Monday, March 14, 2016

Liberty Texas

Hi Everyone,

I arrived in Houston last Wednesday and it's been pretty awesome so far. President Mortensen and his wife are awesome! President will become an Apostle some day. Write it down. His wife is real nice and just glows. We had real Texas BBQ dinner at the mission home when we arrived, probably one of the few I'll have down here, unfortunately. We have eaten a lot of Hispanic food, which I really like, too. 

At the airport with President Mortensen

Real Texas BBQ

Texas BBQ for dinner
I'm in Liberty, Texas, which is about 50 minutes northeast of downtown Houston. We work in both Spanish and English branches. I guess it's the poorest area in the mission, but I've liked it so far. Let's just say I'm in a bit of culture shock, and I've only seen like 6 white people. Didn't know people lived like this in America, but it's all good. I've already come to love the people I'm serving. My trainer Elder Gibbs from South Jordan, Utah, and he's incredible. He's been out 21 months and is also a zone leader, so I'm in good hands. We have a car, so no bicycle.

Elder Gibbs
We hit the ground running so far with teaching lessons, contacting, and putting up fliers for our English class that we teach every Tuesday and Thursday. People down here are really nice, and virtually everyone believes in God, which has led to some interesting discussions on the street. In fact, when we were knocking doors Friday, a man opened the door who turned out to be a pastor. We asked him if he believes in God. He replied that he has "a PHD in God" and "I know about y'all, and y'all worship the devil!", and slammed the door shut. Made us chuckle a little bit. It baffles me just a tad how a religion that centers on Jesus Christ can "worship the devil." 

We are working on reactivating a lot of these ward members because attendance has definitely gone down lately. I love it though, the members are fun, Hispanics turn everything into a big party. They are going to start bringing food to English class. 

We have not found any new investigators, but we've had a few people we've taught who we call "eternigators." They've met with the missionaries many times and have been taught many things, but just aren't willing to commit to baptism yet. So we're working on it. We fasted yesterday that their hearts would soften and they would be able to take a leap of faith and trust in God. 

Yesterday for Stake Conference Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Jones from the 70 came and spoke. Both talks were quite stellar. Elder Jones talked about the hastening of the work of God in the form of technology. Elder Oaks hit on many different points, but the one that stuck out to me was an object lesson he gave. He brought a 12 year old boy up to the stand beside him. He took off his jacket, and put it on the 12 year old. Obviously it was really big on him. He compared that to the mantle we take upon ourselves when we have callings and responsibilities that seem daunting. However, with trust in the Lord, and a constant desire to work hard, we grow into the role. Inadequacy becomes adequacy and capability. We just have to trust in God and His son, Jesus Christ. If we focus too much on ourselves and dwell on those things we struggle with and complain, we are basically saying that "Christ's grace isn't good enough for me." So I have certainly been doing all that I can to remain cheerful and to work hard despite the newness of the situation I am in. Work really can cure any sort of homesickness or negative emotional feelings you might have.

That's cool that Elder Holland came. I would give my left leg for the opportunity to have 10 hours to talk to him and ask him questions about deep doctrine and whatnot. I guess I could have talked deep doctrine with you, Dad, before the mission, but yanno, I wasn't interested I guess. Don't know what I was thinking, cause now I am. Fortunately, my companion has studied it quite a bit and we talk about it often. 

Anyways, hope y'all have a more than stellar week. 

Elder Josh Barrus


  1. Still skinny! And tell him he'll have more barbecue! We will make sure he has some Rudys!