Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, April 28, 2014

Chicken Feet and Mukjizat (Miracles)

So much to talk about... and yet no idea where to begin... So we'll start with PLD! The Jawa Barat zone plus the Medan district all met together in Jakarta with President and Sister Donald for our once a month meeting. It's kinda like General Conference, where all the missionaries expect some big new thing. But this time, President Donald just emphasized things that he's asked us to do in previous meetings, and if we aren't doing them, encouraged us to do them now. He also brought out the new mission "motto" or "theme" or whatever you want to call it. "Obedience is the Price, Faith is the Power, Work is the Commitment, Love is the Motive, Spirit is the Key, Christ is the Reason. And One More Contact before going home." Coming up on my year mark, it gave me some added purpose and motivation.

As for investigator work, we had a huge miracle happen yesterday at church. You remember Hxxx? He's the one who knows it's all true, but can't come to church because his boss never gives him Sundays off. So yesterday as we were getting ready for Sacrament Meeting, we were pretty surprised to see none other than Hxxx walk in the doors! Last night he prayed to God telling Him he would come to church on Sunday and if he felt something, he would stay and keep learning. And he had an awesome experience! He decided he'll just face his boss tomorrow, but it's a testimony to me that whoever puts the Lord first will have all other things fall into place, maybe not according to what we want, but I think the Lord's will is better than our own. :) We're meeting with him again later today and will follow it all up.

A fun resource for Gospel learning is the Bible Dictionary (if I'm not wrong, written by Elder Bruce R. McConkie.. Someone correct me if I'm not correct). This last week, I read the entry on "Prayer" and learned this: "Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this 'father-son' relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them." So my invitation of the week is to make your prayers more heartfelt and to truly search out the will of God. 

Misi adalah enak! (The mission in delicious!)
Elder Seth Barrus

This is a chicken foot, or "ceker" (check-air). It's actually quite delicious. If it's boiled correctly, you can bite at the joints and pull the talons off and suck the skin and meat off the bones. If you were wondering..

This is my becak shirt Elder Costner bought for me in Medan. And to answer your question Mom- no... we haven't taken the Christmas tree down yet..

Two more pictures from PLD (Zone Conference). One silly and one serious. It was a great meeting!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rats and a Snowman

For Easter here, everything Christian kind of shuts down. Starting with the Thursday before Good Friday, most Christians here in Tangerang went to their church and it continued every day until this last Sunday. Everybody had work off too. Is that a thing in America? 

This last week was great! We caught 2 rats in our house, made some oriental omelettes (thanks Bishop Gardner), and taught a lot of investigators.

This is rat #1. We baited him with some great cake sort of thing we got from a less active member. Great for mouse bait, not so great for the ol' stomach.  

We also finally met up with James! He texted us last Tuesday when Elder Canfield and I were on a split and said he was ready to finally meet up. Instead of waiting until another day, we set up an appointment for that same day. We were expecting an embittered, kind of angry man, since he canceled his membership about 2 years ago, but instead we met up with the most humble, open, ready to repent man I have ever met on my mission. As we helped him understand the process of repentance and the role of the Savior's Atonement in his life, I think I'm finally starting to truly understand the immense impact the Atonement has on everyone's life and the lasting peace that will come as a result of accepting it. We also taught Brother Wxxxxxx about why we consider Jesus as our Savior this Easter season. We invited him to church, but he still is exercising his free agency and not coming.  Timing is a funky thing. 

This last week was chalk full of experiences in teaching about Christ and His Atonement, but I think my favorite was when we met with Pak Ixxx. He's a new investigator we found while searching for someone else's address. We started by sharing an Easter message and made this really fun transition to how there are other witnesses of
Christ's resurrection... in the Kitab Mormon! He's going to Vietnam these next couple weeks, but he wants to read the testimony of Christ in the Americas while he's there. 

Is it still snowing in Utah? If not, it's snowing in Tangerang!!! Ha ha! Just kidding. There's this "Snow World International" building next to a big mall here in Tangerang and inside the building is a winter wonderland. Last PDay, we trekked on over there and holy schnikies it was cold!! This is me chillin' next to a Pak I met.  

In Preach My Gospel, there's an entire section devoted to "developing Christlike attributes". Elder Ballard encouraged every member to get a copy and study it. If you're confused as to where to start since maybe you aren't a full time missionary, I encourage you start here. As you develop Christlike attributes, you'll get the Spirit. As you get the Spirit, you'll be able to hear the promptings of how you can share the Gospel with your friends and family. Happy Easter! Tuhan Yesus Kristus telah bangkit biar kita semua bisa bangkit satu hari nanti. "Dia tidak di sini, Dia telah bangkit." (The Lord Jesus Christ is risen so that we can all rise one day. "He is not here, He has risen."

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Monday, April 14, 2014

General Conference in Indonesian

Conference was great! The Tangerang District watched it with the local Tangerang members here in Indonesian and as much as I'd like to say my Indonesian has improved, the General Authorities of the church use pretty formal words which makes for some pretty funny and hard to understand Indonesian phrases. I feel kinda bad for the translators. Luckily, the stake president was reading the talks in English during the sessions, so I just looked over his shoulder and read them in English... There were two talks that really stuck out to me--the one from President Uchtdorf about how we need to be a more grateful people and Elder Michael Teh's talk about how the Lord has a way of refocusing our priorities in times of calamity or tragedy. He then asked a great question "Why do we devote our time to things that are so fleeting and inconsequential?" Good question. After devoting these 2 years to the Lord, I hope this is something I can apply in "normal life". 

Elder Sutadiyono and I were praying that Brother Wintolo would be able to come to at least one of the sessions, but he didn't come. So after our 6 o'clock appointment on Sunday we swung by his house and just chatted with him about how much he missed out on... Ha ha! He's good though. We taught him last week again about how Jesus Christ fulfilled the law of Moses and a little bit about the Kitab Mormon. For whatever reason, I feel like my work here in Tangerang isn't quite yet done. We're starting a new 16 week English course we got from the area headquarters in Hong Kong and from the looks of it, it's gonna be an awesome tool to help members invite their friends to come and do missionary work. 

We rode a train to Zone Training Meeting last week and took this fun picture of us waiting for the train.This Muslim lady is wondering where these weird Bules came from. Elder Sutadiyono and I have started to contact more and more Muslim people, not with the intent to convert them to Christianity, but so that we can understand them and their culture better.

I promised to send a picture of our new bikes and here they are! Parked right next to a "Womens' Parking" sign. Oops... No crashes yet worthy enough to report. Elder Sutadiyono and I have taken great fun in shifting all the way down (or up?) where we have to pump our legs super super fast just to go 5 feet, and then we race home the last stretch to our house. Ha ha! Fun stuff on the mish.

This is an Alfamart. You will find these EVERYWHERE, sometimes placed right next to an Indomart. It's just your basic local convenience store. We do most of our shopping here. You just can't find milk here though... at least not quality Smith's or BYU Creamery milk. We've taught one of our investigators, Mbak Rxxxx, in front of one of these Alfamarts. 

Real quick before I finish, we've met with a new investigator, his name is Bxxxxx, he's 13 years old and he's ready and wants to be baptized in May. The Lord is definitely preparing the hearts of men to receive His message. I dunno what we're doing, but He's blessing us. Hope everyone has a great week! 

Elder Barrus

Monday, April 7, 2014

This Week in Pictures

I sure hope everybody had a great General Conference weekend! We have to wait for the translation and hopefully get to watch it this Saturday and Sunday. To switch things up today, this week's email will be in pictures! 

Like I said last week, we went to the beach for Pday! I'm a huge fan of Indonesian beaches because of the emphasis on modesty. It was super fun playing in the sand and taking dumb pictures. This is the Tangerang District. Me, Elder Canfield, Elder Heiner, and Elder Sutadiyono.

Angkot picture! The stock at the mission office is currently out of Kitab Mormons, so when my comp and I ride angkots, he carries around a Chinese Book of Mormon, and I carry my teeny tiny copy in English. 

French Toast! We have to wait for the General Conference CD to arrive in the mission office in Senopati, where it will be copied onto flashdisks and sent to all the wards and branches. So even though we don't get to watch Conference until next week, I made some General Conference french toast anyway. And my shirt has totally shrunk since buying it in Medan. Three cheers for missionary sleeve tans! 

Here is where I get to talk a little bit about the investigators. This is Brother Txx. Yep. Like "pohon" or "tree". He's gone through so much change it's incredible. He texted us last week saying he wanted to meet more often. So we sent his information to the Jakarta elders and they've been able to meet with him more than just the once a week at church that we've been doing. He said he prayed about the Kitab Mormon, (Finally!!) but hasn't received an answer yet. He'll get one though because that promise isn't from us as 19 year old kids, but from an All-knowing God. 

The prayers and fasting for Brother Txxxx Wxxxxxx have paid off. This last week, we planned on teaching a little bit about Joseph Smith's prayer and inviting him to church again. Right before we wanted to begin, he asked us two questions: why we consider Jesus "Lord" and why Ishmael wasn't the promised line. It's the first time he's actually asked us questions and we had an incredible lesson because of it. Your prayers for him will be much appreciated.

Mas Bxxxxxx came to church and was confirmed! He's still got a lot to learn as far as membership in the church goes (don't we all?) but he's got a solid foundation. And that gift of the Holy Ghost will help, too. We are teaching another new investigator, his name is Mas Hxxx, and he's awesome! He became interested with the church because he listened to some David Archuleta music and heard something on the internet that he was a Mormon. At this point, he knows the church is true and he wants to be baptized himself. So wherever you are David Archuleta, a random missionary in Indonesia is thanking you. Mas Hxxx's only problem is that he works every single day from 6 am until 2 pm. Church starts on Sundays at 8 and goes till 11. We're encouraging him to ask his boss for Sundays off. Even though it seems impossible, anything is possible through the Lord. 1 Nephi 3:7.

The Lord continually blesses those who continually hold fast to what He asks. Hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

                                 On top of the "Living World" overlooking the city of Tangerang.