Thursday, October 9, 2014

FROM GENERAL CONFERENCE TO TAYLOR SWIFT

Here’s a splash of northern-Canada-cold water in the face: This Elder Webb has but 8 months of his mission remaining. (His dear father pointed out the 16 months served part, and Elder Eli furthered the math and came up with 2/3 done. Wow.) But the news is great from the Great (soon-to-be) White North:

At Skyler’s baptism. (Matching ties to mark the occasion.)
General Conference was fantastic! We watched every session at the home of a member named Alecia. She’s awesome. In the weeks leading up to Conference we planned to have a Conference party at her house. We told our investigators and less-actives and recent converts we’re working with so we could have it all in one place. Alecia’s house was a good setting because she’s got comfy couches, lots of blankets and a 70-something-inch TV. Blessed. It was also a good setting because she offered. Double-blessed. We planned meals and everything! It was a blast. What topped it off is that we had an investigator and less-active member watch every session with us, and we had our recent convert Skyler out to two of the sessions. Our investigator Eric said he wanted to come, but he didn’t end up making it. Travis was working, and Vince lived too far away to get to where we were. 
“General ‘Comf-erence’; not actually sleeping,” he reports.
Laughing —thinking this proves they were not actually sleeping.
The investigator we had with us was Jordan. I don’t remember if I told you about Jordan, but it’s a funny story. When we first met Jordan he was a less-active member. We met with him consistently for about three weeks and he even met with the Bishop! However, when he met with the Bishop he was informed that they were unable to find his records, so he’d need to be baptized again! Kind of a freebie! He’s now our new investigator, and he’s set to be baptized on the 1st of November. We aren’t sure what was wrong with the first time he was baptized, but we suspect that his parents didn’t sign off on it (neither is a member), so it might not have been entered. All a little bit shady, but Jordan wants to change and be happy, so we’re trying to help him with that. Good times!

Favorite talks from Conference off the top of my head: Lynn G. Robbins in the first session, Elder Cook and President Uchtdorf in Priesthood, Elder Christofferson in whichever session it was, Elder Scott, and Elder Holland. The Church is true!

We live with members currently. They are the Woodruffs, and they are fantastic. Brother Woodruff’s great-great-grandfather is Wilford Woodruff! We share their basement with two other missionaries. It’s a good time. Dad, Sister Woodruff served her mission in Ecuador! She was a bit before your time, though. She says hi.

Goodness, 16 months! That’s wild. I am done with two thirds of my mission! Hard to process. I’m happy with the changes I’m seeing in myself and with the changes I’ve been able to see in others. I can’t believe I’ve only got eight months left. It boggles the mind.
With President Manion
“Messy service,” it was labeled.
Happy birthday to Maxwell! I wish I could type it the same way we all say it, but it seems too tricky... “Ha’py burtday!” ‘Twill suffice. I hope your day is full of gladness and joy. I also hope you get the Taylor Swift song “22” stuck in your head all day, because now it applies to you. It’s awesome to hear your testimony and see you respond to the mission. It’s also awesome that I don’t have your apartment. Opposition in all things, amiright?

Thanks for all of y’all’s love and support. Continue to pray for me! The more I’m on my mission experiencing things, the more I realize how powerful prayer is. It’s kind of ookie but in a good way. Love ya!

Nurture the faith,
Elder Webb

P.S. Brutal news on BYU football. I’m not so bummed to be missing the season anymore.



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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ANXIOUSLY ENGAGED IN WORTHY CAUSES

In which our adventurer to the north sees progress among some of his choicest connections:

Hello, All!

Hello all! This was a really good week. First of all, hooray for not living in Mexico! I’m so proud of Max for doing what he’s doing. Different kinds of trials, I suppose. You’ve got hot and humid, and I’ve got -40°. It’ll be interesting to see how the work compares. I think it’s a given that you’ll see more people baptized. Living common-law is an issue up here as well.

We’ve been staying really busy this last transfer. We’ve got standards of excellence in the mission, and one of those standards is to teach 20 lessons per week (lessons being with nonmembers, less-actives or active members). Previously in my mission the highest I’d achieved in a week was 18. It’s pretty tough to get to 20. This last week we taught 24 lessons. This week we’ve set a goal to teach 31 lessons. Elder Ganley and I want to teach 38 lessons in a week before he goes home. It’s so amazing to see so many prepared, humble people! The majority of the lessons we’re teaching are to less-active members.

Skyler is still doing really well. He gave a talk yesterday in ward conference! He was nervous but he did great. He’s got such a strong testimony and love of the Gospel. He says he wants to serve a mission, so we’ll see if that happens. Travis is also doing well! This week he was working, so we’re going to teach him on Saturday. He’s steadily moving forward. Some concerns have come up but we’ve been able to address them and he’s happy to be taking these steps! Eric came to church for the first time yesterday! It was ward conference so it was totally different from what we usually do, but he had a great time. I asked him what he thought and he commented that everyone seemed to be so happy. Well, Eric, people tend to be happy when they’re a part of Heavenly Father’s church! We’ve got some lessons set up with new investigators this week, so I’ll let you know how those go and if those people actually end up investigating.

We had our mission tour this week! Elder Martino of the Seventy came up and gave some stupendous trainings. I’m still not a cryer, but he got me really close. Close. Not all the way there. It’s amazing how well those men know the scriptures. I would love to know them like that. We read a bit of Moses 6 and he unfolded it simply and it was awesome. I’m really not doing a good job explaining everything. Tuesday morning Elder Martino spoke to half of the mission (the other half was the day before) and gave us a broad training. A lot of it focused on working with members. Tuesday evening he gave a training at a local leadership meeting with stake presidencies and ward councils. Zone leaders were also invited. Wednesday morning we had a special Mission Leadership Council with him where we discussed some goals we wanted to set for the entire mission and how to carry those out. Really enlightening stuff.

Thank you all for reading! You’re beautiful people and God loves you. Make good choices and you’ll be blessed!

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli



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Monday, September 15, 2014

JUST THE FACTS, MAN

In which our intrepid Arctic adventurer anticipates a another delicate Albertan winter. . .

All,

I hope you’ve all had a good week! This was a great week up here! We’ve seen so many good things happen. Just within the last two weeks we’ve had about six less-active members come out of nowhere who want to start meeting with us and coming back to church! It’s so amazing to see people come back into the fold. I love that. Something that’s really struck me lately is how often we can be forgiven. Always. No matter what we’ve done, there is help and healing through the Atonement. One of our recent contacts has been through the ringer with mistakes. Chastity, word of wisdom, you name it. Yet, she’s realizing that she’s still loved and that she can obtain forgiveness. The church is true!

This last Sunday Skyler received the priesthood! He asked me to perform the ordinance, which was really neat! It was my first time doing that. He was also my first confirmation! It’s great to see how excited he is and how well he’s receiving everything. It’s also great to see the ward welcome him in and fellowship him. For instance, just this morning we talked to him on the phone about an issue he’s having. His roommates have been fighting with him ever since he got baptized. Their lifestyle choices don’t align with the church, so now they think that Skyler is judging them and that his behavior towards them has changed (it hasn’t). It’s really been stressing him out and he’s been wanting to move. We informed the Elders Quorum President of the situation and he told us he’d look for available housing and get back to us. When we heard from him next, he told us that he had not only found a temporary place for Skyler, but that it was with three other members of the ward, and that he had arranged it so that Skyler would be moving in this evening! Talk about mobilizing. It also helps that our Elders Quorum President is stellar. Skyler is so happy and grateful. I think this act will be defining for him in the long run. He’ll look back on his early experience with the church and remember when the ward really reached out and took him in when he was struggling. You know who can’t do those kinds of things? Missionaries. Members are essential. Get on it!

Travis is doing really well. He’s moving steadily toward October 25th for his baptism. Since he works for ten days and is only off for four we’ve got to be really efficient with our appointments. We text him and assign him things to read between our lessons and he studies them diligently! He’s excited and he feels like he understands what he reads in the scriptures and that he’s definitely seeing answers to his prayers. Hopefully there aren’t any last-minute roadblocks with him. Pray for him!

The weather got nice again, so we’re doing great. Winter is looming in the distance and it’s just a little bit terrifying. Thankfully, I’ll have a car for the bulk of winter, so I’m already doing better than last year. Sheesh.

Thank you all for reading! Keep it up. The church is true. God loves each of us no matter what! Honestly. There’s nothing that will get Him to stop loving us. All he wants us to do is love Him and love each other! Easier said than done, but so worth it. Love is the bottom line!

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

AH, THE COMFORTING FIRST SNOWS OF SEPTEMBER . . .

Sounds like Summer gave Autumn a miss, and went straight on into Winter . . .
from 8 September 2014 
Well wishes to all within eyeshot!

If you’re reading this, I love you. This has been an excellent week! We are constantly busy. I think part of it is being zone leaders, and another part of it is that we’re being really proactive about setting up appointments. I’m constantly tired and I’m loving the work that I’m doing.

So today is September 8th, right? We wake up a little early to get ready for the gym like we always do. Same old same old. Then we step outside. Hey, it’s kinda chilly! And what’s all this white stuff on our car? And why is it falling from the sky? And why is the ground wet?

Swearwords, swearwords, swearwords.

Luckily, none of it stuck around. We’re still holding onto a hope of fall, but that dream seems to be fading fast. Two days ago we were sweating in our car, and now we turn the heat on as soon as we’re in. Hopefully the temperature picks up for a little bit longer. I’m so not ready for eight more months of cold.

On a lighter note, Skyler was baptized on Saturday! He was so ready. We all got matching ties and wore them to the baptism and to church on Sunday. Skyler asked me to confirm him, which was such a cool experience! It was my first time doing a confirmation! This is the hardest I’ve worked on my mission, so I feel like this is the most qualified I’ve been for the Spirit, so I’m glad that this confirmation happened when it did. Such a cool experience! Skyler is amazing. He’s so excited to go to the temple and be a home teacher and all that jazz.

Our other investigators are doing well. Vince just moved out of our area, but his plan is to move back near where he was within a month, so we’re going to keep teaching him. It would be pointless to pass him over and then have him passed back. However, if it looks like he’s going to stick around in his new place we’ll have to pass him over to the other missionaries. It’s whatever to me. If he’s in another area and he’s staying there, technically we don’t even have the right to revelation for him, so it would be almost pointless to teach him. I’ve got faith in stewardship. We’ll see how these next few weeks go.

Travis is doing great. He works a ton so it’s hard to teach him. We’re trying to figure out whether or not Skype is a viable option for him. It’s not having adverse effects on his testimony, thankfully. He’s still firm in his decision to be baptized and he’s still reading the Book of Mormon and praying whenever he can. He’s got more of an excuse to not read than most people, yet he still makes the time to do it. That tells you a lot about a person. So often we interact with people who really aren’t that busy, yet for the life of them they cannot find time to read. So when you find someone who’s actually busy and still finds time to read, you know it’s the real deal. We’re really excited for him.

Zone leading is going well. We haven’t had to prepare for a zone training this transfer because we’re having our mission tour. Elder Martino (Second Quorum of the Seventy, I believe) is coming to our mission next week to speak to all of the missionaries, so that’s going to replace our zone training meeting. Next transfer we’ll do a ZTM, so I’m looking forward to that. Things are good.

Thank you all for your love and support! I’m grateful to know you, and if I don’t know you I’m at least grateful that you’re reading this. Keep it up! The Church is true. The Atonement applies to each of us. Go check out the Mormon Message, “The Savior Wants to Forgive”. It’s a good one.

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli


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