Monday, August 7, 2017

Parrots, Pitbulls and the Pizza Curse

Hey Y'all!

I've been transferred to the Morton Ranch and West Lake wards, my new companion is Elder Labbee, and I will probably be 'killing' him here, because he only has two transfers (3 months) left on his mission. That probably means that I'll be here for 3 transfers for the first time in an area.

Before I left Oak Ridge, Elder Mcdonald and I went out to do some tracting. We picked a street and parked. When I looked up, there was a tropical bird (I think a Macaw?) Chilling in somebody's front yard. I took him some of my sunflower seeds to try to feed him, but I don't think he likes dill. He licked a couple of the seeds, looked at me sideways out of his beady little eye, and promptly bit me on the second knuckle of my pinky finger. Ouch! He tried to pop that thing like a walnut. I included pictures of him. Doesn't he look like a stinker? It's because he is.

AND THEN, we stopped by a family this week and one of their pit bulls bit me :'( let me tell ya, those suckers are strong. I walked a lot of pits at the animal shelter, but they were always really sweet and just grateful to get outside. This dog was mad, he even did the pit bull head shake. He grabbed me right on the wrist and just ripped into me. I'm okay though :) my cuts are scabbed over and stuff, and nothing's infected.

I also got to use the gift of tongues this week! We were in a largely hispanic apartment complex, and I was trying to use my limited Spanish to get the Hermanas some referrals.

A aged hispanic man opened the door. He was old in that Latino way - he could have been 50 or 80, it was hard to say. He was thin and had a broad smile, a dark mustache, gray hair, and a thousand wrinkles and creases in his face. He was wearing that light blue jeans and colorful button up outfit that South Americans love. He was very glad to see us. His accent was different from the Mexican I'm used to, and he didn't speak a lick of English. The spirit helped me to understand every tenth word or so. It was cool, I couldn't understand what he was saying so much as what he was trying to tell me. He kept calling us his brothers, and from what I could gather, he had been taught by missionaries about the Book of Mormon over dinner in Honduras. It wasn't totally clear to me whether he had been baptized or not. So I got his phone number, name, and address, and referred him to the Hermanas. Well, they contacted him, and he IS a member, and has been inactive in the church for years. His entire family is nonmembers, and he wants the missionaries to teach them. He's getting his whole family together for the Hermanas to teach on Wednesday, what a miracle!

Elder Labbee and I have also acquired a pizza curse. A pizza curse is something that happens to missionaries where they're fed a ton of pizza in a short period of time. We've probably eaten pizza (of necessity) for 8 meals this last week.

We also set a date this week though, with an investigator, named Anel. She's great. I'm exercising faith that this is the date that goes through :)

Hope everyone is well in WA, UT, and elsewhere. Have a great week!

Elder Derek Troy







Monday, July 24, 2017

Cowboy boots, Levis...and sushi?

Hey Y’all! 

I know my Emails have been inconsistent, but today I'm doing my best to get everyone caught up.

One of my favorite things to do in these emails is to describe the amazing people here, their stories, and our efforts. I have one I want to share about today!

One of my favorite people is Roy. Roy is thin, older (in his seventies) and is a great guy. He wears cowboy boots and Levi's, and keeps his long gray hair greased back out of his eyes. He owns and operates a plumbing business; and the way he wears his Levi's suits his occupation's stereotype. He greets us with a wide grin and a chuckle when he sees us. We always give him a big handshake and he'll laugh a hoarse laugh, followed by a cough from years of smoking. He is always glad to see someone, who is glad to see him.

A few years ago, Roy's beloved wife died of cancer. Grief stricken, Roy's sole comfort came from his only son, who was born with down's syndrome. A few years later, his son died unexpectedly. 

Alone and comfortless, Roy depended on two sister missionaries to help him believe in hope. He was baptized two years ago.

Soon after, he took his smoking habit back up. Aching bones from working all day kept him from church on Sunday.

We've helped him to get down to below a half pack per day,  but he needs to quit completely; because after weeks of work to get him in his scriptures and feeling the spirit, he's decided he wants to take his son's name to the temple to be baptized, since his son never got the chance when he was alive (for the non-LDS: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/baptism-for-the-dead
1 Corinthians 15:29)

Hopefully he's on the upswing now, and we can keep him up there! We've been loving and serving him into activity, winning his trust in acts of service, digging holes and doing yardwork!

Keep our efforts in your prayers please, and have a great week everybody!

Elder Derek Troy

Not sure what the story is behind this sushi, but I like it!
Nothing like going to Texas to learn how to become a sushi chef!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Must have been a drive-by fruiting...

Friends & Family,

We got very little from Elder Troy this week, but he did send us this picture.  He and his companion are spending a lot of time volunteering several days a week at the local food bank in the produce recovery area.  Obviously, they have time for a little fun too.

If you’d like to write him, his address is:

Elder Derek Allen Troy
8900 Research Park Dr.
Apt. #1719
The Woodlands, TX  77381

or his email is:


As always, thanks for your love and prayers on our son’s behalf!  We love you all!

JD & Terri Troy


Monday, July 10, 2017

Digging ditches...

Hey Y'all!

This week was a wet one in Texas. It started raining yesterday and just didn’t quit until this afternoon. It didn’t rain all that much, but because everything is so flat, there’s nowhere for the water to go! So the landscaping behind our back patio started flooding, and the water was very close to our apartment. We spent the first hour of P-Day digging out little trenches for all the standing water with a serving spoon and an old pot, haha!

We’ve been working a lot with a convert in this ward who took back up smoking. Our interaction with him went something like this:

Us: So how did you quit the first time?

Him: I dunno. Just stopped.

Us: ... How?

Him: Just din’t wanna smoke any more I guess.

Us: ... were you reading your Book of Mormon?

Him: Naw, I was listening to the tapes.

Us: ... are you listening to them now?

Him: no.

So we got him listening to his Book of Mormon tapes again and he went down from a pack a day to a quarter pack (2-3) a day. We hope to get him down to one a day and wean him off! Just goes to show the difference the Book of Mormon makes. I’ve noticed lately that the sort of people who are forced into challenges and those who choose to challenge themselves are usually very different. I wonder if when we don’t choose to grow and learn, our Heavenly Father compels us, in our best interest.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Derek Troy

Elder Troy and Elder McDonald at a member’s home for dinner one night.

Here’s a picture of a sweet shirt graphic somebody sent me in an email. Shout out to Kelleen! Doesn’t the guy look like a handsomer version of me!? The rest of the picture is perfect too!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Ragin' Canjun on the loose!

Hey Y'all! It's been a very southern week this time around.

Here's a little more info on my companion, Elder Mcdonald. 

He's very young, and from Idaho. He has a LOT of energy, and is a great missionary. He was just assigned this transfer to be the new district leader over three companionships and six wards. We're VERY different, but have gotten along really well so far! 

The picture of the desks is ours. I just think the difference is funny! 

Our area is a lot of work! We're at the church on Sunday from 8:30 AM until 6:00 PM! Then out working until 9:30. The map I sent last week was incomplete. Oops, this one has everything!

This week at the animal shelter, we ran into the most Cajun guy I've yet et. He was sitting out front, and as we were about to greet him while we were walking to the front door, he exclaims:

"Y'all see dat hogk??? Eed wad da beegest hogk I ever seen! I deen't know dey got dat beeg!!!"

"That... hog?"

"Hogk!!! A hogk!!!"

".... Hawk?"  
"Yeah! A hogk!!!"

"... Better be careful he doesn't carry you off!"

"Aw naw mane he ain't dat beeg"

It's English but, not quite?

I also had a fried catfish Po-boy (sandwich) it was delicious!

We're working hard and loving Texas! Also, this chocolate cross could only happen in Texas!

Elder Derek Troy
Jumping at the chance to share the Gospel with others!

When in the Bible belt...

Different styles of desks.



video

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Great Texas Turtle Rescue of 2017

Hey Y'all! 

So this is the update:

I'm still in Oak Ridge. BUT, I’m now covering Imperial Oaks as well with my new companion, Elder Mcdonald! He was covering Imperial Oaks before, and now we’re covering both areas together! It’s a little tricky sometimes.

My trainer also trained Elder Mcdonald, which makes us ‘brothers' which is kind of fun. Because the mission had a bunch of missionaries finish this last transfer, and not many new ones come in, we’re down on missionaries! So there are a few places double covering. 

Here are a few pictures from this week. This is our new district, what our new area looks like (dark blue is members, yellow is investigators, red are investigators, grey are former investigators, light blue are less-active members) and a turtle I rescued in the road a little while ago. Fox tie + turtle = so good.

I hope everyone is doing well in WA and elsewhere!

Elder Troy









Monday, June 19, 2017

It's better to wait to be satisfied, than be immediately disappointed!

Hey Y'all!

We did it! We easily beat our goal to double this ward's new
investigators for the transfer.

We 'Dropped' our most promising investigator, Jon, a week ago. He
wouldn't keep his commitments to come to church, so we communicated to
him that because he wouldn't act we couldn't continue teaching him. We
can't help him if he won't accept our help!

Then this week he slunk into sacrament meeting and tore out afterwards
before we could talk to him. What!? C'mon Jon.

If he comes again, we'll reach out to him and figure out what changed.

This week was Elder James' last! He gets on a plane on Wednesday, and
I say goodbye to him tomorrow! There's a picture of him holding a
goofy pose in this week's pictures.

It has been weird helping him prepare to leave! When I first got on my
mission, I so looked forward to the day that I could say I had
finished an honorable full time mission. Now I feel like I need more
time than I have, because I'm not progressing fast enough!

This week we ate out with a Member named Bro. Leyva. One of the things
we decided was that it was better to wait for good food than get fast
and poor quality food.

It's better to wait to be satisfied that be immediately disappointed!

That's my deep thought for the week, haha!

Have a great week Y'all.

Elder Derek Troy


Steel wool and slow shutter speed = fun P-Day shenanigans.

Elder James striking a P-Day pose.

Just ’sploring…

“…aaaaand they called it puppy loooooooovvvvvve!…” 



Zone buddies.

Zone Conference.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Witness by the Spirit

Hey Y'all! 

It was another great week in Texas, the weather was beautiful! But next week is Elder James's last before going home, and Texas is trying to give him a summer send off. It's going to hit 95 F and 60% humidity this week, and will be SUPER hot for a couple of days. Hopefully, we'll be in a fridge at the time.

We're volunteering twice a week at the Montgomery county food bank, and having a blast there. We mainly work in 'produce recovery' which is where you step into a refrigerated section of the warehouse and sort through produce that's been donated by grocery stores like H-E-B (a Texan store) and Walmart. We throw away thousands of pounds of rotten fruits and veggies every week and save hundreds more. It's interesting to step out of the 35-40 degree fridge into the 90 degree warehouse!

This week a young man named Jack visited us at church with some great questions. At 16, he had the best knowledge of his Bible that I had ever seen, from any member or non-member, bishop, pastor, or preacher. The boy knew his bible forwards and backwards. His first question was about how Joseph could have seen both God the Father and Jesus in a vision, which seemed unique, so I pointed him to the Martyrdom of Steven. After that question though, we were totally unprepared. He had SO MANY questions and concerns. He had read the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Bible through several times. He had come to the conclusion that the Bible was true but everything else was false. He denounced the idea that the spirit could bear witness of the truth through a feeling. 

Finally at the end of our conversation, a great and revelatory truth hit us all. SO MANY people have read the scriptures - Book of Mormon and Bible - and come away without a testimony. The only way we receive a witness is by the spirit. So long as Jack was unwilling to receive an answer from the spirit, it would not come.

We challenged him to listen to the talk 'blueprint of Christ's church' by Tad R Callister, and hope to see him again someday! I think President Mortensen would like to meet this extraordinary boy.

Here are a few pics of us with a member's 'collection', and my exchange with Elder Byrd. I know that the haircut is terrible, but it was free from a member, so I'm grateful.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Derek Troy

Exchanges with Elder Byrd

"Admiring" a member's Texas-style gun collection.

When in Texas...

Friday, June 9, 2017

How's YOUR language?

Hey Y'all! This week in Texas went a little bit better than the last one.

We found 5 people this week who want to learn more about the gospel! It's always good to feel that your efforts are bearing fruits. So with two weeks left in the transfer, we've found 14 people in this area when last transfer only 9 were found. Our goal was 18 people for the transfer, which we should safely achieve!

This week I wanted to share about a topic I've been studying: language.
The Savior taught us the importance of our language when he said:

'But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.' (Matt 15:18)

In Jesus's last night in mortality, when he was taken away by soldiers to be judged, his disciple Peter followed to the palace of the Sanhedrin. Jesus predicted that before the night was over, Peter would deny him three times.

Peter, not wanting to be discovered as a disciple of the man who would shortly be executed, did deny knowing him, though he obviously cared enough about the savior to put his life in jeopardy and follow after him.

But how he is discovered as a disciple the third time - and how he denies him - is interesting. A group of men accuse him of being a disciple of Jesus by how he talks. "And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee." Probably a combination of his clean and reverent language and his Galilean accent tipped them off to his true identity as a disciple. In a panic to disguise himself, Peter "began he to curse and to swear". After this third denial, the cock crowed.

When Peter didn't want to represent the savior, he chose to curse and swear. 

In our own lives, when we speak, are we recognizable before the world as disciples? What do we joke about? What do we boast about? We must look beyond just swearing. When we use words like 'crap' and other replacement words, we're obeying the letter but not spirit of the law.

Jesus teaches us that what comes out of our mouths proceeds from our hearts. When we gossip, our hearts are full of covetousness, envy, and pride. When speak to glorify violence, our hearts are full of murder. 

In our day, we marvel at the seeming permanence of what is said on Facebook, and how thoroughly documented everything is in our world. It seems so sad that someone can share one stupid tweet and get massacred by our shame society. And yet, there never was such a thing as words we could say and just forget.

Matt 12:36 "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."

I hope to always strive for language representative of the savior. I challenge everyone reading to do the same.

I hope everyone is well in WA, UT, and elsewhere!

'Til next week

Elder Derek Troy

Monday, May 29, 2017

Rough Week

Hey Y'all!

This week, we had the toughest time finding we've seen this transfer.
People were rude, doors were slammed, and entire streets were
apparently empty. We found 1 person on Monday and then had radio
silence all week.Nobody talked to us, we had a british guy call us
nutters, and never got close all week. On Sunday night as we drove
home, we both felt prompted to stop and talk to somebody who was
smoking by his car. He became the second investigator for the week. I
hope the rest of this transfer never goes so rough again, but I'm
grateful for the person we were led to. I think we just passed the
total finding for last transfer this week as well, so I'm glad Oak
Ridge is improving at least! That means that in 3 weeks we've passed
what was done last transfer in 6!

This week we also had a single mother of 5 kids tell us the only thing
she needed to come to church was a ride, since her car wasn't working.
We found a ride and her kids were excited to come, but she went
grocery shopping (supposedly) instead. It's tough because her kids
want to progress but she's not willing to make even a tiny effort!

The guy we found at the beginning of the week's name is Jeremy. He's
been raised Catholic and had a baby die in an emergency C-section a
few years ago. Confused by the doctrine of purgatory (taught by
catholics) he seemed emotional and relieved by the truth taught by
Christ's restored church.

Hope everyone is doing well at home! Be safe and have an adventure for
those of us who can't!

Elder Derek Troy

Monday, May 22, 2017

Remember...

Hey Y'all! It's the beginning of week three in Oak Ridge.

This week was great - we finally started finding people! Over the six
weeks of last transfer, this area only found nine new investigators.
Tough crowd! But last week we found four. It's no Westfield, but
that'll do!

We also got the opportunity to go to the temple this week. It's always
a nice break from the rigors of the work!

While there, I received some personal revelation. In the ordinances of
the church, 'remember' is a very important word. In everything from
Baptism, to Sacrament, to the Temple, we are asked or required to
'remember'.

Remembering is something I have NEVER been very good at. I've
forgotten my own birthday once or twice. But if it's a question of
some obscure piece of history or neat factoid, it never escapes the
tin-foil trap of my mind. It occurred to me that whether we remember
something (or someone) is determined by how much we care about it.
Evidently, I don't care much about Birthdays, or names or a million
other things.

So I determined to start doing memory exercises, and asked the Lord
for help. In my first hour, I'd memorized all 13 articles of faith and
the 10 commandments.

It's almost like when we ask the Lord for help, we get it! Who would
have imagined?

Have a great week out there everybody!

Elder Derek Troy

Kicking back at a member's house after dinner.

Elder Troy and his new companion Elder James.  Awkward sun smiles...

Better...


Houston Texas Temple day!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bye, bye, Westfield!


Hey y'all! I hope everyone has had a great week so far!

I DID end up getting moved - into the Oak Ridge Ward! It's a
country/suburban area. The people here are MUCH more difficult to find
because of the demographics. BUT, probably more dependable too :)

I was sad to see westfield go but I'm always excited to get to
reinvent myself in a new area.

Things will be different here, for sure! We found 2 new investigators
this week, instead of the 10 we usually found in westfield. My new
companion is Elder James. This is his last transfer, so I'll be
"killing" him. Then I might be training since I'll be companionless
and a bunch of new missionaries usually come in August.

One of the investigators already being taught here is Miguel. He's
been drunk since the elders found him it seems like. For a while, he
blamed his alcoholism on being Mexican. But Saturday night, the night
before mother's day, he opened up. He told us about his own Mother,
who was murdered tragically four years ago, and how hard each mother's
day is.

God loves us all enough to give us a mother. Our mothers love us
enough to be our moms.

No pictures yet from the new area except this crazy dog. His name is
maverick and he looks like the dragon from the never-ending story.

Have a great week everyone!

Maverick the Dog

Falkor the Luckdragon





Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Skype Session

Got to see and talk with Elder Derek Troy tonight! He looked tan and handsome!!! We added Evan to our Skype session so the whole family would be together again. Lots of laughter and love!
He's been transferred to an area about 30 minutes north and wanted me to pass along his new address for U.S. mail. I'll also send an update from him in his weekly email tomorrow, but give you this tonight.
Elder Derek Allen Troy
8900 Research Park Dr.
Apt. #1719
The Woodlands, TX 77381

derek.troy@myldsmail.net






Monday, May 8, 2017

Often disappointed, but never discouraged!

Hey y'all! This last week marked six months in the field. Time is
flying! And seems to be accelerating all of the time. My pre-mission
time feels like another life! This week has been marked by some
disappointments, which is a part of this work for sure! Often
disappointed, but never discouraged!

Dustin:

Dustin relapsed in his drinking again. He binged and when he binges he
has seizures and gets violently ill. We haven't seen him in about a
week. We'll have to postpone his baptismal date unfortunately. We
thought his drinking was done!

Dustin's roommate, Derek (the tender hearted may want to skip this one):

Derek was released from the hospital, since they can't provide him any
treatment as long as he refuses transfusions. His hemoglobin count is
down even further. The ambulance services have been instructed to not
come help since he refuses treatment. He spends every day curled up on
a mattress, wrapped in a blanket and waiting to die. The only
exception is when he drags himself to the front porch to smoke.

This is just another testimony to me of the profound evil which comes
when we don't follow the counsel of the word of wisdom, even in
ignorance. Every day we see lives which have been ruined or are being
drug down by the idleness and complacency fostered by Marijuana, the
illness and dependence caused by Tobacco, and the violence and crime
from Alcohol. There is no amount of any of those drugs, no matter how
small or occasional, which will improve anyone's life by their
recreational use, and their medicinal use is extremely overrated.

Octavia:

Octavia is doing AWESOME. As I believe I have mentioned, she and her
BF of 8 years who she moved down with from Detroit finally broke up.
This last week, he poured bleach in her gas tank and so she's moved
out and decided to press charges.

This has been good for her. She's closer to her married and more
stable friend; Bee, who Octavia successfully invited to join us for
the discussions. Octavia had high praise for us, telling Bee "these
guys are awesome. If you don't leave here feeling better today,
something's wrong"

We got to clarify the plan of salvation for them both. It's amazing
the clarity that modern revelation brings to the truths of ancient
scripture.

We found lots of new people this week and I'm excited for Elder
Mattson to continue working with them. I have been reassigned to a new
area! I don't know where yet, and won't be able to share with everyone
until next week.

Until then, letters should probably be held, as I may not get them
until Christmas.

I hope everyone is doing well! You're in my prayers. I'm so grateful
to be in yours.

Elder Derek Troy













Moving service project.





Elder Troy's kryptonite:  Beagle puppies!!!!