Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

“Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us togeva today."

Mission Leadership Conference March 2015

Elders Litster and Murphy 
The day to day normal missionary life is something I will never get bored of; but going to a wedding is a nice change up once in a blue moon. It gives our investigators and new members a chance to socialize with long time members and I've never been known to turn down an offer for free food, so all around it's a win. The president of the elders quorum tied the knot last Saturday at the church with a sister from Jogjakarta. Weddings here are a bit different than the Mormon receptions back in Utah, full of rice, traditional Javanese music, and funky improv songs. Brother Antonius got into the mix and sang a nice Ambon song with another member from Tangerang. After the wedding at the Harmoni ward, we swung on over to the South Jakarta ward with a few of our investigators and members for a fireside activity put on by the missionaries serving over there. It was fun seeing former members and people I know from that area again. Overall, it was a solid day.:)

The work is progressing. Investigators are still learning. Ummm... What else do you want to know? Cool experience last week: we had some time after an appointment to go RT proselyting and were walking along and felt impressed to start down a street to the right. Usually at 2 o' clock in the afternoon, not a lot of families are home because of the work schedule here, but a nice Muslim man led us to a house where a Pak Axxx came out and welcomed us in. His wife was there too and wanted to go to the market in the next 5 minutes, so it was a total "coincidence" that we were there right at that time. These two had been married for 5 years, but had never had children. Finally, they had a son. And he lived only for 3 years and then passed on to the other side. They were wondering where he was because so many people had told them different things. We felt impressed to teach the Plan of Salvation and tell them exactly where their little boy was. It was a nice feeling leaving their house knowing we were used by the Lord to find and give answers to His children who were seeking. 

We're still reading the Book of Mormon in 80 days and have found that what we read that day can be applied in one of our lessons with an investigator or member. We just finished reading Mosiah 24 about the people of Alma being put under bondage by the former high priest, Amulon, and how "they did place many heavy burdens upon their backs which were grievous to be borne." Alma's people had that much faith that the Lord visited them in their afflictions and gave them power to submit cheerfully to the will of the Lord. Sometimes we ask for a situation to be changed, but what ends up happening is the Lord giving us power and strength to bear our heavy burdens until the time He decides we should be freed. It's all about perspective. :) 

Thanks for the support and prayers everybody! Hope you all have a great week. 

Elder Barrus

Surabaya with Elders Heiner and Blaser and a former investigator who got baptized.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Demam Berdarah (Dengue Fever)

Anyone home?
All that knocking on wood I did was to no avail, because for the first time in my mission,  I had to stay home for a whole day because of my own physical ailment. I'm 100% OK now. But last Thursday my temperature was 104 degrees, I threw up in the shower, and my joints were all achy. Sister Donald told me it was the beginning stages of Demum Berdarah (dengue fever) and said if I wasn't feeling any better by morning, I was going to the same hospital as Elder Tufaga (who had just been released after battling dengue for a week). I was given a blessing, some medicine, and said lots of prayers. I woke up in the morning feeling miraculously better. My temp had dropped to 100, my joints weren't too achy, and I somehow convinced Sister Donald that I didn't need to go to the doctor. But she just said I couldn't go out the next two days. I just slept the first day away. And then Saturday, Elder Tufaga kept me company because he wasn't allowed to go out either. I went to church yesterday feeling fine. After sharing how I felt with Elder Tufaga, he said that's exactly what he experienced before he got diagnosed with dengue. I'm not too sure why I was so lucky and only had to stay inside for two days, but I'm certainly grateful!

Other than that, Axxxxxxxxxxx was confirmed! He's got a great voice so we joke around with him all the time and call him Obama. 

Every Wednesday, we hold a Game Night at the mission home in Senopati where we bring our investigators and just play board games. It's a great chance for investigators and members to get to know each other and us in a relaxing setting. Nxxxxxxxx came for the first time and loved it! We played liar's dice and found out he was the best liar. He texted us last Saturday when we reminded him about church and he said "My college schedule is still crowded, but I will come to church. Absolutely, I"ll keep coming to church. It makes me closer to God." He still doesn't want to get baptized yet, but we're working with him. On the other hand, Axxx wants to get baptized on the 19th of April! We made it official by giving him a white shirt and tie to wear to church. He will be the most fly Mormon in the entire world once he's baptized. 

Axxxx looking fly!
Mission Leader Conference will happen tomorrow and after that, Zone Training Meeting on Friday. Weird to think that these are some of the last mission leadership meetings I will ever attend. Our 80 day Book of Mormon challenge is going good, but it serves as a way for Elder Wintolo to keep track exactly how many days I have left. And then he makes clock "ticking" noises indicating that the time is winding down. Ha ha! I love him so much. 

That's about it from my side of the island. Hope everyone has a great week! 

Elder Barrus

Jakarta. A high rise business office caught on fire last week. It took a
loooong time for them to put the fire out. It's a different place over here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mau Pulang (So you want to go home?)

Axxxxxxxxx got baptized! The water was a little green and he slipped a bit while coming back out, but hey, Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan and I hear that river was filthy. Count your blessings eh? Axxxxxxxxxxxx had so many mental and physical challenges leading up to his baptism yesterday, we were happy it ended up happening. To be 100% honest, we didn't do much to get him in the water. He was one of those children called by God to be a member of His church. And he responded wholeheartedly and enthusiastically. He's gonna be a great member! 

Really most of what I feel is important from last week happened with investigators. Yup. Nothing too extreme happening as far as new news or volcanoes going off. Ooh! But president did call Elder Jones and Elder Troff to be the new office missionaries until we can get a mission couple serving here. We are stoked!! Because that means most of our responsibilities with finances, missionary orders, letter sending, reimbursements, etc were given to them,so Elder Wintolo and I just get to focus on training the missionaries. So we're happy and grateful for both of them.

Aleks: His parents came to the mission home at Senopati last Saturday to meet with President and Sister Donald and according to President, just had a nice quality conversation where their questions were answered. Most of their questions we're doctrinal, but more based towards what expectations are placed upon Aleks as a member of our church. President answered their questions honestly and openly and built some trust between them. It was an important step.

Axxx: I've never seen a man more well dressed coming to church than him. We're still working on the whole "white shirt and tie" concept. But Elder Troff gave him a tie, and we have extra white shirts lying around Senopati. So we'll give him one. But! He told us some exciting news yesterday that he wants to be baptized!! Previous to that, he was always telling us hold off. But he totally opened up yesterday and said the 19th of April he will be baptized! Still a long time in the future, but he won't be going anywhere. He loves our church!

Axxxx: (Ha ha! All our investigators' names start with A) He's actually a new member that moved to Bali after being baptized in Surabaya. Bless his heart, he misses Surabaya so much. The church is Bali is existent, but so small. I think 10 people came to church last Sunday. But he still went to church because he knows its true. Cool guy.

Bxxx: Had a quality conversation with him. We asked if Jesus himself were to appear to him and tell him to be baptized in this church, would he do it? And he said yes. We then said how much easier is it then, for him just to send two of his servants to your house and say the same thing? We invited him to be baptized on the19th of April as well and he said he'll think about it. He came to church yesterday and loved it! Elder Wintolo was awesomely bold with him yesterday. Bxxx was going off about how awesome his current church is, and elder Wintolo said "Other churches bring salvation, yes, because all men will be saved from physical death and inherit a part of God's kingdom. But this church brings exaltation." Bxxx asked "Does my church have exaltation?" And Elder Wintolo answered with what I'm sure was an inspired Elder Holland-like answer: "I promise that your church doesn't." We then testified and closed. Slowly but surely with him. Sister Lely (his wife) gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday too.

Nxxxxxxxxx: Seriously. I love this guy to bits. He hasn't consumed tea or coffee since last Sunday, and we asked him why. And he said "Because I consider you two my teacher. If I don't do what you ask me to do. how can I know what you're saying is true?" Hmmmm. Good point. Still hasn't committed to being baptized, but he keeps coming to church and meeting with us. So it's just a matter of time with him.

There are others. But those are the ones we're praying hardest for. 

Last Tuesday Sister Donald handed me a piece of paper. Turns out, it was my ticket home. Man. So weird. I've made a pact with the Lord that if I focused and worked hard, especially these last two months, that He would inspire me to know what to do the rest of my life when I get home. And that I don't really need to worry about it right now. :) It's worked so far. Elder Troff, Jones, and Wintolo have ganged up on me, coming up with songs, jokes, and pictures in attempts to make me trunky. But it's all fruitless! Ha!

That's about it from my side of the world. Hope everyone has just the dandiest week!

Elder Seth Barrus

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Gospel of Transformation

Behold the Lord did not make Elder Barrus mighty in writing as He did in speaking, so his letters may seem insufficient for the natural eyes of man. But needless to say, what he has written, is written and when he gets home, you better prepare yourself for an onslaught of stories and miraculous experiences that the Lord allowed him to experience. Ha ha! I sooo wish I could just describe in detail everything that happened this last week!! But Nxxxxxxxxxx is coming to the office in like 30 minutes to learn and if I tried, this email would be pages upon pages. So I'll include the highlights:

Brother Axxxxxxxxxx is getting baptized next Sunday! He came to church, we gave him a white short sleeve shirt and he brought a tie, because he wanted to get up and bear his testimony. While up at the pulpit, he pretty much promised to the congregation that he was getting baptized next week. So that seems pretty solid to us. :) We taught everything from the Word of Wisdom to repentance last week and he's game to do it all. He is a former investigator from 2 years ago, but lost contact with the missionaries and so when we called 2 weeks ago, he thought it was an angelic manifestation from God that he needs to join with this church now. We're getting excited for him.

Axxxx is just going along fine. His parents agreed to come to the mission office at Senopati this Saturday to chat with President and Sister Donald about the church and Axxxx' baptism so keep your fingers crossed and prayers heavenward that everything will work out. We taught about the Plan of Salvation again and this time we got to teach a few more things that we usually don't teach with the usual investigator. It's just a perfect plan. There's no way the smartest man on earth could come up with a better plan. I love teaching it because we're the only church who teaches clearly where we're going. And others like that too. 

For the first time on my mission, an inactive member had his faith strengthened enough to the point where he committed to come back to church. He was baptized in Malang 3 years ago, moved to Jakarta and there was a miscommunication between the two branches and his information was just lost. Missionaries finally got in contact with him about a year ago, but by that point, he had already gotten involved with other friends and their church. Their friends came along and saw the Book of Mormon and burned it. The last time we went over there, 4 months ago, he wanted nothing of the church. He bashed on it and tried to tell us off. We went over there this last week and he started off with some of these questions he's gotten that really shook his still new testimony. We felt an impression to ignore those questions off and focus on the Book of Mormon. He said he's heard it was just false writings and totally plagiarized, but he's read enough to know that it's all good stuff in there. And he told us where Joseph Smith's source was. And we asked him "From what you've read, if it wasn't from God, where else could have it been from?" That was an important step for him to receive the rest of the lesson and commit to come back. It was just an awesome lesson full of the spirit. This gospel truly is a gospel of transformation.

Same thing with Brother Bxxxx. The first couple times Elder Simanungkalit and I went over there, he was sooo confused about the Book of Mormon. He always just pushed us away by saying "I just like reading the Bible. It's more clear." But his awesome wife, Sister Lely's been reading with him every day and last Saturday, we asked him how it was going and he said "The Book of Mormon is more clear on points of doctrine than the Bible. I like reading the Book of Mormon more." Ha ha! We just about died! He committed to come to church next week to see another baptism and see Sister Lely give a talk. 

Elder Jones and Elder Troff's investigator, Nxxxx, got baptized yesterday too. Good things are happening in our little Jakarta 1st Ward.

Axxx and Nxxxxxxxx are doing great. :) Axxx was sick yesterday so couldn't come to church and Nxxxxxxx keeps chugging along. He still says he hasn't gotten an answer yet. But he likes our church. And enjoys our gospel conversations. He opened up a lot last week, so we're hoping that translates to some better lessons here in the near future. Like in 10 minutes. :) 

I reread President Uchtdorf's talk about "Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth" and this is what stuck out to me: "If you want to recognize spiritual truths, you have to use the right instruments. You can't come to an understanding of spiritual truth with instruments that are unable to detect it... Gradually, things that before seemed hazy, dark, and remote become clear, bright and familiar to us." It's like trying to eat your corn flakes with a butter knife. We're always taught to focus on the Book of Mormon and teach with the spirit. Some investigators want us to prove to them the truth using the Bible, but we wouldn't be using the right tools that would enable them to see. 

Psalms 94:16
Maju tentara Kristus! Maju Berperang! (Forward soldier of Christ! Forward Fight!)
Elder Seth Barrus

This is our "Read the Book of Mormon in 80 days" tracking sheet. President Donald received some revelation about how to increase the spirituality of our mission and this is what he came up with. It's awesome!

Elder Jones and Elder Troff. Those elders...