Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello my friends and family!

Another blessed week in Croydon! It was a little rainy this week but a lot of great things happened so it was a good week as they all are!

Most of the interesting things happened on Sunday, Sunday is usually the highlight of the week anyway.

One of the coolest things was seeing a new member of the church named Esther that was actually taught by one of the sisters, Sister Mahaffey that was with me in the MTC but is in the London Mission, not London South. The reason we saw her is because Esther is originally from the Croydon area but moved away for university but came back to visit her family. The coolest part by far is that a couple of weeks ago through Sister Mahaffey we were able to get into contact with Esther's mom and start teaching her! So because we knew each other in the MTC we are able to teach members of the same awesome family! :)

Another highlight was a familiar face from Christchurch popping up at church yesterday! My first Ward Mission Leader on my mission, Russ Babidge, came to Selsdon Ward to visit his son-in-law and neither of us had any idea! Just before the sacrament hymn started he walked in an we had a quick hug before we had to sit down for the hymn. We got close while I was serving in Christchurch and seeing friends after so long is always awesome! Everywhere I go there are connections to Christchurch.

This week Elder Chrimes and I found a lot of new friends and we are looking forward to seeing them next week! We had a pretty mixed week of teaching, finding, and some service opportunities as well. On Saturday we had a belated Thanksgiving dinner with an American member of the ward and one of our investigators! I've eaten a lot of food at dinners on my mission and it wasn't the most I've eaten, but I was still really full so it accomplished its purpose!

My mission is the single most defining and stretching experience of my life, and I know it's meant to be that way. I wouldn't trade any of it or the time I have left for anything. I love the Lord for calling me on this mission, and I will forever be in debt to Him for all He has done for me.

I love you all!

Elder Draney

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Christmas in Croydon!

Hello everyone!

This week was a really solid week! We saw a lot of our friends that we haven't seen in awhile and got the ball rolling with them. We also spent a lot of time painting the inside of one of the members flat, which took up a lot of our day yesterday but has been rewarding to help out those in need.

As you may guess by the title, we found out whether or not I would be getting moved to a new area this week but I will be staying in Croydon for another 6 weeks! That will make it more than 8 months in total! I'm really glad that I get to stay with Elder Chrimes and keep working with all the great people I've come to know over the past 6 months! This transfer will take us in past Christmas so it will be a Christmas in Croydon!

The sad news is that our missionary district got split and most of the companionships are now part of two other districts. Now our district is just the 4 of us serving in Selsdon Ward, but it will still be a lot of fun to work together in the district!

There should never be routine weeks on a mission, and this week wasn't, but in terms of things to write about in an email it seems pretty routine! As always, but especially in the past few months, the work is progressing very well in our area. Even if those we teach don't choose to join the Church or do the things they need to do in order to gain a testimony, we are still able to be successful and do our part when we raise a warning voice to all those we meet and invite them to enjoy the blessings of following the Savior.

My testimony has deepened throughout my mission and it has come through simple habits of study and prayer. Doing those things more is part of our missionary schedule and I am so grateful for change that it has wrought in me. I love the scriptures and I love communicating with my Father in Heaven.

Love you all! Have a good week!

Elder Draney

(Serious district picture, everybody got the memo except for Elder Chrimes)

Monday, November 16, 2015

16 November 2015

Hello my friends and family!

The nasty English weather has officially arrived! This past Friday the cold weather turned on like a light switch and the rain followed shortly after on Saturday. I feel like my blood has definitely thickened since last year and the damp cold doesn't penetrate as deep, but the rain combined with the cold adds a new meaning to the phrase "soaked to the bone". Weather like that always teaches/reminds us what it means to work, and that's what Elder Chrimes and I did this week, we worked.

I finally ventured(was forced into) to eat a particular food that I have been avoiding for the past 14 months, doner kebabs. We were invited to grab some dinner with one of our close friends on Wednesday and I ended up finally trying one. I had been avoiding it before because I didn't want the possible health risks ending my mission halfway through! These aren't the perfectly sanitary meet and vegetable sticks, they are much more risky! I will let you Google what lamb doner meat looks like as it is being cooked and how it is served! :) I'll include a couple of blurry pictures as well! It was really good!

Overall this week went quickly as they all do. On Tuesday we went on exchanges with missionaries in another town called Maidstone. Maidstone has a lot of English architecture, a lot of cool archaic buildings and cobbled streets. No pictures of it though, exchanges are always really busy, sorry... :)

On Thursday we had Zone Conference which is always a highlight! It's always good to see missionary friends and past companions (it might be the last time I will see Elder Probst before I come home) but the biggest take away is always the training from President Gubler. I have no doubts that he is an inspired leader, the one we all as missionaries need right now, and conveyed the Lords message to us. I know when I feel a power beyond my own, and I felt the Spirit very powerfully as we were there. One of the biggest indicators for me that the Spirit has spoken to me is the drive and desire to improve, no matter how good I may think I am doing, and I definitely feel that now.

The updates this week are a little short because a lot of the fruits of our labors were less obvious, but nonetheless there. I love the Lord and doing His work. I feel Him working with me(which only He has the patience needed to do) and through me. I love Him and I know He loves you. You are my family and I love you too!

Love, Elder Draney

PS. They are upside down but I have noooooo clue how to fix it. Sorry :)

Monday, November 9, 2015


Hello my friends and family!

Another quick week in Croydon, probably one of the quickest I've had. We had a lot of meetings as well as an exchange so it went by fast. It's officially Christmas season, all the shops have Christmas trees and all the works up for the past week. The second mission Christmas is going to be weirder than the first because it doesn't feel like it's Christmas in two months at all. I always complain about time though, so I'll stop wingeing for now. :)

Elder Chrimes and I have found a lot of new friends this week which has been really exciting. By far my favourite part of my mission is meeting lots of new people, Croydon is definitely a good place for that!

The craziest part of this past week was a new addition to our district! On Wednesday Elder Chrimes and I walked into one of our meetings and we walked past the sisters in our district without realising that there was a third sister. When we finally realised it the third Sister turned around and it was one of the first times I've ever been speechless. The sister is Sister Linford, one of the YSAs from Christchurch Ward that we all got on with really well and she's come to do a "mini- mission" with another Sister I served around in Christchurch, Sister Lydiksen! I couldn't believe it! It made me realise how long it's been since I left Christchurch, I really hope I get to go back before the end of my mission.

Today as a district we are going to meet up and play some games and other things for P-day so I'll take some pictures of that as well and include them in the email.

I'm so grateful to be able to serve as a missionary at this time. As I've learned more about how my call was assigned but also more of the details surrounding when I came out on my mission I know now more than ever that I am where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be. I know that the same is true for all of us as we walk the way God has promised will lead us the the greatest happiness.

I love you all so much!

Elder Draney

Monday, November 2, 2015

Remember, remember

Hello dear friends, and family,

My second lack-luster English Halloween is over and now it's on to the next fun holiday that we can't participate in as missionaries, Guy Fawkes Day or "Bonfire Night". In celebration of Guy Fawkes failing to blow up Parliament everyone lights off fireworks and stays up late having bonfires, but it's not as fun as it sounds when you only get to listen to the fireworks... ;).

As I've said before repeating seasons on my mission has been one of the weirdest experiences of my mission in general so far. The weather has also come full-circle since I've been in Croydon. I started out here wearing sweaters and jackets to then losing them during the summer, and now we are back in sweaters and jackets again! I'm completely fine with that though, I love the colder weather!

Elder Chrimes and I are very blessed to be serving in Croydon at this time. We are able to see miracles everyday, things beyond coincidence or probability but undeniable evidences of the Lord's hand in our work. As we have done all we can to be obedient and work diligently we have been exactly where He needed us to be and been able to take part in wonderful blessings. We've been able to reconnect with some our closest investigators, help those who are truly in need of our help, and met new friends that are ready love the gospel; because we sought and followed inspiration and were right were the Lord needed us to be. I like to keep sacred experiences sacred, but I bear my heart and
testimony that God lives and is actively and anxiously involved in all of our lives.

This email is short, I'm sorry! Know that I am happy, I am grateful for the time I have to be a missionary in England, and I love the Lord. We live in the greatest of all dispensations, the "times of
restitution of all things" and by virtue of our testimonies we must all be engaged in this great missionary work. Don't hide your light under a bushel, stand tall and let it shine on all those that you
know. The Book of Mormon is the anchor of my testimony, and I know with great conviction that it is true.

I love you so much!

Elder Draney