What a splendid week we had here in the Wilmington! It started off on a great note as we got a "preacher's discount" while getting lunch last Monday! It was 10% off! We had a zone activity here in Wilmington and had a great time playing chair soccer and volleyball. Some of us also played candyland! Good times, good times.. Later that night, I gave Elder Nadauld a cut of hair! Tuesday, we did accounting with the zone as per usual and afterwards had interviews with President and Sister James! They went very well. I just love them both! Upon seeing us, President said "Elder Shearer, I see that you wore your general authority suit today. Looking very good." Haha he's really got a sense of humor! My interview with President was again very spiritual. Great memories made! We went on exchanges with the other Wilmington Elders after our interviews and I was with Elder Peseta. It was such a great time! I love that Elder. He is Polynesian and we were having a great time talking about his culture. I learned a thing or two from Elder Niko... ;) I gave him and I both haircuts that night! The following day we went on another exchange with the Leland Elders! I was with Elder Arveseth. He is a very strong missionary! We had a great time out in Leland teaching a Book of Mormon class and knocking the doors. We ate some dinner back in Wilmington that night with an investigator and it went well! He told us he is very interested in the church! Another highlight of that day was getting a package from my boy, Elder Summers! It ended up being a beautiful tie!! Thursday was a full day as we had zone conference out in Fayetteville! We had to wake up at 4:30 to make it out there in time. But it was very enjoyable. It was a Christmas conference! After lunch, we had a talent portion and heard many amazing songs performed. From the harp, to the ukulele, to the organ, to the piano, to singing, many of our missionaries are very talented! I performed a song entitled "Don't Let Go" from Gentri. They put me at the very end of the program! I think it went well.. I hope so anyways. All I know is that God definitely helped me get through it! We taught the Congolese after getting back and finished up the lessons with Johnny to get him ready for his baptism. I asked him who he wanted to baptize and confirm him and he said "Even you! The person speaking!" Haha I was speechless! But then said yes. :) Friday, we spent most of the day getting ready for the baptism. Made the program, cleaned the font, got some videos ready to show, things like that. We also found a lizard in my bathroom! It ran under the sink and we lost it, but the next day we found it in our bedroom! We caught it, named him Larry, and made a home for it. It didn't like it very much though, so we let him free.. Sad day. We also had a bike stolen that day! Elder Hutchings got a bike stolen last Sunday and within a week, his replacement bike got stolen too! We went out looking for it, but couldn't find it anywhere.. Saturday morning we woke up and found a text on our phone from Johnny. He told us that he had hurt his foot the day before playing soccer and that he wasn't able to walk on it. It was crazy because Friday while getting everything ready for the baptism, I got a feeling that something bad was going to happen! I didn't think anything of it though and just brushed it off. Johnny told us that his roommate was telling him he couldn't get baptized anymore because of how bad his foot was, but Johnny told him that it was not going to stop him. He told him that he would do whatever it took to be baptized that day! He said that he would even learn to walk again on a broken foot if he had to. We told him to come to the church as quickly as possible and once there, we gave him a Priesthood blessing. He said to us "My beautiful day! I cannot believe this happened to my beautiful day." But we watched some church videos with him to bring the Spirit and help his faith grow while we got everything set up for the baptism. It was beautiful. The program went perfectly and I was able to perform the baptism in Swahili! After he came out of the water, he gave me the biggest hug. I helped Johnny hobble down into the font and helped him get to and from his chair. It was truly something I will never forget! Later that afternoon we got a text from the other Elders telling us that they had found the stolen bike! We went to inspect it and upon determining that it was the stolen bike, we called the police. So we waited. And we waited. We then waited some more and after 3 hours of waiting, decided that we were not going to be doing any more waiting. So we locked the bike up with a few of our U-locks, left a note saying "Next time, don't steal God's bike. He'll find it. Merry Christmas!" and went to a Christmas Eve party. We got there just in time to watch the Congolese children reenact the nativity scene! They then sang us a few African songs to express their gratitude and it was a beautiful sight to see. We were in tears. They even got up and started dancing too! We had the other Elders spend the night with us and I gave one of them a haircut! We drank some hot chocolate afterwards and watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas as we fell asleep! We woke up the next morning to Christmas!! It was a very warm Christmas, with it only being 70 degrees! We opened all of our presents, one missionary at a time, and had a blast! My family is incredible. They sent me many beautiful ties and some incredible watches! Church was just glorious. We had a combined Sacrament meeting with the other wards and Johnny was confirmed / received the Holy Ghost! What a great Christmas present! I as well performed the confirmation in Swahili! The Lord really blessed me to learn it. A random less active Hispanic walked in so I translated the meeting for him! We are going to meet and have a lesson tomorrow morning! We were able to visit a man in need after church to give him a blessing and it was definitely a highlight of the day for me. The best way to spend Christmas, visiting the afflicted! We went to the Arne's house afterwards and that is where we skyped our families! Elder Nadauld went first and then I followed! It was so great. I love my family!! They are such beautiful people!! We shared many laughs, a few tears, and some great stories. :) We ate dinner with the Arne's after and had some sweet potato casserole! The best Christmas dinner I could ask for! All in all, I'd say we had a pretty good week. :) I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you the best with the New Year!! Know of my love for each of you!
Bringing souls unto Christ this Christmas season,