Monday, December 16, 2013

Dec. 16, 2013 - 你好嗎?

Another solid week this week. It really flew by. Something about the Christmas season tends to do that. It was also transfers this week, so we helped a lot with that. I will be in the office for another transfer. Which is a sign that I haven't screwed anything up too badly... yet. haha. I have really enjoyed the added assignment of supplies and referrals, so I am really stoked to keep helping out where I can.

We were busy with some things this week, but we planned well, so we still had a lot of time to get out and find! I love finding because you never know who you are going to find or what you are going to run across. There was a huge rugby tournament at a sports complex near the temple, so this weekend we talked with a ton of jacked giants about the gospel. It was really awesome. I learned a big lesson about really consecrating our time and working hard this week. It has been rainy and a little chilly here this week. We had been finding all day and were really tired. Our schedule had a really awkward 30 minutes toward the end of the day and we were really tempted to just finish up some random office stuff. But we decided to go out and try and teach a lesson. We had the goal that we were going to help at least one person learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ, even though the whole day we had hardly been able to talk with anyone. So we got out there and we met Karina. She is a student at CityU and lives nearby. We were able to learn more about her family and her love for them. She has given a lot to benefit them. We shared with her the potential of becoming an eternal family. She was really interested and we had a great discussion. The sisters will be meeting with her and her family next week. It was a really testimony builder for me to see that hard work is where the miracles are. If we don't become complacent and lazy, God is going to bless us.

In the mission office, you can really tell that its the Christmas season! Sister Cowley, our mission secretary, decked the office out! haha. It was really cool for us to walk in one day and see lights lining our desk with stockings, trees, and lights everywhere. There isn't a better time to be on a mission than at Christmas. Everyone here goes all out for Christmas, but most people don't know why it is a holiday or the reason we have Christmas. We have really loved reading the story of the Saviors birth with out less actives and investigators.

We had another miracle this week with our less actives! It turns out that the Sham Shui Po ward used to be split into three different wards, but because people moved, or stopped coming, it was condensed into just one ward. So we really put our shoulder to the wheel and have been visiting people like crazy. Some guards wouldn't let us up, others yelled at us, but some let us up. We spent a huge part of the week and weren't able to get into anyone's home to share the message of the Nativity. It was hard for me to work so hard and care so much, but not have any success. Or so I thought. On Sunday, Bro Tsang came to church, a less active that we had visited that wasn't home. He told us how grateful he was that we took the time to visit and show that we cared. Christmas is a time of miracles.

Its a time when we could easily let our thoughts drift off to home, but I am enjoying what I am doing here. Its not everyday that you have the call that we have, the work we have, and the joys we have. Helping others come to know Christ is of great worth. I miss you, but I am here to work and that's what we have been doing.

I love you all. Remember Christ in Christmas and what that means.

Until next week!

Elder Woodburn

Dec. 9, 'Tis the Season

It was another awesome week. Doing a ton of office stuff, especially with the holidays, but we are learning how to balance the time. I feel like life is lot like that most of the time, a constant balancing act. so I am really happy to have the chance now to practice and get good at it now. Isn't a mission awesome?!?!

As far as office things go, I have been in charge of making our end of the year slide show. So it has been fun playing with that. I have learned that media is not my medium of creativity, but I did what I could with it. haha. Also I have spent some time making some new proselyting materials. In our mission, we use fliers and pass along cards that we make ourselves since the church doesn't have a ton of materials in Chinese. I really wish I had spent some time learning the basics of photo shop, but I'm learning on the fly. Our inventory system has also needed some renovating, so spent a little time on that as well. As the mission expands and the work roles on, things just get busier and busier. And our system now isn't really keeping up, but it will be caught up to speed in no time.

We did a ton of office stuff, but we were still able to get out and do some great work in SSP. We met a few promising contacts and hope that we will be able to set something up to meet with them in the future. We are also really reaching out to our Less Actives. Penny broke our heart this week. We met him early in the week and had a really awesome lesson. We were able to really get to the core of some struggles and I felt like we were able to help him. He said that he would be at church all 3 hours this week. But he texted us a half hour before and said that he couldn't come. It broke my heart! but we will keep with him. He has so much potential. We have also been meeting with another LA named Brother Hung. He hasn't been to church in decades. So we have slowly been able to help him rekindle that desire to become better and follow the Savior. He is progressing slowly, but we have had some powerful experiences with him.

We have another busy week ahead of us. Transfers this week. Lots of new missionaries coming in. I really like that. They have a real power and spirit that they don't fully realize.

One thing that I have really been thinking about, especially as I see these new missionaries and think about the time I was brand new. We don't have to wait to be great. You can do it today. Its true for everyone. So be the person God made you to be. I promise that as you strive to be that person, you will have His help. He is always there.

I love you all!
Elder Woodburn

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dec. 2, 2013 - Tis the go to Macau!

Does it blow your minds as well to think that is December already? I think it finally hit me how fast time goes and just how long I have been a missionary. I saw an ad for the new Hobbit movie on the side of a bus and I was just like, "What the heck! I just watched the first one! How is the next one coming out already?!?! Oh wait.... that was like a year ago..." hahaha. Time comes at you fast I guess.

So we had another solid week here in the office! It was full of reports, fixing stuff, helping people move, and looking at more apartments! This week we got an assignment to go out to Macau and look at apartments! So we woke up early, went to the ferry and rode a boat over to Macau. It was really awesome! Macau just has a different feel to it. People are insanely nice and it is a lot less crowded. I really liked it out there. Plus it is like the Las Vegas of China. Casinos EVERYWHERE! So I felt right at home. haha. Seriously though. I can remember knowing I was home when you got to the Reno airport and the first thing you see are slot machines. Same idea here. But we took the whole day looking at apartments there. We looked at 15 different places! We were both exhausted, but we have some really good options.

Even though we were really busy with more apartment things, we still had time to go out and find! It was a solid week. We taught a few lessons on the street and were able to reschedule a few of them. One was a girl who is studying university, but had a friend who was LDS from when she was studying in Hawaii. Goes to show that people really do notice good examples. Also just why we are so happy all the time. We also met another guy named Fowler. He was just amazed at the lifestyle of a missionary. He didn't think that we were normal, but said he really respected what we were doing. He asked some really funny questions like if we are allowed to use smart phones or play basketball. haha. In the end, his curiosity allowed us to share the message of the restoration with him and it was a solid lesson. We should be meeting up with him again next week! 

One of the best parts of the week was that all the stakes in HK got together and had a huge activity at our chapel here in Kowloon Tong. I was able to see Avis, our convert from Sha Tin! He is doing so good! He already has his mission papers all filled out and is just waiting to turn them in at the end of the year! Is that not the coolest thing you have heard in the world? to me that is just music to my ears! I love Avis so much! I was also able to see a Less Active that we were able to reactivate from back in Butterfly. Brother Ling, and he is just the man! I don't know if you remember me talking about him, but he was baptized in his teens, but stopped going to church when he moved to Shanghai for school. When he moved back, he still just didn't come to church. A member ran into him and had us over for dinner and we started teaching. Now he is about to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and is the head of the Young Adults Activity Committee! Brother Ling is one of my favorite people in the world! So cool to see just how the gospel changes people. It means everything to them, and I am just grateful I could have a small part in helping them find it.

It is Christmas season, so I invite you to do something for someone else. Something small, we all can do that. I promise that we are at our happiest when we serve those around us.

I love you guys!

Elder Woodburn