Monday, April 25, 2011

A special miracle!

Tanner with President and Sister Bancroft
President Bancroft is a counsellor in his MTC Branch Presidency- a special preview!

From Tanner's Mom:

So excited to find out that good family friends, Bill and Elsie Bancroft who work in the MTC in the  Branch Presidency, have Tanner's name on their list of who is being added to their group this Wednesday. They had no idea Tanner was even coming into the MTC until their daughter whom we visited with tonight told them. They thought they would go look up who is on their list, and there was Tanner's name. They are so excited to be able to take EXTRA special care of Tanner! and told me not to worry one bit! What a blessing!

This wonderful couple show up at our hotel tonight just after 10:00 and spent 1.5 hours with us giving us the highlights of the MTC, including who his companion will be, and that he will also be in the same Guatemala mission as him and they will travel to Guatemala together.  We also learned that his p-day is Tuesday (so that is when I can expect my first email) and what his schedule would be and they gave us their phone number so that if I am ever concerned or need to get anything to Tanner, they will do it. What a comfort! There are over 60 branches in the MTC, all consisting of 3-5 districts of approx. 12 missionaries each. What are the chances that Tanner went to them. Tender mercies for sure!

C U in 2!

Leaving Calgary at 5 AM on April 25, goodbye to family and friends for two years. Traveling to Utah with his mom and dad to report to the MTC on April 27.  A surprise visit from two friends who traveled to see Tanner off. 

Becoming Elder Tanner Hopkins

Elder Tanner Hopkins
Sunday, April 24
After our family Easter Dinner, President Miller and  President Stephen came by the house to set Tanner apart as an Elder in the Guatemala, Guatemala City Central Mission.  They shared some counsel about obedience and expectations - shared stories of their own experience and testimony of the Gospel.  Then... time for more pictures!

Easter Dinner - the last family dinner for the next 2 years
President Stephen, Elder Hopkins, and President Miller

This is how Tanner was feeling after yet another round of photos.
Taken with his Grandpa Hopkins and Grandpa Rhodes.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Last Week

Third last dinner out.....
Am I really still eating?
His last week:
Tanner has been trying to fit in as many fun things with friends as he can while his family is wanting to spend time with him too.     Everyone seems to want to take him for brunch, lunch, dinner, or munchies out.. He said he feels like a bear before Hybernation, as all he is doing is eating, and he said he feels like he has gained 10 pounds this week.  His mom wanted him to gain some weight before he left cause she thinks he will lose weight on his mission, and he doesn't have any extra to lose at this point!
For example, one day, he went out for lunch with his Dad, then since he didn't have another lunch day to spare, he picked up his Sister from school and they went out for a snack and had yam fries, mini burgers and a chocolate souffle at a restaurant.  Then he comes home to where his Mom has made one of his favorites meals, curried chicken and Cheescake for dessert, which he ate, and then he went out with a bunch of buddies for Chicken wings that night.  He rolled home later and said he has been eating SOO much!!
He had a bunch of friends over one night to watch movies, and then went to Banff one day with a bunch of friends to the Hot Springs.

Tanner:  Joey Tomatoes (2 x); Cora's; Montana's, Symon Valley Ranch (wings); McDonald's; (2 x); Opa; Pfanntastic Pancake Haus; Namskar; ......

Open House - April 16

A Best Bud -  Parker

Past seminary teacher - Sister Lonsdale
Past seminary teacher - Brother Lefler
Wow - a lot of people came!

A busy day - after getting back home from the trip to Cardston in the a.m., another countdown event was held. Tanner has a lot of friends!! We kept the open house just for friends and ward members, as we had all the family over on the previous Sunday after his farewell talk.  We had approx. 130 people come through our home this evening, and it was standing room only at one point!   Some people walked in, said hi to tanner and left and never even made it over to the food table, cause it was just too crowded.  We appreciate all the love and support that so many people show Tanner and our family.  After the open house, a lot of friends stayed and watched movies.. I think the last of them cleared out about 1:00 a.m.  Tanner is a major Dr. Pepper fan, so he filled one of our large water spout jugs with just Dr. Pepper for everyone!  It was a real hit.  Tanner made the stickers for the glass bottle at work before he left.

My first love...

Trip to Cardston

Tanner took out his Temple Endowments on the morning of Saturday April 16.  It was a wonderful experience to be there with him.  His friend Kent Harker also went through for the first time for his endowment as well. So Kent was there with his family.  Kent leaves in a couple of months for Argentina.    We had our family members there, as well as some ward members.. Bishop Fibke, our past Bishop, Wayne and Meg Jones and his past Seminary teacher, Sherie Lonsdale,   His friends, Stephen Crane and Tyler Henry also came down, (2 of the 5 going to Spanish speaking missions shortly) as they had previously gotten their endowments out.  We all had lunch in the Cafeteria afterward.  It was a snowy April day!

Dinner Out

Dinner out
The Ruiz family from our ward had all 5 boys going to spanish speaking missions over for dinner one night and they cooked native food from Equador, where Sister Ruiz served her mission and where Brother Ruiz is from.  They invited their two nephews over, one of them, Zack Blaszczyk 
had just returned home from his Guatemala South Mission just 6 days before!  The other nephew had served his mission in Argentina, where Kent and Tyler, two of Tanner's friends are going.  They had slide shows of their missions as well, and it was a really great opportunity for Tanner to hear first hand what to expect and this helped him get really excited for his mission to Guatemala!  Thank you to the Ruiz family for providing such a valuable and informative evening for these boys!!

Farewell Day - Family Dinner

Tanner and Madi performing "The Cave" by Mumford and Sons
From Tanner's Mom:
Tanner gave a great talk at our ward.  Many people said he sounded like a return missionary already.  We filled the chapel and the gym to the back.  Tanner has a lot of friends!  We had all our family and extended family over for dinner afterward.  We had about 50 people here.   We had "cafe rio" styled food, with tortillas, black beans, rice, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, sourcream, guacamole, and tortilla strips on top.  Everyone really like it.  (it was as close to Guatemalan food as I could come up with)  We had the wonderful Missionary cake and mini flower cupcakes for dessert with icecream.  Tanner and Madison played a song for everyone by the Mumford Brothers.. Tanner played the guitar while they both sang and Madi did the tambourine.  They love singing/playing guitars together.  It was a really nice visit with everyone and it was great to see so much family attend to come and support Tanner.  Tanner is the first grandchild to serve a mission on both sides of the family, as well as the first Great-grandchild to serve a mission on the extended sides of the family as well.  Thank you all for coming!

Quotes from Tanner:
I asked Tanner how he felt his talk went. He said "it was good I guess."  What about seeing so many people filling the chapel? What did he think?  "It seems about right." And for the family dinner after?  "I was glad everyone came."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sacrament Meeting - Tanner's Farewell

The Men's Chorus (l to r: Tyler Henry; Tyler Gedlaman; Kent Harker; Tanner Hopkins; Stephen Crane) - all five called to serve in Spanish speaking missions! (photo from Serena Gedlaman)

Tuscany Ward
April 10, 2011

President Miller was presiding.
Brother Jim Redd was conducting the service.
Chorister: Sister Megain Comin
Organist: Sister Sheila Rhodes (Tanner's grandma)

Opening Hymn #270:  "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go"
Invocation: Sister Sherwood
Sacrament Hynm #193:  "I Stand All Amazed"
Youth Speaker: Brother Ryan Young on reading the scriptures
Special Musical Number: Priests with Members of the Bishopric and the YM leader  - "Called to Serve"
Speaker:  Sister Kyla Maertz on Agency
Special Musical Number: Men's Chorus (Tanner and friends) "Come Come Ye Saints" (2nd Verse in Spanish and NO 4th Verse)
Speaker: Brother Tanner Hopkins
Closing Hymn #152: "God Be with You Till We Meet Again"


Tanner's Talk

Tanner started by mentioning that he hoped that in a couple of months he would know what they just sang in Spanish. Also that he had brought his glasses so he could see ALL the family and friends (we filled the chapel and more) that came to support him and he couldn't think of a better congregation to give his talk to. His topic was  to talk about what shaped him and brought him to this day. He listed the following:
1.  For the Strength of Youth pamphlet of standards and counsel (how it helped him know to go to his Priesthood class instead of "McPriesthood".)
2. Duty to God Pamphlets with goals and accomplishments during his time in the Young Men's program
3. Scouthing and Young Men programs - especially his experience climbing Chief Mountain
4. The Examples of Others - he shared stories of Alma with King Lamoni, a story from the July, 2000 Ensign of a young woman who didn't have any other youth in the program in her ward but shared the For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet with her friends and was an example to them.  The story of when Tanner was at EFY and how a plan with friends to skip out on the afternoon sessions was changed by one person first being an example and planning to attend. Also the story (originally by John W.Schlatter from Chicken Soup of the Soul and adapted to be about Kyle)  of the boy who dropped his armful of books and the young man who befriended him and only found out years later when graduating of the great impact his simple act of friendship had meant for a boy who had intended to kill himself that weekend and had cleaned out his locker at school.
Tanner closed with his testimony and that he was "excited and nervous" to be going to serve in Guatemala.

The Mission Farewell CAKE!!!

Tanner's Mission Farewell Cake
This amazing cake was created by Amber Kiddle.  She also decorated a bouquet of mini cupcakes and 75 other mini cupcakes which were enjoyed by all!.  Much better pictures of the cake are at Amber's blog here. 

Tanner with little fondant Tanner - pointing at Guatemala.
Mini cupcake bouquet

Getting Ready for the Farewell

This is the picture Tanner's sister Madi took after he got ready and left for church.  She posted it on Facebook with this  "Looks like Tanner had a hard time deciding what tie to wear today."