Monday, April 24, 2017

DEFCON 1 Commitments

Hello Family and friends!

We are glad to hear that Elder Troy is having lots to do in Houston this week.  He tells us in our emails from him that he is getting ready to be transferred within the next two weeks out of his beloved Westfield, Texas.  It will be interesting to see where he goes.  I’m sure he’ll be sad to part ways with Elder Mattson.  Who else will he kill snakes with?

For now his regular mail address is:
16623 Hafer Rd.
Houston, TX  77090-4401

Email is:

He LOVES real letters and packages, so if the spirit moves you, go ahead!  Otherwise, drop an email his way and he’ll be happy too.

As always, thank you for your continued support of our son.

We love you all.

JD & Terri


Hey Y’all! 

Hope everyone had a great week in St. George, Washington, and everywhere else.

This week was a humbling example of how just out of our hands this work really is. 

Earlier this week I'd been thinking a lot about our old investigator, who I then called 'Darren' in earlier emails. I've decided to change this and use investigator's real first names, except for special cases. Darren's real name is Dustin. As Elder Mattson and I were leaving a somewhat unsuccessful appointment at an apartment complex, he mentioned that he was wondering about Dustin lately as well. After discussing it, he took it as a sign that we needed to go and visit him. When we stopped at his house, he was just sitting on his front porch! Obviously feeling depressed, he explained that he was barely able to get out of bed, was experiencing health problems, and felt like he was in prison again.He's living at a man named Richard's house. Richard is active in a local Baptist congregation (Which we visited a while ago for a service, actually) and was good enough to take in a couple of people who would otherwise be homeless. But Dustin feels trapped there. With no car, no ID, no job, and no money, he feels like his life is totally out of control. Until he relies totally on God, he won't see the blessings he needs. The good news, however, is that he hasn’t been drinking!!! Elder Mattson extended another baptismal date to him during our lesson (which came as a surprise to me!) so now we have him on date again. Fingers crossed! This time we're doing things differently. We expect him to act on his own and use his own agency. So we committed him to come to church this week and told him he needs to reach out to the member who usually gives him rides and ask for that ride himself. Unfortunately, Dustin did not use that agency and did not come.

But the Lord in his mercy sent JR and Anne Marie instead, with little 1 year old Marley in tow! JR and Anne Marie are the couple we've been teaching who did our eyebrows recently. We taught them a full restoration this last week and they were blown away. Anne Marie in particular wanted to know why, if the Bible itself carries evidence of missing scripture (at least 14 missing books, actually) more people don't use the Book of Mormon.

Beats me!

On Sunday night we were in defcon 1 (the highest level of defcon, a pet peeve of Elder Mattson and I, and commonly confused) because we were down on some of our commitments. Specifically "member present lessons". We had committed to 5 for the week but every time we had tried to make them happen, the appointment fell apart. We would take the member to the appointment and then it wouldn't happen. Super frustrating!  People can exercise their agency, and that does happen quite often. Perhaps 10% of the people we find keep their first return appointment. That's why we strive to find 10 people a week!

So it all came down to splits with the priests on Sunday evening. We did our best to make it all happen. And guess what? The Lord absolutely made it happen. With the priests we found 8 new investigators and taught 6 lessons in two hours. We had the best week (numbers wise) of either of our missions. We taught 20 lessons and found 13 people this week. Those are unusual numbers for an english speaking stateside mission.  The Lord watched us in our disappointment and sent us where he knew we would be the most successful.

This transfer I've had an epiphany about scripture reading. We always promise people blessings for reading the Book of Mormon, but I realized that I had been reading it casually to watch Heavenly Father pour out blessings. But many of the blessings are in the text itself of the Book of Mormon. That blessing comes as an increase of understanding (Alma 32:34), which leads to a greater peace (promised in the introduction of the Book of Mormon) in trials.  As I've read the text more closely, until every verse takes me several minutes to pore over, I’ve seen that understanding increase for myself. 

I invite everyone to see that same blessing for themselves, and watch their fortitude against temptation and their understanding about their individual purpose broadened.

Elder Derek Troy

Looks like a move or some cleanup project has gone slightly awry.

Inappropriately close district selfie.

Not sure what's happening here, but it kind of looks like a ship on fire? Is Elder Troy helping or hindering the burn? Hmm.

Elder Troy napping while his companion Elder Mattson makes the district calls.  Slacker.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Short and sweet!

Hey y'all! 

Hope everybody had a wonderful Easter! We had a great week, but nothing super noteworthy.

Here's a picture of our district. We're in what's called a 'relief society', because our district is all sisters besides us. It's a small district, just three companionships!

This week in my studies I stumbled across Chiasmus and Parallelism in the Book of Mormon. I'll spare everybody the details, but it's super interesting stuff! And more compelling evidence of a restoration. It came after I was praying for help strengthening my testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was a little like the fleece of Gideon! (Judges 6:37-40)

Have a great week everyone! Don't forget to read the Book of Mormon!

Elder Derek Troy
"Relief Society District"

Monday, April 10, 2017

Eyebrows on FLEEK!

Hey Y'all!

It was another great week out in the field of the Texas Houston
Mission. First, a tender mercy!

Elder Mattson and I were knocking doors in the same complex where that
man had a seizure a week ago (the Palms) when a young man in his early
twenties opens the door. Elder Mattson is more of a fashionista than
he would likely admit, and one of the first things he notices about
this guy is his sharp haircut. He compliments his haircut and then
we're chatting with him and his fiancé about styling. She mentions
that as a trained stylist she did his eyebrows, and Elder Mattson asks
if he can come over and get his eyebrows done, and we schedule an
appointment for Monday (P-Day) with Anne Marie and JR to get his
eyebrows done.

Fast forward to Saturday. On Saturdays we invite people to church that
we've seen earlier. We're always pressed for time on Saturdays, and
Elder Mattson and I debated whether to go invite Anne Marie and JR
since we merely had a passing interaction with them rather than a
lesson. We first visited their neighbor who we're also meeting with,
and walked past their apartment back to our car when the Holy Ghost
told me to go back. I debated with the prompting and yet again, it
told me to go back.

Elder Mattson agreed we should try them and so we did, intending to
simply invite them to join us on Sunday. When we knocked, JR opened
and somberly said it wasn't a good time. But Anne Marie rushed to the
door to tell us that she had just received news that her Mother had
just had a motorcycle wreck without a helmet, and was on life support
with 0% chance of recovery.

We visited with them for two hours and taught the plan of salvation
and restoration, bouncing back and forth to answer her desperate
questions. She poured her soul out to us - her troubled history as a
foster child, her search for happiness and misery in her sins.

Today we went back, as scheduled, to get Elder Mattson's eyebrows
done. We brought as much peace and happiness as we could. I even got
MY eyebrows done (something I never expected to do) and we laughed

Today she took her Mom off life support. She says she wants to believe
us when we say her mother isn't in hell, and that her own daughter
will get to meet her grandmother. I can't wait for her to discover the
joy of the Eternal Family, which no 'til death to us part' faith can

Prayers for Anne Marie please!

On our splits with the priests we also found five people and taught
seven lessons in two hours to exactly reach our commitment. God is so
good to us!

We also took a district meeting picture (my hair went crazy), and I
hit my five month mark last week! Time is flying by.

Best of luck out there. Never take the gospel for granted!

Elder Derek Troy

Elder Mattson, fashionista, getting his brows done.

Crazy hair!

Listening to their mission president.

Car crashes and General Conference

Hey Ya'll! This week was packed with craziness. Car crashes and
general conference included!

First: The crash

Elder Mattson and I were in a lower income apartment complex called
"The Palms" early this week. This place is awful. Trash everywhere, a
dead cat sat in the parking lot all day before someone from management
finally got it, etc. We even had somebody tell us after we knocked on
his door "y'all are either Jehova's witnesses or some brave Mo-Fo's to
be knocking around here at night" which I guess means we're pretty
brave or something.

We were there for an appointment (who bailed) and were leaving around
11:00 in the morning. I was standing in the parking lot, backing Elder
Mattson out of his parking spot when I hear someone mat the gas pedal
50 yards or so down the parking lot. The driver then plows through
someone's back porch and slams into an apartment.

I grabbed Elder Mattson and we jogged over to go see if anyone needed
help. As we are going to the SUV, a guy paces past us, very angry,
muttering "now they're going to HAVE to get me a new apartment" as he
heads into the leasing office. Our first assumption was that he was
the driver and a disgruntled tenant. We walked into the wreckage and
checked the car for passengers though and found that the unconscious
driver and sentient passenger were still in the car.

The passenger informed us that they were okay, but his friend (the
driver) had a seizure. Just then the driver regains consciousness and
panics, flailing his arms and twisting his torso erratically, not yet
recovered from the trauma of the seizure. The passenger then begins
complaining that it is too hot in the wrecked car, and he needs to get
out or he will have a heart attack.

We help them out of the car and a whole fleet of tow trucks enter the
complex. There were probably four tow trucks at the scene before there
was ever an ambulance. The medical personnel were the least personal
and professional I have ever seen. The tow trucks were circling like a
pack of sharks. We were asked to stick around as witnesses, but ended
up not needing to give a statement.

The whole thing was a nightmare. I even ruined one of my last good
shirts with Mr Brown's (the driver) blood.

General conference though was awesome! We got to watch it with a
couple of our investigators, Damion and Dede, as well as a recent
convert family, the Morsons. I especially liked the talks by Dale G
Renlund and Gary E Stevenson. I'm excited for the transcripts! I'm
focusing on developing more Love and Charity, and this conference had
talks on that topic in spades!

We had to drop our investigator with a date, 'Darren'. After a couple
of weeks of trying, we couldn't get ahold of him, or speak with anyone
who lives in his house. He could have moved to Arizona, he could be
homeless, who knows. I really connected with Darren, and wherever he
is, I hope he's happy and safe.

We're teaching a family (the Taylors, who we watched conference with)
a younger unmarried couple, and a few singles. It feels good to
finally have people progressing as I pass my 5 month mark.

Hope everyone is well in WA state, St. George, and elsewhere. Don't
forget to share the gospel!

Elder Derek Troy

Quick district pic

Ambulance selfie

The new "drive through" at The Palms apartment complex.

Blood?  Bleh.

Almost didn't recognize Elder Troy without his glasses and with bronzed skin.  (he's in the middle)