Monday, August 28, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

Friends and family,

Here is the latest letter from Elder Troy.  As you can imagine, we have been quite concerned about him as he is serving in the Texas Houston mission; right in the middle of the floods after Hurricane Harvey.  His mission president has been remarkably calming and consistent in providing all parents updates several times a day about the missionaries’ conditions. Although the missionaries are all accounted for and safe, there is continued challenges with floods reaching their living conditions.  Some have had to be evacuated and others are waiting in upper level apartments.  We asked Elder Troy if he had to be evacuated, where he might go.  He thought to members’ homes would be likely.  All missionaries have plenty of food, water and supplies to get them through this week.  They will stay in their apartments until instructed by the mission presidency.  It is anticipated that the rains will continue through this week.  Clean up efforts will be monumental and the missionaries will definitely be called on to assist any Texans who may need them.  Elder Troy was frustrated at their mission vehicle and expressed how if he had his Jeep from home he'd be rescuing people left and right!  Soooooo Elder Troy!

As of this morning, the Houston LDS Temple was taking on water.  Many, many members are suffering from the floods and winds.  This damage has been called “unprecedented” and “catastrophic.”  Please keep everyone in your prayers and would you kindly consider a donation to the LDS Humanitarian efforts?  Unlike other relief funds, there is no paid administrators.  One hundred percent of every dollar donated is used to help those in need without regard to race, religion, or ethnic origin.  The Church has already sent trucks full of clean drinking water, food and cleaning supplies before the storm even hit.  They are organized and mobile.  You can even specify exactly where the money should be spent.  Our family made a donation this morning and in the comments section, we put “Hurricane Harvey disaster relief.”

We love you and appreciate all the prayers on our son’s behalf as well as the wonderful Texans he has the privilege to serve.  This week we have the opportunity to participate in our faith’s monthly fast.  Would you please include Texas and the missionaries in your personal fast?

Thank you all.


Terri & JD

NOTE:  Elder Troy referenced Barker reservoir.  This is near him, so the floods will temporarily increase during this time.  As of this afternoon, the Barker Res. was opened.


Hey Y'all!

This week has been an interesting one.

We did some more service at the Buddhist temple. One of the nuns there, Ka, gave us some yogurt they made from almond milk and hazelnut milk. I was a little suspicious as you can see from the photo. But it was really good!

The news this week is of course this hurricane. We are having a once in 100 year flood, and this may end up being a once in 800 year flood. On day one, it was just drizzling. Elder Labbee and I went as far as making a funny newscast about the weather. However the last few days,
the hurricane simply hasn’t let up, and this swamp has no way of getting rid of all of this water. The pictures you see of the flooded soccer field are from down the street on day one. I expect there’s probably two additional feet of water there now. We were asked to hang tight at our apartment. Early on in the storm, we were told to go out and work as much as possible. Elder Labbee and I barely made it back to our apartment before the road was closed. We were then instructed to wait at the apartment for a while. We’ve spent the last two days stuck in our  complex, occasionally going to the gym facility for internet and to watch the news for forecasts. Some small tornados around us these past few days, as close as 5 mins away.

Last night we got almost two feet of flooding in our apartment complex parking area. Another three inches and the first floor of our building would begin to flood. We live on the 2nd floor. That water has been relieved by a local levee opening. They're opening a local dam to relieve some flooding. It has benefitted our area at the cost of adding several feet to downtown Houston. They will get an extra 4-5 ft today.The areas South of us are in dire trouble, but we’re fine for now, with no immediate flooding.

We’re under an advisory evacuation right now, so we are encouraged to leave. I'm safe, but we may be getting evacuated soon. So I’m short for time. We're able to get out now but may not in the future. The highways are already flooding and many of the back roads are covered in downed trees. We have plenty of water and food. We have “go-bags" packed for evacuation. We’re prepared in every sense, just waiting for guidance on what to do/where to go. We moved our car, which is gassed up, to the front of the complex, so we can leave whenever we need, if the road isn’t too bad. We have plenty of food and water as well, and still have power and running water etc. Our location is no longer under warnings for flash floods, lightning, or tornados.

Because I haven’t had to leave the apartment for 3 days, I haven't shaved yet at all. It feels like freedom.

Also, I’m soooooo sick of solitaire.

If anyone is curious to see what we’re dealing with, KPRC channel 2 ( has been covering the areas around us, including addicts and barker reservoirs, which are flooding but being relieved.

Elder Derek Troy

Flooded soccer fields down the street from them.

A big meal we made with all of our time stuck indoors. 24 hour marinated venison steaks and twice baked potatoes.
View of the Buddhist temple they volunteer in.

Buddhist temple yogurt made from almond and hazelnut milks by the nuns.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wasps in the dryer

SO, we've still got 4 on date right now: Carla, Anel, Travaris, and Jasmine.

They're all great. Carla is definitely getting baptized on the 9th. Angel probably won’t get baptized on her date (the 2nd) because it's so hard to meet with her :( We're hoping for a Waptism (wedding-baptism) for Travaris and Jasmine on the 16th.

This week our dryer died. We had clothes hanging on our washing machine for probably three days. The problem is, Houston is too humid for air drying. I got really sick of it and disassembled the dryer and made a massive mess until midnight or so. It’s fixed now though :) Attached is a picture. I have no idea what our dryer’s history is, but it had a softball-sized wasp nest hanging inside of it.  Bonus: A wedding invitation I made from the district meeting photo.

We got to go to the temple this week as well!

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

Elder Derek Troy


Houston Texas Temple

Dryer and frustration
Ugly ties/skirts at district meeting

???  Apparently these two elders get along well and he's teasing them.

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