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
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