Monday, July 29, 2013

The pure influence of the Spirit!

Elder Pazmino, Jorge and me at Jorge's baptism!

     Hello everyone! This week has been a true blessing from the Lord.  First, we had Jorge's baptism.  He's the man who ran after us on the street a few weeks ago asking if we were from the same church he found in Mexico.  We were so grateful we found each other, and his baptism was one I'll never forget. 
     Also this week, Elder Pazmino and I saw some true miracles. We had four of our investigators at church.  We had been working so hard to invite all that we could to church!! We prayed and prayed that the Lord would help us to have people there and the Lord blessed us.
     This week we have been teaching the woman that cuts our hair, her name is Ari. She has a 7 year old daughter and lives with her boyfriend Sal. This week we taught the importance of families and how they can live together forever.  Sal, who never even seemed interested in one word we were saying, asked how and when he could marry Ari! I was absolutely shocked, but the spirit had softened his heart in that moment, and I knew that God had a perfect plan for this family. We invited them to be baptized on August 11th and they said yes. They are currently working on getting their wedding license! 
     I feel this week, more than ever, I've felt the pure influence of the spirit in all that we do.  It was such a good feeling to know that the Lord is using us as tools in His hands to lead us to His people that are prepared to hear the gospel. I have a testimony of this gospel!  I know that God lives and loves everyone of us! This is the true Church of Jesus Christ here upon the earth! I challenge each of you to pray continually everyday for missionary experiences and I know the Lord will bless you and help you to share the gospel with those who are prepared to receive it. Have a good week!  Love you all!!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, July 8, 2013

New companion!

Elders from my District!
     This week has been a good one! This week was transfers, and although I was sad to see my last companion go, I was excited about the news from President Gelwix that I have the opportunity to train again! Being District leader and Trainer have been so much fun. I have loved getting to know the Elders in my District. We are all best friends!! 
     This week when we went to go pick up my companion, they put all the trainers in one room and all the trainees in another, and we wait for about three to four hours while president Gelwix prays for our companionships! While sitting in that room I felt comforted that the Lord would put me in a good companionship, one that I would feel right at home with. When we walked into the trainee room I just felt so glad to be there, it is so much fun to see a whole group of new missionaries who look so faithful and excited to get going. As President began announcing names for companionships, I was still unsure who my companion would be. As President called my name and he said Elder Pazmino, I knew for sure that I had the right companion. As I ran over to hug him we sat down and he began to tell me that he new I was his companion as soon as I walked in the room. He told me that he had a dream 2 weeks before his mission and saw that I would be his companion. I was so grateful that the Lord had prepared my companion to be with me! Funny thing is my trainer in Mexico was from Ecuador! I am currently helping him learn English and loving every moment I get to better my Spanish! I don't know what it is but the Lord must be telling me something! It's probably just because I love the Spanish people so much! 
     This week I was so grateful to see our Branch be as full as it has ever been this week. Elder Pazmino and I did all that we could to go around and invite all that we could to church. We know it paid off because the branch numbers were almost near a ward level! 
     I truly love this gospel! I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and to have these small two years to serve Him! With this new age of missionaries coming in you can truly sense that the hastening of the work has begun! I love it! Have a great week!!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, July 1, 2013

Miracles never cease!

With President Gelwix at Sequoia National Park during recent P-day!

     Hello!  Well no transfer for me! I have been called to train again on top of my district leader duties.  President Gelwix says he has a great trust in me and wants to have me train again which I am really excited for!  I think it's always fun to get a new companion who has that deer in the headlights look the first day they get here! 
     Yesterday hit 114 degrees!  It was a furnace!  When you knock peoples doors and you have sweat dripping of the tip of your noes I think it makes them a bit hesitant to let you in!     
     This week, Elder Arredondo and I had an absolute miracle!  We were still having some struggles with finding some real strong investigators.  This past Thursday Elder Arredondo decided to read one of our favorite talks, "The Challenging and Testifying Missionary".  We really felt the spirit come over us and knew that we would see a miracle!  We set out on our day with a firm prayer that we could find someone who is ready to be baptized right now! All day we went through the heat knocking doors and knocking doors and having appointments fall through.  We were pretty depressed thinking why are we having such bad luck right now? We have worked so hard.  As Elder Arredodno and I were walking to the library to print out his driving record, we saw a woman sitting under a tree who looked a little upset.  We approached her and said we were representatives of Jesus Christ and asked if we could say a prayer.  She looked up at us a little shocked and said she would love a prayer. We offered that prayer and as soon as we finished she was sobbing, saying how hard this week has been for her after losing one of her close friends.  We sat down with her and shared the Plan of Salvation.  The spirit was so strong as we talked about the Celestial Kingdom and having that chance to return to live with our families again. We invited her to church this Sunday and she said yes!  
     Our day was starting to turn around but we still knew someone was out there.  After dinner Elder Arredondo and I went by to see a former investigator.  As we knocked no one answered and we headed back to the street, when all the sudden we see a man walking towards us.  He asked if we were the missionaries from the church that uses the Book of Mormon and we said yes we are.  He went on to tell us that he had just moved from Mexico a week ago, and had been taught by the missionaries over there.  He said I love that book I don't know what it is but I feel good when I read it.  He said he had also gone to church with the missionaries over in Mexico.  My companion and I looked at each other and smiled. We walked with him back to his house and we shared a message with him about baptism. He said he had not been baptized and we testified of the need to be baptized by the priesthood authority of God, the spirit swept in and we invited him to be baptized. He said, "yes, I don't not want to miss this opportunity again! right now we are helping him change his work schedule so he can be baptized soon".  It was such a miracle!  I know God is a god of miracles when we pray and ask in faith we will see them!  But it isn't until after that trial of our faith!  I have seen such great things happen in this area of Reedley and I know obedience to the mission rules and commandments has helped us through everything!
     Happy 4th of July everyone!

Elder Tanner Aiken