Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan

Monday, May 21, 2012

Goals and Characters

Dear Family,
This week has been a lot of fun.  We had "MOVE CALL MADNESS!"  The last devout missionaries take the move call (which is a list of where everyone in the mission is right now) and play "President Bishop" for a while as they guess who will go where.  It's a lot like March Madness but with missionaries.  It's fun to hear where everyone goes, but I don't waste my time making a chart.  Anyway, the Zone Leader that I adore went Assistant (which wasn't a surprise to many people), we got two new Zone Leaders as the other went Trainer for a second time.  Elder Stone left our four-man today and we'll get a new missionary (Elder Erickson) later on.  We all expect Elder Oakman to leave because he has been longer and had just finished training Elder Stone.  As you may be able to see, there are many ways of predicting where people will go so that's why people get really into it.

I also, with LOADS of help from my companion, finished Phase 1.  I'm so grateful for his help.  He's truly an incredible companion.  He just wants to help me all the time.  We're also working very hard.  We have broken four of his all time records on the mission in the last two weeks.  We broke member referrals received, referrals contacted, member assisted lessons, and investigators at church (people can't be baptized if they don't go to church).  It's been a very successful week.  We've received a ton of blessings from the Lord in the last few days, but I don't really know why.  We're working hard, but I never feel adequate in receiving these blessings.  I just need to keep pushing myself.

I'm happy that your talk in church went well.  That's great that you got to meet someone who served in this mission (although it was probably the old Gaoxiong mission).  From that point, a lot of the translations for things have changed.  The most notable is the Book of Mormon.  It used to be called Momenjing, now it's Moermenjing.  There's a huge significance here because in chinese, without seeing the characters, Momenjing sounds like Devil-people scripture.  Adding the other character changes it a lot.  Speaking of characters, I've begun learning them.  My companion has encouraged me to do it, so I've begun.  They're a lot of fun.  A little difficult because many look alike, but my hope is to be able to read all of the Book of Mormon in Characters by the start of my fourth move call. 

My companion and I have a goal to get a lot of baptisms next month.  If we accomplish this, not only will we have more success than he's had before, we'll likely be able to request for he and I to stay together for another move call.  That would be wonderful.  He's super good.  I imagine that after me he'll go District Leader, then Zone Leader pretty quickly.

If I had to guess, I think that Brother Correy you spoke with is Elder Jake Correy's dad.  The Elder you saw give his report in the High Council.  I bet Elder Correy was a good missionary.  It's great to hear that Jack's mission changed him.  I wouldn't be surprised if he was a leader on his mission.  He has the look, and it sounds like the spirit too.
I'm so happy that Elder Taylor is doing well.  I can honestly see him becoming a leader in the mission someday.  He just exudes kindness, diligence, and love.  He's a wonderful Elder I bet.  I hope we get to serve with each other or near each other someday. 

Mom, Dad, Eric, I love this mission.  I love it so much.  Seeing people change their lives is something that can't really be described.  There are so many people willing to accept this gospel.  Our only job is to find them and invite them to follow Christ.  This gospel is true.  Some days, it's so true it hurts.  I look at people who reject me in awe.  I can't understand why they don't believe what I say.  To me, it feels like I'm telling them it's hot outside and they look me straight in the eyes and say that it's snowing.  That's what it feels like right now.  I love this gospel.  Other times, we teach people the first lesson, and I don't feel like we did very well even though the spirit was there.  Then we ask them if they believe our words...and oftentimes they do.  I don't want to say that it surprises me, but all we do is tell them and the spirit testifies like crazy.  It's really not us that does the work.

Dad, I thought what you said was most intriguing.  You said that you pray for me to have success equal to my sacrifice.  Sometimes when I'm running, or sitting in a car and not using my time as effectively as I should, I get a feeling almost instantly to push myself.  I wondered if it was me, but I'm beginning to think that it's not.  The harder I work, the more success I've had.  I always feel like if I push myself, I'll do better.  I now know that I'm having help from you in Draper.  I receive those promptings telling me to work harder because through that work heavenly father blesses us to see people change.  Seeing that change makes everything worth it.

I can't wait to see our investigators enter the waters of baptism.  I love you all.  I just want you to know that your prayers have power.  I'm safe and healthy and working hard because you're praying for me.  Thank you so much.  If there is anything you can think of to help me improve, please tell me.  I love you all and I'll send some pictures this week. 

Love, Elder Woolsey

Monday, May 7, 2012

Low numbers, high hopes

Dajia hao!

I can't believe that I've been in Taiwan for over a month now.  It's surreal to say the least.  I HAS NOT felt like a month.  That's saying something too considering my companion said that the beginning is REALLY slow (when you don't know the language that well, and when you're still learning how everything works).  I'm a little afraid in all honesty.  The days go slowly and the weeks and months go fast.  I'm afraid because I think it will all be over too quickly and I'm not improving and changing myself fast enough.  I'm really trying to get this gospel in deep, but it's difficult.  I feel like I've passed through the initial barrier of diligence and I need to find new ways to push myself.  Any suggestions or advice would be helpful.  I want to improve.  I just want to be the best missionary that I can be, that I may be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.  This work is so true and so powerful.  I really want your thoughts.

I apologize if my English in emails is getting worse.  My vocabulary is shrinking and my grammar is more Chinese-like.  I also am forgetting how to spell a little bit.  We'll see how that changes over the course of two years.

With regards to Mother's Day, I really hope that Skype works out as well.  I would love to see you guys and you can see how different I look already.  I really feel like I look quite a bit different.  Unfortunately, the time is definitively forty minutes.  It will be a fast call that I'll be using a timer for, so prepare accordingly.  I want the first 20 or so minutes to just be random talking, then I want to talk to everyone one on one for a couple minutes before we close.  Also, I didn't send off that package last week, but I'll send it this week by air and you should get it in about 10-15 days.  It will include Mother's Day items and Dad's Birthday items.  It's nothing major.  In fact, you probably won't be able to use any of it, but I hope it's the thought that counts.  :P  Oh yes, and plan for me to get on at around 9:00ish.  The other Elders will be going first so I'll probably get on at about 9:15, so please extend that window of contact a little bit! :D  I'm super excited.  I thought about it this morning and I'm very excited indeed.

Mother!! Xingku ni (ask for a translation on that one haha)!  You're working like crazy!  What a great example!  Keep it up!  I know you're doing great!  By the way, and I mean the following, you better have something prepared on that ever-elusive book you're writing next Monday.  We'll be discussing it.  Prepare accordingly.  Thank you for your advice this last week.  I've reflected on it multiple times.  It helped motivate me to work harder, but to not be so hard on myself when I didn't achieve my goals exactly the way I wanted.  That's hard to explain, but it was very inspired I think.  It really did a lot to help me stay focused.  If you ever again have such inspired counsel, don't hesitate in sharing it.  I miss you and love you very much.  I look at these broken families, or families without the gospel and I am thankful for what I have in you, Dad, and Eric.  I hope you know how much I love you all because I can never truly express that love.  I long for these people to have what we have.  Please don't go a day without appreciating this gospel and appreciating the Celestial Family that we have (and I know already appreciate it).  It's something far more special than I ever before realized.

Dad!  Name lihai!  You're destroying it out there on your bike!  I'm growing to enjoy cycling more and more.  I like how much weight I'm losing.  I'm always hungry, but it's worth it.  I really would like to try maybe when I get back a little.  Thank you for what you said about the Seminary thing and about me.  I can't really describe why, but there's a certain power behind your kindness.  It's special.  Thank you. :)  Keep up the awesome work and dedication!  I know you push yourself (perhaps too hard), but it inspires me like you wouldn't imagine.  I love the feeling of being utterly exhausted when I go to bed each night.  Thank you for your example.

My companion and I actually noticed the large moon last night.  It was funny that you mentioned it.  Very cool.  I'm trying not to think too much about basketball and such, but I contacted this man who was riding his bike last night.  He spoke a little English (like most Taiwanese do), and he asked where I was from.  I said America, and asked if he had heard of Utah.  In broken English, he said, Oh! Utah Jazz!  I was like, ya!  Have you heard of the Suns?  He's like, Steve Nash.  We hit it off.  I set him up for Wednesday at 7:00p.m. :)  He said that Steve Nash was his hero.  :)  He's so getting baptized. :D

I'm glad that Mitt Romney has a chance.  It's a huge chance from what I can tell.  That would be so cool.  I bet him running for President helps American missionary work.  I bet a lot don't like him and associate the church with him, but it gets people interested and that's all we need.  I'm thoroughly convinced that a HUGE percentage of people will join the church if they will just do what we say like meet with us.  It's seemingly never a case of doing everything and not getting an answer or whatever.  They're always not doing something like reading, church, praying, etc.  Missionary work is all about helping them do the things necessary.  If they do, they get baptized.  That's how I view it.

I'll try to send a couple more pictures this week.  :)

Our numbers were low this week.  My companion and I are trying to identify what we're doing wrong because we're honestly working hard.  :/  We'll figure it out.  Any advice would be lovely.  I always appreciate the inspired insight of my parents and brother. :)

Thank you for sending such inspiring emails each week.  They instill me with added strength and motivation that keeps me raring to go throughout the ensuing week.  It's wonderful.  Some feel like emails are a waste, others get too trunky, I feel like they're just my cup of tea.  I don't get trunky, I just get motivated.  Thank you for keeping yourselves busy, industrious, and on the straight and narrow path, because I know I now don't have to worry about my family.  It helps me focus on the work.  My invitation this week is to look for the miracles all around you.  They are everywhere.  It took me until I went on a mission to notice them.  They are huge and obvious, so I invite you to find them in the upcoming week as you continue to pray and study your scriptures.  I'll also be following up on that. ;)

I love you all so much.  I couldn't ask for a better family.  You are all wonderful examples of the believers.  Keep it up and may the Lord keep blessing you for all of the wonderful effort you put forth!  I'm excited for next week!  God speed!

-Elder Bry