|Merry Christmas! Love, Elder Barrus at the beach!|
I'm excited to talk to you face-to-face. The missionary couple here, the Tucker's have said we can use their "speedy" internet to skype our families. I'm pretty stoked about that. Other than that, the only thing I have to get me in the Christmas spirit is my Kurt Bestor Christmas CD. I do want to hear from everyone what they're doing--basketball games, concerts, shopping, brotherly kindness and shoveling.
Txxxx and Rxxxx are awesome. By the time you get this letter, they should already be baptized and enjoying all the blessings that come along with that. Even though they're so poor, they are always SO happy, even when I make fun of their names and call them "Toyota" and "Macaroni". They're good sports! I wish you could have seen how their faces lit up like a Christmas tree when we gave them white shirts and ties. That was all. 2 shirts and 2 ties, but they received it like we gave them a brand new car! It's made me wonder why I can't be grateful for the many, many things I've been blessed with. It's also made me become grateful for the things that really matter: family, our Savior Jesus Christ, the restoration of His gospel, the scriptures, and my own personal knowledge and testimony. That's all Txxxx and Rxxxxx have and they're happy, so why can't I be happy with that! I'm really grateful for you all, especially you, Mom and Dad. I love you all and pray for you almost each day.
I'm already a firm believer in "no coincidences" and with this second story, I've become a firm believer in angels. Have I seen any? Nope. But they're helping Elder Sxxxxxxx and I. We were out contacting one day and decided to go to Grammoedia to buy some colored pencils. As we were leaving, we heard something we hear about a hundred times a day: "Hi Mister!" Notwithstanding the "genericness" of the introduction, we responded to the woman who said it. Her name is Rxxxxx and she's a 22 year old woman. We made an appointment to meet with her the next Wednesday. When we showed up, her mom was there and Rxxxxx explained to us how her brother, who is a pastor in Jakarta, told her to "find the best way to Christ". She's been out of work for awhile and has been looking for jobs and interviewing anywhere she can. She ended up at Grammedia that one Monday for an interview. As she was getting ready to leave, she saw 2 studly-looking men in white shirts and ties, and (in her words) "an angel told me 'talk to the Bule.'" (Bule means foreigner). Then she told us, "I hope this is the best way because I feel that it's right." That was a cool and humbling experience for me. Whether or not she chooses to act on the answer she's been given is her decision, but we have given her "a more excellent way", as explained in 1 Corinthians 12:31.
Why is this important? Because the Savior explained in Matthew 7:21 that "not everyone who saith 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father in Heaven." It is nonetheless an awesome confirmation that our work is the work of God and we get to take part in it as we work hard and seek His will. Angels are helping us!
I want to share a fun spiritual tidbit I've learned on my mission about the gift of the Holy Ghost. We as members of the church have all received this Gift (Christmas tie-in there ), but like President Uchtdorf share in conference, are we living beneath our privileges? Do we seek power and guidance from on high as we work hard. To illustrate (who am I? some institute teacher now? ha ha! just kidding, Dad), we read in Luke 5:5 of the soon-to-be apostles explaining to Jesus that they have "toiled all night and have taken nothing." My first reaction was "Duh, because you were working after 10:30 pm! #obediencewithexactness" Verse 5 explains that they responded to Jesus, "Nevertheless at Thy word, we will try". When they cast their nets where Jesus told them, their nets broke because there were so many fish! What changed? At the Lord's word they succeeded. As missionaries, we can work our tails off every day, but if we don't seek and ask for the Lord's direction, and then follow it, we will lose out on bigger blessings. How do we know the Lord's way? Through the power of the Holy Ghost, which we all have access to. This is one Gift I'm really grateful for this Christmas season.
Because a mission is both really spiritual and really fun, time for the fun stuff:
*I'm getting crazy fat! It's awesome! I'm up to 86.3 kilos. (190 pounds) You would think biking and sweating everywhere and only eating rice and noodles would make me lose weight. Nope. Total mystery.
*We teach Jxxxx and Sxxxxx, 2 members from a 7 member family. All the kids are members. The parents are not. Their dog had puppies, so the last few times we've taught them, we've had little dogs biting and scratching anything from my bag and socks to my scriptures. Annoying cute little things.
*Even with bug spray, I get eaten alive by mosquitoes at night. Thank you, Mom for the "anti-itch" gel you gave me before I left. It doesn't happen when we're sleeping, but when we're doing our daily planning at night.
*Indonesia is the second biggest facebook user in the word, just behind the United States. Almost everyone we teach asks us for our facebook names. President Donald is looking into how we can use facebook for missionary work.
*Medan might lose a set of missionaries by January because President wants to build up Surabaya.
*Indonesia has open sewer lines on both sides of the road, which also means open and free outhouses all the time. Many a time have I seen people relieving themselves on the side of a busy road. Welcome to Indonesia!
Saya bersaksi ketiko kita mencori kehendak Bapa Surgowi melalui bisikan Roh Kusus, kita akon menemukon itu. Saya tahu bahwa melalui Pendamaian Yesus Kristus, kita bisa kembali ke hadirat Bapa Surgawi. Poda musimlini, saya songat bersyukur atos Jeruselamat saya don kosih nya bagi kita semua. Sayaharap kita memperilotkon kasih ini kepada semua orang. Walaupun saya songat jauh Hari Natal ini, saya selalu mendoadon onda Kalian don akon meni kmati centa anda dari sona desini.
I hope and wish you all a Merry Christmas!
Elder Seth Michael Barrus
Luke 2:11 "For unto you is born this day a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord."
|Elder Mxxxxx Elder Barrus Elder Sxxxxxx Elder Murphy (everyone thinks he's Pakastani, and I have to admit that he does look Pakastani in this picture)|
|Elder Sxxxxx and I|