Hello friends and family!
Here is the latest letter from Elder Troy this week.
He said a few of you were concerned about him after last week's letter, but wanted me to reassure you that all is well and he's not down and out! Haha.
You may remember that when he first arrived in Houston he wrote that he thought serving in the most dangerous parts of Houston would be an adventure. Well, dreams come true. He's serving in a very rough area right now. Be still, my mama heart! I know that he is going to be okay. Prayer is real!
His birthday is March 1st. He would love a birthday card if you are able! Just letting him know we love him!
He's just down the street from the mission office, so everything can still go there for another week.
Elder Derek Allen Troy
16623 Hafer Rd
Houston TX 77090-4401
As always, thank you for your love and support of our son.
JD & Terri
This week has been an absolute roller coaster. It has had the highest highs and lowest lows of my mission so far. Among other things, my new companion and I have been 'emergency transferred' to a new area
together. My new comp is Elder Jacob Mattson, he's from Lehi, UT, and we have tons in common. He has 6 months left and wants 17 baptisms in that time to hit his goal of 30. He likes the outdoors and baptizing. We're stoked for this transfer and get along great. It's scary how similar we are.
I'll warn that for the sensitive, this first half is going to be difficult to read!...
We tried to meet with the woman from last week again. I'll call her "Katrina". Katrina had been pretty sober this last week. We were excited to see her progress! At first when we were seeing her, empathizing was very hard. Still buzzed from her most recent trip, she made little sense in our conversation, and had no desire to change her life. But the longer we were in contact with her, and the more we understood her life, the more we cared. Further, the more she told us about her life, the more she seemed to realize how dark it had become. The longer we met with her, the more she cared about her own life.
I can only imagine how dark Katrina's private life really is. Covered in bruises from injection sites (and no doubt some physical abuse) and with most of her teeth gone from meth smoking (a drug she has thankfully quit) she has both contemplated and attempted suicide many times, including recently.
But her progress with us has included her realizing how out of control her life has become. She acknowledged that the people she was living with shared many traits with our description of Satan.
We got a message from her this week that she was moving again. She
moves every few months. She confessed that she had been out drinking to escape her problems. She said in a long text that she was tired of being treated "poorly" (I won't use the words she did) by the people in her house. Her text seemed to imply that she had been raped - again - something which has probably been a fixture of her tragic life since she was a toddler. But for what must be the first time in a long while, she realized that she wants something more.
Now that we've been moved, we'll probably never see her again. But at the last day I'll be able to stand before my Father in Heaven, look Him in the eye, and say I did everything I could for His daughter.
I was tempted to go into her drug infested house and kick everyone outin a righteous rage like Jesus clearing the temple, but that's not
within the scope of my calling.
After Elder Mattson and I had been in Spring for three days, we got a
phone call from president. Now that we had begun moving to our new
apartment, we were informed that we would be transferred - effective
immediately - to Westfield. This came as a shock to us. We were being moved down the street from one of the historically lowest baptizing areas in the mission to perhaps the highest. We were replacing the AP's there. We were moving just three days after Elder Mattson was transferred into Spring. We were moving from a generally wealthy area to one of the poorest.
Our first week in Westfield, we met a recently homeless woman I'll call "Elizabeth" She and her daughter were walking to her brother's house, so her daughter would have somewhere to sleep for the night. Elizabeth wasn't sure where she herself would be sleeping. While we were talking with them, Liz said that she felt something, and she wanted to see why. She said she wanted to come to church - something we hear a dozen times a day - but we never expected to see her again. We asked her if she wanted us to line up a ride to help her get to church, and she replied that her legs worked and she would walk.
Her daughter (about 9) was thankful for our invitation, and wanted to
repay us. She handed me a nickel and Elder Mattson four pennies. Her mother asked if they were the pennies they had been picking up all day. They were. Talk about the widow's mite! We gave them a subway gift card a stranger had gifted to us earlier that week. I'll keep the nickel as a memento.
Come Sunday she and her family were nowhere to be seen. While we were singing the sacrament hymn, a brother from the congregation called us out into the hall - where Liz and her family were standing! The ward welcomed them wonderfully and they stayed for all of the meetings! This area has such great members, and tons of people who want to change their lives!
I love the Ghetto here. You need a certain confidence, but the people here in these poor, predominantly black neighborhoods are MUCH humbler and infinitely more polite than the middle class white neighborhoods I have been in so far. Have no doubts about it though, there are a few really rough streets out here.
We even heard gunshots last night. All Elder Mattson and I could do
was laugh and whistle that DMX song - 'where tha hood, where tha hood, where tha hood at?'
The church is true, the book is blue, and Moroni's on the ball!