Bonner Family Singers Launch #LightTheWorld Effort in California
Contributed By Karen Kimball, Church News contributor
- On November 18, the Bonner family led a musical presentation to kick off #LightTheWorld activities in Orange County, California.
“We are asked to ‘light the world.’ All you have to do is start with one. Your light will light someone else’s.” —Nolong Bullock of the Bonner family
In a musical presentation on November 18, the Bonner family—a family known for their singing performances together—helped launch community #LightTheWorld 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.”
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.
“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 Savior’s light with all those around you.”
After the conclusion of the program members of the audience were given luminaries to carry in their hands 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.
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” information 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.
Nolong Bullock shares a message during a special Light the World fireside held in the Orange County, California, area on November 18. Photo by James Harker.
Harry Bonner shares a message during a special Light the World fireside held in the Orange County, California, area on November 18. Photo by James Harker.
Oba and Yahosh Bonner perform during a special music presentation held in Newport Beach, California, on November 18. Photo by James Harker.