A Boxer and a Baptism

This week was a good week. We found a new investigator from our
contacting efforts. His name is Frank. He is a 71 year old black guy
who is a former boxer. He is awesome. We invited him to be baptized on
the 28th of April and he accepted. He is a real character. He tells us
stories of the hood in Oakland and LA and how he fought people like
Ali and Fraser in the ring. He's been all over the world boxing. We
taught him about the gospel of Christ and taught him about increasing
his faith. We are going back to teach him on Wednesday and Sunday, and
he is coming to a session of conference as well. It is funny that you
wrote about the Ft Lauderdale ward last week, because Frank reminds me
of one of the converts that went up to the temple with us when I rode
the bus up with Dad. I can't remember his name though...

For this coming week, we are going to be busy. We have a baptism
between sessions of general conference. This is another part-member
family and the husband will be baptizing his wife. It is really cool
to be able to help these families on their way to being an eternal
family. We are very excited and have been teaching them since early
December, and they have been strong and faithful the whole time. They
will be a part of the "real growth" that general authorities have been
talking about.

Well this is the start of my last transfer in Salinas. Not quite ready
to leave yet, but it is a ways away. This will be a good transfer.

-Elder James Richards

A Big Week

So this week was a testament to goals. We set our monthly goals, and
the past two weeks have been hard, so we needed to put up some big
numbers in the last two weeks of March to make our goals. So we did.
It was great to see the Lord help us in our work as we worked as hard
as we could. Elder Platt is learning a lot and he started driving last
week. It is funny to watch his driving get a bit more aggressive as he
goes from small town driving.

It has been really interesting to teach one part member family that we
do. The husband is what some might classify as the  "eternal
investigator." If we were to look at him and try to teach all the
lessons in preach my gospel and get him to do the commitments that are
there, we would fail. We have really had to rely on inspiration and
teach more then the standard lessons. Slowly, but surely though, he is
changing. His faith is increasing and he professes a belief in God.
Sometimes people just take time. We have to be patient with them and
keep going. Everyone runs at their own pace. We just had to help them
run in the right direction.

Sorry I don't have much to write this week, but I am doing well.

Love you all,

Elder James Richards

Apostolic Guidance

Yea we had just as many appointments fall through this last week. We scheduled a ton yesterday at church, so we can afford to have a few fall through this week. This we still a good week though.

One Tuesday we got to go up to San Jose and hear Elder L. Tom Perry speak to us. Elder Maynes of the seventy also spoke, and Elder Packer, the area authority, was there as well. Elder Perry spoke about using the media coverage to our advantage, even if it is negative coverage. He also spoke about how amazing it is that we have so much access to priesthood in our day. For the majority of the time, the Melchizedek priesthood has either not been on the earth, or reserved for prophets. Today we have to ability to have that power and authority in our homes. He also spoke about using and aiding the ward in everything, especially the ward council. I also got to see Elder Miller and we took a "family picture." My "brother" is training this transfer as well. 

The other great moment from this week was that we started teaching a family. Mom, Dad, 11 year old and 1 year old. We gave them a chapel tour and talked about what we do as missionaries. We are going to their house to teach them the restoration on Tuesday. They already know a family in the ward and that will be a big help. 

Yesterday I also had an exercise in following the spirit. When we were planning on Saturday night, the name of one sister popped in to my head as a back up. I had only visited her once in my whole time here. We put her down. Then on sunday, sure enough, our appointment fell through. We went to visit and had a great lesson and I was able to give her a blessing. She is older and has a lot of health issues. I felt guided as I gave the blessing and then immediately after is was over she said that she felt better, and it didn't really hurt to breath anymore. It made me think back to Elder Perry's talk and I was glad we have so much access to the priesthood and that I am able to hold that priesthood. Miracles happen everyday as a missionary. 

Good luck this week.

-Elder James Richards