Wednesday, March 27, 2013

10th Letter: "Another day in the life of a Res Rat"

Dear Family!
Another week has just flown by!! It's good to hear that everyone is doing good!! Im not too surprised to hear that Zac is working the day that your moving them, It sounds pretty familar to me!! haha thats funny. Dad will have to lift that couch by himself without me there. It will give him a hernia!! So I am doing really good Elder Lish and I are continuing to work really hard. We had 27 lessons last week which is amazing!! I'm loving it and am becoming more and more comfortable teaching everyday. We are having alot of success and are seeing others develop that relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It's such a blessing to see. We had alot of really cool experiences, but I'm struggling to remember them today... :(
We set another baptism date with an old lady named Flora(probably in her 70's which is really old for Navajos). Its more of a saving ordinance for her. Thats mean, but she is really old and sick. She will never really be able to come to church because of her condition, but she knows John 3:5 so she says that I need to be baptized. So we will baptize her. I'm excited for her though.
Anita is still progressing towards her baptism date of next Saturday. She knows that she needs to be baptized and feels the love of her Heavenly Father when she is doing what is right. I'm so excited for her and love her so much. She is such a sweet lady. This gospel will bless her life so much and she deserves it. She has a really big family that is all interested in the church too, but at the same time they are kinda scared of us. She says that everytime she comes home from church they run over to her and ask what secret combinations do they do over there?! Haha she just tells them that its normal, and invites them to come with her next time.

Terry is also still progressing, she came to church this last Sunday. Which is a huge step forward, she hasnt come to church in a couple years, and she said that she had a great experience and felt the Holy Ghost comfort her. As she is dealing with the loss of her boyfriend/husband Billy. We are really just trying to let her know that the Holy Ghost will be with her and to help serve as a comforter through these difficult times and she desires that and understands that it will. I know it will and I am so excited to see her progress towards baptism.
So the work is still going forward, we are working our butts off everyday. I'm so tired. I feel like I haven't slept since January 22nd! But I'm more that happy to be the Lords missionary, and to give up this sleep.
So this last Monday we went on a pretty legit hike with the Croft's. We hiked North Baldy in Magdalena. It was pretty intense, but It was such an amazing view from the top, we could basically see ABQ from up there.
It's hard to believe that March is almost over, it seems like it just barely started! Time really does fly on the mish!! Thanks for sending the package, ill look forward to getting it tomorrow!! :) Thanks for all that you do!! I really do love and appreciate it!! Missions aren't easy, but everything that you do makes it easier. 
Scripture: I have been reading in Mosiah about King Benjamins teachings, its so awesome and it seems like the Book of Mormons general conference. I challenge you to read over them before conference, there are so many great council in them. Mosiah 2-5
I love you all soooo much!! Take Care!
Love Elder Barrus
I sent you a link to a video of the senior couple in Alamo before I got here. I know and teach most everyone in the video. Thats Alamo for you!!
enjoy (click on link then scroll over until you get to Elder and Sister Blanchard)  

Pictures from the Mission

MTC Pictures

Nic sent his memory card so now I can post some the fun pictures he sent us!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

9th Letter: "Yah'teh family!!!"

Dear Family,
Wow, I saw this every week, but I cant believe that I am writing you again already!! It is really good to hear that all y'all are doing really good, I really appreciate the scriptures that you guys sent, Im excited to look them up! Please make it a habit for when you write me, id really appreciate it!! :) I have had another really good week!!! We have just kept really busy in the work, devoting ourselves to the will of the Lord. Before I got to Alamo the work had been a literal standstill for the last couple years, but since I've been here it has really taken off. We have potential investigators everywhere and they have all been really receptive to the gospel. All of our so called eternigators are progressing, and are gaining a testimony of this gospel, and the need for baptism. It's really incredible to see the spirit work on them and giving them the desire to do what is right. 
So we finally got a hold of Margarita again since I last set a baptismal date with her, today. I guess she has been on vacation and out of town, every time we went over. I'm just really glad that we have got back in contact with her. We had a really good lesson with her and reminder he about the Holy Ghost that was touching her to be baptized last time we saw her, and she was really receptive and said that she still has that desire to be baptized. So we will set a future date next time. Probably Mid- April. So I'm happy about that!! :)
So this last Sunday we had 6 investigators at Sacrement meeting!! Thats a good thing right?! haha Well of course our Branch Pres was gone, the 1st counselor was gone and the 2nd counselor moved away..... so the High Priest group leader conducted, but that was only because the teacher and deacons quorem presidents were gone also!! Or else they would have conducted. That would have been good to see a 12 year old boy conducting sacrement meeting huh? ha But thats not all it was High Council Sunday and we all know how boring and how deep they can get (no offence Dad) ;) Anyways he started talking about all of this deep doctrine that really made me start to sweat... I was convinced that they were all going to just walk out. ha He started talking about if Adam and Eve would have partook of the tree twice how bad that would have been!! I was so upset.... most Navajo's dont even know that they partook of the tree once!!! haha The whole sacrement meeting I was just praying that they could feel the spirit and know that this is the true church.
So one of our eternigators by the name of Anita (sweetest 50 year old lady you could meet) came to church for the first time, she came an hour early for some reason and just sat in the parking lot waiting for us. She said that she almost convinced herself to leave a couple times, but never did. Thankfully! She had a really good experience, she has a lot of friends in the branch and I think that really made her feel comfortable. But anyways this leads to the awesome day that we had yesterday!! We went to check up on her to see how she liked church and if she had any questions. As soon as we got there she started just talking away for about 30 min straight...Then she started crying about her parents dying in her arms, which really brought the spirit in. We then asked her about church and what she thought. She said that she really liked it and guess what?! She said that she really liked the High Councelors talk and said that she could tell that everything that he said was true. I was shocked, but very happy!! We then invited her to baptism on April 6th and she accepted!! She is very promising and I am so excited for her, she is great!! After the lesson she asked for a blessing because she has been dealing with arthrightous or however you spell it... And she asked me to give it. So I was giving her the blessing and she just started crying hysterically... thats all I remember about the blessing. But afterwards she was like "I felt like I was Jesus." I literally felt like I was him... I was kinda confused, but we explained to her that he is really close to her and loves and is so proud of the decisions that she is making. Goodness that was a really cool experience!! She has also been an investigator for years. It is amazing to see them progressing. :)
Next is a lady by the name of Terry(late 50's), she has also been an investigator for years. She has been held back from progressing because of her boyfriend of 30 years who just passed away. He didnt allow her to be baptized or to listen to the missionaries eventhough she had a desire to do so. But she has been grieving for a while since he has passed away. So we just really focused on how the Holy Ghost serves as a comforter and can get her through this hard time. And invited her to be baptized on April 13th and she accepted!! :) The work is going forward I am just blessed to be appart of it!!
We have many other investigators who are progressing and hoping to set a bap date with soon! It's great to she how blessed their lives are from starting to live the gospel! And see them grow closer to the Lord, what a blessing it is!! :)

Scripture for the week: "Heleman 5:12 which rock are you built upon" or how strong is your rock? How can you make it stronger?
I love you soooo much family!! Thanks for all that you do for me!! Please keep the letters and the emails coming!! :)
Take Care
Elder Barrus

Thursday, March 14, 2013

8th Letter: "My Family!!"

Dear Family,
I also can't believe that another week has gone by!! It is crazy to think that this is the last week of the transfer already!! I'm definitely going to be staying in Alamo with Elder Lish for one more transfer since you are trained for 2 transfers, so April 30th (Amandas birthday) is when the next transfer is up. Im guessing that I will be staying in Alamo, probably training a new missionary....that's so crazy to think!! It's good to hear that everyone is doing good!! You guys live boring lives though haha jk I want some excitement!! Amandas MARRIED or Dad built half of a fence again or Chelsea is pregnant (she probably is) ;) ha jk I love your guys letters!! Its good to hear that Zac and Chels found a house that's awesome!! I cant see any pics so if you can send some if possible that would be great!! I'm sorry to hear about Johns mom, I know that she was going through a lot of pain so I'm sure she is a lot better with how she is feeling now. But it is always a lot harder for those who she left behind, please let John and Nancy know that I love them and will be praying for them!!
So me and Elder Lish had another really good week!! We have really been working hard and striving daily to do everything that the Lord would want us to do throughout the day. We have really seen the blessings come from doing so. Margarita didn't come to church on Sunday..... and she is never home, but we are continuing to pray for her and that she can continue to progress towards her baptismal date. That has really been the only thing that has been getting me down lately. We are continuing to receive new investigators daily, which is amazing!! Ha yesterday we had a funny experience. So in the last Zone training we had they want us to focus on 1 hour of finding activity a day, starting this week. So Elder Lish asked me yesterday what we should do as our activity today? And I felt inspired to go to the only store in Alamo (called Tree big in English) and see if anyone will talk to us there. Because we cant go tracking on the reservation, its illegal. So I promised Elder Lish that we will find at least one new investigator there, and he kind of laughed it off and said alright lets do it. So we went to the store and we were waiting in line to buy our stuff and this kinda goofy guy came up behind us and said, "theres a guy that came in looking for you guys yesterday?!" and we were like oh yeah who? he said, "Jesus" and started laughing haha so we started talking to him and asked him if he would be interested in us coming over and he accepted!! haha There are some really weird people out here on the res!! ha but I love them!!
Last night we had a really cool experience teaching one of our investigators named Shannon (early 30's). We were again guided by the spirit and changed our lesson plans, basically during the lesson to meet his needs, but the spirit really directed us and enabled the spirit to more fully touch his heart. We talked a lot about the example of Jesus Christ, and what he directs us to do. We then invited him to baptism and he accepted!! But it gets better!! He then said that he has 3 daughters that he wants to get baptized also!! :) I'm pretty sure that they are all over the age of 8, at least I hope, we will see tomorrow when we see him again. The only thing that is an issue with him is that he lives with his girlfriend (like every other Native!! just get married!!) so the law of Chastity will be fun to teach him! No, but he has a real testimony, and he said that he will do anything that Jesus wants him to do. So I am excited to see how that goes!! :) Missionary work is so great!! I feel so blessed to be apart of it!! To see people change their old ways and come unto Christ has brought me more joy than anything else in my life!! The work in Alamo is progressing so speedily! We have like 15 potential baptisms before the end of the next transfer, so im excited to see how that turns out!! 
I don't know if I told you but there is a senior couple in Alamo too. The Crofts from Morgan, UT. I love them to death!! There are just like Grandpa and Grandma Barrus, Elder Croft wont sit down and is constantly fixing things around the Reservation, and Sister Croft makes like a million cookies a day!! Ha they are so nice and do sooo much for Elder Lish and I. We really appreciate them.
I don't know if you heard or not but they announced my new mission president a couple weeks ago and its another President Miller. It's kinda funny, but I am excited to see how he is. I love the current President Miller, he is an outstanding Mission President and does so much for us. I could easily see him in the 70 our high leadership in the church in the future.
So not much goes on on P-days in Alamo... The church doesn't have a gym and the nearest missionaries are an hour and a half away from us so we usually just go on hikes, make dream catchers or throw hatchets at a tree...
The more success we have been having the more weird things have been going on at nights around our apartment.... I know Satan realizes what potential we have on the area and he is putting all of his servants to try to stop us. We kept hearing something banging on the door last night and something walking in the gravel around our windows...Crazy story so Elder Lish saw horse tracks around our apartment and there is no way a horse could get in... we have a fence up around us and the only entrance has an intense cattle guard... the only explanation...............Mitsos aka Skinwalkers. I'm not joking either. Read about the Gadianton robbers in the Book of Mormon they would transfigure it said.
But I want to start a new thing in our emails, each email that we send to each other, everyone has to put a scripture in that they like and kind of explain it. I will start
Alma 29:9 This is one of my new favorite scriptures and it truly does describe the joy that I have as being one of the Lords servants.

I love you family and I am so grateful for all that you guys do for me!! I miss you guys so much!! Please start sending pictures if possible, I love to see your guys faces haha.... The only thing that I am starting to be in need of is some more church pants, they get really worn out chopping wood and what not. So if you have time or want to send me a package that's what I'm in need of. And maybe sun glasses.
Thanks again for all that you do!!
Elder Barrus aka Nic"ed" :) hope dads not mad I said that haha
P.S keep me informed on my Red Soxs and the Jazz. I don't care if they are doing bad I want to know why they are doing bad.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

7th Letter: Life's Good!!

Dear Family!!!
It's good to hear that you guys had a good week and had fun celebrating Tiff's birthday. I thought about her all Sunday.... It was the first birthday that I have missed in 18 years!! But no I hope you guys treated her well!! :) So I have had another amazing week probably one of the best weeks of my mission so far!! So as a mission we have been fasting and praying for new investigators. And it has been amazing to see the results come from those prayers! Elder Lish and I had 6 new investigators last week and we already have 3 new ones this week! It's unbelievable, but the work in Alamo is really progressing and I just feel so blessed to be apart of it!!
So I'll just go straight to the part that I want to talk to you guys about. Yesterday we went on exchanges with the Socorro Elders so me and Elder Reber (who came out with me the same day) went to Alamo while Elder Lish came to Socorro. So I was the leader that day, in charge of who we were going to go see and what we were going to teach them. I really wanted to have a good day, so I prayed to know of the things that the Lord wants me to do to be an instrument in his hands throughout the day. So we went throughout the day visiting everyone that I new, and we were having amazing lessons!! I gained so much confidence in myself, knowing that I can be a successful missionary myself. So anyways the day was going really good and we went to one of your Eternagators Margaritas house, I think I told you guys a little bit about her before but I invited her to be baptized my second day out here and she said no and she has said no for the last two years that missionaries have gone over to see her. So we were kinda in a hole with her, not really knowing which direction to go with her next, whether to reteach her all of the discussions again, probably for the third time or to just give up in a way because she wasn't progressing at all! But first off last Friday we went over to visit her and she was really sick, so we asked her if she wanted a blessing, she said yes and asked if I would give it. The spirit was so strong during the blessing and she just started crying during the blessing. It was an amazing experience. So Elder Reber and I went over there yesterday and I was planing on just building off of the blessing, and then maybe go back into Gods love for her. But right when I sat down to talk with her, I instantly had the impression not to do that. And during the opening prayer I was like ok I won't do it, but Heavenly Father what do you want me to teach then?! And right when we said amen to the prayer I instanltly thought of a verse in 2 Nephi 31 verse 13 I think. I wasn't positive what it said, but I just knew it talked about baptism. And at first I was like all we have done with her is pressure her into baptism over and over again. But I just thought if this is what the Spirit is telling me to teach then I better listen. The spirit was so strong while I read the verse, I explained every line with her and what it meant. And then at the end it talks about the Holy Ghost and how we get that gift at baptism. I brought up how she felt the Holy Ghost testifiying to her during the blessing last time and how good that made her feel. I then told her of the ring analogy that we can have the Holy Ghost (the ring) touching us, but it has to go away. But when we are baptized we actually put that ring on, and we have it as a constant companion. The spirit was strong, but she still was very conceided at that point with her one word answers and her knods. So finally I was like. Margarita what is holding you back from being baptized? She was quiet for a second and then said nothing is holding me back...I.. I just dont know right now. I said you dont feel like you should type of thing? and she kinda said yes. Then I was like Margarita I feel like you need to say a prayer RIGHT now and ask Heavenly Father if baptism is what you need to do right now. She was still quiet but kinda went along with it. I waited for her to start, and she never did. (I figured she knew how to pray because she has met with the missionaries for so long) So I asked her if she wanted me to explain to her how to pray, and she said yes, so I did. So after I was done explaining, I said are you ready. She nodded again, but never started so I felt impressed to say the prayer with her like you would a child. I said "Dear Heavenly Father.... she would repeat... please help me to know if you want me to be baptized... (She just started crying again) please help me know and feel if this is what you want me to do.... please help me..... in the name of Jesus Christ Amen". After the prayer I asked her how she was feeling she explained the same feeling she had during the blessing. I said, Margarita, that is the spirit telling you that you need to be baptized.... (she was just crying)......Margarita its telling you that your ready!!....(silence).....Margarita will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized....etc on March 23rd.....(more silence) she was still crying, but nodded her head and said yes!! It was amazing, how the spirit directed the lesson. I was only a mouth piece, I am just so glad that I listened to the spirts prompting because it truly knows what needs to be said!!
Gosh I love this gospel!!! I am so grateful to be an instrument in the Lords hands!! I hope to continue to be such throughout my mission. I love you all and know that I am continuing praying for you guys also!! Loves much give BO snuggles for me! Take Care
Love Elder Barrus

Saturday, March 2, 2013

6th Letter: Fastest Week of My Life!

Dear Family,
I cannot believe that I am already writing you guys again!! This week has gone by so fast!! Probably because we have been so so busy!! Thank you soooo much for the package, it was perfect!! The jackets will work great, thanks Dad. I think the jerky was what made me smile the most haha I love that stuff!! Thanks for the ties also!! I was getting tired of wearing the same ties over and over again so that was perfect. And Grandma... your a scolar among women. haha thanks for the banana bread, I hid it under my bed so that my companion wouldn't eat it. JK all the way.
So last Friday was Zone Conference and guess who got to speak?...... This guy! ha The Holy Ghost already told me that I was going to speak before I got there so I was already pretty prepared. Either President Miller really likes me or else hes giving me these situations so that I can learn. Maybe both. I talked about the Nature of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I focused on Love of course, and how he desires to give all of us that love!! We had to recite a scripture from memory so I did one of my favs Acts 17:27. It was a good experience and I received a lot of compliments so I dont think that I did too bad.
This last Saturday we went wood cutting again! Ugh that is tiring!! We got 5 quarts of wood which is a ton!! Its hard work, but I need it to work off all of the fry bread and lard that I have been eating. I actually have been loosing weight surprisingly. I go running at least twice a week, its sketchy though cause its still dark at 6:30 here and there are some pretty creepy things that go on here!! Every night Collier calls us on his way back to Mag and says that he just saw a UFO or an owl (evil spirits can take the form of animals especially owls and goats) flying eye level along the car for like 10 miles with him...etc you may laugh but its so true, maybe not the UFO, but everything else I believe him! So at night I am always singing church hymns and practicing my rebuking. Collier said that he had a dream that an evil spirit is going to try to harm us so thats kinda creepy, but I just try to always have a prayer in my heart, and I know that I'll be safe.
So my companion and I are doing great!! I love him and we get along really well. We have really similar teaching personalities so we are on the same page alot during our lessons so that is nice. Like I said we have been really busy, averaging around 20 lessons a week which is really good for Alamo. But like I have said before the Natives really don't like to commit to anything so it's hard to get any baptisms, they just want us to come over and chop their wood and listen to their stories. Ha for example yesterday I was following up on one of our investigators named Anita on wether or not she prayed to find out if she should be baptized or not. She was like yes I prayed, but then my brother called me and said that his neighbor died, it made me scared, but then I found out that he was just kidding... man its a nice day huh Elders.....ha yeah it is Anita but back to praying... ha they don't like to talk about being baptized so they always change the subject. She is one of my favorite ladies out on the Reservation and she is progressing towards baptism, slowly but surely.
One thing that me and my companion have really been praying for is new investigators for the last week. And Sunday I had a dream of someone drinking out a river just desperate for water. So I was really thinking about that all day, and then that night we had a feeling to go over to Colliers Aunts house. Collier hadn't seen her for a while and he really wanted to go see how she was doing. So we went over there and Collier explained a little bit about our church and then me and Elder Lish shared our testimonies with her, and she just started crying, saying that she has been going through some really hard times. Her husband cheated on her and her family disowned her, and she said that she was really praying for help lately. She stopped for a moment, and then said that we were an answer to her prayers. And she was really open to having us come over and share the lessons with her. So that has been one of the most amazing experiences since I have been out here. I loved how you said Dad, that Heavenly Father knows who we are (watch the John Millet experience D&C video). It is so true he knows each of us individually, and he knows the pains and trials that we go through. Its easy to say that to investigators, but its when you have those personal experiences is when you can't deny that there is a GOD and that he knows me!! How great of a feeling that is once you realize that, and that is my joy of being a missionary. Helping others realize that he knows them too! And that he listens and answers their prayers just like he answered a 14 year old boys prayer. How great this message is!!!
Thanks again for the package and thanks Dad for the Red Soxs update, I really needed it!! :) It made my day when you said that Granderson broke his arm on the first game of the year!! Out for the year? I hope. haha ;) Life on the Res has continued to be great, we got a new washer, because our other one was leaking oil... But im doing good, just working hard and eating hard!! :) We went to the VLA (Very Large Array) that was cool. I've been taking alot of pics so dont worry about that! I'll send the memory stick home in the next couple weeks. I can't think of anything else to tell you so take care family, and continue to pray for me and our investigators please!! Love you all!! Tell Bo hi and that I miss him, there are a million dogs out here on the res (litterally 5 dogs to every person) and everytime I see one I miss Bo more and more. Ha
Love, Elder Barrus