Contact Elder Tommy Webber

Contact Elder Tommy Webber

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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Soundview for Six (months): The Tripanionship!

Dear Family,

Good news, Sister Blatter has announced the continuation of the WA-TAC blog, the address is now . Yay for more pictures and stories and memories to keep.

I usually write some things down about the week in the "Notes / To Do List" at the end of each week in my planner, but I forgot to write anything down this week. The week flew by, so now I'm racking my brains for what has happened, even though a lot did happen.

Elder Tommy Webber and Elder Slavens
Transfer meeting was outstanding. The longest one I've been in. About 18 missionaries went home, and three more bore final testimonies who are going home early for school (like Elder Holt). In addition, I think 25 new missionaries came in! The summer wave. Many of them are being trained in the Tacoma West zone! The testimonies at transfer meeting were powerful, and from so many great missionaries, legends in my eyes. Two of the sisters I knew because we shared a ward, Sister Stucki and Sister Esplin. Transfer meeting always gets me pumped up again to do missionary work, because you hear from those faithful departing missionaries who so badly wish they could stay and knock on a door at 5:00 p.m. and bear their testimony of Christ one more time as a full-time missionary.

Elder Tommy Webber and Elder Holt

Elder Holt is a a fun addition to our companionship. It makes for more interesting conversations throughout the day. He is a very optimistic missionary and looks on the bright side of everything, even if things don't go the way we would like. He is also from California and appreciates things of value like In N' Out Burger and the Beach. None of my Utah/Idaho companions have... but alas... which reminds me, he is also a big Harry Potter fan! During one of our 5-7s we were trying to explain to Elder Slavens what a Horcrux is and how Harry defeated Voldemort, but I think it raised more questions than it answered.

We are still working with C____, R____, and J____. None of them made it to church this week. J____ is still working, and she has to move this week, so we are looking for a place in our area hopefully. They are both reading the Book of Mormon and have good comprehension and application, but there remains to be a solid testimony of its truth and divinity. That is so important. For with a testimony of the Book of Mormon comes a knowledge of the truth of the Restoration, priesthood authority, and modern revelation and prophets. That testimony, a priceless gift of knowledge, seems to come to those who most earnestly seek it or have a strong desire and willingness to believe. That desire is manifest by faith which leads to action (coming to church, keeping the commandments, or, in another word, repentance).

We are working with a few other good investigators too, but have yet to see where they will go. I do love the Soundview ward. I look forward to church each week and taking the sacrament. Yesterday we were asked to help for a few minutes in the CTR 7/8 year old class. The lessons was on "Sharing" and we talked about sharing the gospel and gave each of them a pass along card to give to a friend :)

Love the Members of the Soundview Ward
I've said this before but the sacrament is such a sacred time each week. This week, I read the first part of 3 Nephi 18 where Christ administers the sacrament among the Nephites and gives His disciples "power" (priesthood authority) to brake bread and bless it and give to others. This is in remembrance of His body; likewise the cup of water His blood. As we weekly take His body and blood, we become more like the Savior who gave his body and blood (by His physical and spiritual suffering) for us. This is spiritual healing, and I feel it happen within me, week by week. Isn't that amazing? That God loves us so much to heal us? I think so.

Tacoma West Zone get together

I love you all so much, have an awesome week,
Elder Webber

Alma 6:6 (fast and pray for the welfare of those who know not God, meaning missionary work. It is not just what full-time missionaries do, but all the children of God are commanded. I promise blessings of happiness).

P.S. I also want to say thank you to grandma Marilyn for your weekly letters to me. They are so filled with the Spirit and with amazing stories that will be remembered for generations. Thank you for your diligent testimony and support for me!

Elder Webber, back right at first Conference with the Blatters

4th of July

Monday, July 21, 2014

Another transfer in Soundview! Webber and Slavens stay in the mansion

Dear family,

I hope you are having fun up in Utah. It's so fun to hear of all the temples you'll get to see. Please send pictures! I love hiking Stewart falls and the Y. Good memories in Sundance.

This week and transfer went SO FAST. They keep accelerating, I don't like it. I tell people I've been out "just over a year" and it will soon be dishonest, but I am determined to make myself think that for the next [some forgotten amount of time I have left on my mission]. Elder Slavens and I got the call that we will be staying in Soundview, and getting a third companion. When a missionary comes into the mission we say they are "born" and the trainer becomes the "parent." This time we are "killing" a missionary because he goes home in 3 weeks (next transfer, officially, but he is going home early for school. A couple other missionaries are doing that). His name is Elder Holt (Connor, didn't you have an Elder Holt? Probably not the same person...) He is from Danville, California (the same town as President and Sister Blatter, they knew each other before). I know Elder Holt from being in the same zone in Bremerton. He's a very talented missionary and had a successful mission. We'll see how it goes!
Elder Slavens and Elder Webber 
I love the Soundview ward. The members are all excited about missionary work. The ward has had at least 20 baptisms this year and all but two are active. There is a lot of focus on retention among the members. Getting them New Member Lessons, Home Teachers, Visiting Teachers, callings, and organizing a recent convert temple trip. We are also trying to start up a Book of Mormon study night, probably every other week with new members, investigators, ward missionaries, etc. I've heard it work well in other areas. And the baptisms keep coming! I believe that Heavenly Father trusts this ward with His children. It is certainly not of our own talent as missionaries. Sister Esplin in the ward is going home, after 18 months, tomorrow, and Sister Hardy will be training a new sister. In fact, every companionship in our zone is training except the three companionships that live in "the mansion." There will be a lot of new missionaries, but that is good. Extra faith produces extra miracles. This shows there are trustworthy missionaries in this zone.
Tacoma West Zone
Cleo is doing so good. We taught her the Plan of Salvation (lessons 2) this week, and she is really starting to soak it up. She has her Bible and Book of Mormon ready when we visit, and takes note of the things we teach and scriptures we use. She still has her grand-niece Annabelle (9 years old) living with her, and her daughter Deborah (in her 30s) lives across in another apartment. They all came to a baptism we had in our ward on Saturday, and they all came to church Sunday (Deborah's first time!) They stayed all 3 hours and loved it. We had such a good Sunday. The talks were awesome, remember the new family that was all baptized? The dad blessed the sacrament, and the 15 year old daughter gave a talk on courage. And Christa (the lady who was baptized Saturday) was confirmed. She is the sweetest old lady who has studied religion all her life and has a PHD in Divinity. The sisters met her as a member referral and started teaching her. When she read the Joseph Smith experience, she knew this is the truth. She is ready to serve the Lord in her greatest capacity yet.

Anyway, back to Cleo, she is praying about baptism, and we are meeting with her tonight at our Ward Mission Leader's house, Brother Andersen, for an Family Home Evening together. She is bringing her daughter and grand-niece! Hopefully she will be on date by the end of this week.

We finally made contact with K____ last night, after a week. She continues to struggle with depression from the loss of her son. It seems the "grief cycle" has come back. Brother McMurray, her fellowship in the ward and professional counselor told us it is normal, and she has a long spiritual path. She still wants to meet with us, but less frequently. And she said she doesn't feel ready for baptism. We are sad, but understanding. I've never met anyone who is so influenced by keeping the commandments as K____. When she comes to church, is reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and keeping the Word of Wisdom, she has a totally different countenance. She knows what she needs to do. So I will keep you informed on how she does the next few weeks.
Puget Sound
I want to share my testimony of the reality and truth of the gospel. Anyone who lives the restored teachings of Jesus Christ can easily discern they are true. I know that with life comes challenges and temptations. They are necessary and require patience, diligence, and faith. If we endure, we will be happy. If we do not, we will be unhappy. I love my mission more than I can ever put in words, I keep trying, and I keep coming short. I know that the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient to heal us and strengthen us to beyond our mortal capacity. I encourage you to keep the commandments: pray, study the scriptures, take the sacrament meaningfully, and attend the temple worthily. I love you so much! Thank you for your love and prayers,

Blackberry season

Exchanges with Elder Shaffner 

Sincerely with love,
Elder Webber

Personally Meaningful Scripture for the week:
Luke 22:19-20 (notice the phrase "for you" in each verse)
and Hymn #169:
"As now our minds review the past,
We know we must repent;
The way to thee is righteousness--
The way thy life was spent.
Forgiveness is a gift from thee
We seek with pure intent.
With hands now pledged to do thy work,
We take the sacrament."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Soundview: Tiffany is baptized!

Dear family,

I'm so glad you got to go to the Weaver's homecoming, I can't believe how many people were there! It sounds like it was a very spiritual and powerful experience. I loved all the pictures. It was funny seeing the picture of you and Elder Lonas, my trainer, because in the mission, as my trainer, he also called is my 'parent.' So Elder Ferrin was my 'dad' and Elder Lonas was my 'mom', and so the picture was my trainer mom and my real mom :)

Exciting news for this week in Washington was that Tiffany was baptized!! I'll send the pictures after this. It was an awesome baptism, and I'm just happy it all worked out so well because it was kind of a crazy week. We had all of lesson 4 (and now lesson 5) to teach her this week, so she took in quite a lot in a short period of time, but never faltered! It makes it easy when people are already living the Word of Wisdom, agree with the Law of Chastity, and are fine with the idea of tithing. And I think it all stemmed from that special experience she had with Heavenly Father, through prayer. She showed a lot of faith, because her mom, who she lives with, was somewhat against the church. Although we also found out that Tiffany's grandmother is a member of the church! She's in her 80s now, and not active, but still interesting. Their whole family is from Germany. Tiffany is the only one of her siblings not born in Germany.

Tiffany's Baptismal service
 Anyway, we had a lesson with her on Friday with Abraham (a recent convert himself since January, he has come to several of the lessons) and her interview was that night. She called us after the lesson, but before the interview to tell us that she found out that lots of family were coming in town Saturday (her baptism day) to take her and her 3 year old daughter out for the three year old's birthday party. We kinda freaked out because now we had to re-plan when to have her baptism. The plan was for 11:00 am because there were 2 other baptisms at that time (two children the sisters taught, Thomas (9) and Emily (11), unbaptized children in a returning to activity family). We talked with our Bishop and Ward Mission Leader and rescheduled for 7:30 that night. It was a lot of work, but absolutely worth it.

Saturday was a hot day, approaching the 90s (hot for Washington...) but we had a sweet baptismal service. All of the members who were involved in the teaching process came to support her, and Tiffany even brought her two kids (Inez (4) and Tanya (3) ) and her mom! Elder Slavens got to be the one to baptize her, and when she came out of the water, Tiffany's mom had tears in her eyes. Afterwards, the mom told us that she's been wanting all of her kids to be involved in church (any church) and one by one they are coming to. I think her heart was softened a bit and it was awesome to see her show support. Afterwards, Tiffany said she felt "peace."

Her confirmation was a spiritual experience too, and she stayed for all three hours of church afterwards.

We are still working with K___. She is starting to have some more emotional struggles as they find out more about her sons's death. It is rather terrible. So she ended up smoking again this week, and she needs to quit before she is baptized. Her testimony and faith are there, she just need to do it. She came to our ward BBQ we had on Friday, and brought her friend and neighbor, who is less active.

J___ is also struggling with family life. Her oldest son is even more rebellious and their family is now being evicted. They are thinking about moving to Lakewood. They all came to the BBQ activity, which was awesome, and got to meet more ward members. The ward is friendly and different people reached out.

We are also teaching Renee, and a family in the ward invited her for dinner yesterday after church (which she came to!) We came too and taught her the Plan of Salvation lesson. Renee is a thinker, and is talkative too. She has pure white hair, a sparky personality, all in 4'9" tall ha,ha. She already believes in a pre-mortal existence and spiritual creation, but has some other different ideas. She like to share her various spiritual experiences she's had. We are focusing on the Book of Mormon with her. If she can know it is true, the rest follows.
First Blackberries of the season
Another newer investigator is Cleo. She's older too, and has her grand-niece Annabelle living with her. Cleo came to the BBQ and even brought her daughter. Cleo has a lot of background with the church and is familiar with some of our teachings. But she's never really met with missionaries, so it is fun teaching her. She too is open to the Book of Mormon and just needs that spiritual witness. She came with Annabelle to church Sunday for her first time and stayed all 3 hours (quite a commitment for new investigators ha, ha).
Interesting things while knocking on doors
So, a lot is going on in Soundview! The sisters have another baptism this weekend (hopefully Kathy can make it too) and then it is time for transfers again! President Blatter has his hands full while he interviews every missionary and decides where we should be. I would be very content staying in Soundview for a fourth transfer, and with Elder Slavens for a second. But we will see what God wants for me!

A Bicycle selfie?
Life moves on at an ever increasing rate. I read this morning the talk from President Uchtdorf about being grateful in any circumstance. Despite the troubles around us, our personal or family worries, we can rest assured in our soul that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that salvation comes through His loving Atonement. God bless all of us as we strive to follow His happy path back to our Heavenly Father.
An addition to Tommy's collection of Washington cat pictures

Elder Webber

Scriptures: I've been in Paul's epistles to the Corinthians :)
1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (in this life we see through a glass - foggy, unclear, not the whole picture; but in the next life we will know God as well as He knows us) (this was one of Elder Lonas' favorite scriptures)
2 Corinthians 3:18 (Through the Spirit of God we can be changed from glory to glory until we are in the same image as the Lord - His promise to the faithful that we can be like Him).

Monday, July 7, 2014

Soundview: Happy 4th of July!

Dear Family,

I hope you all had a fun 4th of July. We did here in Washington. It turned out to be a beautiful day, although Washingtonian natives say it typically rains on the fourth and is bright and sunny on the fifth. Goes to show you can never predict the weather. We were told to knock our 2 hours, but any time during the day and to spend later in the day with members. We were to be home by 8:00 p.m. instead of 9:00 p.m. Also, President and Sister Blatter invited the Tacoma West and East Zones to the mission home for a BBQ! It was weird seeing much of the Weaver's decorations gone, but with so many missionaries there, it had its familiar feel. We ate lots of hamburgers and hot dogs, sang the national anthem and ate some cake and ice cream. Happy Birthday America. God bless this land. It's a privilege to serve a mission here.

Watching Fireworks from the Missionary Apartment

We also had our "Meet the Blatters" mini zone conferences, kind of like the week before with the Weavers. It began with a video put together by their 6 children just a week before they left, where they each said a little about their parents so we could get to know them better. It was fun, I feel like they are real people and that they know how to have a family. A mission is like one big family. They are just thrilled to be here and ready to go. So far most of what the Weavers have done has stayed the same. I think they are getting the feel of the mission first. This Friday there is a missionary leadership meeting, so we'll see how that goes, they usually discuss rules and changes there.

The Soundview ward has potentially 4 baptisms this weekend. The sisters have been working with a part member family a while and the two kids ages 9 and 11 are going to be baptized. The dad is not a member, but he gave permission for them to join the church. We're very excited for them. And then we have (hopefully!) Kathy and Tiffany. Kathy was with her family the past few days so we still need to follow up. We talked with her this week about baptism, she was nervous that she wouldn't know enough. We tried to rely on the spirit to know what to say and told her that is is our responsibilities as missionaries to make sure people know enough before they are baptized. The Lord's standard for worthiness for baptism (D&C 20:37) does not include a perfect knowledge of the gospel. It includes humility, desire, and genuine repentance. We have witnessed a change in Kathy's life, even in her countenance as she has met with us. She has also been smoke-free for a week now (a notable miracle!).

Tiffany came to church yesterday, and even brought a friend! We were worried last week because she wasn't at church but she explained that she had not been feeling well at all and had just fallen asleep. But she also told us that when we taught about baptism and asked her to pray at the end of the lesson (we had a kneeling prayer) she said she felt something, right after the prayer, that she had never felt before. A good feeling about baptism. That's all she could say to describe it: "a good feeling." We got excited and helped her understand that was the power of the Holy Ghost, testifying of truth. It is so exciting when people feel that for the first time. At least to that degree. It is powerful and real. It is the witness of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:3). So she accepted the 12th as a baptismal date! We still need to teach lesson 4, but she can do it!!! If all goes well, she can be baptized this Saturday. Pray for her and Kathy.

J_____ has been having a lot of struggles with her kids. They are rather rebellious. Her oldest got into some trouble and was in jail for a day. Elder Slavens and I were thinking about what he and I were doing when we were his age. I thought of Charlotte and Claire, who were at EFY this week. That's also where I was when I was his age. Feeling the Spirit and growing in testimony. I am grateful for my family and my church for helping me to be on the right path, and that's what we're here to do, to help others find that path. So we're still working with her, she's been asleep a lot, trying to deal with the troubles of the world. She still wants to be baptized, but needs to keep the right commitments first.

Soundview Zone activity at the park

While knocking doors an apartment had a fire, no injuries

I leave you my testimony that there is only one way to happiness: that is Jesus Christ. If we would all come unto Him and be humble to accept His will then we would all be in a better place. I need to repent daily to keep that humility and willingness to obey. The Gospel is true. I love you all very much and pray for you with diligence and heart.

Elder Webber loves the Tacoma Sunsets
Elder Webber

Scripture: Matthew 26:41 - Watch and Pray, That Ye Enter Not Into Temptation!