Monday, July 4, 2016

07/04/16 - Raleigh, North Carolina

Why hello there again! Back so soon? Here's a little update on this week in Raleigh. We began last week by playing tennis in the blazing heat and almost dying! But we still had fun, and that's what matters, right? Elder Rolph and I went tracting many times this week and had many different miracles come to pass. The first began when we found a very nice woman from Iran by the name of Shiva! She was not allowed to believe in Christ over there, but secretly loved the idea! She is now really wanting to learn more and is very ready to hear the message of the Restoration. So we gave her to the English Sisters in our area (she doesn't speak Spanish) and they said that she is already progressing so well! Tuesday morning I had my first Zone Council! For anyone that doesn't know what that is, it is when all of the District Leaders, the Sister Training Leaders, and the Zone Leaders of the zone get together to talk about the progress of the work on a very personal and intimate level. I loved it! It quickly became my favorite meeting. I loved being able to talk about the real needs of the missionaries as people instead of just as numbers. Very spiritually powerful meeting. The following day I had my second District Meeting as District Leader! It went so splendidly. I instructed on the importance of using members and how to effectively do so. I even shaved my face as part of the instruction! I related shaving to going on an exchange with a member. We have to prepare for the exchange by telling our investigators we are going to bring a member and picking the right member (lathering up the face and picking the right "tool"). We then have to actually use our members in the lesson by asking them guiding questions (we have to follow through and actually shave as we guide the razor with our hands)! And then we have to "clean-up" by making the member feel great about the lesson (cleaning our faces and razors off). We must clean their consciences by giving them positive feedback! It was a very fun District Meeting. We went to Cookout for lunch and got watermelon milkshakes!! So delicious! Later that night we had our first kick off show of the Ahuna Ohana. To explain, there is a family from Hawaii that has come to perform a numerous amount of free shows all throughout the mission that we can bring investigators to! The first one was done at the mission home which I found out is actually in my current area! It was awesome. They sang many native songs and did many impressive dances. They even ended it off with a fire knife dance! The man that was performing came close to the crowd and starting shaking people's hands holding the fire knife in his other hand. When he approached me, he grabbed the fire with his hand and started his hand on fire! He then reached out his hand and as I shook it, the fire disappeared. He put the fire to his tongue next and had fire in his mouth! He extended the fire knife out and I stuck my tongue out ready to try it, but sadly he pulled it away before I could.. A very impressive show though! President came up to me afterwards and thanked me for my service and for my infectious personality. He thanked me for being happy and positive all the time! It was a great night. The next day Elder Rolph and I went tracted again and as we did so, we were both lead over to a specific apartment and found a family of 3! We asked who they know that could use a message of Christ and they all pointed to their dad, Helario. He told us that he just found out that he is very ill. We shared a powerful scripture in the Book of Mormon about the purpose of trials and they loved it so much, they took a picture of it with their phones! We returned two days later with a member and found out that they had actually already taken the lessons back in the Dominican Republic! We asked them if they would be baptized upon knowing the truthfulness of this message, and they told us they already knew it was true! We set very solid baptismal dates with them for the 23rd of this month!! I love working by the Spirit! We visited another family this week that is progressing very well too! The parents names are Jesus and Josefina. At the close of the lesson, Josefina told us that she has health problems and that she sleeps for the majority of most days. She expressed that no one understands that it is a real problem. I told her that I understood completely because my Mom is the same way! It was so neat to be able to relate with her as I offered her a Priesthood blessing. She accepted and we proceeded with it. Upon closing the blessing, she was taken back. Her eyes were wide open and she had this look of understanding on her face. She was beaming as she told us that she felt something. She felt a real sense of peace and love. She said that it was touching her back and comforting her. She began to weep as she told us that she couldn't explain what she was feeling but that she knew it was good and that it was from God. We were able to testify to her of the divinity of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His love. She and her whole family came to church yesterday and had a wonderful time. While at church, we ran into President and Sister James and in their broken Spanish they welcomed our investigators to the house of the Lord. It was very neat to see of their love for this family. Josefina especially had a great time as she was crying through most of the block. In Relief Society, she even signed up to feed the sister missionaries this week! We took our Bishop on an exchange with us to see them later last night and we were able to talk about the blessings that come to the family unit through baptism. We set a family goal for the 23rd of this month and they are so excited to become members of the church. On a slightly less spiritual note, while riding our bikes this week we had some random girls roll down their window and yell at us telling us that we were cute! Haha I love this Spiritual aura. ;) One more super cool tracting story. It was late Saturday night and we had 15 minutes to go tracting before we had to head in. Now some people would think it is pointless and just go straight home, but we went to the Lord in prayer and covenanting with Him that we could receive one new investigator as we gave these 15 minutes to him. As we closed the prayer, we headed in the same direction and walked straight up to a man by the name of Darwin. Darwin recently moved here to the United States about a month ago from Guatemala. He told us that he was taking the lessons from the Elders there but that he had to leave his Book of Mormon when he moved. We gave him a new one and got to know him a little better. He was smiling throughout the entire contact and was so happy we found him. As we walked away I looked down at my watch to see that it had been exactly 15 minutes!!! I am so grateful to the Lord for letting me be an instrument in His hands! I testify that this is His work and that He guides it. In my area this week we taught 17 lessons and as a district we taught 71. Those are both record-breaking numbers!! But what makes me even happier is to think that 71 people were taught about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the Lord and I love this work. I have never been happier in my life than I am now. Happy fourth of July everyone, I hope you enjoy the holiday and make the most of this time with your families. My love is ever with you.

Shaving my face in front of my district,

Elder Shearer

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