Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Friday, June 28, 2013

Birthday Brownies

Here's another note and picture from Sister Anderson in Surabaya:

Our weekly zone meeting...had brownies and sang 'Happy Birthday' to Elder Barrus.

Birthday Brownies at Zone Meeting

I have been marvelling all day at a "coincidence" I discovered. I emailed Elder Murphy's mom because I think it's unusual for he and Seth to be together in the same apartment after they were companions in the MTC. She happened to mention that her husband also went to Indonesia on his mission. I wrote back and asked her when, and it turns out that Elder Murphy's dad was in the MTC at the same time I was!

I've been reading my journal from the MTC and noticed I had mentioned the "Indonesian elders" several times--how great they were, how much fun we had with them, how jealous we were that they got to go to Indonesia, etc. So I pulled out my mission slides and found a picture of the six of them, hoping I could read their nametags. Well, I couldn't read them, but I could guess who Elder Murphy's dad was:

Elders going to Indonesia in the MTC September 1979.
Elder Murphy is second from left. Looks a lot like his son!
I also found a picture of me and my companions while we were in the MTC and sent it back and the elder Elder Murphy said that he remembered us--a threesome that had their call changed. It is SUCH a small world!

Sister Pate, me, Sister Bunker

"A coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous!"

I promise I won't post this often. In fact, I may not be able to post at all in the next month. There isn't any internet at the Hill Cumorah! Might have to go find a Starbucks or something...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Working Hard in Surabaya Already

We received these pictures and an email this morning from Elder and Sister Anderson--a senior couple serving in Surabaya.

Surabaya elders after motorcycle wash

Elder Murphy, his companion, Seth, Elder Hendro

Elder Anderson and I are currently serving as senior missionaries in the Indonesia Jakarta Mission and are assigned to serve in Surabaya and Sidoarjo.  We had the opportunity to meet your sons at the airport last night as they arrived in Surabaya and want to report that they are well and already speaking Indonesian much better than we are (we've been here three months).

On Wednesday mornings we provide a free motorcycle wash at the church as part of our community service...the picture was taken as we finished this AM!  We went together to have some great Indonesian food for lunch and then off to our various responsibilities!

We are excited to have the opportunity to serve with your sons...they have great companions who will teach them well!

Thank you for preparing them well....


Sister Anderson

Monday, June 24, 2013

Indonesia is GILA!

Looking bedraggled after 25 hours of traveling, arriving at the airport in Jakarta.

President and Sister Groberg

First lunch in Indonesia

Apa Kabar and Hello from the great land of Indonesia!!

To make the recap not so boring, I'll skip all the flying and stuff, because no one should be in a chair in the sky for 13 hours at a time. :) We arrived in Jakarta on Wednesday, (without our baggage. Lame.), slept at the mission home, and by Thursday, the missionaries assigned to the Jakarta area left with their companions.  The rest of us have to stay in the area until our Kitas arrive (permission to stay in Indonesia temporarily). So Elder Kyle and I have been staying with the AP's, Elder Yarkasi from Yokja and Elder Lee from California, here in the Mission Home for the last couple days. 

But! Exciting news! I fly out of Jakarta to Jawa Timur tomorrow to my first assigned area: Surabaya!! Everyone's been telling me it's super hot and I'll be riding bikes the whole time. #weightlossprogram. I'll be in the same house as Elder Murphy (companion in the MTC) and Elder Hasibuan. And my companion's name is Elder Hendro! Elder Yarkasi has told me that neither Hasibuan nor Hendro speak ANY English. I'm pretty stoked for that. :)

Indonesia is GILA SEKALI!! (Incredibly crazy) From the "ankots" (a minivan-like taxi with maybe 13 people squished in), to the "bajis" (three wheeled motorcycle box things), to the crammed busses in the middle of Macet (traffic), Indonesia is a tad bit different than West Jardan Utah,  to say the least. :) But the second night we were here, we went out and got a wrap with rice, chicken, tempe, and this green sauce thingy and it was soo good! The food here is amazing! A little spicy and a little crazy on the stomach, but definitely pretty good. 

So on Saturday, we went out to tract out a referral from China and so we hopped on a bus for three hours to a "little" town outside of Jakarta, took an ankot for another 30 minutes, and then walked another 15  minutes.  Aaaaaaaaand she wasn't home. It was kinda frustrating, but the scripture that says to "leave the 99 and find the 1" has taken on a totally new meaning. I was thinking about the positives from the whole experience (because it's lame to be pessimistic) and I thought "maybe that's how God feels with us sometimes." He goes the extra mile in wanting to bless and help us, yet sometimes, we reject his help. Even when he's knocking on the front door! (Or in my case, yelling "Permisi!!" from outside the gate) So I have made a goal to try and see the Lord's hand more in everything that I do. Happy ending to the story: we ran into two ladies on the bus and one invited us over for a lesson and the other wanted to come to English class! The Lord works in mysterious ways everybody. :) Look for His hand, and you'll find it. 

Church was awesome!! I didn't understand a single phrase they said! I think that Sister Anon (lady who knows Mary Ellen) spoke about the Word of Wisdom. I did catch that. And Elder Yarkasi taught about the Fall in Sunday School. And in Priesthood we talked about strengthening the family. But other than the main topics, no clue. I did get to play piano for sacrament meeting though. :) It was fun to be reunited with the ivory keys again! But it was a testament to me that the Spirit and the Church is the same no matter where you go. 

Wadu, this email's kinda long. But I'm extremely excited to be in Indonesia!! Thanks for the prayers because as much as I'm loving Indonesia, the teaching is kinda tough. It's good for me though. :) Once the teaching starts happening, I'll let you know, but as for right now, Sampai terus minggu! 

-Elder Barrus

Friday, June 21, 2013

Seth's Email Address

Here's Seth's email address:


Also, his snail mail address:

Jalan Senopati 115
Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta 12190, Indonesia

President Groberg sent us a letter and said that email is best. Letters take at least 10 days, and usually longer. (Although I have to say that an occasional snail mail letter is a wonderful thing when you're on a mission.) He also mentioned that package delivery is sporadic at best. They sometimes have to pay duty to get them, and sometimes they take 30 days, sometimes 90 days, and in many cases, they don't get them at all. They recommended just putting extra money in the missionary's bank account and letting them know so they can get what they want there in Indonesia.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

First Letter From the Land of Indonesia!

Hallo Everybody! 

'Twas so good to talk to you on... Monday? I think? It was so weird, the way that we traveled, we basically skipped Tuesday. As far as how the flight went, we made it to San Francisco about 1:20 in the morning and our flight to Taiwan was leaving the airport at 1:35. So we booked it through the airport to the international flights area and had to go through security again. We were all about ready to get through security when Elder Gil realized he didn't have a boarding pass. So Elder Wood and he ran through the airport trying to find a ticket counter that was open so they could print another boarding pass. They finally found one (total miracle), and we all took off from San Fran around 1:40 for our much looked forward to 13 hour flight. 

I'm definitely dwelling on the positives here, (from all the turbulence, I threw up around the 8 hour mark. Awesome!!) but we made it to Taiwan, planted a Kitab Mormon with a man headed to Indonesia, and after a 5 hour flight, we made it to the promised land!! We're all close to passing out, so I'll be brief. But our baggage didn't make it onto the plane headed to Taiwan, so they're sending all that hopefully to the Mission Home tomorrow at 3, and until then, we're chilling and contacting. :) Love you all sekali!! I'm sorry if this email didn't make sense. I'll answer all questions next Preparation Day (Monday?) Gereja Yesus Kristus adalah benar!!

-Elder Barrus

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Still Flying to Indonesia

We got to talk to Seth last night while they were at the airport waiting for their flight. About 20 minutes into our conversation, we noticed his flight had been delayed for about an hour. So he had to hang up and call Church Travel. They said not to worry unless it was delayed even longer, because then they'd miss their connection in San Francisco. But, they left at 11:13, instead of 10:51, so they must have made it or we would probably have heard about it.

Then he called us back and we probably talked for about an hour between both calls. He told us that he gave out 2 Pass Along cards on the FrontRunner on the way up to the airport. One of the sisters gave away a Book of Mormon! Then they ate at Cafe Rio. He's the flight leader, and so were Brandon and Matt. (Alphabetical order...) So, he was a little more nervous about that. 

They were flying to San Francisco, then to Taipei, then on to Jakarta.  They will arrive at midnight tonight, our time. It will be 1:00 pm Indonesia time on Wednesday. That means they'll have flown 25 hours! (Well, with 2 two hour layovers.) 

He said he really liked living at Wyview. It was quieter and less crowded and they had a few perks. They could go to the Creamery at Wyview, which is a little grocery store. They had a refrigerator in their apartment, so they could keep milk and ice cream and stuff like that. One of the elders was bummed because they had bacon up at the main MTC on Wednesdays, but not at MTC West, so the other elders found some bacon at the Creamery and some aluminum foil and they wrapped up a couple of slices in the foil and ironed it. He said it turned out great and the elder didn't complain anymore...

They had the Sunday Devotional at the Wyview Chapel and beamed it up to the main MTC, so that was fun. They had turned off the stoves and taken away the microwaves, so no microwave popcorn. He said the food was pretty good--the same as the main MTC, but not as many choices and no lines. And they got ice cream every day. Main MTC only has it on Wednesdays and Sundays.

He said again how great his district was and how much they enjoyed each other and helped each other out. He also sent a box with stuff he didn't need to take to Indonesia, along with his broken camera with the pictures on it that he took at the MTC, so I'll post a few. I asked him if he was nervous or worried about culture shock, but he just said, "No", that he was excited to go and start teaching. 

His desk at the main MTC. Note the fruit snacks--a favorite!

His dorm room at the main MTC. Double bunk beds.

Name tag

Looks like Becca's old apartment at Wyview.

Classroom at RainTree. Seems a little crowded--there are several classrooms in each apartment .

Covered in the contents of the birthday box we sent him. More fruit snacks.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Meeting President Donald

This is Sharon. Just had to share our fun experience! I sent this email to the other Indonesia Missionary Moms:

Tonight my husband and I met President Donald.(The Mission President who will be going to Indonesia the first of July.) My son-in-law's aunt (Eric) was the missionary who found him and taught him the gospel before he was baptized in Australia. He is staying with her and her family before they report to the MTC for the Mission President's Seminar this week and she invited us over to meet him and his wife. 

All I can say is, our missionary sons and daughters are in good hands. Both he and his wife were really amazing. And solid. I think that's the best description I can give. He shared his conversion story with us. 

He was on a surfing trip on the opposite side of Australia (in Perth) with his brothers and friends and had some experiences that really made him think about God. So, one day, he prayed out loud to find the true church. He had several experiences with the spirit and with God before he moved back to Melbourne, where the missionaries were tracting and he invited them in. He immediately recognized the spirit and when the missionaries said, "When you find out for yourself that these things are true, will you commit to be baptized?" he said, "Yes!" 

We were both impressed with his humility. President Groberg has been sending the missionary pictures and bios to him as he gets them so he can learn all their names before he gets there in a couple of weeks. I can tell that he loves them already. He worked in Indonesia for 2 or 3 years, so knows the language and he knew President and Sister Groberg then. 

Anyway, we were super excited to meet them and feel of their spirit! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Indonesia on Monday--the Final MTC Email

Seth with Elder Montgomery (his roommate at BYU)
Seth with Elder Geilman
"The District" GQ Version
Classroom at RainTree
Elder Murphy in front of Wyview apartment

Selamat Pagi everybody!
I hope you've had a nice peaceful week because we've had a pretty crazy one! We received our travel plans last Thursday. We fly from Salt Lake at about 9:50 PM to San Francisco, from there to Taiwan, and finally to Indonesia. I'll be calling home anywhere from about 7:00 to 9:30PM.  I wish I knew more specifics. :) Our Branch President handed us a stack of Pass-Along cards to give out in the airport too, and I can't wait to hand them out! I'm curious if Matt or Brandon ever did that. Anyone know? We thought we were going to take a van or a bus up to the airport, but instead we're taking Frontrunner from here to Salt Lake, and then Trax from there to the airport. 

This last week, we've been focusing on teaching our new Muslim investigator "Purwono" and it's been a huge learning experience for me because I've had the opportunity to try and teach him how much he needs Jesus Christ in his life as a Savior, not just as a prophet. It's really made me think about my purpose as missionary more and more: "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End." It's "Invite others to come to Christ." Even though the principles and doctrines of the Word of Wisdom, Joseph Smith, the Plan of Salvation, and keeping the commandments are important, if they don't have a belief of Jesus Christ, they cannot progress. He is central to everything we do. Those other principles help us have faith in Jesus Christ, but are not central to the message I'm sharing. I think I've shared this before, but Indonesian requires no conjugation of verbs. It's awesome! But in part because I can say "Yesus Kristus hidup!" and say these three things: Jesus Christ lived before, will live and love forever, but most importantly, he lives now. I'm sure it will only intensify once I get out, but my faith in Jesus Christ has grown so much!

For the Sunday night Devotional  we had the opportunity to hear a good brother from MTC Training speak and what he said really struck a chord in me. He said that that "the first couple moments with your investigators are essential in teaching." He explained that getting to know my investigators and those I teach on a personal level first is crucial in understanding the investigator's needs. It reminds me of a talk Elder Holland gave when he said "everything you'll need to know about an investigator can be found by looking into their eyes." The motto here is "Teach people, not lessons." But I never really understood quite what that meant because in Preach My Gospel, we have 5 lessons in Chapter 3 that we have to get across to our investigator before they qualify for baptism. He encouraged us to ask better questions to help understand where the investigator is coming from, such as "Do you intend to believe what we teach?", "What are your expectations in meeting with us?", and "What has been your experience with God before?" By asking those questions, we can mold the lesson to them. As I've tried to do that more effectively, I've gained a greater love and understanding of those I teach. I think it's a principle that we all could learn, no matter what stage of life we're in. Jesus himself asked questions of those who followed Him, making them look deep within themselves, then built off of what they understood, and then taught and used words when necessary.

(Kind of the only cool thing that's been happening have been the devotionals, so I'll write about those.) Sooo for Tuesday's Devotional, all the missionaries from the main campus combined with the missionaries from the West campus at the Marriot Center to hear Elder and Sister Arnold speak. It was like one huge ball of missionary firepower concentrated onto Jimmer's Court! Sister Arnold quoted D&C 123:17, saying that we need to "cheerfully do all things that lie within our power." Elder Arnold brought up 6 points on how to make your mission more successful in the Lord's eyes. He brought up as well that obedience to principles is what protects us as missionaries. As we're exactly obedient, the Lord will be able to work miracles through us.

So the reason I haven't told you about how much weight I've gained is because I haven't... gained. Since there isn't a scale at RainTree, we walked over to the gym on our Pday today to weigh ourselves and I am disappointed. I'm up to 184. And I was 179 going in. I seriously eat anything and everything 3 meals a day and haven't gained squat!! How did Matt do it?? Brother Rawle said he lost 40 pounds in Indonesia, so I was hoping to put on a little weight so I'm not a stick when I get back. Oh well.

I want to hear how teaching our neighbor Josh and his Grandma goes! I'm so excited for you all to get to experience something like that! :) I'll definitely be praying for you these next couple weeks. 

I love you all! I can't wait to talk to you!
-Elder Barrus

Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Departure Date--June 17th!

Halo Errybody!
Terribly funny story to start off with: Elder Murphy and I have been teaching our two investigators, John and Shinta, for about 2 1/2 weeks now. 2 days ago, we had the opportunity to teach John about how families can be together forever and the lesson was going so well! Before I get into it, I need to clarify: "Iblis" and "Istri" are two similar sounding words with completely different meanings. I said to John: "Saya perjanji bahwa anda bisa menjadi dengan iblis anda selamanya jika anda mengikuti Injil Yesus Kristus..." I almost kept going on, until I saw John get this slight grin on his face. It was one of those faces that I thought was "I feel the Spirit so strong, I'm starting to smile" faces when it actuality it was one of those "I don't quite think you understand what you just said" faces. I stopped and looked at Elder Murphy, who was already laughing his head off.  When I asked "what?", he leaned over to me and said "You just promised that he could be with his devil forever if he followed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "Iblis" means devil while "istri" means wife. At that point, all hope was lost for any semblance of a spiritual lesson as the three of us starting to laugh at my inability to speak Indo. Awesome.
Other than that, the language is coming really well! Elder Murphy and I are trying to add about 10-12 new words a day to our vocabulary. They hired a third new teacher just this last week. His name is Brother Rawle from Springville and it was a welcome transition because he speaks so flippin' fast! I'm hoping that it's good preparation for the actual mission. Especially since our district received some news this last week!! Apparently the MTC forgot about the Indonesian district (like we couldn't tell with the whole schedule mess up fiasco) and were wondering why we were scheduled to stay here for 9 weeks, while the Malays were scheduled for only 6. So last Thursday, they said our departure date is now June 17th instead of July 8th!! Ahh!! If anything, I feel bad for my companion, who set a goal to do 7000 pushups before he leaves the MTC. As of the latest release, he's doing 500 pushups a day to meet his goal. While his weak companion is currently up to about 30 a day. :) That being said, that kinda changes things as far as letters and packages go. I don't want anybody to have to pay 1,000,000 rupiah (about $100 USD) to send any packages. :) My new mailing address here at the MTC is:
Elder Seth Michael Barrus
2023 N. 900 E. Unit 811
Provo, UT 84602
Our zone is progressively shrinking. We added the Malagasy district about 2 weeks ago, but the Greek elders and sisters all left on Monday. They were all so awesome!! I wish I wrote about them more! They were all foreigners because Greece doesn't want any American missionaries in their country. It's kind of a pride thing. I wanna talk about two of them: Elder Mead was from England and we had some jolly good fun making fun of his accent as he made fun of ours. The other was Elder Martinez from Spain. This Elder was incredible! He only spoke Spanish before he came to the MTC, but he was learning Greek from English. So not only did he pick up the Greek language better than anyone in their district, he had to do it with extremely limited English! Let me illustrate how little he had: I can't remember what we were doing exactly, but Elder McCleary told Elder Martinez "Attaboy!" and Martinez didn't quite understand, so he replied back with "Cleary- you have a boy?? What do that mean?" Ooh! We had a good time with that. Another thing that made me chuckle was when we were all talking before Sacrament meeting one Sunday about where we thought we were going on our missions. We all kinda said weird places, but Elder Martinez said he wanted to go to Ohio because (quote) "I like the name. It just rolls off your mouth." We had some fun with that one!
Anywho, nothing really different has happened. Although for the Sunday Devotional, a man named Ted Gibbons came and acted like he was Williard Richards and he testified of Joseph Smith. It was really different from the standard devotional, but it really made me miss Nauvoo! I'm super jealous you guys get to go to Palmyra this year! I'm expecting quite a few pictures and stories when you go. :)
Tell Grandma Dottie happy birthday again for me! And tell Josh Semoga Sukses with those teeth of wisdom. 
One quick spiritual note: I started reading the Book of Mormon again with an emphasis on our Savior's Atonement. It's been extremely humbling to see how much the Atonement has a role in everything we do! His hand is in your life if you look for it!
I love you all! Thanks again for the letters and kasih! Punya minggu baik sekali!
-Elder Barrus