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?
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|