Monday, May 30, 2016

05/30/16 - Siler City, North Carolina

What a week, what a week.. Probably the most productive week of the mission so far! It started off on an incredible moment as last Monday after emailing, some of us Elders went to Firehouse subs to get some lunch. As we were about to order, some man yelled out "I'm paying for all of these young men." It was a member from the Dunn ward! Tender mercy for sure. That man is getting blessed! Then later that night Elder Allred and I went to visit one of our investigators who was not home. Before getting in the car and leaving however, I got a spiritual prompting to turn around and visit one house in particular. We approached the house and found a man about to get in his car. We quickly caught his attention and starting sharing our message with him. He didn't seem to be too interested at first. But as I really tried to tune into the Spirit as to what this man needed, I thought of the Book of Mormon. I asked him if he had ever heard of it before. It turns out that this man, by the name of Jose, has been searching and praying for a Book of Mormon! He has been asking all of his neighbors, friends, even the Jehovah's Witnesses where he can get one! How special it was that the Lord trusted us enough to let us be instruments in His hands to find this searching son. Tuesday we were on bikes all day! We biked 20 miles and were not able to get a single lesson. But we stayed positive. Thursday we had a lesson with one of our investigators by the name of Net and it was our best lesson with her yet. She has been investigating the church for a few years and has a strong testimony, but does not feel ready to be baptized. We went over the baptismal interview questions with her and she nailed them all! We read with her James 2:17 and were very lovingly bold with her letting her know that if she has a faith in Jesus Christ, she must manifest it through her works. She asked for a baptismal date in June. The Spirit was very strong and she was brought to tears by the end as she asked us for a hug. I was more than happy to testify to her of the reality and extent of God's love for her. The following day we taught a few more investigators. One of which was Clara, the 72 year old woman that kissed us! As I closed the lesson by offering a prayer, she put her hands on my shoulder and rested her head on it too! She is so sweet haha. We taught Maribel next and she has been wrecked by a preacher! She told us that she "doesn't believe on the Book of Mormon" and she doesn't feel like she can pray to God to know if it is true. No!! We took a step back and testified to her of the purpose of prayer. She was brought to tears and committed to praying before our next visit. We then went to a Spanish family home evening at the church and we had an investigator come! Great night talking about temples. Saturday. Hands down the craziest day ever. We taught 7 lessons! That is one every hour and then one! We even found 2 new investigators one of which is named Crystal. She saw us walking down the street and stopped us to ask if we would pray for her! A very neat encounter. We were on bikes again for about 15 miles and then on foot for another 5. While we were tracting we had a man tell us that we "should be at the airport with ropes tied around our necks!" We kindly replied by asking who he knew that would be interested in and benefit from an uplifting message about Jesus Christ. Sadly, we did not obtain a referral from this man. We taught another investigator by the name of Casey and he told us to keep coming back, that he's been thinking about it and maybe one day we might "convince him of this whole baptism thing." While biking we had a member from Lexington drive by and tell us that they were grateful for everything we are doing and that we are great men no matter what anyone tells us! Another great tender mercy. And to finish off Saturday, we had a member present with Belzain, the man with all the great questions! We had a great gospel discussion with him, his wife, and a few of his friends, but it quickly became loud with a spirit of contention. Everyone seemed to be fighting to get a word in. The Spirit prompted me and I acted quickly by jumping in firmly and demanding silence. I lovingly, yet firmly reminded everyone why we were there. That the Spirit cannot dwell in contention and without the Spirit, we have nothing. They all seemed very shaken, and quickly agreed. The Spirit came back in it's fulness as we once again began to discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ. Belzain has been visited by many pastors that have told him to not read the Book of Mormon, that it is false. The Spirit once again came over me as I informed him that these men were not called of God. That if he was to find truth, he must look to the founder of it. And my favorite part of the lesson was when Belzain related to Brother Perez (our member) the story of how we came to find him. That he was lifting his sofa into a truck and we ran over to offer our help. He explained that we began to share a powerful message to him and that specifically as I bore my testimony, he was fixed upon me. He said that in that moment, he knew it was true. There was no denying it. It really hit me that the Spirit we carry with us as representatives of the Lord and Savior, testifies of truth to all people we meet. I love and cherish that moment in that lesson. Sunday we were blessed to have an investigator come to church as well as 3 progressing less active Hispanics! After church we went to teach Leticia, an investigator, and she apologized for not coming to church like she should have. She is very excited to come next week. And to top the week off, last night we had another member present in the Bishop's home! This week was a busy one for sure. And filled with so many spiritual experiences! Elder Allred and I were able to teach 20 lessons in total, breaking my personal record of 18! 3 of those were member presents, 3 new investigators, 10 other lessons with investigators, 2 member referrals, and 2 baptismal dates! A record breaking week. I hope everyone is staying in their scriptures and staying close to Christ! These are crazy times we live in.. I love you all soo much!

Physically more exhausted than ever before, but spiritually on fire,
Elder Shearer

Monday, May 23, 2016

05/23/16 - Siler City, North Carolina

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, I have officially been out for 8 month today! Time is truly flying. A roller coaster week for sure! It seems that we had many amazing days and many not so amazing ones. Haha but either way, I still loved them all! Last Monday we had a zone activity here in Apex and we played kickball. Slayed it. The following day (Tuesday) was more of a dismal day. It was raining all day, we were on bikes, all of our appointments fell through, I got mud all over my clothes, and we had somebody driving by yell the F-word at us! But we stayed positive. Wednesday was a great day. Elder Allred and I instructed in District Meeting on to Preach my Gospel. Study Take away Involve the Lord Choose to change. It was very powerful. We are striving to use Preach my Gospel more effectively and use the Lord's help to do so. Thursday went a little south again as we found out that one of our investigators that we thought was preparing for baptism, is very unsure! But Friday was a highlight. We had a combined zone conference with all of the northern zones in the mission and Elder Zwick from the quorum of the seventy came! He and his wife literally changed my life. I learned too many things to be able to list them all, but I'll share a few key points. The first of which is that I am not on my mission. I am on the Lord's mission! And so I need to make a conscious effort to "perfectly use His time". The other goal I have really set for myself is that I want to "receive the fullness of the mantle of my ministry". I can do that by strengthening and declaring my witness of Jesus Christ, recognizing my authority and staying worthy to receive His power, and developing my spiritual gifts. I'm so excited and pumped to become even more in tune with the Spirit in the work of the Lord! Saturday was another great day even though we drove an hour to an appointment that fell through! We came back to find that all of our appointments that night fell through: classic. So we went tracting! And it decided to rain! Harder than I have ever experienced the pounding of rain in my life. My shoes were soaked completely through in all of about 10 seconds. We even ended up tasting our hair gel (not recommended by the by). But we stuck to it and the Lord blessed us. We felt the prompting to go back to one of our fallen appointments with our investigator Belzain and we were greeted with a warm welcome! We had a great lesson talking a lot about baptism. He asked many amazing questions such as "How can I get baptized?", "How can I gain a testimony for myself that the Book of Mormon is true?" and many more. And to top off the week, yesterday was just marvelous! We had stake conference again with Elder Zwick! There was not any Spanish translation set up, so I ended up doing it! Elder Zwick did something that touched me very deeply. On the fly he asked all of the parents of missionaries serving to please stand. He then asked all of the missionaries to stand. He told us that he wanted each of us to imagine that we were receiving a hug from our distant loved ones. The Spirit really hit me and I felt my mother hugging me. It brought me to tears.. After the meeting, Elder Allred and I had interviews with President and Sister James. They went marvelously. At the close of mine with President, he asked me if I would offer the closing prayer. I asked him if there was anything I could include for him and he asked me to pray for the struggling missionaries. I proceeded to do so and let me just tell you, that was one of the most powerful prayers I have experienced. The Spirit overcame me as I broke down and prayed for my fellow Elders and Sisters. At the close of the prayer, President James just sat there on his knees for a minute with his eyes fixed on the floor. He looked up to me and with tears in his eyes he said, "Elder Shearer, you are a blessing to me. You are a blessing to this mission. And you are a blessing to your Father in Heaven. I love you." And with that, he wrapped his arms around me and thanked me for my hard work. It hit me how strongly he loves his missionaries. How deeply he cares for each one of us and especially for those that are wanting. I am forever grateful for his good example of the Savior's love. After our interviews, we went out and worked in our portion of the Lord's vineyard! We went tracting and found another new investigator! He told us that he has much respect for us and for what we do. He thanked us for living like Christ. We now have 28 investigators in our teaching pool. That is sooo many! Elder Allred and I broke the Siler City record and had 17 lessons this past week. It was a very productive week! As well something that was just a little tender mercy for me, I had like 5 people compliment my Spanish this week! One of our investigators legitimately thought I was a Hispanic and had a hard time believing otherwise, one of our members over dinner told me that she loves my Spanish because she knows that I understand what people are saying to me, and the others were just random people we had tracted into that told me I had a great knowledge of the language. Huh! Hey, today is Elder Ammon Joseph Flint's birthday!!! My best friend serving in the Canadiaida mission! The ole chap is turning 19 years old! Welp, a seemingly quick, yet packed week! I hope that all is well at home and everyone is staying happy! I testify that Jesus Christ lives and that He loves! He is the Prince of Peace and He offers truth. No matter where you are in your pathway to conversion, I invite you to take a step further and become a deeper, truer disciple of Jesus Christ. I love you all! Don't you ever forget that.

In the process of inventing a chocolate flavored hair gel,
Elder Shearer

Monday, May 16, 2016

05/16/16 - Siler City, North Carolina

What a glorious week! It started off on just a beautiful note as we went to see one of our investigators, Net, last Monday night! We've been teaching her for almost a year and she still has not read the Book of Mormon to find out if it is true! But. Everything has changed. She told us that one night she went in to check on her son James (another investigator with stage 4 cancer) and she saw angels standing around his bed! She went back into her room and one of them came in and sat on her bed and starting speaking with her. He told her that God has given James a second chance and she needs to give God a second chance in return. Well that experience has changed Net! She is so excited to read the Book of Mormon and get back to church. The Lord is truly preparing his people, even if He does it after you begin teaching them! Elder Allred and I have been giving many more Priesthood blessings to random people that we tract into! Not really sure why, but it has just been coming up more often and people have been accepting to receiving them. As I have pondered I have realized that as representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must not only teach as He taught, but we must heal as He healed. He went about and healed many! I wish I had made this connection earlier in my mission so that I would have had the chance to be on the Lord's errand even more fully. We had a fantastic zone training this week and the them was "What do we have to lose?" Too often we fear man and are not firm in following the promptings the Lord has given us. We must always ask ourselves the question, "What do we have to lose?" We must fear God and not man! I then went on exchanges here in Apex with Elder Shepherd and we had a grand old time. I even spilled rice all over my pants during dinner! The next morning we helped an older woman replace her mailbox. And on Friday, I went on exchanges with one of our assistants to the President, Elder Chandler! He came out to Siler City and we had a blast. He told me that my Spanish is almost perfect, and I laughed. He has AMAZING Spanish! He also told me i'm on the "pathway to assistant-ship." Haha I told him I didn't think that was a good thing at all! We really did have fun though, we went to a panaderia and got some pan dulce! Probably one of my favoritest exchanges on the mission. We have been really working hard to find the less active Hispanics in our area and help them get back to church! And a lot of them came yesterday!! I have a dream. That one day there will be a Spanish branch in Pittsboro, North Carolina! We can do it. The Lord can do it! Elder Allred and I tracted into my first Atheist on the mission! His name is Roberto and he is 14 years old. He is very troubled and doesn't see how there can be a God with so much confusion in the world. I hope the Lord can help him through us. And yesterday a good friend from my home ward came out to see me at church!!! His name is Brother White and he is amazing. It was such a treat to see him again! We also have been working with a recent convert learn how to bless the sacrament and he was able to do it yesterday. We call him Abuelo because he is about 67 years old, and he is a hoot! He gave a brief testimony afterwards in Spanish and it was powerful. Guess what?? I have been itching my legs for weeks because of what I thought were mosquito bites. Come to find out, they are actually chigger bites! All over my legs! Probably at least a 100 of them! So I guess they will be there for 8 weeks.. being itchy... but that's alright! The Lord still loves me and all is well in Zion. :) We have found 3 more new investigators this week and now have 23 investigators we are teaching.. SO many people! But we are in contact with them all and they are each doing great. Quick story from yesterday! Elder Allred and I hopped in the car to go to church, and we saw that we were almost out of gas! We were so bummed. We thought we would have to break the Sabbath and buy gas! I tried to justify it by saying "At least it is for a good cause! We are doing the Lord's work, right?" But I felt like it wouldn't be right. So! We said a prayer that the Lord will help us keep his commandments. And he did! We drove 92 miles before having to fill it up this morning. It did not add up at all! We even have a reader in our car that tells us how many miles to empty and for the longest time it just froze! It stopped lowering!! I testify that the Lord loves us and that He blesses. As Nephi once taught us, the Lord does not give us any commandment He does not prepare a way for us to fulfill. So stay strong in doing His will and stay faithful! I love you beautiful people with all of my heart! Thanks for tuning in this week. Stay classy!!

Still cleaning out the rice stains on his pants,
Elder Shearer

Monday, May 9, 2016

05/09/16 - Siler City, North Carolina

Wow, what a great week! It began on just an incredible note last Monday night. Elder Allred and I had an appointment fall through so we decided to involve the Lord through prayer and ask where He needed us. Immediately after, a name of a less active came into my head! So we went to visit them. As we knocked on their door, we discovered they weren't home! But I felt strongly that we need to tract that street. As we did so, we found 3 new investigators! In an hour! One of these in particular was very special. His name is Belzain and he expressed his desire to find the truth. He agrees that there should only be one true church. He was excited to read the Book of Mormon and even asked how he can become a Mormon! It was awesome. But it just goes to show you that when we involve the Lord in what we are doing (missionary work or not), He will provide for us! This week we also visited a woman by the name of Clara. She really wants to find the truth and has been studying with many different religions to find it. And she has been reading the Book of Mormon! Excited for her. And she kissed us! Both on the hand and on the cheek! Haha she's like 76 years old.. So for Cinco de Mayo, Elder Allred and I went to a Hispanic store and I bought a huge pack of a candy that I love called Pelon Pelo Rico to celebrate!! Yummy stuff. But I'm sad to report, that a few nights ago we went to eat at a members home and I had my first not so yummy Hispanic meal of the mission! They fed us some kind of fish from Mexico that I've never heard of before and it was hard to get down.. But I am so grateful they were willing to make us food!! We tracted into an interesting man earlier that day. He said he was baptized in our church but didn't seem to be a member any longer.. He served a mission in Honduras, but had some very confused perceptions of the church. We think he might be excommunicated.. It was actually kind of a scary feeling there! We found a less active this week that is a great grandson of John Taylor, the Prophet! We sat down and helped him and his wife clear up some misconceptions their family has had for many years. It was a good visit! But by far my favorite lesson this week was with Maribel. We have been teaching her for a few weeks, but never seem to be on the same page. She is Hispanic but speaks very good English. Well last time we went over, I felt like we needed to start teaching her in Spanish as it is her native tongue. And once we made the transition, we started connecting so well! We finally got to the root of some of her problems and helped her through them. She said she only has one bible, but has been reading the Book of Mormon. She even did some research and watched a video about Joseph Smith! She wants to know if it's true or not. As we were closing the lesson, I felt a prompting to offer her a priesthood blessing for an upcoming surgery on her knee. We offered, and she accepted! It just so happened to be my first blessing in Spanish! It was powerful. Following the blessing, she was in tears. Her eyes were wide open and she explained how she felt a new feeling inside of her. We helped her to recognize it as the Holy Ghost. She said it made her feel  "nervous" and as I stood there wondering why she used that specific word to describe it, I was overcome with the same feeling! I felt a feeling I have never had before from the Holy Ghost. It was exactly as she had described it, it was more of an anxious feel. It was like goosebumps! I have only ever felt the Spirit as peaceful feelings of comfort, but the Lord blessed me to feel it in a different way so that I could connect with our investigator. Very special tender mercy. She broke down and told us she has been wanting to make changes in her life and come closer to Christ and we assured her that that is exactly why we were there. To help her know what changes she needs to make! A powerful night. And of course as everyone knows, yesterday was Mother's Day! And I got to Skype mine!!! Woohoo!! It was the best. I have the most beautiful, kindhearted mother in the world. It was fun to be able to talk to my family and joke with them like old times. It really gave me an added boost of motivation to work harder on this mission and do all the Lord needs me to do. Thank you to my family for our wonderful Skype call last night, and thank you for all you said to strengthen me. I love my family so much! By request of my Dad, I am attaching my Mother's day present to my Mother: a poem I wrote. It was a very special week and I am excited to have another great one! I love you all and hope you are coming closer to Christ more and more each day!

Getting hit on by 76 year old women,
Elder Shearer

"My Search For a Savior"

Jenifer Ann Halliday Shearer,
I wrote you a poem
just like every year.
But this one is special,
you've been on my mind.
And I've so much to tell you
with so little time.
There are countless devotions
to thee I could pay.
Of thy beauty, thy humor,
thy endless good ways.
But something has struck me,
oh Mother divine.
On my search for a savior,
in thee I've found mine.
How you carry and lift,
inspire and teach.
Support me with comfort,
supply me with peace.
Your hands, like the Master,
have calmed many storms.
When you notice a burden,
it soon becomes yours.
A child, you bore me.
And bear with me still.
Your undying love
back at thee, I feel.
Purer than gold
is how you described it.
But i'd say it's rarer:
purer than diamonds.
Happy Mother's Day Mom,
I love you and miss you.
Daily I wish I could
hug you and kiss you.
I thank and adore you
for all that you are,
for all you have given
to get me this far.
How proudly I beam 
as I speak without end,
of my mother and savior,
deliverer and friend.


Monday, May 2, 2016

05/02/16 - Siler City, North Carolina

Hola amigos!! Quick update on Adventure Landing, I slayed it. It was actually really fun as a zone! Around 30 missionaries in the dark with guns, what more could you ask for? Transfers were last Tuesday! Elder Niko had a meeting early in the morning due to his being called as a trainer, so I went with him and assembled the new missionaries bikes! What a task.. It was super cool as a matter of fact, I got to see a ton of missionary friends! Crazy how fast time flies. But now, the moment you've all been waiting for, my new companion... is.... Elder Allred! He is from Thatcher Arizona and just got done being trained. So I will be follow-up training him! Excited stuff! I am finally the senior companion! Mwahahaha! This week I learned something that changed my life. We were out with a member and he took us to McDonald's. As we approached the window, he yells out "How 'bout a preacher's discount?" And it worked! They took ten percent off of the meal. Yep, true story. I guess we get preacher discounts at fast food places! Ha! Cool story time. We visited one of our investigators by the name of Maribel this week and she told us that she had had a dream wherein she was in a building full of people laughing and screaming! She said it was very dark and dismal. She felt miserable and wanted to get out of there. We were able to teach her about Lehi's dream and tell her that she needs to read the Book of Mormon to hold fast onto the iron rod and get to the tree of life! It was super neat! The assistants called us this week and schedulde an exchange with us for May 12th! I'll be with Elder Chandler in Siler City!! Elder Allred and I have been on our bikes the majority of this past week due to the fact that it was the end of the month and we were out of miles. So we have been biking almost 15 miles every day, which for me is a ton. Well anyways, one day we were trying to find a less active and without my GPS, we were riding pretty blind. We relied mostly on the Spirit to help us know where to turn. Well, we didn't end up anywhere near the less active. BUT! We ended up finding ourselves at a members home. Right as we got there (they're Hispanic by the way), one of their English speaking neighbors pulls up in a car and demands to speak to Trinidad (a recent convert of about 68 years of age)! Turns out he actually needed some service done on his roof and we were there just in time to help him so he didn't have to do it alone. The family was immensely grateful for our help and couldn't stop talking about what a miracle it was that we showed up! I love being an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Nothing in the world brings me more satisfaction than that!!! Also, because my family was in Disneyland this past week, I decided to get in on the Disney action and do a little chimney sweeping. ;) We had another Hispanic family home evening on Friday at our church and it was amazing! A member shared a lesson about the importance of setting goals. It really inspired me to improve. I got new shirts this week! It's getting really hot here in the Carolina of North and my loving family sent me some short sleeve shirts! Freedom!! Last Saturday we had the groundbreaking ceremony for our new church building. Our ward is massive and right now is in a little office space. We can't wait for the new chapel to be built! It was a great ceremony! The town officials were there and felt the Spirit! One of them even asked if they could come to church!! We found a woman this week by the name of Dina. She wasn't very open to our message at all, but asked us if we would pray for her right there and then that she could be healed from her sickness. It hit me that as representatives of Jesus Christ, we are not only here to teach. We are here to minister. Whether that is through teaching or through some other way such as healing, that is our call! This week has been a record one for Siler City. Elder Allred and I have found 7 new investigators! We have had many appointments fall through, but have been diligent in tracting to stay effective. And man has it paid off. We found one investigator in particular that has a real intent to learn the truth! When we shared the first vision with him, he was so mesmerized. He even exclaimed "Wow!" halfway through it! We introduced him to the Book of Mormon and he asked us how much he needed to pay to get one. He very firmly stated that he was going to read it and proceeded to ask us when we were going to come by again to tell him more about it! He asked US for a return appointment! That never happens! I have been so excited watching the work of the Lord come to pass on this mission. This week I have learned many things, but the theme that seems to stand out to me the most is that this is the work of the Lord, not the work of Elder Shearer. It is much greater than me. I am here simply to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. And boy do I want that! I have been hungering and thirsting after it and I feel that this week I have been crazy in tune with the Spirit. I have found myself being more real on the door step, changing my approach each and every time based on the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I have had a fervor and a courage that I have never before felt. It is truly great to be on the Lord's errand! I hope each of you are doing well and are staying strong in the faith! Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there!! There are many of you that have impacted my life. I am beyond excited to get to Skype mine in less than a week!! I love you all. Jesus loves you!!

Anxious to see his beautiful mother's face,
Elder Shearer