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.
Tuesday...it'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!
|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|