Sister Tanner's week started off with lots of fun on Monday the 16th. It was the last P-day before transfers, so all the missionaries enjoyed a fun day of sports, and a white elephant gift exchange. With the missionaries' limited budgets, you can imagine how silly and creative the gifts were! It was a fun way to celebrate Christmas together before many of the missionaries were transferred. After the fun day, Sister Tanner spent Family Home Evening with a wonderful family from her ward. They had a fun Christmas lesson, and even made ornaments together!
Sister Tanner loved having the opportunity to teach a new family on Tuesday. The lesson went amazing! The family truly "soaked it all in", and even committed to read The Book of Mormon! After their lesson, the Sisters met up with the Elders in their ward and went caroling. They went to an area called Candy Cane Lane, which is a group of 5 streets that go all out with decorations and lights! The missionaries had so much fun sharing the true message of Christmas through music! However, it seemed they came across more "grinches" than they had expected. Sister Tanner said, "We were just singing, not even trying to teach. It just goes to show how much people have lost the true meaning of Christmas! Even the houses with millions of lights and decorations. Christmas isn't about how many decorations we have, it's about the Savior, but many people can't even stop to hear a well known carol about him. We went home saddened, not by the doors slammed, but by the message rejected and the huge factor that these people had forgotten about." It breaks my heart to think that people could be so disconnected from the true meaning of Christmas. It just goes to show how many people really need the spirit of Christ in their lives!
Wednesday was spent working on family history. Sister Tanner has loved learning so much about it. She can now help others, and teach people how to do their own family history! She even indexed for the first time. "It was so fun", Sister Tanner said. "Oh no! I've turned into a weird old lady that likes to index!" We are so proud of her and her new talent! What an amazing gift to be able to help others learn about their own family history!
Later that evening, the Sisters were able to teach their investigator who has a baptism date! Sister Tanner is so happy and excited for her!
The next few days were quite snowy! On Friday the bus system even got delayed for awhile! Nothing can stop the Sisters from sharing the gospel though! On Saturday they took part in something that was so incredible and completely inspired by the Lord. A sweet ward member dropped the Sisters off to teach in a random area that they were unfamiliar with. They walked by this apartment complex, and it turned out that an inactive lived there! "It was totally inspired. We were supposed to go there", Sister Tanner said. "She hasn't been active for many years, but she wants to come back to Church. She said no one has tried to visit her from the Church, and she struggles to feel Heavenly Father's love. I know that we needed to be there that day. She needed us. As we testified of God's love for her and of the blessings of coming to church and keeping the commandments, I felt so lucky to be able to do the Lord's work. I feel like there are a lot of lost sheep out there that people forget about, visiting teachers don't try to see, and they might feel like no one cares. As we are guided by the spirit, he will lead us to them to help them come back to his fold and partake in the blessings of the gospel. It was a great day to be a missionary and to feel Heavenly Father working through me to help his Children."
Sunday was a memorable day for Sister Tanner. The Sisters woke up to a crazy snow storm, and around 10 inches on the ground. They didn't know what to do without buses or cars! Church was cancelled, and it seemed as if they would be trapped inside all day. Luckily they made it to the home of the Bishop's son and his wife. They held Sacrament meeting in their home. Sister Tanner said it was an incredible experience, "It was the first time in my life having Sacrament meeting in a house. But the spirit was so strong. I am grateful for the elders and worthy priesthood holders to be able to bless and pass the sacrament no matter where we are." Sadly, the Sisters missed out on performing at the Christmas Sunday program, but at least they were able to spend the Sabbath with other members of their ward!
Sister Tanner is continuing to share Christ's love with everyone in West Allis. She is truly such a positive example to everyone around her. She radiates the light of Christ, and I know everyone can see that and hopefully want that for themselves. What better gift to give this Christmas, than the gift of the gospel and of Christ's love? I will now leave you with Sister Tanner's testimony.
"What a wonderful week it's been helping others come closer to Christ as we celebrate his birth. It's a weird feeling being here in Wisconsin and not at home with all of you, but like I've said a million times already, I will never forget Christmas this year. As a missionary, our month hasn't been filled with running around wrapping presents or working a store with busy Christmas shoppers. It's been about Christ, and helping others feel of his love and understanding how to become more like him. I am so blessed to be here and doing the Lord's work. I love this gospel, I love my calling, I love our Savior, and I love Christmas! Think of what you can give the Savior for his birthday! I heard once this week, "What if everyone was celebrating your birthday and came to your party bringing everyone else gifts except for you?" Try to focus your thoughts on what matters most and the gifts to give to our Savior!"
Sister Karlie Marie Tanner