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 :)