Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, October 27, 2014

Minus the Whole "Writing a Girl Back Home" Part

We meet some interesting people in Jakarta. And some people who just want to speak English and show off to a bule (foreigner) like myself. Elder Sutarno and I were riding the train back home after a baptismal interview in Tangerang and this middle aged man came up to me and said "Sir, where are you from?" After replying with one word "America", he just went off for 10 minutes about how he's been to Orlando, Washington DC, Boston, and other places. And how he has 3 houses in Jakarta and owns 2 Porsches. I offered him a chance to hear a message about the Kitab Mormon and restoration of the Gospel, but he wanted none of it. He just kept going on how his wealth has allowed him to do so many things in this vast world. I felt bad for him really. To think that he's trading his chance at salvation for a Porsche seems like mixed up priorities to me.

This last week was full of  miracles. It seems that ever since Brother I's baptism back in September, the work has just exploded here in Jakarta Selatan. Brother E's baptism on Saturday, culminating with his confirmation yesterday at church, finished up a long 2 year process of many many elders and lessons. I wish I could say we did something special to help him overcome his doubts, but in all honesty, it was his own desire and choice to make that covenant at this time. Everybody just has their own timing. 

After his baptism, the Jakarta District put on a movie in front of the church, complete with popcorn. We probably had about 60 people show up to watch the thriller "The Other Side of Heaven." When I get home, I'm telling people my mission was exactly like the movie. Well, minus the whole "writing a girl back home" part. All the members came up and said how great the event was, too.

Mas D, Brother I and Jakarta District
Mas D! He came to church yesterday, and solidified his testimony of the divinity and coolness of our church, and we got him all ready to be baptized next week. His parents are still not in full support of his decision, but he has decided to go ahead and do it because it's what the Lord wants. He's soooo cool. And I's fellowshipping is helping out so much too. So here's to hoping for another baptism by next week's email as well. Horas!

Speaking of I, after much coaxing and prodding, he finally went up to bless the sacrament for the first time yesterday! It always fills a missionary's heart with joy to see a new member do something like that. I is an incredible new member and will be wonderful in helping the work grow in the coming months and years. 

A kid from Nias also came to church yesterday and after calming his fears that drinking coffee and tea is something he can overcome (he heard about that before we taught him anything about the Word of Wisdom), he also committed to be baptized on the 15th of November. His name is A. Which means "cloud" in Indonesian. I dunno, don't ask me. :) He lives here in Jakarta alone, his family is all in Nias, but he had a great time at church and we're going over there later today to follow up with him.

Aaaaand we had Pertemuan Latihan Daerah (Zone Training Meeting) last week with President Donald and the AP's. We learned many a things like how to teach for understanding, how to effectively find, and how to become "full purpose missionaries". President Donald also told me where I'm moving, but I'm not at liberty to tell until next week. Mwahahaha... 

In closing, just a quick thought from Elder Ballard in "Our Search For Happiness". It says "That's the way it is when Jesus Christ becomes a reality in your life. It isn't that he somehow makes you do things that you wouldn't do otherwise. Rather, you find yourself wanting to do what He would do and respond as He would respond in an effort to bring your life into harmony with His." 

Love you all! Thanks for the prayers and thoughts on my behalf. You all are also in my prayers and thoughts. 

Elder Barrus

Monday, October 20, 2014

Konferensi Umum Yang Ketiga

That translates to "The Third General Conference", since he's been out, I guess.

How about General Conference? Pretty good eh? OK fine, we get to feel the spirit and wonderful talks from inspired leaders 1 week after the rest of you. But can I still talk about how awesome it was? The nice thing about watching it in Jakarta is that there was an entire separate set up in the cultural hall for the English members who wanted to come and watch. The only problem was, all of the English members stayed at home and watched it on their computers, which left Elder Campbell and I watching it by ourselves. We had a blast! I attached a picture below showing what fun we had together this weekend. Quick overview of my thoughts:

- So many talks about sustaining prophets and the apostles. 

- President Ucthdorf's talk was so perfect about how we need to look in and ask "Lord, is it I?" rather than pointing fingers at our neighbors saying they need this talk more than I do. 

- Are we not all beggars? 

Despite all our efforts to get investigators to come to conference, nobody came. They pretty much said they all were "too busy". And then there was Ivan, who was recently baptized. He had to go to his university in the morning on Saturday, but he rushed over to the church as soon as it was over because "I want to hear the word of God." It was a fun perspective to think of that this is the first time he's heard from living prophets and apostles. Sometimes it's something I take for granted. 

We went on an exchange this past week to the "Paris of Jawa", also known as the city of Bandung. While there, I met Elder Widigdo and his trainee, Elder Williamson. Elder Widigdo was trained by the one and only Elder Broberg, my comp in Medan, and much like his father, Elder Widigdo is an awesome missionary.  I did an exchange with Elder Petersen. He's new to the mission 7 months or so, but was made a District Leader and is doing miracles down there in Bandung.  

In other news, I received an invitation from a former investigator in Tangerang to go to his baptism next Sunday. President Donald gave his permission, so I get to travel back to my old area and see Brother Wintolo get baptized. I'm so stoked! It's been such a long process and journey for him. I know his son, Elder Wintolo, is flying in from Surabaya to come and baptize his dad, and it's going to be such a cool experience. I'm excited, to say the least. :) 

That's about it from me this week. But remember that most of the personal revelation and application of God's word comes after conference. Here's to the November issue of the Liahona! 

Elder Barrus

Last picture is of  Elder Sutarno and I at Brother Bob Hasibuan's house. He's been a member for the last 42 years, and has a little shop in the front of his house. Hence the "Toko Liahona". 

Meet the Muslim Turned Mormon

I'm thinking about making a movie with that title. Do you think it would be big enough to sell in theaters? It would be based on a true story. After a short 10 months of missionary discussions and over 20 years of patient waiting by his wife and kids, the one and only Brother Wintolo was baptized by his son yesterday. It was a truly humbling and spiritual experience to witness the service. It reminded me of when Jesus went to John the Baptist to be baptized. Much like the Savior Himself, Brother Wintolo had to humble himself and come unto his own son and someone who in society should be "inferior", but had the authority, to baptize him. Elder Wintolo received permission from President Donald and flew in from Surabaya to do so. I also got permission to do the interview and had a very sacred experience with him. It isn't that easy to change religions, especially from Islam, a religion I respect and love, to Christianity. He hasn't received a huge spiritual outpouring confirming that he needs to be baptized, but he told me he's taking it all in faith. Shouldn't that be the reason for most of our actions too? It was a great experience I'll never forget. I'll be telling that story to my grandkids till the day I die. 

We went to Taman Mini last Pday and I attached some pictures below, including a picture of a real komodo dragon. Elder Booth, I finally found one! We also got to hold a 2 meter long snake. That was fun. :) There were a ton of cool cultural things as well, including houses from Kalimantan, Medan, Padang, Lampung, etc.

Remember Brother E? Elder Sutarno and I were headed to District Meeting after teaching Pak P, and while crossing the street, we got a random call from Bro E's wife, Sister Rawuh. She said that Brother Erwin wants to be baptized on the 25th of October. After we calmed down from our initial rush of excitement, we called Brother E to make sure and he's ready. Yay! That was pretty much the miracle of the week. He's been an investigator for 2 years, receiving baptismal commitments on and off, but never really getting in the water. So to hear this news is definitely humbling and exciting! We have Zone Meeting this week with President Donald, 2 other interviews we need to do in Bekasi and Tangerang, and our own investigator needs to be baptized, so this week is going to be busy, but we're stoked.

We did a split with the Tangerang Elders and again, I am impressed and proud of their dedicated work down there. Elder Troff (from South Jordan--he went to Bingham) and I taught a few people, including this guy named Jeff. He was a large, large man. But he speaks perfect English and we had a great lesson with him. They've done such great work, that the Tangerang district is expanding from just 2 companionships to 4 companionships in the next month. Tangerang has been an area where the work has always been considered "slow" but the Lord is truly hastening His work in every part of the world. 

That's about it for this week. Hope you enjoy the pictures!
Elder Seth Barrus

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Boar's head in hand I raise, Bedecked with Baize!

I shall give 100 points to whomever catches that reference. If you paid any attention to our Madrigal songs my senior year, you would know. 

Living goats. Obviously not sacrificed yet.
The area close by our house has started smelling like an animal farm the last couple days which means it's time for sacrifice day! The only problem is that Hari Raya Idul Fitri happens to fall on a Sunday this year, so while walking to church yesterday, the cows and goats were still living and walking around the masjid by our house, but by the time we were heading home, the deed had been done. Nothing remained but a few carcasses and lots of blood.

We keep meeting new investigators, but for some reason, are having a tough time helping them stick around to keep meeting with us more than once. One of the fun experiences we had this past week was meeting Pak P. (Although probably distantly related to Elder P, there is no evidence of close family). We decided to start proselyting around members' homes because it will be easier to bring fellowshippers to future lessons, and after 2 solid hours of talking to people on the streets, asking anybody where someone might be interested in hearing a message about Jesus Christ or the Kitab Mormon, we had pretty much nothing to show for it except for a few irritated folks who told us to bug off. We finally tracted into a Batak kampung and it so turned out that they all were Batak Tapanuli, which meant they weren't Christian. But they said one of their neighbors happened to be Christian, so we gave it a try. As soon as Pak P saw "Yesus Kristus" on our name badges, he let us in. After sharing a quick message about the Kitab Mormon, he said "I like you guys. Come back next week and teach me more about this. But come when my family is here too." So we set an appointment for this Tuesday. Yay! 

As for other investigators, we met with a guy named Mas O. I've taken for granted the overall ability of Indonesians to read and be literate. It was kind of like talking to a rock while teaching Mas O. He kind of just nodded his head with everything we said and when we asked him to repeat what we said using his own words, he couldn't do it. Turns out, he can't really read either. Hmm. So we toned our Bahasa Indonesian down and taught according to what he could understand. After the lesson, we asked how he felt and he said "I didn't understand most of what you said, but all the bad feelings I had before I met you went away." The Gospel has to be taught to everybody right? In their own language and all, even if that language is really informal Indonesian.

Whiteboard after Zone Training Meeting, along with my cousin, Sister Sheffield
Zone Training Meeting! Elder Sutarno and I taught about how to become "Full Purpose Missionaries" in not only finding, teaching, and baptizing, but in retaining and reactivating, too. Hopefully it went well. We're well on target to reach our goals by December 31st so here's me getting excited!

After much prodding and poking, we got Ivan to bear his testimony in Sacrament meeting yesterday! And it was aaaaawesome! He said the things that every missionary wants to hear. He said something along the lines of "I commit to enduring in this Church and keeping my covenant I made at baptism."

I've been thinking a lot about sacrifice (in honor of Hari Raya Idul Fitri) and how others around me have sacrificed in one way or another for the benefit of others. But ultimately, it made me think about the Savior's atoning sacrifice for all of us as children of God. We don't need to cut up cows or burn goats anymore to show our willingness to God. But rather, we need to come unto Him with a broken heart and contrite spirit, and offer our whole souls as a sacrifice to Him. 

We get to listen to Conference this Saturday and Sunday and because there's an English ward that meets in the Jakarta Selatan building, it means I get to watch the proceedings in English!!! Needless to say, I'm pumped. :) 

Elder Seth Barrus

The only thing I could think of when I saw this was "Meow..."
It means "want" in Indonesian.  But sounds too much like a cat.