Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tongan Names!


I took the time to do separate emails because I had a lot of time today. That and there's honestly not much to say since not much has happened or changed since we spoke last ha. It doesn't mean that things weren't uneventful though or that my mission is ever boring, some weeks are just like this, you know? Something really great that did happen though is that Rudy passed his baptismal interview!!! I knew he would. He's a great guy who wants to know the Lord better. What a better way than to walk as he walked. It's so cool to see how naturally we change when we look to the Savior as our example. There's no way I could build willpower sufficient enough to keep me out here for 2 years, I'm completely reliant on the lord and that's what makes missionaries powerful. 

As for the Tongan names, it definitely takes some getting used to, trust me. I caught on relatively quickly, but I'm always so proud to type their names when I mention them. I just love their culture and their names and their personalities so much! 

We finally had a service project! It's very rare that happens in the ward. we went to Ngalu's and did some yardwork and he fed us little caesars. mmm, pizza. 

I need more things to say but I just don't know what to mention! Things are just going great. The Liava'a's are awesome and we're having a Hawaiian barbeque at Fe and Sese's on Saturday and they're one of my favorites in the ward. Our lessons have been pretty consecutive too. Normally the Tongan ward isn't so busy, but miracles are happening left and right here! This is definitely the busiest I've been on my mission, that explain why time goes by so fast! 

Well, good luck with your diet! At least you're not trying to quit smoking/drinking like someone we're working with ha. Speaking of which, I hear Shelby is dating someone that doesn't quite have the best habits; we shall pray for her. I can't do much while I'm away except email her, but I know you can be of help to her in this situation. 

I love you Yan Yan! thanks for always thinking of me. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say from this weekend. Take care, miss you!

- Elder Bennion

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Small Miracles


Your week sounds similar to mine; nothing crazy, but I'm enjoying every second of it at the same time. This week went by really fast though. We had a zone conference with 3 other zones and President Hobbs wanted each of the zone leaders to give a training, so we were preparing that for a lot of the week and it went really well! Like, really well. The Spirit is really cool as it assists us and brings to our minds things that we need to share. I know that this work wouldn't be possible without it!

As for the proselyting, this is a small miracle to us: Sister Ngungutau's husband, Tamasi, isn't baptized yet, he wants to be, but is feeling a little pressured. But we stopped by their house and he was outside so we got to talk to him for about 5 minutes. We don't teach him right now, but he has come to church a couple times, so I hope that small visit will allow us more time with Tamasi and he'll be comfortable with having us over to teach him the lessons soon. I'm really positive he'll come around soon though (:

We got to teach Rudy on Friday and he has definitely experienced a part of the Atonement because he keeps expressing how he wants to be a good example to his co-workers and is trying really hard to keep all the commandments, and keeps saying how he wishes his family understood the gospel better. I remember feeling all those things when I started preparing for my mission, it was so cool. His baptism is for sure happening on the 31st, he is very excited, and we are as well! 

Agnes had us over for dinner on Saturday and fed us Chinese. i'm not sure what it is, but no Chinese food compares to Panda Express! ha. As we were leaving we asked if we could speak to her and Nehasi outside. Our conversation went really well, Agnes said if she didn't want them to get baptized then she would've stopped the lessons a long time ago. She said she really enjoys having us over because she sees Siosi and Latu are happy when we're over. She said she sees a little brother big brother relationship thing, and that's when it hit me. We are all brothers and sisters in the gospel. Not too long ago, we all chose the same plan our Father presented, so it only makes sense to help them understand the plan once again. So really, my Polynesian brothers are getting baptized on February 7th!!! It sounds so much better that way, I am so excited!!! AHH! her daughters Envy and Emma are gonna take a bit more work though. Agnes said she doesn't want to force her kids to do anything, so she says to keep working with them. But man, what a blessing it is to be in this ward. I don't ever want to go back to a Palangi ward while I am on my mission. There are so many great things about the Tongan ward. The people are so kind, they sing beautifully, people are coming out to church more, we cover the entire high desert, we have such great support from the ward, and they're continually improving their organization in their callings. I've seen so much improvement since I've been here, it's awesome. I really love serving here. We have really good relationships with our leaders and the members in the ward and I love being around the Tongans. There's just something so unique about em! I have it really good here. The Lord is truly magnificent.

That's about it for this week. I'm excited for this upcoming week, we have a lot of good things comin' up. We started off this week with a bomb family home evening last night with a family named the Samano's, it was great. This is week 4 of the transfer and it's gonna go by quick. Then the next 2 weeks after that we have 2 baptisms, exchanges, and President interviews. We're gonna be pretty busy, I'm excited. Elder Thompson only has 2 more transfers left after this, crazy! Though he is ready to leave the ward, we're working hard while we're together. 

I hope this email reaches you all with high spirits. The Lord has restored His church to the earth, we have prophets that continue to relay God's will, and we have a forever family as long as we are faithful to our covenants, so what's there to be down about?! I love the gospel and I love sharing it even more. My mission has been such a blast. I hope life back home is going great, I hope the cold is bearable, and I certainly hope that I will get to hear from you next week as well. Thanks for all your continual support, encouragement, and prayers in my behalf. I love you all! 

- Elder Bennion

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The plan is brilliant and immaculate

Mom, Dad, and Koriann,

It seems as though with each deliverance of good news there is bad news to follow. I will start with the bad of course. My ministerial certificate expires on January 12th, 2016 and you all know what today is ): I've spent a year of my life in divine and selfless service to other people in a hopeful attempt to teach by the spirit, lead by example, and invite others to partake in the restored gospel that encompasses the Savior Jesus Christ and his sacrifice given to each one of his brothers and sisters. The plan is brilliant and immaculate, and I know that I would have a very difficult time giving my perfect and glorified son to others who didn't even love him or myself. And that is what captures the essence of the gospel; everything was given to us through our Father who loves us. I know that my identity is a child of His, and because of that, there needs be no insecurity and negligence in any positive thing that I can be apart of. Our Heavenly Father has blessed me with inspired people whom you can all thank for changing me and molding me into the missionary I am right now, and I knew the second I read Rancho Cucamonga, that that was exactly where the Lord needed me. I have a second home within my mission boundary, and I witness miracles happen every day within it. I've been able to expand my everything as I've been here in California and I am having a hard time believing that so much has happened all within one year. I'm so pleased with the decision to serve and the Lord couldn't be more merciful to me than He is now.

We had a great week in the Tongan ward where we taught 20 lessons throughout the week, which has only happened one other time on my mission. And if you thought that was good news, you are going to freak when I tell you this. Bishop 'Iongi had a prompting to visit the Liava'a's, so he fasted that evening/morning and went over at 3:00 on Saturday. After a 2 hour talk with Agnes, Bishop followed the spirit so distinctly and the result of the visit was this: Agnes Liava'a is now allowing Siosi and Latu AND the two un-baptized daughters to be members of Christ's eternal church come the beginning of February, and Agnes has also made the decision to come back to the church as well (: (: I AM FREAKING OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've been fasting and praying for this to happen since I got here!!!!! You've no idea the amount Agnes has changed since I first met her!!!!! Best news ever. It makes me ponder in the best possible way, why? Why is the Lord blessing us so abundantly? I just can't believe that all this is happening while I am here. I'm sure it's no shock to you that I say that the Tongan ward is my favorite ward ever, but my goodness, I can't say it enough! Things are just so good here. And to think that had I not chose to serve a mission, this is what I would've missed out on; I would never hesitate to tell anyone to serve a mission because of my experience out here. I feel so privileged and outrageously honored the Lord has let me serve here, the ward is so awesome.  I'm beyond excited for the Liava'a's, I love their family so much and this is far from what I was expecting from being here. I didn't know that I would get to see them baptized while I was here, but I do, and my happiness exceeds all down-trodden emotions I may have had while serving a mission because of experiences like these. I love love love the Liava'a's so much and am so excited for this and their entire family. Oh my goodness, I would love to rejoice with you, but I know you'll be just as excited as I am as you read this fantastic news. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing your excitement for them!!!

Also, this is Po, and we stopped by on a day she just so happened to really need us and she got us a basket of so much stuff. I told you they're the most thoughtful people you will meet. (: MATE MA'A TONGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Elder Shawn Lyle Bennion

Friday, January 9, 2015

Information and Thoughts

Koriann, Mom, and Dad,

I apologize for not warning you, but we went to the Redlands Temple this Thursday, so it then became our P day and we worked like regular on Monday.
I now have 10 days to update you on, wow! Let's do this:

On Tuesday, we have scripture study with the ward and only 2 people showed up and because we had to be in by 6:00 for new years, we went out for pie at Coco's and had scripture study there, it was awesome ha. DJ (the guy you talked to on Christmas) took us and he's so awesome! I got to say that I am so glad the holidays are over ha. It's a great time and all, but it makes missionary work so tough. We did however see a guy named Nalu that is recently coming back to church. I will admit, I lacked a bit of charity for him when I first met him, but he's really so awesome. He doesn't want to miss out on our visits he says. He's working on getting his patriarchal blessing and Melchizedek priesthood (: on new years, we were able to go to the Fotu's and teach Rudy there. He's progressing well, we just have a hard time getting him to church. On Friday we had a super long meeting down the hill in Rancho and the traffic was awful on the way back, so that's pretty much all we did, those days stink "/ But the next day was great! Here's some really good news. Agnes had all intentions of taking us to San Pedro, but we have to stay in our mission ha.
What I do have to add though is my feelings in between all the great stuff going on and the challenges that come with a mission. I learned that in the church, a mission is the one calling that you will sign up for in the church. I felt like since then, I've adopted a more focused mentality when it comes to my service. When I did accept this perfect calling, I didn't covenant with the Lord to give Him 3/4 of what He has already blessed me; But I promised that I would become swallowed up in the will of our Father, similarly as Christ did. Of course my degree of service to the Lord will never compare to our Joseph Smith's, or even Jesus Christ's, but I do comprehend more and more that a mission is shorter than it sounds. In one short week, I will have hit my year mark of being in the field, and I realize that on the 15th, I will only have one more of each day in the mission field in the year of 2015/2016. I am dis-wrought as I realize that I haven't been taking advantage of this time. I want to work so much harder than what I have been doing. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet and restored the church and that is something to rejoice in entirely. I am so passionate about that man and the atonement of Christ and want to let others feel similarly. This was a weak explanation of my love for my mission, but just know that I've been so touched by the ward I am serving in now. They have made me love my mission and I feel like I accomplish my purpose as I labor amongst them. I truly am in such good hands and I want you to know how lovely the Tongan people are. I wish so bad for you to meet them one day. We will visit the Tongan ward and you will fall in love with them. It feels as though I get to be in the most fortunate ward in the mission because of how profound a love Tongans have for us and the Lord. I love them so much and feel changed by their example and distinct compassion for treating us like their own family. The Lord deserves complete gratitude and praise every single day for placing me here and blessing me immensely. I love my mission and the people in it. I love you guys somehow even more and hope you know that. Have a great weekend, talk to you on Monday!