Thursday, March 31, 2016


Hello hello! This week was incredible. Possibly my best week ever.

Events I experienced:
Monday was awesome! Lots of baptismal prep, district meeting prep, and starting an exchange with Perigueux! Really fun. We got to do FHE at the church and I met Mag, a really cool member that I have heard a lot about.

Tuesday was more exchange with Elder Little. We did a lot of tracting, and area book work. He was so excited to be on exchange with me it was cute! Haha he's a great guy who really seeks to improve.

Wednesday was a blitz in Limoges! Elder Quinn was with me for the day. It was so fun! He's the funniest guy ever, and he's a great missionary. 15 transfers under his belt, he's got a lot of good advice and taught me lots of things. We saw K, a Nigerian ami, and a cool Nigerian named Mon! They're awesome. They gave us cake. Mmmm. We invited everyone in Mon's house to listen to our message, and now they have a new amie! Africans are wonderful.

Thursday...district meeting! The only one of the transfer. I was pretty nervous beforehand, but just before I walked in, I said a little prayer and all fear left! It went very well, we discussed Alma 26 at length, the Book of Mormon, converting people by the gospel of Jesus Christ. We painted a shirt! Time to paint. We talked about Elder Christofferson and what he taught us, and about the apostolic blessing he left with us. It was a really uplifting meeting, and I think everyone liked it! I was relieved, it turned out better than I had expected.

Friday! Transfer calls!! I get to stay in Brive and get a 2nd shot at last transfer haha. I'll be able to become a better district leader and a better companion. My thesis is this: if you aren't able to really love someone in one transfer, the Lord gives you another haha. After calls in the morning (which was messed up, President always starts with Bordeaux zone on the west and works over eastward, but he had to call Swiss first due to borders closing, so we were waiting like scared idiots. Lamentable)

I had an exchange with Elder Haskin! It was great. We came back to Brive, and J-L had his interview with President Brown. He passed! P Breezy said he had been "extraordinarily prepared," which was a big SPARC. We taught J-L afterward, then went home, dinner, and went back to the church for a RDV with the O'M family, Fr. and Sr. O'M. We asked them if they wanted to be married in the temple. It went a little something like this:
Me: So have you thought about this? What are your thoughts?
Frere O'M: it is something I would love very much.
Sister O'M: *talks for 20 minutes straight, including every marital complaint she has ever had, every church complaint ever, a third of Ireland's history, one relevant anecdote, two irrelevant ones, and three expressed opinions of what the French are doing wrong* then says "So that's my opinion on that."
Me:.....So, is that a yes, or no? I didn't, uhh, really...umm...get it all, there, ya know.....
And by then we had to go to be home on time. Hilarious.

Saturday! I had an apricot eclair. Incredible. Weekly planning and lessons with Elo and Mil, Nes, and SD. Great day!

Sunday was good too. Did Sunday calls, gave the sacrament to Frere Cal, and ate crêpes. Good day. 10 month mark. Scary...

 Lessons I learned:
I'm staying! That means I have unfinished business. I'm excited to stay and improve on my last transfer. If the Lord ever gives you a second shot at something, that's because you need to improve! Take advantage of second chances.

(free) Advice I have:
"Trust in the Lord" by Elder Scott, April 1989 Gen Conf. Wow! G-Scott lays it down! An inspiring, personal, and powerful talk about being rigid in our resolve to emulate the Savior. Even if we are ostracized because of our beliefs, it doesn't matter. Never has. Never will. Talk to Job, he'll tell you.

Going into transfer #8! Ahhhh I'm getting old. Love you all! Thanks for the support!
Love, Elder MacArthur

Elder Quinn and Mon and CAKE

Quell homme, our zone leader Elder Rellaford 


Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Hello hello! This week was one of the best weeks of my mission! Maybe the best!!  Events I experienced:

On Monday, we got up, did some groceries, studied, and got on a train to go to Bordeaux. Met up with the Lormont Zone and flew over to Lyon! Lots of people went to Master Tacos so I tagged along, although I was fasting. That was hard. Master Tacos is amazing. Oh well. Next time. We got back to the office elders' apartment, where we roomed with the Lormont and Toulouse zones, 40-ish elders in all I think. Fun! I got to see a lot of old friends, old companions, it was great.'s the one and only T-O-double D, DTODD!! It was an amazing conference, he spoke many things that are too marvelous to be written. More like my memory is as reliable as Bill Buckner's glove. A Red Sox allusion to the baseball fans out there. I did take notes though:

Elder Dyches:  The central purpose of life is change -strength and struggle are traveling companions -our mission will clarify who we are and refine who we will yet be -we see the full picture as we become changed missionaries

Sister Christofferson:  The devil is really mad at us, so we've done something right -they who are with us are more than those against us

Elder D. Todd Christofferson:  "What can I say if they have read all my talks? I'll have to re-read them myself!" He's seriously so funny you have no idea -write down spiritual insights -we are assigned to a mission partly because of the president and his wife -we help lead them in the path of repentance -true repentance includes a baptism, the commitment of obedience "30 seconds before death" is the best time to be baptized (a funny joke) -nobody says they wished they had found the church later -the best time to be baptized is now, as early as possible -virtue is the truth that Jesus is our Savior, that will help them change -the key to solving unbelievers is reading the Book of Mormon -you don't have any hope of them listening to your arguments, but if they read the book or Mormon, the Lord will argue with them -we don't need a separate missionary life, our normal life should be our missionary life -with out a dependable law, neither us nor God could cause anything, just "random chaos" -we offer justice to people, through repentance and mercy and grace, fallen men can rise up to be with Christ, entrance into the kingdom of God -we carry the kingdom of God in our hands -grâce takes away the sin and the stain, leaving us sinless and spotless, whole and holy -we can't always sustain success, so when we fall... -be quick to repent -be able to recognize the Lords's voice, His spirit, what he's telling you -that's our test, hear it and follow it -thank the Lord for your ability to follow his voice, and pray for an increased capacity to follow -this is all real, Jesus is the Christ, the resurrected Christ, and that makes all the difference.

It was an incredible conference, he did a Q&A like he did when I saw him at the MTC. Very instructive, very easy going. When I got to shake his hand, I had no idea what to say. He said "Elder MacArthur, it's good to shake your hand." And I probably said something dumb like "you too" I don't remember. All I remember is that I was too scared to compliment him on his tie (and he'd say I like yours too and I'd offer to trade and then I'd get Elder Christofferson's tie and I'd instantly win life). Haha it was awesome. Afterwards, we broke our fast and I got to catch up with everybody! It was super fun. Afterwards, we took a plane back to Bordeaux and stayed in the zone leaders' apartment.

Wednesday, I woke up and went back to Brive on exchange with elder Kimble! He replaced me in Carcassonne, and I replaced him in Brive. I love him! We had some great things happen. We were accosted by a man who claimed to be Jesus. He told us to find a hill (any hill) and wait there because the earth would be flooded. He had no idea who Thomas S. Monson was so we're safe. Yeah he was interesting.

Thursday was great, we got to teach S and J-L. Both lessons went really well. P, S's boyfriend, keeps hiding when we come over, we'll need to fix that. But how...interesting. We taught J-L at the All's house. We had lasagna afterwards, it was heavenly.

Friday was good! We saw Nes, who is struggling a little bit, but he's coming to church on Sunday so that's good news. We also ate dinner with Frere Lab, who cooks really well and critiques even better. He's interesting. He loves the missionaries! I ate a hot pepper and it kinda spoiled the meal for 20 minutes but I regained my taste eventually.

Saturday was good! We helped the Hubs get wood, Elo went with us too. We got done so early that we were able to take a 30 minute walk/hike in the woods, and it was beautiful! I really enjoyed that. It's getting warm in Brive, it feels almost like summer. We saw S again too! Our two other RDVs fell through, but that's ok. We realized that J-L's baptism needs to be this Saturday, and we know he's ready! He just needs to realize it also. Pray that things go well, please!

Sunday was incredible as well! An old ami of a member came to church and wants to get baptized! We got a referral from HQ, we went out to deliver a BoM and find a family of 7! They want to get baptized too! Incredible miracles! We have 3 exchanges his next week but we'll do our best to see them.

Lessons I learned:
See Tuesday. I can't fit it all in there, sorry...but I will say this. Faith+obedience+diligence=miracles.

(free) Advice I have:
Read Alma 26. I think everybody in the world should read this chapter frequently, once every few months at least. One of the best chapters in the Book of Mormon.

Ahh I could only write a fraction, not even a hundredth part of the things that were written, for it suficeth me. Love you all!
Elder MacArthur

Ben & Elder Richmond after the conference in Lyon

Ben and Elsers Thangaraj, Steadman, Kahn & Bentley in Lyon

Ben and the BIG croissant

Ben re-unites with his transfer 109 group at the Lyon conference

Monday, March 14, 2016


Hello hello!!! In less than 24 hours I'll be personally meeting Elder Christofferson. I'm stoked for that!! But first, the week...

Events I experienced:
Monday was great!

Tuesday was good too. We had dinner with the bishop. He's a huge Star Wars nerd and loves Legos. He has more Legos than anyone I've ever seen. It's pretty cool. We got them to make a family mission plan!

Wednesday was good. It hailed and rained, so that stunk. We taught Sam D., and did some tracting. Everything else fell through. We even tried to volunteer at the Red Cross, but they said they didn't need us. So we can't even get a job volunteering. Ouch.

Thursday was great, I went on exchange with Elder Richmond, one of my zone leaders. We got to talk to a lot of people and we saw P so that was awesome. P is a hilarious less-active member. I love Elder Richmond! I replaced him in Carcassonne, so we got to share Elder Garside stories. And, back in Brive, Elder Rellaford and Storti invited San to be baptized...and she said YES to April 16th! Such a cool miracle. Yes!!!!

Friday was good! Very busy. We got to have a lesson with Elo, Nes, and Mau. They all went well, Mau is not super open still but he's reading the Book of Mormon and giving it a chance, so that's cool. We'll see where that goes. We also met a new potential who has met with us before, we got her number so hopefully we'll see her soon. We had a lesson with Had too, we found him a few weeks ago. He started talking about how he is the rightful prince of Arabia. Yeah so it got very obvious very quickly that he's "interesting." Nice bloke, but...

Saturday was great, we had a good lesson and delicious lunch with J-L.

Sunday was good too, we found a new potential amie and fixed a RDV with a less active, so very productive! Our zone has 17 new engagés this week (investigators with a baptismal date). Our district has 16 total. Like Daniel's vision, the stone is rolling! Our engagé prayer list quadrupled in the past couple months! Up,to 4 pages! It's nuts. At last count, we were at 177 new engagés as a mission in the last month. Our goal was 187, the last numbers aren't all in, but we totally got it, no doubt!

Lessons I learned:
3 Néphi 8:7 in French: "7 Et il y eut des éclairs extrêmement vifs, comme on n’en avait jamais connu dans tout le pays." Haha it's perfect because it talks about the Brive eclairs!

Alma 16:16,17 describes France, really the whole earth right now: "And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming-That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God." Our mission has been prepared by Jesus Christ for the coming of one of His Apostles. Of that I am one hundred percent sure.

(free) Advice I have:
"The Divine Gift of Repentance" by Elder Christofferson, October 2011 Gen Conf. An excellent talk for everyone, since we should all make repenting our business. Elder Christofferson wisdom right here: "In reality, the best way to help those we love--the best way to love them--is to continue to put the Savior first. If we cast ourselves adrift from the Lord out of sympathy for loved ones who are suffering or distressed, then we lose the means by which we might have helped them. If, however, we remain firmly rooted in faith in Christ, we are in a position both to receive and to offer divine help."

I love you all! I'm off to see an apostle, a wonderful servant of God (sing that to "off to see the wizard" tune). Ciao ciao :)

Love, Elder MacArthur

Brive countryside

Elder Richmond, Ben and eclairs!

Ben, Elder Storti, and an enormous chocolate bunny.

Monday, March 7, 2016


Hello hello every person who reads this. Only a week left before we see Elder Christofferson! Here's what happened in my neck of the woods, channeling my inner Al Roker.

Events I experienced:
Monday was great! Got a bad haircut, at least it was cheap. That's about it.

Tuesday was better. We visited a less-active, and we saw our new ami Mau. He's very skeptical and very Catholic, but he'll read the Book of Mormon so that'll change his mind. We also got Jehovah's Witnesses! They didn't stick around for too long after discovering who we were. They were very nice and respectful, which isn't always the case. Then we headed up to Perigueux for an exchange!

Wednesday, I was with Elder Underwood (ancien sous-bois) and it was great! We got to teach their family of 6, and four of them are getting baptized in April! The G family is really cool. After that, we ported in the rain! It was a little miserable but anything with ancien sous-bois is fun. We got back and ate tacos (French tacos are American, ok Mexican, burritos) with Elders Little and Storti.

Thursday, I had an exchange with Elder Thangaraj! We were in Brive. It was super fun! He's a really cool guy, loves sports, soccer, we have a lot of the same interests actually. Comes from Sri Lanka, well his dad does at least. We had dinner with members at the end of the day so that was cool!

Friday was pretty good, we got to talk to Frere O'M at the end of the day about some of his non-member kids, that was instructive and helpful.

Saturday was great! We got to have Skype interviews with President Brown. He just asked me what I wanted to talk about, and I asked him to tell me a story! He told me about the first baptisms in Brive, and even had a 40-year-old picture to show me! It was really cool. I told him the apostate ex-branch president lived right next to us (literally, right next door) and his eyes lit up and he started taking notes. So I hope he comes to visit Brive soon haha! He'll at least come for the new chapel dedication in September. He used to be the Montpellier branch president back when it first opened, and he went back a week ago for Aur's baptism (who I have taught 3 times!) so that was a cool experience, he was really touched to see the ward doing so well. He also asked me about my driver's license, so that freaked me out. It was a great interview!

Sunday was good, we taught J-L after church, and we had 5 Amis at church: Sr. Coj, J-L, San, her boyfriend P, and Sh O'M. It was packed for the second hour! We went to give the sacrament to Frere Cal, and they fed us crêpes and cookies afterwards so it was a win. We engaged them to make a family mission plan!

Lessons I learned:
I learned stuff I promise. I just didn't write anything down...well here's something. We can learn just as much from great examples as bad ones. I got to see lots of different missionaries of different capacities this week and I learned that I can learn just as much from the best missionary as the worst missionary. It sounds weird, but it's true. When I was young and had comps that I idolized, they taught me how to be a missionary, I thought they taught me everything. But during rough times, I have learned patience, long-suffering, meekness, charity, and lots of other things. It's a different kind of learning, but it's equally as important. Without adversity, I would become a lopsided missionary. It takes good and bad, opposition in short, to make us whole.

(free) Advice I have:
"When Thou Art Converted" by Elder Christofferson, April 2004 Gen Conf. This talk is all about being converted to the gospel, going beyond just having a testimony. It's a fabulous talk that I recommend.

"The Light of Hope" by Sister Dwan Young, October 1986 Gen Conf. One of the best talks I have ever read by anyone. I'll be darned if this isn't one of the best talks ever. I am studying hope from PMG chapter 6, and this is a must-read for anyone studying hope! It clearly defines hope, and sister Young speaks fluently and eloquently about how we can have hope and what it allows us to become.

It was a great week. Thanks for your interest and your prayers and your love. I love you all! Until next time. Ciao ciao.
Love, Elder MacArthur

The zone, getting hyped for Elder Christofferson...I'm proud of my work!

Angouleme gare, with old Comic Con ads!

President Brown's photo of the first Brive baptism!  (Shown to Ben during his Skype interview.)