Friday, December 27, 2013

48th Letter: "Merry Christmas eve-eve!! :)"

Dear Family, 
This will be a relatively short email, considering that I will be talking to you in less than 72 hours!! :) I am super excited to see you all!! The time that you should be prepared for me to google plus you is between 6:30-7pm on Christmas. If there is any problems I'll give you a call and we can get things squared away. I hope that will work out alright for y'all!! Also make sure that you have plenty of questions to ask me so we can make the most of the time we have!! :) 

Christmas for me should be pretty good, we are having dinner with one of the coolest families in the ward, and we actually have a lesson planned with a part-member family at 6pm that night that we are looking forward to. But Christmas is just like any other day as a missionary!! :) It is just a ton of a lot harder to find people to see!! 

I dont want to explain the class that we did at UNM too much so I can save it for when we talk so make sure you remind me about that. It was super fun! Tons of super hard questions, but the spirit was super strong and 16 people gained a better understanding of the church. 

Well I will see you all in a couple days!! Love you tons!! Have a Merry Christmas and be happy!! :) 
Elder Barrus
thanks for all of the gifts!! :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

47th Letter: "Christmas gift!!!! :o"

Dear Family, 
Hey y'all it is very grand to be here writing you again!! There is peace for the soul every time that I hear from you all. Sounds like everyone is doing pretty good and that you all are looking forward to Christmas!! Which makes sense!! I am looking forward to it myself, because I have a pretty awesome family that I get to skype!! :) So I will probably do Google plus again though, it worked pretty well last time, and President Miller approved it. So it looks like we will most likely be doing it around 6:30pm or 7. Elder Black has some family coming later so that's why. I will let you know more set in stone next P-day.
Well I have doing well, been kind of stressed to be honest. Last week was really tough as far as the work was concerned. There has been allot of drama within the zone and Satan is really attacking us right now, and the fighting back process has been really draining both physically and spiritually!! So this P-day was very needed, I am really looking forward to letting loose and playing some b-ball today. It was weird because throughout all of the stress we had one of the best weeks within our area that we have had in a while. We were able to set a baptism date with an awesome 10 year old named Emery! His mom is a less active member of the church, that has gone through allot. Emery is looking solid to make the date he is just going out of town for Christmas and wont be back for a while so his date isn't until Jan 18th, but his Grandpa is coming from California to do it. We are looking pretty promising to be setting a couple more baptism dates this upcoming week as well so we are excited.
A somewhat funny thing has happened to me recently. I was reading my patriartical blessing a couple weeks ago and there is a part that says I will have experiences with atheists and unbelievers throughout my life, and that I will have opportunities to boldly declare the gospel. And when I read this I was like "I have never talked or had an experience like that." Since that moment I have talked and been able to teach 3 different atheist. It was kind of a surreal experience to me, It was like Heavenly Father was confirming to me the divinity of my patriartical blessing. :)
So a crazy opportunity that I never thought I would have on my mission is happening this Thursday. Elder Black and I got asked to teach at UNM the world religion class, we talked to the professor and he told us that we will have 3 hours to teach whatever we would like. "He was like I dont know what you can tell about what happens inside the temple but that is pretty interesting..." ha wow not happening. So needless to say we are pretty nervous but excited for the opportunity. We are following a Rabi so the class will be asleep when we come in, the spirit is going to overcome them. It will be just like the Book of Mormon.
Well I will see you all in a week!! :) I love you all a ton and miss you like crazy! Elder Foster of the seventy came to our Zone Conference on Saturday and really instilled something in me and that was that "these are my days", this is the only time in my life that I will be able to fully devote myselft to the Lord as a missionary, and to make the most of my days. So every morning I wake up and look myself in the mirror and say, "These are my days". I am so grateful that they are my days!!
Elder Barrus

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

46th Letter: "Merry Christmas!! :)"

Dear Family,
Wow it is cold!! Coming to New Mexico I thought I was going to die in the heat and not have to worry about the cold, but boy was I wrong!! Winters here are pretty brutal, or at least this year!! With how cold it is it definitely can be a hindrance to the work if you let it be. I am handling the weather pretty well, it definitely is a blessing that we have a car to drive, but we still try to walk as much as possible so that we can have opportunities to talk to people. I am just grateful that I had the preparation of growing up in -10 degree weather to prep me for this. :)
Well it sounds like y'all are enjoying the Christmas season!! It is always good to hear that your doing good, it definitely helps me to keep moving forward. I hope you were all able to hear the wonderful Christmas devotional, it was so uplifting and helped me continue to remember the true meaning of Christmas. If you weren't able to watch it I definitely would recommend getting on and watching it!! There is such a wonderful spirit during this time of year, I think part of the reason that the Lord sends His spirit in great abundance at this time is to bless the few people who will put aside there selfish desires of the Holiday and remember its true meaning. I am really going to miss fighting with Amanda and Zac on waking up early and saying a family prayer by mom and dads bed before we went in to open presents, I am going to miss the power going out and Dad trying to save the breakfast by cooking it on the bbq, I am going to miss the look on Grandmas face when Grandpa gets her a space heater for his garage ;) But the blessing that I wont miss and that I know will still be with me during this season whether I am at 3818 boulder creek lane or 2909 turf lane is the spirit of our Saviors birth. I pray that, that will be the gift that we will all cherish and love the most this Christmas season!! 
So as far as the missionary efforts here and RIOOOO Rancho have been going... So this last Thursday was MLC and Friday Zone Training of course. And so Elder Black and I have really been praying and pondering on what to present in the meeting to best help our zone get fired up and to increase there faith that success can be found in Rio Rancho as well. So for MLC we have to account for our Zones numbers over the month and it is super hard to stand before the leadership of the mission and report on the only zone in the mission that is not having any success and everyone can see that. As we were standing up there I just kept asking myself what is it going to take for this Zone to be blessed the same as ABQ or Las Cruces or El Paso??? The Lord doesnt love his children more in one area more another. I know he wants us to have success to! It hit me like a brick wall what the problem was.... There is no faith in the Rio Rancho missionaries. Faith precedes miracles and we are definitely asking for a miracle. So meanwhile this is all going through my head during the 5 min we were reporting, the AP's were kind of giving us grief through suggestions, and then the last thing that I said as we were going back to our seats is "Rio Rancho is going to explode!!" I have faith and know that the Lord is going to work wonders here as we just diligently exercise our faith. So after MLC we have about 3 hours to prepare for the 3 hour zone training the next day. And that preparation was an incredible experience, the spirit bore witness to us of what we needed to train of to help this zones faith increase. I could feel the whole time preparing that this was going to be a turning point for this zone if we followed the spirit. Needless to say the Zone Training was incredible, one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. Closing the training we invited the zone to bare testimony of our potential, and you could just feel their faith increase as they did just that. We have witnessed and are witnessing amazing changes in our missionaries, and miracles are occurring more often as a result of it. I AM EXCITED!! :) Change is possible, one thing I cant stand and bugged me the most coming into this zone was that nothing has changed increased of decreased in the zone since the stake was opened. Everything in life is about change!!
Family, I love this work!! Everyday I get to wake up and put on the name of Christ, and stand in His place and proclaim His gospel. There is no other place in the whole world that I would rather be than here in the Panorama Heights North area in the Rio Rancho stake, because I know with all of my heart that I have been called by God to be serving here. I know that there are lives to be touched and souls to be saved as I turn to the Lord and be His instrument in helping His children. Know that I love and miss you so much!! This mission is going by so fast, it is unbelievable to me that I am coming up on a year now. It scares me to know that this will one day come to an end. I have never felt so close to my Savior and realized so many truths than on my mission. I give thanks to the Lord for changing me, and molding me to the individual he wants me to be.
Take care!! LOVE ELDER BARRUS!! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Man how many times do I have to say I love being able to hear from you all!! Thank you so much for your letters and for everything that you do!!! I truly do have the greatest family ever and I mean that!! :) It sounds like everyone is doing great which is good to hear! Keep living the gospel and everthing will continue to go great!! Well I was super bummed to see that you all went to Forgotten Carols without me... haha jk I just miss it!! I am sure it was wonderful as usual!! I am guessing that Amanda and Tiff were still talking about the singer and how wonderful he was! They always did!! Then as soon as they would get home they would I tunes him and become the biggest fan!!
So things on my end have been ok.... This area is tough!! Definitely has been the hardest area of my mission so far. Currently basically the whole zone is really not doing very well. The Stake leadership is super awesome and geared towards missionary work, but man in all honesty this ward and most of the wards in the stake are really struggling with being engaged in the missionary efforts, and I say that even though there are tons of members coming out to lessons with us and they feed us really well. But the one thing that is really holding things back is the leadership of the ward doesn't see missionary work as something to be to focused on right now which is sad! So that has definitely been the number one topic on my mind is how to help get the work moving forward here... obviously! I have complete faith that the Lord is just waiting to poor out blessings into this area and I know that if we just continue to work hard that great things will happen. But the reason I let you all know is because of all of the wonderful missionaries and Bishops that I have in my family. I would love some advice of how that interaction has been for you all. Please!!
So needless to say Elder Black (my awesome companion) and I have been really focused on finding new investigators, which definitely isn't my most favorite thing to do as a missionary, but I know that that is where everything all starts!! And that is where most miracles occur, or at least that is what I have seen on my mission so far. And one such miracle happened this last week as we were contacting former investigators. So we went to this formers apartment whose name was Monica Sanchez, she had a solid teaching record that both me and Elder Black noticed on two different occasions looking through the area book. We both wrote here name down of someone to go see and so we did just that. We knocked on the door and this white lady in her mid-50s comes to the door so I immediately thought this wasnt Monica which is usually the case when contacting FI but we talked with this lady and we find out that Monica moved out about 3 months prior. We did the usual contacting thing with her asking if she was interested in meeting with us and she said "this is a God moment" "last week I was looking through the phone book at the different churches, thinking of which one I should try out but none of them interested me, I was praying that I would know which one I should look more into, and now here you are at my door." She said that we could come back and we went and taught her yesterday and gave her a Book of Mormon which she was super excited to read. She said that since we had left she was researching our church on and it answered a lot of her questions. This was definitely a miracle for me!!
Well Family I love you a ton!! FYI Thanksgiving was pretty great, definitely not the same, but thats alright!! Take Care
Love Elder Barrus
ps Pray for new investigators!!!!

44th Letter: "Rioooo Rancho!!"

Dear Family, 
Well family things have changed quite a bit in just this past week it has been pretty hectic. Surprisingly I found out that I was getting transferred to a different stake last week and now here I am in the Rio Rancho stake. Haha My mission has been crazy so far!! I never get a chance to catch my breath and smell the roses, but I guess thats alright because thats not what I signed up to do. So it was super hard leaving the Academy Heights ward when I did, I really grew to love it and the work was going great! We were having tons of success not only in our own area, but within the Zone as well. The Mckays are set to get baptized next Saturday which is the hardest part about leaving for me. We also had a huge miracle this last week and set a baptism date with a young lady named Lindsey Qualo who we invited on the first lesson we had with her, she is super solid and excited to learn. So needless to say I was pretty bummed to have found out that I was leaving, and coming to a Zone that has really struggled for a long time!! As a whole zone there has only been 19 baptisms this year which is definitely going to change. I go forward with faith unlike Lot's wife, and I look at the challenge at hand as something exciting and as an opportunity to grow as a missionary.  
So I really don't know too much about Rio Rancho, other than it is a pretty new development of a pretty upper class people. There are alot of super nice homes and what not, so basically in the missionary sense of things, there is alot of pride, but also theres is some kingdom builders waiting to be found!! :) Rio Rancho is basically a suburb of ABQ, they use to be two totally different cities that were divided, but as ABQ has grown they have pretty much merged.
FYI Mom dont worry we have somewhere to go for thanks giving! :) It definitely wont be as good as your cooking though!! But we wont be starving. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!! It truly is such a wonderful time of the year!! Cherish the time that you are able to spend with family, because you never know with how fast goes by when you will get another time to be gathered together. We had a Christmas miracle this last week!! It snowed!! It was so awesome!! :) It was all melted before noon, but still it brought back the feel of Idaho to me. :)
Well my new companiaro is Elder Black from Moses Lake Washington. He is super awesome, I knew him pretty well already since we were both District Leaders in the Los Lunas stake. He has only been a Zone Leader for one transfer so we are both really young zone leaders. And since I have been a ZL for only one transfer longer I am the senior companion. He has been out on his mission the same amount of time as Elder Lish so about 14 months. I am super excited to be serving with him.
Family know that you are they greatest!! I couldnt be doing what I am doing without all of your love and support! Thank you!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to be thankful for all that your Heavenly Father has blessed you with!! Gratitude is more of a blessing to us than to him, because it enables our Heavenly Father to continue to bless us. I am so eternally grateful for the many wonderful blessings in my life and for the oportunity that I have at this time to be serving the Lord. No greater joy have I felt in my life than as I have been dilligently trying to move this great work forward.
Elder Barrus
ps. new address
2909 Turf lane SE, Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87124

The McKay Family 
Horschels (Ward Mission Leader)
Estrella and her family
Academy Heights District