Wednesday, December 31, 2014

105th Letter: "Last Email home..."

Dear Family,
Well I plan on keeping this email short and sweet, for the fact that I will be talking to you on Thursday, and I will be seeing you in person on Saturday! :) I will probably be giving you a phone call on Thursday around 12pm-1pm to set up google plus. I hope you all have a great Christmas! We will be having a great Navajo Christmas, we will be having a feast over at Anitas with all of her family after we Skype home. And we will be eating at the Magdalena fire station with all of the people in Magdalena that doesn't have a dinner with their families. I am excited! I cant wait to share with you all of the amazing experiences that we have been having out here in Alamo, the work is going amazing!
I have been feeling extremely humbled as I realize that I am in the final days of my mission, what an incredibly 2 years it has been for me. The Lord has absolutely solidified my testimony, I have come to know of a surety that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that He lives. That knowledge alone will forever change the decisions that I make throughout my life. I am super excited to share my mission experiences with you soon. Now anybody that knows me will know that I served in the New Mexico Albuquerque Mission, it defines who I am now.
Number #8 principle that I want to share with you that I have learned on my mission:
"Families are central to Gods plan"
As everything is drawing to a close my heart has definitely been broken thinking that I will be leaving the place that has become home, but throughout my mission I have come to know how much my family (each of you) really means to me. I have realized how incredibly lucky I am to have two amazing parents who are devoted to each other and devoted to the gospel, and to helping their kids live it. I have realized how blessed I am to have amazing siblings who have constantly shown their love and support to me throughout my life and who have been such great examples. And Grandparents who have absolutely demonstrated to me what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and who have devoted their lives to being one. I have come to know that the gospel really does bless and strengthen families! I pray that you feel of my love and my excitement to see you all. I know that there are still so many things for me to come to an understanding of as I continue to live the gospel, and serve in different ways in the church! And I am excited for the adventure that is to come! :)
See you soon! :)

Elder Nicholas Rees Barrus 
Ps ho ho ho Merry Christmas
A bunch of Tongans!!

My nephew Malcolm

My companions

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

104th Letter: "REZ Dog! :)"

Dear Family,
Well here I am again in the Magdalena public library writing home, it almost feels like I pressed the reset button on my mission! I wish.... Things are going absolutely amazing though! We had probably one of the best weeks of my mission. The only downside is that the last 3 days I have gotten a pretty bad cold, I have just worked through it, but it has been such a nagging bugger! I have being sick! I feel like I am on the getting better side of the sickness though so thats good. Being back in Alamo has been awesome to say the least! There are so many people out here that I love so much, and have changed my life! God definitely knows me personally, what an incredible blessing it is to be back. I have tried my hardest not to waste this opportunity either. We have worked our little tail feathers off, and the Lord has been rewarding us! We taught 25 investigator lessons, 24 of which were with a member present. We had 9 investigators at church and we have 8 baptismal dates...we be breakin records! :) It is sweet all of the baptisms that we will be having...after I leave, but are from either Anita or Charlotte, who by far are the most solid members on the Rez right now. The work out hear is exploding again! I have tons of stories to share, but honestly I am getting kind of tired of typing letters, so I will just share them with you next Saturday! :)

I have 2 legit companions though, Elder Hafoka from the island of Tonga this is the first time that he has ever been in America, he is hilarious! And then Elder Baird from Idaho Falls, he lives just off of Sunnyside to but down west of holmes I think. His parents should be to my homecoming next week so that should be cool. He is a great Elder as well! I couldnt have asked for better companions to finish my mission!

The number 7 principle I have learned on my mission:
"Enduring to the End is what counts"

For what seems like millions of times on my mission I have taught the 5 principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Which is probably one of my favorite lessons to teach! Because this knowledge is what was restored through the message of the Restoration, and is the key principle to the Plan of Salvation. But I have come to know on my mission that nothing really matters unless we endure to the end, we must keep living and nurturing every principle in the gospel for our whole lives! Each day we should strive to strengthen our faith in Christ, by reading, praying...etc. Each day we must repent of the mistakes that we make so that we can qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Each Sunday we must renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament. Always we must follow the promptings of the spirit, and develop and strengthen that relationship.
  2 Nephi 31:20
 "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the  word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life"

Missionary work and anything in the gospel is so ineffective if we cant help people understand this principle we must all endure to the end in order to gain the wonderful blessing of eternal life! :)

Love you all and cant wait to see you soon!
Elder Nic Barrus
ps I will skype you briefly next week if that is ok with you! :)

103rd Letter: "Bye bye ABQ..."

Dear Family,
Hello again!! Well amid the craziness around me of arrival day, I still hope to get a decent letter to you with the short breaks that I get. This morning we welcomed 10 new missionaries here to the New Mexico Albuquerque mission, it is always exciting to see their nervous and excited faces! Ha they have no idea what they are getting themselves into! They are going to do great things I can already tell.

First off I have to clarify the picture that I hear is floating around on facebook. haha I am not watching Sunday night football, its the Christmas devotional and I got really sleepy sitting next to the fire, BUT I never did fall asleep! :)

Well tomorrow I depart for the promised land! I am so so so so so so so so so emotional, ecstatic, happy, glad, and feel so incredibly blessed to be able to go back and finish my final 2 weeks. I couldn't put it into words what a remarkable experience it will be for me to be able to go home before I actually go home. Last night I packed everything up, and it was late Elder Gibson and Snyder had already gone to bed. As I was packing up my 50 ties (dont worry I condensed from my 80), I had an emotional overload just thinking about how amazing my mission has been. I am so grateful for all that I have been able to experience. I don't know why I have been able to have such an awesome mission... man has the Lord blessed me!

Leaving the office, and the University YSA is difficult, I have loved serving here amid the many stresses that have accompanied it. I am really going to miss all of the amazing people here. Especially President and Sister Miller those two are just so awesome! They really have changed my life, I love them a ton!!

#6 Thing I have learned on my mission! "Temple is the house of God"
The term you dont really appreciate something until you dont have it, has proved to be true to me with this. I have missed being able to go to the temple whenever I want, that is something that I am so looking forward to doing. (We have to go the week I am home as a family) But the 4 experiences that I have had on my mission at the temple have been amazing, many of them I have already wrote home about. Something that has been a continual testimony to me that the temple truly is a refuge from the world, a place for relief and definitely a place of strength. Why don't we as Latter day saints take advantage of it then? Everyone that has gone to the temple knows that they feel those same things each time. We become complacent, and busy, and our priorities become out of place. My prayer is that each of us recommit to go to the temple more frequently. I will be going weekly with my immediate family for sure! (I will force them!) :)

Love you all so much! Make sure you dont send me any items for Christmas, just wait till I come home. I would love a letter in the mail from each of you to open Christmas morning though! :)

Elder Nic Barrus

Alamo address: (same as back in the day)
P.O Box 5130
Alamo, NM 87825

Monday, December 8, 2014

102nd Letter: "The letter you have all been waiting for!"

Dear Family,
Well this letter will be exciting! Brief unfortunately, but really exciting! To start off I am doing great. I would lie if I said that there wasnt a different feeling the closer I get to the end of my mission, its mostly a depressing feeling. New Mexico owns my heart! I love this place soooo much! And it definitely is starting to become a reality that I am not going to always be here. Especially because I received my departing letter from President Miller that has my flight itinerary and everything in it... I know that there are great things ahead for me! I am excited to see everyone again, and to start school! Having Tiff and Kellan at home is definitely an answer to prayers as well. I am so glad that they will be close! Another indicator that things are drawing to a close is that my AP replacement came on Sunday and it is...... my son Elder Gibson!! :) I am so happy, I trained an AP haha! He will do great.

So many of you have been wondering where I will be for my final 2 weeks..... So I am first off ecstatic for this opportunity. After many discussions with President Miller he has decided for me to return back to ALAMO. It still hasn't really felt real that I am going back, but I am sure it will be an emotional over load as soon as I see the "Entering the Alamo Reservation" sign. I cant remember if I wrote it home, but when I left the Res and went to ABQ, at that transfer site over a year ago President Miller and I had a discussion on how he needed me as a zone leader, and that he had a strong feeling that I would one day return back to Alamo before my mission was over. I am so incredibly grateful for these upcoming 2 weeks! It is going to be an awesome end of the mission! I have goals set for what I desire to accomplish. Definitely the number one goal is too strengthen the converts I had out there. :) So a week from today I will be driving back.

Well this week is going to be crazy, along with Transfer planning we have MLC on Thursday. I will be mostly guiding Elder Snyder and Elder Gibson to makes sure everything gets done that needs too. It will be weird giving my departing testimony at MLC. My #16th one!

#5 thing that I have learned on my mission!
Priesthood has been restored/  "The priesthood can work miracles"

Throughout my mission I have felt the power and authority comes with the calling of a missionary, and that authority came when I had President Biddulph set me apart as a missionary (seems like that was yesterday) with the priesthood keys that he holds. I have been able to see and be apart of so many miracles performed by the priesthood, I could share countless experiences that have continued to reaffirm this truth to me of the power that worthy priesthood holders have. I would like to share one though that is incredibly personal to me and to me there is no doubt that I wouldn't be on a mission if it wasn't for a worthy priesthood holder of a father. So during the fall of 2012 I was experiencing the most constant piercing pains in my stomach for about 3 months straight, during this I was preparing to coming out on the mission, I was honestly terrified that I had something potentially wrong with me that would cause me to have to postpone the mission. When I had my physical I lied when he asked if I was experiencing pains anywhere, and thus passed my physical. During all of this I asked Dad one night when I was down from Rexburg for a blessing, that the pain would subside and I would be able to focus on finals at BYU-I and in preparing for the mission. This was about 3 weeks or so before I was to leave to New Mexico. A miracle happend and the pain left for the week of finals, but then returned. I knelt down one evening in prayer and pleaded with Heavenly Father that it would just leave for the next 2 years, and promised him that if it left I would dedicate my all to my mission. I continued to have the pain up till the morning I left to the MTC. The family probably remembers how quiet I was on the way to Provo, nerves definitely contributed to that, but I mostly just sat in awe that a miracle had been performed in my life, and that God had answered my prayer. I know that the priesthood has been restored and that it truly is the power of God on the earth! I have complete faith in that power!

I love you all! I am excited to finish my mission strong! :) There is work to be done!
Elder Nic Barrus

101st Letter: "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Dear Family,
Welp, hello here I am again! Its probably been around 100 times now that I have written home. The weeks seems to be going by faster and faster too! I need to find out why that is and see if I can slow it down a few notches! ;) I think the biggest reason has been how busy things are lately especially with Elder Corbridge being here. That really sped up time a bit! The weekend just flew bye. It was pretty depressing yesterday when it hit me that this is probably the last time that I will be in Las Cruces as a missionary. Ah I love Las Cruces so much! It really is one of my 5 homes that I have developed on my mission. It was a great experience yesterday going to see everyone that I had taught. It was days like yesterday that makes me feel so incredibly grateful for the chance that I have had to serve. Being able to see Ezekiel Flores (RC) and see how good he is doing, how grateful he is that he was able to receive the Melchizedek priesthood and the different things that he is doing to spread the gospel. It was amazing to see the Dawsons. To see their progression and the depth of their testimonies. Both Ezekiel and the Dawsons you wouldnt be able to guess that they were just baptized 8 months ago. They truly are deeply rooted in the gospel. What an incredible blessing it was for me to have been able to play a part in their conversion.

So Elder Corbridge's visit was great, a little stressful at times for us but it was great. I learned allot on the structure of the church and how things are ran when there is a man of high authority present. I was so self conscious the whole experience making sure that I didn't do anything wrong. I didnt mess up conducting so I am grateful for that. Anybody that has conducted a large meeting before knows what I mean when I say it can be stressful. He provides some really powerful training though, he talked allot about what the "most important thing is" and how that should be our sole focus on everything that we do. And how that most important thing is in one phrase "the atonement" and in a sentence. "Partaking of the fruit of the tree of life and helping others do the same." There was tons of other thoughts and things that I will share with you from his visit when I come home. It was awesome.

So my number #4 thing I have learned from my mission:
1 Nephi 10:28 "I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men."

This truth is a testimony to me that God desires to give ALL of us knowledge and truth. I have seen that come to pass over and over again on my mission. Before my mission scripture study was definitely not very effective and I have come to know on my mission why that was. It was because I didn't have Gods full trust to be able to receive knowledge and light. God is not going to give us understanding if He knows that we arent going to act on it and if we arent going to accept that understanding. Just as in spider-man, "with great power, comes great responsibility" so with the gospel, "with great knowledge, comes great responsibility and I add accountability." God will never condemn us with knowledge that we arent ready for. It is my prayer that all of us will seek how we can better gain the Lords trust, whether it means being more obedient to what he has already given us or whether it means being more diligent in seeking it through consistent scripture reading, and spiritual church and temple attendance. I am so grateful for the light and knowledge that the Lord has entrusted in me! How beautiful is His perfect plan!

Take care and have a great week! Love you tons! Happy Thanksgiving!
I am thankful for an awesome eternal family!
Elder Nicholas Barrus

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

100th Letter: "Life in Nob Hill YSA!"

Dear Family,
Another crazy week here on the mission! I think Heavenly Father really wants me to give every ounce of energy that I have into the work these final weeks as things have been absolutely insane!! For the most part they have been a good insane. haha Well its hard for me to believe that I will only have 5 more times emailing home. And according to President Miller I will only have 2 more weeks of emailing in Nob Hill YSA. I'll just leave it at that for now! :)

So we have been super busy preparing for Elder Corbridge to come in on Thursday, its looking like we are all prepared! I sure it will be good! I am just scared though, he is a head honcho! I fell like if I mess up he could excommunicate me on the spot. haha No it is going to be great, we are driving the area seventy Elder Villareal down to El Paso so thats going to be pretty intense too. Im guessing that I will gain some good mission stories from this weekend.

Quick update on the Nob:
Devin went to the temple and did baptisms for the dead on Saturday, and he passed the sacrement too for the first time Sunday!! He is doing great! Our investigator Kimball is doing awesome, he is solid to get baptized on the 13th of December. He has been out of town visiting his family in Window Rock, AZ lately. Josh our other investigator is doing great just super flaky, same with the Irish investigator Kevin. They both are pretty promising though.

Well my replacement as an AP will be called the 28th. Thats weird and depressing!

Well my #3 principle that I have learned is: (these arent in order of importance either)
"The Atonement is the key to temporal and eternal happiness"
This knowledge is absolutely one of the greatest things to understand! I have learned that this knowledge only comes through applying the atonement. Coming to an understanding that Jesus Christ has suffered for ALL of my sins, and that through that suffering I can be freed from the guilt and despair that following sinning, that is amazing. I have absolutely felt that freedom from sin throughout my life, and I am so greatful for that. There is no greater witness to me that Jesus Christ lives than feeling that freedom, time does not relieve that guilt. There is no way that time could do that alone, it is only through the atonement. Not only have I come to know that through the atonement you can be cleansed, but also through the enabling power of the atonement you can be strengthened. So often on my mission I talk to people that share their trials and how nobody knows how they feel and what they are going through. Oh how I just want to scream, "Yeah I don't but I know someone that does!!" That Jesus Christ felt everything, every little pain that you feel every single day. How I want to tell them that He wants to help them, and how he wants to strengthen them! I have a firm testimony. No doubt. That Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He performed the atonement for each and every one of us so that we can be happy! Eternally and temporally as families!
Love you all!
Elder Nicholas Barrus

Happy Halloween!

Elder Barrus and Elder Snyder

Los Lunas Turkey Bowl Catch of the Game!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

99th Letter: "Mid-November Report!"

Familia!! :)
Well I hope all is well with everyone! I am sure that you all are really excited to go to Johns baptism this weekend. That is going to be such a great experience! The spirit that is felt at baptismal services are so amazing, they have been incredibly humbling experiences for me throughout my mission to participate and watch that ordinance.

So time is not in my favor ever but especially not today, and I actually have a decent amount to report on too.... So first of and most important. Devin Tsosie recieved the priesthood on Sunday and I was blessed to be able to give it to him! It was so awesome! He is doing great, the progression that he is making is incredible. He comes out teaching with us all of the time too.

There have been allot of crazy things happening throughout the mission too, which have caused a missionary to go home and a couple other missionaries to have to get transferrred as well. So on Monday we had to drive up to Taos to drop off a missionary that needed to be emergency transferred. Everything is great now. Definitely everything happens for a reason, its always interesting how things always come to the surface. I just wish missionaries would have a greater sense of understanding of how important the time this short time to serve the Lord is! And how much are desicions effect those around us.

Overall though I am doing great! I have felt exhausted lately but that is to be expected. I am really looking forward to Elder Corbridge coming next week, it is going to be really special being able to have 1 on 1 time with him learning the ways of a member of the 70.

So my #2 thing that I have learned on my mission.
"The importance of always listening to the promptings of the spirit."
I think this is one of the very first things that I learned on my mission and I am greatful that I learned it so fast. It definitely was a result of how humbling of an experience the MTC was for me. I will never forget that first day in the MTC as we had the big group role plays, and just how terrified I was to be picked on to continue the role play. Luckily I was never picked on, but I remember leaving that being like man if I cant share anything in a role play how am I going to be able to teach people for 2 years! That first night I just knelt down and had the longest prayer in my life just asking if I was going to be able to do this. I remember clear as day the powerful answer that I recieved that this the misison was exactly the place that I needed to be and that the only way I was going to be successful was if I relied on the spirit. I definitely dont have the best social skills and I wasnt the greatest gospel scholar, but I have absolutely seen the Lord, through His spirit qualify me for this work! There have been many experiences throughout my mission that I look back, and I am like how did that happen? Or how was I able to do that? And then it continually just hits me that its not me at all. I love this work and I have no doubt that through followings the promptings of the spirit we experience happiness and joy and that those promptings are ALWAYS there for those that are worthy of them.

Love you and pray that you have a great week!
Elder Nic Barrus