Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, March 31, 2014

Waktunya Pantai (Time to Beach!)

Don't have a ton of time to write today because we just got back from a trip to the beach. Super nice and sunny. It was really fun getting out of the city for a change. It was a beach close to Krakatao, the volcano that erupted in 1883 and destroyed almost a whole island. The sand is black.  Will send pictures later. 

I heard about the freak snow storm that's happening in Utah. Must've been worldwide or something because yesterday, it was a balmy 70 or so degrees riding our bikes to church. About halfway home, it just started dumping buckets of the Indian Ocean on us. Just soaked! 

We got bikes! I'll attach a picture next week, but we got permission last week to purchase 4 brand new bicycles, water bottle attachment and all. We'll still ride angkots when it's far, but if we have a relatively close appointment, we have a choice now if we want to exercise our fat selves or not. 

Brother Bxxxxxxx couldn't come to church this week because he went to his family's house in Semarang to tell his family about his wedding. So his confirmation has to be placed on hold until this next Sunday. Brother Wxxxxxxx is showing some really good progress randomly now. He came to Bxxxxxx's baptism last week, went to Solo this week and attended another baptism (I'm assuming where his son who is serving a mission baptized a new member). And this last week when we met, he actually was interested and participated in the discussion. We're planning on teaching about the Restoration this week. It's a fun time to be a missionary in Tangerang! We're working with a few more people, but haven't been able to meet enough times to see what problems or how much potential there is yet.

Thanks everybody for the support and prayers! Have a great week!
Elder Seth Barrus

Krakatoa Island--nearly destroyed in 1883 by gigantic volcanic eruption.
Now called "Anak Krakatoa", or Krakatoa's Child. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Awal Baru" (New Start)

This last week was very much a week of "seeing what happens". Brother Bxxxxxxx asked to be baptized quicker and so we set a date for March 23rd and said he needed to meet with us more often. We fasted last week that he would find time because he usually goes to Bogor every day for work, so meeting at night is usually a rare thing. He pulled it off where he was able to meet last Monday, Wednesday, and then get interviewed Friday. And he passed! His baptism yesterday was probably one of the sweetest things of my life for many reasons. Sister Dhian has been dating him for 4 years and hasn't wanted to get married to him until he got baptized. It's taken this long just for him to meet with the missionaries or come to church, so as he was coming out of the font, she was understandably crying. It's been quite a fun ride teaching and seeing him grow. The only scary thing about it is if he tells his immediate family, they will disown him. Bxxxxxxx is 35 years old, and while talking with him about it, it sounds like he will give it some time before he tells them. I asked him after the actual baptism how he felt and he said "awal baru" or "new start".   

It was just a great overall day too because we randomly invited Brother Wxxxxxx to the baptism and he actually came! Elder Sutadiyono and I have been praying that his heart will be softened enough to the point where he'll receive the Gospel, but this was a huge blessing to us. We're just gonna go for it this week and invite him to Church next Sunday. We are being so blessed it's humbling. New investigators are coming out of the woodwork, investigators are actually reading their scriptures and keeping their committments (except for coming to church), and the members are starting to reach out to their friends. Things are definitely rolling!

As for how my "stuff" is, I could use some new shirts... I scrub them every time, but some are getting slowly destroyed. Garments are holding up really well. I haven't even dipped into my supply at Senopati. Shoes are doing great. One of my pairs of pants I gave to an Indonesian elder, so I need to go out and buy a new pair. Don't worry about sending new ones. I'm doing good though. Nothing that's too hard to fix myself.

The Tangerang District did some fun math last week: there are over 7 billion people in the world and just over 16 million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you divide that 16 million by the 7 billion, and we learn that LDS members represent about 0.2% of the world's population. Even with all the success that missionaries worldwide are experiencing, there's still a lot of work left to do! Terus Maju dan Jangan Mundur! Tuhan mau mempercepatkan pekerjaan Nya. (Go forward continuously, and never backward. God wants to speed up His work.)

Thanks everybody for your support and prayers! 
Elder Seth Barrus

This is what happens when your best player is someone who hasn't played (or exercised seriously) for 10 months, and the rest of the team is made up of a discus thrower, a lacrosse player, and a futsal playing Indonesian. We thought we were going to play Timmy's junior high team, but we ended up playing a professional team. We had no idea. And we got stomped mostly because they just ran us out of the gym.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Good Things in the Forecast

Eating a fish head (with a spoon in it's mouth!)
I feel like we aren't doing anything different, and yet, the Lord is blessing us. Long story short, Mas Bxxxxxx wants to be baptized faster. Like next week on the 23rd of March! It's kinda thrown us for a loop because before this, he could only meet on Sundays, right after church. He said he'll find time this week where we'll be able to meet every day and finish everything up before his interview. I'm hoping by next week's email, I'll get to tell you how it went. We taught Word of Wisdom last Wednesday and by Sunday, he had stopped it all, cold turkey. So here we go! 

Brother Wxxxxxx is doing okay. While we were having family night with him and his family, the phone rang with the news that his little brother has a brain tumor and is in critical condition in the hospital. That shocked him a little bit. So we taught about the Atonement and how everything unfair about life can be made OK through it. He's started to interact a lot more with the members, and vice versa, so I'm still certain that all we need is time with him.

 Elder Heiner and Elder Canfield are serving in Tangerang 2, where there hasn't been a convert baptism for about 3.5 years. And these last couple of weeks, they've been doing work! And finding perfectly prepared people. Most times when we don't understand why, the Lord knows perfectly. And we'll know in the end.

Fun story of the week: since not a lot of our current investigators could meet, we started flipping through the area book and found some former investigators to contact. Ibu Exxx was one of them and we decided to go to her house right then. She invited us in and started to tell us that she'd recently been in a motorcycle accident, and how after her accident she's felt that she has more time for the things of God. And also her son, Bryan, has been hanging out with some pretty bad influences. She said her first reaction was to call up someone who could help, and her first thought was: The Missionaries! She didn't have our number anymore though, so when we came by 2 days later, she took it as a sign. We reminded her of the Restoration and at the very end of a very spiritual lesson, she said, "I thought you guys were Jehovah's Witnesses. Aren't Mormons Jehovah's Witnesses?" Not quite. But I'm glad we made that clear. I don't know why she became a "former investigator", but I feel like it's her time now. Every person has their own timing and situation. 

I've been thinking a lot about how the Restoration really is one of the most monumentous events of the world's history. Before, when people in the spirit world learned about the gospel, they were probably told they have to wait until the Priesthood is again restored on the earth. They must have been overjoyed when Joseph went with his humble prayer into the sacred grove. We read in D&C 15:6 and 16:6 that "The thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto the people, that you may bring souls unto Me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father." 

Hidup adalah enak. Dan lezat. (Life is good. And delicious.)

Elder Barrus

Elder Canfield, Elder Sutadiyono and I riding in an angkot.

Love this guy! My companion--
Elder Sutadiyono.

I found Zion! It's right across the street from the Tangerang Chapel!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hastening the Work

Since we cannot openly go knocking door to door here in Indonesia, we take to some fun creative measures to introduce the gospel. Elder Sutadiyono and I set a goal to talk to as many people as possible this last week, which meant we had some pretty great experiences as well as some pretty hilarious ones. Like the time we sat on an angkot and started talking to this slightly overweight lady when all of a sudden, this Muslim woman gets on as well, hands the overweight lady a brochure, and her first question is "Soo are you looking to lose weight?" Dang. I lost a contact to a weight loss program. Pff. Who needs a weight loss program? I was thiiiiis close to start explaining the resurrection... Haha! Best weight loss program ever! 

Elder Canfield moved in last Monday so it's 3 bules and an Indonesian in the house. He's from Cache Valley and has been out 6 months. It's fun having him around. Sorry, there are pictures today, but Elder Canfield is using my camera and cord to send pictures today, so will have to wait until next week.

We found this one dude, his name is Pak Charlie, and he's got 2 priceless qualities: he's interested and he has time to meet with us. He's from Jakarta, but he lived in Germany for 6 and speaks fluent English. His father owns a bunch of rukos all over Tangerang, and he's also a member of GKI, or the general Christian Church here in Indonesia. He's super smart too. He asked what makes our church different, and so we started with the Kitab Mormon and worked backwards. He received it pretty well, but he kept asking "If this is really scripture, why isn't it inside the Alkitab?" Good question! We're trying, but no one else receives it as scripture except the Mormons! We're meeting again with him on Wednesday and we'll follow up on things.

Both Mas Txx and Mas Bxxxxx came to church yesterday so after Gospel Principles class, we sat down with them individually and with a member and had really great productive lessons with them. Mas Bxxxxxx was really funny because he didn't want to use the word "commit" when we asked if he wanted to be baptized on the 13th of April, but rather he said he likes the word "planning". Yes.... "planning"... But both him and Brother Txx received "plans" to be baptized on the 13th of April. They'll definitely be ready if their desire is personal.

We've been trying really really hard to meet with less active members as of late and invite them to experience the blessings of returning to activity, but a lot of them are really really "offended". And as we discuss how we can help them return to church with the members, some of the members are really really offended. It's a vicious cycle. So here's the lesson of the day: Don't Be Offended. We're trying to just love everyone and set a good example of not spreading stories around, but rather shut it down when we hear it. :)Others have their agency too, but in order to fully repent, we have to forgive others, even if they still hold something against us. There's no way we can be perfect, but we have to be trying. And as members of His Church, we've got to try to be better. Being offended is very much a poison that can only be remedied as we rely upon God's mercy and grace and His Son's Atonement. 

And that remedial treatment comes through prayer. In Jesus the Christ, James E. Talmadge explains, "Prayer is for the uplifting of the suppliant. God without our prayers would be God; but we without prayer cannot be admitted to the Kingdom of God." God will always hear our prayers and will always answer a heartfelt prayer in His own time. 

Allah akan mencurahkan berkatNya di atas kita kalo kita mau menerimanya. (God will pour out his blessings upon us if we want to accept them.)

Elder Seth Barrus

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Triple Combination

Bagaimana kabar semuanya?  (How's everything?)

The new group of Bule (Caucasian) Elders and Sisters flew into Jakarta last week and since they have to wait that blessed first week close around Jakarta so they can receive their kitas, the Tangerang district received 2 new elders for all of last week. Elder Sutadiyono and I got to run around the city with Elder Wills from Arizona and Elder Heiner plus Elder Sutarno went around with Elder Davies from England. It was really fun seeing how rough that first week is again. I kinda forgot about it all. Elder Wills was kinda sick riding all those angkots, but he was a good sport and let us drag him around to our appointments and proselyting time. He also noticed a lot of things I've taken for granted, like the Call to Prayer 5 times a day, how dirty the streets are, and how long Indonesians let their fingernails grow. It was a really fun experience! We ate snake too. And monitor lizard. Yep.

Mas Txxx came to church (even before his girlfriend, Sister Cxxxxxxx) and after the meetings, we asked if we could meet for just a moment with him. We planned on teaching the Restoration again with him, but it became apparent that we were supposed to address a bigger concern--his overall faith. He was Buddhist before and even though he's attended other churches, he explained that he's never really felt the Spirit before. We read from Alma 32 verse 21 with him and then explained how we, in a very literal way, have felt the Spirit in our lives. It made me very grateful for the sermon on faith that Alma delivers in that chapter because we took the process step by step with him, explaining that first he has to "desire to believe". He received the commitment to start reading and praying on his own (which he hasn't done yet even though we've invited him before) and hopefully he'll be ready to be baptized on the 23rd of March. We'll see how things go. 

Mas Exxx never picked up his phone or answered any of his texts, so we couldn't meet with him. And same thing with Mas Txx. Yep. We met with Brother Wxxxxxxx and his family for Family Night and read from Ether 12:27 about how we're all given weaknesses so we can become humble and receive real strength from God. It wasn't a really personal setting because a lot of members came to the lesson, too. We heard that the Wintolo family was going to the airport to pick up their nephew, Elder Putra, who just got back from his mission in the Salt Lake City mission, so we asked if we could come along and just chat with him and Sister Ayuh. Right now, I think he just needs time. And we'll give it to him. "Faith in the Lord includes faith in His timing." Elder Maxwell

Life is good. Ever since Elder Davies got here, we've been speaking with a British accent and talking about proper things like "queing up" and "parliament". He's moving to Medan today with Elder Sxxxxx. I dunno why that's cool. But that's all the news that's going on here. :) Hope the snow is all melted!

Elder Seth "The Yellowdart" Barrus