Monday, February 28, 2011

This Week in Elk City! 28 FEB 2011

Dear Everyone,
Elder Phillips and I have put together a list we like to call, "What Okies Love". So far, this is what we came up with!

What Okies Love:
OU/OSU Football
Boots/cowboy hats/jeans
Country music
The words/phrases "God bless!" "y'all" "fixin' to" and "conversatin'"
Dr. Pepper
Talking about the weather (because it's insanely unpredictable)

Of course, this list is a broad generalization, but it describes a lot of what western Oklahoma is like. I love Oklahoma. God bless America!

Yesterday, we had a couple of great lessons!

The first lesson was with a couple in their 50's--Daniel and Sharon Thacker. They haven't had a specific religion in their lives. We taught them about the Restoration a couple of weeks ago, so we taught them the Plan of Salvation yesterday. They had a whole bunch of questions which we mostly answered with scriptures from the Book of Mormon. It was awesome! The spiritual bazooka strikes again!

As we taught them, Sister Thacker wanted to know about the outcome of little children who die at birth. She had lost a couple of children at birth herself. We shared that "little children are alive in Christ" (Moroni 8:12,22) and testified that Sister Thacker has the opportunity to be their mother again and that families can be together forever. She was teary-eyed and the Spirit seemed to have hit her pretty hard.

This morning, we Real Played as Sister Thacker and discovered that the Plan of Salvation is her main motivating factor. Yes, Joseph Smith being a prophet is good and it is good to have the Church on the earth again, but she really wants to see her kids again. This is going to be very helpful when we teach them some more. Real Play works! She read the first 6 chapters of 1 Nephi since the week before, so that's a definite good sign! We got Brother Thacker a large print triple combination, and Sister Thacker suggested that they read together, and we didn't even give them the idea! This is a good sign :)

The other awesome lesson we had was with Cheyenne Kugler. She has met with missionaries on and off over the last 1 1/2 years. She has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith. She has had a hard time quitting smoking though. She has tried the stop smoking workshop multiple times to no avail.

As we discussed her situation, the thought came to me about the time the early disciples couldn't cast out a devil from the son of a man whom the man brought to them. After rebuking the evil spirit, Jesus taught the disciples that "this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21). I also remembered the commentary James E. Talmage gave at the end of a chapter in Jesus the Christ. He asks if there is a certain sin we have trouble getting over--something we seem to slip back into. He says that it may be something that "goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."

We read the event in Matthew 17 with her and "Fasts" in the Bible Dictionary (she got a "Quad" for Christmas from her less-active boyfriend's mother), emphasizing that fasting will help her develop the spiritual strength necessary to repent and forsake her sins completely. This weekend we're all fasting together (including her less-active boyfriend) and they're going to come to church. Awesome! Now they just need to get married and everything will be great!

The thing that made these two lessons so great was that we used the scriptures a lot. Elder Phillips and I have been wanting to use the scriptures more in our lessons. Yesterday was a witness of the power of letting the scriptures do all of the talking. It was great!!!

As I was studying on Saturday, I came across Doctrine and Covenants 138:57, which states:
"I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead."

I thought of what President Taylor had said in Zone Conference on Friday about the Doctrine of Christ. He asked us where we can find the Doctrine of Christ in the scriptures. We started shooting out answers, "3 Nephi 11!" "2 Nephi 31!" "3 Nephi 27!" and then a missionary said, "Everywhere!" President Taylor said, "That's right. It's everywhere!" He talked about it a little more and then said, "It's all about the Atonement and the Doctrine of Christ. What else is there to talk about?" He's exactly right! What is going on in the Spirit World? The Doctrine of Christ is being preached. That's so awesome! I'm excited to learn all I can about the Doctrine of Christ. After listening to Elder Ballard's talk in the stake conference broadcast yesterday (in which he talked about keeping the Gospel simple), it's so clear that the first principles of the gospel are the most important doctrines to study. I think I could try to understand "Faith in Jesus Christ" for the rest of my life and still have a lot to learn about it. The Gospel is so cool!

Anyway, that's all for this week. Thanks for the letters and love!

Elder Woolley :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Weekly Letter--22 Feb 2011

Hello Everyone!

First off, my Mom rocks! She sent me a totally awesome package. Talk about AWESOME!

If I could express this past week in one word, I'd probably say it like this, "Mmmmm... tracting..." It was a really good week though! We tracted a lot and taught a lot of people (21 of our 22 "other lessons" were from tracting). Almost everyone here seems to be an Assembly of God member or part of the Church of Christ. Mostly Assembly of God though, and a couple of the ever-looming "Southern Baptists." I love knowing the truth. :)

Also, our district is awesome! It's a big reunion! The Sister missionaries in Woodward (Sister Grant and Sister Jensen) were MTC companions, Elder Adair and Elder Phillips were MTC companions, and Elder Kimber and I served in the Lawton district together and have been missionaries for the same amount of time. It's awesome! I'm the "oldest" missionary in the district (this is my 6th transfer in the field), the Elder Kimber on his 5th transfer (he speaks Espanol, so he was in the MTC longer than me) and then the other 4 are on their 4th transfer, I believe. All of us LOVE being in a young district! Good times, good times :)

This past week, we were looking for some places to tract and we passed be a couple of trailer parks, so we decided to give the neighborhoods a break and try the trailer parks. Well, we got to the first trailer park and walked towards the first trailer. An older lady came out of the office trailer and said, "Hey! You can't do that here!" We told her what we do and that we aren't selling anything, but she insisted that we don't "bother people." So we went down the road and started tracting the other trailer park.

As we tracted, we ran into a young Hispanic couple. They were talking while sitting on their front stairs. As we started talking with them, we discovered the man (Ray) had been really depressed lately and wanted to be happy once and for all. We read Ether 12:4 with him and told him that there is reason to hope! Then we read verse 6 and invited him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, promising him that if he does, he will start to notice more peace in his heart and more love in his life. He was smiling as we talked about it. It was awesome! Tracting TPNL! It wouldn't have happened if we had tracted all day in the other trailer park!

My big, profound spiritual moment of the week also came as we were out tracting. I can't remember when it happened, but I remember thinking, "They aren't here for us. We're here for them." I thought about the difference.

On one hand, they could be here for us. I would have got my mission call, a massive statewide memo would have been sent out in Oklahoma saying, "Everyone, be home! Elder Woolley is coming! Ward members and ward leaders, be on your 'A game!' Go out teaching with him and give him referrals! Nonmembers, cling on to whatever he says! OK, everyone! Get in your positions! He's coming!"

On the other hand, we are actually here for them. They live here. They have been taught many different messages from the media, friends, family, churches. They hardly see things "as they really are." We have been called to help them open their eyes. We have been sent here to help them know the truth. WE are here for THEM. The more I ponder on this, the better I feel and the more I want to go teach people, even if it's tracting all day! The more I pray for our brothers and sisters in Oklahoma, the more love I feel for them!

The gospel is SO true. How could it not be true? This is fun stuff :)

That's all for this week. Thanks for all of your love and awesome goodness! Thanks for the letters! I love you a lot! :)

Elder Woolley

Monday, February 14, 2011

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!! - Letter from 14 Feb 2011


The Gospel--it's all about the love. :)

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone! :)

The one with the cake is one Elder Phillips and I made. He made the cake (two 8-inch round pans) and I iced it. It was very delicious :)

This is going to be short, because we're going to Weatherford to play some ball!

Transfers are this Wednesday and... I'm staying in Elk City! I love this place :) We're getting a new Sister in Weatherford and Elder Kimber (who I served with in the Lawton district) is coming to Clinton! AWESOME!!! :)

I've had James 3:2 in mind a lot lately. It reads, "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." I've tried my best day by day to live this verse and the craziest thing about it is that the greatest blessing is that I feel better about myself. The Gospel just seems to be a ginormous paradox. I guess that's what makes living the gospel the greatest adventure. :)

We've been tracting a lot and it's mucho bueno. There are a lot of Assembly of God people here. In fact, we tracted into their preacher! He asked for some hard proof about the truth of the Book of Mormon. We just told him he has to read it and pray about it. He brought up a couple other points (the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc) and tried to have us intellectually prove that the Book of Mormon is true. Nothing against the man, but he was arguing just like a Pharisee would. We testified and told him that we know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. He stumbled over a couple of words, talked about some other stuff, and then we left.

No one can fight a testimony.

This church is the Church of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon is true :)

I love you! Have a great Valentine's Day and a great week! Thank you for all of your letters, love, and prayers! :)

Elder Woolley

Picture of the district this past transfer (With Elder Madsen (one of our Zone Leaders) and Elder McKenzie (one of the Assistants to the President) who were at our district meeting on friday).

(kind of) Snowy Oklahoma! - Letter from 7 Feb 2011


This week was grand! On Tuesday, it snowed. There wasn't a lot of snow, but it was really windy the wind made some big snow banks (i.e. perfect for getting cars stuck in!) So we were grounded (couldn't drive/go anywhere) on Tuesday. And then on Wednesday is was cold, really cold! Supposedly, with the wind chill factor, it was -20 degrees F outside (Yes, "-20 degrees F" because I'm not even sure how to spell ferenheit (until just now when I used spell check and learned that it's spelled "Fahrenheit")). So Elder Phillips and I went outside with the cold, blustery wind. We took a couple of pictures, felt like icecicles, and then turned into this:

  That's what we looked like after standing outside for 5 minutes). Luckily, since then we have thawed, turned into real people again (being a snowman wasn't that fun anyway) and now we're resuming all of the normal business!
Only tomorrow, there's supposed to be freezing rain. (What is freezing rain, anyway? Rain that freezes is called "hail", right? I didn't pay enough attention in my 7th grade Earth Studies class or something). So, we are going to buy some snacks today and enjoy another day of studying!

Yesterday was the Superbowl! And we tracted all day! Contrary to popular belief (AKA what we thought was going to happen), it was a very effective time to tract! It didn't start till 5:30 PM and since there were TOO many people sucked on the the pre-game show, we got to talk with a lot of people and do some teaching.

Oh! Speaking of teaching, we had a cool experience last Monday night. While I was at the LTM a couple weeks ago, Elder Phillips looked through the Clinton area book (since they used to cover our area). There were a couple of old referrals/former investigators that he found, so last Monday we went to go track one down. It was a referral (the first one I've had a chance of tracking down). When we met her, she said, "I saw the commercials and then went to the website and saw something about the Book of Mormon and I was like, 'I want that book!'" Talk about AWESOME! So we taught her about the Restoration and invited her to be baptized and she accepted. So now we are going to help her along the way. :)

That's really it for this week. I've been going through the lessons in Preach My Gospel and marking all of the Book of Mormon references in a copy of the Book of Mormon. Going through everything fresh (without looking over my past notes) has enlightened me on how much meat is in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is definitely true!

I love you! Thanks for writing to me (for those of you who have, here's a gold star for you!)
Thanks for all of your prayers and good wishes! I love you!

Elder Woolley

Elder Phillips and Elder Woolley