Thursday, January 2, 2014

300th Baptism!

After all those years of singing, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" Sister Tanner no longer had to dream. It was indeed a White Christmas in Wisconsin! How lucky she was to experience the beautiful snow as she woke up on Christmas morning! She had an amazing week of celebrating Christ's birth!

Monday was the best P-day so far! Sister Tanner was able to go to the Desert Domes in Wisconsin with a few members from her ward. These "domes" have lots of interesting nature in them! It was a very fascinating activity! Afterwards, Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock were able to go bowling with about 20 of the Elders. Although she was not the best bowler, she had an amazing time! She ended the evening by delivering cookies to members of her ward, and many less actives as well. 

Christmas Eve was a very spiritual day for Sister Tanner. Her district had a special meeting with 3 other districts. It was a very uplifting time, and so amazing to see so many of the other Missionaries. After their meeting, the Sisters had the opportunity to go caroling to the nursing home and even to the mission home! How fun! They ended their Christmas Eve by spending time with an amazing family from the ward. They played games with them, and had such a fun night! They were so  blessed to spend this special night with such a great family!

Christmas was the most special day of all! Sister Tanner woke up and made an amazing Christmas breakfast with her companion, Sister Hancock. They sang Christmas songs together, and read Luke 2. Sister Tanner grew up reading Luke 2 every Christmas at home, so this was something she was excited to do with her companion. After their breakfast and scripture reading, they enjoyed opening gifts from their families! Sister Tanner was so grateful for the sweet gifts she was sent! 

Sister Tanner was able to spend Christmas at 3 amazing homes! First, she enjoyed playing games at a new member's home! It was a lot of fun! After that, the Sisters went to another family in the ward's home. That was "the best part of the day", Sister Tanner said! They were able to skype home and talk to their families! For dinner, they spent it at a home with lots of extended family! There were lots of kids and grandkids everywhere! Sister Tanner had so much fun with all of them! "Such a great Christmas! One I will never ever forget", Sister Tanner said! 

Sister Tanner had an interview with her Mission President on Thursday. They went over her goals for the rest of her Mission. She was sad when she realized that her Mission is just about half way through. "I don't want it to be over yet! Too much I still need to do," she said. Later that day, she was able to contact and meet with a less active member of the Church. The woman was so sweet with them, and told them how she wants them to teach her 10 year old Grandson. She wants him to be baptized! Sister Tanner is hoping they get permission from his parents to be able to start teaching him! Sister Tanner is always touching the lives of the children in Wisconsin!

On Friday, Sister Tanner was able to have a lesson with one of the less active members that she came in contact with. The spirit was so strong during their entire time together! "She told us all her concerns and reasons why she doesn't think she is a good member of the Church. We taught and testified how the gospel is not for the perfect. It's for us all who are struggling and trying to become better. She was crying and finally able to feel God's love for her. We left, and I was just so happy. Lessons like those make me so happy I am a missionary and that I am here in place of Jesus Christ to help those who are struggling and to help them find their way back. I love it", Sister Tanner said.

Saturday was "a day of miracles", as Sister Tanner put it. She had an amazing lesson with a new family that she is teaching. She is teaching the husband, wife, and all 3 of their daughters! Again, the spirit was so strong during this lesson as well. They had previously given this family a "Joy To The World" DVD. The part that stuck out to them was the Indians seeing the sign's of Christ's birth. So the Sisters read them 3 Nephi 11, and explained to them the story line of the Book of Mormon. The came to understand the role of the priesthood authority. They began to ask deep questions, and even wondered about the plan of salvation. Sister Tanner was able to explain everything to them, even about temples and being sealed to our families forever. The family said that is something they want! How amazing! "They are so prepared! They are so excited to learn more and come to Church", Sister Tanner said. She prays that they get baptized, and hopes that she can return to visit one day when they get sealed as a family in the temple!

After teaching the family, the Sisters were at their bus stop waiting and they just happened to bump into a less active family. "Obviously we were supposed to be there", Sister Tanner said. The Sisters talked with them for so long that they ended up missing their bus! They walked to the next bus stop, and ended up meeting a man there! This man shared his heart and soul with the Sisters! He told them all about his life, and how he's been feeling like he just wants to give up on it sometimes. He told them that meeting them was a sign that he should hold on, and not give up. Sister Tanner ended up giving him a Book of Mormon. She said how incredible this experience was, "It was just totally not by chance that we were supposed to be there. I know everything happens for a reason, even missing your bus! Heavenly Father puts us in the path of those that need the gospel. It was awesome. Miracle after Miracle on Saturday!" The wonderful day didn't stop there either. Right after they caught their bus, they received a text saying that their Mission hit their baptism goal! The Milwaukee Wisconsin Mission had exactly 300 baptisms this year! That was their goal as a Mission for 2013. This was the first time in 5 years that they have reached their baptism goal! What an amazing way to end 2013! It just goes to show how much work all these Missionaries are accomplishing! The amount of Missionaries serving is incredible, and the amount of work they do is even more amazing! "We made it this year! I am so happy and proud of our mission and all the Missionaries here who have worked so diligently to make this happen. This coming year is only going to get better", Sister Tanner said!

On Sunday, their ward was able to finally do their Christmas program! Sister Tanner got to perform her song as well! It was fun for them to continue with the Christmas spirit just a little bit longer!

Sister Tanner had a miraculous week to say the least. She is blessing so many lives and helping so many people and families come closer to Christ and to the gospel! She was able to receive wonderful news this week that the lovely family she was teaching in Prairie du Chien, is going to be baptized this March! Although she is no longer serving in Prairie, she is so blessed to have started teaching them the Gospel! She is thrilled that they are all being baptized, and cannot wait for the day that their family is sealed for time and all eternity! We are all so proud of Sister Tanner and this incredible 2013 year she has had! All of our lives have been so blessed and touched through her example! I will now leave you with her testimony.

Sister Tanner's Testimony:
"I have made a list of things that I've learned/accomplished in the last year. So much has changed for me this year. I've learned and grown so much. I am so grateful for the changes that have occurred. First and foremost, the most special thing that happened for me this year was going to the temple and receiving my endowments. I love the temple and it's something I've looked forward to my entire life and this year I was able to receive those blessings. The next thing that I've learned is the scriptures. I have truly understood the scriptures for the first time in my life, and they have a whole new meaning to me. This year my goals and priorities in my life have changed. My relationship with Heavenly Father is stronger than it ever has been in my life. I understand the importance of the commandments and the blessings that come from living them. I've realized how strong Satan's forces are and how much stronger Heavenly Father is. I've learned that there is nothing more important in our lives than the gospel, it really is the foundation. I've developed good habits like daily personal prayer and scripture study that will last with me my entire life. I've learned to wake up early every day. I've learned to love doing the dishes and being a clean freak. I've learned that the power of prayer is real. This year, I've seen 1 person enter the waters of baptism, but I've helped many more souls come closer to Christ. I've planted millions of seeds in those who will someday accept the Gospel. I've helped many inactives come back to church. This has been the best year of my life so far. I am a different person this year, and I am so grateful to be here as a missionary doing the Lord's work. This year will be one I will always remember. Thank you for each playing such a huge part in your love and support, and helping me get here. I wouldn't be the person I am today without my mission or without each of you. Thank you so much! I love each of you with all my heart! 2014 will be even better, I can feel it! I will see you all before we know it! I love you! Happy New Year!"
-Sister Tanner

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