So this week, Pleasanton broke their baptismal record for 1 year. and they did it in about 8 months. Pretty cool.

We had a pretty good week this past week. We talked to Bernie on the phone and she was out and about, so she's recovering from her surgery well, and we should be able to meet with her this week. We've got another lesson set up with a referral from a member. She's already been to church and her daughter went to young womens and absolutely loved it. We've got a lot of work going and the ward is catching up to us. They're really helping us find more people to teach, which is great. We've got an appointment set up with another part member family this week. 

We have this one investigator that has been very diligent about reading the Book of Mormon. We knock on the door and he goes and grabs his Book of Mormon and talks to us about how he liked 2 Nephi 4. He kept saying Nephi was the man. It's pretty cool to see him starting to grasp it. 

This week was good. We did more missionary work, I fixed more bikes for President, and life goes on. I can say that I've worked on at least 30 of the bikes that are floating around the mission, either putting them together or fixing them. President isn't going to know what to do when I leave.

Have a good week.

-Elder Richards

back to that again...

Well, back to ZL grind. I was enjoying getting to sleep on time on Sunday evenings, but that doesn't happen any more. This is a big zone. Lots of numbers.

This last week was good. We had a member invite his friend to church, and she is really great. She and her daughter were there and she is really looking. We're meeting with them this week. One of our investigators has been out after having back surgery, but she has been in really good contact with us, and we'll text scriptures and such every so often. 

Our mission here has been going up and up every week. We're up over 100 baptismal dates now. I don't know if we've ever been over 100 in the time that I've been here. The work really is hastening. 

So, sorry my emails are getting more and more lame. But you all know me. so... yea. Life is good. Life is busy. Busy is good. We're praying hard to get a few people in the water before the end of the transfer. That is all.

-Elder James Richards

What a week.

So this week was transfers and a lot of craziness went down. President Watkins couldn't leave me well enough alone, and so I'm a zone leader again this transfer. For my last transfer... It's also super weird because I'm still with Elder Son, and the other zone leader (who is Elder Baldwin by the way) is in a different ward in the stake. This last week was dedicated to figuring out how this split-ZL thing works. We've got things more normal now, but we were scrambling for a bit there. This zone is one of the biggest with 25 missionaries in it. We aren't super big geographically, but we live in the weird armpit of the zone that they made so they could split up downtown into a few different wards. It will be a different transfer this transfer. Other crazy things are happening, like sisters covering wards from multiple stakes, areas splitting, and some general madness. 

This week we set a baptismal date with one of our investigators. His name is Adrian and he's wanting to turn his life around, and already has for a few months. He did some short time in prison and was on all manner of substances. He's been out for a while and been clean for a few months. He said he needs some more. That's where the Gospel comes in. He seems very sincere and we're meeting with him again this week. He was one of our miracles this week. The date is for September 14th, so we're praying and working hard to help him make that date.

We were also able to go up to Bill's baptism this last Saturday. He was very excited to see Elder Baldwin and me. I was able to be a witness and as soon as Bill came out of the water, he was very emotional. The first thing he said was "Thank you Jesus. It's been a long time." He was able to be baptized and not have it create a rift between him and his son, who is basically the only family he has left. A member family was instrumental in making this happen. When he was getting close while I was there, we asked the ward council to assign Home Teachers. One of the members in there volunteered and fulfilled his role faithfully. Bill became the family's adopted Grandpa. They were in good contact even after he dropped Elder Baldwin and I. They gave him books to read and talked to him about the church. Bill knew it was true about 5 days into us teaching him, he just had so much opposition coming from all sides. He was able to overcome it though, really with the help of those members. It was awesome to see. In the Pleasanton Stake Mission Plan, one of the initiatives was to have investigators home taught before baptism. It was a combination of a lot of things that brought Bill here, but without those members, he wouldn't have been baptized. He only had to be dunked once, which was something I had been praying for for weeks. 

This was a really inspiring week for us. Despite all the things we had to do out of our area, we were still able to reach our weekly goals, and find Adrian and set that date with him. Now we have even more potentials and will be good for finding this week too. This area is starting to move even more then it was. It's exciting.

-Elder James Richards

The missionaries that taught Bill, Bill, his son, The members, and Elder Son (he snuck in).

Pretty cool, all my posterity was at transfer meeting. My sons and grandsons. Elder Son is on my right.

It begins.

So, today we start the 6 week push. We're going as hard as we can for 6 weeks. It's going to be madness. The mission is going crazy right now. We have more baptisms set up for Friday and Saturday then we've had in a long time. One of those is Bill Wentworth in the good old Pleasanton 2nd ward. We got a ride, so Elder Baldwin and I are going back up for it on Saturday. We're both super excited for it. In our area we've got a lot of potentials with youth. Some kids just had some great experiences at Zion's camp and girls camp and so we're hoping to start teaching them. We've got a lot of people that we're teaching and some are very close. They just need to commit to a date.  We're praying for miracles this transfer and expecting them. Our goals are high, but are very reachable. 

I don't really know what else to say. All out for the last six weeks. I can sleep when I get on the plane :)

-Elder Richards