Monday, November 30, 2015

A Wonderful Evening at Temple Square!

Last week Jessica asked us to reach out to M&L over the Thanksgiving weekend.  M&L are currently being taught by Jessica and have embraced the gospel with love and gratitude.  They were in Lehi visiting M's daughter for the holiday.  I texted L on Tuesday, inviting her to dinner and Temple Square on Saturday evening.  She immediately responded back accepting our invitation!  We were SO excited to meet this wonderful couple that Jessica loves so much!

M&L are in their 50's.  They were married 22 years ago after both of their first marriages ended in divorce.  M brought 5 children into the marriage and L brought 3.  They really love each other and L told me over and over that they are a great "team" together.  It was apparent they are!

Last year L's 32 year old daughter took her own life.  It was very unexpected.  She had been struggling with endometriosis her entire marriage and it became so painful they prescribed pain meds.  She developed an addiction to them, but with the help of her sweet husband and M&L she had broken free from the addiction.  Then she had a horrible recurrence and went into the hospital on  a Friday.  The doctors felt they needed to give her some relief, so they prescribed some meds again and sent her home.  M&L live 2 house away from their daughter and her husband.  On Monday morning L found her, passed away, in her home.  It was devastating for all of them.

Shortly after, the LDS missionaries knocked on their door.  M described it like this to me.  "We were  both raised Catholic, but hadn't been practicing Christians since we were young.  We needed God more than ever, but were too grief stricken to seek Him out.  The missionaries found us and helped us find God.  It was meant to be!"  He told me about some very sacred experiences that confirmed to him that God cared and was close by.  He was much quicker to accept the gospel than his wife, L, was.  He started attending church and felt so much peace there.  After awhile, L said she decided to join him.  She said they had always been a great team and she knew they needed to continue to be.  She was much more skeptical of the church.  They ended up taking the lessons several times from the Elders and attending several churches.  She then told me about being able to feel the "Holy
Spirit" so strongly when she was at the Mormon church and when the missionaries would visit their home.  When the sister started visiting them, it changed a lot for her.  She could relate to the sister missionaries easier than the Elders.

She describes the day Jessica landed in Long Beach.  M&L were the first house she visited!  L said she had red, puffy, watery eyes from crying.  She was very timid and quiet.  Now L is a larger than life woman!  She has SPUNK!  She loves DEEPLY!  She immediately took to Jessica and loved her.  She grabbed Jes and embraced her and told her there would be "no crying at my house!".  Jessica smiled and over the next several weeks a wonderful relationship ensued.  L calls the sisters "my girls" and she really means it!  They meet with them twice a week for lessons and she is SO generous with them.  She buys them shakes at In-And-Out, she spoils them with gifts and looks over them like their mother.  She  said if an appointment falls through, they will stop by and say Hi.  She told me she can imagine how much we must miss Jessica because she is the "apple of my eye".

As we visited with them on Saturday night at Costa Vida with all of our girls, they had a sparkle in their eye!  They kept taking pictures and next thing I know, L is texting Jessica and her companion!  She told me how annoyed she was that they only had a flip-phone because they couldn't get pictures or emoticons.  She also told me how badly she wanted to take them to Knotsberry Farm, which is just a few miles from their home, but that LDS missionaries "can't do anything fun!".  We laughed and laughed together.

They loved temple square! As we visited with them about the history and the purpose of temple square, it became apparent very quickly how young they were in the their knowledge of the gospel.  We both came home and commented how we take for granted our knowledge and understanding of the gospel!  The highlight of the trip for L was the Christus.  As you can imagine, it was crowded!  As we waited for our turn to  view the Christus, there was a feeling of reverence.  When were got up there, the  big group sat down and the sister missionaries shared their testimony of Christ.  L was overcome and felt the Spirit so strongly.

Next we went to the Conference Center.  We had a quiet moment, away from the crowds there.  M & L shared some very personal feelings with us.  I was struck as M talked about faith and L talked about a desire to believe.  They said that they had learned that this was the key to feeling the Spirit.  As they exercised faith and belief and then ACTED on those feelings, they had felt a peace that surpassed their understanding.  They had also felt their daughter closest to them during these times.  M then expressed gratitude for being with us right there.  He said he knew there were no coincidences and that God puts people into our lives for  a reason.  Scott was able to share his own powerful witness of Jesus Christ with them.  It was an incredible moment together.

On the way home we found out that these two own Harley Davidson motorcycles and LOVE to ride!  It's about their only hobby, next to their 12 grandchildren.  They also told us how important their ward family is to them.  Upon attending, they were immediately embraced and welcomed!  They rely on these ward members so much and get together with them outside of church often.  I was reminded how important this is as members!  We must get to know, love, and embrace those who are being taught by the missionaries!  It is vital to their conversion and fellowship.

M&L are still unsure on a date for baptism, but they said they are close.  I have had many impressions of how I can continue to reach out to them and support them in the gospel.  It has been a neat experience for me.  L told us that they heard through the grapevine that when the Elders found out the Sisters were teaching them again, the Elders jokingly said, "Why are you wasting your time on M&L?".  L told me that Jessica quickly responded, "We will never give up on M&L!  We love them!  This touched both of them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sail Your Ship!

This week was crazy busy. 

I had my first Zone Meeting on Friday and I got to see my Grandparents! That was a ton of fun! We had a member of the seventy come and talk to us, and he talked about how important love is in missionary work and life in general. 

An elderly sister in our ward died this week and that was really sad.  We spent some time preparing for her funeral. It was hard, but it was good.  We visited her every week, and she passed away unexpectedly after a stroke.  I will miss her.  

We had two less active members at church this week which was a miracle.  I really enjoy talking to them and helping them remember things they knew.  It's fun to be their friends too! They are usually really nice.  Sometimes they tell you to go away and never come back, but in general they are usually nice. 

We had really good Thai food this week at a place called Sweetie Thai, but we also got to try Nigerian food!  Hillary, a recent convert, made it for us and it was so much fun.

Even though I'm only in California, we see many religions and nationalities every day.  It's crazy.  Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Evangelical, Catholic, JW, and a few creepy evil religions. We also meet many who are agnostic and atheist. It's insane.  Most of them are not "from California".  This is truly a melting pot of cultures and religions.  It reminds me of my Singapore experience!  

This week I was reading in an old Ensign and I read, "A ship is safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are for". 

Ships were made for adventure and travel, but the adventures and travels are long and hard for the ship.  It could stay parked in the harbor, but then it wouldn't really be accomplishing anything.  There are two ways to get out of the harbor.  You can move the ship yourself, or nature can move it for you.  It's always important to be moving.  Maybe you can rest at a harbor occasionally to refuel, but put yourself out there.  Learn new things, try to improve.  There will always be another harbor but enjoy the adventure while it lasts.  

I love you all, Have a good week!  

Love, Jess

Monday, November 16, 2015

Members & Hugs

Most awkward mission moment so far:  M., our new investigator, started coming in for "The Hug" and I made a super weird squeaking noise and freaked out.  My companion was dying from laughter, and M felt super awkward.  No offense to the person who made that rule, but SERIOUSLY!! WAS THAT RULE REALLY NECESSARY!!

This week was fast (I'm praying that next week will be the same). We had a lesson with M, and we saw him on Saturday.  It was a ton of fun.  He is so nice to us.  We also had a two lessons with couple in their 50's, and THEY SET A BAPTISMAL DATE! It's in January on the 23.  We are really excited. 

We also saw a less active member who is hardly ever home. She is really nice.  Bishop was excited that we made contact with her.  

I want to talk about a few of the members here that I love!

Sister P: She is Filipino and is one of the ward missionaries. She comes to many lessons with us and is always serving us.  She gives us food, she makes sure we are well, and she pushes us to work hard and do our best.  She really cares about us, and is always there for us. 

Brother L: He reminds me of my dad.  He tends to get pushed to the background because he is quiet but he has a heart of gold.  He is the ward clerk and fulfills his calling 110%. His wife passed away and his daughters have moved out. He is alone but he does his best to be happy.  We talk a lot and we get along really well.  He is so kind to me, and we both need friends so we are each others friends. 

Sister P: She is pretty much my ward mom. She always wants to know if I'm okay and she is always making sure we are well fed and cared for. She loves us so much and shows it by serving us.  She comes out to lessons with us constantly and helps us with anything we need.  I love her so much.  She has been such a blessing.

I want to be like them.  I want to be the member that the missionary writes home about and says "I love them. They helped me." A missionary cannot be effective without a members help.  Members touch lives, and those members that go above and beyond change lives. It's so important to recognize where you are weak, and where God wants you to be better.  Many times we can become better by trying to be a better member of the church.  The kind of member that a missionary would write home about :)

I love you all!  Love Sister Webb

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Gratitude and Continued Patience

Hello Everyone!

I know this is strange, but ever since college I get really excited for church on Sundays.  There is something about sacrament meeting and all the classes that feels like home.  Sundays are probably my favorite day of the week.  

There wasn't anything to abnormal about this week.  The zone leaders (who are in our district) had a baptism that we got to go and see, and I had to play the piano at the zone meeting.Sister Larsen (the member we live with) has a grand piano in her living room.  I play it all the time and love it!  The Relief Society President took us to go get Indian food on Friday and it was a ton of fun. She lived in Logan for a while, so we had a lot to talk about. 

This week I've been trying to be patient and grateful.  It has been going okay. 

I thought for the longest time that God wanted me to be patient with others and their decisions, so until Wednesday I was working on that.  I was trying to be patient with everyone else, but I was still feeling tense and disappointed at times throughout the day.  I was wondering, "What more can I do?"  I wanted to get rid of that feeling. 

So I prayed long and hard for an answer to what more I could do.  We packed up and went to visit Brother M. He is an old man who can't go to church anymore because he has a hard time getting there.  We sat on his couch, and he randomly started talking about patience.  The first thing he said was, "Sometimes we forget that patience involves being patient with ourselves."

I almost started crying right there.  

I find it hard to be patient with myself.  I still get pretty homesick at times, and I still have a hard time talking to everyone.  I have so many goals I am trying to accomplish, and even when I narrow them down to one at a time, it's hard to see the leaps of progress I want to have.  I need to be patient with where I am and who I am.  If I try, God will do the rest.  He really is there and He blesses me more than I understand.  He is my best friend, and He knows me better than anybody. 

My favorite part of being a missionary is bearing testimony of Him every day.  I love Him so much, and He has helped me out here so much. I feel so blessed to be able to tell others about Him. 

We have some great investigators right now.  One couple are in their 50's.  We spend a lot of time with them and they are growing to love the gospel.  They come to church every Sunday.  I feel so close to this woman.  She reminds me of my aunts that I love so much!  They are going to be in Lehi for Thanksgiving Mom, so maybe you could connect with them!  I know they would love to meet our family!

Have a good week everyone and please continue to write me! 

Love, Jess

Monday, November 2, 2015

Funny Stories . . .

I don't have a lot of time this week, but this week was a ton of fun!

I'll share two funny stories: 

First: We were at the car wash and we were vacuuming the car... and I sucked up my skirt.  Anyone that was looking saw my garments... lots of my garments... and it was so much fun trying to get my skirt out of the vacuum.  Yep. My companion was rolling on the ground she was laughing so hard. I didn't think it was that funny till we got out of there.

Second:  Our appointment with a new investigator had fallen through and we were both frustrated and tired. We were street contacting and a lady opened the door and she had a parrot on her head.  A REAL LIFE PARROT ON TOP OF HER HEAD.  She looked and said "I'm not interested today" and then closed the door, and my companion shouted back, "WELL WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW". 
I don't know why it was so funny but we laughed for a while and kept working :)

This week was fun, I'm working hard and trying to do my best. I love you all, and we had spiritual experiences this week too...THANK YOU for your letters, your love, and your prayers!

Love, Sister Webb

**Side note from an email with Jessica and her Mom today***

Mom:  Please be careful with the 19 year-old investigator (whom you told us was using drugs) you are teaching!   I would really prefer you send the Elders over there!!

Jessica:  Okie Dokie, but he's the BOMB.COM and I have to hand him off to the YSA Elders anyway.


Sunday night was the "Departing Missionary Fireside".  The Elders and Sisters who are not leaving for home are invited if they bring an investigator or perform a musical number.  Jessica and her companion brought an investigator and met MOM AND DAD!!  It was a JOYFUL reunion for all of them and Jessica told me she will do what it takes to make it to these every 6 weeks so she can see Grandma and Grandpa!!

Jessica found out this weekend that she will stay in Cypress with Sister Similai through the next transfer (which is 6 more weeks).  She loves her companion!!