Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Have a great and safe 4th of July!

      Each week passes by and as I recollect my thoughts from the week, I simply can't find out where the time went! We're busy with a variety of different things, which is of course a good thing. I am grateful for the productivity of a mission, it's so nice to end each day with a sense of accomplishment. Especially as it is now Summer, there are many different ways I could be spending my time, but I am grateful it's in Rancho Cucamonga.
      I don't feel like this story made it into my last email, so forgive me if I am being repetitive. I feel like this happened on Monday night; the days seem to blend. But while we were walking, we met a deaf couple! Their names were Kevin and Nicole and they were really excited to see I knew a little sign language! I really enjoy the language and I had a pretty good conversation with them. I really think I want to go into sign language when I get back. Each time I get to speak it to someone new, there's just something that feels right about pursuing it. We'll see what the Lord has planned. In an interview with President Hobbs, he told me there's no need for me to think about school until I get home though, and I respect him and his counsel and think it is brilliant. So that's my plan for now ha!
      On Tuesday, the ward has a picnic in the park, and that was good. Then we visited a family named the Crandall's that we are teaching. They seem so ready for the gospel, but it's that commitment thing that is always an issue for a lot of people. I can't blame them though, joining the church requires sacrifice and perhaps even a different lifestyle depending on your current choices, but what I think is great about the gospel is that as we give ourselves to the Lord, He will never mold us into something we wouldn't like. I realize that it's sometimes a hard transition, there are things that I even need to be more submissive about that I am reluctant on changing, but I do know that the gospel is nothing to fear and that the blessings we get will be innumerable as we exercise our all for it. I share this because Sister Crandall wasn't really raised in any religion, so her knowledge is so limited. So here's a really cool story though that was super neat to me:
The next day was Wednesday and we were at the office and then all the sudden, Donna Crandall walks in to the church. It was a huge surprise to us because she works a ton and she told us she got off early and was drawn to the church building. We give her a tour of the church and with each painting she observed she excitedly asks "Is that Jesus?" ( I feel as though she asks out of curiosity since she's very unfamiliar with any guessed image of His) and we tell her they are angels, but as soon as we walk up to the biggest painting in the church she gasps and then stops and stares at the picture. Following that reaction with such collected amazement, she goes "Now that's Jesus" (: It was such a cool moment to see that someone who grew up with such a scarce knowledge of Him, that the second that she saw Him, she could feel from the Spirit who He was and why He was important to her life. It was so so cool. A very humbling experience for myself indeed (:
      On Thursday we had a big leadership meeting and that was good. Then on Friday we did some service and did an exchange with some zone leaders that night and Saturday I got to work in Adelanto for the day and I just wish you could see what that city is like. It's basically the ghetto of our mission ha, but the work is going pretty well up there! Plus I got to see some of the Jeraldo ward while I was there! I miss the desert. There's just something about it.
      On Sunday we went to the Highland ward because we were expecting the Crandall's, but they unfortunately didn't make it. We then decided to go to the classes at the Tongan ward. It's tricky sharing two wards that meet at the same time. But at Cucamonga we had a great lesson from Sister Toki, and there was even a non-member there! Sister Fonua just got back from her mission so it was a good Sunday to be there. She is really good friends with a girl from one of my seminary class actually. They served in Independence Missouri together. Then after church, there was a big party at the Fonua's and man, it was hot. But I got to see a handful of familiar people and I got plenty of food. My stomach has definitely shrunk from these past 2 months, but I really enjoyed the Tongan food again! I can actually enjoy raw fish now! Which reminds me, on Wednesday, we had dinner with someone who plays for the Baltimore Ravens! Pretty cool! But yeah, life is really good here! We are very loved and cared for. I just want to know how Mason is doing! I'll have to email him before he starts his first p day. I love you all and am thankful to hear from you. Have a great and safe 4th of July!
- Elder Shawn Lyle Bennion

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I apologize that last week our p-day was so brief, we only got to e-mail for about 10 minutes! The new missionaries arrived on Monday and we're basically right at hand for President Hobbs on the day of transfers and the day following. We picked up the new missionaries at the Ontario airport and I made a little mistake and it bothered me so bad. I share this because I realized that the good thing about mistakes is that we never forget them. That's also a bad thing at the same time, but that was my attempt to stay positive about the whole thing. 
Anyway, This was one of the craziest weeks I've ever had on the mission, and somehow, it was the best for teaching in the Highland ward. We've been struggling with teaching and finding, but we found 2 new investigators this week and that was so rewarding. We've been praying very diligently for the past 2 months for that and I am very happy to reflect and see how the Lord answered my prayers. With experiences like that, I look up into the sky and marvel at what the Lord is doing to accomplish His work and glory. It feels great to be on the Lord's errand.
Here's a cool story for you: There's a family in the ward who is now having a relative living with them who has had a rough past, but she came to church 2 weeks in a row and we went over for dinner and after that, she requested that we come back and teach her the lessons! She's already been baptized, but she wants the knowledge of the gospel back and I think that is a wonderful thing. When Elder Golden visited our mission in November, he shared something with us back in November that has stuck with me since. He said that when the Spirit leaves, the knowledge that comes with it leaves as well and boy that is so true.
On Wednesday, we prepared a dinner message for a part member family in the Highland ward and Elder Sudol came up with such a neat comparison about going to Sacrament. When we take the Sacrament, we do it to remember Christ and His Sacrifice. It's just like when we go to visit someone's grave. We go to show respect and love for that person that has impacted our life and we give them full attention to honor them, and that's exactly why we should go to church as well. We go to celebrate Christ's life and the blessings that come from being a disciple. I've met one too many people out here that tell us that they don't need to go to church to show God they love Him. Though that is true to a degree, we go for the same reasons why we show love for anyone else that has passed on and I know it means a lot to Christ when we're willing to visit the chapel and worship Him each Sunday. It shows we recognize the value He has to us in our life, so our Sabbath day behavior truly does reflect how much we love the Savior.
So, along with my news last week about the Tongan ward, I am so excited about serving in this ward! We've been so busy with transfers and there was a wedding/fathers day/stake conference this weekend so that we didn't get much time to work in the Cucamonga ward, but we have an awesome Bishop and the Tongans still treat us so kindly. Bishop Latu is actually the brother of someone in the Jeraldo ward, so I've met him before and because all Tongans are related, I've seen a couple of the Tongans in this ward in Victorville before for an activity of some sort. We are well received in this ward and I'm just thrilled about the whole thing. It's been kinda stressful sharing 2 wards, but it'll come along. For Father's day, there was a lot of Tongans visiting and I got to meet 2 people that play for ASU and someone that plays for the New York Giants. The wedding on Friday was for someone by the last name of 'Unga and then it hit me: There was a Harvey 'Unga that played for BYU, right? I'm not sure how closely related they are, but I thought that was pretty neat. The Tongans are very talented in athletics (football especially) so it only makes sense. As if you're not already tired of me raving about them, I just really love them as a whole. The way that they express their love is what I would say is so special about them. They're a very thoughtful and loving people (: 
I hope everybody had a great Father's day. I realize it's not as big a deal to our culture as Mother's day, but I feel as though my dad ought to be recognized as someone in my life that since I've been born has been faithful to the things that he knows matters most. He has such a good work ethic in all things and always remained involved in each phase of my life. He is always so supportive and I'll always be thankful for his love for the gospel. I love my dad so much! With that being said, I hope everyone's families are doing great and enjoying their summer. I know Mason will be joining the missionary force this upcoming Wednesday and I am so eager for him, he is such a great young man. He will evolve into something even greater in such a short amount of time. 
Everything is wonderful here. It is definitely getting very warm, but it's only going to got hotter from here on, so no sense in complaining about it! I love you all and hope you have a great week. Tell Paige Aho faka fiefia for me!
- Elder Bennion

Monday, June 22, 2015


GREAT NEWS! This transfer, President Hobbs is having us cover a 2nd ward, and guess which one it is? the Cucamonga TONGAN WARD! haha! I can't believe it to be honest. I remember thinking it'd be great to serve in another Tongan ward, but I certainly didn't think that that wish would come true so quickly. A lot of the missionaries know that I am very excited about it (: I am a tiny bit nervous though at the same time, just because we're covering Highland ward on top of assistant stuff and the Tongan ward, and the Tongans don't like to share missionaries with other wards and Elder Va'enuku just got white washed out of that ward, but I am regardless so excited about the whole thing! I am excited to share my discoveries of their culture and what new words and phrases I pick up on and of course indulge in some Polynesian food.

Things are great, we have had the craziest day and this is all I have time for. I love you all, talk to you next week!

- Elder Bennion

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

An Eventful Week

I am happy that I actually had an eventful week, so now my e-mail won't bore you to death!
It was a pretty good week. We joined the Rancho zone for a game of kickball on Monday and we also played a game of Rugby and I scored 2 try's, whoo! It's such an exhausting and challenging sport, but I really enjoy it! Apparently BYU has a really good womens team, so that's cool! And then for my birthday lunch, we went to Red Robin for my first time. It was good, nothing too crazy though. And then we were in the office for the duration of that evening.
On Tuesday we had a meeting with President Hobbs and then he was kind enough to take us to a Thai restaurant for dinner and the Hobbs are such fantastic people! I love them so much! I enjoy when I get to know them on a personal level. Get this: The Hobbs LOVE Maddox and they actually want to move to Brigham City one day. How neat would that be? We are so blessed to have them around. President Hobbs is just so admirable. He's a very humble and simple man who has a passion for obedience. He is a wonderful mission president. 
On Wednesday and Thursday, we pretty much just had meetings to prepare for transfers as well as have a council thing with the zone leaders in the mission. On Friday we had a staff meeting, and then Saturday we had a good proselyting day. Sunday came around and I was just kind of grumpy that day. But sure enough, the Lord really blessed us as we went out to work that day. We fasted for a new investigator because we've been really struggling in that, and although we didn't accomplish that today, it doesn't mean it won't be in the near future! We met a really super cool that night who have relatives in St. George and they said they'd love to learn more about the church. Elder Sudol and I have quite a few experiences like that throughout our week that really prove to me the Lord is aware of His work and that He will prepare His children for the gospel when they are ready for it. I have all confidence in that. I'm thankful that although I was baptized once upon a time, we all ourselves must experience that change of heart to be converted to the gospel. Similar to the story of the 10 virgins; you can't give your testimony to someone else, they need to develop it on their own. Ain't that the truth!
This week is the week before transfers, so pretty much for this week and the next we're going to be very busy with the new missionaries. There is an elder coming in who is a recent convert of a year and half, has no other members in his family and is serving as a ward mission leader. I'm excited to meet him, he already sounds like he has a great story. 

My mission continues to be unlike anything else I've experienced in my life where I realize there's no satisfactory substitute that will develop you as a disciple of Christ than a mission. Maybe one day I'll get it down that we need to be swallowed up in the will of our Father. I know the Lord's work is true, I know His church is on the earth again, and I know that Christ, our Brother and our Savior, made an infinite sacrifice for people as numerous as the stars on earth. We're all striving for something impossible as mortals, but because of Him, we have an avenue back to our Heavenly Father because of an incomprehensible love He has for each of His children, and what a blessing it us to fall under that triumphant category.
I love you!
Elder Shawn Lyle Bennion

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's P Day Again

This week flew by, it's crazy to think it's p day again, let alone June! By now my birthday has passed and I had a very good birthday. I was kind of being a punk about it at first, but once we started working, things got really good. Thank you for those who wished me a happy birthday.
We had a really good week! On Tuesday we spent a lot of time outside and man, it is getting hot. People in Rancho are pretty friendly to us and offer us water though, that's always nice of them. On Wednesday we had a meeting with the new missionaries, Thursday we finished our last exchange with zone leaders for the transfer and that was good, Friday we had the cyber seniors class and visited an investigator and that was great! Then on Saturday, we spent all day outside pretty much, we worked hard! We're having a difficult time finding new people to teach, but each day we have an awesome experience that the Lord uses as a way to motivate us and let us know we're on the right path. I trust He'll take us to people need a type of service or lifting their spirit. For my actual birthday, we gave a non member a blessing and immediately after, she told us that she could already feel a difference. The priesthood truly is connected with the powers of Heaven, it's so awesome!
I wish I had more motivation to share more details, but I'm honestly tired of typing ha! Next week I will try to share more. But then again, we have a very busy week ahead of us as well, so I'm not sure what will happen by next Monday. Anyway, summer is starting a week later than I anticipated for you all, so I'll wait till next week to wish you a happy summer. Love you all!
- Elder Bennion