Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekly Letter--31 Jan 2011

This is at the LTM. These are the missionaries
from our zone that went. We're the OKC zone.

Hello Everyone!

I went to the LTM (Leadership Training Meeting) last week and stayed in Yukon, OK with the Zone Leaders, Elder Madsen and Elder Ellsworth. It was fun, especially since Elder Ellsworth was my Zone Leader in Lawton for my first two transfers. Elder Gonzalez and I drove to Yukon on Sunday Evening. We spent P-Day last week in Yukon. It was fun! For the first time since I've been out here, I spent P-Day with more than four missionaries! Haha it was good :)

At the LTM, we went over the same eight fundamental teaching skills that the Brethren want all of the missionaries worldwide to focus on. So, we went over all of it. It was four days long: two fundamentals a day. It was broken up into 3 hour sessions: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. President Taylor would give a 30 minute introduction and then we broke up into zones. There were 10 of us from the OKC (Oklahoma City) zone were there, so we spent a lot of time together. After some more instruction in our zones (by our zone leaders or some of us), we did some practice teaching for a while. Then everyone at the LTM would get back together in the chapel for the last 30 minutes and President Taylor would do some concluding remarks.

Sounds like a bunch of meetings that would seem long and tedious, right? Well, my friend, it was AWESOME!!!! We were all taught by the Spirit a lot and were edified and rejoiced together! I learned SO MUCH!! Mainly, I learned that charity is the answer. Charity prevents sin and unlocks Priesthood power! How awesome is that?! Ever since I decided to just be charitable and not look back, I've felt the Spirit more and I feel more divinely guided. It's awesome. I recommend it :)

Elder Phillips and I are starting to do a "scripture of the day". We drop off little notes at members'/investigators' homes with a little "How are you?" and the scripture of the day. It's something our ward mission leader did on his mission and it helped get everyone excited about the scriptures and everything, so we're going to do it here!

So, today's scripture of the day is Mosiah 4:9:

"Believe in God; believe that he is, and the he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend."

God lives and He is our Heavenly Father. He loves each of us and knows what's going on in our lives. He wants to help us and I know He will when we ask Him.

Have a great week, everyone. Thanks for your prayers, letters, emails, and support. I really do appreciate it a lot and I hope everything is going well. I love each of you a lot!

Elder Woolley :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Week-ish 3-ish in Elk City...ish -- 24 Jan 2011

Hola, Mis Amigos!

Me llamo Elder Woolley y soy un Mormon! And... mi arboles es en mi basura! That's about all of the Espanol I know so far! Oh, yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero! When I was on exchanges with Elder Gonzalez in Clinton, we had a couple Spanish-speaking appointments. Elder Gonzalez took care of everything very well. He taught, testified, and then I testified "en Ingles." And then I testified in the Espanol! Someday I'll read el Libro de Mormon en Espanol, but I'll save that for another time.

In other news, Elder Phillips is getting better! His new antibiotics are crazy strong and make him drowsy, but I'm pretty sure they're working! So, this is a good thing.

The area is primed and ready. Our main trouble in Elk City and in Clinton are all of the single women that we can't teach (members and nonmembers) because there isn't another male present. We'll try to get creative and work things out, but other than that everything is going well!

We helped someone move on Saturday and he had some guns. We didn't touch them since we're not allowed to, but did I want to? YES! It was totally awesome! He just had a couple rifles I wanted to look at a little closer, but alas, me llamo Elder Woolley y soy un misionero!

Last night, I had a CRAZY dream. I was in the backyard at my house in Orem and my family and I were having a picnic. Then, all of a sudden, a cat appeared! And then, all of a sudden, a grizzly bear appeared! Then, all of a sudden, the grizzly bear stomped on the cat! (Poor kitty!) And then we all started to run away! And then the grizzly bear ran into the house and into the basement! Well I'm not gonna take any of that going on in my house! So I grabbed a gun! I ran to the top of the stairs that was going into the basement and then I realized, "This is only a .22! What good is this thing going to do?!" So I ran into the backyard and was yelling, "We need to go to Walmart so I can buy a bigger gun!" (Really, who buys high caliber weapons at Walmart?? What was I thinking?!) Then Fred, Eric, and Dad were walking by carrying a HUGE pistol with them. They said, "It's okay. We just borrowed this from Jim." (I think that was referring to Dad's friend, Jim. Why would Jim have a massive pistol? I don't know! He's a pharmacist! Maybe pharmacists like experimental weapons!). The pistol had to have shot a .75 caliber round (or bigger) because the diameter of the barrel was MASSIVE! (P.S. is there such thing as a .75 caliber round? I don't know, but if there is, this pistol would have shot it!). So I grabbed the pistol and started walking inside (it took Eric, Fred, and Dad to carry it before, but I could hold it comfortably with one hand. I'll let you make your own conclusion with that one). I was so excited! I was thinking, "Yeah!!! This stinkin' bear isn't going to know what hit him! HAHAHA!!" I looked the shiny black pistol over again, walked through the back door, and then... I woke up.

Yeah, tell me about it. I wanted to see what happened next too! But let's make a deal: if I have a "part 2" dream to finish this part, then I will definitely write about it. If not, then it will be a "pick your own adventure" book... dream...story... thing.

Well, want to hear something spiritual? Ok! :) Elder Phillips and I had a favorite scripture this past week. It's Matthew 10:39 and it reads (including the JST): "He who seeketh to save his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." The more I worry about myself, the less joy I feel. The more I have charity and think about others, the better I feel. Seems kind of backwards, huh? but that's how it works, so it's good. :) My favorite general conference talk is now President Monson's "Charity Never Faileth". About two-thirds of the way through, President Monson says something like, "I'm not referring to the type of charity that involves giving alms. I'm speaking of the type of charity that is patient. The kind of charity that is tolerant of others." He goes on to list examples of what a person's life is like when they're filled with charity. I'm excited to implement it in my life!

That's all for this week! Have a great week! We have the LTM (Leadership Training Meeting) from Tuesday-Friday, so I'm excited for this week! Oh yeah, I'm in Yukon, OK all week! Elder Gonzalez (who is in Clinton, OK) and I came here last night and we're here till the LTM is over on Friday! Anyway, that's all! Love ya! Have a great week! (again!) :)

Elder Woolley :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Weekly Letter--18 JAN 2011

Mi Familia y Mi Amigos!

Hola! Como estas? Me llamo es Elder Woolley. Viva la Elk City!

Elder Phillips sprechens Espanol, so he'll say random stuff in Espanol and I'll be like, "What are you talking about?" The worst is district meetings or church because the other two Elders in the ward speak Espanol too, so the three of them speak it and I'm lost in the Espanol sauce. Espanol everywhere!

And in case you didn't know, Espanol is Espanol for "Spanish" ;)

This past week was full of grandeur and... reading. Elder Phillips had some mild bronchitis stuff going on, so we went to the doctor. An exam and two shots in the rear end later (don't tell him I told you that!) we left the doctor's office and got some medicine. Then, we rested. Mainly, he rested, and I read "Jesus the Christ." Actually, we both read "Jesus the Christ" a lot this past week. It's awesome! So anyway, we rested a lot and went out to work here and there, but mainly Elder Phillips slept so he could get over his stuff so we can be healthy and work! Yay!

We also listened to a lot of general conference talks that have given me new insights, especially President Monson's talk, "Charity Never Faileth." Elder Phillips and I talked about "real intent" early last week during a companion study. It hit me that, "why would God give me a gift if I don't have any real intent to use it?" Mainly, why would Heavenly Father bless me with charity if I don't even have any set plans on what I'll do with that increased capacity to love? Or why would God bless me with increased faith in Jesus Christ if I don't have any real plan to use that faith to bring about righteous things? Lesson: real intent=good!

That's all for this week. More fun stuff to come, I'm sure! Ok-a-la-ho-ma! Viva la Midwest!

Elder Woolley :)

PS This week I learned that a hillbilly that isn't "as bad/redneck" as a normal hillbilly is known as a "hill-williams" :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Elk City, Ok-a-la-ho-ma!

Hello Family, Friends, and Felines! (I'm sure SOMEONE that reads this has a cat they're petting right now... maybe...)

I'm now in ELK CITY, OKLAHOMA!!! It's awesome!!! Talk about a place to "get away from it all!" It's a new area and our boundaries are huge! In total, our area (the whole area for 2 missionaries, me and Elder Phillips) is 2,500 square miles. It's really big. REALLY big. With a lot of small towns. And a lot of oil workers. Hooray for Haliburton!

So, you want to know who Elder Phillips is, right? Well, Elder Phillips is from Draper, UT. This is his third transfer and he speaks the espanol. In fact, our district has 6 missionaries (2 Sisters and 4 Elders). I'm the only Elder that DOESN'T speak the espanol. si. mucho bueno. Yo soy... frijoles. No bueno, eh? No bueno. So I don't "sprechen" the espanol very well. I'm picking up a little though. Fun stuff!

Oh yeah, Elder Phillips. His dad is a dentist and Elder Phillips used to play football in high school and he went to Alta High School and graduated in 2009. He is now the ultimate espanol-speaking missionary and we have many funny espanol moments. Si! Superbien!

So what's cool about this area? I'll tell you! First, there are a whole bunch of cows just down the road from us. We'll go running in the mornings (super bundled up in clothes) and the cows moo the whole time. So that's neat. Next, we have a truck :) A 2010 Chevy Silverado Colorado (silver). I love trucks. I'm not a big "truck guy" (i.e. 32 inch mud tires and a 12 inch lift don't do it for me) but I still love trucks :) So we have a truck and it's fun. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of miles to waste (we have an allotment of miles per month that come from Church HQ) so we'll be riding our bikes mucho mucho!

The ward (that's really a size of a branch) is excited that we're here. They haven't had Elders in Elk City for 7 years or so. Our ward is REALLY spread out too. It probably covers around 5,000 square miles (maybe more). They're all really cool people though. Really down to earth and just REAL. I like real :)

We haven't had a lot of time to get out and work. We've done some tracting in a town called Burns Flat. Burns Flat has one stoplight. It's a pretty neat little town. The people there are really nice, so it's cool.

Anyway, no super spiritual experiences this week yet. We've been spending A LOT of time getting our apartment established and planning on what to do, where to go, and how to get the work started here, so more spiritual stories will come. OK here's a spiritual thought: the Book of Mormon is true! :)

Thanks for all of the letters and whatnot. I got the Christmas Box from the Donakeys the day of transfers. Thank you, Donakeys! :)

I love all of you! :)

Elder Woolley

Monday, January 3, 2011

Weekly Letter--03 JAN 2011 "6 Months Later... My First Transfer!"



Transfers are this week and I'M GETTING TRANSFERED!!!!!! I have loved being in Lawton a lot, especially since there are a lot of military members here. I'm excited to go to a new area though! Oh yeah, I'm going to Elk City, OK. There's a branch about 30 miles away in Clinton, and we're opening Elk City, so it's gonna be a lot of fun! Elder Cook is going to Wichita Falls, TX! And my new companions name is Elder Phillips (I'll meet him on Wednesday).

So what did I do over the last week, you ask? Well, we worked. And then we also had puffy french toast! "What is puffy french toast?!" you ask? Well, I'll tell you! It is Bro. Stringham's specialty! It's white bread dipped/covered in pancake batter (instead of the eggs and stuff for normal french toast), and then it's FRIED!! MMMMMMmmmm..... so goooooood....... Elder Cook had 3 pieces! I could only handle 2. Oh yeah! Once it's fried and all that, then you put fruit topping on it, maybe a little honey, and, of course, WHIPPED CREAM! Life is always better with a little whipped cream. :)
I remember Elder Jackson and I eating some time ago. We didn't have a car then, so we biked everywhere. Well, we ate it, and then biked, and then died, basically. It's good but very heavy. But definitely tasty :) Anyway, try it out sometime!

Oh yeah, then the Stringhams also fed us pork and sauerkraut for a prosperous year!!! It's a PA tradition (Sister Stringhams parents were there, they're from PA).

I gotta go now. I love you!!! :)

Elder Woolley :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Weekly Letter--27 DEC 2010 "Elder Woolley: Rediscovered"

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a merry Christmas! We did! The members here fed us a lot of food and pie and all sorts of good stuff! I enjoyed our phone call!

I'd like to call this letter, "Elder Woolley: Rediscovered" because I'm going to make it a discovery time. I'm going to list things that I like to do (or remember that I used to like to do) so that I can find out more about myself and my non-robotness. Here we go!

I like cheesecake. The texture and taste of it are SO GOOD!

I like green eggs and ham (and my name isn't even Sam I Am!). Actually, I've never had green eggs and ham. I hope the green eggs Sam I Am had weren't naturally green, but were green from food coloring. Or they could also be green from some crazy Seuss creature. Who knows?!

"I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride my bike. I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride it where I like." (Is quoting a Queen song missionary appropriate?) I really do like riding my bike. Mountain biking is a favorite hobby of mine.

I really love trail running too.

I like writing. It doesn't have to be anything in particular. I just like putting my thoughts on paper (or in .doc format) and writing away. I've tried to write creatively (lyrics, poems, stories and such). It works out okay sometimes. It's one of those things that takes a lot of practice to get good at.

I like people who are frank and to the point. I like to be openly honest and have open discussions with people, and I love it when people are openly honest with me. Sometimes I wish people would say, "Hey! You know what you're doing right there?! It really bugs me! Can you please not do that?" and then I would know what is going on. Or if I'm breaking some sort of rule, I wish people would point it out to me. It's like walking around with a huge chunk of lettuce in my teeth or something. "Hi! I look like a doofus but no one is letting me know that I look like one so I guess I'll keep walking around like this!"

Jumping to a random "like", I like Spongebob Squarepants. I used to own the first season on DVD and watch it A LOT. My sister gave my some mini-Spongebob ornaments. They're sweet. I like Spongebob because he's so innocent. He gets excited over the smallest of things. He's "as a little child", more or less. And he and Patrick Star say the dumbest things sometimes and it is VERY funny.

Like in the Spongebob Squarepants movie (I own it on DVD, waiting for the Blu-ray version!) Spongebob wants to be the manager of the new Krusty Krab location (named "Krusty Krab 2" and located right next to the original one). Spongebob wants to be the manager of the new location and says, "Cleanliness is next to managerialiness". Who says that?! Or later on in the movie, they get fake mustaches from the princess of the sea (King Neptune's daughter, I can't remember her name) but they think they're real mustaches (it's actually just two pieces of seaweed) and then they sing a song about it. Yeah. Spongebob is great.

I like doing yoga. I did it in 05-06 when I was going to UVSC. It helped me be very relaxed and centered and all of that good stuff.

My favorite color is Maroon. Actually, it may be Burgundy. Burgundy has a little more of a purple tint to it, and I like wearing clothes in that color (mainly as accents, like in ties or scarfs).

I like it when people don't use a lot of "fluff" in conversations and speaking and are to the point.

I like good music. Not The Beatles or The Foo Fighters or Owl City (although those are pretty good too). I like GOOD music, like a lot of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir stuff. I've become more and more mellow in my choices of music as time goes by. I like listening to good, mellow music that is edifying and helps clear my mind or sparks contemplation.

I like playing music. I've self-taught myself how to play the piano. I played percussion for 4 years in junior high and high school. I played the drum set for 7ish years (on and off for the last 3). I love playing percussion and I actually miss it a little. I like to tap my foot and drum my thumbs against the steering wheel as I drive.

Well, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed a little look into the mind of Elder Woolley! Thanks for all of the Christmas wishes and gifts! I love you!

Elder Woolley

P.S. HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! :) And blow up something for me!!!!! :)