Monday, June 23, 2014

This work will never be stopped!

     This week we were tracting an area in Firebaugh. We were looking for a former investigator's home, but we couldn't find it. As time passed by we both thought that the day would never end. No doors were opening and no one was home. It's hard to find anyone because a lot of people work in the fields! As we knocked this last house, this woman came to the door and she looked happy to see us. As we we began to share with her who we were, she told us she had met with missionaries over in Kerman. We asked her about some things she remembered. She told us she remembers the good feelings that she felt as they talked with her. As we asked if we could share a message with her she was very willing and nearly ran outside to sit down with us. We began to talk about what we do as missionaries and a little about our purpose here in this life. While I was speaking, she interrupted me mid-sentence and said, "My mom goes to the Catholic church, my brother to a Christian church, how can I be a part of the true church"? She began to tell us that she was praying for guidance from God to know where this true church was. She said that as she prayed she heard a voice tell her that she would receive guidance soon. As weeks passed by she hadn't received an answer. We told her that we were sent there by God to deliver this message to her. As we began to tell the story of Joseph Smith, she told us she felt chills throughout her whole body. We testified of the spirit that was there. It was a powerful lesson and we invited her to be baptized on the 20th of July and she accepted! 
     The Lord has blessed us during this time of the year with many people working in the fields, making it hard to find people to teach. This ward here in Kerman has had tremendous growth over the past year!  We have stepped up our efforts, but the adversary has worked strong to counteract our efforts! This work will never be stopped, it is such a blessing to see the hand of the Lord in this work everyday!! 
     Have a great week!

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, June 2, 2014

Staying put!

     Hello everyone! What another great week here in Firebaugh. We got our transfer calls this week and I will be staying in Firebaugh for another transfer with Elder Sanhueza, making this my 7th transfer here in this area. I am very excited and grateful that the Lord has given me this time to serve here. In this area I have drawn nearer to my Heavenly Father than I have at any point in my life and have learned to trust and rely on Him. 

     This week we had the baptism of B---- who is from my previous mission in Guanajuato, Mexico. She has made some miraculous changes and the gospel has brought a new found hope into her life. The part that is the best about being a missionary is inviting people to make changes in their lives and then to see them put those changes into action and see them slowly make those changes. This gospel truly does shape people into what God sees them becoming. 
     I have a strong testimony of this gospel I know with out a shadow of a doubt that this church is true. I have been changed myself from the principles of the gospel. I have also found that true happiness comes from obedience to those principles, there is no other way to be truly happy. 
     This week I had the opportunity to really focus my studies on prayer and making them more sincere and more of a prayer of faith. I have really fought hard on my mission to know how the Lord answers my prayers and those of our investigators and I have been taught by the Holy Ghost. I have come to learn from Richard G. Scott that the Lord answers come really in three ways: 1. yes, 2. no, and 3. not answering us at all. I have seen that many times on my mission that God does not answer our prayers, not becuase he doesn't love us or wants us to suffer, but He leaves it to us to figure it out. One of our purposes in this life is to learn, grow, experience happiness and sorrow. How we learn is by acting on the gift of agency. God asks us in the moments that he doesn't answer our prayer to act on principles of righteousness. We must do our part and the Lord will do the rest. I really like this saying, "Pray like everything depends on the Lord, and then act like everything depends on you." I am grateful for the times that He has withheld an answer in order to help me grow. The gospel is all about growth and I am grateful for the growth and experience I have gained on my mission. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Him everyday, it has been a great blessing to see the lives of those we have taught change. God lives, this is His church! I hope you all have a great week!! Love you all!

Elder Tanner Aiken