Monday, 29 December 2014

Family of 4 joins the church!

Hey guys!
     I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to speak with my family on skype this week! I am very blessed to have such an amazing family! I can feel their love and support everyday, I can also feel the love and support from my friends too and it's incredible! I love the Lord and everything he provides us with! 
     This week was full of awesome experiences and I have lots of pictures to show it haha! 
     First we had an amazing Christmas. The members here are incredible, and lots of them donated Christmas presents to the mission home and there were enough presents for every missionary to have at least 2 presents! It was incredible. Along with the packages that Mom and Grandma French sent me, and presents from the Bishop, Elders Quorum President, I was definitely spoiled on Christmas! Plus our zone did a secret Santa and the present I got was a basketball and a little basketball trophy haha! It was super nice! I have been very blessed this Christmas for more than what I received, but for what I've been doing. Serving the Lord and giving all that I have every week has been such a huge blessing for me! I can feel the Lord's love daily and I love it!
 Brownies from my comps mom

 Snow on Christmas Day
 Presents from home!
 Presents from everyone!
 Our Christmas Tree!
 
     We had a baptism on the 27th too! I had the privilege of baptizing the Guadarrama family! They're a family of 4. The mom and dad are Israel and Maria. They have 2 sons named Guillermo (17) and Johan (12). They were so prepared by the Lord and we were very blessed to find them and help them feel God's love. They were confirmed in Sacrament Meeting yesterday and it was amazing to see them make the changes necessary in their lives to progress towards the temple. I hope in 1 year I'll be able to attend the temple with them when they're sealed. They've made it very clear that they're ultimate goal is the temple, and I agree 100%! 

Magrath Missionaries rule! Look who interviewed our new members!
 
     And of course the NFL has been raging on, along with the NBA and NHL. I've heard a lot about football and it sounds like a Seahawks vs. Patriots Super Bowl is likely, and you all know who I'm cheering for! #GOHAWKS!!! Haha
I love all of you and thank you so much for the presents and more importantly the love you all share with me!
Con amor y Feliz Navidad,
Elder Strate

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas Day

This is mom and dad after the Skype call.

     Today we got to visit with Elder Strate, it was wonderful. Besides seeing his face again, we were able to hear his voice and the change in his maturity. His testimony is so wonderful, he has such a stronger understanding of the gospel now and has the wonderful experience of sharing it multiple times a day with others.
    


     Derek was able to talk to us for an hour and then called back for a few minutes later to visit with Dawson. What a beautiful thing to listen to your sons gab away in another language. Derek, who still teaches some in English in Utah, said Dawson's Spanish is perfect. Derek's companion, who is from Argentina, got on and they had a great conversation. He said Dawson is fluent. He truly has the gift of tongues. Derek's Spanish is pretty good too - he's just not immersed in it as much as Dawson is since people in Utah speak both languages for the most part.
    Here today to visit with him were - Kristine and I, Miranda, Sarah, Bree, Grandpa Rick & Reva, Great Grandma Strate, Grandpa Ed & Faye, Bryce's family- Cindy, Karsen, Cannon and #3 on the way, Rhonda's family- Uncle Scott and Ali.
   After D & D got done with each other, Dawson had to go so he could be back to his apartment before 9 pm. He was at a members home. Derek was at an investigators home, which is cool in its own way for sure. We were able to spend another 1/2 hour with Derek. Wow what a change. He is so focused right now. When he came to this area, no investigators were coming to church, not a lot being taught, no one committed to be baptized. Since he's been there for 2 months they have had at least 5 coming to church each week. They have a family of 4 set up for tomorrow for baptism, two the next week and one the following week. He is so excited. He has also helped to reactivate 5 people in coming back to church. People there have to come to church 3 times before they would allow them to be baptized so its a challenge when lots of people work on Sunday.
   Derek was able to give his sisters loving advice, to be better than he was and to try and feel the spirit more in their lives to they make good decisions as they enter their teenage years. Beautiful to feel and see.
   It was wonderful for them to see the boys too and feel of their love. Today was what we needed and also what they needed. All is well. Carry on, carry on, carry on boys. We love you, miss you, but know you are doing what you're supposed to be at this time in your lives.
      Love mom and dad



Monday, 22 December 2014

New companion


 Ok first off I got a new companion! His name is Elder Firpo and he's from Seattle, Washington. 
     He was born in Argentina so he was already fluent in English and Spanish before his mission. Him and Elder Berrios (my former companion) are very different people. Elder Firpo is super chill and funny and Elder Berrios was always serious haha but they're both super good guys, and I can't wait to continue serving! The most important thing about Elder Firpo is the fact that he's also a Seattle Seahawks fan. His favorite sport is football and he has a ton of Seahawks stuff, and his favorite sport is football. We relate to each other really well, we both cheered and gave each other a high five when Dad told me that they spanked Arizona yesterday, and we both know that they're going to repeat as Super Bowl Champs! Haha
     We've had a fun week and today we started doing Air Alert, and we've also made a goal to eat healthier because he wants to lose some weight before he goes home, he's been out about 18-19 months so he has a ton of experience and he's really helped me out with everything! 
     Our area has so much potential to explode with baptisms and reactivations right now, we just need to play the right cards and let the spirit continue to work. This Saturday we have a baptism for a family of 4 and I've been asked to baptize 2 of them! I've never baptized someone before so I'm a little nervous, I don't want to mess up hahaha. We have a teaching pool of about 36 with Investigators and less actives right now, yes I know that's why we have a ton of potential!
     Thanks for the package Mom, I'm not opening the Presents until Christmas don't worry! Haha
Christmas is a time of sharing, that's why the new video "He is the Gift" makes this Christmas different than others. Every year I think people try to focus on Christ, we always say focus on him and not the gifts, and I think most people already do that. That isn't the problem, the problem is #SharingtheGift with as many people as possible. When we share things with others that's when we experience the majority of our joy.
                         Thanks and I love all of you!
                                     Love,
                                  Elder Strate

Me with Elder Steed (he's the new AP), My companion and I, and then me opening my package!



Left is Elder Iske (From Missouri) middle is me, and Right is Elder Isufaj (From Albania it's beside Greece and Italy) These guys were in my zone both super cool guys.






Email

Thursday we get to Skype! Hope we can get them both at the same time, that would be awesome. Their P Day is today, so if anyone wants to drop them a line, I'm sure they'd love it. Just in time for Christmas.
Email them at-
dawson.strate@myldsmail.net
derek.strate@myldsmail.net

Monday, 15 December 2014

Party

Hey everyone!
     This letter is going to be short because I don't have a bunch of time, sorry! This week we had our ward Christmas party and we had some of our investigators there! It was awesome, watching little kids hit a pinata was so funny! The food was also really good at the party, Mexican food is really tasty but not very healthy, but don't worry I'm watching my figure! haha :) 
     My companion is being transferred tomorrow to the Canon zone because he got made a zone leader! I'm grateful to have served with Elder Berrios and I know he will have a great time in Canon. My new companion is Elder Firpo, and I don't know very much about him! All I know so far is that he trained my former companion Elder Berrios haha and everyone else is telling me that he's super cool! SO I'm pretty excited to meet him tomorrow! Colton Steed was made AP today!
     It finally snowed here so it's starting to feel kinda like Christmas! I hope you all have fun and stay safe during the holidays! Love you all and remember the presence Jesus Christ has in our life, especially around this Christmas season!
 
"When we invite you to attend church with us or to learn with the full-time missionaries, we are not trying to sell you a product. As members of the Church, we do not receive prizes or bonus points in a heavenly contest. We are not seeking simply to increase the numerical size of the Church. And most importantly, we are not attempting to coerce you to believe as we do. We are inviting you to hear the restored truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ so you can study, ponder, pray, and come to know for yourself if the things we are sharing with you are true." -Elder David A. Bednar
 
Love,
Elder Strate

Info

     Hey I'm going to try and email today but my companion just got made a zone leader in Cannon Zone today! We have to go to meetings because it's his first leadership call, but we're going to try and email later. Just needed to send this email so you wouldn't freak out when I didn't email at my normal time. If I don't email today I'm sorry, we'll try and find time but I can't guarantee we will. I'm staying in Bountiful still, I just looked at the transfer board and my new companion is named Elder Firpo and I have no idea who he is haha! We'll see how it goes haha! Thanks I'll try and email later
Love,
Elder Strate

Monday, 8 December 2014

Temple Sqaure Spanish Festival


Hi everyone,                                                                         December 8, 2014

            Sorry I'm kind of loading you guys up with emails but there was one thing I forgot to add to my weekly letter! 
            I got the mail from our ward's primary! I loved the pictures, they were wonderful and I loved Bree's drawing especially! I have pictures with them attached to this email! I love you guys so much and I love our ward too!
           




                                   

             Oh yeah, we also only had snow for like 2 days back in November! It hasn't snowed yet in December or since the few days of snow we had! People here are freaking out because there isn't any snow, and the weather is actually pretty nice down here! My companion is still cold but that's because he's from Honduras, I'm basically sun tanning in this weather- haha! It's been awesome! I can't wait for Christmas so I can talk to you guys again, I love you both so much! 
            Thanks for the comments from Rhonda and Bryce! I hope it's a boy, make sure that they know that they should name him Russell, after Russell Wilson! I mean him and Aaron Rodgers are the best QB's in the league right? So a great name for a boy would be Russell Aaron Strate! There ya go! Haha good luck to them I hope they have a great Christmas season! Haha the 49ers suck so bad!!!! HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! The Raiders are so bad too!!!! HAHAHA! That's hilarious! 
            Dad, Sounds like you deserve a transfer haha, you've been in the same area for 18 months as a high councilman in Spring Coulee. If I end up serving 18 months here in Bountiful I'd probably want a transfer too lol. We have 7 people on date right now for baptism, all for December 27th and January 3rd. They're all progressing and we should have at least 1 more on date by the end of this week! Things are going good! The members are so cool in our ward, they're always willing to come out and work with us, which makes our job a heck of a lot easier haha! Love you Dad!
            This week was awesome! We have a lot of investigators on date for December 27th and January 3rd! We just need to help them be ready for those days, so we've been teaching them a lot and trying our best to help them be prepared to accept the covenant that comes with baptism!
            We took 5 of our investigators to the "Luz de las Naciones" Spanish event this weekend at temple square/conference center in Salt Lake City! It was incredible, they have performances from tons of different Hispanic countries! When the Hondurian performance came, my companion was going crazy! It was so cool to watch haha! I have tons of pictures from it so you guys can see some it of too! Bear with me though because we were seated pretty far away and I was taking pictures of people dancing and stuff like that, so the pictures aren't the best quality but I tried my best! Our investigators loved it! One of our investigators named Israel Guadarrama was clapping and cheering the whole time! My favorite one was the Mexican one, they had a massive and I mean MASSIVE pinata that they used with it! It was so cool! 









            https://www.lds.org/church/events/temple-square-events/2014-latino-christmas-concert?lang=eng

      Our investigators are progressing nicely, they're all super cool people and I love working with them! Yesterday we ate dinner with an investigator and she is super excited to be baptized eventually! She made us lasagna too, and that made me very happy haha! 
            Seahawks continue to dominate, I'm telling you guys it's going to be a Seahawks vs. Packers NFC Championship game and whoever wins will win the Super Bowl! Niners suck so that's awesome news haha! I love hearing about sports from members and some of our investigators, but the joy I receive when someone accepts the restored gospel and the invitation to be baptized is far greater! Elder Berrios and I are doing awesome and our companionship is strong, we've been in great unity lately! 
            I love all of you and I can't wait to continue serving the Lord this week!
Love,
Elder Derek Strate

Monday, 1 December 2014

American Thanksgiving

Hey everyone!
     This week was good, we've been getting more investigators lately, and we've also put some more on baptismal date! It's been good, our investigators want to learn more but almost all of them have the same one problem, attending church. It's hard for them because lot's of Hispanic people have 2-3 jobs and work on Sundays. Elder Berrios and I were contemplating this topic, how can we help them get to church easier? 
     I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants the other day and received revelation of how to help them, and I told Elder Berrios this too. It's hard to a solution to this type of problem for a people with a working culture, so the spirit told me how to try and fix it. I read the scripture that talks about people should never fear God more than Man, because eternal punishment for disobeying his commandments and not keeping our covenants, is worse than any punishment we can have in this mortal life. Even though none of our investigators have made covenants with God, they have felt the spirit and know what we teach is true, they have told us that. They said they can't keep the Sabbath Day Holy and attend church because of work. We've started to make the approach of being more bold, loving, but bold when inviting them too church. Just telling them that going to church and taking the Sacrament is part of keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, which is a commandment of God. If you have the desire and real intent of going to church, then you'll go. We've tried being more bold with this invitation and it's helped our investigators, you can tell. The Spirit meter goes from like a 6-7 to like a 9-10 because we're being bold and loving. When Christ taught he was always bold and loving with his teachings, never backing down and never falling for the temptation to back out. We're trying the same thing, we'll see how it goes!
     Last Thursday was American Thanksgiving, so we had 2 dinner appointments, the first one at 2 pm and the second one at 6 pm. During both of those dinners, the TV was on with some NFL games haha. I got to watch some of the Seahawks demoltion of the 49ers, I saw Sherman's first interception! I was just like, take that Rob Ralph and Brent Bourne (Might as well throw Tyson Bourne in there as well) :) Haha I also saw a bit of the Eagles annihilation of the Cowboys, so Cowboys fans must be blaming Romo again haha. The second family we ate with was named the Jacksons, Brother Jackson is a huge Cowboys fan. His bedroom and basement are loaded with Cowboys stuff, like it's crazy haha. He's been a fan his whole life, and he's fun to talk football with! He hates Colin Kapaernick just like me, so we had a nice conversation about that!
     All in all, it was a good week and I enjoyed myself. Forgot my camera for the Thanksgiving dinners, darn it. I'll try and get pictures with the families I'm close with so you guys can see them too.
Thanks so much and I love you all!
Love,
Elder Strate

Monday, 24 November 2014

Touques eh?

Hey everyone!
     Congrats to the volleyball teams that won Provincials this weekend, that's super exciting nice work! Good job! Not to burst the bubble or anything, but I did something this week far more impressive than that though.... haha. 
     This week we put 4 investigators on date for baptism, which is amazing! Elder Berrios and I have been working so hard with finding people and trying our best to teach people, but not very many were receptive. It was hard, and we were both getting frustrated. The Lord was definitely testing us, he was testing our patience and our desire to work. Luckily my companion is a super good hard-working guy so we kept going. The start of last week was tough, the same results over and over again, rejection or no one is home. But on Friday, we went to a guy's house that had already rejected us. I thought, here we go again. But during that appointment we found out they were less actives and they have a 9 year old son who hasn't been baptized, and so he's now on date and they want to come to church! BOOM BABY!!! Super happy, and on Saturday we put a family of 3 on date too. 
     The Lord has blessed us for our diligence, and I know he has a hand in the work. He's always there, even at times it feels like he might not be. I;m happy my companion and I didn't give up and complain about our struggles, we did as Samuel the Lamanite did, and that's enduring with our preaching. Try our best with what we have and see who will be touched, and eventually someone will feel the love of God.
     Last night, a lady in our ward surprised us with new toques she made for us! Homemade and they say our last names on them, they look super cool! There's pics of them attached to this email. I'm so grateful for them, their family is the Salas family. One boy in this family who is 15 years old blew his knee out last week in his team's last football game of the year, and he's super sad right now. I told him about Dawson, and the miracle of healing that he's experienced. It comforted him a lot, so I'm grateful for Dawson's example to me, his example of great faith. 

     1st two pictures are me with Brother and Sister Salas, that gave me the toque.
      Last one is Elder Berrios and I wearing our toques.


     My companion is from Honduras, his name is Jose Ruben Berrios Rodriguez, he's 24 years old and a dentist already haha. He was less active for about 7 years he said, then he got sick of his life and came back to church after he finished with dental school. He loves the mission and knows how to work hard.
     Seattle won yesterday I hear, they need to do as Samuel the Lamanite too and keep enduring and pushing hard, then they will win there division. At the start of the year before I left, I told my Dad that the only team I was scared of as a Seahawks fan in the entire NFL was the Packers, because Aaron Rodgers is so lethal, and they're defense is pretty good too. The other day my companion was getting a hair cut, so I read a Sports Illustrated Magazine in the salon, and I saw the Packers and Patriots are scoring a lot of points right now. So I'm thinking a Packers vs Seahawks NFC title game and whoever wins that wins the Super Bowl. I'm happy to hear the Broncos and 49ers are sucking, that can continue for all I care. Also sweet to hear that the Raptors are the best team in the league! I've also heard the Suns are playing well too, which is sweet. 
     Dad you're completely right, when teams have selfish players like the Lakers with Kobe Bryant, they will lose. The Raptors are a good example of unity right now, and I will try to apply that to our missionary work. I hope our local basketball team can figure that out this year too, but I doubt they will.
Thanks for all the love and support,
Elder Strate

Monday, 17 November 2014

Snow!


Hey everyone,                                                                    November 17, 2014
            The area outlined in blue in this link is the area I'm serving in, just found it on LDS.org. https://www.lds.org/maps/#ll=40.86478,-111.855555&z=12&m=google.road&q=Parkway 1st Ward (Spanish)&find=ward.spanish:471291
            My week has gone well, it finally snowed here and my companion is dying! Haha it's the first time he's ever seen snow and he's freaking out. Haha it's so funny, this is the 2nd time I've had a companion on my mission that has never seen snow before. We taught a lot of lessons this week, but we could have taught so much more if people were actually home for our appointments... oh well. It's a little cold here, but I'm sure it's much colder up in Canada. We have been having a blast.
            I heard that Seattle lost to Kansas City yesterday, dang. Well I also heard the Packers blew out the Eagles, so Dad must finally be happy with his team. 
            I've been studying and pondering a lot lately about faith. The scripture which is very familiar to lots of members of the church is Ether 12:6. It talks about miracles happening after the trial of our faith, and that is so true. Right now my companion and I are going through a trial of faith, lots of investigators but it's hard to help them progress. We are trying our best, but it's just difficult. The Lord is testing our faith and patience, and I know if we have faith and put 100% of our trust in the Lord, we will see them progress eventually. I'm so grateful for this gospel, and the blessings it provides for everyone.
            Adios and go Seahawks
            With Love,
            Elder Strate

The message in the snow says Te amo Mama (I love you Mom)


The 2nd picture is me in our house, we live in the basement of members house. They're named the Williams and they're super nice! The picture on the wall is Captain Moroni with the title of Liberty, it's like the theme of our mission.

Monday, 10 November 2014

New Address

Now that I'm in my mission, please send letters or packages to here:

Elder Derek Strate
Utah Salt Lake City Mission
1535 S Edison St
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH  
84115-1625  
UNITED STATES

Thanks everyone! 

He's in the field..........Nov 10 letter

Hey guys!
     I'm serving in Bountiful and North Salt Lake right now. Since we're Spanish missionaries we cover a way bigger area than English missionaries, so we cover our whole zone. It's massive haha. We cover 12 stakes, yes I said it 12 stakes! It's crazy! The 12 stakes in Bountiful and North Salt Lake are equivalent to the 1 Spanish ward we cover, it's a little confusing but I'll try and send you a map of the area if I can find one. We have a car for that reason but I've been working out whenever I can so I don't get fat. It'll be hard though because we get Mexican food almost everynight from members. That stuff is super unheatlhy but super tasty haha. 
     My companion is named Elder Berrios, he's from Honduras. His English isn't too great so my Spanish skills are being tested, he's been out for 5 months. He's a super good guy and we both want to work hard. We've been working hard, but our investigators never keep their appointments haha. I'm quickly starting to learn that Hispanic people never keep their commitments or are never home when we come by, it's quickly getting frustrating haha, but it's ok. This week we had 2 investigators come to church and Elder Berrios told me that's the first time an investigator has come to church in that ward for almost 4 months. It's pretty crazy, the work is turning around. We just need to show patience and let the Lord work with them. 
     We have a lot of investigators, it's just hard to help them progress. We're trying really hard, and I know the Lord will reward us for our efforts. I could see us having a ton of baptisms in the next month or two if everything goes well. The English missionaries here baptize way more than we do, because we only teach Spanish people. We'll just keep working hard and continue to exercise our faith in the Lord.
     The members are super cool, considering our ward is full of Mexicans and Peruvians (mainly) there are a lot of people that like basketball. When I told them I played basketball they all were like, come play with us sometime! Haha they really enjoy their b-ball, and most of them are huge Jazz fans. One member told me that the Jazz beat the Cavs a few days ago because Gordan Hayward made a buzzer beater. Dang haha the Cavs need to mesh quicker or the Heat will lead the east. I've also heard the Suns are having a good season so far, which is great news. Dad also telling me that Lynch got 4 TD's against the Giants this week is awesome, I'll make sure to wear my Lynch shirt to P. Day ball today haha.
     Thanks for all the prayers and support you guys give me, I appreciate it so much. Congrats Miranda on your team's volleyball success, continue developing and you'll be a stud in high school. Nice deer too! 
Con amor,
Elder Strate

First pic is a companionship selfie, second is just my companion Elder Berrios
Elder Strate

 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Last night at MTC


Hello all!                                                                                                               November 2, 2014
          This week has been a marvelous week, and tomorrow I leave for the field once again! I can't wait to take the train to Salt Lake City tomorrow to continue serving the Lord. My train leaves at 7:05 and I'll get to Salt Lake just after 8. My companion Elder Felts left for Texas at 3:45 am this morning, so I already said goodbye to him. He's going to be an amazing missionary, he's a super cool guy and he has such a soft heart. He truly does care for everyone and that's something I'm going to try and develop for myself. He was a great example to me for showing love to all, so I know if he can do it I can do it too.
          I also went to the Provo Temple for the last time today, it is extremely beautiful there. My favorite picture I have of it, is the one taken early in the morning. It looks so cool in that picture!



          At my last devotional here at the MTC our speaker was Wendy W. Nelson. She is the wife of Russell M. Nelson and she grew up in Raymond, Alberta! I guess good things do come out of Raymond, sometimes... haha. She gave an amazing talk, her husband wasn't there which was too bad but she was an excellent speaker. She told us a story about a trip she had to Russia. She was doing service with a group of women from a stake in Moscow, and they started talking about lineage. She asked them all what tribes they were from, and she said 11 of the 12 tribes were represented in that stake. The only tribe missing was Levi. She told us this story to show us that the tribes really are gathering in these last days. It was really cool to hear that experience.
          I hate the Giants so much, that's for all you Giants fans out there. It's ok though, I know for a fact that the Cardinals would've won if Molina and Wainwright were healthy :) haha. Good to hear the Seahawks are winning and the Niners are losing, haha that one is for you guys (Rob Ralph and Brent Bourne). One of the new Elders in my zone told me the Cowboys have been on fire this year, he told me they beat the Seahawks one game and were 6-1 the last he heard. That's crazy... 
          I love all of you and I encourage all of you to do one thing, avoid pride! Ready Alma 38 and study the aspects of pride! It's so important! Pride is what destroyed the Nephites, what caused Lucifer's betrayal, and most importantly, what can make us fall. Pride is one of Satan's biggest tools for making us give into temptation. AVOID PRIDE LIKE THE PLAGUE!
Love you all and peace out,
With Love,
Elder Strate

Here are some more pics. First one is Elder Felts on the Computer, I'm gonna miss this stud.
Second one is me with Elder Quinton again! We found each other at the MTC again. He left last Wednesday, it's been cool having our missions linked. Last one is Elder Barfuss being the stud that he is.









Monday, 27 October 2014

addition to letter

Ok a few things I forgot to share in my letter quick
     In one of our devotionals recently our speaker was Chad Lewis. He was a NFL player for the Philadelphia Eagles, he used to play for BYU. He was on the Eagles team that lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl back in 2004 (I think, check up on that one). He spoke about the same things that Vai Spoke about. Always being a missionary and not being afraid to tell people, "Hey I'm a Mormon, and I know the truth." Just stuff like that it was really cool. 
     He also played for Andy Reid who is an active Mormon, he told all of us that. He said it was really cool to hear speeches from him because sometimes he would say things, and Chad knew the things he were saying were coming from the spirit. Guys like Donovan McNabb would talk about it afterwards and be like, "Man I love when coach gives speeches like that." Andy Reid is another example of doing missionary work, in all places, and sometimes indirectly. It was super cool.

One week left in MTC

Hola! Como estan?
     I'm doing awesome, happy to hear the Seahawks snuck out a win this week. That's always nice news, also I'm sorry to hear about Oscar Tavares, that's terrible news. It's times like those that bring people closer to God than ever before, sometimes we need to be broken down so the Lord can build us back up bigger and stronger than before. 
     I leave back to the field in a week! It's fetching crazy but I'm so excited to return to doing the work I love. It's going to be incredible! I can't wait to serve the people of Salt Lake City! The weather here is really good, Dad wasn't kidding when he told me that Utah has really nice fall weather. It's beautiful down here. What we get for like 2 weeks in Canada for fall they get for a few months and it's really pretty seeing all the different colors! God has created an amazing and awe inspiring world for us to live in! 
     I've gone to the Provo Temple every P. Day and it's gorgeous! I still like the Cardston temple more, it is much bigger and in my opinion way prettier. It's still nice to do the work of the Lord though!
     The Spanish is going good! I've got lots of things mastered, I just need to improve my vocabulary more, that's probably my biggest problem right now. 
      I've been playing sports daily still and after I'm going to play some ball after I'm done writing. 
      I would just like to invite everyone that reads this to just be a loving person to all. The central focus of the Gospel of Jesus Christ all relates back to love. The reason we're here, the reason Christ died for us, the reason we receive trials, all relate back to the fact that God loves us! He really does and I feel his love constantly! I'm so grateful for all he does for us, especially each one of us personally!

     Dad- Thanks for sharing that message from President Eyering. I have some scriptures for you to look up on your own time dad. I've been praying a lot recently asking God why he puts you through such hard trials. I had trouble understanding because you're the one that goes to church, serves the Lord constantly, keeps his covenants, and is an amazing example to me. I was so confused why the Lord would continually fire new problems at you. In one of our class activities, Hermana Kent in my district shared scriptures with me that answered my prayers. Here they are: 1 Corinthians 10:13, Jeremiah 1:5, Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, and 84:88. Those scriptures will provide comfort, they did for me at least.

     Thanks girls for the letter, that's a super cute picture too thanks so much for sharing. I hope the triplets are doing good. I love you guys so much and thanks for all the prayers an support. Miranda that sentence makes no sense haha encantar is to sing, so you said "Me song basketball" haha. Say this instead: "Me gusta encantars balencesto." It means "I like basketball songs."

I love all of you, thanks so much!
Hasta lluego!
Con amor,
Elder Strate

Sunday, 26 October 2014

TREK Video

At our Stake Conference session on Saturday evening, they showed this video of Trek from this past summer. It was wonderful to see the boys in it, bad hard at the same time. Shed a few tears as we miss them, but know they are doing the Lord's work.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=791644410893530&set=vb.558231247568182&type=2&theater

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Moved

   Hey today I got moved to MTC main campus and I just wanted to let you know that my P Day is now on Monday. I´ll be living here at main campus until I leave on the 4th. West campus has so much more space, but main has better food. There´s pros and cons for both, but I think West Campus is better. Oh well we get the best of both worlds I guess.
My address has changed slightly I believe.
Here it is:
 
Derek Ronald Strate
Nov 4 UT-SLC
2013 N. 900 E. Unit 391
Provo, UT 84602

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Devotional

Guess what?
     At our devotional last week we had a guest speaker named Vai Sikahema, he's a former pro football player and a former BYU football player. He served a mission in South Dakota and he played for the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles. He's now a sports broadcaster in Philadelphia. It was cool to hear him speak, he was such a funny guy!
   

     He shared lots of awesome experiences playing pro sports, and he said EVERYONE on his teams knew he was a Mormon. He taught us to always stand up for our beliefs and to never back down. He also shared with us experiences he had doing missionary work off our missions as well. I would encourage all of you to attempt missionary work wherever possible, because Salvation is not a cheap price, we want it for everyone. Work on people, for it is written that if we keep our mouths closed, we will be held accountable for them at the last day. Share with people what we believe, and don't be afraid of being rejected. That's what he taught us, on and off our missions. I've been rejected lots but now I don't even care if I get rejected, I did my part.
Love,
Elder STrate

2 months done


Hey everyone!                                                                                                        October 18, 2014

       I've been a missionary for over 2 months now!
       To start off, I'm cheering for the Royals in the World Series. Matt Noad informed me that Wainwright and Molina were hurt, so that's why the Cardinals lost :). I'm not cheering for the Giants EVER in my life, so go Royals! They do seem like the team of destiny this year from what I've heard, just like the Red Sox were last year. GO ROYALS! Haha
       My week was good, my knee is feeling a lot better thanks for the cream! I got two packages this week, one from Aunt Carla and one from mi Mama! Gracias both of you! It was so nice to get those packages, and the treats are always nice. I've been sharing some of my Canadian candy with the other missionaries because they've never had a Wunderbar or Smarties before, some have admitted that our candy is better than there's which is awesome!
       I discovered this week that my investigator was the same investigator that Dawson had! His name is Marco, and he's from Peru. SPOILER ALERT! He's a member, and has been for years. He's served in bishoprics and on stake presidencies, he told me this because I saw him at the temple last Saturday. He told me he loves Dawson, and he's grown to love me too. Dawson and I will have to go and see him after our missions, he's a super cool, nice, and humble guy. He has both of our emails so we can stay in touch, I feel like I've made a lifelong friend with him. It was a very humbling experience to get to know him, and I feel like my confidence has matured because of his support for all missionaries.
   


       Keep working hard in everything you guys are doing, I love all of you so much! Thanks for all the prayers, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GRANDMA STRATE TODAY! I read something the other day that said; "Birthdays are like golf, the higher the score the more likely we are to lie about it!" haha it just made me laugh because I knew Grandma's birthday was today, and I thought she would never lie about her age, but Grandpa might! :) ha ha
       The feeling here is amazing and I just want to testify how much the Lord can influence our lives. Here at the MTC I was starting to feel bored and I was getting sick of it, because I knew it was so fake. I've been in the field and already learned almost everything I'm learning here (except the language) and it was starting to frustrate me. I just wanted to go to the field right now so badly! I was sick of everything here and I wanted to talk to normal people, like on the street like I did in Calgary. When I prayed to the Lord I realized that I need to look for ways I can grow, and to take advantage of how far ahead I am compared to others. I did that, and the Lord blessed me with Marco's commitment to baptism yesterday. It was an incredible feeling, and even though I knew he was just acting, it didn't matter. The Spirit was still there and        I loved the feeling I received.
       Thanks again for everything, and thanks for the support. Seahawks better be winning, I can't let all the 49ers fans have something to bug me about.
Con amor,
Elder Strate

      I received an email from my companions in Calgary. One of my investigators from there got baptized this week, he's the one with the mustache, his name is Jabe King. He's a super cool guy and I love him! The other person that baptized him is name Ivan Lagace, and he was my ward mission leader in Calgary! Super cool just thought I would let you know.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Pics

Thanks to the Mark Harker family for sending the first picture. They were in Provo today and saw Derek walking down the street and got a pic with him!
The second photo is his MTC District.



    My district photo goes from left to right like this : Elder Felts (From North Logan, Utah), Elder Barfuss (Calgary), Elder Spiedel (Edmonton), Me, Hermana Boyce (One of our teachers, she served her mission in Bolivia, she grew up in Indiana), Hermana Davis (New York), Hermana House (Centerville, Utah), and Hermana Kent (Bountiful, Utah). 
     Hermana Davis left recently to go to the Columbia MTC, her original call was to go there but she didn't have a visa, she got her visa and took off to Columbia to finish her MTC training there. So now our district is down to 6.

Letter #9 - I'm the fan........... ha ha

Hey family,
     The MTC has bee so good, the food is ok and the Spanish is coming along well. It's so cool how fast you can learn things when you have the spirit with you! Thank you for all the prayers and support, it helps so much. I haven't had any crazy or cool experiences this week, but I have been doing well. I don't have a ton of time to write so this letter is very brief, sorry.
     I've been playing sports everyday, wearing the brace and everything. It feels good most of the time, I just have the random day that it hurts. It's just getting to the point where I'm pissed off that it isn't going away. Played mostly volleyball and basketball, but no one else here is to great at sports honestly. In basketball I'm the best player on this campus (from what i've seen) by so much, it's not even close. Here's kind of a funny story. 
     The other day I was shooting around with my companion just by ourselves, and I heard some kid screaming and yelling like he's just won the Super Bowl. I looked over and this kid just drained 3 threes in a row to win themselves the pickup game of 2 on 2. He was right in the other kids faces, bragging and just being super annoying and cocky. I walked over and I could hear him saying, "Someone get a fan in here, cuz I'm too hot! You can't touch this I'm too good!" I started laughing to myself in my head, and told my companion lets go play them. My companion, Elder Felts is not a super athletic guy, his main sport is swimming and the only sport he's ever played with a ball before is soccer and he hasn't played that since he was like 10. So we walk over and I tap the kid on the shoulder, he turns around and says "Who are you?" I being the straight up jerk I can sometimes be, say "I'm the fan, and I'm here to cool you down." I give a little grin and his smile quickly fades. I shoot for ball and drain it. We play and I just destroy this kid, and he doesn't say another word! He asks me after the game, where are you from? I say Canada, and he says one word before he leaves; "wow...". It was so funny, we couldn't stop laughing about it afterwards! It was the best! Haha
     Anyways I love you guys and conference was an awesome experience! I loved every second of it, my favorite talks were President Packers in Saturday morning session, and President Uchtdorf's in Priesthood session. Look those up, they will help your lives.
Con amor,
Elder Strate

Sunday, 5 October 2014

MTC Pictures

Here are some pictures from the MTC, the group picture is from left to right me, then Elder Felts (my companion), then Elder Barfuss and Elder Speidel. These are the 4 Elders I'm living with right now.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

Letter #8

Hola Everyone!
     The MTC is still going well, I can't believe I've already been here for 10 days, the time is flying! Plus my 2 month anniversary for being a missionary is coming up soon too! I've been out since August 16th, which is just insane. The time goes by fast when you're working hard and trying to do what's right. Being a District leader here has been such a blessing so far, I've tried my best to keep our district under control and working hard on a constant basis. We've grown to love each other, and our teachers feel like family as well. 
     When I discovered the Cardinals were playing the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs, it was bittersweet. I know whoever wins that series is going to win the World Series, so it better be St. Louis! I'm dreaming for a St. Louis vs. Angels World Series so Albert Pujols can lose to his former team haha! Sports here at the MTC are fun, I've been playing a lot of basketball and volleyball which has been good. We get gym time everyday for 50 minutes which gives us a nice break from the constant studying we do each day.
     In the priesthood session tonight for conference there is going to be a missionary choir from the MTC singing in that session. I found out that our group of missionaries was a week late for the sign up, DANG IT! That would've been so cool to sing in conference tonight, but I know quite a few missionaries that are singing tonight, so it will be cool to see them on the big screen this evening. 
     My companion and I are doing very good thus far, we've been working hard and trying our best to figure out the language. One of our teachers told us the other day; "Spoiler Alert, every missionary comes home fluent in the language they learn. But not every missionary develops the Christ Like Attributes that God wants us too. It's sad, but true. I've focused my main priority on developing those attributes, I know the Lord will bless me if I do that. 
     I'm so grateful for all of you and I can feel your prayers in my life! I'm going to continue praying for all of you and I hope you all have a wonderful week! God will bless us if we put forth the desire to gain his knowledge and by serving others!
Love,
Elder Strate
one last pic from Calgary- Elder Quinton from Cardston and I.