Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy 6 months and Happy Halloween!

This week is Sister Tanner's 6 month mark of her Mission! Time is flying by as she serves the Lord! We are all so proud of her! "This week I have been on my mission 6 months! I can't believe it! Time goes way too fast. I only have 1 year left. I would have never imagined time to go this quickly. I pray to be able to make every minute of the time I have left, count. Every moment is precious on a Mission. I am so grateful for the person I've become in the last 6 months, and the person I will be in one year from now", Sister Tanner says.
Monday was P day as usual for the Sisters. This week was a bit different in the fact that they were able to hang out with other Missionaries that day. They all helped move furniture around for the Senior Missionary couple. Sister Tanner loved being able to spend time with other Missionaries. They all cover such a large area, that it's not often they see other Missionaries outside of meetings and trainings.
Tuesday was a bittersweet day for Sister Tanner. She had her interview with the Mission President to discuss the future of her Mission. He was conflicted whether or not to keep her in Prairie du Chien. It is rare for 1 missionary to stay in a specific ward for more than 6 months. It is her time to go somewhere new, but she is doing so well there. He asked her what she thought. She responded to that with, "I want to do what the Lord has planned." I guess we will have to wait until next week to see if Sister Tanner is leaving or staying in Prairie! Either way is wonderful news!
After her interview, Sister Tanner had to say goodbye to their Senior Missionary couple. She said it was tough saying goodbye, because they were almost like her grandparents away from home. She misses them already!
Sister Tanner and Sister Asper met a new potential investigator on Wednesday! As they were walking back to their car after an appointment, a man was washing his car in his driveway. He wanted to learn more about the Church, and the Sisters loved talking to him!
After an efficient weekly planning session, the Sisters went to visit an investigator on Thursday. She had called them and invited them over. She cooked food for them to take home for dinner later that night. She also explained to Sister Tanner what her "calling in life" was. She said she knew that sometime in life she would be helping children, and be involved in social work of some kind. She told her she could be a court appointed counselor to help children get through their problems and bad situations. Very fascinating! Sister Tanner is wonderful with children, so none of that seems too far out of reach!
Friday was a wonderful day for Sister Tanner! She received her beautiful and WARM winter coat her parents purchased for her. Coats that are warm to her in California, barely help her through the warmest part of the day in Prairie du Chien. She is very grateful for a coat that is made for -30 degree weather! Prairie du Chien got its first drops of snow this past week! Sister Tanner said, "It was weird to see white stuff falling from the sky!" She will get used to it soon!
The Sisters had the pleasure of volunteering at the Nursing home on Friday. Sister Tanner just loves it, and says the elderly just make her day! After their time there, they visited with a lot of investigators. And then that night was their Branch Halloween party! They had a Trunk-or-treat party and Chili Cook off! Sister Tanner and her companion dressed up as Angels! Everyone loved their costumes, and said it wasn't fair that they dressed up as something they are every day! Too sweet! One of the inactive member couples came to the party! The man had taken a bad fall a few days prior, and the Sisters had sent his home teacher to give him a blessing. He was so touched , and said he had not felt the spirit like that since the 1970's. Sister Tanner was so happy to see him so receptive of the  spirit! It was wonderful that they came to the Halloween party, and Sister Tanner said they had a lot of fun!

Sister Tanner also tried Venison (deer) Chili for the first time at the Branch party. It was quite daring of her to try new food! She wasn't the biggest fan however.
Sister Tanner had a wonderful time at the Branch party. She loves her Branch so much, and feels so lucky to be a part of it!
Saturday was a very special day for Sister Tanner. She was able to visit a member who is currently battling Cancer. They had a wonderful lesson with her about keeping the Sabbath day holy, even though she is unable to attend Church. Right as the lesson ended, her home teachers arrived. The Sisters were able to stay and see them give her a blessing. Sister Tanner had a wonderful experience during that. "I am so glad I got to be there for that. The spirit was already so strong during our lesson, and it touched all of our hearts during her blessing. While she was getting the blessing, I just felt how much Heavenly Father loves her. It was the coolest feeling", she said.
Later that night, the Sisters went to visit the family who is getting ready to be baptized. The husband has to leave for work for most of next month, which means the baptism will have to be postponed. Sister Tanner said how apparent it is that Satan is working so hard to make this baptism be impossible. The husband is diligently looking for a new job that requires less travel and Sundays off. Regardless if Sister Tanner is still in Prairie du Chien when they get baptized, or not, she made a huge impact on this family. She knows they will be baptized soon. How special it is to know, that she was able to share the Gospel with them and teach them along the way.
On Sunday, they had Stake Conference. Since they live so far away, they were able to have it broadcasted at their building. One of their less active members whom they had invited, came! They were so excited. It was a wonderful Stake Conference! One of their fellow Missionaries spoke, as well as their Mission President. It was all centered around the Book of Mormon and Missionary work. It was a wonderful day!
Sister Tanner had a wonderful week in Prairie du Chien. She is really cherishing the time she has there with all those people she has grown to love over the last 6 months. With transfers coming within a week, she is unsure if she is staying or going off to serve the Lord in a new place. Regardless, she is so grateful for her time in Prairie du Chien. We know she is greatly loved by so many there. I will now leave you with her testimony this week.
"I cannot explain to you in words how much the last 6 months has meant to me. This is the greatest work I could ever be doing. I know that if I help no one else, my mission has helped ME. I have come to know my Savior. I understand the Atonement more fully in my life and I know that the Lord's plan is always the best. It may not be the easiest, but it is ALWAYS the best and most rewarding. Thank you for allowing me to feel the most happiness I've had in my life from being able to serve the Lord."
-Sister Karlie Marie Tanner
Fall time in Wisconsin.


Monday, October 21, 2013

The fruit of Love is Service

The chilly fall weather has definitely hit Prairie du Chien this week! As the temperatures have hit the freezing low 30's, Sister Tanner is there warming the hearts of everyone she meets. Her week started off on a good note. Monday night she had a lesson with the family she has been teaching. They were reading out of 3 Nephi 11, when their 8 year old son turned to his mom and said, "I have a secret." "I think I want to be baptized." The Sisters continued on with the lesson, and at the end the young boy blurted out, "I want to be baptized!" It was amazing! Sister Tanner invited the wife and 8 year old son to be baptized next month. The young boy said he wanted to be baptized this Sunday! The spirit was so strong, and Sister Tanner is eager to see them progress in the Gospel.

Tuesday marked a mini milestone for Sister Tanner! She taught the training at her District Meeting! Her training was on Hope. She said it was a bit nerve wracking to teach in front of Missionaries who have been out far longer than herself, as well as the Zone Leaders. The spirit helped her through it, and she thought it went really well! She also brought cookies for everyone! After the training, an investigator called the Sisters and invited them over for dinner. She made delicious Gluten Free Chili for them! As they were enjoying their yummy meal, the Jehovah Witness girls came to the door. Their investigator let them in, and they shared a message from their Bible. Sister Tanner opened hers to the same place. The scripture was about the Restoration. She found it so ironic that the girls had no idea what they were reading. After they left, the Sisters shared a great lesson with their investigator. They talked to her so much about the importance of the Book of Mormon, and how through that she will know if the Gospel is true.
On Wednesday, Sister Tanner volunteered at Bargain Boutique. After spending the morning there, the Sisters went tracting. They found 2 great potential investigators! So amazing! Afterwards, they went to visit the young man who recently came back to Church. He had dinner for the Sisters, which was very sweet. His family was there as well. They technically live in Iowa, so the Missionaries cannot visit their house since they would have to cross the water. Sister Tanner loved being with his family, especially his little niece. She looks up to Sister Tanner so much!
Thursday was the former Senior Missionary couple's last day in town. Sister Tanner, Sister Asper, and another couple from Church went to say their goodbyes. As they were driving, Sister Tanner kept catching the Brother from her Branch saying "Stop & Go Light" instead of Stop Light. She realized that this is what they all call stop lights in Wisconsin. "Stop and Go light". Funny Wisconsin sayings!
Sister Tanner and Sister Asper spent Friday and Saturday serving others. Friday they helped a woman get her house clean and ready for her daughter's rehearsal dinner. Her daughter's wedding was Saturday, and she was hosting the rehearsal dinner. The Sisters helped prepare food and prep everything. They were so happy to be able to help assist her on such a hectic day. They were invited to the wedding the following day, but were unable to go because they had made plans prior to knowing about it. The spent their day on Saturday at a family's home whom they are teaching. They cleaned their entire home! I'm sure the family is so grateful for the Sister's kind service! Sister Tanner is praying that it touched and softened their hearts.
Sunday was an amazing day. President Hassler, the 2nd counselor in the Mission Presidency came and spoke in Sister Tanner's branch. Him and his wife spoke all about being member Missionaries. They talked about how the full time missionaries are there to assist the members with their Missionary efforts. It was an amazing lesson, and full of the spirit. President Hassler encouraged everyone to have a family mission plan, and to make Missionary work the center of our homes. We should invite our friends over, fill our homes with pictures of the temples, and have our children's friends participate in scripture study and family prayer. Sister Tanner said, "I hope to be the kind of member missionary that he is someday."
After Church, the Sisters had dinner with one of the Branch member families. She was able to give them ideas on how to share the gospel with their friends. They even role played giving a Book of Mormon to a friend. Sister Tanner really encouraged the teenage son to take all the opportunities he has to share the Gospel with his friends. Just as the quote says above, we are all Missionaries in our hearts. We must work with the Missionaries to share the Gospel to all who are willing to hear it.
Sister Tanner's week was full of service and giving to others. The great Mother Teresa once said, "the fruit of love is service." There is no better way to share the love of Christ, then to Serve. We are so proud of our Sister Tanner, and all the lives she continues to touch daily. May we all take her counsel this week, to be a better Member Missionary and share the Gospel with all of our friends! I will now leave you with Sister Tanner's testimony.
"The work is moving forward. Being on my mission, I've noticed that the more the work hastens, the stronger Satan tries to destroy it, but he will not win. He is nothing compared to the power of the Holy Ghost and the power of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the every day miracles I am able to witness. My mission is the best thing I've ever done. I pray to let this be a part of me forever. Hard days come, but they allow us to rely on Heavenly Father more and allow us to appreciate our blessings we have and the good days that come. I am grateful for my family and that I can be with you for eternity. I am so blessed for our knowledge of this gospel, of the truth. There are so many souls who think they've found the truth, but they don't realize there is so much more happiness waiting for them! I love you all so much!"
-Sister Karlie Tanner


Monday, October 14, 2013

Through My Gethsemane

"Happy Monday from Wisconsin", Sister Tanner says. This time of year is stunningly beautiful in Wisconsin. The colors are changing, and the beauty is unlike anywhere else. People travel there from all over to "leaf watch" during this time of year. This picture of Prairie du Chien makes us understand why.

Sister Tanner's week was exciting as she got to travel to Madison, WI for a bit. Tuesday was Zone training for the Sisters and Elders. The spirit was so strong during the meeting. They even called up a few random missionaries to bear their testimony. Sister Tanner's companion, Sister Asper was called to bear her testimony with everyone. She bore her testimony of Sister Tanner and how much she looks up to her,  because of the strong testimony that she has of the Book of Mormon. It was so sweet, and really touched Sister Tanner. Afterwards, the Sisters went on splits. Sister Tanner stayed the night in Madison, WI with another Sister. Sister Bean was her companion for 2 days. She was amazing, and they had such a wonderful time together! That night, they already had a few appointments with investigators and less active members.
The following day was also spent in Madison, with Sister Bean. Sister Tanner had the best day ever! She loves how busy and fun it is in the city! Sister Tanner said there were appointments set up back to back for the entire day. It helped that her and Sister Bean taught so well together. Sister Tanner said, "We flowed perfectly, and the spirit was so strong." She really admired what an encouraging missionary Sister Bean was. She actually had been the Sister who trained Sister Reese, (Sister Tanner's companion from the MTC)! What a wonderful Missionary she is, and she really inspired Sister Tanner! They had a great 2 days in Madison together.
Wednesday night, Sister Tanner returned to Prairie du Chien. Her companion had stayed there with Sister Christensen who is from Elk Grove! When Sister Tanner got back to her apartment, Sister Christensen had left her a really sweet message. What a sweet surprise! Sister Asper and Sister Christensen also had a great few days. They found a new investigator in Prairie! Sister Tanner cannot wait to meet him and teach him this week!
Thursday was an exciting day for Sister Tanner. After helping weed a garden for a member of their branch, the Sisters got to meet the new Senior Missionary couple! They finally arrived in Prairie! The couple was so sweet and took the Sisters out to dinner. Sister Tanner said that they are in good hands since the couple are a retired cop and nurse.
Friday was spent at the Nursing home. The time they spend there is so meaningful to Sister Tanner. She said that the residents are starting to ask them more questions about why they are there, and what they believe. How exciting! That night, Sister Tanner encountered her first experience having to use a real map! Her and Sister Asper were driving an older couple to a branch party. Their boundaries cover such a large area, that this party was over an hour away. However, it ended up taking 2 1/2 hours each way! Sister Tanner's GPS died, and the poor Sisters were so lost! They definitely got quite the extended detour of Prairie du Chien and its bordering cities.
Saturday was full of visiting investigators and less actives. They were able to meet up with the young man who has recently started coming back to church. They also were able to visit with one of their investigators whom they have had a few challenges with. Sister Tanner didn't know if she truly was interested, but after this meeting she knows that she needs to be teaching her. The woman said to them, "You guys are my rock, and Heavenly Father has special plans for you." Sister Tanner just loves her so much, and prays to know how she can help her progress.
Church on Sunday was completely centered around Missionary work. Sister Tanner said that there ended up being 7 Missionaries in their small branch on Sunday. All of the lessons and testimonies shared that day were about Missionary work. It was amazing! After Church, the Sisters went to see the Senior Missionary couple's home. Sister Tanner said how adorable it is! They worked with them about trying harder to reach out to the less actives. She cannot wait to work with them more!
Halloween d├ęcor in Prairie.
Sister Tanner's week was successful and full of growth. Being able to experience Missionary work in such a big city was inspiring for her. She can bring much of what she learned from Sister Bean to her small town in Prairie du Chien. Finding new people to teach in such a small town can be challenging, but she is never discouraged. Sister Tanner is always sharing the gospel with everyone she meets, and setting an example to those she comes across. We are all so proud of our diligent and faithful Missionary!
Sister Tanner's testimony:
"Last night I was praying and asking Heavenly Father why I feel like I haven't had much success the past couple months,  and telling him that I was really trying hard, and an answer came to me clear as day. I was here right now to serve my companion. I am going to try my best to serve her and love her. I hope to end this transfer by helping her in whatever ways Heavenly Father needs me to help her.
I am so grateful for all the experiences I've had here so far and for all the experiences I will continue to have. I am so grateful for the person I have become. My testimony has never been stronger, and my goals in life and everything I want have changed for the better. I am so happy that I am blessed with this sacred calling and the opportunity to serve the Lord. My mission is the best thing that has happened to me, and I thank you all for making it possible for me to be here and for supporting me on this journey. I couldn't do it without you! I know Heavenly Father loves me so much to send me to such an incredible family.
I know Heavenly Father is aware of each of our trials and every small thing we go through. I am so grateful for the atonement and the sacrifice my Savior made for me to not only be forgiven of my sins but to be able to overcome any hard day. I was listening to Motab sing, "Where can I turn for peace". I love the part in the last verse that says, "through my Gethsemane". We all face challenges, we all have hard days, but we all have our Savior. We just have to turn to him. I am so grateful for my knowledge and understanding of that. I truly gain the strength and comfort I need everyday through him. Because he has felt our every pain, he knows how to help us overcome them. I am so blessed for this gospel and the Atonement. Have the best week ever, and keep sharing the gospel with those around you!"
Sister Karlie Marie Tanner

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

1 in 80,000.

What a wonderful Conference week Sister Tanner had. She cannot wait to receive the Ensign, so that she can read all the talks again. All those years of taking notes during Conference for Seminary, paid off. She loves taking notes at every session now! Watching Conference made her feel closer to everyone back home. Knowing all her loved ones were watching the prophet and his apostles speak, at the same time as her was special.

Tuesday was a great day for Sister Tanner. She received a great pair of boots, which were needed for the extremely cold weather that has started in Prairie du Chien. The missionaries had a district meeting with their new District leader. One of the Elder's investigators showed up to the training. Sister Tanner thought it might be a little different having an investigator there, but it ended up being great. He participated a lot, and felt the spirit so strongly there! It was wonderful! Afterwards, Sister Tanner had dinner at one of her part member/ investigator families. She was able to read the Book of Mormon with them, and share a special message. The woman of the home, is so ready to be baptized! She is progressing so much in her knowledge of the gospel, and is becoming more and more prepared. The spirit was so strong during their time with them. Sister Tanner knows they will one day go to the temple. The Book of Mormon is truly helping them along the way. After their time with them, the Sisters came across an amazing situation. They got stuck as a train was going by very very slowly. It seemed like it was taking forever. Then they saw a girl who was walking, and waiting for the train as well. Sister Tanner's companion Sister Asper, felt like they needed to get out and talk to her. Sister Tanner was worried being the driver. There was a line of cars behind them, who would be needing to pass as soon as the train was gone. However, she got out of the car as well. They went and started talking to this young girl who appeared to be around 15. It turns out she used to date one of the young men in their branch. She already seemed to know a little bit about the church, and seemed interested in the Book of Mormon. They gave her a copy, and said a prayer with her. It turns out she is going through a hard family situation right now. She really needed the comfort of the Sisters. Right after their prayer, the train started moving. It is amazing how inspired and in tune with the spirit, the Sisters are.

Thursday was an exciting day of preparing for the Senior Missionary couple to arrive in Prairie! Sister Tanner and her companion helped move all the furniture in and prepare the house for them. She cannot wait for them to arrive! Afterwards, the Sisters braved the bad storm and headed to their apartment. Right before they went inside, they saw one of their neighbors outside smoking. Sister Tanner said a polite, "hello", and continued in to their apartment. She then heard the woman say, "So, what do you girls do all day?" Sister Tanner then told her all about the church, and what we believe. The woman had moved here after many deaths in her family, including her son and husband. How devastating! The spirit prompted Sister Tanner to read her a scripture from Alma 40 about life after death. The spirit was so strong, and tears came to the woman's eyes. She said that she will read the Book of Mormon, and pray about it. Sister Tanner knows that this woman spoke to them for a reason that day. She also said, "I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the people Heavenly Father put in our path. Timing is everything."

That same night during their weekly planning, Sister Tanner got the tracting spirit! Her and Sister Asper set a goal, that by the end of this transfer they will knock on every door in Prairie du Chien. What a high goal to set! Sister Tanner is confident that they can achieve this! Right as they were planning this goal of theirs, the District leader called them. He asked Sister Tanner to teach the training during their next meeting in a few weeks. Sister Tanner knows this is Heavenly Father preparing her for the rest of her mission. She is nervous, but so excited as well!

Friday was the second time that the Sisters got to volunteer at the nursing home. They painted some of the resident's nails and had so much fun! While they were there, they saw a Book of Mormon sitting in one of the living rooms. Neither of them had brought one there, as they aren't allowed to "preach" inside of the nursing home. The remainder of the day was spent helping members with their family history, and visiting less active members.

Conference on Saturday was wonderful! The Sisters even got treated to ice cream after the second session. Many of their investigators, less actives, and new members were able to watch conference online, which was wonderful!

Sunday was beyond amazing. Conference was incredible, and Sister Tanner loved every minute of it. She said that she loved way too many talks to pick a favorite. She said, "The over encompassing messages I got was, enduring to the end, every day decisions determining our destiny, relying on Heavenly Father, the importance of marriage, overcoming our trials, and the power of the Atonement. It was so cool to hear people speak that I've shaken hands with like, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Neilson of the 70. How exciting it is to be 1 of the 80,000 missionaries doing the Lord's work at this time. I know that the Lord has trusted me with this portion of his vineyard. I am ever grateful for this decision that will not only determine my destiny, but the destiny of every person I teach. I know that the words spoken at Conference are exactly what we all needed. I felt the power and truthfulness of the words confirmed in my heart. I am so grateful for our Prophet, apostles, and leaders guiding us through this troubled world. I am so grateful to be 1 in 80,000. What a blessing!"

Sister Tanner's testimony grows more each week. It is wonderful to see how much conference touched her heart, as it did all of ours. She truly is hastening the work in these latter days. She is sharing the light of the gospel to everyone she meets, even in front of a moving train! As the days get shorter, and the nights get colder, let's all try to warm up Sister Tanner's heart! She loves receiving mail! And emails too! Thank you all for your overwhelming support of Sister Tanner! Your thoughts and prayers are definitely felt on her end! Thank you all!