Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Fear Not...."

Attended the Fresno Temple yesterday!
     Hello everyone! This week has been a week of miracles! To start off the week on Tuesday, Elder Arredondo and I had almost finished a really hard day.  We had almost all of our appointments fall through and were looking for the next option. As we went back to our car we looked down the road only to see a woman with her son running towards our vehicle. I looked at my companion thinking what is this lady doing?? She frantically knocked on our car window so we rolled it down and she said, "thank heavens! I am from Southern California and I am about to lose custody of my son in a court battle tomorrow. I saw you two walking down the street in the exact moment that I was thinking I needed a priesthood blessing"! She told us that she has been bouncing between activity and inactivity the past couple years, but has always tried to remain faithful to the Church. She asked if we could give her a blessing. We had nowhere to go without another man being present, but luckily we were right next to the Church so we pulled out a chair and gave her a blessing in the doorway! She broke down in tears and thanked us. She also told us that she had no place to stay and we told her not to worry. We told her we have such a great ward and that she'd have somewhere to sleep. We also were able to find a member that let her stay the night. I really felt that God had put us right there in that moment to help a woman who was in need of a priesthood blessing! 

     This week we were also able to have a baptism with one lady we have been teaching over the last month. Satan was throwing everything at her and us. Many of the plans we had set a week before, that were perfectly solid, began to fall through the day of the baptism. It was really stressful thinking that she may not have been baptized if it wasn't for the help of our ward mission leader! It was a great baptismal service and the spirit was really strong. We were so grateful that the Lord had softened her heart and prepared her to be baptized! 
    Later that night, after the baptism, we went to one of our strong potential investigators. After just feeling the spirit at the baptism it had motivated us to go out and invite someone to be baptized that night. We went over to a house to visit Ruben. We taught him the Restoration of the gospel and the power of that spirit in the room was so strong! We invited him to be baptized on the 19th of May and he said yes! We were so thrilled and has truly motivated us to invite and invite and invite!! 
     I know that this Church is true! I know that Jesus Christ atoned for all our sins!! I know that God lives and knows each and everyone of us personally! Missions are the best thing ever! This has been the hardest, most satifying, and the most fun time I have had in my life! I don't know how you can feel all those emotions in one, but on a mission anything is possible! I love you all have a great week!! "Fear not for the Lord is on our side"!!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wonderful baptism!

Hector's baptism!
     Hello everyone! This week was full of miracles and just a great week in general! This week we had Hector's baptism and we had nearly our whole branch there. There was also another lady getting baptized that day and the spirit was really strong at his meeting.  I'm so glad we had the opportunity to teach him and he will forever be one of my great friends here in California! The sad news is that he is moving out of our branch and up to Mariposa to work up there. 
     This week we have been seeing people put into our path. We have really focused all our energy on obedience and diligence and the Lord has been blessing us. We were about to meet this family of 5 just three days ago. We first knocked on the door and offered the man who answered if we could say a prayer with him. While he looked a bit suprised he said "yes"!  We promised him that through this prayer and blessing he could feel the Holy Ghost. As we finished the words of the prayer we kind of sat there for a couple seconds and just let the spirit sink in. As we began to speak and ask him how he felt, he said, "I have never felt anything like that before inside me". We asked if we could come inside his home and share a brief message with him about the church that Christ established and how it has been restored to the earth again. As we shared he listened and felt the spirit. We invited him to be baptized and he told us he would. He has invited us back tonight to share it with his whole family. 
     We have also been focusing this week on one of our investigators, Celeste. She has two children and we have been teaching her for about the last three weeks. She has come to church and has progressed so much. She has continued reading the Book of Mormon and has felt and seen the change in her life as she acts on her faith. Last night we taught her the Plan of Salvation and really focused on the three kingdoms of glory. We focused on how that only with baptism can we reach that top glory and be with our families for eternity. As we said that the spirit really began to work in her! She said she has had so many stresses and trials in her life and wants to change. She wanted to make sure her kids have that shelter from a world that is wicked and constantly changing. We invited her to refocus her commitment and be baptized on the 28th of April. She laughed and said as long as they don't make me memorize scripture and read it in front of everyone I will do it! We are praying for God's help each and everyday and we are truly seeing miracles! 
     I also recieved my new companion this week, his name is Elder Arredondo. He is from Logan, Utah and is currently waiting for his visa to Brazil. I have really enjoyed training him so far. He came in with a great attitude to work hard and to baptize which I know will really help our companionship out! We have really focused ourselves on inviting everyone to be baptized. If they say no we ask why not, and if they are not ready to be baptized we move on and look for the people who are willing to keep commitments and are wanting to change their lives to follow Jesus Christ! I have really seen the great change that the spirit brings into peoples lives. God can soften hearts! 
     Have a great week - and never be scared to invite someone to hear the gospel message!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Lazarus Principle

Me and Elder Gygi at a member's home for dinner.
     Hello!  We received transfer calls and President Gelwix called to inform us that the transfer would effect Elder Gygi and me. Elder Gygi was transferred, and I was called to be a trainer, while still being the district leader so I'm excited about the new opportunity to train a new Elder from the MTC. I will drive up to Fresno to pick him up on Thursday so I will be spending the night in Kingsburg. 
     This weekend was really great. We got 2 investigators to watch General Conference with us, a single mother of 2, and Hector.  Hector was originally getting baptized yesterday, but is now going to be baptized this Sunday which is better for him.  He wants a senior missionary couple to be at his baptism and they were in Salt Lake for Conference. We watched General Conference in the Selma Ward building where they had it both in Spanish and in English! That was truly an inspired Conference. I loved Neil L. Andersen's talk faced towards the members of the church - every member a missionary!  We need to be helping to find those people who are prepared to hear the gospel or who could use something as simple as a prayer.  It is such a blessing for us as missionaries to know that we have members that actually care about the work of the Lord and trust us enough to give us referals! 
     One of my favorite principles I've learned in the mission is the Lazarus Principle.  God will only do those things that God can do.  God expects us to learn and progress in this life.  He gives us tasks that may be difficult so that we may learn.  Here it is:


-Who rolled away the stone? (Men)
-Who raised Lazarus from the dead? (Jesus)
-Who unrolled the bands?  (Men)
-The Lazarus Principle:  God will only do those things a God can do - he asks us to do those things that we can do!

Have a wonderful week ahead - and don't be afraid to share your testimony of the gospel!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Feast!

Lindquist is my mother's maiden name!
     Hello friends and family! How are you all doing? I am doing great! Yesterday was a bit of a strange but very rewarding Easter! At church we had three investigators come, the most we have had since I have been here. Having a very broad area it makes it hard to get everyone to church. During  priesthood, we had a chance to pull out one of our investigators named Hector who is a really smart 20 year old. He attends UC Davis and is majoring in bio-chemistry! He is so great I love him so much. We taught him the Plan of Salvation with one of the members in the room next door. Just the week before, when I was on an exchange with Elder Pinnock, he had promised Hector that if he read the Book of Mormon everyday he would have work everyday. Hector  hadn't had consistent work in a while. He works in the fields picking oranges with his mom. This week he was able to read the Book of Mormon everyday and he had work for every single one of those days! They end work on Saturday and have only Sunday off. On Saturday night right after he had gotten off of work it began to thunder and just began to pour! He said it was one of the hardest rains he has seen in Orange Cove since he has lived there. The funny thing is if it would have rained the day before, he would have been out of work for three days while the fields have to dry before they start picking again! I knew and he knew that his answer had come directly from God. 
     I have also come to know that God hears the promises and acts on their authority which we have through the priesthood! Hector said that he has attended church other places in California because his mom is a member. He has had lessons with senior missionaries, but he said that nothing had ever clicked or came that powerful to him! He has read up to the book of Alma in less than 3 weeks. We are having his baptism this Sunday in between General Conference! Hector has become one of my great friends and we are always so happy when we get to go out to his house way out in the middle of nowhere in Orange cove! Having been out here in Fresno I have already seen many of the promises from Heavenly Father that have been in my Patriarchal blessing. 
     This week has been really focused on Jesus Christ and His crucifixion and resurrection. I can honestly say this week more than any other has had a huge impact on my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ! I really felt my love for Him as I partook of the sacrament yesterday and was really able to feel His love He has for me and for all our brothers and sisters! 
     Yesterday we also had an emergency zone conference so we did not get the Easter dinner we were hoping for. As a mission we had kind of lost our focus on baptism and had focused too much on finding people to teach. We had very large teaching pools and a small amount of progressing investigators!  We have been called unto repentance as a mission.  After having a very loving chastisement from our mission President, we were all very spiritually edified on how we need to change as missionaries and focus on the thing that is central to our purpose as missionaries which is baptism and confirmation! We have now changed our 3 hours of finding down to 2. And have added the power of 1 to our mission again, where every area in the mission is responsible for 1 baptism every month which I am very excited about! I know that as I pray to God to continue to put prepared people in our path, and for our goals we have set for baptism for the month of April and also putting faith into action, God will always fulfill! 
     Our president always gives us a good bye hug before he leaves and he always tells me, "Son, I am grateful you are here in this mission and you have been sent here for a reason"! I am so glad for the opportunity each week I have to be a California, Fresno missionary! This week was solid and I am still having such a fun time here in Reedley. I know God lives! Christ is risen! He is our Savior! I hope you all have a great week and really use this Easter to be a springboard to be consecrated members of the Church of Jesus Christ, to recognize our shortcomings and strive to be better! Love you all! 

Elder Tanner Aiken