Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

All of my short sleeve white shirts were dirty, so this is me wearing my long sleeved one trying to act cold. Brrrr!
We got ready for church yesterday and walked out the door to a thin layer of this fluffy white stuff. My first reaction was that the Second Coming is nigh and upon us as we speak. At church, President Rxxxx explained that there was no need to get so excited. It was just volcanic ash from Mt Sinabung erupting or something. Nonetheless, the song never specifies how to have a White Christmas; whether it's snow or volcanic ash, it's all the same right? Haha! Just as a precaution, we get to wear these sweet dental masks whenever we go out on our bikes. 

(This is a picture of Mount Sinabung. Eight more eruptions occurred on Sunday, closing the Medan airport. Don't worry though, the volcano is about 55 miles away from Medan where Seth is serving.)

We'll be going to Elder and Sister Tucker's apartment for Thanksgiving and cooking dinner. President Donald gave us permission to switch our P-Day from today to Thursday but still email today. 

As far as the actual missionary work goes, it was a pretty mysterious week. Mysterious because from Monday to Thursday, we had pretty close to zero success. It was awesome. Appointments fell through, we couldn't teach Toyo and Roni the whole week because their mom was out of town and didn't want us over when she wasn't there, and our bikes kept breaking causing us to have to cancel appointments. Humbled me pretty hardcore. And frustrated me. Elder Sxxxxxx and I started flipping through the Area Book just calling up every one that had a number and name. 

But, we ended up having a really great day Saturday that culminated in us meeting Bang Axxx and Bang Exxxx. Do you remember Bang Pxxxxx? He used to live in a kos with about 15 other people and we happened to have one of their numbers. We called him up and met last Saturday and weren't quite ready for what ended up happening. We talked about the Restoration and invited them to church to witness a baptism. Bang Axxx was the only one that came, but after the service, I asked how he felt and he said "senang". (happy) I was kinda joking when I asked if he wanted to be baptized himself. He laughed and nodded and I didn't think about it again. Later that night, we met up again to follow up with him. Bang Axxxx brought up the baptism and out of the blue said "I know that many churches follow Christ and try to do what's right, but I felt that baptism in your church is the best way." Man, that's why being a missionary is so awesome. You can have an absolutely depressing couple days, still work hard, and then have one thing happen that makes everything better. They both are from Nias and are going home to see their family during the month of December. But they want to meet starting in January and be baptized then. 

I'm humbled again and again in realizing this is the Lord's work and as I work through His ways he's given me, I will find success. It's like the account in Luke 5:5-6 where the fishermen, soon to be apostles, were trying so hard to catch fish and couldn't for whatever reason. As soon as they tried the Lord's way, they had so many fish it sank their boat. We had 66 people come to church yesterday. President Rico said that's the most that's ever come since May of 2012. The Church is true!! 

Youth from the branch after a futsal activity. This is why I love Medan so much. There are SO MANY YOUTH! 

President Rxxxxxxx, the Medan branch president. He and his wife Exxxxx are so great and are a big part of why the church in Medan is growing so fast. 

I wish I could write about everything that's been happening. Or describe how the last 3 months have been in Medan without using any missionary cliches. But anytime I try to do so, I can't come up with the words to describe how great it is. That's why the last 3 months have been quite literally the best 3 months. I like being a missionary. It's fun!
Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Look out! The outside of the durian fruit is quite sharp--making it bad for you both inside and out. Stinky!!!!

We gave some white shirts and ties to Rxxxxxx and Txxxxxxxxxx. You should have seen their faces--they lit up like a Christmas Tree! They were so excited! I know you can't tell by looking at them. I promise, they really do smile and laugh. It's just an Indonesian thing when they get their pictures taken. They don't smile.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Where Is Winter?

Selamat Pagi Semuanya!

The sun is shining. And it's not snowing. That's about it for the weather report from Medan today. As far as a missionary report, things are going great! It's funny how the Lord blesses His missionaries as they do what they're supposed to be doing. 

I told you about Txxxx and Rxxxx last week right? Total miracle that we found them. It's been another miracle in the sense that they have been prepared by God to receive the restored Gospel. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and The Gospel of Jesus Christ last week and the whole time we've been teaching them, it's like we're teaching an "investigator" from the MTC. Seriously. They both keep their commitments, read their homework, and say "Yes" to anything we want them to do. It's awesome! Elder Sutadiyono gave them a baptismal commitment for the 15th of December. Even though BP moved and things aren't working out with Axxxxxx (our other investigators), the Lord still blesses His missionaries with people to teach. With Jonathan, Josh, and Micah all in Utah right now, I really feel like Txxxxx and Rxxxxx are my little brothers. I've grown to love and appreciate them so much especially since their situation is so difficult. Yet they make the best out of their situation and even smile about it. I'll take a picture of them this week and send it the next. 

Do you remember Sxxxxxx from Surabaya? Elder Hendro and I gave him a baptismal commitment for the 27th of September but it never happened because he never came to church, that rebel. But, I got a phone call last week from his mom, Ibu Yxxxxx, who said he wants to be baptized and wants me to fly back to Surabaya and do it! I asked President Donald and he said "nope". No surprise there, but some fun news to get.

Fun story: we met up with this guy who is a self proclaimed "pengInjil" or preacher. He hasn't been to church in 14 years because he believes that churches are built by man and when the Savior comes again, all the churches will be destroyed. So what's the point of coming to church? He's a little weird. We got to talking with him and he said he had just gotten out of prison. We were kinda surprised to hear that. He explained that he tried preaching about Jesus to our good friends, the Muslims, and that he preached with such great power and testimony, they had no other choice but to throw him in jail. Ha ha! There's some weird people here in Medan. But they're mostly good people, I promise.

I've been thinking a lot about the doctrine explained in Alma 37:6-7 about small and simple things. Sometimes we get so caught up in thinking about the big picture we get depressed and forget about the little things we should be doing. It's great to have a goal in mind to give you motivation. But if we expect to see the big things happen automatically, we'll constantly fall short. We hear this ALL THE TIME. Yet, it's so important to our well-being. Read your scriptures every day. And pray every day.

Makasih banyak atas dukungan anda dan doa-doa anda! Saya tahu bahwa kerja ini adalah akibat dari saya, Allah, dan bantuan anda. Sampai minggu depan! (Thank you so much for your support and your prayers! I know that this work is a result of my God, and your help. Until next week!)

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pacman tire

Weird yet awesome week. Update on the investigators first: We met with A last week and he seemed pretty serious about his baptismal commitment, but he didn't come to church yesterday. So we're going to have to push his date back. And that's okay. Yang penting, dia siap.(Importantly, he is ready.)  Our other investigator with a baptismal commitment seemed really serious about his date last Tuesday when we met. When we tried calling him to make sure he could meet on Saturday, he said he had already moved to Surabaya. Say wha...? He was so golden too! Oh well, we gave his info to the Surabaya Elders and hopefully he still progresses there.

New investigator though! Last Monday, we had two appointments cancel on us. So Elder Sutadiyono and I were scrambling to find someone. We looked through our phone and found a name "Ibu Tidak Tahu Namanya" or "Woman that doesn't have a name." What the heck, we tried anyway. She sent us the address of her "house" which we thought was on the east side of Medan. After biking the 30 minutes out to to what we thought was her address, we called and she said she lived on the west side of Medan. Dang. So we backtracked and tried finding her again. After getting lost and kinda frustrated, I told myself, "Just change your attitude Elder Barrus. Because if she's this hard to find, she'll become that much more of a great investigator." So I did! And we finally found her by 8:45 PM. Enough time to give a Book of Mormon and see her situation. Her name is Ibu M. She used to be Charismatic, but the church moved really far away and she hasn't been to church in a year. She has two sons, Roni and Toyo, who are really interested to learn from us. Her husband passed away 14 years ago. She doesn't seem too interested, but she basically gave her children to us. They're really cool too! I'll fill you in later when we know more after this week.

H received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday! And he's still great! He invited his friend to come to church yesterday and he came!

Elder Sutadiyono is a great companion. We were biking over to Elder and Sister Tucker's apartment to help them set up their internet last Wednesday, when he got clipped by a car and fell to the asphalt. The driver looked out and then drove off. I was in front and turned around to see him walking up the sidewalk with a bent tire and broken pedals. I asked him if he was okay and he said "My tire like Pacman now." Ha ha! And he was right! The rim was all bent. He ended up being okay and there were a bunch of security guys lounging around that helped him fix his bike (because his comp was a bule). And we were off again. Great companion Elder Sutadiyono is.

I think durian is looked at as a challenge for missionaries to like. The stuff is trash. It's 15,000 Rupiah for just one fruit and why anyone would want to spend that much to throw up is beyond me. Even the Indonesians all said after eating it "biasa aja" or "it's normal." Gross. it needs to be against the Word of Wisdom. There's a story that went around the mission where an elder ate a ton of durian and received the sensation like he was "drunk". Needless to say, after 8 pieces of durian, I told my companion to stop. Ha ha!

No matter our position in life, we all can accomplish the things we've been asked to do through strength in the Lord. Romans 4:20-21. There's my spiritual thought.

See you all next week! (We haven't felt any effects from the typhoon. Btw.) Prayers go out to all the people affected by it though.

Elder Seth Michael Bule Barrus

PLD or Zone Conference
President and Sister Donald are in the front on the left after the Indonesian couple
and Elder and Sister Gong are to the right of them.
Can you spot Seth?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Email yang dikirim dari Elder Barrus setiap minggu

(The heading means "Emails Sent from Elder Barrus Every Week".)

Elder Murphy, his companion, Elder Broberg and Seth in front of their house
in Medan waiting for a taxi to the airport when Elder Broberg was transferred.
No one here in Medan knows about Halloween, so all of the bule (white) missionaries put together a Halloween activity last Thursday that included a lesson about Family History (ghosts/dead people... get it?), musical chairs, jack-o-lanterns made out of watermelons, bobbing for apples, an egg roll race, eating masakan padang, and eating lots and lots of candy. Because what else are you supposed to do on Halloween? We had a great turnout and had a lot of nonmembers come too! I'll attach a few pictures later. 

As far as the actual work of God goes, H. was confirmed yesterday! I've got such faith in him especially after he got up and bore his testimony that he knows this Gospel is true because of how many changes he's made in his life. Man, he's awesome. He's really willing and ready to fully embrace this gospel. We talked about what's next after his baptism and confirmation and brought up receiving his own endowment in the temple, receiving the priesthood, and maybe even serving a mission.

We put President Donald's challenge to the test (about how teaching the Atonement invites the Spirit) with one of our investigators named A. We taught him after English class and held up a picture of Christ in Gethsemane. He actually had only a small idea about what happened there. So we read the account in Luke 22 together and just waited for him to explain to us how he felt. I expected him to be confused or ask questions but instead he asked "Brother, saya mau menerima awal yang baru. Bagaimana saya bisa melakukan itu?" or, "Brother, I want to receive a new start. How can I do that?" Probably the goldenest (not a word) question I've heard so far on the mission. We invited him to be baptized on the 24th of November and he accepted.

God has been so generous to us as missionaries here in Medan in placing so many prepared people in our paths. Reminds me of what the Lord explained to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in D&C 100:4 where we have really been called to this place for the salvation of souls. Not by chance or luck, but called to this place. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for me and my sins and that's why He knows perfectly how to help me and the people I teach. I'm so grateful for that and want to share it with everyone. But we'll start with the good people of Medan first.

I've started sleep talking... Elder Murphy said he got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night one time and as he walked back in, I sat up and said "Hi, kami misionaris dari Gereja Yesus Kristus dari Orang-Orang suci zaman Akhir. Kami percaya bahwa keluarga dapat kekal selamanya." If I start proselyting in my sleep, is that a good sign?

Tell Micah I watched the little 5 minute clip on mormonnewsroom.org  about the 100 Years of Scouting program and saw him helping another scout up a wall or something. I saw Eric, too. Tell him hello for me. :) Tell Ricky thank you for his letter too. He sent me one about three weeks ago and I haven't had time to get back to him yet. Is he doing okay? He's in Colorado right? Oh, my glasses are okay. I use them all the time for personal study and companion study. But I can't wear them while I ride my bike. I can see better without them while riding. I'm wearing them right now as I email...
Well, better sign off. We are going out to buy durian. Apparently it's durian season for Medan and only in Medan can you find good ones. Apparently. They all STINK whenever I bike past them! 

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Regarded by many people in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", the durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The flavor is described as a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds
The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as pleasantly fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as rotten onions, turpentine, stale vomit, skunk spray and raw sewage. The persistence of its odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

(from Wikipedia)