Elder Seth Barrus

Elder Seth Barrus
Jakarta Indonesia Mission May2013-2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Last Email

Despite the emotional Skype session we just finished, I'll get it together and compose this last email while my tears fall on the keyboard. I'm thinking about writing a song... "Skype's the Reason for the Teardrops on my Keyboard..." Ha ha something like that. Sorry Sister Swift. 

(For those who didn't follow the Skype, we actually didn't cry. Well I didn't. But it was good seeing everybody. Even though I'll see everybody in like 2 days.) This last week was sooo much fun! Last week, Aryo was baptized from our teaching pool and it was awesome and great because yesterday he got confirmed as a member of the Church. Last Saturday, Elder Troff and Elder Jones met up with Andi, their Chinese investigator and he said he felt that God was disappointed in him for not being baptized last Sunday, so he asked and plead if this Sunday he could be baptized and after going over the baptismal interview just real quick to make sure everything was OK, he was given the go ahead to get baptized yesterday.

I told the members during my final testimony that I have been extremely blessed to have seen so many of my brothers and sisters baptized into the true church of God during my mission. But really the only conversion that took place has been within myself. I can't judge others' conversion. However, I can know of my own. We visited with Brother Tri and Sister Chrissie last Saturday. Tri's doing really well. Antonius just soaked in the final lesson of enduring to the end and gave me a giant hug after the lesson. Hendra from Medan (who because of extenuating circumstances hasn't been to church in over a year) gave me a call and we chatted for a few minutes. Ivan came and played basketball with us earlier this morning. Brother Wintolo and Sister Ayu took me, Elder Wood, and Elder Troff out to lunch and we had fun reminiscing about teaching Brother Wintolo. Elder Wintolo didn't come because those are his parents... :P 

We're having a FHE night at the Lopis' house later with Aryo, Natanael, and others. And sitting back during the baptismal service, I just felt happy. Downright joy. I'm excited to move on to another season of my life. (Although ironically Indonesia doesn't even have seasons...) These last two years have been full of unforgettable moments. I love the people here. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Bules, Christians, Catholics, Mormons, etc. I love 'em all. Indonesia has the coolest mix of culture in the world. It's full of the nicest people ever (even when they don't give a darn about your message of salvation). Thanks Mom and Dad for all the support through the thick and thin. My mission hasn't been perfect, but I know you were praying for me through it all. Thanks to the Barrus clan for the emails and pictures that made me laugh and cheered me up. I also love my last companion. Elder Wintolo is such a stud. He's helped me overcome my trunky thoughts and kept me working hard. I hope you all can meet him someday. He will be a pilot. So if you're ever in Indonesia and fly Garuda Airlines, look for him.

The rest of my week pretty much goes like this: Pack tonightTomorrow morning finish reading the 80 day challenge of the Book of Mormon. Have my final exit interview with President Donald. Have a warteg lunch with Ivan. Go proselyting with Elder Heiner. Eat a bbq dinner with everyone at 4. Final fireside at 6. Hop in a taxi after that and head to the airport for 25 hours of goodness and joyness of riding in a airplane. Ahhh yeah.

I am not going to bore you all with stories and things that I learned from my mission, but to be short in writing, I'm grateful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I always point to my name badge when I contact people on the busway because I always say "My name is Elder Barrus. I am not Jesus Christ, but I represent Him. That's why His name is second biggest on my name tag." I've learned through repentance how to have full access to His Atonement and mercy from Heavenly Father. The mistakes and sins we commit can be forgiven and forgotten. I haven't found lasting peace and happiness anywhere else than in applying and proclaiming the Atonement of Christ. I love Him. And I know He loves me. 

See you soon!

Harap Allah sertamu slalu.. sampai kelak kita bertemu.
(God be with you until we meet someday.)

Note from Mom:
We had a great visit with Elder Barrus for Mother's Day, although I forgot to take a picture. I asked him what he wanted to do when he came home.

1. Go to the temple.
2. Hold a gallon of milk.
3. Drive a car.
4. Sit on carpet.
5. Eat roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Final Stretch

Aryo's Baptism
Aryo got baptized! It felt like a "Best 2 Years" moment, really, getting to see one of my brothers make his first covenant with God at the tail end of my mission. I'm just glad after so many prayers and lessons and struggles, he decided in the end to make the right choice. Despite all our reminders, he still didn't bend his knees so it was like baptizing a plank of wood. :)  But it went well and he felt happy. Two of the sisters' investigators also got baptized and it made for a packed and exciting day. I just took a moment while everybody was milling and talking to step back and realize how far the Jakarta 1st ward has really come. I know it was nothing that the missionaries really did, it was all because of the Lord; but I took some joy in the fact that we took part in it.

Jakarta District (photobomb courtesy of Elder McCleary)
For those who want to serve missions: In your efforts to follow the guidelines in Preach My Gospel about talking to everyone, you will meet some interesting people. You will also meet some great people! This last week, we met people in busways and on the streets who: 

1. Organize Pokémon tournaments in Indonesia
2. Can read the Al-Quran in Arabic
4. Has claimed to see Jesus.

Also, one man missing an arm and another (a Batak) who just ate up the fact there's another testament of Jesus Christ. 

Elder Troff and I went on an exchange last week and after teaching Brother Antonius, we stopped by a table where a bunch of old men were playing chess. Elder Troff, being the chess master he is, went over and proceeded to play chess while I contacted the man's friends who were watching. For the record, he won once, lost twice. As I've been out longer, I've realized that we can be more creative than just asking where the Christians live. Or inviting them to English class. The Lord gives us a key of flexibility to use within our callings that we are expected to use. And it makes fulfilling our callings a lot more fun. :D

A mission has been the absolute best decision I've ever made in my entire life. I've changed because of it. I'm not the same Seth Barrus that I was before I left. To look back on myself 2 years ago is a bit embarrassing and funny. I realize it's all a part of the process of our lives, but I'm different now. I hope that I didn't simply go on a mission, but that I really tried to become a missionary. The people that I've met on my mission are people I feel like I knew in the pre-earth life. I hope that one day you all get to meet Ivan. And Aryo. And Brother Wintolo. And many, many others. 

Ultimately, the biggest lesson I've learned on my mission is love. Love of God comes first and foremost. But if a man truly loves God, love of His children cannot be overlooked, which means (in this case) loving someone enough to invite them to repent and be baptized. It's super easy to love those who you love you back. But the growth comes when you choose to love those who don't love you back. It makes me wonder just a little bit about how the Savior felt when He knew that there would be some of Heavenly Father's children who would not receive His Atonement. Yet He performed it anyway and we all will be eternally grateful. I testify that Jesus is our Savior. I know that He took upon Himself all of my weaknesses and imperfections and sins. I understand the repentance process now and will apply it continuously throughout my life. I understand part of the joy that God feels when a soul returns unto Him through repentance and baptism. I'm extremely grateful I still have one more week to give my all to God. :)

See you soon!

Elder Seth Barrus