Sunday, December 29, 2013

What will our gift be to the Savior?

 I sincerely apologize for the extreme delay in this week's post. I hope you all enjoy reading about Sister Tanner's adventures during the week of December 16-22. 

 Sister Tanner's week started off with lots of fun on Monday the 16th. It was the last P-day before transfers, so all the missionaries enjoyed a fun day of sports, and a white elephant gift exchange. With the missionaries' limited budgets, you can imagine how silly and creative the gifts were! It was a fun way to celebrate Christmas together before many of the missionaries were transferred. After the fun day, Sister Tanner spent Family Home Evening with a wonderful family from her ward. They had a fun Christmas lesson, and even made ornaments together!

Sister Tanner loved having the opportunity to teach a new family on Tuesday. The lesson went amazing! The family truly "soaked it all in", and even committed to read The Book of Mormon! After their lesson, the Sisters met up with the Elders in their ward and went caroling. They went to an area called Candy Cane Lane, which is a group of 5 streets that go all out with decorations and lights! The missionaries had so much fun sharing the true message of Christmas through music! However, it seemed they came across more "grinches" than they had expected. Sister Tanner said, "We were just singing, not even trying to teach. It just goes to show how much people have lost the true meaning of Christmas! Even the houses with millions of lights and decorations. Christmas isn't about how many decorations we have, it's about the Savior, but many people can't even stop to hear a well known carol about him. We went home saddened, not by the doors slammed, but by the message rejected and the huge factor that these people had forgotten about."  It breaks my heart to think that people could be so disconnected from the true meaning of Christmas. It just goes to show how many people really need the spirit of Christ in their lives!

Wednesday was spent working on family history. Sister Tanner has loved learning so much about it. She can now help others, and teach people how to do their own family history! She even indexed for the first time. "It was so fun", Sister Tanner said. "Oh no! I've turned into a weird old lady that likes to index!" We are so proud of her and her new talent! What an amazing gift to be able to help others learn about their own family history!

Later that evening, the Sisters were able to teach their investigator who has a baptism date! Sister Tanner is so happy and excited for her! 

Thursday was one of the best days of the week for Sister Tanner! She has been trying to have a more effective personal study session. She is succeeding! She had an amazing study time on Thursday, and learned so much about Christ during that time. It was a great start to her day, and everything seemed to go wonderfully after that. She had a great meeting with a less active member and her daughter who is not a member. They talked a lot about the Restoration of the Church. Sister Tanner bonded with her a lot, and can't wait to meet with her again! After that meeting, Sister Tanner was able to visit with a lady who has recently started coming back to Church. Sister Tanner taught her a wonderful lesson and really felt the spirit strongly when she was with her. "I just felt Heavenly Father's love for her", Sister Tanner said.

The next few days were quite snowy! On Friday the bus system even got delayed for awhile! Nothing can stop the Sisters from sharing the gospel though! On Saturday they took part in something that was so incredible and completely inspired by the Lord. A sweet ward member dropped the Sisters off to teach in a random area that they were unfamiliar with. They walked by this apartment complex, and it turned out that an inactive lived there! "It was totally inspired. We were supposed to go there", Sister Tanner said. "She hasn't been active for many years, but she wants to come back to Church. She said no one has tried to visit her from the Church, and she struggles to feel Heavenly Father's love. I know that we needed to be there that day. She needed us. As we testified of God's love for her and of the blessings of coming to church and keeping the commandments, I felt so lucky to be able to do the Lord's work. I feel like there are a lot of lost sheep out there that people forget about, visiting teachers don't try to see, and they might feel like no one cares. As we are guided by the spirit, he will lead us to them to help them come back to his fold and partake in the blessings of the gospel. It was a great day to be a missionary and to feel Heavenly Father working through me to help his Children." 

Sunday was a memorable day for Sister Tanner. The Sisters woke up to a crazy snow storm, and around 10 inches on the ground. They didn't know what to do without buses or cars! Church was cancelled, and it seemed as if they would be trapped inside all day. Luckily they made it to the home of the Bishop's son and his wife. They held Sacrament meeting in their home. Sister Tanner said it was an incredible experience, "It was the first time in my life having Sacrament meeting in a house. But the spirit was so strong. I am grateful for the elders and worthy priesthood holders to be able to bless and pass the sacrament no matter where we are." Sadly, the Sisters missed out on performing at the Christmas Sunday program, but at least they were able to spend the Sabbath with other members of their ward! 

Sister Tanner is continuing to share Christ's love with everyone in West Allis. She is truly such a positive example to everyone around her. She radiates the light of Christ, and I know everyone can see that and hopefully want that for themselves. What better gift to give this Christmas, than the gift of the gospel and of Christ's love? I will now leave you with Sister Tanner's testimony.

"What a wonderful week it's been helping others come closer to Christ as we celebrate his birth. It's a weird feeling being here in Wisconsin and not at home with all of you, but like I've said a million times already, I will never forget Christmas this year. As a missionary, our month hasn't been filled with running around wrapping presents or working a store with busy Christmas shoppers. It's been about Christ, and helping others feel of his love and understanding how to become more like him. I am so blessed to be here and doing the Lord's work. I love this gospel, I love my calling, I love our Savior, and I love Christmas! Think of what you can give the Savior for his birthday! I heard once this week, "What if everyone was celebrating your birthday and came to your party bringing everyone else gifts except for you?" Try to focus your thoughts on what matters most and the gifts to give to our Savior!"

Love always,
Sister Karlie Marie Tanner

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Sing Choirs of Angels"

  Sister Tanner was thrilled to email home and tell us that she is staying in West Allis! Her and Sister Hancock made it through transfers together, and will be serving with one another in the same ward, for at least the next 6 weeks! She is so exited to be spending Christmas, New Years, and her 21st birthday in a beautiful city with an amazing Sister whom she loves dearly! We were all so happy to hear this news! 

Sister Tanner's week started off with a lot of fun activities! The Sister spent their P day playing lots of sports! She says that she will be a pro at volleyball when she returns, which is quite funny considering she used to despise the sport! 

Tuesday was Zone Training for the Missionaries in their area. It was an amazing training full of inspiration for all the Missionaries. Sister Tanner said, "Lots of ways to improve! It's crazy, I have been out almost 8 months and I still feel like I have so much to learn still." After the training, the Sisters had an incredible and scary experience. The snow was coming down like crazy, and as they went to make a somewhat sharp turn, their car slid all the way through. It was as if their car was being moved in the exact location that they needed to be. Other cars were not as lucky. A car who had slid out in the exact same way ended up in a ditch. The Sisters remained very calm as all of this was happening. Sister Tanner said, "After we got control of the car, we all realized what a miracle it was. It really felt like Heavenly Father was moving our car the way we needed to go so we could be safe. So grateful for that!" What an amazing experience that was! Heavenly Father was definitely protecting those Missionaries!

After they returned home safely, the Sisters enjoyed baking cookies and attending their ward Relief Society cookie exchange. Sister Tanner loved getting to know more of the women in her ward! The Sisters even received Christmas gifts that night! 

Wednesday was "the coldest day of my life", as Sister Tanner put it. She hopes her body adjusts to the zero degree and occasional negative temperatures! She said all the freezing was worth it, just to be able to give this woman a Book of Mormon whom they had been referred to. She wants them to come back to visit her! Sister Tanner will brave any temperature in order to do that! 

On Wednesday night, Sister Tanner had dinner with one of her favorite families in West Allis! She just loves them so much! After dinner, her and Sister Hancock were able to practice their song for Christmas sunday. The wife played the piano for them! She hopes to record one of her rehearsals so that we can hear the gorgeous arrangement! We are so happy that she is sharing yet another wonderful talent of hers while on her mission!

Sister Tanner was able to carry on a Tanner Christmas tradition to everyone in West Allis on Thursday! She made her mom's famous fudge! Everyone who has tried this fudge will know exactly what I am talking about! AMAZING! She was able to replicate it, and everyone thought it was really good! The Sisters brought the fudge and homemade cookies to all the less active members in their ward. What a sweet idea! They had a wonderful time visiting and bringing them to everyone!

On Thursday night, Sister Tanner and all the other Missionaries in their district got treated to a wonderful night of fun! Many of the members in their area took all of the Missionaries out to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings! They had such a fun night! We are so thankful for all the people in West Allis who are treating the Missionaries so good! They are bringing so much family and love into their lives during this holiday season! We love them so much for that!

Friday the 13th was a wonderful day for Sister Tanner! They started their day by teaching a wonderful Sister a lesson on preparing to go to the temple. She had a lot of questions, and the Sisters were able to help her feel more prepared and ready! Afterwards, Sister Tanner went tracting at the mall for the first time! This is a much more effective method during this time of year. Everyone is out at the mall shopping! The Sisters are lucky to live in a big city with malls! The YW President even met up with them, and by the end of the night they even taught a lesson! It was an amazing way to spread the true meaning of Christmas to people who may be more concerned with the stress that the Holiday can bring. It was a great day for Sister Tanner!

On Saturday, the Relief Society President came out with the Sisters and drove them around. They were on their way to visit a man who has not been to Church in over 30 years. Before they could get there, the car got stuck in the snow! It took quite some time, but the Sisters were able to push the car out of the snow! Sister Tanner said, "Satan was trying to stop us from getting there!" But as soon as they did get there, he let them right in. He loved talking with them, and really wants to come back to Church. After so many years, it's amazing how one simple visit can change someone's entire life. The Sisters KNEW that they needed to get there, and no amount of snow could have stopped them. However, the snow did make it hard to find a lost bus pass. Sister Tanner's companion could not find it anywhere. They looked and looked with no luck. Finally, they decided to pray. Having a bus pass is a necessity for them! As soon as they finished the prayer, they walked outside. There it was, sticking out from the snow! " Prayers are answered! What a blessing," Sister Tanner said! 

That night, the Sisters attended the ward Christmas party! Many inactive members, and part member families attended! Even 2 non members whom they had met at the Nativity, showed up! They were so excited, and had a wonderful night! 

Sunday was an amazing day at Church! Afterwards, the Sisters met with one of the ward member's sister. She used to be a nun, and doesn't know much about the Church. She did not want to learn about the gospel, but allowed the Sisters to share a Christmas message with her. They talked to her about Christmas songs and the meanings of them. They told her about the "heavenly host of angels" who sang when Christ was born. Her brother told Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock how he thinks they were part of the Choir in Heaven that was singing that very night. What an amazing thing to think about! 

Sister Tanner had an amazing week yet again. It is incredible how much holiday spirit she is able to spread with everyone. In a personal email to me, she explained how this Christmas is one unlike any other. I had to share this with you all, because it sums up what we should all be feeling in our hearts this Christmas! "Being a missionary and being away for Christmas has helped me to understand the true meaning of Christmas. Every year before this, working in retail I get so focused on the getting and giving of presents, and all the extra stress that comes with working during the busy Christmas season. This year just getting to teach people about Christ, who is the whole reason for the holiday, is such a blessing. I don't need gifts (although I am so grateful for the ones you sent). I think I will have such a different view of Christmas for the rest of my life because of this experience. It's all about Christ. We are celebrating our Savior's birth. The one person who makes it possible for us to return to Heavenly Father and reach the celestial kingdom, it's him. Because he was born, we can overcome all. I love it! I love Christmas!" This brought tears to my eyes, because she is so right! I hope we can all take something from that, and center our lives to Christ this holiday season!

Sister Tanner's testimony:

"Everyone was talking about when they gained a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I took some time to ponder this and when I knew for myself that he was a true prophet and I think for me, my testimony of him came when I gained a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon was true. Because knowing the Book of Mormon is true means that Joseph Smith truly did translate it by the power of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is written by the ancient prophets in the Americas. I know that there is no way Joseph Smith would have sacrificed everything he had, even his own life for a book that he just merely wrote. There is no way. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and I know that through Joseph Smith, the priesthood authority was restored to the earth and that Christ's church was restored. If you haven't thought about it in a while, I challenge you to ponder about your testimony of Joseph Smith and his significance in your life. Why is he important to you?

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here in Wisconsin doing the Lord's work. Nothing I would rather be doing. I miss you all so much, but remember how much I love you and how much Heavenly Father loves you! Have a fabulous week!"
- Sister Karlie Tanner

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Chicago Temple!

A chilly and snowy week it was in West Allis, WI for Sister Tanner. The Sisters had a wonderful and memorable week though! It started off amazing on Monday, as they are so close to having one of their investigators be baptized! She is praying and reading the Book of Mormon! Sister Tanner prays that she can be baptized the weekend before Christmas! What an amazing gift not only to her, but to her family, the Sisters, and to the Lord! After their lesson with her, the Sisters got to spend some time getting in the Christmas spirit! A lovely family invited them over for Family Home Evening. Sister Tanner taught them a lesson and gave them an activity. Then they all decorated the Christmas tree! Sister Tanner said, "It was such a meaningful family thing that they let us be a part of which I am so grateful for. It made me miss putting up the ornaments with you guys, but I am glad I got to help another family do it!" How sweet of this family to let the Sisters experience that special Christmas moment with them as a family. 

Sister Tanner with her tree

Sister Tanner attended her District meeting on Tuesday. Her Zone Leaders were able to come, and it was an amazing day! Following that, her and Sister Hancock had dinner with her "favorite family ever"! The Sisters had such a fun time at their home! They invited them both over for Christmas to skype home! We are so blessed and thankful for this family to give us the best Christmas gift ever! We are looking forward to that day, and so is Sister Tanner. "Heck yes! It's going to be the best Christmas away from home that there could ever be", Sister Tanner said. 

District Meeting

Sister Tanner was able to teach a wonderful lady on Wednesday! The Sister Missionaries in West Allis had taught her previously a few months ago, but then the lady took a trip to Mexico for a few months. She is home now, and Sister Tanner was able to meet her! Here is a clip of what Sister Tanner had to say about her. "She's back and ready to dive in to the gospel. The spirit was so strong in our lesson. She has the strongest faith ever and she told us she knows the Book of Mormon is true. We invited her to be baptized on January 11th, and she accepted. She's so hungry for more and she's been so prepared by the Lord." We are so excited for this woman, and so proud of our sweet Missionary! We know this woman's life will forever be blessed by this choice she is making. 

Later in the day on Wednesday, Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock went to visit a few less active members in their ward. One woman is in the hospital, so they went to visit her and carol! They sang "Away in a Manger". Sister Tanner said they couldn't stop laughing afterwards because, they had messed up some of the words! I'm sure the lady was very touched by their visit! Afterwards, the Sisters went to visit this sweet 13 year old girl. I almost did not add this part to the blog to share. After thinking about it, I realized it needed to be shared because of how different and memorable this must have been for Sister Tanner. The young girl that they visited lives in a polygamy family. Her family used to be LDS, but the reasons are obvious as to why they are not any longer. However, this young girl is baptized into the Church. Sister Tanner felt so bad for her, because she is growing up thinking this is what is normal. The most bizarre part of the entire visit was seeing The Family: A Proclamation To The World hanging on their wall. Sister Tanner said, "It was something I will never forget, for sure." If you have any questions about the Family Proclamation or the role of Polygamy in Mormonism, please visit to learn more. 

On Thursday, the Sisters had a lesson with a new investigator. They met her while visiting her future father in law. It was more than coincidence that they met her. She is so prepared and ready to learn about the gospel. Sister Tanner said, "She's so ready for the gospel. She has been reading the quad, and a book about Joseph Smith. She has a lot of really great questions. She said, 'You guys really knocked on the right door because I've been wanting to learn more for awhile.' It was the spirit that led us there!" What an amazing experience! Afterwards, the Sisters got treated to custard! Sister Tanner wishes we could all taste Wisconsin custard!!!

"Friday was the best day ever", Sister Tanner said. She was able to go to the temple! It was her first time attending while being out on her mission. A lady in their ward drove the Sisters to the Chicago Illinois Temple! It was a day Sister Tanner will never forget. I'll share with you what she had to say about her experience there. "The temple was everything I needed. It was so nice to go there and feel peace and for 2 hours to just be me, Karlie. It felt like I was able to let go of the stress that Missionary work brings, for just a little bit. I gained a lot of answers to my prayers and I felt a renewed strength and energy to work harder and become a better missionary. I love the temple. I didn't want to leave. When I get home, I want to go to the temple at least once a week. It truly is the one place on earth that we can feel complete peace and feel closest to our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful I was able to go!" After her amazing time at the temple, they were treated to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. Then they had the opportunity to go see the Nativity display that their stake was putting on. It was a live nativity with musical numbers as well. So many people from all different faiths were there to celebrate! Even the Sisters' neighbor attended! Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock preformed Christmas hymns in front of everyone that night, along with the other Missionaries who were there. "It was so fun to feel the Christmas spirit touch so many non-member's hearts", Sister Tanner said.

Chicago Illinois Temple

Sister Tanner was able to teach a very powerful lesson on Saturday. The family she taught only has a few children who speak English. The parents do not. So the children had to translate for them. She thought the language barrier would make it hard, but it was quite the opposite. The spirit was so strong, and everyone's hearts were touched. Sister Tanner said, "They all committed to read the Book of Mormon. The mom said she's spent her whole life searching for the truth, and every time she prays about a religion, God tells her to keep searching, so she hopes her search is over. It was really powerful." That night, the Sisters went back to the Nativity for the last night of it. More people were there then on Friday night! They were able to meet so many people! It was another wonderful day!

A crazy snow storm came their way on Sunday! Although, it prevented many people from being able to attend Church, it didn't stop the Sisters. They had a wonderful day, and were even able to start rehearsals for their Christmas Sunday performance. Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock are singing with the Elders in their ward! One of the ward members put together an arrangement of 3 Christmas songs for them to perform. She can't wait! The Sisters ended their day by watching the Christmas Devotional broadcast!

Sister Tanner's week was one that she will never forget. Getting to attend the Chicago Temple was an incredible experience. She hopes she can go again! She also loved the moment when her investigator agreed to be baptized in January! She cannot wait for that special day! We are all so proud of her and miss her very much! I will now leave with you her testimony.

"Christmas is quickly approaching! Thank you for all your prayers of warmth! I will need it! I am so grateful for the knowledge we have of the gospel. I know Jesus Christ is the Savior and I know HE lives. I know this is His work, I am just a tool through which the spirit can work. I am blessed to be doing the Lord's work and to see the miracles that come from it every day. I love each of you so much. Thank you for your examples in my life. I miss you all so much, but I know Heavenly Father is blessing you and watching over you! I love you!
Love always,
Sister Karlie Marie Tanner"

Here are a few pictures from Sister Tanner's last week in Prairie du Chien before she arrived in West Allis.

Prairie du Chien district

Only in Wisconsin

Prairie du Chien LOVES Halloween!

So many festive people in Prairie du Chien!


Prairie du Chien Branch Missionary couple

One of Sister Tanner's favorite families in Prairie

The Children performing for Sister Tanner's last day.

Goodbyes are hard

Locking her Apartment for the last time.

Bye Prairie

Adios Prairie du Chien!

Bishop's family

One of her favorite Branch members