We were able to make our presence known in the community this past week. The annual Newark Days festival was this past week and we manned a booth with different ward members. We were able to hand out a lot of cards and talk to a lot of people. we were also able to generate interest in our activity on the 3rd of November. Since our WML loves photography, he has done free family portraits in the past. He touches the photos, puts them on a CD and we deliver them to the people who got their pictures taken. It's genius in that it gets people in the church for the photos, and we have an address and we can try to pick them up as investigators. We also talked to a man who was pretty interested in learning about the church, so we're giving him a call today.
Last week we had a powerful experience while contacting. We were walking up the street to our car in one of the sketchier parts of town and I stopped to talk to a lady that was walking up the street with here son in a stroller. We got to talking, and she opened up to us that she was going that day to get an abortion. We talked to her and testified to her that families are forever, that our choices here have consequences in the eternities, and that the family is a unit that God has given us. She was explaining the father was abusive and he was in jail and that she already had a few kids with him, and that her keeping the child would still connect her to him, which she didn't want. As we left her, she had decided not to go ahead with the abortion. We got a number and tried to call her a few times latter in the week, but she dodged us, so we were worried she'd gone through with it. Then, at Newark Days, we saw her and she signed up for the photo event. She seemed happy to see us and was still friendly. We don't know if she went through with it, but we were able to testify to her and help her see the answer. I just hope she stuck to it. Families are so important.
New development: Richard answers his phone now. He told us about some pressures he's been having with his family. His wife and kids aren't the most supportive. They think he will get baptized and flake, or that he will get baptized and "mess up" and that will be some crazy egregious sin. They don't understand the atonement or repentance through Jesus Christ. Richard has decided though to keep coming to church and commit himself to the commandments, so that he can show his family that this is what he really wants. We're working on helping him meet ward members, and so he's met with the Bishop and has met other members. He's doing good and we're hoping to get him in the water in October. He really wants to get baptized.
The family we are teaching is doing well, and the grandma loves the relief society president. We're working on some member fellowshippers for the couple, and the daughter already knows members at her high school. Kind of nice that there is one High School in Newark, so all the members go there.
We've started teaching the 14 year old son of a less active member and he was in church this past week. Richard was as well, so we were excited to have two investigators there and some other Less active members, who at this point, aren't so less active any more. One man, who moved here from New Mexico after he got divorced, is doing great. He was away for a while in New Mexico and here, but he ran into the Spanish missionaries, who gave his info to us. He's been pretty much active since we had dinner with him and two young families. He knows people and even asked us if he had a home teacher and how he could start home teaching again. It's great to see people come back.
Some exciting news from my last area, a man named Tony is getting baptized. He is deaf and had been going to church pretty much every week for something like the last year. He'd been taught by the ASL elders before, but he had concerns and Fremont was so far away from Salinas that it made it hard. Now there are an odd number of ASL missionaries and where does one get sent? Salinas 2nd ward. I'm fairly certain that President didn't know about this, and so it's another testimony to me that where we are placed is inspired. I'm going to try to get a ride and go down to the baptism. Hopefully we can get there, it's a little far.
Yesterday was mission Pday which was fun. We went to a park in San Jose and did some service and play some sports and had a big bbq. I'll send pictures next week, we are crunched for time now because we have an appointment with Richard now.
Have a good week.
Elder James Richards