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!!