Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, July 22, 2013


(Note from Sharon: This letter is from last week. I'm a week behind.)

Selamat Sore setiap orang!
I'm writing this kinda late because we just got back from the most epic Zone Trip ever. But first: more important items that pertain to the Gospel. I told you about Pak Sugiamto before (I think) about how even though he's a forever investigator, he's still super cool! For our visit last week, we gave a brief overview of the Third Lesson from PMG and I felt like it really was guided by the Spirit. We both figured it had been a while since he's been invited to be baptized, so I began my course to invite him to baptism. I asked him if he wanted these blessings of being baptized. And he said yes! But! He said he's not ready because he "hasn't read the whole Kitab Mormon yet". His response reminded me of something Neil A. Anderson said in his April 2013 Conference talk: "We respect each person's choice and timing... A person's lack of interest need not diminish our bonds of friendship and love." I think this totally applies to him! And everyone! We can't force anybody into baptism. It's totally their choice, even if it is the true choice.

 Anyhow, we went on our way and didn't think anything about it, until Sunday rolled around and who should show up but him! It was really neat to see and talk with him! The theme in Sacrament Meeting was Temples and Elder Hasibuan was the last to speak and he did a fantastic job! Mostly because he speaks slow enough so that I can actually understand him, but also because he's a great teacher. His talk sparked a lot of questions in the next hour "Gospel Principles" class. Only problem was that the teacher was someone who can't understand Indonesian questions very well: me! Thankfully, Elder Hendro and Hasibuan helped me out a ton! And through the lesson too because I got to teach about a subject I can hardly teach in English: The Millenium. Needless to say, there was a lot of reading from the book, but I think it went well. That was definitely a tender mercy from the Lord this past week.
Also, Dad wanted to know a little bit about how a typical day goes. So I'll do that today! The four of us wake up at 6:30 every morning, eat, shower, lift, whatever until personal study at 8. At 9 until 11 we have companionship study. After that, I'm allotted an hour from 11 till 12 for bahasa study, which is much needed. After that, we usually eat, either out on the street, or in our apartment if it's the middle of Ramadhan, and head out! We usually schedule an appointment for 2 oclock, either Ibu Ema, Pak Sugiamto, sometimes sister Lidya, Satriya, or someone like that. In between appointments, and yah, we bike everywhere, we've made a goal to stop and talk to everyone who calls out and yells at me "Hey Mister!" or "hey Bule!" We've given out a couple pass along cards that way, but no referrals yet. Keep trying! It's definitely difficult, but I'm reminded of the scripture in D&C 18 where the Lord says that "The worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God... If you were to labor ALL your days crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy!" I definitely feel like that's my motto right now. 

When we contact people, we usually get to know them a little bit and by doing that, we can usually tell what religion they are. If they're Muslim, we invite them to English class, tell them that we also believe in fasting, that families can be together forever, and if they have any Christian friends interested in our message. The answer for me has always been a polite no. But I keep telling myself I need to continue trying in order to find the one. At about 5 or 6, sometimes we have another appointment, or teach English class at 6 on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and almost always after, we try to meet with one member family. The Branch here is awesome! But for some reason, they don't have a branch correlation meeting. So it's really difficult for us as missionaries to get help with investigators or receive referrals without going out ourselves. So we do!  We return home after that, hold our daily planning session at 9 until 9:30, shower, brush our teeth, floss (Dr Boseman can be happy about that) , pray and go to bed. Oh yeah, and dad- we do get to use a cell phone for missionary work purposes. :)
Everyone knows that my bahasa Indonesia is not yet great, but apparently, my English is pretty good because a Muslim sister who always comes to English class, Ima, got me, Elder Murphy, Hendro, and Hasibuan to come teach at her Entrepeneur College.  No joke, its name is "Swastika Prima Entrepreneur College." I'll send a picture later. Let me tell ya though, if you ever want to feel like a total rockstar, go teach English as a Bule in Indonesia. Seriously, we were trying to leave because we had District Meeting at noon, but everyone wanted a picture with us. Haha! It was awesome! Real quick, while teaching, Elder Murphy and I got asked a question that threw me off so bad. We were helping them know the difference between informal and formal questions, and they were asking us more informal questions. So I was expecting questions about my pets, family, and stuff like that, when one Muslim sister raised her hand and asked "How you feel about Indonesian women?" Ah man! It threw me off so bad! It took everything I had not to crack up laughing. Essentially, we both kinda avoided the question, said that all Indonesian people are great and that Indonesian women can cook really well. Yup.
Whoof. My apologies for the long email. But I want to tell you about BROMO!!! I hope this is cohesive because at 10:45 last night, we hopped into Elder and Sister Anderson's car and headed to Bromo! We made it to the bottom of the resort at about 3 am in the morning, took jeeps up to the pinnacle of the mountain and waited for the sunrise, which was supposed to be awesome. But instead, it was just flippin' cold and rainy. I never thought Indonesia could be this cold! But all the Indos made me eat my words that I wouldn't get cold. Dang. 

Anyway, because it was all misty and hazy and stuff, we didn't get to see the sunrise, so instead, we went to the next coolest thing there which was this volcano thingy that smelled like Yellowstone. We concluded our trip with probably the most beautiful and most epic hike into this waterfall!! I hope I have enough time to send pictures, but it was sooooo cool!!!! It started out pretty normal, little hiking there, crossing streams and stuff. My flip flops broke, so at about half way through, I was just going barefoot. Not too bad. :) But there was a point where we literally had to walk underneath some waterfalls. I put my batik shirt I had just bought for Rp50.000 over my backpack that had my camera in it. My shirt got soaked, but my stuff stayed dry. Points for me! We made it to the very end where there was this way wicked waterfall that dropped maybe 100 yards from the top of this green floral scenery. I'm sorry! I"m trying to paint as good of a picture as it was, but maybe you should just see the pictures. :) After that, we all went home, but I couldn't sleep at all since the roads in Indonesia are nuts and always bumper to bumper. So tonight might be the best sleep of my life! 

But going on the Zone Trip with all the Elders and SIsters in my zone made me appreciate the creations and things of this world. Yeah, we can plant seeds and cultivate and make sure it's given everything necessary to grow, but it really is a miracle that anything grows. I think that can be applied to life too. We can nourish, and plant seeds and cultivate and fertilize the ground as much as we want and give someone every opportunity to come closer to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, but we can't force them. That's their own choice. But that doesn't mean we don't try. That's why I'm so impressed with all the missionary work you're doingin Palmyra right now! I know the missionaries who receive your referrals will be exceptionally grateful! Even though they won't know you personally, God will know the effort it took to cultivate each one of His seeds. And you get to take part in that! There's my Alma 32 in a nutshell. I love you all! I love hearing your Palmyra stories and other things that are happening! Every aspect of missionary work is needed! Even if you aren't a full time missionary. Sampai Minggu Depan!

Elder Barrus
From a Surabaya Warnet

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