Monday, 28 March 2016

Breaking in a new area .... transferred

     Sorry, this letter will be short! I don't have much time because of transfers. I'm getting transferred on Wednesday! Total time in this area came out to about 7 months, and I loved every second of it. I'm going to miss this area so much, but I know that I am ready for a change. I have made friends here that I'm going to stay in contact with, which is great! Serving as AP and working with President everyday was very rewarding.
       I'm going to cover the Lucero Spanish Ward and part of the Arbor Spanish Branch which is like downtown and east Salt Lake City. I'm very excited to be where I am at. I only have 3 transfers left after this one ends, which means I'm probably going to finish my mission here. I have learned so much throughout my mission, and I'm excited to use all of those skills and work my very hardest right here at the end. I'm excited to go into a new area that hasn't been worked for a bit, I like jump starting dead areas. I've done it before on my mission, so I can do it again.
      I'm going back to the Spanish Program and I'm going to be a District Leader. I'm super excited to finish my mission back out in the field and in Spanish. The Lord knew that's what I need and I'm so grateful for that. I have a great companion, Elder Lemmon from Washington. He's been out about 6 months. So I'M PUMPED!!!!! I'm gonna finish my mission here.
      Elder Ohl is my replacement as AP. He's from Pennsylvania, but his mom is originally from Cardston. So it will be Elders Haight and Ohl now as APs. 
      I have tickets to every conference session on Saturday. I got tickets to the Saturday AM session from the mission but I got the rest from local members. I'm still trying to get tickets for Sunday but if I don't, that's ok. I'm super excited to go.
      We got your package, we ate dinner with President and Sister Spendlove, then we taught some lessons! It was a good Easter.
       I know Christ lives, and I'm so grateful for his Atonement. Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and it was so fitting to finish my time here testifying of the Savior and the reality of his Atonement to the members I have been serving. We have some people on date for baptism here in the YSA Ward so hopefully I will be returning to the area for some baptisms.
     Have a great week!
         Elder Strate

Monday, 21 March 2016

Birthday Surprises

            I had a great week! We taught some wonderful lessons and found some more great people to work with. I have loved serving in this area because the members help us with finding constantly, and that makes our job a lot easier.
            My birthday was on Friday. Our mission sends out a transfer update at the start of every transfer, which includes the birthdays of all the missionaries in the mission for that transfer. As a result, everyone knew it was my birthday haha. I had a lot of cake and different treats given to me on Friday as a result. We went to a district meeting in Bountiful in the morning and one of the sisters in the district made cake, but she didn't know we were gonna come! Hahaha it was so crazy.

                The picture below shows us eating the cake after the meeting.

            That afternoon we attended a district meeting in Farmington. One of my former companions, an Elder Martinez, stood up in front of everyone and said he had an announcement. He continued to announce my birthday, so the whole zone sang for me. It was embarrassing to say the least hahaha but I know everyone had good intentions. My birthday was really sweet.
            Some missionaries made me cupcakes that say Feliz Cumpleanos Elder Strate. Feliz Cumpleanos means happy birthday in Spanish hahaha they were delicious!

            I got lots of nice cards and emails from everyone! Thank you so much! I also got a package from my parents. They sent me a ton of chocolate, like I mean a ton. Hahaha I have enough to share, so I will probably end up doing that. 

            My mission President and his family had me over at their house for cake on my birthday too. That was really cool and thoughtful of them. It was a nice day.
            We have transfers at the end of the month. By then I will have been in this area for 7 months.... Wow time has flown. We will see what the Lord has in store for me. I'm willing to do whatever he needs and I'm excited to see how I do these next few months.

            Have a great week! I know that Christ lives and loves each and every one of us.

                  Elder Strate

Friday, 18 March 2016


Derek's Mission President's wife took him over a cake today! Love that he's being so well taken care of.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Another Great Week

            Hey everyone!                                                                       March 14, 2016
            This week was great! We had some awesome lessons this week. We had a bunch with some less active members that we are working with, and a few with some non-members. Elaine is going to have her baptismal date moved to April. We have the Provo City Temple dedication this Sunday, and General Conference is coming up so we figured that she would have better fellowship in the Ward if she has more opportunities to go. She has been having trouble getting to church because of work, and yesterday she was gonna come but she was in Heber with her family for the weekend, so she couldn't make it in time for our 10am meetings. We are going to meet with her today at 4:30. We are both extremely excited for that! She has been doing great, but she simply needs a little more time to prepare.
            We gave talks in one of our wards yesterday. It was amazing! I've grown to love speaking in front of groups of people. It's been such a miracle for me to do so, because that is a talent that will be a blessing for my whole life. I spoke on faith, and how faith is a principle of action and power. With faith we can see miracles and receive revelation. My companion and I had a lot of members compliment us on our talks afterwards, so apparently we did a good job.
            I played catch last p-day! It was the first time I had played catch for such a long time. My arm feels loose and it was so nice to play a little toss. I played catch with my companion and a less active member, Joe White, that we are working with. He loves baseball, he used to play for Utah State so it's been cool connecting with him through baseball.
            This week I read a talk by Elder Bednar. He establishes a pattern of prayer that I think is profound;
Ask in Faith - Elder David A. Bednar (2008 April General Conference) "If you and I would truly pray and ask in faith, as did Joseph Smith--if we would pray with the expectation to act and not just to express--then the work of proclaiming the gospel would move forward in a remarkable way, Step by Step Process for how to pray in faith
            - Thanking Heavenly Father for the doctrines and ordinances of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which bring hope and happiness into our lives.
            - Asking for courage and boldness to open our mouths and share the gospel with our family and friends.
            - Entreating Heavenly Father to help us identify individuals and families who will be receptive to our invitation to be taught by the missionaries in our homes.
            - Pledging to do our part this day and this week and petitioning for help to overcome anxiety, fear, and hesitation.
            - Seeking for the gift of discernment-- for eyes to see and ears to hear missionary opportunities as they occur.
            - Praying fervently for the strength to act as we know we should.

            I testify that prayer becomes meaningful as we ask in faith and act. I invite all of us to pray in faith about our divinely given mandate to proclaim the gospel. As we do so, I promise doors will open and we
will be blessed to recognize and act upon the opportunities that will be provided."
            Now, I'm not quoting this saying that all of your prayers need to be step by step as Elder Bednar teaches in this specific talk. Prayer should come from the heart, but this pattern is a suggestion of how to
pray if you are looking for more missionary opportunities. I think it's amazing, and I love how when we pray for opportunities and act accordingly, the Lord guides us through the Holy Ghost. Then, when we
have a chance to share the restored gospel, we will know exactly what to say and how to say it. I want to invite all of you to give this a shot this week, and pray for specific individuals or families that you know could use a boost this week.
            Have a great week!
                                                            Elder Strate

Monday, 7 March 2016

4 months 2 weeks left

      This week was very good! We met some new investigators and they seem very prepared to receive the gospel. We had a very powerful lesson this week with an investigator named James. We shared a talk from a YSA Devotional by Tad R. Callister. It talks about what some of the necessary blueprints are for Christ's church. 
      Here's the link to this talk, it's very powerful I suggest you watch it.
      I was reading a talk this week that we recently studied for zone conference. In the talk we studied as part of our preparation for zone conference, "Why Do We Serve?" given General Conference in October 1984, Elder Dallin H. Oaks discusses six primary reasons people serve in the Church. The first two he described as "priestcraft" or selfish and self-centered reasons to serve:
     1. Hope of an earthly reward.
     2. Personal desire to obtain good companionship (to hang out with our friends)
The remaining four reasons go from good to better to the best reasons to serve:
     3. Fear of punishment
     4. Sense of duty
     5. Hope for an eternal reward
     6. For the love of God and his children
Reasons 3. through 5. are compelling reasons and each has it's own redeeming quality for serving. Each will motivate us -- to a point. But each still has a bit of selfishness attached to it and doesn't have the full power to motivate us like loving our Father in Heaven does.
      Loving our Father in Heaven is the first and great reason for all we do. This is what the Savior meant when asked which was the great commandment, he responded: 
   "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)
     Elsewhere he taught:
   "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
   "If ye love me, feed my sheep." (John 21:16-17)
     These two themes -- loving God by keeping His commandments and serving others -- is found in some of the most powerful scriptures we have on power in our lives and service:
      "...if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you..." (Moroni 10:32)
      "Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God..." (D&C 121:45-46)
       My plea to all of you is; Let us serve because we LOVE OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN! It's the best and only way to do this work. We'll find the greatest joy as we serve for this reason. Obedience and consecration become easier. We'll have more power and the Spirit will be with us more. Our faith will be strong and we will see miracles! This is why the question of how we feel about the Savior is so important. If we LOVE Him and the Father we can do all things.
      That's why Moroni, speaking of charity, exhorted:
      "...pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ..." (Moroni 7:48)
      May you be filled with this great love -- with charity, the pure love of Christ. It will help you overcome all fear and doubt; all exhaustion and disappointment; all strife and contention; all obstacles and roadblocks to the work and help you realize the righteous desires of your heart and faith-filled efforts.
      Those are some of my insights from my studies this week. I hope they make your week brighter. I know that Jesus Christ lives, he is our Savior. I'm so grateful for Him because of what He did for me. I know that when we serve him out of gratitude and love for His ministry and sacrifice, we will see miracles in our lives.
       Have a great week!
             Elder Strate