Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Northern California

At the beginning of this year I planned a trip to Idaho in order to purchase a new fifth wheel trailer and truck from dealers in that area who are known to provide these vehicles at lower cost. After using my current "wheel estate" for living and travel during the past 17 years I felt it necessary to upgrade. I started my journey on 4/28 after an overnight stop in Ventura. Listed below are the towns I visited on the way and comments regarding the ministry. Keep in mind that I didn't stay long in any one place and therefor the notations are fairly short. I normally like to visit a place for at least a few days in order to get to know the brothers but it was necessary to get to Idaho fairly quickly due to the possibility of having to order and wait for my new vehicles. I'm currently living in Clarkston, WA which is on the Snake River, which forms the border with Idaho. During my stay I'll be visiting congregations in both Clarkston and Lewiston, which is a sister city in Idaho.

King City/Greenfield, CA (4/28-29):

Located about 110 miles south of the San Francisco bay area on Hwy 101, these are pleasant small towns surrounded by farmland and rolling hills. The Kingdom Hall is located in Greenfield, about a 10 minute drive north of King City. The reason I included King City is that there is a lovely county park (San Lorenzo) located here where I encamped at a nice shaded site for two days. The populations of both towns is heavily Hispanic, the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic appearing to rival even that of L.A.

The Kingdom Hall is home to both an English and Spanish congregation. The English cong. consists of about 65 publishers. I arrived at the Hall on Sat. morning and attended the book study followed by field service. The heavy Hispanic population is attested to by the fact that there were only a few English-speaking homes on any one street. In fact, we were given lists containing the addresses of all the Spanish-speaking households and it wasn’t unusual to visit only 3 or 4 English-speaking households on any of the long streets we worked. Still, the English congregation perseveres in the work, concentrating on those relatively few English-speakers in both Greenfield and King City.

Bro Perkins, whose picture you will see in the photo album, conducts the Sat. morning book study. He is 85 years old and one of the anointed. He had endured imprisonment in the past because of his faith and currently is enduring many health problems. This fine brother is an example of perseverance and reliance on Jehovah.

I would have liked to spend a longer period of time with this congregation but found it necessary to move on. I want to arrive in Idaho fairly quickly because the process of ordering and purchasing my new “wheel estate” may take some time and I don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time in that area. Now it’s onward to Gilroy, CA for a quick visit.

Gilroy, CA (4/30):

Gilroy is known as “The garlic capital of the world”. The town is located not far south of San Jose and directly east of Monterey Bay. Needless to say, much of the land here is devoted to growing garlic. Specialty shops provide all kinds of condiments and offbeat foods having a garlic theme. I enjoyed one shop where I could sample many different varieties of pickled garlic (I love garlic!). If you visit in July the Garlic Festival is in full swing. All foods that are served must utilize garlic in their preparation. Why, you can even sample garlic ice cream! I tried to locate some in town but learned that it’s only served at the festival.

There is a nice double Kingdom Hall in Gilroy that serves several English and Spanish congregations. Although my stay in town was very short I managed to meet with the group on Mon. morning and engage in the ministry. I was with four lovely sisters and we had a productive time in the territory, finding many people home and in good spirits (except for one man we had to put on the “NFC” list).

Gilroy is a pleasant town and much like my last stop further south, is surrounded by farmland and attractive hills dotted with trees. I would have liked to remain longer but felt it necessary to travel on to the north. (When I arrive at my final destination I’ll be spending a longer period of time in one place and will be able to get to know the friends and area better for a more detailed blog). From here I’ll be traveling to the town of Willows. I’ll pay a short visit with the congregation there before traveling further north.

Willows, CA [5/1/07]:

Willows is a pleasant small town located right off I-5 about 85 miles N of Sacramento. There are both an English and Spanish congregation here. The English group is made up of about 65 publishers. The Kingdom Hall is somewhat unique in construction as you’ll note in the photos.
Brother Jack Hinkle, the presiding overseer, has a rather interesting past. He was baptized in the 1940’s and for the past 55 years has always served as a presiding overseer in whatever congregation he happened to be part of. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer over 12 years ago and was given a year to live. On the advice of a circuit overseer who had at one time endured cancer Bro Hinkle underwent massive radiation therapy. Today he is cancer-free.

I worked in service with this brother during the one morning I remained in the town. Three other sisters also joined us. The streets of this town are quite nice and most are shaded by large trees, which undoubtedly make summer witnessing more pleasant. As much as I enjoyed my short stay in Willows I knew it was time to move on because of the major purchases in Idaho that had to be undertook, as mentioned earlier.

Red Bluff, CA [5/2/07]:

Red Bluff is a fairly good size town located about 45 miles N of Willows. Because I spent only a brief morning with the friends in service I wasn’t able to gather any information about the congregation. I did enjoy about 2 hours in the ministry with two brothers and a sister. We did some not-at-homes and return visits and all-in-all had a good morning. One of the brothers with whom I worked, named Charlie (I didn’t get his last name), told an interesting story:

He was driving through the mountains one day when he remembered that he forgot to buy gas. He knew he didn’t have enough fuel to make it home and there were no gas stations for many miles around. He was resigned to the fact that he was going to be stranded when he noticed a red-colored object at the side of the road. He stopped to investigate and found it was a full container of gasoline. He has no idea how that container of gasoline happened to get there but it makes a person wonder what the chances are of finding such an object in a wilderness area just at the time it is needed. Help from above? Who knows?……

Mt Shasta, CA [5/3/07]:

I arrived in Dunsmuir, about 6 miles from Mt Shasta the previous evening. At an elevation of over 2000 feet the weather is sharply colder, especially at night. This is real mountain country and beautiful forests, lakes and streams abound. I passed Lake Shasta on the way and was disappointed that I couldn’t take any pictures. It is a large, beautiful body of water and together with the surrounding heavily forested mountains is quite a sight to behold. At my campsite in Dunsmuir I’m surrounded by many trees and there’s a crystal clear babbling stream only a few steps away from my RV. I engaged in the ministry the one morning I was here and was privileged to work with the Circuit Overseer who happened to be visiting. This was my last stop in California before heading into Oregon.

Photos: Click Here
2006 Blog: