Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, August 5, 2013

Welcome to the Hotel Surabaya

Selamat Sore Semuanya!

We taught English Class with the Andersons at this hotel in Surabaya last week. Hence the title. I hope everyone's had a great week! I really am grateful for your prayers and support all the way from around the world! That's the cool thing about prayer is that there isn't a distance restriction. :) 

I've started to sleep talk again, but this time in Indonesian! I don't know what it means, but hopefully it's good right?? I sat up from my mattress on the floor one night, turned to Elder Hendro and asked "Bagaimana saya tulis itu??" (How do I write that?) Elder Hendro freaked out for a second and then said "Anda tidak perlu Elder". (You don't need to Elder). I replied with a "Sip" (Cool) and went back to bed. I hope it means I'm improving! 

There was an experience at church yesterday that proved to me how much I've improved but also how much I'm still (and should always be) dependent on the Lord. Because it's Lebaron, a country wide holiday where everybody goes back to their lands of origin and parties with their family, we couldn't get any of our investigators to church. Lidya's family lives in Sidoarjo, and wanted us to come to the sacrament meeting there, but before that, we attended our meeting in Surabaya Timur. Elder and Sister Anderson showed up which meant I got to translate for them! I've found I enjoy translating more when there's one or two or three speakers, instead of the 13 or so during fast and testimony meeting, because I can get used to how they say certain words and things like that. 

I started off translating and felt pretty good until about 10 minutes left and this one good brother stood up and started speaking, but he speaks so fast and has such a strange accent to me, I can't understand a thing he says usually. After him, another lady stood up, who's originally from China, and shared her testimony, and the only thing I caught was "in the name of Jesus Christ amen". I got pretty discouraged about that, and apparently it continued into Sunday school too because there were periods of 10 or 15 minutes where I wasn't able to say a thing to the Andersons and I felt so bad!  I had kinda given up and felt frustrated with myself that I hadn't been able to help  them like I should be able to. Elder Anderson is such a saint though, he tried so hard to understand and follow along the lesson on his ipad. But I was of no help. It made stop and wonder why. Why couldn't I understand? 

I realized it was mostly because of my attitude. Instead of getting frustrated or flustered with myself, I need to calm down, say a quick prayer, and invite the Spirit into what I'm hearing and saying. I apologized to the Andersons and as we left, they said they would pick us up around 3 to head to the Sidoarjo unit for Sacrament meeting. The unit there meets in a hotel room they rent out and it's so small, and there's only about 13 members that attend usually, but the Spirit is so huge there! I was humbled. Who knows if it made me humble, but it was humbling. While the Sacrament was being passed, I said a quick prayer that I'd be able to translate. Not so I could feel good about how much Indonesian that I know now, but so I could help Elder and Sister Anderson. It's amazing what a difference that simple prayer made. Even though some people spoke really quietly or muffled their words, I was able to pick out the main point of every single sentence that was said. It was a 360  degree turn around and it's all because of a change of attitude and a simple prayer. The language here in Indonesia, Argentina, Europe, or anywhere in the world is nothing but a tool that the Lord to reach and help others. As soon as I realized that, I was able to help others out.

We didn't get to teach as much last week because of Lebaron, but I did get to go on an official companionship exchange with Elder Mocodompis, my District Leader who leaves in a week and a half. And I learned a ton! We didn't get to go contacting, but he taught me that when people ask me "Anda dari mana?" (where are you from?) I should take it as an opportunity to say that I'm from the Church of Jesus Christ and use a quick power statement. If the person is still interested in the message, they'll ask more about the Church and I'll be able to contact them. But if they're not interested at all, they'll usually follow up with "Bukan, anda asli mana?" (No, what place do you consider home?) I have to be super careful to never offend or push anybody too far, because I've found that Indonesians can get offended pretty easily. 

It's tough, but it's the most rewarding work that I can do. Especially when we find and get to teach people like Lidya!! She's luar biasa! Because she had that run in with her parents last week, she had a ton of questions when we met last Saturday. We had planned on teaching about obedience, but I think it was the Spirit that lead us as we taught her more according to her needs. As we started to do that, by reading passages of scripture and drawing upon our own knowledge and experience, the Spirit taught. Not us. Yah, we were the instruments, but I felt like it was the first time for me and Elder Hendro that we taught together through the Spirit according to the investigator's needs. That's really when missionary work begins. I shared a scripture from Joseph Smith History, I think verse 26 where it says that Joseph was confused as to why people hated him and persecuted him for saying he had seen a vision. He knew it, and he knew that God knew it, and he could not deny it. Even though we may face persecution, hatred, or even physical abuse for what we know to be true, it doesn't diminish the fact that we know the truth. And should stand by it till death. Lidya has been such a great example to me of that! 

Zone Training Meeting! The Elders here in Surabaya and Sidoarjo got to go to Malang, a city about three hours away, for ZTM! There we learned about the changes President Donald wants us to make, like how we get to use Facebook now for proselyting purposes (still don't know how that's gonna work), he wants us to carry around a Book of Mormon everywhere we go, and he wants us to look more modern by maybe buying and wearing a shoulder bag instead of a backpack. We also learned how important it is to give commitments to people while we teach them because it's such a key indicator as to whether or not they're serious and also to give them a choice to accept what we say or reject it. Yes or no. No gray area. :)

Saya tahu bahwa meskipun itu sedikit sulit kadang-kadang, itu paling harga untuk menemukan orang lain siap untuk menerima Injil ini yang Paling Bagus! Saya tahu bahwa kerja ini adalah kerja paling baik yang saya bisa melakukan untuk 2 tahun! Terima Kasih untuk semuanya dan saya masih berdoa untuk anda setiap hari!

Elder Barrus

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