Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

     Hello everyone! This week went really well! We had the woman from the bread shop attend church with us this week. It was a perfect week to have her attend! We had a class talking about how to obtain a testimony about the Book of Mormon and many recent converts bore testimony on how they have obtained a testimony even though they had thought the bible was the only word of God! After the meeting we had a talk with her and she loved it! During our last meeting she began to cry as we talked about eternal families. I could feel the spirit testifying of the truthfulness of this Gospel and eternal families! 

     This week we have also found 3 new families that we are teaching. Elder Ruiz and I are really applying what it says in Preach My Gospel and that is talk to everyone! We are teaching a man named Roberto currently who doesn't have a belief in Jesus Christ but is a very humble man. He works on a ranch from from the city and doesn't earn much money. We found him as we were searching for a reference from the bishop. We asked him for directions to the house of this reference and he was very nice and directed us to it. We arrived at the house of the reference but no one was there. Elder Ruiz and I had a firm feeling from the spirit that we needed to go back an contact him. He's kind of a hard looking guy and my first thought was that he probably wouldn't let us in, but what I have learned in the mission is not to deny the power of God or to judge anyone! We approached him and said we had message that would bless his life, and without even a hesitation he let us in the door. We spoke about his beliefs, about our Savior Jesus Christ, God's plan, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He was so open to hear all of this and was so excited to hear something different than his beliefs, and to know he had a Father in Heaven who loved him and sent his son Jesus Christ that we may once again be able to live with Him again! We have taught him twice and he is really enjoying our message and his faith is growing as he reads and prays. 
     I was reading in the Liahona this week and was just thinking how grateful I am to have the Atonement in my life and how we can apply to every aspect of our lives. Truly the greatest sacrifice this world has ever known and will ever be! As I apply the Atonement every day of my life I feel my personal spiritual growth and closer towards my Father in Heaven. As I have said before I have never felt closer to my Father in Heaven than I have right now or relied on him this much in my life. I personally testify that we can all repent whether we have done something small or something grave through sincere repentance we can obtain forgiveness! I hope you all have a great week and a very Happy New Year I also hope that we make it our personal resolution in 2013 to be stronger and more willing to serve our neighbors and friends and of course when we do these things we please our Father and Heaven!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Singing carols in the Plaza

     Hello everyone!  It was different spending Christmas away from home.  Here there is no snow - it's in the mid 60's.  But I am so happy to wear the name of Jesus Christ and to be his servant.
     As it says in Luke 1: 31-33:  "And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and his kingdom there shall be no end." 
     I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ, for his sacrifice for us and to have a Heavenly Father that loves each and every one of us.  I'm grateful that I was brought up by such a great family to be able to serve in these last days and bring this gospel to the people of Mexico. We can see that God is speeding up his work, there is no more time to be a 50%-er.  You're either on the Lord's side or you're not.  We cannot serve 2 masters, for you'll love one and despise the other.  Choose this day whom you will serve.
     As I walk through the streets here in Mexico, I see such poverty.  I see sadness and pain, wives without husbands, children without fathers and a variety of people misled by the ways of the world.  I am so very grateful to have the light of Jesus Christ, his gospel and his Atonement and to share the light with others.  This  Christmas and New Year we need to be sharers of that light and share the joy we have.  Jesus born of humble birth had little, but gave us so very much.  We can show our gratitude by our willingness to serve and to follow him.  
     I think to past Christmases when we'd wake up and have a ton of gifts for us under the tree.  I think of the times of ungratefulness and wondering, "did I get everything I asked for?"  I know for sure there will be plenty of people waking up to no gifts!  My hope and prayer is that we can turn our gratitude to the Savior and be so very grateful for the wonderful blessings He has given us.  
     While being with all of you this Christmas sounds very nice, I know this is where I'm supposed to be.  I know this Church is true! I know that Jesus Christ died for us all and through his Atonement we can be healed from our sins.  I know God loves us so very much and is directing and guiding our paths back to Him!
     I love you all and hope you had the best Christmas and have a Happy New Year!  Remember, "your future is as bright as your faith!"

Elder Tanner Aiken


Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas!

     Today was a transfer day here! I now have a new companion and his name is Elder Ruiz from Veracruz Mexico. Really funny guy!  I'm very excited to learn more things from him and progress the work we have going in our area! 
     This week Elder Velez and I had all of our baptisms fall through, so it was a bit sad to see people that said they knew these things to be true suddenly disappear.
     However, this week was also one of strengthening my testimony of the gospel. We have been teaching the sister of the bishop, she is Catholic and and doesn't have much knowledge of the gospel! This week we talked about the faith in Jesus Christ. She loved that message and shared with us the trials she has had. She said she has lost three babies, two at birth and one after 9 months! I can not imagine having to go through that pain of losing three children.  She and her husband show so much love for their only daughter. Every time we visit she asks if we are hungry and what she can get for us. Right now I'm praying so very hard that Heavenly Father may answer her prayers so that she can one day find the truth and make it a goal to go to the temple and be sealed to her family! 
     The woman in the bread shop has kept having us come back and teach her, she said that she had been having problems in her family and had been praying for somone to help her. She said she thinks we were her answer but doesn't want to change her Catholic beliefs. 
     Right now it is a bit tough with the way it has been going with investigators this week, seeing them not accept this beautiful message of the Restoration and follow our Savior.  It makes me a little sad seeing they won't have that in their lives but I have learned that it is all on God's time and His will! My testimony has strentgthened this week even though we have had our struggles we are still pressing forward. I know we will find someone soon that will come to the knowledge of the gospel! I know that if we all keep faced towards Zion nothing can stop us in keeping us from those we promised to find.   
     This Christmas I'm so very grateful for my relationship I have with my Father in Heaven, for his Son Jesus Christ who has made it possible to take away the pains and sins of every person. I have personally felt God's love for me and for others through the Atonement of Jesus Christ! I think about the new star that appeared at the birth of Jesus Christ and how it lead others to the manger to see the Son of God. I know that I can make it a new goal to better my life and the lives of others! If we follow the example of Jesus Christ I personally testify that we will have joy and peace that no one else can bring to us in this life. I know that this Church is the only true church on the earth today, and is directed by a modern day prophet called of God! I also testify that Joseph Smith saw God and his only begotten Son Jesus Christ and restored His church and authority to the earth! I can promise each and every one of you that if we open our hearts to Jesus Christ and keep those commandments which have been set for us, we will return to live with Him once again. This work is such a blessing to be a part of, to see that God can put you in the path of a person at a direct place and time and see that God has been preparing them to listen to the message. 
     I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful Christmas time and a very good New Year!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, December 3, 2012

No success without the Spirit!

     Hello everyone, I hope you all had a great week! This week was very interesting in following the promptings of the spirit! 
    Two weeks ago I was on divisions in my area with Elder Sanchez.  We both have the same amount of time here in Mexico, he is from Baja Mexico. The whole day we had been teaching lessons and we had walked 7 or 8 miles.  We were pretty hungry so we decided to stop in the Panderia - just a bread shop and other good stuff. Elder Sanchez walked in singing, "Oh Holy Night".  We were the only ones in the shop and the cashier looked at him and said, "wow you have a beautiful voice!"  I was thinking, "you've got to be kidding me!" She said that the song was beautiful as well. She saw our name tags and wasn't familiar with our church. We got to talking to her and asked if we could pass by another day. She agreed and was very excited. So about a week had passed by and Elder Velez had just finished teaching a lesson when  all of the sudden I had a prompting to go back to that bread shop. At first I was thinking, is this hunger?  Then I got the prompting again to return and talk to the cashier. I asked my companion and told him we need to go to the bread shop, so we headed that way. As we got there, she was working! I thought this is the perfect chance to share our message. We walked in and she was thrilled to see us. We told her about eternal families. She thought that message was so great that she could be eternal with her family who she loved so much, and how much of the world is trying to destroy the family. As we were about to finish our lesson, an older lady walked in and saw our pamphlet on he table. She smiled and asked, "how much does this cost"? We smiled and said it's free. We gave her our number and she left. We have now taught three lessons with this lady in the bread shop and are shooting for a baptismal date in mid December. We have three baptismal dates for the month of December and are praying to meet our goal of 5! 

Orange trees are everywhere!

     I have learned that without the spirit it is impossible to have success! We must follow every prompting we receive! I have seen how promptings can bless lives, and strenghten the testimonies of those who receive them! I truly love these people here in Mexico - they are so warm and loving and willing to share everything! The weather here is great.  Yesterday and today have been in the upper 70's! I hope you all have a great week!!

Elder Tanner Aiken