Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas!! 

Wow how is it already Christmas Eve?? Where did time go!? I guess time flies when you are having fun :) today we are all making ginger bread houses. Each district is making one. Our district is making a nativity ginger bread house so we can use it to go with the "He is the gift" video haha I guess we will see how that turns out! 

First of all, before I forget, everyone who is reading this, find out if your missionaries have a place to go for Christmas. If not, invite them over! They will love you and be eternally grateful for you. So do it. 

Alright so This week was pretty good. Thank you SO much for all the a Christmas cards and Christmas packages! I feel SO loved and SO blessed. I hung up all the Christmas cards on my wall because they are all so adorable! :) I'm also excited to talk to everyone tomorrow! It'll be weird haha 

Okay let me just tell you, last week after we got back from the city sister Ballou practically died. In the city she got really grumpy and just went silent because she was sick of walking (even though we didn't really walk at all compared to a normal proselyting or preparation day in the city) and she didn't want any pictures because the humidity got to her hair and she didn't like that. So when we got home She was sooo exhausted and her legs hurt really bad and she was just like "I never ever want to serve in the city. I never want to go back there" hahah it was soo sad. She was so grumpy and in pain so we went home since our appointment got cancelled and did studies and had dinner and called people to try and do online lessons with them and stuff. It was funny but sad haha I felt bad. I told her that if she ever gets called to the city then she can decline and I'll take her place. She told me that we can't go to the city the rest of the time we serve together haha but I'm ready to go back :) while I was there I made sure to embrace the craziness. On the subway I talked to a craazyy guy who told me all sorts of stories. It was weird. But I loved seeing so many people and knowing I'm not the only one on this planet. It was nice :) 

So last week the elders went to interfaith council which happens once a month and leaders or representatives from all the churches go, We couldn't go this week but they told us that some lady stood up and was like "I just want to give a shout out to the missionaries! they are always helping out and they are everywhere. If service is needed, they are there! We love them, they are the best!" Haha so that was sweet. And Mo tab is coming to perform here in bethel and in the city and so they were all talking about that since they all know who mo tab is. So the elders said it was awesome.     

On Friday we did an APF with the zone here in Monticello. We planned to set up at the church and provide hot chocolate and wrap people's gifts while playing the he is the gift video. So everyone from the zone came (about 20 of us) and we had a lot of fun!...except only one lady came.... It was the lady from the Methodist church that was at the interfaith council. Haha..that's Monticello for you! So we all just drank the hot chocolate and watched mormon messages and talked while waiting for people to come. At one point a group of us went out caroling and that was really fun. One lady was crying and she said "I've only seen this in movies! I've never seen this happen in real life! You just made my Christmas!" So we went caroling a lot more after that even though it was freezing cold. Some people stood and watched us from the window. Most people didn't want to watch the video he is the gift after we sang but they wanted to give us a donation. Obviously we didn't take it. I don't get why people don't want to watch a 2 minute video but they want to give us 20 bucks or so. Whateves.

There is a cute New senior couple here in Monticello with us. They are from Taiwan and their English is not too great haha but they are so sweet and excited to be here. They got here on Saturday night and so we have been switching off with the elders taking them to lessons and what not. We took them shopping on Monday because they had no food and it was quite hilarious. They struggled a bit. And they took like 10 minutes to pick what kind of rice they wanted haha they are so cute. Today we are taking them to get boots! 
On Sunday us four missionaries sang in church for the Christmas program... None of us can sing and out of us four I can probably sing the best. So that is saying something cuz I can't sing. Let me Tell you, it was badddd hahaha but hey, it's Monticello so nobody cares and lots of people sang as well and so it was fine. But Ya, not the best musical abilities between us four missionaries haha

Well tomorrow is Christmas! Can you believe that? 
This morning I was thinking about everyone who just opened their mission calls and how exciting it must have been and I started reflecting back on when I received my mission call. I remember being at BYU and every Wednesday watching the excitement as the mail room exploded with mission calls. I remember the week mine was going to come and I had no idea where I was going to get called to. And then the day it came when me and liv(o squared, not my sister) were riding around on the bikes waiting for the mail and then the excitement and fear that came when I had it in my hands. My whole life changed after that. I love New York. I love the people here. I love this gospel so much. I am so thankful that I get to be trusted here. I loved reading the Book of Mormon these past 120 days with you. I really have felt the spirit so strong. I know it is true. The stories are incredible and there is just so much guidance that comes from it. I love my Savior so much and I am so grateful for him. 

I love you all so much! I'll talk to you tomorrow

Sister Tanner <3

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chicken foot soup

Hello hello! So this week was pretty good! 

First of all, We went to the city todayyyyy!! Yay yay yay yay. So fun. Except we could only be there for a bit because we had to be back in Monticello by 6. That was the deal. So we didn’t get to see all the Christmas lights and all that fun stuff, but hey, I am SO glad I got to go back "home". It was AMAZING. It feels a lot like Christmas today :) we went to the Macy's toy store that looks like where they filmed elf (I believe!), time square to see the he is the gift billboards (they are so awesome), Rockefeller center to see the big Christmas tree (still cool even though it was light outside) the temple to see all the guards and staff, trader joes because I wanted to buy my new favorite peanut butter from there, and we got dollar slice!! It was so much fun! We are back in Monticello now. Gosh it has been such a good day though! :) I am a very happy girl today :) 

We had our mission Christmas party and that was wonderful! It was Sooo much fun seeing all my past companions and MTC friends and other people I served with. Last time the whole mission got together was for the Yankees game and that was like 3 weeks after I got here so I didn't know anyone really so I'm glad I knew a lot more of the missionaries this time :)  All of us with cars went down to the train station to pick up the city missionaries and so I picked up my roommates and that was fun driving with them.The only bad thing is that it made me miss my last area again. I'm perfectly fine up in Monticello until you get me thinking about Christmas and how there are just about zero Christmas lights and in the city there are lights on every twig. At one point when we were all socializing and just hanging out, President Morgan came up to me with a big smile and was like "so how do you like Monticello now?" And I just said "I love it. I'm learning to love it" and he said "really?" Kinda in a Ya right you are lying voice and I said "I'm trying to at least and when I don't think about it then I can love it." As I said that a tear rolled down my face and he gave me a big hug and said "sister Tanner you are awesome. Keep up the good work. you're a wonderful missionary"....and that was that haha (I didn't cry though. Just a tear) life is good :) 
On Thursday night we went to the Mulhollands house. They are a cute black family with 6 kids (5 girls and 1 boy) and they are so adorable. I think they are 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 2. But they also have a 7 yr old girl cousin living with them too. We helped them with their homework and had a little lesson and then we had dinner with them (they feed us every Thursday)..and we had chicken foot soup!! It was nasty. I'll send you a picture of it. Super gross. I didn't expect full on chicken feet to be in my soup. But I ate it anyway. Well I tried to at least. 

I gave a talk on Sunday. That was fun. It turned out pretty good I think. A member from the stake presidency showed up randomly and so that was fun. The other new elder in this area and I spoke so it was good. Also, sister McCreary and her granddaughter came to church again as well as Fred (a guy we showed “He is the gift” to a few weeks ago that I may I have mentioned before) and they said they will be here next week as well. So that's awesome. 

Alright so I don't remember how much I told you about Sister McCreary (our neighbor) but I know I told you she talked to us after grocery shopping. So Saturday we sat down with her and did a how to begin teaching lesson (read PMG and you will understand) and just kind of laid out our purpose as missionaries and it went so well. She said she is going to forget about all the negative "propagandas" that she has heard in the past and find out what this church is about for herself. So that's sweet. 

Then yesterday we went to teach her the restoration and it went Sooo well! She is so prepared! She talked about how families are sacred and how she doesn't like when people just have kids for "fun" and what not and she told us about how she use to smoke a long time ago but through prayer she realized that God didn't want her harming her body like that. She said she believes there is a prophet today and that she is so excited to read the Book of Mormon more. She has already read some of the Book of Mormon and she says amazing prayers. She is so prepared. 

This week we all kept singing the song from Tarzan that goes "I wanna know. Can you show me? I wanna know about these strangers like me. Tell me more, please show me. Something familiar know bout these strangers like me" and being missionaries, Sister Ballou and I were like "we need an investigator like that. Someone that really wants to know and asks us questions and comes to us" and then sister McCreary came knocking at our door asking us when we could teach her more! And we are going backover tomorrow :) goodness she is just so sweet and awesome, I wish you could all meet her :) 
Yesterday we also got to go to sister Kings house(a less active member). I think I told you a bit about her. She was the one in jail for a little while. Like a week or so. Well anyway, she is hilarious and super awesome. She smokes a lot though, so we went over this 15 step plan that we have to stop smoking and apparently it works really well. So she committed to that and was so excited about it. She wants to go get sealed to her husband and she wants to do temple baptisms too. She has already cut back this past week on her smoking and so we are just praying so hard that she will be able to stop. The lesson went so well though and the spirit was so strong. She is such a kind lady and she feeds us every Tuesday and is an amazing cook! So Ya, I'm excited to keep working with her. We didn't get to go last week because of the weather so that was the first full lesson I've had with her. Anyway, yesterday was just a great day :) 

I can't believe Christmas is next week. Where did time go? Crazy how fast time flies! I have really enjoyed reading so many talks from the ensign and new era about Christmas. I love that this year I am not focused on what I am getting for Christmas at all. I have just really enjoyed helping people learn about the true gospel. Nothing brings more joy than seeing others accept the messages we share about Jesus Christ. I know it is the true church. I know that Christmas really isn't about all the presents and lights. Although the festivities are fun and exciting, it is important to not get too caught up in the craziness of it and enjoy the blessings that Christ has given us.

I love you all so much and I hope you have a wonderful week! Merry Christmas


Sister Tanner <3

Chicken Foot Soup

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I started picking out all the good things...

Hello hello!! 

Alright so this email is going to be so random and crazy..Sorry about that haha...

First of all. Thank you so much for all the Thanksgiving cards and the packages! I got a package from the Rasmussen's this week! It is adorable! It made me so happy to get that so thank you soo much! And mom, that Christmas advent calendar you made is adorable too! Thank you for that! You are the best! Oh and I always get those monthly letters from the stake presidency which is super nice of them! I love those letters...but they always spell my name wrong. Maybe you can pass that message along haha.

I love it here! So at 6pm last Wednesday (that's when pday ends) I decided that I have a choice to either hate it or love it. Why would I chose to be upset when nothing was going to change? So I started picking out all the good things and stopped dwelling on the bad. 

We live in Monticello which is pretty small but we also cover a lot of other cities and towns. I think our area we cover is about 2 hours driving from side to side. Definitely different than the 5 minute walk from one side to the other and 40 minute walk or 4 minute subway ride from the bottom of my area to the top. It's a big change being here. It's soooo quiet. 

Our district consists of us and the elders who serve in the branch with us. So that's a little weird. It's really different working with the elders so much. It's neat though. It's called a "model district" I guess. I learned that this week too. It's weird just having us 4 in this area. 

My apartment is hugeeee compared to the last. We have a big room for our beds and a huge room for our study desks and then a big entry way and good kitchen and a huge family room. It is weird though because the elders live right next door. Like the same apartment complex but the building next to us.  So that is kinda interesting too. But it's fun.

I drove in a huge snow storm on the way home from transfers. That was weird because it was my first time back in a car and also driving in 6 months. I'm in charge of driving and my companion is in charge of the phone. But we are still alive today so I guess I am not that bad of a driver :)...I love driving though! We had to go to Ossining yesterday for a facebook meeting because my companion just finished training and so she got facebook yesterday and it was an hour and forty-five minutes and it was so relaxing and wonderful. (Oh and dad, it's a 2014 Toyota Corolla I believe.) 

The first time we went to gas we were super confused. She had never gotten gas in this car before and obviously neither had I. So she handed me the gas card and it asked for the odometer number and that was easy but then it asked for the ID for the card and sister Ballou didn't know it and neither did I so we had to go into the guy and we just handed him the card and we were like "uhhh...we don't know what we are doing. We just have this card to pay with." Hahaha he was super confused but we got it all figured out and we found the number we needed and then the second time we got gas we did it all by ourselves and knew the number and all that good stuff. 

I saw stars! It's actually dark enough to see stars here. I forgot what that is like. It's amazing. Definitely can't see stars in the city. 

So the other day we were making a Cheesecake for a less active in the ward who was in jail for a week (don't worry she is harmless but I don't really need to tell the whole story) and when we asked what we can do for her she said make a cheesecake. So we did. So we planned for the next day and all that and then changed into pjs. So we started making the cheesecake and realized that the recipe said we needed 3 things of cream cheese and we only had one for some reason. So we decided to go buy more. So we threw a skirt on with out shirts and put our coats on over and then went to this gas station grocery store thing that had cream cheese and bought it really quick. Then after making it all we realized the wall to the pan thing was on upside down(it is one of those circle pan things were the bottom isn't attached.) but anyway it didn't close properly. So we had to take it all out and remake the crust since we ruined the first crust and thennn make the cheesecake. Wow it was quite the process. But we laughed over it all and it was really fun and ridiculous. I'm sure she appreciated our efforts!

Our branch is so awesome. There is not one family that is the "typical" mormon family. Everyone is unique. It is going to be interesting..and really fun. The people are hilarious and Ya this area is so different, it's awesome. On Sunday there were about 30 people there. It's so different than the temple ward in Manhattan. And every time we go to the church it's just us and it's so quiet. Definitely not like the last church building where all the tourists wanted to see the temple church. I can bet I won't run into anyone to make connections with here, that's for sure.

We have a family that we teach, the Cardonas, and they are awesome. I guess they have been coming for about a year, maybe a little less, I'm not sure. They feed us every week. But the two youngest daughters are baptized. they are 8 and 9. Their 12 year old son isn't baptized but he spoke in sacrament on Sunday so that was super sweet.  The parents and the 12 year old son are getting baptized in June right after the parents get married. (The moms boyfriend isn't the father of the kids, but I just call them the parents). But anyway, in 3 weeks the 9 year old girl is giving a talk in sacrament meeting too and she just gave her first talk in primary this past week. She is scared but I know she will do great. 

This area needs some work teaching wise. I'm not sure what has been going on here in the past but it is not organized at all so on Thursday-Saturday we spent hours and hours organizing the area book and all the people we teach and cleaning up all the lesson reports and everything. We literally spent so many hours figuring out who we should contact and/or look up and all that. So, I am really excited about these next few weeks and all the look ups we are going to be able to do. I think we will be really busy these next few weeks figuring out who all these people are. 

My companion is also from south Jordan (just like sister Brown) and she has been out for 2 cycles and so she is still really new too. She says I have already taught her a lot so that's good. She has taught me as well. She is really good with loving people so that is really awesome. She is really nice and normal and just awesome. I think we could be companions for a long time and not get sick of each other. She is 19 also,  and only like a week younger than me. We have fun together and laugh a lot! 

We had thanksgiving with a couple In our Ward who invited 2 investigators of ours and 1 less active and 1 other active member. One investigator is half blind and the active member is an old little Italian guy, and they got into an argument about vacuums for like 15 minutes, haha! It was the weirdest Thanksgiving ever. Definitely different and a little awkward but that's okay haha. But it was so nice to be in a home watching the deer and birds right outside the window while eating homemade pie. The rest of the day was spent weekly planning since we weren't allowed to go contacting or anything on Thanksgiving. 

Oh we have a Walmart! Except apparently It was rated one of the worst Walmarts in the nation so that's least it has cheaper stuff than in the city! I miss Trader Joes though but hey, that's okay. I'll be back there soon enough, I know it.(well I hope so).

Anyway, sorry this email is all over. I wanted to tell you about my new area and I just kinda went through and answered all the questions everyone asked me so hopefully I got them all! 

Alright well I can't believe it is December already. I realized today that I am a little bit ahead with The Book of Mormon reading challenge, but chapters 18 and 19 of 3 Nephi really stuck out to me. Again It's about prayer. In chapter 19 it says pray or some form of the word over 25 times. And in chapter 18 verse 21 it says.. "Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed." I love that. I am so grateful that I was raised in a house where prayer is such a priority. I am so grateful we were able to kneel down and pray together as a family every night. I know that as we pray we are only asking for the blessings God wants to give us. I continue to see prayers answered each and everyday and it Is such a blessing to me. I hope that you are all praying each day individually and with your families and if not, then start now! It's the best thing ever. 

I love you all so much! Thanks for all the prayers sent my way. Have a wonderful week! Listen to Christmas music for me and do lots of fun Christmasy things! :)


Sister Tanner <3

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I cried...and cried...and cried...

Hello everyone!

GUESS WHO IS STAYING IN CHRISTMAS CAPITAL FOR CHRISTMAS?!?! If you guessed Sister Brown, you are correct! If you guessed are wrong. Yep that's right. I'm getting banned up to Monticello today. (It's the furthest northwest that my mission goes I think. So really far away from here). I'll be honest, I cried..and cried..and cried..and then prayed and then cried some more..and cried again..and then prayed again and cried some more..and then went to sleep many hours later..and then woke up and cried again. Hahaha it was great.

You don't have to try and tell me it'll be okay though haha I know that it's where I need to be. I know that it is Gods will for me. I knew it had to happen because I didn't want it to and that happens to be the common theme of my mission from the day I opened my call. It's just so lame because sister brown and I planned sooooo many things. We still have so much work to do. Plus,we were going to go to the Macy's day parade and then tonight they blow up the big balloons and people walk around and take pictures so that's what we wanted to do. Next week is winters eve which is this big Christmas event that the missionaries pass out hot chocolate at. We planned to get gym passes at this new gym by us that is cheap because it's new and we were told to keep up the excercise. And then Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years...and the whole time I will be the farthest you can get from the city up in the middle of nowhere. So that's lame.

Everyone was like "oh you will get to be in a house for Christmas and thanksgiving! You will get to have a car for the winter! You will get to have hot showers (we don't have hot water like 95% of the time which is awful when it's cold here. It's a major brain freeze) and a warm cozy apartment! (Our heater is broken too). And a white Christmas! It will be so much fun!" But the truth is, I don't want any of that anymore. I love it here and I love all the people here. So it was reallllly hard saying goodbye. Did I mention that I cried and cried?? Good.

At church the speakers weren't told that they were suppose to speak so right before sacrament the bishop asked me to give the talk and share my I did. It was actually really cool though. I wasn't nervous up there at all. I was calm. The spirit was with me guiding me with what to say. I am grateful I had that opportunity to share my testimony with the Ward at the last minute. It worked out perfectly.

Anyway, that has been my life half this week. Just so so sad. But it's fineeeee. Hopefully I'll be back one day. I know I'll love Monticello. I know I'm needed there. I just wish I wasn't needed there for another 6 weeks. But I know this mission isn't about me. I guess I'll just have to come back for a month or so in a couple years for Thanksgiving and Christmas :)

Packing was so stressful. Nothing fit. At all! Oh my goodness I have way too much stuff. haha

So the part of the week that was before transfer calls was good. We found the most prepared ready investigator ever. I'm not sure if I told you about how we were looking up someone and decided to leave a card on one of the doors and they called us, but we followed up with that. So we ended up meeting with the man and he is so awesome. He said he was thinking about church lately and how he wanted to come again (he came one time before about 6 months ago) and then when he found the card on his door he knew it was a sign from God to come back to this church. He already knows a lot and loves it all. He is now reading the Book of Mormon. His name is Freddie and he is incredible. I know great things will come of him.

Oh one sketchy thing that happened is that there was a crime scene right next door to us. So we got home one night and the cops were all there and they were there like all night and then the next morning it was all taped off and said that it is restricted and nobody can go inside and stuff. Intense right? That's good ol' Harlem for Ya!

I took a lot of pictures with everyone so I'll send those.

Oh and the Tanners are moving too! On Friday! They are moving to Utah. So you can go be friends with them in Provo. They are the best! Dad, Now you can talk to them about how we are related since I told you no before :) they are the best though. They gave us blankets as well and we ran into them on Saturday night and they paid for our dollar slice haha there is this dollar slice that they told us about and it's the best pizza ever. Sometimes dollar slice is cheap and not very good but this one is top notch. It's on 55th and Broadway for anyone coming to NY and needing a cheap meal!

So while reflecting back on these past 6 months I realized that my very first lesson ever while a missionary on my first day here was Sister Macuilt and It was the first time Sasha had joined in on the lesson. So last night I got to do the most incredible thing. I got to go to the temple with Sasha and sister Macuilt to do baptisms and confirmations with them. It was so neat. I felt the spirit so strong and seeing how happy they both were topped it all off. Wow I love this work.

So I am now at transfer meeting so I'll tell you about my companion next week. I'm at the city transfer meeting so I have to go upstate to the next transfer meeting after this. It will be a long day.

With thanksgiving tomorrow I just want you all to know that I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord. I know I am on the Lords errand and so I am working hard to bless the lives of Gods children. It's been such a testimony to know that this is not my time but the Lords time. I am serving in place of the Savior and feel so blessed to be trusted with Gods children. I am so grateful for the atonement and for the comfort it brings. I am beyond grateful for prayer. I know prayer works. Pray is the only way to unlock the blessings that God wants to give us. If we don't turn to God, he can't help us. All we have to do is ask. We need to be praying everyday and giving thanks for all we have. I am so grateful for all the prayers offered for me each day. I really feel them. I am so thankful for the knowledge of eternal families. I know that while I am here I am just helping other people to live with their families for eternity. I'm excited to see you all in a year but for now I am thankful for all the people I have come to love here and the ones who have come to love me as well. The Manhattan 1st Ward will always be my family in New York and I'm excited to come back and visit them. Although I am sad to leave the city, I am grateful for the new opportunities that are ahead of me. I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving. I love you so

Sister Tanner <3

Well in time square they are putting up a huge bill board.  It is the big event we have been waiting for. Wow. I'm sooo sad to miss it! Everything will have advertisements from now (Nov. 28-Jan 1 ) or something like that. Billboards, taxis and video boards in time square. Also on December 7th the church bought the master head on YouTube. So look at it. 220 million people will see it.

At transfers president came up to me and was like "sister Tanner I am so exciting for your new assignment!! Are you excited?" And I said Ya and he said "are you!?" And I said "nope not at all" and he laughed and said "I know" ruuuddeee haha love him though.

I am the designated driver. She has only been here 3 months. And it's been snowing all day. Pretty sure we are in for some adventures in the snow. It will be interesting. Pray that we don't die haha we have gotten a ton of snow already today.

Anyway, I can't think of what else I was going to add but I love you! Have a good week!