Monday, September 26, 2016

9-26-16

Hey everyone! This will be another short letter, sorry.

The week was great. We now have four investigators with a baptismal date! We are excited for them.

We had a great week filled with great people and great things.

We had MLC this week, it was all about faith! It was great.

We went to a Cathedral and it was cool.

I love you all!
Elder MacArthur

Ben & Elder Burri

Meeting house in Lyon for Ecully Ward

Zone Training

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

9-19-16!

Hello hello everyone!

So this will be very short.

Lyon has been awesome. Everything is great. Elder Burri is awesome, the Ecully Ward is awesome, amis are awesome. We have almost 30 missionaries in the city of Lyon, that's really fun! Everyone here is great. Our DMP is awesome, everything is great. It's fun having 12 full time missionaries in your Ward! Lots of stuff gets done.

We're gonna golf now with lots of missionaries! So I don't have much time.

Pictures!

Love you all!
Elder MacArthur

Ben and Elder Bouaka

Some funny street art in Croix Rousse

Monday, September 12, 2016

9-12-16!

Hello hello! This was a great week. What went down:

Monday-pday. Played soccer, napped a little, not much to report on.

Tuesday-service for Sister R, two tombez-vous, and English class. We had six people there this week! It's growing.

Wednesday-we saw E, and then we saw a lady who we passed to Bastia a while ago. She moved for a few months to Bastia, and now she is back in Nice. Her name is Mme. G, she's really nice. She's pretty sick and old, but she loves the Book of Mormon and wants to come to church. After that, we went to the Riquier neighborhood to visit the Ms, a less-active family we ran into last week. We talked about the temple, and they have a really desire to go again. They have been less-active for 10 years, but we think they can be reactivated. Right after talking to them, we bought some patisseries from a boulangerie right across from the Riquier train station. The lady working there was super croyante, and really interested in talking again. We'll be buying more pastries soon I guess! They were pretty bad honestly, but the lady is great so whatever. We went right to the church afterwards for RCM & ward council. We split the equipes, and I taught a Chinese amie with Elder Zhu. We watched the restoration video in Chinese. Really funny actually, watching American actors dubbed over in Chinese!

Thursday-we went to Cagnes-sir-Mer and saw Sr. B, a sister who is married to a non-member. It's been a while since she's been visited, and she really appreciated the visit. We talked about eternal marriage with her and her husband, K. He's not really interested but he was very respectful. After that, we went back up to the church to teach D with Frere C. D didn't read or pray, and just spent the whole time questioning the doctrine. Frere C answered questions really well, but D just isn't ready yet I think. Afterwards, we went to La Turbie, a small town right above Monaco. On the way there, we met two Americans from Arizona! They were really cool. They knew who we were, and they had lots of questions for us. At the end of the 45 minute bus ride, we gave them a Book of Mormon in English, and they were touched, even if they were not religious. We met Frere O in La Turbie, and he took us to his house in St. Martin-de-Peille, a super small village in the mountains. The Os have a beautiful home, and a swimming pool that looked really nice haha. They have a great view of the Italian border as well, they live only 10 km away from Italy. We had dinner and invited them to invite friends to our ward missionary activity on the 30th. We're gonna have a dance, last time it worked really well! The Os are Australian, but have lived all over, because Fr. O works for the UN. They don't speak French, so they are pretty quiet at church. But at home, in their own environment, they are super cool! It was great to get to know them and build a member-missionary relationship. Fr. O told us funny mission stories, and his oldest daughter loves Harry Potter and LOTR so we had some commonalities.

Friday-transfer calls. I'm leaving Nice. Big bummer, since Nice is the best sector in the mission. I don't care what anybody else says. But, I'm going to Lyon finally! I'll be in the Ecully ward, the Orange County of Lyon so to speak. I'll be with a good friend, Elder Burri. He served in Carcassonne so that's awesome! We'll be the leaders for the Ecully zone, the biggest zone in the mission. Having lots of missionaries close by will be super fun! At church, we'll have 12 full time missionaries in the ward, including the mission nurse, an office senior couple, and President and Sister Brown. So it's bound to be lots of fun! We played a prank on St Raph Friday morning as well! The Nice elders were in St. Raphael for transfer calls. Elder Zhu changed my phone's name to "E Assistant 1" on St Raph's phone, and I called them and impersonated the assistants. They freaked out when I gave them their fake transfer call! Then I called them a minute later and told them who it was, and they were relieved. They bought it hook, line and sinker. It was pretty funny, they got a good laugh out of it. It was Elder Sweet's first transfer call haha. After calls, we visited a sick member in a clinic, and packed, bought some stuff for the sisters apartment because Nice is getting sisters next transfer. A pretty crazy and busy day.

Saturday-we played basketball with two potentials, and Elder Sauro and I actually won! My hook shot was working well and we are a lot taller than the other guys so we scraped out a win haha. We showed them the church building and talked about religion and whatnot. We have another basketball appointment next week with them. We finished cleaning the other apartment, packing, saying goodbye, and for dinner, M took us out to eat at Don Carlo, a great pizza place. It's fantastic. It was fun eating pizza and hanging out with M, he's so cool. An ideal RM. we shared a message about patience and gratitude from Hebrews 12 with him. I'm gonna miss him a lot!

Sunday-the last day. Sigh. Church went well, despite us inviting everyone to church and nobody coming. I said goodbye to everyone, took lots of pictures, and we ate lunch with the ward. After some contacting, and putting in numbers, we had dinner at K's house one last time. It was super bitter-sweet. I'm gonna miss K so dang much. Maybe the best human being I have ever met. I seriously don't think he has a weakness. It's incredible. He gave me a goodbye gift, which was really touching. We shared a message about the priesthood and its power. He'll be receiving the Melchizedek priesthood in a few weeks after stake conference! I have never met a recent convert who is so converted. It's nuts. I finished packing, ready to leave at 7 the next morning. I'll go to Marseille, then Montpellier, then up to Lyon. An 8 hour trip.

What I learned:
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings." I read this somewhere in a talk this week, and I really appreciated the poem. I guess this is where that book comes from. Indeed, how often do we see people figuratively "blame the stars" and fail to ascertain the true source of failure. No selfish post hoc justification can resolve the problem. This goes along well with another quote I found this week: "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." -Booker T. Washington. Here in Nice, we have worked hard but have faced great opposition. I know that it wasn't for nothing, that we were still successful in fulfilling our calling!

(free) Advice I have:
"And Peter Went Out and Wept Bitterly," by President Hinckley. A great talk about Peter's conversion and how it relates to us. "Put on the Whole Armor of God," by President Tanner, April 1979 Gen Conf. President Tanner speaks persuasively about the necessity of keeping the armor of God  on at all times! Really great talk.

Well, that's all for this beast-of-an-email. I love you all! Thanks for listening. God bless you.
Love, Elder MacArthur

Ben and his next companion Elder Burri in Ecully

Ben, former BYU basketball player Brandon Davies and Elder Suaro in Nice.  Brother Davis plays professionally for a team in Monaco.

Elder Suaro and Ben

Monday, September 5, 2016

9-5-16!

Hello everyone! This week was incredible! What went down:

Monday-pday! We visited St Jean Cap-Ferrat, a peninsula by Nice. Super beautiful! We came back, cleaned, did emails, and bought some stuff for zone conference. We taught 3 street lessons, and got a new ami named Reg! He's pretty interested, we're seeing him again on Thursday. The other elders went to the bishop's house for dinner today and they brought back tons of food!! Our bishop had no idea, but we've been short in money for a while, and we have been pretty hungry actually. So it was quite a miracle that they gave us lots of food, we really needed it! Last week I had rice for breakfast! So yeah, crazy miracle. God takes care of us!

Tuesday-super solid day. We did some more prep for zone conference, went to teach a lesson with Frere Fran but the rdv fell through. And it was pouring rain. So we went w/ Frere Fran to the gardens at Cimiez, by the church, but nobody was really there. We taught a lesson after searching for a while, then we met a girl named Est. She's Buddhist, and really nice. We taught her the retab, gave her a Book of Mormon, took her on a tour of the chapel, engaged her to come to church this Sunday! She was pretty interested. She's 20, studying to become a nurse, and loves her family! After that, we practiced Praise to the Man for zone conference, then had English class. Two people came, with Frere Fran we had 3. Pie and Bar, the students, are really cool. We just found them last week! Hopefully we can get a good class going. We shared a Book of Mormon scripture at the end, we got to talk about the plan of salvation with them as well. We invited them to church as well, I hope they come! Three lessons in the presence, all with one member haha! It was fun hanging with MA. His calling is to take care of the church building. The front door is kind of broken, and when we showed him, he just said "ohhh...crap!" in his French accent haha. It was too funny. He's a great guy, so funny and great to be around.

Wednesday-tombez-boys but ├ža va. We contacted, planned for our zone conference presentation, and contacted some more. We found a great potentielle amie, Mar! She said she couldn't have faith, so we showed her Alma 32 and testified that she can have faith if she tries to. Then we practiced our musical number, taught Fl with Frere M, and had ward council. Fl doesn't want to see us anymore, he is too philosophical for us haha. At ward council, we got our missionary activity approved! It's for the 30th of September. Lots of members have wanted a missionary activity, so hopefully this helps them invite friends!

Thursday-exchange w/ Elder Thangaraj from Ajaccio! We had a little of everything: cool rdv with a member, a dentist appointment, cool contacting, and a new ami named Mi! He speaks Spanish which is good for Elder Sauro. It was really really fun to get together with Elder Thangaraj. He's a great friend.

Friday-zone conference! It was incredible. By far, the best zone conference I have ever had. We did our musical number, it went alright considering that we didn't practice all together before the conference. I conducted the meeting, so I got to sit next to President up on the stand, which was pretty cool. President Brown talked to us about loyalty, of course. It was incredible! I love that man. I could go on for hours, but he basically made us feel accountable for our own sectors, and promised that the Lord has prepared at least one family for each sector that can be baptized before the end of the year. He got really hyped! We went out and talked about our missionary armor of God, and shot President's bow at a basketball. It was pretty fun. The whole conference went off without a hitch. Lunch was great too! Sr.Rou came in clutch. My interview with President Brown was great too. We talked at length about sports, including swimming and golf, it was pretty fun.

Saturday-we took President Brown's counsel to go up to a mountain to seek revelation in order to find the family the Lord has prepared in our area. So we went up to the Nice Observatory, on Mount Gros. We prayed and pondered for about an hour, and got some good things to chew on. We came back down, helped the Antibes elders get train tickets, train passes, reduction cards, etc. Then we went by the Port and contacted, taught some street lessons.

Sunday-a big grind! We were at 16 lessons through Saturday, so after church, we grounded at the local parc, found some cool people and taught four lessons. We ported a street we chose yesterday on Mount Gros and we found an amazing family! We talked to the dad for an hour about religion from a philosopher's point of view. He's agnostic, but he used to be a practicing Jew. The Dad, Gi, told us we could come back another time! Hopefully we'll be able to see his family together. We hope they're the family that God has prepared! On verra.

What I learned:
I learned so much this week, but maybe the most important thing I learned was to seek after answers. I've never been one to pray lots about deep questions I have, and maybe I should do more of that. I've never been one to say "I've had this question for a long time and I finally got an answer to my prayer!" That has seldom been me. But as a missionary, I pray all the time for guidance, to know what to do, not for myself, but for the work. As Elder Sauro and I prayed continually this week to be guided, to know what to do, to do the Lord's will, we have been given extraordinary guidance and direction. This has built my faith in prayer and receiving answers. I think I have slowly learned to pray with real intent, and that makes all the difference. I hope this will help me to seek after more and more answers, be they day-to-day calls upon the Lord for help, or profound questions asked again and again over an extended period of time.

(free) Advice I have: go read Elder Holland's recent BYU devotional. It's called "Religion: Bound by Loving Ties." It's excellent. Go read it, please :)

The week was great! Heavenly Father blessed us with lots of miracles, despite all the things we had to do, we were able to teach 20 lessons again.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Elder MacArthur

At St Jean Cap Ferrat

Zone Conference