Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Hello, friends!  

Yesterday we were able to see Elder Troy for the first time since he left in November.  We Skyped him with a video chat.  It was so good to see and talk with him!  He is very happy and focused on his work there in Texas.  We got all of those pesky questions answered that he NEVER responds to by email, so that was awesome!  He's going to be in Spring, TX, for a while.  Likely about another month.  He will have a mission-issued iPad after this month, so he'll be able to take more pictures.  Right now he's dependent on his companion and others to take pictures.  Luckily, he recently attended a large Christmas conference with his mission and there was a photographer who took lots of pictures.  I've downloaded a few for you to see.

He SOOOOO appreciated all the gifts, letters and cards he received from you for Christmas.  THANK YOU!  His favorite was the only thing he actually asked for:  A tool kit.  He said that he encountered so many people who have simple home or auto repairs that need help and he and his companion are not prepared to help, so this will assist them in serving others.  

Please continue to pray for him and all our missionaries to stay safe and happy while serving the Lord.  If he doesn't respond to your emails, please know that he reads ALL of them.  He just doesn't have very much time on his P-Day (just an hour on the computer), so he sometimes will just print them off and read them later.  Keep emailing him!

As always, thank you for your continuing support.  We love you!

JD, Terri & Family

=============================

Hey y'all, I hope everyone had a merry Christmas!

Maybe I was just not away long enough to be homesick, but I really enjoyed Christmas! It was simple and uplifting.

This week my favorite experience was tracting in the 'hood. It can be tough but you also meet lots of friendly and humble people. We stopped at one house to chat with a family who was curious about our message. Out of the blue, a woman so sauced that the only way she could speak was at 100% volume took a particular interest in us. Among my favorite lines of hers:

"I hope y'all aren't offended if I drink, 'cuz I'm an alcoholic, yaknowwhaimsayin?? heyooooo hehe"

"do ya think there'll be weed in heaven? Cuz I neeeed my weeeeed hehe"

and my favorite: "I'm just playing wit'chu" *proceeds to give me uncomfortable hug, wherein I find that her clothes are inexplicably damp*

But to her credit, when we went down the street to knock on a sketchy double wide, she yelled from her driveway to warn us 'uh uh, don't go knockin' there boys, they ain't friendly'. We later inferred from the neighbors that it was a crack house run by gangsters.

Just a couple of doors down, we found a new investigator named Shirley, who is sweet as can be and wants to read the Book of Mormon for herself to find out if it's true. It's surprising how close the stony places and good soil (Matt 13: 3-8) can be.

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season and is driving safely. 

Much love from Texas,

Elder Troy


Elder Troy with Santa and his companion, Elder Vickers
Skyping with Elder Troy and the family Christmas morning!  Such a happy elder!!!

Elder Troy and his zone from Spring, TX

Texas Houston Mission, December 2016. (Elder Troy is directly underneath the white snowflake on the wall)

THM messing around...

Santa arrives!  No more being naughty...



Fun and games at the mission Christmas conference.



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Has Elder Troy run away to join the circus?!

NOTE:  Not sure why, but the video he sent (it's only about 5 seconds long) isn't able to play on the blog.  It shows on Facebook and email though.  Sorry!  (spoiler....the 3 year old beats him).

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Hey All! Sorry about a lack of email last week. There just wasn't a whole lot going on. So I thought that this time I'd send a miracle we had.

This week Elder Vickers and I prayed to know where to knock and were brought to the home of Celma, A brazilian immigrant who doesn't speak any English. She called her teenage son downstairs to the door to interpret for her into Portuguese and expressed through him that she was interested in our religion and a church tour. As we were talking with them on the doorstep, her son fell suddenly, flat on his back on the tile floor. We assumed he had epilepsy and was just embarrassed, so we didn't press the issue. He staggered up saying he needed a glass of water before falling again, face first, and knocking himself (and his two front teeth) out. After Elder Vickers and I contacted paramedics and rendered first aid, the miracle of our appearance there seemed to become clear to everyone. Had we not been there, she would have been the only one home, and he would have had his emergency in some other part of the house where she wouldn't have known. When she did find him, she wouldn't have been able to do or explain much for him or the paramedics owing to her language.

Celma's son is going to be okay, since it was apparently a reaction to some medication he had been taking, and she and her friend came to both a church tour and a sunday service this week. We have a good feeling about their family.

We also got a less active family the missionaries have been focusing on for some two years to finally join us this sunday - both they and Celma showed up just in time for the sacrament this week. How blessed we are!

I'm doing wonderfully here, growing and learning all the time. Learning to be grateful for the little things and to slow down.

Hope all is well in WA and St. G. Enjoy this video of me on a clown bike.

Elder Troy


video




Monday, December 5, 2016

Dukes of Hazzard & Cabela's

Hello All!

Here is Elder Troy's latest letter!  

He's still in Spring, Texas.  As always, thank you for your love and support.  He appreciates all the letters and emails!  If you'd like to send him a Christmas card or package for the holidays, it would be so great!  You can send it here:

Elder Derek Allen Troy
26325 Northgate Crossing Blvd., Apt. #1510
Spring, TX  77373

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Hey Y'all! 

What a weird week it has been in Texas.

One of the more interesting guys we ran into this week I just have written down as "Bo & Luke Duke" in my planner since he wouldn't give us his name. I guess his second wife came into a lot of money after a lawsuit and the guy has spent tons of it on safaris. He heard I'm a hunter after shooting the breeze a bit and invited us in. It was like a Cabela's in there. The guy had a stuffed baboon, two black bears, a grizzly, a porcupine, a ten foot Gator, a seven foot shark, a zebra, a kudzu, a whale baleen, a couple bighorn sheep, and some other critters stuffed or skinned around his living room. Claimed that the coyote he shot while sitting at his kitchen table. Just where I was standing from I could see two pistols and a shotgun laying around, not including the pistol he was surely carrying, and the guns he was using as decorations!

As we left he traded us our Book of Mormon for his copy of 'God is not Great'. Ha! We found him because we made a huge push this week to go and meet 15 new people to talk about the gospel with every day. It was a lot of knocking on doors when we're already super busy and most people don't even come to the door, but man has it paid off. We went from having two flaky investigators to ten flaky investigators! Now we need to get them to stick to their commitments! This is a slow but rewarding process.

We met with a woman named Linda last week who really is trying to be the best person she can. She is just struggling to find the right path in a world that is increasingly complex. By the time we left her doorstep she was in tears she was feeling the Spirit so strongly. How I wish that everyone was listening to the Spirit so sensitively! She craved a knowledge for herself of the Bible, and to personally know the truth - whatever it may be.

Last night we met Jerek, who was similar. He was our last door of the night (Which is always a good one for us! Blessings!) and loved how our Christmas initiative at Mormon.org was about serving others the way Christ served them - helping the blind to see, and healing the sick. He really wants to serve and bless his fellow man.

But they are sadly in the minority. It is said that 10% of people will want to hear our message no matter what we say, 80% must to be given the message that their souls are searching for to want more, and 10% will turn us away instantly. Almost everyone is genuine and kind, but a few people who claim to be disciples of Christ call to mind Matt 15:8

"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."

Because they've been led astray by the "grievous wolves" preaching at the local mega churches! How I resent those great and abominable churches! They say Jesus' name, but do nothing for Him.

Almost everyone we meet claims a faith in Jesus Christ and a church. When we ask them what they're doing to actually draw closer to their Savior every day, or ever, they rarely have an answer. They've been told by wicked pastors and priests that there's nothing righteous for them to do but to pay and listen to them, because they're already saved and now they have their hearts shut to James 2:

"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?"

"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"

So many people depend on someone else to read their scriptures for them! It's shocking to me how poorly people understand their Bibles, and how blindly they follow the pastors they pay to make them feel justified! They want to Bible bash on their doorsteps and then when you answer their question and give them one in response, they say 'I cannot tell' as if they were in Mark 11.

Read your scriptures. Pray. Find the truth within them for yourself. Don't waste time letting someone else tell you how you are saved or not. 

Matt 7:15

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

Love,
Elder Derek Troy



Elder Troy & his companion at the Festival of Nativities.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"Y'all wanna plate a food?!...."

Here is the latest letter from Elder Troy!  His address is below.  If you're doing Christmas cards this year, please include him in yours!!  :)

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Hey everybody!

I flew to TX this last week. It's been wild!

We really are in the bible belt now. I'm in a wealthy suburban area just north of Houston this transfer, called Spring. My companion is Elder Vickers. He's been here a year and is the ZL for our zone, and is a great Elder! I'm sure I'll learn a lot with him.  Our apartment has a nice gym area and I get to lift every day. I'm gonna come home swole!

Apparently one of our other areas in the mission, called Melbourne, is super sketchy. I've been hearing about it all week. There's a little part of me hoping to get transferred there in the future? Its reputation precedes it.

We run into all kinds of interesting people here who want to talk about religion and politics. We just talked to a lady a minute ago who told us her husband invented weather radar, and they murdered him and framed her so that the government could use the technology for mind control. Her son - Ben Affleck - betrayed them and is being hunted down as we speak. See? I'm learning lots!

On a more serious note, while we were out knocking doors the day after thanksgiving, we ran into an interesting family. The door was answered by a friendly woman in her late twenties, before a man in his forties came to the door to say they weren't interested. As he was closing the door, his wife yelled from the next room - "Y'all wanna plate a food?" And of course Elder Vickers obliges and we head in.

They were having a second thanksgiving, and apparently this lady - Sister Jugon - had been around missionaries before. They fed us really well, including some good 'ol crawfish casserole. Then sister Jugon's mom showed up, and as it turns out, is a temple endowed member in a local ward!

I don't know what message the Lord intends for us to bring them, but I'm excited to find out!

We have another couple that was just referred to us yesterday. They're a deaf couple, and the wife has brain cancer. I'm not sure if it's terminal, but when is brain cancer not?
We actually happen to have a deaf Elder in our mission, and I'm SUPER excited to bring the comfort and peace of the gospel and the truth of the eternal nature of families to them in their crisis.

I want to bear my testimony to you all of the power of the atonement and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Every day I see someone whose life was healed by the gospel.

I'll be at 26325 Northgate Crossing BLVD, #1510, Spring, TX, 77373 for the rest of this transfer for anyone who wants to mail me there.

Elder Troy


Ezekiel 37:16-27


Dinner with the Jurgon family the day after Thankgiving. 


Day one in Texas


Straight off the plane!


Out into the warm, Texas weather.


Dinner with Pres. and Sister Mortensen





Elder Troy and his companion Elder Vickers


Thanksgiving lunch

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Houston Bound--YEEEEEEHAW!

Hello all!  Here is the latest letter from Elder Troy!

Since he is flying out tomorrow to Houston, he’ll have a new address.  I’ll forward that on to you all as soon as I receive it.  His email address will remain the same for all of the two years.

Please keep the emails coming to him!  He appreciates all of them, even if he isn’t able to write back personally to each one.  The holidays can be lonely when you’ve never been away from family before.  Emails, letters and packages are welcome and soooooo appreciated!

Thank you for your continued support of him and his efforts!

Much love,
Terri

(P.S.  I LOVE THE PICTURES, don't you?!) 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It has been a big week at the MTC. My last week! And my only full week as a ZL. I leave the MTC tomorrow morning at 4:00 AM. 

We had a double group of incoming elders this week because of thanksgiving. So we had 16 new elders instead of 8 and 8 new sisters instead of 4. Having 24 brand new missionaries in the zone was interesting, especially since we also just got a new branch president too!

Unfortunately, he too is more of a hug than a handshake guy, haha!

I learned a lot this week.

There's a sister in my district who has turned in her mission papers some six times and been turned down every time until now for serious and chronic health reasons. Instead of going out to the field this week, she goes home tomorrow for an indeterminate time until she is well enough to go. I hope to someday have as much of a gratitude to be here as she does.

I feel like Elder Chamberlain and I finally got into the groove with our actor-investigators! I'm really excited to take what I've learned out into the field. It's so cool to see how specifically the spirit will guide you when you pray to know what to say and to be edified.

This week I've been focusing a lot on sanctifying myself with sacrifice. I've given the Lord two years, and given up so much else when I got here. But I still feel like I have more I ought to give! Hopefully I'll come to understand what is missing soon.

I love you all at home, in Washington State and St George!

Love,


Elder Derek Troy






 I sent him a care package in the MTC with snacks, junk and this Thanksgiving headband.  So glad he's getting some use out of it!  His companion, Elder Chamberlain, looks a little concerned at his turkey impression and may wonder what he's gotten himself into...




Temple Day - Provo, Utah Temple


Artist's rendering of District 43.  No sure who the artist is, but it's awesome!


Why so serious?...NOT!



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Eeek! Lost post!

This is a post I found in a file called "DRAFTS."  Yikes!  We will celebrate 25 years of marriage this year, so it's been 8 years that it has sat in this file.  Oooooops!



JD and I have been married 17 years next week. Wow! That's a LONG time, huh? We are so happy to say that we still like each other ( A LOT!) and are looking forward to many, many more anniversaries to come. This year we are whitewater rafting in southern Oregon. We'll take pictures and let you see how we fared!

MTC Week Two is in the BOOKS!

Here is Elder Troy's latest letter.  It looks like he is getting ready to fly out to Houston!  His email to me said, "Wednesday" but I don't know if it's TOMORROW Wednesday or next week.  Once he has a new address, I'll post it.  For now, please keep emailing him!  He needs all the love he can get.

============================================================

Hey all! Week two at the MTC is on the books. It was a duesey! 

Things are finally starting to click for me. If I focus on letting people be converted to Christ through the spirit instead of trying to convince them that what I believe is true, I will succeed much more readily. I've noticed that as I focus on that, my teaching improves a ton, and the Holy Ghost takes over.

This week has been a real blessing in many ways and a real trial in others. I'm really striving to be obedient to the letter of the law - in a way I've never been before. As I have, I've been so blessed. I get up a half hour earlier, for example, than the rest of my room. Then that day they're struggling to  stay awake in classes and I know I would be just as tired if I wasn't being blessed for being obedient to the guidelines we were given.

The other night we had a bunch of Elders up far too late yelling homophobic and racist slurs and general garbage, and keeping people up who were trying to sleep or were studying scriptures. Well, finally I had enough and came out like a ball of fire.

A couple of the elders in the residency halls were offended for being called out, and then a couple thanked me for doing what they were too afraid to. But over those next couple of days, the spirit in the residence halls was markedly improved. Still, I wondered if I had been too hard on them, given that they're mostly only 18/19. I don't want it to be my job to be the "bad guy".

Then a couple of days later, I was called into the branch presidency meeting with my companion. We ended up being called as the new zone leaders over our zone of 30 or so. Our branch president asked the outgoing ZLs if they had solved the problem he had been hearing about of reverence in the residence halls. An outgoing ZL mentioned that I had gone out and quieted them and we hadn't had a problem since. The Branch president asked if it had been like Joseph Smith rebuking his Jailers to the infernal pit. I answered it was closer to that than I would like to admit, and he thought the whole thing was hilarious. I guess it must have been fine.

Then, that sunday, our priesthood meeting topic for all the classes was obedience. The rowdiest of the Elders from that night was in the class there, as was I, and our new branch president. The instructor was a bit awkward, and blurted out at one point to the rowdy elder "I'm not calling you out, it's just the lesson!" haha. 

I can't feel too high and holy though. my rug-burn from last week's wrestling match still hasn't healed yet! I guess that's what I get for my own disobedience. I've had an open sore from it the size of a half dollar on my foot for a week now as a constant reminder!

I'm learning a ton all the time, and constantly coming to a better understanding of my Savior's importance in my life.

The Church is true, the book is blue, and Moroni's on the ball.

Elder Derek Troy


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Gingers and rug burns in the MTC!

The latest email from Elder Troy....


Hey all! It's been a big week in the MTC!

My companion is Elder Chamberlain. They put us two redheads together! He's a very young Utah born and raised - 18 - but eager to serve. He's working hard and growing up fast. I want him to succeed so badly! Often times when my analytical spirit can't touch an investigator, his sweet and simple testimony will. We make a good team.

The MTC hasn't been as hard as I expected, but a big part of that is my being 21. A lot of these kids really struggle with getting up at 6:00 so that they can have time to shower and everything (not that most of them have to shave or anything, HAHA!) but I guess that after having a job or two where I needed to be up at 4:30, 6:00 is a piece of cake! 

The schedule here is CRAZY packed. I'm busy and watching the clock nonstop from 6 am to 9:30 PM. I don't mind the structure though. I know it drives some people nuts, but I think learning about strict obedience has been good to me. The more I try to be obedient, the easier the rules become and the more I'm blessed.

For example, this week I was instructed that Elders cannot wear patterned socks. Not even argyle or stripes. I was really wondering if that was something I even cared enough about to obey - but I realized, if I can't do something so simple that the Lord asks me to do, how can I ask someone to do something difficult, like give up an addiction? Or an unmarried couple to stop living together?

I know that as I've tried to be obedient, and lead my district of young elders by example, I've been richly blessed. 

Thanks for your prayers, and tell people back home and in ST G to send me their emails!


PS, if it looks like I have rug-burn on my face, it's because I do. We had a wrestling match I participated in, haha. I was not being the best example! Lesson learned.​


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Elder Derek Troy is in the house!

WOW!  I haven't posted on this blog for over FIVE YEARS?!  My goodness, has a LOT happened and how these kids have grown!!!!...

Well, it's finally here!  On Wednesday, we said goodbye to Derek and dropped him off at the MTC (Missionary Training Center). He's off to serve a mission for the LDS Church the next two years. He's assigned to the Houston Texas mission and is pretty excited!  He will be at the MTC for two weeks and then will fly to Houston, Texas. 
It's been a tough journey getting here after being hit by a car on his motorcycle, bit by a rattlesnake, tearing his ACL and a myriad of other strange events the last few years. But he has persevered!!  Heck, on the night before he was supposed to leave and be set apart as a missionary, his car broke down and we had to tow him from the desert into town.  Finally was set apart at 10:00 pm that night.  What a loving Stake President.
We have yet to hear from him, but anticipate it will be in the next few days.  We are planning to write him an email each Sunday evening so that he has our emails on P-Day (his preparation day—where he does laundry, grocery shop, leisure time).  He will be at the MTC for the next 2 weeks and then will arrive in Houston.  He can receive emails (only sees them once a week) and also regular post letters and packages while he’s at the MTC.  Here is the information for him for the next two weeks.  After the two weeks, I’ll send the NEW Houston address where you can send postal mail and packages:

MTC MAILING ADDRESS:  (regular postal letters and packages)

Elder Derek Allen Troy
Texas Houston Mission
Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 N. 900 East
Provo, UT  84602

EMAIL ADDRESS:  (emails only)


Just some advice...during his two year service, please address him as "Elder Troy" rather than "Derek." You'll find that he signs everything "Elder Troy."  Also, all email, letters and packages should include uplifting and supportive messages that will help him to stay focused on his mission and his service to the people of Texas.  A mission is hard work and sometimes lonely.  Please write him!!!!
Thank you to everyone who has loved and helped him along his way. We especially thank his wonderful grandparents, extended family and faithful, special friends.  Without your love and support, we can't imagine his blessed life.  We appreciate and love you so much!   

JD and Derek before his endowment at the St. George temple.  What a wonderful day!
All the Troy family at the St. George temple. Missing Evan (he had class and bball practice at BYU).  Rock family is in Washington state, so they couldn't be there.

Goodbyes to his sisters.
Just a few daddy tears...
Kelleen, Terri, Oma and Opa selfie waiting for Derek's interview.

Derek and Kelleen.  Last hug!  :)

He's Elder Troy now!
Saying goodbye to his Opa.
Manly handshake and some advice.
Oma and Opa.  Someone is trying NOT to cry!
Loading the bags.
Elder Derek Allen Troy


Taking a nap on the 4 hour drive to the MTC.

Still NOT tired...

Lunch with Evan.

Saying goodbye to his "little" brother.

Proud mama and VERY happy Elder. 
Checking in.

Yup, it's all there!

Time to go.  *sniff*