Saturday, January 24, 2015

BLAST 2 FROM THE PAST

Editors’s note: Elder Eli’s and Elder Max’s parents recently accepted a call as part-time service missionaries, working with a Spanish branch in Kearns, UT. More on that shortly:

January 12, 2015 
Hello readers!

Alright, it’s official, I’m learning Spanish when I’m home. With only Max speaking it, my reasoning for not learning was, “Meh, I’ll probably be so busy when I’m home. Besides, by the time Max is home I’ll have moved out, so when he and Dad have their dumb Spanish parties I’ll be long gone. Psh, who needs Spanish anyway? Not this guy. Definitely not this guy...”

But now that Mom’s going to be learning Spanish, it’s more along the lines of, “ALERT! ALERT! Def Con One! Exclusion from dumb Spanish parties is not an option! I’ve got 14 months between my arrival and Max’s homecoming. I can find time to fit in an hour of language study every day, minimum. Food and sleep can be sacrificed! Friends? Who needs ‘em? I’m sure BYU offers introductory Spanish courses. I can visit Mom and Dad’s Spanish ward every now and again. I’ll have returned missionary friends who spoke Spanish that I can practice on. 14 months, 14 months. Failure is not an option!” Brace yourselves, world.

For the time being, however, that is not my reality. Here and now I’m still in the tundra. We’ve had some reasonable cold these last few weeks, but apparently starting tomorrow the temperature is going to be above zero for the rest of the week! It’s a miracle! (By the way, above zero degrees Celsius is delightful after you’ve had around -30 for the past little while.)

Congrats to Mom and Dad on your mission call! That is so cool. Our entire family is on a mission! It’s going to bless all of us in so many ways. I am so jealous that 75% of my family gets to be around chunky little niños. There are very few things cuter than children speaking a different language. A brother and sister were behind me last week when I emailed. The brother must have been 2 or 3, and the sister was probably 4 or 5. Forgive my ignorance, but they were speaking Chinese or Korean or Vietnamese. I want to say Chinese because I’ve mostly heard that and I’d say it sounded like it, but I don’t want to be wrong. Regardless — adorable.

The work slowed down considerably during the Christmas season, but now things are starting to pick up again. We’ve got appointments scheduled this week with Scott and Matt, and hopefully after those we’ll be able to meet with them more consistently! Jessica is still not committing to a time, but we’ve been in touch with here and we’re still on good terms. It’s been great to be able to get a hold of people over Facebook who were previously pretty hard to reach. We get on Facebook every day now. Our tasks include (but are not limited to): teaching investigators and less-actives, posting inspirational goodness, getting connected to new investigators through members, keeping in touch with contacts from previous areas, researching inspirational goodness to post, etc. It’s amazing how the Lord has prepared a way for this to be a productive tool in bringing others unto Him. The mission is still working out some kinks and figuring out the best way to do it, but we’re already seeing cool things! For instance, I was able to get in touch with a less-active member we were meeting with in Red Deer, and while we were catching up I found out that he was no longer meeting with missionaries. I told him that he knew better than that and that I was going to send the missionaries over, and he agreed! Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg. The church is true!

Thanks for all of the love and support! Y’all are wonderful people. God loves each of you and He wants you to be happy. Many of us have habits or behaviors that hold us back from being happy. Through Christ, those weaknesses can become strengths and we can find joy! Evaluate what’s holding you back from being happy right now, then take the necessary steps to change it! Keep reading!

Mantener la fe,
Elder Webb

Friday, January 23, 2015

BLAST 1* FROM THE PAST

*Blasts 2 & 3 to follow...)

Right to it:

January 5, 2015 
Hello friends and family!

This was a great week! Happy New Year! New Year’s Eve was a blast. Since we live with members we were able to go upstairs and enjoy the new year with them. They had some of their kids and grandkids over so it was quite a parade. We played games and had pizza and a good time was had by all. Sadly, the Oilers lost to the Calgary Flames in overtime that night, but that was the only downside I can remember. By the way, I’m totally a hockey fan now. I’m not sure why it’s not more popular in the States. The majority of teams in the NHL are from the States anyway! It’s so fun to watch. I can’t fathom that kind of talent. I’m going to subscribe to whatever channel plays hockey once I’m home. Part of me wants to be able to choose which team I support, but I realize that I am sort of obliged to be an Oilers fan. Too bad they’re garbage. That’s alright. They could be good in a few years. GO OILERS!

We had our Mission Leadership Council on Saturday. I love being able to get some more personal trainings from President Manion. I can honestly say that I haven’t disagreed with any decision he’s made. I trust that he’s called of God and that he really does love us and want what’s best for the mission. It was at this Council that we got trained on Facebook! I’m on Facebook officially. I cleaned it up so now it’s ready for missionary work! Very exciting. So weird being back on! My goodness, I’ve got a lot of engaged/married friends. Shocking! I guess that’s the way life goes! I’ve been out of the loop for 19 months. It’s really going to be great to see how this affects the work in the mission. Since Heavenly Father provided a way, I know that if we’ll all do what we’re supposed to, we’ll see miracles happen! It’s strictly a missionary tool for now, though, so I won’t be able to have social chats! Just wait five months, folks, we’ll be okay.

Five months! Can you believe it?! I can’t. Time is flying. I’m really trying to make the most of it. Something I’ve been studying is how to make a change last. I’ve wondered why we go through amazing spiritual experiences and then somehow the next week we seem to be back where we started. There’s a lot that goes into it, but apparently it takes effort to maintain a changed heart. Alma the Younger talks about it in the Book of Mormon. Remember his change of heart? He was called to repentance by an angel and struck down for three days. I always thought that Alma had it easy. To me, it was, “Well sure he was such an awesome missionary and prophet and human being, look at his conversion! I’d be that good if I was struck down by an angel too!” But apparently, that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t that easy. A changed heart requires maintenance. Alma outlines some ways to do that, but I’d like to refer you to a talk entitled “Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change”. I just heard this talk yesterday in priesthood, and it was such a testimony to me of Heavenly Father’s love and care for each of us. He knew I was studying and looking for answers, and that was such a wonderful answer! It’s definitely contributed to my study and given me some more clarity on how to make change last. The church is true!

Matt is alright. We haven’t really progressed with him since last week. He’s hard to get a hold of. But he does want to change! Like we know, change requires work, but all things are possible through Christ! We’re looking for new investigators now, since our teaching pool is somewhat stagnant. If we do what we’re supposed to, Heavenly Father will provide a way! That applies to everyone, by the way, not just missionaries.

Thank you all for reading and writing! I’m going to be sharing thoughts and gospel tidbits on Facebook from now on, so don’t be afraid to share them so your friends can see! Facebook proselyting is only effective when the members are on board! I love each of you, even if we haven’t met. Heavenly Father loves you too, and a lot better than I do! Have a good week!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

Monday, January 5, 2015

THIS POST IS SO 2014 . . .

Parental slacking again. This is last week’s report, with this week’s to follow sometime this week. (Promises, promises . . .)


December 29, 2014 
Hey-o!

It was so wonderful to see your mugs! Max, your Spanish is cool. Mom, you look great. Dad, your beard is pretty white. It’s so nice to see you alive and moving and stuff! Thanks for being such a great family. I laughed a ton talking to you guys. We really are an exceptional kind of funny. Outsiders, you may see this as bragging, but have you been around my parents? Hilarious. And the apple doesn’t fall far, if I do say so myself.

This was an excellent week! Christmas was wonderful. Our ward took excellent care of us. We were fed breakfast, lunch and dinner. We played lots of games and had a good time. Also, I won Settlers of Catan, Quelf, and Rummikub. So there. Thank you for the packages and love! I don’t deserve any of you.

We had a cool experience a few nights ago. There’s a less-active member we visit frequently, and when we dropped by this time he had a friend over. The friend was having a rough day since he had just broken up with his girlfriend. He was convinced that he was supposed to marry this girl, so he was having a pretty hard time. He’d been on his own since he was 13, and since then he hasn’t felt like he’s had anyone to turn to. He had a brother he was close to pass away, and he’s felt alone for quite some time. When we came and started talking he totally opened up to us. His name is Matt. He said it felt so good to finally have someone to vent to, then he started asking questions about how to be happy and get out of his bad situation. We were able to testify of God’s love for him, and now we’re going to meet with him this week and start teaching him! It was cool to see how Heavenly Father put him in our path. Initially we had another appointment set, but they cancelled last-minute, leaving us with nothing to do. We swung by the less-active member’s house and lo and behold! Now we’ve got a new investigator. The Church is true!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year! Set some appropriate goals and stick to them! A message we’ve been sharing with members has to do with the New Year. Go watch the Mormon Message “Look Not Behind Thee”, then reflect on something you can change this year that will bring you closer to Christ. I promise that your efforts will be noticed and you will be blessed. Thanks for reading!

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

The parent (who shall remain nameless) in charge of blog updates has let slip his/her duties, so this week’s post 1) is late, and 2) includes the even-later LAST WEEK’S post.

(Note: It would be great for this nameless parent if you, gentle reader, would picture this nameless parent’s wife as a possible, conceivable slipper of duties. The nameless parent thanks you.)

Christmas Day 2014
(That’s not 6 hours 35 min — though Mom would have loved it!)
December 22, 2014  
Families and others,

Merry Christmas! This email isn’t going to be too long since I’m talking to y’all on Thursday! 11:00 should work great for me! I just got a haircut, so you’ve got that to look forward to. It looks pretty good, if I say so myself. Also, I decided that I won’t send you a picture of the boots since I’ll just be able to show you in person! The suspense! Hint: They’re wonderful.
Hmm... He says they’re wonderful; they’re mukluks.
And yes, he has worn them for missionary work.
(Parents’ sincere reaction captured, above right.)
I have received the Christmas package, and I have a confession to make. I knew the presents would be wrapped, so I opened the box. I knew that Mom would have sent candy, so I did some digging and found a chocolate marshmallow Santa and totally ate him! And he was delicious! I know, I know, you don’t need to tell me. I totally broke Christmas. It’s alright, though, because there are still surprises! Thanks for chocolate marshmallow Santas!

This was a good week! We met with Jody to pass her over to some other missionaries. She lives out of our area, and it was supposed to be temporary, but now she’s planning on staying for a while. The lesson we had with her and the other Elders was incredible! She agreed to a date for baptism! I’m a little bit bummed that we can’t see her all the way through it, but the church is still true in the Kingsway ward! Since it’s still in the city I’ll be able to attend her baptism, which will be really special. We’re meeting with Scott tomorrow, so hopefully that goes well! You know, I’ll give you the details in a few days! I can’t wait to see you!

Go do something nice for someone! Share the Spirit of Christmas! Have a good week!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb
They’re looking at their cousin Oliver (3 mos. old), whom they hadn’t met.
We had a couple of minutes with both boys together, then Elder Eli called back a bit later.
•        •


December 15, 2014

Loved’ns,

Glad to hear that those whom I’ve heard from are doing well! I hope to hear from those I haven’t heard from, but in the meantime I hope you’re also doing well. I’m doing well, if you’re wondering. Missionary work is taxing, but so rewarding.

Transfer calls happened today, and I’m staying with Elder Babb in Rainbow Valley! Woohoo! I’m thrilled. I love Elder Babb, I love this area, and I get to stay here for Christmas! I’m mostly glad that I get to stay and help the work move forward in this area. I want to leave with good things going, and things lately have been a little slow. We want to kick it into high gear so that we can have good things happening come February.

Jody came to church but she’s been hard to get a hold of. We’re meeting with her this week and we’re going to pass her over to the missionaries in her area. Where she’s living now was supposed to be for a few weeks while her place is renovated, but now she’s planning on staying for a few months, so we’re going to get her going to the right ward. Jessica still won’t commit to meeting with us, and Jody won’t either. However, we just got a new investigator this morning! His name is Scott, and some other missionaries found him and referred him to us. He’s been to Bible school and he’s very bright. Unlike most Bible school scholars we’ve encountered (nothing against Bible school scholars), he’s open and willing to experiment. We’re meeting with him again on Saturday, so hopefully he will have read the Book of Mormon between now and then! It’s amazing to meet people and see the potential they have within the gospel. It’s heartbreaking to see them not live up to that potential, but all we can do is invite and help them to change!

Christmas is upon us! I love the Christmas season. Hearts are softened and people have questions. That’s where we come in! Let’s all try a little bit harder to take advantage of this season of giving and be a little bit better!

If you’re reading this, I love you! Remember what Christmas is all about and act accordingly! Thanks for the love and support!

Merry Christmas!

Keep the Faith,
Elder Webb

Sunday, December 14, 2014

IT DOESN’T SEEM THAT COLD (YET)

When the one in Canada says it’s cold, we probably should accept it! (When the one in Mexico says it’s cold, the eye rolls could give us whiplash.) And still his spirit comes through.


December 8, 2014 
Merry Christmas to all!

Greetings to readers. This week was much better than the previous. I’m fully recovered from my illness, which is nice. It’s been pretty cold here, but all tolerable. I was out shoveling snow, and I realized that my feet were frigid. I looked down and started to consider that maybe my $40 Wal-Mart winter boots weren’t going to cut it this season. They served me reasonably well last winter, but I figured that the cold just wasn’t worth it this time around, Also, I wanted some boots that I could use when I was home. I sold the jacket I bought last winter because I didn’t wear it once (layers, people), so I reasoned that that money could translate to keep a different part of my body warm. So, I started looking. It just so happens that a member I know works part-time at Cabela’s. It also just so happens that he gets a pretty impressive employee discount. It also also just so happens that last weekend Cabela’s had a special event where employees got an even bigger discount. It continued to just so happen that the member I know sold footwear for 14+ years, so he knows his stuff. The so-happenings didn’t cease when I found the perfect pair of boots after much diligence in searching, and that that pair was the only pair available in all of Cabela’s Canada since it was sent to that store by a fluke. And it just so happens that they were my size. The stars aligned, Lady Luck smiled upon me, and the Church must be true. I’ll send pictures next week.

The Christmas party is tonight, so I don’t have any anecdotes yet. We don’t have an outline for the program, so we’re just going to wing it. We’ve got some funniness prepared, but we’ll just have to feel it out. I’m going to channel my best Dave and hope for the best. I’m actually pretty confident that it’ll go over well. Maybe it’s my wit and charm, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ll be wearing a Santa onesie. Maybe we’ll never know! And that’s why so is mankind. Pictures to come.

None of the 3Js could meet this week either! C’mon people. We’ve realized that we need to recommit our finding efforts and branch out a bit. This week we’ve set a goal to get two new investigators, so we’ll see how that works. Our less-active and recent convert teaching pool are about the same, with varied progress and commitment. We did meet with Xavier, but it turns out that he wasn’t even in our area, and that he was already meeting with missionaries! The member who referred him to us failed to mention that. We had a good visit, but we won’t be going back. Good luck to the other missionaries!

Yesterday I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting, and I thought I’d share part of what I shared with you. We have the opportunity as missionaries to study Jesus the Christ. It’s one of my favorite books. I’ve read it twice on my mission and it’s brilliant. I gained an interesting insight about the Atonement as I studied. Leading up to His crucifixion, Christ never questioned or doubted. He endured and trusted in Heavenly Father. In Gethsemane He took upon Himself our afflictions and bled from every pore, all the while submitting His will to His Father. While on the cross, the agony from Gethsemane was repeated. It’s interesting to note, then, that the worst part of the Atonement for Christ was when Heavenly Father withdrew His Spirit. That was what frightened and shocked the Savior the most. Only then did He question. Christ had to feel the results of sin, and that to Him was worse than anything He had previously endured. He had been persecuted, mocked, slandered, hated, falsely accused, beaten, scourged, abandoned and crucified; yet for Him, the loss of the Spirit was the most painful and agonizing consequence. If we really understood what happened when we sin, I think we’d rather endure just about anything else than the loss of the Spirit. But we are fallen and inclined to sin. We choose to lose the Spirit every time we sin. How many of us make concessions to avoid embarrassment or shame? How many of us lower our standards because what we’re asked to do is “just too hard”? How many of us knowingly choose disobedience because it feels good in the moment? Making mistakes is understandable, but rebellion is unacceptable. I’m not coming from a position of righteousness, either. I’m not sharing these things because I’ve mastered myself and repentance. I’m just as guilty of rebellion as the next guy. I’m just grateful that I was allowed this knowledge, and that I’ve got the opportunity to apply it. I know that Christ atoned for each of us, and that He wants us to take advantage of what he’s done. Otherwise it’s wasted. I’m grateful for the infinite opportunities our Heavenly Father provides us to repent and be better. I know this Church is true, and I’m blessed to be a part of it.

Thank you all for reading! I hope you have a stupendous week. Merry Christmas! #sharethegift

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli