Monday, December 5, 2016

12/05/16 - Wilmington, North Carolina

What a fantastical week!!! SO many stories (I know I say that every week...) Last Monday for our preparation day, we went to Downtown Wilmington and walked around. It is such a beautiful city! While taking our stroll, an alley caught my attention. I stopped and looked at it for a minute trying to figure out why it seemed so familiar to me. And then the realization came. I had seen this alleyway before. A long time ago in a dream! I'm not sure how many of you know this story, but 3 months before receiving my mission call I dreamed I had been called to serve in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was an extremely vivid dream wherein I saw a few specific locations. The morning after the dream I thought nothing of it and simply forgot about it. 3 months later as I opened my mission call and read that I had in fact been called to serve in Raleigh North Carolina, the dream returned to my mind and I remembered those very detailed scenes. One of them in specific was an alleyway. My whole mission I have been looking for that alley and last Monday, I found it. I share this very personal experience because I want you all to know that God does indeed have a plan for each one of us. He knows us and He knows where we need to be. Even and especially in those times when we don't recognize it. I invite each of you to pray to God and ask for a confirmation that He has placed you where you stand. I know that answer will come. Elder Nadauld later told me that he in fact had dreamed a few weeks before my arrival that I would be coming down here to be his next companion! The Lord works in mysterious ways.. Later that night we taught a woman by the name of Sharon. She is very friendly and just loves hearing the message! It is such a delight to teach her. The following day, I had my first zone training as a zone leader! Wow, it was a laughable train-wreck haha! None of the technology in the church would support our slideshow, we somehow tragically lost our zone's monthly totals making it very difficult to account, we left a bunch of papers at home, we ended late, and to top it off, a hobo walked in halfway through Elder Nadauld's and my instruction! Hahaha it was great. We instructed on the new Christmas initiative and it actually went pretty well. Other than the hobo part... But he was nice! Too bad he didn't want to role play with us.. That night while tracting, we found 2 new investigators! We also taught the Ramirez family and had the privilege of giving the mother a Priesthood blessing. The Spirit was strong and one of our investigators, Alfredo, was in tears by the end. He is reading the Book of Mormon and has committed to baptism. Wednesday was a day full of adventures. We went on a blitz with the Elders down in Shallotte, but on our way there, we took a ferry! It was awesome!! Down by Fort Fisher! The blitz went very well. I interviewed on of their baptismal dates, and she is probably the most prepared person I have ever interviewed! We had a great night as we were yelled at by a man on a tractor to get off his property, as we almost drove out of the mission and state of North Carolina, and as we met/found a member that really needed a visit. She texted a picture of us home and my Dad replied in Swahili! It was awesome. Nakupenda pia baba! Thursday morning while studying I learned something neat about charity. According to Moroni 7:45, charity encompasses so many other attributes of Christ! 11 to be exact: Kindness, patience, humility, gratitude, service, temperance, virtue, strength, faith, hope/optimism, and obedience! No wonder charity is so important! We taught our family from Congo that afternoon and just had a blast. They have so many good questions! We taught the Plan of Salvation and their faces just lit up they were so excited. They fell in love with the plan and now know they need to be baptized! We received a referral via text that we had already tried contacting many times before without success. But after getting it again, we thought it was worth another shot. We finally found Brandy home. She already accepts the Book of Mormon; so elect! Also, Thursday was my favorite sister's birthday!! Happy Birthday Maddy!!! I hope you loved it! Friday morning I did a crazy fat burning exercise for workouts and almost threw up it was so tough! We weekly planned, and then had to run to Walmart because we ran out of water in the apartment. As we went to pay for it, a man with a smile bigger than the world ran up to us and insisted on paying for it. He is a member in our ward. So that was a huge tender mercy! And on our way out, we decided to go to a burger place connected to Walmart because we didn't have a dinner that night. Well as we were paying for our meal, a different member from Hampstead came up and insisted on paying for that too! It was a night full of miracles! Both my first and second time I've ever had a member run up to me and pay for my stuff. And both in the same day! We ended our night by visiting a man named Mike. As we knocked on his door, he very hesitantly answered it and we saw a gun on his table! Once he recognized it was us, he put it away and apologized, but it was crazy! We re-passed the Restoration with him and he loved it! He believes the Book of Mormon to be one of the lost books of the Bible haha! He's great. Saturday was also very busy. We went to teach a woman named Gris, but upon not finding her home, we decided to knock her neighborhood. We found 2 new investigators! Before we left, we decided to try her again. We found her this time and had a powerful lesson on following the Savior. She has such great faith. We ate dinner with some members afterwards and they gave us a referral! We contacted them and found a whole family! In Spanish!! What a blessing. We then visited Domatilo, one of our investigators. He is one of the most elect Hispanics I have ever known!! He told us he just feels good when we come over, loves the Book of Mormon and is going to read it cover to cover, was very excited to offer the closing prayer, wants to help other people learn about this church, understands and accepts the need for the Priesthood, was apologizing for not giving all the right answers, thanked us at least a million times for coming to see him, and accepted a baptismal date!! It was awesome!!! I walked out of there on cloud 9. Sunday was an absolutely beauteous day. We had 5 of the Congolese come to church and they were grinning from ear to ear! In our YSA branch, on of our members with cerebral palsy got up to bear his testimony. It hit me so powerfully that before I knew it, I found myself walking up to the pulpit myself. I bore my testimony and upon returning to my seat, I received a strong confirmation of the truthfulness of the things I had just said. A testimony is truly found in the bearing of it. We went to the break the fast after church and ate some delicious food! We actually taught the Congolese again after dinner and decided to re-pass the Restoration. They again had so many questions! We did our best to answer each and every one until our time ran out. Some of them seemed to be getting very confused as the truths we taught heavily contradicted their life-long beliefs. But with our hearts full of prayers and faith, we kept teaching. As simply as I have ever taught in my mission. We eventually came to a close and had a prayer. As we said goodbye and were about to head out the door, 3 of the men came up to us and told us they would be baptized on the 24th of this month. Their names are Johnny, Gaston, and Elias. We were so excited!!! We knew the Spirit had been testifying to somebody in that room. We left and went to watch the Christmas Devotional in a member's home. It was wonderful! I loved every minute of it. As the night came to a close and as we drove home, we noticed something. We were almost out of gas! Our car reads to us how many more miles we have until empty and the number was going down way too fast! Before we knew it, it reached 0. We still had 5 miles to go! We passed gas station after gas station, but were determined to keep the commandments of God and not break the Sabbath Day! So we kept driving. And driving. And driving! Each stoplight we approached miraculously turned green! We finally rolled into our parking lot with the car sputtering to a stop. We had done it! I am a firm believer that faith gas is a real thing, folks! It was a wonderful day, and a wonderful week! I LOVE serving the Lord!!!

With his testimony growing more and more each day,
Elder Shearer

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