Monday, November 23, 2015

I love it here so much!


Do you think that the Lord has a sense of humor? I seem to think He does. I'm not sure why this makes me laugh, maybe it's just because of how it's spot-on of how He runs things in missionary work. On Friday, we were looking for people to teach and nothing special was happening, but we made our way over to see a potential investigator at 8:45 but he wasn't home. We had 15 minutes left and I thought to myself that it's okay if we went in a tiny bit early, but as we were passing the only lively house in the neighborhood, I put my pride aside and suggested we knock on it. It was a peculiar thing to do because it just sounded like a bunch of teenagers upstairs, but a very nice woman named Marie answered the door and we talked for about 15 minutes and we left her with a Book of Mormon and she initiated our return appointment. New Investigator!!! haha, so cool. It's always the last door that you don't want to do where something goes great. The Lord certainly answered our prayers with that one. It's a rare occasion we find an investigator by tracting, but it doesn't mean it doesn't work!

It was actually a pretty good week for us here. We taught 4 people this week, which is the best weekly report we've had so far. The weather is very warm here, it's been in the 80's all week (: I'm not really all that sad about there not being any snow here, to be honest. Often people ask if we'd ever move to California and it's too bad it's so expensive here, because the winters really are great here.

On Tuesday, the Hobbs and the assistants visited our zone and presented a new video the church is putting out for Christmas. It's exciting for us as missionaries because it gives us a way to connect to people easier since everyone's starting to feel the Christmas Spirit. The cashier today at Winco even told me to have a Merry Christmas, it was weird. And Pepboys was playing Christmas music. Either way, the church is so great with the audiovisual stuff. I'm never embarrassed to view or suggest a video for someone to watch.
Recently I watched a great bible video of when Christ healed a blind man, and He instructed the man to wash in a certain pool of water. What I noticed was that Christ wasn't even there to see the man regain his sight. Doesn't that just sound like Christ's character? He never acted compassionately for a reward or praise. I'm so grateful that we get to celebrate along with many others of different faiths the birth of the Savior and how He humbly entered our world. He truly has been refined through the Atonement, it goes to show that our trials results make us stronger and better than before. It's unreal what he experienced while He was on the earth. It'll be a special time of year. I started the Book of Mormon again and this time, I'm highlighting any reference I see to the Savior and from my reading, I picked out 58 times He was mentioned in the first 3 chapters. How could a wicked person write a book so inspiring? I know Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and that he helped millions find renewed faith in our Savior. Myself included.

Our English class went well this week. We had 10 people attend! It's such a fun class. It's a different form of service, but I really like it. We taught our class what kind of things to say when they go shopping. They were so relieved we taught it, they said it was very helpful to them. There's a guy that leaves our class each time in his struggling English saying: "I feel good!" haha, he's awesome. On Friday, we knocked on a guy's door and he was pretty drunk and gave us a hug, but he said if we knocked on his door any other time he wouldn't have answered, so that's kinda cool. And because Elder Hsu speaks Chinese, we got 100+ referrals for Chinese speakers in the Chino stake from missionaries in Arcadia, so we should be pretty busy till Christmas it seems like ha!

Well that's our week in a nutshell. We've got 2 Thanksgiving meal plans on Thursday, so that's good! I really hope we can find a new person to teach that day. Just because it's a holiday, doesn't mean the Lord's work ceases! Thank you all so for being wonderful people, I am truly thankful for the Lord in sending me to California. I love it here so much! I love you guys as well. Have a great Thanksgiving, talk to you next week!

- Elder Bennion

Thursday, November 19, 2015

We are Proud.

Diamond Bar

I know at this given time, it doesn't affect me much, but I am so sad that our ward has been split! I have no idea who our bishop or his counselors are unfortunately. Thank you for informing me about this, I now need to inform our mission office about this. Church at 2:00 huh? Perry must really be growing in membership then. 

I read a letter that I got from mom today and she mentioned that our family keeps having bad experiences with the Jazzy haha! You'd think our family would've learned from the first time. "and she says STOP!... That's what mommy said" ha! Brighton is too cute. That first time was actually kinda startling, but I now I look back on it and laugh about Brighton's reaction to the whole thing. Teasing aside, I am grateful that you are all going okay.

To explain the dynamic of Diamond Bar, we cover the south side of Diamond Bar which is very populated with Asians. Diamond Bar High School is 80% Asian I think and there are less than 10 LDS kids there. Needless to say, it's so nice that Elder Hsu is here to speak Chinese to those who are interested. In China, they don't really go to church there, so he says coming to church in America is kinda just a fashion thing, so I think a lot of the Asian population here are simply unfamiliar with church and unsure of what to expect. The majority of the Asians here are Buddhist, so they really don't know much about Jesus Christ, since they worship Buddha. They typically don't show much interest in the church, but they are nice people. That's why I love the English class that we are doing because it's showing them that there's no need to be afraid of the church or missionaries (: We're located about 25 minutes east of Los Angeles, so the people are pretty wealthy. There's a gated community called the Country that Snoop Dog has a house in, if that gives you an idea of that place is like. We haven't been there because the security is outrageous and not many of our members live there and they need to inform the Country of our visit in order for us to come in.

We are trying so hard to find a new investigator and often I'm a bit hard on our companionship because we've been unsuccessful with it so far, but we do try awfully hard and that's what counts. I could definitely extend a bit more gratitude for being able to serve a mission regardless of where I'm called to serve. President Hobbs advised that I set little goals each day to help me feel effective and that principle will bless me for the rest of my life. Bishop Thornock said something similar to me yesterday, so therefore I will proceed with their counsel and we will see what results come from it!

I woke up with a headache and a stuffy nose today so I'm ready to call it good for email today and get home to take a nap. Take good care back home and keep serving as the Savior would. I love you!

- Elder Bennion

Monday, November 9, 2015

Because of Him


I always look forward to emails such as this when you can share something eventful with me. It was a good report and I'm simply happy to hear that you all had a spiritual filled weekend.

I wish I had a lot myself to report on, but we reached the climax of our week last Monday and then the rest of the week, we didn't have a single lesson "/ However, last Monday we did have a lesson with someone and we shared the Because of Him video and I have seen that video so many times, but something was different this time. Watch the video and pay attention to when the drum comes in to the video. I certainly don't think it was placed there on accident (:

It sounds like you got a picture or two of me this weekend from the O'barr's. We did some quilting on Wednesday for the humanitarian stuff and then did yardwork at their house on Saturday and had crepes! It was probably the second time in my life that I ate Nutella.
This weekend, the Chino stake got a new stake presidency and that was good! Along the lines of what you have expressed to me in your emails, every single calling in the church is delivered straight from the Lord through His authorized servants. I'm not sure why people lack such faith in that. Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet of God and that's that (:

Today I got a flu shot and we had to drive to Rancho for it and we still have a lot to do, so I'm gonna call this good. Keep praying for me and that the hearts of Diamond Bar will soften! I love you all, have a good week!

- Elder Bennion

Monday, November 2, 2015

We just had a good week serving the Lord.


I'm not sure if you felt the same way, but this week flew by! Maybe it was the fact that we had to be in on Halloween by 6:00 and that we got to sleep in an extra hour on Sunday, I'm not sure. 

Slowly things are getting to be ship shape and bristle fashioned (as Elder Cook taught me what that means). I'm trying to keep track of the littlest things that make a difference to me. For instance, being in the same zone as a certain missionary, the 3 sticks of deodorant someone in the ward gave us, and the lunch that someone from the ward provided us, that kinda stuff. Because it's November, I felt inspired to show more gratitude this month. Sister Hobbs tells us it's the basis of all righteous desires, and I can attest to that and that when we feel a type of gratitude, we tend to do things more with our heart. I am hoping it makes a difference in my prayers, my Sabbath day worship, and the way I face our jam-packed days of missionary work. 
I am so thankful that things are getting more organized with our area and that though we haven't found a new investigator, that I can at least look back knowing I tried my best. I've also learned that there is a huge difference in disappointment and discouragement. We should be disappointed when we don't reach our goals or when we do something wrong or if we come home and no one accepted a Book of Mormon, but when we face discouragement, that steers us from giving a fuller effort. I am so grateful for the wise words of Gordon B. Hinckley's father "Forget yourself and go to work", it always provides me with motivation to work no matter the circumstances. 

On Wednesday we had our very first English class and we even had one person show up! I wish I could explain what the classes are like, it would definitely be best if demonstrated in person. 

This whole week we really worked hard to find people to teach and we talked to so many people, I really don't think I've been more diligent with it on my mission. I know that we have to go through the bad to get to the good. I rely a lot on chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel to keep my faith high that there are people waiting for the gospel. In my recent study, I was frustrated and then was led to D&C 64:29-34, and I've never felt as though the Lord has communicated so clearly a scripture to me until I came across this one. It was a neat experience. 

As we sang a hymn in our studies, Hymn #281 said something that struck me "Help me teach with inspiration...Help me lift a soul's ambition to a higher, nobler way". What's so interesting is how the gospel influences every part of us and inspires us to be our best self. It truly has done that for me. Someone once told me "Don't compare yourself to others; compare yourself to where you started", I'm not sure why I shared that, I just thought it was interesting.

You want to know something else I find interesting? I'm learning that people don't believe in the same things we do with the after life. Of course that's to be expected, but what I was unaware of was what others think happens to their relationships and more importantly, their families. I'm so grateful that I've come to find out God's plan for families and how the same joy we have right now being around our families will be identical afterward too. I understand better why we have bodies and why it's so important to have an identity. I am so grateful that as long as I am faithful, that I will be blessed with a blissful sight of seeing others that I loved so dearly. I am grateful that with the divine love God has for our families, we can enjoy our bonds continually with them when we pass on. God's plan surely is a plan of perfection and happiness and I'm so grateful for that.

We had a good Halloween, but most importantly, we just had a good week serving the Lord. I love being a missionary so much with all of my heart. It's hard to express that feeling, but I'll keep it at that. I'm in shock that it's November, but am going to continue laboring with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. Thanks for everything, I love you all , have a great week!

- Elder Bennion