Tuesday, January 3, 2017

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)

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