Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

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

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!


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