Monday, October 10, 2016

10/10/16 - Raleigh, North Carolina

I thought last week went by quickly... ha! Haha! This was probably the busiest week of my entire mission. From meetings to service opportunities to setting baptismal dates, we did it all! Last Monday we had a special tennis invitational match for the mission that we call the "Dennis Open", due to our mission president's name being Dennis. It was very fun! Missionaries from all around the mission got special texts from President to come and play in it and then we all met together. There were about 20 of us there. I was actually doing really well and progressing into the finals quickly until I pulled a leg muscle! I didn't stretch beforehand and after trying to full sprint to catch a dropped slice, it ripped. I felt the immediate pain and fell over. It was pretty bad. Definitely the worst muscle pain I have ever experienced. Still feeling it actually! It was still an incredibly fun day though!! When President saw me there he said "You play tennis too?? What can't you do Elder Shearer?" But then I went and broke my leg so it kept my humility pretty balanced out.. That night we went tracting and we found an Arabic man! He couldn't understand what we were saying and we couldn't understand him either so he pulled out his phone and we spoke to each other through Google translate!! It was super neat. We were having zone conference the next day so a few Elders came over that night and I cut both of their hair. I woke up at 4 the next morning so that another Elder could drive down to us for a haircut too before the meeting! We drove to Fayetteville for the conference and had a smashing time. Many great instructions given and we then competed as zones in some field games. On our way home, we stopped by a famous ice cream store called "Sunni Skies". It has been on TV numerous times and they have over 130 flavors!! I got cake batter with brownie batter and crumb cake. I almost died!! Speaking of almost dying, one of our zone leaders signed a waiver so that he could try one of their special flavors. It is called "cold sweat". After signing his life away, he took a big spoonful of it and had a really hard time getting it down. He then asked to their other flavor which is even hotter!! It is called "exit wound". The workers told us that people have gone into serious convulsions after having eaten it. He signed another waiver and went to it! Well, let's just say that the rest of the story is not something you want to hear, so I won't tell it! The next day we had our zone council which is a meeting for all of the leaders in the zone. My suits were in the dry cleaners so I had to wear a green blazer haha.. We planned out a few of our meeting topics for the next month and gathered all of the supplies from the zone. We sorted them all out, counted them, and redistributed them! It took most of the day.. We did have a great night though as we went out and taught boldly about baptism!! The next day we did some service for our mission office. We went with a senior couple and helped them open a new apartment in Wake Forest. Moved their beds and desks and everything in to get it ready! Looking very nice. During some tracting that night, we found an investigator by the name of Maria. While sharing the first vision with her on her doorstep, a car pulled up behind us and illuminated the scene! It came right as I said the words "I saw a pillar of light". The wind blew slightly and I got the chills! The night was dark and dreary and as a diamond displayed on black velvet appears more brilliant, so the beauty of the Restoration stood in striking contrast against such a dismal scene. It was a powerful lesson and we bore fervent testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ and of His restored church. Maria accepted our invitation to read and pray and we hope to see her again tonight. The next day we did our deep cleaning! I interior detailed our car and it felt good to do that again! Our house looks and feels clean and I love it!! We went out to work after we did our chores and were truly made instruments in the hands of the Lord. We first taught in investigator by the name of Ina that we have not seen in a while. We asked her what she thought our purpose was for coming over and testified to her that we were there to invite her to come unto Christ. We read in 2 Nephi 31 about only being able to follow Him as we keep His commandments. One of those being baptism. We taught with power and authority and she accepted not only baptism, but a baptismal date! We are excited to continue to work with her. We then taught a family we have been trying to teach for quite some time. They let us right in and we had happened to knock on their door when all of them were home! We sat down and shared the message of the Restoration. We set expectations and they committed to read the Book of Mormon, as a family, and pray to know its truth, as a family. We had a kneeling prayer with them and the daughter offered it. We thanked them for their time and went on our way. As we were walking to the car, an instruction from President James came to mind that he had recently given in zone conference. He instructed us to warn our investigators of the fiery darts of the adversary. To warn them of anti material. With faith, we turned around and knocked the door again. They curiously opened the door to us again and I let them know that I felt I needed to advise them of something. I testified to them what we had felt the Spirit of God that night. That they had felt it. That they were feeling it even as I spoke to them. I invited them and pleaded with them to heed the promptings of the Spirit in their journey of knowledge. Their eyes were each wide open and listening intently. The Spirit was there in great quantity. We all felt it. We again thanked them for their time and turned back towards our car. The next day we had many appointments fall through, but many positive remarks made between Elder Summers and I. As the night came to a close, we attempted to visit a less active. A different woman opened the door, also a member. She invited us in and we sat down to visit with her. She opened up immediately and burst into tears. She let us know of her separation from her husband about a year ago after 23 years of marriage. She is trying to get a divorce with him because he has thrown his life away to drugs and alcohol. Her 5 year old daughter is mixed up in all of it as well and she said she has lost custody to her due to the wealth and power of this man's family. Her husband refuses to divorce her and is hoping she will run back to him. She was broken. We sat there and simply listened. I did not know what to say. This woman was being torn apart. I wept with her. I felt her pain. Not knowing what it was that God would have me share, I opened the Book of Mormon. With a prayer in my heart, I began to thumb through it's pages. I read to her the promise of the Lord that though the mountains and the earth shall pass away, the covenant of His peace shall not pass away (3 Nephi 22:11). We spoke of the peace of the Lord for a bit and we testified to her that though God cannot take away our trials, He can take away our pains. She seemed to be lifted. We closed our message in the name of Christ and went on our way. Writing this now to you, I learn a great lesson. There are times in our lives when God puts people in our path. We had plans to visit a less active member. Yet an active member whom we thought was doing well, needed our message. It is my hope and prayer that as we are about accomplishing our day to day work, that we do not forget the work of the Lord. That is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. Let us not be so consumed in our own needs, that we blind ourselves to an opportunity to serve someone else. I testify that there are people out there that need you. People you pass in the hall, order your food from, work alongside with. All of us are God's children and He needs you to accomplish His great work! And as we lose ourselves, we will find ourselves. Not the same as we left ourselves to be, but as new creatures in Christ. As the disciples our Maker has helped us become. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. That night we got transfer news! We learned that... nothing is changing! Elder Summers and I will stay together again for another transfer! Whoo!!! This will make it 6 months for me in Raleigh. I am very excited to keep learning from the great example of my companion and son. As some of you probably know, we experience a hurricane this weekend. Much of the electricity was lost, there were great rain storms, some flooding, and great speeds of winds. We thankfully stayed safe, but only had one hour of church on Sunday, Sacrament Meeting. We all got together afterwards and did some service! Went with some Machetes and chain saws to chop down some fallen trees! We ended the week by having a baptism last night! The sisters in our ward baptized two little girls by the ages of 9, 10. They invited me to baptize them and it was a great privilege. I loved this week!!! I love the Lord, my God!! Thanks for tuning in again, I wish all of you the greatest of weeks! Thanks for your love and support!!

Working on his machete skills,
Elder Cortador

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