Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Steilacoom Still! Critical week for Haopeng and Tiffany


This starts week #7 since Elder Schaffner and I have been assigned together, the last week of the extra long transfer after Christmas. We will find out Saturday if one of us will leave. Either way, it always goes by too fast. Elder Schaffner and I have really gotten along, so we're hoping to both stay for next transfer. We never run out of nerdy things to talk about. It's pretty much a continuation of what Connor and I would talk about if we were companions :)

Also, Sister Tingey, in our district in Steilacoom, finally got her visa!!! She leaves in one week for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, her assigned mission. She has been in Washington for 6 months now, plus 6 weeks in the MTC. She is super excited to go, but she really loves Washington and is finding it hard to leave. Plus, now it's time for Portuguese, hot hot weather, and the world cup! We'll miss her. We're not sure if Sister Stucki will stay or also leave, she has been here 6 months. We'll know this Saturday!

I love Steilacoom. We elders have found a lot of work to do. We are very busy all the time, which is awesome as a missionary. We have a few really progressing investigators.

Elder Webber at Webber Court in Steilacoom
Rebecca started reading the Book of Mormon! Elder Schaffner had the idea to mark up a few great scriptures, and ones that might apply to her, and we gave her that copy. She really appreciated it and said she would go through and read them that night. Her daughter and husband both had hospital trips for various reasons, so they all sort of struggle with good health. Her husband has some "questions" about Mormons that he wants answered before she can come to church... Hopefully that will work out. The Gospel blesses families! An elderly lady in our ward, Sister Bayba, is her neighbor and she went by and talked to Rebecca for a long time, and became a good friend, offering help. This ward is so awesome!

We had a great church tour on Wednesday night with an investigator named George who we've been trying to contact for a while. We had a struggling recent convert come as fellowship, and he did an awesome job!! We had a pretty in depth discussion on the Restoration, and invited him, if he came to know this was true, to be baptized. He wasn't sure, but he understands the implication of our teaching, and what we expect of him. If he prayerfully reads the Book of Mormon, he will know.

Another member (also a recent convert) stopped by Chris's house and had a long chat with him. We have not been able to make contact, so we suggested he try. It worked and Chris really appreciated it! He is still really struggling with life, but hasn't forgotten us. He said he's still interested, and will come back soon.

OK, now Haopeng and Tiffany. We went over on Saturday night, and it was a really critical lesson. Tiffany, to start off, has been reading the Book of Mormon, and praying, and always has questions, and expressed her testimony that the book is true. She believes Joseph Smith was a true prophet and is ready to be baptized! We taught Haopeng about the Word of Wisdom, and he had a real struggle to give up tea (they are Chinese, after all). He said he needed a reason to give it up. We told him that he can know this is a true commandment from God by knowing that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, having received the commandment by revelation. He told us he doesn't not believe he was a prophet, but he didn't know for sure.  We asked about the Book of Mormon, but he hadn't been reading because of his busy school schedule. We talked a lot about faith and how he can obtain a sure testimony of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the Word of Wisdom. He understands what he must do, and he told us he is really searching for truth. We asked if he still felt ready for baptism this weekend, and to our surprise, he said yes! His testimony is still growing, but he said that he feels he is ready and he wants this blessing! It was a huge leap of faith for him, and I know Heavenly Father will recognize it and bless him for it.

That being said a few more miracles still need to take place, They haven't obtained a marriage license yet, which they need to do tomorrow. We told them about that and agreed that we could have a very simple marriage ceremony, and a more real wedding celebration next week or later, so they can plan that better. Wow. It is still possible but will happen by Heavenly Father's will, their effort and faith, and our many, many prayers!! I know they can do it!!! Pre-baptism week is always the craziest, I will let you know what happens next week!

To conclude, I want to express how much I love this Chinese couple. The spirit was strong during our discussion, and I felt so much desire and concern and care for their eternal welfare. I know it will all be right in the end for them, no matter what happens February 1st at 11:00 a.m.  I love you all as well! Have a wonderful week,

Love always
Elder Webber

Elder Webber found a cat

P.S. Tiffany is applying to BYU Provo for graduate school!!! How cool would it be if I got to see them there when I get back :)

Moroni 7:47; Moroni 8:25-26

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Steilacoom Spirit rocks! And the first fireside of the season!


I am so excited to write again. I loved hearing a little bit about each of some of my friends who are also in the mission field and how different yet similar their experiences are serving the Lord throughout the world. Truly this is the "marvelous work and a wonder" spoken of by Isaiah (and many many other prophets).

I'll start with the exciting news: Haopeng and Tiffany came to church!! Thank heavens for MLK Jr. day and no school, so they could come to church!! It was such a relief to have them there. We also had a new investigator there, Victor. We found Victor by knocking doors back when we were with a priest, Sam. We took turns on each door, and on Sam's turn we found Victor! We've been trying to meet with him, but things kept coming up. He is 60 and from Mexico originally but moved to America when he was just 6. He wants to know more about what happens after we die. His mother passed away a few years ago and he was very close to her. He lives in Oakbrooke, a 30 minute bike ride from the church, and probably an hour and a half walk. Guess what? He walked to church! He told us he would come, and he honored his commitment! Wow. He came in a few minutes late but an awesome member family came in at the same time, recognized a stranger, and had him sit with their family. That was perfect! They then, after sacrament meeting, invited him over to their home for dinner. Yes! Members are the means!

We hope he stops before the water

I was glad to hear about your experiences at Stake Conference. The Church decided that for this whole year, all the youth 12+ will attend the previously "Adult session" of Stake Conference, and every session will be on "Hastening the Work." The church leaders decided that since youth are a significant group of member missionaries, they should attend too. Ours are coming up in the next months. We have been working well with our amazing Ward Mission Leader to have a member present at every lesson possible and it's been going great. I've realized there is nothing like the experiences and testimony a member of the church can share to an investigator. It carries with it force and spirit that can seriously help someone to join the Church. So good job, family, keep it up, and pray for more opportunities! My advice would be "Just Do It" ;)

Elder Tommy Webber and Elder Schaffner
 More on Haopeng and Tiffany! We had a lesson in our Bishop's home with them on Tuesday and we read from the Book of Mormon. Bishop will be the one who can marry them. Haopeng bought Tiffany a ring and Tiffany ordered a dress from China! It's getting real. I can honestly say that I never before my mission thought I would be planning a wedding. Good thing we have sister missionaries in this ward. It's times like these, I would usually just call AllyMehner for help. Ha, ha.  We're having fun and are so excited for these two important steps in their lives: a marriage and a baptism. Continued prayers for them please. We also went over on Saturday night and Tiffany had her awesome questions as usual. She's up to 2 Nephi 3 and she asked us particularly what about 2 Nephi 2:25. What did I tell you? Scripture mastery! They are doing so good. They are our dear friends and we love them.

One other thing I learned this week is why the Spirit is key. Without the Spirit, we cannot teach, we cannot find, we cannot testify, we cannot learn. The Spirit is the key to the door of missionary work. It opens up all the possibilities for success and growth and inspired service. And how do we get the Spirit? Simply put, we must keep the commandments. The Spirit is our covenanted promise if we remember Him, and keep His commandments. We must pray daily, study the scriptures, and live worthy (which all means, keep the commandments). Those words summarize it all. I pray that we may all have the strengthened resolution to keep His commandments. 

I love the work. I love you.
Elder Webber

Scripture: John 5:39

P.S. Dad could you send me some examples/ stories of how you have been sharing the gospel? I want to share them with members :) thanks

Monday, January 13, 2014

Steilacoom Missionary Work has Ups and Downs

My fantastic family,

The work is pressing onward, ever onward here in Steilacoom. Missionary work, like life, has ups and downs, but by Monday mornings, as I write to you, I can never remember the downs. I guess that's what happens when you live the gospel and keep the commandments. It is not easy, and you still have plenty of struggles and challenges that, in the moment, are so difficult. But when you look back, having endured, you only can find the growth and the joy and the blessings!

There was a LOT of rain this week. Not super heavy rain, but this continual shower. And if it's not raining, it's always doing this weird sort of misty gentle semi-rain that doesn't seem like much but then 30 minutes later you realize you're soaked! But my rain coat works great so don't worry mom. I also wear thermals every day now, not that it's that cold, but once you start, you don't go back ;) The rain is fun. I love Washington. Every thing grows here, and then moss grows on that. And then moss grows on the moss. I think I will come home green.

Steilacoom rain
Some progress on the work: we have of course our dear Haopeng and Tiffany. They are a roller coaster! They progress so well in many areas, but then really struggle in others. Our biggest challenge here in Steilacoom has been to get investigators to come to church! We try everything we can: church tours, Saturday "church roundup," phone calls/text reminders, teaching the doctrine, and no one comes! I was sort of frustrated yesterday, but taking the sacrament always calms me down. That's why people need to come to church. There is so much sacred strength and spiritual stamina we receive as we partake of the sacrament. We had another great lesson at Brother Ely's Saturday night. We taught about church attendance and read 3 Nephi 18:1-25. Haopeng says that he just has too much school work and can't come, but that he will try next week.
Elder Webber and Elder Schaffner
Everything else is great with them though. Brother Ely has this model of the Salt Lake City Temple that he picked up during the lesson and placed on the center of the table. We then taught about eternal marriage and it was so powerful. Brother Ely testified of the sacred nature of the temple and the blessings of being sealed in the temple. Haopeng and Tiffany were so excited, you can always see it in their faces. The Ely's are amazing, they promised them that if they were still here in one year from their baptism, that they would take them down to Salt Lake so that they could be sealed in that very temple! He has become their true friend.

The very exciting thing he said was that when they return back to China, the Chinese government will allow Haopeng to teach his immediate family about the Church (no one outside China is allowed to do that), and can even baptize and give them the priesthood! It is amazing to see how Heavenly Father is reaching out to all of His children, and how the work in China is growing! We like to think of Haopeng as a modern church pioneer for the Chinese people, ha ha.

We have a newer investigator, Rebecca who is a married mom of two and is really looking for a church. She did not have a Christian background but believed in God after her 3 year old daughter (who suffers from brittle bone disease) fell 33 feet out of a building and lived. She is now a freshman in college. She wants a church that has a family feel and fellowship. I think we can help her :)

Lastly, I would like to bear my testimony. I should do that more :) but yesterday in church we learned about the new 2014 youth theme "Come Unto Christ." I had my testimony strengthened as I learned what that means:

All have fallen, and come short of the glory of God. Christ saved us, in that He overcame both physical and spiritual death because we will 1) all be resurrected and 2) return to the presence of God to be judged. However, because we are accountable for our own sins and because Heavenly Father wants us to receive all His blessings and become like Him, we must follow His Plan. That Plan is His Gospel: of faith unto repentance and baptism for the remission of sins followed by the gift of the Holy Ghost which retains our remission unto the end if we endure! This is the ONLY way back to Heavenly Father and the ONLY way to be free of sin so that when we overcome spiritual death we don't have to suffer the second spiritual death. It is the ONLY way we can live with our families forever in the celestial kingdom of our God.

I know Christ lives. I know because I have felt the Spirit testify truth to my heart. This communication is more pure and real that any other communication to our natural senses. Any of us can also know this is true by doing the will of God. Trying it out for themselves.

In summary, come unto Christ, and (then) be perfected in Him, and deny yourself of all ungodliness... then is His grace sufficient for you, that by His grace ye may be perfect in Christ. Trust God. It is all true. My deepest love to all of you,

Elder Webber

Scripture: Moroni 10:32 and Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Steilacoom has an exciting month ahead

Dear Family,

We had a wonderful week here in Steilacoom, Washington! Not to mention only one day of rain, and two of sun! Yes, the sun still shines in Western Washington. And it is beautiful. I love walking down to the water and seeing a gorgeous sight. How blessed am I?

I will share two miracles from this week. First, on Wednesday after our district meeting the DuPont Elders decided they wanted to come with us as we tried to stop by Laurence's house. We have been doing quite a bit of service for him lately as he is having to move all of his things out of his house. We called the day before but hadn't heard back. We all 4 drive to his house and are walking up to knock on his door, hoping he is home and has things for us to help with. Before we get there we hear our phone ringing and see it is Laurence calling us. Laughing, I pick it up and and talk and he is getting back to us from yesterday, and saying he has to go soon, but really needs some help. We tell him we are outside his house! It was so fun and an obvious sign we are where we are meant to be. It is so humbling to have these experiences and know that God is guiding His servants. We helped him fill his trailer with boxes for about 1 1/2 hours.

And the best part of the week was teaching Haopeng and Tiffany on Wednesday night. We got to be in Brother Ely's home, our Stake Patriarch. His house can only be described as a Chinese museum! They have hundreds of items all the way from China. Teapots, rugs, tables, paintings, statues, dishes, scrolls, silks, and books. Haopeng and Tiffany were so excited to be there, they said they felt at home. And to every item they had, they knew the history behind it, and so did Haopeng. It was fun to watch. It made me want to go to China. Brother Ely taught English as a professor there for many years. He also showed us his huge garden. If we get to go back in the daylight I'll take a picture! They also have a Mongolian "yurt" ha ha.

Anyway, after a tour, they felt at home, and we began a lesson. It started with Brother Ely thanking them for coming and bearing a short, powerful testimony. When he finished you could feel the Spirit enter the room like a gush of warm wind. We taught the third lesson, on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of faith, repentance, and baptism. Each of us took turns teaching and testifying, and they asked great questions. We asked about their Book of Mormon reading and they both expressed their progress (Tiffany finished 1 Nephi!) and they told us that they believe it is from God, His word, along with the Bible. It felt so good to hear they they had obtained a testimony of that book. That is so important. After the lesson we talked about baptism, and with Brother Ely's calendar out we scheduled both of them for February 1st! Both of them! Haopeng decided to commit as well. When we further asked why, he said he has decided to take more faith that this is right for him.
View of South Puget Sound from Steilacoom, WA

We also were with them Saturday night and we could notice a change in them. We can see in their lives, the beginning of faith and repentance. It is so sweet. Their biggest struggle is coming to church. Something always comes up, or they sleep in! But we are working with them a lot. The great and marvelous work is rolling forth. It is a wonder.
Birthday cake at Ward Mission Leader's house

Also, thank you so much to Aunt CJ, the Christophersons, the Olsens, Mostollers, Grandma, and Amy for the birthday / Christmas cards. They mean so much, I loved each one!

Surprise! more cake at a district meeting

Elder Webber

Scripture this week is John 7:17. We have to keep the commandments to know they are from God.

Elder Webber out street contacting at Webber Ct

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Steilacoom year ends, a new one begins - the best year of my life!


It was so much fun to see your beautiful faces this week! Event though we had some technical difficulties, it was all worth it and the highlight of my Christmas season. It is so fun to talk to you and to see you all on the couch, enjoying Christmas! I, of course, miss you and miss being around you for the holidays but that emotion is nothing compared to my excitement to be here and serving the Lord. I was thinking about it this morning. Elder Lonas calls this the Gospel Paradox: that in losing your life you find it. As we serve the Lord with all our heart and all our might and all our strength, we find 1) who we are 2) who we can become and 3) the greatest joy we can ever know. It is so wonderful. With the gospel in our life, everything is ok. There is no trial, test, or tribulation that is not worth our eternal reward. The simple, pure and restored knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Savior is the sweetest and most precious knowledge we can have.  It fills the soul 100 times full and is the source of my constant smile! So Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Hurrah for Israel!

This week has been fun, we have done a lot of walking, and we got to spend an entire day with one of our priests, Sam. Our Young Men's President used to be in the Mission Presidency here, so he is very missionary-minded and wanted each of the priests to have the chance to spend a whole day with us missionaries! Sam got dropped off at our apartment at 8:00 am for personal study and went home at 9:30 pm after daily planning. He was so tired by the end, but he was so happy! (Like all days as a missionary) He said how much it meant to him and his excitement to serve. Funny because it ended up being a fairly "average" day for us, but I think I sometimes forget how wonderful it is to be out all day walking around with a name badge telling everyone exactly who I am and what I am here to do. 

Christmas Eve, Hot Chocolate and reading Luke 2
Living as a missionary is unique because you have a clearly defined purpose and cause which you work towards every day. Everything is laid out and clear and good! It provides the maximum way to grow in the gospel and serve others. It is the greatest service we can provide.

Yesterday we got to speak on Anderson Island, the branch they have out there. We took the ferry in the morning and the branch president picked us up. They have church not in a chapel, but a sort of cabin with church things inside, like a mobile pulpit and soft folding chairs and even the card holders to tell what hymns we're singing. There were about 25-30 people there. A little bit smaller than the Westport branch (which does have a bulding). Our talks went well.

Christmas morning reading Christmas cards

 Otherwise, we have not been able to get in touch with Chris since last Sunday, we hope things are ok. We saw Haopeng and Tiffany on Saturday night. They weren't going to be able to come to church, but we found out that Tiffany has been reading the Book of Mormon and she had a ton of great questions! (She's actually farther than Haopeng). She accepted the invitation to be baptized on Feb. 8th. It's farther out, but it feels more solid this time. We have a lesson set up Wednesday night at 7:30 at the home of our stake patriarch! He and his wife have been to China several times, are very familiar with the culture, and have been involved with many Chinese converts to the church. It might be the key! 

Birthday prep, balloons & head scratcher
 Have a wonderful week, finish up your binders for your Eagle Matthew!!

Birthday, way too excited about Lego's! 
Love you,

Elder Webber