Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Soundview Starts

Dear Family,

Again, sorry about the short letter from last week! It was a crazy couple of days saying goodbye in Steilacoom and getting ready for the transfer here to Soundview.

Saying good-bye to one more family last week in Steilacoom
I must have done something right, because Heavenly Father has blessed me again with a great area. The Soundview ward is outstanding. We had 13 lessons with members present this week (that is very good). We would set up lessons here and there, then just call our ward mission leader, with the name and place, and he would get us a member there. And almost every time it was a different member. True, not all of these lessons went through, but when they didn't, we would bring that member with us to visit other potential investigators, and more missionary opportunities would open. Also funny, whenever we would try and get a member to come with us, if they ever said no, it was for reasons like, "Sorry I have a home teaching appointment," or "oh, well I'm actually on my way to the temple," or "Well I'm teaching an institute class right now, but if you really need me I could get a sub here!" or even, "Sorry I missed your call, elders, I was just doing some family history work so that I could seal my parents in the temple" 

I think I'm in Zion.

Also, we have members feeding us or the sisters every day of the week, and more members dropping off food at our apartment. The Soundview ward does also have its own set of sisters, Sister Baird and Sister Clayson. This is their 3rd transfer together. They are doing great here.  Our ward council is amazing and got 4 recent converts (all baptized this year) to go to the temple for baptisms on Friday. And they all received callings in the ward this Sunday.
Elder Webber next to his new Companion Elder Anderson
I'm serving with one of the most experienced missionary companions, and he is a machine when it comes to working hard. Except for the first few weeks of my mission, I don't think I've ever worked so hard. From 10:00 AM when we leave the apartment to 9:25 PM when we get home, it is go, go, go. I love it!! He is helping me to be more obedient too, and the blessings are apparent. He keeps me moving and thinking and planning every minute of the day. And we have a car. Elder Anderson taught me that as Zone Leaders, we are simply to do and say exactly what President Weaver would do and say, like the Nephite Apostles were for Christ (3 Nephi 19:8).

The area we live in is perfect. It includes part of University Place, on the water of the Puget Sound, and some very well-off and great members of the ward. It also has a middle class portion called Fir Crest, and parts of Tacoma, which is definitely lower class, and that makes the work very dynamic and the ward well-balanced. We live in this house that used to belong to a member family who built a new home above ours, and they sold the house to the mission. So we live with the two Assistants to the President, and the two Office Elders. It has 3 bedrooms, and 3 bathrooms, a large kitchen, fully stocked, and a few study rooms, and a living room. And big windows that open to a view of the Puget Sound. I get to study every morning with that as my view.
Puget Sound view out the window

Living room

Missionary Kitchen, 2 boxes of Lucky Charms, Top Ramen, Licorice

How did I get so blessed?

We sent out texts to 100+ people to invite them to church this week, about 15 of the invites were when we were with people, but we decided to try and contact all of the people on our phone we did not know. Of all of them, 10 committed to come to church, and one showed up. That was sort of disappointing, but we keep going. It has been an ongoing struggle on my mission to get people to come to church and to keep coming to church. The one who came to church we met this week, his name is Maike (Spanish for Mikey pretty much) and he moved here from Panama to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousins, who are all members. They invited us over to teach him! He already had come to church once and had been reading the Book of Mormon. He is 16 years old. He believes it is true and accepted the invitation to be baptized! His chosen date is on April 12th, we are teaching him the 3rd lesson tonight and he is so ready. He doesn't speak a lot of English, but their family wanted us to teach him instead of the Spanish missionaries. (Not sure why...) but his cousin is a return missionary from Texas and spoke Spanish there. His whole family speaks Spanish. So they helped translate our teaching to him in Spanish, but it works pretty well and the Spirit was there.

I love my mission more than I can say. All is well, All is well.

Love Elder Webber

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Final Week in Steilacoom! Transfer, pics, Zone Leader assignment

Dear Family,

I don't have much time today and way too much to say.

I got my transfer call to go to the Soundview Ward in University Place, which is right next to Tacoma. Very close to Steilacoom, and very similar in the kind of area, the ward, being on the Puget Sound, having sisters in the ward. My new companion is Elder Anderson, who is a great missionary with lots of experience. I'm grateful I'll get to serve with him! But of course sad to leave Steilacoom.

Quick updates: Chris came to church after a great lesson Saturday with our Bishop there, he is getting his life back and loves everything he's seen in the church. We had a great lesson with Rebecca Wednesday and taught the Plan of Salvation, she is really feeling the truth. On Saturday I bore my testimony to her about the gospel and about families and told her about the night I was set apart and admitted I cried. I feel she is very close.

Sorry this week is so short

Love Elder Webber!

Saying goodbye to a convert family who had missionaries over a lot

Saying good bye to the Bishop, an investigator and newest convert

Saying goodbye to his District
Elder Webber and Elder Schaffner's last day after 13 weeks

What Tacoma-ites call a "beach"

Mt. Rainier view from Steilacoom
Preparation-Day, this time bowling with the whole zone of missionaries
Elder Webber's transfer to Soundview ward, Tacoma stake -maybe 2 miles?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Steilacoom: Another baptism, Cesar's missionary efforts, and a great Elma Fireside

Dear Family,

We had a fun week with lots of rain, a weirdly sunny day, and daylight savings! That means that there will be no more knocking doors in the dark! (until September comes again) It's funny, I remember when it started getting darker in the winter, I was complaining about it and wondering if I would ever see the sun again, but now it is weird knocking in the daylight, it's like everyone can see us... But I am grateful for the sun. I probably shouldn't say this, but the best kept secret in Washington is that it really doesn't rain that much. We'll have days of sunshine in between. And it doesn't rain hard, but it can rain for a long period of time.

In our mission we have weekly scriptures we memorize and weekly goals for key indicators. This week was "Books of Mormon placed", and this coming week is "lessons with members present." We have an ongoing mission goal of 500 "lessons with" in a week. And our mission goal for baptisms for the month of March is 100.

Baptismal Service with Sisters
Speaking of, we had another baptism this week in the Steilacoom ward, a man the sisters found named Tom. They were knocking doors one night and saw Tom out on his porch, smoking. He had quit smoking for 27 years and had just fallen back in the habit in the last month. Because he was outside, the sisters talked to him. God works in mysterious ways?? But he was looking for a church and upon reading the Book of Mormon, gained a testimony of its truth and was soon baptized. Elder Schaffner got to confirm him a member yesterday at church. The week before, we got to participate in one of his lessons, on the Word of Wisdom. After the lesson he asked us elders for a blessing to help him give up the smoking again. We provided the blessing, and he told us he hasn't had the urge since. How great to have the priesthood power in our lives.

Cesar, our other outstanding recent convert has been with us twice this week, and yesterday blessed the sacrament. On Wednesday we spent from 8:00 a.m. personal study (we did at the church) until 8:30 p.m. our last lesson of the day. And all day on his bike! (Remember though he is not afraid to ride bikes. He is super fit and was actually riding circles around us all day ha, ha). It rained all day and most of our lessons and visits fell through. On Saturday he met us at the church and we talked about how to administer the sacrament. He then asked if he could spend the rest of that day with us. Saturday was the rainiest day of the week. By 7:30 we were drenched. We had an appointment with Tiffany and Haopeng, who we hadn't seen in two weeks. They were home and we were able to teach and help them back to where they were when we left off. The best part of the lesson was when Haopeng came into the room, very interested in Cesar's conversion. He asked him what it was like to be baptized, how he felt before and after, and what his family thought. Cesar has difficulty opening up about his past and some personal thoughts, but he described an amazing conversion process that began years before we knocked on his door. He powerfully testified of the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ and confirmed our words as missionaries. Cesar needs to go on a mission. He is an amazing example. Tiffany came to church yesterday!

We also had (finally!) Rebecca at church Sunday, with her 7 year old daughter. Elder Schaffner spoke, and they had a great experience. The Steilacoom ward did a great job greeting her, having someone sit with her, answering questions, and being friendly. That can make all the difference. Miracles happen during the 10 minutes before and after sacrament meeting.

Tommy reunites with Elder Green and members from Raymond
Also yesterday was the Elma (not Elmo, dad) fireside. I was so excited to go, hoping to see someone from Raymond there. We had our practice run at 4:00, then went into classrooms to wait until it started. Being one of the choristers, I sat not on the stand, but in the second row of the pews. On the third row was the whole Angelovich family, who housed me and fed me and cared for me for almost 5 months of my mission. Elder Green was in the choir and we were all happy. I was surprised how I remembered all 6 of the children's names. I love that family. The fireside was amazing, very spiritual and I even was asked by Sister Weaver to bear my testimony on the Savior Jesus Christ. In the audience was another family from Raymond, the Hamiltons, and 3 converts who were baptized after I left Raymond. Machel, her son AJ, and Machel's friend Kelsi were all at the fireside. Now my joy was overfilling. These three people were brought to us while I was serving in Raymond, and I did not know they would later join the Church of Jesus Christ, and meet me 5 months later to thank me. I cannot adequately put into words how happy I was. The joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not only the deepest, most pure joy we can experience, it is also renewed and refreshed and multiplied over time and through the eternities. Pleasure and worldly joy are a moment and fleeting, but the joy in Christ lasts forever and gets better.

Local creek running toward the Puget Sound
I love being a missionary, I love the Wa-Tac, I love the people I serve, and I love my Savior Jesus Christ more than I can say. I know for myself that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the whole world. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and the only source for happiness in this life and Eternal Life in the world to come. Without Him I am nothing and with Him, I can become like our Heavenly Father and live with Them and with you, my family, forever. His invitation is to "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

All my love to my Webber family.
Elder Webber

Scripture is: 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 ("Ye (converts and family) are [my] glory and joy").

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Steilacoom: Zone Conference and Cesar gets the Priesthood

Dear Family,

I am so so happy to hear how things are going at home, that the Spirit is at home. "Only the home can compare [to the temple] in sacredness." I know that as you gather together and read from the scriptures and pray every day (or as best you can!) you will forever be blessed and have your testimonies strengthened and conversion deeper and our family will be together forever, as promised by our Heavenly Father. Thank you so much Mom and Dad for your righteous example which has helped all 5 of us kids. I wouldn't be here in Steilacoom, Washington without it.

This week was fast, it is weird being out this long, because time seems to be accelerating and I don't like it! I love my mission so much. There are so many experiences that I can only begin to share. I'm grateful for my journal for sure!

Last night we four missionaries (elders and sisters) were invited to the "Bishop's Youth Discussion" which is the Bishop's Fireside. The topic was missionary work and all 4 of us (as well as Brother Yukon, the missionary who just came home a few weeks ago) shared 1-2 stories from our missions. I thought about it all that day and was amazed at how many stories and miracles I have had so far! How can the Lord be so gracious? He loves us!

Also at church, Cesar received the Aaronic Priesthood! He is amazing. So very excited to serve. He met with the sisters on Saturday who were going to share a Book of Mormon story, the "Iron Rod" which was part of his confirmation blessing. The night before, Cesar had a dream. He told us he dreamed he was in a large field and in the middle there was a large tree, with fruit on it. He said when he tried the fruit it was indescribably good, and all he could feel was that he wanted other people to try it. He said it might have been like an orange. When the sisters told him about 1 Nephi 8 he was amazed and so were we! What a miraculous couple weeks this guy has had. After Elder's Quorum he came up and asked if he could go with us this week to see what missionary work is like. He's probably going to go with us tomorrow, like all day!

The sisters have another baptism this Saturday! An older man named Tom. He is giving up smoking and very excited about the Book of Mormon and the church.

Steilacoom Sunset
Unfortunately, Rebecca didn't come to church, even though she had made a solid commitment. We had a good church tour with her this week, where she said she was really thinking about joining the church. We'll hope she keeps progressing. We couldn't make contact with Haopeng or Tiffany this week. Still working on them too. I wonder what the Lord's plan is.

Elder Singleton and Elder Webber
I have also had a lot of personal growth this week. At Zone Conference Thursday President Weaver did a training on the Book of Mormon and another on prayer. Two things I had been wanting to improve. Two things that are very important for all of us! I was impressed several times about the heart. That I need to open my heart in more sincere prayer and open my heart through the Book of Mormon. Open my heart to really love the people here and love the work. Love my companion, my ward, and my family. The Holy Ghost works through our feelings in our heart. The Lord looks and cares about our heart, and will judge us for our desires therein. I am trying to do that more. One thing I am trying now is writing a prayer journal where I write my prayer in ink and answers to prayers/impressions in pencil, so I can better recognize the Lord's voice. I know He is with us always.

Elder Schaffner and Elder Webber

Love Elder Webber

Scriptures: John 10:16 (read this morning) and Alma 9:9-11 (we should remember the blessings the Lord has given us throughout our life, and remember His matchless power and mercy)