Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Never Postpone a Prompting"

Sister Tanner had a wonderful week in West Allis. Waking up to 5 inches of snow is definitely putting her in the holiday spirit. She was even lucky enough to receive a tree from a member of the ward. Her apartment is looking quite festive, and makes her feel at home. On Monday for her p day she was able to spend time with a family for FHE. They all made Thanksgiving bracelets, and had so much fun together! Sister Tanner is so thankful for the love she is being shown in West Allis.

Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock had an exciting day on Tuesday! They were able to help a family in their ward open their new restaurant! How amazing! Afterwards another member from their ward came with them to visit and teach many people. Sister Tanner said, "It helps so much when our members will give us rides and come out with us." The Missionaries appreciate the help of the ward members so much. While out looking for a particular family, they came across a new family. They are from the Dominican Republic! The parents did not speak much English, so their 15 year old daughter translated for them. They taught and testified of the Book of Mormon and it went wonderfully. The family is open to learning more, and to start reading the Book of Mormon. "We are so excited! I know the Lord led us there for a reason, because they are prepared. We can't wait to teach them more", Sister Tanner said. 

Sister Tanner has started a challenge with her ward members. The challenge is for everyone to make a list of things that they are thankful for. On Wednesday night, the Sisters had dinner with a wonderful family. Their 6 year old daughter was so excited about the challenge. By Sunday she already told Sister Tanner she had a list of 9 things she was thankful for. She said by Thanksgiving day she wants to be at 500 things. How amazing! Sister Tanner just loves their family. It's obvious that they feel the same way towards her. Sister Tanner is truly being an inspiration to so many people, especially the young children.

That same night, Sister Tanner felt truly prompted to ride the bus. She had no idea why, she just knew she needed to be on that bus. So her and Sister Hancock went for a ride. They chatted with a few people, but didn't understand exactly why they were there. Right then and there, they received a text message. It was from a young man whom they had been unable to contact, but who was interested in learning more about the Church. The Sisters sent a text back, and started to find a time when they could teach him. As they are looking over their planner, they notice a guy staring at them. The next text they received said, "Are you on the bus right now?" The man was sitting right by them! "Obviously we were supposed to be on that bus and meet him", Sister Tanner said. They were able to talk to him, and get to know him better. It is amazing how in tune to the spirit Sister Tanner is. As Thomas S. Monson has said, "Never postpone a prompting". 

On Thursday, Sister Tanner was really able to see her hard work pay off. She has been teaching this amazing woman. She is already in Alma of the Book of Mormon. She understands everything, and truly grasps all the principles that she has been taught. She is currently praying about her baptism date! How amazing! After their lesson, Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock had to unfortunately take a visit to the police station. Sister Hancock's library card was stolen. Someone checked out MANY books without returning them, and racked up quite a large bill under her name. The library is being kind and not making her pay, as long as she files a police report. Who knew a stolen library card could cause so many troubles? "Only in West Allis!" 

Sister Tanner realized on Friday how many investigators she has! Weekly planning is quite a puzzle, but she feels so blessed for that! How wonderful it is to have so many people who want to be taught the gospel. What a miracle! They decided it would be better and more safe to have the Elders teach the young man whom they met on the bus. So instead of teaching him on Friday night, they were able to do dishes for a ward member. They also enjoyed an amazing Brazilian dinner that night! Yum! 

Saturday was a full day of activities and teaching for Sister Tanner. The Sisters had intended to rack leaves for a woman that morning. However it was only 15 degrees out, so they moved their helping hands indoors. They were able to install new windows in the kitchen of this woman's home. This will help her house stay warmer. Sister Tanner is learning all kinds of handy skills during her mission! After their time helping with windows, the Sisters had several lessons. They were even lucky enough to receive 2 dinners that night! The second dinner was at a home where the father is not a member of the Church. They felt truly prompted to read him Alma 32. 

Sunday was another rewarding day for Sister Tanner! So many investigators and less active members came to Church with them! What an amazing feeling that must be for the Sisters. Church was going wonderfully, and then in Relief Society a huge fiasco began! Women began to argue over who was having the Missionaries over on Thanksgiving! People were crossing each others names off the calendar. What a great problem to have! Sister Tanner is so lucky to have such amazing members who have such a strong desire to take care of their missionaries. Luckily, the Thanksgiving day calendar all got figured out. The Sisters are going to go from one place to the next the entire day! What a fun and loving way to spend Thanksgiving! We are all so thankful for those wonderful members in West Allis who are showing so much love to Sister Tanner! 

Sister Tanner's week was amazing and full of love. She is so thankful for the wonderful people she is getting to know and teach in West Allis. She is thankful for the promptings she receives, which leads her in the right direction. She is looking forward to this Thanksgiving week! She will have zone conference, and exchanges! The following week she will be able to attend the temple for the first time in Chicago! How thankful she is to be able to be so close to the house of the Lord. 

"I am so thankful for all of you. Thank you for supporting me, thank you for being examples to me and thank you for your prayers, emails, and letters. I love you all! Have a great week and keep being the amazing people you are! Happy Thanksgiving! =) 
love always,
Sister Karlie Marie Tanner"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snow, Tornado, and Rain..... Oh MY!

Sister Tanner has taken West Allis by storm, literally. Sunday's tornado gave their city quite a scare, but everyone is okay! Her week was amazing, and she is loving her new city! 

Her week started off with lots of snow on Sunday! So exciting! She spent the day playing sports with the other Missionaries in the area. There are 50 of them! It was so much fun! She also got to spend time at the Mission home. She was excited to find mail for her there! She was able to sight see a bit, and check out the big mall they have there! After running errands and grocery shopping, she was able to have Family Home Evening with a new member of her ward. Sister Tanner just loved her!

Tuesday was spent at district meetings and also tracting. Sister Tanner was so blessed to find a new investigator! Her and her companion also met a young man while riding the bus. He came up to them and said, "Hey, I know you, you guys are the missionaries for the Church I went to on Sunday." He is dating one of the young women in their ward. The Sisters were so excited to talk to him! That night they ended their day by having dinner with a wonderful family from their ward. The son is preparing to serve a mission himself, so the Sisters loved talking with him about it.

The following day, the young man called the Sisters and wanted to learn more about the Church. He already is showing such a strong desire to be baptized. Sister Tanner and her companion taught him about the Restoration of the Church, and he was very receptive to everything. He cannot wait to start reading the Book of Mormon!

Sister Tanner started her day on Thursday by volunteering at the local thrift store. It was a great experience getting the opportunity to work in West Allis. Afterwards, she felt inspired to contact many people from her area book. These are people who were previously being taught by other Missionaries in her area. Sister Tanner said, "Oh my goodness, Miracles happened." "A bunch of them were just people the Missionaries lost contact with and now they are totally prepared and ready for the gospel. We are so excited!" Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock had such a wonderful and rewarding day. Sister Tanner already considers her one of her best friends. They work so hard and have fun doing it! Their days are filled with smiles and laughter.

The bus seems like a popular place to meet people who are interested in learning about the Gospel, and Friday was no exception to that. The Sisters were able to meet a few new people while traveling to and from their destinations. That night, they enjoyed a wonderful dinner at their Bishop's home along with the Elders from the ward. They had such a fun night! The Bishop's wife even gave them winter hats she had made for them! What a sweet gift!

Saturday was a very rainy day! The Sisters said a prayer in the middle of their day, and right during the prayer the rain stopped. They were so grateful! That night as Sister Tanner was going to bed, the phone rang. It was a lady they had met on the bus! She called to ask them if they believed "John Smith was Jesus Christ". Sister Tanner explained who Joseph Smith was, and that he restored the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. They explained that he was a prophet of God, but not Jesus Christ. The woman really wants to learn more, and they are excited to teach her soon!

Sunday was the day of the tornado! Sister Tanner and all the other Missionaries had to leave their meeting to go into a hallway. The ward who was having their sacrament meeting also had to leave their meeting to join them. Everyone was together waiting out the tornado! After the storm cleared, Sister Tanner enjoyed an amazing Sacrament meeting. One of their investigators came to Church! They were lucky enough to hear from the Mission President and his family. The Mission President gave a talk on standing up for what you believe in and know is right. He talked about being proud of who you are and your religion. He also talked about each Missionary serving in their ward, and told everyone something about them. He told the ward how Sister Tanner graduated from Fashion School. It's amazing how he remembers so much about each of the 250 Missionaries. "He's incredible", Sister Tanner said. After church she was able to chat with the Mission President's wife for a bit. She is so excited that Sister Tanner is there, and that they get to see her often. The Sisters were invited to their home for dinner on Black Friday. They are having a day after Thanksgiving for the Missionaries who serve in their building. Sister Tanner is so excited and so happy to be there! 

Sister Tanner continues to have amazing weeks, one after another. She is working miracles in West Allis, and loves every minute of it. She is so grateful to be able to serve in such an amazing place! She is loving life, and loving the Lord's work. Even through the harsh weather, she finds warmth in the love she has for the Gospel. I'm sure her smile and happiness is contagious to everyone there! We are all so proud of her! "I love West Allis! So much is happening here, and I love it! Thank you all for your prayers", Sister Tanner says. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord"

Sister Tanner's week started off with lots of goodbyes to everyone she had grown to love in Prairie du Chien. She decided to receive a blessing to comfort her during this change. It was an amazing blessing, and gave her the confidence and reassurance as she moved across Wisconsin! She also had the pleasure of saying goodbye to one of her favorite families in Prairie! The children all sang "I am A Child of God" to her on her last night. How precious! She will never forget that. Investigators and less actives were even in tears as their sweet Sister Tanner said goodbye. Many people gave her gifts, or thanked her for everything she had done in Prairie! She touched so many lives in Prairie du Chien!

Wednesday was the day that Sister Tanner moved to the city of West Allis, in Milwaukee county. During the transfer she got to see Sister Reese, her companion from the MTC! It was great that they got to catch up! Afterwards she met her new companion, Sister Hancock! She just loves her! She said how blessed she feels to have a companion whom she can have fun with while working hard. After meeting her companion, they went to move in to their apartment! She loves her apartment, and says its very nice! Right after, the Sisters headed off to their first dinner appointment. They went with the Elders to an older couple in the ward's home. Sister Tanner fell in love with this elderly couple! They also turned out to be the parents of one of the Missionaries who was murdered by the real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre killer in the 1970's. They told Sister Tanner the real story. Their son and his companion were teaching Robert Kleason. The Mission President told them to never go back again, but the Elders wanted to go back one more time to teach him. When they went into his home, they were both murdered. So sad. Robert Kleason is the killer who inspired Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other horror films.

Sister Tanner was able to get acquainted with her new city a bit on Thursday. She was excited to find out that there is a Walmart, Target, AND even a Mall! It's quite a big change from Prairie du Chien! There are also a lot more people there! This means many more ward members, more investigators, and more less actives. During weekly planning, Sister Tanner realized how many people she will get to meet, know, teach, and grow to love! That day she even met a Sister in the ward who served a mission in San Francisco. "We instantly became best friends", Sister Tanner said.

Sister Tanner got her first experience getting lost on Public transportation in Milwaukee on Friday. Luckily the Sisters quickly figured out where they were. All those years of taking BART in San Francisco, really helped Sister Tanner be prepared for her Mission. Riding the public transportation can open doors for meeting new people! Also, it's fun to run into other Missionaries on the buses! Sister Tanner is still getting used to the fact that she sees other Missionaries on a daily basis! 

Saturday was full of many lessons and lots of teaching! Their days are packed full of meetings there, and Sister Tanner loves it! That night was the adult session of Stake Conference. Sister Tanner was so happy to be able to attend! She had the pleasure of hearing her Mission President and his wife speak. The entire session was about Missionary work. Sister Tanner said that the spirit was so strong there. At one point they had every full time Missionary stand up. They all sang "Called to Serve". "I just felt so amazing that I am part of this work. I just felt so important that I am doing the Lord's work", Sister Tanner said. 

Sunday was an amazing day! Sister Tanner and her companion had 2 investigators attend Stake Conference with them! Their mission President spoke again, and this time his 15 year old daughter did as well. Sister Tanner said, "She has such a strong knowledge and testimony! I wish I had that at her age! I love that they are in our stake!" After the wonderful conference, the Sisters had another amazing experience. They had dinner with a family whom the wife is a member of the Church and the husband is not. They were told in advance that the husband is not interested in learning about the Church. After dinner they shared only a simple message and a scripture from Alma 26:37. The man started to cry and completely opened up to them. He told them how he wants to be sealed to his wife in the temple. He just needs to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. He told them how he wants to see the "pillars of light". He agreed to be taught by the Sisters, and also committed to reading the Book of Mormon. It was an incredible experience. The wife told them later, that he has never opened up like this before. Sister Tanner can't wait to teach him! "Miracles are happening", Sister Tanner says! 

Sister Tanner's week was amazing! We are so glad she has moved safely to West Allis. She seems to be loving it and is getting used to the change! Maybe not quite used to the heavy snow yet though! We are faithful that Sister Tanner will continue to work miracles and bless the lives of many people there in West Allis. No matter where she goes, we know it is where the Lord wants her. "I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Farewell Prairie du Chien!

Sister Tanner's journey in Prairie du Chien has come to an end. She has grown to love each and every member of her Branch there. She has enjoyed teaching so many different people, and is grateful for the opportunities she has had to work with the Community. Hearing the news that she would be transferred was bittersweet. She is so excited to meet more amazing people to whom she can share the Gospel with. However, saying goodbye is hard to do. This Wednesday, Sister Tanner will start teaching the people of West Allis, Wisconsin! It is a city in the Southern part of Milwaukee County! She will be near the Illinois border, and just an hour drive from Chicago. This was exiting news for Sister Tanner! She feels so blessed that she will be in an area that is able to attend the temple. The nearest temple is in Chicago, so she was never able to go while serving in Prairie du Chien. We are all so happy for her, and excited for her opportunity to serve in West Allis!
Sister Tanner's last week in Prairie du Chien was bittersweet. It was hard knowing with every lesson, that it could be the last time teaching that person. On Tuesday, the Missionaries had their last district meeting of the transfer. It was all about working with the members while teaching investigators. The members play such a vital role in teaching new people. After the meeting, the Sisters went to visit one of their investigators. She told them a story about how earlier that week her friend was taking her grand daughters on a walk. They passed Sister Tanner and Sister Asper racking leaves. One of the little girls turned to her Grandma and said, "Why are those girls racking leaves in skirts?" The Grandma explained to the girls about Missionaries. One of the girls said, "Oh, I want to be a Missionary! But I can't rake leaves in a skirt!" What a sweet story! It made Sister Tanner realize what a strong impression the Sisters make to others. It strengthens her testimony just knowing that even if they aren't directly talking to someone, they are making an impact. Sister Tanner said, "Service softens hearts, and other hearts than the ones you are serving."
Wednesday was a fun day spent volunteering at Bargain Boutique! Sister Tanner has loved the time she was able to work there! It was wonderful being able to put her fashion skills to use, while helping people at the same time! She will definitely miss Bargain Boutique! After that, the Sisters were able to visit with some of their investigators. That night, Sister Tanner taught a lesson to a couple about the Word of Wisdom. She made a deal with them! If they gave up drinking coffee, she would give up eating Reeses for the rest of her mission! Sister Tanner said she is confident she can do it! So no sending her anymore Reeses!
Halloween was a crazy day for Sister Tanner! They were able to spend the Holiday with a family from the Branch. The family is obsessed with Halloween! Sister Tanner said that they go all out, and have lots of creepy decorations and scary noises! Between trick or treaters, they were able to squeeze in a short lesson with the family. It was a really fun night! Afterwards, they went to the Church building. Sister Asper practiced piano, and Sister Tanner was able to study. Sister Tanner had a wonderful Halloween!

Sister Tanner was able to volunteer at the Nursing Home on Friday. She loved being with all the residents, even though many of them were quite tired from the previous day's festivities! That may have been her last time volunteering there, and she is so grateful for the opportunity. She is grateful that the Nursing home allowed them that opportunity. Hopefully the Sister Missionaries to come can take part in that wonderful experience! Later that day, Sister Tanner was able to teach one of their investigators all about the Apostasy and the role of Priesthood Authority in our Church. For such a strong topic, their investigator really grasped the concept of the Restoration.
 Saturday was a special day for Sister Tanner. She was able to teach the family who is preparing for Baptism. She taught them all about the Plan of Salvation. The husband said, "This means we can be together forever." It was so special for her to see this family experiencing the happiness of the Gospel. She was able to help the husband set up the App on his phone so he can listen to the Book of Mormon while he's on the road for the next 3 weeks. This family is so amazing, and so eager to learn more. The spirit was so strong the entire time. Right after the Sisters left their house, they got the transfer text! This is when Sister Tanner found out she would be going to West Allis. She was sad at first, but she found comfort in knowing that Heavenly Father will send her where he needs her. And that is in West Allis.
The rest of Saturday was spent visiting as many people as possible. Sister Tanner was treated to lunch and ice cream. She will be missed by so many people in Prairie du Chien. She is so loved!

Sister Tanner said, "Sunday was the best Sunday of my Mission so far!" So many less actives and investigators all showed up! What a great surprise for her last Sunday in Prairie! Also, it was Testimony meeting. Sister Tanner felt the spirit so strong, and bore her testimony. Afterwards, one of the less members whom she has taught over the last 6 months, got up to bare his testimony as well. He shared his conversion story from the 1970's, and talked about how the Sisters have helped him find God again! How special to know that Sister Tanner had such an impact on his life! The spirit was so strong, and so many people had tears in their eyes. A member of the branch also bore his testimony about Missionary work. He said how there were so many people in the congregation that would not be there without the Missionaries. Sister Tanner looked around, and felt in her heart that she had made a difference. She said, "Although I haven't baptized many people while I've been here, I know that I've helped people find the happiness of the Gospel again."
That afternoon, Sister Tanner and Sister Asper were able to visit another one of their investigators. She told them about how when she was little, the Missionaries would come over to her grandparent's home, whom were members of the Church. She has amazing memories of those times. She told Sister Tanner how much she is influencing children's lives, even if she doesn't know it. This brought tears yet again to Sister Tanner's eyes! It was hard for her to say goodbye to this special lady whom she has loved getting to know and teach. Afterwards, the Sisters had another lesson with an investigator. She called them and invited them over for dinner and a lesson. She told the Sisters, "I've been blessed to meet and get to know many of the Mormon Sisters, but for some reason you have a special place in my heart!" This was so touching! That evening ended with visiting the young man whom they just recently met. He was interested in getting to know more, so when they went to meet him, his mother answered the door. She ended up being the woman whom they did an interview with about Mormonism. What are the odds? "Everything happens for a reason", Sister Tanner says.
Sister Tanner has made such an amazing impact on the city of Prairie du Chien. She has blessed the lives of those in her branch, the community, and the one's she was fortunate enough to teach the Gospel to. We know she will continue to be an amazing Missionary in West Allis, and wherever she continues to serve after that. I will leave you with a few words from Sister Tanner.
"It's going to be hard to leave this week, but I know that the Lord needs me in West Allis for a reason. Prairie will always have a special place in my heart. I can't wait to bring you all here one day, so you can meet the wonderful people that I've come to love. Member, non-member, less actives, so many people that I will never forget. It's been a blessing to have been able to serve in Prairie du Chien for the last 6 months. The work moves forward and I know blessings and miracles will await me in my new area! I will need your prayers because we won't have a car. I literally am going to freeze this winter. I'm excited and anxious about this change, but I know the Lord truly has a plan for me on my mission, as he does each of us for our entire lives. I know Heavenly Father will place me where the people there need me. What a blessing it is! I love this work! I love being a missionary and I love Prairie du Chien! Now to the city! I love you all so much! Thank you for your endless prayers, support, and love!"
-Sister Tanner