Monday, June 29, 2015

Faith . . . and Kilts

Hello Hello Hello! Some awesome stuff happened this week. I am still loving the MTC! I am starting to get the hang of the regular schedule. It’s super funny though because we study about 9 hours every day, and the kids straight out of high school are like - "Are you kidding me? This is so hard! 9 hours a day is tough!" Me and Elder Ellis just look at each other and are like.... “You guys will have so much fun in college then hahahahaha!” Did I mention our district is 8 guys? No girls. Tbh, I kind of like it. The elders are awesome.

So. Lessons of the week: 

1. Faith
There is a sister in the Pi Thai group above us (3 people in the district). Her name is Sister Mon. She is amazing. She came here 7 weeks ago from Myanmar. She didn't speak any English or any Thai. Imagine coming to a country and when you get off the plane to go to the MTC, you have no idea what anyone is saying to you, and you have to learn two languages in 9 weeks to go preach the gospel. She bore her testimony yesterday about faith in sacrament meeting. There was not a dry eye in the room. What a powerful testimony of faith. I love Sister Mon. She said (in PERFECT English I might add), that she came to the MTC and to go on a mission because she loved her Savior, and she had faith that He would help her. She is the only member in her family. She is AMAZING.

2. Learn to have fun! 
Our district has fun. Maybe too much fun sometimes ;) The tiniest thing will get us laughing 'til we cry. We think we are so clever because we find words in Thai that sound like English, and then we totally just talk to our teachers about those words like they are part of the gospel or something. Here are a couple of them :) 

Yuu ti ni (pronouned with a high pitched voice like the jawa's in Star Wars... it means "I'm here.")
Ajan (It basically means master/sensei and every other Asian teacher is "ajan.")
Yak (Troll/monster - no joke - it’s legit part of the alphabet - hahaha gotta love Thai.) I also learned how to say "Troll in the dungeon!!” *screamed like Professor Quirell from Harry Potter. Very effective for scaring the Cantonese Elders :) 

Anyway... we have a good time. Today I am about to go play soccer in a kilt. Now, you may think this is normal, but surprisingly a lot of people here at the MTC don't wear kilts. I have gotten a couple strange looks. I got the kilt from one of the Pi Thai Elders, Elder Noyce. It is a pass down. And with great power comes great responsibility... so you KNOW I'm rockin the kilt on P-days here hahahahaha.  All I need is the kilt, my leopard chums, and the Phrawinyaad Borisud (Holy Ghost). So yeah... you could say the MTC is a big spiritual party.

Pics of Sister Pugsley and Elder Curtis (BYU friends)

3. Thai is going great! 
I am starting to pick up things from our investigators, and I practice with the Khon Thais every day (people from Thailand). I can now understand everything our teacher tells us, and Elder Allen and I speak Thai all day long to each other. The more we SYL (speak your language), the better we get, thanks to our loving Heavenly Father. I am so grateful to be a phoosonsadsanaa (missionary). It is a fantastic blessing in my life. I am so grateful to be serving a mission for Jesus Christ. I get so pumped putting his name tag on every day, and I can't wait to go to Thailand!  

I again apologize for my lack of grammatic ability and sentence structure patterns. I apologize for any split infinitives (whatever those are...). I am just writing like I would say it - because that is how personality comes out in writing. I love you all! It is so fun to hear from people! Congrats Tiffany on the mission call to Paraguay! SOOOOO AWESOME.

Alright, last thing. Spiritual thought of the week.

What does faith have to do with confidence? Read JSH 1:29 - great verse. I have been thinking a lot about how faith can turn into confidence in Christ. I can tell you that I am confident that Christ and the Holy Ghost are helping me a TON with the language. Just something to ponder over. I've been thinking about it a lot, anyway. 

Phraapuupencaw rag talood khun! (God loves all of you)
Phom rag khun! (I love you) 

Elder Smith-Driggs  

P.S. This last week was tough... but I got through it because Elder Noyce showed our district a video. I could really feel the Spirit when I watched it. Notice the end - what an amazing example of love and charity. Please watch this video and give me your feedback. It is sponsored by the Church. Enjoy! It is called - "School Bus." Search this video on - you will love it!  I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It's like Disneyland but better!

Heeyyyyyoooooooooo everyone! The MTC is seriously the funnest place on the planet. It's like Disneyland but better. I absolutely love it here! My district is sooooo tight, and my companion is a stud! His name is Elder Allen. He is from Lindon, UT. Oh, fyi... please excuse all grammar mistakes and spelling errors - I am just typing as fast as I can here hahahaha. (My mom is posting these letters and photos to the blog.)

Let's see... how about we start with Wednesday? After I said goodbye to the FAM (LOVE YOU GUYS), they ushered me around the whole building and just cranked out lots of paperwork/orientation. It's like a machine here on the first day. I guess it has to be when they are getting so many missionaries all the time. So we had lots of orientation meetings and meetings about how to act as a missionary at the MTC, how to do this, that, and the other.... blah blah blah. Mainly everyone was just relieved to get to their rooms that night and just crash because of all the emotional upheaval of the day hahahaha. The next day we had more orientation, and lots of workshops. All day long. I will give you a quick run down on my class time here at the MTC.

No English is spoken - it's ALL Thai. And on our second day we had our first lesson with an investigator, Sister Coo (pronounced Joe). So yup... Elder Allen and I had to practice what we would say to her in our lesson. Surprisingly, we could say a lot. The gift of tongues that God blesses you with is amazing. We taught Sister Coo for 45 minutes. 45 MINUTES. On our second day here we explained her purpose in this life, how she could find happiness through prayer, that her Heavenly Father loves her, and then we proceeded to teach her how to pray, which she did at the end of our lesson. I can never understand what she is saying.... but the Spirit helps out a lot with the translation. My Branch President told me yesterday something I will never forget.  He said, "The Holy Ghost speaks Thai much better than you can." That's the number one thing I have learned here at the MTC.

We had a different experience two days ago when we taught Sister Coo for a second time. Our Thai was impecable - perfect grammer and we remembered all of our vocab. But we didn't teach with the Spirit. We taught a lesson, NOT an investigator. We learned a valuable lesson a couple days ago.  It's frustrating because I can't communicate some things in Thai... but I've learned that I shouldn't be worried about that. The rule at the MTC is that FIRST you learn the language of the Spirit. You develop a relationship with your Heavenly Father and His gospel through the Holy Ghost... and THEN you study the language of your mission. I am learning that personal conversion is much more important than learning the language. Great lesson. I love the MTC. Holy Cow this place is awesome! 

Cool stories? Of course I have some.  Funniest thing yet - my district is hilarious. We have 8 guys from Utah, Oregon, and Hawaii. They are studs, and we are already becoming really good friends. We see other districts just walking together talking seriously.. but our district is so funny.. we just laugh and laugh and laugh and joke around with each other. The other day our district leader, Elder Lindley was like, "Elders, missionary work is like speed dating in the cafeteria," then pointed to Elder Krebs and Elder Walker who were siting at another table and at least 6 sisters were sitting around them. Gotta love that missionary handshake hahaha." IDK. We just get along really well with each other.

We are all in here to learn things from each other - and I can learn a lot from each of them, including my companion. Elder Allen (my companion) is a pretty shy guy.  I am trying to get him out of his shell, because during one of our companion inventories he keeps telling me to teach him social skills. When he speaks - it's with the power of God. He has taught me a lot about consistency. He keeps telling me not to get frustrated, because I am really just trying to learn the language at 100 miles an hour. He keeps me grounded by saying that that is not why we are here at the MTC. He is a STUD.

Sorry... so cool stories? We met some sisters (KhonThais) from Thailand yesterday! They were serving English-speaking missions and are in the MTC with us. They read my nametag and said, "Elder Smith-Driggs!! We have heard about you from like 5 different people! It is good to finally meet you!"... Of course this was all in Thai, and I had no idea what they were saying until afterwards... but I just smiled and said it was a pleasure to meet them and sorry my Thai wasn't very good. They asssured me that it was, but I think they were just being polite. Typical Asian kindness - gotta love the KhonThais.

I see everyone here every day! Elder Garff, Elder Curtis, Elder Woolley, Elder Holmes, Elder Hammond, Elder Muir, Sister Stone, Sister Pugsley, Sister Odom, Sister Clark..... I could go on and on. It's like a big BYU reunion!! Just being able to see friends serving the Lord with their misisonary nametags on everyday is sooooo awesome to see. It is such an honor to wear Phraayeesuukrid on my nametag. I get pretty hyped when I put in on every morning. I love it here!

Oh mom, could you send my blanket down please? John was right... it's freezing down here hahaha. Don't worry though I have been sleeping great! Just cold..... 

HAPPY FATHERS DAY TO THE BEST DAD EVER. Sorry I couldn't send you an email Dad. I even asked my Branch President if he could text you on his phone, "Happy Father's Day from Elder Smith-Driggs" hahahaha, but he said no. It's ok. I love you! So happy you are my dad! 

Let's see... anything else from the MTC? It's great, my Thai is pretty decent already thanks to the Holy Ghost, and in our next lesson with Sister Coo we are probably (if the Spirit directs us), going to ask her to be baptized. So yup... you could say I love it here ;)

Elder Smith-Driggs

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just Some Thoughts

Man! I can't believe I am writing in my missionary blog right now. I have been SO PUMPED to serve a mission and now the time is finally here! I get set apart tonight and head into the MTC tomorrow. I AM SO EXCITED! Hopefully I will see some college amigos in there. Half of the teachers in the MTC were in the Men's Chorus,and I am really stoked to see them as well! Many people ask me my thoughts at this point. Am I nervous? Am I excited? Had I wished I was buddhist so I don't have to serve a mission? I mean the questions are all over the board. But let me assure you all of something. I know a mission is what I need to be doing right now at this point in my life. I cannot wait to have that missionary nametag stuck on my shirt for two years.

Am I nervous? - Of course
Am I excited? - OH YEAH BABY LET'S DO THIS THING. Excited >>>>>> nervous at this point

Just a quick note: my blog writing skills are low compared to my buddy Lee Holmes. All the funny things in the blog are definitely from him. Good guy, great blog. Just read it... it will give you a good laugh for sure hahahahaha.
^^ I just had to plug it one last time, ya know?

I just want to share a couple thoughts with my fan base here on blogger (tbh I don't really think anyone will ever read this but that's ok! It will be like a personal online journal. Most blogs are, anyway). I want whoever is reading this to know that I know that my Savior, Jesus Christ, lives. He lives and He loves us with all his heart and then some. His love for us is unconditional. If I share that love with the people of Thailand I will have done my job. I will do my best.... and hopefully that will be enough.

Feel free to write me - I would love to know what everyone is doing! Love you guys!

Elder Smith-Driggs