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

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