Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas

I'm not a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas, but I am carol-ed out already. I think it's because this year is the most Christmas-y I've ever celebrated before. Yesterday we had our final choir concert with St. Denis Catholic church and they did a wonderful job. It was one of two times I recall being encouraged to clap in the chapel, it was still then kind of odd, but their choir did excellent! This Christmas we will be having brunch at a member's house, skyping at 2:00 p.m., and having dinner at our Elders Quorum President's house and having Mexican food, which I am very excited about! It's going be a wonderful Christmas and no matter what form of communication I have related to you that day I will cry, so let me ponder what'll keep me focused but also let me feel like I've done Christmas its justice. I will inform you before I leave the library.

This week it's been pretty cold and it's been making our car battery act funny. We had to jump it so many times that now I feel like a professional at it. I figured I'd mention that to make dad proud. We got the battery replaced on Thursday in Rancho when we had the Christmas devotional at the mission office with the other missionaries. My brain just hasn't been thinking properly and I was literally the only elder to show up without a suit! I was embarrassed, but it's all good. I got to meet up with Elder Hancock which is always great! 

On Friday we went to the Chino Hills Boat Parade to pass out hot chocolate and Christmas cards, it was good. We tried really hard to find Chinese people, but Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese people all look so similar! And I discovered that not many people wanted to talk to missionaries during a parade anyway ha! We did our best though (:

I've got a wonderful story to share with you about those whom the Lord is so generously preparing for us to meet, I love this story, oh man. Brace yourself. 
We met a mom (Maria) and a son (Ricky) when we knocked on their door and they invited us back next week with a member of the ward who spoke Spanish for Maria. And no words will adequately describe how well the lesson went. After we taught the Restoration, he told us he really liked the message, and you should've just heard the sincerity in his voice! You could just tell he was ready to accept everything the gospel has so we invited him to be baptized and he said yes and his mom gave him permission and we are going back on Tuesday to establish a date for him to be baptized and hopefully Maria will feel inclined to do the same (:
Showing up to their door and the first and second time was so interesting because the first time she said that Ricky had seen missionaries in a nearby city and was curious about them, and then we end up knocking on their door. When we went back on Saturday for the actual lesson, Maria said they only had 20 or so minutes, but we ended up being there for an hour and a half! She definitely felt the Spirit while we were there. Ricky said the closing prayer and if there's one thing I love most in missionary work it's when investigators say a sincere prayer for the first time. In his prayer he said stuff like "thank you for the way you've made me feel, I wish every morning started out like this" and then he said something so neat. He said "Thank you for sending the missionaries... it feels like I've known them for a while." You can tell what's on a person's mind through what they mention in their prayers and you can tell when the Spirit is within them when they use a different tone than casual speaking. And then the rest of the day went really good as well and I just know wherever we are at, people are being prepared for the gospel. 

I'd say that about concludes my week. I wish every week was like this one, but it's all good, the Lord has everything under control. He'll supply us with the things that we need as well as the rest of the children. A sister reminded us in District meeting that the Lord loves His children more than we do, so of course He'll always try to do things to bring them closer to His Son. 

Lastly, I just want to say how much I love and appreciate our Savior. I understand Him best through that title because I think it defines His purpose and nature perfectly. I know His role in my life through experience and also by reading The Book of Mormon. I know that God loves us so much that He was willing to send His Son to us and I'm grateful for how patient He is and thankful that He has no resentment toward us even when we make mistakes. I know that Christ was harmed both physically and spiritually for the possibility of us regaining life again with our Father. I know Jesus Christ is indispensable, and the very thought of Him can remove any hedges of doubt or unwelcomed temptation. His name truly is Wonderful and His gift of life is enough for me this Christmas season. 

We will speak again next week and possibly on Friday. For now, be safe in the snow and despite the business of the year, keep Christ forever nestled closely to your heart. I love you, Merry Christmas! (: 

- Elder Shawn Lyle Bennion
Merry Christmas in Chinese

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