Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1-25-16 :)

Hello everyone! My week was awesome! Here's how it went down:

Events I experienced:
Monday! Nothing special.

Tuesday! We helped Frère Hub cut down some trees to heat his house. I felt like I was in 70s Oregon. Nowadays there isn't much logging but there was in the 1970s. Apart from that, nothing special. Everything else fell through.

Wednesday! Awesome day. We saw Élo, talked about the POS and encouraged her to share the gospel with her family. Then we saw Rox with Frère Vil; we had planned in going back with Nes but he fell through. Frère Vil is so clutch. I have been blessed with some pretty clutch DMPs. That rendezvous went way too long, Rox talks a lot and we didn't do a very good job at shaping the lesson. But we did commit her to read the Book of Mormon every day! After that, we had dinner and participated in a world-wide missionary training given by the Missionary Executive Council. We heard from Elders Anderson, Oaks, and Bednar, among others. I especially enjoyed the discussion given by Elder Bednar about letting the Spirit teach and becoming tools the Lord can use to teach our investigators by His spirit.

Thursday was awesome! We had district meeting in Poitiers. Poitiers is a really cool town, it's pretty big by French standards. At DM, we talked about how to find, teach, and baptize families! The whole thing was in French, because Elder Rellaford accidentally invited (not really but they thought it was an invitation) two young adults to the meeting. After that, me and Elder Rellaford went to Bordeaux to start our exchange, started at 4 pm Thursday and ends at 4 pm Saturday! It's a long exchange, but I have no complaints because Elder Rellaford is amazing.

Friday was super great! We got our apartment inspected by Frère Bois. Member apartment checks are the best, they take about 20 minutes. Senior couples take 20 hours. After that, we helped Frère Kar carry a dryer up to his apartment, then he fed us! Then we went to teach Chr with Frère Bois. Chr is a really cool Kenyan student who is going to be baptized soon. After that, Elder Rellaford and I went to the pharmacy to fix a RDV with a doctor. Then we taught Ami with Frère Kar! Ami is a super cool woman who has her baptismal interview tomorrow! She was found by Elders Sanders and Garside a few months ago. It was very fun to teach her; we went to the baptismal interview and answered some questions. She takes impeccable notes and pays very close attention to everything you say. After that, we went to the Lormont sector on the other side of Bordeaux for Elder Rellaford's appointment. Turns out, he has bronchitis! I hope I don't get super sick too. I'm starting to cough a lot. Whatever. It's super pretty on the other side of the river, the pont Pierre is all lit up and you can see the super beautiful parts of BDX really well!

Saturday, we got back and had a good weekly planning session. We also had a very helpful companionship inventory. We understand each other a lot better now!

Sunday was fun, we had church, then Ward council, then we took the sacrament to Frère Cal, then we passed some less-active members.

Lessons I learned:
"For he saith: By the strength of my hand and by my wisdom I have done these things; for I am prudent; and I have moved the borders of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man...Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself as if it were no wood!" -2 Néphi 20: 13,15  Truly, we are nothing by ourselves. We can do nothing, save what we "see the Father do." We should not "boast of [oursleves]," but "boast of [our] God."

(free) Advice I have:
"More Diligent and Concerned at Home" by Elder Bednar, October 2009 Gen Conf. This is an excellent talk about how to strengthen our family life- as a family, recently married couple, single people, missionary, you name it. I know that as we consistently live what we know and show our love for the ones we live with, we will be much happier and more productive Saints.

"A Crown of Thorns, a Crown of Glory" by President Faust. Here's one of my favorite parts from the talk: "The denial of our own sins, of our own selfishness, of our own weakness is like a crown of thorns which keeps us from moving up one more step in personal growth. Perhaps worse than sin is the denial of sin. If we deny that we are sinners, how can we ever be forgiven? How can the atonement of Jesus work in our lives if there is no repentance? If we do not promptly remove the slivers of sin and the thorns of carnal temptation, how can the Lord ever heal our souls?" Very similar to the talk "Hidden Wedges" given by President Monson. The Savior wants to heal us, indeed, it is His work and His glory! But we need to stretch out to present our injuries to his out-stretched hand if we are to be healed!

Thanks! I love you all! Have a good week!
Elder MacArthur

District meeting in Poitiers

Getting goofy (which seems to be a requirement for all group shots)

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Hello hello everybody! This week was great!

Events I experienced:
On Monday, I wrote some letters, one to J, an old investigator, and to the Carcassonne Ward, letting them know how I am. They told me to write, so darn it, I'll write! That's about all there is that's worth to share.

On Tuesday, we helped Nes and Mil with their family history. We're trying to get them to go on the temple trip in February, and we are trying to help them to find an ancestor to bring to the temple! We also helped Frère Drem give a blessing to Elo. Whilst porting, we found a cool guy named Rach who really wants to stop smoking! We'll try to help him with that. And then we saw Sister F with Frère Four. She's a less-active who is SUPER quirky! She's awesome, she's a lot like me actually. I really hope to be able to connect with her and help get her back to church.

On Wednesday, we saw Elo and Nes! We are reteaching the lessons after baptism. We taught them the retab, and that went really well. Nes opened up and talked about his conversion, how he heard Frère All give a talk on forgiveness the first time he came to church. He was really touched, and that got him motivated to reconcile with his Heavenly Father. Then we had Ward council, and that was ok.

Thursday was awesome! I did an exchange with Elder Underwood in Perigueux! Perigueux is a beautiful French town. We went to an outer town called Vergt, did some tracting and passing. We found a Portuguese man for Elder Berry to teach, since he speaks Portuguese. We also contacted two people who asked a lot of good questions but lacked the faith/desire/both to obtain them! It was pretty sad to see, but that happens often. We came back, passed a member named Mar, and then our evening rendezvous with Ced fell through. But it was a super super fun day! Elder Underwood is super fun and has a really great spirit about him.

Friday was super fun! We got up and took a 7:32 train to Bordeaux for a zone training at 10. We talked about how we are going to achieve our goal of 250 baptisms for 2016. President Brown is pushing for families. He created an acronym for preparing to find and teach and baptize families:

Purity-being pure and capable to receive revelation for our sector
Amour-loving everyone and getting them to feel it, "for perfect love casteth out all fear"
Persevere-never quit and rely on the Lord to help us find who we need to teach about the Apostasy

Many French people hate religion. Why? They don't know about the apostasy foretold by Paul and the prophets of old. Their church is all they've known. So, we're going to ask people about religion. They'll tell us what they don't like. Then, we will offer them "a more excellent way," as the book of Ether says. We're pretty excited about it! I really think it'll help lead us to more baptisms and better missionary work.

Saturday, I was sick. We cancelled with Fernando and Roxaine and everybody else. Moving on.

Sunday! Still sick a little. Went to church, did weekly planning. Yup. Being sick stinks.

Lessons I learned:
Perfect love casts out all fear- fear of rejection, failure, others, ourselves, anything! When we fear, we lack faith, in Him and in ourselves. And we don't love people as much as we should. When I find fear in me, I rebuke myself by reminding myself that I don't have the right to do a so-so job, to pass them up, to "get it next time." If we have a perfect love for others, we will be concerned for their salvation, and we won't care about anything else, any of our other fears!

(free) Advice I have:
"See Others as They May Become" by President Monson, October 2012 Gen Conf. I often expect investigators, members, missionaries, EVERYONE to be perfect, to not make mistakes, to understand immediately, etc. Then I disappoint myself when a I realize that my expectations were unrealistic, and I look at their faults as the reason. President Monson has taught that we need to see people's potential, not their shortcomings! That is the only way to be accepting of others.

"An Attitude of Gratitude" by President Monson, April 1992 general conference. Check out this part:
"Accentuate the positive; Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative; Don’t mess with Mr. In-between. Good advice then. Good advice now. This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help. We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."

What more can I say? A wonderful talk about one of the biggest lessons I have learned on my mission.

I love you all! Thanks for all you do! Have a great week!
Love, Elder MacArthur

Ben & Elder Underwood on an exchange

Bordeaux zone

Monday, January 11, 2016


Bonjour bonjour. Bonjour everyone!! This week was special. I got to see two children of God make sacred covenants! It was inspiring. But first! The week...

Events I experienced:
Monday was busy and not much of a repose haha. We'll move on.

Tuesday was great! We saw both Nes and Élo. As we were on the bus, a mid-30s, weird, strange woman kissed Elder Brill. It went something like this:
Lady: "Hey, come here!
E. Brill: "ummmm.....ok...."
Lady (leans in): "closer!"
E. Brill: (leans in, confused)
Lady then springs out and kisses him close to the mouth and says "now you kiss me!"
E. Brill then died. He is dead.

Wednesday was good! At the church, Elo tried on a baptismal gown and it fit well so that simplifies things. We saw Rox with the Fulcrands again, it was a good RDV. We're coming back on Saturday to teach the retab with Frere Allal. He used to be Muslim, so that'll be perfect since she is Muslim!

Thursday was good. We had our first ever Skype lesson with Joe, it worked pretty well! He's the friend of a member, Frère Fulcrand. Guess what? We engaged him to be baptized on April 9th! It's a ways away, but he needs to stop smoking and he preferred the spring. So exciting!

All you members out there! Us with tags NEED YOU. Members always do the best finding. They ensure high retention rates. Missionaries are TERRIBLE at finding people who are ready for the gospel, compared to you members. En plus, on the way back we found a vending machine. But it was not just any vending machine. It was a baguette vending machine! I swiped my card, paid a euro, and out popped a hot baguette. It was delicious and hilarious and ridiculously French all at the same time.

On Friday, we saw both Élo and Nes! It went very well. Élo was a little stressed about the baptism and we had to calm her down a little, but she really wants to be baptized tomorrow and she bore strong testimony of how she knows the church to be true! Nes is doing well, it'll be such a great day tomorrow!

Saturday!! They were both baptized! Incredible day. The service was beautiful, we held the baptism in the city of Limoges. It was awesome!

Frère Villain, who baptized Nes, said the following:
Me: Frère Villain, how many people have you baptized?
Frère Villain: I stopped counting after 100.

Haha he's so cool! I love that man so much. We came back from he baptism and had a lesson with Rox, and that went pretty well. She's incredibly similar to a lady named J that I taught a lot in Carcassonne. So I came to Brive prepared for her haha. We got a little deeper, figuring out why she wants to wait before getting baptized, talking about her problems holding her back, etc. then we had dinner with François Villain and his wife. They're both students and really cool people.

Sunday! Elo and Nes were confirmed by Frère Dremeaux. Church was great! Pretty normal as far as Sundays go, no Ward council though. And we had weekly planning today because we had no time on Friday or Saturday. AN INCREDIBLE WEEK! :)

Lessons I learned:
My ponderize scripture for this week is Acts 5:41,42. It says: "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Are we happy to suffer shame for His name? Do we teach and preach and WORK as missionaries do? For we are all missionaries.

"Every missionary strives to be the missionary his mother thinks he is, the missionary his father hopes he is--even the missionary the Lord knows he can become." -President Monson. Haha so true. My mom thinks I'm a good missionary. HA! I'm nothing of the sort. Do I try? Heck yes. I love that quote. I love President Monson! What a man.

"We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available--all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect.” -President Uchtdorf. This is a wonderful quote from President Uchtdorf. He is easily one of my favorite speakers ever. Him, President Hinckley, Monson, Elder Holland, Elder Legrand Richards. The dream team. Happiness is always available to those who look for it! You just need to look in the right places! It's outside ourselves. Always.

This week, I learned the value of a soul. The value is its potential to become EXACTLY like our Heavenly Father. How valuable is that! As God is, man may become. Nes and Élo became something greater this week. They were already so much, but they became something better- even something infinitely better! I'm so grateful for the blessings that the Lord has poured upon me and Elder Brill in Brive. He has opened the windows of heaven and I feel so blessed. And the wonderful thing is, I know this "was not done in a corner." This was a collective effort of the whole mission! My trainer's trainer, Elder Nye, found Nes. Other elders found Élo. They were all taught by many missionaries. They were prayed for by our entire mission. All the heavenly hosts were rooting for them! The collective greatness of our mission, our obedience, our trust in the Lord brought to pass this wonder of wonder, miracles of miracles. If a spiritual renaissance is not a miracle, I do not know what is. Thanks to all who participated in this miraculous thing!

(free) Advice I have:
"Meeting Life's Challenges" by President Monson, October 1993 Gen Conf. An incredible talk about how we can all press forward "with steadfast faith in Christ," as the hymn says. I love President Monson's stories. If my life was one tenth as eventful as his is, I would explode.

"Of Regrets and Resolutions" by President Uchtdorf, October 2012 Gen Conf. My invitation for you all is to read this talk by President Uchtdorf and then take him up on his three engagements. We can all, as he says, avoid mistakes tomorrow by "following the Savior today."

I love you all!! The Church is true. Keep the faith! Fight the good fight. Jésus, que ferait-il? Que ferai-je? Then do it!! Awesome!

Love, Elder MacArthur

Elders Quinn & Allen, Elo, Nes, Ben and Elder Brill

Frere Villain, Nes, Ben and Elder Brill at Nes' baptism

Ben, Elo and Elder Brill at Elo's baptism

Frere Villain, Nes, Elo, Ben and Elder Brill

Elder Brill at the baguette machine

Elders Quin & Allen, Ben, Elder Brill

Mmmmm those were good

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Bonjour bonjour, hello hello! A new year! 2015 was the best year of my life, hands down! No comparison. 2016 will be even better! It'll blow 2015 away. It'll be like Shaq in his prime, posting up against...the neighborhood crossing-guard lady. Well here was the last of 2015!

Events I experienced:
Monday was pretty good, nothing much  to report.

Tuesday was a hassle. Our vacuum broke so we had to go get a new one. On the bus, I met a cool non-practicing Muslim man named Fern, and I gave him a Book of Mormon! He's pretty cool, we're going to call him in a few weeks after the vacation season. He's really nice and wants to learn more! Back home, an outlet broke so we fixed that. We saw Nes, we talked about the priesthood and that went alright. He thought it was an unusually grandiose thing to have the priesthood, so we had to explain that it just means you get to do certain services for others (it's the "perfect plan of service," said Stephen L. Richards). Then we got new bus passes for January. And we had to buy food for a last-minute district meeting meal prep delegation. Haha all in all, a solid day.

Awwww nuts. Here's where I stopped writing...so...really quickly...

Wednesday: district meeting!! Super fun. Our district is the best.

Thursday: went to the Cal's for New Year's Eve dinner! We're in bed by 10:30 like looters haha. Oh well.

Obedience Friday! Transfer calls! I'm staying here, with Elder Brill! Should be fun. Brive is awesome! Then we went to Tulle for legality. It was closed. Bodied. Then we visited less-actives and an old ami with the Fuls! They made us dinner too. Then English class, where our DMP tried to say "awesome" but ended up calling Elder Brill a vulgar name for your rear end. Ouch haha.

Saturday: Baptismal interviews for Nes and Elo! They both passed. The zone leaders from Bordeaux had to do 5 hours round trip on train. And they missed their train because Elo was late, so they got here @ 11 and left at....6. Another ouch. But that's how the baguette breaks in France haha.

Sunday: Church! 2 cakes from members (one was a quiche) both delicious.

Lessons I learned: I swear I did! But alas...didn't write anything.

(free) Advice I have: "For Time and All Eternity" by President Packer, October 1993 general conference. An excellent talk about the family and marriage!! This one was inspired by my sister who got married on Tuesday. Bonne chance avec tout ça.

I love all of you! Thanks for reading! Pray for Nes and Elo, please! They need all the help they can get to be protected for the adversary, this the week before their baptism. The church is true! Don't ever doubt that for a minute! Live the gospel and you WILL be happy! As President Taylor said, "That is sure and positive." Have a good week, a good month! Heck, why not a good year?

Love, Elder MacArthur

Bottom row, 2nd from left is my trainer. Like father, like son.

At the Ecully chapel! All together for Christmas!