Monday, January 27, 2014

Another great baptism!

     Hello everyone! This week has been an inspiring week here in Firebaugh. I will be staying here in the Fresno West stake. My new companion will be Elder Sanhuesa who is from Chile and I am looking forward to serving with him. Elder Castaneda and I had an awesome time together, some of the best times on my mission. 
     This week, I was on exchange with a hmong Elder. For those who don't know what hmong is, it's a Chinese like language I would say. We went out to one of our areas in San Joaquin and began to knock some doors, With having some doors opened to us they lead to little or no potential at all. After knocking for about an hour, we were about to leave and head to another appointment. We decided to knock this last door. The door opened to a lady who was a little surprised to see us. We told her who we were, and asked if we could pray with her. She reluctantly said yes! I asked her what were some things that she needed from God in her life. All she could say was that she just needed a lot of things. I began to offer the prayer. There were certain words in that prayer that came out like they would in a priesthood blessing. As I ended the prayer and opened my eyes, the woman was standing there in tears. She said that she had so many missionaries from different churches come over, but had never before felt that spirit before. She also had never heard of our church before. We began to testify that we were sent there by God, that He knew her situation. She began to tell us that her husband had just barely left her with four kids, and she didn't know what her next step would be. I simply told her that "you need to listen to our message." We talked about the Book of Mormon, and asked her to read what we left her. She said she would. We set up a return appointment for 2 days later, and we returned. As we came back and followed up with her on her reading she had read the Introduction all the way to Chapter 3 in just 2 days. She told us that she didn't know what we taught or who we really were but the spririt that she felt during that prayer was something that changed her. We talked about the power of the Book of Mormon and shared our personal testimonies of it. We invited her to be baptized on the 23rd of February. She accepted! That was such a great experience to see how the spirit can literally change people. 

     This week I also had the opportunity to go back to my old area in Reedley and see the baptism of Jossy one of the girls Elder Pazmino and I had taught! It was such a great experience. The best was seeing the members and converts I served with. I felt so much love for them! It was a feeling that I will never forget, almost felt as if I was home! You really come to love the people you serve with, and memories will be with me forever of those people I served! I love these people here the Valley! I love this work so much, I am motivated by our Savior Jesus Christ to become better each and everyday! I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, January 20, 2014

Miracle baptism!

Woa - boa!!!
     Hello everyone! Things are going great out here in Firebaugh...the "city of dreams"! This week we were able to see some great miracles. The Lord has been blessing our area tremendously and we have seen His hand in this work.  
Elder Castaneda and feel that we are on a roll right now, and are in a pretty good rhythm. 
     This week we had the baptism of one of our investigators. We had one of the most powerful lessons with her as we taught her and her mom about the nature of God. After a few minutes of talking about the pre-mortal life, I looked at Priscilla and asked her if she had known that she was a daughter of God who loved her? The room went quiet. I could see in Priscilla's eyes a change. The Spirit began to testify to her heart that what we were teaching was true and she began to cry. As we sat there a few moments, we talked about baptism and asked her if she feels ready to be baptized this Sunday, she nodded her head and said yes. As we talked after the lesson was over, she said that "after having studied with 4 other churches, this is the firs time I have come to the knowledge that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and that He knows me personally.  It was the first time I have ever felt a feeling like the one I just felt." My testimony has grown time and time again on my mission of the power of the Spirit who is the true converter. We as missionaries can only try to build an environment where the Holy Ghost can be present, and then we let the Spirit take over. 
     As we where preparing for her baptism this week we got a call from one of our members saying that she might not be able to get baptized this week because her mom was going to be working. Her mom only gets one Sunday off a month. My heart sank! I was thinking to myself we have worked hard, we have done all that we can, what else do we need to do? Elder Castaneda and I began to pray that the Lord would allow her mom to get work off so that Priscilla could come to the baptism and her mom would be present. We prayed for the next couple days and on Saturday morning we received a text during our personal study from that same member saying that Priscilla's mom had gotten work off. Elder Castaneda and I jumped out of chairs and fell to our knees and thanked the Lord for this miracle. I knew that He would deliver. I know that God answers prayers. 

     After the baptism was performed on Sunday, we went over to their home to have dinner. We began to ask Priscilla's mom how she had felt at the baptism and she said she had felt the Spirit and that she knows that this is the true church. When she said that we immediately invited her to be baptized on the 2nd of February which will be her next Sunday off. She said, "yes, I will be ready." 
     The Lord gave us a wonderful week, he has used us as instruments in His hands to do his work. Such a great week, one that I will never forget! God lives, this church is true! Have a great week! Love you all.   

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!

Elder Aiken on 'Utah Ave'!
      Hello Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful New Years! This week has really left me to ponder on all the great moments I had on my mission this year, and they have all been great! I can think of the doors being slammed in my face, the hot summer months, and other times of discouragement. But what triumphs all of those hard times has been seeing the change and happiness that the gospel brings into peoples lives. Having invited them to come to church weekly, to stop drinking/smoking, live the law of chastity, and then to finally see them walk down into the waters of baptism has never brought me so much joy and happiness! There have been some wonderful people I have met over the past year, many people I know that I was sent here to meet. 
     I can say the most important thing I have learned this year and over the time on my mission is that Jesus Christ lives! I know that nothing else on this earth can bring someone true happiness than accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior and following His example. I know that God Loves each and everyone of us, and is proud of us when we keep His commandments and do the things that He has asked us to do. Though their might be times when we feel that we have done all we can, He in turn will then ask us to do more. 
     We have been teaching a wonderful mom and daughter for the past two weeks. This mom that we are teaching is a super mom, she works everyday of the week besides one, from 8:30 at night until 4:30 in the morning milking cows, which many people say is a man's job. After returning home and sleeping for a few hours, she is able to get ready and come listen to our lessons with her daughter. She has told us the sacrifice is worth it! She said, "though I am so tired, I feel something everytime I come over here to hear your message. It's noticable that as soon as you leave that feeling isn't the same." We invited her to be baptized this week and she has accepted a baptismal date. Her daughter will be baptized on the 19th of this month, but she is praying for God's help so that she can change her work schedule to not work on Sundays! Her daughter was able to come to church this week, and has absolutely loved it! 
     God is a god of miracles! I have no doubt when we tell God that we will do whatever it takes to follow Him, He will move even the biggest obstacles out of our paths so that we can accomplish what He has asked us to do! 
     I love this work, I love every moment which I have to serve. I hope these next 7 months are my best on my mission!  I hope you all have a great week!!  I love you! 

Elder Tanner Aiken