All the elders and sisters serving in the East zone---so Medan, Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Bekasi, and Tangerang came together for a big missionary meeting with President and Sister Donald as well as the Area President over Asia, Elder Gong and his wife. It's called PLD. It was probably one of the most faith-promoting and excitement-building meetings I've ever attended. Elder and Sister Gong brought a great spirit with them and you could definitely tell they were called to be an area authority over Asia at this time. They emphasized truly caring for the people we teach and meet. They emphasized the Book of Mormon and how every person accepted Jesus Christ before coming to this earth. The Book of Mormon will help them realize that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is really Christ's Church and God's Kingdom in these the latter days. President Donald emphasized that when we ask for referrals and get help from members, to ask them about their goal of building a temple. Because it's a universal goal for every member in Indonesia to build a temple. They just don't quite know that it involves quite a bit of work on their part for it to happen. But it'll happen! Ahh, I wish everyone could have come and taken part in the meeting. It was crazy cool!
Last week, Elder Broberg and I flew to Jakarta, where he started his new area, and I picked up my new companion, Elder Sutadiyono from Bogor. He's cool! He wears these thick red glasses and is a total hipster. But a hard worker. I'm a fan of that. :) We flew back Thursday night and started work Friday. Not that cool of a week as far as teaching goes, but there was a lot of preparation and progress. We even gave a new investigator a baptismal committment for the 24th of November. Yay! God keeps blessing us, it's cool how it works. His name is B.P. and he's originally from the island off of Sumatra, called Nias. He has the most "real intent" of any investigator I've ever taught. We'll see how things turn out over the next few weeks.
Even cooler was this last Sunday where H made the decision to be baptized with the proper authority from God. He's such an example to me. About 5 minutes before Sacrament meeting started, he hadn't shown up yet and I started to get a little worried. Then he showed up with about 10 of his friends behind him, ready to come and support him. He had invited almost every single one of his roommates and a few of his college friends!! Medan is going to grow. It's got so much potential! This last Sunday, not only H was baptized, but C, a 14 year old girl from a part member family, as well as S, Elder Marsudi and Murphy's investigator. Is this how South American missionaries feel all the time?? Elder Gong mentioned something as we talked today that made me realize the divinity of this work. He mentioned that if Indonesia is going to grow, it will take Energy coupled with Focus and Faith for the work to move forward. As much as I can work hard and teach a million lessons a week, the work won't go anywhere if I don't invite God's hand into the work we do here.
I'm being plenty blessed here, I hope you all are being equally, if not more, blessed. To end this week's letter, I bring up 2 topics that will always invite the Spirit into lessons. The first is obvious because it's the First Vision. It's something that is so true, it's almost impossible for someone to deny if they really listen to the Spirit. The other is the Atonement. I hadn't really thought of that before until we role played with Elder Gong teaching about it in 5 minutes. I am so grateful for my Savior and His Atonement. I likewise have a testimony of the Book of Mormon because it testifies of Christ, who I know is the Redeemer of all mankind. So that means the Book of Mormon has to be true. I wish you all could "come and see" the great work that's happening in Indonesia right now. But maybe just "read and think" from my emails. Whichever.
Elder Seth Michael Barrus
(Answering Mom's questions):
1. When did you find out you'd be training?
I learned there might be a possibility I would be training from President Donald's email a few weeks back. I just didn't think it would be this fast. I thought he would wait until December for the new Americans to come in.
2. How is your new companion?
Elder Sutadiyono is great! I apologize for not sending pictures, but I'm emailing in Jakarta and don't trust the warnet here as far as viruses go. Next week!
3. How were your first few days with him?
First few days were great. His bahasa's good. He comes from a strong family in the church.
Sounds like the fam had quite the Halloween! There's a ward Halloween party this Thursday hosted by the missionaries and members. WIsh us luck! I think Halloween might be a cleaner holiday. Hari Raya Idul Adha was gross. It turned all the disposal rivers brown and red. Gross right? Sadly, we don't live close enough to the Masjid (mosque) to get any of the meat. But that's okay. We eat pig meat pretty often here, so i get my meat fix.