Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Leg 2 Is Underway: Tokyo to Portland

Elder Woolsey Has Left Taiwan.....Tokyo-Portland-Salt Lake City

" it were unto us a dream..."

Dear Mom, Dad, and Eric,

The sun is setting on the sweetest and most lovely time of my entire life.  I've never been so happy.  I'm never felt so accomplished.  I've put everything I have in me into my mission.  I worked harder than I ever thought imaginable.  I love the Lord.

My mission blazed by on wings of lightening and I am so far from ready to return home.  I want to serve God forever.  "O THAT I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!  Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth."

If there's anything I've learned from my mission, it's that I am to serve God with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength for the rest of eternity.  I love the gospel.  I just want to declare repentance unto all for all of eternity.  I never want this desire to be taken from me for I know for a fact, "...for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire..."

I know that this gospel is true and I can never deny it.  I will take home with me a love of the gospel, my family, I will know my purpose, I will have correct habits and desire.  I take home much more than trinkets and toys (although I do have a couple of those as well).

I will see you before you know it. 

- Elder Woolsey

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,

Thank you for handling all of the logistical aspects of the returning process, I imagine those answers and information will be very beneficial come next week.  I essentially am going to dump almost everything.  I may take one white shirt for commemoration, but the others are going in the trash.  I'm leaving all garments and likely the pair of shoes destroyed in the Taiphoon, and things of that nature.  I'll probably leave a lot of my exercise apparel and other related things.  If there are any oppositions to these matters, please inform me immediately, I'll try to make sure that I take them home.  I will dump all that I feel are unessential to ensure that I make the required weight requirements.  I will be bringing a few little doo-dads home with me, but don't get too excited, because I have a lot of specific weight requirements and a lot of things here are very fragile.  If there are any requests, please bring them up soon and I will see what I can do.  I got my itinerary today actually.  I know all of those details:

It's essentially the same schedule as coming here.  

9:40 a.m. (Taiwanese Time) - Leaving from Taibei to Tokyo

3:25 p.m. (Japanese Time) - Leaving Tokyo

10:15 a.m. (Oregon Time) - Leaving Portland

The flight duration is 1:41.  I imagine that I'll get in around 11:56.  We'll have the entire day ahead of us after that.  

My companion just showed me an email that President sent to him and the line said, "I hope you're grateful for the time you've had with your companion.  You've had an opportunity to serve with one of the greats."  I'm so grateful for my mission president.  He is so loving and kind to me.  I want to do whatever it takes to be the righteous person that I need to be for the rest of my life.  I really worked hard on my mission.  I'm so grateful that I had righteous parents that sought to raise Eric and I in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It has changed my life and I will always know these things are true.  I worked hard on my mission because I have a testimony of the truthfulness of these things.  I know that this Gospel has changed me and will change many others. I just want to be enveloped in this gospel for the rest of my life.  It is the only true route to lasting happiness.

Christmas sounds like a distant thing still.  We have our mission-wide Christmas activity this week. It should be a blast.  We are going to famous place called Sun-Moon Lake.  It is breathtakingly gorgeous.  It was in one of my former Zones, but unfortunately while I was there I didn't have time to go.  I'm excited to go see the sights, but also will have a chance to buy some last minute things before heading that way.  I hope that you all aren't expecting too much.  I'm going to prepare some small things, but don't get too excited.  I wish I had more time to give you all something really valuable for Christmas.  You're going to have to settle with a raggedy, stinky 21-year-old burden.

The house is a go.  I imagine we'll move in that week following the events.  All of the people for it are also confirmed and such.  Don't fret about that part.  The living conditions are prime.  We have a kitchen, living room, and three small bedrooms (two per room).  It's going to be pretty choice setting for our studying and such.  All of the missionaries living there were amazing, obedient missionaries while they were here so I imagine that things will be smooth.

Oh yes, the phone call.  I will call on the morning of the 23rd in Taiwan, so the 22nd in America.  I will call around 8-9 Taiwanese time, and so 5-6p.m. in America if my calculations aren't incorrect.  Please plan accordingly, and if this will not work out, then please notify me immediately.

I'm sprinting as fast as I can.  My Mission President sent me a hilarious email this week about fearing that I'm not working at top speed because my numbers were slightly lower than the week before. He's a hoot.  You would ADORE him.  I hope you all get to meet him someday.  He loves the Lord.  I've learned so much from him.  I have every intention of working until I collapse on the 29th.  I love you all so much.  Talk to you on Monday.

- Elder Woolsey

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Baptism is better than Thanksgiving

Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee (still don't know this little guy yet),

My head is spinning a little bit from that email. At the same time, I feel like it makes me happy. You all are night and day more trunky than I am. It's crazy. Some missionaries go home wanting to go home. I am not one of those missionaries. Thanksgiving wasn't appealing last year and it still isn't this year. Christmas gave me small pangs last year, but hearing about trees and movies doesn't make me want to go home. I would love to share these experiences with my beloved family of course, but an actual desire to leave here is nonexistent. I just love being a missionary. I could serve in the church for the rest of my life. I want to, but it's all up to what the Lord wants, not what I want.

I love that my parents and brother are active members in the gospel. This gospel means everything to me. I love it more than anything. I can't even describe the gratitude and love for it that are in my heart. I knew little to nothing about the gospel before my mission. My testimony was barely existent. I now understand the basic principles of the gospel relatively deeply. Enough so that I can't tear my testimony from my body if I tried. The gospel is what I want and what I need which is the best combination ever. My nature has changed. I wake up at 5:55a.m. every morning because I actually want to. My nature has changed. I work hard and study hard to know the Gospel. My nature has changed. I ride my bike fast and can honestly say that I know what I believe. I love being obedient. I love being well behaved. I don't want to pretend to be edgy or cool or whatever I'm not. I want to be what the Lord wants. 

I can't even imagine coming back and being thrust into such a crazy whirlwind though. A wedding reception, a football game, Disneyland, Christmas, speaking in church, etc. It's going to be a rush, but I'm hoping it doesn't rock me at all. It likely won't. I'm overly fretting I know, but I just don't want to leave these people I love so very, very, much. The thought of leaving kills me.

I'm happy that Thanksgiving went well. My companion and I ate Turkey Rice for both lunch and dinner to commemorate Thanksgiving, but aside from that, this holiday goes relatively uncelebrated in Taiwan. Sometimes the church will have an activity, but there wasn't much of one here in this branch. I don't think to highly of this holiday. I put all of my eggs into the Christmas basket. I can't believe that you got an Albertson's Turkey though. Where did you find Albertson's in Utah? I thought that they all pulled out. It sounds great either way though. I'm sure it was delicious. Cut off tiny pieces of tasteless turkey and put it on some white rice and that's what I ate for two meals that day. Yummy!

Keep me posted on all of the Christmas festivities. I love this blessed time of year. I invite you all to read the story of Christ's birth and perhaps parts of His ministry in the New Testament this year. I've been reading it recently and it's ever so lovely. The Savior is so good. I can't wait to celebrate these wonderful days with you. Are you going to have a mini-Christmas on the 24th and 25th or are you literally moving the entire ordeal to the 27th and 28th? Whatever you decide to do sounds great to me! You all are so great and wonderful for thinking of me. I love you all so very, very, much.

I'm sprinting. I'm not going to slow. I've exhausted myself, but there is more left. I love you all so much. 

- Elder Woolsey

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Your Taiwan Taichung Missionary

Dear Brother and Sister Woolsey:
It has been my privilege to serve as Elder Bryant Woolsey’s Mission President.   Elder Woolsey will be released from the Taiwan Taichung Mission on December 27, 2013.  I am grateful for his service and the contribution he has made to the people of Taiwan.

Elder Woolsey has made a significant contribution to this mission and the work of the Lord.  He has had the opportunity to work with a variety of companions and assignments.  He has also set an excellent example for other missionaries in his service.     
We commend Elder Woolsey for his dedication, diligence, and humble service to the Lord.  Sister Blickenstaff  and I express our love, appreciation and well wishes as he makes the adjustment from being a full-time missionary to being a member missionary. 
President Kurt L Blickenstaff                                                      Enclosures: Flight Itinerary
Taiwan Taichung Mission                                                              Tuberculosis Skin Testing

CHURCH TRAVEL CWT                          DATE 21OCTOBER13
TELEPHONE: 801 240-5111                    WOOLSEY/BRYANT JARE 268582-R
FAX      : 801-240-5115
SERVICE               DATE  FROM           TO             DEPART  ARRIVE
_____________________ _____ ______________ ______________ _______ ______
DELTA AIR LINES       27DEC TAIPEI         TOKYO          940A    135P
U ECONOMY                   TERMINAL 2     TERMINAL 1
                            BREAKFAST                     NON STOP
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         2:55 DURATION
                  AIRCRAFT: BOEING 747-400
                            SEAT 60C NO SMOKING CONFIRMED
DELTA AIR LINES       27DEC TOKYO          PORTLAND OR    325P    735A
DL 642               FRIDAY NARITA INTL    PORTLAND INTL    
U ECONOMY                   TERMINAL 1
           NON SMOKING      DINNER                        NON STOP
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         9:10 DURATION
                  AIRCRAFT: BOEING 767-300
                            SEAT 36B NO SMOKING CONFIRMED
U ECONOMY                                  TERMINAL 2
                                                          NON STOP
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         1:41 DURATION
                  AIRCRAFT: AIRBUS INDUSTRIE A319
                            SEAT 20D NO SMOKING CONFIRMED

I Love the Lord

Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,

I love the Lord.  I love that he gave me my mission in order to come closer to Him.  Everything He does is perfect and for our benefit (2 Nephi 26:24).  I can't wait for the day that I may kneel before Him and confess my devotions unto the most High.  My mission has allowed me to be converted more than every before.  My mission has become so beautiful to me.  I was telling Eric in my email to him this week that it used to kind of irritate me when he jumped on anything South African.  It was as though all he had to hear was the name of the country and he would pounce all over it.  I was naive in many ways.  I hope it doesn't irritate you all, but I've realize that in a very real sense I have a similar attachment.  I imagine that I will talk so much of Taiwan and my experiences, that you will be happy to send me to BYU ten days later.  

Hey Dad, you know where the song concept for the song "I Love the Lord," is principally taken from right?  It comes from a scripture that gave me a lot of comfort in the MTC when I felt really inadequate: 2 Nephi 4:16-end.  It's a beautiful set of scriptures that illustrates the righteousness and earnest desire of Nephi to be a disciple of Christ.  I love reflecting on his desire to be free from the bonds of sin.  He is truly remarkable.  It's this set of scriptures that has given me motivation for a lot of my mission.  Hearing it in song is gorgeous.  

Thank you so much for praying for me.  I can feel your prayers.  I know that we'll see success in the form of baptism soon.  JiaYi is such a prepared place where many are prepared to hear the gospel.  I imagine that we'll baptize several before the end comes, but for the time being, they haven't come quite yet.  I know that as you and I pray for it, they will come.  I'm so grateful to be here at this time.  I know that these challenges are from the Lord and are allowing me to grow.  The gospel is truly remarkable.  The Lord knows everything you do and cares about you every step of the way no matter where you are (Alma 26:36-37).

The world is full of false doctrine, and at times even the church has areas of apostasy.  Many materials, talks, etc. must come out frequently in order to allow people to know exactly our stance on everything.  Leaders will visit missions, wards, stakes, etc. in the attempt of ensuring that doctrine remains pure and refined. 

The Rose Bowl sounds like an awesome family activity.  One thing I've noticed is that my personal attention span has increased dramatically.  Not to say that I ever found football uninteresting, but merely that I am able to pay attention much longer than usual.  I would love to attend such activities with my favorite people in the whole world.

I hope that you're doing well in all of your cycling ventures, dad.  Don't get yourself hurt any more than you already have.  I expect you to be there in one piece when I return.  

It's strange to think that Mason is leaving on his mission soon.  Why did he wait so long to go out?  Either way, I think it's wonderful.  He probably wanted to be there for his brother to return.

Thank you so much for your kind words of direction throughout the past few weeks.  As time closes in, I will need more and more of such direction.  I love you all so much and am constantly astounded by your commitment to the Gospel.  The gospel is true and will never change no matter how many people don't believe it or how many people say it's not true.  Truth can't be changed and will not change ever.

"The future is as bright as your faith."  - President Monson

- Elder Woolsey

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee,

It has been another amazing week in the land of miracles (Taiwan).  I've seen so many times in which the Lord has led us and guided us.  As this week commenced we had interviews with President Blickenstaff.  He's an incredibly inspired man and is always unbelievably kind to me.  I discussed with him how I had a little indecisive regret about going home when I'm going home and he told me that he did the exact same thing on his mission.  He was only home for ten days just like I will be and got right back in the mix of things.  He hates the idea of any sort of alternative.  Such definitive resolution was inspiring and solidified my decision.  It sounds to me like my current mission president's mission was very similar to my own.  It's amazing how the Lord sets things up to be exactly what they need to be.  If I could be successful like our family or his family is, I would be a well pleased man.  I want to fill my life with the gospel and never turn from it.  I love it too much to do anything else.

MOM!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!  I wish I could be there with you at this time to give you something, anything more substantial than a typed "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" but I suppose this is the best thing I have to offer at the moment.  I have a card in the works with some pictures, but it's not quite ready for shipping yet. I'm so grateful for a mother that loves me and her family so much.  You honestly are, like you said, young for your age.  You and dad are far from aged.  You two have always impressed me with acquiring such a timeless, young feel.  That aside, your adherence to the principles of the gospel means more than anything.  I recently read (again) the words of the sons of
Helaman who spoke so fondly of their mothers who they truly loved indeed.  They taught them in the gospel and when put to the test, they "did not doubt."  I'm grateful that I have been taught to do the right things by a righteous mother who knows the gospel is true.  I love your example, mom.  Don't worry about me, I'm safe from any sort of typhoons.  The Philippines are rather far from Taiwan so don't fret.  Also, before you know it we'll be eating pizza at Costco and going to movies like Ender's Game together.  You're "seemingly dead" son is about to be resurrected and when I return, you won't know what to do with me.  Don't get too excited for you're about to have another great burden on your hands.  Thank you so much for caring for me.  

This week has been filled with opposition.  We have a Week A right now (that means he will be baptized at the end of this week), but we just found out last night that he has family opposition that is impeding him from being baptized.  We have essentially only a few days to sort this out or he will not be baptized.  His grades having been where they need to be and therefore his parents won't allow him to attend church until this is attended to.  He's so prepared which is the hardest part.  Also, my companion (much like the first day of school), got some strange illness that quickly infected the entire apartment of four.  We all were sick this week.  Much to mom's dismay however, there wasn't a chance in the world that this would affect my regular
proselyting schedule, but that doesn't mean it wasn't any less of a burden.  We've been working diligently despite the inhibition.  

Jordan wrote me again this week which was nice.  He seems to be doing pretty well.  How are Denise and Ray doing?  How's Grandma Wilkes?  I worry about our extended family sometimes.  I don't know why, but I worry about them more recently than before.  Is everyone doing alright?

That's strange about the flight schedule.  I don't know what to say.  I guess he'll get in just before me then.  Odd indeed.  I'll have to look into that at some point.  My very favorite missionary Elder Erickson got his "return itinerary" in the mail today.   He only has four weeks left and only three preparation days left.  It hits me like a sucker punch to know that he's about to return.  He's such a great missionary.  Too weird.

Ender's Game sounds awesome.  I loved the book after deliberating over for a while.  I love the part where he lies on a raft in a lake on earth (or where ever he is) and says that his desire isn't to be better than Peter, but to have Peter love him.  
i hope that this scene is depicted well in the movie, because for me it is the absolute climax of the book.  The fact that he finds accomplishment in attaining love above all other success is the best.  After rereading this portion, I realized that I loved the book.  This sole part made the book genius to me.  The rest is just good.  I'm excited to see it though.  I've honestly contemplating completely eliminating all PG-13 movies from my social media whatsoever.  Unfortunately I've made no conclusive decision and therefore likely will watch them when I return.  Making no stance is the same as submitting to the original pattern of doing things.

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is once again on the horizon.  In the eyes of this missionary, every holiday except for Christmas is insignificant.  I'm excited because you all are excited, but Thanksgiving isn't a very big deal to me.  I'm an intense Christmas junky.  I love it so very, very much.  I can't get enough of the music, the food, the spirit, the charity, the love, the giving, the receiving, the movies, the festivities, everything.  I love everything about that holiday season.  The next one, I'll only be two days from home.  "Where ever you find love, it feels like Christmas."  Last year, no words rang more clearly.  

Keep working hard and don't get distracted by my homecoming.  I'm not getting distracted, that's for certain.

- Elder Woolsey
P.S. A new favorite "hymn": "I LOVE THE LORD" by the BYU men's choir.  Please listen to it.  It's gorgeous.  It's to the tune of Be Still My Soul, but the lyrics are what's incredible.