Exciting news! The mission has gotten the approval that we may go to the Oakland temple (outside of our mission boundaries) to do baptisms for the dead with any recent convert or less active member if they bring a family name! The elders called us since they got word of it a day before we were supposed to find out and it got released. We were out biking and I am pretty sure all of the people thought we were crazy as were running around, screaming, and jumping all at the same time upon hearing the news. A big push for family history work which is exciting.
We have been having a big push to find the over 200 less actives in our branch since there are only 20-25 active people, only 3 or 4 priesthood holders not including the elders. We called one of the sisters which hasn't been to church for over 6 years and has a family of 5. When she answered she was annoyed since she was working and told us she wasn't supposed to answer her phone during work, we had no idea she was working. We were worried but had already set a return appointment with her the following day and we doubted even going too. We had an escape plan all figured out in case she opened the door and blew fire on us. lol. Well she didn't. We entered in. And the atmosphere felt so tense. I did not want to be there. Well we started to do How To Begin Teaching with them from Preach My Gospel and I shared a few scriptures with them. That is when everything changed. The spirit flushed the room and we were amazed. We had one of the most spiritual moments we have had together. She has a 9 year old son Damian that we are going to start teaching and preparing for baptism. He was a bit distracted as we talked but it changed too. I offered a prayer and after, I got up to talk with Damian (oh and by the way he has read the bible several times) and told him that we were here for him and that whatever he needed, we are here to help. As I was talking big tears welled up in his eyes. I asked if he was ok. He said, starting to cry, 'Life is so hard. I am just starting to realize that.' His mom and family looked at him as if they had never seen him like that. The mom promised him to take him to church and next visit we will set a baptismal date for him. So sweet. The gospel is true.
There was a baptism this weekend which was incredible! After 3 weeks of investigating the church this 30 year old man was baptized and shared a powerful testimony after his baptism. I was amazed. His mom (nonmember) got up and bore her testimony and said not too long before she'll be entering this waters and has not even had a lesson yet. We were thrilled to have 2 investigators there, Erika and Margarita. Erika has already began to invite people to her baptism on the 26th. She shows up to church before us, she shows up to activities before us, she calls and reminds us about anything and everything. Her strength amazes me. The husband has no interest at all and it's amazing to see her follow the impressions of the spirit and her answers no matter how hard it may be.
Turlock has so much potential. I have started getting sick thinking about how little is left and how real life will resume. I love the gospel. I love studying the scriptures. I love meeting new people who are nice. I love being able to really focus on Christ.
We have no reason to feel anything but joy. Everything will be made right.