Monday, February 20, 2017

02/20/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

Let me tell you what. I love this time of my life soo much!! Every single second that I get to spend serving the Lord is the best second of my life. Good or bad, sunshine or rain! I love it all!! I am so truly blessed and privileged to be out here. If any one of you is deciding whether a mission is for you or not, the answer is yes. Do it! You will never regret it. The only question you need to ask yourself is if you love the Lord more than yourself. If the answer is yes, He will help you through everything. You can trust Him! Last Monday we had a great accounting call with President James. He let us know that last year at this time, our zone had 5 baptisms. This year we are already at 17. This zone is doing amazing! President told us that the Wilmington zone is leading the mission!! We went downtown for our preparation day to celebrate Elder Nmesirionye's birthday, he's such a great kid! One of my favorites. While we were walking around downtown, a random Jimmy John's worker ran up to us and offered us some free sandwiches! She told us she had to get rid of them so we got free lunch! We taught some active members that night and set a date with them to have someone for us to teach us by. We then taught our investigator Sharon and set a baptismal date with her! It was a very spiritually powerful lesson. Tuesday was Valentine's Day and my delightful family sent me a beautiful yet comical box! We went tracted that afternoon and found a new investigator! She told us it might be hard to find her home because she is always busy working. We asked her where she works and after awkwardly pausing, she told us that she works at Hooters! So that was weird.. Her face was super red.. Anyways, we had an amazing dinner with a family in the other ward and they have a Dobby statue! It was awesome. We finished the night by teaching a Spanish media referral by the name of Maria and it was a powerful lesson. As we taught her about the message of the Restoration, we taught her that baptism would help her come closer to God. I felt prompted to teach her about receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and all of the comfort and peace that would provide her. She began to cry and she accepted a baptismal date! We asked her if she would offer the closing prayer and as we knelt together, she wept through the entirety of the prayer. She thanked God for sending us to her and for helping her to find peace and comfort again in her life. She told God that He knows she has felt lonely and disconnected lately. It was such a memorable night. It brought me to tears as well and as I sat there on my knees, I was filled with such a deep appreciation for the opportunity to be an instrument in God's hands. That is truly my greatest desire!! We went to Hampstead for District Meeting and it went very well! Elde Carrell and Elder Allred are great district leaders. I brought Elder Carrell down to my area for an exchange afterwards and we had a blast! We spoke Spanish the entire night and had so much fun. We found 2 new investigators while tracting with a member and got to teach a lot of Spanish lessons! A lot of them weren't very interested, but I was impressed by Elder Carrell's ability to stay positive and dedicated to find the elect! I had a great personal study that day and really saw the difference in my teaching because of it. I learned that when we "treasure up the words of life", we really do receive an increase of the Holy Spirit. As we exchanged back with them the following morning, they accidentally drove away with both our phone and theirs! Haha we had to wait at the gas station for them to realize and turn around. Such a rookie mistake.. Elder Nadauld got tricked into getting black stuff all over his face that night at dinner as we played Mormon Hypnotism with a member. We taught our Congolese after and they asked us how they can pay tithing. They have such a desire to keep all the commandments! To finish the night, we played volleyball with the YSA and some of our investigators! Friday we did some more tracting and some funny things happened. One lady told me that she thought I had perfect teeth but I'm pretty sure she just got Elder Nadauld and I mixed up.. We ran into another family who told us to come back and teach their daughter someday! We asked what their daughter's name was and they told us it is "My Treasure"!! Possibly spelled like Mahtrezure or something haha.. After tracting, we called President James to figure some things out. There a slight problem because all of our Congolese members live in the other ward's area. However, they have been fellowshipped into this ward. So the other ward is trying to take them, and we are trying to keep them. Thankfully, President has said that he is willing to go up to the First Presidency to get them to stay in our ward. Anyways, some more Congolese have been found by other missionaries and we wanted to know who should be teaching them. As we asked President, he said "You! Period exclamation point!" I asked even if they were in the other ward's area and he replied by saying "Anywhere you can find them! You can even come up to Durham to teach them! Are there any questions? Is there anyone I need to talk to so they understand that?" It was very comforting to hear that we can teach them and help them become fellowshipped by our recently baptized members. One of our YSA members took us out on an exchange that night and we had a great time teaching Brandy. All of her concerns and questions are answered so perfectly by the message! We hope and pray she keeps her commitments so she can know it is all true!! Saturday was a productive day as we found 5 new people to teach! We also met a man who has had 2 strokes and 2 heart attacks in the past month! Not sure why he isn't in the hospital.. He was very nice and I am honestly pretty worried about him.. We downloaded a Spanish learning app called Duolingo for our Spanish studies but after sitting down with it for 30 minutes, I tested out of everything so it wasn't too much help.. It was fun though! One of our investigators invited us to a church dinner of hers so Saturday night, we went! It was an AME church which stands for African Methodist Evangelical. It is pretty much a completely black church. We opened the door of the church to go in and as we did so, we noticed that the pastor was in the middle of her sermon! Everyone's heads turned towards us and the pastor stuck her hand up at us pretty much telling us not to come in.. It was so awkward! Well Elder Nadauld walked in anyways so I had to follow! We stood in the back until someone sat us at a table all by ourselves! As we looked around we noticed that not only were we the only white people, but we were also the only men! They were having a "Rainbow Tea" dinner! We got so many glares during the course of dinner.. The pastor did eventually come up to us and after talking with her for a minute, she begged us to come back and teach her more about the church! Yeah, I'd said it was a pretty successful night. I definitely didn't anticipate walking away with the pastor as a new investigator. Haha she told us that he hates what she does! She called everyone there lazy! It was pretty funny.. And as we walked away, a bird pooped on me!! Just terrible... We drove back home through downtown and we saw some power ranger looking guys dressed in white robes! They were standing at a street corner preaching! Kind of scary actually.. We met another Congolese man by the name of Lawrence afterwards and he is very promising! Sunday was amazing as we had 3 people come to church! 2 of which were Spanish!! Maria was one of them!!! We did some tracting afterwards and we knocked on the man that thought we were robbing him last week and this time he let us right in! We entered his smoke filled home and he grabbed a Book of Mormon off of his shelf! He opened it up to a random page and began to read a verse! After he read it, he closed it and told us that he had just preached us a sermon.. We then told us to get out so we did. Very interesting encounter! We ate some home-smoked brisket for dinner last night and I was so very impressed! We taught our Congolese again and we taught them about General Conference! The loved it. We finished our week by teaching the other Hispanic that came to church, Karen! She is so promising!! She said she wants to come to church every week now! Like I said, it is simply a privilege to be here. :)

Teaching pastors,
Elder Shearer

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