Tuesday, September 29, 2015

First Week in the Field!

Buenas tardes familia y amigos!

Wow wow wow what a crazy week this has been! I have already learned and grown so much in this first week! I have come to know even more how much God loves me and hears my prayers.

So we left the MTC at 3:30 in the morning on Tuesday. My flight left Salt Lake at 8:30, and I got to Sacramento at about 9:30! I was really confused where to go at first, right after I got off the plane, so I just went down to baggage claim to get my bags, and the mission president, his wife, and a couple missionaries were waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator! They looked so happy to see me and it made me more comfortable knowing that there was someone here for me. President Marston and his wife are so awesome! They took great care of me; we got to the mission office and I spent most of the rest of the day getting all oriented! There I met my two new companions, Elders Soto and Escalante from Guatemala and Peru. Tuesday was kind of hard for me cause I got like no sleep that night before.

The members here are so awesome! I love it here. I am in a Spanish speaking ward in Citrus Heights. They feed us every night! I thought I would be lost when people were talking but I understand almost all of it! It's awesome. I just need to work on my own speaking! Elder Soto and Elder Escalante are both really awesome! 

I've had several lessons so far and they've all been pretty good! We are teaching an older man who was baptized a while ago, but it seems like he doesn't really understand the importance of the Book of Mormon. It seems like he also doesn't get that Joseph Smith is a prophet! But we were able to teach him about it and I testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to him. This helped me really know for myself how true the Book of Mormon is.

This week has been a little hard for me, just trying to understand what God's plan for me is, and I was reading in the scriptures one morning and read Alma 32:21 and Ether 12:6 which talk about how important faith is. It says: 21 And now as I said concerning faith--faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." And then: 6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."  This helped me so much, because I realized that although I might not always know the reason why something is happening, and I feel lost, I can know that God has a plan for me, and that all I have to do is have faith in God and I will be blessed.

I had the opportunity to go to a few meetings with the Spanish ward here, and it is amazing to see how strong the members are here! I love them so much already. It's awesome to see how involved they want to me in the missionary work. Church on Sunday was so awesome! They asked me to conduct the music in Sacrament Meeting and so I did! I actually did okay haha. The members are all so nice. On Sunday night we had dinner with a family in the ward and they are converts of about four years. They shared with us how they came to know that the Church was the true Church. It was so cool to see firsthand how this Gospel and knowledge of Jesus Christ changes lives, not just on Earth, but for forever!

Random fact: did you know that 20 years ago this past week, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" was released by the Church? Well it was. We had a big focus this week on the importance of families, and just going up to people or knocking on doors and sharing how important families are to us! I know that through this Gospel, and following God's commandments that families can be together forever! How amazing is that knowledge?

I know that this Church is true! I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon changes lives. It is truly the word of God. I know that if we have faith in Christ, we can be strengthened to do things that we cannot do on our own. I love you all!

Elder Daines

Elder Daines and his Mission President and wife (The Marstons)

Elder Daines and his companions, Elders Escalante and Soto

"I was bored in the car so I took a picture for all of you."

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 3: MTC


Thanks for all of your packages and emails and Dear Elders and everything. It's been awesome to get all of those. 

It has been an amazing final week at the MTC and I hope your week was as great as mine was. I have been able to feel God's love for me, and for each of His children so much this week.

I still do not have my visa sadly, but thankfully, the Church has temporarily reassigned me to serve in the States! I have been assigned to serve in the California Roseville mission, until I receive clearance to go to Mexico. I am so grateful for this opportunity; I know that there is someone there that I need to help. I fly out early tomorrow morning from Salt Lake to Sacramento!

So Elder Arguelles left for Los Angeles to begin his service in the mission field on Monday morning, super early. Elders Lucero, Vinces, and I all got up at 3am to go to the Travel Office with him to say goodbye. It was really sad, but I was just so tired that I really wasn't feeling anything besides a desire to go back to bed. I got to say bye to a few other missionaries from my Zone and also got to see Elder Clark (a friend from BYU) one last time before he left for Mexico! 
I got to go to the Provo Temple on Monday morning, and it was so nice to be there. It helped me appreciate God's love for all of us. 

On Tuesday night, our Zone sang a bunch of hymns and stuff, and we sang "Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos" which is "God Be With You Till We Meet Again". It became such a classic for every night that missionaries were leaving the next morning. The next morning, Elders Vinces, Ducuara, and Lucero, all left...at different times. At 2:30, 4:30, and 6:00. So basically I didn't get much sleep. I was reassigned to be companions with Elders Moreno and Reyna. 

We had an investigator lesson with a man named Vic. Vic is an amazing son of God. Within the first ten minutes of the lesson, I truly came to love him and hope that he would accept our message because I want for him so badly to believe that Christ is our Savior and that He died for us. Although I grew this love for him so quickly, we were not able to really get to any scriptural doctrine or anything, and so we really weren't able to increase his faith in Christ. I was kind of disappointed, because I know that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins, that He died for us on the cross, and that He is the Son of God. I know that without Him, we could not live with God again. 

Later that day, I was just feeling kind of stressed out because of all the Elders and Sisters from my Zone are leaving, I was not getting much sleep, and still being here for another week. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed with things to do and just so many emotions, and then something amazing happened. We were learning in class about how powerful the Book of Mormon can be in changing people's lives, and it just hit me. I finally began to realize how much the Book of Mormon has affected my life, and brought me closer to Christ. For the last two weeks at the MTC, I don't think I realized that. I had been teaching lessons and testifying of the Church, without really feeling it. This experience made me realize just how important it is to be ME. I need to be willing to share what I know to be true; God has people waiting for me, specifically me, to share the Gospel with. 

On Friday, we had another lesson with Vic, our investigator, and it was kind of tough to stay motivated to teach him, because he basically said, "I'll read the Book of Mormon, I'll pray, but I won't do it sincerely, because I don't think Christ is our Redeemer, or that God hears our prayers." During our preparation and prior to entering the room he was in, Elders Reyna, Moreno, and I said several prayers to be guided by the Spirit in knowing what to say. We went in with a plan to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ: faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end; but, that was quickly blown out of the water. We made a bigger focus on really trying to love him, and understand what is keeping him from increasing his faith in Christ. We asked a lot of questions to him, about why he invites us back each time. The lesson turned to focusing on the Atonement of Jesus Christ: how He suffered for our trials and sins, and died for us. We really were directed by the Spirit to testify of the importance of Jesus Christ in our lives, and why it was so significant that He came to earth. We were able to find scriptures that applied perfectly to what we were talking about, and I closed with my testimony that I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that it truly is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" and like it says at the end of the Book of Moroni (10:4), that we must pray sincerely to know if it is true, and if we truly have a desire to know, God will answer our prayers. After I said this, Vic just sat there for a bit, and then he said something along the lines of, "If all of this you're telling me is true, if I read the Book of Mormon, and pray to God, I can know that Jesus Christ is our Savior?" That made me so, so, so excited, I couldn't help but smile, and say YES! And then he said, "Then I will do it." It made me so happy, to know that he truly has a desire to find out for himself if the Book of Mormon is true. You can't know of its truth if you never read it! After we concluded, we were about to get up, and he said, "Antes de salir, yo quiero decir algo" and he told us how much he appreciated our faith in Christ, and the service that we are doing. It gave me so much strength to know God is proud of me.

Sorry this is such a long letter. I came into this week not excited about being here for another week, because I wanted to be out in the mission field instead of the MTC, but I know that this was part of God's plan for me, because I had so many life changing experiences here. We watched a video called "Missionary Work and the Atonement" from President Eyring and Elder Holland, and it was so amazing. It truly helped me understand the impact Christ's sacrifice for us has on my life. There was another video we watched from Elder Bednar, which helped me realize how incredible the Son of God, Jesus Christ is. Every time that he was spat upon, mocked, rejected, and crucified, he served others. Whenever we go through a hard time, we often expect people to help us, or we feel like we deserve a break; but if we are really trying to be like Christ, then we must continue to serve others. 

Though I have been a missionary for only three weeks, I have felt God's love for me and for all of His children so so strongly. I have gained such a strong, personal witness, that God does indeed hear and answer our prayers. I know that He has a plan for each of us, and although we may experience trials, loss, and suffering in our life, that we can be strengthened through our Heavenly Father. He loves each of you so much. He knows everything you go through; He wants to help you, all you have to do is come to Him. He has so many blessings He wants to give you. If you have just an ounce of faith in Him, and His Son, Jesus Christ, you can be blessed. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, just like those of ancient times. I know that the Book of Mormon is additional scripture that God wants to give each of us. I know that the Book of Mormon can change lives, because I have seen it change my own. The Book of Mormon truly does testify of Christ. Please, please order a free copy, and take some time each day to read it with faith. If you truly desire to know if it's true, then read it and pray in faith. The Book of Mormon can give you answers to your prayers and give you strength when you need it most. 

I love this Church so much, I love God, I love His Son, Jesus Christ, and I love all of you. 

Elder Daines

If you would like to request a free copy of The Book of Mormon, please visit:

All the Elders in my zone. 

Trying to learn how to go cross-eyed.

My new companions, Elder Moreno & Elder Reyna

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week 2: MTC

Hola familia y amigos!

It has been such an awesome second week here at the MTC in Provo. So much has happened and I wish I could tell you all about it! 

Sadly, I have not been able to receive an update on my visa status, so I am still not sure when I will get down to Mexico. I was supposed to be leaving for somewhere in the United States by this Wednesday, but there was a delay in submitting my application to Salt Lake, so I will be in the MTC for another week. I should know where I will be serving (until I get my visa) by this Friday. I was super excited to get out and serve, but I know that whatever happens to me, God has a plan for me! If nothing else, it just gives me an opportunity to continue to improve in the language. 

Being at the MTC is always very busy! There is always something you should be doing and somewhere you need to be. Even though we're usually just sitting in classrooms or auditoriums, it is a lot of work and it can get pretty tiring! We don't have free time here, we have "Additional Study Time" haha. On the bright side though, we get about an hour each day to exercise, and I've done sand volleyball pretty much every time. It's been awesome to be here at the MTC, because there are over 2500 missionaries here, all here for the same reason: to serve God! I love it so much. 

We had a Devotional on Tuesday where Authorities come and speak to all of the missionaries, and Bishop Gerald Causse came, and he and his wife spoke. It was super awesome! They talked about how important missionary work is. They are both from France, and his wife is a convert to the Church. She focused on how missionaries bless families for all eternity. I know that through this Church that families can live together forever! It is so amazing to have that knowledge. Bishop Causse's talk was also super, super awesome. He said, "You will all be heroes to someone", and that really inspired me to be determined to being a better missionary, because I want to help people as much as I can. It is so amazing! I cannot wait to get out in the mission field and start teaching people about this amazing Gospel!

This week we had the opportunity to teach all three of our teachers, who acted as investigators of the Church. It was amazing to see how much better I got at teaching about the Church in Spanish throughout the week! It is really a miracle. I know that without God, there is no possible way that I could improve in the language this quickly. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, we got to teach a woman named Hely, and Elder Arugelles and I were able to invite her to come to Church and be baptized, and she said that she could really feel that we were messengers of God and she also felt this is the true Church. It was so amazing; there were times in the lessons that I was testifying in Spanish, and the words were coming out faster than I could think of them. 

We had an In-Field Orientation on Thursday, which taught us about how people are being prepared to hear our message, and that there are people waiting for us to bless them with the Gospel. It's such an amazing thing to be able to serve as a full-time missionary, bringing people closer to Christ, and increasing their faith in Him through this Church! 

On Sunday in Church, about ten people (including me) sang "Jehova mi Pastor es" (The Lord is my Shepherd), and it was so amazing. It was so powerful. This morning my companion, Elder Arguelles, left to go to Los Angeles to begin serving in the mission field. He was such an awesome first companion. He and I were chosen to be the Zone Leaders last week, which means we oversaw about 45 people in the MTC, and so we were responsible for going to a lot of meetings and interviews, and it was stressful, but with Elder Arguelles by my side, it was manageable. Without him, and without praying to God for help for more strength, there is no way that I could have made it through the MTC. 

I know more now, than I ever have before, that this Church contains the fulness of the Gospel on the earth today. If you want to increase your faith in Christ and learn more about this Church, just do it! Go to mormon.org to learn more. I know that God loves everyone in this world, regardless of what path they choose in this life. He wants us all to be happy, and I know we can find the greatest happiness in this Church, as we come closer to Him. I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for the sins of the world, and I know that through Him we can be clean. I know that God hears all of our prayers, and if we have faith, He will answer our prayers and give us more strength. 

I love you all so much and appreciate all the love I have received from you all. 

Elder Tanner Daines

"Best Teacher Ever: Hermano Jake"

"District Pic before they all leave!"

"We cool."

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 1: MTC

Hello family and friends!
I miss you all so much, but I love being out here on a mission. So some of you may not know, but I did not receive my visa, so instead of going straight down to Mexico, I got sent to Utah instead.
I flew out Tuesday morning from Appleton, to Minneapolis, to Salt Lake! I got to spend some time with family that day, before I reported to the MTC on Wednesday. My two last meals were In n Out and Chick-Fil-A, how much more could you ask for?!
My sister, Kylee, drove me to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah, right by BYU! I got to eat breakfast with a few friends, Danielle, Sarah, Perry, and Thomas Montgomery! It was awesome seeing you all. 

I reported to the MTC at 12:45. I said bye to Kylee and was immediately greeted by missionaries! They helped me take my bags and guided me to get all the stuff I needed! I got a bunch of Church-y stuff in Spanish.  One of the first things I got was my tags, which was so great!! It feels so awesome to be able to represent God as a missionary of the Church. For two years, I get to wear Christ's name on my chest as an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that this is the true Church and that this Church has the truth that God desires to give to the whole world. Everyone at the MTC is so happy and I feel so blessed to be able to feel God's love for me so strongly here. 

I got to go to my room and drop off my bags, but we got to work right away! I didn't even get to unpack my bags! It was a little intimidating but also pretty motivating. The way that the missionaries are organized here is in Districts (small classes), and there at 8 missionaries plus me in the District. They are all super awesome. We are each assigned a companion, who are to be with pretty much everywhere! His name is Elder Arguelles and is from Orlando, FL. He is super awesome. 

BIG NEWS. BIG BIG NEWS. So I was originally assigned to be in the Intermediate level in the Mexico MTC, but when I got reassigned here, somehow I got switched to the Advanced Level class. Which is a pretty big deal, because first of all, pretty much everyone is Hispanic and already fluent, and second of all, that means I will only be in the MTC for TWO WEEKS instead of six weeks. They are all super good at the language, but it is helping me become so much better much faster than I thought I would. One of my instructors did a little evaluation of me to see my language skills because I wasn't sure if I could do it, and he said I did really well and that I belong in this class. I love my District so much. 

We have a lot of classes each day, in studying scripture and becoming a better missionary. Our goal is to be able to teach people what we believe--effectively and powerfully. Our schedule is 6:30am to 10:30pm every day, and besides meals and some exercise time, it's work work work!! Lots of studying, sometimes it's hard to focus, but I have improved so much. It is amazing the wonders that God can work in helping me learn the language better to become as good as other members in my District, I know that God is blessing me with that ability. After just a couple days I was able to understand almost every single word that people are saying. Trying to teach in Spanish is hard though! We have lessons with 'investigators' which is like a practice for what we will be doing in Mexico. There are some (a lot haha) of words that I don't know, but I am learning more and more each day. 

I have really felt the Holy Ghost so strongly here, and I know that this is where God wants me to be. I know that we can be healed through Jesus Christ suffering for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. I am so grateful that Jesus Christ came to Earth and paved the way for us so that we can all be forgiven of our sins and be clean again. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, similar to the Bible. If you take the time to sincerely read it and know that it is true, I promise you will be able to feel that it is true. It truly does testify of Christ. It is additional scripture that God wants to give to us. The Bible is not the end of scripture. I know that we are all children of our Heavenly Father, and that He loves us so much! There is so much He wants to give us, but we have to come unto Him before we can receive all the blessings He desires to give to us. I know that God understands our struggles and pain, and if you feel alone or helpless, you can pray to Him and you can and will be strengthened. I encourage you all to read the Book of Mormon. It is true. This Gospel is true. I love you all so much, and it is because I love you all that I want you to find out for yourself to see if this Church is true. It will bless your life. 

I love you all and want you to know that I am so so so happy to be bringing people to Jesus Christ! 

Elder Tanner Daines


Tanner and his companion: Elder Arguelles

"The best zone ever!" 


"Where I sit all day." 

The classroom