Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Antithesis of Trunkiness

Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, Belle, and Coffee (who I still have yet to meet),

I can assure each of you that I am the furthest thing from trunky at this late stage of my missionary experience.  The son may be setting, but that (like Elder Ochoa stated), is merely a sign that I must adjust my course, and ride faster to avoid the repercussions of not being where I need to be when the sun sets (or the storm comes).  My pace is only quickening as time draws night to a close.

It's honestly humbling to have this role in JiaYi at this time. This is the longest I've been without baptizing since the very beginning of my mission.  We're working hard to help out this area which has only baptized one in the last year.  It's been the most challenging area of my mission, but that doesn't mean we are not going to see success soon.  We are working with two families that are lovely.  We met with one this morning.  I wish you could meet them.  They are young and the father just wants the gospel to help his family, but is apprehensive about reading and praying daily.  I wish they could see the blessings that the gospel has brought to our family and know how it can change lives.  We are close to baptizing in many ways, but our investigators need to just make that commitment to really learn the gospel.  They need a greater desire.  I'm grateful for the miracles that I've seen here already.  We will help this place be stake.  And while baptisms are low, we've already helped three men pass Melchizedek Priesthood interviews and one more who is just waiting to actually meet with the Branch President.  We've seen a lot of success, but not a lot of baptism yet.  It will come soon.

You all are so great and I love you all more than you can possibly know.  I'm grateful for your constant support and expressions of love to me throughout my mission.  I've never doubted that you have been taken care of while I've been out.  I know at this time Dad is facing many difficulties with regards to occupational pursuits, but I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord will provide.  The Lord gives us "mountains to climb" that we may become better, stronger, and trust in him more (see Elder Eyring's April 2012 address).  This, most certainly is a mountain that the Lord has given to you to grow.  As I have been more aware of these "mountains," I have seen many of them throughout my life. I've seen where I have grown and where I have stumbled in my hike to overcome them.  I've also seen where I have given up and turned back the other way when the trail become too steep and my faith was not enough.  I will never do this again however.   Whether on the brink of bankruptcy or at the depths of despair, I will never forsake what I know.  This church is true.   It will guide us through our stormy times.  Do not fear, for the Lord is with us, even to the end of the world.

I cannot believe my eyes.  Nate has returned.  I can't fully wrap my mind around this foreign piece of information.  To think that Nate, one of my favorite people in the entire world is no longer in Russia, but instead in the United States gave me a chill throughout my entire body.  Seeing his picture and hearing his story gives me the strangest of feelings.  I can't imagine the day that I return.  Like I told Eric this week, I'm attempting to build a 100 foot-thick cement barricade around my testimony and my new-found/strengthened standards.  I pray that I don't come off has holier-than-thou or self-righteous or any of those unfortunate things.  I want to be pure and stand steadfast in what I know is right no matter what, but I don't want to be rude or condescending.  I'm just grateful that I have a family who shares these standards already and is already on a much higher plane of spiritual sensitivity than I.  I'm just trying to catch up.

Thank you for your prayers on my behalf and on behalf of JiaYi.  I'm so grateful for them and I feel them every day.  I know that we will baptize because it is the Lord's desire.  I also know that this place will become a stake before the end of next year and the blessings will be large and magnificent to these people.  I want nothing more than to be a tool in the hands of the Lord for the rest of my life, and I know that JiaYi is the place to be right now for just that.  I will dedicate all of my time and attention on the task at hand.  I want to do the Lord's will and be on His errand.  I don't know if I've fully squared away my career pursuits and desires on that front, but I know that I want to serve the Lord in any way shape and form that the Lord asks for the rest of eternity.  I just want to do what I'm doing now, (but with my family beside me), forever more.  I wish missionary was a profession.

SELECT CLASSES NOW!  I fear that it has already opened and many classes are already gone.  Please pick as soon as humanly possible.  I know you're busy and just got back.  Don't feel rushed, but please please please find time.

The idea of spending the holidays with you upon return sounds lovely.  I can't wait to share the true meaning of Christmas with each of you at that time.  For now, I am focused and razor sharp.  I assure you that I am far from slowing down and my mind is as crisp and focus as the day I arrived in Taiwan (if not much more so).  We will baptize and we will establish the church here.  I love you and can't wait to see you when that time comes.  I imagine it's much like our family on the other side of the veil waiting for us.  They're excited, but can wait.  

I love this gospel.  The talks of conference have inspired me to be a better person.  I feel as though that I need to repent and come closer to Jesus Christ.  I have felt that I must improve and prepare for a family.  I don't know how quickly I will pursue the course of marriage post-mission, but it is clear that I want a family of my own very badly, but I understand that much preparation is required.  I must establish myself (education, occupation, etc.) in order to have a truly happy family.  The Lord has His hand in this and like my patriarchal blessing states (don't post this online), "...and by the spirit you shall know her immediately..."  I was particularly impressed by several talks, specifically Elder Uchtdorf's about imperfect members, Elder Dube's about never looking back, but always pressing forward, and Elder Eyring's tender testimony.  I love General Conference.

Thank you all for your support.  I love you so much.  I would love a written letter from each of you BEFORE I return home (hand written is the best of the best).  You have much time, but it would really mean a lot to receive this from you all.  I would also love it if it included your testimony again.  I would love to have your testimonies written on paper by your own hand that I may keep forever and know that my family gave me these on my mission.  I would love this.

- Elder Woolsey

Monday, October 14, 2013

Time Flies on Wings of Lightening

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

To be honest, I occasionally have pangs of desire to extend my mission out to the other date.  I decided that this is likely not what should be done though.  My mission president, parents, and my understanding of the education process post-mission all led me to believe that returning home at that time was what needed to be done.  I want to serve forever, but my Mission President said that in the grand scheme of things the difference won't be much, but my not going home in time for school could make a large difference. I also read a quote by President Boyd K. Packer where he had a concern and didn't feel like the revelation he received through prayer directed him enough.  He sought out his priesthood leader (which was the President of the church at the time who told him to talk to a later would become President of the Church.  He said that he "tried to be obedient to the counsel given" which made me realize the importance of inspired counsel.  We should obey the counsel given by our leaders as long as it directs us to choose the right.

I imagine that mom is bouncing off the walls, but don't get too excited, there is still about three months left.  Don't let it get to you.  Please choose classes immediately.  Mitt Romney was actually and English Major by the way.  I figure that if I need to, I can switch my major.  For the time being I will pursue this course.  My mission president said that he did something similar.  He took many different things and while sitting in a Chemistry class, the teacher reminded him of his father and therefore he pursued that course.  I hope that as I search that I will find the course to take quickly.

Speaking of the suit, I'm working on it.  I knew where to get one before, but no one seems to know where to find it in this area.  I'll have to do a little hunting and asking of members.  They will surely know or at any rate they can look it up online.  I'll try to get that found out and go seek it out hopefully next week.
Your trip sounds breathtaking to say the least.  I hope that I get to accompany you all on your next trip to such a culturally diverse place. I naturally have a great desire to travel after having come on my mission.  The desire to see different cultures and peoples sounds thrilling.  I love learning about history and how people have evolved (or lack thereof) over time.  I'm excited for such prospects.  I don't know what all to say with regards to your trip except that it sounds wonderful.  I'm glad you loved it so much.  Keep sending pictures!  Catacombs, pizza, Venice, I would love to see it all!

Elder Brinley and I are only now really getting the area on its feet.  We have a lot of baptismal goals, but none are having that "A-HA!" moment we're all looking for.  It's not quite clicking for many of them and it's frustrating to say the least.  We are working incredibly hard and I'm pretty sure that my companion's legs are about to fall off from all of the cycling.  He's hurting pretty bad, but it's all part of the experience.  I remember how my first weeks were as well.  He's a trooper and doing well.  I can't wait to see the upcoming successes.

I love you all so much.  Please help me transition well into the new life that awaits. I don't know what to expect, but I know that the Lord will help and you all will help.  I want to get off sprinting.  You all mean so much to me.  I pray for you each night and hope that you are all safe and sound.  I want to hear at least one revelation that everyone received from conference next week.  Please share your thoughts!  I can't wait!

- Elder Woolsey


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

The decision is made.  

I had been praying intently and fasting multiple times over the past two weeks to decide as to what I should do.  My Mission President in that same meeting repeated what you all said as a family, that returning home in December is best for my personal progression and improvement following the mission.  Jumping in at that time is the best decision.  I felt like the fact the President told me those things, bringing my mission full circle, gave me a sense of completion and resolution.  Elder Erickson asked me the other day, "...of course there's more to do in Taiwan!  But is there more for Elder Woolsey to do at this time?"  The work will not be done for a very long time, but my role at this time is coming to a close and it is my duty and responsibility to begin preparing for the Lord to use me in other roles and tasks to build his church in other ways.  I have every intention of being a tool forever in the hands of the Lord.  This being said, I need to get started. 

I have decided to come home on December 27th in order to prepare for the upcoming semester and not extending into February   I know this is a big decision, but unless I have a prompting to the contrary, or my Mission President does, or you all do, expect me at this time.  I have already submitted the date for application through the mission secretary and it sounds like this is what's going to happen.  I've put a lot of thought into it and I just want to do what's right.  Why wouldn't I listen to the wise words of both my family and my mission president?  Disregarding their counsel would be inappropriate.

Now, it's your turn.  What do you all thing of this decision?  Do you have any negative feelings about it?  What about the rest of my monologue?  How much of a miracle is that!  The Lord knows what we are all meant to be and I intend to do whatever it takes to fulfill my role that he has created for me.  I would love your response in the next email.  If I'm not mistaken, you should all be home by that point in order to reply.  I know that Mom's prefect vacation likely just got even better, and Eric is probably more than excited, but please keep me posted on thoughts, etc.

I can't believe you all are in Europe.  It sounds like your trip is more than overdue considering how hard you've all worked in jobs, etc.  I've been praying and fasting for you all.  I hope that everything works out well.  I can't wait until a massive temple is built there.  What a wonderful sight!

I love Taiwan.  I love you all.  I love being a missionary and I love serving God.  I may not have fully picked a major or my exact course in life on my mission, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will get straight A's in college, I will attend a high level secondary education institution and I will serve the Lord for the rest of my life.  That's what I want more than anything.  

Please declare my major as something Law related and sign me up for classes immediately, please.  If this major doesn't work out, I'll change it early in the process.  I think I want to do law and business together.
Thank you all for your patience.  I love you all so much.  I am working hard and won't give up, so don't worry about me too much.  Keep me posted on anything that I need to know in preparation for returning home, also please ask anything you need to know for school, or anything else.

- Elder Woolsey