Dear Family and Friends of the Florida Orlando Mission,
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.
I’m grateful for this opportunity that Sister Berry has given me
to share with everyone something that means so much to me – my most
spiritual experience related to a Recent Convert baptism. I’ve had
many spiritual experiences over the course of my mission, but one in
particular sticks out in my mind. It was the experience I was able to
be a part of with the conversion of my now good friend, Kenneth Owens.
Brother Owens is nothing short of a modern day miracle, an answer
to years of prayers, and a testament of faith. At the time before his
Baptism he had been married for twenty-nine years to a wonderful women
and member of the Church. They had two daughters who have also been
very active. For all of those years, faithful home teachers had gone
out to the Owens’ home to visit them and work on Brother Owens to help
him become converted to the Gospel. Countless prayers had been offered
on his behalf by family and friends. Every time though, Brother Owens
declined the invitation to take the discussions. It wasn’t until their
oldest daughter Lindsay decided to serve a mission that his heart
began to be softened. While on her mission, Lindsay invited her father
to take the discussions – by her!
Brother Owens’ teaching process was definitely unique. Lindsay’s
mission had iPads with Skype capabilities which allowed her to teach
her father. At first, Brother Owens accepted to invitation simply to
talk with his daughter once a week; what parent wouldn’t take that
opportunity? But, it wasn’t until long that the Spirit pricked his
heart and he began to become converted. Lindsay finished her mission
and then got the missionaries immediately over to their home to
continue teaching Brother Owens. He’s a very smart man and had a lot
of seemingly difficult questions, but with the help of the Spirit his
questions and concerns were resolved. My companion at the time, Elder
Radigan, and I had personally been praying for him quite often. We
fasted for him as well and knew the Lord would answer all of our
prayers soon. On July 14th, Brother Owens texted us and said he was
finally ready to be baptized and asked for it to be done on August
1st. We immediately began to prepare for this special day. Interviews
were scheduled, the lessons were completed, and Brother Owens even
finished the Standard Works! (Impressive, right?)
Brother Owens’ baptism was one of the most Spiritually powerful
experiences I’ve had on my mission. The chapel was thronged with
former home teachers, Bishops, Stake Presidents, friends, and family
who had all been praying for twenty-nine years for this day to occur.
Incredible talks were given, his daughters sang a beautiful musical
number, and Brother Owens’ friend, Dan Meyers, flew in from Argentina
to perform the Baptism. The Spirit that attended that baptism was
overwhelming. Many tears of joy and gratitude were shed.
The next day was fast Sunday and Brother Owens’ Confirmation.
Following his Confirmation, that same Spirit from his baptism poured
into the chapel once again. The next hour was spent with the Saints of
the Waterford Lakes Ward bearing their humble Testimony of the power
of prayer, faith, fasting, and gratitude for the tender mercies the
Lord has shown.
Fast forward to now and we can see the type of conversion that
can occur as we do as Alma directs in Alma 6:6, to “gather themselves
together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the
welfare of the souls of those who knew not God.” Brother Owens is now
the Gospel Principles teacher, a Family History guru, has the
Melchizedek Priesthood, he and his family are preparing to enter the
Temple in the coming months to be sealed for time and eternity, and
the blessings continue to flow forth!
I know that God loves all of us, for we are his precious
children. He hears and answers our prayers in His perfect timing. I
know that with faith in Christ, many miracles can be wrought in the
lives of those we love. I know that our elder Brother, Jesus Christ,
truly is our Savior. There’s nothing we can do that His Atonement
can’t ultimately heal us from. I know the Book of Mormon is the word
of God and will bring us closer to Him as we feast upon it’s inspired
words everyday, as it did with Brother Owens. I have a profound love
for my Savior and a tender spot in my heart for the Owens family. I
will be eternally grateful for what they taught me as I witnessed the
be brought together in unity under the Gospel. I love this time
Heavenly Father has allowed me to serve among His children in this
portion of His vineyard. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may
also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal
glory.” 2 Timothy 2:10