Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy Birthday!

The Nunez family gave me a surprise Birthday Party!
What a great birthday meal - thanks to the Nunez family!
     Hello everyone, what another great week here in Firebaugh! And a great time to celebrate my 21st birthday!  Thanks to all those who sent birthday wishes. 
     This week, has got to be one of the most powerful weeks that I have had on my mission. The Lord showed us His power this week as we have been praying and praying for an investigator named Marta! We have been teaching Marta for over three weeks now. Her hardest thing has been to let her other religion go and give up all her beliefs that she had in that church. The first time we met, we had said a prayer for her and she really felt the spirit when we prayed on her door. As the days past by and we continued visiting her she began reading the Book of Mormon. Chapter after chapter she has been seeking her answer. She had always believed that the Book of Mormon was true, but still wasn't quite sure about our church. 

President Gelwix - a great opportunity to teach with him!

     Last week Marta came to church for the first time. She really enjoyed it but still had many questions. She asked us how could she give up her religion? We told her simply to pray and her answer would come that this is the true church upon the earth. This week we had the opportunity to have President Gelwix come out with us on a team up. We had a set appointment that night to visit Marta. Before we went into her home, we sat in President Gelwix's car and prayed about what she needed to hear. As we finished the prayer, President said, "I have an impression that you need to teach her about what the Holy Ghost feels like." We knew it would be perfect because we were going to be teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and would be focusing on the role of the Holy Ghost. The only downside was that President doesn't speak Spanish. As we entered that lesson and began to teach about the importance of faith, President Gelwix leaned over to me and told me that there was a really good feeling in the room and that we needed to point out the spirit to Marta. As we began to talk about the spirit and testify, we could feel the spirit in that room. President Gelwix began to speak and my companion was translating for him. President asked her how she was feeling? She responded and said that she felt good inside. President Gelwix then began to tel her, "I sense that you are troubled, you are not worried about joining another religion, you are worried about your children, that they will be safe and protected and that they are raised to be good people"? Marta's face began to change and she looked at us and asked us, "who is this man that you have brought with you, I would like to know who he is"? President Gelwix responded, "I am a servant of God, and I have been sent here tonight as your answer to your prayers." Marta began to be emotional and the spirit was so strong! I felt a burning in my chest. I looked over at the daughter who is 14 years old and asked her how she felt? She said I feel a burning in my heart, and I don't know what this is? We testified that it was the spirit and that God was answering their prayers in that moment! At the end of that lesson, Marta said, "I am so confused. I have felt good in my church but never like this"? President told her there is good in all churches, but in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is the only church where you can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost! 
     That was one of the most powerful moments in my life. A third member of the Godhead was present with us in that lesson, and bore testimony of the truthfulness of the church and the truthfulness of our calling as representatives of Jesus Christ. I know that God lives, and without doubt I know that He answers our prayers. I know that the gift of discernment is real! I have witnessed it! Jesus Christ lives and this church is so true!   
     Have a great week!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, February 10, 2014

Patience is a virtue!

My favorite lunch group!

     Hello friends and family!  We've had a lot of much-needed rain here and this next week it's really supposed to warm up. The trees are beginning to blossom and it's really nice. 
     This week the Lord has taught me many lessons, but mainly a lesson on patience. Things were a bit slower this week.  Elder Sanhueza and I had been working really hard to find more people to teach, as we worked with the members, talked with everyone, and knocked many doors but nothing. We had been so blessed the week before with a baptism and 4 investigators at church, and now nothing? We were a bit shocked. We had been working so hard, to the point of exhaustion. In my personal study on Wednesday morning I studied the story of the sons of Mosiah before they went and preached the gospel to the Lamanites. The Lord promised them if the had patience and long suffering in ALL things, the Lord would watch over them and make them a tool in his hands. I thought and pondered over that scripture for a while. I thought to myself, I wonder how patient God has to be with us, being imperfect as we make mistakes everyday. At times the Lord gives us promptings that we choose not to listen to. He gives us commandments and guidelines and at times we choose not to follow them. Though we make and will make many mistakes throughout our life, the Lord will always love us no matter what. I am sure He suffers when we make mistakes, yet He is still always there right by our side. I took this lesson to the fullest, that I need to be patient in all sufferings and the Lord will make me a tool in His hands. I promised the Lord that day I would follow all His promptings and where he needed us to be we would go.  As it says in 1 Nephi 3:15:  "But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us."  
     We took to the streets again, knocking doors and talking with everyone and visiting some of our potential investigators.  As it began to be late in the afternoon, we were about to knock this last door in an apartment complex. As we approached the door I heard someone walking behind me.  I turned around and about 30 feet behind me was a young lady carrying bags towards her home. I felt the spirit prompt me to go talk to her.  I told her who we were and asked if she could use a prayer from 2 representatives of Jesus Christ and she said, "yes"!  As we offered the words of the prayer and finished, we looked up to see tears streaming down her face.  She said, "thank you so much!  That's what I needed today"!  She told us her mother has cancer and just received news that there was no more that could be done for her.  She said because of that she had kind of fallen away from God, from praying and going to church.  We testified to her that we were sent there by God to give her a prayer.  We began to open the Book of Mormon and talked with her about how this book could bring her peace and happiness in her life.  We invited her to be baptized on the 9th of March and she said "yes"!  We'll be meeting with her again this week.  
     I know this truly is God's work!  I have learned the importance of patience and that the Lord will always follow through on His promises.  The Lord gives us weaknesses so that we are humble and as we are humble He will make weak things become strong.  This gospel is true!  Jesus is the Christ!  His Atonement is real!  It transforms us into the people that Our Heavenly Father wants us to become.  I hope you all have a great week!  

Love, Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rain, rain, rain!

     Hello everyone! The Lord is a Lord of miracles.  We fasted for much needed rain here in Fresno, and we got some!  The members were thrilled when they left church and saw that it had rained.
     I would just like to share my testimony with you that I know the God lives. I know He knows each and everyone of us personally. We owe our lives to Him!
     As I read in Mosiah chapter 2 this morning it says if we were to labor all our lives in the service of God, we would still be unprofitable servants! All He requires us to do is keep his commandments and do the things He has asked us to do! We do that and we will be blessed.

     We had a great baptism last week.  Rosa was baptized 2 weeks after her daughter.  It was a great service.
     I know that God answers prayers.  According to our faithfulness and sincerity of heart He will answer! Jesus Christ lives! The only way we can return to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father is through his Atonement! I know that this is God's work. I have enjoyed every moment in the service of Him and others. I love the people I have taught and continue to teach. These will be times not to be forgotten!   
     This church is true, the gospel has been restored to the earth! I love you all have a great week! 

Elder Tanner Aiken