Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, September 29, 2014

New Missionaries!

We played some mighty fun futsal with the zone earlier this morning, and after eating and showering, we walked some 1.5 hours to try and find a warnet to send this email. The usual internet cafe, "Snappy", made an unexpected move and closed its doors on us. Pretty bummed about that.

Quick story to show what kind of people you find in Indonesia. Elder Campbell and Elder Sutadi were going out for the day from Kampung Melayu and we're standing in line, when all of a sudden, this man fully dressed in the Islamic clothing, cap and all, pushes his way to the front of the line and begins to prophesy "Busway Kampung Melayu... Datanglah!!" or "The bus at Kampung Melayu, come right now!" He then waved his hands around in some pattern and waited. 10 minutes passed. So he said it again. "Busway Kampung Melayu... Datanglah!!" 5 minutes pass. And he says it again. Still nothing. A bus starts coming down the lane and he points to everyone saying "See?? I told you it would come!" Another guy looked down the lane and said "That's a minibus. Not a busway." Embarrassed, the prophesying man made his way to the exit. Ha ha!

New missionaries! A group of 9 new missionaries came in to Indonesia to being their missions, which means that they have to stay in Jakarta for that first week. I've been split with an Elder Lieske from St. George. He's a funny guy! His Bahasa Indonesian's still a work in progress, but we still were able to teach quite a few lessons together. We haven't met with Pak F yet, but we did meet a new investigator. His name is Pak F M. He's Batak. We were looking for another guy who lives in the same house, but wasn't there at the time. But Pak F M let us in and we shared our message about the Restoration. We finally met with Brother E too! He even told us, "The faster I get baptized, the better." So we're working with him to set a earlier date than the 9th of November. D hasn't answered our texts or phone calls yet. I's still doing wonders. :) That's about it from an investigator standpoint. We spent most of the week last week finding. It's quite fun! 

Mission Leader Conference was once again an inspiring meeting full of spiritual promptings and inspired guidance. President had us give a 10 minute report on our zones, and the Jawa Barat zone is doing quite well. President Donald educated us on how to help teach our Indonesian church leaders here how to handle new members because he said there's a lot of investigators getting baptized, and leaving the church way too fast. He wants us as missionaries to take some extra steps to ensure their activity. 

Something President said is something I've heard maybe a million times. But I really like the way he said it. He said "It's not about numbers of baptisms. Many baptisms will come, if people do what they're supposed to do." I support that sentence entirely. We can find a few people who want to get baptized on our own. But if we do it the Lord's way, everything will just work out. 

Because we're emailing at a shady warnet where a bunch of little kids are just playing video games, I don't trust the computers. So no pictures again this week... Sorry about that. But I hope everybody has a great week! 

Elder Seth Barrus

Monday, September 22, 2014

Preparing to live forever in a celestial culture

It's always fun to try and squeeze a weeks worth of activities in just a short hour at the local warnet. But I'll try my best. This past week, we experienced our first rain in Jakarta in the last 3 months. 

Christians in Indonesia are the most conflicted people I know. I love and respect them all. But they don't quite understand their own beliefs. We met a lady through proselyting who was confined to a wheelchair because of a broken shin who let us in to share a message about our church. She said the same thing that most Christian Indonesians say: "All churches are the same. They all lead to Jesus and salvation." Yet, when we invited her to attend our church, she said "Nope. I'm comfortable in my church. They get closest to the teachings of Jesus. Other churches don't." Ha ha! Gotta love it. She didn't receive our Kitab Mormon, but she said we can come back sometime. It's sad. But we've still been able to find some people who are willing to experiment on the word. 

Like Pak F! I met him on the busway maybe 2 weeks ago, lent him a Kitab Mormon, and just this past week had time to meet up with him. He lives in East Jakarta so it was about a 2 hour ride out to his house, but he was totally open to our message. He's from Papua, and something fun about Papuans is that they all look like LeBron James' family. Dang, I wish I had a photo! This guy could pull it off that he was Bron's dad. Serious, Josh you should pray that you get your mission call to Papua New Guinea. Anyway, he received a baptismal commitment for the 18th of October, and promised to come to church the next day. But the Saturday before, he texted us and said "I will come to church. If you give me 50.000 Rupiah (about $5) for the transportation." Nooooo.... We explained that we couldn't do that, but that the Lord would bless his sacrifice if he came to church first. Needless to say, he didn't come. It's funny how most people believe in the scriptures and the miracles that happened in them, but don't believe that the same thing could happen to them if they have faith first. Maybe we ourselves do that sometimes.

Mas D came to church. But he left right after sacrament meeting. So did Brother E. We have an appointment with him this Friday. C was out of town again. And Ivan is, once again, the rock solid new member I know and love. This last week was kind of odd because every single one of the people we contacted on the streets or in the bus were Muslim, except for 3. The Muslim people are great and we always try to give them a chance to learn about the Gospel. But they always just think we're another church. And there are some crazy churches here. That's pretty much our purpose though: Invite. Can't do much to force them to receive the Gospel.

I just finished reading a book written by Elder Neal A. Maxwell just before he passed away, and he said some awesome things, but I picked this one to end my email this week. He said "If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves. No wonder so many mortals are strangers to themselves as they twist and turn to avoid facing their true identity." ... "We become so locked into the cadence of the cares of the world. We should be preparing to live forever in a celestial culture." 

Hope you all have a great week! 

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Stone Cut without Hands is Rolling Forth

On Saturday night, the first counselor in the bishopric asked me to give a talk in sacrament meeting about missionary work. I decided to focus on Elder Bednar's talk about how to "sweep the earth as with a flood" as well as Daniel's prophecy about the stone cut without hands filling the whole earth. It's 100% applicable for all of us. First off, it fills the whole earth, not just parts. Which means everybody will be affected by it. We have the choice to either start running with it or try to stop it. The first choice will bring us happiness and joy, the second will just crush us. And if we just decide to watch the stone just roll by, it will also crush us, as it fills the entire earth. It's kind of as simple as that: do you want to get crushed, or feel happy? Yay! Member missionary work!

Great week! We did an exchange with the two alone missionaries serving here at this moment. I went with Elder Keller. He's from Rigby, Idaho and he looks exactly like Josh. I kid you not. (His first name is even Josh.) I've attached a picture below and you can judge. You are irreplaceable Joshua Ryan Barrus, but I keep imagining that it would completely weird if you got your mission call to Indonesia and he was your trainer.

I'm really really happy how much the ward has rallied around Ivan. The YSA group invited him to their activity at a member's home and he went by himself and had a blast. We've been encouraging him to start doing his own missionary work and he so far has 3 friends who are interested to meet with us sometime.

We do not have any missionaries in Bali yet, but any planting that I can do to justify sending missionaries there is fun. A random guy called us and asked if we could come to his house and give comfort because his wife just passed away 3 days previous. His name is Pak Paulus. He's from Solo, but his son and his wife live in Bali. They happened to be there at the house and as we shared a quick message about the Plan of Salvation, they seemed to take it in really well. They took off to Bali already, but we gave them a Kitab Mormon and said hopefully there will be missionaries there soon. No plans yet, but maybe one day. 

Elder Sutarno makes me laugh. I attached a photo of us taking a joy ride on some old fashioned Dutch bicycles on PDay last week. He's more ripped than I am because he's an exercise nut. And his English is awesome!  New investigators are coming out of the woodwork and I don't think I've been happier in my mission than now.

Also, tell Nick congrats on being ordained an elder. When does he leave for his mission? Ready for a small world story? He did Special Needs Mutual with one of the missionaries in my house, Elder Ty Campbell, back in Pleasant Grove. And he says "hi" to Nick. :)

Dad asked me my thoughts about how scripture study as preparation for a mission. Looking back, that might have been one of the areas I could have done better in preparation for my mission. Not only did I not do it every day, I didn't really have a purpose. I kinda was just doing it because. The first time I remember gaining a true testimony of the scriptures is when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with school, calculus, basketball, and all my church assignments. I opened up to Helaman 3:35 which tells us that as the people fasted and prayed (and did the things asked of them from God) that it filled their souls with joy and consolation. I was so worried about what I hadn't yet become, that I was missing out on the joy in the spiritual progression steps that we make, as we make the "assignments from God" our first priority. 

As far as scriptures about scripture study, I really enjoy Doctrine and Covenants 10:5. "Pray always that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." Really anytime we read "pray" we can also add the words "fasting and scripture study" too. The battle we are all in currently is a battle for our souls. By reading the scriptures, we can literally come off as conqueror of Satan. But it's all little by little. In Indonesian, it's "sedikit demi sedikit". If we expect some great marvelous vision or blessing to come as a result of studying our scriptures just one time, it won't come. But little choices every day and little gems we collect over time add up to a huge protection, blessing, and a way of happy living. Like in 2 Nephi 28:30. Does that count as my answer? :) 

Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Seth Barrus

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ivan got baptized!

Elder Sutarno and I were pretty much just gearing up for Ivan's baptism most of the week.  I've never felt more ready for an investigator to get baptized than Ivan. He showed up 30 minutes late after he was supposed to get baptized because of traffic, but the program still went on and he had one of the nicest baptisms I've been able to take part of. He bent his knees! While we were changing, he said "I'm born again!!" He was confirmed yesterday in church, Elder and Sister Subandriyo invited us to their house for lunch, and then President Donald invited all missionaries in Jakarta to bring one or two of our investigators to their house for a little testimony meeting. And then later tonight, Brother Bryan Rondonuwu, our Ward Mission Leader and former Zone Leader in Surabaya, invited us to his house for family home evening. The ward is really coming alive in supporting Ivan and hopefully this is what sparks more concentrated effort in bringing more souls to know this great Gospel. 

Ivan's Baptism
I really wish you could all meet Ivan. He's hilarious!

Mission Leadership Conference

We had another stirring round of MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) and ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) last week and President really wanted us to focus on working with members and having more faith. He says he gets emails every week from missionaries asking "How can I.... find more investigators, get more baptisms, work more with members, etc." and almost always his answer is "Have more faith!" So we did. Just before Ivan's baptism, we had some down time without any set appointments, but if we went too far, we would risk getting back to Ivan's baptism late. So we decided to go out in faith! We were praying that the Lord would lead us to one person who would want to hear our message in time to get back for Ivan's baptism. We got off the bus, walked down a few streets, trying to find somebody to talk to, and the first person we talked to was from Medan, a Christian, and they let us in to hear our message. To others, it may seem like just a coincidence. But I've long since learned that there are no more coincidences or "hunches" in missionary work. It's all the work of the Lord.

Indonesian people are the funniest people on the planet. Last Saturday, there was a BYU-Hawaii alumni meeting at the Jakarta Selatan church (about an hour before Ivan's baptism) which meant I got to meet many members I knew from old areas. The bishop's wife from Tangerang came up to me and after talking a little bit, she said "You've gotten skinnier!" It's apparently kosher for Indonesian people to greet others by commenting on their weight. Because right after that, another member came up to me from Tangerang and said "You've gotten fatter!" (The truth is, I've stayed at 87 kilos for the last 6 months or so. So ha! They're both wrong.) Other than others commenting about how much I delight in fatness, this past week was awesome! 

We met a man who claimed to be from the Jehovah's Witness faith last week on the busway. He didn't give us his number or address, so we just gave him a card. He called us up and asked if we could meet sometime. The first time we met, it seemed like he was pretty set on setting us straight. But by the end, he was willing to pray. His name is Kenas. He texted us last Friday asking if we could come back on Monday morning at 7:30. We just met him this morning and he was so... changed. He said he prayed and hadn't gotten an answer yet, but he'll keep trying. But I could see a different light in him that wasn't there last week. Everything we talked about today was just free flowing truth. He doesn't want to commit to baptism yet, but it was a great way to start a PDay!

Happy Birthday Micah! Only a couple more years and you'll be out here doing this whole missionary thing yourself. :) Hope you enjoy being 11!

Thank you all for your prayers and own dedication to this Gospel. Great happiness awaits us as we give our personal will to God.

Elder Seth Michael Barrus

Hari Pekerjaan

(Hari Pekerjaan translates as Day Job.) Labor Day? What is this day of labor you speak of? I thought every day was a labor day. At least for missionaries. Happy PDay!

I am no concert pianist, but when called upon to play some songs for ward conference, I can plink something out. The Jakarta 2nd ward held ward conference yesterday and it was awwwesome! Every single one of the talks was about "mempergegaskan pekerjaan Tuhan" or "hastening the work of the Lord." The stake president and his counselors talked about using facebook, instagram, tweeter, and all them other websites to spread the news of the gospel.

Ixxxx!  He came to church yesterday, has no problems with paying tithing or fasting, and is all set for baptism this Saturday. We got the word out yesterday, so hopefully we get a lot of member support at said pembaptisan. I thought the principle of paying tithing would be something investigators have a big problem with, but for the most part while on my mission, everybody's been 100% willing to pay it. We're meeting him later today as well just to shore things up.

Did I ever tell you about Cxxxxxxxx? A member here invited a random guy he met at a hospital to church. And he came. And he keeps coming. His name is Cxxxxxxx. He's come to church three times now, but he's never had time to meet outside of church. So we sat down with him right after church and taught the first lesson. Needless to say, he was entirely confused why all the members keep mentioning the Kitab Mormon, but after explaining about the Restoration, he understands. And wants to be baptized at the end of September if he knows it's all true. Cool member missionary work story right there. 

Comparing flip flops

Jakarta District?
The exchange of the week award goes to the one and only Elder Wood in Tangerang. Great guy and even awesomer missionary! He's training right now and is the district leader in my former area. We went out proselyting and teaching and preaching and all that stuff missionaries do. We even got kicked out of a housing complex because we were "disturbing the people". Hmmmm. We didn't argue, and quickly left after teaching our appointment. Tangerang's a funky place, but a piece of my heart still resides there. 

I've never really understood how the whole hashtag things work, (I always just think hash browns). But apparently there's this hashtag going around that I've seen on facebook called #sharethegood. In keeping spirit with aforementioned hashbrowntag, I found a quote from Elder Wirthlin in April of 1992:

"We can fill our lives with good, leaving no room for anything else. We have so much good from which to choose that we need never partake of evil."

So true! And we have the responsibility to give our friends and neighbors a chance to see how much goodness there really is out there. 

Hope you all have a week full of goodness and joyness and awesomeness!