Friday, April 26, 2013

14th Letter: "3 Months Have Come and Gone..."

Dear Family,
Wow, I cant believe that I am here writing again. I swear I say that every time, but it is so true. Time goes by so fast here on the mission. It seems like just yesterday that you guys dropped me off at the MTC. That was fun! haha Well anyways it sounds like things are going pretty good your way. I'm glad!! I can only imagine how Tiff must have felt on the way home from Denver, must have been very uncomfortable. As for me I am doing great!! Staying very busy. There has been a lot of crazy things going on, hopefully I can explain a couple of them. But the work is really starting to progress here in Alamo. I have been praying for progress to start back up. We have always worked really hard, but it has just been hard when no immediate success comes from it. But now we are starting to see it. Which is kinda depressing a little bit because we have no idea of what could happen this weekend in transfer call. Most likely me and Elder Lish are going to be split up. Which is way sad, we have gotten along really well.  So this is what has happened this last week:
Sunday!! Elder L Tom Perry, what a special experience!! It was amazing how strong the spirit in the room was as soon as he walked into the chapel. Everyone immediately stood up, and I instantly felt the power of God in the room. He gave a wonderful talk, on how to become self-reliant, and how to develop the characteristic of working hard at a young age. How true and how relevant is this for this day and age were everyone has become so lazy and so dependent on others. That is not how we learn and grow. It was great, I feel very blessed for that opportunity that I had.
Monday! So we have FHE at the church every Sunday for whoever wants to come. It is usually a great time we play games and have a short little lesson. It is a great missionary tool. So this day I had one of the most craziest experiences of my life. It was down right crazy!! I hope I can give the story justice. So we had a couple come with there daughter Sierra, their names are Ronnie and Savannah (not married) Ronnie is a member, but one of the biggest drug users in all of Alamo, every time that we go over to their house he is high on the couch, and you can just smell the drugs in the house. But this night they came and it was great to see them there. It was the first time that I had seen Ronnie all there, which was great. We had a great time playing board games. And then right before we were leaving he (Ronnie) said that he needed a blessing. He started telling me about how that morning he had an experience were Heavenly Father showed him the light, and that he needs to shape up his life. He was just bawling the whole time. He explained that he doesn't want to do drugs and other stuff anymore, but he is scared that he is too lost. I had a really heart to heart conversation with him and directed him on what he needs to do if he truly wants this. He said that he has even basically sold his soul to the devil. And has participated in all of that.... And that he was scared that they are really going to attack him if he gives all of that up. So I told him that we would go over and dedicate his home that night. So we went over to their little trailer to bless their home. I knew that it was going to be a crazy experience because of all of the wickedness that had gone on in the home, and it was. We entered their home and knelt down. And immediately Satan started to work on us. Sierra started to freak out saying to me that she was scared to go in the back room because that's where her dad turns into monsters. And then started whispering Satanic things that a 6 year old would or should never know. The whole time I was just praying for the spirit to be with us. So Elder Lish offered the prayer, as soon as it started my body started to tense up. At that moment I know that there was a unseen war in the house. And as soon as he commanded the evil spirits to leave the home. The trailer started to sway. I thought that, that was just my own thinking and kinda ignored it until when we were driving away Elder Croft said that he felt the same thing at the same moment, then Elder Lish said the same thing. I have never felt both spirits so strongly at one moment in time than I did that night. So yesterday we went over and talked with them and they are doing great, he said that he slept through the night and that he had no desire to do drugs all day yesterday. We had a great spiritual lesson with them in which we invited Savannah to be baptized on May 25th and she accepted. It has been a very humbling experience for me as I have seen that Heavenly Father loves all of his children and that the atonement works on even the most violist of sinners. I prayed really hard last night that I would find a scripture to have Ronnie read. I suddenly turned to Alma the youngers experience in Mosiah 27:24-31, and I plan on sharing it with him tonight. Simply amazing how the Lord works if you only allow him to be an influence in your life.
Other than that we have seen tons of progression with other families and had 6 new investigators last week. It has been great. The Lord truly does bless us when we are trying our very best, working as hard as we can. I really feel and thank you for all of the prayers that have been offered for me. I appreciate them and desperately need them. Thanks. I truly am doing great!! My testimony has been strengthened so much in just this last week. I'm excited for what the Lord has in store for me in the future, and know that I will try my best with whatever situation arises. 
My scripture this week is 2 Nephi 22 (I love it, came upon it one night when I prayed for a scripture to give me strength)
Thank you all so much for all that you do for me. And for the examples that you have set for me in my life. I pray for your happiness and joy. Never forget that God is with us all!! :)
Elder Barrus

Sunday, April 21, 2013

13th Letter: "MY FAMILY!!"

Dear Family,
My wonderful family it was so good to hear from you today!! I really needed it!! I smiled like 20 times while I was reading all your letters and I couldn't stop smiling!! I just love you all so much!! :) I really miss you guys and wish I could have been there to help you guys move Zac and Chelsea, but I've been pretty busy. haha Let Gavin know that I love him so much too!! Ha he is a goober. So everything around here has been going really good, a little crazy, but good!! I have so much to talk about, I just hope that I can make sense of everything. 
So Monday, we went to the temple and it was amazing!! I have been sounding like I have been doing amazing, which I am, but this mission is not easy by any means. It's been really hard, like I expected. I love the quote by Elder Holland "How can we expect it to be easy for us when it wasn't easy for him?". So I have just been praying for strength and help each and every day, and the temple was a huge booster. I was kinda upset throughout the whole session because I was struggling to feel the spirit as strongly as I was hoping, I was getting tired during the session even. I really was mad, I was like I have been waiting to be uplifted by the temple for the last couple months and now im going to fall asleep?! I just prayed that it would change. And it gradually did, but when it really hit me was as I was walking through the Celestial room man I felt overpowered by the spirit, I couldn't do anything but just smile!! :) What an amazing spirit that is felt in the house of the Lord. I know that we all hear this a lot, but let us take advantage of this blessing of temples in our lives and go often.  
So this upcoming Sunday, I told you that an Apostle is coming to speak to our stake and guess who it is?..........L TOM PERRY!! Im so excited!! He is one of my favorite!! I'm not sure why he is coming here out of all places, but its great!! I hope to be able to talk to him. We have been trying really hard to get as many people from Alamo to it as we can, but we have to leave Alamo at 7am, and no Navajo wants to get up that early, not even for an apostle.... ugh!
We will find out about transfers next week. I'll most likely stay, but you never know. And Elder Lish is most likely leaving, he has been in Alamo for 7 months. It will be really sad to not be comps with him anymore!! He has been an amazing companion, we have been doing work together too!! But the work must go on, I'm excited to see what the mission has in store for me coming up. 
I'm still doing really good and my testimony is growing each and everyday. We are staying really busy!! We had 31 lessons last week which is unbelievable. Its kinda frustrating at the same time because it seems like nobody is progressing like I would want to, but I guess it is all in the Lords timing. We are really doing work with less actives, reactivating them. I think we had 8 less actives back at church on Sunday which was great.
I have really been hearing some amazing quotes lately and I thought I would share some of them with you guys.
"If we expect Him to give us everything that He has, then we better be willing to give Him everything we have."
-President Cordria (stake president) He is a great guy, he was one of the co-producers of 17 miracles. Cool Story.
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less"
-C.S Lewis
I left my quote book back in my appt. but those have been the ones that have really been stuck in my mind lately. I especially love the first one. It helps me continue out each day doing everything that I can!! Leaving nothing behind! My biggest thing I have been focused on throughout my mission so far has been when I leave my mission having no regrets. I know what the Lord has called me to do and I better fulfill it!! (D&C 50:13-14)
I'm so grateful for all that you guys do for me! Love you all!!
Love Elder Barrus
Ps I heard about the bombing, I was sitting in a buffet in ABQ right when it happened. I felt so sick!! I didn't want to eat anything else!! This world is ridiculous!! God be with us all I pray. Stay strong my family!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

12th Letter: "Ayoo'iniishni Family!!!"

Dear Family,
Hello again!! :) These weeks are flying by!! ha It's so good to hear that you guys had a good time down in Salt Lake this last weekened!! I was a little sad, I have always loved the trips to Nancy's!! Man is Tiffany getting big!! ;) She probably has to sleep in her own bed now huh?! haha Sounds like she got alot of really good things for baby Kohki. When is her due date again? Early June isn't it? Im so excited for her she is going to be an amazing mother! And Kellan will be a pretty decent dad too! :) So I have had an amazing week myself. I had my first baptism!! :) Anita got baptized. It was an amazing experience, her devotion and love for the gospel has grown so much since I got here. The baptism was really good, Elder Lish baptized her and she asked me to give her the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I felt so honored and blessed to do so. This is what makes the mission so worth it is experiences like this!! Thats what drives me each and everyday is to have more people have the same experience as Anita. The work is really moving forward out in Alamo, I see the hand of the Lord preparing these people everyday! He loves them so much, He LOVES us all so much!! And wants us all to be close to him, and to rely on him throughout our life! Its too hard to do it on our own, He knows it and thats why he has made a way for us so that we dont have to be!! Why do so many of us look over such a blessing? It is simply because of our own selfishness and our attitude of thinking "I" have gotten myself this far "I" can get myself through this. Selfishness and pride is so so prominent today, that is what is keeping so so many people from partaking of Gods love for us. Think of Lehi's dream. He longed for his whole family to partake of the tree of life (Gods Love), but the selfishness that blinded Laman and Lemuel kept them from the realization of such a blessing in their life. AH! It is so frustrating sometimes as you see it so prominetly in the world today!! We are teaching a very devoted baptist family, they love the bible so much and it has almost blinded them from anymore of the blessings that God has for them. They will not even give the Book of Mormon a chance to find out, and see if it is a word of God. Last night it really frustrated me as I taught them, I got pretty bold with them, hopefully not overbearing, but they just dont understand really the blessings that the book can be in their life. Its so simple if you dont give the book a chance and read and pray about it then your feelings towards it wont change. How can you sit and say that it is not a word of God when you haven't even read it?!! ha she said that she would for the 10th time... I just pray that she actually will. I truly believe in Moroni's promise, that if any man reads and prays about it with real intent and a desire to know if it is true, that the spirit will make manifest to them wether it is true or not. Another thing that fustrates/amazes me is how many people haven't even thought about what the purpose of life is! Ha it just baffles me! I guess that is why I am here, to tell them what the purpose actually is. 
So we had a really neat experience when teaching Terrie. We are preparing her for baptism, and she has a big issue with coffee that we are trying to work through together. So we have set goals for her as she progresses to ultimately give it up. We told her to stick to just one cup of coffee a day for this next week. She kinda moaningly agreed. So we went over there a week later and asked how it has been going. She said that she had a crazy experience. She said that she had been keeping the one cup a day the whole week until today, she said that she felt like she needed another cup, and when she went to drink it she started gaging!! Crazy huh?! Its the power of GOD!! She said that when that happened all she said was dang gom'alees(mormons) are right. haha She is ready for baptism, she just needs to work through this one issue.
So there has been alot going on around here, alot of work and alot of joy!! :) I'm going to be so sad to leave this wonderful reservation, I have really grown to love the people. The number at church hasn't increased as much as it should, but thats why we are working so hard. We went on exchanges yesterday and I stayed in Alamo with Elder Heslop(been out a year, but didnt say a word every lesson) So I worked my butt off trying to see as many people as I could, we had 10 lessons. Which is probably close to a day record. I am just so grateful to the Lord for alowing everyone that we went to see to be home!! :) So it has been way cold here lately!! We have had snow, yes SNOW the last couple of days... its crazy!! ha I dont mind it too much because a few days ago I saw the biggest spider that I have ever seen in my life!! Literally the size of my fist!! It would have gave Grandma a heart attack!! 
I LOVED conference!! I learned so so much, I struggled to find a specific question before it started, and it kinda made me mad. Because I was telling everyone else to come with a question in their heart, but I was a hypocrite and didn't have one myself!! So I just decided that maybe I have a hidden question that will be answered, and then it seemed like every single conference message was directly for me. I had more answers given to me than I had questions for! haha I loved each talk! I expecially really like President Uchdorf and Elder Callisters Priesthood session talks. They really touched me. But I also like of course Elder Hollands talk, but also Elder Scotts on centering our homes on Christ, "making it a place of refuge. I definitely felt that growing up in our house, and this talk really made me grateful for that, and the blessing that that really is!! SO thanks Dad and Mom for that!! Im sure all us kids feel the same way.
Thank you all for your continual prayers and support that you give me. Tell everyone hi and that I love them all!! :)
Elder Barrus
PS... Thanks for the Red Soxs updates Dad!! I'm missing it!! :( haha its worth it.

Anita's Baptism

Friday, April 5, 2013

11th Letter: "Conference is coming!! :)"

Ah life is great my family!! :) I honestly can't believe that it is already April!! Thats crazy!!! Thank you all for all of your letters and pictures!! I love pictures keep them coming!! Amanda the package was perfect!! Thank you soooo much everything looks great, and it was desperately needed!! Thank you Dad for the Red Sox's update, it made my day! They are going to do work this year!! :) It's good to hear that you guys had a great Easter, it sounds like you had a fun time with Grandma and Grandpa. I'm sure you guys are as excited for Conference as I am, but ah it is going to be great!! I am sooo excited!! We have been working really hard spreading the word and trying to get everyone to come hear the words of our prophet. They are broadcasting everything from our building here in Alamo so that weill be great! Hopefully everyone will come. I forgot to tell you that when I was in the MTC KSL news came and videoed our table eating and I was like a close up!! They said that they were airing it in between the Saturday sessions so watch it if your in Salt Lake!! Video it on your phone haha So the 15th of this month is the mission temple trip! Im super pumped for that!! I miss the temple sooo much, it will be great to go back. And the 20th an apostle is coming to speak to the Los Lunas stake only, we dont know who it is but its guaranteed someone from the twelve. And then after the meeting he is meeting with the missionaries of the Los Lunas stake. So thats like only 20 missionaries!! And I am one of them! I am so excited for whoever it is. Anyways April is just going to be a really exciting and fun month. Along with our 3 scheduled bap dates it should be hectic but a good hectic!! So...I have been doing really good these weeks keep getting better and better, I really love Alamo and the Navajo culture. It's great!! Easter here is like the biggest celebration ever and nobody knows why. We ask them what the purpose of Easter is, and they are just like.... to party?!.... ha nope. Navajos look for any excuse to celebrate and to butcher a sheep. And that leads to the most interesting thing I have eaten out here... SO they eat literally everything off the sheep, nothing goes to waste from the head to the toe. So "son of a gun" is all of the throat, tougne and ?esthofogas? thrown in a pot and cooked, its actually pretty good, I just prettended that it was cooked onions. Then there is somthing called "twister" now that is nasty!! it is the small intestine wraped in fat.... ugh not my favorite. Haha but its all in the experience. Other than that I haven't eaten anything too crazy whenever we go over to a members house to eat they always feed us hamburgers and hot dogs haha. Oh but I am in love with green chillie!!!! It is the best, but it is probably killing my insides. Im protected hopefully. haha
So this Friday we have a scheduled baptism with Anita, I'm praying that everything works out. She is great!! The investigator has to come to church twice befor they can be baptized and she said that her ride wasnt available on Sunday so she hitch hiked to church!! It was awesome to see that desire that she has to do what she feels is right now. Her interview is tonight and as long as there isn't any problems there then hopefully we are home free. :) I'll keep praying! Im super excited for her!! 
Terrie is still slowly progressing and should hopefully be baptized next Saturday!! She is still struggling with the loss of her boyfriend of 40 years. So I just keep praying that she can continue to have that desire to be baptized and that she will recieve strength from doing so.

Other than that the work is still progressing, we are really workin with getting our less actives to church. We have toooons of less actives, most of them say that they cant come because they dont have a ride, so we say that the Croft's will give them a ride, and then they just say yaaa.... and dont act to thrilled. So we are trying to recindle that fire inside of them. Ah There is so much work to be done in Alamo its exhausting, but so worth it. I really pray that I can make some sort of differnce on this area before I leave. I know that If I just do everything that I can and work my butt of that it will happen. We have a fortune cookie in our truck dash board that says "Happiness is often a rebound from hard work" I know that to be true, since it seems like my whole like has been hard work, but I have been happy doing it... for the most part.

So this last P-day we went on another hike searching for arrowheads. That was fun! I didnt find any, but the hiking trails are way cool and fun. I'm trying to hike all that I can before all of the snakes and turantulas come out. I haven't seen any, thank goodness!! Huh Grandma?! (I think I get my phobia from her) But they say that they all come out at the first thunderstorm. So I'm praying that, that doesnt happen till about July or August haha Im mostly scared because the nearest hospital is 2 hours away and there is no cell service in most parts of Alamo so if someone gets bitten then they are pretty much a goner. So keep praying for my safety too! :)
Scripture of the week: My favorite scripture! Omni 1:26 :)
Well that is all that I have for ya this week. I'm doing great and hope that it continues, It's hard alot of the time, but it's great most of the time also. :) Time really is just flying by, Im just trying to cherish every moment. Keep me in your prayers and let Bo know that I love and miss him!! You guys are the greatest!! Try to send me Stevos letters, I wonder how he is doing. 
Take Care,
Love Elder Barrus