Monday, August 31, 2015

Zone Conference pics

[Editor's note: This photo came directly from Jacob's mission president. The second image is detail from the first so you can see Jacob's handsome face. Click on either to see a closer view.]

Moves, moves, moves

Dear Family,

​You can tell by the title that it is moves week! I'm sorry I didn't mention it earlier but I didn't want to jinx anything by talking or speculating so I didn't mention it at all!

Last transfers moves were crazy and this time is even crazier! There are lot's of areas being white washed (two missionaries moving in with no knowledge of an area and moving the other two out) and there are a few areas opening as well.

This transfer I have been called to train a new missionary! I will be staying in Croydon to train him as well! I will serve for 7 months in Croydon! I'm so excited! The new missionaries will arrive on Wednesday but all of the trainers will be going to the Temple tomorrow to prepare for the new missionaries to get here. Elder Probst was also called as a trainer and will be white washing back into his first area, where he was trained, with another brand new missionary! There are a lot of exciting things happening in the mission!

Because that this week is very busy and especially today so our P-day has been moved to tomorrow, and so we have been asked to limit emailing time today and save most of our emailing for tomorrow. This morning I only have time to send a short letter but I will be able to email you tomorrow and let you know more of what is happening!

I love you so much! More is on it's way soon!  ​
Elder Draney

Monday, August 24, 2015

24 August 2015

Dear Family,

Right now Elder Probst and I are inside the library typing up our email whilst the rain is pouring down outside, so summer is officially over for us. :(

Today(as Mom so kindly reminded me) is 11 month mark on my mission. It really doesn't feel like I have been gone anywhere close to 11 months! I'm probably the worst broken record when it comes to talking about how fast the time has gone by but I wouldn't say it if it weren't true!

This week was still very busy, but that is a constant for missionaries as long as we are working hard. This week we actually had a lot more time to spend seeking to find new friends to teach which has been scarce for the most part over the last month or so. It was nice to be able to meet more new people and have good conversations with people on the street! Croydon will never run out of new people for us to talk to so we are very blessed!

I've mentioned in the weeks before that Nadir was working towards the 29th as a baptismal date but because he has been very busy over the past couple weeks we will have to move back his date but not very far. He loved coming to church with us last week so hopefully that excitement will carry on while we continue to teach him!

On Wednesday we were able to set another baptismal date with one of our friends named Collin. Collin is friends with President Eaton of the mission presidency and has met with missionaries a lot in the past but health problems and life circumstances kept him from coming for awhile and he was too busy to meet with them. Last month we had dinner with the Eatons and they invited Collin to come and he really enjoyed the meal as well as the scriptures and thoughts we all shared after dinner and asked if we could come and see him during the week, so we did! We taught him twice and he already knows everything about the Church and has a testimony of it's truthfulness for a lot of different reasons and at the beginning of the second lesson we asked him if there was anything holding him back from being baptized and he said no. Naturally after that we invited him to be baptized and he accepted to be baptized on September 16th! We are teaching him this week and will keep you updated on how things go in the coming weeks!

This week rather than drag things out and try to think of things to write about I will echo some of the things I have mentioned in previous letters that still hold true. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve my Lord in England and do my best to forget myself and focus on others, just as He has always done. My testimony has grown and been strengthened more than I ever thought it could, despite the great opposition that has been thrown at my companions and I. I know as a matter of logic and of testimony given by the Holy Ghost that "the restitution of all things" spoken of by Paul has taken place and that the God's Kingdom is again upon the earth. I know more than I ever did before that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all. I know He lives. I will never be able to repay anything that He has done for me, but at this time I am especially aware of the great debt I owe because of the wonder that I have experienced on my mission.

I love each one of you.


Elder Draney

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hope of Israel

Dear Family

I definitely have to agree with you that August, and this whole summer really, has completely flown by! I am definitely glad to be rid of the hot and humid side of English weather, even though it didn't last very long. The joke is that England only gets about 2 weeks of summer and these past few months have proved it to be more than a joke. I can count on both hands how many days we had with uninterrupted sunshine and apart from that we had cloudy skies that threatened to rain any minute. The lack of sunny days is probably what made it seem last only a few weeks! It's crazy that school is starting already!

Despite a lot of rain this week we still had a lot of fun. Most of the time that it rained we were indoors, but we still had a few hours of finding in the rain! We had Zone Conference this week as well and the whole time there was a huge thunderstorm going on outside but it stopped raining before the meeting was over so we were blessed to travel home dry. We took a big picture as a 3rd of the mission so as soon as I have the picture I will send it.

Working with our friends that we teach this week was really good! Last Monday we went to see Nadir with a member from the ward in Nadir's home. When we got there we found out that he has been staying with his sister and brother-in-law who are also from Pakistan. We had originally planned to teach Nadir about some of the commandments but his brother-in-law, Najaf, decided to join us for the lesson so we decided to review the restoration and the Book of Mormon and let Nadir help us teach it to Najaf. The lesson was powerful! Nadir really absorbed the lesson when we taught it to him 3 weeks ago and he showed it when he helped us teach Najaf, he remembers and understands all of it! Najaf really enjoyed the lesson as well and said he wants to come to church with us sometime! Even though he wasn't able to come this Sunday we are keeping in contact with him so we can go with him and his family as soon as we can!

I mentioned last week that another investigator, Stephen, left with his wife on a big holiday last week so we won't see them until the end of the month but we are still going to email them every week to see how their holiday is going!

The highlight of this week was Zone Conference with President Gubler. It was the first Zone Conference with him after they were able to get more experience over the last month. President Gubler has only been here for 6 weeks but we have all already felt the distinct shifting of the mantle and the raised expectations coming from the Lord and conveyed by President Gubler. During the conference we sang many of the hymns in the 240-260 section about fighting against the adversary and the Spirit was strong throughout the conference, not just during the hymns. The title comes from the spirit I felt as we all sang "Hope of Israel". As we sang the line "See the Chieftain signals onward" I looked to President Gubler. As I sang I felt the Spirit distinctly testify to me that the Lord, our Chieftain, has signaled the work of salvation onward and that President Gubler has "sounded the war cry" and asked us to fight alongside him as we do the Lord's work. The work is hastening all over the world and I can confidently say the Lord has signaled us all onward. Lengthen your stride and seek for His guidance through prayer and I promise He will tell you what more you can do.

I really wish I had taken more pictures last week but the only one I would have to share came from zone conference and I sadly don't have it yet. I've thought about taking pictures with all of the members we meet with during the week so you have faces to the names so I will do that this week! We have a dinner everyday this week so there will be lots of pictures!

I love you all. I pray that I can always be worthy of your friendship and love throughout my life. Thank you for the happy moments we have shared and I look forward to more in the future!


Elder Draney

Monday, August 10, 2015

Melissa's Baptism

There is never a slow week in Croydon! Elder Probst and I are loving how busy we are and being able to see so many people each day! The Lord is blessing us with new friends even though we have almost no time to spend contacting we are still able to see new people!

Some very cool things happened this week but the highlight of the week was Melissa's baptism! She was baptized on Saturday and confirmed yesterday and is so grateful to finally have made that step! She has waited for a long time and none of us thought it would come as soon as it did but I am grateful to have been here to be a part of it! President Eaton of the mission presidency performed the baptism and she was confirmed by another member of the ward. We know that she is setting the example for her children and will be great influence for good to all those who are a part of her life!

Last week on Monday we went with other elders in the district to the Chislehurst Caves which is part of another area but we got permission to go and take a guided tour of the caves! It was a little overpriced but it was nice to break from the norm a little bit and it helped us feel ready for the rest of the week.

On Wednesday we taught Stephen and Carli and gave them some conference talks and other scriptures that they can read while they are on a 4 week holiday starting today. Stephen is planning on being baptized on the 26th of September a few weeks after their holiday. I really hope I stay in Croydon because transfers are at the end of the month and I don't want to move to a new area away from them!

We also taught Nadir and he is learning a lot! He is still trying to get Sundays off to come to church and he really wants to come! We taught him about the basics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he understood it all but also had some questions about the Trinity. We explained why we believe and know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost to be separate but one in purpose and he said that his whole life the Trinity has never made sense and used every example to show why he never agreed with it and then ended by saying "Yeah, I agree with you guys,"! He is excited to be baptized on the 29th of this month! It's the 10th already! Time flies.

I attached the pictures from the baptism as well! One with a funny face and one without.

I love you all so much! I wish I could be with you sometimes but know that I feel my purpose in being here as well. I hope that my letters are enough for you to see the love of God that is being felt here and the love I have for you!

Thank you.

Elder Draney

[Editor's note: The original picture files Jacob sent are rather small, unfortunately, so it's difficult to see details.]

Monday, August 3, 2015

"Croydon is still blowing up" - 3 Aug 2015

Dear Family,

So this letter might be a little bit shorter than other ones because I didn't keep track of time as well as I try to so I don't have loads of time but I will try to include everything.

Croydon is still blowing up! Even though Elder Probst and I were sick for a couple days at the end of the week we still got a lot of work done!

Melissa is preparing to be baptized on Saturday! We are so blessed to be a part of it! We have been doing service for her a few times over the past few weeks to help some of her physical needs but also to teach her and build up her spirits as well! We've been encouraging her sons to help her out and the boys have been really good about that. Everyone is reaching in to help her and she is grateful for the love we are showing. She has anticipated being baptized for a long time and her baptism is the fulfillment of many blessings so it is a very exciting time for her and us as well!

We dropped a few of our investigators this week but we still spent the majority of our time teaching fantastic people. Stephen is going to be baptized on the 26th of September but is going on a 4 week holiday at the end of the week with his wife so we made a packet for him to take and study from while he is on holiday.

Nadir is doing really well also. We haven't been able to teach him since last week but he is still working towards the 29th of this month to be baptized! He has been very prepared and is in love with the gospel and is working on gaining a personal testimony. We are again very blessed to teach him and every experience we have had with him has strengthened our faith and boosted us up as we seek to build him up. I understand a lot more how much God really knows and the love and guidance He gives to all of us, whether we recognize it or not or it doesn't make sense for a long time.

I've mentioned it before but I have gained an absolute adoration for African food since I have been graced with the opportunity to have some in Croydon. I love it so much. This week we had fufu twice, fufu is very similar to mashed potatoes but a bit stickier and can be made out of lots of different things and you eat with your hands and usually dip in a soup or sauce. The picture is of a goat soup we had with yam fufu, which we ate all of with our hands! So much easier! The family that made it, the Hansens, are from Ghana and always invite us and Jonathan over for lots of food whenever they have time!

Thank you for all that you do and to amazing times that we have shared with each other. I love being able to share some of my experiences the Lord has blessed me with on my mission. Keep on being the greatest this world has to offer!

Elder Draney