Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

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

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Steilacoom: Ask, and It Shall Be Given You

To my family:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!! Wow you're 50 years old! That is great! Yesterday and Saturday I was thinking what you might be doing and thinking Happy Birthday thoughts towards California :) Good job Matthew on BYU-I!!!  Good luck Charlotte, Claire and Matthew in the Roadshow this weekend and have fun!

We had an interesting week. It's funny how every week when I sit down to type an e-mail I only remember the good things or what I learned from the hard things. Most of this week we had appointments fall through, and many with members ready to come with us, which makes it more disappointing. But for many of these lessons that fell through, it is interesting to see what God will lead us to do instead. Usually it is better than what we had planned. More evidence this is God's work, not mine.

Drought here in CA, floods there in WA
On Tuesday, Elder Schaffner and I went to teach Cesar about the priesthood and missionary work. He is so amazing, he just takes it all and loves it. You can see in him, that he is starting to realize just how important and big this is. How life-changing and miraculous that The Church of Christ is on the earth in its fullness and with it the sacred priesthood authority to perform saving ordinances, and even ordinances of exaltation. He told us he would study this (his hand resting on his new Preach My Gospel) every night until he understands it. Funny enough yesterday was his dad's birthday so he couldn't make it to church but he will hopefully receive the Aaronic priesthood this Sunday.

We had an exchange Friday with Elder Oliphant, the missionary who served in Steilacoom the three months before I got here. We realized together we had about 7 months of Steilacoom missionary history! It was so fun, we biked around Steilacoom and met so many people, and got in touch with 3 former investigators, met 4 more people from the church group, we met with Jay and Justine (where we taught all 10 the first three lessons) and also taught Haopeng and Tiffany. They are having some complications with visa-marriage things, that I don't understand. They have a friend who is helping them, though. It might be this Saturday, if we can work that out!

Also we met with Rebecca and she committed to church this Sunday! We are having a church tour Wednesday morning which should really help!

We meet with the Sisters that are serving in our ward once a week to discuss the work and help each other with ideas for our investigators and coordinate member involvement and so on. This week we all four had been thinking about referrals and how to best get our wonderful members to not only come with us to lessons (which they do amazingly) but to invite their friends to meet with us. We brainstormed and all decided to fast and pray for member missionary work to hasten. The Lord doesn't always answer prayers immediately, but sometimes He does. Sometimes it as simple as: "Ask and it shall be given you." Heavenly Father loves us and the purpose of prayer is to align the will of the child with the will of the Father. To secure for ourselves, and others, blessings He is already ready and willing and wanting to give. Where I'm going with this is that yesterday we had our Ward Conference. Our Bishop and Stake President spoke on "Hastening the Work"! It was very spiritual and powerful. During our third hour all the members 12 and up got together to share what promptings we had during our sacrament meeting. We had an hour of open discussion, from the members, on how they can better do missionary work. Prayer works. They all came up with a few steps to hasten the work in the Steilacoom ward. The biggest focus was "invite, invite, invite." The missionaries do the teaching, the members do the inviting. What a special privilege to serve in this wonderful ward. So many of these sweet Saints do so much. And we do all we can to help them!

To each of you: invite! invite! invite!

Much Love,
Elder Webber

Scriptures on prayer: Matthew 7:7 and 3 Nephi 18:18-21 and D&C 50:29-30

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Steilacoom baptism! Cesar


We had another busy and wonderful (and wet) week!

Funny stories about rain: so yesterday it was pouring pretty bad, and we were out knocking doors of course, and on our way to make a visit we passed this road that has a dip, it's the one I sent a picture of a few weeks ago, with the cars trying to drive through. It was so dark we didn't see it until we were in it, and slowing down quickly. Unfortunately, I didn't keep peddling because I didn't want to get my shoes wet. Instead, I planted both feel in the deepest part possible, which went up to about half my shin, totally soaking my socks and shoes ha, ha, ha. I just started laughing. Missions are fun.

The miracle this week is this young man named Cesar. If anyone was prepared to receive the gospel, it is Cesar. I told you of how quickly he was able to recognize the Spirit testify of the truth of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, the Prophet. He accepted everything else just as easily! We got to participate in one of the lessons last week, on tithing. When the sisters asked "Will you live the law of tithing, and donate 10% of your income to God's Church?" his response was "can I pay more than 10%?" We almost didn't know how to respond. We mention fast offerings and the some of the other many ways to give service in the Church. But mostly all we ask is a "broken heart and a contrite spirit," the sacrifice of our sins.

Cesar's Baptismal Service
On Saturday we had his baptismal service, and Philip, one of the prospective elders got to baptize him. Cesar was excited and nervous. When he and Philip went down into the water, Elder Schaffner and I got to be the two witnesses for the baptism (to make sure it is done properly). Philip said the prayer, immersed Cesar and when he came up out of the water, there was an indescribable change that came over him. As his sins were literally washed away, the Holy Ghost had a perfect temple to enter into, and he stood for a moment in awe. All he could do was cry and embrace Philip. It was so powerful! While he changed, Elder Schaffner shared a "missionary message" and taught the Restoration. When Cesar came out, he shared his testimony. He struggled to speak because of his emotions. The Spirit was so strong and almost tangible in the room. He managed to get out the words, "I've never felt like this before." When we feel the Spirit stronger than we ever have before, there are no words for it.

On Sunday he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (he asked Elder Schaffner to do it :) ) and that was spiritual too. Right after, we went to sit by him as the sacrament was blessed and passed. During the passing of the bread he leaned over and asked, "Elder Webber, can I do that too?" This guy is so humble and has such a strong desire to do what is right, what is best. We are going over today to talk about the priesthood. He was interviewed after church on Sunday so he could receive the priesthood this Sunday. Talk about the fast track! President Weaver says, "When they're ready, they're ready!"

Two more updates: before the baptism Saturday we saw Chris again (the one that had all the struggles). I think he is the modern day Job. Things have sort of gotten worse and he is learning humility. He told us each Sunday he wants to come to church and to join the church! He just can't get himself out of this pit. We sent him the talk by Elder Holland about depression, which he told us he thinks he has now. Needs a lot of help, but this should be the time to make the best decision of his eternity!

We met with Haopeng and Tiffany Friday (with the return missionary in our ward I told you about). THEY GOT THEIR MARRIAGE LICENSE!!! That is the other major miracle this week! So Tiffany is just waiting on a wedding dress she ordered, and the plan is March 1st for the marriage and baptism. The not so great news is that Haopeng is even more unsure about baptism. He has been so busy with school that he hasn't read any of the Book of Mormon. When we asked what we could do to help Tiffany prepare, she whispered and pointed to Haopeng (who was in the other room) "help him!" We're hoping that even if it's only Tiffany's baptism first, Haopeng will see the change in her and understand the importance of this gospel. He will come eventually.

This Sunday is another fireside in Lacey. Maybe at the end of "Called to Serve" I will lead them into "Happy Birthday" just for you dad :)

Love Elder Webber

Close-up before Church

Scriptures: D&C 84:20 and Alma 32:16 (they apply to this week!)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snow in Steilacoom!


We had a busy week and a great week and I have so much to tell you!

I loved the story of the statewide fast for rain and then having rain that night! how blessed we are to live once again in a day of miracles!

Also I'm so happy to hear Katie Eckhardt is going on a mission!!! That is super exciting and will forever bless her family :) Good job Katie!

Speaking of missionaries, last night we had the second fireside, this time in Tacoma. We invited Rebecca, but she couldn't make it. The sisters are teaching a 19 year old named Cesar, and he did come! Cesar is so cool. Elder Schaffner and I actually knocked on his door late December, he said he was interested, we gave him a Book of Mormon, but then we could never reach him. About 10 days ago, the Sisters were knocking when Cesar passed on the street and they talked with him, and set up an appointment. They have been teaching him at a members home, and once he read and prayed about the Book of Mormon, he said he knew it was true and he wanted to be a part of it! He is getting baptized this Saturday. He couldn't find a ride to the fireside so guess what? He just biked there! From Steilacoom! that's like an hour bike ride. He later told the sisters that no matter what, rain or snow, he will do anything for the Church of Jesus Christ. Wow. These people are out there, prepared for the restored gospel. Truly the work is hastening.

Saturday night we had a snow "storm" in Washington and church Sunday was cancelled! I was pretty stunned, I had never even heard of church being cancelled. They made the decision Saturday night and our bishop called us around 10:20 right before bed! We stayed in our apartment until the ok, then went out and cleared some snow off a car of a member we knew was physically less able. We also built a little missionary snowman and threw snowballs at each other during tracting ha, ha.

One funny story from last week that I forgot to mention. So in the past month there have been about 14 robberies in Steilacoom. Very unusual because it is a nice, quiet neighborhood. Apparently the robbers have been people, especially women, dressed as missionaries. They go door to door and see who's not home, then break in! So we've had some funny responses from people when we go around, as actual missionaries, and knock on doors. Some people have been scared. Last Friday, we were knocking in a nicer neighborhood and it was very dark. There are few streetlights. Many of the homes had no one there. After we finished a big cul-de-sac, we kept going down the street when we saw a big search light from around a hedge, lighting up the hill. We both knew there was a police car and we both knew why. We kept going and walked straight to the police car. He got out and asked if we had been in the neighborhood knocking doors, we smiled and said yes, we're missionaries! he smiled too and got on the phone with a lady, the one who had called him. He asked slowly what the "robbers" looked like and was smiling at us and laughing! He told her, "Ma'm, I'm sorry, but they are in fact Mormons." We both were trying hard to hold in the laughter. He told us to carry on and have a great night, and drove off. We then finished our tracting.

Also this week, we had another church tour with George, and showed him all the paintings in our building, and explained them. He loves learning about the Restoration and he seems to understand it in his mind. We are working on having him understand it in his heart as well. We need both to be truly converted to the gospel.
Missionaries serving in the Lakewood Zone

Rebecca has been doing better, and her husband came home today, which is all around good. She loves our visits. We had dinner with a member family last night, we taught them the Restoration, and invited them to be a fellowship family for her. We will soon schedule a time for all of us to meet so we can actually start the lessons.

Haopeng and Tiffany have not yet got a marriage license! They are always so busy with school. We are working a lot with Haopeng. He struggles more with faith. Tiffany is very ready and told us once they can get married, she will get baptized.

Elder Webber and Elder Schaffner

Recently in our ward a missionary returned home. He finished his two year mission in Texas, Spanish speaking. On Wednesday he was at the church to be released. We were there at the same time with George's church tour. We talked to him for a moment before he went in. He still had his name tag on and was really friendly. We continued our church tour and when we had finished, he had finished his meeting with the stake president at the same time. We walked up to where he was, by the bishops office and he was standing, head hanging, looking at his two name tags that he was holding in his hand. Tears were in his eyes and we instantly knew that he had just been released. It was a powerful scene to see, a faithful missionary finally having to take off his tag. All at once I felt a deep gratitude that my full-time mission is going still. I held on to my tag tighter. I am so grateful every day for the privilege to serve the Lord full-time. To be able to walk out of the apartment and be at work, preaching and testifying of the Restoration.

Transfer meeting was Tuesday (feels like a long time ago!) and it was great. Nothing changed, area or companion, so it's always a little easier. I also heard that Raymond had two more baptisms: AJ, Machel's son, and Machel's friend Kelsey. Both of them we found while we served there! I love those updates. I also heard Dennis is still going to the temple and saving all his family! The work is hastening!

Love Elder Webber

Scripture: D&C 50:17-20

Elder Webber's Apartment

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Staying in Steilacoom!

To family:

I had another great week! Actually that's every week, but that's missionary life! Lots to tell you today.

I am staying in Steilacoom transfer #3 now, and staying with Elder Schaffner! We were both hoping to stay together, we have a lot of fun, get along easily and work hard together. We help each other to be more obedient. I have learned a lot from him. I hope this transfer we can continue to grow and learn. I think we will. Sister Stucki is staying, Sister Tingey is on a plane to Brazil right now, and Sister Sandau is coming here (I knew her from my MTC district!) We are super excited for this next transfer, we're hoping a lot of things will line up. 

Unfortunately, Haopeng and Tiffany were not baptized on Saturday, mainly due to them not having time to get their marriage license. We hoped and prayed and worked as hard as we could, but perhaps it was not the Lord's will. I learned this week, that despite all of our efforts, energy, prayers, fasts, or pleas, sometimes God says "no" ha ha. His will is done, even if it is different from ours. I feel that maybe Haopeng and Tiffany need more time, and our purpose is to baptize them so that they can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which they may enjoy the rest of their life. I want to make sure they are ready to receive that important gift and responsibility. That being said, we will work to have it as soon as possible. We talked to them Saturday night and they said they will try and get the marriage license as soon as they can. It's hard with their crazy school schedule. 

I also learned that humor is the best escape valve to the pressures of life. This week was a difficult and stressful one, but we had such interesting and humorous experiences throughout, I really can't explain them all. But I am grateful for Elder Schaffner and other missionaries who remind me that this is God's work and He is in control, and if I'm doing my best, I do not need to worry. So laugh a little, smile and think on your friends and family and run with patience the "race" that is set before us. 

I've been changing a lot, I think (It's hard to tell). As each transfer passes, my numbers have gone down and down ha ha. From Bremerton booming to Raymond miracles to Steilacoom settling. Even though I'm working as hard, if not harder, than I have in my mission. It's becoming very much a part of me, and I'm being a missionary now instead of just doing missionary things. I think, hope, pray and fast that I'm becoming who God wants me to become. It can be very hard to tell though.

Thanks Dad for sharing your experience giving a blessing. I feel I should share two experiences I had this week. On Friday night we decided to randomly visit a recent convert family. The mother has been very sick and it has gotten worse so that she's nearly bed-ridden. We shared a short scripture message with her and her three kids. Funny enough, at the same time we visited a nice man from Catholic Community Services was also visiting. We made sure to share a Book of Mormon scripture ;) but after he left, we asked if there was anything we could do for her. She requested a blessing. She is not very active in the church, but encourages her husband and family to go. She had never received a priesthood blessing, only seen one of her children receive one once. I gave the blessing and felt the power of God come over me and speak through me. I agree, Dad, it is a wonderful experience for all, and humbling that God trusts such great power and authority in an imperfect servant like me. 

The next day, we visited Rebecca with one of the priests (they all got called as Ward Missionaries which is awesome). She was in obvious pain, and much less talkative. She has a lot of problems with her health, and so does her whole family. We also shared only a brief scripture message. At once, the thought came clearly to mind mind, offer a blessing. But for a non-member, I hesitated to say it out loud. At that instant, Elder Schaffner turned to me and mouthed "a blessing." Recognizing this as my confirmation of a prompting, I quickly nodded and we tenderly explained priesthood blessings. I asked if she remembered the stories in the Bible when Christ would lay his hands on others and heal them. She said those were her favorite stories. I testified that that power and authority was back on the earth and if she requested, we could give her the same kind of blessing. She did request one, and we blessed her. The same feeling came over me and I could tell the Holy Ghost was guiding my words. I was surprised at what I was able to bless her with. I prayed afterwards, privately, that the blessing would heal her, despite the weakness of my faith. That it would work by the perfect power of God and according to her faith. 

On other note, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. Washington is a happy place.

Thank you everyone for your prayers for me and these investigators. They are being answered, I assure you. 

We all got to volunteer at a Methodist soup kitchen. It was a great service opportunity. I worked in the back washing dishes with a super sprayer, you would have been proud mom.

Also, thank you mom for the Snickerdoodle cookies!! They were most wonderful. Good job Matthew applying to BYU! I hope you get in! Keep up the diligent studies Charlotte and Claire, they pay off. And thank you McKay and Allyson for watching after Annabelle. Keep up the missionary work mom and dad. I love you all!!!!!!

Elder Webber

Scriptures are:
Hebrews 12:1-2 (we are running with patience the "race of life". As long as we keep going, Jesus Christ will help us and we will win)
Ephesians 2:12-14 ("I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see. Amazing Grace that saved a wrench like me" I get to sing that with the whole mission tomorrow!)

We've been reading the New Testament together, we're in Luke 11, and these are some NT gems I've found :)