Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Chreestmat



It has been a warm one here in Chiang Rai. Being a missionary during the Christmas season is one of the things I have cherished most. The opportunity to share with people who Jesus Christ is is an amazing thing. It was so fun to Skype with my Family! WOOHOOOO yeah they are doing great. Still really scary to see you driving Olivia. My dog is still there, so that is good. I still can't believe you were all eating a steak dinner. That looked really good. But that is ok because I still have Thai food here for less than a dollar. This week was awesome! 

The Work: 
We are going hard on the LA [less active] work here in Chiang Rai. The cool thing is that we get to ride all the way out into the middle of the mountains to find these members. 

Most of their phone numbers change about every year or so (IDK why they change their phone numbers so much - everyone does it). So we have to go find them in the little villages. We also had dinner at a member's house up on this beautiful mountain (see pictures). 

Beautiful Chiang Rai

I thank God every day for the opportunity to serve in such an amazing country. It is truly a blessing. Our investigators are doing great - we still need our pool to get bigger. We trust in God and we are obedient, and we work our best every day. That is all He can ask for, so we trust that we will find success if we focus on Him. There is a special spirit that comes with obedience and love - if you have love for the work and you are obedient (to the minute... not just to the 5 minutes). God is not lenient.  He is organized, he plans, and he executes with faith. The same thing applies to His disciples and His missionaries. 

The Culture: 
1. Lots of different hill tribes here in Chiang Rai - lots of different random languages 

2. If you bike really far and go to a random mountain village.... there may or may not be little Thai children who have never seen a white person before. They are adorable.

These little girls had never seen a white man before...they were terrified of me hahahaha.

3. Everyone wears coats even if it is burning outside

4. People in the north have a different dialect, so that has been fun trying to learn that hahahha. It is pretty similar to Thai so that is good!

The funnies: 
I forgot to write down any funny things that happened this week so sorry... If you haven't figured out by now, Thailand is just a happy funny place.

The first noel. Merry Christmas everyone!

Spiritual thought: 
I love my Savior. I am so grateful that He was born. I know that because of Him I can actually change my life, my habits, my beliefs, and my faith. Everything is focused on Him for a reason. As missionaries, we don't just say these things because we have nothing else better to do than leave our family for 2 years. This is real. My testimony of the Savior is real and true because He is real and true. I know He lives. I know He lives. Only by Him and through Him can we change. You can do it. Fight on my friends.

God loves you, I love you. God bless.

Elder Smith-Driggs

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Well fam, it looks like they transfered me up to Chiang Rai! Way up in the north, the farthest place from Bangkok in the whole mission [13 hours away]. Also the coldest hahahaha, almost like coming home because I can see my breath in the morning! It is so beautiful here! 

The Work: 
My new companion is Elder Ethan Howard from Lehi, Utah and he IS SUCH A STUD. Just a solid missionary who loves being obedient, knows how to have fun, and absoutely loves the Lord and Thailand with all of his heart. Yeah - you bet it is going to be a killer 7 weeks with this guy. We get along great! He also works out like an hour every morning and every night, so we will see if I can catch up. Goal number one: try to keep up with my comp while running so I don't collapse with fatigue. Also... we ride bikes here. 

Pretty sure I haven't ridden a bike in a solid three years and pretty sure the first day riding the bike Elder Howard thought I was a complete imbecile because I forgot how to steer (face palm). I haven't crashed yet, so that is good news hahahaha. 

The members here in Chiang Rai are awesome! Way willing to work with the missionaries. 
So much so, in fact, that yesterday about 25 people gathered together, and we all split up to sing Christmas carols to some less active members. So fun! 

All of the KhonThais were like - why are these white people singing about Jesus at the top of their lungs? Hahahahaha some were so frightened. (Caroling is SO not a thing in Thailand.) I am sure I will get a better feel for our investigators and the members as time goes on, but so far - Chiang Rai is an absolute dream. I thank God every second for sending me here.

(Mom comment: I pulled this image from the internet.)

1. Northern food is my favorite food. The north of Thailand is known for their curry and their amazing rice dishes. Every meal is Christmas. SOOOOO GOOD

2. It reminds me of Southern California in the winter. Everyone is bundled up in full on ski coats, but it is only like 45 degrees outside hahahahaha. The mornings are pretty cold though. Good thing I brought a long sleeve shirt to sleep in.

3. There are lots of small Thailand tribes up here that live in the mountains. You know those people with gold rings that stretch up their necks? Yeah... that is 20 kilos from where our house is. AWESOME 

4. Instead of Bangkok where they ask you, "Wow, isn't it hot today?" Northern people say, "Holy cow, isn't it cold today? WHY ARE YOU IN SHORT SLEEVES ??!!!" 

1. Walking out the door today I had my bike helmet on (luckily) and slammed my head into the bathroom door frame because I was too tall. #whitepeopleinasia

2. We taught an old man the other day. Hahahahah he was trying to read the Book of Mormon through a piece of glass because he forgot his glasses. He is an LA we are working with, and he is kind of crazy. Hahahahahaha it was so funny. I had to end up reading for him because he couldn't decifer the scriptures with a solid piece of glass hahahahahaha. 

3. Caroling with the members was so much fun. But when we just showed up at these people's houses and started singing at the top of our lungs, one lady just sat there in her little hut and was like - "Why are these white elders singing so loud?" and again, "Why are you in short sleeves?" 

4. During studies this morning, we were interrupted by the other elders (Elder Weaver and Elder Thompson) who brought us hot chocolate...only in our freezing room at the border of Thailand would we be able to enjoy hot chocolate hahahahaha. 

Spiritual thought: 
Things change. Whether it is companions, areas, relationships, you move houses, change schools, etc. I keep reminding myself this week that I am in Chiang Rai for a reason. God needs me here. The same thing applies for you wherever you are. God needs you there. And yeah, things may change in Millcreek, Utah - but we need to be able to adjust accordingly and smoothly in order to make the most of our situation. Things that have helped me the most? 
1. Stop and smell the roses
2. Read the scriptures and pray for support
3. Count your blessings every night
Doing these things forces us to understand how blessed we really are. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He lives. I love you all and cannot wait to see you in a couple days! 

God bless and MERRY CHRISTMAS (cue Santa's voice)
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Don't worry these are Less Active members, not girls from home Elder.

P.S. Mom comment:  Because of transfers and Christmas, this week is a little different for internet time for Elder Smith-Driggs.  He emailed us that his P-Day this week will be Friday, Christmas day.  But they were allowed to get online today briefly (their usual P-day) to send/receive a few emails. I do not know if it will be next week before he gets a chance to view emails from this week or if he will get to see them Friday. Just thought I'd pass that on to those of you in correspondence with him.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bike for Dad


When Christmas comes early... THANKS FAMILY!

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope this week has been magical and exciting! It sure has been for me! I just found out I will be moving from Thonburi next transfer (starts on Thursday), so I have been reflecting on the wonderful things that have happened in this area.

Goodbye Thonburi

The Work: 
This week I learned that simple testimony brings pure joy. That is the single greatest blessing being on a mission. The opportunity to testify simply and effectively is a skill I want to improve...and during this Christmas season in the burning heat, in Thailand, we get to introduce the Savior of the World. This is a very special thing. The work this week has been a lot of fun and a lot of stressful! 

Brother Luck was confirmed on Sunday, and it has been really special to see him progress. I will miss him dearly. Grace and Augustine are doing well, and they send their love. They were very sad when they found out I was leaving, but I know that the Lord will take care of them. On my mission, there have been certain people that I have connected with more than others. We understand each other because we have the same desires and wants in life. Grace and Augustine were some of those people for me. I love them very much. Man.... this is kind of weird. I have never moved out of an area before, and I don't really know how to react - I am sad and excited at the same time. Kind of like leaving for the MTC hahahahaha same kind of thing. There have been a lot of good things that have happened here in Thonburi, and God is real - so He will take care of the rest. If any missionary or person puts their trust in God, everything always works out.

I am currently rocking out to my new Christmas music - gotta love PENTATONIX! I am seriously singing and dancing to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" in this little internet store.  Yeah, you bet it brings me home. Gotta love me some bass with the beatbox singing about Jesus Christ. AWESOME WOOHOOOOOO 

Long hard day...fell asleep with mini ball...every missionary should understand.
Mom Comment: Love the short-sleeve and watch tan lines;)

The Culture: 
1. Bike for Dad this week: All of Thailand bikes in Bangkok for the King. Every single person wears yellow, gets free flags... the whole shabang... imagine the Queen of Genovia in the "Princess Diaries"TM  but everyone is just sitting on the ground in yellow waving at the King x 100000 people. So naturally we stuck out..... and we took some pictures on the closed highways (of course.. why not right?) 

 About to watch the bikes come by!

Bike for Dad feat. Elder Stone

2. Gender in Thailand is merely a suggestion. This has led me to seriously study the family and the law of chastity. I am convinced there is more pornagraphic material here than in any area of the world. That may be false, but it has caused me to seriously study the effect that Satan has first on the individual, then on a group of people, then on the general public and acceptance of sin. I know that the Law of Chastity and the Family Proclamation are true doctrines. I have seen the effect of the opposite, and it is not beneficial for society. It will only be a matter of time when you have to question whether someone is a man or a woman all over the world. This is a real thing in Thailand. I am scared for the future, but I know that everything is in God's plan. That is why we have Jesus Christ, that is why He was born.  

The Funnies:
1. We are teaching one of our RCs right now how to be a ward missionary, so we told her to teach me as an investigator with a companion about the Restoration. She did great! Hahahaha she opened up the Book of Mormon and explained the pictures in the front of the book... also she explained the Liahona. So as an investigator, I asked if we had the ball here on the earth. And she answered and said, "Why yes we do Abraham! We have some Liahonas in the church!"... She was referring to the Liahona magazine hahahaha! It was so adorable, so we didn't tell her hahahaha.

When you play recorders in the taxi because you can...

Spiritual thought: 
Something that our mission president shared with us yesterday that I really liked:
Foundation of testimony should not be on an organization or a single gospel principle. You can have a testimony of faith all you want. You can love the Priesthood. You can know 100% that the Book of Mormon is true. But those things can be broken and split apart by the devil. He can break down the little bits of testimony that you have over time. Our focus (as it says in Helaman 5:12) should be on our Savior. He is our ROCK. And if our testimony is based on His principles and His Atonement, "WE CANNOT FAIL." I know that Jesus Christ is the center of our universe. Through Him we can be saved. Only through Him.

I love you all and am so grateful that this Christmas I get to be in Thailand. The Christmas spirit is felt all over the world because Jesus Christ is felt all over the world. I know that He lives and through Him all things are possible. God bless you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Dream
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sassy Elephants

I met some new friends last week :) Don't tell President Johnson, but I think I got hugged by a female...elephant. Oops :/ It was great :) 

I hope this wasn't against the rules....

We also had the opportunity to help out the Red Cross packing emergency supplies kits! Thanks Red Cross! Here are some photos! Enjoy! 

Service! - Red Cross is the best!

The Work:
What an awesome week here in Thonburi! I want to share the story of a dear friend of mine, Brother Luck. Elder Chamberlain and I met Brother Luck about 5 weeks ago fixing a car in front of his mechanic shop. We asked him if he wanted to know more about who Jesus Christ was, and he said yes! In our first lesson, he asked us what all of the "rules" were because he wanted to change to be Christian ASAP.... and so the story goes. Brother Luck is an amazing man. I love him dearly. He has told us many times of how he can feel himself changing. That is the power of the Atonement. Brother Luck is a great example of someone who can change through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He is so eager to follow every commandment that he taped all of the commandments above his bed so he could look at them before he went to bed and have them be the first thing he sees when he wakes up. What a great man. His son, Brother Gan, is awesome and a sweetheart. While his father was getting baptized, Brother Gan's face was pressed up against the glass intently watching his dad be the example. I love my brothers. 

Brother Luck and Brother Gan!

The Work is pressing on here in Thonburi. Many great miracles are happening. With Recent Converts, and Less Active Members. The branch is preparing to become a ward, and each member is stepping up to the plate. There is a good vibe going on here, and I really hope it stays that way! What a great week! 

Brother Somsak needed a break from his wheelchair, so this happened....

The Culture:
1. Father's Day here is the King's Birthday (Dec 5) every year. Everyone gets all decked out with lights, matching shirts, and usually there is some big activity. This year, the entire country will be riding bikes around Bangkok. EVERYONE buys shirts, and EVERYONE bikes. This country is so close knit, and they all love their King. It is awesome.

Father's day in Thailand! Woohoooo we love dads!

2. Fun fact - most KhonThais grow out their fingernail on their pinkie until it is about an inch long...they use that sharp nail for all sorts of utility purposes. How cool is that?!

Merry Christmas from this old man.  He is like Santa Claus! We found him this morning on our way to the internet place. Just a typical old man in Thailand. Rocking the boxers - hahahahahahaha.  

1. A baby elephant didn't like me. So when I went to hug it, it slapped me in the face with its trunk. That trunk was HEAVY people. I am surprised I didn't bruise. The elephant's trainer just laughed and said the baby was very naughty.... we all had a good laugh hahahahaha.

Missionary work

2. Sleep talk story (according to Elder Stone): In the middle of the night I am talking as always. I stand straight up in my bed, take my blankets and myself and plop down in my study desk... I turn to face Elder Stone in his bed and just keep mumbling to myself. Elder Stone asks me, "Hey man... you awake?" I answer: "Of course I am awake! Are you awake?!".... start mumbling again. I sit there for 2 minutes straight mumbling to Elder Stone, at which point I get up and perfectly lay the covers on my bed, get on my knees and say a prayer out loud in Thai, and flop back on my bed... silent. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA The end.

Spiritual Thought: 
My family has always done something called: Written Down Prayers. I am sure I have told many of you this already, but I want to say it again because they ROCK. A written down prayer is exactly what it sounds like. It is communication that you have with Heavenly Father. In our church, we believe in personal revelation - we thrive on it, and it directs our every day actions.... Imagine that you wrote those revelations and conversations with your Heavenly Father down. You could go back and study them, receive guidance on a monthly, weekly, daily basis if you wanted to. Obviously God knows more than we do... so why not ask for His help? Show Him that you care by writing His council down in a little notebook. 
In my own experience, the Spirit talks to me differently than others. But God wants all of us to receive guidance; all we have to do is ask for it. I do a written down prayer about 3 times a week now, and I love it. I have received so many insights and answers to my prayers. I challenge you all to do the same - IT REALLY WORKS!

I love you all so much. Family - you are the best. When I think of you, I smile so hard my cheeks hurt. Can't wait to see you all soon. God bless! 
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thailand Turkey Bowl

My brothers

Well.... I wouldn't exactly say turkey bowl due to the fact that we ate KFC for Thanksgiving this year... so it's a stretch hahaha - just deal with me here people. 

"Thanksgiving Chicken Dinner... thanks Kentucky"

We had a different festival this week. Called "Loygratone." (That is just how it sounds in Thai hahaha.) It is a big Buddhist holiday comparable to Valentine's Day. Each couple sends off a little boat made from a banana tree, decorated with all sorts of natural flowers and such. So OBVIOUSLY we had to embrace the culture and celebrate with my companion hahahahahaha.

Happy Buddhist Valentine's Day hahahahaha...

Oh, we also went bowling.... I would like to say I got a strike on this bowl but I can't lie.  It is against the 10 commandments.  

When you almost get a strike . . .

The Work: 
This week was awesome! We taught investigators, saw miracles, taught some less active members. saw more miracles, and eventually got back to bed each day exhausted but praying that the next day we would have the strength to do it all over again. Teach, Testify, Convert, and Love. What a pleasure it is to do this every day. It is also the most fun I have ever had in my whole life. I didn't think this was possible because whenever I saw missionaries as a kid I always thought that they were serious 100% of the time. The badge was everything - they never laughed... all they did was testify with the Spirit and that was it. I was so wrong. The mission experience is for those who want to find joy in serving others. That joy can come from anything - seeing an old lady walk down the street selling brooms, but she stops you and asks you why the tall handsome boys don't have Thai girlfriends yet.... yeah - you bet we laughed at that one. I used to think that missionary = serious. That is true to a certain extent - there needs to be a sense of professionalism in order to represent the Savior. But I am almost positive that Jesus laughed too. I have a bookmark that I keep in my Thai scriptures that has this motto I try to live by: "LOVE THE LORD AND LAUGH." Joy is found in the little things. We all need to learn to laugh more. The Thai people are very good at that... almost too good hahahaha. Sometimes we need to focus on the Spirit instead of the white American's hilarious, bad translation hahahaha. The work is strong here in Thonburi, and the branch [small local church unit] is progressing nicely. Right now we are working on prepping the branch to become a ward [large local church unit]. It is a lot of fun! 

The Culture:
1. It is incredibly rude to leave books/learning materials/scriptures on the ground. In lessons, you don't put anything but your bag on the ground. "The ground is for your feet, not books."

2. Thanksgiving isn't a thing here, sorry America. We celebrate Buddhist Valentine's Day.

3. While eating, we only use a fork and a spoon. To be honest, it is so much more efficient. The knife is such a useless utensil. (No offense to whoever invented it - I am sure he or she was really pumped about "the knife.") Also the spelling is a little strange, but that is ok, KhonThais absolutely love trying to pronounce it.

4. When you ask people how their day is going, the most common answer is either "It's Hot!" or "Big Traffic today".....

The Funnies: 
1. Tuk Tuk Driver while driving us to an appointment, "Yeah I am an old man and have been driving this tuk tuk for over 50 years.... in fact my eyes are beginning to go..." 

2. We are prepping for Christmas by buying our own Christmas tree and playing Christmas carols on the harmonica and recorder. I hope you enjoy the recording I'm sending - it is priceless. [Mom comment: I haven't figured out how to post it to the blog.]

Spiritual thought:
This morning I was reading in Ether 12 (I highly recommend it). As turmoil is happening around the world which is very troubling, this verse gave me peace and comfort. Hopefully it will do the same for you. 

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

I love this verse. I love how it talks about faith being an anchor. That is so true. I used to think that faith was just something to appease the people, something that said - "Well, have faith that the unseen is there and keep pressing forward... hopefully something will work out." I thought it was blind obedience. I was so wrong. Faith is more than belief; it is actions that prove your faith. They cement that anchor to the bottom of the sea. Those acts of faith show our Heavenly Father that we care and that we really do "glorify Him." I love you all and my prayer is that we can all evaluate our faith.... are we being obedient for the right reasons? 

I love you all so dearly and can't wait to see you on Christmas. God bless you all! 
Stay sweet.

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bangkok Kid

The Vegas of Asia.... Sin City.... what an AWESOME place to preach about God. This last week was very special. Very special for me. So let's get started....

The Work! 
This last week Elder Stone and I did something kind of strange, but we felt like it would help all of our investigators, members, and LA [less active] members. We decided that every lesson we would teach, we would teach the Atonement and repentance. And HOLY COW that has been the key in conversion for us as well as the people we teach. 

Here are some things that happened:
We were teaching a new investigator (Brother Nat) in his first lesson and asked him, "If God were here right now with you, what would you tell him?" He sat there for a couple seconds and then said these powerful words: "I would tell him I want to be an apostle of Jesus Christ." THAT IS POWERFUL. Brother Nat is 21, in the Navy, and an amazing investigator. He loves asking questions, and he loves understanding the doctrine - especially the Atonement.
Brother Nat
We taught an investigator named David. Another amazing person that I love deeply. David is Burmese, and in lessons we teach him in English and Thai, and he reads pamphlets and such in Burmese. God's language is the language of the Spirit. And it testifies about the love God has for His children through the Atonement.

Grace and Augustine, as we taught them our understanding of the Atonement, shared with us their feelings about God's grace and His love. They have committed to live the Word of Wisdom so that, in the words of Augustine, "Our body can be a temple... like a residential address for God." 
The Work is moving forward here in Thailand. Bangkok is a city of a lot of sin. A LOT of sin. But God never forgets His people. That is why we are here. "Behold, we are disciples of Jesus Christ, called to declare repentance unto this people, that they might have everlasting life." What an honor it is to be here.

The Culture:
1.Taxi drivers love to play the most random music. The other day a man turned on CCR [Creedence Clearwater Revival] for us because he loved Americans hahahaha. I thought of you Dad. You would have loved it. So of course we jammed out. 
2. While cleaning Buddhist wats (or temples), no shoes are allowed in the wats or anything like that. So they were renovating a wat the other day, and all the painters were barefoot climbing up these huge wats on the rooftoops... just an interesting fact.

 Wat under renovation

3. It is hot here and rainy.  

The Funnies:
1. (While riding on a bus back to the church) A white guy yells out from the sidewalk "farang" (which means white person in Thai) and says he makes burgers, and he is from New York. I looked at Elder Stone and said, "Hop off the bus! Get off the bus now!"... so we jumped off the bus and ran to this man who we have an appointment to eat burgers with. Yeah - real New York hamburgers - BOOM. You KNOW he is getting baptized..... we first need to learn how to understand his thick accent hahahaha. 

2. I was eating some chicken that tasted strange so I asked what it was (big mistake).... it was chicken butt hole. I probably won't buy it again... 

3. Brother Nat, when he met Elder Bush: When Nat looked at Elder Bush, the first words out of his mouth were, "Are you a boy?" Hahahahahaah Elder Bush has rosy cheeks hahahaha so Nat thought he was a girl hahahahahaha. Welcome to Thailand everyone. 

4. We went to district conference this week in Asoke, and there is an RC [recent convert] that is absolutely in love with Elder Stone. When the meeting ended, we left to get food... until she started running full speed after us. So we were booking it across the street... and I kid you not, literally through malls and buildings and parking garages... until we lost her. Hahahahaha Elder Stone was terrified hahahaha. There are some crazy ladies here in Thailand. You have to be careful. When we got back to the church, she was waiting for us - pretended like nothing happened. Classic. Very funny - we had a good laugh, but she was very good at tracking us. Very skilled.  [Mom comment: Elders are not supposed to fraternize with women.]

5. Whenever someone asks where I am from, I use some slang that Brother Chilli taught me: The word literally means, "Bangkok kid"... it is not inappropriate or anything don't worry. But when I tell people I am a "Bangkok kid" or a dek tabe (Thai romanized)... they just die and think it is so funny that the white boy says that hahaha.

Bangkok kid!

Spiritual thought: 
As we have been teaching about the Atonement this week (literally every lesson focused on it), I have learned a great deal about the love our Savior has for us. So my first challenge to you all is to sit down and study the effect the Atonement has had in your life for 30 mintues. The second challenge is a little bit harder - but SO rewarding. 

These last 2 weeks we have started something our mission is doing called the "40 day fast." You fast for a day and ask Heavenly Father at the end of the day what you can give up... what you can sacrifice to Him. What are you willing to give up for 40 days to show Christ you are growing closer to Him? Elder Stone and I have been doing this and keeping each other accountable. I am telling you - It has made a huge differenece in how much I can feel the Spirit and teach with power. It makes a difference in how well I can speak Thai and how much love I can feel for my investigators. The 40 day fast is changing my behavior and my nature. So my challenge to each one of you who reads this is to give this a go. Maybe you need to get rid of Instagram for 40 days. Maybe you need to stop saying the word "shut-up" or "that sucks." Maybe it is as small as making your bed every morning and telling your mom and dad you love them. Whatever it is - it will make the difference. Ask Heavenly Father what you need to do. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO FAST FROM? 
I promise you that when you do this... you will feel the influence of the Holy Ghost directing you in the path of the Savior and the path of salvation. It is making all the difference in my life as a missionary and in my life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Don't EVER think that just because we are missionaries we are invincible or we know everything... we are the only ones that can 'really' get rid of Instagram for 40 days because we don't have a phone to do it on hahahaha. Don't think like that. I know absolutely nothing. I glory in my God because He is amazing... As for me? Forget it. There is no way I could speak Thai or even get up in the morning without my Savior. I love Him with all my heart. I know it is possible as a college student, a parent, a 12-year-old, and a high school seminary student. It is possible - make the change in yourself. Go for it - 40 day fast. It will not be easy... oh boy it is tough let me tell ya - but what a difference it will make. I know these things are true because all good things come from God, and as we consecrate ourselves by giving up something we love - the more we feel closer to Him and the more we become like our Savior. 

I love you all dearly. Mom, Dad, Eliza, Olivia, extended family and friends - you mean the world to me. I love you with all of my heart. God bless you.
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

                                                                   Brother Luck

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tears of Joy

My dear family and friends,

This week was a week of hard work, a week of tears, and a week of miracles. What an amazing opportunity it is to be a missionary. I feel so blessed to be friends and family with such amazing people who have taught me important lessons. In my spiritual thought today, I will elaborate on that, but for now - THANK YOU ALL!

Sending off Brother Ding for his mission in Ogden, Utah.

The Work: 
This is my third transfer in Thonburi, and my new companion is Elder STONE. What a stud - this guy is the man! We get along way well, and he just makes me laugh. We have a good time. The first thing he says to me at the transfer meeting: "Alright Elder, are you pumped to see some miracles?"...... Yeah, it is going to be an awesome transfer!!!!!!!!! Funny thing, he actually trained Elder Allen (my companion in the MTC). My trainer, Elder Chamberlain, went to be Elder Allen's new comp up in KhonGhen... so we just switched trainers hahahahahaha! 


Companion switch... wait WHAT?

The crew from the MTC woohoo (MIA Elder Krebs).

Many miracles happened this week. Miracles are awesome... I just love them. They are always there - because God is a God of miracles. It is just a fact. Here are a couple of them:

1. We were working with the ward clerk on some records in the middle of the day on Saturday. A man walked into the church and recognized us. He said, "Hey elders, I was an investigator like 5 years ago. I want you to come to my house and eat food... and I also want my daughter to be a member of this church." WELL OK THEN! 

2. When Elder Stone switched (Thursday), he forgot maple syrup extract at his house in KhonGhen. He was bummed because he likes to make pancakes every morning. That morning, Elder Chamberlain had moved out and stripped everything in the room, including the bed. He also eats way healthy. When we returned home at night on Thursday, there were three items on the bed. And I kid you not: a bunjee cord, a bag, and an unopened bottle of maple syurp extract. Unbelievable. Elder Stone thought it was a joke.... but no one had been home yet. We were the first ones there. WOOHOOOO thanks God! What a start to a transfer of miracles! 

3. The first two days, 27 people gave us their phone numbers so we could teach them. Amazing what obedience, faith, and a willing heart will give you. As far as investigators go, we have an awesome guy named Luck who will be getting baptized next week. Grace and Augustine are progressing bit by bit and have agreed to get baptized. YEEEHHAWWW thank you for all of your prayers.

1. People eat bugs here... it's casual.

Spider as big as your hand. Welcome to Thailand!

2. On notebooks they put the most hilarious captions/bad English translations on them. The other day I found one (a journal mind you), with a picture of a little rabbit on it. There was a little poem in the corner that read:  "Love night, the ice weasels come." HAHAHAHAHA I have no idea what that means.

Pokemon - gotta catch 'em all! 

I found Mexican food..... and an American shake - woah! 

1. Pretty good messed up translation by yours truly. The words for ice cube and wooden cross are similar in Thai. So I asked the lady at KFC to only put a little bit of crosses in my drink. Hahahaha Elder Chamberlain just died. I felt bad because that is the same word we use for the cross of Jesus. Oops... 

2. A bird pooped on me today. First time... pretty exhilirating I must say... especially when it gets in your ear :) But no worries - The guy I was talking to gave me his number, and the man in the bathroom who I was washing hands with gave me his number too... so tender mercies rock on! :)

"Hey Elder Stone, how safe is this locust?" "Probably about as safe as locusts can get.".... "Ok, I'll eat it."

Sister Parin drew this (by hand) for our district last transfer.... hahahahahaha!

Spiritual thought: 

Yesterday at church, I was sitting next to Sister Bun, who is the mother of Brother Ding (who is on a plane right now for his mission in OGDEN). We sang "God be with you till we meet again." To feel this sweet mother's love for her first child in her family to leave on a mission (their whole family converted 5 years ago...) was amazing. We were both crying tears of joy because I was reminded of my mom's incredible love for me. And how hard it must have been for you, Mom, to let me go, even though you knew God came first. Moms everywhere are a testament of incredible, unfathomable love for their children. I love you Mom! 

As I was studying the scriptures today, I came across a verse in 1 Nephi 8:37. It is talking about Lehi when he is counseling Laman and Lemuel after he sees (in his dream) that they reject the fruit and turn away from the fam. In desperation, Nephi writes that his father "did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words." Oh how often do we not listen to the words of our wise parents? They love us so much. Both our earthly parents and our heavenly parents. You parents out there have felt this urgency when you know your child is doing something wrong - and as tenderly as your soul allows, you try to teach them the best you can... but you know in your heart, it is ultimately their decision what they want to do. God bless all parents out there. 

I love my mom and my dad more than life. They have taught me the ways of the Lord. They have taught me how to live the statutes of God. And they love me unconditionally. I feel that everyday, and I felt it more so yesterday sitting next to my sweet Sister Bun. God bless you parents everywhere. We children love you even if we don't say it. 

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

P.S. Mom Comment:  I realize missions are different for every person.  And for some, they are not all the missionary or parents hope for.  But I want to express how grateful I am for the eternal perspective, spiritual tuning, and family insights Abraham is obtaining in the Thailand Bangkok Mission (TBM).  I could not ask for a better experience for this great young man whom I get to call "son."

Also, I am soooooo grateful for Elder Chamberlain.  What an amazing trainer for Abraham!  Elder Chamberlain was kind enough to send me his letters each week as well.  So I got to hear about other fun adventures and spiritual encounters he and Abraham had each week. I'm posting this passage from Elder Chamberlain's letter this week because it was too good not to post about these great guys who played jazz trumpet together in Caleb Chapman's music program for four years;)  

"Trumpet Buds
Before being separated Elder Smith-Driggs convinced me that we had to at least try to get our hands on some trumpets. So after emailing and grabbing lunch on Monday we headed over to the middle school next to the church. We literally walked up, said we play trumpet and asked if we could play. They looked confused but told us we could go talk to the music teacher. We found him, talked for a minute, and before you know it we each had a trumpet in hand. 

After not touching a trumpet for over a year I'm a little bit rusty. If the trumpet professor from BYU was there he might question why he ever offered me a scholarship. Nevertheless, we had fun. It was great!"

We can still play the trumpet! Sort of...