Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy New Year

Hello my friends and family!

This week I am very grateful that I was able to be a missionary and serve the Lord this Christmas! It boggles my mind that this is the second Christmas I've had on my mission. We had opportunities to visit people who didn't always have someone on Christmas which is something I am grateful we were able to do.

On Christmas Eve the ward had a carol night at 7 for a couple of hours, it was great to take time so close to Christmas and simply sing the songs of our hearts and relish in the spirit of Christ. Many of our good friends and members were there, and sharing that time with them definitely made it special.

On Christmas we began in the morning by walking to go see a family from Uruguay, the Pintos Family, to make English breakfast for them (Brother Pintos loves English breakfast) and then drove with them to go carolling to some of our investigator's homes and other members. It is a tradition in their family, a tradition of service that I definitely learned a lot from.

In the afternoon we visited our Ward Mission Leader's family to help them cook Christmas Dinner and that is where we Skyped from. A little while after that we visited the Vennerholm family from Sweden, and took food to a few single members. Christmas went by really quickly this year, it's still amazing to me that it has already the second Christmas I've had in England. I am very grateful that we were able to spend it serving others.

This year is gearing up to be a very fun year, 2016 will definitely be a good one! You are tired of hearing it but 2015 went by very quickly, it's the only year I will have spent entirely on my mission and honestly ai'm pretty sad that it is almost over. I know there will be many blessings and miracles in 2016 so I am looking forward to it!

Time is extremely short today, we are having trouble finding a place to email, so I apologise that is is short. I truly love you dearly. Thank you for everything that you do. Stay strong, stay faithful, and stay happy!


Elder Draney

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Christmas!

Hello my friends and family!

It's Christmas already! I think you will agree with me that December is always the fastest month of the year. That combined with about a thousand other things has made this last week cruise by.

Last Tuesday we were able to go to the temple with a third of our mission. The temple is always a highlight. Seeing other missionaries and being able to spend time with them is always great but by far the best part is the spirit that I felt both in the temple and in a meeting with President Gubler afterward. I love President Gubler so much! He loves the Lord, and this work, and us; you can see it in his face and in everything he does.

Christmas week is going to be a lot of fun! We have plans to do a lot of special things for some of our friends this week. We have received a lot of help from them and members of our ward this past few weeks so we will do what we can to help them out and ease their burden's this week.

We moved Nadir's baptismal date this week so that he could sort something's out with work and some other things. It isn't something we are sad about because his faith is unbreakable but we all want to make sure he is ready and able to have the greatest blessings that come as he does these things. We are looking forward to that soon!

I love the Lord and am grateful more than anything to be able to serve Him. I am surely still learning, but I've learned more in this past year what it means to give than I ever have. It is much easier said than done, but I am doing all that I can to give everything to Him. I know that He lives. I know He lives because I have kept His commandments and know that they come from a loving Heavenly Father that knows infinitely better than we do. (John 7:17) I know He lives because I have sought to lose my life in His service, and found more of myself than I could ever know was there. (Matt 16:25) I know that He lives because I have felt the power and love of His redemption fill every part of my soul and change and heal the broken and unsettled parts of me. Give all you can to Him and all of His children and I know that you will experience greater joy this Christmas than you have before.

I love you dearly.

Happy Christmas! 😉

Elder Draney

Monday, December 14, 2015

Another blessed week

Hello my friends and family!

This week was full of miracles and amazing things. We have been able to see great change and so much happiness in everyone that we taught. It has been a blessed week.

The first miracle came on Monday evening when we were teaching our friend Stephen. I've mentioned Stephen before and we have been teaching him the whole time I've been here. Stephen's wife is a member and he has been coming to church with her and being taught by missionaries for about a year and a half. After our teach with him on Monday we said a closing prayer and right as we were packing up our stuff to leave he said "I thought you should be some of the first to know, but I've seen a lot of blessings in my life this past week and I've decided I'm going to get baptised," Elder Chrimes and I were so stoked! I can't think of many times in my life when I have been speechless but this was definitely on of them!

On Tuesday we taught our really good friend Allen and that lesson was one of the most spiritual I've had on my mission. Allen talked about a lot of the spiritual struggles he has been facing and  his desire to improve because he feels trapped where he is. As we talked the Holy Ghost gave me all the words I was to say and the Spirit was as tangible as anything I have ever felt. I've been teaching Allen off and on the whole time I've been here as well and it was amazing to have that breakthrough. He came with us to church on Sunday and immediately when it was over he said "Let's do this again next week!".

Thursday we taught Nadir who is going to be baptised this Sunday! We answered a lot of his questions and some of the things we've taught before really clicked this time. Nadir has such great faith in Christ. There is always so much to learn but I have learned a lot from Nadir. Nadir works 3 jobs to pay for his family in Pakistan while he raises money to bring them over to England. Despite being working until he is bone tired he still makes time to meet with us and come to church whenever he can and is one of the happiest people I have ever met. He is one of our Father's choice children. Often we have to meet at cafes and no matter how many times we tell him it's our turn to pay he always buys us a hot chocolate and always says we can pay "Next time,".

On Friday something happened to us that all missionaries dream of. During a longer planning session we do on Friday mornings we got a call from a random number. The person on the phone was a lady named Emilia. The basic version of the phone conversation is that she called us to tell us she knows that the Church is true and has a Book of Mormon that her daughter requested but that she wants us to bring her another one that she can have so we. An come and teach both her and her daughter more about the Church! Again I was pretty much speechless. We are going to be calling her again today to figure out when we can see her this week!

This coming week is geared up to be a killer week as well! Tomorrow we are going to the London Temple for Christmas and a special meeting with President Gubler! It was recently that I was able to attend the temple right before Elder Chrimes came but it will still be amazing to be able to take the special spirit of the temple and use it to help us in our work.

Like Amulek I cannot say the smallest part of which I feel (Alma 26:16). Nothing we give and no labor we perform in the service of the Lord is truly a sacrifice, the blessings that come far outweigh anything we can give.

I love you all so much! I didn't take any cool pictures this week, but there will be plenty next week!

Elder Draney

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dec 7th, 2015

Hello my friends and family!

The first week of December has passed and now it's only 2 1/2 weeks until Christmas! Last years Christmas in Christchurch feels like it was only a few months ago and it's already time for Christmas in Croydon! Last year there was a distinct longing to be at home for Christmas, but while there is still a desire to be with you this Christmas, I'm excited to be able to feel the special Christmas spirit with friends that've made over here in England.

There were a lot of meetings this week that took up a lot of our time but we were still able to meet A LOT of new people! There is never a shortage of new friends in Croydon! It's been an exciting week as well because we were able to see some of the people we have been teaching for awhile but weren't able to see for a few weeks. It's not typical to stay in an area as long as I will be in Croydon, but is definitely a blessing.

This week should be interesting because we will be staying with the other Elders in our district for the week while our flat is getting repainted, it should be a lot of fun! We are all pretty close so it will be fun to stay with them, but their flat is TINY, we were so cramped last night when we went to bed! It's either going to be a really quick week or a really long week, I'll let you know when we get there!

I know this is exactly where I need to be right now. Ever since I felt that peace that came from knowing I'm where the Lord wants and needs me to be over a year ago now, I've felt a greater magnitude of love in ever sense of the word. Love from our Father in Heaven, love for my companions, love for the people, love for my family and all those close to me. I love you all so much! Talk to you soon!

Elder Draney

[Editor's note: Jacob was a pretty picky eater. He didn't like lots of common things (like lettuce and carrots). Now he's eating all kinds of ethnic and other strange foods.]