Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Tonight we got an awesome Christmas gift: a letter from the Brulés, a family in Elder Eli’s first area:

December 2013
Dear Brother and Sister Webb,
We really enjoyed having your son serving our branch. (The Peace River Branch) We only got to know him the last 2 months of him being in Peace River (end of Sept. till Nov. 30)
He was a gentle Elder, with a kind spirit and voice. He always had a way to cover any subject, relating to the scriptures.
We had him and Elder Murray over for 6 dinners. I’ve carried on the tradition that my mom and dad did when they got married, of having a guest book. Every time someone comes, we have them sign the guest book. As time went on he signed his name Eli Webb. I hadn’t known anyone who went by Eli. As I thought about it, my great-grandfather on my mother’s side was named Eli. I felt a kinship in a sense. I’ll remember that.
When the missionary calendar went around mid November in Relief Society, I thought, why not have the missionaries over for a belated American Thanksgiving. My husband works at night, so we couldn’t have them over the exact day. We had them over Sat., Nov. 30.
I had asked each one of them what their favorite food item for Thanksgiving was. Your son, Elder Webb, said mashed potatoes. It had been quite a while since I had made them, so I was looking forward to having them as much as he wanted them! Elder Murray wanted homemade buns. I hadn’t made a big Thanksgiving, even for us Canadian folks, which we have in Oct., for a long time. Both of them loved my apple pie, that I hadn’t had for a long time either!
We would have loved to have had him for the Christmas season, but he got transferred! You have raised a fine son, and I’m glad we got to have him in our branch.
We hope you have a good Christmas. Someone in Edmonton will get to enjoy him for the Christmas season. All the best in the New Year.
Sally and David Brulé

What a great present! Tomorrow we get to talk “in person.”

Merry Christmas, and God bless us all!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


In which our hero learns about Balance, Respect, City Life, and Change. Love that boy!

Uncredited photo. Stolen from the internet.
(Thank you, Al Gore.)
We are living in the city, in an apartment. The apartment is alright, but I prefer Peace River’s. There’s a [mission district] rule that if you slip and fall on the ice, you owe the district Tim Horton’s donuts. There are four missionaries in our ward (myself included), and I’m the only one that hasn’t slipped. Surprised? Me too. So now I get to fatten myself up on everyone’s clumsiness. Tis the season!

My ward is incredible. So many fun and amazing people. Our ward mission leader is excellent. We get along famously. Young guy, maybe 24? 25? He’s super sarcastic and dry, so we have a good time. The first time we met was at a correlation meeting at his house. We were all talking casually and he said, “One of my goals for the ward is to baptize a black person,” and I said “What, a ‘black-tism’?” Then I realized that wasn’t really okay, but he just said, “Yeah — we can be friends.” We’re hilarious together.

The city is different in every way. We bus a lot, our area is small, we get fed every night, I don’t spend P-Days making knives, our ward is big, I see other missionaries daily, and I haven’t seen a single deer (or elk, or bear, or moose, or coyote).

We are meeting with the miracle couple on Thursday. They are progressing well. Reading their scriptures and everything. They’ve sort of been through this process before, so we’ve got to be extra bold and diligent. My missionary mantra is “Bold and loving.” A lot like life.

This week we’re aiming big for lessons taught. We’re really exercising our faith, and we hope we’ll be blessed with more investigators on date. I miss Peace River a lot, but I really do like it here. Working out some kinks (personal and otherwise) and praying for patience. The Lord really is blessing us, so I’ve just got to work hard and do my best. I’m kind of in a funk, so I’m working on getting out of it. Nothing too serious. I still love my mission and the work.

Hopefully that provides some information! I miss and love you all, especially this time of year. Christmas time is a blast at the Webb house, and it’s less of a blast at the Webb-Konecki house. Whatevs. It’s part of the experience. I also got my Christmas package, but I haven’t opened it yet. I’m a good boy! Look what I can do! I’m very excited to talk to yous on Christmas. You’re all wonderful.

Love you lots.

Elder Webb
Looks like we’re going to get 30-ish (?!) minutes on Christmas morning, but it will be free and include video (thank you, Al Gore and George Jetson).

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Friday, December 13, 2013


Great stuff from Elder Eli this week, so we’ll get right to it. (Read through for pictures, below.)

Good tidings, familia!

This has been a crazy week. Like I mentioned, I got transferred! I was sent down to Edmonton, in the Coronation Park ward. So far, I love it. The members are fantastic, and the area is really sweet. Completely different from Peace River. We use public transportation a lot. Technically we are in a car share area (“car sharea”), but we share with the Sisters in the ward so we usually let them have it.

My companion is Elder Konecki, from Wilton, CA. He only has one brother, named Max. He loves the Beatles and Zelda. You could say we get along. He’s been doing a good job of showing me the city ropes, and I’ve done a good job of making him want to serve in Peace River (read: deer-antler knife). He’s been out three months, so technically I’m the senior companion, but he’s senior in the area so we’re kind of on the same page.

We had a crazy miracle this last week. We got a text from a man who introduced himself, and said that he and his wife would like to take the discussions. We went to his house a few days later and started talking. We were sort of testing the water and I said, “So, what do you want to get out of these meetings?” And he said, “Well, we want to take the discussions so we can be baptized and get sealed in the temple.” Good enough for us!

We taught them the first lesson, and at the end they set their own baptismal date for February 22! I’ve been out long enough to know that this doesn’t happen, yet I can’t figure out why the Lord has seen fit to give me such wonderful opportunities. I won’t complain, though. I’ve had an amazing six months, and I hope to continue to have an amazing 18! (By the way, that was the fastest six months of my life. Whoopee!)

Also, I have received my Christmas package. I hate having it yell at me in the corner of our apartment (when I say “yell,” imagine that commercial with the stain on the shirt). I’m very excited to open it. Thank you for being proactive and sending me such wonderful things! (I'm assuming they’re wonderful, I suppose I don't actually know.)

I love you all! Thank you for keeping me posted on things. Keep up the good work!

Elder Webb

We’re grateful he survived Peace River (and vice versa), and we’re eager for continued reports of miracles, wellness and (yeah, yeah) coldness.

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Monday, December 2, 2013


We’ve had a couple of short-ish messages from Elder Eli, and one a little longer. He’s now within sight of civilization now (if being near a mall counts as “civilized”). He’s promised pictures, so we’ll keep an eye out.

2 December 2013 
I miss you guys, but it's not to the point of being a hindrance. Not even close, actually. I know I'll see you all in about 18 months (crazy), so it's not so bad. My Thanksgiving didn't really happen until Saturday (although Canadian Thanksgiving happens before Halloween). Some members invited us over and gave us a Thanksgiving feast. Delicious. I think on American Thanksgiving day I actually ended up having pizza. Still pretty tasty!

I'm getting transferred! I've been here for about six months, so it's time for me to head out. Maybe I'm too much of a Northern Snowback (thank you Dean Diesel), but now I'm being sent down to the city! My area is called Coronation Park. West Edmonton Mall is in my area, and I'm like 10 minutes away from the temple! I'm super excited. I've got no idea about my new companion. I don't even know how to spell his name. So I guess I'll give an update next week.

I finished my deer antler knife, so I'll send pictures of that next week. Brace yourselves.

Love you all! Thanks for writing!

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25 November 2013 
Hello family! I love and miss you all.

[In response to his mother’s musings on this year’s Christmas tree] I've been sending serious vibes from Canada telling you not to get a fake tree. Don't you dare Berta! Honor my service by treating this Christmas with the respect it deserves! Hang in there. "I can do hard things!" I believe in you.

Yeah, we've seen some serious cold up here, but we're taking care of ourselves. I've got an excellent hat that doesn't let in any cold, and your head is the majority of the battle. I'm totally good for winter things for now. I think. Maybe.

I have not received my Halloween package yet, but I am expecting it within the week. Such is life. Sometimes the mail is super quick, and sometimes you just miss your window and you've got to wait ages. I honestly don't mind, though. Just knowing that I have one and that you care is good enough for the moment. I also like the fact that I'm not dying to get it, so it doesn't become a distraction. I consider that a blessing.

In regards to our teaching, we have not baptized the elderly woman. In fact, as of right now, she's dead set against it. But, she's still letting us come over and read the Book of Mormon with her, so that's nice.

The Jamaican family dropped us cold. Andrea (the mom) wasn't answering any of our calls and they wouldn't answer the door when we knocked, so I had the idea to call her using the church phone. She answered at the second ring, we told her we haven't been able to get a hold of her and that we missed her, then she just said she was in a bad place and that she couldn't do this right now. Then the call was over and we haven't spoken since.

I don't know how to get people to understand that this Gospel is the VERY BEST thing that can get you out of a bad spot. Sometimes, people get into tricky situations or something happens, and the Gospel is the first thing to go. That is the complete opposite of what should happen. This Gospel is the thing we should hold onto above all else. It's the one thing that will never let us down. Satan is very good at making it seem inconvenient. Don't let him!

Recognize that no matter what sort of problem you've got, you are entitled to receive comfort and strength through the Atonement. It's all-encompassing and eternal; no one is exempt. Jesus Christ suffered and died for ALL of us, regardless of whether or not we take advantage of that.

Ignoring the church and its teachings doesn't change the fact that you've been atoned for. Let's look at a trial like a flat tire, and the church like a jack. You're driving along, and you get a flat. You step out, survey the damage, then decide that you are going to try and lift the car and change the tire at the same time, even though you've got a perfectly good jack in the trunk. As you try to lift, you find that the car is a bit heavier than you expected, so you try to shed some weight. Instead of using the jack for what it was meant to do, you just see it as extra weight, and something that's maybe stopping you from getting the job done and dealing with the flat tire. So, you empty out the trunk, jack and all, and try to lift the car again. So many people are still at this point, trying to lift a car that is far beyond their strength, even though they've got a perfectly good jack a few feet away. The jack is still available to them, as the Gospel is to all of us, but whether it be through pride, ignorance, embarrassment or guilt, so many of us are unwilling to use the healing, strengthening power freely given to us through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Everyone is going to end up with flat tires. The difference lies in whether or not we're willing to use the jack of the gospel, fix what has been damaged, and continue on the road to our ultimate goal and destination: eternal life.

I know that whatever problems we may be put up against are for our experience and will make us better in the end, if we rely on our Savior and not on our own, inferior strength. If you see a loved one struggling to lift a car, help them realize that they've got help and support just a few feet away, and if they've maybe misplaced their jack, lend them yours. This Gospel is for everyone.

As always, thank you for reading! Write, if you feel so inclined.

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

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Monday, November 11, 2013

-14° F AT LAST

Now that the Official Weather of Canada has begun, masochistic parents can relax — and then un-relax and pray that the lad remembers his layers and layers of costly apparel and fine-twined linens (they’d better be pretty danged fine-twined, I’ll tell you what...).
Hello friends!

I’m glad you’re reading this! If you are, it probably means you care a little bit about me, which is nice. I guess you could be an enemy doing some fact-finding in an attempt to find the best way to destroy me, in which case I applaud you for being so thorough.

This week was good! The temperature continues to plummet. So far, the coldest I’ve seen has been -25 degrees Celsius [-14° F]. And it really only gets worse. People say that January is the coldest, and we've still got a while before we hit that.

The work is going well. We’ve been meeting with a former investigator named Andrea, and she’s progressing fabulously. She’s from Jamaica, and she has three kids. We had a fantastic lesson with her this week, and she’s now on date to be baptized! We’re looking forward to it and hoping that she stays committed.

It would appear that my time in Peace River is drawing to a close. Average time in an area is four transfers (roughly six months) and I’m coming to the end of my fourth here. Obviously, I’ll be where the Lord wants me to be, and if that means I stay in Peace River for another transfer, that’s where I’ll gladly stay. That being said, I’ll also gladly go. Really, whatever happens I’ll be happy with. Elder Murray and I get along great, so I’ll be sad to leave him. (We should be finishing up our antler knives today, so you could say I’m pretty excited.)

This week was a blur. We’re still able to do some service, even though it’s negative freezing outside. Elder Murray and I lament daily the fact that A) missionaries can’t grow beards, and B) he and I can’t physically grow beards. It’d be such an effective combatant against the cold. Alas.

Well, thank you all for reading (even if you are an enemy), and go ahead and write if you feel so inclined!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb
Yep, that’s our boy.

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Monday, November 4, 2013


It’s November 4 — five months into Livin’ La Vida Canadian — and we’re just now getting into the possibility of a chill in the Albertan air. (Not that we’ve been obsessing over it....)

The lad laments the differences in Hallowe’en celebrations — not the least of which was the overabundance of the pseudo-hilarious greeting “Great costumes! Mormon missionaries, right?” Who knew part of the patience, tolerance and love development would have to come from his comedy-snobbery? (His parents, that’s who.)

Hello loved ones!

This week has been full of change. Not really with missionary work, or my area, or my companion.

No, the change I speak of is in the weather. You'll forgive me for speaking in Celsius, but I'm afraid that's what I know at this point. Last week it was sunny and we were sitting at a balmy 8 degrees [47° F] during the day. That was in the early-mid week. It was actually one of the few years where there wasn't a few inches/feet of snow on Halloween. Huzzah! But, two days later we were looking at temperatures of -10 [14° F] during the day. Zoinks. You'd think that Nature would be a tad more gradual/lenient/merciful. Nope. Mother Nature seems to be a fickle mistress in this neck of the woods, and what she says goes.

At this point, I'm sure my mom is worrying about me taking care to dress warmly and wondering if she sent me with ample long johns. (Mom, don't worry, I've only lost two toes and a small chunk of my left ear to frostbite.)

Aside from the physical happenings, the work has been going well! I've had an increasing fascination with fasting lately, and I'm striving to gain a better understanding through prayer, scripture study, and yes, fasting. So far, what I've gathered is that fasting can be pretty powerful. Sometimes we take it for granted, but if you fast and accompany that with earnest prayer and true faith, you'll see miracles. I guarantee it.

Here are some direct results from fasting found in the scriptures: increased faith and humility, the filling of our souls with joy and consolation, and the sanctification and purifying of our hearts. If that's not worth giving up two meals I don't know what is. As always, don't take my word for it, but try it out for yourself! I can promise good results.

Thanks for reading!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

Not everyone dissects these missives in the same way, of course, but we can count Mom and Dad among THOSE WHO WOULD APPRECIATE A MINIMAL REPORT on the FASCINATION, the POWER, and the MIRACLES OF FASTING as alluded to in this week’s letter. Anyone with further information is welcomed to share in the comments....

Love (argh) that (grumble) boy!

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