Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Elder Funk's Visit and More Pictures!

Apa Kabar Everybody!
The newest letter of mine is coming all the way from the Raintree/Wyview/MTC West Campus! BYU's (MTC's?) IT Department rigged up about 24 laptops right underneath our classroom at Raintree to form some semblance of a computer lab. Like Elder McCleary said in the article "WE ARE PIONURRS!!" (That's a funny story in and of itself.) 

Time to recap: On Tuesday we packed up all our worldly possessions, waited at the curb behind the MTC Bookstore, and were herded onto tour busses that trucked us over to the Wyview apartments where we had a cool orientation from the MTC Presidency where we were told where the mail was, where our classes would be, that we get gym time every day, what to do if we want room service, and that we can have ice cream for every meal. (Just kidding about the room service part. :P) We then unpacked at Wyview apartment 17, ate some lunch, and had our "historic" first class at 1:00 at the Raintree apartments. 

Elder Murphy and I taught our "investigator" John about the Plan of Salvation and it was pretty awesome because we were teaching him in a room with two couches. I was thinking that it was almost like real life until I realized that the people we're teaching have little money and can't afford two giant leather couches. I'll send pictures later, but essentially, they fitted our building so each apartment has 3 separate rooms for about 30 missionaries. We're on a floor with the other Malays and Singaporites. Since we have 10 in our class, we got the biggest room of them all. We even have a sliding glass door that leads to a balcony!! It's so cool! I never knew being a pioneer was so luxurious! I'm leaving out a ton of details, but if anyone has any questions, let me know! 
We spent the next day, (Wednesday), trying to figure things out--like where to pick up our mail and if we really could have ice cream for every meal, but it was really special because we were bussed back to main campus to have a class with Elder Randy D. Funk from the Quorum of the Seventy!! Actually getting there wasa problem, but that's also why we were interviewed. We have a bus that runs around all day from the main MTC campus to our campus at 11 and 36 minutes after every hour. Elder Murphy and I room with Elders Kyle and Gil, and right before we were supposed to leave, Kyle and Gil were gone. The rest of the district was looking everywhere for them, in the bathroom, in the chapel, if they made a run for the outside world, or if they were waiting over at Raintree. While we were figuring things out, there was this solitary reporter from the Deseret News who came up and asked us a little bit about the MTC. For some reason, Elder McCleary was designated as our "spokeselder". I read the article you sent me,  Mom. Way cool, but McCleary really didn't throw both arms up in jubilation like it said. But we took the picture, and hopped on the next bus, hoping that Gil and Kyle were already there at the classroom. When we got there, thank heavens, they were both sitting in the classroom like nothing happened. 

We didn't know what was going to happen with the whole General Authority visit, so we just started role playing teaching about the Kitab Mormon (Book of Mormon), when Elder Funk walked in. It was one of those moments where you wonder if you're in trouble or not, then he starts talking and you realize that he's there to actually uplift you. He came in, talked to us for a bit, listened in on some of our role plays (Can you say intimidating?), spoke the little Indonesian he remembered, gave a short but awesome spiritual message, and then he was gone. So cool!
Hey! Guess who moved down to Wyview West too? Sister Cami Turley! And Becca should remember a Sister Mariah Pugmire. They're both here. It's pretty great.
I've begun sleep talking. I can't remember if I told you guys or not. Josh should know from personal experience that I can actually have conversations when I sleep, so it shouldn't surprise you that during one night, Elder Murphy said something in Indonesian while he was sleeping, and in the words of Elder Kyle, I "sat up, looked at Elder Murphy and said 'hey, that was actually pretty good', laid down and went back to sleep." Needless to say, Elder Kyle is freaked out that I'm possessed or something. I told him it's hereditary. Matt should have some pretty good sleep talking stories. :) (As does Brandon...) 
Anywho, I gotta get off pretty soon. But on Tuesday, Elder Craig Zwick from the 70 came for Devotional and challenged every missionary to answer this question: "To Become a Better Disciple of Jesus Christ, I WILL..." It's a fun question to think about! And I challenge everyone to think about that question for themselves! (Look at that: I left you with a committment without a second thought! It's getting to me!)
Kasih Anda Semua! Punya minggu Baik!
-Elder Barrus

The District with the traditional "pointing to your country on the world map".

The District with Indonesian flag.

White board listing all the positive things about moving to "MTC West".

"Wyview Pioneers"

...or should we call them "West Campus" pioneers? We received this picture via email today forwarded from  Heather Peterson, MTC Operations.

Elders and Sisters,

As promised, attached is the picture taken by the BYU photographer Tuesdaymorning of the first group of missionaries to move into Wyview Park. We hope you are enjoying your new accommodations and learning environment.

Sister Petersen

Heather Petersen
MTC Operations
1M A113

I think that's Seth in the VERY back on the right, kind of in the shadows. This is all we got today. Well, he sent an envelope with individual letters to everyone--Dad, Josh, Amy, Jonathan, Micah. Except me. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Those Indonesian bound elders make the news!

So, we just found out that Seth and his district spent some time being interviewed and filmed by KSL TV and the Deseret News. Here are links to both:


Be sure to watch for Seth  at about 10 seconds as he and his district walk across the street. Then they appear again at 1 minute 45 seconds walking along the sidewalk.


Be sure to look at the pictures accompanying the Deseret News story.

Looks like they moved into Wyview on Tuesday. We're hoping they can still write emails to us tomorrow.

That's a lot of excitement for one day! Josh says he thinks it looks like Seth has gained some weight.

Elder Murphy, Seth, Elder Blaser, Elder McCleary, Elder Wood, Elder Heiner

Hope to hear more tomorrow!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pictures from the MTC (and an email)

Apa Kabar Semua!
This week seemed to fly by! Even though our schedule is still way messed up, I'm finally starting to know where to go and what to do during certain times. I think it was Dad that asked what a regular day is like, so I'll tell you! 

6:20 am wake up, roll over and say prayers
6:25 shower
7:00 class or personal study
8:00 breakfast
9:00 class
11:00 language study
12:00 TALL (technology assisted language learning)
1:00 lunch
2:00 class
6:00 dinner
6:30 gym time, more class or personal study
9:00 daily planning session with companion
9:30 back to residency
10:30 back in bed

Mary Ellen's devotional talk was soooo good!!! She kept everybody laughing, engaged, and inspired. She's definitely got a gift, I'm sure you know about that, Mom. Sister Jibson and Sheffield pretty much idolize her now. But I don't blame them! Mary Ellen is one inspiring Saint! I'll send more on that in a written letter. 

As a heads up, this is our last week living at the Provo MTC.  We move to Wyview next Tuesday, and we'll be having classes at Raintree. I'll email and let you know the new address, and other changes like that. It's like a real-life mission transfer! We had some high up brother come and talk a little bit to us about it and they'll be bussing us back for 30 minutes while Elder Funk comes and talks to us. I think he's coming on the 28th or 29th.. Can't remember. Way exciting though!! Thanks for the interesting article! He sounds like a very intriguing man! (Elder Randy Funk is a new member of the Seventy who served a mission to Indonesia. He wanted to meet with this district when he comes to the MTC next week. He was featured in the Church News last Saturday.)

So it turns out that our "investigator" Colin speaks fluent English, 100% Mormon, from Utah, and served his mission to Malaysia back in the day. You can only imagine our astonishment and slight annoyance when we heard him speak English to us for the first time. I mean, when he saw us struggling for words to say, he totally understood every word we were saying as a companionship in English! He played it so well! I'm definitely glad for the experience though. I learned a lot about listening to the Spirit and teaching with my companion. We're teaching two new investigators, John and Shinta, and we're teaching pretty well! I'll say it again: The Gift of Tongues is real!

We received about 12 new elders and 2 new sisters into our zone all going to Madagascar! Sadly, I'm the only 18 year old left in my zone. Everyone's so old. :P But I still love them. The Georgian, Armenian, Slovakian, and Azerbaijani elders and sIsters leave this week and we should be getting new ones soon. I'll keep you posted.

We had Elder Marcus B Nash from the seventy come to Devotional and he spoke about becoming converted to the basics and fundamental truths of this Gospel: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I can't convince my Investigators to read the scriptures, have faith, or even become baptized if I am not totally CONVERTED to those very truths. It really was an inspiring message.

I'll send handwritten letters today to all the chilluns, because I"ll have more time to do that, but it was good to hear from everyone! Injil Yesus Kristus adalah benar! Terus Menarus!
-Elder Barroos

"The District" at the temple

Elder Barrus and Elder McCleary (friends off the court)

Elder Murphy (Seth's companion) and Seth with Sister Sheffield photobombing

Meeting of the roommates--with Nathan Peters the first day at the MTC

Summary of the last few letters

I thought maybe we'd get an email from Seth today because it's PDay, but so far no letter. We did, however, receive a few "snail mail" letters this last week, so I'll combine them all and give you the Readers Digest condensed version:

I think I've learned more Indonesian in the last 4 days than Spanish in 2 years, at least Gospel-wise. I can bear my testimony, pray and ask "Where is the bathroom?", all in Bahasa Indonesian!

We got gym time today and Josh would be happy to know that I got torn up by Elder Cooper Ainge and Elder McCleary. I've lost all my skills, so I just ran around. :)

We're pretty much pros now that we've been here for 4 days. We really know our way around. Ha ha, just kidding. There are times we call each other "Elder Noob" if we forget something simple.

In my room, it's me, Elder Murphy, my companion, Elder Kyle from Atlanta and Elder Gil from Miami and they're way cool! Elder Kyle always has his nose buried in the Indonesian dictionary and has probably learned Indonesian speak the best. Elder McClearly, Elder Heiner, Elder Wood, and Elder Blaser are in the other room. Sister Sheffield and Sister Jibson are also in our district.

Thank you, thank you, thankyou, terema kasin for the package and your "dear elders"!! They definitely helped the first full day go by better! I can see clearly now! I'll send pictures with my new goggles on PDay, which is Thursday, I think. (We sent him a some new glasses.) We now have an hour to email, so don't be afraid to write long messages.

Saya tahu bahwa Gereja adalah benar! (I know the Church is true.) Indonesian lesson for the day: "tohu" is pronounced "tah-ow" not "tahu" "Tahu" means "tofu". :)

I know this sounds weird by I feel like I'm surrounded by family everywhere I go. There's an elder in my zone going to Slovakia that reminds me of Matt. My Branch President is almost a spitting image of Grandpa Killian. His name is President Mickelsen. And the speaker on Sunday night had the mannerisms of Scott Killian. His name was Shane Littlefield.

If you can't tell, I struggle with finding things to put in my letters from the MTC. Heck, if we hear we get to go outside for class, that's like breaking news!!!

Tell Bran thanks for the "dear elder" and that I'll reply when I have time to send a heartfelt message.

I hope your Sabbath Day was great, because mine was absolutely incredible! Guess who we ran into? Mary Ellen Edmunds! I totally forgot she was scheduled to come talk to the MTC missionaries and tonight was the night! She gave such a great talk! You have one inspiring and amazing friend, Mom! Tell her her talk was incredible!

The Church sure is true! I've had many reconfirmations of its truthfulness. But my ultimate conversion is to Christ.

Sampai Jumpa!

Elder Baroos

Mary Ellen sent me an email after she'd seen him:

Oh, I had the most glorious, happifying, unforgettable time last night!!  And I SAW HIM!!  I saw Elder Barrus!  And at least part of his district!  They sent their 2 linebackers first (the two Sisters), and they squealed and we just had a great time!  I asked "Apa kabar," and they responded!  I hugged the sisters and shook hands with the Elders.  Seth wanted to hug me, and I sure wanted to hug him, and he asked "Can I hug you?"  And I said "No..." (and he could tell I wanted to hug him!).  We shook hands vigorously.  He looks SO GOOD!!  Oh, I really had an incredible time!  Can't wait to send him a note!  
I love you so much!!  MAJU TERUS (sort of like "Carry On!")  That's what I said to them!
More love,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

If you want to write to Seth


This is Sharon. Here is Seth's address if you want to write to him:

Snail Mail:

Elder Seth Barrus
2005 North 900 East #49
Provo, UT  84604

Best way to write is to send an email through dear elder.com.
They will print it off and hand deliver it the day you send it if you get it in before noon.

Just use the same information that is in his snail mail address.  0708 is his estimated departure date.

You can email him, but he only has 30 minutes to write emails on PDay, so he said he'd rather have hard copies of letter that he can respond to and use the 30 minutes writing rather than reading. After he gets to Indonesia, then email will be the best way to correspond. (Although, there's still something about getting a real letter when you're out on your mission.)

His email address is:  seth.barrus@myldsmail.net

MTC Week One

Selamat Pagi Keluarga!
It's been a crazy week! I don't think I've ever worked as hard in my studies or had this many Spiritual experiences in my life for so short a time before. Seriously, it's like the Spirit is turned to "Max" all the time here in the MTC. I definitely miss everyone, but it really helps that my district is awesome! My companion is Elder Murphy from El Paso, Texas and he's an Irish Mexican with muscles the size of Texas. He's pretty much the best companion I've ever had. Sorry Josh. But whenever we teach Colin (our investigator) we teach with such unity and power! 

Even during that first day we taught Colin, and essentially just said "We know Church true. You can know truth. You know Jesus and Allah love you? We know He loves us. Will you pray?" That's literally how our entire first lesson went. We eventually learned to just ask Yes and No questions because if we tried to answer his questions, we had no idea what he was saying. :) It was pretty great. But we taught him for the last time yesterday and I'm gonna miss him. Even though we usually had no idea what he was telling us, I really grew to love and care for his wellbeing. 

But the language is really coming! I can testify that the gift of tongues is real. Anytime I testify of basic truths, the words just come to me. Anytime I heard that from other elders, I honestly had doubts that it would happen to me. But God is an unchangeable being and really does love ALL his missionaries! I've come to recognize now when I'm feeling the Spirit and when I'm not. And anytime I'm, not, I ask Elder M if we can say a quick prayer. Prayer (doa) is like a religion over here. (Oh wait, it really is. Duh.) We pray All the time. But every time we do, it invites the Spirit. And that's the most important thing.
My district has so much Kerengaya, that the other Elders in the MTC just can't handle it! ("Kerengaya" is Indonesian MTC slang for "swag". Josh would appreciate that one.) We work so well together, but we also have a lot of fun too! Elder Murphy is the pusat (center) of all our jokes, and being the Irish Mexican of the group, he can dish them out with some authority too! Elder McCleary is just a huge goofball. When we were playing basketball yesterday during gym time, he shouted "Menerima Ember!!" (I get buckets!) when he drained a threeball. Elder Blaser is like CJ Madsen jr. He's got perfect pitch and has really picked up the language fast! Elder Wood is pretty cool, and Elder Heiner is our district leader. Elder Kyle is just a work horse. Anytime we're at lunch, he's got his Indonesian dictionary learning new words and phrases. Elder Gil is a small Puerto Rican from Miami and has struggled some with the language (haven't we all?) but he makes up for it with his incredible Spirit! Sister Jibson and Sister Sheffield balance us out. Without them, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't learn nearly as much Indonesian. I really wish you all could come down to the MTC so you could meet them, but there's some rule against that. For some reason.
We had Elder Russell M. Nelson come to our devotional on Tuesday!! Our teachers said we were extremely lucky to have an Apostle from the Lord during our first week, and I definitely feel blessed! Something Sister Nelson said reminded me of what Dad said during the father's blessing he gave me. She said that not only will people and my family on earth be praying for missionaries, but the ancestors and family of the people I will teach are praying that I will find their relatives too! Elder Nelson gave such a great talk, and when I get back in two years, I'll give you the whole run down, but he said Having Character is more important than Being one. Sounds like John Wooden. He also said that he put his whole faith and trust in us when he gave his "Ask a Missionary" talk last Fall General Conference. And now, we have to step up and act the part in not only bringing nonbelievers to the truth, but helping members too. Dah, he said so many good things! I'll probably slip a few more things he said in in future emails.
We did indeed get ice cream on Wednesday. And Sundays. I'm sure Matt was wondering. And I've gained a whopping 1 pound since I've been here!! Aren't you proud?? I've been eating a ton! I just can't seem to gain any weight... It's not like we've been climbing mountains, exercising, or even walking to lose any weight. We've just been sitting in class all day!! Matt, I need help. :)
I've run into Elder Nathan Peters a couple of times! He's pretty much a native of Brazil now. He can speak Portuguese so well, it's ridiculous. And no, he hasn't gained any weight yet. He's still the yuppie I remember him to be. :) Which is good. He should get his reassignment soon and I'll let you know as soon as I know.
I've got some more exciting news!! Besides that we're moving into Raintree at the end of the month, but I'm running out of time, so I'll just tell you through written script. :)
Saya mengasihi semua! Dan saya tahu bahwa Allah mengasihi anda juga!!
Let me know any questions you have! :)
Love you all!
-Elder Barroos
I'd love to hear from individual family members too. :)

Mom's Note:  I just happened to be on the computer when I got Seth's email, so we sent a message or two back and forth. He said it's better to send snail mail or dear elder mail while he's in the MTC. He said he'd try to figure out how to attach pictures to an email and send some next week. So, looks like Thursday is PDay! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013


The first letter from the MTC arrived today. Seth wrote it on the 8th, mailed it on the 10th and it arrived today (the 11th)! That's pretty speedy mail! It was also a wonderful Mother's Day present, since we don't get to talk to him tomorrow. He sent a letter to the family and one just to me to wish me Happy Mother's Day.

Excerpts from both:

"Sooooo, I share my floor with a ton of awesome Polynesians and they're having this contest right now where they do a handstand and try to knock each other other. So I'll try to churn out an inspiring letter, but I guess we'll see. :)

The rumors are true! The two elders that picked me up too me to my room, and then they dropped me off in my classroom where nothing but Indonesian was being spoken. I kept telling myself "Just smile, nod, and act like you know what they're saying, and listen." If there's one thing that I learned today, it's that I need to become a better listener. Because from that first class session and from another exercise where three "investigators" asked the audience legitimate life questions, I've learned to really care about the people I talk to so I can answer their questions and speak from the heart.

It's been an overwhelming first day, but seeing Elder Peters and a couple other people from high school and college helped me out. Elder Murphy is my companion or "Rekan" and he's way tight! He's a short guy, but he could probably beat me up, so it's a good thing he's the nicest guy in the world. I'll send pictures during my first P Day next week.

It's really weird, Mom, but Sister Sheffield is like an exact replica of you if I could have seen you as a missionary. Totally weird. She's always optimistic, upbeat, a tad sarcastic, and even snorts when she laughs, like you.

I wish I had a bit more time to write, but they have us busy from 6:30 am until 10:30 pm, doing stuff. The gospel is the reason I'm out here. I want the Indonesian people I teach to be able to have the absolute pure joy I've had with my eternal family through the blessings of the temple.

The Church is true!!!! If it wasn't, I have no idea why 3,000 18-21 year olds would come together to prepare to go out into the world. I'll hopefully send more letters with substance and spiritual content, but today's been one huge blur. I love you all and will make you and the Lord proud!

Saya Mengasihi  onda! Saya tahu bahwa keluarga saya adalah kekali! (I love you! I know that my family

is eternal.)

Semoga Sukses!
Elder Barrus

PS I think I'm here until July 8th. 9 weeks. I might need some reinforcement fruit snacks before then. Seriously, those things have been manna from heaven so far. "

Sister Sheffield is related to me--her great grandpa and my grandma are first cousins, so I guess the genes are pretty strong!!! Even down to snorting while laughing!

The traditional picture in front of the MTC

The host elders help him with his suitcases and he's off. Then turns around for one final picture.