Events I experienced:
Monday was awesome! We had a little trouble getting to Bordeaux, because our train was cancelled. But we got there alright in the end. We stayed in the Talence equipe's apartment, all 24 of us! It was crammed haha, but super fun!
Tuesday: We then got up (well, never really went to bed) and arrived at the chapel at 3 am. Then we had an 8 hour bus ride to Lyon! That was pretty fun, I got to visit with a lot of missionaries and cool stuff. Got a few hours of sleep. Then we arrived in Lyon, took mission photos at the Confluence museum, and visited! I got to see all of my former comps, Elders Garside, Bleak, Hansen, and Stutz! It was the best day ever, having all of those Elders that I love with me! They're all doing super well, which is awesome. We then checked into our hotel, and went to a park for a break-the-fast lunch of domino's pizza. We had a little time after lunch to play games, and I got to play a little soccer which was always nice! Then we went to the Aquarium, which has an auditorium that we rented out. We had more games, our version of the 12 days of Christmas, an address from President Brown, and we got to watch THE LION KING!!! Super fun. That movie is incredible haha. We had dinner delivered by MasterTaco of Confluence. French tacos are like American burritos but a little different. So delicious. We also got gift bags of candy, a new mission music CD for 2016 plus an additional CD recorded by some returned missionaries of the France Lyon mission (provided by the recently-returned mission President Roney, who is currently in charge of organizing the new Provo temple open-house!) and a cool key chain with President Brown's slogan on the back: "Begin with the end in mind!" Such a good day. It felt weird to be in pday clothes the whole day but I'm not complaining haha.
Wednesday was so awesome too!! We had conference part 2 at the Ecully chapel in Lyon. We heard from our entire mission presidency. And we had a sweet lunch and got to talk to everyone! I was able to get a picture with all my comps, it was pretty sweet. And a picture with my group, transfer 109! So fun. It's so wonderful seeing everybody in one place. We also sung our arrangement of Silent Night! It went pretty well. Then we took a bus back to Bordeaux and stayed the night in the Talence Elders' apartment encore.
Thursday was great! We made cookies for the Cal family and everyone else haha. Then we ported a lot! Then we had Christmas Eve dinner at the Cal's house. We had raclette! It's basically potatoes, cheese, and meat. It was delicious. We shared a message about giving gifts to the Savior, by serving and loving our fellowmen.
Friday was ok. Haha it was Christmas, of course it was awesome! We are at the All's house. We had foie gras, castrated chicken, and some other French things. Cheese! Some dang good cheese, too. We also got to watch Mulan!! I was so happy. Then we got to Skype with our families! A very, very fun day. The best part was the introspective evaluation I gave myself. I thought about Christ's birth, and about how I am doing, what I am doing each day to give the gifts He would have me give. I cassé'd myself a good amount. I received some much-needed pieces of advice, and it really helped me to re-double my efforts and be better. That was really the best part about Christmas, getting a chance to seriously evaluate myself and resolve to be better- not next year, next week, tomorrow- but right now. Because I already promised Him I would give my best!
Saturday was pretty good! We had weekly planning, a rendezvous with Nes, and a mangez-vous chez Frere Vil. Mil made dinner, and it was a bit of a fiasco, but it still tasted good so whatever.
Sunday was awesome! I got to give a talk, which I actually love doing now. En plus, I got to reuse a talk which always feels good. It went very well. I added a story from my first transfer that the members loved. We had choir practice and Ward council after church, and got home at 14:50. Church starts at 9:30. Haha it was a long day!
Lessons I learned:
This week I ponderized John 15:27, which reads: "And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning." Bearing witness, something we promise to do when we are baptized! Always a good things to do. Dare to be a Mormon, dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm, dare to make it known! He has always been with us and always will be with us as we testify of His eternal truths.
John 3:16, Mosiah 2:17, 2 Néphi 19:6, Acts 10:38. These scriptures describe what gifts we have been given by God, and what His Gift has done for us. We can show our appreciation for these divine gifts by doing good, by following in the footsteps of the Savior. As we serve our fellowmen, we are serving God. His teachings are meant to help us reach exaltation, because they turn us into someone who loves everyone unconditionally. They turn us into disciples of Christ, even celestial citizens. May we let the Savior wash us, may we not resist as Peter once did, but let us declare, just as the same son of Simon did: Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!
(free) Advice I have:
"Don't Drop the Ball" by President Hinckley, October 1994 General Conference. A great talk about living up to "Our Great Potential," as President Kimball has taught (April 1977 Gen Conf).
"There will always be a shortage of police if there is a shortage of effective parents!" ~ Neal A. Maxwell. Hahaha this is a classic Elder Maxwell universal truth! How important is good parenting! Just like in the mission field. Good trainers usually produce good missionaries. Our training forms us, and excellent parents usually form excellent future parents.
Well there ya go. It was awesome. I love you all! Joyeux Noël and Bonnes Fêtes! Bisous.
Love, Elder MacArthur
|Sleeping on the bus from Bordeaux to Lyon|
|Ben and all his mission companions to date|
|Transfer 109 Crew|
|Christmas Eve dinner with the Cal family|
|Christmas dinner with the All family|