Monday, February 27, 2017

02/27/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

Happy days happy days, these are the happiest of days!! I am in love with serving God!! :) You guessed it, this week was another full one! Last Monday we bought some amazing groceries: salads, carrots, juice, bagels. What more could we ask for?! We then played soccer and I accidentally gave my companion a black eye! I was running with the ball and my elbow accidentally whacked him in the face.. I feel so bad! We taught Sharon our investigator that night and we solidified our baptismal date with her for the 18th of March! We got an amazing referral on Tuesday from a woman that wants us to come and baptize her daughter! They are Hispanic too! We are very excited to hopefully bring that whole family into the church so they can receive the eternal blessings! We taught our pastor, Patricia, Tuesday afternoon and it was hands down one of the most powerful lessons I have ever had. We taught her boldly the message of the Restoration and the Spirit was there testifying of everything that was said. She told us that she was given the Book of Mormon years ago by a friend! When she received it, she was told that even though she didn't need it at the time, she needed to put it on the shelve for a future day. She was told that one day many years later after she had already grown up and learned about God, she would be reminded of it and she would be taught about it. She was told that in that day, she would need to take it out, dust it off, and read it. That is exactly what happened on Tuesday. We taught her what that book is and how it is going to change her life. After we came into her church on Saturday, she prayed to God and asked what our purpose was for being there. He reminded her that she had invited us to come back. He then asked her what she was going to do when we returned. She told Him that she would listen with an open heart. That is what she did. She told us that she is not tied down to any church, not even her own! She doesn't believe that her church has the fulness of the gospel. With much humility and sincerity she told us that if the Lord guides her path, she will follow. She feels that she is still waiting for the lightbulb to go off in her life! We promised many blessings and testified with all the strength we could muster. I felt so strongly that the Lord needs her in His church. He has prepared her and her heart is open! I was in tears as I boldly testified to her that the Lord has lead us to her for a reason. Wow. Such an noteworthy moment of my mission. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that the Lord is preparing His children. His work is moving forward! It is such a blessing and honor to be a part of it. Tuesday night we had a stake meeting with President James, all of the bishoprics in the stake, and our stake leadership. We were asked to give an instruction and President James gave one following us. It was powerful, he is so inspired of God. After the meeting, we were talking with him about some struggling missionaries. He gave great advice: "If you treat a man as he is, he will remain as he is. If you treat him as the man you want him to become, he will become that man." He hope to be able to do that with all of our missionaries for we love them so deeply! We had interviews with President and Sister James the following morning and they went very well! President and I had a great conversation about being instruments in God's hands and we were both in tears as we testified to each other of the importance of this work. He asked if I would offer the closing prayer and I sobbed the whole way through it. I was simply full of so much gratitude. I closed the prayer and silence followed it. After a few moments, President thanked me, got off his knees, and told me it was a privilege to be in my presence. I love that man so deeply. He is truly influencing my life for the better. As I came out of the interview I noticed that we had been in there for an hour! Haha so much for 10 minute interviews.. We went on an exchange afterwards and I brought Elder Miller here to my area. We had such a great exchange! He was excited to be able to teach in three languages: English, Spanish, and Swahili! We met one man that told us he was a demon and another man that is 90 years old by the name of Otto that let us right in! We shared a quick message of the Plan of Salvation and a few days later he called us and told us he wanted to come to church on Sunday! We went to the hospital after teaching Otto to give a less active a blessing. He had a serious tragedy and accidentally shot himself in the head. He had staples all across his forehead and all the way down the middle of his head. Elder Miller gave a very powerful blessing. The Spirit enveloped that room and we all felt of the love of God for that man. We finished the night by taking Johnny out to a new Congolese family we found! Johnny did a great job translating as we shared the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The family loved it!! We exchanged back the following morning and we did a tie trade: classic. We then went up to Falls Lake (Raleigh area) to do an exchange with the Assistants for the day. I went with Elder Jorgensen and we had so much fun!! We tracted pretty much the whole day and even though nobody accepted the message, we had a blast!! Haha we were laughing and smiling and loving life! We were simply loving being in the service of God, despite the outcome of our efforts. I gave him a haircut that night and the next morning we had a meeting! We had MLC with all of the zone leaders and there were some great instructions given. We covered a lot of questions for our discussion as well and got some new things figured out to help our missionaries. We drove to Jacksonville after the meeting and did a baptismal interview. He passed with flying colors!! Saturday was a great day. We did a service project in the morning for a less active that needed some help moving, and then the Sisters had a baptism in the afternoon! They asked me to sing at the baptism and I sang "When I am baptized". It was a beautiful service (apart from my song of course). We took Johnny out that night to find some more Congolese and he was very excited to do missionary work! We found a few more families thanks to him and we also found out that the children of the Mashinga family (our Congolese recent convert family) speak Spanish! Haha Sadiki, the little tiny boy, was scratching my back while we were there and was cuddling with me! It was so cute! We went to teach some Hispanics afterwards but they were all drunk so we boldly told them that we couldn't teach in such an atmosphere and scheduled another appointment. Sunday was fantastic! We had many people come to church including Sharon, her mother, and Otto! They all loved it and promised to come back again. We taught the gospel principles class in Swahili for the Congolese and the member that was in there with us thanked me afterwards for my teaching. She told me that every time we have a lesson with them, she learns something new! She told me she thought I was truly inspired and I told her that the Spirit is the real teacher. He really is! Without him, we can do nothing! Haha a member in Elders quorum made fun of my "goofy smile" but said that it tells him I have a testimony of and a love for the gospel. We ate dinner with the Arne family and she made me a lemon bundt cake just like my Dad makes them! It was amazing!! We finished the week by teaching a less active hispanic family. We told them that we need them to be able to start this Spanish group and they are excited to get aboard! I am so truly blessed to be serving this mission. I AM SO HAPPY!!

Endlessly wearing his goofy smile,
Elder Shearer

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