Monday was the coldest day of the week by far! The temperature averaged around -17 degrees and -50 degrees with the wind chill! It was weather that Sister Tanner had never in her life experienced. The mayor shut down many parts of the city. Everyone was supoosed to stay inside for the next 2 days. Buses, schools, stores, work, and even streets shut down because of the dangerous temperatures! It was the coldest weather that Wisconsin has seen in over 30 years! That's a pretty big deal considering Wisconsin is one of the coldest states in the US. Sister Tanner was sad that they had to stay couped up for the day! Luckily, she was able to spend the day with 2 families from the ward. They all played games together and enjoyed a wonderful dinner.
The weather didn't stop Sister Tanner on Tuesday. Although they were supposed to spend another day inside, the Sisters made it to their Zone Training meeting. They went over their goals and plans for 2014! Since the Mission reached their goal of 300 baptisms in 2013, they increased their goal to 400 for this year. "We're going to do it", Sister Tanner said! She is determined to help her mission get to that number before she returns home in November.
As the Sisters headed home from their training, they came in contact with a man who started asking them crazy questions. He began to start saying crazy things about Joseph Smith. Sister Tanner was getting nervous until he said he was kidding! He was a Church member who wanted to play a prank on them! All of them could not stop laughing afterwards. He has a son on a mission as well, and thought it would be a fun joke! "He was super funny", Sister Tanner said.
Wednesday was a hard day emotionally for Sister Tanner. "That's how missionary life goes", she said. She finally was able to teach a woman whom she knows is ready to have the gospel in her life. She taught her all about Joseph Smith, and answered many of the questions she had regarding polygamy, prophets, and the Restoration of the Church. She told the Sisters she believes that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. "She believes it all, and knows it's true. The concern right now is her family", Sister Tanner said. They are not supportive of her decision to learn about the Church. They frown upon her desire to be baptized, and even mock her scripture reading. She isn't willing to loose her family in order to be baptized. This is so hard for Sister Tanner. She sees the good in this wonderful woman, and can see the desire she has to accept the Gospel in her life. "We are just praying and fasting for her family to soften their hearts to the point that she can join", Sister Tanner said.
Thursday was an amazing and productive day for Sister Tanner. She had a lesson with the less active member that she found a few weeks ago. "I love her", she said of this woman. She read her one of her favorite talks by President Uchtdorf, "Forget Me Not". It went amazing. "It was everything she needed. She related it to a lot of things she's going through, and she was in tears feeling the love of God through the talk", Sister Tanner said. Sister Tanner was truly inspired by the Lord to read her that talk.
That night the Sisters did a Missionary exchange. Sister Tanner went to Kenosha, WI with Sister Peterson, and spent the night there. Sister Peterson was in the same MTC District as her, and they even came to Wisconsin together! It was fun being her companion for a day! They spent all of Friday together. Sister Tanner was grateful to be in an area with a car since it was raining hard! The Sisters taught some really good lessons together. "Sister Peterson was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from her", Sister Tanner said. That night she returned home to West Allis. She just loves her city, and missed it when she was away!
It was great to be back in West Allis on Saturday. The Sisters went to work HARD that day! Sister Tanner made very high goals for her and Sister Hancock that week. They were one person away from reaching these goals. If only they could find one more person to teach! They decided to walk 3 miles home from where they were in hopes that this person would be found. Then they found him, along with a few others! "We met this guy on the street and he was super open to talking. We had a little lesson right there and we we're like YAY! We made our goal! Then the Lord really blessed us, and we met 3 more people on the way home! We even gave away a few Book of Mormons and got some information! Miracles! Seriously, the Lord blessed us because we were determined and had the faith that we could achieve our goals! Who would have thought street contacting in January works?", Sister Tanner said. All of her hard work paid off, and she was able to find so many more people to share the gospel with. We cannot wait to hear how she touches the lives of these new investigators!
Sunday was a very rewarding day! Sister Tanner was able to see that she is making a difference in West Allis. An amazing family whom she has been working with came back to Church for the first time in 2 years! Also, a family who has been going to the Single's ward instead of their ward, returned to Church this week as well. "So happy! We were so happy", Sister Tanner said! And the happiness didn't end there. They had a 2nd lesson this week with the inactive member they are teaching. She was very touched by the talk they shared with her earlier in the week. This time, they taught her about the Plan of Salvation. She had wonderful questions for them, and said that she feels herself getting ready to come back to Church. Just 2 short weeks ago, she had told the Sisters that she would love for them to visit her, but that it wouldn't make a difference in her being reactivated. "But IT IS! She has the biggest heart, and I am so excited for her. We literally can see the spirit working with her during our lessons and have seen so much progression already! She will be back in no time!", Sister Tanner said. She is truly helping so many return back to the Fold! In a talk by Elder Hartman Rector in September 1986 titled, "Back To The Fold", he compares those who have become inactive to the parable of the Lost Sheep. Elder Hartman Rector said, "In the parable of the lost sheep it appears that the sheep got lost because he wandered away. He probably didn't intend to get lost but became distracted and did not pay attention to where he was going. How do you get a lost sheep back into the fold? You go out and find him, turn him around, and bring him back into the fold. Usually the sheep is so glad to be back safe in the fold that he runs and jumps for joy." Sister Tanner has really worked on finding those who have strayed, and bringing the gospel back into their lives.
Sister Tanner's Testimony:
"It's been a super great week overall. I am so excited for the miracles that this week will bring! The work is amazing and I noticed for the first time this week, that I really wish I could be a missionary for the rest of my life! I know I will be but it won't be the same as being set apart as a full-time Missionary. This is the greatest work I could ever be a part of. I read a really good quote this week, "The world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. The blessings of eternity await you!" -Thomas S. Monson. I love it! I finished the Doctrine and Covenants this morning! It's amazing! I love it! I have a better understanding of the early days of the Church, of the revelations given to Joseph Smith, and of the Restoration of the Gospel has grown so much. I am grateful for the love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us to restore Christ's church to earth. I am grateful to be proclaiming the Gospel to the souls in Wisconsin. This work is amazing and I am so grateful to be born in this time of the hastening of the work. I found a new favorite scripture today, "If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving", D&C 136:28. I love it! Thank you all for supporting me through this marvelous journey. Thank you for helping me be grounded in the gospel. Thank you for your examples of righteous living and love of God. Have a great week and never forget to "sing praises unto the Lord". I love you so much!"