Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan

Sunday, April 21, 2013


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

Another week has blazed past and the speed of the mission just keeps getting faster and faster.  It's strange being with a companion who has less weeks left than I do months.  It's strange to think that at some point that will be me.  All of this talk of BYU and related things makes me frightened to go home.  I've forgotten so much.  I just don't think about home anymore (nor do I necessarily want to). 

Thank you so much for writing again this week.  I loved all of the detail in the email.  Asking many questions and stating lots of facts really allows the email to be full and easy to respond to.  With regards to BYU:  I don't know for an absolute certainty that I will be coming home on that date.  I likely won't know until May or June when I can interview with President Bishop. 
My minor will likely be Mandarin Chinese I think.  That's relatively certain.  With regards to a major, I don't really know.  When do I need to know by?  I've been thinking a lot about business, medicine, and law.  I still want to write more than the rest, but I don't want to pursue a degree in that.  Medicine is honestly seeming more and more appealing.  This is another thing that I would like to discuss with President Bishop in our next interview, but once again, I'm sure that won't happen until May.  If I need answers more quickly, please notify me.  I can figure things out faster, but I would love to counsel with him before doing so.  I would also like some descriptions of each and your personal opinions for those four fields in your next email.  Don't feel like you have to put too much detail into it, but please include quite a bit.  It's hard to decide on everything from here.  I am still going to pursue the honors program, yes.  I also would like a full schedule (likely 18 credit hours if possible).  As close to that as humanly possible.  If possible, please also discuss with a counselor how much more general education credits I need.  Although likely few, it would still be nice to know.  I plan on jumping in head first when I return.  Don't fear that I will flop.  I'm more prepared than ever before in my life.

Would I live in Provo?  If I had 18 credit hours, it would be much more convenient, although I would love to see you all, all of the time.  I would likely want to live there and return every single weekend that semester.  We can still go to movies, cycle, and hang out together Friday through Sunday.  I have developed some great study habits that I'm afraid would be difficult to maintain at home.  If I had a silent library like at BYU, I think I would thrive.  That all being said, you're right, I don't know who I would live with.  I would love to live with Elder Haag and Elder Erickson, but although they are both confirmed to return to BYU, I don't know what they intend to do.  I suppose I can talk to Elder Haag about it tomorrow at Zone Conference and Elder Erickson at some latter date.  I still want to live there for the sake of my grades though. 

Are there any cobras?  Yes.  Do I go anywhere near where they are?  No.  Aside from being in the busiest part of the busiest city in the entire mission (essentially entirely lacking in all form of snake and other wildlife of any kind), I don't have any intentions of ever getting in harm's way.  The Lord has protected me on my mission.  This is the first time in my entire life that for over a year that I've never gotten sick and that I've NEVER fallen off of my bike.  Every missionary that I've ever talked to has fallen off of their bike.  I have yet to.  I honestly believe that I will not because of Eric's accident.  Call that strange, but I feel that because of the family's sacrifice at that time in our lives, I will NEVER have an accident in any way shape or form on my mission.  This long has been a blessing for certain.

I'm sorry that things are so busy for you, Mom.  I know that you can do it though.  Don't be afraid of what others think, just go and work your hardest every minute of every day at work and you won't have to fear.  Lean entirely unto the Lord and DO NOT LEAN UNTO YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.  Take what we learned in conference and apply it.  Obedience to the commandments is the guaranteed formula for peace and happiness.  Don't fear, just obey.  Keep moving forward and you are being perfect.  Read and pray daily and go to church every week.  That is one of the ULTIMATE TRUTHS that I have learned on my mission.  Investigators that read and pray daily and go to church weekly NEVER have a problem.  They ALWAYS get baptized.  It's all about being obedient to the commandments and the Lord takes care of the rest.  If there is anything that I have learned on my mission, that is probably one of the highest and most notable.  It is truth.

We speak in Chinglish wherever we go.  It's just the common way of speaking for missionaries.  I will return home doing it too and I will often struggle to speak because of it.  I taught an investigator from Croatia last week and I struggled to speak completely in English.  I sounded really silly, but that's OK.

I don't know anything about North Korea except that they might be going to war with South Korea soon.  I'm very hazy on all of those details.  What's going on?  Is it serious?  We did have the opportunity to watch all sessions of conference and I learned so much from it all.  My companion and I talked for a long time last night about the things we learned because we were so excited.  We discussed how obedience and Jesus Christ are the key to life.  If we just obey, we will find peace (continual happiness), and joy for the rest of eternity.  Perfection is continually moving forward.  We just need to believe and do what we are supposed to and the rest takes care of itself.  These principles were weaved together beautifully into a perfect general conference that spoke to our souls. I know the gospel is true and that these eternal principles are ever present and influence us daily.  Jesus Christ is the secret to life.  We follow him and become more like him and everything will be FINE.  Don't worry!  Just obey!

I love you so much.  I love your dedication to the Lord.  I'm working hard out here and have no intentions of lightening up.  Don't fear for me.  All will go well.  You are the best parents and brother...and dogs that I could ever ask for.  The Lord blessed me with a wonderful family.

- Elder Woolsey

P.S. I saw Nic Conder in the choir at General Conference as well as a couple of others like Parker Martin's full body shot.  That was a lot of fun.  Where was Eric?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wet shoes and big muscles

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

I love you all so much.  Thank you all for being so supportive of me.  I love hearing from you all.  It's like hearing a beautiful song from your past, it just makes you feel warm and at peace.  Thank you so much for expressing your loving thoughts to me.  It never gets old.  I love that you all are happy that your testimonies have flourished with me over the past year or so. 


1. Do we ever use chopsticks?  I am using them as I write this email.  We use chopsticks every single day.  With regards on the comment about metal chopsticks, we frequently use metal chopsticks.  In fact, we likely use metal chopsticks more than plastic and wood chopsticks.  That all being said, wood are the easiest to use.  Also, with regards to Korea, we often eat Korean food here and the chopsticks are dramatically different than the typical metal chopstick.  Are they the only country that uses them?  No.  Are they special?  Yes.  They are typically much longer with a flat end.  Is that what you experienced?

2.  Where is my companion from?  Fruit Heights, Utah.  He's great though.

3.  When is my Mission President leaving?  July 1, 2013.  Yes, I will be more than sad.  During our mission tour by the mission area presidency, he said that sometimes missionaries aren't sent to an area or mission for the area, but for the mission president.  Our mission presidents were pre-ordained and destined to be with us to help us along on this challenging but incredibly rewarding portion of our lives.  I love him and I hope that I will be able to associate with him after the mission.

My new companion and I are working really hard to be healthy and to baptize.  We are overcoming all potential challenges and becoming great plans.  I love him, he's a great example of a good friend.  He just loves people and wants to be best friends with all of his companions.

I'm really looking forward to conference.  It should be a wonderful time to learn and grow.  I know that there's only one Priesthood Session left.  The time is moving too fast and it makes me want to cry.  I almost tear up just thinking about it.  I feel like I can't keep up with the pace of the world around me.  I just want to soak in each moment and I can't.  The days fly off of the calendar when all I want to do is stand still and feel the joy of an investigator, the excitement of a baptism, the peace of our mission president's words.  I want to stay forever. 

It has been ridiculously rainy this last week.  My companion and I got soaked to the bone the other night.  We were caught in the rain with no rain clothes and we were drenched from head to foot.  It was a lot of fun, but a little inconvenient for missionary work.  That didn't stop us, but there were definitely less people on the road than I would have hoped there would be.  When it rains in Taiwan it rains buckets.  I love it, however.  The rain is refreshing.  It sounds like Utah is wonderful.  I am not looking forward to snow and dry come next January.  That sounds positively miserable to me.  I'm also excited to talk to you all.  I can't wait to hear how everyone is doing and see your lovely faces again.  What a wonderful time.

Thank you all for loving and supporting me.  I want to share two quick experiences: one amazing, one funny.

1. My companion and I began tracting in the rain the other day.  We were tracting multi-level buildings by buzzing their doorbells from the lowest level.  The doors to the buildings are locked.  We began with a prayer in which we asked to find a family.  It was a very blunt, but honest prayer.  We then began to work our way through each number.  One house opened the main door to allow us to enter.  When we went to their actually apartment door, they rejected us.  Then we decided to contact the actual apartment door of each house.  On the very top floor, we found a family in very poor conditions.  The father was noticeably drunk with cans of beer on the table and the mom was tending to four very small children, taking one to the hospital.  Well, they added and set up another date to meet with us.  It took us almost fifteen minutes after this experience to realize that the Lord had answered our prayers again.  I love this gospel.

Well, that's a brief clippet from the week.  I love you all so very much.  Keep pushing through all life's challenges and being great examples of the believers to me.  I adore this gospel and the wonderful blessings it gives to me.  I can't wait to lie my spirit down in the home of our Heavenly Father knowing that I'm worthy and did everything I could to make the most of my life.  This life is so fast and it hurts to think about it.  I will keep pressing forward, because that is what the Lord wants.  The world has so much to offer and I plan on magnifying talents, opportunities, and callings, for that is also what the Lord wants.  I love you.

- Elder Woolsey 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hello Family & Friends

Elder Woolsey would like you all to know that he is now allowed to receive emails directly from Family and friends. Please email Elder Woolsey directly at

A rainy day and a new move call

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

I love missionary work.  We have the greatest calling in the world and I honestly love every moment of every day.  Right before we left the door this morning, it was pouring rain.  It's still pouring rain.  It's move call day.  New missionaries, new beginnings.  Each move call you can become whatever missionary you want or need to become.  I love it all.  I honestly can't describe how happy I am.  I just want to work hard, baptize, and see real growth in Taiwan.

Thank you all for loving and supporting me so much out here.  With regards to BYU and that return date, I would actually be coming home on the 31st of December unless I can find a way to extend it to as close to the previous date as possible.

My new companion just got in.  His name is Elder Croft.  He's incredibly great.  He's five or more inches taller than I am and incredibly strong.  He's going home here shortly, but it likely won't affect the work in any negative way.  He's really great.  He really wants to do a good job.  I'm super excited to be his companion and see how we can learn from one another.  We have some great plans that we want to carry out.

I'm glad that the weather is getting better for you.  It's raining all the time right now.  It's not anywhere near Typhoon season, but you get soaked really fast when it suddenly begins raining while riding your bike.  It's a lot of fun though.  The season is slowly shifting to what it was when I was here last.  Taiwan is the best.

That's great that you got to go to Korea.  My companion for the last three days is Korean.  He's a really awesome guy who speaks many languages fluently: English, Korean, Chinese, and some Thai.  A really wonderful missionary that will do wonders on his mission.  I love meeting so many different missionaries and seeing how they grow and develop into mature, hard-working adults.  It's shocking how people change.  In fact, I had a really strange experience.  Because this Korean Elder, Elder Kim, wanted to see his baptisms in Shalu (my first area), we got permission to go back there.  When I walked in, everyone said that I had changed A TON.  It was a strange fore vision of returning home I believe.  They said that I had grown up a lot. 

I hope that the family in Arizona is doing well.  I hope that everyone can see the power of the Gospel and the change it can bring in the lives of those that are willing to accept it.  It's a wonderful feeling knowing that our family changed because of the gospel and that we can bring this life changing message to others as well.  I love it.  I think that Savannah will serve a mission, especially considering they can come younger. 

Being in Taizhong has its perks.  All of the new missionaries stay their first night with us.  We get to see all the fresh faces.  The fascinating thing however, is that we met the 18 year old elders who were surprisingly mature.  I was impressed.  We saw the 19 year old sisters later in the day as well.  It's wonderful that a new armada of missionaries is coming to the field.  There are tons of wonderful missionaries that are coming on at this time when previously the opportunity was more difficult to select.  I love seeing such a force.  Our mission is being flooded with sisters actually.  It's fun taking them all running their first two mornings and seeing how they do.  It's fun to see the fire in some of their eyes.

Easter in Taiwan?  There is no Easter.  We didn't do anything.  It barely got a mention at church.

My goals for the last few months?  Sprint to the finish.  I want to help Taizhong Zone reach its full potential.  I want to help as many missionaries as possible have a pleasant experience on their missions.  I also want to baptize many souls.  I want to do everything I can to develop my Christ-like Attributes as much as possible and to set goals for coming home.  I just want to give the Lord everything.

Emails?  Only one.  Elder Skyler Bennett wrote me and it was fantastic.  He's such a good missionary I bet.  He's a hardworking person who has a sincere desire to serve the Lord.  He's training right now and apparently loving it.  I can't wait to see how my friends have improved when we return.  What a great Elder!


I love you all so much. I'm working as hard as I can.  Don't worry about me too much.  Keep doing what you need to obey the Lord's commandments.

- Elder Woolsey