I'm still alive

New Address:
3955 Vineyard Ave # 67
Pleasanton, CA 94566

So today is my first PDay in Pleasanton. It is very different from my wards in Salinas and Newark. Instead of salad fields, we have vineyards. Instead of former gang bangers, we have the number 2 guy at Safeway Grocery stores. Instead of the ghetto eastside, we have a nuts expensive gated neighborhood called Ruby Hill. It is pretty different. Money is in the Pleasanton Second Ward.

Pleasanton is a historically slow area. It is funny, because Pleasanton was the zone we were always competing with while we were in Fremont. Now we compete with Fremont. It is looking really good though. In my area, they had two baptisms last transfer. The ward really, really likes us. We also picked up 5 new investigators this last week. One is a guy who has lived in Pleasanton forever. He is sitting on this multi-million dollar plot of land between a ritzy neighborhood and a golf course. He probably traded 20 dollars and a horse for it. Leave it to me to find hillbillies in one of the richest wards in California. He's a really nice guy. His name is Bill and we found him street contacting. We went over and talked to him and he's had some rough medical things happen in his life. He has a lot of faith. Hopefully, we can get him to church soon. The other 4 new investigators were a family. They are a half Nicaraguan, Half Filipino family. They've met with missionaries in the past and have had super positive experiences,  so we are really excited. We're going back Thursday for another appointment. It is really cool to have a family to teach. They're great. Very chatty though. We have some other potentials we are trying. One guy named Guy is a referral from a member. He has a lot of money. And his daughter said she wanted to start going to a church, so that is cool. 

My new companion's name is Elder Baldwin. He's from Preston, Idaho and he's been out 8 months. He's a cool kid, and actually played Lacrosse in High school. We've been doing a lot of work. 
Elder Bingham is still in Newark and he is actually training a new missionary. He was nervous about training, but it sounds like he's doing good. The biggest disappointment about getting transferred  was that I missed Samson's mission farewell by a week. Apparently, the place was packed. Elder Platt is actually also here in Pleasanton, in the Third ward, so we see him a lot. 

This transfer, we're going to work hard to help bring the zone up. It's been tough in Pleasanton, but President has put a really good group of missionaries up here. We're looking to start the coming year strong, hopefully with a few families getting baptized right off the bat. That would be huge. We had a zone fast the other night to help build up the members of the zone. We're fortunate in that we have some work, but there are a few companionships that have next to nothing. We're going to help them find some people to teach. It'll be another slog to get this going, but it's been done before, we can do it again. 

Last night we ate dinner with a family, and the son had his girlfriend there. She served in the FLL mission and only got home a month ago. She knew Elder K and Neely really well. She said Elder K is dating her trainer. Smooth. 

Also, Mom got me sick. I read her letter and then that night had a fever of like 101.5. Spreading germs through the mail. tsk tsk. Not really though, I had a sore throat that morning, and I wasn't out for six days. I still have a crazy cough though. Wal-tussin is doing great. I'm too cheap for regular Robitussin. It brought me back to days when I would have a cough and Mom would make me take the medicine, even though it was the most vile liquid ever. I'd never get the whole cup down in one gulp and she'd make me drink the little bit left, always saying "I'm not going to have your cough keep me awake!" I was always a bitter 6 year old. Good times. 

So Emails will be on Mondays now. Happy Christmas.

-Elder James Richards