Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Saya bersyukur untuk... (I Am Thankful For...)

Elder Simanungkalit and I had a really fun miraculous week. We've been working really hard to try and find more people who want to be baptized so we can help the Harmoni Ward grow. And as we've "wrestled with the Lord" through prayer, He's blessed us with more teaching opportunities. Like yesterday we were coming home from church riding the busway and I met a fellow from Nias who was interested in learning. At the same time, a nice Muslim man was trying to convert my companion. Another kid came and sat down next to Elder Simanungkalit and asked if he could see the Kitab Mormon he was holding. Poor Elder Simanungkalit was getting his ear talked off by the guy sitting to his right, so amongst the crowded busway, he shouted to me "Hey Elder Barrus!! Can you contact this guy?!" His name is Anton. He's also from Nias. We only had like 2 minutes to contact him because then we needed to get off, but we got his number and have been texting him. 

We've been pushing our investigators to come to church and a few said they would come and didn't come, and a few said next week. So we sat down in church with Aleks (awesome guy--I'll share about him later) when this guy came and sat down with us on the end of the bench. His name is William. He's a member referral. He's divorced and looks like he could use some much needed spiritual knowledge. We're meeting him on Wednesday

Aleks! He's on target to be baptized when he returns from a family trip to Bali on the 4th of January. We met with him last week and he said it's like Satan also knows he wants to be baptized soon because all of a sudden, some of his relatives are sending anti-Mormon stuff to his parents and saying how bad the church his son is going to is. But Aleks is not swayed at all. His baptism is going to be such a sweet day! 

Elder Jones and Elder Prayitno are also living in Senopati with us until we can find an apartment for them closer to the church building. It's fun to have them in the house.

Our Ward Mission Leader is the coolest guy on planet earth. His name is Jonathan. He just got off his mission maybe 7 months ago and he's a fireball! He always asks to fellowship with us and last Saturday, he followed us all around Jakarta the whole day visiting less actives and contacting people on the busway with us. And he looks exactly like our beloved American President, Mr. Obama. That or Will Smith. Or a mix. I attached a picture below so you can judge.
Elder Barrus, Elder Prayitno, Elder Simanungkalit, Sister Olsen, Sister Sheffield,
Elder Jones, and Jonathan, our Harmoni Ward Mission Leader, Jonathan

Elder Barrus, Poli and Elder Simanungkalit. He's gonna get baptized someday. But he just went back to Nias for the month of December. But he wants to meet again in January. Bahasa Nias is a weird language, man...

I heard about Grandma's passing last week and I've been thinking a lot about that. I'm grateful for my testimony and knowledge of the Plan of Salvation in which we can all be reunited with the ones we love for all eternity as we remain faithful and true to our covenants we make in this life. Tell Grandpa I love him and I'll be praying for him. :) 

What usually is brought up in missionary moms? I'm 81 kilograms now. (179 pounds) I eat a lot of catfish because it's cheap and close to the mission home. We already put our Christmas tree up and sister Donald gave us some Christmas lights. There's a mission tour from the 13th to the 15th of December with Elder Funk.  What do you want to talk about in missionary moms? Anything from my emails is fine to share. 

"Strength and struggle go together. The supreme reward of struggle is strength. Life is a battle and the greatest joy is to overcome. The pursuit of easy things makes men weak. Do not equip yourselves with superior power and hope to escape the responsibility and the work. It cannot be done. It is following the lines of least resistance that makes rivers and men crooked." Miracle of Forgiveness pg 164. 

Hope everybody has a great Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving here this year will be a little different than last year. We'll just be taking a normal pday today. And then on Thursday, we'll probably go eat at KFC or something for lunch. And then on Friday, Elder and Sister Luccerini are making us a Thanksgiving lunch after our district meeting. No football. :) But I haven't had any football for the last year and a half, so it's all good. Rasa Syukur! (Thankfulness)

Elder Barrus

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fahrenheit 81

Looking at the weather today as stated on my computer, and judging by the weather outside, it's a solid 81 degrees and slightly cloudy. In spite of all the pollution, it feels good. Sorry to hear about the 30 degree weather and snow.... :) I'll try not to enjoy the weather here too much.

Mission Leadership Conference this past week was a different experience. Instead of just showing up ready to take notes and take in the revelations that came from President Donald, Elder Simanungkalit and I had to prepare a presentation ourselves on how to make facebook a more effective tool. It went well, but the most inspiring thing to me was how President Donald answered a prayer I've been asking for these last 18 months. In preparation for my mission, I was told to study and ponder to more fully understand the Atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I've always known that only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can someone have full access to the cleansing and redeeming power of the Atonement, I just have always struggled at how to best communicate those thoughts to someone I've met on the street or an investigator. We had a chance to apply what he told us in a lesson with a guy named Purwanto later that night. He's from Borneo, but is Hindu. He already came to Brother Erwin's baptism a few weeks ago, so it was easy to bring that part up again. We asked him if he knew what was going on and he didn't. So we asked him if he knew what sin was. We then asked a few more follow up questions like "How do you feel when you sin? How would you feel to have those feelings washed away? Can a sinful man enter Heaven? Then how can we all enter into heaven?" We then explained that the power to cleanse sins has been restored to Joseph Smith and asked if he would get baptized when he knew it was all true. He accepted and is willing to be baptized on the 7th of December, if he doesn't go to Germany. It was humbling and exciting to finally get an answer to something I've been searching for the last 18 months. 

18 months. 6 months left. Well it's weird when you put it that way. I just say I'm going home next year and that makes it feel like I have plenty of time to accomplish the things I want to accomplish. :) I know! It was sooo great meeting up with Elder Murphy again. He's gotten a lot skinnier, but still the same guy I love. He's serving in Solo with Elder Canfield. Such a power combo there. :) 

We had a sad experience in meeting with a really not active member. His name is Gatsu and he was baptized in Malang, but moved to Jakarta 3 years ago. He's well off and because of that, he has quite a few friends. But these friends aren't too great. He hasn't met with missionaries in a long time, so we asked if he had a Kitab Mormon still. He didn't because these friends came over and burned it saying it was from the devil. We invited him back to church to partake of the sacrament, but he said he just drinks wine in his room whenever the Holy Ghost tells him to. There were a few other things he said that just made me want to cry in my heart. Even though he's a ways off from the strait and narrow, it reminded me of the importance of our friends. Which way do we face? If we find other friends who are willing to face towards the Lord, we'll be much better off than trying to satiate the endless appetite of the world. 

This last week, we had the opportunity to meet with Elder and Sister Gibbons, Elder and Sister Tanner, and Elder and Sister Funk at the Saharjo Church. They talked about so many wonderful things, but one thing Elder John Tanner said was "We as missionaries need to Re-Present the Savior when we teach. We are quite literally substitute teachers for Him." And I've known this since Elder Funk came last year and met the missionaries, but it was emphasized again how much he loves Indonesia. Sure he lives in Hong Kong and has been a mission president in India, but the spirit I felt while he testified of his love for the people of Indonesia is something that can't be denied. We did have a neat meeting with them all. And President Donald asked me to lead the meeting. That was weird leading a meeting in English. I messed up twice. :) English is a hard language...

Well, hope everybody has a great week. :) 

Elder Seth Barrus

Service Project (Picture courtesy of Sister Sheffield's blog)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jakarta Raya

I packed up all my stuff, hopped in a taxi last Wednesday, got to Senopati at 12, and the new missionaries arrived by 4. Meeting new missionaries is always fun, mostly because of the lack of knowledge about the mission. It's fun filling them in. It was a fun mix, too. A group of 10 Indonesian missionaries came from the Philippines MTC, and then there were the 7 foreigners coming from the Provo MTC. We just got back from playing futsal earlier this morning, so that's why we're emailing later.

Elder Simanungkalit in the office at Senopati
Thus life in the mission office has begun. I attached a picture below of my new companion, Elder Simanungkalit and I. 20 points for whoever can pronounce his name correctly when I Skype at Christmas. It's definitely a change being here, sending out letters and packages, meeting with President Donald more often, and using hot water for showers. Seriously, I'm worried I might get spoiled here. If somebody could send me a cockroach in a package or something, that would be appreciated. Ha ha!

We ride the busway a looot more than Jakarta Selatan, which is nice, because we only have to pay one time to go pretty much anywhere in our area.The problem is waiting for buses mostly. We waited at Tanjung Priok last night for 35 minutes for a bus to pass by. But the principle of finding on public transportation has stayed the same: You meet some weird people. And you meet some great people. Like last week I was looking on my left at the person's tablet which was opened to her facebook. (Is it okay to be a bit nosy as a missionary...?) And the page she was opened to happened to be a "Sister something" and the background picture was a photo from "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." What are the odds? After asking how she knew about that church, she immediately asked for a Kitab Mormon and hopefully we get to meet her this week and find out. We're teaching a few people who aren't yet progressing, excepting a super cool brother named Alex. He's been an investigator for almost 2 years now, and he is more solid than a member. He's just waiting to turn 18 so he can get baptized without permission from his parents, who haven't given it yet... But he comes to church every Sunday and can speak fluent Polish. Pretty cool, eh? 

We also met a guy named Himas. When we started teaching him, a motorcycle pulled up and 2 missionaries from the Jehovah Witnesses came into the room. We didn't debate at all, but eventually our investigator Himas just started debating with one of the JW's. We were just bored and ready to get out of there, when one of the JW missionaries turned to us and started asking questions about the Kitab Mormon. We shared the first lesson with him and felt the Spirit really strong. He agreed to pray, and we asked him if he got his answer from God that the Kitab Mormon was true, would he join our church. He said "Tidak." or "No". Ha ha! Oh well. It still was pretty fun testifying to a Jehovah's Witness about the truth. 

Church is a bit different. It's smaller than Jakarta Selatan. And there aren't very many Primary age kids, mostly just an older ward. But guess who I get to meet each week?? Brother Tri! Remember him? He was my investigator in Tangerang, and then got baptized when I was in Jakarta Selatan. He's doing good! He's going to bless the Sacrament next week. Oh yea, and Elder Wood told me that Derry got confirmed yesterday. Woot!

Brother John S. Tanner and Brother Larry Gibbons along with Elder Funk are coming to the Jakarta Stake this Wednesday for a meeting with the youth and also the missionaries. That's gonna be fun. And then there's Mission Leader Conference on Friday. Busy week, but I'm stoked. :) And also freezing. Because the AC here is freezing. Serious. It's like an ice box over here. I miss my kipas angin...  (electric fan)

Semoga minggu ini bagus buat anda semua! (Hopefully this is a good week for you all.)

Elder Seth Barrus

Last chance for dinner with Ivan last Monday. I'm gonna miss that guy...
To answer your questions: Sundays are probably our busiest days. After church, we usually meet with investigators, our Ward Mission Leader, and then usually can find a couple of appointments because nobody works on Sundays. I used to get home and just crash, but now we get to take stats... Blessings!

Whoa. Lauren Page is already home? That's kinda weird... Sister Sheffield and Sister Jibson should be home by now, but their release date is on the 26th of November for some reason, so they're staying an extra 3 weeks. They say it's "overtime blessings" at this point. Who else from the ward is leaving or coming home? Anybody getting married?

Our schedule as an AP is pretty much the same, but a little different. We have personal study at 8, companion study at 9, but then usually head straight up to the office to finish stuff. Like laminating missionaries' permission papers, putting missionaries' mail in their boxes, and cleaning up the office. Then we usually head out to eat at 12 or so and then we're out for the day by 1. We will help with transfer decisions when the time comes, but President Donald just finished a pretty big transfer, so there probably won't be another one for some time. I loooove my new companion. He's a champion of a missionary. His dad actually works here in Senopati so it's pretty funny. Their interaction consists mostly of just saying "good morning". 

Ahhh yes. And my trusty electric razor has finally called it quits. Even after charging it, it doesn't switch on. Not sure what happened. But I'm shaving using a normal razor and some shaving cream. That's probably why my face looks extra scruffy... I can buy another electric razor here. Would that just be best? I haven't looked at prices yet though. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Freed From the Burden of Sin"

President Donald called last week, right after we finished emailing to give me my reassignment news. I'll be moving about 20 kilometers--from South Jakarta to Central Jakarta and will be serving in the Harmoni Ward. I'll be living in Senopati at the mission home there and will be living the rest of my days of my mission life as an assistant to the president. My new companion is Elder Simanungkalit. (Out of all my mission companions, I think his name might be the most difficult to say. Have fun!) 

Elder Wood will move up from Tangerang and fill the Zone Leader position in Jakarta. It's actually quite exciting because Jawa Barat is splitting into 2 zones now--Jakarta and Bekasi will be one zone, and Tangerang, Bogor, and Bandung will make up the other zone. It's different, but it will be a great opportunity to have a lot more "hands on" work for the Zone Leaders. The transfers happen on Thursday

Derry's Baptism
The Lord has been blessing us sooo much in the last couple weeks and we're quite humbled by it actually. Derry got baptized yesterday!!! I needed to do some quick repenting the other week because I didn't have the faith that he would make the sacrifices necessary to become a member. He lives a train ride plus a bus ride away from the church in South Jakarta, so I had some doubts about whether he could keep that up. Last week in his interview with Elder Sutadi, he committed to coming to church every week after his baptism. He has to work til late at night, so we baptized him after church Sunday. Do you remember Elder Suryono (my old companion)? He came up from Bandung the night before just to see him get baptized. It was really fun seeing him again! I've attached a picture below. Just before going into the font, we did the pre-baptism run through and I noticed a brown wristband I hadn't noticed before on Derry's wrist. He said it's a wristband he's worn for the past 10 years and never taken off. So it was all hard and impossible to slip off, so after asking if it was okay, Bishop grabbed a small knife and cut it off.  While changing afterwards, I asked how he was feeling and he said "Free from the burden of sin". I said, "Kinda like your wristband, eh?" It was a fun little symbol of the commitment he's making for the rest of his life and the life to come. Derry's been such a testimony to me about sacrifice. There's no distance too far, no economical problem too big, no sacrifice too great to know the truth.

Ivan came to the baptism as well. He's progressing sooo well. All the members already consider him a full member, and now when we teach him, we ask him to teach us. And then we fill in whatever's missing from the D&C or words from living prophets. I seriously will miss Ivan so much. I wish everyone could have a chance to meet him.

We went to Brother Erwin's house last week as well and there was a different light about him. I don't how to explain it any other way. You could just feel it. He wore a white shirt and tie to church for the second time too and should shortly begin blessing the sacrament. 

 We did a split in Bogor last week. Beautiful city! I went with Elder Sadiyono. Great missionary. :) 

I'm definitely going to miss Jakarta Selatan. I would have to say I've been the happiest here so far on my mission, Sampai jumpa lagi! (See you again!)

Elder Seth Barrus