Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Soundview Ward: President and Sister Blatter are here!

Beloved Family,

In the words of Paul, grace and peace [to you] from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ! Thank you for the pictures you sent this week, they made me so happy to see all of you and Matthew's graduation and the temple trip. It was fun seeing Elder Bunker and Elder Gemperline together, even though they are in different missions! I still remember going to lessons with them and their text signature "<Bunk&Gemp>" :) What a precious day and eternally memorable. Mom, you're right, the tie is the Gospel and it is a beautiful, everlasting thing.
Elder Bunker and Elder Gemperline etc. at temple with Rob
This week was emotional and faith filled. On Wednesday we had a mini zone conference with President and Sister Weaver. They made some announcements, especially the announcement from the First Presidency concerning recent converts and missionary work. I am very excited to be able to work with these wonderful people more. President Weaver talked about change and the church and being willing to give up little things. We ended with a big testimony meeting, and Sister Weaver then President Weaver gave "final testimonies." We sang "Amazing Grace" and they gave us each a Washington state quarter with the Olympic National Forest on it, and said goodbye. So very emotional to say goodbye for now. How much they have blessed my life and taught me and loved me and made my mission much of what it is. I am grateful for their Christlike examples.
President and Sister Blatter
The next day President and Sister Blatter arrived. They are prepared. On Saturday we went to a baptism for the Sunset ward (Jennifer came with us!) and President and Sister Blatter came! So we got to meet them for the first time. He already knows everyones' names (and not just using our name tags ha, ha). And they are so excited to be with us and to uphold the legacy of the WA-TAC. After the baptism he talked with us and our investigator Jennifer, asking how much longer she'd be an "investigator." She told him that today was her original baptism date (which it was) and that she will try for next week! (Unfortunately she wasn't at church yesterday because her mom went to the hospital, so maybe we'll plan for the week after, July 12th). They are friendly, competent, ready to serve and love with all of their might. You can feel their faith. I am excited for miracles in the coming weeks and months.

We had a great week teaching lessons, but then no one came to church! Normally this puts me down and I feel very disappointed, but I really feel this week that I did all I could, and that it is always in the Lord's hands. K___ went with her daughter in law to her church, and we are a little worried, because she told us now she's not sure if she's ready for baptism. We really feel that she is, so we're meeting with her tomorrow to talk about it. Something always comes up the week before a baptism. It is Satan's last strike to throw off an essential saving ordinance. We think she can still make it to this weekend, so long as she can live the Word of Wisdom. We dropped off some cranberry juice for her, which we hear counters the desire for cigarettes.

We had an awesome lesson with Jennifer Saturday night after the baptism service. We brought a recent convert couple as fellowship, the Rodriguez's. They were the PERFECT fellowship. Sister Rodriguez is so much like Jennifer, and they could understand exactly what Jennifer is going through making the decision to be baptized and join the church. It's a big one. So we talked about this weekend, but like I said we'll have to push it back. We have a lesson tomorrow night in the Rodriguez's home we are excited about.

We also had a great lesson with Tiffany this week. Another recent convert, Brother Estrada, came. We taught the third lesson, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, about faith, repentance, and baptism. When we taught and testified of the blessings of baptism she really could feel the spirit and accepted a baptismal date for July 12th! We were actually surprised by how thoughtful and sincere she was about it. She's turning out to be a very good investigator.  We have a lesson with her tomorrow also.

A Member's home, backyard is the Puget Sound
Elder Slavens and I get along well. Living in the "mansion" is fun. Elder Johnsen and Steed are so funny. Elder Slavens and I set a goal to memorize a scripture every day. We try and work on it during 5-7s (pm - knocking). So far we've got 3 Nephi 27:19, 1 Nephi 19:9, 1 Nephi 13:37 (President Weaver's favorite). Today is 2 Nephi 25:23. (Believe in Christ) And I love dad's scripture 1 John 4:19.

Found a small house

Decided to Knock

Another beautiful Tacoma sunset

Tommy is seriously on the right track

So much love,
Elder Webber

Additional Scripture: The words of a modern prophet:
"Be Grateful. Be Smart. Be Clean. Be True. Be Humble. Be Prayerful"
(A Prophet's Counsel and Prayer for Youth, President Gordon B. Hinckley. Jan 2001).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Soundview: Last Week with the Weavers, Quest for 500 "with" and the Final Fireside

Dear Family,

It has been a crazy week. I don't think I've ever felt so much unity in the mission as I did in the past 6 days. Everyone is very aware of having a new mission president in 3 days and we are filled with mixed feelings of sadness, love, and anticipation. We pray for the Weavers and the Blatters daily. All of the new mission presidents and their wives are currently at the MTC with all 15 of the Apostles who lead this church. I'm sure that's quite a training period. I have a testimony that each of them are called of God to go where they are needed when they are needed. We are ready to receive them with love and obedience.

Olympia Stake Missionary Musical Fireside
Last night was the last choir fireside. It was in the Olympia Stake. Probably the most powerful one. I can't believe I got to go to all 10 of them, ha, ha (because I am the missionary choir director). There were many tears and powerful testimonies and songs. After the fireside, we got a ride back to Tacoma with President and Sister Weaver, just the four of us in the car. We talked about the upcoming change and I asked President Weaver for advice. He told us that he is not worried if we can "carry the obedience," we will be fine. If we are missionaries for the right reasons (to serve God, to be loyal to Him) then it doesn't matter whom He picks as our leader, all will be well, and the work will press forward even greater. That being said, it's still hard to say goodbye.

Gift to Parting Weavers - WA State Flag w/ ALL missionaries names on it
This morning I had an interesting study. I have been thinking about change and what we mortals call "endings." There are 4 quotes I found that deal with the subject beautifully:
1. The Church put out a video last Easter on Jesus Christ titled, "Because of Him." In it is the line, "Because of Him, we have second chances, clean slates, new beginnings. There is no such thing as the end because of Him."
2. One of the lesser known yet powerful hymns is #284 "If You Could Hie to Kolob." Verse four states: "There is no end to glory; There is no end to love; There is no end to being; There is no death above."
3. Last April General Conference President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings. Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful. How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."
4. The Prophet Joseph Smith declared: "And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory" (D&C 130:2).

I believe that our "socialities" (friends and family) will exist beyond this life because of the Atonement, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Himself broke the bands of death and "ending" that bind and worry us so much. After all, He is God, and Endless is His name.
Weaver's at Olympia Fireside thanking the missionaries

Last P-Day trip to Menchies Frozen Yogurt with Pres. Weaver
In this last week with the Weavers, all of us have been anxious about the ongoing mission goal of 500 lessons with members present. We have been in the mid - high 400s for the past month. It has been such a goal and focus with President Weaver. The APs sent out text messages throughout this week trying to pump up each Zone and then the Zone Leaders did the same with their zones. I don't think I've ever seen a zone and a mission so unified and hard working and motivated as we were this week. Starting Wednesday we all texted in our daily and weekly totals so we could track and evaluate where we were. Each day we became more excited. By Saturday we had shocked ourselves and had totaled 603! We didn't tell the Weavers yet. Then Sunday night, we had our usual conference call where the whole mission is on at once. Elder Slavens and I were in the car with the Weavers on the way back to Tacoma from the fireside. Over the conference call our AP, Elder Johnsen announced the week total: 697!!!!! They were visibly blown away by it! We have been so close for so long, then we finally blow it out of the water. President and Sister Weaver were so happy and proud. We know it was a blessing and miracle from Heavenly Father, not our own accomplishment. And it is not about the numbers but the people, many investigators and many members who participated in the joy of missionary work this week.
Zone Leaders tallying the discussions with Members- 697
I don't have much time left, but Kathy is doing awesome! I think she's into Jacob in the Book of Mormon, she has on tape. she came to church and loved it, and was so excited to stay for Sunday School and Relief Society. She came to the Ward Activity Friday and told us she found the BYU channel and watched something about a temple dedication. She is noticeably changing. There is more light in her than when I first met her. She can't wait for baptism on July 5th.

We also had two other investigators at church: Tiffany, and Aaron. Aaron is married to a less active member, and we're working with them a lot. I'll tell you more about them next week.

This week will be a unique one. We have mini zone conferences with President and Sister Weaver on Wednesday and President Blatter arrives here Thursday. Good things are ahead.

Reunion with Elder Green at Olympia Fireside

Reunion with Elder Schaffner  at Olympia Fireside

Soundview Ward Party leftovers given to Missionaries
Love you so much,
Elder Webber

Scripture: Romans 13:11-12 put on the "armor of light"

Friday, June 20, 2014

Soundview Ups and Downs

Dear Family,

I am so excited for each of you this coming week. Good luck with finals and everything! This week has been pretty crazy. Lots of ups and downs, with our investigators ha, ha. I'm grateful for a companion because he goes through the same things you do and you can check on each other to make sure we're not crazy.

Transfer Day, now with Elder Slavens
Transfers were on Tuesday and my new companion Elder Slavens is great. We get along super well, he feels like a brother to me already. He is very funny, hard working, and obedient. A lot like Elder Anderson was. We have been excited about this transfer and we are thinking of new ways to involve the members, find investigators, and improve teaching. He has already taught me many things I can improve on. (Another good things about companions)

New companion Elder Slavens
Tuesday night we followed up with an investigator we hadn't seen in a while and we had an insta-lesson (right then and there) and talked about the gospel, got to know her background, and her needs. We always start with that, the "How To Begin Teaching" principles and see if it feels right to invite them to be baptized in that first lesson. We did, and she accepted! The weird part is the lesson was so solid, she seemed so accepting, then we get a call the next day and she had only got to the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith when she had a concern about the resurrected Moroni and for whatever reason doesn't want to talk to us again.

We were also teaching an ex military guy. We had a great lesson this week with a member there and were teaching the Plan of Salvation because he recently had an uncle pass away. He committed to a baptism date and wanted to find peace and God in his life. He was solid to come to church too. We stopped by Sunday morning and he said (with hesitation) he was still planning on church. He didn't come and we called him later that night to see why. He responded very angry and annoyed that we had been in so much contact and said to never come back...

I've never had such extreme reactions from such seemingly solid investigators. Pretty weird, but again, having a companion makes you understand it's not just me.  It was kind of upsetting me, but Elder Slavens and I were talking about how God really does this work, not us. If we try as hard as we can and trust in Heavenly Father's power, we can rest assured we are doing what is right in His eyes, not in anyone else's.

On better notes, we found a truly committed investigator this week. Kathy. I might have mentioned her before because she came to church about a month ago. A few months ago she lost her son (25 years old) in a police accident and she has been extremely sad. She is so humble and soft-hearted. She has been talking with a member, and he referred her to us. We talked with her this week about the peace the gospel brings, and how it can unite our families again after this life. The message touched her heart and will heal it too. She readily accepted a baptismal date for July 5th and did come to church. Two of her neighbors are less acitve members, and they are all friends and came to church together! Double good.

We have a lot of appointments this week and we're working with the ward strong. Washington is beautiful. We are trying not to think about how we only have 10 days left with President and Sister Weaver. Pray for them please. They are such wonderful people, and they've changed my life.

Beautiful Puget Sound
I know the gospel is true and the power of salvation to everyone who believes and lives it. We can all come unto Christ and He will help us carry our burdens. Through Him we can all be cleansed of our sins and live with our families forever.

Hope you had a great Father's Day, Dad! Thanks for all you do for me

Elder Webber

Scripture: Alma 36:24-25 - great missionary scripture

P.S. To Connor: Try not to stab your face with silverware anymore ;)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Staying in Soundview: The Thomson family and the Weaver family

Dear Webber Family,

I cannot believe this six week transfer period is already over. They go so quickly. My companion and I often talk about how odd time is. A missionary's perception of time is totally different. We spend our time so thoroughly and with focus that it flies by. Anyway, that means that I have a new companion, Elder Slavens. I will be staying in Soundview (my 3rd transfer there). I couldn't be happier about that transfer call. We actually had the rare opportunity to receive our transfer call in person! We went to a baptism for the Highland Hills ward, a former bike rider with long hair and a handle-bar mustache named Tommy (ha, ha, ha).

Tommy's Baptismal service
President Weaver made a surprise appearance and since the APs were in the process of calling everyone with transfer assignments, he just told all of us in person after the baptismal service. I am excited. It will be a fun transfer. Weird that it will be the last one with the Weavers before they return home.

By coincidence, Tommy took a picture this week with Elder Slavens
who would become his new companion
The miracle of the week has to be with the Soundview sisters and the Thomson family. I mentioned two weeks ago the 5 members of a family they were working with. All 5 of them: mom, dad, two daughters, and a son were all baptized Saturday. This family has had many member friends throughout their life and always loved "the Mormons." The sisters knocked on their door and they invited them right in. They were all taught together and each bought quads (scriptures) online after their first lesson. Yesterday at church they all walked in together and sat down, just picture this wonderful family. I wished I had a picture. They just look Mormon! It was a sacred experience to be there during sacrament meeting as one after another they were confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By the time the sacrament had been administered there were only 15 minutes left of the meeting! But what a good way to spend a sacrament meeting.
Thomson family Baptismal service

The four missionaries serving in the Soundview ward
On Thursday we had a meeting with the Weavers and they had invited even more missionaries, those who had leadership positions in the past. The day before, Elder Anderson suggested the idea that we give them some sort of thank you gift. He had the idea to give them a Washington state flag and we could all sign it at the meeting tomorrow! We then thought, "where can we get a flag?" Thanks to my trusty GPS system we searched "other retail" and the first thing that popped up was "Flag a Flying and Banner Too" 0.8 miles away. Inspired much? I think yes. So we turned around and purchased a Washington flag for them :) Whenever we have a meeting and some members feed us lunch, we afterwards sing "As I Have Loved You" as a thank you. So after our meeting Thursday and after lunch the APs asked President and Sister Weaver to stand with those members. We presented their flag with all of our signatures and thank-yous. We sang "As I Have Loved You" to them :) It was the smallest thing we could do to for the Wonderful Weaver family.

Washington State flag gift for President and Sister Weaver
And after e-mailing today, our zone and the Tacoma East Zone have been invited to the mission home for a lunch BBQ activity! Yay! We have a great mission. I think the Weavers are just trying to be with us as much as they can. They scheduled Zone Conferences for the week before they leave.
Elder Webber at Mission Leadership Conference / Elder Green reunion
Now about the work itself! We have been working very hard this week. That has sort of been the theme of this transfer: work hard. At the start of this transfer we had 177 individuals we were working with: investigators or potential investigators. People who said we could come back and we were trying to make contact with all day, every day. We have now sifted that down to 62. Sifting through those who are not yet prepared for the gospel. On Saturday we actually called so many people to invite to the Thomson family baptism and to invite to church that at 9:18 p.m. on our way home the phone actually died. It was charged the night before and it died. Good job phone, you worked hard too. If anything there is this lesson: nothing makes me happier than these days, where I can get somewhere closer to serving with "all of [my] heart, mind, might and strength, that [I] may stand blameless before God at the last day" (D&C 4:2). That's the great thing about a mission, we get to spend all of our efforts and abilities in the service of our God.

Last few days with Elder Anderson
The good news is that when we are obedient, blessings come. That is "a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven" (D&C 130:20). But as I learned from President Weaver this week, who chooses which blessings come for which obediences? God does. So sometimes things don't happen the way we want them to, even when we work hard. Like not as many coming to church as we hoped. Renee was sick, though we did more service for her this week and she really wants to listen to the discussions now. And Jennifer couldn't come because she had a prior commitment. We did teach her the Plan of Salvation this week, and she's still progressing towards the 28th for baptism. We haven't been able to reach Junior this week, either. But blessings will come! I'm happy. Maybe that is the blessing.

Someone is thinking about In-n-Out burgers
I love you so much! Summer is almost here!
Elder Webber

Alma 33:22-33 (believe in the Plan of Salvation and you will find the happiness of eternal Hope in your life).
Alma 34: 33 (this life is given to us to prepare for eternity)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Soundview: A "reunion," fun with the Weavers, 4 new baptismal dates, and a boundary change!

Wonderful family,

Thank you for your e-mails and encouragement and love and support. I am so grateful to have that in my life. Few people do. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLOTTE AND CLAIRE!!!!!!!! (tomorrow) I love you both so much and I am proud of all of your achievements and progress in school, life, and most important the gospel. I hope you have an awesome birthday :)

A lot happened this week, so hopefully I can manage to communicate it all. I don't have any pictures to send, but there should be a few on the blog with me in it.

On Tuesday we went on exchange with the Sunset elders, so I got to spend a day with Elder Schaffner again, on bikes :) It was a fun "reunion" since I trained him. He's doing very well and loving Tacoma. He's lost a lot of weight too, which he's really excited about.

On Friday President and Sister Weaver took us, the Bateman house (mansion) crew, out to dinner. Us, the APs, and the Office Elders. We went to Boathouse 19 this fancy restaurant on a dock on the Puget Sound. It has a nice view of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. I felt all special to be with them at dinner. This is the best mission in the world. And I love the Weavers, they are so much fun. President Weaver is really a funny guy.

There was also the Silverdale fireside last night. Elder Anderson served his first 3 transfers in Silverdale, so he got to see some familiar faces. That makes the 9th of the 10 missionary musical firesides for this year. The last one is in Olympia on June 22nd. (See Tommy conducting Sunbeam song - Note Sec 7-12)

After Centralia Musical Fireside
There is a lot to say about the work going on. This week was incredible. On an exchange, Elder Anderson and Elder DeLaigle had a lesson with Jennifer and her 4 kids. They are planning for a baptism on June 28th! Jennifer and her oldest son DeSaun. Jennifer is very open to learning. We taught them again on Saturday and committed them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.

From Friday afternoon to Sunday evening (at the Silverdale fireside) we also had a temporary companion, Elder Augustine. He had to come to Tacoma for a doctor's appointment and he's serving currently up in Port Angeles. So we had three of us for a few days. It was very fun.

Friday morning we met with a new investigator named Junior. He has had a long career in the military (there are a lot of military people in the Tacoma - Lakewood area). He has a lot of doubts and questions about God because of the bad things he's seen and been through, but he's very open. He accepted a baptism date for June 21st. But he wasn't at church... We'll see where that goes.

Another new investigator this week is Renee. She's this sweet older lady who's lived in this old house in Tacoma for years. We met her knocking doors. Well, we met all of these people knocking doors, ha, ha. She had this tent thing outside her house with a bunch of old junk in it that needed to be moved. So we set up a time and went over and did about an hour and a half of service :) She was so very grateful for it and told us she really wanted to hear what we have to say. Perfect :) So we invited her to attend a baptism service on Saturday (there were 4 baptisms in the Zone just that evening, so we had some options! One was with sisters in our ward, and he was confirmed Sunday). She came to a baptism at 8:00 and loved the feeling there, and the nice people. We took her on a short church tour afterwards. At first she said she would try and make it to church next week. We talked about the sacrament, and a church service. By the end she told us, "I think I really want to come tomorrow." And she did! She loved church! She is also preparing for a June 21st baptism. A lot of these are tentative, but so was Syreeta when we started and as they progress in faith, they start to become converted. So we are extremely excited about what is to come this month!

The crazy news came Sunday, third hour. To all our surprise we were combined in third hour and the whole stake presidency is there. They changed the boundaries of the Soundview ward!! They took out a chunk of Soundview which contained the Betteridge families (our former Bishop and his brother who is in the stake presidency) and the Bateman family (our assistant ward mission leader) and the Wells family (former stake president, mission president, and temple president) and a few other strong families. They all live in the same area. In fact, this is where we live in the mansion. The Bateman family owns our house and donated it to the mission. That area is now part of the Highland Hills ward. They also called Brother Bateman to be the Bishop of the Highland Hills ward! The members had a good attitude about the boundary changes.   Unfortunately we lost also Avery, our investigator with 5 kids. But we will pass them off to the wonderful missionaries in the Highland Hills ward. The work is pressing ONWARD!!

Lastly, an exciting update from Steilacoom. I talked to the Steilacoom sisters. Sister Sandau is training her new missionary there from Taiwan. Her first language is Chinese. President Weaver asked them to visit Haopeng and Tiffany and they are in the process of teaching them again. They told me that a few weeks ago, they got married!!! They will be coming again to church soon. Thanks God :)

Love you all,
Elder Webber

Helaman 5:12 (we love scripture mastery! A popular one, but a good one, teaching us that our foundation is Christ. Satan's trials will come, no doubt, but when we are well grounded in gospel soil, we cannot fall.)
Hebrews 12:1-2,6-9 (lay aside our sins, run with patience. I love that. Think about it. Run with Patience. And looking unto Jesus, again our rock and Redeemer and Savior.)
I tried to then find a scripture from each book that starts with "H" but could find no helpful scriptures from the books of "Hosea," "Habakkuk," or even "Haggai"... oh well.