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

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