Priest Joseph Micah Bates
My brother Jonah and I arrived in San Diego early this morning. After a quick lunch we accompanied Seventy George Thomas and his friend Ken and went out fishing for men at a pier near the Navy base. Jonah met a young man named Josh that first day and shared testimonies and the Restored gospel with him for more than an hour. We then moved on to the next pier a little to the north and conversed with many people about the Lord, but our efforts did not seem fruitful here.
The next day we went fishing again, and after being unsuccessful with my first few contacts I met two young men, Andy and Dan. They had been recently introduced to Jesus and had turned their lives around. Andy is an ex-convict. We shared many wonderful testimonies with them and we were surprised when we realized we’d been there for a couple of hours. We then joined George and Seventy Joe Essary, who had just arrived, for lunch. We discussed our successes and failures of the morning and then went fishing again in the afternoon.
The next day we fished in the morning, until Joe joined us and we went to visit Herman, an Elder who is getting on in years. We had a beautiful visit and Joe volunteered to come and pick up Herman to take him to church on Sunday.
We next visited two of George’s brothers. The first brother loaned us a cooler and the second brother let us pick oranges and avocados from trees in his backyard and they were amazing.
George then took us up the mountain to an observatory. Unfortunately it was closed, but the view and the drive up the mountain were amazing.
Stopping at a restaurant later for dinner, we met a young African-American couple who approached us for financial assistance, but when they learned we were missionaries they got very excited and told us they were Messianic Jews. George sat them down and bought dinner for them and we shared testimonies until the restaurant closed and we had to leave. We shared our contact information and I pray they will come in contact with the Restored gospel again sometime in the future.
On Friday we picked out another pier for fishing for men, but received a call from Lovely, a lady we were going to visit later in the day. She had recently had surgery and was in a lot of pain and was going back to the hospital. We went immediately to see her and George administered to her. We then went to Lovely’s grandaughter’s home and had an incredible meeting with Yolanda and her husband Luis who were very excited that we were there. We shared testimonies and discussed the gospel and then George asked about Seventy Joe Essary not being allowed to bring ministry in their branch since his ordination and Luis said he did not agree with that, and they said how much they missed Joe’s ministry. We were then introduced to Yolanda’s friend Elexis and her baby son Isaac. Elexis was raised Catholic and her mother was pressuring her to have her baby baptized, but Elexis was not comfortable with that, not wanting her son joining a church before he could make his own decision. Jonah and I were able to share scriptures that tell us babies have no need of baptism and we also shared about the ordinance of baby blessing. She asked if we could bless her baby and right there in the living room, George blessed baby Isaac. There was an incredible portion of the Holy Spirit that was poured out upon us in that house. We left there and drove up into the mountains, more than 5,000 feet above sea level to Joe and Pat’s home. It was a beautiful drive and we did not arrive until late evening.
The next day we visited George’s oldest brother and shared testimonies with he and his wife and they loved them. It was a wonderful experience and George’s brother had many exciting stories as he is an accomplished hunter and pilot and has led a very eventful life.
On Sunday we went to church in the early afternoon because the people come from many different places. We met in the home of a young family and it was a wonderful group. We lingered there as long as we could, but finally had to leave due to the time.
Joe and Pat took us out to dinner at a kind of “knight” and “king” type of restaurant and it was really fun.
During the next week we visited many people that have not had contact with the church in many years. One day, Jonah and I went out to fish at a place called Arrowhead Lake. There I met a man from Hawaii and we had a nice visit about the gospel. I learned he was a Mormon and he was there because his wife is there for cancer surgery. There on the waterfront, we prayed together for his wife and family.
We made it back to El Cajon for a visit in the home where we had been before. While there we met Elexis’ sister Angelica and we were able to share the gospel with her from the very beginning and it was absolutely one of the most incredible experiences of my life. We later visited Mary in an assisted living home.
Returning to Joe and Pat’s house we started our journey back across the country, staying in the home of a Nepalese family in Denver where we were able to share the gospel.
We made it home to Missouri safely and the Lord blessed us all along the way.