Oakland Temple Visit

This week was very cool because we went up to the Oakland temple. It is a really odd temple compared to others, but it is really cool. We took up a less active we have been teaching and a recent convert to do baptisms. We were scared because our investigator bailed on us at the last second and you need to take investigators up to the visitor's center/ grounds to be able to go. Since the temple is out of our mission, there are lots of restrictions. We are blessed to be able to go when we can. We called President and he actually gave us the go ahead to go. It was a neat experience being on the temple grounds. There is always a unique spirit at the temple, even on the grounds. Elder Miller and I were able to sit and ponder and receive revelation for our investigators for a little while. The temple is the best place to do that. The Oakland temple is in a beautiful area. It overlooks Oakland and San Francisco and the bay. 

The recent convert that we got up there to do baptisms had a great time. She really felt the spirit inside, and we are helping her prepare some names she can take for the next time she goes. The most exciting news with her is that she found a new place to live! Her place right now is probably less then 500 square feet and should have been condemned a long time ago. It is an awful environment, since it is tiny for the 1 adult and 3 small children that live there, and it is on the east side of Salinas, which is a very gang controlled place. It isn't very healthy for the kids either. The Lord opened up a place for her that she had been on a waiting list for for 8 years. It is an answer to the prayers of her, us, and all the leaders of our ward. We can't wait to get her out of there, away from the danger and bad influences. 

This week is shaping up nicely. We picked up the new part member family and are now teaching 3 part member families. That is one of the aspects of the rescue test is that we really focus on working with part member families. Our lessons and numbers have taken a slight dip, but this week should be a strong week for us. 

I am having a great time here, and am excited for the steak and eggs breakfast for all the missionaries on the 24th. I'll also get to see my old MTC buddies, so that should be cool. 

Merry Christmas to all,
Elder James Richards

PS For information about why Temples are built and what they are for, visit http://lds.org/church/temples/why-we-build-temples?lang=eng

Fountain out front, Elder Miller and I

Oakland temple

Everyone that went

Nativity out front