Dear Family and Friends of the Florida Orlando Mission,

Happy New Year!! During 2016, we would like to share with you some of the spiritual experiences our Missionaries have had here in the Florida Orlando Mission. We look forward to you reading them and sharing in the spirit of missionary work.
We love and thank you for your prayers and support.

Our love, President and Sister Berry

 

When I was serving in my first area it was Christmas time and my
companion and I were visiting recent converts who were struggling to
make ends meet. We were visiting a single mother of 5 kids. She
introduced us to a woman living with her named Stefani. Stefani was
another young single mother of 3 beautiful kids. She had recently been
evicted from her home and through a miracle she’d been found and take
in by a member of the church. Her life had just been turned upside
down and she felt overwhelmed and lost.

When we first spoke with her she refused to make eye contact. She
simply sat across from us and doodled in the large sketch book she
always had with her. Her kids would cuddle up next to her. She would
hardly say a word to us. Mostly she would speak to us by nodding or
shaking her head. Even that though was more rare than commonplace.

My companion and I began to wonder if she was even listening. We’d
teach all the lessons without a word of response. We began to question
if we needed to stop teaching her altogether. Slowly, however, she
began to open up. She started answering our questions and would
reference things we had taught her over a week before when we’d been
certain she hadn’t been paying attention. We came to find out that her
“doodles” were actually notes! She had been drawing out everything we
had been teaching her, and as she began living the Gospel she
completely changed.

After her baptism she came out of the water and began to cry.
Everything about her had changed. She began going to school in the
medical field. She played with her children more. She was studying
more and more about the gospel herself. But my favorite thing was how
she’d smiling. The woman who had once refused to look me in the eyes
and speak with me, the same woman who had struggled with understanding
her own self worth and had seemed so depressed was now a light to all
those around her. She had grown confident in God’s love for her and
was able to express it through her choices and the way she acted.

That was the turning point in my mission because it was with Stephani
that I truly began to understand how our message can really change
people. People CAN change. We don’t need to be slaves to circumstances
around us. We can choose to overcome anything with Christ’s help. Over
the course of my Mission I have seen that same change in many
different types of people shattering the idea that His Gospel is only
for a select few. It was my experiences with Stefani that helped me
gain a sure knowledge of Christ’s Atonement. He is real and is the key
to our progression in this life. I love him and share these things in
the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

  • Elder Honda Fruita Colorado

Dear Family and Friends of the Florida Orlando Mission,

During the year, 2015, we would like to share with you some of the spiritual experiences our Missionaries have had here in the Florida Orlando Mission. We look forward to you reading them and sharing in the spirit of missionary work.
We love and thank you for your prayers and support.

Our love, President and Sister Berry

 

Each week leading up to Leah’s baptism seemed to be harder than the last. Satan was working on her, her friends and family, and my companion and me. It wasn’t uncommon for her to tell us about someone discouraging her from being baptized or severing their friendship. Understandably, she still wasn’t completely sure she would be baptized on the date we had set.

As she drove us to her baptism interview, she told us of the miraculous answer she had received about the gospel the night before. Unfortunately, her dad had said something that morning that discouraged her. We taught her a lesson before the interview, and the member we brought with us asked when she was getting baptized. My companion and I quickly provided the date, but Leah wasn’t so sure.

She passed her interview, but I didn’t expect the impact it would have on her. As we drove home, she turned to us and said, “Guys, I have a testimony! He asked me to bear my testimony, and I said I didn’t have one. Then he said, ‘Everything you’ve just told me was your testimony.’ I have a testimony!”

The next ten days before her baptism, though still filled with trials, were easier to get through. Then the day came. I’ll never forget how strong the Spirit was as he bore witness of the sacred promise Leah had just made with Heavenly Father.

The first thing she said when she walked into the church building the next morning was, “I guess it’s true that the adversary tries to stop good things from happening.” After her baptism, she had a disagreement with a good friend, and it left her feeling down. But she came to church anyway, knowing that the gift of the Holy Ghost could help her.

The Spirit that filled the chapel as she was confirmed a member of the Church was so strong, and I was so happy that she would be able to feel the joy and peace that comes from the Holy Ghost forever. I knew that as she would continue to follow Jesus Christ, she would be given the help she would need.

I am so grateful for the spiritual experiences I had while teaching Leah, and for the opportunity I had to watch her life change as she applied the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Sister Keely Burnette

From Olympia, Washington

Dear Family and Friends of the Florida Orlando Mission,

During the year, 2015, we would like to share with you some of the spiritual experiences our Missionaries have had here in the Florida Orlando Mission. We look forward to you reading them and sharing in the spirit of missionary work.
We love and thank you for your prayers and support.

Our love, President and Sister Berry

I had the most incredible experience on my mission when I met the
Kirchman family. A member in the ward invited us to visit his friends
and share the message of the Restoration. When we arrived to the visit
the spirit was so strong and all of the family members participated
and loved the message. As we shared the first vision with them the
spirit filled the room and tears filled everyones eyes. They all
accepted the invitation to follow the Savior Jesus Christ and be
baptized.

The day before their baptism we got a phone call that informed us that
Glen, the husband and father of the family was entering the hospital
and we needed to postpone the baptism. The next week we received
another call and Bonita (the wife and mother) asked us to come and
give Glen a blessing before he passed away. As we blessed Glen, the
spirit filled the room once again with his family sitting by his bed
side. Glen passed away that same night.

Shortly after Glens funeral we met with Bonita and invited her to be
baptized once again. Tears filled her eyes and she testified that she
knew it was time for her to be baptized and that she wants to be
sealed to her husband for all time and eternity. Bonita Kirchman was
baptized and is preparing to be sealed to her husband the beginning of
the year 2016.

Families are central to Heavenly Fathers plan. Through the gospel of
Jesus Christ Families can be happy and successful in this life, as
well as be sealed for all time and eternity in the time after this
life.

Elder Jaden T. Johnson
Riverton, Utah

Dear Family and Friends of the Florida Orlando Mission,

During the year, 2015, we would like to share with you some of the spiritual experiences our Missionaries have had here in the Florida Orlando Mission. We look forward to you reading them and sharing in the spirit of missionary work.
We love and thank you for your prayers and support.

Our love, President and Sister Berry

 

My most spiritual experience related to a recent convert baptism:

We were reviewing the lessons with our investigator who was going to
be baptized the coming Saturday. She was so prepared and all of her
lessons were so spiritual because she really pondered the principles
of the gospel and asked sincere questions. One day, as we discussed
the restoration, her member friend told us that they had been reading
an article in the Ensign about Joseph Smith and all of the trials he
had as he was trying to do what Heavenly Father commanded him to do.
Our investigator told us she didn’t realize Joseph Smith had to go
through so much so that we could all have the Book of Mormon and
experience the blessings of the gospel. We were then able to apply
Joseph’s experience to her because she had felt the adversary working
a lot harder on her since she had made the decision to be baptized. We
were able to testify of the Book of Mormon and how it is the physical
evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Jesus
Christ’s church has been restored to the earth today. The Spirit was
really strong and she told us she knew it was all true. As she was
baptized and came out of the water, I felt the excitement for her to
start this journey of coming to know the Savior even more and I saw
the change in her. It was so peaceful and happy. It’s those moments on
my mission, when I feel the spirit testify through me to these people
I love, that I know I am on a mission for a reason. I love this gospel
so much and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be out here sharing
it!

Sister Horrocks
North Salt Lake, Utah

Dear Family and Friends of the Florida Orlando Mission,

During the year, 2015, we would like to share with you some of the spiritual experiences our Missionaries have had here in the Florida Orlando Mission. We look forward to you reading them and sharing in the spirit of missionary work.
We love and thank you for your prayers and support.

Our love, President and Sister Berry

 

One of the most spiritual experiences I’ve had with a recent convert was when I had to leave an area and say goodbye to everyone I had met. The whole transfer I was worried about my intent of why I was out serving and if I truly loved the people like Christ did or if I was just doing everything to make my family and friends back home happy/impressed. I tried so hard everyday to do everything for the right reasons and to gain a strong love for everyone I came across. Well, one of my recent converts had a brother who we would go over and teach multiple times a week and so I got very close to these two. As transfer news came that I was leaving I ended my Sunday night by going and seeing them and saying goodbye. I never thought I would get emotional while saying goodbye but I did. It felt almost as hard to say goodbye to them as it was to say goodbye to my family at the MTC. I had put a lot of heart and effort into helping the one be converted in the gospel and was trying just as hard with his brother to help him do the same. At this moment it felt as if the Holy Ghost was speaking to me and assuring me that I did truly love and care about them as both a friend, and as a disciple of Jesus Christ. This experience, although hard because I was leaving two great friends I had made, was definitely something I needed. I was worrying about my intent of serving a mission, and this helped me put most those worries to rest. I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. It has brought me so much peace and happiness even at the roughest of times. I am even more grateful for my Heavenly Father and the love he has for all of us and for his eternal plan of happiness that he has set before us. I know that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and that it’s only through and by him that we can repent, be cleansed by the Holy Ghost, improve, and return to live with our Heavenly Father and families again. And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Elder Tyler Ashworth (Highland Utah)

Dear Family and Friends of the Florida Orlando Mission,

During the year, 2015, we would like to share with you some of the spiritual experiences our Missionaries have had here in the Florida Orlando Mission. We look forward to you reading them and sharing in the spirit of missionary work.
We love and thank you for your prayers and support.

Our love, President and Sister Berry

        A very tender and precious moment on my mission came as I was serving in “DeLand” of promise. This moment has been an experience that I have often reflected on as challenges arise. It has been a great source of strength for me as I recognized the spirit directing me every step of the way.

One afternoon, my companion and I were going to visit a woman who previously wanted to learn more about the Church. As we knocked and knocked on her door, we soon realized that she was not home. Before knocking on her door, we planned to knock 3 homes on either side of her if she was not there. While walking away from her door, the spirit confirmed to my companion and I that we indeed needed to follow the plans we previously set to knock on both sides of her. “There is a reason we are here in this neighborhood”, I thought.

To the right, was a home with a giant wooden cross in the front yard. As we approached, we realized a man and woman sitting on the side of their home. In the moment that I saw them, I became so nervous to approach and talk with them. Many of the lessons, “Talk to ALL of God’s children and share the GOOD NEWS” came to mind. I swallowed my fears and marched right up to them. The woman, Diane, shared with us her love for Jesus Christ. As she spoke, I saw the light of Christ in her. It was evident to me that the Lord had been preparing her to hear the gospel. He very intricately guided my companion and I to find her that day and share the glorious truth with her. She immediately accepted our invitation to learn more. Her husband, Rafael, was also very friendly and did not mind us coming back.

A special moment came when we taught Diane about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ one evening on exchanges. My heart was pounding as we sat on the bedroom floor of a their humble home. We began teaching the Restoration and peace filled my soul as I felt the spirit guiding my words. Light shined in her eyes as we testified of the vision that Joseph Smith had. Questions that she has always had were answered.

The time came when we asked her kneel with us in prayer and ask if the things we taught were true. She courageously and humbly knelt and offered the most heart-felt prayer I have ever heard. She exemplified the meaning of praying with a sincere heart as she asked her Heavenly Father for truth. Each word she spoke came with a true desire to know if this is Christ’s church. During her prayer, I felt a glimpse of the love that the Savior has for her. I was overwhelming and comforting. More than ever before, I wanted this precious daughter to receive an answer for herself that it was right. Tears began to fall from her eyes and she received an answer from her prayer. This is true. It was a neat experience to witness the spirit reveal knowledge and truth as she hungered to know and asked in faith.

Over the next couple of months she fought to prepare herself for baptism. With many changes and diligence, she was baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What a special day that was! Over the course of her journey she continuously received a witness from the Holy Spirit. Diane learned that she could seek guidance and the Lord WILL answer. This was a very powerful experience for me to be apart of because I gained a greater testimony of the love that the Savior has for each of Us. I also came to know with a surety that the Restoration happened. During that time that we taught her, I can not deny the sweet spirit that came as we taught about Joseph Smith and his experiences. I know that this is what brings light and true happiness into people’s life. I am so grateful for the blessings I have seen.

 

Sister Breanna Lynn Arsenault

Lumberton, Texas