Monday, September 28, 2015


Hey hey hey my week was killer as usual! Really, though.

Events I experienced:
Monday: not much. Let's skip it.

Tuesday: we had a lesson with a new ami, F! He is cool. He plays the drums, mostly for metal music. He's very hippy. He belongs in Eugene. He is cool.

Wednesday was awesome! I got to go on an exchange with Elder Perry, one of my Montpellier zone leaders. Elder Perry is the best. I've only ever had exchanges with him in Montpellier because he's always had some injury that prevents him from walking haha! We saw Ai at his house. I have seen him 3 times, and each time, I have left with a banana. It's awesome haha. After that, we went to the French-American Center in Montpellier. I met someone there named David A. He is from California. He is 42 years old. And he is the real-life Fire Marshall Bill. His personality so strongly resembles the Jim Carrey TV character that I thought for a second he really was Jim Carrey. Haha he is a true character, possibly the weirdest person I have ever met!

After that, we went to "Sport Extrême" at the church. It was like Zumba and P90X all rolled into one. It sufficeth me to say that I am very very sore now.

Thursday was awesome! I got to hang out with the zone as we went to our conference in Aix-en-Provence. I hung out with a bleu, Elder Duffy. He's the man. In the Montpellier gare, this guy who had recently seen "The Book of Mormon," theatrical version, talked with us for a bit. We said "have a good day" as we left, and he said back, "have a Latter-day!" It was hilarious.

Friday! Zone conference, with elder Detlef Adler of the 70. Pretty cool German guy. Hilarious! Such a funny guy. We learned lots and lots of things!

Saturday was good. Maybe someday you'll hear about it. But not now. Not important.

Sunday was crazy!! We had church as usual. Elder Hansen gave a talk in church on the 8th article of faith which was awesome. Then we taught M, a 7-year old with what seems to be severe ADHD, He's almost 8 years old and his parents want help teaching him and preparing him for baptism. He hardly listened to us so it was a little annoying but they fed us afterwards so there's always a silver lining haha! After that, we did our études, and then we went out porting! We had a few people who immediately closed the door at us, but then we found this lady named R. We gave her the family questionnaire, and before we asked the first question, she started crying! We asked, "what member of your family influenced you the most?" Before we finished asking the question, her eyes watered up, tears fell, and she said "ma grandmère!" It was incredible. She is croyante, and she cried as we testified of the plan of salvation and how temples help us live with our family forever! We showed her pictures of the temple and she asked lots of questions. It was awesome. We set up a return rendezvous for next week!

After that, as we walked home, we were accosted by this weird guy. He offered us cigs, we said no, but he kept insisting, and he followed us for about a we started running, turning corners, and we thought we lost him, but then he showed up again! This time he was angry, he called us "serviteurs du diable" and thougt we were Témoins Jehova. He started taking off his bag and tried to pick a fight. It was pretty scary. He was reaching around in his pocket and we think he might have had a knife. So luckily, we went to the police station (30 seconds away) and he followed us there! So we went in, asked for help, and an officer came and talked to him, and held him there for a while so we could walk home without being followed. All in all it wasn't a huge deal, but it was kinda freaky! I know Heavenly Father was with us the whole time, protecting us. Often, Satan attacks hardest right after our greatest successes; it's no coincidence we met that mec right after the tracting miracle.

Lessons I learned: Hebrews 11:16: "wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God". It is incredible that God is not ashamed to be our God, given all the imperfections we possess. Why then, being wholly imperfect, are we sometimes ashamed that He, being wholly perfect, is our God? It makes little sense. I would hope that we have no reason to be "ashamed of the gospel of Christ," or to be ashamed of Him whose gospel it is!

(free) Advice I have: "According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts" by Neal A. Maxwell. This talk is all about what we seek, our desires and priorities. Elder Maxwell mentions how if we can change our desires to align with God's plan for us, "We set our thermostats as to temptations." I have been thinking about priorities in my life as a missionary and this talk is excellent for anyone who wants help with things of that nature!

I love you all! Thanks for your love!
Elder MacArthur

In preparation for the zone conference with Elder Alder, we were asked to answer the following questions (among others): How did Abinadi touch Alma the Elder's heart? My answer, in brief:
Abinadi touched Alma because the Spirit testified of the truthfulness of Abinadi's words. Abinadi awoke something dormant inside Alma, the Spirit awoke the Light of Christ within Alma. Abinadi didn't preach something new, he merely caused Alma to remember what he had long since forgotten, that's why the Spirit was able to confirm it so strongly to Alma, because it was already in his heart, the Light of Christ was already burning. More than anything, the Lord had a work for Alma to accomplish. He prepared Alma to receive the word, to plant the seed, and experiment upon it. He brought about His purposes for Alma and the Nephite nation through Abinadi.

We start at the end of Abinadi's discourse. Pay attention to the words we read: Mosiah 17:2 -----> he "believed...for he knew"
-he was taught good and evil, he knew the difference between right and wrong
-all it took to start the ball rolling was someone standing up for truth regardless the circumstance.*
Take footnote b to... Mosiah 26:15 -----> faith of Alma to believe in Abinadi
-he had been righteous previously, he just needed to have the pot stirred a little
-he did "plead with the king" to let Abinadi leave in peace
-suggests a stronger conviction than a "maybe" or "I'm not sure."
Take footnote b to... D&C 46:14 -----> spiritual gift of Alma to believe
-"to others it is given to believe on their words, that they might also have eternal life if they continue faithful."
-he might have been searching for truth, seeking an answer, he knew that the traditions of Noah and his priests were wicked
-Alma was prepared to receive this awakening, to repent of his sins and remember the ways of the Lord that he used to follow *in Mosiah 13:1-9 What do we learn from these 9 verses?

Alma takes note of Abinadi. He notes that "his face shone with an exceeding luster," he spake with "power and authority of God," he guessed Alma's heart when he said "I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities." He ends this passage by saying "But I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved." The incredible faith shown by Abinadi surely touched Alma and allowed the Holy Ghost to testify to him that Abinadi was a prophet, sent from God, holding His authority.

Sister Brown
-we need to be team players, follow the rules, because people are always watching -our playbook is the scriptures, PMG -we can score using the playbook -our coach is President Brown, he gives us encouragement and assignments to help us score -in our team, we play to win!
-our head coach is Jesus Christ, He helps us play our best no matter what, 24/7 -comfort we receive can come from prayers from hundreds, thousands, MILLIONS of people around the world and outside of it -heaven sent help can come at any moment, comfort and heavenly help can come from anyone, anywhere

Sister Adler
-United effort in a spirit of teamwork produces a higher yield -absence of conflict is a cheap substitute for a spiritual relationship -be fast to forgive, be fast to repent, be slow to be prideful -serve your companions and be your best self for them -evaluate your companionship, follow the golden rule -"because I want you to have an awesome wife, work on..."
-pray always, pray too much, pray until you have the desire to pray, pray in all things -pray to express gratitude, pray for blessings, pray for others, pray for yourself, pray for everything

President Brown
-challenges help us become more like our Heavenly Father, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes it possible to endure those challenges -watch out for wolves in sheep's clothing, "Beware of the evil behind the smiling eyes"
-the spirit of the Lord is always edifying, never confuse false promptings with the Spirit -the Spirit communicates though prayer, scriptures, mission leaders, etc.
-Satan tries to counterfeit the feelings of the Spirit -we must learn to recognize the difference between the real deal and Satan's counterfeit -find out why we were put in our sector with our companion, find out our purpose -Satan is our common enemy, he seeks to destroy all of us -we will always prevail when we follow the example of our Master, Jesus Christ -if we follow Him, it will never be a close contest

Elder Adler
-sometimes we blame others, turning outward rather than turning inward -we need to work with our companions if we are to do His work His way -transitory residents of the earth never find joy, they find fun
-disobedience will cause our world to "blow up" -it will derail the work in our sector, our zone, our mission, it will hurt His work -rules and guidelines are inspired, heaven-sent help to keep us on safe ground -forgiveness is another way we can keep ourselves spiritually safe -if the Lord can forgive all, we can forgive too -we don't always know why Heavenly Father calls us how He does, but if we trust His judgment, then He will prepare the way for us to magnify our calling -He has not brought us here to fail, He has brought us here to succeed Success comes two ways:

1. Your personal spiritual development -our conversion is deepened through our faith in Jesus Christ
2. Seeing the spiritual development of our amis -feeling the Lord's love for our amis -we have to carry our own burdens, we can receive strength from others, but we must bear our own burdens, but He will help us "bear up our burdens with ease"

"Action is one of the chief foundations of personal testimony" -President Hunter -"not doing" will become "not growing," and necessarily, "not going," not going anywhere -review my attitude towards the mission I am serving -I am serving it, it is not mine, it is His; I am only here to serve the Lord -this mission is only a moment, we can endure it, we can endure it WELL!

Trying to remember our blessings, the blessings of this mission will help us see His hand in our lives. As we learn the pre-mortal existence, we learn that we knew each other, we have been sent here to people we already know, these people told us to find them and to teach them

Pretty view of Carcassonne

Mini transfer 109 reunion with Elders Connell, Wade & Ben

Monday, September 21, 2015


Bonjour à tous! I had yet another fabulous week. I did a poor job of recording my thoughts on the iPad this week, so it will be a short email.

Events I experienced:
District meeting on Tuesday, in Beziers! Very fun. We went there and back on a TGV, first class! I think the office screwed up and got us 1st class tickets. The senior couple in Beziers told us a story, where an Elder tried to say "Je suis un saint des Derniers Jours" (I am a Latter-day Saint) but said "Je suis enceinte" (I am pregnant) haha so that was funny. The Perpignan Soeurs were on the train going up to the district meeting, and they weren't in 1st class. They asked us to come sit with them, so we only got about 15 mins of fame in 1st class haha.

Wednesday, we all had Skype interviews with President Brown! Super fun. Not as good as in person, but he still SPARCs people better than anyone I know, even via Skype. When we got back, we met with our ami, T! He plays on the Carcassonne rugby team! He's a little over 6'6", he benches over 400 pounds and he can squat 225 kilos. So he's HUGE! His mom in New Zealand is a member, along with all his sisters. He's super cool. He's played in international sports camps, he has played in youth Olympic Games for New Zealand, he was somewhat of an athletic child prodigy in New Zealand. He has played against Zach Levine, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Dante Exum, all at the age of 14! He's cool. And... he's only 20!!! He's been playing rugby professionally since he was 18.

Friday, I was on an exchange in Perpignan with Elder Duncan. It was one of the best échanges I've ever been on. We got a whole lot of stuff done, I walked around Perpignan a lot (it's super beautiful so that's cool), used my limited Spanish (or at least tried to) and we had crêpes with members to end the day! We gave a temple lesson to the Fs. They are super super awesome. I wish they lived in Carcassonne haha! And on the street, a lady told us when the world was gonna end! Apparently, it's 2024, on a Saturday night. Do with that information what you will.

On Saturday, we helped the members with an open house for family history at the church. Nobody showed up. For 8 hours. I think they should have advertised past putting a flyer on the church door. But at least we got to look on family search a lot and I found some cool ancestors! One of them is described as a Mythical King. So I don't know why that's on FamilySearch...

We saw T again on Saturday! We gave him a lesson zero/restoration, and it went super well. He said he wants to turn his life back to Christ, and he accepted to be baptized once he gains a testimony. I'm sure his mom prays for him every night to meet the missionaries, and now he has! Such a cool miracle.

Lessons I learned: Don't get sick! It stinks. And even if something bad does happen to you, stay positive, keep smiling, and choose to be happy no matter what. It sounds dumb but it works. Trust me!

(free) Advice I have: "Feed My Lambs" by Henry B. Eyring. This talk is gold. Pure gold. Read it and weep. Weep in a good way.

I love you all! Thanks for all the support you give! Je vous aime beaucoup.
À plus,
Elder MacArthur

Ben, T and Elder Hansen

Ben & Elder Hansen on the TGV

Ben finds Tintin in Carcassonne

Ben's "royal' ancestry

Monday, September 14, 2015


Bonjour! Bonjour bonjour. This week was awesome. It was a weird week. It was weird.

Events I experienced:
On Monday we went to the castle! It was cool! Then we read the BoM with S and gave him and Frère Van blessings at the chapel. Frère Van had been feeling sore and his back was really flaring up, S was feeling a little down, so we gave them both blessings! It was awesome. I'm really grateful for the priesthood, it's a wonderful blessing.

Tuesday was great as well!! We went to the B's, and we destroyed a wall. Haha I'll include a picture. Pretty cool. Then we taught J-C, and found a new ami on the street! It was a cool day for sure.

Wednesday was good! I forgot it all. But I have a feeling it was good.

Thursday was awesome! We had a zone training in Montpellier. It was really really fun!! Then we did some porting once we got back, and called it a day.

Friday, our engagé J-C dropped us. It was really sad. He said it was too hard to understand. Also, his landlord advised him to stop seeing us. Brother V mentioned to J-C once about how his landlord was cheating him. J-C must have talk to his landlord about this, because his landlord advised him to stop seeing us. All we can really do now is wait and pray for J-C so that he will come back and see us again. Meanwhile, all of our other Amis have not contacted us in a while, and they are never there when we pass them or call them! We have run into some really hard times here. A fun part of the day was English Class with S, Frère V, La and Al. S is our biggest supporter and we love seeing him! After EC, we went to read the BoM with him, 1 Néphi 17. It's a long chapter, a really good chapter! I love hearing S's testimony when we talk about the about the BoM.

Saturday and Sunday, I was sick! I still am sick, so yeah. That's not the best thing to be as a missionary. Didn't really do much on these two days.

Lessons I learned:
Well, I got sick. And we lost both of our engagés this week! It was a trying week. It made me think of the scripture on our bathroom wall, D&C 121: 7-9, saying:
7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

Being sick, I had a bunch of time to lay in bed in pain! And watch movies! I got to watch just about every Joseph Smith video ever made. It was really fun! Well, as fun as it could be. Watching his sufferings and reading this scripture made me realize that even if it feels terrible to be sick, it's not that bad. So that made me feel better for sure.

(free) Advice I have:
"Repent Of [Our] Selfishness" by Neal A. Maxwell.  This talk talks about how selfishness is the root of all evil. So don't be selfish! Very good talk!

I LOVE YOU ALL! Thanks for all your support and kind words of encouragement!
Love, Elder MacArthur

Fun service for the B. family

Monday, September 7, 2015


Bonjour everybody! I had a very rewarding week this week.

Events I experienced:
On Tuesday, we did some cool pass backs, had lessons with B and S, had a 15 min RDV with M, and had a lesson with H, a new ami! She is from Tunisia, and she made couscous which was super super good! She is really nice and has lots of potential.

Wednesday was super cool. We got to spend a lot of time with Frère Van, we started the day with service at his house. We had lunch at his house which was super good. Then we taught J, we read 1 Néphi 20 with her. It was super complicated to explain in French, already it's an Isaiah chapter, so we skipped ahead to 1 Néphi 22, where the story picks back up. She had lots of questions but we helped her figure it out, it was a great rendezvous! Then we had a lesson chez J-C, with Frère Van. It definitely helped him, but we are figuring out that he hasn't been understanding as much as we thought. We might need to move his baptism date again because he doesn't understand enough, but he has the best desire! After that, we taught an old ami named Cr with Frère Van. She is in the Rose Cross cult. Kinda bizarre haha! But she is incredible!! She might start coming to English class, which would be sick! Great day!

Thursday was a good day. We did lots of contacting, talked to lots of people, looked through the Area Book and found lots of people to pass, then we met with two less-actives, Soeur M and C. We read in the Book of Mormon with each of them and they both really loved it! It was really wonderful to see them remember their testimonies and feel the power of the scriptures again.

Friday was a lot of walking! We had RCM with Frère V, then we did a bunch more passing less-actives, old amis, and such. Then we had English Class, which was cool! Cr showed up which was awesome. Then we read the BoM with S, and had an awesome talk with C! He prayed with us, which I've only ever seen once. And we sparc'd him super hard, he loved it. He likes us more and more, hopefully he'll start coming to church!

Saturday was another weird day. Elder Hansen was feeling stressed and really tired, so we took it easy at first. Then we had the Perpignan Elders come visit us! Elder Bryce was going to interview J-C for his baptism, but we had to move the baptism back again, unfortunately. I'm pretty bummed out about it, he just doesn't understand enough yet. He'll get there I'm sure, I just need to be patient haha. Then we had Sport Saturday, and weekly planning after we contacted with the Perpignan Elders. It ended up being a good day!

Sunday was really good! We had a great time at church, we were able to fix a lot of pass-bys with members. We taught J-C the restoration again, and that was pretty tough. He's still having trouble understanding, and we're going to have to move his baptism date to October 10th, so that he'll understand enough. It's tough, having to teach so simply, but it's helping me become more patient so it's okay haha. We had a really good weekly planning session and companionship inventory. We've been pretty distant so far but we made great progress in unity these past two days. I'm really excited for this transfer!

Lessons I learned:
"The Kingdom of God or nothing." These words by President John Taylor are very powerful. If we seek for anything less than the Kingdom of God, we are seeking, by comparison, nothing!

I have seen missionaries go out for the wrong reasons. While this is a little sad, it's not super important. Here's what's most important: why you stay in the field. If you go out to please your parents, and that's your motivation the whole time, good luck! But if you come out, figure things out, and stay because you love being a missionary, then "tant mieux," good for you! Often we start a race poorly, but what counts is how (and why) we finish it.

(free) Advice I have:
"Look To God And Live" by Jeffrey R. Holland

Read in the Book of Mormon every day! To quote President Monson, "If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, READ IT!"

Elder MacArthur

A good parking job [not sure of the significance?]

Two of my comps, Papa Garside and Elder Hansen!
Some pretty flowers haha!