Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

thomas.webber@myldsmail.net

Washington Tacoma Mission
4007 Bridgeport Way West, Suite D
Tacoma, WA 98466-4330

Monday, December 23, 2013

Steilacoom Christmas is Here with Elder Schaffner

Wonderful Family,

Well it has been a crazy week and I am excited to tell you about it and then get to see your beautiful faces on Wednesday!!! It's been over 7 months and that is long enough! I am so excited!

Fisrt off thanks to Hermana Mehner, the Osterhouts, the Chamberlins, and of course Grandma for the letters/ Christmas cards/ package!!! You are wonderful.

Wow where do I start! Not much time, but it began with transfer meeting, one of the most powerful since my first here. There was a lot of mixed emotion seeing Elder Lonas, my trainer, go home, and be sitting next to my first "trainee" or "greenie" whatever you want to call him. He gave a powerful testimony that amounted to him telling us that it is impossible for him to describe in words the feeling of his heart, and for us to develop this kind of feeling and love for our mission, we have to do it ourselves. Like the gospel, we can't have others feel or know or believe what we do until they do it themselves.
 
Transfer meeting, Christmas greeting (note Tommy's Moroni themed socks)
Elder Webber's new companion Elder Schaffner
I was very worried about being a trainer, it is a lot of responsibility and I wanted his first week to go well. It did! We had a church tour with George on Tuesday night and another one with Chris on Wednesday night! I told him before Chris's tour that if all went well we would invite him to be baptized. It did and Elder Schaffner committed him to be baptized. Unfortunately he didn't make it to church yesterday, so it will be later than Jan 4th (the original date) but that's ok. Haopeng and Tiffany are finally back in town and came to church yesterday! Those three are progressing wonderfully! Sorry it's short. I guess I can tell you the rest on Wednesday. MERRY CHRISTMAS I LOVE YOU!!

Elder Webber catches up with previous companion Elder Green
Lots of scriptures this week (Christmas themed!):

SEE YOU WEDNESDAY! 

Elder Webber

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Steilacoom Christmas is coming!

Oh dearest family:

I love you! I love hearing from all of you and the awesome updates and things going on in your life. I'm happy to hear that so many people are sharing in the joy of missionary work and reading these letters. I would be selfish to keep so many miracles to myself. Share them with friends!

Also thanks to the Bakers for the Christmas card! That was awesome. You all look so good. I will miss Christmas "boo-ing" you :)

Some fun things this week: The WA-TAC Christmas party, Anderson Island Christmas party, a solid new investigator Chris, and TRANSFERS!

I'll start with the last because I know you're anxious to find out. I am staying in Steilacoom!!! But Elder Hansen is leaving :( and going to the Poulsbo 2nd ward in the Silverdale Zone (next to Bremerton). He is really bummed he is leaving this celestial ward. Also news: I'm training a new missionary! Yikes! I'm very excited but also very nervous, I still feel like I just got here. I don't who he is yet. I'll laugh if it is Elder Singleton :) We have a lot planned this week, so I am excited. A church tour set up Tuesday night and Wednesday night!

OK, the Christmas party on Tuesday was pretty fantastic. It was from 9:30 to 4:00 and consisted of a white elephant gift exchange (fun way to see what is left in missionary apartments...), a great lunch/dinner with a slideshow of 2013 mission pictures. LOTS of singing (some conducting) and all Christmas music! It actually got pretty wild as we sang "the 12 days of (a WA-TAC) Christmas" but we had so much fun. I'm realizing more and more how unique and special it is that our mission is so close and united, that we get together so often. Some of my closest friends are here: those who I have served with, and seeing them is SO fun!  We had skits (each Zone did one) and ended with a devotional. The most spiritual part was when our whole mission read together Moroni chapter 10 and finished the Book of Mormon as a mission! We got to bear short testimonies of the Book of Mormon and of Christ. Then we were able to hear the testimony of our mission president and his wife, and watch a powerful Christmas video of the birth, life and Atonement of Jesus Christ. We ended with President Weaver's favorite "Christmas" song "Amazing Grace." And we'll all be singing it again this Tuesday!

Elder Hansen and Elder Tommy Webber at Mission wide Christmas Party

Concerning our teaching work, unfortunately Haopeng and Tiffany were not at church today, which means their baptism will have to be postponed. We haven't heard from them since he left to get her in Seattle. We stopped by his apartment every day I think and texted and called, but we can only do so much. I feel that we can still do it in December!

Our very exciting news (Dad you'll like this), is our new investigator Chris. He lives down the street from our Bishop, he knows their great family and sees something different in them. We found him while knocking our 5-7 PM routine on one of the coldest nights (blessings for obedience!) and heard his crazy story of his wife leaving him and long story short he is very depressed and was praying that someone would come to his door to help him. That's right when we knocked. He talked to us for about 30 minutes on his doorstep (remember the cold) and we got his phone number and invited him to church and gave him a Book of Mormon. We didn't hear from him for about a week until he showed up to church one night on the same night that we had mutual, so guess who was there? The bishop he knows! Turns out Chris likes to park his car outside our church building because of the peaceful feeling he gets there. Our Bishop invited him over for dinner and a Family Home Evening night on Sunday (yesterday) which he came to. We were there and another member, a solid recent convert, came too. Chris loved it, he was included and loved with their wonderful family and had a dinner and Christmas message that reminded him of his childhood. He told us afterwards, "I felt the presence of God in that home." We have a church tour set up with him on Wednesday night with that same recent convert as fellowship. We are excited to see where he will go!

Also of note: IT SNOWED on Monday night!!!! There was snowing as we knocked doors! Not quite Provo status but it was exciting and my Idaho companion got a kick out of my excitement.

Saturday night we got to go to the Anderson Island Christmas party, and take the ferry over, very fun. But I'm out of time!

On the Ferry to the Anderson Island Branch

Much love and Christmas spirit,
Elder Webber

The scripture this week is Alma 7:7, 10-13. That is the Christmas message! I'm SO happy to hear that you guys are getting your family scripture study in! The smallest bit each night will have the most wonderful eternal blessings.

P.S. I heard at our Christmas party that Dennis has been going to the temple more! The senior couple serving there are taking him to Seattle to sit and watch baptisms. (Since it is hard for him to do them himself as we all learned, ha ha). But I can picture him, in white, watching the font with that huge part-toothless smile he always has, as all of his ancestors are baptized!!!

Missionaries at Steilacoom Ward Christmas Party


Here is a message form President and Sister Weaver they sent today I'd like to share:
"We hope this is one of the best Christmas Seasons of your life. You are doing something that is very
special, and your Heavenly Father is very proud of you. May His richest blessings be with you this
season and may you deeply feel the Spirit in your missionary efforts, and His peace in your personal
lives. We are so proud of you and are honored to be serving together with you. We love you."

I love you all too!!!

Missionary apartment sparse Christmas decorations

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Steilacoom Gets Cold, Winter is Here

Dear Family,

I've been thinking of you guys a lot this week, especially with the wonderful Christmas season here. I miss you but I love being here in Washington, engaged in the work of the Lord. Especially at Christmas where we get to say Merry Christmas to everyone who closes the door on us, ha ha. But really, what better time to share the message of our Savior.

9:00 pm, End of a cold day

It is surprisingly cold here, especially this week it dropped into the teens in temperature. I thought after experiencing (and enduring) a Utah winter I could handle Washington, but it hit us pretty fast and caught me off guard. It's especially hard when we are outside from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (with the exception of dinner and lessons) and when we bike around in the blowing frigid air. Thank you mom for the thermals and scarf and sweaters, I pile them all on and it keeps me warm enough. I can't complain too much, I know there are much worse places and I know I have a warm apartment to go home to and a nice bed. Plus I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father has been helping, because He's answered a few prayers. When it's 8:15 p.m. and we have no appointments, it's only my love for Him that gets me to bike out to find something to do or someone to visit, so we can obediently work all day. That's when blessings come, and they have!!

Lake Waughop in Steilacoom
Aside from two miracle lessons this week, it was hard work. No one seems to ever be home, so we can spend hours each day visiting potential investigators or knocking more or walking around to talk to people. I have felt discouraged because of how hard I have been working and not having much to do. Thankfully my great companion Elder Hansen has been reminding me that perhaps I'm looking in the wrong areas for success, and with your note, mom, I can understand more of what success is. It is not how many lessons or baptisms or referrals we get but how committed we are to the work, how we love the people, and, simply, how hard we are really trying. Even with that, Heavenly Father has seemed to bless us again.

me at Lake Waughop in Steilacoom

We had the privilege to have President Weaver in our district meeting on Wednesday, as a surprise (a little scary for me at first), but after he was saying how he is supposed to be working with the missionaries more directly and we told him about our scheduled lesson with our main investigator, Haopeng. He agreed to come with us to help us teach that night! Haopeng was found last transfer, by talking to him as he was walking home to his apartment. He came from China about a year ago and is here studying at college. He has no background in religion but he is one of the most humble people I have met. He sits on the floor at our feet when we teach and soaks in everything we say. He keeps all his commitments to read the Book of Mormon and pray! He is very busy with school, that is our only difficulty. Anyway that night with President Weaver, we taught one of the best lessons I have experienced. We taught the Plan of Salvation, it was only 45 minutes, but it was simple and the Spirit was very strong. I was at times subtly aware of the Spirit guiding me to know in the moment what to say or what questions to ask. We committed him to baptism on the 21st!

Sadly, he slept through church this week, so we went over to visit. He and his girlfriend Tiffany (came from China about 3 years ago) were there and were talking and it transformed into teaching her the Restoration. She heard Haopeng talking about all his awesome experiences and the Spirit came again! She has accepted to be baptized on the 21st as well!! We are very excited but have a lot of work to do now. There are more miracles coming. Let's keep praying for them!

Farrell's Marsh in Steilacoom (Bike shortcut)
Scripture this week is Ether 3:4, one of my favorite examples of faith. The Brother of Jared had exceeding faith. We can too. We know God can do this work, and we will do our part as best we can. I am excited to finish the Book of Mormon tomorrow by reading Moroni 10 with the whole mission at our Christmas party!!

Merry Christmas!!!!
Elder Webber
me at Lake Waughop in Steilacoom


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Steilacoom Thanksgiving

Oh My Wonderful Family,

Seeing pictures of you guys made me so happy!! You are all so good-looking, ha ha. I'm glad to see all the fun things in your life. I don't have much time, but I'll tell you the highlights from this week.

Thanksgiving was very fun, we visited one investigator for a short while who was alone, then had dinner with a member in our ward. It included all the delicious traditional Thanksgiving delicacies and filled me up. We visited our ward mission leader's giant Hawaiian family who fed us even more! Then we had the privilege to go to the mission home for the night. Only the Tacoma and Lakewood Zones went, since we are closest. It is nice to be back closer to the mission home! We played some games, all said what we were thankful for, and sang Christmas songs and "Amazing Grace" of course. I LOVE the Weavers! They make this mission a family. I am thankful for them. I also got to talk with Elder Green again. Very fun.

Elder Webber meets up with former companion Elder Green at Thanksgiving at Mission Home

We had two exchanges this week, one in Lakewood, the more populated and much lower class part of the city. Lots more poverty, but not nearly as much as Mexico, where you guys got to go this week. We have SO much. It was fun serving with the Zone Leaders, there are some amazing missionaries that I can learn from.

Elder Webber and current companion Elder Hansen at Zone Conference

I have been thinking a lot about my mission recently and how far I've come and where I can still go. We haven't been teaching as many lessons here in Steilacoom and I have a bad tendency to blame myself. I continually think, study, and pray about how I can do better. Yesterday at fast and testimony meeting (yes I did get to bear my testimony), and with the sacrament I thought about it and had a great feeling of happiness and peace. It had been two weeks since I had the sacrament (because of stake conference) and I could actually feel it! The sacrament to me is a spiritual reboot. Like food to the body, the sacrament is to the soul. I felt that things would be okay if I keep trying.

Missionaries at the Mission Home

Scripture this week is a lot. 3 Nephi 17 is just an amazing chapter. There is so much pure love and joy! Also, 3 Nephi 19:9 we can be grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost, which (3 Nephi 19:21, 28) purifies us.

View of Mt. Rainier


Love,
Elder Webber

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Steilacoom: Bike issues, Zone Conference, Stake Conference, and an Apostle!!!

Family,

Happy Thanksgiving this week! This Thanksgiving I am grateful to all of you guys. And for the wonderful gospel which is the best thing ever. Also thanks to  Amy, Elder Christopherson, Hermana Grover, Hermana Mehner, Sister Haws, Sister Bowman, Claire, and especially Grandma for the letters in the last few weeks! I love them and will try to get back to all of you soon.

Washington is getting SO dark SO early! It is fully night by around 4:30 pm and will keep getting darker until the end of December. It is not very fun to knock on doors from 5-7 pm in total darkness and people either say "What are you doing out so late?" (At 6:00 in the evening) or say "We're in the middle of dinner" but that one always happens. At least they are home! And it's usually just an excuse to not talk to scary people like the missionaries.

Candid, obviously. Elder Webber may miss his cat Annabelle

I didn't say last time but some of our main investigators are Laurence, an old, tall, skinny, funny former trucker. He has been having a rough week but we do a lot of service for him and he really enjoyed church the Sunday before last. He wasn't there this week. Also we are teaching a Chinese man named Haopeng. He is here going to school and he is one of the most humble and kind and teachable people I have met! He loves learning and he loves learning about God. He wants to get baptized, but wants to make sure he believes first, which is perfect.

Some bike troubles this week were my bike lock getting totally jammed for some reason. It wouldn't unlock, so a member (the ward here is amazing) came to the rescue and brought a hack saw which cut through it. Then he gave me a spare bike lock and fed us dinner! We have a dinner every night through November (including Thanksgiving, yes!) thanks to another member who does a great job calling people and scheduling them.

Elder Webber, biking next to Puget Sound

Zone Conference, Apostle, Stake Conference!!!  At Zone Conference the focus was on having "higher expectations" and creating a "celestial culture." My favorite was when Sister Weaver talked about the blessings that are ours as consecrated, covenant people of the Lord. I realized that when it comes to service and membership, anything is worth it because everything is promised. This is the only church and religion where all things are promised, every blessing can be ours because of the ordinances that have come with the Restoration of the Priesthood and sacred temple blessings! How amazing! President Weaver taught that during the day we need to pray that Heavenly Father will bless us to meet our goals if we pray and work as hard as we can. He and the leaders of the church keep emphasizing the importance and power of prayer!

Then on Saturday morning we had the life-changing privilege of meeting with an Apostle of the Lord, Elder Neil L. Anderson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy was also there. Before the meeting we sat for about 45 minutes in reverence, studying the scriptures and singing a few hymns (including Amazing Grace). It was quite a sight to look around at 210 missionaries all with their scriptures out plus about 30 senior couple missionaries plus President and Sister Weaver all reading! We all had fasted and prayed that morning for this opportunity. When he got here we all got to shake his hand and meet him personally! The funny part we forget is that they are real people too. He talked to us about life. He told us that life always moves on and that we can face the trials that will come to us. My favorite part was when he promised us that if we ponder the gospel and the Atonement, and "seal the truths of the gospel in our hearts" we will not be lead astray later in life and we will be sure that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. He spoke and testified with such boldness. He told us the importance of memorizing scriptures (especially the New Testament) and that we should "see the unseen" because that which is unseen is eternal. (Still trying to understand what he meant). He also told us to study the words of the prophets (the last Ensign) and seal those truths in our hearts as well. At the end he bore his testimony and said "I know He lives. I am His witness" At that moment I knew with a surety that he is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has that priesthood responsibility to bear testimony of His name. This is the true church.

For our stake conference we had Elder Christensen with us, as well as President and Sister Weaver. They and our Lakewood stake president all spoke. I am so used to hearing messages about missionary work that it wasn't until the end that I realized the whole conference (with a general member audience) was about missionary work! How great that the work is hastening. Our stake president encouraged all the members to reach out in love to their neighbors! Sharing the gospel is not supposed to be hard or scary or awkward. It should be a natural expression of our love for other people. Something like "You know what I like about our church? Our youth get to learn great values such as _____" fill in the blank: modesty, clean language, daily prayer, service etc. then invite them to learn from the missionaries. It is the missionaries' job to teach the rest, and the members add their own testimony and experiences. We can do this!! The work is hastening and broadening. God is moving it forward and the miracle is that we get to participate. I challenge everyone (as did Elder Ballard in conference) to reach out to at least one before this Christmas season. "Millions will join."

Steilacoom Ward borders the Puget Sound

Unfortunately, Sister White had to go home today, to have special treatment for whatever is making her sick. We don't know what's wrong, so we don't know if she will come back, but we really hope and pray she can. Her companion is serving with the sisters in the ward next to us, so she will still help in Steilacoom, but much less. We elders need to work extra hard!

Happy Thanksgiving! 3 Nephi 10:10 turn your sadness into joy and thanksgiving :)

Love Elder Webber!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Steilacoom Starts: Elder Webber is on a bike!

Family,

There is a lot to tell you, it has been a crazy week. Started with some goodbyes in Raymond, lots of pictures,  (see below) and the long drive out of Raymond. I'll really miss it there. I am very happy with what I was able to help with in Raymond. Transfer meeting was uplifting and spiritual as always, and one highlight was that I was asked to conduct the music this time. My first time conducting the whole mission!! I was actually a little nervous before going up, but it was a blast, I never get tired of 200+ missionaries shouting Called to Serve. The most powerful and emotional part was Elder Dudschus who had to leave for home for another surgery and this time for good. He was asked to give his testimony along with the other missionaries who had finished 2 years. Despite a brave effort, he couldn't hold back tears as he bore a powerful testimony of the truth and divinity of this work, the miracle of a mission, and his valiant ability to face the future and God's will, contrary to his own. He fought to be a missionary and I pray for a part of his faith. Immediately after we all sang "Amazing Grace" and Elder Dudschus stood on the stand in between President and Sister Weaver, under their arms. Most of the mission was in tears as we all sang of the goodness, mercy and love of the Savior of us all.

Now on to Steilacoom (pronounced "Still-ah-cum")! This is very different from Raymond, there are a lot more houses and a lot more people and a lot smaller area! It is about 30 minutes outside of Tacoma, and right on the water of the Puget Sound! It is actually a very nice neighborhood, haven't seen any homeless people, it's mostly suburb-type homes in neat neighborhoods. The ward is absolutely wonderful. About 150-175 active members and they all love the missionaries! We get fed every night and our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Agor (we all call him "Papa") is a short, bald, old Hawaiian man with a big family! There are a few other Samoan or other Polynesian families in the ward. I heard they like to feed the missionaries lots of food, especially raw fish. Not looking forward to that. We also have in our ward area, sister missionaries!! Sister Stucki and Sister White (Sister White has been very sick, so some prayers would be helpful). We work with them a lot and they are awesome. It's fun to have sister missionaries close again. We are on bikes which has already given me some "wonderful" stories.
 
Elder Webber's new Companion - Elder Hansen
Wednesday, my first real day on a bike, we have our district meeting and afterwards a correlation meeting. After we finish, Elder Hansen and I ride out of the church parking lot on our bikes. Not even out of the church parking lot, on the wet and leafy gravel, I turn too sharp and the bike slips out with me crashing, ha ha. Yes, yes Elder Webber is very athletic and coordinated, I know, lets put him on bike in the winter! Great idea!! ha ha, I'm kidding, it will be fun. The only hard part is the hills. google earth Roe St. or Ave. the one we live on, after Woods Dr. and check out those hills!! Thankfully we have some shortcuts. On Thursday, in the middle of knocking on doors, the sisters call and Sister White needs a blessing, at the church. Of course we decide to knock doors down by the water, so the church is up a big hill. In the rain, that was one of the hardest (physically, at least) things I've done yet! Guess what popped in my head right at the hardest, steepest part? "I think I can, I think I can" from that childhood storybook. Thanks Dad. "I could."
 
Tommy's new Companion and sisters
I love this area and I'm excited to work here. Teaching pool is a little small, but we have found some good new investigators. Out of time. This Saturday we get to learn from the Apostle!! 


Love, Elder Webber

Monday, November 11, 2013

The End of Raymond, Baptism, Pictures, Transfer, Maps

Dear Family!!

I have a transfer call!! I am leaving Raymond and going to serve the Lord in Steilacoom, Lakewood area. Lakewood is just outside of Tacoma, another big city with lots of people and lots of work, very similar to Bremerton. I am very excited for a new area and new adventures. This time I will be on bike, no car, and just in time for the rain!! Yay! At least I'll get super fit. Bike elders have a special bond. My new companion will be Elder Hansen, he has been out for 3 months, and is from Rexburg, Idaho. I am also very sad to be leaving Raymond, I have had a feeling it would be my last week, and it is very hard to say goodbye to those I love, the investigators, the members, and most of all the recent converts. And Elder Brown.

The baptism for Isreal was awesome!! We were able to do it in Trap Creek, a river just outside of Raymond. Prayers were answered and there was no rain. One of the members that knows Isreal performed the baptism. It was very unforgettable. I love that family and I am so excited for the blessings of the gospel (and soon the temple) to be in their life.
 
Isreal's Baptism
Isreal's Baptism Service

Also, one more sweet experience. At church yesterday, my last Sunday in Raymond, it happened to be the Primary program. I love kids and I loved being able to see Alexis up there and singing. She already knows the words to the primary songs. She sings "I Am a Child of God" every morning! I was able to see her mom and Kris sitting in the congregation watching her. There was so much love in their expressions and in their eyes for their daughter. As they sang "Families Can Be Together" Vanessa sang along and Kris leaned forward, they both had a huge smile on their faces and I did too. I admit, I couldn't help but tear up. As I looked around and saw all the families that I know - I think I knew everyone in the congregation by name, and had visited with most of them - I was filled with love for the Raymond Ward, and I love the converts that I have had the privilege to teach: Terry, Kris, Alexis, Dennis, and Isreal (and Layton too, he'll get baptized someday :) ). It was another beautiful moment I will never forget. 

Elder Webber says goodbye to Raymond

And good-bye to Elder Brown

Why missionary work? "that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory" Helaman 5:44

Much Love,
Elder Webber

P.S. congrats Matthew for finishing your eagle project!! and a new car, ha ha, that's awesome.

Hello Steilacoom, Washington

Steilacoom Ward Chapel and Boundaries (in Blue) including two islands

Steilacoom Ward, Lakewood Stake Boundaries (in Green)


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Raymond Rules! Musical Fireside Fun

Hello family (and others!)

This was a good week and yesterday made it a great week! We had the first "WA-TAC Fireside" of the season, held in the Chehalis building in the Centralia, WA stake. I'll tell you about it in a bit. First was some Halloween fun.

On Monday we carved pumpkins, I made the BYU cougar and lit it up with Halloween pumpkin lights my mom sent. I loved hearing about your Halloween, I want to see the pictures of "Thing 1 & Thing 2"! On Thursday we had a Zone Meeting and a Zone Activity following. The Zone Meeting in Elma was great. Our Zone hasn't been together much this transfer and it was great to get together and learn together. Oh yeah! One more exciting piece of news: (there are too many good things, this letter must sound jumbled). On November 23rd, the Washington Tacoma Mission will have the special privilege of receiving a 2 hour training from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve APOSTLES!!! And a member of the presidency of the 70!! WOW! We do not know who yet, but either way this is an incredible opportunity and I cannot wait for a life changing experience!

Elder Tommy Webber's Pumpkin of a BYU Cougar

Cougar Growl
We then went to a members home in Elma to have dinner as a Zone and play some games and watch a movie! We watched "Ephraim's Rescue" kind of a sequel to "17 miracles" it was a great, uplifting movie!! and a fun night.

Israel is doing awesome!! He has been taught everything and said that he believes it all. He committed to keep every commandment. He said, "I now have God in my life. I am not afraid, and I'll do anything. I'm ready to be baptized, and nothing will stop me!" He is amazing. He has such an open, humble, willing heart. I try to be like him. After church Sunday he showed us the creek he wants to get baptized in. Everyone pray for good weather!

Trap Creek in Menlo, WA where Israel is choosing to be baptized

AND! Last night we had our missionary musical fireside!! I will not, unfortunately, be able to put into words the experience it was and the spirit that was there. One said, "There are three ways we may feel the spirit: sacred music, true doctrine, and testimony" We had all three last night. The program opened with me conducting "Called to Serve" the WA-TAC way. About 6 missionaries bore their testimonies of the Savior, and President and Sister Weaver spoke. We sang "He Sent His Son" and other musical numbers were "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me", "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" on cello, and "Be Still My Soul". We also did the "Army of Helaman" song, which Sister Crosby and I conducted together as there are two separate parts. It was just incredible. I couldn't stop smiling and I saw President Weaver just beaming, and even a laugh, because of the pure joy of missionary work radiating from a missionary choir about 100 strong. We concluded with "Amazing Grace" which I did not get to conduct, but sang with the choir instead. There was so much power. About 250 stake members came, and all felt the powerful influence of Jesus Christ's love.

The scripture for the week is Alma 56:44-48 about the Army of Helaman! They had incredible faith and righteous mother examples to follow. Never have we seen so much courage to do good in the Book of Mormon!

Next week will be a baptism update (Saturday at 11:00) and a transfer call!

Jeremy's Baptism Service

Jeremy's Grandfather performed the Baptism


Much Love, Elder Webber

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Raymond, October 28th

My dear family,

I love hearing from you and from friends and for all your love and support and encouragement. I love my mission and I have been so greatly blessed. I really enjoy a quote that I came across from President Gordon B. Hinckley:

"When an individual is motivated by great and powerful convictions of truth, then he disciplines himself not because of demands made by the Church, but because of the knowledge within his heart."

Notice that the truths are great and powerful, and that it is knowledge we have, within our heart. It is real and it is true and it is light and it is good. To obtain that knowledge of truth, read Alma chapter 32. I read that this morning and it is powerful!! I think it should be subtitled, "How to Obtain a Testimony." I have been hearing a lot lately about the church and the prophet and I know that this is Jesus Christ's only restored church. It is hard to explain that to people but it is true, so we must. That is why we teach the message of the Restoration first. That is our unique message to the world. The proof is in the Book of Mormon, which was given to provide happiness and hope to the human heart. I love the Book of Mormon.

Anyway, some great news, and some not so great news. I'll start with the not so great: Layton does not feel ready to get baptized on the 9th of November. Thankfully, he has not dropped us, he still comes to church and has us meet with him. However, he is going through many difficulties here in Raymond with his daughter and has decided to move out of state, and feels that when he moves (sometime next year) he will be ready to be baptized. We respect his agency, but know that no matter our difficulties, especially in our difficulties, we need the gospel, and the saving ordinances that bring a great measure of peace and hope and access to the Atonement. We are praying and fasting for a change of heart. I have faith he can do it.

The great news, now, is that Israel is solidly on date for his baptism on the 9th. We came over on Saturday night and was pleased to see his wife Edith home, as well. We taught the third lesson, the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, endure to the end) and it was outstanding! Edith has SO much faith in the Savior and powerfully testified of his love. It is all about his love, she said. She told of her conversion experience, joining the church 5 years ago, and Israel told how much he loves his wife and wants these blessing for himself and their family. He is so humble, so willing, teachable, and ready. They marked their calendars, and Israel requested that we do it in the river! He's not sure who he wants to do the baptism, but it's going to be cold and awesome!! Love that family.

Terry gave a talk last Sunday, and Dennis is doing genealogy like crazy!!
Scripture: Alma 26:27

The Chapel in Raymond

With Love,
Elder Webber

Elder Tommy Webber's Apartment in Raymond

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Raymond is Strong: Israel's Baptism date and a Sacrament Moment

Hello again family!!

Gosh I love being a missionary. Some great highlights from this week. And I love all of you, my wonderful family. I am so uplifted by your updates and things going on and messages and letters!!

Layton is still progressing toward baptism on the 9th. He is trying to give up coffee, but I really think he can do it. We had an interesting discussion on the Word of Wisdom on Tuesday, and was bringing up some concerns, but we know he understands what he has to do. He has more questions and concerns as usual, but he has been "searching the Book of Mormon for answers" which is absolutely perfect. Everyone should do that. It is a book of answers. We have been passing out many copies of the Book of Mormon.

One of the hard things about missionary work is deciding what to do during the day. We plan ahead each night, but you never know who will be home or if your back-up plan will also fall through or how long someone will ramble on about something, ha ha. But I think the important part is that even if you're not doing the perfect activity each time of the day, you're trying to do something. Always working, from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm. Obedience brings blessings!

Now for another miracle (don't you love those?) Last Sunday we taught the Priesthood class in Elder's Quorum/High Priests Group (they're combined) about missionary work. We were super excited about it, but the class seemed, well, less enthused. They are great members, but many are older and sometimes feel they have "done it all." I was a little bummed after the class. But when we finished and church was over, a man named Israel, a nonmember father of a family, who all besides him joined the church 6 years ago, came up to us and asked if we could come to his home Tuesday night at 7:00. We said, of course!

Israel married his wife Edith last March, and she has three kids, they are all very active in church. We have been trying to meet with them, but they have all been too busy. We came over on Tuesday and talked to him, getting to know him and asking about his religious background. After a small pause in the conversation, he quietly and humbly asked us (in his Mexican accent!) "so what do I have to do to get baptized?" Yes! the perfect question to hear as a missionary! It is like music to our ears!! We were so excited that sometimes we don't know how to answer that! But we told him that that is what we are here for and we can teach him all he needs to learn. He told us about his past and how he has come a long way from a rough life. He totally changed when he met Edith and he now wants to be a good father and husband and he feels that joining the church will be a good way to do that. He wants to have everything from his past washed away, and start a new life. He wants to be baptized for the remission of sins. He is so humble and teachable and prepared. We set a date, also the 9th of November! He and Layton were at church yesterday.

Now for one more quick story! At church yesterday they had few Aaronic priesthood holders so they asked Elder Brown and me to help pass the sacrament (flash from the past)! I didn't notice until I was sitting down in the front pew that the two Aaronic Priesthood holders blessing the sacrament were Kris and Terry. It was an awesome moment I will remember forever. They were nervous but did a great job. I got to take from them the sacrament tray and pass it to their families in the congregation!

Love you all,
Elder Webber

Tommy had a fellow missionary cut his hair

Monday, October 14, 2013

Raymond: The Wonderful Weavers (Mission President and Sister Weaver)

Hello family, and friends

I am doing much better this week. I don't always know why or how, but there is always something positive to look for. I notice that I automatically tend to make things good, sometimes better than they are. At the same time, I am almost always happy. It's a good way to live. I think it's because of God.

Elder Tommy Webber at Mission President Interviews

The highlight of this week was my opportunity to meet with President and Sister Weaver on Thursday. Each missionary gets a chance this transfer to have interviews. This happens every other transfer. Much like general conference, I decided to prepare for it with questions in mind about what I needed. It helped a lot because we were able to talk about my needs and they both gave me awesome advice, encouragement, and especially, love. President Monson has said several times, "the catalyst in this work has been and always will be, the attribute of love" or something like that. President Weaver gave me advice on how to be a better "follow-up trainer" how to better help Elder Brown. He also told me how I can have better personal studies. President Weaver loves the Old Testament, ha ha. And with Sister Weaver; I have met few people who have as much love and charity in their heart than Sister Weaver. She was so kind to me and thanked me for what I'm doing. I learned that each missionary has their highs and lows. The great missionaries are those who rise when they are in the bottom of their lows. "Repent and rise"! Repentance is awesome. I got to tell her about my favorite scripture, 3 Nephi 9:22 and bear my testimony. Afterward she told me that above my head on the wall behind me there was a picture of Jesus with little children. (We met in the primary room). How perfect.

Tommy's Companion and District
Related to optimism, my companion, Elder Brown had an ear infection this week. On Wednesday, after district meeting we had to drive to Chehalis to have a doctor check it out. After the 45 minute drive to Aberdeen for District Meeting, it was a 2 1/2 hour drive to Chehalis and an hour and a half drive back to Raymond. Kinda put a dent in the missionary work that day. But, it was a necessary visit, and so I didn't complain. What was actually fun was the drive itself, it was absolutely beautiful! We drove through all the millions of Washington trees and the brown-red-orange-yellow changing trees of autumn, dispersed throughout! I love the WA.TAC! Look for something positive.

Finally, there is exciting news about Layton. We came over twice this week. The first time we read 2 Nephi 31 with him and talked about baptism which we've discussed a lot. We put on the table October 26th for baptism, but he wanted to do it by the end of the year. The second time we came over we talked about the sacrament and enduring to the end and then baptism again. Layton told us he has been really praying about it and thinking about the LDS church and everything he's learned and also his whole life. (He's a very reflective person). He told us that he feels he has been waiting for something his whole life, he feels that God has preserved him for something his whole life, and that he thinks this is it! With the spirit pouring into the room like waves, we invited him to be baptized on November 9th, and he agreed!!! I met Layton my first day in Raymond, and here he is, a totally new person, with so much more growth waiting ahead of him. this is a huge leap and he is feeling ready. What a miracle! Layton is one of those people that I feel Heavenly Father sent me here to teach. We connect very well. And Elder Brown is doing an awesome job teaching him as well.

Knocking on doors, end of a street in Westport

Layton is related to President Wilford Woodruff. On Friday, we visited Dennis and I helped him understand how to do genealogy. Dad, If you hadn't taught me how to do it, I wouldn't have known how to teach Dennis. And Dennis is entering probably hundreds of names a week!! I told him how to use the church's PAF program, because a member came and installed it for him. :)
We gave out 10 Book of Mormons this last week, that might be a record in Raymond.

Finally, guess what? Good news! The gospel! ha, ha, oh, but also it's supposed to be sunshine all week! So much for Washington rain. This summer is the best in Washington in like 20 years, we heard. Best summer in my past 20 years too :)

Scripture for this week is Moroni 7:13. Hurrah for good things!

The path led to the Ocean



Much love, and keeping up the smile,
Elder Webber

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Raymond Continues: Miracles Baptism, Elder Brown transfer, and Conference!

Family!

Way too much to tell you once again. I'll break it up into three: Dennis' miraculous baptism, transfers, and General Conference


So, as you can tell, Dennis was baptized on Monday! I am so glad that it worked out that day and for the faith of those awesome sister missionaries which preceded the miracle. Monday was one of the craziest days of my mission, it's too much to write, but it's all in my journal :) (which I am caught up in!) Dennis got there safely and we were surprised to see about 25 members come to the baptism which was finalized only the day before. That's about how many show up for church. So the entire branch came, really. Dennis was beaming more than his usual self, and the spirit was powerfully present.  Elder Green and I filled the font. Before the service we stood for a moment besides the font, in a little back room, just the two of us. For a minute we finally caught a breath and realized what was actually happening. We quietly knelt together and said a prayer that everything would go OK. That was a sacred moment. The spirit calmed my frantic, fanatic heart and brought a great peace. We helped Dennis change and helped him down each of the 5 steps to the font. I was able to do the baptism, and Elder Green stood in the font as well for safety. What an awesome symbol of companionship unity. Right before he went down, and this part is the true miracle, Dennis re-positioned his arm and feet and he went under and up, completely immersed. I don't know how it happened but it did. He was happy as can be.

Elders with Dennis and the Sisters who taught him when he was recovering from surgery

The whole teaching team after the service

That was a fun way to end a transfer together and a wonderful 3 months with Elder Green. But now on in life, on in missionary work. It is very hard to say goodbye to those you serve with, but it's the way it is. I've been trying to develop patience, endurance, and love this week. Transfer meeting was spiritual as usual. I love that we can all meet together, and the missionaries were very obedient. Singing "Amazing Grace" always gets me, ha ha. Then we drove on home to start a new adventure. Although I am in the same area, it was a hard few days to have to make all the decisions on my own: where to go, who to see, what to do. At times I felt very lonely, but quickly remembered that it is not my work, but His. Elder Brown is a great young missionary. He is from Salt Lake City and he's 18. He came out from high school. This is his second transfer, so I am "follow-up training" him. I pray that we will be able to work together well and most importantly establish a standard of hard work and obedience in the Raymond area after I leave. I truly love this part of the world.

Day 1 with new companion Elder Brown

What helped most was the outstanding general conference weekend we were able to enjoy! I was so excited and anxious to hear what the church leaders had to say. I love general conference! Especially as a missionary. Without fail, every time I go into General Conference weekend with questions and concerns in my mind, I always come out with answers. This time I decided to write down my questions and number them. Almost every talk answered my questions in some way. I can't wait to read the talks again soon and study and then apply them in my life. That is when the greatest blessing come, when we live the gospel that we have learned. My favorite talk was from Elder Richard G. Scott Sunday morning. It was so powerful to me. As I listened intently, I felt as if my Heavenly Father was speaking directly to me. It was remarkable. How grateful I am for a living prophet and apostles that can tell us exactly what God wants us to know, today!

Scripture for the week is Jacob 4:6. (ALL these witnesses!)

Much Love,
Elder Webber

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Final Font! Webber and Green's last hurrah - Baptism, then a New Companion

Oh Family,

I am so excited right now!!! So many crazy things this week and so many things to come!

To begin, let it suffice to say that missionaries have a unique outlook on baptism. Also, sister missionaries have vastly more faith and persistence than elders. They are overall more profitable missionaries I think. As I called it last week, Webber and Green's penultimate plan is about to be fulfilled tonight!! We had many bumps in the road but Dennis will be baptized tonight!!


Baptismal Service Invite

Missionaries who taught Dennis

All things were good to go last week, even until Wednesday night when we heard about some concerns for Dennis's health. True, he is finishing his recovery from a full hip surgery, and so some were concerned about getting him down the steps and under water safely. He has made a remarkable recovery, no doubt helped by the priesthood blessing he received before the operation and the faith of him and all of us involved. But there were some doubts. The sister missionaries, who have been teaching him the past 3 or 4 weeks, talked to him and we decided to postpone the baptism. So we made all the phone calls, to members and our branch president, branch mission leader, saying it would probably be the next week or the following. Then we get a mysterious text from the sisters on Friday about faith and hope and a possible miracle. We talk to them some time later and they are bubbling with excitement for Dennis, saying he might just be ready for baptism sooner! Elder Green and I are unsure, but we decide to pray and to fast for a miracle. They talk to Dennis Sunday morning (by the way he has already finished the Book of Mormon and started again, making it his 4th reading) and pray with him and Dennis decides he is ready!! This may sound crazy, but this is how it goes. We are still praying things will go smoothly, and the baptism is scheduled for tonight! (A few more prayers wouldn't hurt). We call all the branch leaders again and they rally to support Dennis.

Last weekend together as Companions

You may ask why the rush, but there is danger in putting off a baptism for any reason if the candidate is ready. And Dennis is ready, spiritually, for sure, and physically, we hope. Good thing we believe in miracles :) Elder Green and I are both going to be in the font helping it go OK.


Tommy at a Conference

Otherwise, transfers are here again! Tomorrow! Sadly Elder Green and I are parting ways, but what a thrilling, exciting, memorable, remarkable, miraculous 3 months we have had together. It has been a blast. I love that guy so much and we have developed such a friendship and love for this area. I pray with all my heart every night for the people who live here, for the members, and especially those precious souls I am so privileged to serve.  Coming here is Elder Brown, I think he is relatively new. Also I'm a District Leader now. Yikes. Elder Green is going to Tacoma! On bike! He will be follow-up training again (meaning his companion is just one transfer out on his mission) and Elder Green will be a District Leader there in Tacoma. I am anxious and excited for a new transfer, a new companion, and new miracles. I hope Elder Brown is ready to work.

The missionaries in the Elma Zone

Otherwise, it has started raining. Really raining. Over Saturday and Sunday it rained 7 inches, ha ha. Good thing I have a rain coat. And it will keep raining for a looong time.

The fitting scripture for the week is Mosiah 18:11 !!! (it's about baptism :D )

Tommy at a Conference

And finally, Thank you so much Osterhouts for the package!! I especially enjoyed Jonas's picture of me vacuuming, Clara's voracious Harry Potter reading (I'm very proud), and those delicious (Trader Joe's!) chocolates :) you guys are the best.

Love Elder Webber