Monday, January 30, 2017

01/30/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

Howdy folks, it's that time of week again! Wow, my whole world has changed as a missionary!! Not sure if you have already heard about all of the changes, but they are revolutionary! To start, last Monday we went to Fort Fisher for our preparation day. It was so much fun, we got to walk through a muddy marsh and discover a WWII bunker! Our ward mission leader, Brother Allen, was kind enough to take all the Elders in our district down and boy was it fun! As we went to work that night, we spoke to one of the neighbors of a member family. Her name is Nancy. She is so kind!! She currently goes to a Unitarian Universalist church, but she absolutely fell in love with the message of the Restoration! She is thrilled to get the chance to read the Book of Mormon. Tuesday morning we met with one of our Hispanic less actives and we talked about how to be a good member missionary. We told him that we really desperately need his help to start this Spanish group! We then tried accounting with our missionaries using the Family History Center computers, but we got kicked out because the ladies came in and for some reason don't like us haha! Yeah, it's an ongoing battle between missionaries and Family History people all over the mission.. We then had to go get a flat tire fixed and it took quite some time. But we studied Swahili and it was a bundle of effectiveness! We tried to visit a lot of Spanish people that night, but no one was home! It was actually pretty difficult to teach any of our Hispanics this week.. But we tried! Wednesday, we went down to Shallotte for District Meeting and afterwards we watched the worldwide broadcast for all the missionaries in the world! It was incredible. They spoke to us of the importance of the Holy Ghost in the work and the Doctrine of Christ. I loved every single minute of it! There were also many changes made! Our schedule has now changed allowing us to go to bed an hour earlier if we feel the need (definitely feel the need haha).. We don't plan at night anymore, but now plan in the morning! A few changes like that to the schedule, and I love all of them!  We as well have changed all of the numbers we report! We went on exchanges with the Shallotte missionaries after the meeting and I brought Elder Lambson up here to Wilmington. It was a great exchange! We had some powerful lessons and learned a lot from each other. The following morning we drove an hour back down to Shallotte to exchange back and then Elder Nadauld and I drove another hour down to Tabor City to do a blitz in their area. It was successful! We found some people to teach and we also went to visit the North Carolina / South Carolina border! We only had time to do a 3 hour blitz and then we had to drive 2 and a half hours up to Jacksonville to take a car that is broken up to Raleigh on our way to a meeting the next day. We went to Raleigh that night and spent the night back at the old apartment with the Raleigh zone leaders. We drove over 7 hours that day in total!! Friday was a great day though, our MLC was incredible. It is when all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders in the mission come together to meet with President and the assistants to discuss different mission wide matters. There were many instructions given that I learned a lot from and we also got a lot of new rules and things decided and put in place. Excited to see these new changes! We drove 3 hours back down to Wilmington following the meeting and we taught our Congolese! We taught all of the commandments and got them ready for their baptismal interviews. We will be baptizing Furaha, Petro, Sakina, and Zawadi this Saturday!! We are so excited!! Saturday morning we got news that the black panthers were having an armed march in Downtown Wilmington so we tried our best to stay out of that area for the day.. On a slightly happier note, my Swahili book finally came in that I ordered at Barnes and Nobles and it is outstanding. I am learning so much faster now! We helped a less active move out that afternoon and I was reminded how much I love doing service! We've been so busy that it had been a little while since we'd done any! Sunday was as always a wonderful day. We had two Hispanic less actives come to church! We hope they continue to come.. We had to jump out of the YSA for a minute to drive up and teach Nancy again. Another great lesson with her! We got a new branch mission leader in the YSA and he is awesome!! He is a marine stationed up in Camp Lejeune and he has written out a whole 3 stage plan on how we are going to turn around missionary work with the YSA. We ended our week by again teaching the Congolese last night! They are so great.. We wrapped up all of the lessons and they are very excited to be baptized for their dead! I actually spoke quite a bit of Swahili during the lesson and we were all laughing about it. It is amazing that I am starting to understand them when they speak! The gift of tongues is so real.

Baptizing our Africans,
Elder Shearer

Monday, January 23, 2017

01/23/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

What a fruitful and productive week! Have I ever said how much I absolutely adore my mission? Because I do!! Last Monday we had a Zone activity down at Wrightsville Beach and it was a blast! All of our missionaries had a great time and really enjoyed the beach. We played some sand volleyball and a little bit of football too. That night we met a part member family and had a great lesson with them. We asked if we can "practice" teaching the lessons on them and they said that they would do their best to seem like real people with real questions! They even said they would study the pamphlets to better be prepared with questions. Excited to see where that goes! We also went tracting that night and found a new investigator! Tuesday morning during our accounting with the zone, we learned that 3 of our missionaries have been emergency transferred out of our zone due to various concerns. So that was really sad for me, especially after having spent so much time on my knees praying for these missionaries by name, night after night. But I know that it is what needed to happen, the Lord is in charge after all! We went tracting before dinner and found another new investigator! We had a great night taking a member out with us to 3 back to back to back Spanish lessons. The member was absolutely enthused as he explained that never before had he gone back to back to set lessons. He is used to going out with the Elders and knocking doors for an hour without any success! So that was a good change for him. We had a particularly good lesson with a woman by the name of Esmi. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it answered many questions for her. She is reading the Book of Mormon diligently and even came to church yesterday for the first time! We have a baptismal date set with her for early February. We went up to Hampstead for District Meeting on Wednesday and had a great time checking up on our missionaries. We are truly blessed with the best ones! I went up to Wallace afterwards on an exchange with Elder Allred (one of my previous companions)! We had a night to remember! We started it off by covenanting with the Lord to find new people to teach and then going out tracting. We found a man named Pepe and he is so ready to hear the gospel! Following that lesson, we spoke with one of their investigators and as we were about to leave, she asked us if she could bless us. We said that she could (assuming she was going to offer a word of prayer). She then began to wave her arms both to the sky and towards us in a strange fashion while chanting something I couldn't understand! Very interesting experience haha! Definitely a first! Later that night, we taught a woman by the name of Marsha about the Restoration of the church and it was very spiritual. We were able to answer a lot of her questions too! One of which was "If this is the truth, how come none of the great scholars and pastors that have spent years searching and studying the Bible have found it?" We told her to take a look at the beautiful framed picture hanging on the wall behind her. We explained that following the death of Christ and his Apostles, some people on the earth felt an absence of the gospel. In an effort to fill that hole, many arose trying to take over the church Christ had left. Because there was much confusion and disagreement, everyone grabbed a hold of the picture and started fighting for it. The beautiful picture was then torn and scattered! We told her that even though many people have taken the pieces they have of the gospel and have taken years and years to study them in depth, they will never find the fullness of the truth. They will never understand the full picture with only a part of it. That is why the Restoration is of such great significance. It brings together all the truth that has been scattered and changed throughout time. We were all in tears as we sat in silence and let the Spirit testify to each of our hearts of the truthfulness and reality of the restored picture. It was a great exchange. We switched back the following morning and found our new Swahili tags in the mail! We visited an investigator by the name of Dorris, but couldn't stay long because of how much pain she was in. She told us that she hadn't taken her pain pills that morning due to the fact that she didn't want to be loopy for our appointment. Such a sweet lady. We taught Bernardo later that evening and had a great lesson about the Plan of Salvation. He had many questions that we were able to help him find answers to in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. After promising us he would pray about the things we had just shared, he thanked us for being "great Christians with great answers". Friday was a great day! We updated our area book and made a resolve to update it every single night! We haven't missed one yet. It is such a sacred tool the Lord has given us. We had a lesson with the Congolese that night and it was AWESOME SAUCE! They told us that all they want is to have an eternal family in the Celestial Kingdom! We also found out that Elias, the father of the family and also one of the three baptized a few weeks ago, was a chief of a huge tribe down in Africa! He told us that they elected him 7 years in a row to be their leader! The tribe consists of thousands of people. Saturday afternoon we had our first language study class with Johnny, one of our other Congolese. He speaks pretty good English and he agreed to being our Swahili teacher. We went over for the lesson and found 6 other Congolese we have never met before living with him. As we started the class, they all got very excited and surrounded the table trying to put their input in! It was the best hour ever. That night something disgusting happened! As I went to grab my laundry bag, I felt something squish in between my fingers. I looked down and saw that I had smashed a massive cockroach! With my fingers!! I was absolutely horrified. Elder Nadauld was laughing pretty hard and informed me that I had screamed pretty high-pitched.. Needless to say, I had a hard time sleeping that night.. Yesterday was a magnificent day. We had a less active Hispanic man come to church and we told him we need his help to start the Spanish group! He was very excited and told us that he knows many families "in the street." I translated for both of our wards and after 6 hours of straight Spanish, my head was hurting! In a good way though. :) We taught a man how to recognize answers to his prayers and went tracting. We found a new investigator! Her name is Sylvia and she is from Argentina! She is a sweet little old lady and was so proud of us being missionaries at such a young age that she even gave us a hug! We ended our week by visiting our Congolese again. Furaha, the mother of the family, told us that she prayed about the church and then went to bed. She had a dream that we were all in the church singing! She woke up and just felt good about everything. The next day a man from another tribe came over and tried to bash the church, but she defended it! As she went back into her home, the Spirit enveloped her and testified to her of the truthfulness of what she had just said. She now knows the church is true without a doubt and told us that she is ready to be baptized as soon as possible! We have a date set for 4 of them on Feb 4th! We then explained to them that transfers are coming up in three weeks and that one of us might leave. We thought it best to prepare them early.. They all broke down and told us how much they appreciate what we've down for them. I told them that all of the missionaries are great and that they will probably like the next ones even more than us! Johnny immediately retaliated by saying "No, I don't think so. You are our missionaries." Elias, the leader of the tribe, told us that he is going to send a picture of us to his tribe back in the Congo and tell them that we are his "parents in faith". It was truly a night I will never forget.

Still gagging at the thought of that roach,
Elder Shearer