Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Sunday, July 27, 2014

PLD, Splits and Suits

Good morning everybody! How did you all spend your Idul Fitri? Did you spend it banging on drums and praying in mosques until 8:00 am? We sure did. Well, we didn't. But our friendly Muslim neighbors did. The end of the 30 day fast called Ramadhan culminated in one big night of celebrations. It's kinda weird to have it in the middle of the summer, but everyone has work off and has an entire week of holiday this week. So some investigators headed home already and won't be back for another week, and some others will just have the entire week off to meet with us. But hooray! We can eat in public again!

The Lord blessed us bountifully this past week. We went over D&C 20:37 with Brother Exxxxx, discussed it in detail, and if he holds true to his commitment, he should be ready to be baptized on the 9th of August. Mas Dxxxx also came to church yesterday! It's a huge accomplishment for any investigator to make it to church, and for Dxxxx it's a step towards his conversion. He asks such golden and sincere questions- it's obvious he's been prepared by the Lord to receive the fullness of the Gospel. The members really rallied around him too when he came, so even though I was asked to play piano for sacrament meeting, he had members sitting with him, answering his questions and making him feel comfortable. He also accepted the commitment to be baptized on the 10th of August! It's the day that Elder Suryono goes home to Bandung, so that would be awesome to end his mission like that. 

We held PLD this past week at the Jakarta Selatan church and had a very uplifting meeting where President kinda got it into us that we need to read and follow everything in Preach My Gospel. He promised that all answers to missionary work questions are in there. He also said a ton of other stuff I wouldn't have enough time to fit it in this email, but essentially I left feeling that I had a lot I needed to do. A group of 15 missionaries all go home on the 10th of August, so the few that were in the Jawa Barat Zone gave their parting words of encouragement and what they learned on their missions. This mission is going to go through a huge overhaul in the next 3 months. It's gonna be crazygonuts. It makes me glad I'm not President Donald, and makes me grateful that he is President.

We went on splits with the youth last Saturday and I got to go with Ezra Subandriyo (who served his mission in 2009 in Ogden) and a 14-year old young man named Jojo. It was really funny because as people on the bus saw us get on, they started talking to Jojo asking "hey, where do you work?" Ha ha! It gave him some great opportunities to see what a mission is really like.

Gereja adalah benar! Maju terus dan jangan mundur! (The Church is true! Go forward and not backward!)

Elder Seth Barrus

 This the AP's and I sporting our new suits right after we picked them up from being made.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Selamat Hari Pionir!

Zone Training Meeting (The Serious Picture)

Zone Training Meeting (The Not-So-Serious Picture)

Happy Pioneer Day in 3 days everyone!

For whatever reason, (more online proselyting I think), we're getting more mormon.org referrals here in the Jawa Barat zone. The great thing about them is that they actually want to meet with us. The first referral, Pak Axxx, is a retired fellow living in Cibubur, which is about a 2 hour bus ride in between Bogor and Jakarta. What we thought would be just 2 hours, turned out to be 2 hours just on the tollway. We could've walked faster than the car was driving. But we made it to his house and he's pretty awesome, so no need to complain about how long it took to get there. He wants us to come back this next week and meet with all his other neighbors who have false preconceived notions about our Church. 

The second referral, Mas Dxxxx, noticed some missionaries on a busway two weeks ago, noted their name badges, and started his search on the internet for anything about Mormons. Luckily, he found mormon.org and asked for a missionary visit. We met him at the church and he's awesome! He rarely goes to his own church and rarely prays, but he's had so many questions about God and life that other people haven't been able to answer yet. We're meeting him again today, so wish us luck! 

Brother Exxxxx is progressing along nicely towards his baptism on the 9th of August. Again, we're just waiting for his son, Cxxxx, to come home from Solo, and then he wants to be baptized. We had a great lesson about the Gift of the Holy Ghost and it's made me think more about the role the Holy Ghost has in everyone's life. Spiritual moment time.... 

You remember the story from Elder Perry in last April's conference? He compared following the Holy Ghost to breaking in a pair of new horses. They first need to have complete trust in the driver and then the correct tools to help steer the horses in the direction the driver wants to go. That's where the importance of the harness and bit comes in. Just by a short, soft tug, the driver can influence the horses to turn whichever way he wanted, thus completely altering the horses' course. He compared it to the Holy Ghost in that the he never tugs us forcefully or even strongly. But out of respect for our agency, it's usually a small and simple tug; and if we follow said prompting, it could totally alter our course in the direction that the driver (Heavenly Father) wants us to go. Cool comparison!

In the Jakarta Selatan house, we made this goal to wake up as a 4-some right at 6:30 am every morning. To help us accomplish this goal, we also set all the alarms for 6:25. As soon as it hits 6:30, we go into this all out attack, smacking each other with pillows. I do say that since I've come on a mission, I've learned the importance of making plans to accomplish the goals I set. Ha ha! 

You remember Tri? he's getting baptized this Saturday!

The Church is true no matter where you go! 

Elder Seth Barrus

PS: Oh yeah! Thanks for the second part of the package! I met the former Elder Mulia (Mardy) at Senopati (the mission office) last week and he handed me these 2 ziplock bags. I haven't met his mom yet though. Good family. And I do know Elder Johnson! Elder Matt Johnson right? He's here in Bekasi right now and he used to be my Zone Leader when I was in Tangerang. I really respect the guy! Hope you have fun at the missionary reunion on the 31st!

Tell Jonathan good job! It's kinda intimidating to do musical numbers in front of the ward... The ward somehow found out that I can plunk out some songs on the piano, so they asked me to play for a special musical number from the youth this last week (Come unto Christ) and about halfway into the song, my sheet music fell off the piano. I stopped playing at the next measure, quickly picked up the remaining pages, and just started playing the first measure I saw, luckily happened to be the same measure they were singing. I've also played for sacrament meeting a couple of times when the pianist doesn't show. And the Primary has asked me to play every 3rd hour. Which is actually more fun than staying for priesthood... :) Jonathan's piano skills will come in handy on da mish.

Love you mom! 
Elder Barrus

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Attitude of Gratitude

Three random brothers came to church last week. They're from Papua.

President Uchtdorf reminded us in last General Conference that no matter our situation, we should keep an attitude of gratitude.

This last week, even though we didn't experience much success with our investigators, the Lord let me meet and teach so many wonderful Batak people. Brother Exxxxx (Batak) is doing good. He didn't come to church yesterday because he had the flu, but he hardly smokes anymore. The only setback is that his son, Cxxxx, is in Solo until after the major holiday here, Lebaran, which starts July 28. And, in spite of our concerns and gentle persuasions, we're going to have to wait until at least August 10th when he wants to be baptized. I just keep thinking the Lord's time is not our time... And also something Mom and Dad taught me: patience is a virtue. 

We met up with Mas Axxx last week too (Batak) and met his mom, who is Muslim, and had a great lesson about the family. After the lesson, his mom said "I want to share this (Family Proclamation to the World) with my neighbors. Can I make photocopies of it?" Ha ha! We're going back there this week and will give her more copies. Bang Txxxxx (Batak) is still thinking too much with his own logic, rather than getting down on his knees and asking God to help him with his search for the truth. He just thinks our church is a conglomeration (big word points!) of other churches and anytime we talk about one aspect of the Church, he always says it's like this other church he's attended. He's a bit stubborn, but he'll come around. We also met many Batak people on the busway who are interested in meeting with us. I'm thinking about learning Bahasa Batak, just to make learning the Gospel that much more enticing.

We finished up an exchange in Bogor this last week. I went with a relatively new missionary who's had a rough start to his mission, but he has such great desires to turn it around and become a great missionary. He's had kidney stones like every month since he's gotten here. We had a good chat about the mission itself and did some nice proselyting work during the day. We caught the train back to Jakarta and got to experience the atmosphere of a Presidential Election! Everybody had the day off so they could go to their local voting booth and 'coblos' to vote. It's the big talk on the street and we won't know the final results until the 22nd of July. Thank goodness there were no riots or explosions!

Oh yeah! And we met this Swedish guy working on his thesis here in Indonesia until August. His name is Fredrik. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and he came and played futsal with us on Saturday. He's cool! We play futsal in the back church lot every Saturday night and we get lots of people that come and play. But man, I am so bad at playing with my feet! It's a great opportunity for investigators and random contacts we've invited from the street to mingle with the members and missionaries here.

That's about it from my side of the world. I end with some advice from the late Brother John Wooden: "Make each day a masterpiece." Don't let a day go by where you don't try to be a little bit better than the day before. Horas! (Live long!)

Elder Seth Barrus

Me pushing the Monas (Indonesian: Monumen Nasional, abbreviated Monastower over.

Brother Marcell (member here) and I after playing futsal. Notice the 
drenched shirt and glistening arms of mine. Gotta love that humidity!

Monday, July 7, 2014


Here's a photo from last MLC--suit jackets and all. President doesn't like us wearing them, 
but it gets so darn cold in the mission home, we have to wear them or we'll freeze to death.

It's funny how many acronyms we use on the mission. We had Mission Leader Conference (MLC) last Tuesday, followed up by Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) the following Friday. The wisdom and teachings that come out of President Donald's mouth are amazing! I could listen to him for hours. Some of the things he mentioned, like changing baptismal services to Saturday, teaching Lesson 5 from Preach My Gospel before baptism as well as after, and new pass along cards, were some exciting policy changes. But also he spent a good chunk of time talking about how to motivate missionaries in our zone. 

There is one line he emphasized that I hope to apply the rest of my mission: "The Best Missionary in you is yet to come." So true. We have 15 missionaries going home in August, and just over 20 coming in the next few months, which means a LOT of turnover. It's gonna be so crucial that those who are going home leave on a high note, rather than just packing it in and calling it good. President Donald emphasized the point that we need to repent daily. We should always be looking for ways to improve. It was such an awesome MLC! I just hope Elder Suryono and I are able to convey the same message to the missionaries in our zone--Jawa Barat.

Technology! We also got permission from President and the Area Presidency to start using.... Facebook for proselyting! Pretty cool no? We've been chomping at the bit to use fb because Indonesia is the 2nd largest user of facebook in the world. (United States is first.) That's a pretty big pool we haven't tapped into yet. All the ZL's in the mission have a facebook page that we share and will begin to use to help investigators, new members, and ordinary Indonesians learn more about the gospel and stay strong. #notyettwitter

Elder Suryono's been really sick the last 3 days, but today he's feeling a little bit better. We didn't get to go out and visit with all the investigators we were meaning to, but we did find a new investigator whose name is Mas Exxxxxx. He was contacted by Elder Broberg on a bus about 6 months ago, but no one's been able to follow up with him.  We called him up and met at the church and had an awesome lesson! He still doesn't quite understand why he has to be baptized again, but he came to church yesterday and we're meeting him later today to ask how it went. Brother Exxxx also came to church and he smokes even less now! He hopefully will be baptized earlier than the 26th of July, but we'll be patient with him. We also had 3 friends of a member show up to church yesterday, all from Ambon. There's an air of enthusiasm for missionary work here in Jakarta that's exciting!

We're meeting a lot more people on the buses and busway and angkots who are interested in learning the Gospel. And I believe it's no coincidence. We learn that Alma the younger was restored to health because of the prayers of the righteous. We learn that entire cities are saved from destruction because of the prayers of the righteous. Obedience is the price that brings power to our prayers. It's a small price to pay in consideration for what the Savior did for all of us.

Dengan kasih, (with love)
Elder Barrus

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ramadan Birthday

The 28th of June brought about more than just the beginning of a new age for Elder Barrus, but also the beginning of our favorite fasting month: Ramadan! Which means for an entire month, it will be impossible to find people selling food on the streets at lunchtime. Luckily, we've stocked up on indomie (noodles), oatmeal, and beras (uncooked rice). I think that should tide us over for a while. Last night while trying to catch a bus to an appointment, it took 30 minutes for one to pass by. I've never seen Jakarta's roads so empty.

Thanks for the birthday package! I got it at Senopati (the mission home) on Tuesday, but didn't open it until Friday night. What more does a missionary need than fruit snacks, Lectures on Faith, the conference Ensign, a new journal and new socks? Best Birthday Ever!  Also Mom, thank you for forcing me to learn piano because now I play in the Primary for the Indonesian ward and sometimes for intermediate special musical numbers in sacrament meeting. It's been really fun! Thanks for helping me develop my talents. :)

Tashakor! That's Persian for "thank you". Yep. Tell Maria I met some of her relatives the other day. The sister missionaries here in Jakarta met some Afghans on an angkot and invited them to English class. They're not doing much here, so we invited them to come play futsal with us on Saturday night too, all 5 of them. Their English is not that great yet, and my Persian isn't quite up to par yet, so communication between us is pretty rough, but the ol' body language and hand gestures work. Sometimes. One of them is interested in reading the Book of Mormon because it's about a family that left the Middle East searching for a better life. We've got some in the house we'll give in English, and I know it's already translated into Arabic, but does anybody know if it's translated into Persian yet?

Split of the Week: Tangerang district with Elder Wood from Ogden! It was super fun getting to visit all my old investigators and running around Tangerang again. We met up with Mas Heru too! He still doesn't quite get it yet that he needs to come to church and put all that belief he has about our church to work. But one day he'll come around. Elder Wood is from my MTC group and just a fantastic missionary! He's got such great faith that I hope I can apply in my own work.

Investigators: We got 3 of them out to church yesterday! Txxxxx, Hxxxx and Brother Exxxxx all came and the ward really rallied around them. We took Hxxxxx and his girlfriend out to dinner after meeting at the church. He's Muslim, but he feels that this church has such a deep understanding of God and what He wants of us. He's been an investigator for about 7 months, but just hasn't "gotten it" yet. We're praying with and for him all the time so he'll get his answer. Also! We had an appointment cancel, which made time for us to go visit Brother Erwin. He still smokes 2 cigarettes a day, which is way down from what it used to be, and we went through the baptismal questions and explained how that's the only thing holding him back from feeling ready to be baptized. The Spirit was really strong and he committed to be baptized on the 27th of July! He's got such a strong desire that I know Heavenly Father will help him feel ready. Bryan hasn't picked up his phone. And when we had an English ward member call him, he said he's busy this week, and hopefully he'll come next week. Not sure about that guy yet. 

Thanks so much for the "Lectures on Faith"! Something I really like from that is how everything we do is an act of faith. We use a light switch, having faith that the light will turn on. Sure we've had experience with it before, so that strengthened our faith that it can happen again. We pray with the faith that God will hear and answer our prayers. We eat food with the faith it will give us nourishment. It's especially true as a missionary. Everything we do is an act of faith, and as we continually exercise our agency to do the things God has asked us to do, we will gain experience and more faith. 

Selamat Ramadan!

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

It's the World Cup!

(This post is from last week, June 22.)

Howdy hey everybody! I hope everyone is enjoying the World Cup right now. Indonesia is weird because they get all amped about soccer, yet have never had their own country make it into the World Cup. And since the whole time zone thing throws watching the cup into a loop, beforementioned World Cup is almost nonexistent over here. Oh well. People in the streets give me updates though and tell me that my beloved Yanks are doing pretty well.

Because of the crazy week we had 2 weeks ago, filled with exchanges and travel, we stayed close to home this week and just went on an exchange with the other companionship here in Jakarta Selatan. I went with Elder Rogers, a missionary from Australia who's headed home in August, but isn't trunky at all. We went and taught Brian, the son of a less active member (Brother Tobing). He is aaaawesome! But his Indonesian is pretty shaky so we taught in English. He's met on and off with elders before, but somehow forgot everything about the restoration; so after reviewing it real quick with him, we asked if he would be baptized when he knows its all true. He accepted and is set to be baptized on the 19th of July. He seems super sincere about it, so the fact he wasn't able to make it to church this past Sunday doesn't worry me too much. He'll come this Sunday.

We're getting really excited because the members here in Jakarta are putting in their share of work. We went with a member, Brother Simon Petrus, to visit someone he met on the street and told about the Book of Mormon. That man's name is Pak Txxxxx. He's Batak and was really interested that there's a living prophet, to the point that he's going to "pray and ask the Lord what is actually true." We're cool with that. :) Also, we've gotten a few more referrals from members we haven't had time to teach yet. But this week we'll be sure to do so.

Happy Birthday to Elder Collet! And another random Elder in the Jakarta district! And me! Sister Donald baked us a cake for DDM and make some killer snickerdoodles. I guess I can't be a teenager anymore. I've started to eat healthier too. Every morning I have a bowl of oatmeal and 3 sticks of toast. We usually eat out off the street for dinner and lunch, so we won't focus on the health of that... Ha ha!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true no matter where you go in the world. It's our decision each and every day to stand as witnesses of Christ and have His spirit to be with us.

Elder Seth Barrus