Thursday, July 24, 2014

FROM “MAZEL TOV” TO TALMAGE

More great news from the North:
July 21, 2014 
All,

Mazel tov! This has been a great week. We have a new investigator named Des. She is living with a less-active member of our ward named Mitch, and they’re both wonderful people. They’re both pretty young, too. Des is actually genuine and sincere, which is so refreshing. We’re supposed to find those people that will receive us, but it’s hard to judge who really is receptive.

When Christ told us to do this, I’m not sure He meant, “Find people that will let you in the door”, although that is where a lot of conversion starts. The point is to not let it stop there. We need to find people that will not only receive us/the Gospel into their homes, but into their hearts as well. From my limited perspective, it seems as though Des is receiving and feeling this message in her heart. She and her boyfriend Mitch actually came to church on Sunday! They both had a good experience. I asked Mitch how he liked it and he said, “I actually forgot how many things I missed about it.” It’s a beautiful thing to witness hearts being softened and worked on by the Spirit. I care so much for the people I meet, so when they actually start aligning their will with Heavenly Father’s it gives me a lot of joy. Obviously there are things for both of them to overcome, but as long as they’re humble and open to the promptings of the Spirit they’re going to find a lot of happiness.

Bill is doing well! His daughter Noelle says he’s considerably happier, which is so good to hear. It’s strange to me how quickly I grew to care for those two. My heart went out to them, and now we’ve got a good relationship! We did service for Noelle last Saturday and it was a good experience. We had good conversation and she felt the Spirit as we were there serving. I don’t know what sort of doors are supposed to be opened by our contact with them, but I pray that I can do what Heavenly Father needs me to do in order to help them along whatever path they need to be on. Plus, if I need to play some cards and tile rummy while I’m at it, I guess I can handle it. For Bill.

I read a great article just this morning and I wanted to share it with y’all! It’s a perspective on the parable of the Good Samaritan that I hadn’t heard before, and I loved it! The parables are really cool, by the way. Elder James E. Talmage gives brilliant insights to the parables in Jesus the Christ, so check them out! Anyway, here’s the link: https://www.lds.org/liahona/2007/02/the-good-samaritan-forgotten-symbols?lang=eng&query=good+samaritan

Thank you all for your love and support! You’re amazing people, and God loves you. Keep reading and writing. Love y’all!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

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TESTIFYING + SELF-STYLING

Elder Eli is living the life and learning the ropes. And he’s cutting his own hair. We’re sending extra love and prayers this week.

July 14, 2014 
Hello loved ones!

This was a good week. The area of Red Deer is good and it seems ripe, but we’ve had a hard time finding people who are willing to actually keep commitments and experiment with the Gospel. We really want to be working with the ward in getting investigators, but it’s been a little bit difficult to coordinate our efforts with the ward council and others. There’s no magic equation for missionary-ing, so finding out how people tick and how to get them to tick in the direction of sharing the Gospel can be difficult sometimes. So naturally, since the most solid investigators come from members and we’re having a hard time getting members on board, our teaching pool is lacking. But, we’re committed to finding and sharing with those we meet, so we’re still doing our best to touch lives and invite others to come unto Christ.

I had an interesting experience just yesterday. When members feed us suppers we always share a message at the end. We were eating supper with a family that is somewhat divided when it comes to activity in the church. All eight of the kids are out of the house. Both parents are active, as are the four oldest children. The younger four, however, have drifted from the church. Naturally, it’s a cause of distress to the parents, and our conversation with the parents usually finds its way to that topic. We’re counseled in Preach My Gospel to share the lessons and doctrine of the Restoration with members, so that’s what we did for our lesson with this family. We shared Lesson One with them. I don’t know how many times I’ve shared, practiced, or studied this lesson, but for some reason, this one in particular was especially powerful. I kept feeling the Spirit testify to me of the truthfulness and import of the message. I didn’t teach it any better or consciously do anything different, but I was still struck by the beauty, logic and power of the Restoration. I’m grateful for that experience, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this message with others.

Mom, your poor toe. [Ed. note: Berta kicked a chair and broke a toe.] Ouch! That looks severely painful. [Ed. note: We sent pictures.] It also looks severely inconvenient. Hang in there! Another thing I’m grateful for is that I don’t have to be involved in open house/party/social prep with an incapacitated mom. Tender mercies! Max and Dad, you hang in there too! Max, you’ve only got a little bit longer until we both get to hear about how Mom puts Dad to work, then how they get a new puppy, then how adopt a new baby, then how they both go kind of crazy. Aren’t we all so excited? [Ed. note: We are not all so excited.] I love how Mom was basically nonplussed by the whole thing until the boot and crutches came out. Gosh, that looks so painful. You’re a trooper, Berta.

Side note: I gave myself a haircut this week! They are expensive to pay for and I don’t like just trusting random members who do it for free. I figured the best way to save money and disappointment was just to do it myself! Well, I guess there is still room for disappointment, but at least if I end up looking ridiculous I only have myself to blame. But that’s not what happened! I’m actually quite proud of the result. You’ll see in the picture.
Before, we guess . . . ?

After.
(Odd that both smiles negate the years of braces...)
Thank you all for your love, support, prayers, emails and all-around goodness. It does a boy proud to have a family (extended included) like this. The Church is true, God loves each of us. I hope you all have a great week!

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

SAME AREA, NEW COMP

Good morrow to familials and others! 
This has been a good, busy week. Sort of a blur. I got a new companion, Elder Felt. He’s from Cottonwood Heights, Utah, and he attended Brighton high school. We’ve got a few mutual friends. He’s a gifted pianist, and I readily offer his services if we’re at a member’s house and they have a piano. He wants to work hard and be obedient, which is so important. He is the second oldest of seven boys. Crazy. He’s been out two transfers longer than I have. I don’t know what to expect for these next few transfers. I could end up doing two with him, or either of us could be transferred after this transfer. Who knows! What’s comforting is that whatever happens is what Heavenly Father wants to happen. 
We did make contact with our old friend again! I now remember that his name is Bill. He didn’t come down to play games so we found out what area he lived in (this place is huge) and went up to visit him. His daughter was there again so we all sat around a table in a little lobby area and talked for a bit. She had to reschedule for us to come over and do that service, so hopefully that will happen this week. We had a good time. Bill seems to be doing much better, and now we’re committed to see him every Friday. If he comes down to play we’ll see him and play with him, and if he doesn’t we’ll come up to see him. I really like him a lot. 100 years old! Nuts. 
That sounds like an awesome birthday package for Hannah! Well done! I think you may have outdone me, but I am on a mission. Beggars can’t be choosers, amiright (seems to be a theme, lately)? 
I’m so happy for Max! Just a tad jealous that he got some Ecco wingtips, but that’s whatever (BCBC,A?). You know, missions really are incredible. But, they’re only as incredible as you make them. You can serve you’re entire two years and be miserable the entire time. Even if you’re not miserable, you might not get as much out of the experience as you could if you were truly dedicated and focused. 
That’s been a concern of mine, lately. Am I really doing what the Lord would have me do? Am I getting what I’m supposed to out of my mission? It’s important to self-evaluate and constantly adapt and improve. I’ve got a lot of improving left to do, but I pray for the sense to recognize what needs to improve and the wherewithal to bring about that improvement. You guys could pray for those things for me as well! Please. 
I didn’t really do anything to celebrate the Fourth of July! However, we were at a member’s house for supper that evening and she asked us to sing and play the Star-Spangled Banner. Sort of random, but I gave it my all. We’ve been to her house since then, and she asked us to sing some different hymns, so we had a little sing-along. Part of me hopes it becomes tradition. She reminds me of Grandma Mary. 
It’s strange to look back on one year ago and look at what I was doing on my mission. It’s also strange to look ahead to one year from now and realize that I’ll be home! Sakes. I want to make the most of these next 11 months. I’m grateful for all of the opportunities I have to learn and go, and I pray that I’ll be able to learn and grow in the direction that Heavenly Father would have me go. 
Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

HAPPY CANADA DAY

His adoptive nation celebrates Canada Day / FĂȘte du Canada, and Elder Eli celebrates with a great letter home:
Howdy all!

I hope you are all in good health and good spirits! I sure am, so if you’re not, borrow some of mine!
This was a good week. They go by so fast once they’re over! It’s interesting how the weeks are paced. Let me give you a little rundown of what a normal week is like for Elder Webb: 
  • Monday- P-Day! Shopping and cleaning and laundry and emailing and (lately) Frisbee golfing. I like Mondays. 
  • Tuesday- Kind of drags. A little more difficult to fill the time, so we sometimes do service. If we serve at the Food Bank, it’s typically on a Tuesday. 
  • Wednesday- Still kind of a drag, but getting better. Still tricky filling in time. If we do exchanges that week, they usually start on Wednesday and end on Thursday, so that helps. 
  • Thursday- District meeting! This is when the week really starts to pick up. District meeting takes a good chunk of time (especially if we have to travel), then it’s much easier to fill in the day. 
  • Friday- Starts with service at a care center for old dependent people. By “service” I mean that we pick them up from their rooms and wheel them over to a sort of atrium where they play cribbage and tile rummy. Then we usually get to play with them, which is so fun. After that we have weekly planning, where we set goals and make plans for the coming week, and where we evaluate our progress so far for the current week. 
  • Saturday- Nothing consistent. We’re looking for something consistent to do on Saturdays, because usually they’re wide open. We have to get creative sometimes. 
  • Sunday- Church. That’s basically the only consistent part of Sundays as well. 
What I listed was what we can count on happening most every week. With the time we have left we tract or teach or visit members or do other service or eat, basically just missionary stuff. It’s a good time.

So, this last week we went to do service at the old folks’ home. A few weeks ago I made a friend whilst playing crib. He just turned 100 in February, and he’s awesome. Just last Friday he didn’t show up to the games until they were nearly done, but he saw me and we both just lit up. It was awesome to see how excited he got. 
His daughter was with him, so once we finished up our game of tile rummy we went over to say hi to them. They were looking for two more players to finish up a game of crib since they had lost their previous ones, so we filled in and got to know them a little better. Apparently his daughter used to come out to our church (I’m not sure if she was ever a member), but now she identifies with Catholicism. She was so grateful that we played with them and talked, but I couldn’t really see why. Heck, I love games, so I’ll play whenever I get the chance. She was so grateful, in fact, that she insisted on buying lunch for us. We conceded and headed over to the cafeteria to pick something up. 
While we were over there (we’d left her father eating at our table) she told us why she was so grateful. Apparently, her father was only recently admitted to that facility. He had been in a car accident previously and had lost the ability to walk. Prior to his accident he could travel and get around with a walker and basically do what he wanted, and that was well into his nineties. 
She told us that he had had a really hard time adjusting, and that just last week he had told her that he was done. He wanted to give up. He said they’d play one last game of cards and then he didn’t want to go on. They played their game and he was wanting to go, but he was staying around for a bit longer. Then Friday rolled around and we came and talked and laughed and played with him, and she said that it gave both of them a lot of hope. We’ll see what the future holds, but she said it was a miracle that we were there that day and that we played with him. I’m so glad that Heavenly Father puts people in our paths for us to help and uplift. I really hope I see my friend this Friday. Go ahead and send a prayer his way.

Transfers are this week! Elder Stoker has been in the area for six months, so he’s out of here, even though we only had one transfer. I’m going to be serving with Elder Felt. I think I’ve met him, but I can’t picture his face. Apparently he’s from Sandy and he went to Hillcrest (I wonder if Hannah knows him). I’m excited for this next chapter in my mission! I don’t know the area as well as I’d like to, but we’ll get by.

Thanks for all of your love and prayers and support and emails! It’s nice to hear about what’s going on at home. Keep me informed! There are some members that keep me informed on the important things, like the fact that USA is playing Belgium on the 1st, and that Jabari Parker is going to Milwaukee (ouch). Don’t stop giving me those updates, though, in case anyone misses anything.

Oh! I came up with a joke the other day that I’m really proud of. I’m about as proud of it as I am of my female sheep joke*, but I would prefer to tell you guys in person, so remind me once Christmas rolls around! I know, I know, it’s a ways away, but I just have to put it out there so it’s on our radars. Love you!

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli

* If a female sheep ate only the leaves of a yew tree and defecated in the shape of the letter “u”, one could say, “Ew, a yew ‘u’, you ewe!”
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TIME MARCHES ON . . .

. . . even if the collection of mission pictures does not. Oh, well . . . He’s got a great spirit about him, and we love him all the same.

Hello family and others!

I hope all is well on that side of the border. Things are good over here! We’re finally getting some nice weather. Seriously, it’s been so rainy and blustery lately. Would it be so terrible if we had some sunny days? I mean, it’s not like we just had eight months of winter or anything. Goodness. But, it’s supposed to be nice for the next little bit. Gotta enjoy it while it lasts!

Our investigator pool is still somewhat lacking, but we’ve got some good things in the works. We just got a new investigator this last week named Liz, and she seems to be reasonably interested. Her daughter seemed like she was even more interested, but she couldn’t stick around for the lesson. We’re going to try and get both of them next time. Other than that, we’ve got some potentials lined up that seem promising. We’re really trying to work hard with the members to get them excited about missionary work, but peeps seem to be pretty slow when it comes to sharing the gospel. What’s up with that? Have we not heard about it enough in General Conference or the church magazines or in our own congregations? What’s it going to take? I hope y’all back home are picking up what the general authorities are throwing down, because this work is so important, and we all need to be a part of it.

Red Deer is a good place. I like the ward and I like the missionaries I’m around. Guess what! Elder Monks, my MTC companion, is in my district down here! It’s been so fun being able to see him every week and spend some time with him. The MTC was one year ago! I can’t even believe that. Well, I kind of can because it does feel like a lifetime ago, but at the same time it feels like this time went by so fast. People keep saying the second year goes even faster, but I can’t quite imagine that. I want to make this year even better than the first.

Thanks for all of your love and support! They are felt and they are appreciated. If I can do anything for any of you, please let me know! You’re all fabulous.

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli
•    ❦    •


Thursday, June 19, 2014

FOOD BEFORE ALL . . .

Looks like we at Elder Webb HQ are behind a couple of weeks:

16 June 2014 
Family, friends, and family friends,

Good morrow! I hope all is well for all who are within eye-shot (the email equivalent of earshot). If things aren’t well, hang in there! It’ll always get better.

Happy Father’s Day! Dad, you’re the best. Thanks so much for your example and love all my life. I treasure your advice and friendship. I also treasure our shared humor, and our support for one another when we make a bad joke. Thanks for your testimony and worthy exercise of priesthood. You’re definitely the best dad I’ve ever had. No other dad can compare. Love you!

This week was pretty uneventful. Oh! I do have a good story. We’ve got an investigator who works at a strip club. He’s got a heart of gold. His mom is going through a really hard time with her health, so we asked him if he needed any help with anything. He really doesn’t like accepting help because he’s very independent. He told us he wished he could pay us somehow, that it was frustrating because we don’t take payment. Then he said, “Even dancers don’t work on you guys! With anyone else if I want them to do something I can be like, ‘Hey, do this and I’ll throw you in the hot tub with the dancers.’ and they’ll be like, ‘Yes, I’ll do anything!’ But nothing works on you guys!” Sorry, pal — but if you actually knew anything about missionaries, you’d know to offer food before dancers. Good times.

You know what I love? The Book of Mormon. It’s amazing how much you can learn every time you open it. It’s a true book! Pray about it! Learn it! Study it! Live by it! I’ve grown to love the Book of Mormon so much. There’s so much I have left to learn, which is really exciting! It means a lot that Heavenly Father loves us so much that He gives us scripture to live by and help us come closer to Him. I’m grateful for scripture and the power of prayer. I’m also grateful for the redemptive power of the Atonement. Repentance really is a beautiful thing, and it’s available to each of us! Thank heaven for that.

Thanks for reading! Thanks for your love and support and prayers and emails! Keep it up!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb
✧    ✧    ✧
9 June 2014 
Howdy to all,

This was a great week. We had a baptism! It was kind of interesting. They wanted it to be super low-key, so they did it on a Thursday afternoon. They just wanted it to be the missionaries and the bishop. They didn’t want to do a program or anything! We were totally down with that, but then we found out that the bishop couldn’t come! Our zone leaders were around, so we got permission for them to conduct. So, in attendance were Wolf, his wife, and six missionaries! But, the ordinance was valid and the Spirit was there! Awesome.

Red Deer is great! It’s been raining a ton lately. It’s nice though, because it’s super green and lush. We do a lot of service. Now a big focus is finding investigators who are actually willing to keep commitments. A lot of times you’ll get people who are willing to meet and listen, but they’ll never act or experiment. What we need are people who not only want to learn, but want to find out for themselves if it’s true. They’re out there, we just need to find them!

Max, you’re going to love your mission. I know you’d be hard-pressed to find two places more different than Reynosa and Edmonton, but there are some things that are true across the board. If you’re committed to your purpose, you’ll be successful and happy. Missions are a blast. You’re going to have the time of your life. You’ll make friends that you’ll keep for the rest of your life. Your testimony will grow so much, and you’ll gain such a strong relationship with the Lord. I’m so stoked for you!

My health is good! Well, it could definitely be better. I need to eat better. Breakfast still isn’t really happening much, so I need to turn that around. Other than that I’m good! We were working out at the gym, but then we found out that we were getting a killer deal that shouldn’t have actually existed, so the gym told us we either had to pay full price or cancel our membership. We cancelled. So now we’re going to start running in the mornings. Blech.

Well, I love you all! The church is true! Thanks for reading!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

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