Monday, September 24, 2012

At home in...Leon!

     Tanner made it safely to Leon today.  We were able to speak with him when he called from the airport this morning, and it was SO great to hear his voice.  We asked him to call back and leave his testimony in Spanish on our phone recorder and it was so wonderful to hear how much he's grown with the language, though we didn't understand most of it!  Here was his email when he arrived at the mission home this afternoon:
     "Mom - made it safely to Leon! It looks beautiful here and President Valles is a very nice man. I can´t wait to get started here!  We are having dinner here at the mission home tonight, then a district meeting and we´ll be assigned tonight or tomorrow to our area.
     The driving was crazy here but I'm very excited! The Elders that picked us up were very nice. Can't wait to see Nikki's brother!  Wish me luck!  Love you all!!

Elder Aiken

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Visa signed...and ready to go!

     Good morning everyone! This week has been another great week.  It's now official, I'm  leaving for Mexico in less than two weeks!  It was so weird traveling into Salt Lake on Monday to sign my visa and going down town! I should have my travel plans here tomorrow. There are 5 of us traveling to Leon, and I'm am so excited to go and serve the people.
     The spanish is coming along little by little. With fasting and prayer the Lord has helped me to better understand conversation.  I know it's going to be difficult once I get to Mexico to even understand what's going on, so this next week I'm really going to push myself as hard as I can.
     Yesterday we had a great talk from Elder Carlson of the Seventy and he talked about how there are three types of people in this world:  We have the sheep, the wolves and the shepherds.  We as missionaries are the shepherds going to fnd those lost sheep, there are wolves all around us trying to tear down this gospel and make sure that it is not heard throughout the world. This time in which we are in, never has Satan had such an influence on the world, but at the same time never has the Holy Ghost had such a presence on the earth. People are very interested in knowing more about are Church and they are being prepared at this time to hear the restored gospel.
     I heard a great conversion story from one of the Elders in our zone and I was simply amazed by this.  When he was thirteen years old, he had been studying diligently from the bible. He one day went into his pastor and told him this Bible cannot be the only book, "there has to be more, I know it!" he told him. The pastor then told him that he needed to continue to read the Bible and he would find the truth that the Bible is the only true book on the earth. He went about his life for the next two years trying to find the truth but that same impression came to him telling him that there was more than this book. He returned to his pastors and told him the same thoughts, about how he knew there was more then the Bible. The pastor took offense to his comments this time and told him that he was a complete fool and he was to leave his office immediately. He said he was pretty hurt by this.  When he returned home he told his mother that he had been "fired" from the -------- church. He kept searching and searching for something more in his life. That same year he was watching a cartoon - one that is more mature You've probably heard of it, it's called South Park. It's made by directors who love to make fun of the Church and teachings by making fun of it in some of their shows. This episode he was watching them make fun of the Book of Mormon. He told me right when he heard the words "Book of Mormon" something touched his heart.  He went on his computer to search for this book. He came to the LDS website where he read all about it and how it was another testament of Jesus Christ. He requested a book and two days later the missionaries were at his door.  He was baptized three weeks later. He said it was like coming home after a long long vacation. He has never had so much peace and love in his life since he joined the church. He then went on to baptize his sister and is now going to serve a Spanish speaking mission. He was a sheep that was found by our shepherd, Jesus Christ, and He was calling out to him, He had His arm fully extended for this Elder and was preparing him to hear the gospel as a young teenager.
     I have a testimony of Jesus Christ!  He is my Savior, and the Light of the world. His light will never be burned out or dimmed. He took upon Himself the sins of everyone who has lived or will live on this earth.  He did this in the Garden of Gethsemane so that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven. He is our advocate above and pleads for our case to the Father. He is the shepherd to his sheep and he is constantly there to comfort us, protect us, and call out to us when we are lost. I love my Savior and I'm so grateful for what He has done for me in my life!  Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become clean and pure. Any trial or difficulty we may think is too hard to bare, we can always turn to the Redeemer and he will make our burdens light.   
     Have a great week!   
     Love, Elder Tanner Aiken

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Priesthood Power!

     Buenos Dias! Wow this week was truly amazing!          The first experience I had was last Thursday. There is an Elder here from France. He is in our zone and is such a strong member of the Church. But last Thursday my companion and I were asked to speak with him because he was struggling. We walked into the room to speak with him and he broke down and really cried. He told us how he was ready to go home and that he couldn´t do it here in the MTC anymore. The culture was just a really hard thing for him to adjust to. My companion and I shared our love for him and I shared a scripture with him in D&C section 121 when Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail and was going through some really difficult times. He prayed to the Lord asking why must we go through this torment, why must the hearts of these people be so corrupt?The Lord comforted him and it says in verses 7 & 8: "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."  He seemed to feel a little better but was still really struggling. I could see it in his eyes as tears ran down his cheeks. I asked him if we could give him a blessing he said he would love that. My companion, another district leader and I, all got ready to put our hands on his head, but none of us had given a blessing before. We knew how to start a blessing but did not know what to say. I was a bit nervous but I felt in my heart that I needed to use this opportunity and use my priesthood authority. I thought back to all the great fathers blessings my dad had given me and peace came to my soul as I started the blessing. I knew not the words I would say but as I began I felt the words flow to my mouth and the spirit came over me so strong. I felt the love Heavenly Father had for this Elder and he had an important mission that was needed to be served. As I closed the blessing, the spirit in the room was something like I haven't felt. I knew that if I ask in faith, and that if this Elder would show his faith, the Lord would bless him.    

     The next day we talked to him and this Elder was doing so much better! He was able to focus on what was important and he was able to put a smile on his face. That was one of the greatest moments I've ever felt knowing that the priesthood is truly a great and marvelous gift from God and we should always be prepred to use it, because we may be called on to use it when it's least expected.

     This Elder is serving in the Montreal, Canada Spanish speaking mission and will be his seventh language he has learned! He is incredibly smart and I can't wait to hear about the success he has.

     I testify God lives, Jesus Christ died for our sins and through the Atonement we can be made clean. I know that through the priesthood authority that has been given to us we can bless others lives. I'm so grateful for such a wonderful dad who has truly blessed my life! Grateful for a wonderful mom who has always taught great principles of the gospel to our family and has always been there for me! I'm greatful for my brother Brock and the terrific example he has set and not only how much he has blessed my life but others. I'm also so grateful for my younger brother Trevor! He is a stud and I know he will be a great missionary when the time comes!

     Less than 3 weeks and I'll be in Mexico! I'm a little nervous because I probably won't understand a thing that is spoken to me but I know the Lord will help me out!  Have a great week love you all!  

Elder Tanner Aiken