Monday, May 1, 2017

05/01/17 - Wilmington, North Carolina

What a joyous week!! I am so happy with everything around me! :) Wow! I seriously didn't know that these happiness levels could exist!! :) Haha anyways, last Monday was great! We went to downtown Wilmington and then played soccer out in the rain! We got a referral for a Hispanic woman that night so went and visited her and she is amazing! Her name is Evelyn and she has so many questions. We explained the Restoration to her and she is excited to read the Book of Mormon. She said she would be baptized if she comes to know this is true, so fill up the fonts! We went to a district meeting up in Jacksonville on Tuesday and then went on a quick blitz up with the elders in that area. Elder Walker and I visited with a woman who claims she has the gift of tongues! Towards the end of the lesson she started to speak in "Brazilian Portuguese" and then asked if she could sing us a Christmas song in Spanish! We told her that our time is very sacred and that we needed to finish our message, but she insisted on singing and before we knew it, she was going! I am here to report that not a single word of that song was Spanish. She apparently also speaks Swahili! It was a very dark spirit so we quickly left. The elders then had interviews with President James, and following the interviews we went on an exchange with them. I brought Elder Meyer with me down to Wilmington and we had a great exchange! I learned so many things from him! He has such great desires to seek the Spirit and follow its promptings! We went to teach the Plan of Salvation to one of our investigators that night, but as we got there something was off. He began to tell us that he has been arguing with his gods and that they weren't happy with him. He told us that he sees many spirits and even told us while we were sitting with him that Michael the Archangel and Jehovah were there with us. It was a very evil spirit and we told him that that was not appropriate behavior and testified to him that the spirits he was seeing were not from God. We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and to pray to God for help and then left as soon as possible. A very interesting exchange! We had a great time the following morning though. We went tracting and as we set a goal for one new investigator and prayed to the Lord for His help with that goal, we were able to accomplish it! Her name is Elia and she is an older Hispanic woman. She is very sweet and although raised Catholic her entire life, she loved the message and said she would really want to know if this is the truth! We later exchanged back with our companions and then went to interviews with President James. They were amazing as always and the Spirit was very strong! We had some great conversations and he asked for my help with a few things. I am excited to help out and serve God! We finished the night by visited Pamela, one of our investigators! We brought some members with us and had a very powerful lesson. She accepted a baptismal date and we are excited to help her reach that goal! We started Thursday off with some good old tracting and we found a few new people to teach! We then went on an exchange with the assistants up in Raleigh and on the way up, we stopped by Sunni Sky's! It is a very famous ice cream store that has been on TV! Wow, it's delicious. It was a great day and a great exchange! I was with Elder Barlow and I learned a lot from him, we had a blast together! We did a lot of tracting and shared the restoration quite a few times! We got back to the apartment that night and I cut an Elder's hair before a meeting the next day! The meeting was MLC (Mission Leadership Council) and it was phenomenal. Instructions were given on making love our motivation, not using excuses, and having the faith to baptize!! We then discussed a lot of policy changes and many things are changing! We are excited to see how it all plays out. We drove home from Raleigh and did some more tracting! We found some very elect people. We first found Todd, a man waiting for the gospel! He told us he goes to sleep at night just depressed because he's so confused by religion! We explained the pattern of prophets and apostasies and he said "Well hopefully God gives us another chance soon, we sure could use a prophet!" He related heavily to the story of Joseph Smith and as we explained the Book of Mormon, he said "Wow! That's really cool! You know, I've been looking for answers and I think you just gave me a book full of them. I have some serious reading to do in the next few weeks!" I testified to him that he will receive an answer from prayer and as I explained the process, all the lights in the hallway simultaneously turned on! I said "It will feel much like that!" He was super taken back and insisted we had timed it! Amazing miracle form Heaven. He said it was a special religious day for him and that it was not a coincidence we met him that day. He prayed right then and there to know this is true and told us he is going to keep the Book of Mormon in his Kevlar as he works! We had just a few more minutes to tract after meeting him so we kept going right until 9 and as we did so, a woman answered her door. We began to teach her the message of the Restoration and we felt prompted to focus on families. We promised her it could help bring her closer to her family and as we did, she began to cry. I asked her how she was feeling and she began to cry even harder. She couldn't' get any words out so I asked her if she had been looking to strengthen her family relationship. She simply nodded and we bore fervent testimonies of the blessings and truthfulness of this message. She gratefully accepted a return appointment and we are grateful to teach her again! Saturday was a great day, we pretty much tracted all day and night! There was a baptism halfway through the day for the Sisters' investigator and they asked me to sing at it. I sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" and Elder Brezenski accompanied me on the violin! It was a beautiful service and there were more non-members there than I have ever before seen! Sunday was marvelous, I love the Sabbath! It is truly a delight. We had invited and committed many many people to come to church, but for some reason no matter how much follow-up we did, no one came! We kept the smiles on our faces though and a few minutes after sacrament meeting started, a miracle walked in. A Hispanic man walked in and sat down by himself. Elder Brezenski and I turned to each other and after a few minutes concluded that we didn't know who it was! We went over and met him and he said his name was Kabin! Following sacrament meeting, we took him into a classroom and began to teach him about the Restoration. After explaining the message, he now has a baptismal date for May 27th! We asked when we could meet with him again and he said "How about tomorrow?" He stayed all three hours of church and really enjoyed it. Wow, miracles do exist if we just believe!! On a slightly different note, we visited the Congolese last night and found out that Johnny, our first Congolese to get baptized, might be going to a different church.. We sent him a Facebook message and hopefully he gets back to us so we can talk to him! We have faith that all things will be worked out in Christ. Wow, what an incredible opportunity to witness so many miracles! I know this is the Lord's work and I couldn't be happier. Life truly has meaning when we put God first.

Putting God first in all things,
Elder Shearer

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