Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, December 29, 2014

Selamat Hari Natal! (Merry Christmas!)

Christian's baptism from Jakarta Selatan
I figured I just talked to everybody this past week, so I'm not sure of what else I should say. Except for this: Do you remember Christian from Jakarta Selatan? It's the guy who came to church 3 times before he had time outside of church to meet with us and actually learn about the Restoration? Yea, that guy. He got baptized yesterday!! Because it was still in our district, we got to go and see it. And even though I wasn't a main part of teaching and nurturing him, (that was Elder Wood and Elder Sutarno. Great missionaries), it filled my heart with joy to see him make that covenant with Heavenly Father. That was most definitely the coolest Christmas present ever.

Flooding in Jakarta. It's the rainy season!
On this region of the world, we don't get snow. But we sure do get some heavy rainstorms. We went out to try and follow up on people we found who are interested, but just weren't at there house or didn't have the time to meet right then. We turned onto the street with all their houses and found that the street had becometh a river. The rainy season is well upon us, as is the flooding season here in Jakarta. 

Ingrown toenail surgery. Ouch!
I went to a hospital and had my ingrown toenail removed. That was pretty fun. Picture attached below in the doc's office.

Aleks came back from a vacation to Bali and told us his mother gave him permission to get baptized! Yay! We're on schedule for the 11th of January, so here's praying that it all works out OK. Other than Aleks, a lot of our investigators returned to their hometowns for Christmas and New Years, so we're waiting for them to come back. 

"The Gospel of Jesus Christ opens the path to what we may become. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His grave, our failures to live the celestial law perfectly and consistently in mortality can be erased and we are enabled to develop a Christlike character." - Elder Christofferson. 

The birth of Christ was a miracle. His life was a miracle. And His death along with His resurrection were miracles. And because of Him, our lives can be a miracle. We've been watching "He is the Gift" with investigators and while we proselyte and I really enjoy the invitation at the end to "Embrace the Gift." Each of us decides whether or not to receive it and to be changed by it. The choice is ours. 

Hope everybody had a great Christmas and a great new year this coming week! 

Elder Barrus

Pictures from Christmas Day at the Mission Home, courtesy of Elder and Sister Lucherini and Elder Jones.

Cookies courtesy of Elder and Sister Fryer

Playing the card game, "Presidents"

Not sure what they're doing in this pose. Hot chocolate??

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mission Tour

(This is the email we received last Wednesday.)

Pripun kabaripun? (That's Javanese for "How are you?")

I'm just shooting off a quick email to say I am indeed alive after not emailing last Pday as a result of the mission tour with Elder Funk. We got to go on lots of splits with missionaries, the two of us picked up Elder and Sister Funk in a taxi, we attended District Conference in Surabaya,  attended a zone conference in Surabaya, rode a train out to Solo and then attended the zone conference there, and just got home from a flight back to the populated land of Jakarta.  Yep. I'm not sure how to explain it more abbreviated than that. But I can just say that I hope when I die, that Heavenly Father lets me watch this past week over again. The spirit that Elder Funk and President Donald bring is indescribable. Once I get a chance to actually sit down and pound out a true email, I'll include more details.

Salam kasih, (With love)

Elder Seth Barrus

(And here's this week's email.)

Well huh. I've never had to do a recap of two weeks in an email before. At least I don't think so. I think I'll just do a day by day recap. Here we go!

12th Dec - We flew to Surabaya with President and Sister Donald. We split with the Surabaya Zone Leaders for most the day. I went with Elder Blaser and taught 4 lessons while just proselyting around the church. President was caught up in traffic out in Sidoarjo, so he asked Elder Simanungkalit and I to go pick up Elder and Sister Funk at the airport. Talk about nerve wracking! We rode a taxi from the airport and got to sit knee to knee with a general authority. He mostly talked about his experiences when he was a missionary here in Indonesia. 

13th & 14th Dec - District Conference in Surabaya. I split with my former companion, Elder Sutadiyono and caught up with each other about what's going on. He's having a great time in Surabaya, even though it's super hot. President Donald called a new district presidency, with Brother Kingwi as president, who was baptized by Elder Murphy's dad back in 1980. Small world,eh? 

While in Surabaya, I got to meet up with the first investigator I got to teach and baptize.
You remember Lidya? She's still super active and awesome! 
15th Dec - Surabaya Zone Conference. The missionaries from Manado flew down and I got to catch up with Elder Heiner. Sister Sperry and I translated for the entire meeting from English into Indonesian. We mostly focused on effective ways to find, how to teach more effectively, and why being exactly obedient is important. After the meeting, we all rode the 3 hours on a train from Surabaya to Solo. Twas the first time I've ever step foot in Central Jawa. 

16th Dec - Solo Zone conference. Elder Simanungkalit took my place to translate so I got to focus a lot more on the meeting itself. Elder Funk is a soft spoken man, but invokes the spirit when he speaks. I was kind of hit in the face with some personal revelation I've been thinking about for a while. In the church, there are things that are true, and there are things that are expedient. Sometimes, as missionaries we focus too much on true things, but not necessarily needed. Like Joseph Smith was 14, lived in New York, his grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War, things like that. And then there are things that are expedient, like he prayed to know which church to join and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him, and they need to be baptized to show their faith. I split with Elder Canfield after. He's one stud of a missionary.

It was Elder Canfield's birthday during MLC. So Elder Heiner and I bought him a cake.
17th Dec - Flew back to Jakarta after spending the day with the Zone Leaders in Solo.

18th Dec - Final Zone conference in Jakarta. I felt the spirit most strongly this last meeting. It's interesting how I followed the same meeting three times, but got different things out of it all three times. It's a testimony to me how the Lord truly teaches us according to our needs. Elder Funk left a blessing upon us that if we're faithful and do all the things asked of us, the Lord will open doors for us that weren't opened before. It was a little bit more detailed than that. But the spirit was very strong during that part. 

Not to bore you all with that, but just so you know we weren't just having fun the last two weeks. Although we pretty much were... These last two weeks were very uplifting and inspiring to help me know what I need to do to be a better missionary. 

These last 3 days, we went out Christmas caroling to some of the semi active members. And one of them came to church yesterday! Even though our busway bus broke down and started smoking out of the engine on the way out to Tanjung Priok, we had a great time spreading that Christmas spirit. 

Last experience I want to share before signing off, yesterday I went out with Elder Prayitno just proselyting. We left right after church at 1 pm and spent the whole day proselyting trying to share messages about Jesus Christ. We taught one lesson. About Jesus Christ. To a Muslim man. Ha ha! Needless to say, the citizens where we proselyted weren't too receptive to our message. But! On the ride home, on the last bus before we needed to get off, I sat next to and contacted a man who hadn't been to church in 4 months, had never heard of the Book of Mormon, and was excited to learn more sometime. It's a small miracle, but I know that the Lord works miracles among us usually after we first show our faith. 

We've been sharing Christmas messages with people these last couple weeks, centered around the video that you can watch at www.mormon.org/ind/natal. Jesus Christ is the greatest gift our Heavenly Father could give to us as His children. I hope we don't just share about Him only at Christmas time, but all year round. He's applicable and needed every day of our lives. Hope everybody has a Selamat Hari Natal!! (Merry Christmas) See you soon when we skype!

Elder Barrus

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Came Early!

And by that I mean, spiritually. No mom, your package hasn't arrived yet. And Sister Sheffield hasn't swung by Senopati either, so I haven't even gotten the new shaver you sent. But, this past weekend was Stake Conference for the West Jakarta Stake! It's the second time around for me in Jawa Barat, but this time, we had 2 special guests--Elder Funk and Elder Chang, who came to address all the members and missionaries. Elder Funk is from the Hong Kong presidency and has come to Indonesia before. And Elder Chang is from Malaysia. I can now say I'm fluent in Malaysian as well. It's pretty much the same language as Indonesian, just replace all the "you"s with "kamu" and "mobile" with "kereta" and you're fluent. I was asked to translate from Indonesian into English for the Sunday session for all the English speaking members. It's hard! Not to mention intimidating, since a general authority was listening in. I said this last time when Elder Funk came to visit Indonesia last January, but I can see and feel the joy and love he still has for the people of Indonesia.

The mission tour starts with district conference in Surabaya Friday and so I'm looking forward to being with and learning from him. Two of the people he baptized came up to the stand during the Saturday session and taught about the importance of true conversion to the Gospel in order to attain exaltation. After 41 years, these two good members are still active and strong in the faith. I told Ivan after the meeting that I expect him to have 13 children and 45 grandchildren when I come back 41 years from now. Ha ha! It was a spirit filled weekend to say the least. I'm not sure how things are going to work out for next week's email since next Monday will be the zone conference in Surabaya, but I'll let you know for sure how the mission tour went as soon as I can. 

Last week, we found and taught a new investigator. His name is Pak Erwin (don't get him confused with Brother Erwin from Jakarta Selatan. Even though they're both Batak.) We were supposed to have an appointment with him earlier this morning, but he wasn't home. But last week, after we taught him and were waiting for the bus to come by, a big fat dude with a goatee rode by on his motorbike, flipped his helmet up and asked in a thundering voice, "Are you guys the JW's???" Elder Simanungkalit and I looked at each other, shook our heads and said back "No! The Mormons!" The dude replied with a sound of disgust and drove off. I would just like the world to know that yes, I am a Mormon. And proud of it. Our choir is better than anybody else's in the world. Which is actually a thing of importance to other churches here.

Remember Pak Budi, Sister Lely's husband? We went over there last week, taught about the plan of salvation and the importance of the temple, and at the close of the lesson, we challenged him to kneel in prayer right then and ask God sincerely if the church is true. After a 30 second prayer, he opened his eyes and said "that's all." We didn't say anything and he then closed his eyes again and offered a silent prayer. For 15 minutes. We didn't know what to do other than just pray our hearts out that he was feeling the spirit as much as we were. At the close of that, he told us he felt he should stay with his old church, but that he was coming to Stake Conference this weekend. Hey, he wasn't even considering coming to church at all at the beginning of the lesson, so I count that as progress! He didn't end up coming to conference because his aunt died in Bogor... But we both think it's a turning point for him. 

The soon to be preachers from Nias were "busy" all of last week and so we didn't get a chance to follow up with them at all.... I was super bummed about that. But we'll keep trying to contact them and get a return appointment. 

Pak Barus was sick this last week and William was asked to go to his mom's church yesterday so we kind of layed a solid goose egg as far as progressing investigators go. But Aleks came to stake conference! We all wore suits to the meeting and I was graaaaateful because it was freezing in the stake conference building. I swear, it must've gotten down to 60 degrees in there. Aleks leaves for Bali this week and won't come back till the 27th or something because of his birthday, but he told us he will text us when he is going to talk with his parents about him getting baptized. He's already "of age" at that point, so he's going to go ahead and do it anyway in January, but he wants his parents to know about it. I promised him we'd pray and fast for him on that day. I don't think he's going to get kicked out of the house, but you never know how his parents are really going to react.

Elder Simanungkalit, Aleks, Elder Barrus

I attached a picture below with Brother Wintolo looking all studly in his suit and the tie Elder Sutadiyono and I gave him for his birthday back in April. Seeing that family all complete and active fills me with such joyness and goodness and happiness, I kind of get the sense of what D&C 18 is talking about. It's interesting in Indonesian because the translation reads "the worth of souls is expensive in the eyes of God". Heavenly Father considers us each the most expensive and worthwhile item he can spend his time and effort on. And because of that, he truly weeps when that person is broken or rebellious or unrepentant and rejoices when before mentioned person returns unto Him, repentant and willing to receive His gospel. I've been blessed with the opportunity to see both sides of the coin, with people I've had the chance to see baptized go inactive and lose out on those blessings as well as see others stay active and I get to see the light that comes into their life. This is the case with Derry. The amount of light that's coming into that young man's life is a testimony to me about the life changing effects of the Restored Gospel. I told him in kind of a "immediately to the point" way yesterday that he's come this far and experienced so many blessings, there's really no going back. Maju Terus dan jangan mundur! (Onward and do not back down!) I think it's true for us all, no matter how long we've been members. 

Hope you all have a great week! 
Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Barrus, Brother and Sister Wintolo
PS The package you mailed isn't here yet. Sister Sheffield should be coming by sometime this week and giving me the package you gave her. I'm getting excited for the razor!! 

I don't have a bug. I'm just not gaining weight. Not sure why. 

Tell Jeff Rollman hello for me as well as the rest of the BYUtv crew. I miss those guys. Tell Mike Olsen that he's pretty cool I guess. :) 

I don't know when I'll email next week. But for sure on Christmas I have 40 minutes to skype with you and the fam. So we'll catch up then. :) 

Not sure what this picture is. Maybe traffic in Jakarta?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Saudaraku Mau Menjadi Anggota

Title means "Brother wants to become a member".

The long lost relative in the Barrus family is officially a progressing investigator. Ha ha! We've been teaching Pak Barus for the last 3 weeks or so and he came to church for the first time yesterday! He even brought his daughter. Elder Jones and I went on an exchange last week and gave him a baptismal date for December 28. He lives much much closer to the Jakarta Selatan church, so we'll probably give him to Elder Wood and Elder Sutarno, but it's been a blast teaching somebody with the same Marga (clan). He's a cool cool guy. William didn't come to church because he slept in.  

Thanksgiving Dinner with the Jakarta District courtesy of the Lucherini's at the Mission Home

Sapi Suci! (Holy Cow!) It rained so hard last week! We had a nice Thanksgiving lunch with the Lucherini's (the mission couple), President and Sister Donald, and the Jakarta district missionaries after District Meeting last Friday and it just started pouring rain during lunch. Trees fell over, light posts turned a whole 180 degrees, and Jalan Senopati (Senopati Road) turned into Sungai Senopati (Senopati River). But Thanksgiving was delicious. We had pie, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, ice cream, turkey, and gravy.Good stuff.

Elder Barrus and soon to be member, Aleks

We had a Wilford Woodruff type experience last week. Much like how Elder Woodruff was led to the Benbow farm and baptized thousands as a result, Elder Simanungkalit and I were led to Kebun Jeruk (Orange Farm if translated directly) and haven't quite baptized thousands, but we taught 10 new investigators, all from the wonderful land of Nias (an island off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia). The only difference, is that about 8 of them are going to a school to become preachers. Man, it was way cool pulling out doctrine from the Book of Mormon to help them see the need for a restoration. K fine, we don't know if all of the pastors want to get baptized or just want to know, but we figured 2 of them are honest seekers of truth. It was quite the miracle. We'll be going over there this week to follow up. Bahasa Nias is still by far the weirdest language I have heard on my mission. It's not even on Google translate. 

Sister Jibson, Elder Barrus, Sister Sheffield

The time has come for the sisters in my MTC group to go home. Sister Jibson and Sister Sheffield came into Senopati last Tuesday night for the farewell dinner with President. It was fun, but weird to see the same missionaries I came with to Indonesia go home. Yikes, how many months do I have left? 12? 17? 24? I dunno. It's not that important. Mom stop counting the months. 

Derry, Elder Barrus, Ivan. Two of the greatest guys right there.

Guess who came by the English class in Harmoni the other day? Derry and Ivan!! Ah man, it just warmed my heart to see those two, still active and getting stronger in the Gospel every day. Derry is really starting to come into his own and interact with all the members, according to Ivan. That might be one of the biggest joys in my mission is seeing somebody change their life for Jesus Christ. Not for missionaries, not for their parents or anybody on earth. But because they developed this love and desire to follow the Savior. 

2 Nephi 25:23. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the answers to questions of the soul we receive from it. Like that verse. We used that maybe 5 times last week. I testify it's true!!! 

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

Elder Seth Barrus