Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, August 25, 2014

Trip to Bandung

Nobody outside of Indonesia would understand how much Alma 2 was a fulfillment of prophecy of the election results of the new Indonesian President this past week. I'll explain later.

Great week! We just got back from an exchange in Bandung. The whole situation has been kinda nuts because they have 6 investigators with baptismal commitments, and only one companionship down there. So on Friday morning, we hopped on a bus, trekked the 3 hours to Bandung and started the baptismal interviews. When I mean 'we', I mean Elder Sutadi and I, the District Leader here in Jakarta, because Elder Sutarno and I had investigators coming to church that needed to be nourished and watered. Long story short, all 6 of the Bandung investigators will be baptized soon! It's been awesome to see how the Elders serving there the last couple months have really turned Bandung into the promised land of missionary work. That baptismal font should get flood insurance! Since the interviews after church ran long, we missed our bus back to Jakarta. So we booked 2 tickets for this morning and just arrived here in Senopati about an hour ago. Crazy weekend.
On the lame side of the coin, Dxxxx dropped a heavy box on his foot at work last week and wasn't able to meet at all. But he's still on schedule to be baptized the 7th of September. Ixxxx is still Awwwwe--some! We learned about the temple last week and he said, "Where's the closest one?) He was crushed to hear that the closest temple is in the Philippines, but he's going inside someday! The day after we met him, he texted us saying he was super sick. This morning he explained that he has to get his tonsils removed. Gross. I told him I know how he feels. Well, at least my older sister, Becca, does. He didn't come to church either, but he's still set to be baptized the 6th of September.

Good news of the week: we met  with Brother Exxxxx! 
Weird news of the week: he wants to get baptized! .... on the 9th of November.
Yep. We had a spiritual lesson about the Atonement and how if he stops smoking for this next week, he would be considered ready for baptism on the 30th of August. We gave him the commitment and his reply was "the earlier the better Elder. But I woke up the other night and had a feeling '9 November'."  We knelt and prayed with him and told him to text us his final answer later at night. And he said the same. Oh well. Only can do so much eh? We'll keep visiting him, but he's kinda already learned everything. 

Profile picture for "Mormon Jawa Barat" facebook page
Facebook's doing just grand. We're still working through the kinks and process, but starting to make some progress. This last week, I contacted a lady on an angkot and gave her a Kitab Mormon. She added us on fb and posted on her wall "met a bule in the angkot earlier. He loaned me a strange bible. And he knew batak." Ha ha!

No pictures this week. But I hope everybody's doing great! I leave this, my weekly email, with an invitation to "sweep the earth as with a flood" by not just posting pictures of dumb cats on your facebook timeline. But rather by posting videos, church pictures, and your testimony for all your friends to see. Then we get to fulfill prophecy. Pretty cool no? 

Tot zeins! 

Elder Seth Barrus

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Happy Indonesian Independence Day!

69 years ago today, Indonesia declared their freedom from Holland and in commemoration of such, we sang Indonesia's national anthem during church yesterday. A song I did not know, but has a catchy tune. You should go look it up sometime. There were crazy parades in the streets, angkots stopped, and little kids lighting fireworks off in the middle of housing complexes. Fun day.

This last week was kinda crazygonuts busy. The new missionary group from the MTC flew into Jakarta last Wednesday, and because they have to stay around Jakarta for a week to get their KITAS, Elder Sutarno and I were on splits with two of them the entire week. I got to go with Elder Eyre from Salt Lake. His Bahasa Indonesia is a million times better than mine when I first arrived. Not even kidding. While teaching, he followed the lessons and could give solid testimony and even while contacting on buses and in the street, he gave away three Kitab Mormons during the week. He's moving to Manado next week to be companions with the one and only Elder Murphy. Remember him? (MTC companion, lived in the same house with him in Surabaya and Medan.) He's gonna have a blast with him! Because we have all 10 new missionaries in the Jakarta area, we're going to go play futsal later today behind the church. 

New companion, Elder Sutarno and I

Elder Eyre, Ixxxx, and I

Investigators! We were crazy blessed this last week in that we finally got to meet with Ixxx! I don't think I've ever explained about him because I've never had the chance to sit down and teach him. He was a contact on the bus by the former AP's and has been learning ever since. Because his college schedule is skeewompus, he can only come to church every so often, but yesterday he came after we taught him about the Plan of Salvation the day before. I attached a picture at the bottom, but his parents are from Aceh and Jakarta, but not too religious. He speaks perfect English and after explaining about the baptismal covenant, he wants to get baptized on the 6th of September! He was so funny at church that members invited us to their house for Family Home Evening and said to bring Ixxx with us. Let me tell you, I gain sooo much respect for a member when they invite investigators to their house for FHE or just to come and eat. We're going to the Prasodjo's house later tonight to do just that with Ixxx. 

Dxxxx also came to church! I asked about how he felt after and he said "peaceful". Elder Sutarno and Elder Hayes taught him after about the Word of Wisdom and even though he really likes tea, he's going to stop drinking it. Elder Sutarno told me that they knelt in prayer after the lesson and Dxxxx said he felt something really warm and powerful inside him. Psst... That's called the Spirit...  He's great and hopefully will be baptized on the 7th of September.

We didn't have a chance to meet Brother Exxxxx last week because he came home from work every day at 10 pm. But he came to church and we'll be going over there this week to follow up on things. 

We had MLC and ZTM last week as well, and for ZTM (so not everybody was translating for the new missionaries) Elder Wood translated in a microphone and all the new missionaries had headphones. We set some pretty high goals I know we'll be able to accomplish with the current group of missionaries in the Jawa Barat Zone. We're brainstorming to find ways to use facebook more effectively. We're going to start visiting members in their homes and go through their friend list and suggest that that friend become friends with our fb page. We're still in the beginning steps, President called us 'pioneers of facebook', but I can see this whole thing taking off once we fully understand how to use it. 

I've been thinking a lot about how much Heavenly Father wants us to come back to Him and Jesus Christ. A speaker in church last week mentioned how really this earth is not our natural habitat. Our Heavenly Father is much like our own earthly parents - encouraging us to sacrifice an evening of happiness and pleasure for the longer termed welfare and salvation of our souls. He's not quite a "Grandfather in Heaven", who would just spoil us and give us candy. And I'm grateful for that. I know that He loves us and wants to talk to us every day through prayer. 

I attached some pictures below just to help you know I'm still alive and well. :) Hope everybody has a great week!

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Some of my old MTC group after MLC. Nice suits, eh? President
always gets a kick out of us wearing them. He thinks we're nuts.

Monday, August 11, 2014

"The Weather Outside..."

Howdy hey everybody! Bagaimana kabarnya? (How's it going?)

This last week, the weather in Jakarta was absolutely magical. It wasn't too hot, there was a nice cool breeze, it never rained, and I didn't sweat as much. It must have been in honor of all the missionaries headed home today. A group of 15 missionaries all finished their 2 years yesterday, and we will miss them so much. But that means my MTC group will now be the next to go home. In 9 months. Crazy talk! My companion, Elder Suryono, hopped on a bus earlier today and is traveling to Bandung as we speak. I'll miss that guy. 

Last photo at church with Elder Rogers (Australia) and Elder Suryono (Bandung). Great men who will be missed in the mission field, but will greatly benefit their hometowns. 

My new companion is Elder Sutarno! Which makes for my 4th Javanese companion on the mission. We were in the same house in Tangerang about 6 months ago and so I know how hard he works and how obedient he is. I'm excited to work with him! The new group of Bule missionaries come in this Wednesday meaning almost half the mission will be in a training situation come this October. It's gonna be a huge overhaul, but an exciting one to see what kind of nature the mission will take on. 

As for updates on investigators, me met Dxxxxx last week and he's still super golden! He just didn't come to church this last week... So we'll have to postpone his baptism until the 24th at the earliest. We taught him about faith and repentance and we talk about repentance all the time, how we need to repent daily. Going over the steps with him helped me understand more the fundamental 'how-to's' of repentance. We didn't meet Brother Exxxx either because he just got back from Semarang, and he came all the way to church for sacrament meeting yesterday morning, and then got a call saying he was needed at work. But we'll be praying and meeting with him this week often enough so he hopefully can still get baptized this Saturday. We'll see what happens! 

Funny story of the week: we have this slowly progressing investigator named Txxxxx. He's Batak and so he's a little hard-headed. But he's nice and is finally taking in the lessons well. This last week, we taught about the Word of Wisdom and he just compared it all to something similar another church has. We asked him if he believes everything we've taught him so far and, get this, the one and only thing he has a problem with is the fact we say Adam and Eve couldn't have children in the Garden of Eden. That's it. Everything else, he's okay with. Ha ha! He'll come around eventually. 

I've committed myself to start studying Preach My Gospel more and really internalize everything that's in there, not just a few principles. And something that we're going to start really pushing is Member Missionary Work. This last Saturday, we brought in a young man, Marcell, sat him down in front of a computer, logged into his facebook account, and starting looking through his friends to see who we could add to our missionary account. He picked out 3, clicked on the "suggest friends" link, suggested us as friends, and then sent a quick message to them explaining our purpose as missionaries and sharing his testimony. Just now, I opened up facebook  and saw that two of those 3 friends accepted the invitation. We'll start chatting with them and introduce them to the Gospel. So, something I found is that people are more open to learn about the Gospel from their friends that they trust than complete, friendly strangers they met on the bus. It's true!

Elder Seth Barrus

The last District meeting for "District Teancum".

P.S.  Man, every time I think about Elder Dallin Broberg, it makes me want to cry. He makes me sound a lot better than I am. Out of all the people I've ever met on my mission, he is the most Christ like person I have met. I didn't get to meet him when he came back, but he stuck a big package full of my favorite snacks in my box at the mission office, full of cookies n' cream candy bars, and fruit snacks. It made me wonder.... Were you in cahoots with him before he came?? There's no way, unless he's 100% in tune with the spirit, that he could know my inner thoughts and favorite candy! I've been munching on them for the past couple days and I'm afraid will be finished pretty soon here... Great man he is. 

I didn't meet Sister Allred's family. And I would very much enjoy coming back to Indonesia some time to visit again all the places I served. But not for a while. It's kinda expensive... But I would like to come back with my future wife some day. And you and Dad if you want to come along. :) 

Hey! That's a great picture you sent of you in front of the "satay" place. If the guy selling it really was from Indonesia, he would spell it differently. It's spelled "sate" in Indonesia. But it sounds the same with that spelling. I really like tempe, and I really started to like tofu. Or "tahu" in Indonesian. Gross right? But if it's fried right, it's really delicious. My favorite food would have to be soto betawi. Not very healthy, but man, it's super delicious soup. I wonder if you could look it up on the internet and find a recipe and try it sometime. 

I don't like durian. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tender Mercies

With Elder Subandriyo and wife
 This week was full of just grand, epic, and majestic news. The streets in Jakarta this past week were absolutely desolate. Everybody headed back to their original city of birth (kinda Joseph going back to Bethlehem style), and since there aren't a lot of people just from Jakarta itself, there was almost no one on the streets. Super weird in comparison to the traffic jams and crowds of people we usually deal with. For the holiday itself, a former area 70, Elder Joshua Subandriyo, invited Elder Suryono and I to his house for some food and to chat. So what would you say or do if you went to the house of a former mission president, branch president, and general authority? Why you ask for his own experiences and advice of course. He shared so much with us, but one of the stories I want to highlight is when Elder Packer came to Indonesia early in the 2000's and asked if he could offer a prayer in the biggest masjid (mosque) in Southeast Asia, here in Jakarta. After some asking around, they got permission for the Apostle to do so. After the prayer and while they were leaving, one of the head imams there asked Elder Subandriyo "Who is that man?". Elder Subandriyo replied "He is an Apostle of the Lord." The imam replied "Very appropriate. We all could feel something as he prayed." The Twelve Apostles truly hold the same authority and power that the former Twelve held during New Testament times. Elder Subandriyo also is close friends with Sister Mary Ellen Edmunds. I attached a photo you can send to her. 

All our investigators were out of town, so all the lessons we taught this last week were with new investigators. We taught one man, his name is Mxxxxxx, all the way in Central Sumatra (I forgot the city's name) through facebook video call. Pretty techie if I do say so myself. He wants to change his life so bad and he knows about the Mormons from his brother-in-law who is a Mormon in Australia, the only problem is that he lives 10 hours away by bus to the closest chapel in Medan. President doesn't want us baptizing people into inactivity, so after explaining this to Mxxxxx, he concluded that he will go to Medan at least once a month to attend meetings there so he can be baptized. He's so awesome!! 

Mas Txxxx's baptism
Do you remember Brother Txx from Tangerang? He married a member there, Sister Chrissie, and then moved to Jakarta and continued being taught by the District leader there. I moved to Jakarta, Elder Rogers continued to teach him and had a great experience where they knelt in prayer together and asked God right then if Txx should be baptized. After the prayer was over, Txx opened his eyes and said "I don't feel anything." But nobody said anything for a few seconds, he closed his eyes again, opened them, and said "I know it's all true. I feel like God really has been trying to speak to me the whole time I've been learning. I've just been denying it. I need to be baptized." So this past Sunday, he decided to be baptized! He asked me to baptize him, and Elder Rogers to confer the Holy Ghost. It was definitely a tender mercy from the Lord to let me see my former investigator finally make that first covenant with Him. 

Transfers! With Elder Suryono and Elder Rogers going home next week, my new companion will be Elder Sutarno from Solo. You might remember him because we were in the same house back in Tangerang. I'm super stoked because he's a great missionary! Elder Sutadi will become the District Leader and will train. I'll definitely miss Elder Suryono, but he's most needed there in the Bandung branch as Ward Mission Leader, so we'll tearfully let him go. 

Last little tender mercy from the Lord: Remember Brother Wxxxxxx in Tangerang? He came to church last week and again yesterday!! He made the decision with Elder Wood that he would start coming to church every week from now on. He hasn't done his 5 sholats a day, and has even started to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. No baptismal date yet, but this is such a huge step for him! 

I've been reading some of Grandpa Killian's journal entries from his mission in Argentina and while he was in the Mission Home in Salt Lake back in September 1950, the man who set him apart said something that is soo key to missionary work. He said: "Always remember you have to make a friend before you can convert them to the Gospel." We're really just gathering our friends and family back into the fold of God that we all knew in the pre-existence. We should really treat them so. 

Saya mengasihi anda kalian! Makasih utk bantuan dan dukungan yg kalian telah memberi kepada saya! (I love you guys! Thanks For the help and support that you have given me!)

Dengan Kasih,
Elder Seth Barrus

Bonus Photos (thanks to Sister Sheffield's blog):

Sister Allred's and Elder Roger's birthday celebration

Mission Leader Conference tricky photo