Monday, August 31, 2015

An Actor in a Pigeon's Paradise

What an AMAZING WEEK. My title may be confusing, so let me explain - Thailand is a pigeon's paradise because there is a lot of food/trash on the side of the road...and there are powerlines everywhere of all shapes and sizes. Let's just say I have had to duck a couple of times so I don't get electrocuted hahahahaha. I relate more to the actor part of the title - I can comfortably say that I am a master at pretending I understand people. Human nature is the same anywhere, and body language is a super good indicator when you have no idea what anyone is saying!  Even with the church members during full on conversations, I can communicate with my actions and my developing charades skills. There is a reason why 4 members this week have called me "the living cartoon/the Minion."  So BOOM - you CAN communicate with people as long as you don't mind looking stupid... which doesn't even phase me - as we all know hahahahaha. Oh it is so much fun! 

This is how I will format my blog posts from now on: 
1. How the work is going 
2. The culture of Thailand
4. The best part - the spiritual thought of the week :) 

So let us begin!

Highlight of the week - Sister Aunt/Ant's (แอนท์) baptism

The Work:
Sister Ant got baptized this Sunday! It was so amazing to see her get baptized. I had the privilege of baptizing her - and saying that baptism prayer in the font with sweet little Sister Ant made me feel like I am doing my part here in Thailand. I get to be a small part of her journey to eternal life. Now the next step is helping her and our other investigators endure to the end (in my opinion the hardest). Baptism and confirmation open the door to eternal life with our Father in Heaven.  But enduring to the end, coming to church, reading and praying every day - that is when the true test comes in.

Other than the baptism, we taught and tracted and visited less active members and just did what we thought the Lord wanted us to do. Something I have learned from my awesome trainer Elder Chamberlain - is that if God wanted, He would line up the people prepared to receive the gospel outside our front door. We would teach them, baptize them, and they would all be perfect recent converts and never fall away. That would be Satan's plan of hapiness. If we had this, we would not have the opportunity to be tested as representatives of Jesus Christ. We as missionaries would not grow at all. Every time I talk to someone new - God is testing me. I plan to get an A on my grade ;). The members are great, the Church is growing, and more people in Thailand are hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is such an honor to be a part of that.

Brother Benz helping me read the Book of Mormon with some recent converts.

The Culture of Thailand: 
Thailand is just super awesome - I don't know what else to say.

1. Red lights don't phase people - just drive straight on through.

2. It is always hot (did I mention that?)

3. The most common job in Thailand literally translates to "sell stuff." Which makes sense... there is the most random stuff they sell here hahahaha.  It is super cheap.

4. Whenever talking to someone (if that person is sitting down), you have to squat (as seen in the picture) and teach them.  It is rude to talk down to people.

Squat teaching

5. Quote from Elder Chamberlain: "I frequently ponder the socioeconomic juxtaposition that squanders the development of Thailand." Yeah - my trainer is a beast. If you can figure out that sentence, you can speak Thai.

With Elder Chamberlain

6. Food is off the street - and it can be SUPER sketchy. Mostly we can control what we eat, but sometimes we go to members' houses, and we just look down at the food.... and we eat it. This week we had a spicy noodle dish dunked in fish sauce with raw crab - it was a joy. Also, the meat is always questionable. You just pray hard during those times. Other than sketchy home-made food, the street vendors are delicious! Coconut, exotic fruits, 7-Elevens (which are super good not the same as America).

Eating with some wonderful non-Church friends who like to feed the missionaries. 
We call them "pa me" (which means mom and dad).

7. Toilet paper is used for blowing your nose. They don't use toilet paper for the toilet. You use a sprayer. It's super duper.

8. Rock paper scissors is played with one swipe of the hand. No 3 times saying, "Rock, paper, scissors" business - just one swipe of the arm and you have your answer. We play it every time someone wants to pray, and whoever wins prays :)

9. Ketchup on Pizza - VERY DELICIOUS - Everyone try it. It is really good. Who knew, right?

10. The spiders? I haven't seen a giant one yet, so that is a plus.  The little ones don't even phase me anymore hahahaha.  So that is good.

11. Last but not least - the street dogs. They chase everything that is running or on a bike. Little did I know that when Elder Chamberlain and I did our nice jog this morning, we ran into a couple of dogs... and the jog turned into a sprint hahahahaha. The dogs generally don't like things they aren't familiar with - so that includes white people.


1. Right outside the church is a music school/band practice room. So we will come out of the church to some rockin pep band music/really out of tune trumpets hahahaha. Elder Chamberlain and I just love it.

2. I got called a minion and a living cartoon character multiple times. My charades game is ON POINT

This is the tall minion the Thai people think I look like.  The minion even wears chums!

3. Translations - I am sure I offended many people this week (not on purpose of course).

4. We got soaked one day after a rainstorm while walking to the church (see picture). In Thailand, they believe that if you get rain on your head you will get sick. So for a solid hour at the church, people were telling me I was going to die hahahaha.

 Beautiful rain clouds

 Under the underpass during the rain storm


5. I have to sit like a woman while teaching lessons because I can't cross my legs without hurting myself. They just laugh at me and call me a white boy hahahaha. They aren't mean when they say that. They just know that white people aren't trained to squat and cross legs for time and all eternity.

6. We ride boat taxis sometimes (like a big bus but on the water).  Super loud and super fun! You just hop off onto the dock when you want to get off hahahahahaha.  It is super sketchy.

Boat taxi/bus

Everlyone in Thailand just loves to laugh. If I ever do something funny, they just die of laughter. I have just been told I can't take offense - and I don't... I bet I look pretty stupid! This super giant white missionary from America, trying to speak Thai, and trying to eat really spicy food hahahahahaha.  I love it here.  It is a dream come true.


Journal entry Aug 28: 
Dead roadkill is everywhere, people have no teeth, it smells like fish sauce in every house, bugs and spiders are everywhere, every meat dish you touch could destroy you, bug bites are all over my body, there are no Twizzlers in this country... and I AM LOVING EVERY SECOND OF IT.  My job is to forget myself and go to work. As Elder Holland puts it - "Being a missionary is higher and holier and more sacred and more eternal than anything you've ever done. It is by definition the most important thing you can do in the world, in time or eternity." This calling as a missionary is such a blessing. But the time I have to be a full-time missionary is so short! I only have two years to wear the badge. I have to savor every day and every lesson I learn on my mission. I want my children and my grandchildren to know what a blessing a mission is. What a privilege it is to serve my Master. The mission is not about me. It is not about "no Twizzlers at the stores" (although that is tragic let me tell you). It is about conversion. The mission is about the Savior. The mission is about unconditional love.  The mission is bringing others closer to Christ, including yourself.

I pray every day that I can help the people of Thailand and serve with my heart. I pray that I can be an instrument in God's hands: a trumpet, if you will. He is the backstage manager. He is the lights, the lyrics, the composer, the sound booth extraordinaire. I just play His song into the microphone.
May we always remember the hand of God in our lives - because it is there if we look for it. I promise you it is there. I testify that God lives and that He loves His children. This mission is a chance of a lifetime. This is the work of eternity - I have to give it all I've got. Wish me luck :) 

I love you all dearly - may God bless you. 
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Bustling City of Bangkok!

Wooohoooo! I am finally here in Thailand!
Riding in a tuk tuk.

 Wow - I feel like I have just been crazy doing stuff for the past five days. We got to Bangkok pretty late and met up with the Mission Pres and the AP's - then hit the sack. When we got off the airplane, my glasses fogged up - so that can tell you a little bit about Bangkok weather hahahahaha. Also - it smells like Asia. I didn't realize it until I came, but it totally has that distinct smell - I love it man - It's awesome! 
 Street in Bangkok
OKKK dokey - so... we did some blood work, training, street contacting, etc. the first day, and then the next day we had our transfer meeting! I was nervous to see where I was going. I could really go anywhere in Thailand... and my trainer could be anyone. But LUCKY FOR ME - I got Elder Brandon Chamberlain as my trainer! I knew him before the mission! We played trumpet together all throughout high school so it was soooo awesome when they called my name and his name afterwards! I flipped out - he flipped out - everyone was cheering! Let's just say transfer meetings here in Thailand are pretty incredible and full of energy! 
  With Elder Chamberlain!!!
After saying hello to the missionaries, going to more meetings, getting districts figured out and everything - we headed to our home! My first transfer will be in Thonburi!  (west side of Bangkok) We started doing meetings and such with the ward mission leader and met a couple of the members that day, had some super spicy dinner (totally loved it OF COURSE), and went to bed after planning and going through our area book.  
So... the language is going SUPER AWESOME! I literally have no idea what anyone is saying - literally no idea. So the thing that is awesome is that if anyone tells me they don't want to listen, I just keep pestering them about Jesus Christ because I have no idea what they are saying hahahahaha. Even at church yesterday - which had all of the gospel terms, Elder Chamberlain and I just sat there...and I looked at him a couple times, asked him if they were talking about the Word of Wisdom (just a wild guess).  Turns out they were talking about blessings from God and how we use them. AWESOME. It's actually quite funny - you just need to laugh at yourself in these kind of situations. We can't get frustrated at ourselves - the language will come with God's help. At least they can understand me... so that's the first step, right?  
We have the best members here in Thonburi! Oh my gosh they are so stellar. We had about 70 people show up to church on Sunday.  Teaching the recent converts was awesome - they loved learning about the temple... I just can't say enough about the members and our investigators. It is such an honor to teach the gospel. Elder Chamberlain does most of the teaching, and I add my testimony sometimes - because I usually don't know what's going on... But I know that the members and our investigatiors can feel the Spirit. The Holy Ghost is so wonderful. Because in any language - you can feel when it is there in the room - you can feel their progression, and you can feel the love of God in any language, no matter how difficult.  

Going back to the members - they love when I speak Thai... I can't understand them but when Elder Chamberlain translates for me, they say that I am doing great! (I know they are just being modest and nice Thai people like they usually are.) But I did catch the other day when one of the members said that I reminded them of a big minion! BIG BONUS in Elder Smith-Driggs's day. Minions are big here - everyone loves them. So when they said I reminded them of a minion - you bet I was PUMPED. 
The Thai people are really just so polite. And many of them really are interested in learning about Jesus Christ. One of these people is Sister Ant, who has a baptismal date for next Sunday!  We only need to teach her a couple more lessons, and then she is good to go for baptism! It is so special to see her coming unto Christ. 
A big part of missionary work here is retention. There are a lot of people joining the Church, and we have to just keep them active. All we need is a couple more priesthood holders in Thonburi, and we can make it a ward - then the Bangkok West Stake can be established! I am ready to work hard for the Lord. That is what missionaries are here to do. I think that's it on the update side - now let's go to the funnies...
1.The first day when I was getting my blood drawn, naturally I struck up a little convo with the lady taking my blood (mind you she is like 5 feet tall). So I meant to ask her if she liked her work (tamngan), but I accidentally said tangmaan, which literally translates to the path of Satan. So I asked her if she liked the path of Satan, and she just laughed and laughed at me. No wonder she answered "no" to my question. Well... maybe she doesn't like her work, but at least she doesn't like the path of Satan hahahahaha. 
2. As we were discussing investigators with the sisters in our district, they started talking about their progressing investigator. They were like "Our investigator is killing it - he is keeping commitments, reading the BOM and praying every day... but he has this problem and we don't think it will work out." We were all like - wait what? So we inqured further, and it turns out he's a full on monk! Orange robe, shaved head, and all. So he may be following the commandments, but not the greatest commandment. Quite unfortunate. Too bad - I bet he is a good guy.  
3. With the language - since I can't understand anything, Elder Chamberlain and I taught some less active members in the branch - and I contributed some things because I knew the topic a bit. But when we got back in the car (a member was teaching with us and had driven us to the house), I just looked at Elder Chamberlain and was like - "So how did it go?" hahahahahaha I have no idea what's going on right now hahaha.  We just laughed and laughed. I love Elder Chamberlain - he is such a stud!  
4. Our shower literally comes up to my belly button - so I am practicing yoga in the shower. Kind of like a two in one deal - this way I can do my 30 minutes of exercise in the shower and just save the sweating thing ;) 
1. Transportation: We get around on the tuk tuks (spelling idk). They are basically 3 wheeled motorcycles with a seat in the back. (That is what is shown in the pictures.) 

2. Housing: We live in the biggest house in the mission (I think). It could easily house 10 elders, and it only has 4 elders. It's a mansion. We even have a balcony (as shown in the picture).  

3. Church: The church was surprisingly nice. I don't know why I was so surprised - but it is way nice.  Every room has AC, and they have this big sports court in the back with a badminton court and everything. The church is a HUGE social gathering place.... who knew, right? But I guess it makes sense. So if the members want to hang out somewhere, they go to the church. People with their same standards and beliefs can just hang out, eat spicy thai food, play guitar. Nothing at all like in the States. There are people there every day. 
We almost always teach in the church.  When we go street contacting, we ask if people will meet us at the church, and it is great because they have chairs, and we don't have to sit on the ground!  

4. Eating: Everyone just shares everything. Mom you would be horrified - germs aren't really a thing in Thailand apparently. Just like the book "We Share EVERYTHING" - so do the Thai people... it is quite adorable. The food is SOOO GOOD I hope you all are jealous hahahaha. 

5. Blessings: Elder Chamberlain is so organzied and is super duper clean... blessing blessing blessing because I don't like my room very messy. It is so organized, and we did a deep clean this morning. Good news - no rats. Bad news.... well actually there is no bad news.  [Mom comment: I wonder what he's not telling me here.] Our room is awesome hahahahaha.  
6. Missionary lifestyle: Those of you in the MTC...get ready to rock the boat a little bit when you get here. This is the big leagues. Real investiagors, real planning sessions. It is awesome. Also - you pray way harder in country because you actually have legitimate investigators (no offense to the MTC teachers who act as investiagors - still pray for them too - they are great). I love being a missionary.  It is so fun. 
THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME IN THE DAY! Elder Chamberlain and I are so busy, we just look at each other sometimes and wish there were more hours in the day to do all we need to. Planning is ESSENTIAL. We have to use all of that time wisely. We are on the Lord's errand, after all.   
7. Driving: Driving is super awesome. Everyone has to be a super good driver because the traffic and amount of scooters is CRAZY - it's like we are in Beijing all over again, Mom, but with tuk tuks and less nice cars hahahahaha. People just walk wherever, drive wherever, and don't follow any rules - Welcome to Bangkok!
8. Random things: 
- People will have a nice iPad but live in metal shacks. No joke - I have seen it 3 times.
- Everything you eat is off the street or from a 7-11 (and it's super good too!) 
- Almost all males smoke.
- Almost everyone is very nice and polite! 
- I haven't been bombed yet so that is a plus for sure! (There have been 3 bombings exactly in my area of the mission right before I came.. so keep the missionaries in your prayers.)
- There are about 7 different ways to refer to people when you talk to you have to guess their age (which in Asia is super duper hard)... and if you call them the wrong one, they get super offended and won't talk to you. For example, you can call someone:
Older Mom 
Older Person 
Regular "you" (if same age)
Younger you 
Old lady 
Old man 
Brother/sister (surprisingly hard in Thailand because lots of people are transvestites here) 
Anyway - it is super duper fun just guessing the ages of people. I will get better at it hopefully. Elder Chamberlain is a master so that's easy for him. 
I can't tell you how happy I am to be here in Bangkok. I love my trainer. I love the members. I love our investigators. I truly love being a missionary. God bless you all.  May we always remember the blessings our Heavenly Father has given us. We need to use them to our full advatage - if we don't... why would God give them to us? I am sending my love to you from the hot, busy, exciting, short-peopled, fantastic country of Thailand!
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs 

 Pic from Elder David Ball (my 4th cousin) when I was leaving the MTC.

Airplane screen as we landed in Bangkok.

Elder Allen and I shortly after arriving in Bangkok.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thailand Here We Come!!!

Hello family and friends!

This is Abraham's mom, Tiffany. I will be entering the blog this week instead of Abraham because he was on a plane flying to Bangkok on Monday.  But he was allowed to call home that day and send some emails on Saturday! What a treat!!! 

I'm not as funny as Abraham or as natural at expressing life's ups and downs.  But I will try my best to relay his stories for his last week in the MTC, using his voice as he relayed them to us via email and phone.  I'm also including answers to questions we asked him.  (Sorry it took me all week to do this.  Eliza had a 4-hour planned jaw surgery on Monday - so I've been a nurse for a few days.)

Also, remember when you respond to this email, it goes to Abraham's missionary inbox - not to me.  That is now the best way to reach him in Thailand.  Just hit "reply" to the weekly blog update I send you, and he'll get your message directly.


Here you go ... in Abraham's voice as best as I can do it ... 

MTC Teachers:

I have loved our teachers at the MTC.  I will really miss them!  They are the best!

At the MTC, your teachers act like people who were real Thai investigators in the past.  Over the 9 weeks at the MTC, we've been able to work with 2 people who got "baptized" and 3 "investigators."  I didn't actually know this - but you teach all of the lessons again AFTER baptism. It is really great to see the change in the investigators' lives. Today, as we got ready to leave the MTC, we got to learn about the real people that our teachers were play-acting.  It was very special. The real people had the same experiences, the same challenges...but they still decided to follow Jesus Christ and take a step of faith. Amazing. It was awesome. 

This photo is of a huge water bottle statue we made for our teacher, Brother Thrap.  He has been teaching at the MTC for about 2 and 1/2 years, and we were his last district! I don't know if I mentioned this, but for every day at the MTC, I collected a water bottle from breakfast - kind of like etching scratches on a prison wall (lol) - and then Elder Hancock thought it would be hilarious to make something out of them. So I did. In honor of our teacher Bro. Steven Thrap! He wants to be a dentist - so notice the toothbrush in the statue's hand.  Hahahahaha  

We also took paper that we taped together, started with a piece as large as our classroom, and folded it to make a large origami elephant for Sister Painter as her goodbye present. Thai people love elephants.


Some funnies we learned today - tones are so samkan (important!) and vowel lengths. (That is something Mandarin doesn't have.)  The word for the number "2" and the word for brothel are just a slight difference away in tones...pretty funny. Also - the word for "to point" and "to urinate" are also separated by just a tone.  Elder Lindley pointed at something on the board and said (but actually said) - "This thing that I am urinating at is..." hahahahahahaha.  It was so classic.


I got really sick this week, went to the doctor and everything.  Don't worry Mom.  I'm being very vigilant about my health :) Not like in college where I just blew it off. Promise.... I want to be completely ready to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and STRENGTH.   Please just pray I'll be OK on the flights to Bangkok.  


Thank you to the people who wrote letters and DearElders to me, especially my last Friday in the MTC!!!  It was so great to hear from you.  It was very nice to hear words of encouragement. 

And I love hearing from family! It rocks! Oh - also Aunt Courtney - so sorry for your strange experience with the missionaries in CT... I will learn from their mistakes :) 

General Consul Pic from last week:

Picture with the Consul General of Thailand, The Honorable Jesda Katavetin, and his family

Family (anyone can read it):

  1. Answering questions from family over email and the phone:

Question: How are you doing emotionally?
I'm feeling great emotionally - just ready to go and do! Ready to talk with real people out in the real world.

Question - Are you friends with the guys in your district? 
OH YEAH we are way tight. The guys are really nice, and we all get along really well. Solid group of elders - just studs. Wouldn't want to be with anyone else :)

Question - Did you reach your 150 pound weight gain goal as as district? 
No.... we stabilized at a solid 110 pounds.

Question - Are you feeling happy?
OF COURSE baby  - my name is Abraham Smith-Driggs - BOOYAH 

Question - How was it being at the MTC - Really?
At one point in the MTC, they said in a meeting, "Please stand up if the MTC was what you expected."  Out of about 2000 missionaries, three people stood up.  I was one of them.  I know so many people who work here that I had heard a TON about the MTC.  It was exactly what I thought it would be.

 2. Shout outs

Olivia, you want me to speak Thai when we talk on Monday? OF COURSE - IT IS LIKE THE COOLEST LANGUAGE EVER. We talk with khonthais every day - and surprisingly I can understand them OK. But Thai sounds great, and I could talk to you for that hour Monday all in Thai if you wanted. Hahahahaha. No just kidding - you wouldn't want that  - you wouldn't understand me at all.

Tell the family I say hello - especially the Smith side...I hope they understand why I am going on a mission. It is to serve and to bring others closer to Christ. [Mom comment - My side of the family is mostly non-LDS.]

  3. Saying Goodbye from the Y:

My mom wrote me that my family was going to hike the Y my last Saturday morning at the MTC.  They planned to be up there at 10:30 a.m. waving to me so I could "wave back" at the same time from wherever I was in the MTC.  I was in class.  I totally waved;) 

Phone call from Abraham: (Tiffany's voice)

We got to talk to Abraham last Monday for a while.  He called before Eliza had her jaw surgery so he could catch her before the operation, and the rest of us talked to him later.  It was sooooooo good to hear his voice.  Mostly, we just visited like a family - you know - chit chat and laughing.  But here are some specifics.   

    1) Olivia asked Abraham to bear his testimony in Thai.  It was SO COOL to listen to him! It's truly amazing how much they learn through the Holy Ghost in 9 weeks. It sounded just like the Southeast Asian languages I sometimes hear in the U.S. - beautiful, sing-song, bouncy-like.  Later he told us what he was excited about doing in Thailand, also in Thai.  He was most excited about meeting the people.  First and foremost, Abraham is a people person - so this was not surprising.  He shared some Thai culture with us too.  

    2)  When asked what he misses most, Abraham said, "Making random calls/sending emails and texts to people each day."  Every day before his mission, Abraham would reach out to people he knew - just to connect.  He REALLY misses doing that.

    3) When we asked if people could do something for him, he responded, "Please just ask people to pray that I'll understand one sentence in Thai."

    4) Abraham loved his last concert at the MTC.  They brought in a cool country band called the Nashville Tribute Band (link to one of their songs:  As a music lover of all types of music, Abraham couldn't believe the MTC brought in these guys - one with long hair, all guys who knew how to groove, with country/rock songs about the Restoration.  Abraham LOVED them.  Such a fun treat for him to hear music like this again.

    5) Saying goodbye the very last few minutes was hard.  I got teary of course.  But there is NOTHING I would rather Abraham be doing right now than serving a mission.

From Abraham:
I am so excited to do a SICK email from Thailand next week with pictures and everything about Bangkok and the members.

Elder Smith-Driggs

P.S. Here are two pics we received from the mission office after Abraham arrived.  He will email us next Monday.  That will be his P-Day on his mission.  Thailand is 14 hours ahead of Utah.  So if he emails on Monday morning Bangkok time at 10 a.m., it will be 8 p.m. on Sunday night here.  If you want him to read an email from you that week you'll want to send it before Sunday night.  Otherwise, he won't see it until the following week.

With President and Sister Johnson

Abraham's MTC District with the Johnsons

Finally in Thailand - Ready to serve!

According to the mission office, the new elders spent their first morning at Lumpini Park dedicating and consecrating themselves to missionary work.  This is the park where Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the land of Thailand in 1966. They then receive an orientation and start street contacting in the area, followed by dinner at the mission home. Then they receive their first assignment at a transfer meeting the next day, meet their trainers, and head to their new area.  

Luckily for us, there is a great Mormon guy in Thailand who has a YouTube channel (@MyMateNate).  He tapes all the transfer meetings for the Thailand Bangkok mission and posts them online.  I wish all missions did this.  It is SOOOO uplifting to see.  Here is a link to the summary video from six weeks ago - just under 3 minutes long.  (  It's awesome!!!  

As soon as "My Mate Nate" posts the one where Abraham's district arrives, I'll post the link in the blog.  In the video, you'll see a red couch.  That's where the missionaries going home sit.  At another point in the video, all the missionaries stand and clap for the new missionaries coming to the mission.  Then the end of the video shows new companionships that are assigned running to greet each other with big hugs and high fives.  Such a positive happy place! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mango sticky rice - YES PLEASE

Elder Josh Garff left for Tahiti today.

My name tag.

Woohooooooooooo soo excited :) Everyone in our district got our travel plans last Friday, and we head off to Bangkok (after a long series of events and 23 hours of travel time) starting at 3:30 a.m. Monday morning! So pumped! 

Ok - so this week was nothing short of SUPER DUPER.
The Consul General and his entire family came to visit us last Thursday. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and thoughts.  He was very impressed! He talked with us for about 30 minutes... all in Thai. Good thing we could sort of understand his questions hahahah, or else we would have looked pretty silly. The MTC president and a general authority from the Church were there, but they didn't really say anything because they don't know how to speak Thai hahahaha. The Consul General even brought his little grandson! 

When I asked about the Songkran Festival (3 day water fight in Thailand), the little kid just perked up and explained (in Thai)... that everyone gets these HUGE water guns and water balloons, and you can blast anyone at anytime for those three days. He was so excited to tell us about it, and we all just laughed and got excited to spray all the Thai people. Apparently, missionaries are HUGE targets because we are wearing white shirts, and we are tall white people... like a moving target on bikes. Classic. SO PUMPED! 

The rest of the meeting he expressed his appreciatation for the missionaries and told us we were doing a good thing. He is Buddhist (100%)... but he liked that we were going to his country and trying to learn his language. I think he was impressed with the whole system at the MTC. That missionaries can learn a language in 6-9 weeks is astounding. If only he understood that we did little to propel our learning - the trick is always having the Spirit to teach. What an amazing blessing the Spirit is. I love the feeling I get when I preach the gospel in Thai. It is truly special.

The Thai is coming along bit by bit! It is amazing what you can learn here in 8 weeks. I will briefly share my testimony - and if you can sound it out - props to you hahahaha. It's kind of strange.

Phom ruu waa phrapupencaw rac tuk khon, phro waa tuk khon ben luug khong phraong khap. Dooy Phrakitikun khong prhayeesichrid, raw phob gab phrapupencaw ig day khap. Phrakampii mormon kwhamjing. bodrian nay phrakampii chuay raw thamtham prayessu....

That's just a little taste of what my first lesson will be in Thai. It basically says that I know Heavenly Father loves all of His children, and through the gospel we can live with Him again someday. The Book of Mormon is true, and the lessons in it teach us to follow Christ.... 

Thai ROCKS! Just pray you get called to the Thailand Bangkok Mission because it literally is going to be the best mission ever. Even its initials are TBM (the best mission).  Not to be prejudiced. I am sure all missions are great hahahaahaha.

Our district with the new Thais.

I was sitting in class the other day, and I looked outside and was reminded of the beautiful world Christ created. It is the most amazing blessing.  Every day I look up at Y mountain and think of the blessing the mountains have been in my life. I will for sure miss them in Thailand (unless I get an area with awesome mountains).  Also - I love hearing the bells ring from BYU... brings me back to my freshman year.  It was probably the best year of my life - thanks to all of my awesome friends! Love and miss you all! Thank you for your emails and your DearElders - it is so fun hearing from you! Live it up in Provo! 

With Sister Pouwer (BYU friend) and our companions.

BYU friends also headed to Asia.

Speaking of friends, there has been something I have really been missing here in the MTC. Since I don't have a phone, I can't send a text or leave a voicemail. I have been sending a text/voicemail to random friends of mine daily for about 2 years now... and I can't do that while at the MTC. So here is my "mass text/email pump up of the day" 
Dear________ , [fill in your name]
You are AMAZING!
You can do all things through Christ.
Make it through the tough times, and you will be so glad you learned the lesson you did. 
I miss you! Hope everything is going well - God bless you. 
Fight on my friend - God loves you so much.

Speaking of amazing - S/O to my awesome family for everything. Miss you guys - not too much though - don't worry - I'm not coming home ;)

My prayers are with you all. Whether in Utah, elsewhere in the United States or the world, or on a mission somewhere - GOD bless you all. You can do it. Suu suu (fight on!)

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

                                                [Sometimes fatigue just takes over.]

Elders at the Provo MTC last week from Skyline High School.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Who Wants Taco Bell?

Please pay no attention to the title.  I just was feeling like some Taco Bell while writing this email. It seemed like an appropriate header ;) As Moroni explains in Ether 12:23-24, I am likewise very weak in writing. My purpose of this blog and this email list is to record the feelings of my heart...regardless of grammar. So please forgive my casualness :) 

Photo with BYU friends Sisters Liljenquist, Stone, (companion) and Sargent.

[Abraham says he doesn't have his arm around the sisters near him, "'Cause OBVIOUSLY THAT IS AGAINST THE WHITE HANDBOOK - but the picture is deceiving hahahaha."]


A week ago Monday, we had the opportunity to Skype with members (sama chig) in Thailand! It was so fun to talk with them. Surprisingly, I could understand a little bit of what they were saying. It is a whole new ball game with natives (khon thais). It is one thing to listen to a white RM teaching your class (nothing against white's just that they are white) and then to listen to a native is completely different - BUT SO AWESOME. I love the Thai people and am so excited to go to Thailand! 

Speaking of Thai people, the person who will be coming to meet with us this Thursday is the Consul General of Thailand. He is officially in charge of all foreign visas, so it is very important that we show him how much we love the Thai people and that we want to love his country. We have all these rules - especially not to offend him obviously if we ever want to go to Thailand hahahaha. I am sure everyting will go well because God is hastening His work now in Thailand.  He will not allow us to fail. But prayers would still be appreciated around 2 o'clock on Thursday, August 6th hahahahaa.

Also - the new Thailand Bangkok Mission elders came in this week! They are so awesome! 13 elders - just so stoked to be here. They looked a little overwhelmed with the langauage and all that - but they will get the rhythm soon enough. It is fun to think that we might be companions with them in the near future! 
Another S/O to Joel and Sue Nelson! I loved the wedding invitation in the mail. GOOOO EMILY! So bummed I can't be there. Gotta love those wedding invites in the mail - always a pleasure hahahaha.  Hopefully that invite won't be the last.  So...I definitely expect an invite from all of you brothers and sisters not serving if you get married - even if I can't attend ;) 

Another S/O to everyone who came in this week! I am pretty sure I was so excited to see Sister Adrianna Pouwer that I almost gave her a hug...Then I would have gotten sent home, so that would have been bad hahahaha. WELCOME TO THE MTC EVERYONE! 

Some Funnies: 

1. Got dissed by a Khon Thai (Elder Sangplae from Bangkok) going to Australia.  He called me a white boy, and I totally understood that he dissed me. I was really excited hahhaahaha. I love trying to speak Thai. I am so bad at it that it's awesome! Elder Sangplae helps me with my atrocious Thai hahahaha.  The "diss" that Elder Sangplae said wasn't exactly a diss. He just told me I was saying it wrong and then said I was white. In Thailand, they are very blunt. For instance...if one child does not learn as fast as other children in the home, they may say, "NongJo is not as smart as the others".... while he is in the room right there. They do not take offense - it is just a matter of fact thing. So when he said I was "white," I take it as a diss...but he just says it as a fact. Which it is hahahahahaha.  The Thai people are really caring and sweet.

2. Elder Allen and Elder Smith totally went off the other night on Star Wars trivia. Totally geeked out - it was so awesome. Did you know that there is a whole wikipedia database for Star Wars? it is called Wookiepedia! Awesome. The argument was about whether Qui-Gon Jinn was a sith lord the whole time.... Who knew there were conspiriacy theories about Star Wars? It was so hilarious - these elders knew their Star Wars.

3. Elder Smith (new Elder Smith, he arrived with the nong thais (new thais)). He was so excited to get ice cream on Sunday that he jumped and split his pants hahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh it was soooooo epic hahahahaha. It's the little things at the MTC that get you excited, right? Nothing like fast sunday ice cream bar for Elder Smith.

AANNNDDDD DRUMMROOLLL PLEASE......... SISTER MON GOT HER VISA! She headed off to Thailand last Wednesday all by herself - what a champion! I can't wait to see her in the field. She is the best! 

Next, I would like to thank all of my amazing teachers. We are truly blessed with the best. They work so hard to see us succeed, and I really appreciate their hard work. Brother Chamberlain stopped working this last week at the MTC, and Brother Thrap will be leaving us after we go to Thailand. All of our teachers - Sister Painter, Brother Yuen, Brother Saunders, Brother Hunsaker...They are so fun and so loving. WE LOVE YOU! Hopefully you get the picture of our teacher who got the kilt. It was our going away gift. The kilt that I wore for soccer has now been passed down to the one and only Brother Chamberlain...I really hope the picture comes through of Brother Chamberlain and Sister Painter.  It is awesome! 

Br. Chamberlain rocking the kilt! (Thanks Sister Painter!)

Lastly, my prayers are with the Patch family during this hard time. [Abraham's BYU bishop and his wife.] I have the marvelous opportunity here at the MTC to see Sister Patch (marvelous actress that she is) perform in many different roles of Church-made movies and Mormon messages. May God bless her as she recovers from her very difficult surgery. Bishop Patch - I love you and am thinking about you always. My prayers are with you and your family. Stay strong my friend - God loves you all sooooo much. The entire 51st Ward here at the MTC is praying for you and Tayva fervently. God bless you. 

GOD BLESS YOU ALL MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I sincerely hope that my emails give someone a smile and help someone's day out. Always remember that the Lord is on your side. And that each one of us has amazing talents and abilities given to us by our Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost. My prayer is that we can develop those talents to help others come unto Christ. May we always be mindful of those around us. After all, tuk khon pen luug khong Phrabidaa Bon Sawan (Everyone is a child of Heavenly Father).

Phom rag puag khun (I love you all).

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

                                        Photo with BYU friend Elder Nick Grundell (sp?)