Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 24th, 2017!

Hello everyone! This has been a good week.

Monday:  Pday In Lyon! We got to go to vieux Lyon, and I got to spend it with my last 3 comps, Elder Ramsey and Fiala and Eberhard. It was a great privilege. We went to family home evening...with brother M, his daughters, and Fab!!! It was the best night ever. I am so lucky to have been able to see them.

Tuesday:  MLC, very spiritual experience as always. We got to watch the video "Strength beyond my own" in French with video clips of the Paris temple! We are all very excited for the consecration here in our mission. President Brown challenged us all to polish ourselves for the next 5 weeks to be ready for the consecration. I will do my best to do this.

The rest of the week wasn't terribly interesting, I did have a cool exchange though! I was with Elder Encarnacion, who is normally in Angoulême. We did a lot of walking, so we got to talk a lot. He actually lost a close friend not too long ago, so it was really good for him to talk and have time to get his feelings out. We met an Australian member, and gave him a blessing in the forest. It was cool. We had nowhere else to go, but it was super great, he was very grateful for our visit. And Elder Encarnacion, he is a really cool guy! His parents had a band in the 90s called Moonpools and Caterpillars. Check them out if you want, I have never listened to them but I will when I get home! They are all very musical, and Elder Encarnacion was offered jobs writing music for tv commercials before his mission once he became discovered. Don't be surprised to see him on MTV someday. Actually, MTV isn't really music television isn't it? So never mind, I hope you never see him on MTV. Maybe the Voice. Or American Idol. I'm not sure if that still exists either.

On Saturday, we helped Eysines and Agen elders with their baptisms, both in our chapel. They were the two baptisms in our mission this week. So we went to all the baptisms mission-wide. 2 for 2. Pretty good. They weren't ours though haha.

On Sunday, Cy, Ru, and Mi came to church! They are all pretty new investigators. Mi, we haven't even taught her the restoration yet but she's come to church twice. We have high hopes for her!!

Something that I learned this week: Go to 3 Nephi 19. Look at the way the Lord prays. Do we pray like that? Verse 9: "And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them." Their prayers were sincere, because they had real desire, or real intent; another way to say it is "full purpose of heart." When the Lord prays, he thanked His Father first thing, always. He always prayed for others, his prayers no matter what were always for others. Even if we need to pray for strength, pray for help, pray for comfort, pray for faith, etc. we must have a desire to receive these heavenly gifts for the benefit of others. And the Nephites got this. Verse 24 describes the power behind their prayers: "...and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire." Are our prayers guided by the spirit? Have you ever noticed that a day full of hard work, desire, and positive attitude is so much easier to write about in a journal, or to tell Heavenly Father about than a day with no motivation and no desire? If we really do all that we do with desire, we won't need to wonder what to say or pray. It will be given to us, by the Spirit. If our desires are righteous, and we have the faith to act on them, we can never go wrong.

I love you all a lot. Have a good one :)
Elder MacArthur

Us (Ben & Elder Encarnacion) and Brother Chi

Elder Ramsey!

Cleaning the font for 2 baptisms on Saturday...none of which were ours haha. That kinda hurts in a prideful way, but it was great to see a baptism in Bordeaux!


FHE with V.M....true love

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 17, 2017!

Hello everyone! This week was an amazing week!! I have so much to share.

Tuesday:  We taught A the plan of salvation and she loved it! She thought that after death, there was only heaven and hell, but when we taught her the truth, she exclaimed, "that's great because I always doubted that idea!" She's loving the Book of Mormon more and more. Bon, that is the only other thing I'm gonna share for Tuesday, because Tuesday night, the happiest moment of my life came.

I received a call from my old companion, Elder Ramsey, who's still in Lyon. He asked me straight off if I was sitting down. I sat down, and he preceded to tell me about a miracle, a wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles. When I was with Elder Burri, we started talking to a less-active member, named Brother M. He joined the church in his late teens, and served a mission in the Swiss Genève Mission. He returned home with Honor, and not too long afterwards was married, and was made a bishop. All was well. But a few years ago, things took a turn for the worse. He soon found himself divorced and inactive, and unable to use the priesthood. For a few years he lived in darkness.

I met him at a stake conference about 6 months ago. I introduced myself and asked him if he needed help. He was a little hesitant but said he would be moving soon, and he could use some help. For a few weeks, it didn't happen, but when Elder Ramsey came to Lyon, he finally fixed a RDV with us. And we started to spend lots of time with him, and we helped him most days of the week. At first we didn't try sharing spiritual thoughts, we didn't want to seem like "we are here just to reactivate you" but after a few times, he started asking us to pray over the food, and asked us to share a scripture with him. He started reading the scriptures a few times a week. Soon, he was reading each day. And he started coming to church. Soon, he was coming every week. He started working with his bishop to regain full fellowship in the church.

Elder Ramsey once challenged him to do something. His parents will come to France and pick him up in July, and Elder Ramsey challenged Brother M to come with him and his family to the temple in July. Excited, Brother M jumped up and said "let's do it!".

I digress, back to the story. Elder Ramsey calls me on Tuesday night and tells me that Brother M just had his priesthood blessings restored. He will be a home teacher. He will have a calling. He will be able to baptize his two 9 year old daughters who now have baptismal dates for May 6th. And he will be going to the temple with Elder Ramsey in July. When I heard this, I cried like a little child. I broke down and felt the most amazing joy, sweet above all that is sweet. I sat in silence on the phone with Elder Ramsey. We had no idea what to say. My journal says: "We thanked each other from the bottom of our souls, for loving Brother M enough to see a great change of heart. I am so grateful for Elder Ramsey's idea to buy a frame for a picture of the Swiss temple and give it to brother M. What a wonderful guy. What a man. Like President Brown counsels us, Elder Ramsey was more concerned about Brother M than our calendar. It didn't matter what the cost was, he was focused on people, on his purpose. Together, through us, the Lord loved Brother M back to activity and loved his daughters into the waters of baptism.

Tuesday night was the best moment of my life. I know that repentance is real. Forgiveness is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift. It is never too late to repent, it is never too late to be forgiven. My new favorite scripture expressed my feelings better than I can:

"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;...
And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" ~DC 18

As I sobbed these words over the phone to Elder Ramsey, I heard him cry as well. We felt the spirit confirm to our hearts that this is true. It is all true. And that makes all the difference.

Well, after that, I don't know what else to share. Everything else from the week is almost insignificant by comparison. We did service a few times for members. Elder Eberhard is great! A prodigious pianist and French horn player. Really talented, good missionary, in his 14th transfer. Speaks great French. I love being with him!

I love you all. I know that God lives, that He changes hearts, He changes lives, He changes eternities. Because He loves us. I know that Christ lives, that He resurrected the third day. Let's love Him. Let's adore Him. Let's follow Him and walk with Him, always.
Elder MacArthur

On an exchange with Elder Hansen

View of Bordeaux from HLM

Forest walk on exchange

Working hard in the Lord's vineyard...maybe not the Lord's vineyard actually

Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10, 2017

Hello everyone!! This week was great!

Tuesday: It was a slow day to start but we passed a member in the evening to wish her a happy birthday, and we got to teach her non-member father. It was good that we passed by the whole family was parked and it was a lot of fun.

Wednesday: I went on exchange with Elder Seguine! It was lots of fun. We taught a potential amie named Cy! She is awesome. She understood The restoration very well. When we invited her to be baptized, she said that she would need to know if the Book of Mormon was true. Once we reassured her that she could know for herself, she accepted a date! It was really cool! Cy moved from Nigeria a few years ago, and she doesn't really have a church to go to. So she told us that she would be coming to ours from now on!

Thursday: We help the sisters move their investigator's couch to her apartment. She bought it on French Craigslist, and we carried it up the stairs, she was very appreciative. We ran back home, change, and took a bus to eat dinner with the Lan family. It was lots of fun! Their kids are the cutest things ever. We shared the Easter video with them, and they loved it. We invited them to share it on social media with their friends.

Friday: We got transfer calls. Elder Fiala is going to Ecully to serve with Elder Ramsey, my old companion! I was super excited for him. The missionary work there is on fire!! I will be serving with Elder Eberhard, and we are going to lead our zone to many baptisms this transfer. He is a man of great faith and I am excited to finish my mission at his side. Fr. Vis invited us to lunch after calls, and we had a nice steak. It was awesome. Unfortunately, lots of my photos from this week are on Elder Fialas iPad, so I might not have them for a few weeks. After lunch, we went and taught An with Fr. Vis. He served in the Provo mission, and he speaks English very very well, and is a very good teacher. It was an excellent lesson. The experiences his mother had as a single mother spoke to An, and she teared up. She could really feel the power behind our words. After that lesson, we went to give Sr. Baq a blessing. Then we had dinner with the Ven family. We had Pizza Hut (very good in France. Meh. Idk, I've been away from American pizza so long, at this point I have no idea) so on s'est régalé.

Saturday: We spent a whole day at a baptism in Lormont, on the other side of the river next to Bordeaux. We got the Lormont Chapel keys, met the Poitiers sisters at the gare, brought them to the Chapel, and helped them set up for their baptism. They don't have a font in their building, so sometimes they come to Bordeaux. Their ami Yac got baptized by their recent convert J. Yac forgot white underwear, so we went to Carrefour on an undies run. It was funny....
Us: what size are you?
Yac: I dont know...
Yac: yeah!
Us: *searching* there is no small, what about medium?
Yac: yeah!
Us:*holds up underwear, sizing him up* yeah looks about right.

So we walked out, Elder Fiala and I walking with this third man, and he's holding whitey tighties. It was a very queer experience, and I use that word in its real sense. Very very strange. We get back, the baptism goes forward, we bomb a musical number, by the end we are laughing because it's so terrible, everyone else laughed too so ca va. The baptiser had to try about 29 times. Yac got a bloody nose halfway through too. It was a nightmare. But he was finally baptized!

Sunday: We had a triumphal day at church! We had seven amis at Sacrament!! It was incredible. Ric, Cy, Ru (her friend), Wen, An (her friend), Ant and Mic. Nothing less than a miracle. We also had 7 less actives there. There was so many people at church, it was incredible. A good way to send Elder Fiala off. Then we took pictures, said goodbye, and had crepes with the Mo family. A wonderful day. And en plus: R (a young guy, not Rud's dad) came to church, and accepted a baptismal date for May 20th. He is so ready! He told us "God has sent you to me!" What a man. That is what it's all about. Him, Cy, An, and Ra have dates. When I got here, we weren't even teaching them. Miracles are real!

I love you all! May the Lord's choicest blessings be upon you all.
Elder MacArthur

Chinese buffet on transfer day

Fr Gen is hilarious

M with ice cream, pizza, and the tv. What an American!

Kids' chart for who showers first.  LOL

I call it "six weeks to sumo"

The Talence crew

Breaking out the glasses

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Hello everyone! This week was awesome. Very very inspirational.

Monday: Fun p-day, dropped in on some members, and found out about a family friend of Sr. De that she's inviting to church! They already have a Book of Mormon. We will follow up on that for sure. After that, we passed by Rud's house and he was there! We got to read with him and see his dad. We really felt guided by the spirit on Monday, we saw cool miracles.

Tuesday: Zone conference planning, and we had dinner with the Vil family. Sr. Vil's husband Ant is not a member, and we asked him if he even wanted his own testimony, if he wanted to be baptized. He didn't really have an answer for us. We hope that Sr. Vil will motivate him a little more.

Wednesday: We saw some people, and went to Toulouse for a multi- zone conference with the Toulouse and Montpellier zones! We had a fun sleepover, it was fun to see people I hadn't seen in ages.

Thursday: We had interviews with President Brown. I love interviews with him, I always feel inspired and guided. He told me that he knew I was exactly where I needed to be, with exactly who I needed to be with, doing exactly what we should be doing, so that was comforting.

Our zone has done really well this transfer, and President was proud of us all. After that, we had zone conference! We sung a special musical number, the one Elder Ramsey and I wrote in Lyon. It went pretty well. President talked a lot about hope, and how the sacrament brings us hope. He said "it is the sacrament that gives me hope to live each day."  We have the hope of a rebirth every week thanks to the sacrament. What a great blessing. Seeing as how it was the last time I will see him for a few months, I said goodbye to elder Wade. It'll be sad to see him go. We came in together, pretty weird. I'll see him soon enough after my mission.

Friday: We finished transfer recommendations, then had dinner with the Gen family. They are great! Fr. Gen was baptized in 1965, making him a real pioneer of the church in France. They introduced us to their neighbors, and we talked for a long time. They had met the sisters before, and they had the Book of Mormon. When we left, the kids asked "mom, when are they coming back?" So we'll be back. Don't worry kids. If you get the kids to like you, you've won.

Saturday: Stuff fell through, but we had General Conference which made up for it. Excellent talks.

Sunday: More conference. Bishop Causse spoke, and his dad was in our chapel to see it! His dad is pretty cool. Bishop Causse's dad knew one of my BYU French teachers from when he was a missionary in Paris! At conference, we had a potential named Wen come, we met her in the street a while ago, and she came! She liked it. We had a lesson right after with Est Def, who speaks Chinese, so it worked really well. She wants to see us again!

It was a miracle full week. I received so many answers to my questions at General Conference. I especially loved Elder Sabin's talk. He came to our mission a few months ago, it was great to see him on the screen. Don't fear, just live right. If you can't walk, run! What inspiration.

I know that the Lord's church, the church of the Firstborn, is on the earth today. President Monson is the prophet of God the earth. What joy this brings me. I love you all!
Elder MacArthur

Sister Brown, Elder Wade & Ben

Water from Arcachon that looks kinda like wine....oops haha

Zone conference in Toulouse!