Monday, February 29, 2016


Happy leap day! How does one celebrate leap day? I don't know. Ok moving on

Events I experienced:
Monday was a super p-day. I got 6 Devred ties for 30 euros. Excellence. We taught J-L at Frère Vil's FHE! It went very well. We talked about obedience, scriptures and prayer. We taught him how to receive personal revelation. A good day!

Tuesday was cool, we got to see J-L again. We taught him the 10 commandments. Pretty simple, we focused on repentance and helping see that he can be forgiven of his past sins. I found out from Nes that his sister passed away last week, that's why he's been depressed. Please pray for Nes, that he'll be able to keep hope during his trials. After planning and some porting, we saw the Cojs! We had dinner, and Frère Vil did his home teaching visit. Then we took a little time to talk about baptism with Sister Coj (non-member wife of Frère Coj) and about how goals help us succeed. So, we set a date for September 24th, when she can be baptized with her daughter in the new Brive chapel! Frère Coj was super excited, sister Coj too. Okay they were all excited haha! Super cool victory there.

Wednesday was good! We got 4 new potentials today, an incredible miracle! One of the potentials said he wanted to meet with us to talk about the bible. I'm excited! He didn't sound like a basher, we'll see. We passed an old ami who owns a jewelry store, and we had a great discussion in his shop. He says he's too busy but it was neat to hear that he still thinks about us and remembers the members too. We passed another old ami from years ago and he promised to read the Book of Mormon and pray seriously with real intent! I'm not sure he really wants to change, but we'll see. Maybe the book will help him change his mind. We saw Elo as well, we taught her tithing and fast offerings. No problems there. She left our rendezvous to go be home taught, she's been integrated very well, it's such a blessing!

Thursday was good, we got to see 3 member families! We engaged the Dre family to make a family mission plan. We visited with Soeur Fa to see how she was doing with her goal to quit smoking. We taught S Den about the 10 commandments. It was a great day. And we made apple crumble for all of them. They loved it! Frère Hub also came and helped us transport old bikes to the dump. I'm not sure if I want to own a trailer when I'm older, I feel like I'd become everyone's servant/friend-only-when-they-need-help-moving-something.

Friday was INCREDIBLE! We had zone training in Bordeaux. We came up with a zone game plan to get ready for Elder Christofferson to come to our mission. (I just found out we'll be flying there, from BDX to Lyon, with 2 zones in one apartment the night before-30 elders hahaha). We are working on preparation, unity, and faith-faith to find. We have a challenge to engage 187 amis to baptism before the conference in 18 days. We have 30 days to do it, 18 days left. If we have faith we can do it, for Christ will strengthen us (Philippians 4:13). It was one of the best conferences I've ever had. Coming back to Brive, I went on exchange with Elder Rellaford, and it was a blast!

Saturday, our exchange. We had a ward missionary activity, we contacted and ported around Tulle. We found a new ami, his name is Fr, he now has a Book of Mormon and we're seeing him in a month. I hope that rendezvous sticks. We came back, switched companions, and went to help out Frère Vil clean his warehouse. It was very fun! We went back for the rest of studies, dinner, and weekly planning. During the 17 days left before Elder Christofferson, the district leaders are calling everyone in their districts every day to see how they're doing with the challenge. I'm glad Pangouliviers is so solid, we all have the faith to make it happen!

Sunday was great! We got to teach J-L the word of wisdom, it went well! He said he'll stop drinking wine and coffee. And an old amie, San, came to church! She is going through a lot right now, but she said God told her to go back to church! We're seeing her on Thursday, we hope to get her back on track for baptism!

Lessons I learned:
Ether 12:9 says "Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith." This is why faith is so important!

PMG page 159 says "Avoid the tendency to say things such as, 'Do you have a few minutes that we could teach you a message about …' Rather, develop the habit of immediately beginning to teach and testify as you meet people. You will find more people to teach as you testify and allow them to feel the power of the Holy Ghost." Having the faith to teach on the spot has helped me a lot his week. A man once said: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, God’s work in your life is bigger than the story you’d like that life to tell. His life is bigger than your plans, goals, or fears. To save your life, you’ll have to lay down your stories and, minute by minute, day by day, give your life back to him.”

The Lyon stake president was invited to an event at Salt Lake City because the Lyon stake has the highest retention rate for convert baptisms in all of Europe! What did the president give as a reason? "Their ancestors helped them before baptism, and now they are going to the temple to help their ancestors in return." Now the church missionary committee is instructing for missionaries across the world to talk about temples, something we have already been doing since President Brown got here. This is not to brag or self-congratulate. I'm just grateful the Lord blessed President Brown to know how to be one step ahead of the game, ahead of Satan! This is proof to me that our mission president is inspired.

(free) Advice I have:
"Why Marriage, Why Family" by Elder Christofferson, April 2015 Gen conf. This talk is awesome! Very applicable for our day. In preparation for our conference with Elder Christofferson, we are reading one of his talks each week.

"He Loved Them unto the End," by Elder Holland, October 1989 Gen Conf. An excellent talk about how Jesus the Christ loves us-always. A quote about he Atonement: " The Light of the World stepped away from human company and entered the garden grove to wrestle with the prince of darkness alone. Moving forward, kneeling, falling forward on his face, he cried with an anguish you and I will never know, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” (Matt. 26:39.) But he knew, for our sakes, that it could not pass and that he must drink that bitter cup to the dregs!..His disciples, understandably, were weary and soon fell asleep. What of Christ’s sleep? What of his fatigue? What rest or slumber will sustain him through such an agonizing ordeal? That is simply not his concern here, nor does it ever seem to be. He will endure. He will triumph. He will not falter nor fail us."
What more can I say? That quote says it all.

Thanks everyone! I love you all! Have faith and don't ever give up, we aren't latter-day quitters, after all.
Love, Elder MacArthur

Former Carcassonne Elders - Unidentified, Ben, Elder Richmond and Elder Stutz

Bordeaux Zone

Upper Brive-La-Gaillard

Monday, February 22, 2016


Hello hello everyone! I had a great week! A great start to this transfer!! Here's the poop. And yes I am using that word correctly.

Events I experienced:
Monday, I hung out with the Bordeaux zone leaders after we dropped off Elder Brill. We went to HFC (Haddurh Fried Chicken) and stuffed ourselves for 6 euros. Then we went to do emails, and left to see Avenue St. Katrine, the longest continuous street of shopping in Europe! We were gonna get some sweet ties but then the office called me and told me that my comp had missed his train in Neuchatel, so I left Bordeaux 30 minutes later, instead of Tuesday morning. I took a 4 hour train to Montpellier alone. It was kind of weird haha, I just read the missionary handbook and read the Book of Mormon, couldn't use my iPad. I got into the gare at 7 o'clock, picked up by Elder Storti and Elder Whiting, one of the Mont zone leaders! He's a good friend. I also saw Elder Spencer again, my old zone leader! He's from Oregon so that makes him super cool I think. Actually, I know many idiots from Oregon. Whatever, he's awesome. I got to do dishes in the Mont apartment!! It was so fun for some reason, reminded me of the old days. Simple service is my favorite. I'm hoping my parents don't read this paragraph and make me do all the dishes when I get home haha. After, we had dinner and went to bed.

Tuesday was low-key. A 10 AM to 2:30 PM train from Mont to Bordeaux. Met the zone leaders in the gare, got my sack (with my razor-I had a mini-beard at this point), on s'est kebabé. Verb we made up: se kebaber. If you know French/kebabs/both you're laughing right now. Then we took a 4 to
7 PM train to Brive. Yuck. But we found this really awesome potential amie named El!! She's about our age, might like us haha but hey! She has a BoM and our number, we have hers, and we'll probably see her again. She asked a lot of existential/philosophical questions, but some good ones too. All the time I was thinking like Darth Vader, "search your feelings! You know it to be true!" It was a miracle that we met her, our train plans got cancelled TWICE before then. Super awesome!! The Lord always puts miracles in our path, it's just up to us to discover them.

Wednesday was good. We saw Élo and SD, two recent converts. They both went well! Elder Storti is a great teacher, I like teaching with him. We did a lot of contacting, invited people to our ward activity on Saturday. We finished up p-day, getting groceries and cleaning. Pretty low-key day but a good one! We got to talk to 14 people so that was a win.

Thursday was good, we had dinner with mama Brig. We also got to see Ro (with Nes), an amie we were teaching a little while back. She has been sick so we have not seen her lately. We addressed some of her concerns, and we talked about baptism. She knows everything, she just needs to act. I hope she gets over her problems, she's incredible!

Friday was pretty sweet. We got to do service with the Hubs, engaged them to do a family mission plan, ate delicious food there too. I ate green beans and liked them! WHAT. They had a lot of vinaigrette to be fair, but still. On the way back from the mountains, my window was the only foggy one. Some things never change. Then we ported a street Frère Hub suggested. Nothing so far but we'll see. Then nobody came to English class (no surprise there) so I ordered about 35 train tickets for my 6 exchanges with the district, plus district meetings. I had to pick the cities for district meetings and exchanges, complicated. It took more than an hour to plan it all out and fill out the form. Having a car would be nice haha. Then we came home and Elder Storti made me an apple crumble for my birthday! It was great. And I opened my presents from parents! They gave me socks, a sweet tie, and a photo album with pictures of my family! That made me really happy.

Saturday was super solid. We took a bus to Objat, where J-L picked us up and took us to his house in Voutezac. We had a delicious lunch, and a great lesson! He even gave us flowers. I've never received flowers from anyone, I think. From another man, too. It's kind of weird but hey whatever it takes! We made good progress together today. He feels like he can't be forgiven for his sins, he feels like he's not worthy to be baptized. He totally is, but he still doesn't see it. I think with time he'll start to feel capable of being forgiven. We have about 10 lessons left with him before baptism, and we're getting pretty dang excited! His baptism will probably be on March 12 or 19. Please pray for him that he'll develop the faith to believe in forgiveness. After that, he dropped us off chez nous and we went to the church for our "Meet the Mormons" activity! Out of the hundred-ish people we invited, nobody came. But it was still fun, we got to check up on members and fix some things. We also got to teach Nes about tithing right before, it went really well. He's super solid.

Sunday was great! We had church, then the ward meal, and then we drove 5 hours round trip to visit Frère Chal, who lives in a beautiful town called Peyrelevade. We brought him the sacrament and read scriptures with him. He's alone in a care facility so he loved seeing us. That was about it for the day!

Lessons I learned:
Mosiah 8:18 is one of my new favorite scriptures. We learn that "...God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings." How wonderful is that! If we think about it, we're all just here together, trying to help each other back home to Heaven.

Many people have different ideas of what a "successful" mission is. Preach My Gospel gives a definition on pages 10 and 11 (in French, at least). It says: "Feel the Spirit testify to people through you. Love people and desire their salvation. Obey with exactness. Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say. Develop Christlike attributes. Work effectively every day, do your very best to bring souls to Christ, and seek earnestly to learn and improve. Help build up the Church (the ward) wherever you are assigned to work. Warn people of the consequences of sin. Invite them to make and keep commitments. Teach and serve other missionaries. Go about doing good and serving people at every opportunity, whether or not they accept your message. When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself." Exactly. It also says that "Your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost." These are the true indicators of success. These are things we control.  This is possible for every missionary, regardless of where they are. It all comes down to our desires and our actions on said desires.

(free) Advice I have:
"Endure it Well" by Elder Maxwell, April 1990 GenConf. Elder Maxwell talks about enduring to the end, and I love his logic here. He instructs: "In any case, brothers and sisters, how could there be refining fires without enduring some heat? Or greater patience without enduring some instructive waiting? Or more empathy without bearing one another’s burdens--not only that others’ burdens may be lightened, but that we may be enlightened through greater empathy? How can there be later magnification without enduring some present deprivation?" He continues: "The enlarging of the soul requires not only some remodeling, but some excavating. Hypocrisy, guile, and other embedded traits do not go gladly or easily, but if we “endure it well” (D&C 121:8), we will not grow testy while being tested." Patience is something I'm improving at. This week has been a heavy one, and I've really felt the Lord's help in becoming more patient. The heat we feel now will certainly help us endure future fires with more faith in our hearts and bigger smiles on our faces.

Thanks so much for your support! I love the mission, and I hope you all know that.
Love, Elder MacArthur

Elder Storti and Ben
Brive area including where Ben and Elder Storti traveled this week

Ben and Elder Storti in their beautiful apartment

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Bonjour everyone! I'll get right to it, I wrote a lot so either quit now or get reading :)

Events I experienced:
Monday was great! No p-day, we had too many rendezvous haha. One in particular: we saw our new amie Tr again! We found (ok elder Brill found her 2 transfers ago) her by bus contacting which is super cool. She talked about how she got scared to come to church, and I totally realized how President Brown warned us to expect opposition. As our mission makes a push to find, teach and baptize families (Tr with her kids) Satan will up the opposition against us, because he knows what's at stake. What happened right after the first rendezvous? BAM. OPPOSITION. But luckily we were prepared and we saw her a second time. We explained the retab a little more and engaged her to read the BoM. Then we emailed and had FHE at Frère Vil's house.

Tuesday was amazing as well! We had a double lesson with Mil and Élo, we taught them (mostly Elo) some commandments from lesson 4. As we said the closing prayer, a guy from the mediatheque told us that it's illegal to pray in public in France. So we just said a Roney prayer haha, nothing he can do about it! We felt like the people in the Book of Mormon who prayed in their hearts because they were told they couldn't pray out loud. (Roney prayer: our old mission president found out a way to avoid the stupid no-praying rule: just pray with your eyes open, and it looks like you're just talking. Simple yet effective.) We checked with our district leader and we can't teach there anymore, because it's on public property, so that stinks. It was a really convenient, open area but I guess we need to follow the law.

After that, we met with Soeur Con and her daughter Tan. They treated us to a Chinese buffet. Awesome. Soeur Con is an interesting less-active member who does not like Brive. She tells lots of humorous stories and is very cynical and pretty funny. She thinks she's funnier than she really is but whatever. I get free Chinese food and we got to give her two Books of Mormon and invite her to church and teach her daughter a little and invite her to a ward activity. So that's a win. The only weird thing was, it kinda felt like a group date because there were two males, two females, Tan is 18, we walked together from the restaurant to the gare, etc. But none of them were flirty thank goodness.

Then after that, we went to Tulle! One of our lessons fell through but the other didn't. It was with R, a Unitarian preacher. We found him in the area book. Guess what he likes to do? Study religions. Guess what he has? A Book of Mormon. Guess how many? Two. Guess why? He got one from us, and another from...guess where? The RLDS church!!!! I was dumbfounded. I looked through it and there are a few subtle differences. I could not believe he got a copy-cat copy of the Book of Mormon. Incredible. Anyways, nice guy, but in the end, unwilling to read the BoM and pray about it. He loves the book, loves the scriptures in it, agrees that it might be true, that it is fascinating, called it an "American Classic of literature" so he's a fan. Just not searching for the truth I guess. He even asked if one could "hypothetically" (how all great questions commence) believe the BoM to be true but not join the Church. I almost laughed a little, but I explained the flow chart: BoM is true---->Joseph Smith is a true prophet---->Thomas S. Monson is also a true prophet---->Our church is the only true and living church on Earth. But alas, to no avail. Maybe the seeds we planted will come to fruition eventually.

Wednesday was great too! We helped Frère Hub get wood from the mountains to heat his house. We walked along this stone pathway/trail that was blazed by the Romans! It was pretty cool. Soeur Hub made us tartiflette, always delicious. Then we taught Mil with Frère Hub. We helped explain the temple a little more and she finally agreed to prepare to do baptisms for the dead! After that, we had a lesson with our engagé J-L. He's so awesome I love him. We taught the plan of salvation, it went pretty well. He's still got a lot of doctrinal flotsam and jetsam in his noggin but he's getting there. His desire is impeccable so it's not a problem. We explained the Godhead again, the three degrees of glory, the spirit world (that was hard) and other stuff. He's reading in the Book of Mormon so that's key.

Thursday was awesome!! Seriously one of the best days ever. We got to Limoges pretty late for district meeting, our train was 2,5 hours late. As my former comp Elder Hansen said, TER (the train acronym) means turd "en retard" (meaning late). So we got there, had lunch, and district meeting. Then we had a big finding day in Limoges, I went on a mini exchange w/ Elder Tew. We found a cool couple who had a wayward daughter, and we were invited inside and had a great plan of salvation lesson with them and gave them a Book of Mormon. We got their contact info so hopefully the Limoges Elders can suivi them soon! Elder Brill made us pizza and an apple pie to celebrate Elder Rellaford's birthday. We all slept over which was super fun.

Friday morning: TRANSFER CALLS! The Elder I replaced in Carcassonne, Elder Richmond, is our new zone leader along with Elder Rellaford!! I love Elder Richmond so much, I'm stoked. Some other cool things going on too. Elder Huntsman (John Huntsman's nephew) is the new assistant with Elder Haws (Tyler Haws' little brother) so that surprised nobody. Elder Brill is leaving for Besancon, replacing Elder Richmond. I will receive Elder Storti, a European going into his 4th transfer I think. I'll also be the Pangouliviers district leader which came out of nowhere. I'm a little freaked out and magnificently under-qualified but it'll be fine. Additional awesome news we got: Elder Christofferson is coming to Lyon on the Ides of March, actually. So we'll have another mission-wide conference to see him! That'll be awesome. And now, Switzerland is open to Americans! So I could end up serving in Switzerland eventually. That's pretty cool. Swiss zones (Geneva and Lausanne, maybe they'll re-open Yverdonne) are much cleaner and people are friendlier, not as much crime, etc. We got home and packed, did planning, saw Frère Vil and said goodbye. Elder Brill is still sick so we are still taking it a little easy, c'est à dire, I called a million people as he slept.

Saturday was pretty fun. We saw Nes and afterwards, we saw Tr. We helped Tr put together some shelves, invited her to church again. We also went and got some caulk for our bathtub that might have water damage now. But we fixed the problem so it's Hakunamatata. Then Elder Brill packed, I did a plan for the next week with Elder Storti, called many people, re-fixed rendezvous, got us a ride to church. We still had p-day time from Monday when we got no p-day so I wrote a few letters and we finished caulking the bathtub and we washed dishes.

Sunday, we went to church, then saw Tr, then went on a train and got into Bordeaux. We chilled with the zone leaders in their apartment, that's about it.

Lessons I learned:
Recently I've been thinking about opposition, how necessary and aggravating it is, all at the same time. But isn't that what we came down here for? Si! This life is full of opposition, but God gives us everything we need to be happy. Patience too. What happened when I started earnestly learning patience? Opposition. Mosiah 2 is great for people who wish to humble themselves and become more patient. I love how candidly king Benjamin lays it out for his people: we are all unprofitable servants, we are nothing. But as we accept that, and join forces with God, through our weakness as Paul puts it, "then [are we] strong." Moisah 4:11,12 contains one of the best promises found in the scriptures. King Benjamin promises the people that if they "retain in remembrance" their Heavenly Father, and stay humble, they will "always rejoice," and be "filled with the love of God." He also promises them remission of sins and increasing knowledge of Him who created us. How important it is, then, for us to be humble. If Christ never complained and always submitted to his father, being perfect, how much more do we need to humble ourselves and follow His every commandment!

(free) Advice I have:
"Mormon Should Mean 'More Good,'" by President Hinckley, October 1990 Gen Conf. President Hinckley's theme is that our nickname of "Mormon" should mean, for us and for others, "more good." Being Latter-day Saints, we should always strive to do more good, to be a little better, to be an example of the Savior in all we do.

"Days Never to be Forgotten," by President Monson, October 1990 Gen Conf. Basically, a bunch of really cool stories from the life of President Monson. I love his stories! If we have the faith to find opportunities for missionary work, faith to keep covenants, faith to follow God's commandments, we will be helped along the way. Our lives will cease to be our own, and this we will find our true self. It will be easier, because there will be so much more of us to find!

I love you all! Thanks for your love.
Love, Elder MacArthur

Elder Tew and me on mini-exchange :)

Pangouliviers District meeting!


Monday, February 8, 2016


Bonjour bonjour! This week was a great one for me. This letter's long so bear with me...

Events I experienced:
Monday was good, I got to write some letters to people and we found a great couple whilst contacting on the way to RCM! They said they would come to church.

Tuesday was pretty awesome, we were able to talk to 11 people and place a bunch of cards. We also taught Élo the gospel of Jesus Christ with Frère Vil. After that, We placed a Book of Mormon to this guy - he was very nice, very eccentric. Very secretive. I think the name he gave us was fake haha. We contacted this other guy who referred us to his group of friends sitting in a bench. These guys are pretty well-known in Brive, everyone was waving at them as they passed by us. We asked them some questions but one guy said "sorry, we only talk about sports and girls." They laughed about that a little, I told them that that's all I talked about before my mission (add music) haha. Then one of their friends came up, and the guy said "watch this." So we have his old guy (C), his friend J-Ch, and their recently-arrived friend, J-C.
C: Hey J-C! What will we talk about today?
J-C: Ahh! Sports!
C: And what else?
J-C: ....
C: What's the other thing we always talk about?
J-C: AHH! Girls!!
C, J-Ch, and J-C: honhonhon!
It was pretty funny. C used to be a chef in Paris. They were all super French. Funny old French guys on benches. They're awesome. And now they all have temple pass-along cards!

On Wednesday, I went on an exchange with a good friend, Elder Price. He's one of my favorites out here for sure. We taught their recent convert, A. She's really sweet and she's super excited about the call she was offered on Sunday! She couldn't tell us what it is but she accepted without hesitation. She's awesome. The rest of the day was contacting and passing less-actives, none of whom were there. That's maybe the worst part of the job, running around for nothing due to a bad address/the people you want to see aren't home.

Thursday was the second half of the exchange (it was a long one). We were able to see a less-active man named P. We talked about President Uchtdorf's message in the Liahona, about guiding our spiritual airplanes through earthly turbulence towards our heavenly goal. One of the ways we can do that is by reading the book of Mormon. We engaged P to read the Book of Mormon each day this week! He's a super nice guy, he gave me an orange which was cool. Less-actives love giving missionaries food.

On Friday, we woke up at 4:30 and caught a train to Brive. Weekly panning, and English class with...3 members, no Amis. Oh well.

Saturday was awesome! We taught our engagé, J-L. It was great; we taught the retab and it went super well. He promised to pray to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet. He's really cool! Then we taught Nes, then went over and taught a new amie, T! She's coming to church tomorrow and will likely be baptized in the coming months. She loves our church. Elder Brill found her a few weeks before I got here, and we finally got to teach her! She just moved in to a new apartment, so we helped her put together chairs and tables and stuff like that. Frère Vil helped us out with that as well.

On Sunday, Jo and Soeur Coj came to church! J-L was in Castres and not able to make it to Toulouse for church, unfortunately. But we coordinated with the Bs in Catsres (in my old Carcassonne Ward!) and he might go to their family home evening. Sick. T told us that she got up and ready for church but that she remembered an old memory of a church experience a long time ago (not our church) and it scared her into not coming. We'll see her tomorrow with Nes, hopefully we can calm her fears and reassure her. Elder Brill is sick, so we came home and I got to call a million people and fill up our schedule for this comment week. Our pday (tomorrow) will not be tomorrow, since we have rendezvous' the whole day haha.

Lessons I learned:
I have been studying patience and humility from PMG chapter six this week. It has taught me many things. Many people look at patience as enduring something brutal, gritting your teeth and getting through a hard time. Patience is much more than that! Patience is keeping calm, accepting the reality that nobody is perfect, loving others without a second thought. Patience is really self-mastery, keeping a "perfect brightness of hope" no matter what. Every moment of our lives requires patience; patience with amis, companions, church members, leaders, everyone! We say that life is good, "la vie est belle," if you want it to be. We can not all decide how our day is going to be, but we can decide our attitude during it. For that to happen, patience is of paramount importance.

Humility is another essential for a fulfilling mortal experience. Many people do not understand humility, and consequently, they never figure out how to be happy and reach their true potential. Pride is a large stumbling block, as PMG says. This week I've tried to look at myself and find the crevices where pride hides. I found a lot more than I was expecting to find, unfortunately. Kinda like finding a cockroach in your apartment. You want to get rid of it, and you know you should look for more as to fully eradicate the problem, but you are scared of what you might find. But I really tried to uncover as much of it as I could, and it truly helped me to humble myself and reinforce how weak and simple I am. As Paul said, "for when I am weak, then am I strong." I really got to appreciate this verse this week; without the Lord I am nothing, but when I realize that, and turn to Him, He strengthens me and I become an useful tool in His hands!

(free) Advice I have:
Please read this poem and internalize the message it presents! Christ truly gives us meaning, purpose, possibility; He is the Light and the Life, He has the Midas touch.

The Touch of the Master's Hand by Myra Brooks Welch

’Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar”; then, “Two!” “Only two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice; Going for three--”
But no, From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone!” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand What changed its worth.”
Swift came the reply:
“The touch of a master’s hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine,
A game--and he travels on.
He’s “going” once, and “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.

I love all of you so much! Thanks for being my friends. Family too. Although they didn't have a whole lot of choice I guess. Or maybe we did! Who knows. Jesus Christ loves all of you! Remember how much he loves us all. À plus!
Love, Elder MacArthur

A cool picture of our mission "toolbox," all the methods we use to achieve our goal of 250 baptisms this year!

Ben and Elder Price in Bordeaux

This park in Bordeaux (Parc Bordelais) look like anything? If you said "a human head," you would be right. This can't be a coincidence.

Sculpture in Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux

Monday, February 1, 2016


February already! Crazy. My week was exceptional.

Events I experienced:
Monday was pday. I was sick. I got a little better. We took a train to Bordeaux and stayed the night in the zone leaders' apartment. We had dinner at Haduurh Fried Chicken. It's a Muslim KFC. And it's way better than KFC. A big soda bottle, huge hint of fries, and a massive chicken wrap (delicious) for 6 euros. You can't eat any better and any cheaper.

Tuesday was zone conference! We were in Bayonne. It was super beautiful! The theme was "Our's is the Stone Age, and We're on a Roll!" We talked about Daniel's vision of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that rolls and fills the whole earth. The assistants talked about "apostasy triggers," things people say that can lead us in to teaching about the apostasy. We went to Biarritz, a little coast town next to Bayonne, and we saw one of the most beautiful coasts I have ever seen in my life. Probably the most beautiful, actually. It was breathtaking. My photos do not do it justice. There is a lighthouse there, the base was finished in 1831. The top, a year later. That same lighthouse was being built as the church was being restored. It was an awesome symbol of restored light that God gave to mankind almost 200 years ago. It was truly a conference I will never forget!

Wednesday! My 8 month mark. I'm a third done, folks. That's weird. We taught Elo, a recent convert, and that went super well. She wants to do more missionary work and help us teach than the other members. She's awesome. Then we taught S, an 8 year old recent convert. That went poorly, because we didn't plan well enough. But they still love us so that's something. Then we saw Sister Coj! She wants to get baptized in the fall with her daughter when the new chapel is dedicated. She's super cool, her and Frère Coj have a 7-year old daughter named R. R is adorable. She was crying during our lesson about the Book of Mormon, we asked her if she was ok, and she just said "I feel really happy, I think it's Jesus." So adorable!!

Thursday, I had an exchange with my beloved district leader, Elder Berry. Giver Pangouliviers! (Our district of Perigueux, Angoulême, Limoges, Brive, and Poitiers.) He is magnifique. Too bad he's going to Utah State after the mission, he gets home in May. We had a LEGENDARY day. We ate every single meal with a member. I had to make lots of calls but we made it happen. We helped Frère Hub cut wood, we got the Bens to make a family mission plan, and we finished by eating dinner with the Cal family. Elder Berry served in Brive, so he loved seeing all the old members. Especially the Cal family. He loves them. We also had a lesson with Jos! He's not progressing too well, unfortunately. He's stuck on praying like Eskimos. He lived with them for a while. You should hear his stories. But he'll come around.

Friday was good too. We got to help Mil, a recent convert, print out ordinance requests for two of her grandpas! We hope she goes on the temple trip in 2 weeks.

Saturday was cool, we helped a less-active man named Frère Lab move. We didn't bring service clothes so I got my white shirt really dirty haha. It wasn't too bad, although the washer was heavy I hear (Elder Brill took that one). Afterwards, he took us to Subway! That was a SPARC because that was the last restaurant I ate at before going to the MTC. French Subway is surprisingly exactly like American Subway. Minus the cheese. Then we did weekly planning. After that, we taught the plan du salut to Nes, a recent convert! He understands really well. The we passed by three people who were not home. We passed another man who fixed a RDV with us for Tuesday. He's a New Caledonian guy named Erw, he's been inactive for a while but he's super cool. He was cleaning his apartment while blasting Frank Ocean. He was singing along too so that was fun to listen to.

Sunday was sick! We had an awesome lesson in Amis class, we taught about Jesus Christ and how he was foreordained to be our Savior. As we read in the gospel principles book, Mil read that Jesus Christ is Jehovah. She had studied with the Jehovah's Witnesses before becoming baptized. You can imagine how that shocked her. I guess that "Jesus Christ is Jehovah" doesn't come up anywhere in the 5 missionary lessons before baptism, so that checks out I guess. We quickly explained it and all was well. After church, we saw J-L! He wasn't at church because he went to his friend's mass, which he promised would be the last time haha. We taught about baptism because he had a lot of questions. Then we formally invited him to be baptized, and he accepted! Easiest invitation I ever gave, couldn't even finish the sentence haha. He has a date for March 5th! If I stay another transfer I'll still be here, so I hope that I stay! A cool miracle: at the start of the lesson, he offered a prayer and prayed to God the Father, Christ, and the Holy Ghost. At the end of the lesson, we taught him to pray as taught in the scriptures. He gave the prayer, and it was perfect! You woulda thought he had been a member for all his life. He's such a gift from God. His last name is Dxxxxxxx, literally meaning "gift to God." Incredible! MIRACLES ARE REAL.

Lessons I learned:
There are people all around us who have been prepared for the gospel. I wonder how many J-Ls there are in Brive. Probably a substantial number. How important is it, then, for us to find them, the lost sheep who will be gathered. And despite all the technology in the world, the best way to do it is the Lord's way. President Hinckley always said that he didn't know how to do anything except he pray for the Lord's help first, and then get up and go to work. What a perfect combination!

1 Corinthians 15:26: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. I recognized that during personal study as the grave inscription for Harry Potter's parents (and don't get me started on all the potter-Christ symbolism similarities) but I realized it means something much more than physical death. Paul is talking about how the atonement of Jesus Christ overcomes our inevitable spiritual death. Satan's plan included no sacrifice, no compassion, no love. Very much like Voldemort. Through the Atonement, we can be spiritually re-born again and again and again! We need not fear a physical death as Voldemort did if we do all that we can to ensure our spiritual health for after this life.

(free) Advice I have:
"The Greatest Challenge in the World--Good Parenting" by President Faust, October 1990 Gen Conf.  Parenting, “the greatest trust that has been given to human beings.” John said it best when he said “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 Jn. 1:4.) President Faust continues: "In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life." As I have been studying families, as our mission has taken focus to the temple and finding forever families, I have realized how important it is, the role of a parent. Parents alone make or break the future of the entire universe. Wow.

That's all for this week. Je vous aime tous! Gros bisous pour vous et vos familles. Que Dieu soit avec nous jusqu'au revoir. Jésus est le Christ. Il vit! Je le sais. Il vous aime. Donc, choisissons le bien.
There. Had to get that French out. Have a great week!

Aver amour,
Elder MacArthur

Elder Brill, J-L and Ben

Ben with Elders Rellaford and Price in Biarritz

Ben, Nes and Elder Brill

Ben and Elder Brill help Mil with family history


Lighthouse at Biarritz

More lighthouse - built same time as gospel restored tot he earth

Biarritz coastline

Biarritz beach

Deschamps. The best darn place on earth (that's not a temple)

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