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!|