Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

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

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Raymond Ride: Webber and Green's Penultimate Plan & Pictures Week 11

Hello family,

What wonderful updates to hear from you. Especially all that temple work - that is the best! We're working with our bishop to get Terry and Kris's family to the temple. The youth in our ward go to the temple together twice a year. We are right in between the Portland and Seattle Temples. Also, thank you for your letters Megan and Madison. I especially enjoyed that seminary flashback :) Thanks Amy and also, as always, grandma! I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Working in the rain, visiting  in Aberdeen

This week was a little different. Because Elder Green is the district leader we have to do exchanges once a transfer and because we procrastinated we had two exchanges this week, and for both I traveled: to Aberdeen and to Ocean Shores. It was pretty fun and I really had fun reuniting and serving with Elder Zastrow for another day, he's in Ocean Shores. And in between those was Zion's camp, which was (with a LOT of driving included) a full day event. Altogether I was out of Raymond for a long time and I actually really missed it! I love serving there, and I feel at peace there, in my stewardship and with the people I know and love.

Elder Webber & Elder Green at Zion's Camp

Zion's camp was super fun. It is this campground owned by the church. Half the mission went Wednesday and the other half Thursday. We went through the ropes course and tied all of the obstacles and things into the gospel and missionary work. Always fun to be with other missionaries and feel that spirit of unity. There is a lot of love in the WA.TAC and a lot of unity between the missionaries and President and Sister Weaver. It is very much a family here. My favorite part of the day was being able to conduct the music. We got about 30-40 minutes of singing, mainly as a rehearsal for the firesides, but also because our mission likes to sing. I was pretty nervous leading 100 missionaries as I stood on a chair in front of them all, a music binder in one hand and a microphone in the other and conducting with my third arm. Regardless, it was exhilarating and so rewarding. My favorite was putting all the music down to conduct "We are as the Army of Helaman" (EFY medley) because I have that song so familiar in my head. And conducting "Called to Serve" as heard on the blog. Fast and Bold. And of course we finished the day with "Amazing Grace."

Now the penultimate plan: Dennis is still on date for his baptism this Saturday. As for him, all things are good to go. He is finishing Alma in his Book of Mormon reading (he's flying through) and continuing to feast upon it! He has no commandment problems to worry about and his hip is healing marvelously. He just needs an interview this week. The problem is that he is still in Montesano recovering so he can only come down on Saturday which means we will need to have his confirmation at the baptism. We need our branch presidents approval but he is the hardest person to reach! We're pretty confident it will happen. Great way to finish the transfer and the awesome 3 months I've had with this great missionary companion and friend.

great missionary companion and friend

The scripture for the week is the story in John 8:1-11. Jesus taught the new doctrine: "neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more." How grateful I am for the miracle of forgiveness.

Much Love,
Elder Webber

Monday, September 16, 2013

Raymond Chronicles: Endurance, Joy in Converts, and Hastening


I've had another great week. It's hard not to when I get to be a missionary. Sometimes when we talk to people and tell them about what we do, and that it's for 2 years and we have no TV/internet/blah blah, they feel bad for us. They think it's something we have to do. I have been assuring them that we get to do it! Being a missionary is the best thing ever because you are always happy, and then when you're not happy you realize, oh wait, I'm actually still happy!

One example of this is early in this week. This part is about endurance. On Monday night we called our investigator, Mia. I've told you a little bit about her. She was almost baptized twice with her son who's 15. We've taught her all the lessons twice. She's the one from China. Well she hadn't been to church in 2 weeks, and we couldn't reach her by phone, she wouldn't pick up. She lives in a woman's shelter so we can't stop by. We were very worried. On Monday we finally reached her and she wouldn't agree to meet with us to talk about things. She said she might be moving, and was very vague, saying she was busy and tired and then she pretty much hung up. Elder Green and I were really bummed and we said a lot of prayers for her. We tried to call again and again. We reached her Saturday night and heard that she is going through a lot of heavy trials and is embarrassed to meet with us or come to church. I told her of our love and concern for her and her son, and did the best I could to explain how Heavenly Father will make all her trials work out OK if she does her best to live the gospel. It was very intense. She said OK and we waited at church the next day. She didn't come.

This is the catch and I believe this is very important. I've been thinking about this a lot this week. Because of this situation, I am sad. But it is an outside sadness, it is more from concern and worry for others, and borne of love. This kind of sadness cannot penetrate the inward, replenishing, refreshing joy of personal gospel living. Of inward righteousness and a clear conscience as I am doing my best to keep the commandments and serve others. My happiness in this regard is dependent solely upon my agency. Other's happiness is dependent upon their agency. When both of us use our agency the right way, we share an inward and outward joy that grows. So although I am sad to see others, whom I love, falter, I am still happy. It sustains me :)

Now about that "shared" joy. I am so so happy with our recent converts, Terry and Kris's family. They are both doing so great! Both of them haven't missed a day of church. They both are continuing to grow in the gospel by personal/family scripture study and prayer! Yes!!!! Terry now has a place to live (he got kicked out of his little apartment) and he's living in his camper on the property of one of the members. He doesn't mind though, he has the best attitude. The member is going to help him and nourish him in the gospel. And!!! This is the best part. Kris's family started school. Vanessa is enrolled. They found jobs plus student loans and they are now renting out a home from another member in the ward. The same members that we live with!! Yes, that's right, Kris's family are now our neighbors :D :D :D how awesome is that!? The members we live with have a third building (small home) on their property. We see Kris's family every morning and night when we leave or come home. They fed us dinner on Saturday and we ate on a spare mattress because they don't have a table yet, but they are so unbelievably grateful. I love them so much. Now I'm starting to tear up a little, ha ha. They just love the gospel. They love each other, and they love us. In about one month, their lives are turned around 180 degrees. This is what it is all about. This Sunday, Kris should be able to ordain his sons to the Aaronic Priesthood. They each make me happy every day.

Finally, we had a wonderful meeting on Tuesday in Olympia. It consisted of the ward councils from 4 stakes in the area. We had an Area Seventy there, Elder Bussey. And President and Sister Weaver. It was a fantastic training on hastening the work (D&C 88:73). He told us about the historic announcement almost a year ago and that "It's time." I am so excited about missionary work. It is getting bigger and bigger and faster and faster. He said they should reach 100,000 missionaries by the end of the year!!!! And then it would settle back to around 80,000 / 90,000.

Scripture: D&C 42:14

Love, Elder Webber

Monday, September 9, 2013

Raymond: Storms, Mosquitoes, Book of Mormon and Stake Conference

Hello once again family!

I'm glad that I could send you such a big e-mail last week, but I don't have very much time left this week.

Quick update on Dennis in Westport. His hip operation went very smoothly (priesthood blessings work!) and without pain, he said. A member drove him to the hospital and talked with him for a long time. Turns out Dennis has this vast understanding of the great apostasy and taught himself Hebrew in college so he could read the Old Testament in the original text! He began reading the Book of Mormon and said that it is "filling in all the cracks" and it is "delicious" to him!! I'm telling you, that Book of Mormon is changing the world. It is the keystone of our religion and any question, concern, or worry can be resolved by a prayerful study of that book!

We tracted in Westport and got eaten alive by these tiny mosquitoes. Most annoying two hours of my life maybe, ha-ha. There are a ton of them. Also we were knocking (like we do every day from 5-7) on Tuesday. Right as we began, a huge storm just started. Thunder, lightening, and RAIN. That was another fun two hours. Thanks for the coat mom! It helped a lot. Also some nice 7th day Adventist people let us get dry.

I want to share one experience about that life changing book:

Our second or third week in Raymond we knocked on the door of an older man, named Greg. He had no belief in God or heaven or hell and disliked all organized religion. He got mad at us about temples and tithing and Mitt Romney and blah, blah. At the end, almost as a last resort we told him to just give the Book of Mormon a try. To read it and that we'll come back in a month. Well we did, and finally reached him on Saturday. When we talked to him, he was happy to see us and much nicer. He told us that "I have to hand it to you guys, that book is something". As of right now, "there might be a God" ha-ha! He made it about 3/4 the way through. We told him to keep reading and praying. And we'll check up again. He has a nephew who's Mormon. He also said that his wife (a devout Methodist) is very happy about his change of heart! Quite a miracle. All because of "that book" :)

Stake Conference was Sunday - stake conference for all of WA and Alaska on the same day. We had a broadcast with Elder Marcus B. Nash, and two apostles, Elder Robert D. Hales and Elder L. Tom Perry. It was really good. They focused on paying tithing, and families. I am extremely grateful for my wonderful family. Family prayer, scripture study and Family Home Evening are so important.

Scripture for the week is Moroni 10:4 because it's the best!

Love, Elder Webber

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Raymond Miracle Chronicles


I have so much to tell you. It probably will be all disconnected but it is all great!

I'll start with Alexis's baptism! It went very smoothly and it was amazing! What a powerful experience to see this family strong in the gospel. I love every one of them. They are each so important to me. Most amazing was to see Kris, her dad, baptize Alexis after being baptized himself 3 weeks ago. This family is so much closer. The next day in church Elder Green confirmed her and in gospel principles class we were talking with Kris and he told us about how much different their family is. Alexis doesn't fight with her siblings anymore and they all get along and have family prayer and scripture study! They can see the outstanding evidence of the eternal truth: The Gospel Blesses Families.

On Thursday was our "park day" when we park our cars and go entirely on bike. Of course it was raining all day ha ha. It wasn't very heavy though and it was off and on. But it was pretty fun to bike out in the morning in the gray, dreary gloom and sing "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today" :) (shout out to Brother Gaya!)

On Friday we went to Westport and had a "missionary meeting." We got to coordinate efforts with the Branch President, Branch Mission Leader, Branch Missionaries and the Senior Couple missionaries that cover this and three other areas. Then we went to an investigator who we've been teaching, his name is Dennis. We found him knocking doors. He's pretty old and has hip problems but he has a TON of experience with the church. Let me tell you about Dennis! He lives in this tiny, tiny house with 4 cats. Even though his house is so small, he has more books than I have ever seen in my entire life except for a library. Every wall is stacked with shelves packed with books. You cannot see any walls, and his bedroom has two leaning, towering stacks that he is reading right now. We also saw two backrooms that are just about filled - the volume of the room is literally filled with even more. There are books about European history, violin theory (he played in a symphony) quantum mechanics, and every other subject. He told me that he has read just about ALL of them!! He has even more books on genealogy. He also lived in Salt Lake City for many years while doing genealogy research!

The coolest thing happened. We had a member come over with us and download "PAF" program on his laptop. You're going to like this, Dad. Dennis has thousands and thousands of names found! He got very excited about seeing them all on his computer and we showed him! We told him about temples and temple work and so now he is excitedly putting in all his family names! I was so impressed by the thought of the impact this will make in the Lord's kingdom. The Lord prepared Dennis years and years ago (he said he started doing genealogy when he was 14, he's in his 70s now) and now there are thousands who will get their saving ordinances done!! What a miracle. He has already read the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants. He just needs to be baptized :)

Another thing: Our mission on Sunday began a reading of the Book of Mormon! We're reading 5.3 pages a day until Dec 10th when we will get together as a mission for our Christmas party and read Moroni 10 all together! It will be really fun. I am reading right now with the purpose of understanding faith better. Everything I read I try and learn more about that one principle and it has been so enlightening already! I welcome everyone to join in doing this :)

One more cool item. On Monday night Sister Weaver called me and asked me to have kind of a calling in the mission. She asked me to assist in conducting the missionary music! There is a sister in the mission who conducts the music at transfer meetings and firesides. She has never had an Elder do that before. I'm not replacing her calling, but we will work together on certain songs (like the EFY medley we're doing now). I told her that I've never really led a choir before but conducting music is one of my favorite things. Conducting missionary music for a missionary choir is even better. It's kind of like a dream come true for me :)

Zone Conference was amazing. I'll probably tell you about it this Monday because I'm out of time. I did get to conduct!

Finally, I have three scriptures for this week (all from personal study this morning, it was great). First 1 Nephi 10:17 (we learn about God through the our parents and the prophets) second 1 Nephi 11:1-5 (we then can find out the truth for ourselves by desiring to know, believing we can know, then pondering and praying) third Jacob 4:6 (that is why we "search the prophets" so we can obtain an unshaken faith in Christ. The many witnesses are overwhelming).

Just another week in the WA.TAC,
Elder Webber

P.S. Mom I gained 5 more pounds :)