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|