Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Sing Choirs of Angels"

  Sister Tanner was thrilled to email home and tell us that she is staying in West Allis! Her and Sister Hancock made it through transfers together, and will be serving with one another in the same ward, for at least the next 6 weeks! She is so exited to be spending Christmas, New Years, and her 21st birthday in a beautiful city with an amazing Sister whom she loves dearly! We were all so happy to hear this news! 

Sister Tanner's week started off with a lot of fun activities! The Sister spent their P day playing lots of sports! She says that she will be a pro at volleyball when she returns, which is quite funny considering she used to despise the sport! 

Tuesday was Zone Training for the Missionaries in their area. It was an amazing training full of inspiration for all the Missionaries. Sister Tanner said, "Lots of ways to improve! It's crazy, I have been out almost 8 months and I still feel like I have so much to learn still." After the training, the Sisters had an incredible and scary experience. The snow was coming down like crazy, and as they went to make a somewhat sharp turn, their car slid all the way through. It was as if their car was being moved in the exact location that they needed to be. Other cars were not as lucky. A car who had slid out in the exact same way ended up in a ditch. The Sisters remained very calm as all of this was happening. Sister Tanner said, "After we got control of the car, we all realized what a miracle it was. It really felt like Heavenly Father was moving our car the way we needed to go so we could be safe. So grateful for that!" What an amazing experience that was! Heavenly Father was definitely protecting those Missionaries!

After they returned home safely, the Sisters enjoyed baking cookies and attending their ward Relief Society cookie exchange. Sister Tanner loved getting to know more of the women in her ward! The Sisters even received Christmas gifts that night! 

Wednesday was "the coldest day of my life", as Sister Tanner put it. She hopes her body adjusts to the zero degree and occasional negative temperatures! She said all the freezing was worth it, just to be able to give this woman a Book of Mormon whom they had been referred to. She wants them to come back to visit her! Sister Tanner will brave any temperature in order to do that! 

On Wednesday night, Sister Tanner had dinner with one of her favorite families in West Allis! She just loves them so much! After dinner, her and Sister Hancock were able to practice their song for Christmas sunday. The wife played the piano for them! She hopes to record one of her rehearsals so that we can hear the gorgeous arrangement! We are so happy that she is sharing yet another wonderful talent of hers while on her mission!

Sister Tanner was able to carry on a Tanner Christmas tradition to everyone in West Allis on Thursday! She made her mom's famous fudge! Everyone who has tried this fudge will know exactly what I am talking about! AMAZING! She was able to replicate it, and everyone thought it was really good! The Sisters brought the fudge and homemade cookies to all the less active members in their ward. What a sweet idea! They had a wonderful time visiting and bringing them to everyone!

On Thursday night, Sister Tanner and all the other Missionaries in their district got treated to a wonderful night of fun! Many of the members in their area took all of the Missionaries out to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings! They had such a fun night! We are so thankful for all the people in West Allis who are treating the Missionaries so good! They are bringing so much family and love into their lives during this holiday season! We love them so much for that!

Friday the 13th was a wonderful day for Sister Tanner! They started their day by teaching a wonderful Sister a lesson on preparing to go to the temple. She had a lot of questions, and the Sisters were able to help her feel more prepared and ready! Afterwards, Sister Tanner went tracting at the mall for the first time! This is a much more effective method during this time of year. Everyone is out at the mall shopping! The Sisters are lucky to live in a big city with malls! The YW President even met up with them, and by the end of the night they even taught a lesson! It was an amazing way to spread the true meaning of Christmas to people who may be more concerned with the stress that the Holiday can bring. It was a great day for Sister Tanner!

On Saturday, the Relief Society President came out with the Sisters and drove them around. They were on their way to visit a man who has not been to Church in over 30 years. Before they could get there, the car got stuck in the snow! It took quite some time, but the Sisters were able to push the car out of the snow! Sister Tanner said, "Satan was trying to stop us from getting there!" But as soon as they did get there, he let them right in. He loved talking with them, and really wants to come back to Church. After so many years, it's amazing how one simple visit can change someone's entire life. The Sisters KNEW that they needed to get there, and no amount of snow could have stopped them. However, the snow did make it hard to find a lost bus pass. Sister Tanner's companion could not find it anywhere. They looked and looked with no luck. Finally, they decided to pray. Having a bus pass is a necessity for them! As soon as they finished the prayer, they walked outside. There it was, sticking out from the snow! " Prayers are answered! What a blessing," Sister Tanner said! 

That night, the Sisters attended the ward Christmas party! Many inactive members, and part member families attended! Even 2 non members whom they had met at the Nativity, showed up! They were so excited, and had a wonderful night! 

Sunday was an amazing day at Church! Afterwards, the Sisters met with one of the ward member's sister. She used to be a nun, and doesn't know much about the Church. She did not want to learn about the gospel, but allowed the Sisters to share a Christmas message with her. They talked to her about Christmas songs and the meanings of them. They told her about the "heavenly host of angels" who sang when Christ was born. Her brother told Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock how he thinks they were part of the Choir in Heaven that was singing that very night. What an amazing thing to think about! 

Sister Tanner had an amazing week yet again. It is incredible how much holiday spirit she is able to spread with everyone. In a personal email to me, she explained how this Christmas is one unlike any other. I had to share this with you all, because it sums up what we should all be feeling in our hearts this Christmas! "Being a missionary and being away for Christmas has helped me to understand the true meaning of Christmas. Every year before this, working in retail I get so focused on the getting and giving of presents, and all the extra stress that comes with working during the busy Christmas season. This year just getting to teach people about Christ, who is the whole reason for the holiday, is such a blessing. I don't need gifts (although I am so grateful for the ones you sent). I think I will have such a different view of Christmas for the rest of my life because of this experience. It's all about Christ. We are celebrating our Savior's birth. The one person who makes it possible for us to return to Heavenly Father and reach the celestial kingdom, it's him. Because he was born, we can overcome all. I love it! I love Christmas!" This brought tears to my eyes, because she is so right! I hope we can all take something from that, and center our lives to Christ this holiday season!

Sister Tanner's testimony:

"Everyone was talking about when they gained a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I took some time to ponder this and when I knew for myself that he was a true prophet and I think for me, my testimony of him came when I gained a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon was true. Because knowing the Book of Mormon is true means that Joseph Smith truly did translate it by the power of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is written by the ancient prophets in the Americas. I know that there is no way Joseph Smith would have sacrificed everything he had, even his own life for a book that he just merely wrote. There is no way. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and I know that through Joseph Smith, the priesthood authority was restored to the earth and that Christ's church was restored. If you haven't thought about it in a while, I challenge you to ponder about your testimony of Joseph Smith and his significance in your life. Why is he important to you?

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here in Wisconsin doing the Lord's work. Nothing I would rather be doing. I miss you all so much, but remember how much I love you and how much Heavenly Father loves you! Have a fabulous week!"
- Sister Karlie Tanner

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