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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Monday, September 1, 2014

LABOR DAY = 2-FOR-1 DAY

It’s only 2-for-1 day because this dad didn’t do his labor last week: This is the most recent letter — at least until later today, when this week’s letter is due:

from 25 August 2014 
Good morrow to good fellows!

I hope you’re on doing well and in good health. If you’re not in good health, I hope you’re on the mend. If you’re not on the mend, know that you’re loved and that patience is an attribute of Christ.

This was a great week! It’s crazy how busy we are. I’m not sure that it’s because we’re zone leaders or because we’re in YSA or because we’ve got a lot of investigators or because we’re being especially proactive (actually, I am sure that it’s all four), but I love being busy. The Lord supports us as we put forth our best effort. Check out the Bible Dictionary definition for “Grace”. I think that grace is so often misunderstood, and people actually use it as an excuse so much of the time. Grace makes up for what we lack after we’ve done all that we can. No one is going to be saved against their will.

Our investigators are doing great. A member in the ward told us that Skyler added him on Facebook so he (the member) was checking his page out. He told us that his cover photo is of the Edmonton temple, and that almost all of his posts are about how excited he is to be baptized and how he knows the church is true. It’s amazing how ready he is. He’s already looking forward to going through the temple and serving a mission. Vince is a bit slower when it comes to understanding and progression, but he did tell us that when he comes to church stressed out it always calms him down and he leaves feeling better! We’re moving — slowly and steadily — toward October 25th for baptism. Travis is also doing well, and he’s been reading the Book of Mormon and praying while he’s out at work. We didn’t get to see Eric this week, and he’s not responding to our attempts at communication, so we’ll just have to see what happens there. The work goes on!

You’ll be pleased to know that since I’ve come to this new area, I’ve had breakfast every day (with the exception of fasting). And it’s not lame breakfast, either. For example: this morning I had scrambled eggs, toast, Greek yogurt and a protein shake. I’m a healthy missionary! Good times.

A thought that goes through my head often is that Satan does not want us to pray. He doesn’t want us to communicate with our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t want us repenting, showing gratitude, asking to help others or even checking in. With that in mind, we should recognize that if we’re ever about to pray and we say “I’m too tired”, or “He doesn’t want to hear from me”, or “I’ll take care of it later”, that those are thoughts that Satan magnifies and intensifies. We need to pray. We need that line of communication with our Heavenly Father. We can’t do this on our own. Oh, how praying rests the weary. Don’t forget to pray!

Thanks for reading and writing! You’re all good people. At the very least you’ve got the potential to be good. The Church is true!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb


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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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