Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Promised Land of Wisconsin

Sister Tanner had an eventful week! She moved, received a new companion, and took on her new calling as a Sister Training Leader. "It's been a crazy week", she said. "Kenosha is crazy! Seriously the promised land of the Mission. I'm feeling totally overwhelmed with all we have going on, because I've never been in an area like this but I'm also feeling super blessed to be able to serve here. I feel like the Lord is pouring out the blessings for whatever reason. I came into the area with 2 baptism dates, and we just set another one this week. We have 3 baptism dates in May! We teach so many lessons, I wouldn't even have time to tell you about all of them. It's crazy! I'm exhausted but it's a good thing! The ward is amazing. So many miracles! It was hard to leave West Allis, because I love the ward and people there so much, but I know once I get a hang of what's happening here, I will fall in love with everyone here too!" We are so excited for Sister Tanner and all the lives she will bless in Kenosha! We know the Lord has huge plans for her there, and we are looking forward to seeing them unfold.

Monday was Sister Tanner's last P-day in West Allis. It was fun playing sports with everyone there for the last time. She was able to say goodbye to her dear friend Sister Stuart. It was her last week as a Missionary! She was Sister Tanner's Sister Training Leader when she first arrived in Wisconsin. Now she was giving Sister Tanner advice on being a STL. Her advice was, "Just love the girls, and everything will fall in place." Sister Tanner just loves her, and will miss her so much! On Monday, Sister Tanner also got to see her favorite bus driver! She was happy that she was able to say goodbye to her before she left for Kenosha. She ended the day with an amazing family whom she will miss so much! 

Sister Tanner spent the whole morning packing on Tuesday! She has too much stuff! She really wanted to go to the restaurant of one of the members in the ward, but really didn't think she had time. She kept feeling like she should go, so she did! She was able to say goodbye to the Brother in her ward, and eat his yummy food one last time. As the Sisters left the restaurant, they met an amazing girl who wants to learn more about the church! "She's a really cool girl", Sister Tanner said. "She's been looking for a church, and is interested! Sister Tanner knows she was prompted to go to that Restaurant for a reason. "We were totally supposed to be there and meet her", she said. The rest of the day was spent saying goodbye to all the amazing families and people that Sister Tanner has come to love! She had dinner with a fun family from her ward. They even all went together as a family to visit a less active member with the Sisters. "They are amazing and I'm going to miss them so much! They are incredible", Sister Tanner said. "We always spend dinner laughing and talking about how much the gospel is blessing their lives now, and how much they love the temple. It's the coolest thing ever!" Sister Tanner will always remember their family! After dinner, the Sisters went to Recipe Group with the Relief Society. Sister Tanner loves the Sisters in her West Allis Ward. They have all touched her heart, and she will cherish her memories with them forever! "They have all become my friends and my Ward family the last 6 months. I'm going to miss them so much. I love them all. West Allis will forever have a special place in my heart! I can't wait to go back and visit there someday, and show you all how amazing that place is", Sister Tanner said. West Allis will forever be in Sister Tanner's heart.

Wednesday was a bittersweet day. Sister Tanner had to say goodbye to her companion Sister King. She has been so blessed to be companions and friends with someone so amazing! They will be friends forever, and Sister Tanner will miss seeing her everyday! While at the Stake Center for transfers, Sister Tanner got to see Sister Newton! She was her first companion when she was in Prairie du Chien."Ah! I can't even begin to to describe the happiness I felt when I saw her! So excited she's in West Allis now! I love her", Sister Tanner said. Sister Newton and Sister King are now companions, and serving in West Allis together! So many amazing Sister Missionaries in Wisconsin! Sister Tanner was also able to see a familiar face from back home, Sister Vang. She is brand new to the mission! "She's so cute, and has an awesome trainer", Sister Tanner said. She was also able to meet a new Sister Missionary who had wrote Sister Tanner a letter before she went out on her mission. After receiving her call, she stumbled upon this very blog and was able to contact Sister Tanner. She is going to Prairie du Chien to serve, which was Sister Tanner's first area! How amazing! Transfers were emotional, exciting, and fun! Sister Tanner was blessed to see so many people she loves that day!

Sister Tanner and her new companion made their way back to Kenosha! It was off to work right away for the Sisters. Before even dropping off all the luggage, they attended the appointments they had lined up. Kenosha is a whole new experience for Sister Tanner! That next morning, the Sisters had breakfast with a member from the ward. She wanted to get to know Sister Tanner! "She's so cute", Sister Tanner said. She ended up recognizing Sister Tanner right away, and reads this blog! So exciting! "She's the cutest lady ever with a sweet southern accent. She invited her friend to Church and she wants to be involved in Missionary work. Ah! I love her! Members like her are going to change the world", Sister Tanner said. After breakfast, Sister Tanner had an appointment with an investigator, and she committed to baptism right then and there! "She's so ready", Sister Tanner said. Lessons, appointments, and more lessons filled up the rest of the day. "So many things going on", Sister Tanner said. "We were so busy that we didn't have time to weekly plan." Together the Sisters made a goal of trying to meet every member on their ward list. There are over 600 members in their ward! They put in all of the addresses on their GPS, and got to work. What amazing dedication these Sister Missionaries have! "It will help us meet less actives and get to know the active members better", Sister Tanner said. 

Volunteering at the Food Pantry was an amazing experience for Sister Tanner! It helped her to realize how blessed she is to always have food to eat. After their service, the Sisters had a lesson with a girl who they are getting ready for baptism. "She's awesome", Sister Tanner said. "She has such a desire to change." Another lesson that Sister Tanner taught on Friday was with a familiar face. A woman whom Sister Tanner taught while on exchanges in Kenosha, is now getting baptized! She was excited to see her and teach her again!  "I taught her on exchanges for her first lesson, so she remembers me and likes me! Wow, she's changed and opened up so much from the first time I met her", Sister Tanner said. She is so exciting for her to be getting baptized! The Sisters enjoyed the beautiful 70 degree weather while going through their ward list. They have 600 people to visit on this list, so they got started. They met a lot of less active members! One man in particular seemed very interested about coming back. Sister Tanner is so excited! Serving in Kenosha is amazing!

In the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, strange things started happening in Sister Tanner's apartment. The Sisters started hearing their doorbell ringing. They got up to make sure the door was locked, and then went back to sleep. A bit later, music started blaring through their cd player. They knew it had been turned off, and the volume had never been up that loud. "We were freaking out", Sister Tanner said. "We totally thought someone was in our apartment. I can't even tell you the fear that was going on." Luckily, there was no one in their apartment, and nothing else happened. It was a very scary experience though! Needless to say, the Sisters were exhausted that day! They were so scared that they could barely sleep. The work goes on though! They had so many lessons that day! It was amazing! They even went tracting in Kenosha, and within 5 minutes they found an amazing family who is interested in the Church! "Miracles", Sister Tanner said. That night, Sister Tanner had dinner with a wonderful family! She adores the wife so much! She is also allergic to gluten, and can relate to Sister Tanner so much. She served a mission herself, and wants to help them in every way! She sent them home with 4 bags of groceries, and gluten free foods! "So sweet", Sister Tanner said. "Such tender mercy! So know that the members are taking care of us so well." What a wonderful and selfless woman! After dinner, the Sisters continued with their goal of visiting every person on the Ward list. They went to a home not knowing anything about them. A man answered the door, and told the Sisters that he hadn't been to church in a long time. He told them how much he wants to come back, but that he is scared. Sister Tanner was so happy that they found him! "We were able to testify about the Atonement, and how Church is for imperfect people, and that we go to Church to try to become better", Sister Tanner said. He came to Church that next day! What a miracle! "The Lord was totally preparing him and prompted us to go see him at the perfect time! How cool, huh?", Sister Tanner said. That night, a loud weird noise came blaring from their CD player. It was scary, but they were so exhausted that they didn't even care.

Sister Tanner loved her first Sunday in Kenosha! They have a huge ward, so there are a lot of people to meet. Sister Tanner was asked to bear her testimony. She loves opportunities to do so! It was amazing having 3 investigators in Church. One of them was the man they had met before. It seemed like all the talks were inspired for him, which was so perfect. It was a wonderful day at Church! Afterwards, the Sisters went around and visited more less active members on their Ward list. 

Sister Tanner had an amazing first week in Kenosha! She loves the intensity of the work there! She is excited to eventually meet all 600+ people in her new ward. We know she will work miracles there! We are so proud of her!

Sister Tanner's Testimony:

"I love it! I'm super overwhelmed with all we have going on but it will be good! I'm going to grow and learn so much from serving here. Last night, I was praying about if I should be thinking about what I should do after my mission and this morning I read 3 Nephi 13:24, "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon", and I was like, "Yep, that's the answer to my prayer so I'm not going to worry about it! I can't believe it's been a whole year since I walked into the doors of the MTC. Time has flown, but at the same time I've learned so much. I am so grateful for every single day of experiences that has helped me become the person I am today. My mission has changed my whole life. It's changed what's important to me, it's changed the person I want to become, and most important, it's changed the decisions I make every day. I have come to know my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ more than ever before in my life. My testimony has grown more than I thought was possible. When I decided to serve a mission, I wasn't even sure why I needed to come or why I all of a sudden wanted to, but now I know that this was God's plan for my life. I needed to serve a mission to come to know the gospel and to become a better friend, daughter, sister, and someday a better wife and mother. Being a missionary, I've seen miracles, I've witnessed people change their lives, and I've felt the spirit confirm to me that the gospel is true. I love the Book of Mormon. Every day I am so excited to read the Word of God. I love being led to people and sharing my testimony every day and teaching them of the gospel. I can't even put into words everything I've learned, but I do know that everything I teach is true. I know that this gospel brings the happiness everyone is searching for, and a happiness that the world cannot offer. Even though my mission is hard, it's the hardest thing I've ever done, I've never felt so great of joy or happiness as I do now. The power of prayers is real. Christ lives and loves us, and because of him everything is possible. There is a quote from this talk I read this week. It's called, "Missionary Work and The Atonement", by Jeffery R Holland. You guys should check it out! He said, "The good news was that death and hell could be escaped, that mistakes and sins could be overcome, that there was hope, that there was help, that the insoluble was solved, that the enemy had been conquered. The good news was that everyone's tomb could one day be empty, that everyone's soul could again be pure, that every child of God could again return to the Father who gave them life." The gospel is the good news! I get to tell the good news every single day and I love it! Thank you all for supporting me and praying for me for the last year! I have 6 months to work as hard as I can! Missions are too short and there are too many people that need the gospel! I love you all so much! You're in my prayers every day! I love you! Happy May!"

Sister Karlie Marie Tanner

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