Monday, December 19, 2016

12/19/16 - Wilmington, North Carolina

Whoo, this week was so full I hardly had any time to sleep! Let us begin with the story telling! Last Monday we went Christmas present shopping for our families in downtown Wilmington and we both found some very cool things!! Haha as we came back to the car, there was a parking violation on the windshield! We were 1 minute late to the meter and they got us! Elder Nadauld was going to take it so we went down to their offices and he tried to appeal it. We'll see what happens! We accounted Tuesday morning with all of our District Leaders and thanks to our new accounting format we made, it went by very smoothly!! Some members picked us up afterwards and took us out to Golden Corral for lunch. That place is delicious here in the south!! Mm, the sweet potato casserole was the best!! Following lunch, we started our three days of back to back to back exchanges! We started by exchanging with the Assistants. I went with Elder Canlas, my former zone leader / roommate in Raleigh! We had fun teaching a lot of Spanish lessons. We even had a Spanish speaking member come out! The member afterwards told us that we were rock-stars, it was a very successful night! During the course of that day, we were asked to give 3 Priesthood blessings at different times. It's such a blessing being able to use God's power to bless His children in their afflictions! We wrapped up our exchange the following morning and drove out to Jacksonville for district meeting. We had a fun time doing many role plays teaching the Plan of Salvation. We then exchanged with some of the Elders up there and I brought Elder Tobler back down to my area. He actually started out his mission here so it was fun for him to be back! We had a great night using the Spirit and witnessing miracles. We taught Johnny, Elias, and Gaston again, our triple threat from the Congo! There are so very strong! We taught about commandments and they loved it! We contacted a less active that night and he invited us right in! We are now teaching his girlfriend! We had a very productive day and after sending in our daily numbers to President James, we received a text back telling us how proud he was of us and the great work that was being done. The following morning we drove back up to Jacksonville and exchanged back with those Elders but immediately after began another exchange with the other Elders up there. Exchange number three! We had fun! I went with Elder Stringfellow and we started by visiting a less active woman. She opened up and told us about the many things that were going on in her life. A scripture came to my mind, so we shared it. She burst into tears and we had a very powerful lesson on her porch. She is now going to read the Book of Mormon every single day after not having read it for years. We went tracting afterwards and set a covenant with the Lord as we did so. It worked, we found a new investigator! That night we drove up to Falls Lake to spend the night with the Assistants. I gave Elder Brezenski a haircut and then we went to bed! Sleep! Just a little though.. We woke up and drove to the Temple for our Temple trip!! I loved it. Even on the car ride there, I began to cry. I cried as we entered the Temple, and again as we changed into our clothes. As we took our seats I broke down and just felt so much peace being in the Lord's house. I've missed it!! I didn't want to leave. I learned many things while there! We had a little devotional with the Temple President afterwards and then we drove the 3 hours back down to Wilmington. We then had our baptismal interview for Johnny. A member of the Mission Presidency drove out to do the interview for us and it went very well!! President Catlett told us that Johnny is going to do great things in the church. Johnny was smiling from ear to ear and he is so excited for his baptism! The following day we had to take our car in to get a state inspection and while we waited, we walked over to the McDonald's to weekly plan. While at the McDonald's, we had a group of three elderly women hit on us!! It was so funny.. So we gave them our number! On the back of a Christmas card haha. We planned, picked our car up, and went to help an investigator move a big cabinet in her living room. It was incredibly heavy, so that was a good workout. And then she fed us chili afterwards! We drove back down to Wilmington for an appointment with the less active and his girlfriend, but on the way decided to pull over and cut down a Christmas tree! While driving, we found a perfect pine just sitting all alone on the side of the busy road. We quickly pulled over and I jumped out with a pocket knife! I went to cut down the tree and before I knew it, I slipped down a mountain! While sliding down the muddy slope, I yelled "Elder!!!" I finally hit the bottom and I could hear my companion laughing. I stood up certain I had fallen a good 50 feet and quickly came to see that I had in fact only fallen about 2. I began to slice it down and it took foreeeeeever. Elder Nadauld said all he could see was the top of the tree swaying from side to side. I finally got it and it gloriously fell on top of me. I sneakily climbed the slippery hill with tree in hand and upon checking for oncoming cars, I flew the door of the car open and stuffed the tree inside. We sped off and went to put the tree in our living room. Our lesson with that less active went really well afterwards! They made us tacos and we talked about the Book of Mormon! She is really interested! Yesterday we had 11 people come to church, all from the Congolese family! I was asked to sing in Sacrament Meeting and it wasn't the greatest.. Last night we taught our three musketeers again, and had to break the news to one of them that he can't get baptized until he comes to church. His job requires him to work every Sunday, so it is tough. He was devastated to hear that he couldn't be baptized this coming Saturday with Johnny. He broke down into tears and told us that he had made a promise to God that he would be baptized on that day. He asked us what he was to do now? Very upset, he covered his face and slept through the lesson while we taught the other two. His father was getting pretty upset too and was not understanding how their agency can stop his son from following God. Their desires are so touching. I felt so disheartened for Gaston, the son! The lesson went pretty well though and I offered the closing prayer in Swahili. Johnny said it was perfect! We are so excited for him to be baptized on Christmas Eve!! He will be confirmed on Christmas Day and will receive the Holy Ghost as his Christmas gift. What a better way to celebrate the holidays than by bringing souls to Christ. Merry Christmas everyone!!

Still picking out the tree slivers in his hands,
Elder Shearer

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