Events I experienced:
Monday was the first day of transfer 2! Elder Bleak is awesome.
On Tuesday we gave service to the Boyault family. Then we headed out to Lyon for a bleu conference! All the new missionaries from my transfer were present. President Brown talked about having childlike faith. Once, there was a town that was in the midst of a terrible drought. They decided to all convene in the middle of town to kneel together in prayer, in hopes of receiving a miraculous rainstorm. As they all gathered together, a little girl came running in a few minutes late, during the middle of the prayer. The pastor giving the prayer noticed that she was dragging an umbrella twice her size. Nobody else had thought to bring an umbrella, even though they were hoping for rain. After the pastor finished the prayer, rain clouds rolled in, and it rained for hours and hours. None of the adults had had the faith of this little girl, who was the only one there with an umbrella. Great story
I also got to reunite with the other elders I came in with, my fellow brothers of transfer 109. A great, great time!
Wednesday we took care of legality! I also met a Soeur Zenger who knows the Nothum family from St. Louis. Her older sister dated my sister's fiancé's older brother. I also met a Soeur Larsen, whose mom is good friends with my mom! Pretty cool, seeing all this small world stuff. We went to the institute for some free time after legality and met more missionaries.
Thursday we actually had bleu missionary conference! It was a lot of fun. We got to share really cool experiences and I shared the miracle me and Elder Garside had with M. I realize that I forgot to explain that last week, my bad! So here it is: Elder Garside and I were walking home, when a man from a bus stop across the street said hello to us. We decided to go talk to this strange man. We got to talking, and he started crying as he expressed how depressed he was. His whole family had died in a car accident a few months ago. He showed us a gun and two bullets in his backpack that he was planning to use on himself. He was en route to his house to go kill himself. We had no idea what to say. We just listened and smiled, and tried to help this man, M., feel God's live for him. He spoke mostly Italian, so his French was broken, but we somehow understood him completely. We told him that God loved him, and that if he would only hang on, he would find "good things to come" as Elder Holland has mentioned before. He looked into our eyes and said, "I can feel the Love of God through you eyes," and choking back tears, he continued, "you and you (pointing to us individually) have given me back my life." We shook hands, and he was smiling and crying at the same time when we left M. It was a wonderful opportunity to help him in a time of need.
If we listen to the Spirit, Heavenly Father will always put us where we need to be, when we need to be there. It was incredible. We helped save a man's life. We fixed a RDV for the next day at 12 at the bus stop. He didn't show up, and we have no contact info for him, but I hope he is still okay. He has a Book of Mormon and said he'd read it, so I hope that helps him. Miracles are real and with enough faithful prayer, they still happen today.
Friday was a good day. We used the bikes because Elder Bleak fixed the brakes! Yay! Frère V. made us egg rolls, and we saw J. again! She likes Elder Bleak so that is very good news.
Saturday we saw A.! That lesson was frustrating because I felt like I failed. I struggled to speak French for the first time as a missionary, really, and I didn't teach well at all. Elder Bleak and I are doing role plays every day to improve and I know that will help me a lot, so I'm really excited for that!
Sunday we saw Soeur M. and J. It was another miracle with J! She called us at 8ish, and told us how she had started drinking and smoking again, since her son had brought her cigs and bière earlier that day. She knew she had to stop and was in tears as we talked over the phone. We biked over there ASAP and were able to calm her down. She told us that she had also forgiven someone earlier that day, a neighbor who long ago had never repaid a loan. J. has had an extremely arduous life, so forgiveness is not an easy thing for her. That was a miracle all by itself. She expressed her continual desire to be baptized and she recommitted to make progress towards that. I'm so proud that she isn't giving up! Satan is putting in overtime on her but she's fighting back.
Shoutout to Sister Markowski for her mission call to Paris! That's 5 other missionaries I know in Paris. Pretty great stuff!
Things I remarked:
- We often criticize others but fail to fully realize our own faults.
- We need to have faith and rely on ourselves as well as the Lord. He helps those who help themselves. If we fail to act on our faith, we will surely lose that faith eventually.
- Things are not as obvious as they may seem. To truly help, you must understand the past to change the future.
- There is no one right way to do missionary work.
- Missionary work is fun! Fun is okay, but it needs to be in the Lord's way.
- Keep an open heart and an open mind!
- We need to be patient. Sometimes even our good intentions and efforts are not exactly what the Lord has in mind.
- Be concentrated and consecrated in whatever you are doing. It's the only way to get anything done. If you consecrate your life to Lord, if you put your inner animal upon the altar of sacrifice, you will find freedom and joy in what the Lord can help you become, and you will win infinitely more than what you gave up.
- "Do Not Fear" by Boyd K. Packer
- "Consecration is the only surrender that is also a victory." - Neal A. Maxwell
Love, Elder MacArthur
|Some cool graffiti in Lyon|
|Ben and fellow transfer 109ers|
|Ben and Elder Bleak by the castle|
|"A cool dessert I made all by myself. Speculoos cookies, sweet cream, pineapple, and ginger spice. I'm proud of my culinary accomplishments."|