Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SWEET & SIMPLE THIS WEEK

G’week loved ones (like G’day, but for those confined to weekly contact)!

This week has been an excellent one. I’m having a difficult time remembering anything but Saturday, so I’ll jump right to that!

Kathy was baptized! It was such a beautiful occasion. Her friend who introduced her to the church came up from Calgary, and there was a lot of ward support! She asked me to baptize her (since she knew me longer), and it was a beautiful experience. I could feel her spirit radiating from her, and as we stepped into the font I could feel Heavenly Father’s love for both of us. The actual baptizing went off without a hitch, and the whole program was smooth and spiritual. I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father allowed me to be a part of that process.

She came to church on Sunday still glowing, and Elder Jolley had the opportunity to confirm her. Another outpouring of the Spirit. It’s so amazing to see the process of someone accepting the gospel and the effect it has on them. Those of us who have already entered into the covenant of baptism still need this gospel, though! We still make mistakes, and we still need the Atonement just as much as the next person! None of us needs the Atonement less than anyone else, so none of us should assume we’re better off! What’s so amazing is that as many times as we sincerely repent, we will be forgiven. Don’t forget! I’m grateful for the love and forgiveness that’s extended to each of us, and I know that all we need to do to be happy, in this life and in the life to come, is to align our will with Heavenly Father’s. We’ll be pretty well off if we’re doing that! Thank you all for your love and support! Keep reading!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

SPRINGTIME IN CANADIA

Elder Eli continues TCoB in the land northward. He seems well, he seems happy, and that makes us well and happy.

Note: A couple of the references below require explanation, so your humble editor’s notes shall attempt to clarify:

Hello humans! I hope you all had a wonderful week, and that this one is even better. My week was good! The highlight was definitely General Conference. It’s so wonderful that we get to hear the prophets speak to us! I don’t think I can pick a favorite talk until I can read them again, but my favorite session was definitely priesthood. Just incredible.

Things are going well with Kathy! If everything goes according to plan, she’ll be baptized this Saturday! We’ve still got some teaching to do before then, but she’s so ready! She’s excited, too. keep her in your prayers!

Jacob/Pill is alright. He’s mostly just in it for education (which is fine), so he’s not really looking for an answer. In fact, he told us that he even likes not knowing the truth about God or anything like that. He likes that it’s a mystery to him! He has no idea what he’s missing out on. Jacob, there’s still plenty of things to be confused about once you’re baptized! Kidding, of course. The Gospel is wonderful and simple, and everything we need to know for our salvation can be understood by an eight-year-old.

[EXPLANATION INTERRUPTION 1: Berta, Dave and Max visited Berta’s parents. Max played some guitar and sang, and Dave joined on djembe. We sent pics to Elder Eli.] 
I wish I could’ve been there for the visit with Grandma and Grandpa! It looked fun. I wish I could be there for all family gatherings, but I’ll have plenty of those when I’m home! I really am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission. It’s blessed me in more ways than I could imagine. I’ve grown so much! (I can’t quite muster a beard yet, but I’d say it’s pretty good progress for ten months out. Fourteen more months and I should be sitting pretty! Brace yourselves for the lack of shaving that’s going to happen once I’m home.)

This week marks the beginning of a new transfer, and I am to stay in Coronation Park with Elder Jolley! I’m so excited that I get one more transfer here, and one more transfer with him. We’re really looking forward to it! Our dynamic is so fun. He’s certainly a Jolley. I’m also still District Leader, which I’m excited for. We had lots of additional meetings last transfer so we only had two district meetings, but this transfer should be a lot more straightforward!

Thank you for all of your support and love! They make a world of difference! Continue reading, if you so desire!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

[EXPLANATION INTERRUPTION 2: For her birthday Berta was invited to laser tag with the ladies of our neighborhood. She regularly found herself matching wits with a fellow tagger, “Tekken” (not a lady of any neighborhood), whom we’ve all battled before.]
P.S. Mom, I had a suspicion it would be a Tekken story the minute I read “laser tag”. He’s been a constant throughout my life. I feel as if we’ve been connected since our first meeting when I was in elementary school. I think we’re destined for a legendary battle someday. You said you never knew he was older, but remember that my first encounter with him was when I was in elementary school, and he was much older than I. I bet his dream is to be frozen in carbonite when he dies, then used as a decoration in the maze.
Love that boy. Not sure about loving the threatened Beard-ification of Mid-2015, but we’ll roll our eyes at that bridge when we come to it.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

. . . AND ALACRITY FOR ALL

24 March 2014 
Familia and Friendilia,

Hello all! 
This week has been pretty good! Some ups, some downs, but all in all a grand time was had. Karen dropped us last Monday, which was a real drag. We had just set a baptismal date for her and everything! We think one of her friends got to her. Agency, amiright? We’re hoping that her member friend Shelly can stay in touch and hopefully rekindle some of that desire, but we aren’t going to worry about it too much. Sometimes, things are just out of our control. There’s no use wasting time and emotion over it.

The same day that Karen dropped us, however, we met with David. David has been wanting to get baptized, but his mom didn’t want him rushed into it (naturally). This time when we met we asked him to be baptized on April 12. He said yes, then we made him promise that he would talk to his mom about it ASAP so that we could get things going. We saw him the next day at scouts and asked him about it. Not only did he actually talk to his mom, but she said it was okay! Huzzah! So now we’re moving towards April 12 with alacrity.

We had our Zone Conference this week. Let me lay out some meetings for you. District Meeting happens every week on Thursday, unless something comes up. Zone Training Meeting happens once a month, and that involves training from the zone leaders and the sister training leaders. Zone Conference happens once every three months, and that’s when the mission president comes and addresses the missionaries and provides trainings. Trainings are also provided by the mission president’s wife, the assistants to the president, the zone leaders and the sister training leaders. Zone Conference is big. This was actually my first one because we switched mission presidents, then we had our Christmas Conference. It was great, but it was also looooong. We learned about some new initiatives and new standards of excellence for the mission, which is pretty exciting! The day after Zone Conference we had interviews with President Manion, and those went really well. It’s always good to have some one-on-one time with him. He really cares so much about us and he wants us to do our best. He’s an inspired man, and I’m lucky to have him for my entire mission.

I’ve been bad about taking pictures. Pray that I remember throughout the week to take some! I want to give you people what you want, but I totally forget. I am but a man, after all.

Thank you all for your love and support! Thanks for reading! Keep praying for me! Love you!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

OF PILL BOJANDIES AND A SHIH-TZU NAMED “ELLIE”

17 March 2014

Hello paternals, fraternal, and extended “-ernals”!

This has been an excellent week. Elder Jolley and I have seen a lot of miracles and a lot of good things happening. Also, it’s warm! Well, I’ll be honest, I don’t know what warm is. I think it’s hovering around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which pre-mission Eli would definitely not categorize as warm. Acclimatization!

Here’s the miracle of the week. A few weeks ago, Elder Jolley and I got a media referral, which basically means someone put their information onto one of our websites asking for a visit or a free book, and if they’re in our area we get their information texted to us. This media referral listed their name as “Pill Bojandies”, with the comment “Praise cheeses.” It seemed like it had a legit phone number and address, but we just ignored it and figured someone was messing with us.

On Friday, we had an appointment on the other side of our area, and since we’re bussing it was a big time commitment. Well, en route our appointment cancelled, so we were at the other side of our area and we needed something productive to do. Elder Jolley suggested we go and try Pill, since we were around the area of the address. We hunted down the house, knocked on the door, and a young man answered. He had glasses and shoulder-length hair. We told him we got some information sent to us, and that this was the address. He said, “Oh yeah! I requested a free copy of the book!” We asked him if he was Pill or even Phil, and he said, “Oh, no, I just didn’t want to include my real information. I’m Jacob.” He invited us inside where we met his mother and brother, and their Shih-Tzu puppy named Ellie. They were all so nice! And normal! Elder Jolley and I had a hard time remembering the last time we encountered normal.

We had an excellent discussion about the church and what we do, and they agreed to have us in their home the next day to teach them! We came back on Saturday, and Jacob was the only one we taught, but we had an amazing lesson! He’s so sharp and on top of things, and he grasps doctrine really easily. He had lots of great questions for us, and after we answered all of them, he told us we were exactly who he wanted to talk to. He seemed to not only have a full understanding of what we taught (which never happens), but he actually seemed to agree with it! We’re going back in a few days to teach again, and by then hopefully he will have read some of the Book of Mormon, and hopefully his family will want to sit in too! So amazing. Even Pill Bojandies needs the gospel.

Thank you all for your love and support! I pray for you constantly. Hooray for rabbit pelts! Thanks for keeping me posted on things that could seem negative or scary. So much better than being caught off guard! My love is especially with all suffering family members. Hang in there! Trust in the Lord and the power of His Atonement! Read Moroni 7:41. Do it! Love you all!

Keep the faith,

Elder Webb

THE WORK HASTENS — BUT THE POSTS ARE TARDY

12 March 2014

Hello family!

You’ll excuse the lateness of my email (or you won’t. Whatever). Things are often busy and inconsistent in the life of a missionary (this missionary, at least), and one learns to roll with the punches. It’s been a pretty good week! Nothing life-changing, but things are still happening! We’re meeting with our investigators, getting new ones, working with less-actives and doing good service! We’re encouraged to have weekly service in the community, and when I came to Coronation there wasn’t any that had been established with the previous companionship, so we didn’t really know where to start. Elder Konecki and I still did some service, but it wasn’t ever weekly or scheduled. Once I got with Elder Jolley we started finding some opportunities, so now we have weekly service at the Food Bank and at the local Salvation Army store. It’s nice to change things up every now and again.

The ward is wonderful. Our weekly attendance is probably around 150. We’ve got great auxiliary leaders, especially our ward mission leader. He’s got an excellent gospel fire burning within him. We’re blessed to have him. The babies in the ward keep being born, and they’re only getting cuter. It’s maddening. I get away with whatever I can, meaning I’ll plonk one of them next to me on the couch and have them propped up by me. I’ve got such creepy baby syndrome. Elder Jolley loves babies too, which is fun. Elder Konecki didn’t really understand why I was so weird.

We’ve got five investigators currently (and I use that term loosely). Toby, Karen, David and Kathy you’ve heard of (I hope). Now we’ve got Rob on that list. Rob was referred to us by a member, so we called and he said he’d love to meet. We went over to his apartment, but we ended up going over to the United Church a few blocks away where they were holding a free community dinner. Elder Jolley and I didn’t know what to expect, because oftentimes people at other churches put their guard up, but that wasn’t the case at all. Everyone there was so nice and welcoming, and a few of the volunteers had Mormon relatives, “Oh, I’ve got a nephew in Spain!” and “I’ve got six Mormon grandchildren from one Mormon son.” They do those dinners monthly, so now Elder Jolley and I are going to go back as volunteers. There are good people everywhere! We’re seeing how interested Rob really is, and I suppose only time will tell. Out of those investigators, David and Toby are the only ones that have come to church, and David is the only one that has stayed all three hours. We’ve just got to get all of them to take the next step.

Sorry I haven’t mentioned poutine. It’s pretty good! I’ve never purchased it for myself, and I think I’ve only had it from Wendy’s and Dairy Queen. Just not my scene, I suppose.

I don’t think I’ve had any crazy potato chips. I have had bacon, ketchup, baked potato and hot wing flavors, if those are crazy. Oh! How could I forget? I’ve had Maple Moose. It’s like a sweeter barbecue.

Thanks for your love and support! I’ll “talk” to you all next week!

Keep the faith,

Elder Webb

Friday, March 14, 2014

WITH FOOTNOTES AND BRACKETS

So many threads, so few opportunities to explain. This week we’ll try a footnotes and brackets:


3 March 2014 
Hello loved ones!

This week was good and awful. Good because I’m with Elder Jolley¹ and we have a great time. Awful because we got our car taken away² and I got sick and it was freezing all week. I think the coldest I saw was -37 with wind chill. Ouch. It doesn’t help a sick boy when he’s got to wait at a bus stop in that kind of weather. But, things always get better! I’m feeling more healthy now, so at least I can take on the cold with renewed vigor! The work has definitely taken a hit since we’ve had to bus. That’s so much travel time! It’s not nearly as productive as it was when we were driving, but the Lord understands and will help things fall into place.

Congrats to [cousin] Shey and Michael! That baby is a doll. I still have creepy baby syndrome³, so whenever I’m around one of the gajillion newborns, half of my time is spent being weird about the baby, and the other half is spent apologizing to the family and explaining that I’m really not as creepy as I seem. They’re all pretty understanding, though. I’m reminded of Liz Lemon⁴ and her creepy baby obsession, “It’s not stealing if it fell on the ground!” Oy vey...

We couldn’t meet with some investigators this week, which is kind of a drag, but things are still going well! Remember, success isn’t based on how many people say yes. The success is in the invitation. “It is impossible to fail when we do our best when we’re on the Lord’s errand.” As long as we’re doing our best, we can’t be denied blessings. That’s a promise! It’s really comforting when you’ve put in a lot of effort and it doesn’t seem like anything comes out of it. Perspective is so important!

The rabbit pelt is for crafts! I’m slowly trying to collect materials so that I can make a cool scripture case. I would totally sing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” if I was next to you. (Just imagine me singing it, including jazz squares and spins and leaps and snapping and a one-man kick line. C’mon! Crud, now it’s stuck in my head.)

I did get the package! It was wonderful! I’m always blown away at those clever rhymes⁵. It was so fun still being able to do a little scavenger hunt. Thank you for the thoughtful things! I love that stamp [of his initials] so much. I’ve used it a lot. The [3-in.-diam.] disco ball is hanging from my lamp. Most of the candy is gone. Love you!

Thanks for the love and stuff! I pray for the lot of you err’day⁶! I love my mission, and I love this Gospel! It’s true, which is neat. I’ve been so blessed, and I’m so grateful for that. You know the scripture “faith without works is dead.”? Well, I’ve simplified that for ease of understanding. Faith is action. I know that I receive help and strength if I pray morning and night, but if I don’t act, do I really have faith? I can know a lot of things, but if I don’t apply them, I don’t have faith. It was a wake up call when I realized that. It made me realize that maybe I didn’t have as much faith as I thought. But, now I have the opportunity to increase my faith, which I’m striving to do every day. I’d invite you all to do the same!

Keep the faith,
Elder Eli

“I gotta fly once, I gotta try once, only can die once, right sir. Ooh life is juicy juicy and you’ll see I gotta have my bite, sir.”⁷

That’s our boy. Keep on keepin’ on, Elder.

¹  Best friend’s brother, with whom Elder Eli was not acquainted before Edmonton
²  Not so much a privilege lost as an opportunity to share: The Tagalog- and Mandarin-speaking companionships cover too large an area for them to rely on public transport.
³  It’s the syndrome [denoted by the faces, voices and noises one makes] that’s creepy, not the babies
⁴  Character on “30 Rock” who doesn’t have children, and hence steals baby-related items to fill the void.
⁵  Elder Eli’s mom makes rhyming-clue scavenger hunts for Valentine’s Day.
⁶  Mispronounced intentionally. Not sure if it’s an Eli thing or a line from a movie (or both).
⁷  Picture Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice belting it out. Now picture Eli Webb as Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice, and you’ll begin to know why we miss him so.

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