Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MLC and Lake Conroe

This email was sent November 13, 2017

Lake Conroe

MLC November 2017
Hey everyone! I hope some of you are still reading this. If not I don’t blame you. 95 letters is a lot of reading. But let’s get to it! This week included lots of missionary meetings. On Tuesday we had MLC. It’s always an uplifting meeting that I enjoy. We learned about the role of the Holy Ghost in teaching. Obviously a big part of qualifying for the spirit as a missionary is preparation which includes thorough study and obedience. However an investigator must allow the spirit to enter his or her heart in order to be truly converted unto the Lord.

On Thursday I went on exchanges with mi hijo, Elder Garcia in Conroe. I was able to see firsthand the progress he’s made. We ate dinner with their bishop and he lives all the way in Montgomery and we arrived 10 minutes early so we found a gated community with an open gate right on Lake Conroe and took pictures. It was rather scenic.

Trio with Elder Sobotka

Trio with Elder Sobotka
And then on Friday after district meeting we picked up Elder Sobotka and were in a trio with him for a day. Him and his companion’s next door neighbor in their apartment is a chain weed smoker and the smell has permeated through the vents and now their clothes smell like marijuana. So the mission housing coordinator gave them some sort of bomb that eliminates odors. They had to be out of their apartment for 24 hours so Elder Sobotka came with us and it was a riot. He’s from American Fork and played baseball at BYU before the mission. We knocked some doors and made him talk to some Hispanic people even though he’s an English missionary. He made them laugh a lot. He taught us all about how to talk to white people. It was cool hearing some of his stories.

On Sunday night we finally got to visit with a family that was a referral from some English missionaries. They were really excited to become an eternal family and come to church in Spanish, the language they understand.

As for my spiritual thought for the week, I came across a quote from President Boyd K. Packer:

“The Church and Gospel are not on trial. We are.”

Elder Barrus

Elder Barrus and Elder Fitt

Arriba Los Astros!!!

This email was sent November 6, 2017

Hey y’all what’s going on? Here in Houston everyone is pretty happy because the Astros won the World Series. So it’s nice talking to people when they are in high spirits.

On Tuesday we had to be in our apartments by 6:30 PM because of Halloween but it was raining so people didn’t really go outside anyways. And not even one person knocked on our door. We even had candy ready. What a shame.

In other news Elder Broschart and I are chugging right along. We got some good work done this past week and hope to continue to see some miracles. On Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Stulce from Palmyra, Utah. He’s a really humble missionary and always works hard. We went out finding that night around 7 PM and knocked on a door and heard the game on in the background and people speaking in English. We braced ourselves for the usual colorful chastisement that inevitably comes when you knock on people’s doors during an important sporting event. However no one came to the door for a little while so we decided to walk away. Well, as we were walking away the door opened and a lady told us to come inside. They turned the TV off and started asking us some questions. Turns out that they are a part member family in which the father Randy is a member and the mother Sarah is not. They were really nice and both talked about how they needed to come back to church for their sake and for their 2 little daughters’ sakes. So we committed them to come and they said they’d come and Sarah even said she’d read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.

On Friday we visited La Familia Oropeza and found out that Oscar had a soccer game at 8:30 PM that night at the soccer complex right next to our apartment so we decided to go because he always tells us about how good he is and we wanted to see for ourselves. He’s pretty good. His team lost but it was to a team that was 2 grades older than them so it was kind of a disadvantage. But we gave out some pictures of Jesus Christ and talked to lots of Hispanic people so it was a good use of our time.

On Sunday morning the Valles family from Venezuela texted us and said they were going to come to church and wanted to talk to us afterwards. They came but left about an hour into the Regional Conference broadcast because their 14 year old son Jose has kidney stones and they had to take him somewhere in Houston. Unfortunately we were not able to talk with them and figure out if they had any questions that needed to be answered. But it was good that they came to church and we hope that they felt the Spirit.

This turned out to be a longer than expected email but just know that God loves all of you and wants to see us succeed and be happy. Houston will always have a special place in my heart along with the many marvelous people I have been privileged to associate with during my time here.

Elder Barrus

Our Tacos de Trompo amigos, Alfonso and Raquel

Exchanges with Elder Stulce

Dodgers vs Astros

This email was sent October 30, 2107
Elder Brock Jones returned to visit our district

This week was not really anything too special. We spent a lot of time assessing those we are working with in our area and making plans to find other people.

The whole city of Houston has been pretty fired up due to the Astros playing in the World Series versus the Dodgers so our finding at nighttime hasn’t been too effective but ay vamos. It’s always a good topic of conversation with the Caucasian folk we come across because it helps them warm up to us a little more than usual.

On Friday we helped Pedro and his family move furniture into their home. It’s now finished! Also on Sunday we visited them and we managed to eat a Serrano pepper raw and talk about marriage, all within one hour! Usually playing marriage counselor with our investigators hasn’t gone super well in my experience. I ask them if they ever think about getting married and one spouse says yes and the other says no. Either way I think they’re on the right track and some day soon they’ll be ready to get married and come to church.

Also on Saturday we went to Leyla’s baptism, the 8 year old little sister of Kate, my recent convert of a few months back. Much to our surprise Kevin, Pascual’s stepson showed up with his girlfriend. Apparently she is a member but doesn’t speak Spanish. Regardless she’s doing some good work in helping him have more interest in the church. As they say, if you’re not having success as a missionary, you can always flirt to convert.

That’s all I have from my end. Hope all is well. And go Astros!

Elder Barrus

AP Exchanges

This email was sent October 23, 2017

Howdy fellas! We got transfer calls last night and Elder Broschart and I will be staying together for at least another transfer. We work really well together and he’s progressing along really well. We’re excited for what these next 6 weeks hold in store in good old Oakcrest.

To start off on Wednesday we had a half day exchange with the APs. This was my first one with them and I went with Elder Hansen from Logan, Utah. It was a lot of fun and I was able to pick his brain on a few questions that I have. We even taught a lesson in my area and he had to sit there with no idea what we were saying because he’s an English missionary. Poor guy. But in the end I was able to teach him a few Spanish words and he taught me a few finding tactics. All in all, a good exchange.

Also we’ve been hitting the pavement and dirt a lot this week trying to continue to find people to teach. We weren’t met with a whole lot of success but we can feel that all this hard work is about to pay off big time. Unfortunately we didn’t have much contact with the Valles family and the Ortuño family hasn’t progressed a whole lot so there’s not much to talk about in regards to those we are working with. But this week we are going to sit down with our bishop and see what we can do to help the work move forward in this ward.

So I really don’t have much else to write... I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking!

Elder Barrus

Pedro and Me

🍌Pascual's wife made us some really great empanadas de platano (banana)
Exchanges with the APs

Exchanges with the APs

Hna Fluckiger goes home this week so we decided to hold a funeral for her because she’s dying in the mission

This is the Life!

This email was sent October 16, 2017.

Somehow I figured out that I’ve got only 2 and a half months left as a missionary. I don’t think it’s hit me yet, I feel like I’ll be doing this the rest of my life. Ha ha.

This week was... a little slower than the last one. We had a hard time getting back in with some of our investigators. But the Valles family came to English class and told us their miracle story of how they came to the United States. That strengthened my testimony of the fact that God is preparing families and individuals to receive the restored Gospel. As much as some people take for granted the principles and blessings of the Lord’s church, there are always many people that are ready and willing to fully embrace the Gospel and follow in the Savior’s footsteps.

As well we had zone conference this week. Not really much to report on, just a training about Facebook and how to use it correctly and some ideas for how to use it as an effective tool. I discovered some creative tactics that Elder Broschart and I can use to stay in better communication with our investigators.

On Sunday we had Stake Conference and it was enlightening. President Call spoke about the role parents have to teach their children the Gospel in order to help them realize their divine potential. He used an analogy with acorns to prove his point. An acorn falls from a tree and is quite small compared to the relatively large parent oak tree it fell from. However, as the parent plants the acorn and helps nurture it, the acorn starts to grow, sees its progress, and realizes that it can become a big oak tree someday. It’s the same thing with our children. If we never help them understand their divine potential, they are going to grow up going to church and not fully understanding the ultimate goal to have “All the Father has.” I know that that is true. We can realize our divine potential and ultimately qualify ourselves to live forever in the kingdom of God with our families. And a couple scriptures from Doctrine and Covenants 84:

37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

Elder Barrus


Birthday Sneakers

Monday, October 9, 2017

Keep Going and Finish Strong

Que tranza homies? We had quite the week, let me tell ya. On Tuesday we had our Mission Leadership Council and heard lots of counsel about the purpose of our mission using Facebook and how it can be a tool to hasten the Lord’s work. 

Zone Leader Companion, Elder Cammack on exchanges 
Then I went on an exchange with my ZL companion, Elder Cammack to his area of Louetta, leaving my trainee Elder Broschart with Elder Cammack’s trainee Elder Gibby. They were a little nervous being new and all, but ended up killing it. When I asked them how the exchange went, Elder Broschart excitedly told me about a family from Venezuela who showed up to English class and asked to learn more about the church. He told me that they were golden. I kinda reserved my hopes until when we actually taught them. 

And we did on Saturday and they are really solid. They talked about how they don’t understand why there are so many churches if Jesus only established one church. They said they have visited many churches but haven’t felt what they would like to feel. As we taught them about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel they lit up, and I saw it click in their heads. They had been searching for the truth for a long time and had wondered if God would leave them confused on their spiritual journey. They have only been in the United States for a couple of months since they moved from Venezuela but are well educated people that could be very strong members of the church. There are 5 in the family, Miguel and Maribel are the parents with 3 sons, Diego, Jose, and Miguel Jr. They came to church the next day and enjoyed it. The members of the Oakcrest ward came in clutch and welcomed them with loving arms.

As well we have been teaching Pedro and his family. His wife and kids are super smart and have lots of potential to progress. Our only obstacle with them is getting them to come to church. But I’m certain that as we involve more members in the teaching process and teach them the why, they will come.

Anyways, that’s all from good old Tomball, Texas. I can’t believe that I only have about 2 and a half months left. I just have to keep going and finish strong so that I can reflect on my mission with no regrets!

Elder Barrus


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Things Are Rolling!

We definitely had a pretty good week. We went back to visit Pedro and his family and we ended up having a lesson with Pedro and he was really receptive to the message of the Gospel. He told us he felt as though the flood helped him find the balance between working and spending time with his family. He also feels as though God has been trying to wake him up and now he’s ready to make changes  in his life.

As well we went back on Saturday with some members of an English ward to help them continue repairing the house. They are almost finished so they’ll be able to focus a little bit more on the lessons and coming to church when that happens. Also for lunch Pedro’s girlfriend made some bomb food for those of us working on her house. She said that was only a preview of how good her food is. Hopefully it was only the first of many meals with her family. I’ve said this a lot and the pictures I send home reflect it, but honestly Mexican food is the best food. And not anything you can get from Taco Bell. But real Mexican food from people who know how to cook it is prime. 

As well we were able to watch General Conference and my poor companion, Elder Broschart had to watch it in Spanish. But he was able to understand a lot and I felt like the messages were speaking directly to me. It is a great time to live when the voice of God can be heard through His prophets and apostles. 

Other than that, midweek we got a referral from a member in Missouri City and were able to visit it on Sunday night. It took us 45 minutes to get there because they live in Montgomery, the northernmost part of our area, but we were able to get in and teach a guy named Angel and his nephew Lalo. They were really humble men who talked to us about their desires to be better men and grow closer to God. They are both currently attending Alcoholics Anonymous and loved that the Book of Mormon can help them resist temptation. 

Things are rolling! Que se cuiden mucho! 

Elder Barrus



Exchanges with Elder Hadley

District Meeting