Monday, May 26, 2014

Planting seeds!

     Hello Everyone! I am so grateful for this week in which I've had! Over the past couple of months our area has struggled, even though we have been working very hard, the baptisms had just stopped! We had been teaching great people but it just wasn't their time to accept the gospel yet. Seeds have been planted and I'm sure the harvest here in our area may come months or years down the road. I have been so blessed to see the hand of the Lord in His work. I have been blessed to see how much He truly wants to be a part of our lives. He gives us exactly what we need at the right moment so that we may grow and learn. 
     I think the greatest lesson I have been learning over the past couple of weeks has been patience. I have prayed hard and sincerely at night for the answer to come of a prepared person to show up right in our path that would accept the invitation of baptism! Someone that would be so excited they would want to go fill the font that very instant and be baptized by proper authority and immersion! The answer didn't come that way.  The Lord has helped us to see that we must rely on Him at all times, and that His purposes are higher than ours. The Lord pushed us through it and has helped us to grow spiritually.  
     This week, after having seen another baptism fall through, we prayed that the Lord would help us know who it was that we could help more fully accept our Savior Jesus Christ into their lives. We have been teaching a group of five girls ranging from the ages of 9-18. As we have taught them they have made some great changes in their lives. They have really enjoyed church but their parents have been holding them back from being baptized. As we went over this past week we had a distinct impression that Brenda the 18 year old was ready to be baptized! We told her how we felt and she was a bit surprised! She said she wasn't sure. We promised her that evening if she came to church on Sunday and watched a baptism that she could catch the spirit of it and that she would know for herself that her Heavenly Father wanted her to be baptized. Sunday came and Brenda came to one of the 'child of record' baptisms in the ward. As she watched, the spirit entered the room and you could literally see something change in her face! There was a light that  wasn't there before. As we left the baptism, she was very happy with what she had felt. We had to leave right after church to head to a meeting in Fresno, so we told her to text us about how she felt. As we got into our meeting, we received a text from her telling us that she had made up her mind and wants to be baptized this upcoming Sunday! 
     I am so grateful to represent Our Savior Jesus Christ. 
I am grateful that the Lord has answered our prayers and has helped us to find one of his daughters prepared to receive the gospel! I love this work! I hope that each of you trust in the promises that the Lord has given you! He will follow through! Love you all, have a great week!! 

Elder Tanner Aiken

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Another great day!

     Hello Everyone! As President Gelwix always says, "It's a great day to be a Mormon missionary!" It truly is! 
     Today we had our temple trip, which will be my last until my departure day! I can't believe how fast time goes, there have been so many things that I have learned here in this area in Firebaugh! There was a really strong spirit at the temple. I was able to feel my Heavenly Father's love, and His acceptance of me. What a blessing it is as well to do temple work and have that opportunity to bless those who have passed on! 

Bowling on P-day!

     A thought that kept coming to me this week was the importance of my purpose as a missionary. I thought about the Atonement and that those who are not baptized unto repentance and by the proper authority not not see all the blessings that the Atonement brings. Elder Sanhueza and I thought about this a lot and were thinking about who out of our teaching pool was really increasing their faith in Jesus Christ and keeping their commitments. As we prayed and thought about why our church attendance was down and what we needed to get people to church, we received three specific game plans about what we needed to do and as we applied those things the Lord blessed us. We were able to have 5 of our investigators at church this Sunday. We worked well with the ward on getting these girls to church. As we followed what the Lord told us to do, they had a wonderful experience and are all hoping to get baptized!  
     I love how as we use the Lord's guidance that he has given us, He blesses us with more. I have learned on my mission to put full trust in our Father in Heaven and rely on Him.  I am grateful for the time in which I have had serving Him. 
     As I sat in the temple I was able to think about the great change that I have seen in myself even at times when I couldn't notice the change. The Atonement of Jesus Christ and my faith in Him has changed me! I know that God lives, I know that this is His work, I have seen it many times, and the spirit has born witness to me of that! I love you all. Have a great week! 

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, May 5, 2014

Choose to be changed!

Working on a "day of service"!

     Hello Everyone! things have been going really well here in Firebaugh this past week! Things are starting to catch fire  almost literally. It's getting hot!  The hot summer temperatures of the San Joaquin Valley are just around the corner! 
     This week has been a great week of seeing the Lord push us through trials and helping us put our trust in Him. One quote I heard this week that I really like is from Ezra Taft Benson that says, "when you choose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed." That is so true! I have seen how the Lord has changed me and molded me as I have chosen to follow Christ! 
     It's not always the most glamorous life to follow, with rejection, being mocked, and there are even those who are spit upon from time to time. Living a life like that may have some wonder why we do it? We do it because we are forever indebted to Him!  We do it because we love Him! 
     This past week we have been working very hard and praying very hard to see progress in our investigators. This week a mother of five, who is without her husband and lives in a 2 bedroom trailer, was able to make the 45 minute drive to church on Sunday. Such a sacrifice, but yet she has noticed a difference as she has put into practice the principles of the gospel. She really enjoyed church on Sunday and apologized to us for missing her baptismal date.  She was wondering when the next day that she could be baptized on? We will be working with her to be baptized on the 18th of this month. 
     I have been reading in 2 Nephi this past week and I love the 2nd chapter as it talks about Christ coming and bringing us redemption. I love verse 8 which says, "wherefore how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth." This week we had our Mission Leadership Conference where President Gelwix had a quote from Elder Cook which said that right now is the most exciting time for missionary work in the history of the earth. Never before has there been this great a number of missionaries! How great it is to let our brothers and sisters know the truthfulness of this gospel, to let them know that Christ the Lord has offered himself in sacrifice for sin for us! It becomes more real when you think that he suffered for you individually! 
     I so love being a missionary! It brings such a good feeling into your life and it is so great to see the change that it brings into the lives of others!! I hope you all have a great week!! 

Elder Tanner Aiken