Monday, July 25, 2016

07/25/16 - Raleigh, North Carolina

Top of the morning to all of you beautiful people! I hope that you all had a great pioneer day yesterday! Last Saturday was my 10 month mark and I cannot believe it! Double digits.. It is seriously flying by so quickly. We had a good preparation day on Monday eating a lot of food and saying goodbye to members for the other missionaries that left. On Tuesday we had the training meeting for all of the trainers and their trainees. It went very well! I was asked to play the piano for it and as I was playing prelude music, President said to everyone "Does anyone know of something Elder Shearer can't do?" But the meeting was really great. We met our trainees and let me just say that I easily got the best one! Elder Summers is such a winner. I am pretty sure he was called to train me. I am learning so many things! We have a super young district now. We have four companionships with one of them being the zone leaders and the other three being us trainers and our trainees. Tuesday night Elder Summers extended his first baptismal date and we set a date for the end of August with Ina! We also played some soccer with some random Hispanics that we found playing. Super fun! We visited one of our investigators by the name of Ramon on Wednesday night and it was a very sad lesson. We have been teaching for quite a few weeks and he even came to church once! He told us in our lesson that our church lacks power. All we could do was testify to him of the truthfulness and Priesthood power of this church. The Spirit kindly reminded me that we are called to teach the elect. We are not there to convince people of the truth. Very sad night, but we must have downs to have ups! And boy oh boy did we have many ups this week. We have been meeting a lot of the families that the other Elders were teaching in their area and they are soo nice! I cannot wait to continue to teach them, they are so ready to be baptized. Elder Summers and I had a really good tracting story this week. We had covenanted that we would find a new investigator and just as our time was almost up, we knocked on one last door and we met a man named Hilberto. After speaking with him for a few moments about the purpose of our message, he let us inside and we began to teach the message of the restoration. The Spirit was SO strong! Hilberto began to cry and as I asked him if he would like to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet, in the most humblest of voices he said "Yes. I really would." I am so excited for him to learn more about this message as he reads the Book of Mormon and prays to know! We have had quite a miracle this week. Our investigator by name of Josefina and her son Ronny are getting baptized on Saturday! They have both asked that I baptize them and I am beyond excited for it. It will be such a sacred day for them as they make these covenants with the Lord. Josefina has the strongest testimony I have ever heard an investigator have. She has told us that this is the church. That it is her church. That she will defend it until the end. She even invited her friend to one of the lessons this past week and was bearing testimony to her the entire time of the church. It was so powerful! She told her friend that I was very special and that I was an angel sent to her. It almost made me cry! She shared that every time we leave her house at the end of the lesson, something leaves. She said there is a noticeable change. The peace slowly fades, the lights grow dimmer. She is so aware of the Spirit and I love it!! We visited her a few nights ago and found her husband, one of her sons, and a few other guys drinking outside with some loud music playing. She quickly ran out very embarrassed and began to apologize. She told us not to change any plans and informed us that she was going to make it on Saturday. She told us that Satan has been really attacking hard but that she is not going to let him win. The joy I feel when I speak with her is indescribable! Just an incredible woman. We were blessed to beat a few records this week having 6 investigators at church on Sunday and teaching 23 total lessons. This area is on fire! We are working so very hard. I just love to think about all of the people were are meeting and hopefully helping. The Lord is truly working through us. I can't take credit for any bit of this success, it is all thanks to Him. He has blessed me with this great area, these elect investigators, and this prepared missionary as my companion. Elder Summer is so strong. He is such a hard worker and always ready to go out and do the work! He let me know in our companionship inventory that he feels very loved, supported, and confident with me as his companion and that was a huge answer to my prayer. I have been praying and continue to pray everyday for his success. For him to feel loved. I want him to have the best mission in the entire world because this truly is the best mission in the world! I couldn't have been more blessed to go anywhere else. I am grateful for my call and love what I do everyday! I have never been happier!!! I love you all and promise you that the love of the Lord is real! Have a blessed week y'all!!

Filling the font,
Elder Shearer

Monday, July 18, 2016

07/18/16 - Raleigh, North Carolina

So many changes, it's going to get crazy here in Raleigh!!! But first, the week's update. It's been a beautiful one. Last Monday we had a multi-zone activity at Adventure Landing and I played a few games of mini golf with the assistants. I didn't do too well. But we also played laser tag and I did a little better there! We have been teaching so many people lately. We have almost 40 investigators. Hard to believe it! Here are a few highlights of our lessons this week. We stopped by a man named Helario that we gave a blessing to. He is the one we found a few weeks ago with the cancer. Well like I said, we gave him a Priesthood blessing and he is doing much better! He tells us every time that he feels loads better and he even told us that our visits are improving his health! Such great faith. We also have been teaching an investigator by the name of Ina and she is elect beyond the bees knees!! She told us that the day we found her she had been praying extra hard that God would send someone to her to help her be happier and stronger. And then we knocked on her door! It was even in the eleventh hour and the last door for us. It's always the last door! She has been just incredible. We have taught her about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. She understands it all so well and even agrees with it! She has had many questions about many things that we are able to answer! It is all just clicking in her head and it is so precious to be able to watch it happen. She has even been sharing some of the things we have been teaching her with her friends! We taught Jesus and Josefina this week about temples. The have set it as a family goal to go and be sealed there. Josefina loves to remind us of how she felt when we gave her a blessing a few weeks ago. It is so good that she never forgets! She also let us know that her health has miraculously improved. She used to have much pain in her neck and wasn't able to sleep, but as we gave her the blessing in the moment that we took our hands off of her head, she says that she felt the pain and tension releasing too. She hasn't had any problems since! I love the power of the Priesthood! We had a great district meeting this week. I instructed on the process of conversion and related it to the analogy given by Elder Bednar in one of his conference addresses. He taught us that we must first prepare and clean ourselves. This is done through the atonement of Jesus Christ. We then must submerse and saturate ourselves in the His gospel and love. This cannot be done by simply sprinkling ourselves with His teachings and His word. We must fully let Him change us as we give our all and become fully encompassed. The third step is that we must then become purified and sealed up to our Father in Heaven. This part is done through the boiling process. Through trial, heat, and pressure. We must not back out when it gets difficult, but rather we must stay faithful to the end and become the pickle! One of our members has these virtual reality goggles (I guess that's a thing now??) and we put them on! We didn't play any games or anything, we just looked at the interface. I was outside in the galaxy and everywhere I turned my head, I could see around me! It was incredible. It literally changed the way my brain functions.. So cool. We had deep cleaning this week and we scoured everything! Our apartment looks so good. And we rearranged our desks so it looks really nice. Excited to keep it organized. Alright, time for the crazy experience of the week. Friday night. It all started when Elder Rolph and had one of our appointments fall through. We said a prayer that we would be able to know where the Lord wanted us to go and I got a strong feeling that there was someone waiting for us. A recent convert came into mind fairly quickly so we biked over to him. Sad to report, he was not there! So we said another prayer. After the prayer however, everything had changed. We didn't have the feeling anymore that there was someone we needed to see and it was raining very heavily. We only had 15 more minutes left until 9 so we decided to head back to the apartment. That's when it all went down. As I was riding through the heavy rain down a long stretch of road, a man appeared out of nowhere. He was dressed in all black and had a bright red umbrella leaning on his shoulder. As I got closer I asked him how he was doing and all I got in reply was a menacing smile with a creepy deep, evil laugh. He had very dark skin. So dark in fact that I couldn't even see his face. Immediately after passing him, I had a dark, heavy spirit come over me. I'm pretty sure I had seen Satan. I felt very unsafe. I kept riding until the next stoplight and as we stood there waiting for the green, I asked Elder Rolph if he felt that something was off too. He informed me that he too had felt something was wrong. The feeling got stronger and stronger and I almost ran the busy red light in an attempt to get away! Eventually we were clear to pass and Elder Rolph and I decided to say another prayer on a back road behind our house to make sure there wasn't someone that needed our help. As Elder Rolph prayed, the worst feeling I have ever had in my life came over me and I instantly knew that someone was watching us. My head bolted up, and in the darkness I tried looking around to find them. I couldn't see anyone so I closed my eyes again. These words then came into my mind. "Something very bad is happening right now and unless you get out, you will be a part of it." I debated ending Elder Rolph's prayer to tell him we needed to get home, but for some reason didn't. As soon as he ended I quickly let him know that we needed to get home instantly and that we needed to sing a hymn until we got there. As I said this, his heart dropped and he too received a confirmation that we needed to leave. He turned around and saw the same man as before, dressed in all black, walking towards us!!! We sped off and thankfully made it home safely. We said a prayer of gratitude and tried planning for the next day, but for some reason, I still had the terrible feeling! We were both very shaken and in a state we've never been in before. He suggested we call the other Elders and immediately Elder Sheely and Elder Manu came into my mind. I grabbed the phone and called them as quick as I could. It was about 9:15 by this time and they were in the car on their way home. We asked if they were safe and let them know that something very bad was going on. In the background I heard Elder Sheely say "We probably shouldn't pull over and help this man on the side of the road then." It hit us really strongly and we told them to get home. They called us and let us know they were safe and we finally felt peaceful. Turns out they had had the same feeling before we even called them! We asked the Hermanas if they were home safe and they told us they had had a bad feeling too! Super crazy night. I'm still not sure what could have happened had we not listened to the Spirit, but I know that those feelings were a warning from God. I have never had such strong feelings of danger in my life and I pray I never have them again. But we are all safe now, so it's a happy ending! The next morning we rode our bikes 12 miles to the church to give the Hermanas blessings for some things they have been going through lately and they were very strong. The Lord truly speaks through us as we give Priesthood blessings, because many things I said I have never even thought of before! I could tell that I was promising specific blessings for specific needs. Such a special experience. As we rode back home, we stopped to get some lunch and a member paid for us! Very nice of them. And then yesterday we found out transfer news! I was in the shower when I got a feeling that President had texted us. After getting out, I walked over to my bed and saw the phone. As I grabbed it I saw that it read "1 new message". I opened it and saw that President had indeed texted. All it said was "Elder Shearer, please give me a call when you can." I returned his call and he asked me if I would train a new missionary. There are 26 new missionaries coming in and only 1 of them is Spanish speaking. I guess I will be training him! I gladly accepted and he expressed his love for me. After getting to church I found out that the other Elders area will be closing and that I will be absorbed it with my trainee! It actually turns out that 5 Elders are leaving our Ward and I am the only one staying. So now I will be district leader, training, and whitewashing this area! Oh my oh my what pressure!! But Elder Niko is coming to be the new zone leader so I will be in the four man with him! I'm super excited. But I will miss Elder Quarcoo, my uncle in the mission, and one of my best friends. He goes home this transfer. But he will start a great life. So that is it! My week! Sorry it's such a long one. If you stayed in tune this far, thanks for reading! I hope you all have a great week. You're in my prayers!!

Pregnant with my first child,
Elder Shearer

Monday, July 11, 2016

07/11/16 - Raleigh, North Carolina

I love the Lord and His love inspired correction! Last Monday we had a very fun preparation day. We went to a mall here in Raleigh that is very very big! We stopped by all of my favorite stores: Aldo, Brooks Brothers, and H&M! It was fun, but I have forgotten how worldly the mall is haha! I will say I wasn't able to enjoy it as much as I thought I would.. We played tennis as a district afterwards and then finished the day with another show of the Ahuna Ohana! We were able to have two big investigating families come and enjoy it together! Upon returning to the apartment, we found a moth in one of our cupboards! Turns out that the Assistants put it in there.. It was scary at first but rest assured, we got it out without any injuries! On our part that is. Tuesday was a day full of opposition and tribulation! Also a day full of smiles and laughs. We biked 23 miles in a heat of over 103 degrees! We biked up and down a highway for a good number of miles trying to find a referral, and ended up going way too far! We took a break and went into a gas station to buy some drinks, and the guy in front of us paid for them! Such a neat tender mercy. Just a humble, older Hispanic man. We gladly thanked him and set back out. We finally found the referral but sadly, they weren't home. So we sped back home to catch an appointment and then went to dinner. Our dinner didn't have a man in the home so we ate outside. In the rain! Haha it was awesome. While biking back from dinner, the rain came down even harder to the point where I couldn't see anything within a foot of me! That's when the lightning came. It got closer and closer, louder and louder. We began counting seconds and we barely made it to one before it flashed behind us! We started thinking about all of the safe things to do while in a lightning storm and realized we were doing them all wrong! Don't be by metal. We were sitting on it! Don't be by trees. Hello! This is North Carolina! Don't be in water. That was inevitable. Don't be near your friends. We're missionaries! A little nervous and sopping wet, we took a deep breath and began to sing "Come, Come, Ye Saints". We happily smiled at all the cars passing by and sang as loud as possible to the tune of this comforting song. The Spirit hit me so strong and I felt completely calm as I remembered that the Lord will take care of me. If I only do His will, He will do the rest. In that moment it didn't matter to me anymore what the outcome was. I was reassured that I would be fine. And so it is with all of us! No matter what storms might be raging in your life, hold on, smile, and trust in the Lord, your God. I promise you He will be there. He will comfort you as He did with me. I loved that day in the rain, I will never forget it! And the next one too. Wednesday! We had a zone training meeting and I was blessed to be able to instruct on the topic of Consecration. We read Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 and talked about what is required of us to give. In Spanish we are instructed that we must give all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength to the Lord. I shared a few conclusions on how to do exactly that. To give him our heart, we must first sanctify it. (Helaman 3:35) We need to become pure hearted and willing to do His will. To give him our soul, we must develop a level of spirituality and let him guide us. (Alma 5:14) We must hunger and thirst after the Spirit to be blessed with it. We must even sweat over it! In order to give him our mind, we must study the doctrine of the kingdom. (D&C 11:21) We can do this by memorizing scriptures and really pondering what it is that we read. And finally to give him our strength, we must ever increase in faith. Faith is the power to do all things. (Moroni 7:33) As we show our faith, the Lord will give us strength. We then knelt as a zone and I bore my testimony of the power of a consecrated missionary. We must ever be on our knees. We must give Him our all. Consecration is a greater path than sacrifice alone. Sacrifice may bring blessings, but consecration brings joy. We were all in tears by the end of it. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for guiding my utterances in that instruction. Later that day we covenanted with the Lord to find another investigator and we found Ina, a Dominican that is very excited to learn about the church. We have only been able to meet with her once, but she has already read two pages of the Book of Mormon! We had a motorcyclist race us after dinner at a light and.... he won. He pulled a wheelie! He was also wearing a Go Pro so if you see some missionaries on YouTube, it's probably us. ;) We finished the night by finding another investigator by the name of Lalo. He is about 58 years old and is such a humble man. He is earnestly seeking for peace in his life. I was overpowered with love for him as he shared with us that he doesn't have any real friends. I put my arm around him and told him that Jesus Christ is his real friend. And that as representatives of Him, we are too. That brought a smile to his face and he said that he knew. We went on exchanges with our zone leaders this week and my favorite part was our tracting experience! Elder Canlas and I had been tracting for about 45 minutes with no luck. It finally came to the point where I asked him if we could offer up a prayer. We covenanted with the Lord to help us find two new investigators, and immediately after the prayer we found two men standing outside. We confidently walked over to them and began to befriend them. They opened up and shared their needs with us. We taught, testified, and invited and had a great lesson. God works mighty miracles when we simply ask for them in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ. We were able to meet up with Josefina and her family again a few days ago! They are doing well and she is really excited to get baptized. She has such a light in her eyes when she talks about the church! We are working with them to get the father on board as well. I have been told three more times this week that I look and sound like I'm from Spain! So I've decided that I am going to talk my Spanish to the next level. I want to become fluent! I am learning phrases from Spain and am determined to keep improving in the language of my call. One more covenanting story from this week! Last night while tracting we covenanted for one new investigator and we found a 16 year old by the name of Jose that is having family issues. We explained how the message of the Book of Mormon can improve family relationships and he was very excited to read it. He was grinning as we gave it to him and seems to have a new sense of hope! I love it when the Lord guides us to those in need! We are finding many investigators and are teaching so many lessons. But we need more baptisms. I am going to strive even harder to baptize God's children so they can progress in their journey back to Him! I know the Lord will help me on the way. I want you each to know how much I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. They are real. Their love is real. I am so happy to be on this mission. It has changed me so greatly. I do not feel that I am the same person I was when I left. I hope I am not. I strive each and every day, to become. There is always something more we can change. May we each hunger and thirst after this mighty change made possible through our Lord and Savior. This is my hope and prayer for us all. I pray you each have a fantastic week full of miracles! I know they exist. I testify that if we simply ask with humble hearts, we may experience them. This is the testimony that is in me, and I share it in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Called to Raleigh (CTR),
Elder Shearer