Monday, November 11, 2013

Getting Reaquainted with Stockton

Hello Everyone!
I hope all is well.
This week was another great one!  It's been full of memories.  It's good to be back in Stockton. The last time I was here was July of 2012 so it's been a while.  It's weird to drive around some of the same streets. We mostly work on the northern side of the city, a different part than where I served the first time.  I know the main streets but am getting to know everything a lot better.  It was really weird to drive down to the southern area to visit some people.  We stopped by a few of the Spanish members homes because they have kids that are YSA (Young Single Adult) age and we wanted to invite them to some activities.  It was great to see everyone again.  Elder Fulks and I both served in Delta South near the beginning of our missions so the members remember both of us.
The work is very different here.  We work almost purely by referrals.  Ideally we want the whole family to be interested so we only get to teach them once the parents have expressed their disinterest and then we take over teaching the YSA age young adults.  It's a lot harder to fill our time so we have to find ways to find new people.  There are two colleges here: Delta college and University of the Pacific, however it's not very effective to walk around on campus contacting people so we're trying some other ways.
We are working with a few cool people.  My first appointment in the area was with a young guy named Josh.  He doesn't really know anything about God or Jesus Christ so we have been teaching him a lot.  He loves everything we share with him and after saying it a couple times it sticks with him.  He accepted the invitation to be baptized on December 7th so we are excited to help him work towards that date.  There is another investigator named Tommy who was supposed to be baptized a few weeks ago but had some problems come up so we are continuing to work with him and help him get baptized the end of this month. 
We also met a really cool guy named Steve who is dating a girl in Modesto who is a member of the church.  He used to be a Jehovah's Witness growing up but distanced himself from the church a few years back because of "the politics".  He loves everything and had trouble accepting that Joseph Smith saw God because of the scriptures in Exodus 33 that says "no man can see God and live".  We hear that a lot so it's easy to help people understand what the scriptures mean and explain the First Vision a little better. There is also another guy named Daniel who the missionaries were teaching but he disappeared for a while.  He showed up to church by himself yesterday and was really excited to be back.  He has figured a lot of things out and we are happy to start working with him again.
I also got to see a few members of the Lodi branch recently.  Last night we went up and visited with Juan, Jovita, and JJ Rodriguez (luckily JJ is in the YSA ward so it gives us good reason to go visit the family).  It was a very sweet experience because yesterday was November 10th, exactly a year after the day Juan and Jovita were baptized.  I love that family so much and I am so happy to see the progress they are making and the strength of their testimonies.  JJ's year anniversary is coming up on December 29th so I will also be here for that.  I think the plan is for the whole family to go to the temple in January to get sealed.  I hope the plan sticks so I can still be here to accompany them to the temple!
Yesterday I also got to confer the Aaronic Priesthood on a new member of the YSA ward named Carlos.  He was baptized about 2 weeks ago and I was surprised that he picked me to perform the ordinance since I had only known him for 4 days.  It was a really cool experience.
Things are going great and I am very happy to be a missionary!
Les Quiero Mucho!
Elder Gaskill

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