Monday, April 21, 2014

Because of Him!

     Hello Everyone! This week my heart has been full of gratitude. I am humbled at the love which I have for my Savior Jesus Christ. 
     This week we had many times to teach our investigators about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we had the opportunity as well to show them the video "Because of Him." What a powerful video! This week, I also heard some very difficult stories from investigators and people on the street about drug abuse, sexual abuse, you name it I heard about it this week! I was overwhelmed at the sadness I felt for these people, that they don't know about the gospel of Jesus Christ that they don't know that the Atonement is free to everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior! 
     Elder Benites and I were on an exchange this week in Kerman. We had just had a baptismal interview in Madera and were racing back down to get to an appointment in Kerman. We were going to teach a man who I have had the opportunity to meet on a few occasions. As we talked about what our focus would be in the lesson, we decided to center it on Jesus Christ. The story is that 4 Sundays ago he had just walked into church with a Book of Mormon asking what time the services started. We could tell he was not a member. He told us that he had been seeing the missionaries riding bikes past his house for years, and something always impressed him about those crazy guys who ride bikes in white shirts and slacks during the summer in 110 degree heat! He has been taught for the past few weeks and has been praying about baptism, and the Book of Mormon. He has read over 150 pages and has really been progressing. But something has just been holding him back from baptism. As we began to teach that lesson, the spirit guided us as we asked inspired questions to know his needs. We began to ask him questions about the purpose of life, and he opened up to us and told us that he had suffered as a youth being sexually abused, to being exposed to drugs and alcohol at an early age, to eventually living on the streets and living in a homeless shelter in New york City!  This man had truly been through it all! We opened up the scriptures to Alma 13:24 saying that God is sending angels, and angels are preparing the hearts of the people for the coming of Christ! We told him that we as missionaries are the angels sent from the Father to declare repentance unto this people! The Lord has been preparing you for a very long time to accept his gospel! Through Jesus Christ and His Atonement you, yes you, can have a new beginning! We asked him if we could watch a video on his computer "Because of Him." We invited him to pay attention to his feelings as we watched it. As we watched the video there was a different feeling in the room. After we finished watching and testifying of the spirit, we looked at him as he sat and stared at the wall. After 45 seconds of silence, he looked at us, "I believe what you are telling me is true! I want to be baptized, I just don't know when."
     I know that through Jesus Christ we can become changed people. We can have new beginnings! With him there is no end! God has given us the best gift! Eternal life! It's hard to put intp words the feeling that I have as a missionaryl. I love it! It is so great to be able to bring this knowledge that we have to people every day! God bless you all and have a great week!!! 

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Easter!

     Hello everyone! Such a great week to be a Mormon missionary. I went to a baptism last night down in my last area to confirm a woman I taught.  I was so happy that she had made the decision to be baptized!
     I am looking forward to one of the greatest holidays of the year! Easter, a day we dedicate to Our Savior Jesus Christ. I have come to know and love Him over these months as a missionary. He is what motivates me to get up in the morning on time, to do my studies, to talk with everyone, and most important to invite others to repent and be baptized. I think of His example which He left for us. Elder Eyring has talked about it in one of his talks. After Jesus Christ was crucified He went to "the spirit world for three days, his work in mortality was finished, when He deserved a rest He kept going". Elder Eyring said, "when I am tired and my body begs for rest, I give myself this rallying cry 'Remember Him'."
     This Easter there is no need to think of material things. It is a time to reflect on the most perfect life that this world has ever known. When Mary came to the tomb she was told, "He is not here for He has risen"! He has Risen! I know that Christ lives! I know that His mercy is free to anyone who accepts Him and follows his example. What part of the Atonement did not cover our sins, trials and sufferings? He covered everything! We must accept Him and His promises! I know that He has paid the price for our sins so that we can enjoy eternal life! I know that as we fully apply the Atonement into our lives, and internalize it this Easter week we will become changed, motivated, and filled with the Love of God! I have felt this myself, I have felt His love in my life, I have felt the whisperings from the spirit confirming to me the reality of His sacrifice! I hope you all have a great week - and Happy Easter! 

Elder Tanner Aiken