Monday, August 7, 2017

08/07/17 - Raleigh, North Carolina

Wow! This week was absolutely packed full of miracles, day after day after day! God is so good!! This was hands down the best week of my whole mission. :) Last Monday we picked up the new missionaries and we had 19 of them come in! It was a huge group trying to take through the airport and collect luggage for, but we got it taken care of and got to the mission home safely. We of course did some role-plays with them and then had a marvelous dinner lovingly provided by our spectacular office staff. They are the best in the world, I'm convinced of it! After dinner we had a testimony meeting and it was fun to feel of their excitement to be out here serving. We then sent them all to bed and went into President's office with him and Sister James. We stayed up pretty late determining and seeking revelation for which trainer was the right fit for each trainee. Although some decisions made no sense logically, they seemed to just feel right and we have already seen confirmations of those choices! After sleeping for a solid 4 hours, we woke up, went back to the mission home to wake up the new missionaries, and then told everyone one by one where they are going to serve and with whom. Their excitement continued to build as we took them to the church and began our orientation meeting. At the close of that meeting, we walked them down the hall into the room full of their trainers! As we sang "Called to Serve", each missionary met their trainer and then we continued with our meetings. The Spirit was strong and the things that were said were meant specifically for those missionaries, I know it. We told them all how much we love them and then sent them off to baptize the world! We then moved on to the regular transfers and helped everyone get situated with their new companions. There was one missionary that showed up not knowing he was getting transferred! Somehow the word didn't get through to him and he had to drive back to his area to pack! Crazy.. Once everyone had left the church ready to have a good transfer, we took all of the departing missionaries to the mission home to have a great night. It was quite enjoyable! We had another amazing dinner, and an even more powerful testimony meeting than the night before. It is remarkable to see the difference between the two groups. A mission truly does change you! We enjoyed each others company and played board games and ping pong throughout the night! After sleeping for roughly 2 hours, we got up to take everyone to the airport! We sent them off and wished them the best of luck with their many new adventures. It was hard to say goodbye to so many of the friends I have made, but I know that God has a plan for each of us and we all must move on with that plan eventually. We must continue onward with faith! Half asleep, we drove President and Sister James home and updated the transfer board. They then demanded that we go home to take a nap, so we got another hour or so of sleep in there. We woke up so refreshed, we hit the doors hard! We contacted a referral from the Sister Missionaries and he is extremely prepared. His name is Kevin and we thoroughly enjoyed teaching him the Restoration. He has many deep questions and we were able to answer each of them by following the Spirit! At the conclusion of the lesson, we knelt with him and invited him to offer the prayer. He prayed that he can get over his own way of thinking so that he can know the Book of Mormon is true! Powerful. We all sat there for about a minute in complete silence. The Spirit was so strong that he told us he could feel it radiating off of us. We knocked for the rest of the night and found 2 more new investigators! Thursday started off on a great note as we tracted from 10-12! I love tracting!!! :) Although we didn't find anyone that time, it was okay because we were committed to serve God and do His will! We then had to go to the mission office to get the transfer set up and scheduled out, but we were anxious to get back out to work and once we did, we went tracting again! And again we found 2 new investigators! Absolutely a blessing from God. Both nights we prayed to God and let him know that our goal was 2 and that we believed it was achievable, and both times it was! I strongly believe in involving God in our goal setting and making of plans. He will strengthen us and enable us! We had a leadership training meeting on Friday and it was hilariously horrific. Everything went wrong! We messed up on the agenda, forgot to notify a few people of their assignment to instruct, and the mics weren't cooperating at all. Not only did those things happen, but halfway through the meeting the fire alarm went off and we all had to evacuate! Before we knew it, two huge firetrucks pulled up and two firemen came rushing into the building! It turns out our office staff was just cooking lunch and some of the steam from the rice set it all off haha! What a great memory for all of us.. Sister James and I thought it was pretty funny. We continued on with the meeting and it ended on a great note. After the meeting, we visited a miracle family! Long story short, there was a lady that has lived in Wake Forest for two years, but went down to Florida to visit her member mother for about a month. While she was down there she took the missionary lessons and got baptized! She just came back from vacation and called us asking us to teach her nonmember husband and son. We went to teach them after our leadership meeting and they are so solid! The father told us he has never been baptized before and he is excited to read the Book of Mormon and pray! He was very anxious to hear our Prophet speak, so we left him with a great conference talk. It was an incredible lesson and Elder Jones and I have commented so many times this week how good God is. We tracted again that night and again found 2 new investigators! Saturday was another day full of miracles. After receiving a text from President James that we had to move our meeting to a little later in the day, we got a call from the Elders down in Lake Wheeler asking if we could come down to teach a few Congolese families in Swahili. President had been wanting me to go down there to help them for a little while and the timing worked out perfectly! We drove down and taught three families! We even have three return appointments for this Wednesday night! In the most extensive of the lessons, we were able to teach the full restoration and even leave them with a Book of Mormon! Although they had a few concerns throughout the lesson, God truly blessed me with the gift of tongues to not only be able to understand them, but to resolve them! They committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know that it is true!! Wow, it was such a fun morning. We drove back to Raleigh afterward and had a good meeting with President. We tracted for the rest of the day and at one point met a man named Donald. He told us that he used to go to the Mormon church when he was younger to play basketball and go to scouts and things like that. He had actually searched for a Mormon church around the area a few years back, but didn't have any success in finding one. He was very excited to meet us and even came to church today! Not only did Donald come, but the family that came back from Florida also came and they loved it! After church we had a feeling to go visit a man that the missionaries used to teach by the name of Nathan. He was home and we sat on his porch discussing the plan of salvation. Elder Jones and I asked some of the most inspired questions of our missions. Nathan made many comments and although he has never progressed before, he is finally showing potential and has a desire to act on his faith. He let us know that he has always told the missionaries he doesn't care if our message is true or not. I asked if I could make an observation and then told him I believe he does care if the message is true, but simply doesn't feel that he fits into God's plan. I asked him if that is how he feels and he sat there motionless for quite some time. I felt prompted to testify of his importance and potential and as we shared scripture, we could literally feel his hope building. At one moment without even realizing what was coming out of my mouth I said, "Nathan, the reason you have a hard time believing in prayer is that you have never had a strong father figure in your life. It is difficult for you to imagine a father that loves you, desires the best for you, and is always there for you because that is something you have never known a father to be. But as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, we testify to you that God lives and that He loves you. He is anxious to hear your prayers and wants you to feel of His love." I had no idea what his relationship with his father was like, nor had I even thought of it before those words came out of my mouth! But Nathan simply looked up at us and with what seemed to be tears in his eyes asked us how he can get onto our level of spirituality. We told him it is through baby steps. We invited him to start by praying, and he did! It was a great prayer, because it was sincere. It wasn't long nor was it decorated, but it was from his heart. We ended the night by sharing the plan of salvation with Anthony. His desires to be baptized continue to grow and he is making progress! Elder Jones and I have seen a real difference in the way we do missionary work in the last few days. We have felt the Spirit more present than ever in our lessons. We feel him guiding our words, our thoughts, and our actions. I am so grateful to God for this gospel and for the children he is allowing us to find. There is great potential in this area and that is all because God is good! I love him dearly and consider it an honor to be found in his service. What a great time to be a missionary.

Glorifying God for His goodness,
Elder Shearer

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