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.

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