Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Soundview rolls forward: Baptism of Syreeta!

Dear family,

I'm happy to hear of all the exciting things going on. Congrats Matthew on your eagle court of honor. And Charlotte and Claire on your YW medallion. That is wonderful.

Picture with Missionaries before Syreeta's Baptismal service
I'm happy to say we had a baptism this past weekend. Syreeta has come so far in this past week, it is incredible. We taught her the Word of Wisdom on Monday and she was nervous about giving up coffee, she drinks a cup a day and has been for the past 20 years. We just taught the doctrine, promised blessings, and testified and she committed. We brought her some hot chocolate packets the next day. She said she usually gets bad headaches when she doesn't drink her cup of coffee (it is addictive!) but we and she prayed for help and what do you know? No headaches the whole week! When it came time for her baptism she came early and things went very smoothly. Brother Fry, one of the members who came with us to a few of her lessons got to baptize her. He is a convert himself of 10 years or so. The service was beautiful and easier than I anticipated. Our fantastic Ward Mission Leader took care of the program, got speakers, etc. We felt like all we did was show up and watch. After the baptism, I asked Syreeta how she felt. She responded, "I feel different." She sometimes has difficulty expressing how she feels, so I asked again how she felt when she came up out of the water. She then added, "I feel relieved." It is amazing how the gospel is our great relief from the troubles of the world. It is the true path to happiness.

Syreeta with Brother Fry
At church the next day, Elder Anderson got to confirm her and she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. To demonstrate how amazing Syreeta is, after sacrament meeting had ended, people start getting up and heading to Sunday School classes. She walked up to our new Bishop and handed him her first tithing envelope. She brought her checkbook to church and filled it out right there! Now that's faith. She will be going on a trip this weekend and will miss 2 Sundays at church, so she figured she would just pay this week. I've never seen that before in a new convert! I think her prayers will be answered that she can remain an active member of this Church. Recent converts are my favorite, so I wanted to share more of her story.

Our new Bishop is great. They have an amazing family. We go over for breakfast every Tuesday morning and also go over our investigators' progress. The Soundview Ward will have had 11 baptisms in a period of 6 weeks. We are blessed, there is no doubt. 5 of those come from a family the sisters are working with. They are all being baptized on June 7th, mom, dad, and 3 of the 4 kids (The fourth child is only two years old). They already look like they're Mormon, it's great. Our Bishop has felt impressed that we need to double our ward goal for the year. That makes our goal 52. Lofty, but on its way!

We're still working with Avery. Her kids were all sick this past weekend, and we're still trying to get a lesson in a member's home. One guy we're teaching is Steve. He is a really humble guy and wants to turn his life around. It's hard to meet with him sometimes, but we have a lesson set up for tomorrow night. There's another family we are teaching, Jennifer and her 4 kids. Two of them (ages 16 and 10) came to church this past weekend and loved it, so we are excited to see where they will go.

Sunlight on the Sound at 9 PM
The Lord is good, I know this work is true. God tests us because He loves us and blesses us according to our faith and His loving will. I know all things will work together for our good in the end, if we can keep the commandments. I'm so grateful for my mission and love being a missionary. Running out of time, and we have an appointment with Syreeta in 30 minutes :)

Preparation day activity with the Zone at Chamber's Bay Park

Love you all!
Elder Webber

Scripture: Moroni 6:4

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Soundview: New Bishop, Zone Conference, Syreeta's Baptism this weekend and the Chehalis fireside!

Hello family!

This week has been so long, but each day flies by. A lot happened, so I have a lot to tell you. And I got some fun pictures this week.

First off, congrats to Katie Eckhardt for your upcoming report to the MTC, and your missionary farewell service Sunday in Oregon. I got your letter this week (thanks!) and pray you have a great next couple weeks. Also good job to Mitchell (cousin) going to the temple this week before his mission. That makes me so happy.

And to all of you, my family! I love how much mom and dad go to the temple and congrats to Matthew for your Duty to God and Sacrament talks and your Eagle Court of Honor tomorrow. That is amazing you have completed it, I'm super proud and amazed how many of you will be receiving your award! And good job Charlotte for receiving a Torch of Excellence! I didn't get one my freshmen or sophomore year, so you're way ahead of me! And to you and Claire for going to Youth Conference. Those are great and important testimony-building experiences. Keep up the hard work in grad school, Allyson! It was so much fun to see all of you last week.

And thanks for the package this week! It came right before Elder Anderson's birthday so he got to enjoy all the treats. We put together some decorations Friday morning while he was getting ready downstairs, and Elder Steed made some "puff pancakes" and breakfast sausage. We surprised him and sang happy birthday. We did our weekly planning, then had lunch together and made hot dogs, burgers, grilled chicken and steaks :) when we got home for decompression time, we had a six pack of root beer and wrote on one "real beer" and the 21 year old drank it. Missionary humor. ha, ha, ha.
Surprise Birthday party for Elder Anderson
We also had a birthday miracle and met a guy named Clyde, referred to us by Lakewood missionaries. After meeting him, we gave him a Book of Mormon and told him about it, then talked to him about baptism! Unfortunately he didn't make it to church, so we'll have to get back to him, but we'll see where it goes.

Also a surprise for the Soundview Ward on Sunday. The stake presidency came to our ward with "some business" and announced a new Bishopric!! There was an audible gasp from the congregation as Bishop Betteridge was released after 6 years of faithful service. He is one of the best bishops I have met. He has the most temperate personality and simply loves others and is totally dedicated to the work of salvation. Bishop White is our new bishop and he too will be great. When we heard he would be called, we were relieved and not really surprised. They have an amazing family. Sister White helps a lot with teaching appointments and fellowship. We have one counselor still there and another called, Brother Gehring. He and his wife returned from a couples mission a few months ago.

It was a packed sacrament meeting and the speakers were a newly returned senior missionary couple, and a sister missionary farewell from our ward. Go missionary work! President and Sister Weaver also happened to be at our ward Sunday, and with them one of their daughters with her husband and 4 grandkids! They all came to the fireside and the young boys sang "Called to Serve" with us on the stand.

We had Zone Conference this week, and it was a lot of fun. The Weavers love us so much. I can't say enough of how good they are and how weird it is to think they have only a month left.

Our investigator didn't make it to church this week. Her kids are so much work for her. We're trying this week to set up the lessons in a member's home so that the kids can go and play and we can actually sit and talk with A__. She has been reading the Book of Mormon though and said she has no reason to think it is not true. She's very open to the doctrine we just need a chance to teach it.

Syreeta did come to church! And after our church, for another ward meeting in our building (Chamber's Creek Ward) there was a different baptismal service she got to attend.
(As a note, this baptisms the Chambers Creek sister missionary's had was the mom of an member family who had been catholic her whole life. She turned 100 years old yesterday and was baptized the same day. She said she wanted to be sealed to all her family, so she took the first step to do so. Goes to show it's never too late!)
Syreeta agreed to baptism this weekend, the 24th of May at 2:00 p.m.! She is set for this weekend. She wants this ward to be her home church. We stressed when teaching her the Restoration the need for priesthood authority and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. With that gift, we only need that one baptism because the Spirit is made permanently attached to us as a "constant companion," so long as we are worthy. She has been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon and soaks up everything we say. It's going to be the fast track this week to get the rest of the teaching in. But she's already living the commandments, so that makes it easier. She's such a sweet woman, we're super excited for her.

The weekend after that the sisters have a baptism of the dad of a family who's been coming to church forever. And the weekend after that they have a baptism of an incredible family of 6, 5 of whom can be baptized. It is so amazing, you'd think these people were already Mormon. They all bought quads online and love coming to church. A whole family. It's beautiful.
Tommy and Sister Crosby - the "conductors" at the fireside

Tommy reunites with Elder Green at Centralia musical fireside
Last, we had the Centralia Stake fireside last night in Chehalis. It was possibly my favorite fireside as far as the music goes. They sounded great. Plus I got to see Elder Green again, and Elder Brown and Elder Hansen. And I was asked to conduct "Amazing Grace," our last song, which is an amazing experience. These wonderful missionaries sing with such devotion and spirit, it hits you like a wall. I love the WA-TAC.

Thanks for your love and prayers!
Love Elder Webber

Scripture: D&C 6:33-37 and 2 Nephi 9:18 - just some meaningful scriptures to me this week

Preparation day treats with missionaries in the zone

former companion Elder Green, current Elder Anderson and Tommy

Current Mission Leadership Council

Never know what you might find while knocking on doors

Another door - almost the Webbers

Found a beautiful spot in the forest

Monday, May 12, 2014

Soundview: Happy Mother's Day

My amazing wonderful family,

It was so much fun to talk to you yesterday over Skype, and just to see everyone together and sitting on the couch. That was one of my favorite parts, just seeing everyone together. Thanks for all being there and for being who you are and supporting me on my mission. Like I said yesterday, there aren't words sufficient to explain this mission experience, especially in just 40 minutes. But, well, I don't know what to say. I just love you!

And a very happy Mother's Day, mom. You do so much for me and for others. I appreciate you.

Current companion Elder Anderson and Elder Tommy Webber
Like I told you, on Saturday we had all 9 appointments fall through. I am grateful for a companion on such days, who I can talk to and simply laugh about it. We had appointments for every hour of that day, so we didn't even have time for lunch or dinner. So we just worked 11 straight hours, no breaks. It was pretty grueling, but I slept good that night :) We come out to work as hard as we can and people just use their agency wrong. We did all we could, so we were able to feel, despite the obvious disappointment, good about our efforts. I am trying to better understand the meaning of "success" as a missionary. Preach My Gospel states that "Your success is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people, and help them become active members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost" (pg. 11). Our task is to be committed and work as hard as we can, being obedient, and blessings will come. Sooner or later, in baptisms or happiness, one way or another; but they come. That's faith.

Mission Leadership Training

I was studying faith this last week, and would like to share some of it, if I can put it into words adequately. We all have faith to some degree. Faith is what prompts us to act to do anything, for we would not do a thing if we did not first believe it could be done. Faith in Jesus Christ is more than just passive belief, it is active and moving, and prompts us to be obedient, to repent, and to make covenants. It prompts us to sacrifice because we believe what we can give up in this life for God, we will have returned to us with much much more, even eternal glory. In fact, "a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce faith necessary unto life and salvation" (Lectures on Faith, 66). Faith is necessary for salvation, to become like our perfect example Jesus Christ, who had, Himself, perfect faith (unto knowledge) in His Father. We must be like Him, one with Him, as He is one with the Father (John 17:20-24).

The Sister Missionaries unite a family in Soundview ward, Bishop on right

 The work in Soundview is progressing. The sisters had two more baptisms this past weekend, a great new family. They keep reeling them in. We are still working with a women, and her kids. She didn't make it to church this week, and we haven't been able to really start the lessons. But she has been warmly fellowshipped and loves coming to church. We met a sweet black lady this week named Syreeta. She lives alone, and she is very open to the Church. We will start teaching her tonight. We took her on a church tour last Wednesday and she loved it and already agreed to baptism.

Tommy catches up with former companion Elder Schaffner on Prep-day

And sees him at a Baptismal service on Saturday

At church yesterday, we got to be in charge of primary for the 3-8 year olds. I have new-found respect and admiration to every primary president and leader in this Church.

Tommy catches up with former companion Elder Green at Mission training

It should be a warm week ahead in Washington. Elder Anderson's birthday is this week, he'll be 21 on Friday. So I'll have to think of something we can do for him :) This Sunday is the Centralia missionary musical fireside, in Chehalis. And we've got Zone Conference on Thursday! Which is a special day nonetheless ;)

Another beautiful sunset on the Puget Sound

Love you all,
Elder Webber

Scripture: Alma 32:21
Hebrews 11:1 (JST), 6
John 17:3, 20-24

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Soundview: Heat, Rain, and Another Musical Fireside

Dear Family,

I got to take and send a lot of pictures this week, so I hope you enjoy them! Not a lot of time for e-mail though, sorry about that. We had a super hot day this week, one sign read 89 degrees, but it was the only day like that. Otherwise, it was typically gray and rainy. 

Very Hot
Same day, cooled down

Found a large bush while knocking on doors

We had a Bremerton fireside last night (I was there, even though I wasn't in the group picture. We had to leave right after so the office elders could start getting numbers in). But it was another great fireside. I'm grateful for the power and sacred spirit of music and for the extra time we get with President and Sister Weaver. I love them so much, and they are so so good to us missionaries. They have so much love for us, and we can tell they are starting to really struggle as they prepare to leave. They have changed my life.

View of Mt. Rainer

At the fireside I was surprised to see a former investigator, Chris. He is the 17 (now 18) year old who we found and started teaching when I was serving in Bremerton. He's not yet been baptized, but he goes to church, and even seminary and still meets with the missionaries. Who knew one year later, these people would still be progressing? Another tender mercy. Perhaps the biggest miracle was that he was there and that he recognized me, even though I only taught him for a short time. I remember one lesson where we simply taught him to believe in God. He has come so far.

In the Soundview ward, there were two baptisms on Saturday, from the sisters. A 10 year old and a 14 year old who are the children of a recent convert couple the sisters baptized two months ago. Now their whole family is in the church and they are so happy. They have another baptism this weekend, and the following weekend (May 17th) we are planning on Avery's baptism! She and all 5 of her kids came to church again last Sunday. We taught Avery on Wednesday and she had all these great questions from church and from the gospel principles book we gave her. She is worried she doesn't know enough yet, but she really wants to learn. The only struggle she has is just managing 5 young children on her own, but the ward continues to love and support her. I love Soundview!

Preparation day in the park

Grilling on the apartment's back deck, viewing the Sound

It seems an eternity ago, but this week was also transfer meeting! Like I said last time, Elder Anderson and I did not change, but we still got to go to the meeting and feel the strong spirit that was there. The departing missionaries always have powerful testimonies to bear that help me stay focused and gain perspective and gratitude. 

Last, this week in my study and efforts, I gained a sure testimony of the power of repentance and the miracle of forgiveness. My family and friends, the Lord is so willing to forgive us the moment we come to Him with humble hearts, seeking help, and willing to do His will. We can feel His love and know things will be ok. Then we just have to keep it up ha ha.

Found the exact Clarinet (R13 Greenline) he played left in the Primary Room

I cannot wait to talk to you this Sunday. Happy Mother's day mom! You are the best and I love you so much. You continue to be a strong example to me of righteousness and love and service, I can't thank you enough for what you have done and still do. I love you!

Elder Webber

Scriptures: D&C 61:2
Acts 26:18 (why do we do missionary work?)
Alma 26:30 (same principle)