There is so much to tell you this week I don't even know where to start. I tried to take more notes during the week than I usually do, so I could tell you more of what happens from week to week, but it just made me realize how much the ups and downs happen. I know I've said that so many times before, but this week had CRAZY ups and downs. Like every other day. I'll try and just go day by day.
Monday: We spent our zone activity at Lion's Park in our area. It was cloudy (first day in a week) but then the sun came out :) Monday night we went to the "mid-singles" FHE group they have ha, ha. It's always soooo awkward, but there's a nonmember who goes that we're trying to start teaching.
|Starting to rain again|
Tuesday: Lots happened. We did an exchange with Seabeck elders, I was with Elder Nebeker in Manette. Elder Nebeker was trained in Raymond by Elder Hansen! So we had a LOT to talk about. He gave me some updates on Raymond. Brother Oneto (was in Bishopric) is now their ward mission leader, and the Morenos (we baptized Israel) are ward missionaries and Terry is preparing to receive the Melchizedek priesthood! Some sad news: remember Machel? She was someone I found and was baptized after I left, but had problems, relapsed on her drug habit, and overdosed. Her son AJ who was also baptized is living with his grandma now. Super tragic. On the other had, her friend Kelsi (I also found and was baptized after I left with 3 of her kids) is super active and went through the temple a little bit ago for her endowments! It is amazing to see the effect of missionary efforts in the long run. Elder Nebeker also met this super weird angry old man who kept telling us we weren't Christians and that the foundation of the Christian world is the Council ofNicaea (utterly and totally false). He slammed the door before we could defend the faith, so we just kept knocking.
Wednesday: We had a great zone meeting on planning, and using tools like "grouping" where you organize the area into groups and save time in visits. Elder Anderson and Slavens and I did it in Tacoma. I also read something called the "Elder Ricciardi letter." A letter from a returned missionary to a friend about his trainer. He wrote about a lot of things this stalwart trainer had done, such as opening his mouth always, being bold and loving, working hard all day + obedience = success, praying a lot and courageously following promptings, rejoicing in persecution, dropping noncommittal investigators to focus on the elect, the doctrine of teaching by the Spirit of Truth, and why God calls us on missions (our own conversion/ that "one soul" unto Him). Anyway, lots of good stuff that I cannot fully explain but I have loved learning, applying and experiencing. There are so many good ways to do missionary work. Wednesday was a good day, I felt happy and successful and confident. Elder MacCarthy opened up more by sharing some personal things and a powerful testimony with this lady we met. He is great.
Thursday: We applied all that we learned about planning in our "mega" weekly planning session and set crazy goals for next week!!! Like 60 lessons! I did the math on how many lessons per day we need to reach our area baptism goals (March-3, April-6). It's about 9 lessons a day which is A LOT. But we will work crazy hard, pray with super faith and see what happens :) We also went to Lion's Park to talk to people and met a nice family that seems interested.
Friday: Friday was a blessing straight from Heavenly Father. I got to go on an exchange with the ZLs with Elder Goodwine in BREMERTON!!! MY FIRST AREA! It was so so so fun and brought back dozens of wonderful memories. I could remember doors I had knocked on, streets where my trainer taught me things, and people we met. I even got to go visit my converts! We tried Kyla, but she wasn't home, only her brother and her mom. It was funny saying, "Remember me? I baptized your sister!" Chris, Annette, and Xavior have all moved, but I did see Amick!!! That was so cool! It took him a few minutes to recognize me, but when he did he smiled and we got to reconnect. He said he's meeting with the Bishop next week to prepare for the Melchizedek priesthood!! Ah!
Saturday: The opposite. Bad news, guys. We finally saw Tina, but she told us that she has decided to stick with a church more like the one she grew up with, so she's going there with a friend. She is no longer interested in visits :'( Inside my heart broke and my mind was pleading, "no, no.." but as we talked I realized she had not understood the Restoration doctrine, plus she had stopped reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church. It's hard to keep the spirit with you when you stop keeping commitments. We told her we loved her and that the doors of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are always open and invited her to receive the future missionaries. Planting seeds or something. As devastating as it was, I had the odd comfort and assurance, from the Holy Ghost, I think, that she was always in Heavenly Father's care and not ready at this time. I hope we fulfilled our purpose. I was bold in testifying of the truth of the Restoration, and we left it at that. We also got dropped by another investigator family, and passed our most solid guy over to Spanish. Then we had these investigators feed us dinner. The husband is from Nigeria, I think. He made us goat. The first time I've had goat and I hope the last. Let me tell you, it was weird. Had a different taste and was tough and lean. We had it with this fried kale and corn meal. We usually don't get weird meals like that in the WaTac, so hopefully it was a good experience, ha, ha.
Sunday: Church turned me upwards again. Even though Dave didn't make it (still works Sundays, fell off his baptism goal date, but we're still teaching him), we had Ward Conference and Ward Council, and the Stake Presidency came to both. Our Stake President, President Anderson, is amazing. He's one of my mission heroes. He is a scientist and incredibly brilliant. His gospel knowledge is exceedingly great ha, ha. His training blows my mind and expands my understanding. He applied Preach My Gospel chapter 8 to ward councils and probably changed my church service for my life. I feel like a mission is sometimes just leadership training for the rest of your life. We get to meet with so many experienced, smart Church leaders. We are having dinner with the Andersons tonight, they live in our ward. I'm excited :) I'll probably bring a notebook ha, ha. We also had dinner right after church with the Frazier family, they fed us venison stew (ha, ha I know right?) from their backyard and homemade apple and blackberry pie, also from their backyard orchard. This meal was delicious though. We challenged them to prepare a friend to be taught by missionaries and they accepted! That night we also got to knock in the rain again. Finally!
|Tommy's apartment with St. Patrick decorations from Mom|
Well, my family and friends who might have actually made it through this exhaustive e-mail, I love you and I love my mission more than words will ever express. I love being dedicated to God, living my covenants with Him, and striving to have my will "swallowed up" in His. There is no greater joy, I can testify.
Have a lucky St. Patrick's Day, and a very happy birthday, Mom.
Love, Elder Webber
Scripture: *Mosiah 15:7