Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER POST

In which Elder Eli returns to his previous neighborhood of Coronation Park; arises early for actual gym workouts; and serves the young, single adults of the area — which is totally fine! (“Young Single Adults” is the moniker given to, well, young, single adults aged 18–29. They have their own congregation and everything. [And it’s run by Old, Married Adults, so fret not.])

Hello to loved ones worldwide,

This was a crazy week! Like I mentioned last week, I was transferred. Now I’m back in Edmonton as a Zone Leader, and I’m serving in a YSA. Basically everything I’m doing is different. Now I wake up at 5:40 every morning to work out at the gym for an hour. My companion had a personal trainer when he was home, so he knows his stuff. I’ve also had breakfast every morning I’ve been here, so that’s a welcome improvement.

The work is crazy! We’ve currently got four progressing investigators. We put two investigators on date for baptism last Saturday. I’ll give you a quick rundown. Skyler is amazing. He teaches himself everything before the lesson, then when we go to teach him and bring up a principle he’ll say something like, “Oh, they talk about that in the pamphlet!” Then he’ll turn to it and tell us about it. He’s going to be baptized on September 6th. He wants to serve a mission and he’s so excited to be a part of the church. Travis is engaged to a member in our ward. He’s a firefighter and he works for a railroad company up here. He’s very humble and genuine. He’s going to be baptized on October 18th. Vince is a little tricky, but he’s got a good heart. Remember my investigator Rob, from Coronation? Well, Vince is his best friend, and we get to teach him because he’s YSA. He’s got a harder time understanding the message and why it’s important, but he does want to find out. He’s working towards being baptized on October 25th. Eric has not yet agreed to baptism, but he’s on the right track. He keeps all of his commitments and it seems like he wants to know. He understands what we teach and he asks excellent questions. He also gives excellent answers to our questions. I believe it’s only a matter of time with him.

YSA is so different! Everyone texts, everyone goes by their first name, and sacrament meeting is really quiet without babies. It’s so social, too! You can just talk to everyone and relate to them and get to be buddies. It’s wild.

With all of this teaching plus what we have to do as Zone Leaders, we’re constantly busy. It’s awesome. The days have flown by because it’s just one thing then the next, but it’s good. My muscles are sore. Elder Ganley is awesome. He’s from Arizona, and he actually lives just up the street from my MTC companion, Elder Monks! Crazy. He’s a hard worker and he likes being a missionary. Phew! He goes home in November, so I’ll probably be his last companion. There’s so much I’m doing now that I’ve never done on my mission, and I’m having such a good time! What’s especially amazing is that we’re still teaching the same Gospel. Even though the people and experiences are completely different, the Gospel is universal and all-encompassing. I’m grateful for a Heavenly Father that knows each of us and cares about each of us enough to give us a Gospel that each of us can relate to. The Church is true!

Thanks for reading! I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this scripture before, but I still love it and it’s still true, so check out Mosiah 2:41. Keep praying, keep trying, and keep loving.

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

OUT OF THE RED DEER...

... and into the Young Single Adult ward. It’s apparently one of those good news/bad news reports: Good news about going back to Coronation Park and with a new companion he knows; bad news about having to leave Red Deer so soon.

Loved’ns,

Greetings to all! This week has been all sorts of crazy. We haven’t been able to meet with Mitch and Des this week, and they aren’t getting back to us. We’ll see.

Or maybe we won’t see. Turns out, after spending only two transfers in Red Deer, the President wants me to be a zone leader. I got a call from him last week telling me that he wanted me to stick around for leadership training after our zone meeting, but he didn’t specify what exactly I’d be doing. I was figuring I’d go back to being district leader and get trained for that again. (I think I was kind of in denial about leaving, so district leader was what made sense to me.) But, I got to the meeting and President handed me a paper titled, “Zone Leader Responsibilities”, which cleared it all up. The problem was that on Thursday, President didn’t know where or with whom I’d be serving, so I just got to sit and worry about it for four days. Not good for my health.

Finally, we got our transfer calls this morning and I am to be serving with Elder Ganley in the Rainbow Valley YSA! I’m actually so excited. Really sad to be leaving Red Deer so early, but I’ve got complete faith in this process and I know that this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do. It’s also exciting because I’ll get to go on exchanges to Coronation Park! I’ve come to know Elder Ganley pretty well from serving around him in other areas previously, and it’s going to be a blast. It’s a lot of responsibility, and I know that I can’t do it on my own. I never could, really. None of us can! We need to constantly rely on Jesus Christ. I hope that this next phase of my mission will be conducive to me being able to more wholly rely on the Savior. Of course it will be. I guess I hope that my state of mind will be conducive to that dependence. Maybe I’m not making sense. I want this next part of my mission to make me better. Whew!

Max is officially out and doin’ his thing! So awesome. P-Day is Thursday for him, eh? Curious. I wonder what his companion is like. I wish I could see Max in the MTC and everything! I’m dying to know how he goes about everything. Tell me about your companion and stuff! Good times in the MTC. I have no idea what the luxury section is. (Was the guy just kidding or is there an actual luxury section?)

Gosh. Overwhelming times. I’m sad to be leaving so soon. I’m excited for this next adventure, and I’m glad that Heavenly Father and President Manion trust me with this. I just want to do y’all (family, friends, leaders, Heavenly Father) proud!

Thanks for reading and writing. Pray for me!

Keep the Faith,
Elder Webb

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

HE [VISITED] A ZOO

Service comes in many forms and varieties, and some of last week’s service came in a form Elder Eli likely has dreamed about for approximately two decades (since he’s 20):

Hello to friends and family and the like! I hope you’re all having a grand week, and I hope that in some way I can make it even grand-er.

This week was a good one for me. Mitch and Des are doing well. Like I mentioned previously, they’ve got a lot to overcome, but they’re both taking steps toward discipleship! It breaks my heart to see them struggle and hear what they — particularly Des — have gone through. Des agreed to be baptized in September, and she’s been telling us how excited she is and how she thinks it’ll bring her closer to God and help her feel clean. She’s struggling to give up her addictions, but I have hope for her. What’s amazing about all of that is that God still loves her just as much as He loves everyone else, and that she can still be forgiven and be healed through the Atonement. That forgiveness and healing are available and accessible for each and every one of us. I’m so grateful for that. I’ve really been able to feel Heavenly Father’s love for each of us as I’ve been able to feel this love and concern for Mitch and Des. I’m grateful for the perspective, but it’s just a little bit disheartening to think of the sadness Heavenly Father must have felt when he saw me making a bad decision. I know I’m going to continue to make mistakes, but thanks to this experience I’ve got even more motivation to repent consistently and try to be right in Heavenly Father’s eyes.

Went and visited Bill this week. He’s doing well. He was happy to see us and we’ve got a great relationship. We didn’t manage to see Noelle, but we’re hoping to see her this next week and do some service. When we did play cards with the other residents, I won both games of Crib. Sorry, old folks, not even you can quell the competitive fire. Also, old people have some of the best smack talk. If they dish it they’d better be able to take it.

We had some unique experiences this week. We went out to do service for a member with a bit of land, and when we were finished he said, “Oh, it looks like we’ve got time for you guys to check out the bees.” So he took us to a little bit of land that he has where he lets some people keep their bees. We got all geared up in the beekeeping suits and checked them out. I don’t know what it was, but it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. I just kept geeking out. It was nuts to be able to have them just humming around you and be totally safe. We looked in the box hives and everything! Amazing. I totally want to keep bees when I get home. I’ll make sure I’ve got some land first.






Another cool experience was that we volunteered at a zoo! We were staining some buildings, and it was a great time! The best part was after we were done serving. We got to go hang out with some animals! I held a baby arctic fox, a baby lynx, and a baby cougar. The cougar was getting really feisty, though, so we couldn’t get a picture. I got pictures of the other ones, though! I also got pictures with a bear. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to cuddle with it.





I love my mission. I’ve really felt more invested in the work lately, and I want to keep improving and doing what Heavenly Father wants me to do. Max, congratulations on your successful farewell, and congratulations on your successful jokes at my expense. Hopefully you end up looking like Chancho so you can give me some material. So happy for you and so proud of you. Lucky Mexico.

Thanks to all for reading and thanks to some for writing! You’re all wonderful people. Prayers are answered, so give it a shot! I promise it’s really fun. Until next week!

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli

•    ❦    •

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

•    ❦    •



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