This week has been really good. My new companion's name is Elder Bingham. He's from Syracuse, Utah, and has actually been out for 2 transfers. He started his mission in the Ogden mission as a trial because of some health worries. He did well, went to the MTC and now he's here. Pretty cool guy.

We had an odd week last week. With me being sick, and Elder Bingham not being here until thursday, we had a different kind of week. We had some really cool things happen though. A less active member that we work with called us out of the blue on thursday to tell us that she had officially quit coffee. We had talked to her a few weeks ago about attending the temple and she really wants to go. She was so excited to have been able to give up the coffee and fight through the withdrawls.

Another less active (or used to be less active) member got home from New Mexico and came to church all on his own. We had no idea he was even back. Before he left for New Mexico, he'd been coming every week. He's really incredible. He found the church through his then-wife and her family. After the wife made some choices that lead to the divorce, he wasn't sure whether or not he wanted to come to church after he moved back out here. He could have been very bitter against the church, but he's turned the other way and really embraced the church here.

Last night we went over to the Russell's. They are the family that we teach. They are doing really well, and we were able to talk a lot about the Gospel and find some of their concerns, which was an answer to prayers. They said they'd be at the trunk or treat tomorrow, which will be big if they come. We need to get them to church, and helping them meet more people will help a lot. It is cool to be able to teach a whole family, but juggling everyone's individual schedules and concerns has been really difficult.

After we email today, we are going to two appointments. One is with a kid we contacted in to. Hopefully he's there. Another is with Mario, whom we have taught already. Today, we are going to invite him to be baptized. He's 17 and really quiet, but he's looking for truth, so it should be great.

With being the only Zone Leader in Fremont, came a whole lot more responsibility. I'm the guy that has to coordinate with the stake and work with district leaders and missionaries that struggle. It was a little overwhelming at first, but I think I've got the hang of it.

We're working really hard to get to our 3 baptisms before the end of the year goal. We figure we've got to baptize someone in November to make it attainable. We should be able to help Mario or Eric or another investigator through. President said that with the missionary increase, our numbers are projected to jump from 190 to 250 missionaries. That means 30 new areas! It will be weird, there will probably english wards with mutiple companionships. We're trying hard to bump up the work so that these missionaries have things to do when they come in. We should get the first wave of 18 year olds early next year. It will be a very interesting time to be a missionary. The new training plan that we scoffed at that preps missionaries to turn around and train right after they are done being trained all of a sudden makes a whole lot of sense. It is almost like it was inspired or something...

And some fun news from my last area, Gina moved back to Salinas from Bakersfield, and her 15 year old son lives with her now instead of his Dad. He's getting baptized on the 10th. Pretty cool!

Thanks for all the letters and such.

-Elder James Richards