Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

     Hello Everyone! The work is going great here in Firebaugh and Mendota! We have many people right now that we are teaching and quite a few that have baptismal dates. Our only problem is getting them married. We have three couples that we are teaching that all have great desires but just aren't married, and due to the financial situations it is very hard to get them married!
     Our zone is doing great Elder Castaneda and I have been thinking about what we can do better to inspire our zone to have a miraculous December! As this week falls the day of thanksgiving I am so grateful to be a full time missionary. 
     This week, as I have walked the streets of Mendota, it has humbled me! I have such gratitude for my family, for this church, and to have the knowledge that we have. I've talked to many people with drug problems, families that are falling apart, and some don't even have enough money to put food on their table. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ! It breaks my heart to know and see how many people reject our message, even after having felt the Holy Ghost. But what a blessing it is to know that we are a part of the only true church on the earth and that we have a living prophet that is guided by revelation. Most of all to know about the atonement of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for His sacrifice that He made for us. 
     I am grateful for the commandments that are there, not to hold us back, but to set us free. Mosiah chapter 2 vs 41 tells us to remember the happy state of those that keep the commandments, that they will be blessed in ALL things both spiritual and temporal, for the Lord God has said so! I have learned so much this week but feel that my testimony has been strengthened on the importance of keeping the commandments! They bring us so much happiness. They keep us from the grip of the adversary, and give us spiritual protection! 
     This week I am also grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of everything in our lives. He know us each personally, better than we know ourselves. 
     This week as I read in the scriptures I was thinking about the things I was grateful for when I felt urged to read a letter that not only changed my life but saved me.  It was written by my brother Brock.  That letter guided me to serve a mission and I keep it in my scriptures as a constant reminder of God's love that He has for me! I know that he is aware of me! I am so grateful for my family, I love you all so much! Though a mission is a time to focus on the people I serve here, you are never far from my thoughts!! I love you all have a great week!
And Happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Tanner Aiken 

Monday, November 4, 2013

God hears our prayers!

     Hello everyone!  It's transfer week and Elder Castaneda and I will be together at least 6 more weeks.  That's great news! 
     I am so grateful to be writing you this morning. I had an experience this week that has changed my life and my mission. 
     Elder Castaneda and I had been seeing little to no success, people not keeping commitments and no one at church. I was pretty down and prayed to the Lord for a miracle this week, something to help us see His hand in this work. We went about our daily routine on Friday. We went out to go see a family who we had invited to be baptized on the 1st of December.  That was a 35 minute drive for us, but for some reason that wasn't where we were supposed to be. We were lead by the spirit to contact a referral we had received. As we knocked on the door, no one answered, but the spirit again told us this is not where we need to be. A prompting came and told us to go see a lady in the ward who lives alone in very humble circumstances. As we walked towards her trailer and knocked, a man came around the corner and said, "God is so good! The woman living here is very suicidal right now. Who sent you or called you"?  We had not received a text or a call from anyone. This woman was preparing to take her life. She had been pleading with God to send her an answer all day, but no one from the church came to visit her. We arrived at just the right moment!  She came to the door pale as a ghost and was weeping. She looked at us and said, "no one can tell me that this church isn't true!  No one can tell me that God doesn't live, or that He doesn't hear prayers".  She told us that she was praying at the moment we knocked on her door, asking Heavenly Father to give her the strength to not take her life. This woman had been scarred years earlier from an explosion and both of her parents died at a young age. She felt left alone. I knew that God had been sending us around town that day and knocking doors with no one behind them because He knew that this woman was in desperate need of two Representatives of Jesus Christ!  I felt an absolute love for this woman. I saw her as a daughter of God. 
     I know that God hears our prayers and I know that we are never alone. I am so grateful to have this knowledge. It is so important to follow every prompting we are given whether we think it's silly, or just a random thought in our head. Promptings aren't usually accommodating to our time and schedule, but they are given to us in moments where others may need our service or a helping hand. 
     God lives and Jesus is the Christ! This is His work!! Have a great week! 

Elder Tanner Aiken