Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sister Tanner Turns 21!

Sister Tanner had a very eventful birthday week! She turned the big 21! "It was one of the best birthdays ever, and I'll never forget it", she said. She is blessed to be surrounded by people who love her so much, and who made this week so special for her!

This week started off with a fun sports day on Monday. Last week, Sister Tanner got knocked around quite a bit, but this week was her companion Sister Hancock's turn. As the Missionaries were all playing volleyball, she hurt her ankle really badly! "She is one tough cookie", Sister Tanner said. That night, the Sisters enjoyed Family Home Evening with a wonderful family from their ward.

Tuesday was Sister Tanner's Golden 21st Birthday! 21 on 21! "It was the best day ever", she said. She woke up that morning, and opened her presents. Afterwards, her and Sister Hancock taught their District Training Meeting! Their training was on using the Sacrament prayers to help explain baptismal covenants. "Everything we did was totally inspired. It went really well", Sister Tanner said. All the Missionaries seemed to really enjoy it! After their training, all the other districts came into their room to sing "Happy Birthday" to Sister Tanner. She felt so loved! She also enjoyed a yummy birthday dinner at a member's home that night. She was treated to so many sweets that day! The members of her ward showered her with cupcakes, cookies, and ice cream! She was also able to attend the Relief Society Recipe Group Activity that night. They all sang "Happy Birthday" to her there as well. "We had a blast", Sister Tanner said! She was so spoiled and loved by all the sweet members in West Allis on her special day! "My birthday was fantastic. I'll never forget it! Everyone made me feel super special! Members, Sister Hancock, all the Missionaries, you guys, it was great! It feels weird to be 21 now. I feel like I'm not mature enough to be 21. I'm an old fart now! Feels like just yesterday I was having my sweet sixteen in Tahoe! Where does time go", Sister Tanner said. We are all so glad she had such a special birthday!

On Wednesday, the Sisters found out that Sister Hancock tore the ligaments in her ankle! They had a doctor appointment for her, and she was given a boot type cast to wear. They were able to relax after the appointment, and watch Saturday's Warriors at a ward member's house. They had a fun dinner that night with a family who took them to a pizza place. You can build your own crustless pizzas there, and they bake it with all the toppings you could want on top! How fun! Sister Tanner said it was really good!

Sister Tanner was able to use the skills she taught in her District training with a less active member on Thursday. "We used the sacrament prayers to remind her of her baptismal covenants. The spirit was so strong! I love it! She's so close to coming back, but Satan is working so hard on her", Sister Tanner said. 

Sister Tanner was so grateful for the help she received from so many sweet ward members on Friday. Since the Sisters don't drive in this area, it is hard for them to get around with Sister Hancock's injury. So many people were able to take turns driving the Sisters around to appointments and to contact people. They were so grateful! At one point during the day, they were able to go to the library to work and study. While they were there, they visited Sister Tanner was so excited to see the new video on the Church website about family history! It is titled, "A Voice Said I Am Not A Son", and it features a woman she knows from back home. Sister Tanner has grown to love family history, and has a huge testimony of it. She absolutely loved this video! "I love her! I started freaking out that I knew her", Sister Tanner said.

Visit to learn more.

That night, after an amazing fondue dinner, the Sisters participated in a Wisconsin Missionary tradition. It is a tradition, that on a milestone of your mission you burn something. Since it is Sister Hancock's 6 month mark, and Sister Tanner's 9 month mark, it was the perfect timing! Sister Tanner burned a ruined skirt, and Sister Hancock burned a sock. So much fun!

After their burning of the items, Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock had the opportunity to teach the niece of a member in their ward. "She's 13 and ready to learn about the gospel. We introduced the Book of Mormon to her and she wants to read it! She's the cutest 13 year old ever, and I absolutely LOVE her. She even said the closing prayer and it totally sounded like she was already a member! I pray that we will get to keep teaching her", Sister Tanner said. The young girl's dad gave permission for her to be taught the gospel and even baptized. "I'm so excited to see what happens with her", Sister Tanner said. I'm sure the light and love of the gospel in Sister Tanner's eyes is a huge inspiration for this young girl. We are so proud of the amazing missionary she is, and what a positive example she is for all these young girls that she meets. 

On Saturday, the Sisters received the transfer news! Sister Hancock is being transferred to Racine, WI. Sister Tanner is staying in West Allis, WI and will be training a brand new Missionary straight from the MTC! She is a little nervous, but so excited! This is what Sister Tanner had to say about the news, "I'm super sad that she's leaving. She'll always be one of my best friends. She's taught me so much, and we've had the most fun while working hard! Even the members are sad that our "dynamic duo" is getting broken up! I'm super scared to train here. I don't know the bus system as well as Sister Hancock, so please pray that I won't get us lost! I'm excited to train though! I think it will help me a lot." We know that she will be an amazing trainer! 

That night, Sister Tanner was able to spend time with one of her favorite families! A bunch of couples from the ward came over, and they all played "Marshmallow wars" together! "So much fun! I love them", Sister Tanner said.

Sunday was Sister Hancock's last day at Church with Sister Tanner. All the members were sad to have to say goodbye. She was asked to bear her testimony in Sacrament Meeting for the last time. Sister Tanner was so excited to receive a Missionary care package from the youth in the Stake. They made all the Missionaries packages for an activity. What a cute idea! Later that night, Sister Tanner had dinner at the home of one of the Bishopric. He was just put in as a counselor! "He is such a humble guy", Sister Tanner said. "He was just reactivated 3 years ago, and his wife was baptized then. They have such a strong testimony. He said without the Missionaries, he wouldn't be active and his wife wouldn't be a member. What a great family!" The remainder of the night, the Sisters went to visit families so that Sister Hancock could say goodbye to them!

Sister Tanner had an amazing birthday week, and a great last week with her dear friend and companion Sister Hancock. She has an exciting new week ahead of her, and we can hardly wait to hear about it! We know she will be an amazing trainer and companion to her new Missionary! 

Sister Tanner's Message:

"It's been a great week! Today and tomorrow are more frigid temps. Everyone says this is the coldest winter in 20 years in Wisconsin! OF COURSE! But the work continues! I love you all so much! PS: I finished the Pearl of Great Price this morning! SO GREAT!"

Favorite Scriptures of The Week:

1 Nephi 17:3, "And this we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness."

1 Nephi 17:13, "And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led."

D&C 90:24, "Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Little Children Are Alive With Christ

Sister Tanner's week started off a bit rocky. On Mondays the Missionaries all play sports with one another. Sister Tanner got hit in the face not once, but twice! The first time she was hit with a volleyball, and the following time with a dodge-ball. Ouch! She prayed and prayed that she would not have a black eye the following day. Luckily, when she woke up Tuesday morning there was no mark! The power of prayer is real!

On Tuesday, Sister Tanner attended her District meeting. They focused on how they can work more with the members of their wards. They made goals and plans as a district on how they can uplift their wards! Sister Tanner is exciting about their progress! After the meeting, the Sisters received a surprise apartment inspection! Good thing Sister Tanner has become quite the clean freak! 

Wednesday was a great productive day for Sister Tanner. In the morning, the Sisters helped clean a less active member's home. They also helped her take down all her Christmas decorations! In return, she sweetly treated the Sisters to lunch! It's amazing how helpful and caring the Missionaries and Members are to one another. 

 Later that night, a sweet family had Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock over for dinner. Their daughter who is less active was also at the dinner. The Sisters have been trying to get in contact with her for months. They were so happy to be having dinner with her! They were able to talk to her, and share with her a message from the Book of Mormon. "She still believes, and has a testimony", Sister Tanner said. She can't wait to meet with this girl again!

During weekly planning on Thursday, Sister Tanner started to feel down. She felt like she wasn't touching as many people's lives as she could. She also felt like some of her investigators weren't progressing. "I was just blaming myself and feeling like I wasn't a good enough Missionary because no one was progressing. Well, Sister Hancock gave me a great pep talk and helped me through my little meltdown. Then I went in the other room and prayed for awhile and just told Heavenly Father everything I was feeling. Peace just rushed through me. I knew that Heavenly Father knows how hard I am trying and I felt like he truly is proud of the work I am doing. I needed to remember not to compare myself to other Missionaries, or to think of the number of baptisms I've had, but to measure my success based on my hard work, diligence, and if I have the spirit with me. Missionary work is really hard. It's the hardest thing I've done in my life. It's spiritually, emotionally, and physically exhausting, but it's the most important work to do, and I know Heavenly Father needs me to do it. So I picked myself up, and we got back to work", Sister Tanner said. Not every day of Missionary life is easy. It can be a challenge, but it's the most incredible work you will ever do. Sister Tanner is a wonderful missionary, and she was able to reach out to her Heavenly Father for reassurance of that. Prayer is the ultimate way of having a relationship with our Heavenly Father. He is always there to comfort us when we are feeling discouraged.

"Friday was a superrrrr good day", as Sister Tanner put it! A sweet woman in their ward was able to drive them around so they could visit more people. It was so helpful for the Sisters! They were able to see so many more people than they would normally have been able to. The lady that went with them was getting into the "Missionary spirit"! Sister Tanner loved it! Every person they visited was at home! "Miracles", Sister Tanner said. She was able to teach 2 lessons to investigators. Both lessons went so well! Later that day, Sister Tanner had a wonderful experience! Here is what she said about it, "Then we were waiting at the bus stop to go to our dinner appointment, and this guy sat next to me. I had a strong prompting to just talk to him. Inside I was like, 'This is so awkward, but here I go'. So I awkwardly just started talking about the Book of Mormon with him, and he is super interested! He was like, 'I've never heard of this before'. So we got his info! Yay! It was great! The Lord blesses those that are just willing to open our mouths!" Sister Tanner is so blessed to be able to recognize the promptings she receives. This helps her to be such an amazing Missionary! After that wonderful experience, Sister Tanner ended the night with a wonderful dinner. One of her favorite ward members had them over for dinner. "She's HILARIOUS", Sister Tanner said of her. "She was baptized like 2 years ago, and she has such a strong testimony". Sister Tanner hopes she can teach her niece about the Church!

On Saturday, Sister Tanner had a scary experience! The Sisters went to have a lesson with someone who lived pretty far from them. It was in a scary neighborhood, and the woman ended up being out of town. As they were talking with her on the phone, a scary guy came up to them saying, "Lemme pray wit yall"! Then a scary van started to back up into the driveway where they were standing. Sister Tanner grabbed Sister Hancock's hand, and they ran! "We basically almost got kidnapped", Sister Tanner said. We are thankful that the Sisters knew to get out of there fast! We are all so happy that she is safe! Well the scary situation definitely did not put a damper on their day. They were able to have another lesson with a less active member. Afterwards, they went driving around with a member of the ward. They were searching for a man they hoped to teach, but instead ended up at someone else's home. The address was wrong, but led them to someone they needed to meet. The man told them how his wife stopped believing in God when their newborn baby son died. "It was really sad", Sister Tanner said. She was able to share the Book of Mormon with him, and show him scriptures about how "little children are alive with Christ". He seemed very interested, and Sister Tanner hopes she can teach them soon! She was definitely meant to go to that house for a reason! Heavenly Father always leads her to the people who need to hear her message! 

Sunday was a beautiful Sabbath day! Two less active families whom Sister Tanner has been working with, came to Church! That evening, they visited another less active who is ready to return to Church next Sunday! Sister Tanner is so excited! She is working hard to bring the Gospel back into so many people's lives. That night, her and Sister Hancock planned their District Meeting that they are teaching on Tuesday, which is also Sister Tanner's birthday! Yay! "Pray for us", Sister Tanner asked! We know she will do amazing!

Sister Tanner's week may have started out with a bang or two to the head, but it quickly became a great one! She was able to contact and teach so many people! She is grateful for her overflowing mailbox this week, which was full of birthday cards every day! She is so thankful! She was also able to decorate her apartment this week for her 21st Birthday! We are so proud of her, and all that she has accomplished in her 21 years! Happy Birthday Sister Tanner! We all love you so much!

Birthday decorations!

Sister Tanner's Message:

"Thank you all for your constant love and support. I thank Heavenly Father for letting me come into this family 21 years ago. I couldn't imagine life without all of you. I am so blessed to have such great examples of the Christ-like person I want to become. Thank you for helping me be where I am today. I would have never thought I'd be spending my 21st Birthday here in Wisconsin as a Missionary, but now there is no other way I'd rather spend it. The greatest gift is being able to do the Lord's work. I love you all so much! Thank you all for your gifts and letters! They mean more than you know!"

Sister Tanner

(A joke Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock came up with:

"So we were trying to contact a guy named Juan.
Knock, knock...
Who's there?
Juan, who?

Scripture of the Week:

Moroni 8:3 "I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end."

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Back To The Fold"

"This week has been awesome! Many miracles and blessings that the Lord has given us", Sister Tanner said about her week. It started off as freezing in West Allis, and luckily Sister Tanner survived through it!

Monday was the coldest day of the week by far! The temperature averaged around -17 degrees and -50 degrees with the wind chill! It was weather that Sister Tanner had never in her life experienced. The mayor shut down many parts of the city. Everyone was supoosed to stay inside for the next 2 days. Buses, schools, stores, work, and even streets shut down because of the dangerous temperatures! It was the coldest weather that Wisconsin has seen in over 30 years! That's a pretty big deal considering Wisconsin is one of the coldest states in the US. Sister Tanner was sad that they had to stay couped up for the day! Luckily, she was able to spend the day with 2 families from the ward. They all played games together and enjoyed a wonderful dinner. 

The weather didn't stop Sister Tanner on Tuesday. Although they were supposed to spend another day inside, the Sisters made it to their Zone Training meeting. They went over their goals and plans for 2014! Since the Mission reached their goal of 300 baptisms in 2013, they increased their goal to 400 for this year. "We're going to do it", Sister Tanner said! She is determined to help her mission get to that number before she returns home in November. 

As the Sisters headed home from their training, they came in contact with a man who started asking them crazy questions. He began to start saying crazy things about Joseph Smith. Sister Tanner was getting nervous until he said he was kidding! He was a Church member who wanted to play a prank on them! All of them could not stop laughing afterwards. He has a son on a mission as well, and thought it would be a fun joke! "He was super funny", Sister Tanner said.

Wednesday was a hard day emotionally for Sister Tanner. "That's how missionary life goes", she said. She finally was able to teach a woman whom she knows is ready to have the gospel in her life. She taught her all about Joseph Smith, and answered many of the questions she had regarding polygamy, prophets, and the Restoration of the Church. She told the Sisters she believes that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. "She believes it all, and knows it's true. The concern right now is her family", Sister Tanner said. They are not supportive of her decision to learn about the Church. They frown upon her desire to be baptized, and even mock her scripture reading. She isn't willing to loose her family in order to be baptized. This is so hard for Sister Tanner. She sees the good in this wonderful woman, and can see the desire she has to accept the Gospel in her life. "We are just praying and fasting for her family to soften their hearts to the point that she can join", Sister Tanner said. 

Thursday was an amazing and productive day for Sister Tanner. She had a lesson with the less active member that she found a few weeks ago. "I love her", she said of this woman. She read her one of her favorite talks by President Uchtdorf, "Forget Me Not". It went amazing. "It was everything she needed. She related it to a lot of things she's going through, and she was in tears feeling the love of God through the talk", Sister Tanner said. Sister Tanner was truly inspired by the Lord to read her that talk.

That night the Sisters did a Missionary exchange. Sister Tanner went to Kenosha, WI with Sister Peterson, and spent the night there. Sister Peterson was in the same MTC District as her, and they even came to Wisconsin together! It was fun being her companion for a day! They spent all of Friday together. Sister Tanner was grateful to be in an area with a car since it was raining hard! The Sisters taught some really good lessons together. "Sister Peterson was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from her", Sister Tanner said. That night she returned home to West Allis. She just loves her city, and missed it when she was away! 

It was great to be back in West Allis on Saturday. The Sisters went to work HARD that day! Sister Tanner made very high goals for her and Sister Hancock that week. They were one person away from reaching these goals. If only they could find one more person to teach! They decided to walk 3 miles home from where they were in hopes that this person would be found. Then they found him, along with a few others! "We met this guy on the street and he was super open to talking. We had a little lesson right there and we we're like YAY! We made our goal! Then the Lord really blessed us, and we met 3 more people on the way home! We even gave away a few Book of Mormons and got some information! Miracles! Seriously, the Lord blessed us because we were determined and had the faith that we could achieve our goals! Who would have thought street contacting in January works?", Sister Tanner said. All of her hard work paid off, and she was able to find so many more people to share the gospel with. We cannot wait to hear how she touches the lives of these new investigators! 

Sunday was a very rewarding day! Sister Tanner was able to see that she is making a difference in West Allis. An amazing family whom she has been working with came back to Church for the first time in 2 years! Also, a family who has been going to the Single's ward instead of their ward, returned to Church this week as well. "So happy! We were so happy", Sister Tanner said! And the happiness didn't end there. They had a 2nd lesson this week with the inactive member they are teaching. She was very touched by the talk they shared with her earlier in the week. This time, they taught her about the Plan of Salvation. She had wonderful questions for them, and said that she feels herself getting ready to come back to Church. Just 2 short weeks ago, she had told the Sisters that she would love for them to visit her, but that it wouldn't make a difference in her being reactivated. "But IT IS! She has the biggest heart, and I am so excited for her. We literally can see the spirit working with her during our lessons and have seen so much progression already! She will be back in no time!", Sister Tanner said. She is truly helping so many return back to the Fold! In a talk by Elder Hartman Rector in September 1986 titled, "Back To The Fold", he compares those who have become inactive to the parable of the Lost Sheep. Elder Hartman Rector said, "In the parable of the lost sheep it appears that the sheep got lost because he wandered away. He probably didn't intend to get lost but became distracted and did not pay attention to where he was going. How do you get a lost sheep back into the fold? You go out and find him, turn him around, and bring him back into the fold. Usually the sheep is so glad to be back safe in the fold that he runs and jumps for joy." Sister Tanner has really worked on finding those who have strayed, and bringing the gospel back into their lives. 

Sister Tanner's Testimony:

"It's been a super great week overall. I am so excited for the miracles that this week will bring! The work is amazing and I noticed for the first time this week, that I really wish I could be a missionary for the rest of my life! I know I will be but it won't be the same as being set apart as a full-time Missionary. This is the greatest work I could ever be a part of. I read a really good quote this week, "The world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. The blessings of eternity await you!" -Thomas S. Monson. I love it! I finished the Doctrine and Covenants this morning! It's amazing! I love it! I have a better understanding of the early days of the Church, of the revelations given to Joseph Smith, and of the Restoration of the Gospel has grown so much. I am grateful for the love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us to restore Christ's church to earth. I am grateful to be proclaiming the Gospel to the souls in Wisconsin. This work is amazing and I am so grateful to be born in this time of the hastening of the work. I found a new favorite scripture today, "If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving", D&C 136:28. I love it! Thank you all for supporting me through this marvelous journey. Thank you for helping me be grounded in the gospel. Thank you for your examples of righteous living and love of God. Have a great week and never forget to "sing praises unto the Lord". I love you so much!"

Sister Tanner

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014, A Year of Miracles

Sister Tanner was sad to say goodbye to 2013, which is a year she will never forget. However, she was excited to welcome in 2014. She has called it, "a year of miracles" already! She cannot wait for all that this year has in store for her, as she continues to serve the Lord each day, and teach the people of Wisconsin. 

Sister Tanner's week started off with a wonderful family home evening with a part member family. They were able to have a lesson about setting goals for the new year. Everyone in the family came up with wonderful goals and things to strive for this year! The wife made her goal to renew her temple recommend. "This made me so happy", Sister Tanner said.

On New Years Eve, the Missionaries in Sister Tanner's district all got together for a training. They learned about "SMART goals", which stands for Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, Time. It was great to hear the goals that everyone has for the district and for themselves personally as Missionaries. After the District training, Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock spent New Year's Eve with a Sister from the ward. She had a get together at her home with many other members from the ward. After the festivities, they finally made it home safe and sound in the blizzard of snow.

2014 started off to a snowy start on Wednesday! During personal studies in the morning, Sister Tanner prayed very hard. She prayed to Heavenly Father and asked him to help them make it through the day. Many investigators and even members were cancelling on them because of the harsh weather conditions. She studied about going through trials, and enduring to the end. "Boy did I really need that to help me through the day", she said. Doing the Lord's work can seem impossible in freezing weather, when no one is willing to see you or listen to you. But Heavenly Father truly did listen to her prayers that day! Her spirits were lifted after having a wonderful meal, and a night of fun games with 2 wonderful families from the ward. They received wonderful news that night! The man they had met last week at the bus stop, contacted them! He wants to meet with them, and learn more! "Yay! Tender mercy! After tribulation cometh the blessings", Sister Tanner said. Her prayers were answered. Enduring that freezing cold every day is hard, but so rewarding when someone is accepting of the gospel, and wants to learn. 

Thursday was a wonderful day! One of the Sisters in the ward is starting a #tacotalkthursday night! Every Thursday she will invite an investigator or less active to her home, along with the Missionaries. This Thursday, no one ended up being able to come. The Sisters were able to share a lesson with her family about not giving up and not getting discouraged. "Welcome to Missionary Life", Sister Tanner said. What an amazing idea, and what a wonderful example of Member Missionaries. We should all try harder to be Missionaries in our every day life, just like this family!

Everything seemed to fall into place on Friday. The Sisters were able to meet with the man they met at the bus stop. They met him at a low time in his life, and their sweet message was exactly what he needed to hear. Now they were able to actually teach him. He was so receptive of the gospel, and even accepted the invitation to be baptized! Sadly, the Sisters will have to now allow the Elders to teach him. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a woman to always be at every lesson. Heavenly Father definitely led them to this man, and when he needed it most. They are so blessed to know him, and can't wait for him to further his life in the Gospel. After their meeting with him, the Sisters were able to visit with the less active that they have been teaching. They taught her the Restoration, and even watched a DVD with her on it. She told the Sisters that she is going to pray hard, because she wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true. "The spirit was so strong. We will get her back to Church one of these days! Every time we are there, I can just feel the spirit testify to her through me! I love her", Sister Tanner said. It seems that she loves Sister Tanner as well. When they were leaving, she told them that they can come visit more often if they like! Sister Tanner is truly touching her, and bringing the spirit into her life.

Saturday was a fulfilling day as well. The Sisters went out with the Relief Society President in their ward. They visited investigators and less actives. They were able to contact a few of them, and were even invited back again. Later in the day, they were in not the best of neighborhoods and Sister Hancock's bus pass went missing! Thankfully a sweet ward member was able to come and rescue them! 

What an AMAZING day Sister Tanner had on Sunday! 4 investigators came to church! How incredible! Everything went so well, and they were all warmly welcomed by the Members. After Church, one of the men that came with his wife for the first time, talked to Sister Tanner about how this is exactly what he needs in his life. "He said after Church that he knows this is exactly where he was supposed to be today, and his wife said that she looks forward to coming back! The 14 year old daughter loved Young Womens, and was begging her dad to let her come play volleyball with them on Saturday! I am so excited for this family! YAY", Sister Tanner said. Just another family that Sister Tanner is bringing into the gospel, and changing their life forever. 

Sister Tanner had an incredible start to 2014. She was able to overcome the extreme cold, and still find people and families to bring closer to Heavenly Father. Her influence on others is outstanding. Her light radiates the happiness that the Gospel can bring, and its something infectious that everyone around her wants for themselves. She continues to work miracles in Wisconsin, and we couldn't be more proud of her! I will now leave you with some of Sister Tanner's words.

"I know this year is a year of miracles! I am so excited for the adventures and experiences that lay ahead. This year I hope to do all I can to become the best Missionary I can be, and that I can accomplish the things Heavenly Father needs me to do with the time I have left in Wisconsin. I have made really specific goals, and I know with Heavenly Father's help I can accomplish them! What a blessing this year is! SO excited!
Well today is a high of -10 degrees, and -57 degrees with the wind chill. We arent supposed to be outside for any reason today or tomorrow. Everything is closed! The stores, schools, and buses are all closed and not running. The mayor announced everything is shut down! Please pray for me! I love you all so much! I am grateful for the New Year and the opportunity I have to be here doing the Lord's work. 2014 will be a good one!"
Love always,
Sister Karlie Marie Tanner

Thursday, January 2, 2014

300th Baptism!

After all those years of singing, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" Sister Tanner no longer had to dream. It was indeed a White Christmas in Wisconsin! How lucky she was to experience the beautiful snow as she woke up on Christmas morning! She had an amazing week of celebrating Christ's birth!

Monday was the best P-day so far! Sister Tanner was able to go to the Desert Domes in Wisconsin with a few members from her ward. These "domes" have lots of interesting nature in them! It was a very fascinating activity! Afterwards, Sister Tanner and Sister Hancock were able to go bowling with about 20 of the Elders. Although she was not the best bowler, she had an amazing time! She ended the evening by delivering cookies to members of her ward, and many less actives as well. 

Christmas Eve was a very spiritual day for Sister Tanner. Her district had a special meeting with 3 other districts. It was a very uplifting time, and so amazing to see so many of the other Missionaries. After their meeting, the Sisters had the opportunity to go caroling to the nursing home and even to the mission home! How fun! They ended their Christmas Eve by spending time with an amazing family from the ward. They played games with them, and had such a fun night! They were so  blessed to spend this special night with such a great family!

Christmas was the most special day of all! Sister Tanner woke up and made an amazing Christmas breakfast with her companion, Sister Hancock. They sang Christmas songs together, and read Luke 2. Sister Tanner grew up reading Luke 2 every Christmas at home, so this was something she was excited to do with her companion. After their breakfast and scripture reading, they enjoyed opening gifts from their families! Sister Tanner was so grateful for the sweet gifts she was sent! 

Sister Tanner was able to spend Christmas at 3 amazing homes! First, she enjoyed playing games at a new member's home! It was a lot of fun! After that, the Sisters went to another family in the ward's home. That was "the best part of the day", Sister Tanner said! They were able to skype home and talk to their families! For dinner, they spent it at a home with lots of extended family! There were lots of kids and grandkids everywhere! Sister Tanner had so much fun with all of them! "Such a great Christmas! One I will never ever forget", Sister Tanner said! 

Sister Tanner had an interview with her Mission President on Thursday. They went over her goals for the rest of her Mission. She was sad when she realized that her Mission is just about half way through. "I don't want it to be over yet! Too much I still need to do," she said. Later that day, she was able to contact and meet with a less active member of the Church. The woman was so sweet with them, and told them how she wants them to teach her 10 year old Grandson. She wants him to be baptized! Sister Tanner is hoping they get permission from his parents to be able to start teaching him! Sister Tanner is always touching the lives of the children in Wisconsin!

On Friday, Sister Tanner was able to have a lesson with one of the less active members that she came in contact with. The spirit was so strong during their entire time together! "She told us all her concerns and reasons why she doesn't think she is a good member of the Church. We taught and testified how the gospel is not for the perfect. It's for us all who are struggling and trying to become better. She was crying and finally able to feel God's love for her. We left, and I was just so happy. Lessons like those make me so happy I am a missionary and that I am here in place of Jesus Christ to help those who are struggling and to help them find their way back. I love it", Sister Tanner said.

Saturday was "a day of miracles", as Sister Tanner put it. She had an amazing lesson with a new family that she is teaching. She is teaching the husband, wife, and all 3 of their daughters! Again, the spirit was so strong during this lesson as well. They had previously given this family a "Joy To The World" DVD. The part that stuck out to them was the Indians seeing the sign's of Christ's birth. So the Sisters read them 3 Nephi 11, and explained to them the story line of the Book of Mormon. The came to understand the role of the priesthood authority. They began to ask deep questions, and even wondered about the plan of salvation. Sister Tanner was able to explain everything to them, even about temples and being sealed to our families forever. The family said that is something they want! How amazing! "They are so prepared! They are so excited to learn more and come to Church", Sister Tanner said. She prays that they get baptized, and hopes that she can return to visit one day when they get sealed as a family in the temple!

After teaching the family, the Sisters were at their bus stop waiting and they just happened to bump into a less active family. "Obviously we were supposed to be there", Sister Tanner said. The Sisters talked with them for so long that they ended up missing their bus! They walked to the next bus stop, and ended up meeting a man there! This man shared his heart and soul with the Sisters! He told them all about his life, and how he's been feeling like he just wants to give up on it sometimes. He told them that meeting them was a sign that he should hold on, and not give up. Sister Tanner ended up giving him a Book of Mormon. She said how incredible this experience was, "It was just totally not by chance that we were supposed to be there. I know everything happens for a reason, even missing your bus! Heavenly Father puts us in the path of those that need the gospel. It was awesome. Miracle after Miracle on Saturday!" The wonderful day didn't stop there either. Right after they caught their bus, they received a text saying that their Mission hit their baptism goal! The Milwaukee Wisconsin Mission had exactly 300 baptisms this year! That was their goal as a Mission for 2013. This was the first time in 5 years that they have reached their baptism goal! What an amazing way to end 2013! It just goes to show how much work all these Missionaries are accomplishing! The amount of Missionaries serving is incredible, and the amount of work they do is even more amazing! "We made it this year! I am so happy and proud of our mission and all the Missionaries here who have worked so diligently to make this happen. This coming year is only going to get better", Sister Tanner said!

On Sunday, their ward was able to finally do their Christmas program! Sister Tanner got to perform her song as well! It was fun for them to continue with the Christmas spirit just a little bit longer!

Sister Tanner had a miraculous week to say the least. She is blessing so many lives and helping so many people and families come closer to Christ and to the gospel! She was able to receive wonderful news this week that the lovely family she was teaching in Prairie du Chien, is going to be baptized this March! Although she is no longer serving in Prairie, she is so blessed to have started teaching them the Gospel! She is thrilled that they are all being baptized, and cannot wait for the day that their family is sealed for time and all eternity! We are all so proud of Sister Tanner and this incredible 2013 year she has had! All of our lives have been so blessed and touched through her example! I will now leave you with her testimony.

Sister Tanner's Testimony:
"I have made a list of things that I've learned/accomplished in the last year. So much has changed for me this year. I've learned and grown so much. I am so grateful for the changes that have occurred. First and foremost, the most special thing that happened for me this year was going to the temple and receiving my endowments. I love the temple and it's something I've looked forward to my entire life and this year I was able to receive those blessings. The next thing that I've learned is the scriptures. I have truly understood the scriptures for the first time in my life, and they have a whole new meaning to me. This year my goals and priorities in my life have changed. My relationship with Heavenly Father is stronger than it ever has been in my life. I understand the importance of the commandments and the blessings that come from living them. I've realized how strong Satan's forces are and how much stronger Heavenly Father is. I've learned that there is nothing more important in our lives than the gospel, it really is the foundation. I've developed good habits like daily personal prayer and scripture study that will last with me my entire life. I've learned to wake up early every day. I've learned to love doing the dishes and being a clean freak. I've learned that the power of prayer is real. This year, I've seen 1 person enter the waters of baptism, but I've helped many more souls come closer to Christ. I've planted millions of seeds in those who will someday accept the Gospel. I've helped many inactives come back to church. This has been the best year of my life so far. I am a different person this year, and I am so grateful to be here as a missionary doing the Lord's work. This year will be one I will always remember. Thank you for each playing such a huge part in your love and support, and helping me get here. I wouldn't be the person I am today without my mission or without each of you. Thank you so much! I love each of you with all my heart! 2014 will be even better, I can feel it! I will see you all before we know it! I love you! Happy New Year!"
-Sister Tanner