Monday, July 27, 2015

I AM IN AFRICA!!!

Oh My Lanta. I LOVE AFRICA!!! Ok, so this past week has been SO crazy, but I have loved every second of it. I am still getting used to the time change and the culture, but it is still amazing. We left on Monday and got to Maputo on Wednesday. I was sooooo exhausted because of the time change and I only got about 4 hours of sleep over those 3 days. So we went to the mission home and ate a little bit then went straight to bed. We slept for 15 hours, so that explains how tired we were. Once we finally woke up we had a couple of trainings just explaining the areas and what we should be doing and the rules specific to our mission. We have to take 2 showers a day in order to stay clean... Which I wouldn´t mind but we do not have warm water so it is the part of my day I dread the most... Anyway, you would all be so surprised at how cold it is here! I go outside and start shivering! We are in the middle of winter at the moment, so it will only get warmer. So after our trainings we went to the Mission President´s house. It was so nice! We had interviews, a lesson, and dinner. It was a ton of fun! The next day we packed and the AP´s took all of the new missionaries to lunch. We ate at a restaurant called `Mundo´s´ It was so good! To be honest, I have loved every food I have had here! It is all so simple, but so delicious. Their mango juice here is AMAZING and puts America´s to shame. Same with their pudding! We each headed out to our areas and met our trainers. So my area is the city of T-3 and my trainer is Elder Brown from Provo. He is so cool and we get along great! We went straight to work when I got there. After a couple of meetings we started to go to a families house. On the way a bunch of drunk women stopped us.... So 1) the people here LOVE white people and 2) the women here especially love the white people... So after a quite awkward conversation we got away and ran to the family´s house. Welcome to Africa, I guess? The family we visited is amazing! The little girls all played with and petted my hair. They all love our hair here because of how soft it is... Anyway, the next day was amazing. We had 8 baptisms! Can you believe that?!?! My second day here and we already baptized 8 people!! With another possible one for this week! We held the service and confirmed them yesterday. What a huge blessing to witness this so quickly on my mission. I don´t exactly know how to spell (or even say) their names yet, but I will tell you once I figure that out. We try to focus on and baptize families! We baptized 5 kids from a family and the other 3 are another family. The parents need to wait to be married before they can get baptized. Marriage is a huge problem down here. It is extremely expensive for people to get married, so people just don´t do it. So working through that can be a struggle, but we do our best. It is hard to ask so much from people that have so little. The poverty here is extremely hard to see. Things that I never really thought about before are starting to mean the world to me. Things like hot water or even shoes! So many people do not have shoes... On a happier note, I am starting to pick up some of their normal culture here! They do not shake hand like most people. They do these cool handshakes and are much better and look much cooler in my opinion haha Well, that is pretty much everything eventful as of right now. I will definitely update you more next week! Right now I am just trying to get used to the area and all of that. Love you all!!!! Tchau! BTW my new P-Day is on Monday´s.

P.S. Indeed the toilets do flush the opposite direction here and the southern constellations are SO cool! 


I will try to send the pictures next week, the computers here do not like to send pictures. Sorry!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

HE MADE IT!!!

We are pleased to inform you that Elder Draney has arrived safe and sound in Mozambique!
This Friday he will be going to his first area, and on Monday he will be able to email personally.
Best regards,
The assistants of the Mozambique Maputo Mission

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Week #6- Africa Here I Come!‏!!

Oi everyone!!! Guess what?!?! I survived the MTC!!!! I have received my Visa and will be heading to Mozambique on Monday and will arrive there on Wednesday! I am so excited!! 30+ hours of flying is not too appealing, mas I am still stoked to get there. I do not have too much to tell you all. We did skype Mercia from Mozambique again and that was loads of fun! The spirit was so strong! I received many promptings on what to talk about that I could really tell impacted her and her life. She loved us so much that she wants us to come teach everyone at her work in Maputo right when we land!! So we already have an appointment for Wednesday! Isn't that crazy?!? We also had In-field Training on Thursday. We spent the entire day running through different scenarios that we needed to know for the field. We also discussed important relationships that we need to develop inside our areas. Also this week we hosted new missionaries again! That was so much fun! I met so many new people and helped them to find their way around. Today we said goodbye to our two teachers, Brother Nothum and Brother Machado. Brother Machado is such a cool person and taught a very great class today. They gave us last minute advice and we each bore our testimonies and expressed our love for everyone. It was such a neat and spiritual experience, even though it was hard saying goodbye. Well, that is it for now. Next time you all hear from me I will be on the other side of the globe and on a different continent. Tchau e eu amo-se! 

                        Picture 1- Our District with Irmao Machado
                        Picture 2- Our District with Irmao Nothum


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Week #5 and photos!!!

Oi everyone!!! Elder Draney here. This week was not the most eventful week... So sorry once again if this email gets really short. I only have 6 more days here in the MTC!!!!!! I could not be more excited!!!!! I love the MTC, but it is definitely time for me to get out of here. I will be leaving for Africa on Monday and get to Mozambique on Wednesday... It is 30+ hours of flight time. I am so excited though, even though I will be spending more time in the sky than on the ground. It will be such a neat experience to be traveling out of the country. I did receive my flight plans for my trip! I will be attaching a picture below. I will be flying to Dallas, to LONDON (all caps because I am so excited to fly there), to Johannesburg, and finally to Maputo. Quite the adventure, right?! The hours and all that will be in the picture as well. Now I just wait for my Visa! It is extremely stressful waiting for it. I supposedly find out on Thursday if I received my Visa or if I will be Visa waiting in the States somewhere. Please keep my Visa, as well as the Visas of all of us missionaries, in your prayers! As most of you know, President Packer's funeral was on Friday. They broadcasted the service to the MTC and it was such a neat experience to be able to watch the funeral of one of the General Authorities. The spirit was so strong during the service and testified that he is in a better place now. Also this week, we got to Skype a sister in Mozambique and teach her for 30 minutes! That was so cool! The connection was not the best (it is Africa after all), but it was so neat to teach someone in Africa and for them to actually understand what I was saying! She told my teacher after our lesson that is hard to understand because of our "American accents", but what can I do about that, right? I will eventually develop an accent though, so I am not too worried. That is pretty much everything that is exciting that happened this week... The nurses and paramedics have been running around this place like crazy! In every meal this week, someone has fainted or fallen. My entire zone has the flu right now (not me thank goodness, but knock on wood), so that has been fun. We are dropping like flies over here! But I guess only a little bit more until I leave. That is all I have for now folks... Sorry this isn't terribly long, but I hope everyone has a great week!!! Next time you hear from me I will (hopefully) be in Africa! Tchau for now! 

Here are my flight plans!!!





Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Week #4

Oi everyone!! Happy (late) 4th of July!! I hope everyone had a great holiday and got to celebrate our country's independence! This week was not too exciting; so don't get too upset when this email is not that long. To start off, last Tuesday my district got to clean the Provo Temple! It was actually a lot of fun and a really neat experience to walk through the temple when it was closed for cleaning. That night we also had a devotional (like we do every Tuesday night). Elder Sitati of the 70 and his wife gave the devotional! He is my favorite member of the 70 so that was really cool! He is from Africa, so that was really neat to hear his stories from over there since that is where I am going. His accent was pretty hard to figure out what he was saying, but that made the experience even more cool and even more spiritual! On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to host new missionaries! So I would walk up to cars pulling up, take out the missionary’s luggage, take a quick picture, then took them where they needed to go. I felt bad forcing them to leave their families so quickly, but we all had to do it :) Funny story. I walked up to a car to pick up a missionary and I accidentally started speaking in Portuguese. I did not even realize what I was doing until they gave me a weird look and then had to apologize for that. Oh well! 'Speaking' of the language (pun intended), Portuguese is going great! I rarely have to look up words anymore! Now I just need to work on mastering the grammar (the hardest part). You all remember Franca? He is the mock investigator that we had to teach. We had 4 lessons to convert them and that was intense considering he is a Theology major. Well long story short, we were really doubtful that we would get him to commit to baptism. But in the last discussion, the spirit was so strong and we said everything that was needed and he committed to baptism! We are the only ones to commit our investigator to baptism and (in my opinion) we had the hardest scenario! After he committed we expressed how happy we were and he asked us to sing him a song.. That was stressful considering the hymns are harder to sing in Portuguese. Anyway, I will talk about our 4th of July celebration now. So our day was just like any normal day, but that night we went to a nice devotional. They discussed how America is the promised land and how God truly does look out for our country. They went through history and showed God's hand in the development of our country. It really did cause me to have a completely new outlook on our country and the 4th of July. At the devotional, they had every single flag from a country that a missionary is serving in. Elder Larsen and I got to carry the Mozambique flag! That was a neat experience to parade the flag in front of all 3000 missionaries while they sang. After the devotional we went out to the parking lot and watched the fireworks from the 'Stadium of Fire'. It was awesome and a much needed break. We didn't get to bed until around midnight, but we had fun, so that is always great. On Sunday night, Sister Jenny Oaks Baker came and gave us a devotional. That was my favorite devotional yet! She is Elder Oaks daughter and one of the best violinist in the country! Her and her family played us some songs and she is extremely talented. She also discussed with us blessings and our obedience. Well that is about everything that happened this week! They finally deposited money onto my debit card that I will be using in Africa! They gave me 65 dollars... But that is over 2500 dollars in Mozambique currency and that blew my mind. I only have 2 weeks left here in the MTC and I could not be more excited!!! It will be so fun! I should be getting my Visa some time this week! So let’s hope that works out! Well thanks for reading and I cannot wait to talk to you all next week! Tchau!

 We have seen tons of hot air balloons around the MTC in the mornings!  It isn't a great picture because I had to hurry, but you get the idea!
 Just another, and better, picture I took of the Provo temple!
 Here is me, Elder Larsen, Elder Covert, and Elder Rash in front of the temple.