I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S MAY ALREADY!!!

I was still getting used to April!  Time is starting to go by fast!

At our last Zone Leader Council, President Anderson shared with us how he felt the mission was not deeply converted to the gospel and so we were not baptizing as much as we could be.  His solution was for us to have more “sacred grove experiences” aka better morning studies (see Elder Kikuchi’s talk “Opening the Heavens” from general conference.) Elder May and I have been applying what we learned and seeing tons of miracles from it!  Our investigator Liz was having trouble understanding how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could be the one true church.  We had taught her the restoration twice, but she still didn’t understand that other Christian churches do not have priesthood authority.  Over the course of several days, we studied and then role played then re-role played our lesson plan as a companionship until we felt that it was just right.  Then we fasted on Sunday and asked to have the spirit with us.  The lesson Sunday night ended up going great!  We read from the account of Joseph Smith’s First Vision and asked the questions we had come up with during studies.  The member we brought with us also was a big help and was able to relate with her on a level that we had not been able to before.  The spirit came and Liz loved it!  To our amazement she accepted everything we taught her and wasn’t troubled at all by all other churches being wrong like we thought she would.  It was amazing to see the Holy Ghost come and teach her in her heart as we testified.  It was one of the best lessons I’ve taught my whole mission, all thanks to morning studies, prayer, and obedience!

Fast and Testimony Meeting before the lesson was also a good experience for Liz.  It was a huge miracle for us!  Since we had not yet been able to address her concern about this being the one true church, we were worried that if too many members bore their testimonies about the restoration or the Book of Mormon, she would misunderstand and be offended.  As the meeting began we prayed that all the speakers would be in tune with the spirit and bear testimony of principles that Liz would be able to understand.  As speaker after speaker got up and shared their testimonies, we were overjoyed!  No one mentioned the controversial topics we were worried about, and instead they were speaking of gospel principles Liz could relate to.  Then to our surprise, Liz got up and spoke! It was a nail-biter at first but she ended up sharing more about herself and her trials and thanking the ward for their help.  It was very spiritual.  The meeting wrapped up perfectly with a powerful testimony from a recent RM about the atonement of Jesus Christ. We could not have planned it better. We were so grateful that what could have been a disaster turned into a wonderful converting experience by the power of the Holy Ghost!  This church really is inspired! Kudos to the members here.

We found a lady tracting who is an alcoholic and probably hasn’t been sober since she was 21.  She is in a terrible place but wants help so we’ll see what can be done to help her.

THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!  Seriously.

            -Elder Emmett Florence

Lots of ups- Lots of downs

Due to a strange series of events I ended up going to the Temple on Saturday morning with a Spanish missionary in our zone to see his recent convert take out her endowment.  It was a good trip and it was very refreshing to be able to go back to the temple sooner than expected.

Elder May and I found this waaaaay drunk lady tracting (behind the first door too!) We weren’t sure if teaching her would do any good at that point but as soon as we mentioned we were missionaries she insisted that we come in and talk with her.  As soon as we sat down she started reading to us from “Our Daily Bread” a Christian book with stories and a parables that highlight principles from Bible scriptures.  She said she wanted to be baptized so we set up a return appointment for the next day even though we were pretty sure she wouldn’t remember talking to us.  We went back the next day and she didn’t answer the door even though we were 99% sure she was home.  Oh well.  We’ll keep working with her.

Our RC Brandy moved out of the ward and went back to her abusive ex boyfriend and is drinking and doing drugs again.  Turns out she has been lying to us this whole time.  I feel bad for baptizing someone and having them go less active instantly but I don’t know what else we could have done for her.

Liz Pierce came to church and took the sacrament for the first time.  She was really confused when the sacrament started, so I opened up the hymn book and had her read “In Memory of the Crucified”.  She instantly understood what was going on and enjoyed herself after that.  She is a very spiritual person and loves God, she just has some extremely deep spiritual wounds we need to help take care of before she can be baptized.  Our plan is to teach her tonight about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ really works and how she needs to repent and give her a new date for baptism, then we are working with our Ward Mission Leader to start getting her going to the Addiction Recovery Program and meeting with the Bishop.  She is very elect and would be an awesome member of the church.  I hope we will be able to help her.

Madison is struggling with smoking and other things she doesn’t want to talk about with us so we are putting her on the back burner for a while and having the Bishop work with her.  We will keep teaching her but it will be a while before she is baptized I think.  Candi Benavidez quit smoking on Wednesday but then couldn’t make it to church because the family was sick. Lots of ups, lots of downs, but nothing we can’t handle with the Lord’s help

Love,

           -Elder Emmett Florence


Not praying is Baaaad!

Salutations!

Unfortunately this email is going to have to be quick.  An Elder in the zone who has been struggling ran away from his companion yesterday for a few minutes so his District Leader, Elder Kannan, and I had to address the situation this morning and now I am way behind schedule.

To be brief; Brandy was baptized and confirmed this last weekend!

Galadriel is moving one street over so we’ve been doing lots of service for her and the non-members whose house she is moving into.

We taught Liz and were able to cast away some of the scales of darkness from her eyes by getting her to realize that not praying to God because she was angry was a baaaad idea.  We gave her a new date for baptism on May 6th, but it is going to be a real battle since she has several strong addictions she will need to overcome first and she didn’t come to church like she was supposed to yesterday!

Our investigator Madison had an emotional break down and threatened to hurt herself and the police got involved so needless to to say she didn’t make it to church either and there is no telling when we will be able to meet with her again.

The Church is true!!!

Elder Emmett Florence

The Power of the Spirit

Good Morning Transfer P-day!

I am officially staying in the N.E. zone another transfer with Elder May!  Most of the zone is staying too, including all 4 of our District Leaders, Elders Kannan, Gibb, Peterson, and Schumacher.  I am very happy to be here six more weeks with everyone.  Our area especially is being blessed right now and there is tons of good work to be done here.

Brandy Rebhuhn passed her baptismal interview and has been smoke free now for two week!  She has been taught all of the lessons and cannot wait to be baptized this Friday!

My prayers were answered this week when we were able to start teaching Galadriel’s friend Liz Pierce again!  She was at the house when we went over to teach Brandy about the Plan of Salvation so we invited her to sit in.  She loved the lesson, even though she had trouble understanding the three degrees of glory and the Godhead.  She told us that since we started teaching her a few months ago she has felt drawn to our church and our doctrine despite opposition she gets from her husband and in-laws.  At her request, we met again the next day and read 3 Nephi 11 from the Book of Mormon.  We cross referenced to John 17 to help her understand the Godhead (which worked well) and talked about baptism.  At the end of the chapter we invited her to be baptized and she started crying.  She is so excited be baptized!  She wasn’t able to come to church this week because of work so we don’t have a scheduled date yet, but we have plans to teach her again tonight.  Huge miracle!

On exchanges with Elder Kannan we went to teach a first lesson to an older Less Active African-American brother on the 5-5-5 list in the Stetson Hills ward named Thomas Rice.  His wife Anet (also African-American) is not a member of the church so as we were sitting down we invited her to sit in on the lesson.  She informed us that she had been a Methodist her whole life and that she was 73 and that she would never change but she would hear our message.  Elder Kannan and I taught a powerful lesson on the restoration with the spirit.  Several times Brother Rice and his wife nodded their heads and told us they believed that what we were teaching them was true.  After the first vision the spirit was so strong that I decided to invite Anet to be baptized despite what she had told us at the beginning of the lesson.  I made the invitation and to my surprise, she started crying and said she would love to be baptized.  We wrapped up by giving her a date and committing her to read from the Book of Mormon and to come to church.  They both were very excited.

The next day when Elder May and I went over for a follow-up visit, Anet told us she had some bad news for us.  When we asked what it was, she apologized and said she didn’t know what came over her, but after we had left the day before she started thinking and remembered that she was a Methodist and couldn’t be baptized Mormon, and so she wasn’t interested in investigating the church anymore.  We invited her to sit in again on our lesson with her husband and she said yes.  We read 3 Nephi 11 and focused on priesthood authority.  It dawned on her that it was possible that the Methodist church doesn’t have the priesthood.  We invited her to be baptized again and this time she said she would pray about it.  Who knows what will happen, but at least it was awesome watching the spirit soften someones heart.

Thank you for your prayers and support.  Love,

                          -Elder Emmett Florence


Happy Easter Everyone!

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Elder Florence and Elder May’s Easter Dinner with Christine Caywood

Many wonderful things happened in our area this week.  For starters, after many years, Christine Caywood was baptized and confirmed by her Return Missionary son in the Stetson Hills ward.  There was a great turn out at the baptismal service on Saturday of about 7, just as we planned.  (Sister Caywood wanted it to be small with just the family and a few friends) It has been a huge blessing to be even a small part of her conversion.  Earlier in the week our former investigator, Brandy Rebune, came back from her ex’s place to Galadriel’s house and wants to quit smoking and be baptized again!  We decided to set her date for April 20 so she would have time to be totally smoke free in time but she keeps asking us if we can move it to this weekend instead.  She can’t wait to be baptized! She is doing much better this time quitting smoking and being honest with us.  I think she will make her date.  It is going to be an incredible experience for her.

We also gave Marissa Benavidez a baptismal date in the Stetson Hill’s ward.  Her Dad is less active and she just turned.  The whole family has a desire to come back to church and be active in the gospel, the Dad works in the construction business and has a very difficult work schedule so they don’t always make it to church.  It shouldn’t be too hard to help them though.  We’ll make it happen.
On Sunday Galadriel (voluntarily) taught the Gospel Principles class on the Atonement and brought several of her non-member friends including her un-baptized adult daughter Kristina to watch!  It felt so good to see her teaching others what I had been teaching her only a few months ago!  She gets all of it!  She is amazing.
Our other investigator Madison Carpenter has been struggling with quitting smoking and isn’t sure if she wants to be baptized anymore.  We went over to talk with her yesterday but I ended up getting in an argument with her 16-year-old brother about whether or not he had to live the Word of Wisdom.  He needed some rebuking but I’m embarrassed to say that I ended up driving the spirit away and maybe doing more harm than good.  Oh well, I’m a little wiser now than before.  Definitely won’t let it happen again.
In the month of March North East was the top baptizing zone in the CCSM! To celebrate we treated our District Leaders with Martinelli’s and ice-cream sandwiches at the stake center.  Then we discussed ways we could help the zone continue to baptize since now we only have 4 people with baptismal dates.  We came up with some great ideas (received revelation I should say) and everyone is pumped to go out and work!  We also had interviews with President yesterday which went very well.
Thank you for the great letters and the Easter care-package.  They were very much appreciated.
Love,

      -Elder Emmett Florence

April Fool’s Day!

Happy Birthday Corbin!

Nothing to elaborate for April Fool’s day.  I did tape up a few of the cut outs of my head from Aurora’s wedding while Elder May was in the shower which scared him pretty good when he came out.  Then I reversed the days in Elder May’s missionary planner while he wasn’t looking.  It took him a minute to figure it out after I asked him to tell me what our stats were for a few days ago.  He started flipping through his planner with a very confused look on his face then realized what had happened and laughed.

A shout out for cousins Hank and Trevor Florence;  Last week I helped an old buddy of yours from California move in named “Vaughn Gibbs”.  Remember him?  The cool thing is he served his mission here several years ago during the inception of the CCSM.  It was cool to hear how far the mission has come since he was here.

General Conference was amazing!  We watched all four sessions with Recent Converts like Galadriel and they loved it!  The church is true!

Chris Caywood, the eternal investigator we picked up last week, passed her baptismal interview and will be baptized this Saturday by her son who recently returned from his mission!

Love,

   -Elder Emmett Florence


Happy Spring!

Can anyone believe winter is official done and over with?  I can’t.  I’ve been waiting for the real winter weather for months now and it still hasn’t shown up!

I had a great near-death experience Saturday on team-ups with Elder May and a priest in the Stetson Hills ward.  We were visiting with some Less Active members and their non-member roommate who had been drinking.  We were out on their porch and after talking a few minutes it was very clear to Elder May and I that the roommate, although very friendly, was drunk and we should leave.  As we were leaving the Less Actives mentioned they had purchased a new shotgun to protect their family.  Much to our dismay, the priest we were with (who in the sweet innocence of his youth had no clue that the roommate was drunk) asked if he could see the gun.  The roommate went inside then came back out with the shotgun and started waving it around and showing off all it’s features.  Now I may not be an expert on gun safety, but even I know that pointing guns at anyone EVER is a big no no, so naturally Elder May and I were extremely concerned when the roommate started pointing the thing in our direction.  Oh and did I mention that it was LOADED!!!  I was totally prepared for the roommate to get carried away with his demonstration and end my mission and life prematurely.   Fortunately we were able to “dodge a bullet” so to speak and get him to put the gun down and we left with all our vital organs and limbs intact!  We have a return appointment to teach them Wednesday!  Thanks for your prayers for safety!!!

The family of five we were teaching anti-ed themselves and don’t want to meet with us anymore.  It is sad that they are choosing to reject the truth even after having several spiritual confirmations from God.

Beth was baptized in Monument!  We have lots of extra miles this month so we got to drive up to her baptism.  It was extra special because Elder May and Elder DeCoria were the original missionaries that found her tracting and started teaching her!  It was like being in heaven!

-Elder Emmett Florence