Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Weirdest thing: February 2015 IS OVER! It is impossible* to comprehend how a full month could have slipped by without a posting from these two diligent servants.

* It is not impossible, it’s sad. The servants did their part; it’s their brave, delusional, time-ignorant father who did not his part.

BEHOLD a run of five (5) letters from Elder Eli, presented in reverse chronological order:

March 2, 2015 
Hello loved ones!

I pray that you are happy and well! This was an excellent week! Let’s get to it.

The highlight of this week was Saturday. If you look at my Facebook profile you’ll see that I’ve been tagged in some photos doing some day-to-day activities, and you’ll notice that a lot of the photos have the hashtag “#YEGMormon”. Missionaries in Edmonton had the opportunity to participate in what we’ve called a social media split. Members joined us throughout the day to document what we do and put it on social media, using specific hashtags so that they would trend in the area. It was so great to see the members getting involved and getting excited! I’m grateful for them and for their willingness. So go check out what I did that day on my page! 
It also helps that we got a new investigator on Saturday! We were stopping by some houses of less-active members and potential investigators, and Elder Ergas had the idea to try by a former investigator named Brian. He was taught last year for a bit but then work got busy and he hadn’t interacted with missionaries in months. We stopped by and were let right in. Apparently he still reads the Book of Mormon and definitely feels that there’s truth in it! We taught a lesson right there and set up a return appointment. It was so cool because he leaves for work in Calgary on Sundays and doesn’t get back until Fridays, so Saturdays are the only days he’s home all day, and that was when we stopped by! Coincidence? No way. I’ve been on a mission long enough to know that God’s hand is in all things. If we do what we’re supposed to, we’re blessed. It’s simple! The only thing that stops us from being blessed is ourselves. Stop being proud! Stop being selfish! Give yourself to Heavenly Father and everything will work in your favor! We’ll still have trials, obviously, but we’ll at least have the strength and power to overcome those trials! I was sent a lovely quote this week that I’d like to share with you:

“Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!’” -Elder Neal A. Maxwell

We are given trials so that we can have the opportunity to choose to follow Jesus Christ! Every day, every hour we have that choice. What’s comforting is that even when we make the wrong choice, we can repent and make the right choice next time. I’m grateful for the Atonement and for that fact that we have to choose to use it! No one is going to be saved against their will! We choose in all things. We can’t choose our consequences, but we can make the choices that will lead to the best consequences. Let’s go for that!

Every Thursday we have the opportunity to volunteer at an extended care hospital with the old folks. Most of the residents are in wheelchairs and have some kind of disability, and for the most part the disabilities are physical.. On Thursdays we help them play games like Yahtzee or Crib, or we get to play with them! They love us there and we’ve got good relationships with them. There is one table where they play Scrabble, and the same four people are at the table every week. I’d had my eye on the Scrabble table for a while hoping to test my skills against these seasoned vets. One of the guys at the Scrabble table is one of the smartest men I’ve met, and he always impresses everyone with his trivia prowess. I don’t know what it is about old people and their games, but I get particularly competitive when I face them. This week I noticed a vacancy at the Scrabble table and I jumped on it. There was a warm welcome and we started the game. It was a struggle, to be sure. First of all, I don’t remember the last time I played Scrabble, and second, I got the “Q” and the “X”! I did endure, however, and I’m proud to say that I came out on top. I won! And before my parents make any comments about me picking on the old people or taking advantage of them in their frail, diminished state, I assure you that they were all smart as whips and very gracious losers. It was a polite, mature game, and the best man won. Simple as that. I’m itching to get back to that table.

The weather is cold but things are warming up! Canada is a cold place.

Darn! I swear I had a funny story to tell, and I swear it had something to do with an Egg McMuffin. Nope, it’s gone. Maybe next week.

Thank you all for reading! Go and check out my Facebook and see a little bit of what went down on Saturday! Especially look for the video entitled “Come and See (#YEGMormon)”. It was done by a girl who was shadowing some YSA Sisters in my district. It’s really well done and I’m in it for a second! (Also, YEG is the airport code for Edmonton, similar to JFK or YYZ for other airports. Also, I just realized that the band Rush wouldn’t even pronounce their song “YYZ” like we do! Since they’re Canadian they would say “Wy-wy-zed”! Oh the humanity!)

Thanks for reading!

Keep the faith,
Elder Webb

•  •  •

February 23, 2015 
Hey all! I hope you had a great week! I sure did! I’m not sure that much happened in the week was particularly great, actually, but it’s all about perspective! We can and should have a positive outlook even and especially when things aren’t going our way. 
The work is slow right now. We need new investigators, and we’re just not finding them. I know, however, that if we work hard and put our trust in the Lord, we’ll be blessed. It might not even be with investigators! It’s not our place to say how or when we should receive blessings. Heavenly Father knows what’s best for us and, if we let him, he will bless us immeasurably! 
Good news about the work: there’s a less-active member who’s been struggling with the word of wisdom and he came to church yesterday! He hadn’t been since I’d been in the area, and Elder Ergas said that he had come only two or three times before I got there. It’s so gratifying to see people at church, no matter who they are! I love seeing faithful members there every week, even when they have five rambunctious kids in tow. I love seeing the old retired couples there who converted to the church when they were newly married and have enjoyed the blessings of the gospel and the temple ever since. I love seeing those who haven’t been to church in years come back for the first time and be welcomed by the ward. I love seeing newcomers to the church there for the first time ever, exercising their faith and seeing if this gospel has anything to offer them. Church attendance is so crucial! If you aren’t going for one reason or another, find a way to go. I promise you’ll be blessed. Don’t take my word for it, though, see for yourself! 
We had the opportunity to have interviews with President Manion last week! I’ve mentioned my love and respect for him quite often, but only because he’s been such an integral force in my mission! He has played a large part in my becoming the missionary and man (boy) I am currently. Again I was impressed at and grateful for his love and care for each of the missionaries he has stewardship over. Our talks are always very candid and real. There’s no fluff, there’s no beating around the bush. He knows me as a missionary and as a person, and he wants me to be the best of both. He started talking to me about school and getting ready to go home and it really freaked me out. The time is flying. I’ve already started looking into school things and it is stressful. Woof. But, I’m excited to get the most out of these next four months and to help people and have good experiences. 
I’m grateful to know the people I know and if you’re reading this you’re probably one of them! I’m grateful for you, reader, and I know that your Heavenly Father loves you very much. Just follow him! I promise he won’t lead you astray, and that you’ll be happier than you ever thought possible. 
Thanks for reading! 
Keep the faith, 
Elder Eli
•  •  •

February 18, 2015 
Happy late Valentine’s Day! 
This was a great week! I couldn’t email on Monday because the library was closed for most of the day, then yesterday we had zone conference which took up most of the day, so here we are! 
I’m glad I get to email today, though, because yesterday I got my Valentine’s package and now I can talk about it! Thank you so so so much Momma for putting together such a fantastic Valentine’s hunt! And thanks to some members of my extended family for the notes! I love you all so much. Ian, what kind of Pokémon deck do you have? Jonah, what kind of Magic deck do you have? Dane, you didn’t mention that you play any card games, but I’m assuming you do. It’s so good to hear from all of you! Y’all made my Valentine’s day. 
As I mentioned, we had our zone conference yesterday. It’s always great to receive trainings from President Manion and to see other missionaries. There were definitely some things said and taught that I needed to hear and learn! We can always improve and be better. Even though I’ve been on my mission for 20 months, I’ve not even come close to being a perfect missionary. Heavenly Father understands the growth process, however, and he loves us no matter what. I’ve got growing to do for these next four months and for the rest of my life, but I’m grateful for a patient Father in Heaven that blesses me and guides me even and especially when I’m imperfect. I’m also grateful for patient earthly parents who love me and guide me as well. Thanks to mom and dad for being great! 
The work has been pretty slow of late, but we’re making efforts to pick it up. I don’t remember whether or not I mentioned it last week, but Curtis doesn’t live in our area which means we need to pass him over. No problem! We just need to find some investigators in our area now! As we show the Lord our willingness to work and be obedient, we’ll be blessed. 
That being said, I need to increase my efforts in working harder and being more obedient. I feel like I can give the Lord more than I’m giving currently, so I’m going to work on that. I’m telling all of you so that I’m accountable. I’m accountable whether I like it or not, but telling others gives me more motivation to change. I know we’re blessed when we do what’s right! 
Thank you all for your love and stuff! You are examples to me and I’m grateful for you. Keep reading! Write if you want. I can’t promise a response within a week, or even a month. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I have emails from last year that I haven’t responded to. I’m sorry and I love you! There. That’s your response. If it isn’t satisfactory, email me again and we’ll give this another shot. 
The church is true! 
Keep the faith, 
Elder Webb, North

•  •  •

February 9, 2015 
Hello all! 
I apologize ahead of time if this email isn’t up to snuff, I’ve got to figure out things for school registration while I’m on the computer. Jinkies! Back to reality. I’ll make it as good as I can. 
This week was pretty good! Still in transition with figuring out the work in Ellerslie, but things are looking up! Curtis is doing well, but this week I found out that he doesn’t even live in our area! He’s been taught for a few weeks and wasn’t ever passed over to the proper missionaries. So now we’ve got to pass him over. It doesn’t matter where he’s taught as long as he accepts the gospel, but it is hard to lose an investigator. For now we’re just trying to coordinate with the ward counsel and figure out the best way to work with the members. 
I don’t remember if I mentioned it last week, but Ellerslie is a busing area. Goodness gracious it’s been cold. The wind chill has been hovering around -30 degrees all week, which is no fun when you’re waiting at a bus stop. It’s alright, though. Just comes with the territory. 
Sometimes the menu items are different at restaurants in Canada vs. USA, so I’m not sure if this even applies to my American comrades, but if it does, heed me. You may have seen that McDonald’s released a new item called the CBO (Chicken Bacon Onion). It may look tempting, but don’t buy it. So not worth the money. I just burped and all I was filled with was regret. You’d be better off sticking with a dollar-menu McDouble. Cheaper and tastier. Sorry, that was just on my mind. 
I’m grateful for all of the opportunities we have to change. Each new day is a chance to do better. Our loving Heavenly Father provided us with new days so that when we screw this one up at least we’ll have tomorrow. That’s not doctrine, but it does make sense. Heavenly Father wants us to take advantage of these opportunities for change. We can’t let the days slip by while we wallow in mediocrity. We need to wake up, realize that there is a better life for us, then take the steps necessary to make that better life happen. We can’t blame anyone but ourselves if we’re not happy. Bad things happen, yes, but that doesn’t mean that we have an excuse to set our sights anywhere below excellence. We all have divine potential within ourselves. It’s our job to create an environment that is conducive to our growth and betterment. We can have a better life today, right now! It’s all possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If we apply that in our lives, we’re set. Now do it! 
Thanks for reading. You are all wonderful people. 
Keep the faith, 
Elder Eli

•  •  •

February 2, 2015 
This has been an interesting week. I got to my new area and honestly there wasn’t much going on. We had to really stretch more than once when we were planning for the next day. 
What was interesting is that I finally have a good idea of what I’m doing! I heard this happens with missionaries — missionary work starts to make sense and come naturally right before they go home — but it’s actually started to happen! I just keep thinking “Huh, this is easier than it was at the beginning of my mission.” 
For instance, we’re in a walking/public transit area and I can strike up a conversation on the bus like it’s nothing! I’ve obviously still got lots to learn, and I’ve nowhere near perfected my missionary efforts, but things come more naturally now! It’s kinda nice! I’m more fearless about extending baptismal invitations, planning and companionship study is less of a drag, and waking up at 6:30 is so much more tolerable! Kinda cool. 
It’s led to some cool blessings as well. For instance, we’ve got an investigator named Curtis who’s been taught for a few weeks now. In our first lesson with him since my coming into the area, we talked a lot about the importance of baptism and how essential it is. We were able to testify with boldness and he ended up agreeing to a baptismal date of March 7th! Very exciting. I hope to see a lot of good things happen in this area. 
Elder Ergas is great. He’s from Georgia, and you really should hear him say the word “Georgia”. He’s super chill and calm, but a really funny guy. He’s got a great heart and he sincerely wants to help people. We have a good time. He’s 22, and he’s come through a lot. He didn’t really have any support to go on a mission. He wasn’t really active for most of his life, but one day he felt like he should get his patriarchal blessing. He got it, and in it it said he would serve a mission. He did what he needed to and here he is today! President Manion told me that I’ll likely be with him for just one transfer then I’ll train for my last two. Nothing is certain, though. I mean, who are we to tell Heavenly Father the plan? 
I had a cool experience with the assignment process President Manion goes through. I called him after we got our transfer calls and I asked him what his process was specifically for me and his decision to send me to Ellerslie. I’m nearing the end of my mission and I wanted to pick his brain. He told me that he felt that I could help Elder Ergas and the Ellerslie ward, and that I would be good for the situation. He explained that I’d probably be with him for one transfer then train. Then after he explained he said, “So, that was my idea and it was confirmed by the Lord.” It was so cool for me to hear that. I’ve always had complete trust and faith that we’re sent where we’re needed and we’re paired with whom we’re supposed to be, but it was special to hear that Heavenly Father confirmed President Manion’s thought in regard to my assignment specifically. I’m grateful for the leadership of President Manion and for his love for each of us. I’m grateful for his inspiration and qualification for the Spirit so that what needs to happen in our missions happens. 
This will likely be my last area, and I’m so excited to do good work here. My ward is great! Holy cow, I didn’t really process it until I left, but YSA sacrament meetings are so quiet! We’ve got a particularly young ward, so there are more kids and babies than normal (!), and my goodness it’s hard to focus. There are so many little ones that I want to love me! I got up and bore my testimony and started with a joke about the volume compared to YSA and it got a good laugh. I’m in! Still got it! Our bishopric is fantastic as well. I am really excited to coordinate with them and make good things happen. 
Thursday marks my 20th month on a mission! Unbelievable. Time has flown. These paragraphs aren’t really cohesive, I realize that. I’m just writing as it comes to my mind. The church is true! It was hard to leave Rainbow Valley and Elder Babb, but I made some spectacular friends in that ward and I know that I’ll see them again. I’m really excited for Skyler because he’s been approved to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and he’s asked me to perform the ordinance! It will likely happen in May, and I couldn’t be happier! I feel so blessed to have been a part of his conversion, even though the role I played was small. This will be a unique experience for both of us! 
I’m grateful for a restored church led and operated by God’s priesthood, and I’m grateful that Heavenly Father trusts us enough to exercise it in His name. I’m also grateful for my earthly father and for his righteous exercise of the priesthood in our home. Dad, you’ve set a great example. Thanks for all you’ve done! 
I’ll close with probably the best news ever: a few days ago a Sister in my zone called me a hipster mountain man. The church is true. 
Thanks for reading! Heavenly Father loves each of us and has a plan for us. If we are obedient, we are entitled to all of the blessings we’ve been promised! Love God more than you love yourself and you’re set. Have a good week! 
Keep the faith, 
Elder Webb

 •  •  •