I'm so excited to finally be able to communicate with you, free time is so limited here and I have too much to say! I love you all so much and you are in my prayers. This week has been just incredible. I have learned more in one week than any other week of my life, have worked harder than any other week, been happier than any other week, and felt the spirit, received revelation, and witnesses miracles more than any other week in my life. I hope that gives you the smallest taste of the wonderful life of a missionary. I love being "Elder Webber," each time I see my name badge or think about it, it brings more happiness. Last night I had the opportunity to live "one of my dreams" I might say. Every Tuesday night there is a devotional where all the missionaries (that can fit) are in one big room. We had the opportunity to hear from one of the 70, Elder Nash. For some reason, growing up, I have always pictured the MTC to be this colossal stadium where thousands of missionaries sing "Called to Serve." That happened last night. Literally thousands of missionaries (46% sister, yes, that is for you dad) singing "Called to Serve" as the Lord's servants on this earth. lds.org/music/text/hymns/called-to-serve What an historic time we live in and what a massive force for good. My testimony of missionary work has sky rocketed. This is the most important work on this earth! The salvation of souls is at stake, and, as Elder Holland has said, "Eternity hangs in the balance." I love Elder Holland.
This week has also been very hard. I, somewhat pridefully, felt like I was completely ready for the MTC. Well, there is a lot I do not know. There will always be a lot that I do not know! Missionary work is hard. Never before have I committed all 16 hours in a day to one single thing. It requires physical, mental, and spiritual stamina. Also, and mom, you asked for me the share the hard things as well, I've been sick. But don't worry, I'm better now! mostly. My companion got sick too, but I'm not sure who started it. That made the first three days hard. But, as I said, I'm better now and super happy. That reminds me, my companion! His name is Elder S__, from Murray, UT. The first day I was concerned how he might be and if he would be good and work as hard as I am ready to work. He is. He is awesome. We are both Zone Leaders, ha ha yeah... but we are working together better each day. He works as hard as I do and his testimony is solid. Our second night here at the MTC we all had interviews with the Branch Presidency and us two were selected to be Zone Leaders over our two districts and for the new district that will come in today! It is so weird that already we are the experienced ones, teaching the new missionaries how things go. I still feel like the new one because it's only been a week, but I grow so much each day that I feel competent. I have had the opportunity to serve so much better in this leadership role, and I know with certainty that callings are inspired. Not only that, but companionships are inspired, districts are inspired, and your mission assignment is inspired. I know that the Lord is in every detail of our lives. If we stop and look for them, we can find miracles every day.
That reminds me to tell you about my district! There are two districts in my zone (mine has 5 sister 5 elders, the other has 6 sisters 6 elders), and every one of them is going to WA-TAC!! not only that, but there are six more sisters going there that are in a different zone! This mission is the best mission, I'm sure of it. As for my district, each one of them is awesome!! They are all, for lack of a better word, normal! We have all gotten along so well and we share a very close friendship.That tends to happen when a small group of us go through the same hard things together. Our district is special. Not that I know many other districts, but I think they are all very dedicated. My first night, and the second night, we all shared why we were here on a mission. I was so humbled to hear their stories. Each person has an entirely unique story and background. unique challenges that the Lord has allowed so that we can grow in the best way possible. That is part of the experience here on earth. In the MTC, in my district, I am blessed to be surrounded by the victorious ones. And we are getting ready to help those that are struggling. That is another big change in me this week. My mission is not about me. It's not about the blessing I receive from serving. My mission is about other people. In essence that is missionary work. Helping other people. And even more than that it is helping them in the very best way that they can be helped, through the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most powerful thing in all eternity. It has the infinite power to heal, to forgive, and to build up. It recovers the sinner and strengthens the saint. I love the Atonement. Because of the Atonement, because of Christ's perfect love for me, I am here. I love that I get to wear His name at all time. I am a representative of Him. This means that for two years I will do the things that He would do if He were here on this earth. I am very imperfect but He will help me. It's wonderful!!
A few more experience I want to share. Yesterday was crazy. Two sisters in the new district (so in our zone) coming in this week (the new district isn't going to Tacoma) are from New Zealand so they came in yesterday. Elder S_ and I, along with our two awesome Sister Training Leaders, went to pick them up and show them around. But! Three other Elders, not in our zone, showed up a day early, and we were asked to watch out for them too. One of those Elders is kind of independent and ended up wandering off when we weren't looking at dinner. So here we are, all new missionaries trying to help 5 other, even newer, missionaries, and we lost one. My companion and I searched the cafeteria but couldn't find him. After a while he suggested we say a quick prayer (we say a lot of prayers at the MTC) to help us find them. Immediately after "Amen" the other missionaries all say, "There he is!" and we find the missionary. Was that a coincidence? I know that this may seem like a small thing, but I was worried and I know that sometimes, when we have faith, the Lord will let those small miracles happen. It is hard to explain, but this and other times throughout this week have helped me to know that the Lord is always watching over us. He loves us and will help us in our righteous endeavors.
Some other things you should know, I'm living in the MTC itself, not Raintree Apts. I hear they will be moving some missionaries out there that have been here a long time. I think everyone gets the chance to stay in the MTC. I leave on Tuesday, May 28th. As for my phone call, I'm probably going to get to the airport at 6:00 a.m. which means my call will probably be between 6:30 or 7:30. I don't know exactly what's going on that day, and sorry it's super early. That's Utah time, too. I know I have so much more I could say, but I can't remember all of it. My journal entries are short because there is so little time, and I just record my first few thoughts. Again, it's not about me, it's about serving others.
I am so grateful for your prayers on my behalf. Mom, your prayers are being answered for me, and Charlotte and Claire, you both gave me so much support from your e-mails. Love you too dad and Matthew. (By the way my companion's first name is Matthew. I think that's pretty cool.)
P.S. Tell Elder Gemperline that the tree does, in fact, smell like orange cream soda :)
P.P.S. do you know about dearelder.com? It is a website for the MTC where you can search a missionary and send them an e-mail that gets printed and delivered to our mailbox every day, same day you wrote it!
P.P.P.S. Please please please send me some addresses. Like mail addresses. I don't have much time to e-mail, and letters are better.
My scripture for the week - Ether 12:27