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

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