LAST EMAIL HOME

This, is THE LAST EMAIL I will send home during my mission, EVER!

So accordingly in addition to sharing updates on this last week, I would like to share some thoughts and feelings on my mission and share my testimony.

Yesterday was a great Sunday.  We were singing the opening hymn in sacrament meeting and we didn’t know where Lexi and her family were.  I envisioned how big of a let down it would be if they didn’t come to church and Lexi’s baptism had to be delayed again.  I said a silent prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help get them to church.  Not a second after I finished my prayer, the door next to us opened and in walked Lexi and her entire family!  It was such a wonderful answer to my prayer.  God is very aware of us and our desires and has great timing. Now Lexi is ready to go for her baptism this week!  Lexi requested that her baptism be this Thursday at 5, unknown to her, the last proselyting hour of my mission before I go to the mission office for departure business.  I can’t think of anything better to be able to do my last day.  It’s a huge blessing.

Also on Sunday, Elder Durrant and I sang “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy” together a capella in sacrament meeting.  Last week Sister McConckie grabbed us in the hall and signed us up.  Funny thing that I go my entire mission without having to do any special musical numbers in church until the very end.  We ran with it though and it ended up going very well.

Wednesday we got to watch Episode 3 of “The District 2” from the PMG DVDs with the entire mutual organization of the Palmer Park ward.  We’d been planning this for months so we’re glad it finally worked out.  It was a great experience for everyone there.

Wally is re-committed to stop smoking.  He also went to third hour yesterday for the first time.  He should do well if he will just keep his promises and listens to God.

8 Thoughts on the mission at large:

1.  Yes, the time flies.  The second year went by much faster though.  There was a noticeable difference after the first year-mark.

2. Getting up at 6:30 everyday NEVER GOT ANY EASIER.  But it’s always worth it.

3. Including my MTC days, I’m ending with 12 companions and 6 areas.  The time line of my mission has been quite neat geographically.  I started south in Pueblo, went to the complete opposite end of the social spectrum up north in Castle Pines/Lone Tree and then worked my way south consistently until now.  Since Castle Pines/Lone Tree every new district I moved into bordered the last district I served in.  Nice continuity.

4. PMG rocks.  The brethren are absolutely inspired about the best way to do missionary work.  Jeffery R. Holland is the man.

5. Anyone who will actually read the Book of Mormon and sincerely ask God if it’s true will get an answer from God that it’s true.  Every time.  Likewise, members. Recent Converts, and Less Actives who don’t read the Book of Mormon and pray consistently will eventually start to lose their testimony and fall away.  Every time.  The basics are the basics.  Read, pray, go to church.  It’s really that simple.

6.  When Recent Converts pay their tithing, they are blessed.  EVERY TIME.

7.  Active LDS families are some of the best people on the planet.  Fruits of the true church?  I think so.  Only a prophet of Jesus Christ could organize a church that consistently produces such good people.  Try and imagine what would happen if another church or faith tried to make a website like Mormon.org.  NOT POSSIBLE.  No one is unified enough to really pull it off.

8. There is no scripture in the Bible, weird Brigham Young quote, or incident in church history, that can prove that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or its claim to divine authority are false, ANYWHERE.  If there was, it would have been more widely publicized a long long time ago.  Any anti-mormon junk that you find on a seedy website online somewhere when dragged out into the sunlight of honest examination cannot hold up.  As a matter of fact, 99% of the time, when you get “the rest of the story” it only serves to further prove the truth of this gospel!

I testify that The Book of Mormon and Bible are true.  I know that Jesus Christ really is who those two books (and the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price) say He is, the Son of God, the Savior of the World.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth.  It’s crazy, but it’s true.  I’ve seen it’s underside, and I’ve seen it’s better side too.  I’ve tasted the fruits of this work and I know they are good.  I’ve seen the Holy Ghost testify to the hearts of others time and time again, and I’ve felt it’s power as well.  I love God and I am grateful He has blessed me with these two years to serve.  Living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will bring you more happiness, whether you’re repenting, considering baptism, going to the Temple, or just enduring to the end, than anything else can or will.

Love,

            -Elder Emmett Florence

2nd Cleanest Car in the Zone

Good Morning!

P-day was moved from Monday to Tuesday this week because of Zone Conference yesterday.  We got up at 5:15 so we would have time to clean the truck for the fleet inspection, drive to the stake center, and then set up for the meeting before everyone got there.  On our way to the automatic car wash the wiring in the passenger window must of started shorting out because the window started rolling itself down randomly.  The big problem was we really needed to wash our truck still!  We decided to brave the automatic car-wash anyways.  I wrestled with the switch to keep control of the window and managed to keep it rolled up long enough to make it through the car wash!  Talk about a nail biter!  Zone Conference went great and Elder Durrant and I, despite both our vacuums going out on us were able to win the award for 2nd cleanest car in the zone!

We were very successful with street contacting this week.  We found a few new potential investigators walking around Saturday morning.  We gave a lady a baptismal date on Sunday afternoon that we had found tracting a few weeks before but had not been able to start teaching and then last night we were contacting a LA family when we felt impressed to go talk with one of their neighbors in her front yard who ended up talking with us for about 30 minutes about all her experiences with the church and how she would come to church with us if the Lord would help her quit smoking.  She had some tough concerns but we followed the spirit and were able to work things out.  She and her family are going to be praying to find out if now is the time that God will help her.

Lexi and both her parents got to church again this week!  The primary presidency asked us to come to senior primary to be the judges for the “friendship Olympics” so we got to hang out with Lexi for the third hour.  She is one of the funniest little girls I’ve ever met on my mission.  She is so small, and when she gets something she wants or thinks of a cool idea, she gets this huge crazy grin on her face (think “My Neighbor Totoro” when Totoro smiles.) Lexi’s dad met with the Bishop about performing the baptism and they worked out a plan to make it happen!  The family’s faith in the gospel and church are growing and growing!

This week Elder Durrant and I are organizing a mini-mission for the YM in the Palmer Park ward.  Tomorrow night we are going to watch one of the episodes from the PMG DVDs with the entire mutual program and then on Saturday we will be hooking up three priests with three companionships from the stake for the day.  Should be good.

Love,

     -Elder Emmett Florence

Happy 21rst tomorrow Elder Florence!

It’s my last day to be 20!

Lexi came to church again with her Mom and sister but since she was late to church last week and missed sacrament meeting we had to move her date to the 12th.  We’ve taught her the first three lessons and a few of the commandments.  The family is starting to become a little more converted to the gospel.  They sit in on all the lessons and are eager to support her and help her answer questions.  The goal is to get all five of them to church next Sunday!

Special news update from the CCSM: A reliable source relayed to me that recently two missionaries serving in the San Luis valley gave Johnny Depp a Book of Mormon while he was in town for the filming of “The Lone Ranger” and he said he would read it!  (I’ll send the picture along your way ASAP!) The gospel is being preached to every creature, even super famous movie stars!

Funny story: We just figured out that Wally’s daughter that lives in Canon City is a member of the church already!  We’d been teaching him (Wally) all this time and he never told us!  The other funny thing is that Elder Durrant actually baptized her husband a year ago when he served there!  Transfers are inspired.

We transitioned our investigator Justin over to Elder Wiesbarth-Tafaumali and Elder Bankhead in the YSA ward.  He solid.  He will do very well I’m sure.  The only problem is still getting work off to come to church, which should happen soon.  In the mean time he can still build strong connections with the church by going to the weekly activities they have over there.

Awesome deep doctrine revelation at District Meeting on Friday!  I was pondering something weird Joseph Smith said in the King Follett discourse when it dawned on me what he was actually saying!  I now understand in part the difference between spiritual matter and physical matter and at least partly why one can be called more “pure” than the other!  Just another one of the peculiar things you learn when all you can study for two years are gospel topics.

The church, IS TRUE!!!

-Elder Emmett Florence

Happy Pioneer Day!

Happy Pioneer Day! Tomorrow!

Mmph.  Yesterday Patrick and Morgan, our two investigators with dates for July, didn’t come to church and we don’t know why yet.

Interviews on Thursday went over as usual so we showed up late to our member dinner.  The mom of the family was stressed out because she had to leave for a Relief Society activity afterwards and us being late had slammed her schedule.  When we found out that the Mom was planning on riding her bike to the church so her husband could use the car to drive us home, we lied and said our apartment was close enough that we could just walk there.  It wasn’t hard, we just spent the rest of the night walking home.  Because of the time of day we did get to talk to lots of people on the street which was nice. The victory of the day was our last stop at a potential investigator’s house who we were able to make contact with and set up a return appointment!

Probably the best thing that happened this week was Justin Morris, a new investigator we have with a baptismal date for the 12th of August.  He was referred by his friend in DC.  At first we thought we wouldn’t be able to contact him because the outside doors of his apartment complex are usually locked which makes it impossible to knock people’s actual apartment doors, but to our joy we found that the locks on the doors had been removed!  He is a young single guy who just went through a divorce, a lot like Patrick.  He loves what we’ve taught him so far and his only concern is getting work off on Sundays.

Lexi, the unbaptized child I found with the Spanish speaking Elder on exchanges has a date for August 5th.  We got in with the family and are making progressing getting them back into activity.

The church is true!  Love,

      Elder Emmett Florence

Transfer 17

Dear Everyone who reads this,

Transfer 17 is off to a great start.  Elder Durrant is an awesome guy and so far serving with him has been a pleasure.

After Zone Leader Council and a few doctor’s appointments for Elder Durrant on Thursday we ran over to a member’s house to teach their friend Morgan who came to church last week.  She is 16, comes from a foster home, and has investigated the church before.  We got to know her a little and taught her about the restoration with her friend Eli, one of the Priests in the ward we’ve been taking out on visits.  Things went well and we were able to resolve her concerns and give her a date for the 28th.  She got sick Sunday morning so she didn’t come to church but since she has been so many times before we’re still going to shoot for the 28th with her.

We got the Elders Quorum President involved with teaching Patrick this week.  Teaching him the Plan of Salvation was a little crazy because the old lady he is rooming with (I should clarify, he is renting a room in her house) entertainingly enough also named Pat, decided to sit in.  She is a very religious lady and so had a lot of questions that might have totally thrown the lesson off but we were able to keep things on track and focused on Patrick.  We may start teaching her officially in the future but for now since she isn’t healthy enough to come to church we’re going to focus on Patrick.  We taught another lesson to Pat and Pat on Friday about the law of tithing which he was down with and we thought he was good to go to come to church but we got a text from him Sunday morning telling he us he had to work.  ARGH!!! So he’s lost his date for the 22nd.  The plan is to re-extend for the 29th.

Thank you for your prayers!  Last night in the Colorado Springs zone (despite my companionship’s failings) we ended the week with 16 investigators with a baptismal date! That is phenomenal!!!  Usually Sundays tend to seperate the wheat from the chaff and by the end we’ve lost more then half of our people with dates but yesterday we kept almost all of them!  We’ve already had three baptisms so far this month so we are right on track to accomplish our goal of 12 baptisms as a zone!

Fun story: Elder Garnder and I recently burned through most of the people we’ve been trying to contact for the last 6 weeks and Elder Durrant and I are newer to the area so on Friday afternoon we had totally run out of names to contact.  We parked the car for a second to try and figure out where to go next.  While we were talking, an old lady walked up to us and asked if we could give her a ride a few blocks to her house since her feet were starting to hurt her from walking.  Uhh… Dilemma!  We can’t give other people rides, ESPECIALLY ladies in our car!  As luck would have it, the members that had signed up to feed us dinner lived near by so we called up Sister Gebhart, who is an absolute saint, and she was able to come give our new friend a ride home.  As she was getting into the car to go, she said she would like us to come visit her and gave us her address!  She has some memory issues so she may not be ready for baptism now, but who knows!  Maybe this will lead to something!

Love,

  Elder Emmett Florence

MY LAST TRANSFER P-DAY!!!

This is the last time I get to stress over transfer emails!!  While I will be staying in Palmer Park ward for my last 6 weeks, to my surprise, Elder Gardner will not be my last companion.  Instead I will be serving with Elder Durrant a new Zone Leader and much younger missionary from Idaho.  Don’t know him personally yet so I will let you know more of what he is like next week.

Yesterday we went on exchanges with with the Spanish Elders in our zone.  It was a long crazy day but it ended with an awesome miracle. The last item on our plans for the night was to try and contact a LA family we had found in the ward directory the night before while planning.  The parents weren’t home when we knocked but their active daughter who was recently sealed in the temple was!  It was a good thing too because as we found out from the daughter, stopping in would have been a bad idea.  She filled us in on her family’s needs and introduced us to her 9 year-old sister who wants to be baptized!  The Lord’ timing is perfect!  We’re planning on calling the parents later this week to set up an appointment.

We found a new investigator tracting.  She is a heavier lady, walks with a cane because of a knee surgery she had and is a bit on the weirder side of things but we started teaching her anyways.  To prep her for Sunday we gave her a church tour with two sisters from the Relief Society.  At the end of the tour we were sitting in the chapel and we asked if she had any questions.  She said “Yeah I have a question.  I’m 49 and my boyfriend is 18.  Will the ward members have a problem with that if I bring him to church with me?”  It was really awkward after that.  She came to church on Sunday but seemed more interested in talking with me and Elder Gardner than listening to the speakers and lessons.  ICKY!!!  We are not going to pursue teaching her.

4th of July was uneventful compared to last year.  Fireworks were completely banned because of the fire so there wasn’t anything going on.  I think everyone left town because almost no one we tried to see was home.  We had dinner with Wally, Joyce and another Recent Convert that signed up to feed us.  The RC wanted us to help cook so I learned how to grill!

Attached is The CCSM Anthem, the song we’ve been recording.  It’s rough around the edges but considering our resources and limits it turned out pretty good.

Love,

     -Elder Emmett Florence

The Work Rolls On

Salutations!

Things have been heating up, with record breaking temperatures all week here in Colorado Springs!  The fire consequently got worse and ended up burning thousands of acres and destroying hundreds of homes.  [347] Three companionships in the zone were forced to evacuate so we were in charge of finding them temporary homes until they could go back to their assigned proselyting areas.

We brought Elder Fabbi and Elder Scott over from Academy ward to come work Palmer Park with us since this ward is normally capable of two companionships anyways .  It was a great learning experience for all four of us and we enjoyed being together.  Elder Scott, a visa waiter on his way to Peru was actually in Helaman Halls fall of 2009 at BYU and we remember seeing each other around the Cannon Center.  Since we have only one truck we split up and had two drive, and two ride bikes.  Elder Scott and I stayed up north by our apartment so we biked most of the time. It was super fun!  Lots of weird people out on the streets but it is good to be able to talk with them and invite them to learn about the gospel.

While working with Elder Scott, we were able to contact and start teaching one of our Media referrals named Patrick.  Patrick is from back east and was recently divorced and has moved here to be with family and find work.  He had investigated the church twice before but had never been baptized.  He lives with his Dad who is an alcoholic and doesn’t like the Mormon church so for our first lesson we met Patrick at a park near his home. He loved hearing the doctrine of the restoration and feeling the spirit and volunteered to be baptized before we could even share the first vision.  He also came to church and loved it.  He is now preparing to be baptized on the 15th.

Our three investigators, Wally, and the Murdock brothers were baptized Saturday night.  Wally said he had never been happier.  All three of them spoke at the new member fireside last night and bore powerful testimonies, Wally especially.  It is amazing how deeply converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to the church he has become in the last few weeks since “God started talking” to him.  He wants to share the gospel with others now, including his wife Joyce, who is now preparing to be baptized on the 22nd, despite being 89 years old!  Turns out, her mother “turned Mormon” and she had never told us or Wally!

The power of the Holy Ghost is certainly real and is a precious gift!

Love,

      -Elder Emmett Florence