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!
                                  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.


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-

Monday, 15 December 2014


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
Elder Strate


     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
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! 


      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!
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!
Elder Strate