Records, Apostles, and Compliments

Well this week was great. The double dose of Elder Holland was a rare treat. In the Pleasanton Stake, he talked about Acts chapter 3, and gave 3 unique insights. If you read it, this will make more sense. 

1) You can't argue with the evidence. The lame man jumping up and down can't be argued with. The lives of the members, the fulfillment of prophecies, the Book of Mormon, the good things that come from the church, are all evidences of the truth. Heap on top of that the personal witnesses and encounters from the spirit, and you have an immense amount of evidence

2) You get more then you give up. The man expected to get a coin from Peter and John. That would have been nice,  and he would have been happy if he'd got one. But he got so much more. The gospel is about initial sacrifices with intense blessings poured out upon us. 

3) You can't kill this. The Pharisees thought they had killed the work with Jesus Christ. But you can't stop it. The stone cut out of mountain without hands (Daniel 2) will roll forth and fill the whole earth, whether some people like it or not. 

Great meetings all around. 

We also had a great week with the work. We started teaching a 16 year old guy names Silaa. His parents are Thai and he's been to church twice. He's been coming with a girl in the ward. He accepted a baptismal date for April 20th! He's very prepared, and we're really excited for this. Bill continues to move in the Gospel, but struggle financially. He's got more problems than any 90 year old deserves. He still wants to be baptized, but tithing is still a big issue. We don't really know what to do for him. 

This week we got a great compliment from the 2nd counselor in the stake presidency, who we had dinner with last night. He tells it like it is, and doesn't sugar coat things, so it was kind of cool to hear. He said the zone has really improved in the last 4 months. And it has. Last week the zone taught a collective 104 lessons, almost a 21 per comp average. That is the first time that has been done. We're super excited. 

We're looking at at least 3 baptisms in our area next transfer. That will be more then I've had in any one transfer. My how this area has changed.

-Elder James Richards

Elder Holland x2 (also 6 months left)

So I go home 6 months from today. That is really scary. 

This coming week we get the double dose of Elder Holland. He will be speaking to the mission on Saturday, and then to the Pleasanton stake on Sunday. This is the second apostle that has come since I've been here. He will also come with Elder Maynes of the presidency of the seventy. This will actually be the third time I've met him.

This week a young man came to church for the second time. He is the friend of one of the young women in the ward. He has been asking her tons of questions. He came 3 weeks ago, and enjoyed it, but then he told the girl he wouldn't be coming back. He's had some friends pulling him the other way. He surprised her when he showed up to church again this past Sunday. We went over and talked to the family about it, and the YW is going to invite him to have the lessons this week. This guy is a good kid, and from what we've heard of him, repentance and the Atonement should really resonate with him. 

This last week was the baptism in the third ward. It always nice to see baptisms in the zone. Pleasanton continues to be a middle of the pack stake in the mission, which is huge, since we had the least baptisms in 2012. We have 7 this year with a few more already lined up. One of them is an 17 year old who turns 18 early next month. His mom has been quite anti, so he's been coming for the last 2 years and couldn't be baptized. He's also in the 3rd ward. We have two dates in our ward, the 9 year old twins, set for May 4th. With those 3, that will be as many as we had last year. The stake is steadily improving, and companionships are able to do more and more.

It is looking like Elder Baldwin will probably be transferred in 2 weeks. There is a chance that I could go, looking at the way my transfers are lining up before I go home, but that isn't as likely. I'll probably be partially on a bike next transfer, since we will probably be going up at least one companionship in the zone. With all the new increase there are a lot of sisters on bikes, so we are trying to spread the cars around a little more. 

This week we received some interesting news. We learned in a letter from the missionary department that we are allowed to Email friends now. That's a pretty big change. We still only have a set amount of time at the computer, so I might have to hand write responses, but it will be nice to be able to email people. 

Have an good week.

-Elder Richards


So this last week went pretty well. Bill came to church again. We are moving towards a March 30th baptismal date, but he hasn't committed yet because he wants to let his son know first. Our Bishop gave him the Lorenzo Snow Priesthood manual, and he read the part about tithing. It was perfect for him. He's doing good.

We should be picking up 2 more 10 year olds in the coming month. One boy is the grandson of a recent convert. He's going to start coming to church with his Grandma, he wants to be baptized, and his mom has given permission for him to be baptized. We're going to start teaching him in the later part of this month. It would be great to have these two baptisms on May 4th, with the 9 year old twins that are getting baptized. It be kind of like a primary baptism day, except for kids over 8. It's funny that we're teaching a bunch of young kids and a 90 year old. Now we just need to find people in between. 

We also did 20/140 last week, and we're the first companionship in P2 to do that twice, so that's pretty cool. 

Yesterday, I was able to do a baptismal interview. It's an interesting process to interview investigators for baptism. Our interviews are pretty low key. The big problems and repentance issues are handled by the mission president, so for the most part the people that the ZLs/DLs interview are ready to go. In all the interviews I've conducted, the spirit confirmed to me over and over, this person is ready. That interview is how we know investigators are ready. If they aren't they wouldn't pass it. The majority of people do. After they are baptized and confirmed is when the real growth occurs. That is why the ward is so important. In my opinion, the ward has more sway on investigators and new members then the missionaries do. This stake is getting pretty good at working with new members. There are big goals to have home teachers before baptism, be ordained to the priesthood within a week of confirmation, hold a calling, get to the temple for baptisms and so on. All of these things help the convert build their testimony. 

We're chugging along in Pleasanton. Have a good week.

-Elder James Richards


stuff. Good stuff.

So, the development this week, Bill came to church! He liked it too. We took Bishop over last Sunday, and he slipped him a white shirt and tie. We took his slacks to the dry cleaner and he looked like a good 'ol High Priest on Sunday. We did get out his biggest concern, which is tithing. He's in a lot of financial stresses lately. We were able to talk about it with him. We left him in a good spot, but he told us in church that he still has some questions. He still want's to be baptized though, so we're shooting for a March 30th date. This was huge, and we were ecstatic. One of the stake's retention initiatives is to have home teachers assigned to the investigator before baptism, so now we can take that to ward council and get them assigned. This stake has been really good at that.

We set a baptismal date with the 9 year old twins we teach for May 4th. They've been coming to church consistently for about 2 months now. The date is kind of far, but that is when the Dad wanted, so that's what we're going for. I'll most likely be here for that, so that will be good.

We've kept the competition with the priests going, and this last week, they brought a friend to seminary. Elder Baldwin and I were super impressed.

There was also a guy in church who is a friend of a young woman in the ward. He went last Saturday, because he though our church was on Saturday. One of the members was there cleaning the building and saw him and talked to him and gave him a Book of Mormon. This week he was able to make it out to church and we talked to him for a bit. He's about 17ish.

Well, this week was great. Probably one of the most productive I've had here in Pleasanton. Hopefully the coming week can be as well. 

-Elder James Richards