Saturday, December 21, 2013

Elder Christian Tanner - What christmas song is hidden in the alphabet?


Hello my good friends and family!

 What a week it has been. It went by rather fast, actually. It was the fastest week I have had here in Trollhättan so far. The other weeks up to this point have been more or less been a drag. So, we got transfer calls. I am staying in Trollhättan but Elder Peterson is going to Vendelsö. My new companion is Elder Hansen. He is my "brother." He was trained by Elder Millsap also. I am "greeny breaking" him. So, he is younger than I am. That will be exciting! I have been on splits with him before and he was in my district while I was a greeny. He is super cool. He's actually a lot like I am. Our personalities are fairly similar. Now the only problem is that I am still learning Trollhättan. I still don't know all the names and places but I will learn it very quick in the next two weeks or so. I am super excited about this, I know its going to be more fun.

So obviously on Friday was Sankta Lucia. Unfortunately we did not get to go!! When we got there they told us that we had to purchase tickets in advance. Stupid. That's how the Svenska Kyrkan is for ya. But, I do have a funny story about it. Last week Elder Peterson was making plans to go see our member friend Detlef again (the one 2 hours away). The only day we could go was on Friday. I told him that I would rather not go because that is Sankta Lucia but that I would rather work in town that day. He insisted we go, so I gave in, warning him that I wouldn't be happy if we missed the program. So, we spend all day with Detlef and we miss our bus. Why? Well, this is another long story. But he has a history of not really knowing when buses come. So we miss our bus I am not very happy. I knew we would miss the Lucia program. Well, an hour later we get on another bus. I am just praying that we'll make it! I wanted to see it so bad! I seriously was like "Please!! Please let us be there on time!" and by some miracle, we actually did make it there on time! I don't know how, but we made it from his place to Trollhättan in just over an hour. It normally takes double that time. So we get into Trollhättan and meet the sisters and start walking over towards the church. As we are walking, Peterson starts explaining how he doesn't even know what SANTA Lucia is. Sister Vaarola being a Fin, and Sister Wilhite and I having grown up with it, just bust out laughing. We tried to explain what it was and that she was a saint, not a santa. He couldn't grasp the concept though. It was super funny. Sometimes, we gain up on Peterson like that because its "3 Scandinavians and an American," but on the flip side, we also gain up on Vaarola as "3 Americans and a Fin" haha. Its kinda handy being a citizen of both :) So, but ya. We didn't get to see the program because we had to buy tickets. Even though we didn't get to see the program, I still gained a huge testimony of prayer and miracles. It wasn't big. It wasn't life or death. But my prayer was answered that we would make it back in time. And we did. We just didn't get to see it.  So that was a great experience anyway.
 On Saturday we had the Ward Christmas Party! That was super super fun. But, the food was gross. They served sill and these gross meatball things. So far everything I have ate here in Sweden is good. I have had no problems with food until Saturday night. But it wasn't that big of a deal. I just ate eggs and bread and cheese and oranges :) fine by me! But we had music and just a bunch of socializing. We had some inactive and less-actives there, so that was great. Elder Peterson played the guitar with Tobias an inactive and he also played with Samuel a YSA. We had several people just sing and such. Us missionaries stood up and sang White Christmas as well. We were going to play something with Detlef but he ended up not being able to come :(. But, It was such a happy environment. When the did the "sing along" part, it was all the Swedish traditional Christmas songs like the ones that mom plays every christmas at home. It was so amazing. Just, I am here in Sweden experiencing Christmas! The spirit was so strong as the entire ward was singing along and AH I just loved it! They had all the little kids come out dressed in Sankta Lucia stuff and also in Santa Clause outfits it was so fun. I remember when mom would try to get me to do that... haha no. but It was so much fun to watch. This was probably my most favorite night I have had in a while. It was amazing to just sit there and just think to myself "enjoy being here! its possible this is the only time in my life I will experience this in full, in Sweden." I was really blessed by the Lord when He called me to Sweden. I have found my self thinking that often. I really am so blessed to be here.

 So Thursday was a great day as well. We went to Skövde for District Meeting. But, we were also there for a baptism! That makes two dops in our district this week! Oh ya! For our "game" we had bought Christmas presents for specific people in the district. We had put our names in a box and draw one out and that person you had to get something for. Sister Wilhite ended up getting me. She bought me this hat that has a wolf on it! And i lost my beany in a train a few weeks ago so I have been wearing this wolf hat around for the past few days. And let me tell you, it is awesome! I can get people to contact me! They just come up and say "hey i like your hat!" then on purpose in English I say "i don't speak Swedish, what did you say?" hahaha i'm tricky. Because if you say it in English they all of the sudden want to have a conversation with you! Then somewhere in the middle I mention I know a little bit of Swedish and I try to finish the conversation in Swedish. But its so stinking awesome. Plus its warm, so hey, its cool. But anyway, after our gift exchange we had our meeting. Right after our meeting people started showing up for the baptism. They only have a branch there in Skövde, but its a nice little building with some great people. The lady that was baptized was from the middle east somewhere. She didn't speak Swedish so they taught her in English. Well, basically right as she was getting in the water, they realized they forgot to ask two people to witness. So they quickly turned to Peterson and I and asked if we could witness. It is totally awesome. Her face, just like Hjalmars, was just priceless and new she had been forgiven. We were witnesses for 2 baptisms over the past two weeks.... i could totally get used to it! So, more baptisms to come! my goal is 3 more before I leave Trollhättan. :) We took District Christmas card photos! But, I am a cheap skate and didn't spend any money to get some printed out. So, i am just going to send it in an email. I hope you're okay with that :)

So I just got an email from President Newell, we have 6 no proselyting days over the next two weeks. I love working hard, but you have no idea how excited I am not just have some days off. I am so tired! I will definitely be doing some sleeping over that time. It will be all the sleep i get to last me until next christmas haha. We are authorized to watch kalle anke and Disney movies and other Christmas movies like elf and such. who knew? I am excited for that. And speaking of movies, that stupid hobbit movie came out here. EVERYBODY talks about it and says its even better than the first part. It's so annoying! I just calmly remind myself that this is better and that this brings many more rewards and blessings :)

So I am emailing early this morning! we are going to Göteborg for the day! We are going to go to Lisaberg and look at all the lights. I haven't ever been during the winter obviously but apparently they fill the place with lights during christmas. So, I am excited to go do that this afternoon. We're meeting a few other missionaries there too. And last week i tried this sushi thing and it was so good. I have had sushi a few times but i didn't care for it that much. but his particular one i had was soo good. so, i think i might treat myself to that today haha :) Thanks family for the presents so far. I have opened up the sour worms, the snickers, the candy Cains and the life savers. I am definitely set for my candy this year! The snickers hint was good though! I kinda knew what it was before I opened it so I understood the hint. That was a good one, though. The candy cain hint was easy, but the other two took me second to understand. Thanks for putting that together for me. Its been fun. And as for skyping, it isn't working out very well arranging times. mom, i don't know what their skype address is. but I will give it to them. I will be online probably around 8:00 to 10:00am on the 24th for you! So for me it will be closer to 4 or 6 when I skype. I will email you on that day though and give you more details. But for now, thats the plan. Sorry its not very specific. And your christmas gifts that I am sending... well, i still havent send them yet. So... ya. It won't be there by christmas. But it will be there!

And as for our christmas message we have been sharing, we have been reading in Alma 7. It talks about Christ being born for the purpose of dying for our sins. So, among all your christmas gifts, remember that the reason Christ came to earth was our greatest gift of all... the opportunity to return to him.

I love you all! Have a good week before christmas! :)
Äldste Tanner

So, the answer to the joke? NOEL (because there is no L) hahaha

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