Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My Mission Experience!

Called to Serve 

Sister Kiera Colette Tanner 
New York New York North Mission 
May 28, 2014-December 10, 2015

Why I Decided to Serve:
While growing up, I never wanted to serve a mission. I loved to share the gospel with my friends, but serving a full time mission was never in the picture. I wanted to be a pediatric nurse, get married, and have a family. After I got my patriarchal blessing at age sixteen, my mom told me she thought I was going to serve a mission. I only laughed and brushed it off. During my junior year of high school I decided that if girls could go on missions at age nineteen then I would totally go. Well shortly after, the age change came and sure enough everyone looked to me. However, at that time things changed and I didn't feel like a mission was right for me. The thought of a full time mission scared me. I don't think I was willing to sacrifice 18 months. As college approached my mom nagged me about a mission all the time. I grew frustrated with her and pushed further away from wanting to go. When college started, I met my roommate who was preparing for her mission. I helped her with her papers and watched her learn and grow as she studied and prepared. It intrigued me and made me want to do the same. I too began to study preach my gospel. It was around that time that my dream to be a nurse changed, and I didn't know what I wanted to do anymore. My life went from being exactly planned out, to a dark unknown path. One night I heard the song "Lead Kindly, Light" and for the first time the words hit me. I knew that I needed God to lead me through this time. That's when I knew I needed to pray about a mission. As I prayed and prayed, I couldn't figure out the answer I was getting. Each day passed by and I got more and more worried. During that time I stumbled upon an Ensign talk about how sometimes God doesn't give us the answer to our prayers because He trusts us. It talked about how if choosing between two really good things, God would help us through whatever choice we make and if it's the wrong one then He will make it known to us. Finally, I came to the conclusion that serving a mission would be a good idea. I wanted to teach people about the gospel and serve others, and I knew that if it wasn't God's plan for me, He would make it known to me. When I first started my papers, I didn't tell anyone, nonetheless I felt so good about my choice. I just wanted it to be my decision and not anyone else's. Once I knew God wasn't going to change my plans, I told my family and friends.

When my call came to serve in New York, I was terrified. Just a year prior to receiving my call, I had visited New York with my family and I hated the city. I wanted to go somewhere exotic, or Spanish speaking, but that wasn't God's plan for me. However, I knew it would be okay and that the odds of me serving in the city were very slim.
As I got to the mission field, I found out my first area would be South Manhattan, right in the heart of the city! It was completely opposite of what I had expected. That is where the real journey began.

In the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 33:6 reads, "I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell." Throughout my mission, I felt I was able to find "MY Jesus" through several experiences. Some of those experiences included learning of the importance of doing Gods will because it's not about me, praying with faith, and using the Atonement.

"The Lord’s way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel. 'There is an opposition in all things,' everywhere, for everyone. Life is hard for all of us, but life is also simple. We have only two choices. We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go some other way, any other way, whatever other way, and go it alone--without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier?" - Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge October 2008 General Conference, The Way).

In the MTC the scripture Mark 8:35 really struck me as it moved from my head to my heart. It says "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it." (Mark 8:35.) I knew that was what I needed to do. It came through remembering that this time to serve is not about me.

One of the first things I instantly began to learn was that I needed to align my will with God's will. From the start, I knew that I needed to serve a mission because it was God's will for me. As I was called to serve in New York, a place I hated, I knew I was in Gods loving care. He knew what would be best for me and going somewhere I didn't like would help me remember that my mission was not about me. Spreading the gospel truly does require a lot of effort. I have never felt so physically, spiritually and mentally exhausted in my entire life. However, as I saw the joy of others that comes from serving them, I saw how it didn't really matter what I felt. It was all about serving Gods children and loving them. I grew so close to the members and investigators in Manhattan. As I did my best to turn outward and to think of others, I really felt like I was able to "get lost in the work" and that was a blessing to me. I wanted to serve in that ward my entire mission.

However, six months later, it was time to leave. I cried for three days straight. I was so sad. How could God want me to leave the place I had just grown to love, right before Thanksgiving and Christmas? Why was I going to be "banned" to Monticello? I just didn't understand what happened. However, as time passed, I saw Gods hand in the work. I again had to remind myself, "it's not about me." After one cycle there, I was called to be a trainer. That responsibility helped me to love like never before. We worked harder than ever and began to have much success. I knew that it didn't matter where I was serving. There is a quote I love by an unknown author that says "you are not called to serve in a place. You are called to serve in place of the Savior." God needed me in Monticello, which is actually such a sacred and wonderful place!

Once I truly loved Monticello, I got a transfer call to go to Danbury! I was called as a Sister Training Leader which scared me a little bit but I knew that it was a calling from God. If it were up to me, I wouldn't have chosen to leave, but it's all about Him. God's plan is perfect. Danbury brought new and exciting adventures. It allowed me to serve others even more. I constantly found myself praying for the sisters I was over and finding ways to serve them and love them. However, at times it was really, really hard. I wanted to go back to Monticello. I wanted to continue teaching everyone there. The area in Monticello was growing quickly and there was so much success. I wondered why I had to leave right before my investigators got baptized. Well, God knew why. It wasn't about what I wanted but rather what God wanted for me. He needed me in Danbury to find specific people that I needed to teach. After two cycles in Danbury, I was called as a trainer. From the very start of meeting my new companion, Sister Brecken Standage, I knew that God needed me as her trainer and that I needed to learn from her. Together we found people that God needed us to teach. It was truly incredible. Many small yet incredible and sacred experiences happened that helped me to know that God is mindful of me and had a perfect path for me to accomplish His work.

As I received my last transfer call, I approached it with an open heart, knowing and understanding that whatever the call was going to be, it would come from God. He is my loving Heavenly Father. He knows me and He loves me. He always wants the best for me. He sees the bigger picture that I can't see. I can now honestly say, I trust Him.
God's will is always the best way. I now am a lot more open to changes that are to come as I try my best to align my will with His will. The words of a favorite hymn will forever ring true to me. "I'll go where you want me to go. I'll be who you want me to be."
Although understanding how to do God's will all of the time did not come all at once, I feel I really have learned that the time on my mission truly isn't about me. By learning this, I have put my trust in the Lord and have really come to know my Jesus.

Another huge thing I really learned to do on my mission is pray with faith. Prayer is simple and prayer is true. I have never prayed so much in my life, and I never want to pray any less anymore. I have come to know the power of prayer in a very real sense. It truly is communication with God. Before my mission there were times when I would remember to pray immediately after I laid down at night. It was those times that prayer was something that forced me to get out of my comfy and warm bed and onto my knees because that was the right thing to do. I knew it was good. I didn't have a hatred against it or anything, but it didn't come with power. It wasn't my first choice during hard times. Of course, I had times throughout my life that I saw my prayers get answered and I felt the power that came from them. But those were rare occasions and not everyday matters. I think my true testimony really began to grow in the MTC when I prayed with all my heart.

Monday, June 2, 2014
Wow, today was a rollercoaster!..During our first lesson with our TRC investigator, she told us that we shouldn't be missionaries. Even though that should not have mattered, it hit Sister Rasmussen and I hard. We began to question ourselves. We thought about why we are here and we got pretty angry. Later on, we went up to class and split into two groups. I went with Sister Redford, Elder Richan, and Brother Rasmussen. Brother Rasmussen asked us to write down a question to be answered in 1 Nephi 3. Mine was about becoming the missionary I am supposed to be and learning how to rely on the Spirit. I didn't intend on sharing or anything and I didn't want to share my thoughts at all really, but Brother Rasmussen truly is guided by the Spirit. He turned to me and asked what I thought. I started crying as I read a scripture about how God commanded ME to serve. He called ME and He wouldn't have if He didn't know I could do it. We talked a bit more and I felt SO overwhelmed. I felt inadequate, confused, and so frustrated that I couldn't figure out how to teach by the spirit. Nevertheless, he continued to get me to talk and I continued to cry. Luckily, Sister Redford joined in and cried too. That's when he had each of us go into separate classrooms and take time to just pray and talk to God. He told us that God was in the room and we needed to go open up and ask Him all of our questions and concerns. I felt a bit awkward at first and feared that someone would come in, but eventually I let it go and it turned out to be an incredible experience. I felt peace and comfort after I asked for just that."

That was an experience I'll never forget. It helped me to take a step back and really think about what prayer actually is. It is two way communication with my Father in Heaven who wants to hear from me so He can help me. It also helped me remember Christ and how when He was suffering in Gethsemane, He too turned to God in prayer. At that moment I understood and appreciated the Atonement just a little bit more. 
There were still many hard times after that, but at least I knew then that when those hard times came, I could kneel down and pray and talk to God because He is always waiting for me to turn to Him.

Throughout my entire mission I continued to turn to prayer during good times and bad. I really came to have a true relationship with God. I now am excited to talk to Him to tell Him about my day or whatever is on my mind!

In Monticello, I had another testimony building experience with prayer. I was having a really hard time with the area, my companion, and her adjustment to the mission. I was at the point where I was "over the mission" because it just wasn't happy anymore. I felt I was in a dark place. We had to stay inside a couple times here and there because my companion would get really really sad and depressed and didn't know why. I felt it was all my fault. I blamed myself even though it was something she had already had, just not as intensely until her mission. I didn't know that though. I beat myself up over it inside again and again. It was hard. I had to be positive and happy and loving on the outside, but inside I knew I was the worst trainer ever, or so I thought.

One day during lunch, I went into the bedroom and kneeled down and cried out to God. I told Him everything. I explained how sad I was and how I just wanted my companion to have a good mission experience and to learn something during the two cycles we were together. I pleaded with God to help me serve her and know how to love her and help her. I begged Him to help me be happy and I told Him I would do all I could. I promised to work hard and to love her no matter what. I prayed about a lot more and after a good while I ended my prayer and listened. I felt a peace come over me. A peace that told me my prayer was heard and that God is mindful of me. It was the same feeling I felt as I knelt in prayer that first week of the MTC, pleading with Heavenly Father. To me, the small moments that came as a result of my prayers, were big answers because they were from God and specific to me.

Now, as I kneel in prayer each night, I pray out loud and talk to my Heavenly Father. I see prayer as a way to feel peace, to talk about my blessings, struggles, worries, fears, and joys. I absolutely love it. I no longer see it as a chore or something we just have to do. It truly is a two way communication with God that I love.

I have seen the blessings of the Atonement really come to life over the past 18 months. It has been an incredible experience. Seeing others change because of the Atonement has truly brought me closer to Jesus Christ. Although I still do not fully understand the Atonement, nor can I comprehend it all, I feel I have learned a little bit more of what I need to know. Everything is centered on Jesus Christ. I have a Savior who loves me and wants the best for me. Studying the Atonement has helped me find my Jesus. There is a quote I have loved for quite some time now that says, "An innocent man was found guilty at an unfair trial so that
guilty men could be found innocent at a fair trial." Christ loves each of us and was willing to do His Fathers will all of the time. I really came to know on my mission that the Atonement covers everything in life! One of the key things I have focused on is how Christ has felt all of our pains and sufferings.

Alma 7:11 says, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people."

I first felt the Atonement strike me so powerfully at the beginning of my mission when my family had some troubles. After a short couple weeks into the mission, I found out that my baby nephew who was just one year old was having reoccurring seizures and was in the hospital. As I read those words from an email my mom sent me, my heart broke. As tears rolled down my cheeks, I thought about how God has a perfect plan, and how even though it hurt and I knew my sister was probably really scared and angry, I had the knowledge that Christ knows exactly how we feel. My first nephew had passed away just two years prior. At this time however, I felt an overwhelming love from my Heavenly Father, especially as my companion and two roommates reached out to me in love. I knew God sent me to all of them that cycle so that they could help me better understand the Atonement. I could have let that experience take a toll on me, but I knew I didn't have time to waste. It wasn't about me and my feelings, it was always about Him. I decided that I just needed to serve with all my heart and use my experiences to help others. Because of that, I was able to really see the Atonement change others. I am truly different because I was able to watch and help others change and come unto Christ.

Sister Macuilt is a member in South Manhattan who I absolutely love. When I arrived in the mission, she was the first person I taught and she was very less active. We worked with her a lot and she wanted nothing more than her family all to be in the gospel. The last day of my service in the area, I was able to go to the temple to do baptisms and confirmations with her and her two granddaughters who she helped to join the church just a couple months prior. Sister Macuilt is now an active member with a calling as a Ward missionary and she is planning to receive her endowments this month. I truly saw the Atonement work within Sister Macuilt. She now glows with happiness and peace.

Barbara is an investigator from Monticello who embraced the Atonement of Jesus Christ like I had never seen before. She went through a lot and had made a lot of bad choices in her past. She had been in and out of jail but was ready to change. As we taught her, she became so much happier. As a result of reading each day and sometimes through the night, Barbara finished the Book of Mormon in a week and then immediately started it all over again. She was a huge example to me that proved that the Atonement is for everyone. No matter who we are now, or who we once were, there are no lost causes. We can all change.

Jenn is an investigator from Danbury who I truly saw the Atonement of Jesus Christ change. When we met Jenn, she was into a lot of bad things, breaking most of the commandments and dealing with evil spirit like things. However, when we met her, she was in a position to change. She wanted to become better and put bad habits behind her. As we taught Jenn about Jesus Christ and the Atonement, she glowed with excitement, her countenance changed, and she instantly chose things to improve on and stop doing. On her own, she put up positive pictures of Christ and Book of Mormon heroes and took down anything that invited Satan. She changed her computer and phone background to pictures that were in harmony with the teachings of Christ. She prayed and read the Book of Mormon daily. She attended church meetings and tried her best to keep the commandments. Jenn changed. She changed because the Atonement of Jesus Christ made it possible for her to change. She found the light that she needed to become better.

Jay is an investigator that we tracted into. He is from the Philippines and was here in the United States visiting his brother and looking for a new job. When we met him, he was wearing a Utah shirt because his boss is a member and invited him to Utah once. It turned out that Jay lived next to the missionaries in the Philippines as well. As we began teaching him, he quickly grabbed hold of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He had many challenges within his family and was able to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ so quickly. He was able to give up bad habits that weren't in harmony with the gospel and move forward keeping the commandments with a full desire to be baptized. He ended up moving after a short couple of weeks because he got a job as a captain of a cargo ship. Although he has not been baptized yet, he still reads the Book of Mormon everyday and has full intentions on being baptized when he gets off the ship. It was incredible to see the Atonement change his life because he learned that he could move on from past mistakes and make them right though Jesus Christ.

Through all these experiences, I learned for myself how valuable the Atonement of Jesus Christ is. I think I use to take the knowledge I had for granted a little bit, or maybe I just didn't understand. However, now that I have seen the Atonement not only work to forgive us of sins, I have felt it change my heart as I used the Atonement to become better myself. Whenever I feel down, upset, or weak, I now truly believe and know that I can turn to my Father in Heaven because Christ knows exactly how I feel. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. He truly is, MY Jesus.

Closing Testimony:
Some may say I didn't have any huge experiences that changed me on my mission, but I know it was the little things and that was huge to me. I am different today because I chose to serve the Lord. I know this gospel is true. I know that God called me to serve in the New York New York North mission under the direction of President Morgan as well as President Smith. I know that I needed to learn from both Presidents. I know I needed to serve in south Manhattan, Monticello, and Danbury for specific reasons. I learned so much in each area and from each companion and I know it was part of Gods exact plan. I know Joseph Smith truly did restore this gospel. He went through a lot and he did it all because of his love for God and for all of us to have the gospel and the Book of Mormon today. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that it truly was written by prophets of God. I know it brings us closer to God and that each and every time we study from it with the Spirit, we will learn knew things. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet on the Earth today. He guides us and directs us through revelation from God. I know families are eternal and that one day I will be able to meet my nephew and that both of my nephews will be whole. They will be able to live as brothers and run and play together happily. None of that would be possible without the Atonement of Jesus Christ. For that I know that Jesus really did die for me and each of us. He suffered for us and was resurrected for us. I know I will see God and Christ again because of the Atonement. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me. He is mindful of me. He sends angels to watch over me and help me in His work. I cannot do this work without Him and the help He sends. This gospel is incredible. I love it all. I have loved serving as a representative of Jesus Christ these past 18 months. I will never be the same because of it. I close with these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Where I will be in the Future... 1 year from now:
I will be studying at BYU and just recently engaged to my best friend. We will be married in the San Diego temple this coming summer break. I will still be continuing good daily study and exercise habits to maintain the Spirit with me. I will still be doing a monthly self examination as well as monthly planning. Even though life will be busy, the gospel will still be my top priority.

5 years from now:
I will be finishing up my masters getting ready to be a pediatric occupational therapist (unless I change my mind again). I will be waking up and going to bed at the same time as my husband even when he has to wake up really early. I will have one baby and recently pregnant with my second. Together we will be raising our family based on the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

10 years from now:
I will have 3 beautiful children, with one more on the way. I will be a full time mom spending all my time and energy on my family. I will be using all the knowledge I gained on my mission to teach my children and help them come closer to Christ everyday as I share Gods love with them. I will be serving my husband daily. I will be having a meaningful family home evening every week and daily family scripture and prayer. I will help my children feel Gods love for them through my love to them. When my children are old enough, I will again work as a pediatric occupational therapist while they are at school.
(From the talk "Be with and Strengthen" by Elder David F. Evans, 25 June 2015)

Personal Spiritual Growth:
I will continue to do personal study every day. I will study in the morning before I go to class. I will read entirely through and study the Book of Mormon every year.
I will go back to school in January 2016 and then continue until I graduate with my Bachelors degree. I will then go on to get my masters in Occupational Therapy.
I will work smaller side jobs to get me by until I am qualified to work as a pediatric occupational therapist. However, I will do an internship along side to have training and experience.
Dating and Temple Marriage
I will only date men who have the same vision of a temple marriage in mind.
Temple Worship
I will attend the temple regularly, striving for twice a month for the rest of my life.
Sabbath Worship
I will attend church every Sunday and magnify my calling each week. I will ask my bishop for responsibilities in the Ward and do my part to always be a Ward builder.
I will always be taking a religious class at BYU which will be my institute class.
Life Planning for Social Media
I will unfriend those that I do not need to be connected to, and I will hide everyone except close family members and close friends so that I don't see everything in newsfeed. I will not spend any time on my phone in bed at night because that is a terrible habit. I will only log onto Facebook with a purpose. I will only post positive things that lift others up rather than drag them down. 

Homecoming Talk

**So this isn't my exact talk. It is notes I made and things I wrote out while preparing. How it turned out was a bit different but this is better than nothing!

December 27, 2015

Wow, it is so good to be back with you all again. its so good to see familiar faces, thanks so much for making the trek out here to support me. I really appreciate it. 

I am so glad I got to speak with my amazing dad and favorite little sister. its kinda funny, i was talking to my siblings about how when i was leaving it ended up that i got to speak with my brother, then my first sunday back, my brother gave a talk. i was kinda bummed thinking how it would have been cool to speak with him again, but then the middle of this past week Liv got asked last minute and so i was thinking wow that will be sweet...and then we went to bring the bishop some christmas treats to thank him for his service and he ended up asking my dad to fill in too! so im pretty thankful to be sitting up here with them.

but anyway, Thanks for the love support and especially the prayers. throughout my mission i would stop and think about all the people praying for me, some i knew and some i didnt know. it brought an added strength that was so powerful and i will forever be grateful for that..I probably won't get those prayers anymore so if you want to keep praying for me, I won't stop you!

being able to serve in New York and Connecticut the past 18 months has been an incredible journey and i know i will never go a week without thinking about it. 

as i have been reflecting on my mission i thought about 2 nephi 2 where Lehi is teaching his son Jacob about opposition. we know there truly is Opposition in all things and i really experienced that while serving my mission.
ive never been so...but ive never been so...
peaceful....stressed out

there have been so many emotions but overall, i have learned so many things and have seen so many miracles. 

i want to start off by reading a quote from elder lawrence e corbridge about the importance of choosing to follow the Lords path amongst opposition.
"The Lord’s way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel. 'There is an opposition in all things,' everywhere, for everyone. Life is hard for all of us, but life is also simple. We have only two choices. We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go some other way, any other way, whatever other way, and go it alone--without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier?" - Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge October 2008 General Conference, The Way). 

In the MTC the familiar scripture of Mark 8:35 really struck me as it moved from my head to my heart. It says "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it." (Mark 8:35.) 

I knew that was what I needed to do. It came through remembering that this time to serve is not about me. the adversary would tell me that it would be so much easier to go home, but i knew that if i chose the Lords path, i would have His guidance, support and power.

i definitely have learned that if we do Gods will, we will be happy. missions are hard. really hard. everyone always told me that before my mission and i never understood but now i do. 

many of you know that i 
didn't want to serve, knew i needed to.
didn't want to go to new york, i was called there and knew i needed to.
didn't want to go to the city. first area and i needed it. 
didn't want to leave. i got transferred but i needed to
however, all of these decisions have helped me feel true happiness and it was all because God knows best. 

because of the experiences God allowed me to have, i truly know that not only does God know me but He knows and loves all His children and He wants us all to be happy. He doesn't throw things in our path and say “oh this will be fun to watch”. no. he helps us, he gives us things that help us learn and grow and help us to be happy in the end 

amongst opposition and submitting to Gods will and serving a mission,. i learned the true power of prayer, i learned so much more about the atonement of Jesus Christ and saw people change because of it. i learned how much i love my family and how we are here to help each other, the list goes on. 
everything i learned however, built up my testimony to help me truly know how mindful God is of each of his children.  

picture walking the streets of new York city. taxis everywhere, people honking horns, some singing and some yelling, the smell of delicious fresh treats, or hot dogs from the carts, buses and subways are filled with hundreds of unique people. there are hundreds and even thousands of people everywhere rushing to and from their destinations. each person, a child of God. each person with a story. each person, god loves just as much as each of us. 

Jenn-about 20. first found..story of being on a split with hermana 
crazy, breaking all commandments, in a dark place but ready to change. Immediately felt Gods love for her. after talking for a bit she allowed us help her bring some light into her room and remove darkness which was a big step. she immediately started to change. everything about her changed. she started coming to church and getting to know the ward members, which were key by the way. 
one night we had the thought to call her. well i know this truly was a thought from the Spirit just as my sister talked about in her talk. so we called her to see how she was doing and it was right before she was going to brake the word of wisdom  because she was having a hard day and then that phone call stopped her. that in itself was a message that God knows her and loves her.  
a couple weeks later, multiple ward members texted us or called us throughout the day just to ask how she was doing. well when we called her to let her know that so many people were asking about her, it happened to be a day that was so hard and full of negative experiences that she felt she didn't have a need to live 
because of that, She changed. rather than anything bad happening to her, she allowed us to pray with her. and with tears streaming down her face, she thanked Heavenly Father for the love she felt from all her brothers and sisters in this church. Step and leap of faith 
Jenn chose to do Gods will. God was and is mindful of her. she chose happiness and He helped her. it wasn't always easy, but it was easier and happier for her to follow the path of the Lord with his help than for her to go about her life alone. 

*insert scripture here!*
God is mindful of us.
another was when we were tracting. super rough. one of the hardest times. i had been out over a year and my companion was headed home soon and it was rough. nobody would listen to us. at. all. so we stopped on the sidewalk and said a prayer asking Heavenly Father what we could say when people opened that would help them listen and give the message we carried a chance. it was Gods will for us to be there. we had prayed about where to tract and then that people would be prepared there. 
well we started walking again and saw a boy in a window and thought that we needed to go there. so we did and we found jay. well jay opened the door with a Utah shirt on. i don't think there is an easier conversation starter than that. 
jay needed the message we had. Philippines. jumped right into it. loved church. was going to get baptized. still reads the Book of Mormon. super cool. God loves him and knows him. 
God knew Jay needed the message and we needed to find Jay.

jesus christ is the perfect example. 

i also came to know God is mindful of me during a really challenging time in my mission. 
it was about 6 or 7 weeks before i would go home. satan is so real!
i was discouraged. baptisms were far too few. the mission department was focusing on our mission in preparation for the christmas initiative because new york is such a high traffic place and so a lot of members of the 70 were coming pretty regularly and giving us instructions that caused me to feel so discouraged. i felt as if the last 17 months of my mission were all a waste and that i was in fact the worst missionary ever. i prayed a lot during that time. i knew it was coming from satan, but i couldn't help it. on top of all of it, i felt i had to keep it all in because my companion was new in the mission and no way would she understand and she needed me to be an example to her, to work hard and to give my all to the end. i couldn't slow down. so i kept pleading with God everyday to help me. and besides, complaining or being upset would get me nowhere. in fact, it would pull me down. 
well one day, out of the blue my mission president called me just to chat. we just talked about the day a little bit and just random pointless stuff and then he said to me “sister tanner, i don't know why but i felt i needed to call you and thank you for your incredible service you have given. i have never had to worry about you at all. and i want you to know that any thoughts you might ever have about not being a good missionary or about not being good enough, they are all from satan and you cannot listen to them. you have to ignore them all.

and i share this not to boast about not being an awesome missionary, but to show that God knows each of us. he sent me to my mission president because he knew i needed him. 

but anyway, the next week he called again and pretty much did the same thing. this time he reminded me of. D&C 16:6 and how my purpose is to Bring souls unto Christ. it doesn't say baptize them. there are plenty of people who may already be members of this church who just may have forgotten their primary songs. and that was in fact one of my favorite things on my mission. teaching and being with those who forgot their primary songs. who forgot about the testimony they once had. but oh how great the joy was to help them remember. it was never easy for them, but it was always worth it. i really learned that we may all forget our primary songs at some point in our life. we all have trials. whether we forget for a minute, an hour, a week, months, or many years, its never too late to come back. its never too late to come unto christ and remember that “i am a child of God” and that “jesus wants you to shine for him each day” and that “scripture power keeps us safe from sin” 

in elder Uchtdorfs 2014 talk “living the gospel joyfully” he says
“You are loved. 
You are dear to your heavenly parents. 
The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you.
Yes, God loves you this very day and always.
He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.”

i have never felt so much love either. people would often ask me, what keeps you going? and i know it was the love. the love from God, from my family and friends, and the Love of God i feel.
Iron rod analogy with William and the need to hold on
Mist of darkness t pull through cuz the Holy Ghost. 
That's why I didn't want to go home.
Plan of salvation and gospel of Jesus Christ 
we help each other!

it was really cool,
Hard day...I found the picture of Christ that I got 5 years ago during young women's the day after Christmas. On the other side of the picture, my mom typed up her testimony. It is something that I hold so dear because when I go through hard times, I am was reminded by my mom that Christ knows how I feel and that we are put in families for a reason, we are here to help each other, but when she can't, Christ can.
When mom isn't there, Christ is. 

it was so important and key for those i taught to know that God is mindful of them. it is also important for me to know that God is mindful of me. because i can know honestly say with 100% confidence that God knows me, i know that i want to follow His son Jesus Christ so that i can one day return to Live with Him again. 

i have a favorite picture of Christ. its Him on a path and He is looking back picture saying "are you still there??" I hope I can always say yes!
Keep me accountable!!! Forever! Help me I expect you to.
"Can I trust you?" 

End with testimony..
tender mercy jar
book of mormon my dad gave me with the scripture marked with the date from every week


As I was leaving I was looking at all the missionaries who were so much better than I and I was thinking about how much more work I needed to do to become a better teacher. It was getting me a little discouraged. I began to think I needed to stay out on my mission another 18 months so I can have a second chance at becoming even better. 
There are so many different tools we use to fulfill different purposes. For example we have scissors to cut paper, nails to hold wood together, tape to stick things together, pens to write, etc.. Tape was not made to write on paper as pens are, yet the tape fulfills the duty it has as it holds two pieces of paper together. Just as these tools have specific purposes, We are each called for a specific reason to fulfill a specific purpose. Although my mission is complete, I know that I did what God intended me to do. I know I gave my all. I was an instrument in His hand in New York and Connecticut for 18 months. I know incredible missionaries. And there are a lot of new missionaries who are better than I am at teaching certain things. But that's okay. In fact, each generation is and should be better than the last. But I do know in my heart that I did Gods will and that was my purpose. 

August 13, 2015
True godly love Learned to love even those who reject us. Doors slammed. Saved people. Jamie. Etc. 
Alma 28:8And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren,their journeyings in the land of Nephi, their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy, and the reception and safety of the brethren in the land of Jershon. And now may the Lord,the Redeemer of all men, bless their souls forever.

When we experience things we pierce through the veil a little bit. And each experience gives us more knowledge and light than before. As we continually experience these things we come closer and closer to God and Jesus Christ on the other side of the veil and therefore are more subject to receiving revelation and knowledge that we need. 

So experience it all and you will be blessed!!

***I don't know what I said and didn't say but I know it was an experience I will never forget. The Spirit was so strong and was helping me to know be afraid and to share what I learned and have come to know.

airport picture!

My New York to California to Utah cake that Riss made for me!

Getting to know Jax and Rory the next day.

Aunt Colette and the traveling hat...

Sister Wheat

Some of the Holmes family 


All my friends that came to support me! (the ones not on missions at least)

The Coggins!

My friendsss

The Knolls!

Family! (Hunt already changed and Shay couldn't make it)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Hi Family and Friends, 
Well, this is it! I can hardly believe it. Let me tell you, there are so many mixed emotions right now. I'm so excited, scared, nervous, happy, grateful, sad, hungry, anxious and everything else you can think of! It's been quite an adventure to say the least. Monday was hard, every time I thought about going home, my stomach just hurt really bad and I didn't want to eat anything, but people kept feeding us so that was hard.

I'm a bit torn. During this Christmas season, hearts turn to God. Christmas as a missionary is the greatest thing in the world. I am sad I won't be a set apart missionary this Christmas. Of course, I get to be with my family so that is exciting. It's just different, a piece of my heart will definitely be here in New York and Connecticut forever. I love this place, I love these people, I love being a missionary.

I have loved every second of my mission though, even when things were hard. It has all been so worth it.

First off, little about this week.. It was crazy so I can't remember much right now, but here are a few things..

So we were getting worried about them because they were never meeting with us but then we got a 13 page text from Bridget at 12:35 on Thursday night pretty much just saying how they aren't ignoring us or anything, it's just that their work schedules have been super busy but that they still want to keep learning. So that was good! I got to see them on Monday too and they are still as cute as ever. I got to give them a Book of Mormon that I marked up for them and wrote in and all that good stuff so that was good too. I still love them.

1. This Ward is getting elders back! Yay, that will be good. We need it because we have a lot of male investigators right now and it's hard to teach them. So that will be cool. And sister Standage found out she will be the STL for this area so that's sweet too!
2. Yesterday and Monday we got fed about 4000 times. No joke. Like it was bad. Everyone we went to gave us some dessert or full course meal. How kind.. Haha
3. I hurt my back picking up my suitcase. Bummer right? Like it kills. It's all good though, I guess that's how you know your suitcase is too heavy! Idk what's in there, I thought I was bringing like nothing home. I still have room too, it's just heavy journals and scriptures I guess.
4. We had dinner with Melva and Lucas and Linda and their whole family! It was so much fun! They made it super fancy and special and we took some pictures so ill show you those tomorrow or something

Anyway, I'm going to miss this for sure. I know I will forever think about all I have learned here. It's been an incredible journey. From the good to the bad, I'll miss it all! I will miss Wearing my name tag, Being around missionaries all the time, constantly having someone by side, stressing out on pdays, writing my mission president weekly, tiwi, stressing about one hour dinner appointments, constant efy music, not having anything be about me, teaching people all day everyday, worrying about others all the time and not myself, having a district and zone to look out for and to watch over me, Smelling like smoke, Knocking on random doors all day, having those really hard days when nothing goes right and then those awesome days where God blesses you like crazy, seeing cemeteries literally everywhere, riding the subway everyday, project buildings, talking to everyone about Christ, being fed until I want to explode, nightly phone calls or texts, smelly houses, always relating things back to the restoration, Urine smelling streets, abandoned houses in Monticello, crazy people yelling at me on the daily, everyone honking their horns for no reason, no sidewalks, snow, tall buildings, billions of trees, praying with everyone, knowing all the members of the Ward and less active members, being at every Ward council, leaving with a prayer at every house, being the go to service people, longing for a relaxing preparation day, practically having a twelve course meal every night, not caring about worldly things, People wondering why my name is sister, walking up long driveways that make us out of breath, having the excuse of just being an awkward missionary, the people, New York, and Connecticut.

Some may say I didn't have any huge experiences that changed me on my mission, but I know it was the little things and that was huge to me. I am different today because I chose to serve the Lord. I know this gospel is true. I know that God called me to serve in the New York New York North mission under the direction of President Morgan as well as President Smith. I know that I needed to learn from both Presidents. I know I needed to serve in south Manhattan, Monticello, and Danbury for specific reasons. I learned so much in each area and from each companion and I know it was part of Gods exact plan. I know Joseph Smith truly did restore this gospel. He went through a lot and he did it all because of his love for God and for all of us to have the gospel and the Book of Mormon today. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that it truly was written by prophets of God. I know it brings us closer to God and that each and every time we study from it with the Spirit, we will learn knew things. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet on the Earth today. He guides us and directs us through revelation from God. I know families are eternal. I know that Jesus really did die for me and each of us. He suffered for us and was resurrected for us. I know I will see God and Christ again because of the Atonement. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me. He is mindful of me. He sends angels to watch over me and help me in His work. I cannot do this work without Him and the help He sends. This gospel is incredible. I love it all. I have loved serving as a representative of Jesus Christ these past 18 months. I will never be the same because of it.

Thank you so much for all the love and support these past 18 months, it's been incredible and I wouldn't change any of it. See you tomorrow! I love you!! Xoxoxox

Sister Tanner <3

Here are all the pictures I took with people before leaving! 


the young women

David Governal

Sister Governal

The Hippen Family!

The Dewitt Family

Some of the Summerhays Family

The Lopez Family

The Schapperts

The May Family

Sister Nieves!

Melva and Lucus! And their family who wanted to feed us

The Fahsbeder Family 

The Rakestraw Family- Bridget, Ricky, Emery and Reece.

Sue Brady


Crystal! and her mom, Patricia

Hilal and Tilbe

Bishop Anderson!

The Wells!!

Some of the Newbolds

Edgar and Myra

The original MTC crew

we had to match for Sister Smith

Airport departing crew


from beginning to end. Sister Rasmussen

****Disclaimer: Not every picture taken is posted. I wish I could have sent every picture home but sometimes time did not allow for it. Also, sometimes the formatting did not work correctly, but I am glad you got to see a little glimpse of my mission. Thanks for reading my blog and for supporting me! 

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Happy December everyone! crazy that I will see you NEXT WEEK! Wow. Time has flown. I will write one more time next week but it will just be a wrap up email so don't feel the need to email me because I probs won't email you back anyway.
First off, Thank you for the package Nori, I loved it!
Okay so this week was incredible. Wow, spiritual high, but not much to share about it. It's been so good though.
Guess what, my companion will be TRAINING!!! Wahoo!! So we have been getting the apartment and area ready for that. It puts a lot of pressure on me because now there is a chain of whatever I taught sister Standage, she will teach her new comp and then that new comp only knows what I taught sister Standage.. Weird. But it will be SO good. I'm soo excited for her!

So. Good. Enough said, right? But really I LOVED it. It was Seriously so much better this time because I am older and understand haha
During the Intermission we took a quick bathroom break and this cute little girl behind us in line was like "my brother is on a mission in Guatemala. He comes home next month on December 10th" and so we talked to her for a while. It was just crazy how of all people, she was in line behind us. She just stared at us too until we said hello.

It was so good! I felt right at home. Just like a big family party. Aunt Serah cooked everything and Grandma Wells just loved us being there. They are the cutest. There was SO much food it was insane. Not like huge portions, well kinda, but more like a ton of dishes. I took a pic like at the end. There was more but the pic is what is left. I forgot about pictures until after sadly. But yea, it was SO good. Sadly I was sick, just had a scratchy throat and little cough but it's all good. It was still an awesome day filled with weekly planning and seeing less actives and members. And boy was I full. I tried to just eat a little bit, nope, fail. Everything was homemade. One family brought 8 homemade pies. They were soooo good. I didn't try them all but wow, delicious.

So Friday was Sister Standages birthday and I was determined to make it the best since it's her first birthday on her mission. It turned out to be a lot of fun! I secretly decorated the downstairs as fast as I could while she was in the shower. I just used stuff her mom sent and stuff we had in the apartment. I also made her breakfast and her favorite cupcakes for a snack after lunch. We had to go to Scarsdale to get our car checked out because we had a hit and run, someone just knocked our side mirror off...but then we got there and the place was closed. It took like an hour to get there too, So we just went to the mission office right down the street and talked to all them for a couple minutes and that was really fun. We also went to Panera Bread for lunch and on our way over Edgar called to tell her happy birthday and so we invited him. He ended up meeting us there and buying both of us lunch and he didn't even eat, so that was super nice of him. He is so awesome. If anyone knows a 30ish year old single girl, send her here. Hahah. Anyway, we had some really good lessons and were able to see a lot of people, and then for dinner we went to the Hippens! It was a lot of fun. It was princess themed. There was a tiara, a sash, pictures, balloons, streamers, etc.. We had  one of her favorite meals for dinner which happens to be that yummy shredded chicken, cream cheese, cream of chicken soup stuff that you make that we eat with rice, except we had it with spaghetti pasta. It was delicious and tasted like home. And for dessert we had icecream and this apple crisp thing so it was good :) when we got home she opened more presents and yea, there was a lot more that happened but this is already long so that's pretty much her birthday! I was just SO happy that she had a good day because I really wanted it to be a day she will remember as good. So it was fun! :)

I had my final interview with President Smith. It was really neat. We talked all about life and concerns/fears about after the mission and then he gave me a blessing. It was soooo incredible and definitely from God. I will tell you a bit about that next week because I dont really want to tell the whole world about all the details that are sacred to me. Just know, it was amazing and life is good. I feel great!

Yesterday we got to go to the temple. So us 17 departing missionaries and the 2 APs all went to the temple with president and sister smith. We did a session and then they took us into a sealing room and then we did sealings and it was soooo cool. President Bennion and president smith talked to us for a long time. We each got to do one name acting as a child of course with president and sister smith. The spirit was so strong. He also talked to us about how that's what we have been teaching and that's where we need to be. So that was super awesome as well.

Okay if you haven't been on Christmas.mormon.org and watched both of the videos on there and looked at the site then go do that right now! It's sooooo good. The main one is titled "a Savior is born" and I'll send a picture of that which I didn't take because we can't go to time square anymore but I'll send the ones I got. It's sweet! I read a quote this morning that I loved that said "At Christmas we celebrate much more than the birth of a baby--we celebrate who that child already was, and what he would yet become. Christmas is a time of looking--to the past, with its glimpses of premortal glory, and to the future, with its promise of eternity." Think about it, it's incredible. I love this time of year and all the joy and love that accompany it :)

I can't believe my time is coming to a close. It's been so good though and I'm so grateful for the time I was able to have here. New York and Connecticut will forever be another home. You should probs sign up to have the missionaries over for dinner. And if they don't have a place for Christmas, invite them over! Sweet thanks. This week is super busy with MLC tomorrow, the train the trainers meeting on Friday and then the last of everything else on Sunday-Wednesday. Thursday will be here before you know it. But I hope you have a great week. I love you! Xoxox

Sister Tanner <3


the Wells

I love them

Her 20 wishes. Me not getting married while she is gone is one.

The Hippen Painting

Tea Party Birthday