feels like home :)

Smile! I'm a cowboy!
my best "Southern used car salesman" face  
the ranch truck we rode in with a nifty thing that spear bales of hay and lifts them up

in the back of the ranch truck (my cowboy model pose!) :P

a cow pellet food thing
they don't taste good
Feeding the cows