Monday, August 26, 2013

Beautiful baptisms!

     Hello everyone - what a truly awesome week! I have loved being a part of this work but the time is going by way to fast! I want it to slow down. This point of my mission I am so happy to be where I am. The Lord has blessed me and my companion so much.
     For for the past couple of weeks we have been seeing a bigger number than we have had at sacrament meeting in a long time.  We had 5 new investigators at church, including three that have baptismal dates for the month of September!  

    We had our baptism this week for Ari and ..... It was such a great experience and the spirit was so strong. As we walked into the waters of baptism, I couldn't help but have such love for these people who will now have the opportunity to walk back into the presence of God by receiving this first covenant in their lives. We have planned for Ari and ..... to go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead this week! 
     This week we also had another great experience.  We  received a referral for a woman who needed help to move into her apartment and help her mother move in as well. We headed over to her house and helped them unload the truck. We had the opportunity to talk to them about some previous missionaries who had taught them. They began to tell us that they had received their answer that the Church was true and began to bear their testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ. I was blown away! We set up for a return appointment later in the week. We went back to their house and shared a message with them. The spirit filled the room as we testified of how the gospel had changed our lives, when all of the sudden the lady we were teaching says, "I want to be baptized on September 1st." My companion and I looked at each other and smiled.  We immediately told her that would be perfect! Her daughter then began to tell us how she also wanted to be baptized on that date! I was so shocked by the end of that lesson. Both of them had been going to church up in Atwater and will both be baptized next week! 
     I love this Church and I know with all my heart that this Church is true. I know that God lives and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that God answers our prayers individually and listens to us. In the first vision, God the Father appeared to Joseph Smith and said, "This is my Beloved Son, hear Him." God appeared to Joseph Smith and answered his prayer! What a blessing to know that we can communicate with our Father in Heaven who loves us so much! 
     I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, August 12, 2013

God can soften any heart!

      Hello everyone! This week was such a blessing. It was transfer week and I'm staying. By the end of this new transfer I will have been here in Reedley for 7 months. I think they might name a street after me! 
    This week, Elder Pazmino had been working so hard to find new people to teach and to get to church. We were knocking some doors when we decided to go contact a referral. As we went over to the home and knocked, a lady answered the door.  We said that we were there to share a message with a man named jose. He didn't live there. This lady went on to tell us that she had heard from missionaries about 6 years ago in another part of California and was shocked that we found her house. I was not shocked by this as I knew that God had placed us at her door to re-strike missionary lessons with her. She was more than happy to listen to what we had to say. We felt inspired to talk about prayer. Because there wasn't a man home we shared it right there on her porch. When we began to talk about how God answers prayers, she said she found it interesting how she had been praying this past week to help her get rid of the confusion about religion. And there we were standing at her door as that answer to her prayer! The spirit immediately swept in as we testified the reason why we were there and how we had been sent there. I know that it was not by accident that we were sent to her home. We invited her to church the next day and she said yes. The next morning she was there at church! She said that she felt at home as she came into the building! 
     This week we also have been teaching Ari and -----, both have been progressing and have come to church the last 3 weeks. It's funny that ----- initially wanted nothing to do with religion.  When we started teaching his girlfriend Ari he wanted nothing to do with it.  But slowly each week he starting participating in the lessons and then he was saying prayers. The first week when he came to church he was in a dress up shirt with the top buttons unbuttoned, the next week he was wearing a red shirt with a tie, and this past week he was in a suit, white shirt and tie! God softens hearts! Ari and ----- will be getting married this next week, and will be getting baptized on the 25th of August! 
     I know that God lives and He can soften even the hardest of hearts! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior! One year in the mission has gone by so fast! I have learned so much and am so grateful for the opportunity to serve our Master, and King Jesus Christ! 
     I love you all - have a great week!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Power of the Priesthood!

     This week has been great.  We were able to have Jorge's confirmation which was so memorable.  
   This week we also received a call from the Relief Society President who said a woman in Reedley needed a blessing.  We went to her home and she told us she had been having a hard week where she was having flashbacks of her past when she was abused.  We gave her a blessing and she was so happy to have received it.  Within 30 seconds of giving her the blessing, she received a miracle phone call she had been waiting and praying for!  She told us we were "miracle makers"!
     I know that God has helped me again see the power of the Priesthood.  I love serving as a missionary!  These times will never be forgotten.  I have seen some truly amazing miracles and have been able to feel the guidance of the Holy Ghose each and every day.
     I love you all so much!  I thank my Heavenly Father each day for the wonderful family I have been given.  I know that families can be together forever.  I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is our  Savior.  The Atonement is real.  This is Christ's Church here on the earth today.  How blessed we are!  Have a great week - and be strive to be someone's miracle each and every day!

Elder Tanner Aiken