Monday, January 25, 2016

01/25/16 - Clinton, North Carolina

Mm, can you smell that?? The amazing scent of Clinton. Pig farms. But you know, crazy world. Lot of smells.​ This week was full! Do y'all remember the man that was a media referral and told us the night that we contacted him that he would read the Book of Mormon and that he knows we are sent from God? Well, when we were teaching him about the First Vision, he said, "He was 14 when that happened? I was 35 when that happened to me and it terrified me!" He has also told us that he is a "seer" and that he communicates with spirits and has visions and things on a regular basis. He told us that he has the priesthood too! Also, when we were teaching him the Plan of Salvation, he was almost teaching us about it! He already knew every single part of it in great detail.. It was almost unsettling.. Well, Elder Rogers got a feeling to email President James about him and ask what to do because we weren't able to read him at all or even discern where he's at. President replied last week and told us to cut all ties with him immediately and that we were not to contact him ever again. Very strange situation!! This past Wednesday we had District meeting and we did a district potluck afterwards! Elder Rogers and I brought the Ham and it was tasty. We also watched the Worldwide Mission Broadcast and it was incredible! There was some much needed instruction given about "teaching repentance and baptizing converts". I learned many a things about how the Spirit works and am excited to apply it in my teaching! Elder Rogers and I were supposed to go to the Temple this past Friday for all the departing missionaries and their companions, but sadly due to the poor weather, they cancelled! Bummer. It did actually snow a little. It was more like dusting, but it was probably snow. I did get to meet my Grandfather (my trainer's trainer) though! His name is Juan Camargo and he is amazing. Yesterday I translated for one of our Spanish investigators that came to church and I did a surprisingly decent job! Exciting stuff. Oh! So I'm staying in Clinton for at least another transfer and my new companion is Elder Foote! I don't know him, but that will change tomorrow. Hey! Guess who got the Priesthood last Wednesday night?? Yup, CJ!!!!! He actually was able to bless the Sacrament in church yesterday and it made me cry. I am so happy for him! Watching him progress in this Gospel has filled me with a joy that I cannot express. I feel a greater joy than ever before in my life. It is the love of God for His children and it is marvelous. I testify that God loves all of His children! He loves YOU!!! Stay beautiful.

Slowly becoming a native speaker,
Elder Shearer

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

01/19/16 - Clinton, North Carolina

Well first of all, this week I received the BEST package in the mail. EVER! It was a... llama tie clip from my sister! Oh boy does she know me. :) I had my first tie trade this week and got some very good looking ties. I am already learning the tricks of the trade! And while we are on the topic of ties, I skinnified two ties this week and I don't think they look half bad! So today we had the second transfer call-in and it went very well! It is amazing to see how everyone has progressed just in the past 3 months! I know I have seen a drastic change in myself. For the better!! So this week that I am about to start is when I "take-over" the area.. I am terrified. I will be in charge of pretty much everything we do! However, I know that the Lord will help me. :) We had a Multi-Stake Conference on Sunday and there were some really good talks given! Elder Rasband continues to become one of my favorites. We have been working with a man by the name of Colton and he was a media referral from the church. He said that ever since we first met with him, he has "just felt good about this church". We set a baptismal date for him for the 12th of March so let's hope that everything goes well in that regard! Last Saturday was CJ's baptism and holy moly. It was notable. Pretty much everyone there was sobbing the entire time and having to sing was probably one of the most difficult performances I have ever had! I was on the verge of tears the whole time but I was trying not to cry but it wasn't working! CJ said that the second I started singing, he couldn't hold back anymore. We wept. It was a very spiritual experience. One that I will never forget. I love to look at how happy he is nowadays. The Gospel of Jesus Christ really does change people. I love so many people here and I love The Lord! I should be getting transfer news this week so we'll see where I end up and who I end up with! Wish me luck! :) I love y'all.

Quickly building his arsenal of ties,
Elder Shearer

Monday, January 11, 2016

01/11/16 - Clinton, North Carolina

Oh my goodness gracious!!! This week was hands down the best week of my mission so far! But before I get into it, apparently we had snow last Sunday! What?!? A member told us that it had "snowed". I'm not too convinced... But alas, snow in North Carolina! Last Monday we were visiting a less active family and at the end of the lesson she asked us if we wanted a ham! A huge, frozen, expensive ham! We said "Hmm... OF COURSE WE DO!!!" We aren't really sure how to cook it though.. Oh well, we'll figure it out! Okay, which story do I start with?? I got a CD this week full of Native American tribal music and Gregorian Chants! It's splendid. Very peaceful, very funny, very spiritual. We were in a Spanish lesson this week and the people we were teaching told me they couldn't believe my Spanish for only having been out 4 months! They said they're convinced I'm going to learn 4 more languages before I go home. Haha, no thank you... ;) Okay, I'll start with the crazy story and then move into the spiritual story. We got broken into this week!!! It was the middle of the night and I heard a loud banging so I jolted awake. I sat up and started listening to try and figure out what exactly was happening. I heard Elder Rogers' keys moving around on his desk in the other room as well as some drawers being opened and closed. I couldn't figure out why Elder Rogers was up and about in the middle of the night.. I then heard our door slam shut and our blinds swinging back and forth! I looked over and realized that Elder Rogers was still in his bed!! I woke him up, we got some flashlights, and we went into the other room but didn't find anyone.. We couldn't find anything missing either! He didn't believe me that someone had really broken in, but I was wide awake listening to it happen! I'm convinced that they broke in, saw our millions of pictures of Jesus all over our walls and left. Moral of the story, the best defense for burglary is Jesus! Which reminds me! In Sacrament meeting yesterday, a member gave a talk and he was pretty nervous. He was mumbling the whole time so I couldn't understand most of what he said, but I did manage to get out one very profound sentence. He said, "It's not karma, it's Jesus." Hahaha good times. Alright, spiritual time! Well, to be more specific, this week was the best week of my mission because in it I had the best day of my mission. January 7, 2016. I'll never forget it. We have been hearing a lot about covenanting with the Lord lately and I have been wanting to do it. So. On Thursday Morning, I covenanted with the Lord to live by Alma 37:33-37 and I have seen miracles ladies and gentleman. Since that morning, I have redefined the word; Happiness. I have found a sense of love and a sense of the Spirit that I have never had before! I want to testify that when we give our will to the Lord and strive to set ALL the affection of our hearts upon Him, we will find true Joy. He can make a masterpiece out of us, we can make only a smudge. And my last story, which might be the best of them all, happened Thursday night. Elder Rogers and I Thursday morning had felt that our work was not done with CJ. For anyone that hasn't been following, CJ was my first baptismal invitation and my first baptismal date. He was as solid as solid could be. He was paying tithing before we even taught him about tithing! Anyways, he was dating a member and when they broke up, he kind of disappeared. For weeks we were not able to get in contact with him. But like I said, Thursday morning we got a feeling that we had more to do. So we sent him one more text and pleaded with him to give it one more chance. He surprisingly replied and told us that he was grateful for all we did to help him get closer to God, but he had found his calling at another church. He did however agree to meet with us. We felt a lot of pressure that we needed to give him the perfect lesson, but felt very strongly that we needed to cover the Restoration again. We watched the full movie with him (Joseph Smith: the Prophet of the Restoration) and afterwards invited him to go into the chapel alone and pray about what God wanted him to do. We emphasized the importance of listening to the Holy Ghost and of trusting in the answers we receive. Each of us actually went into separate rooms and prayed. The second my knees hit the floor, I was sobbing. Brothers and Sisters, I know this church is true! I testify as a representative of Jesus Christ, that HE LIVES! I received a very strong prompting that I needed to "testify and he would be saved." Upon returning to the room in which we were having the lesson, we asked CJ how he felt. With tears in his eyes, he looked at me and said, "I'll be here on Sunday." I shared my testimony with him of the Divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He broke down again and I very quickly followed. We asked him how he felt about Baptism and he replied that he would like to be baptized on the 16th. That's this Saturday!! I am so very excited for him and have never experienced in my life greater joy than that of the love of God for His children. That was the best day of my mission.

Crying tears of joy more and more each day,
Elder Shearer

Monday, January 4, 2016

01/04/16 - Clinton, North Carolina

Well, this week we found another 7 investigators! I can't believe it!! We now have 39 people in our teaching pool and it is so very busy!! We are trying our best to keep in daily contact with them all, but it is a task! Last Monday, we had the FHE for the branch again and we had a testimony meeting! It was very powerful. We tried to help the members understand how much their testimonies are worth and how much of an impact they can have on people! It was a great night. Hijole! There are sooo many roaches in our apartment! It's actually quite terrifying. The roaches here are HUGE! New Years was this past week and for New Years Eve, Elder Rogers and I drank some Martinellis and reminisced of the great memories of 2015. I even got my New Year's Eve kiss! ;) (Refer to picture of me kissing a Libro de Mormon) Last night we were at a family's house from the branch and we heard a loud snap! The mother jumped off the couch and yelled "Yay! We caught the mouse!" We all ran over to the dead mouse on the counter and found that its nose was missing. When she reset the trap, I saw something fly through the air and I felt something land in the back of my shirt. Ahh!! I totally had the nose of the dead mouse fly into my shirt!!! Ew, it was so gross.. Well, miracle story! This week, we were trying to contact a former investigator. We went and knocked on their house, but instead a man by the name of Jorge opened the door. As soon as he found out we were missionaries, he let us right in! He said that usually when someone knocks on their door, they turn the lights off and pretend like they're not home. But! For some reason he opened the door for us! He said that he knows God wanted it to happen! We taught him a solid Restoration lesson and he very willingly accepted the invitation to read the Book of Mormon! We're very excited to see how he progresses. There is nothing quite like that feeling when you know that you are where the Lord wants you to be, teaching His elect! I love this gospel. Anways, I hope you all have an amazing week and an even better year! Happy 2016 everyone! I love you so dearly.

Still trying to find the nose,
Elder Shearer