Monday, 25 August 2014

Letter #2

Hey family,                                                                       Aug 25, 2014

       I want your goal to be this; be in good enough shape to beat me at basketball when I get back! Good luck! I have been praying often for our investigators and our less active members I can definitely tell it's making a difference! We had 5 investigators at church today which is an all time record for our stake according to Elder Smith. He thinks I'm a good luck charm because ever since I got here, we've had dinner appointments every night and the work has been hastening a ton! We have 1 of our investigators on date to be baptized on September 20th, his name is Harry and he's from Nigeria. He's a super nice guy and you can tell the Spirit has touched his life. 
       I've seen plenty of people that you and I know, Uncle Dwight, the Heavens, President Dudley, and lots of others. It's been very cool to make connections with people up here that know people around Southern Alberta, they've all implied I'm a good basketball player because I'm from there which is a correct assumption! 
       It sounds like you're having way too much fun without me! You guys always have the fun activities planned when I'm not around, what's up with that!? Just kidding, but I've been having lots of fun too! We ended up playing soccer and ultimate Frisbee instead last P Day but we are for sure playing ball today. On Friday morning Elder Smith and I woke up earlier than normal and went to the Stake Center and shot around for a few hours, it felt good. '
       The biking and walking life has kind of sucked, just because both pedals on my bike broke which makes the bike riding a lot harder, but thankfully Brother Crapo has offered to fix it. The members here are so nice and have treated us like gold. I'm so grateful for all of them.
       This message is for the girls: Just remember to say your daily prayers and read your scriptures, I didn't do that enough growing up and I regret it so much! It helps us have the spirit with us all day and helps develop our testimonies. Keep having fun and go hard at school. 
       Mom: I'm well and alive, just enjoying myself and recognizing all the wonderful blessings in my life! We've been yelled at and cussed at but that's ok, Jesus was mocked too but that doesn't mean his teachings were false. The Savior lives and loves all of us. Keep and eye on dad, he needs you more than you or I realize. May God bless you and dwell in your heart.
       Dad: I've been keeping your health in my prayers, I know it works. It isn't a doubt to me at all, I know the last few years have been Hell from a physical and emotional standpoint, so one thing I'd like to tell you is this; Jesus Christ understands what you're going through and he can relate to the pain. Pray and ask for his help specifically, and you will receive it. I wish I would've read my scriptures and prayed more often, I know you guys do but continue to do that. Look at the positives in life, like there's always someone fatter than you so don't worry about that ;) haha.
       My companion is also a huge Seahawks fan, I mean he is from Washington so it makes sense! He's just bummed that he missed to Super Bowl, but don't worry I filled him in.
       Continue to love the Lord and put him first, family is a huge asset in his plan so don't destroy that asset! I love you guys and I am always thinking of you.
                                                                                           Elder Derek Strate

Monday, 18 August 2014

Letter #1

Hello family,
My first day was a great day, Elder Smith put me directly to work; we went and laid sod for a member like 15 minutes after I got the apartment! Haha it was good though, Calgary lots are a lot smaller than Magrath lots so it was a breeze!
That night we had a dinner appointment with a family called the Eastons. The husband is not a member but the wife is and she said missionaries have been working on him for years! He knows so much about the gospel and doctrines of the church, like he honestly is one of the smartest guys I've met in terms of knowing doctrines of our church. Like for example, did you know there are 3 polygamists in the quorum of the 12? It's a bit of a trick question, he asked me this to test my knowledge of doctrine. I got it pretty quick, faster than most missionaries he said. The reason that statement is true is because there are 3 members of the quorum of the 12 that have deceased spouses and have married another spouse after their former spouse passed away. Since we're married for time and all eternity, that means they have 2 wives! I was shocked at first, but it is true. But with the knowledge he has, he will not join the gospel. I know not why, but I'm gonna find out and work on him! ;) he also reads lots of books about the church and history of prophets, and I thought one book that would be cool to suggest to him is the one about Joseph Smith's body guard, I don't remember what it's called so I need dad to let me know! 
Elder Smith is an awesome guy, he's from Stela, Washington and he said he used to play lots of soccer before he graduated! He said Stela is about the size of Taber but with a lot less members! He had a total of 5 other LDS people in his graduating class, which to me is just crazy. He went to BYU for a year before he left on his mission. He said his father grew up in Fort Macleod so he is actually quite familiar with Southern Alberta.  
Sunday was good, I met a few people that know/used to live in Magrath (Or Raymond, Cardston, etc.) I met a guy named Clyde Dudley and he said he grew up in Magrath. I met Scott Clifton's cousin and he is the Elders Quorum President for the Sunridge Ward in East Calgary! There were other's too but I sadly don't remember all of their names! I got called up during Sacrament meeting just to introduce myself and bear a quick testimony, and that went well. We had dinner that night with the Crapo family and the father said he served with Bill Heaven in the stake presidency! Sister Crapo was also very good friends with Barb Stanford! It's a small world we live in and they were freaking out when I told them I was related to them! They have a son named Kurtis who is leaving on his mission to Vancouver in approximately 2 weeks. He's the same age as me and he graduated from Lester B. Pierson this year. They were a very nice family and they gave us all of the leftovers! Which is awesome because she is an amazing cook. They also offered to fix our bike because the one bike when we got to the apartment had a flat tire! So we've been walking everywhere which has been a little exhausting. But I'm extremely grateful for them and their desire to serve us.
Last night we actually ran into 2 members of Bishop McNally's basketball team while tracting, I recognized them from provs and I was like I'm going to talk to them. Elder Smith was like, alright man good luck! He looked a little puzzled haha. Their names were Prince and Albert, they were both black and about the same height as me (6'8 I've grown a lot since I left...) but they were actually around 6'3 just like me haha. But they seemed interested in the gospel and I told them the reason little towns like Magrath, Cardston, and Raymond were generally good at basketball was because we're all Mormons and that's all we do! Haha we had a good laugh about that, but we gave them our phone #'s and I have a good feeling about them!
My mission has been awesome so far, today for P Day we're going to do some quick shopping and then we're going to play some basketball! (YAY!!) They all said they aren't very good, but I don't believe them! They said I'm going to show them all up, but I haven't played real ball for a few months so I'm like wow I hope I don't suck! :p haha but it'll be really fun! We've had dinner appointments every day I've been here so Elder Smith believes I'm a good luck charm. 
Thanks to you guys and I love all of you so much, yes even Miranda! Haha but thank you for the support and keep me in your prayers please! I'll be keeping you in mine
Elder Strate

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Went to church today and ran into my dad's cousin. Bill Heaven is the bishop in Chestermere and they share the building with us. Pretty cool, so we took a pic and he texted it to my dad. Bill is Leota's son. Leota is my Grandpa Rick's sister.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

If you want to write me while I'm in Calgary, send it here:

  Elder Derek Strate

Canada Calgary Mission

7040 Farrell Road Southeast  

 Was set apart today by President McMahon for the Canada Calgary Mission and the Utah Salt Lake  City Mission Spanish Speaking at 8:30 am. Not too many people get set apart for two missions so that's unique. My dad and Grandpa French stood in the circle.
 We went home and Rango met us to say good bye. We were off to Calgary by 9:30 am and made it to the Mission President's home in SE Calgary at noon. He invited us in and visited with our family for a bit. I met my first companion, Elder Smith from Washington State. Seems like a great guy. President gave us some time alone to say good byes then we took pictures and mom, dad, Miranda, Sarah and Bree left. It was hard. It was cool to get a name tag with Elder Strate on it.
   I will be serving in the Calgary NE Stake, Sunridge Ward. Looking forward to the adventure! Elder Smith says we have a teaching appointment today, so jumping right in with both feet.
thanks everyone for the support
Love Elder Strate

Friday, 15 August 2014

Dad and I with our mission calls to the same mission! 23 years apart.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Off to Calgary

Found out this morning that Derek will report to the Calgary Mission on Saturday, then off to Utah Sept 24.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Entry date changed

     Well everyone, we've had a hiccup. My origonal date to start my mission was Sept 24. It was moved up to August 13 to allow me to get back to go to university. All good right?
     Well, the church was able to change all my documents and everything was good to go, except the US Govt won't approve the date change on my visa, so now I can't go to the US until Sept 24.
     I will be starting my mission later this week in Calgary, pending Q of the 12 approval, and then will be heading to Provo to the MTC on Sept 24. A different route, but I accept this challenge and know the Lord will guide me. After spending time in the MTC learning Spanish I will then be off to SLC to finish my mission.
     So if you still see me around town for the next few days, don't be alarmed, just waiting for my assignment in Calgary, hoping to be gone by the weekend. Thanks again everyone for coming to see me off yesterday and a special thanks to those that have donated some funds to me to help get things taken care of.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Thanks to everyone that came out today for my last talk in Canada for a while. Here are a few pics from today