Monday, June 19, 2017

Onward and Upward!

Transfer calls came last night and Elder Wyman has been voted off the island, so he's been packing all day today. I don't know who I'm getting so it's a waiting game until the APs let us know either tonight or tomorrow morning. 

On to how this week turned out though. On Wednesday we taught a sweet Venezuelan lady who we first thought was just being nice to us because she already went to the Baptist Church, but at the end when we asked her if she'd be baptized when she knew the Book of Mormon was true she said yes! As well she said she was excited to read the Book of Mormon because the introduction said it will help her gain peace and eternal salvation. She said her husband travels a lot but he is someone that would be interested. So we are excited about that. As well she told her Venezuelan friend who lives down the street about us and she wants to listen too! 

On Thursday we had our last zone conference with President and Sister Mortensen. President's training he gave was so amazing, once again. He talked about the growing problem of permissiveness in both society and in the church. He gave the example of parents who say "It's my child's decision as to whether or not he gets baptized", but they haven't taught the child so that the child understands the necessity of baptism. He then walked us through a couple of scriptures in 2 Nefi 2:14 and 16: 

And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.

Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

And then went on to say that the world and the media do enough of the evil enticing, but that sometimes parents drop the ball on providing righteous enticement for their children. If our kids never understand the positive consequences and blessings of choosing God, they don't have enough information to make an informed decision. 

I was able to connect with Maria and Richard Smith this week (family friends). We had dinner with them. I had forgotten that Richard had served a Spanish speaking mission in Salt Lake, so it was fun talking about serving a Spanish speaking mission in the states. 

As well we were able to teach Leo and he came to church on Sunday so we're pretty pumped about that. Pues, de todos modos, until next week. 

Elder Barrus


With Elder Wells and Kate's Dad, Omar

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"Salvation is Not a Cheap Experience"

Mission Leadership Council June 2017

Houston West North Zone Leaders
We went pretty hard in the paint this week. We spent most of our time knocking doors and visiting the members. We found a couple of young adults named Jose and Carlos from El Salvador that were pretty receptive and let us come inside. They said they'd come to church and didn't, but we will continue working with them. I'm still working on trying to baptize someone from knocking doors. It hasn't been easy but faith precedes the miracle!

On Friday we were out knocking in Magnolia, the northern part of our area that we almost never go to, and we saw a plethora of tow trucks and police cars next to an SUV upside down in a ditch. Then we talked to these little kids that said "My cousin flipped his truck over and the cops found drugs on him!" They were pretty casual about it but it wasn't something you see every day.

And then on Saturday, we were out knocking when we stumbled across a group of drunk Mexicans who called out to us "Oye, quieren tequila?" (Do you guys want some tequila?) I've been offered a lot of alcohol thus far in my mission but every time I've politely declined. 

On Sunday we were pretty certain that we would find a lot of families but instead we ended up knocking this one neighborhood that was 100 percent caucasian. We didn't get so much as 5 words out of our mouths before they would say "Not interested" and close the door. One lady threatened to call the police and another asked if we'd like to learn more about the Methodist church before slamming the door. It was pretty rough but it caused me to reflect on the Savior's call to "Take up your cross and follow me." That cross wasn't meant to be light nor easy to bear. In fact, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland mentioned something about this in a talk I read recently called "Missionary Work and the Atonement:

I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary."

But all in all, great things are going on here in Oakcrest. Leo will be baptized at the end of this month and we have a mom named Sofia and her son Benny who we might set a date with this week.

Half Horse Half Zebra

(This email was sent June 5, 2017.)

!Epalé! ¿Que pasa calabazas? I'm just loving Oakcrest the longer I'm here. The members are super awesome about coming out with us to lessons and fellowshipping our investigators. So shoutout to them for making the difference.

We've been working a lot these past few weeks on refilling our teaching pool and getting to know all of the members. We found a super awesome family of 3 that is really excited to guide their family in a way that will help them be happy. The husband isn't very interested but the mother and 2 kids are super on board.

As well we visited a part member family that had 2 super adorable little girls that already want to get baptized. It made me reflect on that family and how right now they're not on the path that will help them in the long run, but if they make some changes they will be on the path to be an eternal family. There's a fine line but I know that with some support we can help change that family's eternity. Working with families is the thing that has brought me the greatest joy as a missionary. And what a blessing it is that families can be together forever through the Priesthood of God.

Anyways, Daniela's son Leo told us that he wants to be baptized so we put him on date for June 24th. Things are on the upward climb.

Elder Barrus
Half horse half zebra
Exchanges with Elder Blackford and the Uribe Family

Selfies with Elder Blackford and ward mission leader, Hermano Casco

Hermana Fuenmayor and Andres came to the fireside last Sunday

Spanish "Why I Believe" Fireside

(This email was sent May 29, 2017.)

After having baptisms in back to back weeks we've gotten back to the streets in searching for those who are prepared. In the process we found a family of 9 that listened to us teach about the Restoration of the Gospel. A few days prior we had talked to the same family sitting outside drinking cerveza (beer) and they said we could come back, but we didn't think too much of it because people are always nicer when they've been drinking. On Wednesday we called one of the guys who gave us their number and he didn't answer, but he called us back twice (which almost never happens) and said he wanted us to come over later that night. So we came back and everyone was outside, and they left 2 chairs for us to sit on. It ended up being a really great experience and they said they'll be baptized once they know.

Other than that I'm not really sure what else happened besides us knocking doors. On Sunday we had our Spanish mission president's fireside and it was President Mortensen's last. We heard some testimonies from some recent converts who overcame some difficult circumstances in order to get baptized. It brought a tear to my eye to see the lives of these converts as they've done their best to change what's bad and do what's good. As well I saw Liliana and Andres Fuenmayor from Westgreen while I was there! They were one of my favorite Venezuelan families and it was so good to catch up with them. They're still active and doing really well.

Anyways that's about it. I love you all. Write me sometime. ✌🏽

Elder Barrus


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