Monday, March 27, 2017

Long-term vision and...SNAKES!

Hello Friends and Family!

Here is Elder Derek Troy's latest letter (click the LINK BELOW).  He didn’t send a group email last week, although he did write us privately.  He said he didn’t feel like there was a lot to write you about.  He’s certainly making up for it this week.  Oh, my goodness!  There are so many things we LOVE about this letter from Elder Troy and a few that we are TERRIFIED about!

You may remember that Derek stumbled upon a rattlesnake in Southern Utah before his mission.  It reared up and struck him on his knee brace   Because it had attacked and there were children present, he felt he needed to kill it.  He hit it with a rock and then cut off it’s head.  Looks like it’s happened again!  WHY must this boy continue to find snakes?!  WHY must he continue to kill them with his bare hands?!  The video and pictures are unnerving.  A friend thinks she's identified it as a rat snake, so likely not dangerous, but BLEH. Snakes are gross. Notice it is hanging from my sons 6” pocket knife.  Gah.  He is currently living and serving in northern Houston, Texas. šŸšŸ˜³

He is so appreciative of your cards, letters and emails.  He loves them!

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts for our son.  We love you all!

JD, Terri & Family

Hey Y’all! 

This week I have lots of stuff to update everybody on. The gospel is amazing and being a missionary is great! This week I wanted to share a spiritual though, a miracle, and some pictures!

Elder Mattson and I are getting strangely similar. We have the same jacket, watch, bracelet, tie clip, glasses, pens, water bottles, etc. The other day, we both said something at the same time, looked at each other, and said 'it's happening' in unison. Elder Mattson says it's comp unity, I think it's weird.

This week we have pictures from a snake we killed (copperhead?) a puppy I love, and a sweet little creek we found; like an oasis from the city.

I wanted to talk a little bit this week about the importance of having a long-term vision.

Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish”.  Vision is where we see ourselves in the distant future as a RESULT of our goals. It is not the goal itself. Goals are measurable and observable, and a vision is the positive change we hope to see as a result. Our vision is who we hope to become, what our family will be like etc. Goals like daily scripture study and prayer are what help us get there. If we do not have a clear vision, we become like the people in Lehi's dream (1 NE 8) who "wandered into forbidden paths, and were lost". They too had a goal of reaching the tree of happiness, but without the rod of iron, they couldn't find it. The rod of iron is "the word of God", which tells us what our vision should be.

Now our little miracle:

In our ward, we have a sister I'll call Sis. Blake.  Sis. Blake is a little needy. She is single and because of her Asperger’s, she tends to ramble and talk a lot. Some of the things she talks about are disturbing. Like many of the women Heavenly Father has had me meet on my mission, she was heavily abused in her past. The final straw for her marriage was when her husband broke her ribs and shot at her and their children.  Through it all, Sis. Blake has remained the sweetest lady. She frequently requests blessings from us so we see her often. This week she had us come over to pick up a bunch of stuff from her for a donation drive our stake is doing for refugees.

Every month, our debit cards get reloaded on the last Friday. This month has 5 Fridays, so by this week, money for groceries was getting a little tight. That's about $26 per person per week. We were getting ready for a lot of ramen lunches these next few weeks.

When we picked up her clothes for the donation drive, she stopped us and asked if we wanted some of the frozen food in her fridge. She explained that she was an extreme-coupon-er (and very good at it due to her Asperger’s) and had more food than her family could eat before it went bad - and some of it her kids didn't turn out to like the organic food she got anyways. So we went home with lean organic ground beef, turkey bacon, frozen pizza, and organic beef hot dogs. She had no idea how much easier it made our week!  It just goes to show how merciful our Heavenly Father is, and how much he cares about the little things.

Thanks for all your letters and emails. Have a great week!

Elder Derek Troy
Hafer District
Role play!

Sweet little creek

An oasis


Another snake?!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How to fit in...

Hello Family and Friends!

Attached is Elder Troy’s latest letter.  He writes to us privately and is seeing lots of miracles and having great experiences in Houston.  

The people are really kind and loving to him and his companion.  He has found that they are humble, teachable and generous.  This video (on Facebook) is silly.  Although they use words like “ghetto” and “‘hood,” please know they say it with all love and appreciation to the people they serve and live with, certainly not in a derogatory way.  He LOVES serving in Westfield, Houston!

As always, thank you for loving and supporting our son!

JD & Terri


Hey everybody! It was another great week in Houston Texas. The work
here is going pretty well, and the rain is subsiding!

I got a few questions about what a 'soul shake' is last week, so Elder
Mattson and I created a video that we think will be very educational.
It's attached.

So the key to work in this area is, as we understand, finding a ton of
people and 'dropping' 99% of them. So every week we shoot to find ten
people who want to investigate the gospel, and anticipate that most of
them won't progress much further beyond that, so we 'drop' them (stop
meeting with them) if they don't show very much initiative, working
with them again potentially in the future.

Finding ten people per week in the bible belt is pretty high for most
places outside of a college campus, but we have high expectations to
match. So when we find someone, we sometimes ask if they would be
baptized in our very first interaction. We use this approach if we
suspect that they're unlikely to keep their return appointments.

But this week, Elder Mattson and I were AGAIN running behind on our
commitments. We wanted to teach 15 lessons and find 10 new
investigators again this week. Sunday night (our last night in a
missionary week) we were at 11 and 5. We were on splits, but neither
of us really could find anybody. Feeling defeated, Elder Mattson and
the priest (16 year old young man) he was with headed back to our
meeting point after only finding one new investigator for their two
hours of effort.

My companion and I, however found 4 people in 3 households. The Lord
in his mercy saw fit to give us exactly what we needed for two weeks
in a row. 'Tender mercy'!

This week in my studies, I was thinking about the comparison people
often make between the love and blessings of our Heavenly Father and
light. The properties of light are really interesting in that analogy,
and I think we can learn a lot about the creator from the laws of his

There is a formula in physics (stay with me!) which tells us how much
more or less light an object will receive when it's distance from the
source changes. The formula is L=1/(dĖ†2) Where L is the relative
amount of light you receive after moving and D is the change in
relative distance. So when D is 2, you're twice as far as you used to
be etc.

Let's say you start one step from a candle. When you take a step away,
you're twice as far from the source, so it would make sense that you
receive half as much light. But this isn't what happens. You actually
receive one quarter as much light.

If one person is standing one yard from a candle, and someone else is
three yards from the same candle, they will receive just one ninth as
much light.

I think that with the gospel, many people who are mere yards from the
light become satisfied with where they are, not recognizing that just
a few steps will brighten and bless their lives tremendously.

Conversely, when people who are very distant from God want to see
blessings, they make very small steps towards the light, and are
disappointed when they don't see miracles. They don't understand that
each step we take towards our Heavenly Father adds more light to our
lives than the last.

I hope you all have a great week, and I want to thank the Lexington
ward relief society for the package I received! I appreciate you all,
and wish I could write you all personally.

Much love from Texas

Elder Derek Troy

Monday, March 6, 2017

Perfected the "Soul Shake?"

Hello Family and Friends!

Here is the latest letter from Elder Troy.  He seems happy and busy!

If you’d like to email him, he can check that on Mondays:

Thanks for your continued love and support of our son.  We appreciate you all!

JD & Terri


Hey Ya’ll! 

I’m having a blast down here in Westfield, and getting a ton of work done!

What is the preoccupation down here with what race Jesus was? I’m pretty sure that if I had a dollar for every time someone told me Jesus had “wooly" hair (Even though Daniel is talking about Adam—Daniel 7:9),  I would have the 10k a mission costs in 2 years. On the bright side, I’ve perfected the soul shake! 

One of our investigators, who I’ll call “Darren", is having a pretty rough time right now. He’s a former Alcoholic who's struggling now to quit. We noticed he had the spirit less strongly the last couple of days, and found out he's been binge drinking. We have to postpone his date until he’s recovering. We had a great, spiritual lesson though, and he really wants to change his life!

This last week we set some LOFTY goals as a companionship, because we were asked to lead the zone by example, since our zone leaders are getting a little bit lackadaisical. We shot for 4 investigators at church and 10 new investigators this week - pretty high goals for our region! We fasted and prayed but it looked like we were going to goose-egg church, and come up 4 short for investigators. As we were sitting there, Darren walks in with his fellowshipper. We couldn’t believe it! Darren was supposed to be detoxing aft
er a full day of bingeing! Then a family walked in 20 minutes late who we had been teaching, the Alfonsos. 4 at church baby! Yee-Haw!  But we still needed to find four people in one night, so we went on splits. My companionship found someone almost instantly, but the second investigator took a bit longer. After a few near-misses, somebody finally just slammed a door on us without saying a word. So we decided to say a prayer. After praying we found a man named Raymond at the very next door we knocked. We taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation and he was sad to see us go. We hit our 10 that night and the priests (16 year old boys) had a great spiritual experience coming out with us.

This week at a dinner I also had a Polynesian tell me I look skinny but don’t eat skinny, which is the biggest compliment they can pay.

I hope everyone is doing well in WA, UT, and beyond! Much love to you all from Houston, and thank you for all of your birthday wishes!

Elder Derek Troy