Monday, July 6, 2015

It's the Little Things

Our whole zone - all Thai and Cantonese speaking missionaries.

Photo of Skyline MTC missionaries doing the "missionary handshake," 
courtesy of Sara Langston. 

It's the little things that count here at the MTC. You can either choose to make your experience a terrible one, or you can be positive and look for the little things each day that you can appreciate and laugh at. I'd like to think I choose the latter. The reason I talk about little things is to explain the awful video - "The School Bus." You may have found it on, per my request... and if you watched it like I told you to, I am sincerely sorry. But you have to understand where we missionaries come from. We are sitting in a classroom all day trying to understand people in a different language. We like to appreciate the little things that make us laugh and laugh and laugh. And we like to share these things as much as possible (as every good missionary should do). 

When our zone leader, Elder Noyce, showed us "The School Bus," we were also prepared for a dazzling spiritual experience. We were intently taking notes. It ends with a total downer... and the screen goes black and says, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." He just stood there and looked at our confused and innocent faces and laughed and laughed and laughed. We laughed too. Sometimes it is so stressful here that you need a good break. Whenever we feel like that - we watch "The School Bus" to remind ourselves of the mistakes the producers made in making a 1:30 second film that ends with a spiritual downer. I hope you can all undersstand my humor because we all think it is HILARIOUS hahahahahaha. Anyways - apologies out of the way - the MTC still rocks (as long as I find the little things) ;)

I liked this picture you sent of Daniel so much I put it on my mirror hahahahahah.  
It makes me laugh so hard.
[His cousin on July 4th about to slam dunk a watermelon into a basketball hoop.]

A couple amazing things this week! I got to host (bring the missionary in from the curb) this last Wednesday. The first person I hosted was a young man named Elder Nitchin from Micronesia. He is the first person in his family to serve a mission, and his grandfather was the first convert in Micronesia. There are only a couple wards there - and it was really amazing to see the faith of this elder. He only had a couple white shirts and 3 ties... all he could afford to come to America. He will be serving in Logan, UT. What a STUD! 

Hosting with Elders Muir and Brown(?)  
(Photo courtesy of Cate Christensen's mom who was dropping off Cate. 
She said Abraham kept bowing to them.)

Another amazing thing -  I have, for the first time ever, gained 12 pounds in just over 2 weeks. Now, for some people, that may not suprise you. But if you understand how actually skinny I am.. you will know that this truly has been a blessing from God ;). Those extra pounds keep Elder Smith-Driggs warm at night - so you bet I'm super grateful hahahaha (The Thai people talk in third person always, just fyi. Hopefully it won't get too annoying in the emails.) 

Our district had TRC this Saturday for the first time. TRC is a program that allows outside investigators (who speak their native tongue), to come to the MTC and be taught by missionaries. We had SO MUCH FUN! And surprisingly, I could understand almost everything the people told me! Teaching the phrakitikun khong phrayessukrid (gospel of Jesus Christ) is such an amazing thing. I get to learn how to do that for 9 weeks here at the MTC. What an amazing blessing. When we teach, we can feel the Holy Ghost helping us with our grammar, our tones, and our message. It is incredibly important to teach to the investigator's needs (obviously). Time and time again we learn the lesson: Teach the investigator, NOT the lesson. 

Funny things for the week? Oh you bet I had some blunders with language and tones hahahahaha. Oh boy I am going to remember these for a long time. The best one this week was Elder Smith (another Elder in my District). He walked into the investigator's house (classroom), and proudly proclamed - "We are God." Instead of - "We are missinonaries of Jesus Christ." The best thing was, he was so nervous that he didn't even realize what he had said until half way through the lesson. I bet the investigator would have been very interested in what "God" had to say. Wouldn't you be? hahahahahahahaha 

There are 5 tones in Thai, same thing as Chinese. And if you say the tone wrong, it means a completely different word. So the investigator was asking about 1 Nephi 1, and asked who Lehi was. I told him that Lehi was a prophet and was the goat of Nephi. Father (Pee) and Goat (Pee) sound exactly the same except for their tones. He looked a little confused so I kept explaining that this "goat" received revelation from God and shared it with Nephi and his human family. hahahahaha 

In the same lesson, we taught Brother Nxng about baptism. I explained the process of baptism.  But when I explained full submersion, I forgot to tell him that he would be brought back up out of the water. He looked at me in fright and said in Thai, "So, you are going to put me under the water? How long will I be down there?".... It was a very funny moment indeed hahahahaha, but the investiagor had an actual concern, and I felt so bad. He probably thought when he got baptized, he was going to be drowned *face palm*

I love the MTC. My district is awesome. The older Thais [elders and sisters who have been in the MTC longer] left this morning at 3:30 a.m to Thailand. We escorted them to the travel office and said our goodbyes (for now). The only Elder that was sent was Elder Noyce, along with two sisters: Sister Mon and Sister Yang. We will all miss them. But this means that we 8 elders now have 8 TEACHERS at our disposal. I can't wait to learn these next couple weeks. We will propbably get a lot more individual attention. [The newest batch of Thai-speaking elders do not arrive until the end of July.]

Drawings on new elders courtesy of the "older Thais" who left for Thailand this morning.

I love you all so much. Family is the best! SO sad I was not able to make the wonderful 4th of July party this weekend. I thought of you all as I watched the Stadium of Fire fireworks outside my building. God bless America! Family is the best! Getting all the pictures and letters from you all has been so encouraging! Thanks Sophie so much for your sweet note! And Eliza and Olivia - keep those Dear Elder's coming... you may think the MTC is an exhilarating place with a lot of fun things to do all day (almost like Aspen Grove)... but my favorite part of the day is reading your letters at the night time! Love you All! Pictures should be sent soon!

Elder Smith-Driggs  

Sent from my iPhone
My sweet phone I use for contacting investigators.

(Mom Comment: He doesn't have an iPhone. It's just another way for him to laugh at life right now.)

From a separate email today where I asked Abraham, "Did you meet your new mission president and his wife?"

YYEEESSSS! Did I not tell you about them? 
They are soooo nice. President Johnson and his wife are super chill. I thought I sent that pic.  They are really nice. He loves basketball, and he got to play in a high school nationwide competition where he played against Michael Jordan and Karl Malone. He got 6th place in the national dunk competiion in high school. He was most likely the only white guy. He seemed way chill. We would ask him questions, and he would answer them calmly and professionaly... and Sister Johnson was so excited to meet us. She speaks absolutely NO thai. They have been in Thailand for about a week now. Keep them in your prayers


From a final email today asking about Abraham's teacher, Sister Painter, who was a former companion to Grace Jackson from our stake:

Sister Painter was our first mock investigator, and then we found out the second week she was our teacher hahahahahaha.  It was great. These teachers must struggle with some sort of identity crisis. I feel bad for them. Keep them in your prayers please ;) lol jk love ya

Sister Painter and another teacher with the district.
Photo courtesy of Sister Painter via Grace Jackson.

Mom Comment (aka MomCom): If you know someone who wants Abraham's blog notices who isn't getting them, please have them email me at, and I'll add them to the list.

Instructions for DearElder.Com letters:
For those of who who do not know what is, I will explain.  Here is the link: .  It is a free and easy way to send daily mail to missionaries at the MTC.  Whatever you send before noon (MST, M-F), gets printed out and delivered THAT DAY to Abraham.  

If you click on the link, you will see a link on the left hand side under "Send Stuff" that says, "Provo MTC (FREE)." When you click on that link,  a virtual envelope will appear.  You fill in your information on the "Return address" and Abraham's information in the main address  It is as follows:  
Title : Elder 
First name: Abraham
Last name: Smith-Driggs
Unit #: 55
Mission: Provo MTC
Estimated MTC departure date: August 17

Then you enter your email address, and you will receive an electronic copy of what you send to Abraham.  You can leave the next box blank because Abraham doesn't read the DearElder letters online.  They clutter his email account.  Next, you start typing your email into the big box.  When you are done, you click the "Send Letter" button below.  It will ask you if you are sure, and you click OK.  You're done.  

The next screen that comes up asks if you want to donate, but you don't need to do that or click anything else.  You've already sent your letter.  I already donated, so don't worry about it.  This FREE email printing service ONLY LASTS WHILE HE'S IN THE MTC.  After that, it's regular mail.

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