Monday, June 17, 2013

The Power of Prayer!

Grapefruit the size of my head!

      This week (June 2nd through 9th) has been a week full of tender mercies! I have had some great experiences and the Lord has directed my companion and I in all that we do! 
     This past Saturday, we had a appointment with one of our investigators. George is a struggling alcoholic and had a baptismal date for the 16th of june but that has kind of fallen through. We walked into his house and as his brother invited us in, George walked in from the back of the house, stumbling and as drunk as I have seen him. He looked at us and started to weep. He said, "Satan has a hold of me and I cannot stop drinking"! He sat down and began weeping harder and asking how he can change his life. He has tried to stop drinking but he can't do it! The withdrawls are so bad for him. We sat there a moment in silence as the spirit filled our hearts and minds. We bore testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, how  he is a good man in spite of his struggle with addiction to alcohol. My companion bore testimony of the power of blessings we had given him a week earlier. I felt such sadness for this man! He was grateful for our presence and knew that we are representatives of Jesus Christ! That was a powerful moment on my mission, one that I will never forget.   
We are currently teaching his family as well. We know that his family can help him overcome this trial so that one day he may walk into a baptismal font. 
     This Sunday (the 2nd) we also had a very neat experience. One of the sisters in the ward who is a single mom and also a recent convert of about 4 years, had us over for dinner. Right when we got there I noticed that something was wrong, she seemed very sad, but she was also so grateful to have us in her home. As the dinner ended I pulled out the scripture Alma 37:37 to, "counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct the for good"! As I ended the scripture and bore testimony of prayer, she said, "how is it that you knew I was struggling with prayer"? She said, "I was thinking that I have not had consistent prayer in months and have been struggling with some things". I was so happy to have been there in that moment to bring her the comfort that she needed at that time. As we got up to leave I felt an impression to just ask her if we could give her a blessing. When I asked that she said, "yes please! I was to afraid to ask you because I have been struggling with depression for the past few months and I know the power of blessings"! I was so happy that the Lord used us as instruments this week to bring some comfort to His children! 
     I know the power of blessings and prayers of faith are real! I have seen it, and I have lived it! I know that God truly does answer our prayers and He does work through others to answer those prayers! I also have a firm testimony of the Holy Ghost and know that we must always be in tune to receive  those blessings so that we can be directed for good!         Everything has been going great here in Reedley! Very hot... Very fun...and I am loving my mission! Everyone have a great week!

Elder Tanner Aiken

(Though he didn't add this to his weekly blog, we thought we'd share a wonderful email he received from his first companion in California: 

Elder Aiken!!!!
I love you so much!!  I have great news for you!  So remember at the last leadership meeting we had last transfer and I updated you on G------- and her family?  She's the one that was telling us about her bad experience with this other Mormon lady and how she didn't want to hear anything from us and was ready to kick us off her door step?  When you with your Christ like heart full of charity and pure desires told her that we simply wanted to bless her and her home?  And how that touched her heart especially after you gave the Harvesting Blessing?  Well we had been teaching her and she got baptized last Saturday, June 1st!  I wanted to let you know how much of an impact you made in Modesto, even only being there for a few weeks. I also wanted to thank you for your example, that is one of those things from my mission that I'll never forget.  I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to serve with you and to have that experience together, you taught me a lot.  Keep up the great work!  And if there's anything I can do to bless your life please let me know!!
Elder Blake)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Answers through the Book of Mormon...

     Hello Everyone! This week has been such a great week filled with answers to our fasting and prayers! 
    This week our mission has the most people on date and the most new investigators that we have had in many years! Elder Arredondo and I have three people with a baptismal date this month! 
     We have seen our prayers answered through the Book of Mormon! I testify to the truthfulness of that book! It is true and it can soften hearts. This week we traveled to one of the small towns we cover called Orosi, or also known as "little Mexico." We went out to go see Brenda, one of our investigators. We had kind of let Brenda slip through cracks because she wasn't progressing and hadn't picked up the Book of Mormon. She said that she was going to stay Catholic and baptize her baby there. We thought this is just someone who is not going to change unless she acts on her faith and read the Book of Mormon. So when we went out to see her this week, she told us she had read the Book of First Nephi! She loved how it made her feel and said, "this book has to be from God, and has strengthened my faith in Jesus Christ. I was filled with the spirit!" As I heard that I knew she had seen the blessings that come from the Book of Mormon! She has been praying for a change in her husband's heart who has no desire for religion in his life. We have been praying also so that she can come to church and be baptized.

We are given fresh fruit every day! 
     We are also teaching this lady named Maria! We found her through "harvest blessings", when we ask if we can leave a blessing on their home.  The thing that caught her attention as well was the Book of Mormon! We asked if we could come back and share a message with her the next day and she said sure! We came back the following day with a member, and both Elder Arredondo and I had an impression not to teach anything, but watch the Restoration DVD. We watched that movie and let the spirit fill the room. As we finished the mvie she said that she felt the spirit while watching it. She said that she also had the chance to read in The Book of Mormon and said that she felt something in her heart that was really warm when she was reading it. We testified to the truthfulness of that book, That Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. In that moment we invited her to be baptized on the 23rd of June and she said yes!
     I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Every day I read it and my testimony is strengthened. We have evidence that we can hold in our hands the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ! How great is it to have that knowledge! I love you all - have a great week!  

Love, Elder Tanner Aiken