Monday, June 19, 2017

06/19/17 - Raleigh, North Carolina

And we're back! What an incredible week we just had brothers and sisters, easily the best week of my entire mission! :) Last Monday we had a few hours for a preparation day so we decided to drive up to Durham and go touristing! Our first stop was at Dame's Chicken and Waffles. Holy cow, those were the best waffles I have ever eaten! And their chicken was fried to southern perfection! Right outside of Dame's there was a man on the street shining shoes! We walked past him and he told us that he normally charges $20 a pair, but that he would only charge us $10 each. We told him we would pass and he insisted on shining our shoes! Once we told him we were missionaries, he said "Jump right on up! Free for men of the cloth." It was the best 20 minutes ever! We heard about his whole life history and my shoes have never looked better. We promised him some blessings from Heaven for sure! After that adventure, we went over to the Duke campus and we went into one of their libraries. We had the privilege of examining one of the original copies of the Book of Mormon! We read from its pages and held it in our hands. It was a spiritually powerful event that I will never forget. I know that book to be true! We came back to Raleigh and taught Tim at the tennis courts again! He committed to read and pray from the Book of Mormon, we are excited to teach him again this week. We planned a little bit for a meeting the following day and before we knew it, it was time for the meeting! We had a first transfer training meeting on Tuesday when all of the new missionaries still in their first transfer come together and are instructed by President James, Sister James, and us. It was a blast! We hopefully inspired some hope into them and we heard that it had a good impact on them! After the meeting, we visited Rich and watched some more mormon messages with him. He is so strong! We love him!! We then drove down to Fayetteville and spent the night down there in preparation for our zone conference the next morning. The zone conference went perfectly as planned and the missionaries there are on fire! They're actually leading the mission in baptisms! We exchanged with the Fayetteville zone leaders after the meeting and it was a grand old time! I was with Elder Mueller and we enjoyed a few hours of tracting! We woke up nice and early the next morning to drive down to Wilmington. We stopped by Carolina Beach down there and got some Britts Donuts (a legendary donut shop in Wilmington that is only open seasonally). I had never tried it before, but it was hands down the best donut I have ever stuffed into my face! I was then blessed to go on an exchange with Elder Brezenski, my previous companion! We had the best time ever, we tracted for a good while, ate dinner with an old investigator, and visited the Mashinga family (my Congolese family)!! The Mashinga family sang for us and danced and everything, it was marvelous. I was surprised with how much Swahili I still remember too! The Gift of Tongues is real, there is no way I spoke as I did on my own! After our exchange, we all four drove back up to Raleigh and spent the night up here. The Elders left to a temple trip in the morning and my glasses decided to break! Hopefully I will get them fixed tomorrow... Friday was a day full of office work, trying to get ready for the new transfer! We visited Rich again and he is all set for his baptism this Saturday!! We are so excited for him!! The Assistants haven't baptized in over a year! Time to break the drought. Friday night decided to rain super hard and it got so bad that we had to send all the missionaries home to their apartments! There was a pretty big flash flood warning! Saturday was a long day, but a fulfilling one. We spent the entire day from 9 in the morning to 10 at night working on the transfer board. We confirmed all of the changes and then spent quite a few hours updating the electronic files. I also got pretty sick with a cold on Saturday and it has only gotten worse! But it's okay though, the Lord will strengthen me and provide a way. He always does. :) Today was a glorious day, being the Sabbath and all. It was also Father's day!! Happy Happy Father's Day to my hope inspiring, fun loving, example setting, endlessly loving foodie of a Dad! I love you Dad and am grateful for your example. I look up to you and aspire to become like you. I am also grateful for my Father in Heaven whom I am serving day in and day out. I strive to accomplish His will in all things and do my best to bring others back to Him. We actually had four people come to sacrament meeting today! It was a wonderful day for the work. After church we got some last minute things accomplished and then we went to pick up our new companion, Elder Chiu!! We are now going to be a trio of assistants for this transfer!! Many big changes are happening to the mission. The biggest one being "The Great Awakening". Oh yeah, we are excited for the big reveal on Tuesday!! Let's just say, this is going to be North Carolina Raleigh Mission history. Buckle up!!!

Making history,
Elder Shearer

Monday, June 12, 2017

06/12/17 - Raleigh, North Carolina

Back at it again! Another fantastic week in the work of the Lord! It was the best week of my mission for sure. Last Monday in our morning meeting with President, he told us that he has had more positive feedback from this round of zone conferences than from any other conference he has had! The mission is really starting to go places! We went to the Raleigh zone activity after our meeting and we had a blast spending time with the missionaries. We visited Rich afterwards and he is amazing. We talked about repentance and really using the atonement of Jesus Christ in order to overcome addictions and challenges. He committed to repent and hasn't smoked in 6 days!! A new record for him. Quickly on his way to baptism. His date is for the 24th of this month, he's going to make it! We traveled up to Durham on Tuesday for our zone conference and it went very well! The district leaders there gave some very inspiring instructions and we are excited to see the future success from their zone. The conference went pretty long, but we raced back once it finished to go to our follow-up lesson with the woman we taught with President James at the tennis courts! We met her husband and he is even more interested than her! We're excited to teach them this week. We taught a few more lessons and then drove down to Fayetteville to spend the night there. We had another zone conference the following morning with the Fayetteville West zone and we did all we could to motivate them! Some of them got really excited to put into the practice the things we shared, but other missionaries just seemed dead! We're hoping their zone leaders can help them get more inspired to work hard! We stopped to get dinner at the Panda Express there in Fayetteville (one of the only few in the mission) and it was delicious! While we were eating there, I saw a huge body builder eating alone in the corner of the room. I got a prompting to go sit with him, but was pretty intimidated! I brought it up with Elder Barlow though and remembered that I want to baptize! And if I ever want to see miracles, I have to follow every prompting I receive. So I stood up, walked across the room alone and asked the man if we could sit and eat with him. He looked up at me, gave me a pretty confused look, and then said yes! We sat and had a great conversation with Brandon. He's super nice and promised that if missionaries ever knock on his door in the future, he will let them in and listen to their message! We drove back to Raleigh and had a great night teaching repentance. Thursday was amazing as it was the only full day this week we were able to dedicate to working! We role played teaching the restoration in 4 minutes during our morning studies and then were able to use it with our first contact of the day! We met a man named Chris and he is strong! We're going to teach his whole family this week! We kept knocking in his neighborhood and found a girl named Nix next. She is a perfect candidate for our message, she fits it perfectly! We found a few more people that day as we tracted and then taught Q, one of our investigators. We had a great lesson about the Priesthood with him! As we were ending the meeting, he told me that I have gotten better since my first time there at the beginning of the transfer. I've definitely seen a change in myself too! We visited Rich again Friday morning and watched some Mormon messages with him. He was in tears! We went to the mission office to get some things done and ended up going to lunch with the office staff! We actually ended up chauffeuring them around in our huge shuttle bus! We went to a Mexican place called Torrero's and it was to die for. I got chorizo con huevos with a horchata. A dream come true. We then went on exchanges with the Apex zone leaders and I learned a lot! I was with Elder Chiu in Apex and he is a great teacher. We tracted quite a bit and also taught some investigators! Saturday was a long day with our meeting with President going again from 9-6. The transfer board is coming along though! Huge things are about to happen to this mission. Big changes are coming. We are calling it "The Great Awakening". It's going to be legendary. We visited a few investigators after our meeting and then had to quickly plan out some things for next transfer. Today of course has been amazing, isn't every Sabbath day? We had quite a few people come to church and then we had a linger longer afterwards. Rich hurt his back last night, but we went over and gave him a Priesthood blessing and he was able to come to the linger longer and meet many more members, he is getting fellowshipped so well by this ward! I also especially appreciate the power of the Priesthood and the sacred privilege we have to exercise it when occasion permits. Tonight we've been stuck planning for some upcoming meetings and weren't able to do much proselyting. Although it pulls us out of the work, it's been a huge blessing to be able to administer here in the office, and I think it makes me appreciate the times I get to minister that much more. Preaching the gospel truly is a blessing. It brings me so much joy!! The gospel is real, the church is true, and faith does indeed bring miracles.

Appreciating the blessing of knocking doors,
Elder Shearer

Monday, June 5, 2017

06/05/17 - Raleigh, North Carolina

We accomplished so many things this week! It was by far the best week of my entire mission! :) Last Monday we played tennis alone with President James and it was a blast. He said it was only his fourth time playing tennis on his mission! As we were packing up and getting ready to leave the courts, a woman walked past us and we engaged her in a conversation. We introduced ourselves as missionaries from the church and she tried to get away as quick as possible! We were thankfully able to keep the conversation alive and very friendly and she started actually listening! We ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and she promised she would read and pray about it! It was fantastic being able to stand there and teach and testify shoulder to shoulder with President James. We set a return appointment with her and President is really hoping a baptism will come as a result of playing tennis! We knocked the rest of the night and loved every second of it! Tuesday was a great day as we had a zone conference down in Raleigh South. Following the zone conference we drove down to Wilmington in preparation for the next day and went on a blitz with some Elders down there! It was a great blitz and we saw a lot of success. We spent the night down there and then had our Wilmington zone conference the following day! It was of course the best zone conference of them all (not being biased or anything)... I do feel like it was the best time I've given my instruction yet though! I enjoyed being able to look out at all of the missionaries I have prayed for and come to love so dearly. There are some great missionaries in this mission! After the zone conference down there we drove back up to Raleigh and got in pretty late. Thursday was marvelous as we had the entire day to work in our area! :) We had a breakthrough lesson with Yuliya and also visited the Rathavongsa family. We set baptismal dates with all of the three boys for June 24th! They prayed about baptism and felt God tell them it is right so they asked their father for permission and he gave it! We are very excited for them. We taught Slytherin (Tyrone) again and he even brought his brother this time! He is the friend of one of Bishop's young kids. It was phenomenal, Tyrone was practically teaching his younger brother the whole message of the Restoration despite it only being our second visit with Tyrone! Him and his brother came to church today and they seemed very happy! Thursday night as we were tracting we had two men come up to us (most likely baptist seminary students) and ask us if we were Mormons. Once we confirmed that we in fact were, they began to drill us with a bunch of anti questions and we answered all of them! We stood there firm in our testimonies and kept the smiles on our faces. We boldly testified to them that God has called a prophet on the earth again today and that if our message were true, there would never be a more important message upon the face of the earth. They attempted to catch us up with different scriptures in the Bible, but we were able to stand strong and resolve any and every dispute. They were confounded and so nervous that they began to flip through a stack of papers looking for more questions to throw at us, but couldn't find any! We introduced the Book of Mormon to them after having powerfully shared the first vision and the Spirit was so strong that they ended up accepting the invitation to read it and pray to God asking if it is true! We promised them that God would answer those prayers, but assured them that answers will only come if they ask if real intent. Humble and willing to change absolutely everything upon receiving a confirmation from God that it's true. We reminded them that during the time of Christ many were willing and ready to hear his words, but that there were also those that sought only to destroy him and catch him up using scriptures. We invited them to reflect inwards and ask themselves which category they fell into. We advised them to be a part of the first group and promised them the many blessings that come as we follow God. They were speechless and simply said that they would read and pray. I am so grateful for the Spirit of God that guides us in situations like those! We weren't there to bash, but to invite. To help the children of men open their hearts and minds to receiving the fulness of truth that God has so loving given us. Friday was a crazy day. We had initially planned to go on an exchange with the zone leaders down in Raleigh South, but an emergency came up that changed those plans. We ended up having to drive two hours down to Lumberton to grab a car and bring it back up to Raleigh for a companionship that needed it. The fun part was that we got to drive back up in separate cars, so that was a unique trip! We went on a short exchange with the zone leaders in Raleigh South and we had a great time! We had success too in finding many new people for them to teach! We had our usual meeting with President on Saturday and it again went from 9-6! We picked all of the trainers, zone leaders, sister training leaders, and district leaders for the upcoming transfer. It was a busy busy day! After leaving the mission home, we ate dinner with a less active member in the Spanish ward in Raleigh. It was delicious, we did a cookout and they made buckets (literally) of meat! We ended the night by visiting Mike Sherriff, a very promising investigator that we hadn't heard from in a few weeks! As we knocked on his door, he came out and told us that he had read some stuff online about Joseph Smith and wasn't too sure about the message anymore. He told us that he didn't want to meet with us, pray with us, or learn about the church anymore. We prayed diligently for the gift of discernment and after an hour long discussion with him on his porch, he told us that we would see him and his whole family the next day at church. Thanks be to God, we were able to address each and every one of his concerns using scriptures, testimony, and inspired questions. One time after having addressed one of his concerns, he just sat in silence with a smile on his face looking back and forth between us and eventually said, "Wow. You guys are good!" He felt the Spirit powerfully and we told him that it was not us that were good, but God our Father. We told him that we would fight for him because God needs him in His church. He felt that. This morning as we stood in the chapel waiting for investigators, Mike walked in with his wife and son. They loved every minute of church and left with the biggest smiles I've ever seen. God is Good. This is His work. We are blessed and privileged to be a part of it. This is truly the best time of my entire life.

Grateful for the Spirit,
Elder Shearer

Monday, May 29, 2017

05/29/17 - Raleigh, North Carolina

I cannot believe it has already been a week! That was by far the fastest of my whole mission. It was probably because it was the busiest week of my mission! But boy did I enjoy it though. :) Last Monday Elder Barlow and I actually had a few hours of a preparation day so we decided to take full advantage of it! We went to the North Carolina state museum and had a blast! We took some pictures there and made the most of the time we had! We worked the rest of the night and went tracting! :) We have been very diligent on the doors and don't take no for an answer! This is the truth, we are called of God to change your life! He has called a prophet in our day! This is the way He wants you to follow Him! Tuesday was the beginning of the busy schedule as we had our first zone conference of the transfer. We have 7 zones and therefore we have 7 conferences planned out during the course of 4 weeks and they all go from 8 in the morning until 4 In the afternoon! Our first one was here in Raleigh and it went very well! All of the instructions given were very uplifting and inspirational. Thankfully my instruction also went well. I have 30 minutes to use and the objective of my instruction is to help us become more effective teachers while tracting! My first point is that we must smile on the doors! Our message is one of joy, we must convey it. If the joy of the gospel is not on our faces, how can we ever feel it in our hearts? My second point is that we must never be easily defeated. Like I said, we are called of God! We must share our message until the people we are talking to either slam the door in our faces or let us in. Slam the door because they realize we know our message is true and we're not giving up, or let us in because they feel the Spirit testify to them also that it's true. It was incredible to see the hand of God in my instruction, numerous times as I was speaking amazing phrases came into my head that I had never thought of! Things such as "Sometimes we have to fight a little harder to find those that will be a little stronger". After the close of the conference, President asked to speak to us privately in his office. He let us know that a few Elders were having some problems and that we needed to split them up. We planned out the whole transfer of who would go where and with whom and then we went to do it! We moved the Elders around and did our best to inspire hope and love into them. We got home around midnight and were asleep before the door closed behind us! We woke up early Wednesday morning to have another zone conference in Apex! It was equally as fantastic! Except for the fact that the lunch gave everyone food poisoning... haha classic Hispanic food. After our conference in Apex, we went to a dinner in Falls Lake (our area) and the members gave us HUGE steaks!! They were amazing. We visited Rich after, one of our investigators, and talked to him about his baptismal date for June 10th. He has such great desires to make it, he is just struggling with smoking! We had a powerful lesson with him and he told me after that I speak with great power and authority. I doubt that is true, but I was so happy to hear him say that because that means the Spirit was testifying to him with great force! He promised that he will make it to the 10th of June and that he will put an end to his bad habits. He told us how badly he wants to be a member of the church! He is one of the most elect people I have ever taught! We had to get a lot of work done in the office on Thursday to make up for the other days that we couldn't go in. We had to go pick up some new Malibu's coming into the mission and we got to drive them alone! It was fun driving back to the church side by side. Elder Barlow actually tried to take a shortcut to beat me and he got lost! He ended up calling me and needed me to give him directions back to the church! I luckily was able to guide him back, but only after taking him in a few circles of course. ;) We visited Yuliya, one of our really solid investigators who is actually Russian, later that night and she is doing great! She has actually read through the entire Book of Mormon before! We talked about how that is the evidence of our message and that if it is true, everything else is true too! We planned out a fast with her and her husband so that she can receive an answer! We then had to run to the church and plan our instructions for a meeting the following day. Without much time, we prayed with faith and were able to plan out a pretty decent 20 minute instruction! I know God has his hand in this work, that was truly a miracle! The next day we had Mission Leadership Council, a meeting with all of our zone leaders and sister training leaders and President and Sister James. Our discussions went really well along with our instructions and we are excited to help the mission this coming month! After MLC, an investigator called us and asked if she could take us to dinner with her three sons and we had a great time! We taught a lesson afterwards in the parking lot and it was amazing. The sons are pretty excited to be baptized!! We tracted the rest of the night and loved every second of it. I love showing the Lord our level of faith and commitment!! I also got a package on Friday from my delightful sister and it was a huge blessing. She is the best, I love her so much!!! :) Saturday went by at the speed of light. We started our Saturday meeting with President James at 9 in the morning and we didn't get out until 6! A lot of top secret confidential stuff was coordinated and we are excited for the upcoming changes in the mission. :) Let's just say, it was a lot of work!! Following our meeting with President, we went to dinner with one of our ward mission leaders and he had a friend there for us to teach! We had a great lesson and Alex (the friend) is very interested! He was wanting to come to church today, but he had already made other commitments. We will see him again tomorrow night though and it should go well! Today was of course a delight, isn't every Sunday?!? Yuliya came to church and as we were fasting for her, she had a thought that she needs to go back to the Russian Orthodox church she grew up in to see how it feels to her. We at first were hesitant, but quickly felt that this is what she needs to receive her answer. She will feel the difference in spirit and will have her testimony confirmed that this is the true church! We tracted the rest of the night tonight and even when we had 3 minutes left, we ran to the next door to knock it and we actually found a new investigator! His name is Sahr and he is from west Africa! He is very interested in our message and is excited to come to know that it is true! It was an incredible week, I love seeing the daily miracles. The Lord truly provides when we put our faith and trust in him.

Busier than a bee,
Elder Shearer

Monday, May 22, 2017

05/22/17 - Raleigh, North Carolina

This was the best week of my mission!! I am absolutely loving every second up here in Raleigh. The promise land! Elder Barlow is an incredible companion and we are having a blast. Last Monday we went suit shopping and both bought new suits! We are excited to tour the mission throughout the transfer with our 7 different zone conferences. We have about 2 each week, it is about to get pretty busy!! We didn't have much of a preparation day with all of our meetings with President and what not, but that's okay, I'm here to work anyways! :) Once we got back into the good hours (the working hours), we met with one of our Bishops and we set up a time with them for when they are going to invite a non-member into their home for us to teach! We actually ended up having that lesson yesterday and it was incredible! The young man was so interested in everything we shared, he even came to church today! What a blessing. Tuesday was a crazy day!! We drove for 8 hours. We started the day off by going to the mission office and getting a few things done. While we were there, the office staff asked us to run a few errands for them. The first stop was two hours away to Siler City where we took the Elders there a new phone. While in Siler, we ate lunch at a place I used to love eating at when I served there! It is called Sir Pizza and it is delicious! We then drove another two hours from Siler City to Sanford where we delivered a different phone to some Sisters. From Sanford we drove an additional two hours to Fayetteville where we went on an exchange with the zone leaders there for the rest of the night. It was a great exchange, I went with Elder Jones! He is an incredible missionary. We actually went onto base at Fort Bragg and it was awesome! We had some solid lessons with some of their investigators, and we set goals and made plans to help their zone improve. We then drove two hours back up to Raleigh where we slept in our nice comfy beds. We went to a district meeting Wednesday morning and it was very inspirational! Elder Hoggan is a great district leader. We went to lunch afterwards at a place called Cici's and as we walked in, a woman stood up and demanded to pay for all of us!! What a tender mercy. I know she will be blessed for that! After lunch we went on another exchange with our zone leaders here in Raleigh. I was blessed to go with Elder Sheely in his area (the Spanish area of Raleigh, AKA my favorite area). Elder Sheely is a powerful missionary and is such a good example to me! We did some good old tracting in a nice Hispanic trailer park and we found a new man there to teach! We then went to dinner and boy did I get full! I hadn't eaten like that in forever! I forgot how much the Hispanic members feed you! It was so good though, how I have missed that food. :) We then visited a less active member I used to work with a lot and we actually had a breakthrough lesson with them! I guess some things have recently happened and they hadn't felt comfortable sharing it with any of their current missionaries. Thankfully they felt comfortable sharing it with us and we were able to resolve some concerns. They should be back on track now! They fed us more food while we were there and I was convinced I was going to explode haha! I had a neat experience that night as I got a call from a good friend, my former scout master, Brother Plewe! He was passing through the area and wanted to say hello! Sadly I wasn't able to meet up in person, but we had a little conversation over the phone and it was good to hear from him!! Thursday morning we of course went tracting and we had a blast as we always do, regardless of if we find someone or not! :) We had to take our car into the shop for an oil change and we didn't want to be stuck at the shop waiting for it, so we grabbed an extra car from the mission office and after dropping off our car at the shop, we went working with the extra car. It was fun to drive to the shop alone in our car!! First time in 20 months! We got some things done at the mission office and while we were there, one of the office workers that I work closely with told me that in all his time there, he's never seen the car and mileage reports as organized as they are now! So that was good to hear that at least I am doing something right ha.. We got caught up in our office work and made it home at 5:55. We were determined to be obedient though and get out the door before 6 so we scarfed down some cereal and got back out the door! We went and did service for some elderly people and made a bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! We also knocked some doors and stayed effective with our time. Friday was a blessed day as we went on our third exchange for the week. I went up to Durham with Elder Garlick, our zone leader up there, while his companion came to my area with Elder Barlow. It was an exchange full of miracles! We literally tracted all day with a total of 6 hours on the doors! But, we found 4 new investigators! One of which was previously going to get baptized! He had moved though and had lost contact with the missionaries. What a miracle that we found him!! Another one of the 4 was very in need of the message. She was in tears on her doorstep as we shared with her the blessings and peace that she will receive as she acts on this message. A great exchange, I learned so much from Elder Garlick! Saturday was busy with our weekly meeting with President James taking up most of the morning/afternoon. We got a lot planned though! Sister James again made us an incredible lunch and it was delicious! After lunch we got on the doors and found a man by the name of Frank! It was a great story. We tried to share the message with him and numerous times he cut us off to tell us he wasn't interested. We kept sharing the message with different tactics and eventually even after him rejecting us 9 times, we got in the door! We had a powerful lesson with him and he agreed to let us come back. He promised us he would listen with an open heart and pray about our message! That right there Brothers and Sisters is why we must never be easily defeated! We tracted for the rest of the day and we found someone else to teach as well! Today was beautiful. We had 6 of our investigators come to church and they all loved it! Many of them are going to bring their spouses next Sunday! We had a great dinner with a counselor in the bishopric and we helped get his family on board with missionary work! Following dinner, we knocked on their neighbor's door and although the man condemned us to hell and told us we are on the wrong path, we kept the smiles on our faces alive and we testified to him of our message. It took him back so strongly that he began to shake and fear! With a shaky voice he attempted to keep bashing us, but our testimonies were firm. We truly confounded him as the scriptures would call it. It is amazing to know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ! Nothing will ever change that! We are firm and valiant in our testimonies of it. We will defend it to our dying day, this is the truth! What greater cause could we have than to stand for this message of hope, truth, and love! We continued to tract and we found quite a few people! One of which lost his mother this morning and he asked us to pray for him. After the prayer he hugged both of us and we shared the plan of salvation with him. I know this is God's work. It has to be! When we seek his will above our own, he will guide our paths and our lives will be made great in his hands.

Witnessing miracles,
Elder Shearer

Monday, May 15, 2017

05/15/17 - Raleigh, North Carolina

Oh my goodness gracious, that was a week full of learning, new experiences, and joyous memories! Last Monday we had an office meeting wherein President James, Sister James, us, and the office staff all get together and we discuss the administrative needs of the mission. We had a great time together and then went to pick up the new missionaries from the airport! What a special memory that was! They were all very nervous and we took each of them around the airport to do some contacting. They did great! We got their luggage and drove back to the mission home! We had a wonderful dinner provided by our office staff as well as my personal favorite, nanner puddin'!! A testimony meeting then took place and we were able to testify to these new missionaries of the blessings and joys that come as we serve our missions! We got home pretty late that night and then had to wake up extra early to be able to get to the mission home and wake them up at 6:30! The signature breakfast was provided (oat waffles with ice cream, apple sauce, and a special kind of syrup) and it was delicious! After breakfast we carried them all in our van to the church and we had a few meetings for both the trainers and the trainees. It was a pleasure to instruct them at both! All the transferring missionaries then got to the church and we helped them find their new companions! It was fun to see all of my favorite missionaries!! I have come to love literally every missionary in this mission, they are doing great things being out here on a mission! After sending them all away to their new areas, we gathered the departing missionaries in our van and we drove them to the mission home. We had a party! We had a delicious dinner, played a lot of ping pong, and had a powerful testimony meeting. It was incredible to see the difference in testimonies from the night before. Such strong missionaries. The mission is going to miss those great examples of obedience and hard work! We continued to play ping pong after the testimony portion and President even got in on the action. He's pretty good! We ended up going to bed around 2 in the morning and then woke up at 4 to take them all to the airport! After helping them get through security, we traveled back to the mission home and updated the transfer board in President's office. We were so tired!! We hadn't slept in days! We finished the board, cleaned up the mission home, quickly ran to the store to buy groceries and then went home to take a President James approved nap. I guess it's a tradition that every Wednesday after transfers the assistants take a short nap! Even though it was only an hour, it was wonderful! We woke up, ran to the office to update a few things, and then went to teach the gospel! The first investigator that I met here in Falls Lake was Rich, he is extraordinary! He has read through the Book of Mormon once and is now reading it again! He has a baptismal date for June 10th and he is going to make it for sure! He has a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the restoration! It was a blast to teach someone so elect!! The following day I met even more elect people! After having gone to the office in the morning to plan out some things, we visited Mike! Elder Barlow tracted into him the week before I got here and had shared the restoration with him. Upon our return, Mike had taken a pad of paper and had written out a list of questions to ask! He is so prepared!! The Spirit was abundant and he very firmly agreed to come to church! I asked him if he would get baptized upon receiving a confirmation from God that this church is true and his answer was "Well, I would have to!" We are excited to watch him progress! I then got to meet a Russian investigator by the name of Yulia, she is great! She has been meeting with missionaries since December and is all ready for baptism, she is just waiting for an answer! She is progressing and now believes that God not only can answer her prayers, but that He will! A neat experience happened in our lesson with her this week. We were teaching her about the Spirit World and we had explained that it is a place of waiting, a place where those that have died can learn of the gospel and accept baptism through our proxy work. She wasn't agreeing with a lot of doctrine having to do with the Spirit World, but all of a sudden she stopped mid-sentence and said in her thick Russian accent, "Wow! I see it now. I understand what it is that you are talking about." She continued by explaining that 15 years ago she had had a dream wherein she saw her deceased father and grandfather. They looked pale and sad. There was a beautiful purple door with light coming from the other side of it, but they told her that they couldn't' move towards it. They told her that they were waiting. 15 years later that dream was brought to her remembrance and she then understood not only the doctrine of the Spirit World, but the need to be baptized in behalf of our dead. We feel she is very close to baptism and will make it there shortly! Finishing the night, we visited one more investigator and he told me that he thinks I should be on a toothpaste commercial! Haha not the job of my dreams, but we'll see what happens! Friday we had a leadership training meeting and thankfully everything ran smoothly! I instructed on what information needs to be communicated between leaders and the most effective way to do so! We were blessed to hear from President James as he gave an incredible instruction on how to be a good leader. He is one of the best! I received a tender mercy during the meeting, we were talking about the influence we can have on our missionaries by going on exchanges with them and an Elder there shared a story. He explained that early in his mission he was pretty disobedient and he didn't have a desire to do many things. He went on to share the story of an exchange he went on with me during that time of his mission. He explained that I taught him that we can still be "cool" while being obedient. He said I taught him how to have real joy while doing the work and what fun on the mission looks like. It seemed to have really impacted him, yet all I remember was trying to lift and inspire him! It is amazing how the Lord will magnify us and will make our influence to be great when we simply show up and have the courage to open our mouths! After the meeting we went out to work and began to knock doors! We quickly felt that we weren't in the right area so we said a prayer and felt that we needed to start driving north! We began to drive and did our best to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We found ourselves in a very nice neighborhood and as we drove along, a white truck stood out to me and I told Elder Barlow that we needed to stop and talk to the family in that home! We knocked on the door and a man immediately let us in! We quickly discovered that he was actually a member of the church! He asked us what brought us to his home and we told him that we were on an errand for the Lord. The family gathered together and let us know that they were in need of a message. We opened the Book of Mormon and 3 Nephi 22:10 came to mind. As we shared the powerful verses, the Spirit engulfed the room and the mother began to cry. We testified of our Savior and felt to promise very specific blessings. As we did so, the mother began to cry harder and after a few moments of sitting in silence, she looked up at us through her tears and said "You're like a little prophet!" We asked to have a prayer with them and as the father offered it, he too was brought to tears and it was a tender moment. We left that home not knowing exactly what we had just been a part of, but we knew that the Lord will guide us to those in need. If we simply listen for his voice, we will be lead! Imagine the miracles that would happen if Elders quorum presidents or home teachers were to devote a night to prayerfully visiting families in need! We tracted the rest of the night and felt the Spirit abundantly. Saturday morning we had our weekly transfer meeting with President and we were able to make a lot of progress with the policy changes we are planning on making to the mission! We had a great lunch with him afterwards thanks to Sister James and my favorite part was the traditional chocolate milk float! We tracted the rest of the day and found a woman by the name of Johneisha! Sunday was outstanding. Both of the wards that we cover here are amazing!! A few of our investigators came to church and they loved it! We were blessed to be able to talk to our families and I wished my mother the biggest happy mother's day!! She is truly such an incredible woman and I am blessed to know her and have her as my own!! It was a great skype call and it was actually my last one of the mission! We were able to share many scriptures and stories and we had a lot of fun. It was a great day and a great week! The best week of my whole mission!! I am loving my time in the Lord's work and I am doing my best to love, cherish, and enjoy every minute of it!

Blessed with the greatest mother of them all,
Elder Shearer