Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My final letter!

Brock's first picture from the MTC 2 years ago!

     Hello my dear friends and family! I write to you this day with a somber heart, knowing this will be the final time I write to you! I am truly humbled and amazed at how the time has passed. It seems I was just entering the field of this service a few days ago! The words to describe the past two years are hard to come by. I have learned more in this two years than the prior 19 years of my life combined. This has been the best experience I could have ever been a part of. I plead with God this day that He will guide the words I say.

Brock's first Sunday meal was with the Powell family!

     This weekend was another glorious General Conference. What a marvelous feast that was, to hear of the Lord's chosen servants! As we sat waiting for the Sunday morning session to begin, the song 'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing' came on. I was overwhelmed and filled with emotions as that song played. I have come to know personally that every blessing in my life has come from our beloved Savior and Redeemer. I love Him. 

Brock's first birthday celebrated in the field!
     I remember two years ago, pondering my decision to serve a mission! I quickly realized that I wanted the whole world to know of Christ and His goodness! I would sit often and picture our dear Savior suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. My dear Brothers and Sisters, His sacrifice for each of us was so intense, that he bled from every pore in His body! There is no greater love our Father in Heaven could have ever expressed than to send His Son Jesus Christ to die for us. To picture that he sufferred every pain, sin, and trial we will ever face is humbling. I am overwhelmed at the gratitude I feel for Him. Without Him, we would all suffer feelings of guilt and shame all of our lives! I am weak and have fallen short! I have felt my past become redeemed, and I know that my future is clear! Through Christ we can all be cleansed from sin! We can return home! Without Him there would be no way. I am eternally indebted to Him. I am deeply grateful for Him! I will stand as a wittness of Christ all of my life!

Brock with his first baptisms - Gerald and Lucy Anderson (with 1st companion Elder Twingstrom)

     Entering the mission field I knew that I simply wanted the world to know of Christ, and God's great plan for them. I quickly came to know that the only way that our Brothers and Sisters could ever return to the presence of God would be through Christ! I knew that every person we passed on the street wouldnt be able to walk back with us into the presence of God except through Christ! There is no greater motivation. I remember pondering what my reaction would be if one of my brothers went missing. We would have spent many sleepless nights in search of him! I would have died trying to bring him back home. Well in a simlilar way we have been called as missionaries to go in search of those that are lost, and bring them unto Christ! This experience has been truly amazing in gathering those who are waiting for Christ. It has been amazing to feel the divine guidance of God leading us to those who are waiting. 

Elder Aiken and dear friend Alfred!

    I will never forget an experience that I had in October of last year. Elder Berry and I were serving in the Issaquah 1st ward. At the beginning of that month we had set a goal with the Ward to bring 4 of our brothers and sisters home through baptism. The first week we had a great baptism of a woman named Skyler. Leaving that baptism we felt confident in the many others we were teaching and that they would be baptized in October. One by one those people began to stop learning from us. We kept praying and pleading for God's help. Many members of the ward fasted and prayed much that we could baptize four souls. We had come to the last week of the month and we literally had no one that could be baptized. We began to sacrifice our lunches and dinners in search of these people. We felt that they were waiting for us if we could just find them. God was taking us through our very own "wilderness" testing and trying our faith. Tuesday night, October 25th we knelt before God in our nightly planning making plans for the following day. As we knelt we felt inspired to stop by a woman named Chelsea we had met a month before. We had gone by many, many times but had no luck! We knew this time God would provide! That night as we ran through the rainy parking lot, I remember bowing my head and pleading that God would lead us to those three children we knew and felt were waiting to be baptized in October. As we knocked on Chelsea's door we saw a light on through the peep hole! Chelsea quickly answered the door and began to cry and muttered "can you come back later tonight?", we told her that we would be back later! As we arrived that night we were in wonder at what the Lord had in store. As we sat down Chelsea began to weep, she said, "that morning I had given up on my life. Everything was lost in my life, and all hope had faded. I knelt before God and told Him that it was in His hands now, and pleaded for help! A short while later we knocked on the door! We had a powerful lesson with her, and promised her that Christ could heal her and her family! She already loved the church! She and the kids had even attended church before and she felt it was true! We put her and the kids on date for November! As we walked out the door the spirit overcame me and said, "turn back, those are the three!" We walked right back in and told them that Christ had told us to return, and that He wanted to bless them now! Four days later, on October 30th, Chelsea and her two kids were baptized. Two weeks later her husband was baptized! The whole family is now preparing to live together forever. 

My mom's favorite picture!

The beauty of Washington State
   I humbly testify that God lives. If we will endure our trials well, God will lead us through. I will never forget that baptism and the powerful spirit that was in that room. God had provided that way when it seemed that all hope was lost.

With my beloved Mission President and his wife - Pres. and Sister Larkin

     My dear brothers and sisters, today my heart is full. I am overjoyed as I recount my missionary service and the goodness of God! I know that if we will but qualify, we can all be divinely lead by God in every decision we will make. He loves us and wants to guide us to a fruitful and happy life. I know that we are a part of the Gathering of Israel, we are gathering the lost ones! Come home Israel, Come home! We are on to your rescue. We will never back down, nor shake in the onslaught of the adversary's attacks. I will fight all of my life to bring Israel home! 

I was blessed with great companions!
  Many people have asked me if I am sad to return home. One month ago I received a letter from my Grandfather, stating how excited they were to again have me around their dinner table. I wept for quite awhile, distraught at how quickly time had passed! Over the past week, however, I have had the most amazing experience come over me! I am looking forward to my return home! I am no longer saddened, but full of joy upon the challenges ahead. I know that my mission will not end next week, but only continue! The places will be different, so will the people! But the cause I will fight for will be the same. For the cause of Christ! For I will be enlisted in the cause of Christ all of my life.

A recent baptism!

   To all of you I wish to thank you. Thank you for your support, your letters, and your love! I have felt your prayers on my behalf each and everyday. I have gained a deep love for all of you. Being away from you I have come to appreciate you all the more! God has blessed me so dearly, and surrounded me with the best people I could have imagined! You are all so good to me. Thank you! I look forward to seeing you all again and enjoying your warm embrace. 

With Elder Lindeman in front of the beautiful Seattle Temple
  I thank my Mom and Dad for all that they are, and have been to me. They are the best people I have ever met in this life. I never went a week without a letter. I know that everything I have become is in thanks to them and their teachings. They are the light of my life! I love you all. I thank God for everything He has given. I feel more blessed than I deserve. God is my foundation! I love Him so much! I love you all!!! I will see you soon. Until then, God be with you.
Elder Aiken

"I must go till He comes, give until I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear."

President Henry B Eyring

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

100 Baptisms!!!

    HELLO EVERYONE Today is the best day of my life.  My soul is filled with a joy that I can't explain!  I have never felt such love and power from God! 
     Two years ago this month, Elder Yoshiko Kikuchi of the Seventy visited our mission. He stood and promised in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that our mission would baptize 100 people in a month. That month our mission baptized 86 people! The most the Washington Seattle Mission has ever baptized. It was a great and glorious month although we fell short of our 100. President Larkin told our mission that the day would come soon! He told us that when our mission baptized 100 souls he would climb Mount Si and post an ensign to the Nations that God was with us and Zion would begin to unfurl in our mission. Every single month, for two years our mission has labored, and literally ran with all of our might to fulfill the Lords command to bring 100 souls unto Him.  It has become the most diligent and faithful mission in all of the world!  Each month we have fallen short.
     Many times the Lord has asked us to lighten our loads to cleanse and purify our lives that God might grant us this blessing. He first asked us November of 2010 to lighten our loads! To rid our apartments of the world, and to begin only listening to hymns to keep our lives inline with the Spirit. Slowly but surely, each and every missionary became more pure and holy, qualifying for God's hand. Since the first day of my mission, we have sacrificed everything for our Lord and Savior. We have shortened our lunches and dinners and done all we could to find the 100! It's been an emotional and a deep fight to accomplish the Lord's will. 
     As July came to an end last month, we realized that September was a five weekend month! President Larkin kneeled before the Lord and fasted and prayed much. The Lord revealed to Him that September would be the month that our mission climbed Mount Si, and bring 100 souls unto our Father in Heaven! We began the month looking like we were going to make it. Slowly but surely the people that were on date for baptism began to fall off date.  We as a mission united in this great cause, knowing the Lord was with us. 
     Two weeks ago we held a conference call with the Zone Leaders. President Larkin spoke to us and promised us that if we would seek to ask the Lord the things we needed to change in our lives, and if we would become true disciples of Christ, the Lord would grant unto us this blessing. A change began to sweep our mission. The power of the Lord filled our mission as I have never seen or felt before in all of my life. The miracles that happened in our mission were truly life changing. God was with us, as I had never before experienced in all of my life! We have fasted and prayed endlessly that God would lead us to 100 of our Brothers and Sisters to bring home unto Him. 
     Well it came to this weekend and we had only baptized 67 people. We still needed 33. Our mission had never even baptized more than 25 people in a single weekend. We have never prayed so hard in all of our lives. Well Sunday night at 7:25 our mission baptized its 100thperson. Our mission baptized 101 for souls this month!!!! More than have ever been baptized in a single month in our mission's history. My heart is so full. I will never forget the month of September as long as I love. Many tears were shed, many miles run, and many miracles that have changed our lives forever. God lives! He is guiding this work in a way that I could never have imagined. This truly is the work of miracles, and the work is spreading the whole earth in a marvelous and a miraculous way. 
     I have learned this month in a way that I could never have imagined that I am nothing. God is perfecting each of us, and shaping us into the goodness we are capable of. In this life we are tried, tested, and perfected to prepare to meet God! If we will but endure well, God will lead us forever and ever! For the rest of my life I will look to God for guidance and help in all things. This truly is the work of miracles.

President and Sister Larkin!

     Monday at 12 noon we embarked on the four mile hike to the top of Mount Si with our beloved Mission President and his wife. It was the most amazing climb. President carried with him a staff with flags attached to the top of it. Each Zone made a flag representing their Zone's dedication to baptize 100 people in the month of September.  Today at 3 pm we stood at the top of Mount Si and posted our ensign to the nations! It was the greatest feeling I have ever felt in all of my life. I will never forget looking across the valleys of our mission, and seeing the mass expanse of people, longing to teach them all the gospel! This work truly is rolling forth!! 

     GOD IS WITH US FOREVER AND EVER!  I love this work! THIS HAS BEEN THE GREATEST MOMENT OF MY ENTIRE MISSION‼‼‼‼‼ HURRAH HURRAH FOR ISRAEL TO MOUNT SI‼ I love you all. Know that God will never leave your side though he will test and try you! Even for two years but the promises do come! They may not come when you feel they should, but they will come in the Lord's time when He has prepared you for the great blessings He has in store! OH THE GOODNESS OF GOD! I love this work. I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Aiken

Monday, September 24, 2012

The gospel is true...no matter what language you're speaking!

     Good evening my dear and wonderful friends. I hope that you have had a great week! I love you all. 
     This past week has been truly a tender one, I have so much to say. I pray that I can speak the feelings of my heart! Our 50+ days in a row of sun seem to be slipping quickly as the peace of fall sweeps upon us. I have truly felt the sustaining power of our Savior this week. I have been in many different cities this week, only sleeping here in Auburn two nights. I will never forget the many times I could feel the hand of my Savior pick me up when it seemed I couldn’t run any further. God is good! I will serve Him all the days of my life. 
     I am just coming to love these people with all of my heart. The Marshallese people are so full of life and love. I love them with all of my soul. They seem to give when there is nothing left to give. 
     This past week I was in the Branch, while Elder Brown was in another Zone Leaders area. We were teaching a Marshallese couple, and I just entered there home feeling so confident. I really felt like I was getting a hold of the language. After we began with prayer, I began with explaining the blessings that would come into their lives through the gospel and its teachings. She stopped me after I had spoken in “Marshallese”, and said, “What language were you just speaking?!” Haha, the joys of serving a mission! I will get the hang of it soon. I want to serve these great people all of my life!
     This week as we have been traveling, I have been thinking much of the miracles I have seen while serving the Lord. I seem to use the word “miracle” more than any other. I have been thinking often of why such amazing miracles occur in this work. I have gained a deep insight into this work and have come to expect miracles from the Lord!  God, as I spoke of last week, sent each of His children to the earth to “test and prove” us. Through this earthly test we can prepare to receive the great blessings of God. Along the way we will all stumble but through the Lords magnificent plan we can all return and be welcomed again into His presence. Our loving Father in Heaven wants His children to return. I often picture what I would do if I had a sibling that went missing. I would be sleepless, I would do anything and everything in my power to find them and bring them home. Well, God is doing everything to bring His children home and to prepare them for great glory! 
     As part of this great and glorious work He has called missionaries to go and prepare the people and turn their hearts unto Him! I have come to know and love His guidance, for I know that He will go to no end to rescue even one. I believe in miracles. For God truly is a God of miracles! This is His work, and He accomplishes His work by miraculous means. 
     I experienced this in a powerful way last Wednesday evening. I was on exchanges with a brand new missionary, Elder Stephenson. What a great Elder he is, his faith was very refreshing. We had just finished visiting one of their investigators that is progressing towards baptism. As we hopped on the bikes an unmistakable prompting came into my soul that we needed to visit a man we had met a month or so ago outside of his apartment. The prompting came so strong that I knew I couldn’t ignore it. We hurried and began biking there. On the way my mind began to worry, wondering how on earth we would find this man. I just came to the conclusion that we would knock every door in the apartment complex. As we biked up to the apartment, lo and behold there he was sitting on the steps. Tears filled my eyes as I pictured our dear Father in Heaven rejoicing at the opportunity His son was going to get to hear the gospel. John is one of the greatest men I have ever met. It turns out his son was baptized ten years ago, and he has seen his life change forever! He had even gone to church with him many times. We had a powerful and spiritual talk with this great man. He is now preparing with the Elders to attend church there in Auburn. That will be a great day for him! What a miracle to have found him at the steps of our arrival.
     On Friday, we experienced a miracle that was just beyond anything I could have imagined. I was on exchanges with a dear friend, Elder Williamson! He is serving as a Zone Leader in Renton and we were MTC companions. He is truly one of the greatest people I have ever met in this life. I love him with all of my soul. We began knocking on doors in a neighborhood a few miles away from the church. We were knocking doors the hour before we were to head to a ward potluck that we had investigators prepared to attend. About a half hour before we were going to leave to the church, we kept getting this prompting that we needed to go right then. For a minute I defied the prompting, but I received it unmistakably again and I knew I must follow. We hurried over to the church and as we walked in Namii was there! Six months ago Elder Lindeman and I met Namii in Lakota Creek! She was baptized two years prior, and had just moved to the area. She wasn’t able to attend church because the family she was staying with said they would kick her out if she ever attended church. Each time she would see us she would beg of us to share a message with her to uplift her soul. Shortly thereafter we lost contact with her. She has been on my heart for some time now. Well last week, Elder Brown and I were shopping at the Walmart in Auburn and Namii was there! It was just amazing. It was a joyous reunion. She said that she had moved to Renton and was now able to attend church! Then Saturday night I found myself standing in front of her, again in another city. This time she brought her friend Alena. Upon meeting her I knew instantly that we needed to teach her! Right before the pot luck began we took her too a room and taught her. As we sat down with her the most powerful spirit entered that room! We simply asked her what she felt and she said, “I feel so peaceful”. She discussed the troubles she was facing and how she yearned to be nearer to God. We taught her of God's plan for her, and how she could be happy in this life! She wanted to be baptized and had already attended church before in another city! She committed to be baptized on the 29thof this month! I will never forget the spirit in that room. As we left, we simply asked her if she felt this was Christ's church. She replied, “I know its true!” It was amazing to see the conviction in her soul. After the lesson we entered the gym for the potluck. A few minutes into the dinner the Bishop came up to us and said, “Elders I just met Nammi! She is moving on the 28thto Auburn, I feel deeply impressed her friend Alena needs to be baptized before she goes. Oh, and tell her that I feel impressed that God wants to bless her with many blessings if she will follow Christ’s example and be baptized.” And then Bishop left to give someone a blessing at a local hospital. As we continued eating the impression came deep in my heart that she needed to be baptized that very night before she left the building. The feeling kept coming stronger and stronger, as I looked at the time, it was already 8:15 and wondered how we could ever do it. There would be no way to get everything together in time. I looked to Elder Williamson, and expressed my feelings. He replied “Elder I keep getting the same feeling” We just knew that we couldn’t let her leave without being baptized. As everything began to be cleaned up we took Nammi and Alena to the side. We bore witness to Alena that God wanted to bless her right now in her life, and to guide her through her great trials ahead! And that God had prepared her to already be living the commandments, and that He wanted her to be baptized this very night. She smiled but felt unsure. We motioned to the other Elders to go turn on the font. We then took Alena to the font. As we stood at waters edge, we sung "Be Still My Soul". The Spirit of the Lord poured out upon that room. She looked at us quickly and said, “I am ready, why not!” I will never forget the warmth that came upon my soul. Then the rush began! We turned on the font at full pressure, and called the Bishop to see if he was alright with it. He said “Elders as I left the building with Elder and Sister Ross having just spoke with you, I looked to them and told them she would be baptized. She is ready. Have the baptism!” She was quickly interviewed, and at 9:05, 189 years to the day that the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, Alena entered the waters of baptism! My dear brothers and sisters, the feeling in the room was one I will never forget. I looked at this Sister, taking such a great leap of faith in her life. I have never seen someone so happy as she walked out of the font. What a joyous moment that was. During the baptism I kept receiving the impression that she needed to be confirmed before leaving the building. As the baptism ended it was 9:15 and I knew we had to leave immediately to be home on time, and with the Bishop not being present we wouldn't be able to confirm her! As we were about to leave the room in walked the Bishop! He said, “I felt impressed that I needed to come and talk with Alena and welcome her to the ward before I went home!” We hurried and left them all to talk so we could be home on time. What a miracle that day was. I will never forget it as long as I live. God is and always will be a God of miracles. The Spirit guiding the work that night was unmistakable! It was the Hand of God. And God was calling His dear daugther home. 
     That night as I laid to rest, I sat awake much of the night, in awe at the hand of God! I lament every day that passes, knowing that it's another gone in the service of my Master. I bear witness, that we are all of the family of our Father in Heaven! Our Father in Heaven wants His children to return unto Him! I love this work, and bringing my Brothers and Sisters this eternal joy. There is no finer work in all the world. And this work will I dedicate my life to. For I cannot bear the thought of any of those that surround me not returning unto our Father in Heaven with their families forever.

     Another great miracle occurred in the Branch. We had a great baptism this weekend of a man named Coleman. I love that man with all of my heart. We found him two weeks back and have taught him everyday since. He begs to learn more each and every time we come. I will never forget the first time we met him. We asked him why he was meeting with us and he replied, "I want a better future for me and my family!" I will never, ever forget the change that came upon him day by day. He has truly become new in Christ! Sunday we pulled up for his baptism to find him waiting on a chair outside patiently waiting for his ride. His baptism was incredible! He will lead many to his same decision! The bright future for us, and all the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is happiness and it is Salvation!
     The joys of serving God! I have loved and cherished every minute of this past week. God lives! I wish that we could all just follow God and stop holding back! For God is our Father, testing and proving us in this life, to one day return to His blessed presence! If we could just look at life with an eternal perspective, we would all think twice upon our decisions! I LOVE YOU ALL!! Rely on God and look to Him. I love my Savior, and I yearn to be in His presence again one day, for He has done all for me. Have a great week!

Elder Aiken

Monday, September 17, 2012

I love this Gospel!

     Hello everyone! Good afternoon! I hope that you have had a great week. I am filled with the spirit of God as I write this email today. My love for this gospel burns within me. 
     This week we have been on many exchanges throughout the mission with the Zone Leaders, and my heart at times is filled with sorrow as I recognized the sadness I have seen. The sadness in many I have met that are so distraught by the choices they have made. We must all come to know God's plan! That He DOES live, and we are here to learn and grow. This earthly experience with life's perfectly tailored trials are all for nothing if not! It is all part of the plan, a plan from a loving Father in Heaven. 
     As I study the scriptures and the premortal life, I imagine being with our Father in Heaven. I imagine waiting in His arms as he taught us the Gospel and the purpose for our existence. He taught us everything and displayed the perfect plan, that we might return home to His presence and gain the great joy that He has. We were taught many great and wonderful things, but we had to leave His presence, or we could not grow! Each of us, when we are born in this life, have to at some point leave the arms of our mothers. If we were to be cradled in their arms all of our lives we would not learn nor grow. As I picture leaving the presence of God, I picture one last meeting. I picture Him speaking to us, with tears in His eyes, pleading that we would stay true to the plan that we had accepted. It must have been very difficult for Him to let us go, but the peace there must have been knowing that IF we did follow the plan, all would be right. The plan that God gave each of us, IS perfect. It's the most loving and perfect plan that has ever been given to man. This earthly life may be tough, but if we will just rely on God and follow Him, all will be well. 
     My dear Brothers and Sisters, my entire mission has been filled with moments of seeing many who have squandered their lives away! Who, along with each of us, accepted the plan but came to earth and fell short. I send this today, as I have prayed to know what to share this day, with a plea to all who might read this today, to STAY TRUE! We at times think we know better or justify ourselves in doing things we know God would not be proud of. We must have the courage to rebel against anything that is against the Lord! For this my dear friends, is the only way we will ever be truly happy in this life. I have seen one too many lives slip away. We must cleave unto God! God's plan is perfect! He has restored His church, led by a living Prophet this day who will lead and guide us safely back to Christ! We have been given the Book of Mormon. For that Book I will be forever grateful, it's words guide me each day. How blessed we are to have the Word of God, it is the road map in this life. God has given us every tool to be happy here. 
     In the end we must decide, who am I serving? If we serve our own desires and pleasures in all things, we will end up lost and hopeless. We must follow God, for His plan will shape us into eternal happiness. We must have faith! It takes faith to follow God! It takes faith to follow Him, when the world is telling us that God is not "cool". We must not fear man, but stay true to God. I wish to bear my witness to all this day, that God does live. His plan is perfect.

     I wish to share of an experience we had this week. We had the most wonderful baptism of a man named Bilson! Two weeks ago we pulled up at the church to meet up after an exchange. As Elder Brown and I got back together we were discussing the exchange. As I looked out the front window of the car I saw a man walk in front, the spirit strongly touched my heart that I should go talk with him. I ran to the end of the parking lot and quickly realized he was Marshalese!! I began talking with Him and told him that God had sent us to speak with him and help him find true joy. I looked at the church building and realized we should just take him on a church tour right then. As we sat with him the chapel singing I am Child of God, I couldn't get over the familiarity of Bilson. I just felt like I had known him all of my life. We had the most powerful lesson and placed him on date for baptism and set up an appointment for the next day! The next day we went to find his house but had no luck! For days we wondered how we would find him again. That Tuesday as we drove down a street we saw a section of apartments we thought might be his! We realized they had the same numbering as the apartment number he had given us! We ran to the door, and Bilson answered! He had the biggest smile on his face, and the first thing he said was, "Where were you Friday, I was waiting for you!" I will never forget that feeling as we found him again. We taught him each day this week, he wanted to know everything he could about the gospel! Each lesson would end in tears, as he would say how he "knew it was true." Bilson was baptized this Sunday! It was the most amazing feeling there. As we watched the baptismal service, I recalled a talk given on faith in sacrament meeting! A woman commented how she admired the Marshalese and the faith they have to leave the islands and move here. Well, Bilson has greater faith than I have ever experienced. He, feeling his child and wife deserved a better future, moved here on his own a few weeks ago! He wasn't sure why he was taking the risk, but felt it pulling at him. Here in a place where few speak his language, he has daily sought a job to pay for his family to be able to fly over here! He has been in search of a place to worship but had no luck. He took a step in faith to follow his feelings to move to America, and God gave him the restored gospel! I ponder the miracle that God placed him in the path of missionaries that could speak his language, and that he could find a place of worship he could call home. As I watched him enter the water, I just can only imagine the joy God had in His heart seeing His son come home! What a miracle. For years he has sought the truth, and now hundreds of miles away from home, God has rescued his precious soul.       I love you all! Take faith in God. He is in charge of our lives, blessing us and guiding us each day. We simply must not fear man, and stay true. I love you all! HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

Elder Brock Aiken

Monday, September 10, 2012

A wonderful challenge!

     Hello everyone! I will be short in writing today since we are preparing for a new missionary training tomorrow! I will write a lengthy report the following week. 
     My dear Brothers and Sisters, I am truly thankful this day for a loving Father in Heaven! I have seen and felt His hand strongly this week. On Thursday, President Larkin felt impressed to issue our mission a challenge to place 100 of our Father in Heaven's children on date for baptism. That afternoon, we began an exchange and I was alone in the Marshalese Branch with Elder Moala and Elder Geigle. I was truly worried, knowing the area very little, that I wouldn't be able to help the mission in this challenge from the Lord. We knelt in humble prayer and simply turned it over to the Lord, asking for His guidance, knowing that we would be of no help. I will never forget that day all the days of my life. Each street we would drive down, an impression from the Lord would come guiding us in each turn! I will never forget driving down Auburn Way, when an impression came to me to stop by an apartment complex! I knew that everyone that lived there had already been baptized, so the prompting felt odd! We chose to follow anyway. The second we pulled in, a Marshalese man pulled up coming to pick up his friend for work. Morgan had met with missionaries before and had lost contact! We taught him a brief but powerful lesson and put him on date for October 6th. By nights end, the Lord lead us to 12 of His children that were placed on date for baptism. This is the power of God! 
     I am so grateful to a loving earthly Father, who has taught me to never give up! All of my life my dad never let us give up, or to think the task was too great. I am filled with joy as I recall the great lessons my Dad has taught me! They have carried me everyday of my mission. God has blessed my with a righteous father and wonderful family who have taught me so much! I LOVE YOU ALL! I hope that you might rely on the Lord in all things, for God is a God of miracles!

Elder Aiken

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stay on the path...

     Yokwe, yokwe!!  How are you all? I hope that you have had a wonderful week. This week has been a marvelous week, filled with the Power of the Lord.  I am just happy and overjoyed, the Lord is merciful! 
     Today my email will be short, we are preparing the transfers for the mission, and have to leave shortly to take the departing missionaries to the airport!  This has been a truly busy week!  We have a big group of missionaries coming in and are opening four new areas in the mission.  We have been negotiating leases on apartments and fasting and praying much with President Larkin to know where each missionary might serve this transfer. I have felt God with us. I have literally seen Him guide our Mission President in every decision! God is at the head of this great and glorious work! I simply wish to write today and bear my testimony of God's plan for each of us.      
     Earlier this week, we were in Zone Leader Council and President Larkin opened the meeting by reading some powerful words from the scriptures.  Alma 34:9:  "For it is expedient that an a atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.”  3 Nephi 27: 19-20:  “And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faithfulness unto the end. Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.” 
     Each of us as we enter this life become spiritually dead as we begin to sin!  God can no longer communicate with us and guide us because we have become impure. The way that we can be clean again, and again be able to enter the presence of our Father in Heaven is through repentance and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost! 
     Last week a man named Anthony came up to us in church and said, "I know I keep saying that I am a member but I am not!  I really feel ready to be baptized, can I be baptized on Friday?"  In shock we nodded our heads.  I will never forget on Sunday as we gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost.  As we laid our hands on his head the words of President Larkin came to my mind, speaking of how much God rejoices when we are clean again and He can be with us once more!  As my mind began pondering on the subject, I could see in my mind's eye after we spoke the words "receive the Holy Ghost", God and His angels running down the long and beautiful path rejocing at the oppurtunity to once again be with him spiritually! What a glorious feeling that was, and recognization that God does love us!  His plan is perfect as each of us will fall short BUT WE CAN RETURN!!  I love Anthony.  He is a wonderful man with a great heart. He will do anything for anyone. How easy it is for us to become selfish and look inward in all things! God doesnt want us to be that way, for that is pride. I look at Anthony, a man with a great future, and just smile knowing that God's spirit can now reside with Him! This gospel is truly amazing.
     My Dear brothers and sisters, have a wonderful and a great week! I hope that God is with you, and that you are keeping the faith to follow Him to your fullest. I bear simple and humble witness that Jesus is the Christ.  Follow Him in all things.  For when we turn one degree, or here a little or there a little, we may never return. Christ is the safe route, the safe path!  We must never vary, for through Him might we all return home with our families forever! 
     I love you all! Thank you for all you do. God bless you!  I apologize if I have been poor in writing back, we usually don’t have a preparation day, so we don’t have time to write letters. We usually have time to read them as we travel, and for those I am grateful! They are always inspiring and uplifting. Be safe, and God bless you!

Elder Brock Aiken

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

'Brightly beams our Father's mercy'!

Hello everyone I hope that you have had a great week. I am just so humbled and touched by the spirit as I write to you today. This has been such a miraculous and touching week. I love this work with a passion that I just can't contain. I can't wait to walk with these converts from the past two years back into the presence of our Father in Heaven! And to see their smiling faces as they are welcomed home pure and clean! This work is amazing. No other work involves the preparing of souls to live with God for eternity! This is the greatest work of all.
     Two weeks ago, Elder Lindeman and I went on exchanges back in Lakota Creek. That day we went and visited Tammy and Ashley. The wife and daughter of Greg who Elder Lindeman and I baptized a few weeks back. We taught Tammy and Ashley for weeks, and they just couldn’t give up smoking. Before we walked to teach them one last time we bowed in humble prayer and asked that we could teach with the power and authority of God. As we taught them, the spirit filled our souls and that room! They promised and committed to not smoke again and committed to be baptized on August 25th! I in turn promised that I would return for their baptism. Well, they never smoked again! As the days approached I worried. Their baptism was at noon, and the Marshalese people usually aren’t awake before noon. And to attend the baptism we needed to have an investigator attend with us. On Friday night we had no one to go. I prayed with all energy of my heart that night, that if they would benefit from us coming, God would provide a way! That next morning it was 11:30 and we had found no one. We bowed our heads to pray in the courtyard of a Marshalese Apartment complex and asked that a miracle might occur! And one did! Marylynn came running to us and wanted to see a baptism before hers that afternoon! So we hurried and called our Senior Couple Elder and Sister Byers! They gladly came and picked them up to head to Federal Way. 

     We walked in right as the baptism was about to begin! I will never, ever forget the smile that came upon their faces and the tears that filled their eyes. It was a joyous reunion! Greg baptized the two of them, having received the Priesthood a few weeks prior. It was amazing. Tammy and Ashley have become the two happiest and loving people I have known! They are just different! That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It truly is the only thing that can fill the holes in our soul! 
     Another great miracle was that J----- was baptized along with them! Elder Lindeman and I found her and her family a few months back! She is the lady that Elder Brown and I ran into in Kent a few weeks back, right after she had found out about her husband's infidelity. We too had promised her that we would attend her baptism, but she didn’t get baptized on the date the we had set with her due to some family troubles! She was baptized right along with Tammy and Ashley. She has had such a tough life, and has always wanted to be apart of the church! Well...her dream came true. She walked into the water with tears streaming down her face, she was so happy. What a blessing it was to be a part of these wonderful baptisms. I just love these people. As I left, they took part of my heart with them. I just love them with all my soul. I feel so close to them as we have grown together in the gospel.

     Later that afternoon we had the baptism of Marylynn! It was just the best. She is such an amazing young girl! Both of her parents are members of the church but haven’t been active for quite some time! For the past few months Marylynn has faithfully attended church with her friends. She had told us many times that she was already baptized! Well last Sunday she came up to Elder Brown and said, “I have a secret to tell you! I have never been baptized, I think I am ready!” She is the cutest little girl I have ever met. Her greatest desire it seems is to be everyone's best friend, and always wants to do what Jesus would do! She is truly a light and example to me. I will never forget the smile that she came out of that font with! She is a precious daughter of our Father in Heaven!
     I wish to end with an experience that I had on Monday evening. We were driving from Renton to Bellevue to go on exchanges with the Bellevue South Zone Leaders. As were driving on the freeway towards Issaquah, we came over a peak in the freeway to a section of road that over looked the valley. As I looked toward the sky I saw the sun perched high in the sky, covered by clouds. The clouds dotted the sky, allowing rays of sunshine to scatter across the valley. As my companion and I looked to the sky, we were so touched by the spirit. I will never forget that feeling. In this dark and troubled world, our Savior is the only light that can shine through the darkness! Satans clouds try ever so hard to block the light and power of Christ! We must seek the light! There is no time to tarry in the darkness. As we looked to the sky a song came into my mind, one that I have quoted before. It is one of my favorites:

“Brightly beams our Father’s mercy From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning; Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman You may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled; Loud the angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing, For the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning; Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman You may rescue, you may save.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; Some poor sailor, tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost.
Let the lower lights be burning; Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save.”              

     Brothers and Sisters, the night of sin has settled, the angry billows are beginning to roar! We are here to “keep the lights along the shore”! I humbly testify that world is longing, waiting, and hoping for the light of this gospel! It will only come into their lives through Christ and His beloved Atonement! He lives! He lives who once was dead! He lives as a light in this troubled world! We must keep the lights along the shore, the lights in our lives bright. It's our time to make a change in this troubled world! Christ is waiting, longing to help his children. It's our time to bring them home unto Him! 
     Today I received a letter from my Brother, Elder Tanner Aiken currently in the MTC waiting to depart to his mission. As I pondered our Savior this morning, I opened his letter! At the end, he bore his testimony in Spanish. In one part he said, "Yo se que jesucristo is mi redonter, el es my Salvador!" Tears turned into weeping, as I felt the power of his deep and sincere testimony! I too add my testimony, that of my brother who I look up to so much! CHRIST IS OUR SALVATION! Through Him will I be able to return home with my family, and future family! Through Him, is my life full of light and joy. There is simply nothing greater that we can do than spread that joy! I love you all! This is the truth. I testify with every fiber of my soul that God does live! Christ can heal us from our many sins. I truly am weak. I have fallen short in so many ways. But the Light and forgiveness of Christ can heal every wounded sinner. Have a great week! To Zion!

Elder Aiken