Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gaoxiong means south...

Dear Mom, Dad, and Eric

This week was quite the adventure.  I received your package on Tuesday which turned out to be probably the worst possible time to receive it.  My senior companion became a trainer (like my previous senior companion) so once again, I had to leave my area three days early to proselyte with another companionship.  This essentially meant that I had to eat everything in the package really quickly, in essence, all of the food items are gone.  I don't like doing that, but there's simply no room or time to worry about it.  I greatly appreciate everything that was in there.  The pictures, the note, and the CTR ring.

Anyway, so with regards to moving, after only six short weeks I went south...very south.  I'm now in Gaoxiong city.  More specifically, Nanzi.  I woke up this morning and took a two hour train south with ELDER TAYLOR, Elder Ripley and other Elders from my generation.  I love seeing Elder Taylor, he's doing so well.  He's heading south as well so we should see each other every time Zone Conference rolls around.  At the train station in Gaoxiong I got to see Elder Chan and Elder Bishop (who I haven't seen since the MTC) which was great.  I'm so excited to get to work here and constantly do my best.  My new companion is Elder Forbes from Bountiful.  He's an awesome missionary full of fire and an excited desire to serve.  I'm so excited to work with him.  He just radiates the desire to serve his Master and I'm excited to work with it.  I can tell that he and I are going to tear up Nanzi.  I'll send you a picture if I can.

Lately, I have had a particular hymn stuck in my head that I would like to share with you.  It's hymn #335 and it's wonderful.  It's a men's choir hymn about those lost on the stormy seas of sin seeking the light of Christ in their lives.  I suggest to you to listen to the Men of the Tabernacle Choir version after reading Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-13 (I's the "very soul is precious in the sight of God section").  Please tell me how it goes!
I read Jacob 4:14 this last week and as I did it reminded me of words that Dad said to me prior to coming out regarding one who does not have their eye on the mark.  It's a wonderful passage that illustrates that not having our eye on the mark is according to our desires and we sin because we desire to do so.  It's really fascinating.  Please read.

It sounds like Paris and England were wonderful.  I'm happy that you all loved it so much.  You deserve a vacation to somewhere like that, and to have it be intellectually as well as emotionally satisfying is wonderful.  Those are the best kinds of vacations (I would imagine).  I would love to do that someday.  Home sounds great.  I miss you all so much.  Home feels like forever ago and forever away.  I'm moving into the no longer really new, but not old group of missionaries in the mission.  It's strange to have been trained and then out for two other move calls.  I'm 25% of the way done with my time in Taiwan. So strange.  It's moving too quickly.  I never want to leave.  I want to focus and do my best each day.  This experience is not going to pass me up.  I'm trying to soak it in, but it feels to fast sometimes. 

I love you all and I hope that you're doing well.  Elder Taylor is doing great.  He's tearing it up.  I'm going to have to work overtime to catch up to him!  I love the support that you have sent me.  Keep working hard and doing your best daily. 

-Love, Elder Woolsey

Fortuitous Prospects

Dear Mom, Dad, and Eric

Thank you so much for emailing me.  I know Mom and Dad are busy having fun in Europe, but any communication is welcome.  It sounds like Europe is everything that television makes it out to be.  I would love to see the art and things of that nature.  I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to go there.  It sounds both intellectually as well as emotionally stimulating.  One thing that I've realized however is that almost where ever you go, some people will speak at least a little English.  The Taiwanese are the same, but sometimes their English is nigh impossible to understand.  I've grown accustomed to hearing and deciphering it so it doesn't bother me, but I imagine that when you all come back you'll have trouble (the Taiwanese will muster all of their ability to communicate with you in English).

This week wasn't the most exciting.  Not a lot happened.  This week that begins today is the last week of the move call.  Apparently a lot of missionaries are coming on island so a lot of the missionaries here are trying to predict what happens.  This is known as "MOVECALL MADNESS (I'm guessing you can guess where the name comes from)." 

I was reflecting this last week upon what I've become and what I'm striving to become.  I received a wonderful letter from Elder Apsley that allowed me the opportunity to reflect on these things.  I realized not only that I haven't been working hard enough, but that prior to my mission, I didn't seize the opportunities given to me as much as I should and I acted in ways that are contrary to my current method of thinking.  This is mostly directed at Dad, but when I return I want to learn a lot of things I took for granted and didn't care much about.  I need to be proficient at fixing the basic car maintenance malfunctions.  I also need to be more proficient in lawn care and meal preparation.  I would really like to have you teach me these things when I return so that when I begin my family someday, I can be ready.

Apparently there's a great story about Mitt Romney while he was on his mission.  You should look it up for me.

I apologize for not having the most to say this week.  I can't think of anything that exciting to share.  I miss and love you all.

- Elder Woolsey

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Elder Woolsey and Elder Haag at the Taipei Temple

Baptisms Never Get Old

Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, and Belle

It must be nice to have only had to wait four days for a new email. I don't have a ton more to add I suppose, but I can respond to your email and add my thoughts and such.

I did have one really interesting thought however. From what I understand, you can request the patriarchal blessing of deceased persons in your family line. I would love a copy of Grandma Woolsey's patriarchal blessing. I would also be curious as to whether or not it would be possible to obtain a copy of John D. Lee's patriarchal blessing. I don't know who else's we don't have, but I thought I would relay the information.

Thank you for placing money in my account. While I don't have many intentions of splurging money, there are a few things that I do need to do if that would be alright. These things include taking my ridiculously baggy pants in and fixing my quickly dilapidated bicycle (all repairs of which are to be purchased with individual money). I've already had to replace the handlebars and the pedals because they've broken (my pedal snapped off while I was riding home two days ago, not so much fun). My bike is rusted in many areas from the acid rain that never quite seems to subside here. I would also like to purchase a gear guard to prevent my pants getting caught in the chain (or you could send that thing that Brother Horton gave me before I left that I forgot). I need to replace my light and brakes as well (they don't work very well and have a sort of screeching noise when I hit them). I bought some cleaning materials for the chain in my previous area, but there's little to no time to clean the chain on a typical day. I don't know. Any advice? The weather and miles we put on the bikes really takes a toll. You should see people with "16-move call bikes" (people who are about to go home). They're a nightmare. Mine is only four move-calls old.

I would suggest reading "Dear are the Sheep Who Have Wandered" by President Faust in April 2003.

Thank you so much for sending me a package. They're like a mini Christmas for missionaries. I know they're expensive so don't do them if they're an inconvenience. Also, don't feel forced to put money in with things all the time. I'm able to live. I love your care and kindness though. You are too nice to your missionary.

Every now and then I have a thought or two of what I would share in a homecoming address. I kind of hope that I don't get assigned a topic. There are a lot of trunky people in the mission that I'm serving around right now. I'm trying not to let it get to me.

I completely forgot about football until last week. Go Devils! Go Cougs! I miss football and season tickets to BYU with my friends. That was so much fun last season. I'll take greater advantage of it next year now that I have greater perspective on how to live life. I'll tell you right now, it doesn't involve THAT MUCH video games, movies, television, and sitting around in cars or what not (probably don't want to put that on the blog). I plan on returning and living life to its fullest. Studying hard, playing hard, working hard, serving well, magnifying my calling. If I'm sitting, it will have purpose. I never realized what it meant to be a man or what it meant to utilize my time before my mission. I imagine that over the course of the next year and a half, that knowledge will crystallize and expand as well.

Thank you all for your support to me. You encourage me more than you know. I can't wait till I can share my experiences with you more in full. Showing you all my pictures and sharing my commentary. I don't want to be an annoying missionary when I return, but I would be lying if I said that I don't want to share every moment of my experiences with you all. This gospel is true. It's from God. This is the ONLY true church. It is the ONLY way to eternal happiness. Share it with a friend! Scream it from the rooftops! This last week, a couple different times, I shouted HUIGAI at people on the streets. Huigai means repent. It sounds ridiculous, but this is the way it needs to be done. We are to "warn [our] neighbors" because we have been warned. This is so much bigger than I ever thought. Please share the reason for the hope that is within you (Peter 6:4)...that reference may be incorrect).

Keep it up.

Elder Woolsey

P.S. 2 Nephi 22:2-6

Thursday, September 6, 2012

To Taibei and Back: A Missionary's Tale

Dear Mom, Dad, and Eric,

I have to admit.  Going a week and a half without an email isn't the easiest thing in the whole world.  On top of that, I only have twenty minutes to write what happened in that period of time.  I apologize ahead of time for the nature of this email.  I will respond to yours first and then add a few comments of my own.  Next week I will send a much more fulfilling email I hope. 

I will now begin to reply to the previous email:

Thank you for the contact information.  I'll have to prayerfully decide what to do with it.  Do you happen to know where his family lives?  Also, can you ask him to send his family member's name in characters?

I loved seeing Elder Taylor.  It was a strange, almost surreal experience to see him again and talk to him for so long.  He sounds like he is doing wonderfully well.  I'm so grateful to be in the same mission as one of my friends.  He's actually a great missionary as well.  He works hard, his faith is strong, and he loves the gospel.  I wish that we could serve together someday. 

The people in Taiwan are much skinnier than in America. 

Keep me posted on Mitt Romney's and Obama's statuses.  My mission president said we can vote so please send an absentee ballot and their platforms in the next email.

Football season already?  That's crazy.

Questions and Answers:

1. Am I happy?

A: Absolutely.  I've never been so happy before in my entire life.

2.  Do I cook?

A: Aside from breakfast, almost not at all.  There's no time to come back to the house and cook.  Even if there was, it would be a waste of that time.  It would be inefficient.  I could be talking to people.  Food is cheap in Taiwan so it's not a problem.

3.  Am I used to Taiwan?

A:  Absolutely.  I found this most noticeably answered by my experience in entering a Subway and be literally culture-shocked.  I was so upset by it that I asked my companion if we could leave.  He was a little surprised.  I love Taiwan, but there are things that I miss.  I hope we all can come here on vacation after I return someday.

I want you all to know that I love you very much.  You are the only thing that I really miss.  I can't wait until I can see you all again.  You're a great example of believers in Christ.  You live what you believe.  Thank you for your example.  I'm unfortunately out of time, but I will send another email in only five days. 

- Elder Woolsey