I hope you have all had a great week. Mine has been pretty awesome. Saying goodbye to Wasco was pretty rough. During the transfer meeting, I met the two new missionaries who will be in my old area and I am pretty sure that all of the people we were teaching will like them a lot. So transfer meeting was on Tuesday and those are always super fun. I was nervous about where I would be going because I had no clue. Transfer meeting started and I was the very first transfer announced. My new companion is Elder Juarez, from Chicago. He is pretty cool. I was sent to Bakersfield 2nd Ward, so basically just a big chunk of Bakersfield. I love it! To be honest, I was kind of prepared to be disappointed where ever it was that I would be sent, just because I love Wasco so much, but I am so happy to be in Bakersfield. The area is so big and there are a ton of cool people that they have been teaching here. The first person we went to visit on Tuesday is named Rudy, and he is an older man who just recently got baptized. He was in the back yard working on some of his cars and when we came around the corner of his house he started to cry. I was a bit confused at first, wondering if I had done something wrong, but I guess he has been talking to the missionaries for twenty years. He told us that every time he meets a new missionary, it takes him back to the very first time he met the missionaries. He is a great guy. He owns a barber shop in his backyard and we were chilling in his barber seats, talking to him. All of the sudden, he comes up behind me and whips one of those apron things you wear whenever you get a haircut on me. I had no time to object or say anything and within seconds he was cutting my hair! Elder Juarez was laughing, I guess he does that with all of the new missionaries, but he did a pretty nice job. I think I will start going to him for my haircuts now.
The next day, we visited a young guy named Victor. He is a really nice guy, who used to get in some trouble as a kid. He is currently on probation and has one more year of it left. He has made a lot of big changes in his life, repented and you can easily see that he feels really bad about the stuff he did. He has been on probation for the last two years and he hasn't been getting in any trouble, so today he had a hearing to see if he could have his probation terminated. We got the idea from our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Alvarez, to go to the hearing with him so that the judge could see that he has been making big changes. So, with the permission of President Wilson, we went to the hearing with him and waited for two hours until his case was called. He was the last one and they took a long time going back and forth with the Prosecutor until they reached their decision. It was cool, the Prosecutor asked us to give testimony as to the changes that have been going on in Victor's life. Even after that, we were really nervous for him. After a little bit more back and forth with the judge and Prosecutor, the judge terminated his probation! It was so awesome, I was really happy for him. Victor looked so relieved and happy to be done with all of that. It was cool, one of the Defense Attorneys in the court room came out to congratulate Victor, and it turns out he is a member of the church. He talked to us and said he has never heard of missionaries doing that before. It was a really good idea from Brother Alvarez and I am so glad he thought of it and we could help. Victor is a good man who has made some mistakes, but made big changes in his life. It was cool to be there and see him totally close the door on that chapter of his life. We are going to meet with Victor today to talk about his baptismal date. Now that he is off probation, he said he really wants to move it into this month (he was set to be baptized in October). I am so excited for him, please keep him in your prayers.
Well, I've gotta get going. Bakersfield rocks. Oh yeah, AND there is an In 'N Out in my area, as well as every other restaurant I could possibly want! I miss Wasco, but I am so grateful to be here in Bakersfield.
Elder Chad Thompson