Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, July 29, 2013

Surat yang setiap minggu (Letters Every Week)

Selamat Pagi semuanya!
It certainly sounds like there were quite a few people who had an awesome time in New York! I hope you all wrote in your journal about that because what I'm learning is that as the days have started to run by, I slowly forget what I did the previous week, but going back through my journal helps me remember fun little details I otherwise would have forgotten. Journal writing is paling penting! 

Seriously though, the weeks are starting to fly by! Some days feel pretty long and tiring, but when I start focusing on the work and how happy the work is making me, it seems to fly by. :) Elder Mocodompis was finally released from the hospital last Friday, but because he was in there all last week, there were constantly new companionship exchanges that happened. On Monday, I got to teach with Elder Kyle in Surabaya Barat, Tuesday I was with Kyle in my area, and the rest of the week I was back with Hendro. But Murphy was switching in and out with Kyle, Hasibuan, and Hendro. Just a weird week. :) But a good one! 

Mom. If you had any worries about my safety in Indonesia, there's no need. These guys got my back. :) Haha! seriously though, we ran into these guys at the Park, walking around with AK-47's, and we just started talking. 

We got to teach Lidya about the Sabbath day and anything we teach her, she gobbles up. She had a really trying experience yesterday after she attended church where her parents faced her and started asking her a ton of questions about our church. There's a phrase that a lot of Indonesians say to me or others when they talk about our church, it's "itu sesat!" basically meaning that "it's a cult right?" or "oh, it's the fallen church." Lidya was so great because she stood up for her testimony in the face of her parents! She's still planning on being baptized August 18th and will go to the church unit in Sidoarjo every Sunday after she's baptized. She just works in Surabaya during the week and it's more convenient to teach her then. She's luar biasa! 

Her experience reminded me of a quote from President Spencer W. Kimball. He said "You have a testimony! It needs building and lifting and enlargening. Every time you bear it, it becomes strengthened. Just tell how you feel inside. That is a testimony. The moment you being preaching to others, your testimony has ended." So true! It doesn't need to be long, but I've come to learn that we need to share our testimony more with others. Either through what we say or what we do through acts of service or examples to others. The building and strengthening happens personally and quietly during personal study and worship and the testing and true enlargening happen during times of trial. 

Both her and Satria, our other baptismal investigator, came to church yesterday and both got to witness a baptism of an 8 year old son of another member. I really think that's going to be good for them. As far as other teaching goes, we're trying to make more of an effort to reach out to less active members here in Surabaya because there are a lot. :) I asked President Muliono for a list of names we could visit and he gave me 5 families to visit this week. I'm hoping that goes well! It's really tough to find new investigators and people we can teach. 

There's a terminology here called the "Fish and the Bobs". The Bobs are people, usually Muslim who we teach and talk to so that we can find and teach their Christian friends. The Fish are those we get to teach and usually progress. I've been struggling with a bit trying to be really careful talking to people about Christ because I want to tell them that He is their redeemer too, not just those that believe in Him. I was thinking about this topic one day when I came across a scripture in 1 Nephi 13:41 and it says "there is one God and one Shepherd over the whole earth." It doesn't matter if they're Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Atheist. Every person will have to eventually decide if they're going to follow Christ or not. There is no other way because there's only 1 shepherd. I like that. :)

I also like that because we had the opportunity to teach a nice Muslim man, name is Mas Wahyu (funny tangent that "wahyu" in Indonesian means "revelation"). Anytime we teach a Muslim, we have to be really careful to only teach what they're interested in, and usually that's the family. We got to know him a little bit, he's 36, not married, is a product designer, and has a motorcycle. We know that because we got his information from the previous week's free motorcycle wash. We gave him "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" pamphlet and we read it together. He had some good questions and you could tell he was really engaged because he kept looking us in the eye and just seemed pretty interested. After we finished that up, he essentially asked "what else?" We took that as an "OK" to go ahead and teach a little bit more. He said that he had read the writings of Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad, and even the Bible. I asked him if he's ever heard of the Book of Mormon. He replied "belum" or not yet. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, explained a little bit about it, gave him a Restoration pamphlet to read, and we had to leave because we had another appointment that night. I thought it was a tad ironic, but really cool, because we taught him just on his "porch" in front of his mom's house and just down the street were congregating Muslim worshippers at a mini-mosque. The whole time we're teaching him, there's this Islamic call to prayer and here we are teaching him about Jesus Christ. It was cool! He told us he wanted to meet again and we want to meet him again because he seemed like a light had been lit up inside of him.

Oh yeah! And last Saturday, we got to go fishing with the Members. That was cool. I didn't catch anything, but it was good for Satria and Lidya to be out interacting with members in a relaxed setting to see that we're not all crazy. :) Elder Hasibuan caught a couple and so did Elder Murphy but I can't tie a worm on a hook to save my life.

Last quick thought before I end. President Kimball also said that "forgiveness is the miraculous ingredient that assures harmony and love in the home or ward." Forgiveness in and of itself is a huge principle and there's a lot you can cover. But I've learned here to start focusing on the good of other people, especially my companion. Because I've also learned that it's the people we know best that we get most frustrated with. Most importantly though is that we have the same purpose. If we let small differences get in the way of the work, we can't be a successful companionship. I've grown to love Elder Hendro as a brother even though we're from two completely different backgrounds. We're all united in Christ.

Wadu. Long letter. The Gospel is always true! We aren't always perfect, and heaven knows how imperfect of a teacher I am, but the Gospel is always perfect if applied in every aspect.

Sampai minggu depan! Terus Maju!
Elder Barrus

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