Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

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


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!


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