Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015

Dear Family,

This past week has flown by! The most interesting change this week was the weather for sure. The weather has been really nice and from what we understand about Southampton it's never this nice in April. We've had sunny days all this week and it's supposed to stay like that for a while so it will be nice to have some warmth! It's so cliché but English people love talking about the weather, because it is so unpredictable. No matter who it is once you start talking about the weather they start getting excited and talk about how the nice it is right now and how it probably won't last! It has been easy to start conversations this week because we ask people what the weather is usually like in Southampton this time of year and they explain it and then almost always ask us where we are from and what we are doing in England, which easily leads us to introduce missionary work and the gospel.

 We are starting to consistently teach more lessons and it is nice to be able have more investigators that we can help grow closer to Christ. All of the people we are teaching have a religious background with varying degrees of loyalty to their own congregation or reception of the things we are teaching. For the most part they are all making progress in their own way and we are able to do our part in "calling them to repentance".

  I never thought about it much before my mission but I know now the importance of investigators understanding that the Church is the Lord's Kingdom and is the only church with the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the authority to perform the ordinances of it. Many people tell us "You have your beliefs, and I have my beliefs" and my response when the situation is right is to say "But it is important to have God's beliefs/truth and the only way you are going to find out is if you ask Him". It isn't always appropriate to say that because it can easily offend or start an argument but it is needed because we need to let it cut and sting a little bit to motivate people to seek after truth or to make improvements in their lives. Elder Senkans and I have been trying to be more bold with people because that is a quality that all effective missionaries in the scriptures have. They never sidestepped or diminished the truth because it would offend people, "the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center." it is going to offend them anyway so it is important to make them aware of their guilt and lovingly guide them to the Savior who is the only one who can lift their burdens from them.

 It is really cool to hear the things that are changing at home! I smiled when I read that Caitlin still calls the room upstairs my room! I realized that I will probably stay downstairs once I get back so Josh shouldn't get too comfortable ruling the man cave. ;) In a lot of ways it won't be the same when I go home but that is something I've always known, as long as Caitlin doesn't grow up too much everything will be okay! I can't believe so many people are going home from their missions! I remember when they all left! It scares me to think that my mission could go by that fast.

  I'll quickly answer questions as well because I know I've been really bad at it in the past.

 School over here is the year round track like some of the schools do in the US. The biggest break is in the summer for about 6 weeks and there are 2 week breaks in the fall and spring with 2-3 weeks at Christmas. All of the older people really don't like school holidays and are pretty open about how they can't wait for them to go back to school! About middle school age is when they move up to "Secondary School" and then they go to college. College and University are different things and it is mandatory to go to college before going to university. College starts as early as 16 and lasts for 2-3 years and is a lot like High School but is a little more specialized on future careers. University is then just what it is like college in the US but once you start a major you have to stick with it for the whole 4 years and can only take 1 break year. I'm pretty sure that's right but it might not be, I still don't understand it completely.

 I didn't mention it before but we watched conference delayed but were able to watch the majority of the sessions. The morning sessions at 10 AM in Twin are live at 5 PM in the evening. So when you watched conference in pajamas and probably right after the boys woke up we had finished dinner and had already spent most of the day watching the other sessions of conference. We won't get the Ensign for a bit, we usually get them way late because we have to wait until a Zone Conference/Training for mail from the mission office. We will have a mission wide conference on the 29th of April for training on iPads so we might get the conference Ensign then!

 Clark's are actually an English brand of shoes and they are pretty popular over here. There are lot's of Clark's stores and their prices are the best for shoes that will actually live up to missionary needs. They are usually £50-70 so not too much off of $100 but they are still decently priced. I actually converted Elder Senkans when he needed a new pair of shoes and we walked by a Clark's store!

 The new mission president will be Ronald K. Gubler, it was announced in January but we haven't found out much since then.

 Time is short again so I will I have to leave it at that for this week. Good things are happening and I am feeling happier more of the time. I am so grateful for your prayers and know that they raise me up when I need them most!

 Love you all!
Elder Draney

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