Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, January 27, 2014

God is good. Very good. (Allah baik. Sangat baik.)

Selamat pagi semuanya-

There were a ton of things that happened last week that I will remember for the rest of my life. Or at least I wrote them in my journal, so there's a chance right? There's no possibility I can write it all in one letter, but I'll include what I think is important and hopefully it's not so boring for you to read back home, or wher'er you may be. 

Last week was awesome because we had 2 solid investigators tell us to "jangan pernah kembali ke rumah ini." Or "never come back to this house." One of them told us to come by and retrieve the Book of Mormon and Restoration film, because she is Catholic, her parents died Catholic, and she will forever stay Catholic. It kind of was a downer. Sometimes people's free agency is the most frustrating thing to missionary work. But as a result of us trying to be humble, the Lord blessed us with different opportunities than we were expecting. 

We met with Brother Wxxxxxxx and taught about the Holy Ghost and it's role in guiding us to truth. Went well. But no major improvements yet, although they've started to pray together as a family. (In the Christian way).

There's a sister here in the Tangerang Ward that is engaged to a Muslim man. His name is Mas Bxxxxxx. He's come to church before we showed up in Tangerang, and even met with missionaries, but the Elders before us made the innocent mistake of mentioning we have a living prophet on the earth today. Aaand that made him back off because according to him, Mohammad was the "seal of the prophets". Can't be anymore. So he stopped coming to church and it's been tough to get ahold of him ever since. We asked his fiancee, Sister Dhian, if we could just come over to her house while he's there and we could just talk. Turned out to be a really great lesson! We shared about the Plan of Salvation and it was really interesting to see that the Mormon Plan of Happiness is eerily similar to the Muslim theology of life after death. Before a final judgement into one of the levels of heaven, they believe all spirits go to another world to await the judgement. It's called "Alam Roh". We put 2 and 2 together and became like a modern day Ammon teaching King Lamoni because his "Alam Roh" is exactly like what we call "dunia roh" or "spirit world". The only difference is the whole Paradise and Prison thing. Sister Dhian is a stalwart member who comes from an incredible family, and so before getting married to him, she wants him baptized. It'll just take a little time. 

For some strange reason, we're not finding a lot of success with Christians. So another solid investigator we have is Mas Txx. He is the boyfriend of another sister member here. He originally was Buddhist and from Tangerang, but went to a couple of Christian churches when he was in Australia. He's come to church multiple times, and yesterday, we finished up the Plan of Salvation. It's been really really really fun and satisfying to teach the Plan in such a simple and clear way so he can understand. Like when we taught that the Resurrection is not quite Reincarnation. If it was Reincarnation, when would God's plan end? How would we progress and become like Him? We had hoped to invite him to be baptized, but decided to wait. At the end of the lesson he said "Your Church is less extreme than the churches I went to in Australia. Yours makes sense. But give me time." So we will. :) 

God is preparing His children to be taught the Gospel. I know that's true in Tangerang. In a city of 4 million people, (totally made that number up) there's gotta be a few who want to know the truth. Our modern day Prophet President Monson said in last conference: "We are inclined to become impatient for a solution to our problems, forgetting the heavenly virtue of patience is required. The difficulties which come to us present us with the real test of our ability to endure. Shall I Falter or Shall I Finish?" We'll find them. Elder Sutadiyono and I have the faith to do so. We just need to be patient as we work hard. 

Last week was kinda rough, but I've learned that usually in my mission, the worst weeks are usually (or sometimes eventually) followed up with a great week. We're gonna keep trying.

I hope everyone is doing great! Selamat Hari Imlek this Friday! (Happy Chinese New Year)

Dengan kasih,

The Stronger the wind, the stronger the Trees,
Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Sunday, January 19, 2014

PLD and Elder Funk

Elder Sxxxxxxxxxxx, Elder Funk and Elder Barrus in Tangerang
(wearing long sleeves because the air conditioning is cold in the Tangerang chapel)

Hello. Hope everyone's doing baik (good)!

Last week was a great motivational week. Like those motivational posters you always see inside high school classrooms, just in meeting form. Last Tuesday was Jawa Barat's turn for PLD (Zone Conference) and we discussed and role played how we're going to accomplish our goal of getting a baptism every 3 months per companionship. Then, since President Donald is the best mission president ever, we watched Ephraim's Rescue and something that really stuck out to me was Ephraim's preparedness. When others were saying "I'll be ready next week or by this Thursday" he said he was ready to act and help NOW. As a missionary, we don't have the time to get worthy and to get prepared because the moments we need to act will always pass us by. Now is the time to get ready and be worthy. Good film.

We met with Brother Wxxxxxxxx last week with his family and for the first time since he's met with missionaries, he showed to us he's willing to try out the Gospel for himself. He committed to start praying with his family every night, even though he himself is Muslim. And even agreed to start comparing the Al'Quran and the Kitab Mormon (The Book of Mormon) to see if it's scripture. Definitely made some great progress there. Slowly but surely, his heart is starting to soften. (Brother Wxxxxxxx's son is serving as a missionary in another area in Indonesia.)

And lastly, Elder Funk came down from Hong Kong to his native missionary land (he served in Indonesia from 1971-1973) to hold a couple meetings with the priesthood brethren and stuff like that. And he also wanted to meet exclusively with the Jawa Barat missionaries. The man is truly called of God to be a General Authority. Seeing the way he talked about how much he loved his mission made me want to work even harder to love my mission the same way. He said he totally forgot about the hardships and the sweating of his mission, and only remembered as people asked him about it. Such an incredible missionary. I hope I can be half the missionary he was.

Congratulations to Cindy, Matt, and Aubrey on the new addition of Tyson to the family! Can't wait to see him!

Terus Maju,
Elder Barrus

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I've known for a long time that my greenie companion has better Indonesian than I do. But something I've also learned is that he also has more faith than I do. We've had two referrals from Mormon.org that we contacted a few weeks ago, but each lesson, they said they're not too interested in us coming back. Elder Sxxxxxxxxxx led out all of last week and he planned on going over there just to see what's up. I'll admit, both times I was kinda nervous we might get chased out, getting hit across the head with an Alkitab or something. Yet both times, they were willing for us to come back and continue the lessons. That's something I've slowly been learning on my mission: to have faith. In everything--investigators, having the faith to find, members, and most importantly, in Christ and His Atonement. And I do think it's because of faith that things are starting to look up here in Tangerang 1. 

We found one Ibu (woman) that we contacted in an Angkot. Her name is Ibu Fxxxxxxx and she is Catholic (because her parents were Catholic, her grandparents were Catholic, great-grandparents, and so on). As we taught her, and after sharing about the First Vision, she said "You two have the Spirit. I can see it. You are telling the truth." Wow. That was pretty humbling because we had just left an appointment with an "eternal investigator" who had said "If you truly knew Jesus, you wouldn't be teaching this 'Mormon stuff'". Ibu Fxxxxxxxx is great! We got her to commit to come to church with a member, but at the last moment, she canceled because I think she's scared of what her family and friends will think. But we'll keep trying and visiting and reminding her how she's felt. She lives with a nephew she took in because his parents neglected him, and she's never married. And so I think she feels somewhat of a responsibility to her parents to stay Catholic. Little does she know that her parents up in the Spirit World are wanting her to learn about and follow the Restored Gospel. 

We gave Mas Txx a baptismal commitment, and he's totally "gung-ho" about it. A slight problem is that he's the drummer for his own church, which meets at the same time as ours. He's currently training someone else to become a drummer too, so I think we'll just have to give him a little time. Mbak Exxx and her mom didn't come to church for unknown reasons and they haven't been picking up their phones, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens there. I really hope they come back into contact with us because they're the same ones who randomly appeared at church last week. 

A Christlike trait I've been trying to focus on is Humility because Elder Randy Funk said in last conference: "'Whosoever is sent in my name shall have the power to open the doors of my kingdom unto ANY nation whithersoever ye shall send them.' In order to have the spiritual power necessary to do that, you must be humble and obedient and have the ability to hear and follow the Spirit." 

On a Medan note, Txxx and Rxxx finally got baptized yesterday! Even though I would give anything to see them get baptized, I know that they truly are two of God's children prepared to build up His kingdom in Medan. Those people exist! His missionaries just need to have the faith to find them. 

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Itu adalah Mukjizat (It's a Miracle!)

I've had a strong testimony ever since I got out into the mission field that this is truly the Lord's work and we as missionaries have the opportunity to be His instruments. It's been confirmed again and again throughout my mission, including this last week. Things are starting to look up as far as the work goes now with Christmas and New Years over, all of our investigators and members are returning home. We met with one investigator, his name is Mas Txx. He's a 19 year old college student that lives pretty close to the mission home. He's a referral from another investigator who said that his mom wants Tio to have "good influences in his life." I would agree with her that missionaries are some of the best. Haha! We followed up what the other Elders had taught and he told us he believes the Book of Mormon and the Bible to support each other. He did a side by side comparison, using footnotes (who uses those outside of members of the church??), and reading every day. He hadn't yet prayed about it, or come to church, so we encouraged him to do so. 

Since we're still crazy new and don't know any of the members or the area, we've been meeting with as many members as we can, trying to establish some kind of relationship between us and the members. Haven't got any referrals out of it yet, but as members see us truly caring about the work, they'll want to help out. The ward has a goal to get 7 baptisms for the year 2014. I'm a fan of that goal. :)

Here's the miracle of the week. We had Zone Training Meeting in Jakarta last Friday with all of the Jawa Barat Elders and received new mission goals for the entire mission. Long story short: it's much, much higher than what we've been getting. It's gonna take a lot of faith and help to get there, so Elder Sutadiyono and I decided to fast this last Sunday that we might eventually reach those goals on a consistent basis. We just weren't quite ready for the miracle that occurred. 

None of our investigators committed to coming to church, so we sat all by ourselves at Sacrament meeting.At the end of the meeting, all of these members started coming up to us asking who those investigators were at the back of the chapel. The thing is: we had no clue either. We ended up teaching Gospel Principles to three investigators that had come. There was one that was a referral from a member, which is awesome! His name is Tri. The other two are an Ibu and her daughter. They used to be Catholic but weren't satisfied for one reason or another and wanted to search for a new church. They had heard from a friend that there was a church close by Alam Sutera, which is the same area as our church. They asked around and eventually found our Church, not quite the same church they had heard about, but they came and sat down in the middle of Sacrament meeting. After all of the meetings, the sisters from the Relief Society came up to us and told us that these two ladies had said "When we came in, we realized we entered a different church than we were looking for. But now feel we have found a better one." God is still a God of miracles and will continue to work them according to His children's faith. And faith is always pointed towards the future. We just have to work in the moment we're given. 

Thanks for praying for me and my companion and our investigators by name. I just read Elder Gifford Nielson's talk, and it made me grateful for a family that already does that. I know we've been blessed as a result of your prayers. Thank you! Hope you all have a great week and that you keep looking for missionary opportunities yourselves! Allah menyertaimu sampai kita bertemu lagi! (God be with you til we meet again!)

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

This is how we proselyte in Angkots. President asked us to carry
around a Kitab  Mormon and put it in a place where everyone can see it.