Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Easter!

     This week was really a good one! I am so excited each and every morning to find more people to teach and bring them closer to Jesus Christ. This week we really focused on getting more members involved in the missionary work.  That has been hard to do here in Reedley because we cover 14 smaller towns that are pretty spaced out and to find members that can come with us to teach has been difficult. 

     This week in district meeting we made it a focus to have 1 member present at the lesson each day, and to also have five lessons during the week focused on the importance of the Sabbath day! As we applied the things we learned each companionship was able to have a member present at the lesson each day. That's the first time since last September! It was really nice to see the members involved in missionary work. As of right now we have 9 people set for baptismal dates in April and are really trying to help them progress that they may be able to be baptized. 
     One of my favorite investigators is a twenty year old named Hector. His mom is a member and they live 30 minutes away from the church building out in a place called Orange Cove. They have spent the last 3 months trying to find the chapel building in Selma where we attend. Hector is truly someone searching for the truth. Elder Pinnock and I were on exchanges and we had an appointment one night this past week to teach him. We both felt prompted to watch the Restoration video with him. After the video Hector told us how powerful that movie was and he had never pictured it to be like that. Hector has already read to the book of Mosiah and has a pretty good knowledge of what he has read. He began to tell us that this past week has been a struggle. He hadn't read or prayed and told us this week he and his mom had not had any work picking oranges out in the fields. We promised him that if he read and prayed everyday this week he would have work everyday of the week. He has been doing that and has had work everyday! I truly felt the Holy Ghost in that room with us. Hector is preparing to be baptized on the 7th of April, and has been to church 3 times! 
     This week I have begun reading the references from the topical guide about Jesus Christ. This is called the 'Easter Project' that everyone is doing in the mission. As I have read I have come to know my Savior Jesus Christ better each and everytime I read. I read the topic on Jesus Christ 'advocate' the other day and remember having such a love for our Savior that He literally pleads our case to our Father in Heaven and only through Him can we return to the presence of our Father in Heaven! I really love this work and am so glad to be a part of it each day! 
     I have been having such a great time in Reedley and getting to know all of the missionaries! We are a united group and I think that has helped us individually in our areas. I have been having so much fun this week! Today was very exciting as well. Right before we came to the family history center to write, we had a chance to stop by a referral with a member and we invited them to be baptized on the 14th of April. The mom has told us about her life and how dificult it has been with drugs, having a child at 14 and trying to support her three kids as a single mother. I truly feel God's love for her and for her children! I know that God lives and knows each and everyone of us personally! Love you all! Hope you have a great week and Easter weekend!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013

     Hi everyone! This week was really great! We gave our 45 minute training for zone conference on how to get our investigators progressing.  President Gelwix really liked it and it was a very spiritual experience. I have learned so much and have become so much better at talking and teaching in front of large crowds! 

The 'CHICKS' really dig me!

     This week it was in the mid 80's here in Reedley. Our investigators are great.  Yesterday we had 2 investigators at church which has really been a struggle, one named Martin who has a baptismal date for the 31st of March, and another named Hector who has a date for the 7th of April
     The work is progressing! I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and I truly know this is His work and His gospel here on the earth today. Keep praying for God to use you as a tool in His hands to bring someone to the gospel. Love you all!

Elder Tanner Aiken!

Monday, March 11, 2013

New mission record!

    This week has been really busy!  I have learned so much and love both of my companions.
      This week, we set a record with 307 new investigators, the most ever seen in the Fresno mission in one week! We are working so hard.  This week I have already been able to do three baptismal interviews and have two more this weekend.  My companionship has been asked by President Gelwix to give a forty five minute training to three different zones on how we can teach everyone that we find, instead of contacting them and just setting a return appointment. I am really excited about it. 
     Also this week we found 12 new investigators who have been really prepared. One that comes to mind is a man named Larry.  When we knocked on his door he was pretty happy to see us.  He has had many health issues and is almost totally confined to a wheelchair.  He explained to us how he has no family left and has no friends in the world.  He told us what his life felt like.  He said he was just existing instead of living. He said he has been looking for a year to find what path he should take.  Not only did my heart ache for this man, but I also saw a child of God who was so prepared to hear the gospel!  We shared about the Book of Mormon and the peace that it brings into our lives.  He was so thrilled to see young aged men at his door to comfort him and love him. We have more set up this week with him and have a really strong feeling about his future. 
     This work is fantastic, wonderful, and amazing!  I have so many words to describe it!  I am also having so much fun getting to know all the elders in my zone and district.  We are all very united and know our purpose to bring others unto Christ.  Have a great week everyone!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, March 4, 2013

Time to harvest...

     This week was really great! It was a bit of a transition from Modesto to being here in Reedley. I am so excited being District Leader - everyone here is just great and we are all so fired up about this work! 
     As a mission we are seeing the highest records ever in this mission. Last year, the weekly average on new investigators was at 176. This last month, due to the harvest blessings program we have started doing, we have seen 279 new investigators weekly! That is awesome! I have a strong testimony of this work and I know the Lord is hastening His work. 
     This week we were able to see all kinds of miracles. The first one that comes to mind was last Friday. We just had an appointment fall through and we realized we still had a family that we needed to go see. As we arrived at the house of this family the wife was outside sitting next to a woman that looked very sad and was having a very difficult life. As we approached the wife of the house we began to speak to her, but we were cut off by the woman sitting next to her. She said do you guys have a Bible that I can read? We said yes but it's called the Book of Mormon! She said she had never heard of that book before. She had come to tell us that she had been prompted to sit at that house to talk with the family that we were going to visit. We arrived just on time. She began to explain to us that she has been having a very tough life, she has been addicted to drugs for the last 30 years and has been praying and praying for change and direction in her life. We shared that we hade been put into her path by the plan that God has for her. She began to cry knowing that three 23 year olds would stop to share a message that someone loved her and had a plan for her! We have set up an appointment this week to return. I know God puts His servants in the paths of his prepared children. 
     Then Sunday came and it was Fast Sunday. We knew that we needed to finish this week out strong. We prayed and fasted that the Lord would allow us to have 3 new investigators and one new baptismal invite. After church we began to do harvest blessings at every door.  But when we knocked they either said "not interested" or "leave"! We began to be discouraged door after door. We were hungry and wanting to just stop! But the spirit prompted us to continue on. It was one hour before our dinner appointment and we came to one last street where we went to the final three houses. The first was a girl named Jessica. We left the blessing with her and really felt good about it.  We gave her a Book of Mormon and set a return appointment! We were so thrilled to have a new investigator but we felt prompted to go to the house directly across the street where another man was sitting on his porch. We told him who we were and he was thrilled that we were there to talk to him! We shared a brief message and set a return appointment! Now we had two new investigators in such a short time! 
     We had one more house that was a referral from a recent convert. We felt this would be a great lesson. We knocked on the door of Rosaura and Jose. They invited us to share a message with them. We began by talking about the correct authority and how it was restored upon the earth. Both of them were shocked at this point, they had never heard about that before. We shared the First Vision with them, just as we did the spirit was so powerful! Both of them leaned forward in their chairs and it was impossible to deny the feeling in which we felt. We invited them to be baptized on the 31st of March and they promised to read and find an answer through prayer! Fasting truly does work. I know that God hears us and blesses us for our efforts as we strive to do our best! We found four new investigators and two baptismal dates! I love this work. I know that God lives! Have a great week everyone!!! Love you!

Elder Tanner Aiken