Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On the road again...

     Hello everyone! This was a great week, travel-training has been one of my favorite callings on my mission. Living out of your suitcase, sleeping on a roll up mat on the floor, eating other missionaries food, what else could you ask for right?? Well that is obviously not what it's about at all, it has been a calling of service and teaching. It has been a great experience to have the spirit teach me things that I never really understood before. I have felt as I have been teaching that the Lord has endowed me with strength and spiritual power.
     This week I was able to travel up north to Turlock and Riverbank just about 1 1/2 hours from Fresno. Then I was able to finish the week in my old area of Reedley where I found out that one of our recent converts had passed away from cancer. I was so sad but then I thought to myself that I know the Plan of Salvation, she was baptized and she will be just fine!! As I came back to Reedley I was able to feel the love of the members once again and of former people that I had taught. 

     I was paired with two great Elders. We started off our day on Wednesday teaching a few lessons. It came to about 3:00 when I was asked by one Elder what people we could go and see! Instantly in my mind I was brought back to a family that we had taught that had two daughters that were very interested, but were always scared of commitment. As I told Elder Nye where to go, we arrived and went and knocked on their door. I was not even sure if they lived there anymore, but to my surprise one of the daughters answered the door! She shouted to her dad and to her sister "Elder Aiken is back!! You'll never believe it! They asked where had we been and why we had stopped visiting them. We sat down and began to talk about how they still felt about meeting with the missionaries? They ran to their bedrooms and brought out their Book of Mormon. We taught them a powerful lesson on prayer and how God communicates to us through the Holy Ghost! We invited them to be baptized in August and the 2 daughters accepted a date, they also committed to come to church for the first time! Yesterday both of them showed up and loved it! I was struck by the spirit as I was grateful to have been in Reedley at that time.
     I know that President Clark is an inspired Mission President! I know that God knows where we need to be just at the right moment! This work is true! If it were possible I would extend my mission for 6 more months!! This has been the greatest experience of my life!! 
     Have a great week.

Elder Tanner Aiken

Monday, July 21, 2014

Final Testimony!

     Hello everyone! Wow, what an awesome week it has been, but also very exhausting. The Lord has blessed me with an incredible amount of energy. I am currently traveling the mission on assignment from President Clark. I am up in Riverbank, which is right next to Modesto, close to an area that I served about a year and half ago. It has been tough, I'm not going to lie, but I have felt the Lord guiding me in the counsel I need to give to missionaries. 
     One of the blessings as well has been able to see promises from by Patriarchal blessing come forth. I have been able to see people that I know my testimony has motivated them to change. Even though I do not have a specific area assigned I know that the Lord has people prepared for me to teach.
     President has given us a Samuel-the-Lamanite like calling, to go wherever the spirit guides us, and to say the things that He puts into our hearts. I love being an instrument in the Lord's hands, knowing the trust that He has placed in us as missionaries. 
     This week was my week to give my farewell testimony at the Stake Center next to the temple. What a weird feeling to think how fast 2 years have gone by. I was able to share my thoughts on what I have learned. I bore testimony of Jesus Christ, the absolute blessing it has been to serve Him at this time. I talked about the ups and downs of missionary work, and how the Lord has molded me into what I need to be when I come home. I know that Christ lives, the spirit has testified this to me! He has become my best friend, brother, and advocate. He literally, if we are worthy, will walk beside us as missionaries, telling us what we need to say, where we need to go, and what we need to do. This work is unlike any other, I want to be a missionary for the rest of my life, declaring this great gospel to those who do not have it. This is God's work, He knows us inside and out and will bless us as much as we allow Him to!! 
     Have a great week!! I love you all and will be seeing you in three short weeks! May the Lord be with you! 

Elder Tanner Aiken

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Mighty Change of Heart!

     Hello everyone - and Happy 4th of July!  How grateful I am to be an American!
     There have been some great things going on here in Firebaugh/Mendota.  One of our investigators is getting baptized on July 6th and we are so excited!  Elder Castaneda and I taught him back in October but he had to stop taking the lessons due to work.  Taking some time off really helped him to grow as the seed that was planted last October has now sprouted.  He is truly humble and willing to learn.  As a matter of fact, he will not only be getting baptized, but he told us he will be bringing his tithing with him as well.  I feel so blessed to be part of this church, to have this calling, and to represent Jesus Christ!  
     It has been a little discouraging this past week as we have faced many people taunting us, yellng at us, and doing many things to try and prove our message to be false.  I kept my head held high and my testimony has remained unshaken!  
     If you remember the story of Jeremiah the prophet, he was told that he was foreordained to become a prophet, and was sanctified (Jeremiah 1:5).  He was scared in the next verse saying he couldn't speak because he was a child.  The Lord promised him that he would deliver him and make him powerful.  As the story goes, he was mocked and imprisoned and was so discouraged in chapter 20 verse 7 he says, "Lord thou hast deceived me" and "everyone mocketh me."  He then says in 20:9 that he will no longer make mention of the Lord's name.  As he tried to do so he could not, the word of the Lord was too strong within him, it was as if fire were in his bones!  I felt the same way this week!  God lives!  I cannot deny this.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God and brings others closer to Him than any other book!  Jesus is the Christ, He is my Savior, Brother and best Friend!  I rely on Him and trust in Him completely.  I love this work and want all to know there has been a mighty change within my heart!  We MUST be 100%'s.  There is no more time to be a 50%.
     I love you all - have a great week.

Elder Tanner Aiken