Monday, April 24, 2017

04/24/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

What a joy it is to be serving!! I love every single second of every single day!! :) :) :) Truly the best week of my entire mission!! Last Monday we had a zone activity here in Wilmington and we had a blast! We played many different sports such as soccer, volleyball, chair soccer, and basketball! Following the activity I gave haircuts to three of the missionaries in our zone. It was a great time! We taught an investigator by the name of Uniqua that night and we were able to clear up a lot of misconceptions. She left that lesson finally understanding that this is the true church and that if she wants to receive that confirmation for herself, she needs to read the Book of Mormon and pray to receive that answer! Tuesday morning we went tracting and we found a man named Phillip! He is so ready to hear the gospel! We taught him the Restoration on his doorstep and he was so intrigued. He committed to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and even come to church on Sunday in order to know that this is the truth! He has been looking for the true church of Jesus Christ, and we are grateful the Lord sent us to knock on his door! We went tracting some more after talking to him and then had an exchange with a member from the YSA. We tried to visit many of our potentials and investigators, but none of them were home. It was too bad, Sean has such a strong testimony! We finished the night with of course some more tracting! We are desperately trying to spend every second finding. Not only are we trying to knock many doors, but we are striving to teach according to the needs and concerns of the people! Wednesday we went to district meeting up in Hampstead and it was a great meeting! I was blessed to be able to go on an exchange with the district leader, Elder Jenks afterwards. He is actually my brother in the mission! He was trained by my trainer Elder Rogers here in Wilmington! For the exchange I brought him here to Wilmington and we had a grand time. We spent a lot of it tracting in downtown Wilmington and we ended up finding a woman by the name of Louisse! After listening to the message of the Restoration, she said "Wow, I guess I need to know if this is true! I don't want to be in the wrong church!" It was a great moment to be able to testify to her that Jesus Christ has indeed restored His church again on the Earth for the benefit of God's children. We had dinner with the Arne' family and we had a steampot! We ate Alaskan king crab, scallops, shrimp, and clams! It was down right delicious. After dinner, Elder Jenks showed me a few hidden Hispanic trailer parks in Wilmington and I am excited to knock them! We finished the exchange by visiting Karen, one of our investigators with a baptismal date! Elder Jenks used to teach her two years ago when he first served here! She was very excited to see him again and we had a powerful lesson teaching her the Plan of Salvation. We excited to watch her continue to progress towards baptism! We exchanged back with our companions the following morning and Elder Brezenski and then went tracting! We actually tracted for most of the day and loved every minute of it! We visited our Congolese converts that night and shared the articles of faith with them. Johnny our translator has not been in any of our lessons recently due to being busy with work, so we have been doing all of the teaching in Swahili! It is always a special treat to visit them. We visited one of our Hispanic families we are working with and they are doing well. For some reason they haven't been coming to church! We will continue to work with them on that. The next morning from 10-12 we went tracting again! We went home for lunch and weekly planning, but then we went back out to tract!! I love tracting so much because it gives the Lord a chance to work miracles. We must put forth our effort so that He sees He can trust us with His children. We found Carmela that afternoon, a new Hispanic investigator! She is very strong. She wants to take her children to church, but doesn't feel comfortable doing so when all of the churches are teaching different things! She wants them to be raised in the truth and we testified to her that God wants her to do exactly that. For this purpose He has called prophets again on the Earth to lead and guide His children!! We went home for a quick dinner and then visited Jonathan, one of our YSA investigators. We were able to share the Plan of Salvation with him and we focused on Jesus Christ giving us life. He shared that he has never known what it feels like to truly live. We testified to him that as he follows the example of Jesus Christ, specifically by being baptized, he will feel alive for Jesus is the life and the light of the world. We quickly visited our Congolese family again to remind them of the temple trip the following morning and made sure everyone understood what was going to happen. We had tried to contact the manager of the mother's work to try and get her a day off, but to no avail! Although she wasn't able to come, the rest of the family was very excited for the special opportunity! President James was kind enough to give us permission to accompany them as well! I felt like I couldn't sleep that night, I was just too excited! It was like Christmas all over again!! The morning finally came and we all met at the church building. We left from there to drive to Apex. I took a selfie in the car with Elias, the father, and he was full of such happiness and excitement! What a beautiful experience it was. Heavenly Father helped me to be able to translate for them and communicate everything going on. Elias was able to watch his two daughters perform baptisms for the dead and then it was his turn. What a blessed moment for us all. Many tears were shed and many hearts were touched. I consider it a miracle from God that we were present in the temple that day. After the amazing trip, we drove back home and quickly ate dinner. A member from the YSA then came out with us to go to a teaching appointment! Sadly, they were not home so Cody (the member) had an idea to have us "practice teaching" his roommate Daniel! Daniel reluctantly agreed to a practice lesson and we shared the Plan of Salvation with him. To share a little bit of Daniel's background, he used to be Atheist. He was Atheist for most of his life until just recently. He decided to give religion a try and he had a miraculous experience that turned him Christian! As we shared our message with him, he said "Wow! I desperately want this to be the truth!" We invited him to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and come to church in order to receive a confirmation from God that these things are true. He agreed to give it a real chance! We saw him at church the following morning and we were thrilled!! He came with Cody and he stayed for all three hours! He loved every second of it too! He told us he is excited for our next lesson this week and we hope he does his homework before then so that he can receive his answer quickly! Jonathan also came to church and it was great to see him there. We ate dinner after church and then got everything ready for a mission president fireside we were going to have at 7. Our Congolese family was really excited about it and Johnny had initially agreed to pick them up, but as it got closer to 7 we realized he wasn't coming.. We didn't know what to do with 6 of them ready to go and in a last minute moment of desperation, we decided to cram all 6 of them into the back of our car! We very carefully drove to the fireside hoping and praying that we would not get pulled over! We knew that the Lord wanted them there and there was no other way! We arrived safely and the fireside was amazing. At the end of the meeting, we went around the room and all the investigators / recent converts shared their experiences with the church. It eventually got to the Congolese and President James yelled out "Well, it's all up to you, Elder Shearer!" I prayed so hard that I would have the gift of tongues and began to explain to them in Swahili what it was that we were doing. They were hesitant to share anything because they knew no one would understand them. I explained to them that the Spirit was there and that he could comminute the message to their hearts. Elias and Furaha stood up one by one and shared a powerful testimony. It was a miracle, the power of God touched me and my ears were opened! I understood everything that they said and I was then able to stand up and relay their powerful testimonies to everyone present. I had never before felt the gift of tongues so real as in that moment. It was truly a miracle from God that I could be that instrument in His hands. The Spirit that filled the room was rich as I explained in detail the feelings of their hearts. I testify that the Lord works miracles among the children of men and that whether great or small, He is present in our lives. I exhort each of you to take time daily to look for these miracles. You will find them.

There's nothin' finer than bein' in North Caroliner,
Elder Shearer

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