Friday, August 29, 2014

88th Letter: "BYE August!"

Dear Family,
Well hello there again! Sure sounds like things are going good throughout the Barrus family! Brings great joy for me to hear about those wonderful things, while I am in good ole New Mexico. Still it is amazing me how fast time is flying bye, there have been some great things happening here that have been super fun to be apart of. Devin is looking pretty solid to make his baptism on Saturday which is really exciting, Devin asked if I would baptize him which is a great blessing! First baptism in Nob Hill! :) Also the sisters in the Nob Hill branch are having a baptism as well and her name is Melanie, and she also asked if I would baptize her, so I am going to be getting wet on Saturday. :) Pray that everything goes great preparing for the baptism! Satan definitely does all that he can to prohibit the baptism from happening.  

Well with school back in session, we have been talking to allot of really great people! Seems like The Lord has prepared allot of UNM students to receive the gospel this semester! :) We are going to work our little tail feathers off to give as many of them the opportunity to hear about it too! We were actually able to get in contact with the UNM starting QB Clayton Mitchem, as well and we are going to start teaching him. He is pretty interested in the Book of Mormon. Randy Williams is the DE at UNM and he was baptized about a year ago, so we are going to see if he can help us out teaching him. So all in all the missionary work is going great! We werent able to meet with Eric this last week and he has been slow in returning our text messages so we are praying that he maintains his desire to be baptized! His brother just got home from Afghanistan so that is a pretty good excuse to be busy. 

So our travels has taken us all over the mission lately, we did trainings for all of our zone leaders throughout the mission last week. First on Wednesday we traveled up to Espanola with President Miller and trained the Santa Fe ZL's it was a great experience being able to be in the same vehicle with President for so long. He talked to us about all sorts of things, we asked him allot of gospel questions and deferent policies throughout the church and his views on them. It was a very special experience! For the last hour on our car ride home he just talked to us about dating and what to look for in a wife, and what not to look for! :) Valuable knowledge for sure! 

On Thursday we trained the ZL's in the ABQ area, and then immediately left for El Paso to start exchanges with the Las Cruces, and Mount Franklin west ZL's. We had a wonderful training with all of the southern ZL's Friday afternoon, and then President took us all out to Applebee's for dinner, definitely wasn't cheap, but it was very good!! We did another exchange down south following dinner with the Mount Franklin east and El Paso ZL's, and then headed back to ABQ Saturday morning. Something that was special was on our way back from El Paso we stopped in Las Cruces and gave Esequiel some things he asked me to get for him. He took us to lunch at McDonalds and we had a great talk with him, he is such an incredible man! His knowledge of the gospel is only growing! He knows more about the Book of Mormon than most members do. His desire to do missionary work is crazy too, he has given many people a Book of Mormon, and talks to about everyone about the gospel as he delivers mail each day. A funny experience that kind of lets you know a little bit more of what Esequiel is like: One day he was pondering while he was delivering mail is how he can help the Muslims come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and importantly the Book of Mormon, he desperately wanted to help them. He said that each day he would watch the news and see all of the horrible things that are happening, and he would immediately feel that they needed the Book of Mormon. So he decided one day he was going to write his testimony in a Book of Mormon and highlight some verses and put it in front of one of their Muslim Mosques. He didnt want to talk to them face to face, but he knew that they had services on Fridays, so he went Thursday night and put it by the door! He is one incredible man, he has been an incredible blessing for me on my mission. (He was baptized while I was serving in Las Cruces) 

Well family I am off to Taos, NM for pday! Have a wonderful week! And know that I love each of you soooo much! I know that the work I am doing changes lives! Lets all be apart of it! Talk to someone on the plane or at the store/ work. You can do it! :)
Elder Barrus

Friday, August 22, 2014

87th Letter: ":) Yolo"

Dear Family,
Well hello my beloved family members, it is once again p-day and here I am again for probably close to the 90th time writing you! My mission just keeps getting better and better, we had a fantastic week of inviting others to come unto Christ. Its been pretty remarkable seeing the growth and progression in this area as we have worked hard and relied on The Lord, something that I have strove to do throughout my whole mission. I have definitely been able to witness continual miracles in the work as I have done so. I love how much of a personal progression the mission is if you allow it to be, I have come to know that the missionaries that let the mission go through them are the ones that are truly changed and converted to the gospel and this work. Its not easy thats for sure, the mission has been the most difficult thing that I have done in my life, but it has been the most rewarding thing I have done for many different reasons, most of all I feel the testimony that I have gained of the Plan of Salvation, and being able to see things with eternal eyes now rather than temporal has definitely brought eternal blessings because of my mission. I feel that I have been able to gain a glimpse of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us and His desire for all of His children to return back to Him. 

Some experiences that we were able to have this past week: 
I think I have mentioned Devin before with you in past letters, but he is our most progressing investigator and is looking pretty solid to make his baptismal date for next Saturday. He has come to church for the past 5 weeks, and is really starting to gain a better understanding of the gospel. We had a pretty neat experience as we took him to the temple for our lesson on the Word of Wisdom, we discussed how God views our bodies as a temple, and so we should as well. He committed to live the commandment, it will definitely be something that will test him as he prepares to be baptized though. We promised him that he stayed strong tell his baptism that the temptation would be lesser following the baptism. 

So this might sound a little bad, but my whole mission I have desired a blacktism.... a black baptism. And so a couple of weeks ago at sports night on Thursday there was a black guy there and I wasnt going to miss out on the opportunity of teaching him. So immediately following one of their games I ran over to him and invited him to learn and he accepted and is super prepared! We have taught him twice and has accepted a baptismal date for September 6. Looks super solid for the date too. His name is Eric from Chama, NM. Plays bball like Carmelo Anthony too haha :) 

Love you family and God speed! Figgins's leave tomorrow... :( Going to miss them like crazy! 
Elder Barrus

86th Letter: "#Family!"

Dear Family,
Hello my beloved individuals of my life! It has been more and more apparent to me on my mission how amazing of a family that I have been blessed to have. Thank you all for being such amazing role models in my life. From the example of an older brother who I watched serve a mission, and follow the spirit throughout his life. To a sister Amanda, who no matter what I could always talk to and be strengthened by her wonderful testimony and example. To my partner in crime of a sister Tiff, who has been by me my whole life, who read ensign talks and scriptures with me when we couldn't sleep the night before Christmas. And especially to my wonderful parents who have taught me a countless number of lessons, and especially how to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father has given me parents who love each other, who have been so devoted to each other for the past 30 years. Thanks Family! 

So this week has definitely been a lot calmer than last week! And what a blessing that has been! We have been able to devote a large amount of our time to proselyting, which has been a first in a while. But blessings and miracles have been flowing. It was pretty cool, before we started transfer planning we always fast that Sunday. And President Miller opened that with a prayer, in his prayer he prayed that our area would be watched over and blessed even though we wouldnt be able to devote our time to it, and that we would be able to recognize miracles as we returned from transfers. Needless to say we have. There is a really good chance that we could have a baptism either this Saturday or next Saturday of our investigator Aleks. We set a baptismal date with our investigator Devin, for August 30th he definitely is going to make it! And countless other miracles we have seen, with new investigators and the investigators that we already have starting to progress. 

Sorry I have to make this letter a little shorter, but as I mentioned last week we have Elder Figgins brother staying with us which has been incredible! I love him to death! He signed my flag "Elder Brandon Figgins (Best Buds)" haha But we are taking him right now to the Zoo, it is going to be sweet we have a hook up and are going to have back stage passes to the elephant exhibit. After the zoo we are going bowling, and then playing some bball! :) So we got a busy fun pday ahead of us! 

Love you tons family! 
Elder Barrus

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

85th Letter: "Hey Fam!"

Dear Family,
I am sorry that it has gotten so late in the week and I haven't been able to write you! Do doubt this has been the craziest busiest week of my mission!! First off thank you all for your continual letters that you have been writing me, they mean allot and I can definitely feel of your love. So to kind of explain the intensity of the week, it all started with getting 25 new missionaries on Monday. It went really well, but just the fact that you are responsible for 25 missionaries at one time, to get their housing, transportation, training, interview with president...etc in order takes allot of brain power. So needless to say Monday night I was exhausted, and really we didn't get to bed till early Tuesday morning. So Tuesday at 7am was our transfer meeting, so after our pinch of sleep we rounded up the troops and headed over to the church. The meeting went supper well, I was amazed how smoothly it went. Then all day Tuesday we were with the departing missionaries, and housed and transported all 20 of them. Wednesday morning they headed to the airport and headed off, it was a super depressing departing group for me as I got way close to allot of those missionaries. After we dropped the missionaries off at the airport President Miller commanded us to go home and get some sleep, we were able to get a couple hours of rest, but at 3pm we had to go to the airport and meet with President to plan MLC for the following day, that took the rest of the day and we didnt get home Wednesday night till about 12pm. Yesterday was MLC obviously, and it was a powerful meeting. We really felt impressed in our planning to focus on how missionaries and members need to work together, and how it is a responsibility of the missionaries to help the members be engaged. We have noticed in our mission that since the hastening of the work that missionaries have taken a step back and just put the weight of missionary work on the shoulders of members, or they just get too frustrated with the members and just do all of the missionary work by themselves. It was powerfully impressed upon our minds the importance and the significance that it would have on our mission, if missionaries and members learned how to properly work together. Yesterday we discussed ways to help this happen, various things that missionaries can do to strengthen the relationships with the members. 

Also something that I have forgotten to tell you is that Elder Figgins brother came into the mission for Elder Figgins last 2 weeks. He has high functioning cerebral palsy, he has always wanted to be a missionary, and so President Miller has allowed him to come. What is so awesome about it as well is that they are staying at our apartment. He is such a special young man and brings a powerful spirit about him. I am sure that you remember but Elder Figgins and I served together in Las Cruces, and he has become a very close friend we will definitely always be close throughout our lives.  

Family I love and appreciate all that you do. I know that I have been called of God to be a set apart representative of Jesus Christ at all times, to be able to bring the joys of the gospel into the lives of those around me, but I also know with all of my heart that this isnt the responsibility of just the missionaries! Members in all parts of the world need to join hands in this great cause of truth. Open your mouth and witness the blessings of missionary work! :) 
Elder Barrus :) 

Monday, August 4, 2014

84th Letter: "Last week of July!"

Dear Family,
Another week has come and gone, and we are just about to say goodbye to July. Its hard to believe that August is already here! July has been such an eventful and stressful month, but nonetheless a happy month! I have been blessed to see so many miracles in the the Lords work. And also the miracle of growth within myself! As I have faced so many difficult challenges The Lord truly has blessed me with the strength and capabilities to carry out his work. I would have to say that that has been one of the great blessings of realization that I have come to on my mission, that The Lord wants us to grow and progress, and that He always qualifies us for His work! More and more that I serve and share this wonderful message with the world, the stronger and stronger my testimony grows that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ, and that they have called and answered Joseph Smiths prayer to restore their church back to the earth. I have realized that this is a priceless blessing! Especially as I have seen many individuals, members, investigators, and even missionaries struggle to be converted to what they share. I can say with out a doubt in my heart that I know that it is true.

This has been something that I have been trying to always remember as we have been carried away with duties that take us to the mission office each day as we help the mission in a different way. I know why I am here and what The Lord has called me to do. Transfers has been stressful but an amazing process to see everything come together, it has been incredible to see the inspiration flow through President Miller who has been given the keys over this mission to decide who needs to be companions with who. I have no doubt in my mind that The Lord is very much apart of the process and that He knows each of His missionaries individually!

We have been seeing slow progress in our area, it has been difficult as of late as allot of our time has been in the office, but with the time that we have been blessed to have to proselyte we have been seeing miracles in the Nob Hill Branch.

My challenge to each of you is to take an extra 10 min to study the Book of Mormon this week and to check your personal conversion to this gospel! I promise you that it will bless your life! :)

Love you tons!
Elder Nic Barrus