Monday, March 27, 2017

03/27/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

A spiritually-filling week! We were privileged to have Elder and Sister Hamula visit our mission this week! It was absolutely amazing!! Last Monday we had a zone activity at Wrightsville beach and we had a lot of fun! We played mostly soccer and we had a little picnic together too! We visited one of our investigators that night and she desperately needed the visit. She had been going through a rough time and we shared Matthew 11:28-30. We testified of the reality of Christ's invitation to come unto Him. She was very grateful for the lesson and the Spirit was strong. The following day, we had zone conference with the Hamula's and it was incredible! It was hands down one of the best days in my mission! I was spiritually fed so well. I testify that Elder Hamula is called of God. He is truly a man of God. It was the best zone conference I have ever been to! We woke up at 4 in the morning and it was about a two and a half hour drive each way. We didn't even get home until 9 at night! We got there about a half an hour early and quietly studied. Once the Hamula's came in, we all lined up and shook their hands one by one! When I got to them, Elder Hamula gave me a huge hug and told me it was from my parents. Sister Hamula really really wanted to give me one too, but she knew she wasn't allowed to haha.. We all spiritually feasted like kings! I received soooo much revelation. Elder Hamula as he started promised us that if we came to the meeting prepared, we would hear the Lord's voice. He advised us not to disregard its promptings once we heard them. He spoke much of soberness and it being pre-requisite to receiving the gift of discernment. We as young missionaries struggle with being sober, I am determined to improve. He also taught us how to increase in faith and the cycle required. We as well learned that in order to have spiritual power, we must combine prayer with obedience! We learned of the importance of teaching and testifying to a specific concern and learned how to do it! We spoke of my favorite gospel subject, consecration, quite a bit and I learned tremendously! We spoke of using time wisely and of more things consecration. In Sister Hamula's talk, she asked to hear experiences of things missionaries have treasured up in Preach My Gospel. Each time something was shared, they were given a little chocolate coin to represent a "treasure". At one of the breaks, she came to me and gave me the rest of her coins and told me that I was a special treasure to her. She told me that Elder Hamula wouldn't let her talk about me over the pulpit because she would've gone on forever and never come back to her topic haha! She also told me that she was trying not to look at me during the meeting because she would have started crying! She told me that I reminded her a lot of my dad when he was on his mission! She said I looked exactly liked him! After the conference ended, 7 of us were chosen to be interviewed by Elder Hamula. That was a special experience. He told me that it was not a coincidence that they were called to tour my mission. He believes it was a tender mercy from God, that both of our lives would be blessed from it. I know that to be true. That day blessed my life so deeply, richly, and abundantly. We took a picture and said goodbye until Thursday. I love that man and his wife so much. Haha Sister James took our picture and when she did, she said "Oh! There is the Elder Shearer smile!" It is good to be known as the happy missionary, because I am! Wednesday was incredible as we tried to put into practice everything that the Hamula's had taught us the day previous. Sister Hamula while talking about obedience told us that one of the few things we have control over are our mornings. She told us that no matter what is going on in our lives, we can choose to have perfect mornings. I was so inspired that I decided to rename my cereal from good mornings to perfect mornings! I showed the Hamula's the picture I took of it and they both got a kick out of it. While tracting on Wednesday we made a point to ask inspired questions and we found one girl by the name of Maddie! Because we were able to ask these questions, we were able to identify her concern and then teach according to them! We had a fun time eating dinner with a member and then we drove up to Raleigh to spend the night. We had an MLC meeting the following day and it was just as good if not better than the zone conference! Elder Hamula lit the leadership on fire and we have a deeper determination to be obedient and serve the Lord! He told us that if we ever want to change what our missionaries are doing, we have to first change ourselves!! He is truly inspired of God, he said many things that gave me a greater understanding of gospel principles. We drove home from Raleigh and had dinner with the same members that we've been visiting every week to share missionary lessons with. They had set a goal to have someone for us to teach by the end of the transfer. Well as we went over for dinner, they had someone! Their neighbor Cindy was there and following dinner, we had a great lesson as we shared the Restoration! She had many questions and we did our best to address all of her concerns. The Spirit was strong and we hope she reads and prays about the Book of Mormon! Friday we had another great day as we started it off by making a map of where all of our less-active Hispanics live. We are determined this next transfer to actually start the Spanish group! We then visited our investigator Jerry and had a bold lesson with him. We talked about the Book of Mormon and he said he's read it and prayed about it and he already knows it's true. The struggle is that he doesn't feel he needs to be baptized! We know and feel there is a deeper concern there and we are determined to find it. We drove up to Jacksonville after the lesson to conduct a baptismal interview and it was incredible! It was with a marine on base and it was one of the best interviews I've ever conducted! He is so prepared and ready for the gospel. We were both in tears as we shared our testimonies with each other. I don't even know the man, but I love him and am so proud of him for his decision to follow the Savior! We did some service on Saturday for a member in our ward! She asked us to walk around the college campus with buckets and little grabber-things and we picked up trash for a few hours! Haha it was a blast!! I've always wanted to pick up trash with those things! We then visited a referral from the English Sisters and it was such an elect family! They are from Honduras and are a family of 6! We taught the whole family about the Restoration and they are so prepared. We tried to ask inspired questions and at one point we felt prompted to ask them if they've ever wondered which of all the churches is true. Right as we asked that question, the father told us that that was the exact question he was just about to ask us! He explained that he felt there needed to be a restoration. That many churches had parts of the truth, but that the original church needed to be restored! It was amazing to then teach and testify of the story of Joseph Smith. The Spirit was abundant in that lesson and we pray that they will do their homework so they can come to know that this is the true church upon the Earth!! The exact same church that Jesus Christ established! We later visited an investigator by the name of Pamela. We had stopped visiting her for a while because she wasn't keeping her commitments, but we decided it was time to go back. As we returned she told us that she had felt something missing in her life. She thought about us often and she was ready to recommit to the Lord. We boldly invited her to come to church the following day and she did!! As we left the lesson we looked at our phone and saw that President James had texted us requesting that we call him. As we spoke with him he first released Elder Nadauld as zone leader and called him to be district leader in Raleigh South. He thanked him for his great service here and told him he has a great work to do there. He then spoke with me and told me to "keep disturbing the waters of baptism". He let me know who my new companion will be and I am excited to have a great transfer!! The following day was amazing. It was a great Sabbath Day. Johnny was too sick to come and translate, but I was so grateful for the gift of tongues as we were able to speak with our Congolese and actually communicate back and forth!! We taught the lesson during the second hour and it was a miracle to say the least. We visited them after church and had a little party to say goodbye to our member that is moving to Germany this week! She has been the main fellowshipper for them and she has done so much! She is the one that introduced us to them in the beginning!! We ate pizza, they sang us the most beautiful songs, and we enjoyed each others company. Before we left, they each paid tribute to Sister Karp and Elder Nadauld and thanked them for all that they did. It was such a tender moment. Wow, I can't believe that transfers are tomorrow! I am really going to miss Elder Naduald, he was such a great companion!! He taught me many things and I know he is going to change lives over in Lake Wheeler. I am continuously happy to do the Lord's will and I know that as I forget myself, I will truly find myself! What a sacred honor it is to serve God.

Choosing to have perfect mornings,
Elder Shearer

Monday, March 20, 2017

03/20/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

I wish that words could capture the emotions I am feeling!!! I am sooo privileged to be serving a mission! I am blessed to be witnessing so many miracles and it fills me with an indescribable joy that is unlike anything else! Last Monday we had a hilarious encounter at the Walmarts. We were just going about our business shopping for bagels and things when a random stranger approached us! He was at least 7 feet tall and he was roughly 60 years old. He asked us if we were Mormon missionaries and we replied emphatically that we were! :) He then proceeded to bash the church and went on a 10 minute long rant about how Mitt Romney is in charge of all of the narco-trafficking in America. He told us that our church is trying to get rid of the constitution and put the swastika in instead! He continued to bash us and tell us that we are to blame for all of the drug trafficking in America. He screamed all kinds of horrible accusations at us and then he told us that he was sure we already knew we were terrible people! He let us know that he believes in Jesus and in the Bible, but he "doesn't agree with anyone that's stupid enough to worship him!" He told us that we believe the Garden of Eden was in Missouri and that we believe Jesus Christ walked on this continent. I looked him straight in the eyes and with the biggest smile I had, I said "Yes sir, we do believe in that!" He stepped even closer to me and raising his voice even louder screamed "Well that just proves how stupid you are! You could believe in anything and you choose to believe in that ****! You might as well believe that Trump is a Christian!" He then stormed off and before he got too far I yelled out with another smile "God bless you sir!" He turned around and cursed at us for wishing blessings upon him. He told us he already had everything he could ever want! Another random man then approached us and asked what had happened. We told him that he didn't like us or our church very much, but that it was okay! He said "No kidding! I was four aisles over and I could hear him screaming at you!" We continued to shop and as we checked out, I saw him again! As he walked past, I yelled out "It was so good to meet you sir, have a great day!" He just snarled at us and left. As we took our shopping cart out to the car, we ended up seeing him a third time! As we unloaded our groceries her turned to us and yelled "Just remember! God always wins and you devil worshipers are going to hell!" I just smiled at him and honestly felt compassion for the man. My testimony was strengthened that the gift of charity is real! I didn't feel any kind of anger towards this man, quite the opposite actually! I felt genuine love for him! I would serve him in an instant! I actually was very grateful for this experience. I felt much like the apostles of old when in Acts 5:41, "They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." I rejoiced that I was able to suffer ridicule for the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! It was funny because driving away from the store, I couldn't stop smiling! We had a fun district activity playing sports here at the church afterwards and it was a great preparation day! We accounted with our zone on Tuesday and we met many people! We found a very elect Hispanic woman and the Spirit was felt strongly on her doorstep as we shared the first vision! We also found a very elect YSA investigator, he is looking for an uplifting, positive church! We stopped by one of our Congolese families and set up an appointment with them in Swahili and as we spoke to them in Swahili, their eyes were so wide and they were laughing they couldn't believe it! That night, we met another interesting stranger! As we were knocking doors, a man approached us (obviously very drunk) and introduced himself to us as JR. We asked him how long he had been living in those apartments and he told us he moved in a month ago. We asked what brought him over to Wilmington and he told us he shattered his leg in the Philippines! We asked why he was visiting the Philippines and he told us he lived in Asia for 6 years! Haha we had a funny back and forth and then he asked us if we wanted to "join him in his quarters to indulge in some tacos"! We really wanted to say yes, but it was late and we had to head home.. He wouldn't let us leave though and he insisted on us having a gospel conversation! I asked what he wanted to talk about and he told me to pick the topic. I asked him what he thought about prophets, like Moses or Abraham. He said "Well, that takes us back to Ishmael and Isaac. Now you see, you can only get water out of one stone. So you don't think Muhammad was a prophet? Cause I know that's where you're going with this!" I thought for a moment and said "I believe that God speaks to everyone in different ways." He paused, looked at me intently, and said "Wow, that's beautiful!" He then took a huge swig of his alcohol. Haha it was one of the funniest conversations I have ever had! As we walked away we wished him a good stay in the apartment complex and he said "Yep, I moved in last night!" Great stuff.. We went down to Southport for District Meeting on Wednesday and then we exchanged with those elders. I went with our District Leader Elder Jones and we had a great night! We taught the gospel boldly and set some baptismal dates! We went to a special bakery named "Burney's" and the only other one I have ever seen was in Clinton. We used to go there all the time in Clinton! It was amazingly delicious. The following morning as I got out of the shower, I saw that Elder Jones had made me breakfast! It was so kind of him!! What a great Elder. We exchanged back and Elder Nadauld and I went to visit Jerry, the coma man! We watched a movie called "Our Heavenly Father's Plan" and it was super cheesy haha.. He liked it though! We visited our recent convert Congolese family that night and they were sick! We made a speedy run to Walmart to buy them drinks, medicine, and gloves and they seem to be doing better. It was so sad how sick they were getting from the cold weather! They are having a difficult time affording their rent so the following morning we spent a little time trying to find them a new apartment. We then took Cody, a YSA member, out with us on an exchange and it was great! We knocked into some awesome people! We finished the night by teaching Esmi, one of our Hispanic investigators! We showed her some videos from the church and let her watch a talk that President Monson gave in General Conference. The Spirit was so strong and she loved it enough that even when we left, she was still watching mormon messages! She is getting baptized in a few weeks!! Saturday was a great day. Our YSA Branch mission leader took us out to both Breakfast and Lunch and we went out on an exchange in between! It was a lot of fun to go tracting with him and visit our YSA investigators! We stopped by Johnny to help him prepare for his sacrament meeting talk the following day and he was so excited, but nervous as well! He told us that he was going to stay up all night and practice his talk. Haha he said "You can never be tired for the gospel!" I gave myself and another Elder a haircut that night and it was a great day! Sunday was incredible. Johnny gave his talk in church on his conversion story and it was amazing!! He did it both in English and then in Swahili! And during Elders quorum meeting, he gave Elias the Priesthood! It is amazing to watch our Congolese progress so well in the gospel! A photographer from the church was there and she wanted to take pictures of the Congolese with us in them! She said it might get in the Ensign!! In the YSA branch, a Hispanic member was assigned to give a talk so I was up there right next to him translating the whole thing. It was a great talk! And then the same talk that was given a few weeks ago about the Word of Wisdom was given again the YSA branch! It was terrible.. The work has been so busy here! Our ward mission leader told the ward council that this is the busiest he has ever seen the Elders in all of his years of being the ward mission leader! So great to be working in the Lord's vineyard! We finished the week with one of the best nights of my mission!! We visited a girl named Karen. She is Hispanic and is in her twenties. Technically she should go to the YSA, but she likes to come to the first ward with her mom. Her mother is a member, but Karen has never joined the church. She has been taught by the missionaries for years and years and she always told them that although she would listen to them, she would never change her religion! We had an incredible lesson with her last night. She started by telling us that she had had a dream the night before. She dreamed that we had texted her inviting her to church! In her dream she texted back and promised us she would come! So she woke up and started to get ready but then while looking at her phone, she realized we never texted! It was definitely a sign from God! We read a powerful chapter out of the Book of Mormon with her and her mom about baptism and then we asked the mom to share her conversion story. The Spirit came in very strongly and we could tell that Karen was getting antsy. I told her I knew she was feeling the Spirit and I asked her how she felt about baptism. She told us that lately, she has been thinking quite a bit about it! She told us that she decided she wants us to be the ones to baptize her! We set a date with her and we even wrote it in on her calendar! It was amazing to hear her pray at the end and tell God that she wants to be baptized. We were very bold with her and it payed off. We walked away jumping up and down full of joy! I am so truly honored to be here in this area at this time serving God. I testify that this is His work and His glory. He is preparing His children, it is up to us to open our mouths and invite!

Rejoicing in the chance to be ridiculed for Christ,
Elder Shearer

Monday, March 13, 2017

03/13/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

Oh how I love it out here! What a privilege and a pleasure to be on a mission serving the Lord!! Last Monday we went down to Carolina Beach with a member and he took us to a Mexican restaurant, El Cazador. It was delicious! We went to baskin robbins afterwards and it was a blast. We had a great night teaching repentance and as we got home to the apartment, I began to give myself a haircut! Elder Nadauld told us that we were getting a call from a Utah number and as we answered it, a previous assistant told us not to ask any questions but to text him our address! We did so and 10 minutes later we got a knock on our door! I had jumped in the shower to wash off my hair and as I came out, I saw him sitting on our coach with a beard on his face! He said "Hey Elder, how are you doing?? I got a Cookout shake for you here!" Haha we had a fun time talking and eating ice cream. Such a pleasant surprise! We did accounting Tuesday morning and it was Elder Nadauld's turn to account with everyone. I decided to make things a little interesting and try to make him laugh while on the phone. I took some silly selfies on our tablet and showed them to him when he was least expecting it. Haha it was successful! I'll attach the pictures for context purposes. We then spent a lot of time planning for our zone training meeting to make sure that it went smoothly! We collaborated with our district leaders and with our sister training leaders to ensure the success of the meeting and it definitely paid off. We visited a very elect man named Dave after our planning, but he said that he would never change his religion! It was so sad to us! As we looked this man in the eyes we could feel all of the blessings that God has for him, but he wouldn't accept them! We kept on anyways and were determined to find those ready to accept the message. We said goodbye to one of our members that is moving to Germany! They are our main fellowshippers for our Congolese so it is very sad to see them go! Our zone training meeting was amazing!! We recreated the MTC and called it the NCWMTC (North Carolina Wilmington Missionary Training Center). We started off the meeting normally but after our accounting portion, we told everyone to stand up, leave their name tags on the desk, and follow one of the district leaders out of the room. He took them outside and around the building. Once they entered, we welcomed them to the NCWMTC and took them into the chapel. Once in the chapel, Elder Nadauld and I welcomed everyone and took them through an orientation meeting as the NCWMTC presidents. We recited our purpose as missionaries and sang called to serve together. We then gave everyone a blue bag with their name on it! It contained their name tags (now with a blue "dunk dot" on them), their schedule for the day, and their districts. We separated them into four rooms and had four separate instructions given by our district leaders. We had them refer back to their missions and do some funny things like that just to add to the effect of them being real MTC instructors. At the close of the rotation of instructions, Elder Nadauld and I gave the final instruction and we told everyone that the time is now! We have been prepared. No matter where we are in our missions, we can recommit today to the mission and truly let this MTC experience recenter us! It was a powerful meeting and at a few points in our instruction, I made a special connection with some missionaries as I testified to them directly of the urgency of these things. The Spirit was so strong and I felt in that moment that it was testifying to these missionaries of the importance and truthfulness of these things. We truly love our missionaries and spend so much time on our knees for them. We were blessed to eat dinner with a less active Hispanic family at On the Boarder. It was a great time and while we were there, a random man approached us and began to converse with us. It turns out he is a life long member of the church but is currently less active. He hadn't seen the missionaries in years. He was tearing up as he spoke with us and I could actually feel that his soul was hungry for the gospel. We taught some of our Congolese investigators after dinner and it was a successful night! We were able to offer our service to a different less active Hispanic family on Thursday morning as we helped him move out of his house! There was a lot of work to do and we worked hard for quite some time! I love serving!! We taught our recent convert Congolese family that night and we talked about Lehi's Dream! Haha I tried drawing it on the board although it didn't turn out as well as I would have liked.. But no matter, they loved the lesson and are excited to read the scripture more often! I had a neat experience that night in my personal prayer as I received some much needed revelation. I testify that the Lord is desirous to teach us! We can truly learn from our prayers as we search the scriptures diligently. I know that God lives and that He speaks to His children! This is a living gospel. Personal revelation is real. If you have any questions, concerns, trials, or doubts, take them up with the Lord in prayer and He will direct your paths! We were privileged to return to the less active Hispanic family the following morning and help them finish the move. We then visited Jerry, our investigator that went into a coma four months ago. After going unconscious, his spirit was visited by an angel and he was taken to God. Four weeks after going into the coma, his spirit was sent back to his body and he woke up! His one question is now: why me? He told us he didn't expect us to have any answers for him because he has searched and searched for months and no one can give him an adequate answer. Going into the lesson, we had no idea what we were going to share! As we sat down with him again and listened to his concerns, I felt strongly that he did not understand fully the doctrine of the atonement. We felt prompted to share the story of Alma the younger with him. It surprisingly fit his situation very well! Jerry feels he doesn't deserve such a blessing from the Lord to be alive again. We explained to him that Alma the younger had been one of the vilest of sinners. He had murdered many people and had sought to destroy God's church. Upon being visited by an angel (just like Jerry), he went into a type of coma! Once he understood the doctrine of the atonement of Jesus Christ, he became the man the Lord wanted him to be and he found joy in his labors by serving his fellow men. We told Jerry that Alma did not ask the Lord why he had saved him but rather he accepted the blessing and did all he could to show his gratitude for the Lord through his actions. We explained to Jerry that he should not be asking himself "why me?", but that rather he should be asking himself "why not?". We told him that he should be asking himself how he can show his gratitude for God! It is important that he accept God's gift to him and accept that he is loved. We were all in tears and he seemed to be satisfied with this new outlook on his experiences. We will continue to expound on the doctrine of the atonement with him, but for now he seems to be headed in the right direction. I am so grateful that God filled our mouths unto the convincing of men. I feel the deepest honor to be an instrument in God's hands. We drove an hour up to Wallace that night to conduct a baptismal interview and then drove right back down to Wilmington. Road trips! The investigator passed his interview with flying colors! We had another returned missionary visit us on Saturday with his family and it was super fun to meet them! We went to a panaderia for our language study and actually saw one of our investigators there! It was a miracle! Her phone apparently died and she has had no way to get in contact with us. We thought she was just ignoring us! Wow, the Lord works in mysterious ways; even by sending you to Spanish bread stores! Our allergies got pretty bad on Saturday because of all of the pollen in the air! I think I sneezed at least 200 times. We found a new African family and it turns out they are from Capetown!! We found another Hispanic less active family that night and hopefully they start coming back to church! We had a neat experience that night that strengthened my testimony. We had set a goal for 5 new investigators that day with the faith that we could do it according to the Lord's will. We had found 4 of them. It was 8:50. We knew there was one more waiting for us! Tired and a little sick, we put a smile on our faces and kept knocking! We found her! She was excited to see us and is enthralled to meet with us again! I know that miracles are truly wrought by the power of our faith in Jesus Christ! Guess what? Sunday, it snowed!!! The first snow in March in North Carolina in 34 years! Our Congolese had a fun time playing in it, they even had a snowball fight with our bishopric! We had a crazy dinner as we ate 12 different kinds of ice cream for dessert! We ended the week by teaching a Congolese family and we almost set baptismal dates with two more of them! The Spirit was so strong! I am happier than ever before as I lose myself in this great work!! We are fighting the good fight and oh what a good fight it is. I never want to stop serving the Lord!

Being sent by the Lord to bread stores,
Elder Shearer

Monday, March 6, 2017

03/06/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

Elder Shearer here reporting live from the South! This was a great week indeed. Last Monday we had a district activity down at Wrightsville beach!! We played some sand volleyball, made sand castles, and went running on the sand as well! It was loads of fun! We then got ready for our zone council meeting on Tuesday and visited Sharon, one of our investigators! Her children let us in and told us to wait for her but after about 30 minutes of talking to them we decided she wasn't coming so we left haha.. Tuesday was great! We had our zone council meeting and got some great plans in the making for our zone training this Wednesday!! We are going to recreate the MTC and help our missionaries rededicate to serve the Lord! We are all very excited, it should be a monumental and legendary meeting! We found a new Congolese family after the meeting and they are super awesome! We were just out tracting and when they opened the door, the whole world slowed down and we realized it was game time to use our Swahili.. We told them we who are and what we do as missionaries. We even set up a return appointment for a later day! It was such a blessing, the Lord was truly guiding our utterances.. The Gift of Tongues is real! We taught a Hispanic that night and recommitted him to reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church on Sunday. He has so much potential!! All of these people out here have endless potential, we just need to help them realize it and get working!! The Lord loves every single one of them! We got a call from the Assistants that night to prepare us for our exchange with some struggling missionaries the following day.. The Assistants had just barely gotten off of an exchange with both sets of these missionaries and they had some crazy experiences.. The Elders drugged the Assistants by giving them laxatives at the beginning of the exchange and then told them that their appointment was super close to the house so they could walk to it. As one of our Assistants went out with this Elder, they walked and they walked and they walked. They ended up walking 13 miles and it took them the entirety of their 6-9 hours.. And apparently the Elders tried to prank the Assistants while they were sleeping by leaving the door unlocked and letting the other Elders come in and mess with them during the night. Well after hearing about all of these stories, I was pretty worried to go on my exchange up there the following day! But we went anyways with faith and it was pretty good! I decided that all I was going to do was love unconditionally on the exchange. I wanted the Elders to feel trusted, needed, loved, and appreciated. We had a great district meeting up there and to start off the exchange, we all got into service clothes and went out to do service. The Elders told me it was super close to their apartment so we set out on foot! Haha we ended up walking 10 miles for about 3 hours and only did 15 minutes of service... But at least we had some good conversations along the way! I did a baptismal interview that night for one of the Sister's investigators and the young woman passed with flying colors!! Haha she was fidgeting the whole time and it was pretty funny. I was trying to help her not be nervous, but I think she was pretty worried about it haha.. One of the Elders gave me an article to read that night about the Free Masons and the early church members and it was pretty interesting!! We exchanged back the following morning and it was a great exchange wrap-up! The Elder that I was with really opened up and we had a lot of bonding moments. I hope he feels the love that God has for him. He needs him so desperately in this work! We ate lunch with a member and his wife and it was the sweetest thing! It was his 79th birthday and his wife told us that all we wanted for his birthday was to eat out with the missionaries!! Such a special treat for us. We visited Otto after lunch (the man that came to church last week after only briefly visiting him once) and guess what happened? He dropped us!! He told us that Sacrament Meeting was a waste of time, at best! I guess he didn't like the talk about the Word of Wisdom very much.. It was so sad! But we will respect his decision.. I took a picture with him though before we left! We finished our night by teaching our recent convert Congolese family, the Mashingas. We watched the Restoration movie with them and they loved it! A few of them were even in tears by the end! The following day we planned for our zone training meeting and it took sooo long. We almost lost our minds at one point so we started throwing pencils in the air and one of them came back down and stabbed me in the forehead.. I then started to bleed.. So we went back to planning and finished! We then got all of our translation equipment ready for Stake Conference and made sushi for dinner with two YSA's and the Sister missionaries. It was delicious! We visited an investigator by the name of Ricky afterwards and we haven't been able to meet with him for 2 months! He goes to school at UNCW and also is a professor there! He's pretty young too, maybe late 20's! Well he is very elect. He told us that he reads 5 pages of the Book of Mormon every night and that it helps him feel a lot of peace! He is about halfway through right now! He also told us that he heard an anti-Mormon radio show and it got pretty defensive when they talked about polygamy and stuff. He said "Don't talk bad about me! You don't even know anything about our religion! You don't know us!" Haha it was amazing to hear him get so excited about defending the truth! He knows he's going to be baptized, we are just trying to help him find a good date.. Saturday was a busy day! We visited a man by the name of Jerry that requested us to stop by. He told us that four months ago, he died! His spirit went back up to God and his body went into a coma. Four weeks after that, God sent his spirit back down and he awoke from his coma. He now has one question: why him? We told him we would study and pray about his question and try to come back with some sort of answer. We then visited a Congolese by the name of Lawrence and all he wanted to do was bash.. He asked us why we didn't worship the Sabbath on Saturday if we follow the ten commandments. We explained that when Jesus Christ came to the earth he fulfilled the law of Moses. Previously, yes the Sabbath was on the seventh day. But once Christ was resurrected on the first day, the apostles began to worship on the first day of the week as we learn from Acts 20:7. His heart was very hard and he wouldn't listen to what we had to say, he simply wanted to keep arguing that we were living in sin. We told him that our time is very precious out here and that if he isn't willing to pray about our message, we would be spending our time elsewhere. We left him with a prayer, and went on our merry way! We visited the De Mata family and they are awesome! The daughter Karen is so close to being baptized.. They are such a lovely Hispanic family! We gave the Sister missionaries some Priesthood blessings at the end of the night and I was very grateful for the guidance of the Spirit to know what to say! Sunday was glorious. We had Stake Conference so President and Sister James came down and gave a great talk! I was asked to translate the meeting into Spanish and after two hours straight of it, my throat was starting to hurt haha! It was amazing though, we had some Congolese investigators there as well as some Hispanic investigators! We visited the Ramirez family after church and they still aren't ready to change.. It is so sad! They so desperately want the blessings the gospel offers, but they even told us that they aren't willing to act or change to receive them.. The gospel isn't going to be easy though! If it were, it wouldn't be worth much! We taught the Mashinga family again and our member family that have been the main fellow-shippers for them are moving back to Germany this week. They gave their goodbyes last night and it was a sad moment for all of us! But also a happy one because we still have the gospel that brought us together in the first place! We finished our week by taking out a YSA with cerebral palsy. He is amazing!! Such an inspiration to many. We knocked a few doors and didn't have success until the last one, which was the door that he knocked! We found a Hispanic man and had a great contact with him. It was an amazing week! Yes there were a lot of administrative things that occupied our time, but it helps me to appreciate the moments when we can get out and minister as representatives of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Convinced there's a piece of lead stuck in his cranium,
Elder Shearer