Monday, July 2, 2018

Downton Abbey? Meh.

Over the last few months, the Lord has been good to us here. Elder Palmer overcame his homesickness, and the Lord led us to some people who are prepared to receive the ordinances of the gospel. Meanwhile, poor Elder Pinster (who didn’t to move very far from his ‘dad’) is flourishing in the YSA ward.

This week we met a former investigator named John. His teaching record said, in effect, that he was using his head too much and not relying on the spirit and prayer enough. Well, people and their life circumstances can change!

We stopped by to see if he would be interested in renewing investigation of the church, and found that since the missionaries had last visited him, he had read HALF the Book of Mormon and had four printed pages of unanswered questions. The missionaries never bothered to tell him they wouldn’t be coming by anymore and he was a bit hesitant to start with us for fear that we would up and leave again.

We’ve been working through his printed list of questions — some of which are really good! — which are all pretty high level questions about the 12 tribes of Israel, prophecies about Christ’s divine sonship etc.

We’re excited for him!

We’re also teaching a nice guy named Sean. Sean said he’d come to church this week and we were so excited to see him. Well, he came in his suit and tie — just to let us know that he was sorry but he couldn’t stay! We’re going to give a church tour to him now on Thursday. 🤞🏼

I’m surviving the heat. I actually feel pretty well acclimated now. 95 or 100 degrees doesn’t make me super uncomfortable any more. I’m going to sweat whether it’s 80 or 100 so I just don’t worry about it.

My back has been killing me this transfer though. I’m looking forward to seeing a chiropractor in 4.5 months hahaha. This week I hung from a rafter to stretch out my back and my legs went numb 😮 It’s all the time I spend sitting on my behind in our little corolla or in a church pew or at my desk! 

The time is winding down now, but our efforts are ramping up! Thank you for your continued prayers on my behalf and the behalf of our investigators.

A spiritual thought for the week:

In our present environment of permissiveness (everyone gets to pick what’s right for them...) with a lack of objective moral absolutes, anonymity is often used to further a “progressive” march away from what is right and true. Marijuana is an excellent example of this. Used in relative secrecy for decades, it gradually (and quietly) gained enough support for relatively sudden, broad legalization.

But many other foul and even evil practices are popular because they are anonymous - adultery, abortion, theft... and even behaving in immoral ways in virtual reality. Living out a violent and twisted fantasy in video games (Grand Theft Auto) when we would never behave in such a way publicly.

 From my favorite speaker, Elder David A Bednar:

“Satan often offers an alluring illusion of anonymity. Lucifer always has sought to accomplish his work in secret (see Moses 5:30). Remember, however, that apostasy is not anonymous simply because it occurs in a blog or through a fabricated identity in a chat room or virtual world. Immoral thoughts, words, and deeds always are immoral, even in cyberspace. [...] ultimately we will be judged of Him according to our deeds and the desires of our hearts (see Alma 41:3). “For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).”

I exhort everyone within the reach of this letter to turn off the TV, turn off the console, get off the computer, and — at least occasionally — reorient yourself to reality. Does what you are taking in in your free time - especially when you are alone in virtual anonymity - match the person (you want to be/want to appear to be) in public reality?

Love y’all! Have a great week!

Elder Derek Troy

PS Went to downton abbey. Not sure what the big deal is. Got bit by a mosquito. Would not recommend. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Finding the lost

Hey Y’all!

This last week has been a tough one. Our investigators all either dropped us or are spending the next 2 weeks 7 or more hours away!

Elder Palmer is really settling into the mission. He’s adjusted and finally comfortable!

We don’t have anybody super close to baptism, but we have some cool finding ideas to help us to get there. Please pray for us to find prepared people! Honestly, finding is 90% of missionary work here.

Have a great week Y’all!

Elder Derek Troy

Got this picture from a member in Texas after feeding Elder Troy and his comp dinner.  She apologized for her kids craziness and praised Elder Troy’s patience with their antics.  Haha.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A part of TX came to WA

Elder Troy followers,

Sometimes the world is a small place.  A few months ago, we received a picture of Elder Troy from our friends here in Longview.  Turns out that he and his companion were at her brother’s home in Houston after following up with some of the less-active members.  Awesome!  Fast forward to this week…this same man was in town and wanted to meet Elder Troy’s parents.  He told us that our son had had a great impression on he and his wife, but doubted Elder Troy even knew their feelings towards him.  It was a wonderful time with this good man and we were overjoyed to hear about the impact one person can have on another’s life and outlook.  It was a tender mercy for our family to share a little bit of his mission and Houston with us!

This is Elder Troy’s response to our visit with our Texas visitor as well as his newfound love of genealogy and finding his great-grandfather’s WWI draft card in some documents.  There is also a gentle nudge for me to find my maternal great-great grandparents names…  :)

Hey y’all!

I’m surprised that such an impression was left! We didn’t stay for long and though we tried to set a few appointments, nothing ended up working out. I thought that was one of our more awkward and fruitless appointments. You never know, I guess!

I think was the one who linked Henry to that draft registration card?? I’ve gotten pretty good at family history! I find a lot of people and a lot of sources. Your maternal grandparents’ grantparents are the only holes preventing me from having 5 generations on my tree.

Have a great week! Love Y’all.

Elder Derek Troy

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Training Machine

Yeah, so transfers were a big surprise. I’m staying in CS1/3 (College Station, TX), and I’m training AGAIN. I’ll also finish this training with 2 transfers left, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I trained a 4th time before going home. That would be legendary.

Elder Pinster got bumped over to the YSA program, so he didn’t go very far - he actually lives in the same apartment complex as us.

My new trainee is Elder Palmer, from a little town in Idaho. He’s a great trainee - I’m excited to see where he goes. I think that this first week has been hard on him (as it is with most missionaries!) but this week has been SUPER hot, which hasn’t helped - as hot as 96 degrees, and very humid. This week isn’t much better. Thursday will rain and then Friday will supposedly be 93 and rainy :’( I didn’t even know that it was possible to be that hot and wet. Sunday is predicted to be 99 with 40% humidity. Misery.

I’m convinced that while there are other places that are hotter and colder, nowhere has weather more uncomfortable than TX.

Our area is looking pretty empty. Elder Pinster and I tore through the investigators we had to try and get a baptism in our whitewash, and then poured all of our prime proselyting time into helping Rudy get baptized last week. It worked, but came at the expense of the rest of our teaching pool. Now we’re rebuilding.

Elder Derek Troy

Elder Troy and his new trainee, Elder Palmer.
Elder Pinster’s bday at a member’s home.
Houston, Texas, temple is finally open after being closed since last year due to the Hurricane Harvey floods.
Rudy’s baptism.
They have spent quite a bit of time helping Sis Kuttler with her yard.  She’s a sweet, 87 year old widow in their ward. We received the sweetest letter from her the other day about how much she loves and appreciates our son.  Lovely!!! 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day video chat and awkward group hug for the WIN!

Hello Elder Troy followers!

We had a GREAT video chat with Elder Troy yesterday for Mother’s Day.  As you know, we are able to email him each week, but it’s the only day, except Christmas day, that we get to video chat, so it was pretty special!  We noticed his distinctive Texas “twang” this time and of course had to tease him about it.  He tells us nothing compares to his wonderful bishop and his accent.  

He filled us in on all that was happening with him, his companion, their investigators as well as things in the local area and mission.  For those of you following his letters closely, you know that they have had quite a few problems with their crazy, violent neighbors.  We are happy to report that the neighbors are now gone (possibly in jail) and the missionaries have been moved to another area of the complex.  Hurray!  

Elder Troy says it is VERY hot with high humidity right now and that makes for sweaty, sticky days.  He does NOT love this.  Although the people are wonderful, he is not a fan of the big city and pollution.  He really hopes to get back to the small towns and farms at some point.  He bore a beautiful testimony to us about the Book of Mormon and even taught us before we were able to have family prayer together and an awkward but necessary group hug with the computer screen and rest of the family (mom always insists on this).  

Below is the short message we got for you today.  From today’s pictures, it looks like he visited some kind of an animal refuge recently.

We are so grateful for the tender mercy of seeing our son and how happy he is to be a missionary for Jesus Christ right now.  Please continue to pray for him.  He feels your love and prayers.

We appreciate and love you all!

JD & Terri


Howdy Y’All!

Finally moving today, so not much time to write. We did get to go to the Safari in Franklin, which was cool, and the first big p-day activity of this area.

Love Y’all!

Elder Derek Troy

Thursday, May 10, 2018

6 Months to (First name, Home, Sexy)

Well, today I have precisely 6 months left on my mission. I’ve been reflecting on that.

Those six months will bring some big changes. I won’t hold the title of Elder anymore. I’ll be Derek again.

I’ll be going ‘home’ then too. But what does that mean? I haven’t lived in Longview in almost four years by then.

It also means I have six months left to really get in shape to go home! I‘ve not gained a lot of weight or anything, but I’d like to go home in excellent fitness. In mission jargon, this period is called “six months to sexy.”

I’m sure that these six months will continue to roll faster and faster. It kinda feels like time is getting away from me in a way! I still have a lot I would like to achieve and accomplish.



Rudy is still doing awesome. His family fed him some weak anti but it didn’t seem to rattle him at all. He’s excited for his baptism and invited the stake president to come this week haha. His main fellowshipper will apparently be flying down from UT to baptize him.

The three other dates we had have faded out :/ but we’re still trying.


Hope y’all have a great week!

Elder Derek Troy

Monday, April 23, 2018

Gator hunting and the CS Police

Hello All!

This week in College Station...

Rudy accepted a baptismal date! And fed us dessert at a fancy restaurant! Win-Win!

Karla has been AWOL forso long that we’re dropping her date :(

Some members in our ward sent us on a wild goose-chase to find a family of North-Korean defectors with rock solid testimonies of Christ that they met at A&M. Unfortunately, though we tracked out the entire complex that they purportedly lived in over the course of a week, we did not find them. However! We  did find a wonderful Chinese family to teach. They speak very little english (though they’re proud of what they know) but we used google translate and the new mobile internet hotspot that the church gave us to set a return appointment to teach their family! And here’s the cool part: The member couple that asked us to look for the North Korean family both served Chinese speaking missions. They came to the first lesson and now the family (the Wong family) is coming along just beautifully.

So the adventures with the apartment continue...

Last night was a flipping nightmare. Our loud neighbors finally had the cops called on them for some violent situations. I don’t think anybody ended up getting arrested for assault but at least there was a citation for marijuana! I’m really hoping we can push the leasing office to evict them now, because that’s grounds to terminate their lease. 🙃

Somehow Elder Pinster has a spiritual gift (not kidding) where he can tune it all out and sleep straight through it. Lucky.

We also went gator hunting where we were supposed to be able to find some. We saw a water-moccasin and a big (2+ ft) fish but no gators.

Have a great week Y’all!

Elder Derek Troy

"Grimes County white trash KEEP OUT!" (Grimes is a neighboring county to Brazos County, where they live) 

Houston oil fields

Showing off his cool cowboy boots.