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Bonner family launches #LightTheWorld effort in California

IRVINE, California — In a musical presentation, the Bonner family — a family who performs together — helped launch community Light the World efforts in part of the Orange County California area. The Light the World musical devotional, hosted by the California Irvine Mission and the Irvine California Stake, brought more than 850 guests to the Newport Beach California Stake Center.

The Bonner family shared their talents and testimony and encouraged others to “Light the World” in their own way.

Harry Bonner, the father of the family, described their lives as challenging and wonderful. He said through it all his wife, Debra, “made certain we were in the guiding light of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

It is through the Savior’s Atonement that the family has been able to grow in grace and forgive in hard times, Harry Bonner said. He encouraged all to make their own commitment to love, laugh, cry and say "I’m sorry,” and invited others to share their gifts — whatever they are — to “Light the World.”

Find out where this year's #LightTheWorld giving machines will be located across the world.

During the musical portion, the Bonner family sang songs focused on the Savior and His role in their lives and on families. Some of the numbers were original arrangements by family members.

Nolong Bullock, the oldest daughter in the Bonner family, talked about a family tradition of turning off all the lights before lighting the candles on a birthday cake. She said in a totally dark room as they struck a match it provided enough light to see all the candles on the cake.

Missionaries serving in the California Irvine Mission participate in the Light the World musical presentation with the Bonner family on Nov. 18.
Missionaries serving in the California Irvine Mission participate in the Light the World musical presentation with the Bonner family on Nov. 18. Photo: Janice Sansom

“Just one light provided enough light to see,” Nolong said. Then they lit one candle at a time until the candles provided enough light to illuminate the room.

“We are asked to ‘Light the World,’” she said. “All you have to do is start with one. Your light will light someone else’s.”

Nolong asked that each could strive to light their homes and neighborhoods. “This glorifies our Father in Heaven.”

Junior Bonner shared his testimony of the Savior, that “he lived, and then he died.”

“If he would come and live the way he lived and die the way he died for me, how can I not stand? Speak your truth,” Junior said. “None of us are too young in this gospel to do great things. ... We all have a responsibility to, 'Light the World.'"

As the Bonner family sang their concluding number, a medley of primary songs, the audience was asked to join.

President Tait Eyre of the Irvine Stake said the Bonner Family was, “proof that with the Savior there is no ordinary. It was their discipleship and love of the Lord that makes them extraordinary.”

President Samuel Clark of the Irvine California Mission called the event “glorious.” He asked all those in attendance to, “choose today to bring forth the Savior’s light. Please commit to sharing our Saviors light with all those around you.”

After the conclusion of the program members of the audience were given luminaries to carry in their hand as they walked along a lighted path to the Newport Beach Temple grounds. There members of the audience stood around a fountain and joined with missionaries in singing hymns of praise.

Oba and Yahosh Boner perform during a special music presentation held in Newport Beach, California, on Nov. 18.
Oba and Yahosh Boner perform during a special music presentation held in Newport Beach, California, on Nov. 18. Photo: James Harker

Zhe Yang who attended said he felt it was very appropriate that the Bonner family was invited “to illustrate the spirit of Jesus Christ.”

“Since they were all singing, I wanted to improve my talents to bless others like they did,” Abby Paul said.

“It gave me hope,” Billy Williams said, “and made me want to share the message.”

Guests were given “Light the World,” cards to share with friends and neighbors that had information about other local Church sponsored Christmas events in the area.

“Everyone has a potential to be a light in the world but only if they choose to turn the switch on,” Jonathan Esquihuas said.

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