Monday, May 25, 2015

The Cronx - 25 May 2015

Dear Family,

This week was a very good week! The ideal week would be one filled with lessons and dinner appoinments with members but this week wasn't one of those weeks. We had a lot of appointments with new people that feel through so we had a lot of time to spend contacting in Croydon. The exciting part about contacting in Croydon is the neverending flow of people to talk to from all over the world. The High Street where all the big shops are is HUGE and is always busy so we spend most of our contacting time there. Croydon is such a diverse area, as I've said before, so it's impossible to guess where people are from. A large part of them are from Africa and we always try to tell them "Hello" in their native language because they absolutely lose it everytime and always have a laugh with us if we get it right! There are still areas to avoid when it gets dark and even when its not but we don't spend a lot of time in those areas. The nickname that Croydon has earned is "The Cronx" because it is considered the Bronx of London.

Serving with Elder Belnap has been really fun. He's from Sandy and went to Jordan High School if you were wondering. We got along well from the start and have a desire to improve the area so we have been putting in good work over the past couple weeks.

Last Monday we taught Jonathan about the Word of Wisdom and moved his baptismal date to the 6th of June. Jonathan is a very humble and happy man that is truly grateful for all that he has. His prayers are so genuine and he is really excited to be baptised in a few weeks. He moved from Ghana 4 years ago and couldn't find a church that he wanted to go to but still had a strong faith. He met the missionaries a few days before I got here and has been loving it ever since. He's learned a lot even since I've been here and always makes our day when we teach him.

On Thursday we had Zone Conference with President Millar and 2 of the other zones in the mission. We recieved a lot of training on using iPads to improve missionary work and ways that we can stay safe when using them. It will be awhile before we can use Facebook and other things but it will help us reach people that we couldn't before and spread the gospel more. The sad par.t about the meeting though was that is the last zone conference with President and Sister Millar. They will be released sometime next transfer and we will be getting the new president, Ronald Gubler, and his wife at the end of June. I've. grown to love them as the leaders of our mission and will miss them when they leave.

It's good to hear that there is a lot of rain back home! We haven't had a lot of rain lately so it sounds like you are getting our rain. It hasn't rained as much as I thought it would in England but it rains hard when it does. There have been a handful of days on my mission spent in the rain where we get completely soaked and nobody wants to talk to us so we are fine with the lack of rain at the moment!

Here is a picture of us when we taught Jonathan so you know what he looks like!

I love you all! I give you the advice that I have been given many times: Smile a lot! It will make happy days happier, and turn bad days into better days.

Elder Draney

Monday, May 18, 2015

Technology Update - 18 May 2015

Dear Everyone,

So as you can probably guess by the title my mission has finally entered the digital age! All of the missions in Europe either now or in the near future are now allowed to use iPads to help make certain aspects of missionary work and will be able to be reach people in new ways. We aren't able to use Facebook yet but we will soon.

  The missionary work is moving forward as well! We were able to start teaching a family yesterday made up of a man named Allan and his son as well as his girlfriend Sadie. Allan is from Lebanon but was raised from very little as a Christian by his mother and had to hide his faith until he was able to move from the country. We taught them about the Restoration yesterday and they were all very receptive and Allan said he felt something he hadn't really felt before when we prayed with him and is excited to keep learning. When we asked him if we could come back to teach them more he said "I was hoping you would say that,"! That lesson and getting to know them better was a highlight of this week.

  Croydon is a crazy place! There are lots of different people from all over the world and many different backgrounds. Contacting on the street is always an interesting experience because we never know what to expect but we always find people that make it fun! We are teaching a good amount of people as well so we are always busy.

  The week before I left Hamble River was Portsmouth Stake Conference and this past week was Maidstone Stake Conference so I had a pretty rare chance to go to 2 Stake conferences in the last 3 weeks. The theme seems to be keeping the Sabbath day holy by keeping the focus on the Savior and setting it apart as a day away from worldly distractions. It has been a good experience to listen to many church leaders over the past month and learn from their experiences and the talks they have given.

  I found out today that last Saturday one of the people I taught in Christchurch, Bob, was baptised after investigating the Church on and off for more than 2 years! Elder Poulino was able to go back to Christchurch and perform the ordinance and I will send some of the pictures of that day!

Elder Draney

Monday, May 11, 2015

11 May 2015 - First Week in Croydon

Dear Family,

It was great to be able to Skype yesterday see your faces for the first time in awhile! It seems like the little 2 are growing up too fast! It makes everything worth it to be able to see you and talk about my mission so far and to see Caitlin so excited to talk to me! The next one will come quicker than you think!

​All of the rumors that I had heard and expectations I had about Croydon were blown out of the water after my first day it the area! I love this place! There are so many people from all over the world and many people interested to learn more about the gospel. It is a lot safer than I was told which makes it even better. There are 4 elders in the area and more than enough people to go around so I am very excited for this transfer.

I moved from Southampton to Croydon on Wednesday and quickly got settled and ready to work. We've already been able to teach new people and spend time finding more people to teach and it has been going really well. Elder Belnap and I set a baptismal date with a new investigator, Anthony, on Friday for the 30th and have another investigator, Jonathon from Ghana, planning on being baptised soon after. It's so fun to learn about and teach people from different cultures and see them grow in their testimony of the restored gospel.

Like you mentioned it is a little hard to think of too many things to say because we were able to talk less than 24 hours ago! There are a lot of good things happening so there will be many updates to come! Repentance pictures are on there way! I just have to take them then I can send them... but I promise I will!

I love you and include you all in my prayers. I know Heavenly Father loves and cares for you deeply. Trust Him with everything and you will never fall.


Elder Draney

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

5 May 2015 - Moves (the real letter)

Dear Family,

Unexpectedly this is my last day in Southampton and the Hamble River ward. It's a shame that I didn't get to spend more time here but the Lord knows exactly where he wants me to be! I've gotten to know the members and other friends that we teach very well and it will be sad to say goodbye for awhile. I will be moving to an area just outside of London called "Croydon". It will have a lot more people than any of my other areas so it should be a fun experience!

Usually I have an idea of what will probably happen when transfer time comes but this time I truly had no idea which was a good thing to help me focus on working hard the entire time rather than thinking about moving or getting a new companion. Over the last few weeks Elder Senkans and I have been able to teach a lot more lessons and picked up at least one new investigator each week. It feels good to leave an area "better than I found it" in the sense that there are many new faces and the others that were here before me have made a lot of progress in the gospel. There are many wonderful people in Hamble River ward and hopefully the ward will continue to grow! This morning we were able to teach an investigator named Chris, that I've mentioned before, and it was really uplifting to teach her. It's hard leaving investigators in the middle of teaching them but I'm confident that other missionaries will keep the work moving.

This week I have felt more motivation than ever to give everything I have to the Lord and work harder than I have been. To be completely honest I haven't worked as hard as I should have my whole mission and that is something I want to change. It is the only 2 years of your life that you can dedicate completely to the Lord and spreading the gospel. Especially now that I have less than 18 months left I realize how short 2 years is, so it shouldn't be wasted in any way.

Last Wednesday the entire England London South Mission got together to receive training on using iPads as missionaries. The first half of the meeting was really spiritual and helped us feel the love the Lord has for us and the trust that the First Presidency has in us. The second half was specific training on how to stay safe when using the internet and what we are allowed to use iPads for. It's hard to even start explaining the things we will be able to use them for to help in the work, but they don't replace the work and diligence that is required to be a missionary. We still don't know exactly when we will be getting them but it will be very soon.

Seeing all of the missionaries in the mission all at the same time was a unique experience as well. It isn't something that happens often and will probably be the only time it will happen during my mission. It was pretty amazing having all of us in one chapel and made my week to see so many of my friends that I hadn't seen in months! Many times I've felt the Spirit confirming to me that this is exactly where I am to be and I felt it again at that meeting. I know that I will cherish this time and the memories of it for the rest of my life.

The lesson that I have learned from my mission that comes to mind at the moment is the necessity and power of overcoming trials. Most of my life I have looked at trials as a punishment because of mistakes that we've made. A lot of times that can be the start of trials but the main purpose of particularly hard or lasting trials is to shape us and broaden our potential. Many men far wiser than me have spoken about this so I encourage you to find strength and council in their words. I will suggest though that you watch the Mormon Message called "The Refiner's Fire" it has changed my perspective permanently. Only after intense heat and repeated grinding, stretching, twisting, and pounding do we reach our full potential and see what our Father has had in store for us all along. We can truly recognize His love for us when He trusts us and loves us enough to cut us down. Never lose faith in Him.

Southampton has been very good to me, it's hard in many ways to leave but it is exciting to have new experiences, new friends, and new trials ahead. I've heard good things about Croydon and already know that I will love the time I spend there, how ever long it may be. I can already feel the part of my heart that will love England forever. Some parts will not be missed at all but on the whole this country and people will always have a special place in my heart.

I love you all. I really do. I know you are Heavenly Father's choice spirits and He loves you far more than you can understand.

Elder Draney

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015 - Moves

I found out on Saturday night that I would be moving and where to. I'm moving to an area just outside of London called Croydon. It will be a lot busier than any of my previous areas so it will be a lot of fun. My new companion will be Elder Belnap but I don't know much about him. Croydon can be pretty dodgy to use an English term so prayers for safety may be in order. Of course the Lord protects His missionaries and we will be safe as long as we are obedient to all of the missionary rules.I'm moving there on Wednesday. We don't have time to email completely today so the big letter and everything else will come tomorrow, just a quick update so you know what is going on.