Los Banos was such a hot town. The summers seemed to last all year round. My father continually chuckled about how he can grow some of the best crops because the sun never quit on Los Banos providing all the sunshine a growing plant would need. I didn’t particularly like the long hot summer because my already bronze skin would get much darker leaving tan lines all over me. My sister would laugh at me because she said that she can tell what I was wearing the day before thanks to the new tan lines. My family moved to Los Banos from San Jose about 200 hundred years ago. No, I didn’t mean it, it was really about 2 years ago. I thought that I would miss San Jose, but I don’t. We have so much more land out here. I have to walk ½ of a block just to get to the neighbor’s house. The good thing about moving to Los Banos was that we got two new dogs because we now have a grand backyard for them to run around. So, you see, I don’t really miss San Jose like I thought I was going to.
It was Saturday morning and we were having a late breakfast when a knock came at the door. It was a group of people that wanted to talk to my mom and dad about Jesus. My family and I are Christians, we attended a Community Baptist church when we lived in San Jose. It was small and my mom and dad knew mostly everybody there. I went to children’s church where we sat on some really soft cushions and listened to a Sunday School teacher share what they called “the Word of God.” I loved all the stories that I was told and felt that most of it sounded like a pretty good movie. I was in the 2nd-3rd grade combination class and would always raise my hand to ask questions. My elementary school teacher, Ms. Turnmound, would always say that there were no bad questions. That kind of stuck with me.
Since we lived in Los Banos, we haven’t really attended a church regularly. I kind of missed learning about God and Jesus. Now at our door, there were four people wanting to talk to us about God. My mother thanked them very much for stopping by but told them that she wouldn’t be interested in learning with their group. Ater she shut the door, I asked, “Mama, why don’t you want to learn with their group?” I looked at her in all earnest. “Well, Thurmond, we don’t believe the same things that they believe.” “They are Jehovah Witnesses.” “Mama, didn’t they say they wanted to teach us more about Jesus.? “Yes, they did Thurmond.” I frowned, “Well, why don’t we do it.” “Okay have a seat and I’ll tell you what Jehovah Witnesses believe.” “Let’s do it like we are doing it for a class report for school, so that it is factual, and we can take our opinions out of it.” “What do you think about that Thurmond?” “Sounds good mama.”
“Now when I was growing up my parents took me to a traditional Baptist church and a lot of times, we followed what our parents have set forth for us” said mama thoughtfully. “If I were raised Jehovah Witness, I may have a different opinion about Baptist churches.” “Do you see how that works, Thurmond.” “Sure, mama, that makes sense. It is usually easy to follow along with what your family is doing” Thurmond agreed. Mama started, “according to their website, they do not believe that Jesus and God are the same; they believe that they are different.” “In our Baptist teachings, we believe that Jesus and God are from the same vine.” “Jehovah Witnesses do not believe in receiving blood transfusions.” “In our Baptist teachings, people are able to decide what health treatments they may receive.” “I see mama, that is really different from your Baptist teachings.” “There are other things that they are against too, that the Baptist religion is neutral on.” “Listen Thurmond, they aren’t bad people, in fact, I had one that was a friend in San Jose. However, God is a God of choice, and I don’t choose their religion for myself or my family.” Mama gave me a wide smile. “Your dad feels the same way.” “Okay, mama, I think I understand.” “Will you and dad be making a choice for us soon, so that we can start going back to church.” smiled Thurmond with thoughtfulness. “Yes, Thurmond, I will have a talk with your father tonight.” “…And Thurmond, thank you for being interested in learning about God, you’ve inspired me today.” “Your welcome, mama.” I picked up my basketball and headed outside into a partly clouded sunshiny day.