Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tetap Bersama. Selamanya.(Stay together. Forever.)

Howdy hey everybody! Another round of random transfers came and went (Because a new group of bules came in today. 14!)  and when all the dust settled, Elder Sutadiyono and I are staying in Tangerang together. By the time we have another chance at transfers, we will have been companions for about 6.5 months. I'm totally cool with it because my son is awesome. I just feel bad he has to stay with his father for this long. Kasihan... (too bad)

Tangerang's been really bipolar with the weather lately. Really really hot and sunny some days, and then pouring rain, which led to flooding, some other days. But it hasn't hindered the work! We met up with Mas Tixxand he's kinda the same. He knows it's all true, but he wants so bad to please everybody. Long story short, he'll be in Bogor for the next 2 Sundays. He quit drinking coffee and tea though. Score! Mas Txx came to church and learned about the Priesthood. He really enjoys coming to church to learn, but we asked if he's prayed to know if it's true. Aaaand he hadn't. Need some more time with him.

Fun story of the week, there was a service project dealio in Jakarta Saturday morning which included a free eye doctor exam and free glasses. Around 300 people showed up and made it a really fun event! We didn't know where to go after, (code for no appointments) so we searched for an investigator who never picks up her phone. We ended up finding her, her name is Ibu LM, she's Batak (from Medan) and has been reading the Kitab Mormon like crazy! We asked how far and she pulled it out and pointed to Moroni 7. She ended up receiving a baptismal commitment for the 23rd of March and wanted to come to church the next day. She's never been so we arranged to go with a member to go pick her up. We woke up at 5 am Sunday morning, hopped in the member's car at 6, got to her house at 7, and learned she couldn't come this week. But her little brother wanted to come. His name is Pak Safari (Name points!). We'll see if anything happens there.

Elder Heiner and Elder Sutarno had this super golden investigator a couple months ago, but haven't been able to contact him since November. So we've called him on and off for a couple of weeks, when he randomly picked up yesterday after church. He agreed to meet us at the church and boy, did he bring questions. Like the soul searching type. Yeah. Those ones. His mom passed away last December, along with 6 others of his close associates. The first thing he told us is that he's been thinking a lot about death lately. Clearly. He asked about everything, from Joseph Smith (how he wasn't burned when he saw Jesus and Heavenly Father), to life after death, the fall of Adam, and life after death. He speaks fluent English so it was half in English, and half in Indonesian. Weird as heck to teach in English. But when he knows it's all true, he wants to be baptized. As he was leaving, he said "You know, my friends don't really like you guys. But I think you guys are great." Aww... Thanks Exxxxxx. Hopefully things turn out with him.

James E. Talmadge said in "Jesus the Christ": "Every human soul is stamped with the image and superscription of God, however blurred and indistinct the line may have become thru the corrosion or attrition of sin; and as unto Caesar should be rendered the coins upon which his effigy appear, so unto God should be given the souls that bear His image." Everyone I meet have God's superscription in them. Through repentance, baptism, and living the principles of the Gospel, every person can realize their real potential within themselves.

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Small and Simple Means

This last week was an odd one. Some advice I got before my mission was to focus entirely on the positive and by the end, the positives will most definitely outweigh the negatives. Mas Bxxxxxxxx was sick all last week and could never meet with us, or come to church. Mas Txx couldn't make it to church and as we were talking to his pacar (girlfriend), Sister Kxxxxxx, she mentioned how giving him a baptismal commitment last week made him feel a little uncomfortable. And Mas Txx couldn't come to church yesterday because he was in Bogor. We still had the opportunity to meet with Mas Txx and had a great lesson! We talked about the importance of the Atonement and how he can only receive it fully as he takes the sacrament and is baptized. He still wants to be baptized, but now in March. He has such great faith! He asked about smoking and how it's not in the Alkitab, so is it against the commandments? We answered by reading 1 Cor. 3:15-16 and then explained about the Word of Wisdom. Even though he has no idea why he has to stop drinking tea and coffee, he said he's willing to do it. He's definitely a blessing to Elder Sutadiyono and I. 

For the first time on my mission, I"m grateful for sambal (Indonesian hot sauce). I'm usually down to eat some usus (chicken intestines) whenever I have the opportunity. But when we ate them with the Wxxxxxx family the other night, these ones were just gross. Luckily, there was some sambal which kinda numbed my mouth and tongue, allowing said usus to be swallowed. Desperate situations call for desperate measures. Anyway before that, we taught Brother T Wxxxxxxo from the Kitab Mormon. We read 1 Nephi 8 together and I think it's the first time he's actually read it. He was a little hesitant at first, but once we got into it, showing a picture and all, he seemed really okay with it. We're inviting him to come to church this week...

Not having a lot of investigators who want to meet means we got to do a lot of proselyting. Since we have a rule where we can't go knocking on doors, we resort to some creative means to proselyte. Sometimes we ask "Where do the Christians live?" (Muslims are quite willing to volunteer their Christian neighbors), introduce English class, ask if there's anyone here who wants to hear a message just about families, or sometimes we just start asking people if they know about the Kitab Mormon. If you have any other ideas, feel free to suggest them my way. 

Yay! We finally met up with Bishop Rxxxxx and his fam. Probably the most intimidating
 lesson of my life. They all spoke perfect English. And Indonesian. And Mandarin. 
From Alma 37:6-7 we learn that through very small and simple ways the Lord brings to pass His purpose among the children of men. Pray for small opportunities to introduce the Gospel and it will be given to you. Hidup adalah enak!  (Life is good!)

Elder Seth Barrus

Monday, February 10, 2014


We just finished up "mowing" the backyard before emailing.
With some nice hedgeclippers. (This is the "before" picture.)
Yes. Kittens. Elder Heiner and Sutarno came home one day, walked into the bedroom, and found a just born kitten lying on Elder Sutadiyono's mattress, meowing up a storm. There's a small little hole in our roof now where said kitten had fallen. I've seen some really really weird stuff on my mission, but I think that takes the cake. 

Ha ha! Okay. So there was a lot more that happened last week than just raining kittens. Like how we gave Mas Txx a baptismal commitment for the 23rd of February! He knows it's true, he just needs to come to church now to make that happen. We'll see how things roll the next couples weeks. We also met with Mas T when he came to church yesterday and talked about the Atonement. As we chatted, I felt the impression to just give him a commitment. And he received it! If he keeps coming to church and learning like that, he will be baptized on the 23rd of March. Things are looking up here in Tangerang!

We also were able to meet with our favorite Muslim investigator, Mas Bxxxxxxx, and talk about Jesus. It was a really neat experience. I felt like a modern day Paul or Peter because we talked a lot about the Law of Moses and discussed how it was all fulfilled when Jesus suffered in the Garden of Gethsemene and was resurrected. We asked a very specific question and got a very specific answer.  "Do you believe that Jesus Christ is this Savior you're looking for?" and he said something I've probably heard a million times, but really touched my heart. He said "I know that Jesus is my Savior. I acknowledge that and am willing to receive him and his sacrifice. Jesus Christ is the same person all the prophets prophesied and testified about. He is the Son of God." It created a really cool feeling in that house. I add my testimony that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God, and has taken all of our sins, sorrows, and unfair things in our lives upon Himself. All He asks of us is to 1. Remember Him. 2. Take His name upon ourselves and 3. Keep His commandments. That's all and it's something I'll always be grateful for.

We left that lesson feeling really good and then went to another investigator's house who met us outside, gave us our Kitab Mormon back, and said "Saya udah diselamatkan" or "I'm already saved." Dang. It's funny how missions work. Because almost every time I feel really good and that we're making some headway, there's always something that humbles us. But, we just pick up and move on. 

We met our second favorite Muslim investigator, Brother Wxxxxxx, and had an incredible lesson where the Spirit was so strong. At the end of the discussion, we asked him if he wanted to be with his family forever. "Of course" he replied. We then asked if he would be willing to complete the requirements necessary to do that and he also replied "Yes. But give me more time. It's a process." And it is a process. We'll keep meeting and following up with him. Something that Elder Anderson said is becoming more and more apparent: that we have to respect everyone's own timing. Just gotta patient I suppose. Church is still and will always be true!

Terus Maju dan jangan Mundur!
Elder Seth Barrus

Playing futsol with the Tangerang Ward youth.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Selamat Hari Imlek dan Banjir (Chinese New Years Day and Flooding)

Happy Chinese New Year everybody!

Fun week last week because even though the flood didn't directly impact our area in Tangerang, there were still some spots hit pretty hard. Like 2 meters high. Crazy stuff. People have been saying a flood like this only happens once every 5 years, but has now happened for 2 consecutive years. It's truly the last days.

We received some relief supplies from Jakarta last week, which included some rice, hygiene kits, baby milk, floor mats, diapers, and the usual flood relief stuff, and hauled it all into a big military truck which took us and the supplies to north Tangerang, where the flooding is. Yup. The Church is pretty awesome when it comes to natural disasters.

We finally met up with Mas Txx after taking a 3 week break! His phone's been messed up where he can only call or text other people, but can't receive texts or phone calls from them. But we contacted his mom who said for us to come over to the waroeng and teach him last Saturday. It's usually pretty nervewracking meeting up with an investigator you haven't contacted in a long time, but immediately after we started, the fear was gone. He knows it's all true. He reads the Kitab Mormon every day and "gets goosebumps" everytime he reads it. He told us with pride as well that he had been baptized by immersion already... Elder Sxxxxxxxx and I looked at each other wondering who was going to answer that one. Instead of saying his baptism was wrong, we opened up to Acts 8:19-20 and explained how a baptism has to be done by the authority of God, as well as followed by receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost in order for it to be complete. I showed him my own priesthood line (Thanks dad and mom) and he was silent for a second. But then said "Oh. I understand now. I need to be baptized by this authority huh?" Yes! Good question! He's going to come to church this Sunday and hopefully be baptized a couple of weeks after. 

We met with Mas Bxxxxxxx again and followed up on the Plan of Salvation. The Muslim idea of life after death is eerily similar to the Mormon belief. Mas Bambang told us at the day of final judgement, there will be a "Juruselamat" or a "Savior" who will resurrect us all from the dead and allow us to enter "Kerajaan Allah" or "God's kingdom." I felt the spirit so strong as we testified to him that the Savior he's looking for, is really Jesus Christ. We coupled the lesson with a quick introduction on how to pray, how we aren't supposed to pray to Jesus Christ, we pray to Allah, but we're asked to close in his name, as an intermediator. And he accepted the invitation to try it right then and there! Great prayer, but didn't close in Christ's name because I think he's been told since he was little, "this Savior is not Jesus Christ" over and over again that he has come to believe it. We invited him to pray afterwards personally later that night to know for himself, to ask Allah if Jesus Christ is Mas Bxxxxxx's Savior too. The lesson really built my testimony to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Without Him, we would be subject to the ultimate consequences of our sins. I know that our Redeemer lives! 

Last quick story: We met 2 people on the angkot, Mas Nxx and Mbak Ixxxx, who invited us over to share the Plan of Salvation. After feeling the spirit really strong, Mas Nxx said learning about this was like a "Pemulihan" or a "restoration" of knowledge. After explaining how he accepted this in the Premortal Realm, we also explained how next time we meet, we'll talk about how Christ's church has been restored too. Fun experience. 

Elder David McConkie said in last conference: "You must stand as an independent witness of the things you teach and not just be an echo of the words in a manual or the thoughts of others." Pretty ironic then that I'm quoting him word for word, but as we're truly converted to this Gospel, we'll stand as an independent witness, no longer relying on the testimonies of others. 

Maju terus eh?
Elder Seth Barrus

Banjir! It was pretty bad the last few days, so when we got there the water level
 had already receded. (Is that a word?) No swimming involved. No worries. 
This is the tent we put all the relief supplies in. 
That right there is some water. In a box. 
Elder Sxxxxxxxxxxx and I standing outside of said tent. 
Imlek! Which is Indonesian for the Chinese New Year. For Pday, we went to a mall and watched these
Chinese performers hop around in a big ol dragon costume on these pillars. Pretty talented. They asked for small donations after so this is me placing some rupiahs in the dragon's mouth. No hand severing happened.

This is President Eko's family. He's a counselor in the stake presidency.Great family!