Monday, September 28, 2015

Look out Lebron...

You could say my week was a success due to one thing: I dunked a basketball. BOOM. Look out Lebron - I'm coming your way. I think the next step is the Thailand National Team then the NBA.

In other news... I dunked the basketball AGAIN. HAHAHA so sorry. I just have been dreaming of that moment for a long time. It has got to be that extra spiritual missionary boost that gave me the hops - or it could be my sandals ;) 

Morning Thai Culture Studies

This is what Thai people do when they have little kids...They put them on their head and hold the umbrella above them. I just failed at it hahahaha. 

Chillin' with Woody

Just FYI - Last week we went to this HUGE mall in downtown Bangkok for P-Day. It is called Terminal 21 because it is themed like an airport. 7 stories tall - it has 7 different floors with 7 different cultures and shops according to that area of the world. So last week Elder C and I took a little trip to the Caribbean, Paris, San Fransisco, London, Tokyo, Istanbul, and Hollywood! I even got a picture with my boy Woody from Toy Story! The best thing about it though is that the bathrooms are themed as well... so you KNOW we went into every bathroom just to wash our hands on every floor hahahahahahhaha.  [Mom comment: P-Day (Preparation Day) is when the missionaries take care of personal needs (laundry, shopping, cleaning, etc.) and visit local places if they have time.] 

Terminal 21 - San Francisco


The main thing that I took away from this week is that numbers do not necessarily reflect effectiveness or effort. We set our goals according to the appointments we had set up and had the faith to achieve those goals each day... but when someone doesn't show even when you have confirmed... that does not mean that you are a bad missionary. You have done your best. It was their choice not to come. The same goes for investigators who choose not to read their scriptures, who choose not to pray or to come to church. Agency is a double-edged sword. Other than our appointments not showing up, this week Elder Chamberlain and I made some huge progress on records and LA retention [less active]. God really helped us out. I was feeling pretty bad Sunday because not one of our investigators showed up to church. But Elder Chamberlain reminded me that we had 3 rescues (LAs that have come back for the third time). Our efforts are never wasted. The work goes on! 


Elder Arne (AP [Assistant to the President] who is leaving). 
STUD - I did my first contacting with him my first day here.


[Mom comment: Notice the picture of Jesus in the lower left corner:)]

1. For funerals, it is not uncommon to gift the family a fan as a parting gift. It is soooo hot here in Thailand - everyone needs a good fan! 

2. For whatever reason, Thais don't understand the Farangs (white people) doing dishes. They think that because we have dishwashers we don’t know how to scrub with a sponge and hand dry stuff. So this week when Elder Chamberlain and I were cleaning up after an activity, the members were all saying - "Wow! They are so skilled!!" Hahaha we just chuckled.

A member's house in Thailand. Gotta love the jungle! Also notice the way they squat. It is pretty typical in Asian countries. I have started doing it. It is very comfortable. They are doing dishes.

3. I may be able to wash dishes, but I can’t mop a floor like the Thais do. I just started mopping after the activity (again to the Thais amazement). They were like, "Wow Elder Smith-Driggs, you are really good at that!" Hahahhaha - after I was done mopping, I went and taught a lesson... then returned to the kitchen to see them re-mopping the entire floor because I did it wrong. Hahahahaha they were so embarrassed hahahaha! They are the sweetest people on the planet.

4. Just some food for the week: Squid noodles, street food, spicy octopus curry, lots of spicy pork. And I did order my soup without the chicken foot in it. Like an actual chicken foot. The broth was DELICIOUS, but I couldn't bring myself to eat the chicken foot quite yet. [Mom comment: Thank goodness!  His friend went to the hospital after eating a bird’s head.]

Some great street food! Curry - it costs about 75 cents USD. 

Food stand lady - We eat lunch from her often. This is where everyone eats food in Thailand. And it is DELICIOUSLY SPICY. Sanitary? Let's hope...there aren't any other options hahahaha.


1. In English Class I learned a new word! I was teaching the advanced class and it came time for conversation topics. One of the KhonThais asked me what my vocation was. I stared at him blankly and asked what that meant in Thai. Yeah - it is basically what I do for work. Even Elder Chamberlain knew what the word was. I guess it wasn't in that list of 100 top SAT words I memorized in 10th grade hahahahaha. [Mom comment: I failed you son;)] 

2. The Farang lady asked us yesterday if we wanted to be cleansed from sin hahahaha. She yelled from her little cart, "Farang yaagja laang baab mai?" Hahahahaha - we knew it was going to be a great day. 

3. Bro Chili, the ward mission leader, bought a shirt (as shown in photo)... I don't think this needs any explanation. Hahahahahahaha good thing we had a Sharpie on hand.

Flynn Rider

Spiritual Thought: 

During church, I was thinking a lot about understanding. The Thai language is not the easiest thing to learn:

It looks like this: ภาษาไทย 

Sounds like this: PhassaaThai (with tones)

Now imagine that at fluency speed. 

Yeah. Understanding is big. Right now I have a hard time understanding people. It made me realize how little we understand about the spiritual language from our Heavenly Father. He is trying to communicate with us through the Holy Ghost. Do we understand it? Are we trying as hard as we can to develop that ability as we are trying to learn a new language, learning a new job style, adjusting to having a family? Everything comes back to the ability to understand. How do we understand Heavenly Father better? I don't have an answer. I never do. This is just a spiritual thought not a spiritual thought and answer hahahhaha. I wish I had the answer. But if I did.... I would have no opportunity to grow. The unknown is the playing field of our brain. We have the tools to win the game. We have the scriptures, we have prayer, we have the Proclamation to the Family... but we don't have our overall strategy. The play book is in His hands. So we need to be the kind of players who trust the Coach. I promise He will lead us to victory. He will lead us to understanding.

May God be with you all as you prepare to receive the amazing revelation we can get when we listen to General Conference. [Mom comment: That is a biannual meeting broadcast via the internet from SLC to people everywhere.  Our church leaders speak to us about uplifting topics meant to bless our lives.  Here is a link to all sessions of General Conference, starting with the women’s session from this last Saturday: I have a non-LDS sibling who likes to find talks from past conferences to listen to for life inspiration. Links to past conferences are on the left-hand column.]

Also... everyone remember it is my mom's BIRTHDAY on October 5th - so make sure to send her lots of love because I can't. SHE DESERVES IT! I love you Mom! Happy birthday coming up soon! You are the BEST! 

[Mom comment: I love that boy for remembering:)  Please write him - not me;)  That would be a great gift!]

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Beautiful sunset...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sweating and Crying...the Thailand Experience

Wooahhh what a busy week! It has been a roller coaster for sure. For my emotions, my spiritual growth, and my palate! Sweating all the time - it is so humid here! And crying... not because appointments fell through but because the Thai food is so spicy. They have a phrase here: "If you aren't's not Thai food!"

Only in Asia is there a whole row devoted to rice and fish sauce - lol!

The Work: 

Our main man Brother Dream had a situation come up where he couldn't get baptized this week. Because of this, he feels like he is not ready and needs more time to "feel at peace" with himself before he gets baptized...and in his situation we totally understand.  Hopefully he keeps reading his scriptures and keeps praying. Those two are so critical for EVERY member of the Church, regardless of age and activity! Our district had 3 baptisms this week that were good to go on Friday...then they all canceled on Saturday for various reasons. It was disappointing, but it taught me a good lesson. I believe that Satan is working just as hard on these people as God is. The scriptures teach us that everything has its opposite. But we must fight on because we have already chosen the winning team. Satan has already lost... never forget that we have more power than he ever will. We can always win with God on our side! 

Other than that, our week has been focused on LA (Less Active) Members and our investigators. We are trying to find a balance between our days... there is simply not enough time to do everything in the day! There are so many people to teach, to reactivate, to street contact, to develop relationships with current members, to help the branch presidency, to UPDATE all of the records of each person... it is exhausting. This week has been the most busy, the most stressful, the most draining, but this week has also brought the most experiences to grow. My trainer Elder Chamberlain is a total stud, and he helps me understand the big picture of a mission. I just need to figure that out for myself. That comes with time. 

Some cool things that happened this week. During a lesson we also had a couple of Chinese members and investigators... so we would teach the Thai people in Thai and then our Chinese members would translate...I even understood a little bit of it thanks to that year of Chinese - SO MANY LANGUAGES ugh. Try contacting someone in Chinese when you know you can communicate with them but you only have memorized Thai words...they all mesh together.  It is quite entertaining, but thank goodness for our Chinese members! 

Culture of Thailand:

1. There is a misconception that white people (farangs) cannot eat spicy food. So when we order spicy food (basically anything off the street), people look at us and say "Are you sure you can eat this? You know it is spicy, right?"... Hahahaha and we just laugh and say, "Bring it on baby! Make the Farang cry!" Hahahaha they just laugh and laugh and make us our food. 

Shrimp soup/noodles/curry/vinegar/sugar/deliciousnesss! 

2. I had the most delicous food the other day. It is called "Kaw saay" (best translation into English is "street food.") It has Islamic cuisine origin. It is a spicy red curry dish with raman noodles, prick (type of pepper), onions, fresh lime, oregano, and a drum stick. HOLY COW DELICIOUS 

3. Thai culture is a culture of gifts. Many of the lessons we teach to investigators involve them giving us various treats and Thai food. So that is always nice hahaha. We leave the church at night with a full bag of food for the next day hahahaha. Sometimes it is edible, other times not. The people are so sweet! Some random lady on the street gave us mangos because we invited her to church, and she was so excited to come she just gave us mangos hahahaha. 

4.People go by their nicknames here, not their real names. (Don't worry Mom - I am still "Elduh Sameet Dreeg" so no worries. They say my whole name - if they can hahaha.  It is so hard to pronounce in English, let alone in Thai!). So the funniest nickname translations this week are: "Rabbit" and "Sweet Pork" hahaha. No joke. That is what they are called (in Thai of course). 

5. HUGE ANIMALS - We saw a big snake this the night time. We were visiting a member who lives in the jungle, had to use flashlights to go to her house...and a snake crossed our path through the brush - it was pretty big. If you put your middle finger to your thumb - that was the circumfrence of the snake. So yeah we were scared.  But we asked the member about it, and he said no worries it didn't have poison. So that's good. Also saw a huge leech that I almost stepped on (as shown).

[Mom Comment: Notice the foot in the picture to give you a sense of the leech's size.]

Food we made for breakfast


1. Thai people LOVE karaoke. One of our investigators, Brother Lang, loves karaoke. He is kind of a crazy it is really fun teaching him hahaha. We walked into an activity on Saturday (it was ward bowling night), and the people at the bowling/karaoke place wai'd him (put their hands up together) and TOTALLY KNEW HIM.  He comes there all the time to sing. So that was awesome! We were walking in with the karaoke CHAMPION! Hahhaha what a stud. 

Mom Comment: To "wai" someone in Thailand is to place your hands together in front of your face/chest/etc. depending on how old or respected the person is you are wai'ing.  There is an art to knowing the proper way to wai any particular person.

Nong Ice (his name) with his DOPE SPIDEY mask... He bowls like a champion....

2. Every morning, we walk past a lady who cooks food on the side of our soi (street). She always sees us leaving our house and yells, "FARANGS! HELLOOO!" It is so adorable and so we wai her back and say, "SAWAADEEEKHRAP!" (Hello in Thai.) We love it. Every day she does this...I feel like it is definitely a harbinger of how our day is going to be - ALWAYS GREAT here in Thonburi. You have to keep that attitude up :)

3. Quote of the week by Elder Chamberlain: "So are you cool with doing our daily 6:30 a.m. sleep in?" Hahahaha.  I don't know why I thought it was so funny, but we get up at 6:30 every morning anyway, so we aren't sleeping in at all...idk I just thought it was funny.

That is the perfect PB&J.  It took him five minutes to make. 
Look how happy he is.  Think "What About Bob?"

Spiritual thought: 

Alright - now to the REAL meat of the email. This is the stuff you gotta milk for what it is worth. I know my writing style is a bit casual, but try to listen to the Spirit as I share my thoughts on bearing simple testimony. 

We talk about bearing our testimony a lot in the Church. It is something that is natural in a church setting or in a spiritual discussion. But Satan has expertly created an environment all over the world where talking about religion is not acceptable. People just don't do it. Back with the philosophs in European history... even going back to the Romans...Religion was everything to everyone. It was talked about daily - and usually ran the way people lived their life. Today this is not so. Religion is a "scary subject" because we don't want to "offend our friends." I have learned here on my mission that that is just ridiculous. Religion should bind us together, not tear us apart. Sharing common beliefs is something that builds relationships. If you have a disagreement - WHO CARES. Get over it. The best thing we can do is talk about the things we have in common, then bear simple testimony. 

So how do we do that? Bearing testimony can be as simple as, "I know that the sabbath day is something that is sacred, and as I have followed the council of the prophets, I have felt peace in my life." No one is going to be upset when you share that with them. If they are - as my loving father would say, "They have some serious issues." Bearing simple testimony is not contingent upon the power of your statement or the loudness of your voice. Bearing a simple testimony comes from the heart. Bearing testimony is something that is shared not because you want to be right, but because you love the person enough to tell them they have something to turn to in times of distress. 

My challenge to you all this week is to share your beliefs with someone. Tell someone you know that God can help them. Tell someone that prophets give us counsel. Share with someone your belief about the Book of Mormon. It is easy - all you have to do is open your mouth, and the Holy Ghost will take care of the rest. 

I love you all my dear family and friends.  May God continuously bless us as we try to come closer to becoming like Him. We need to share our testimonies. It is not weird. It is acceptable, and it shows that we care. We can do this! 
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Monday, September 14, 2015

A "Dream" Come True

Let's get this show on the road, shall we? Another FANTASTIC week here on the other side of our beautiful planet! 

Thonburi is awesome!

The Work:
Story of the week: I don't know if I have mentioned Brother Dream before... but he is a man of many talents. He paints, plays guitar, loves to sing, and all around has really good vibes. Great guy! Brother Dream's story is nothing short of a miracle. This man has truly come unto Christ. Brother Dream showed up to church randomly 3 weeks ago. He felt really great after church, and we taught him about faith. We got his contact info and tried to contact him later in the week, but the number didn't work! Then, he showed up to church the next week. We didn't even have to remind him! He sat through the whole 3 hours, lunch, and listened to our lesson after church. We taught the Word of Wisdom. We challenged him to pray whenever he felt the need to smoke or drink coffee. He said he would try. We prayed and prayed that he would quit and that God would help him. We showed up to his house on Thursday. HE QUIT EVERYTHING. He said he wanted to be baptized ASAP. So we have now taught him all the pre-baptism lessons, and he is all good for baptism next week! He is so happy. He feels clean - and he believes so much in the power of prayer. One of the greatest parts of being here in Thailand is letting people know that they have a Father in Heaven who cares about them. That they can actually have a 2-way conversation with their Father in Heaven. Most people don't believe in God here. But to know that you can receive help from a heavenly being is a miraculous thing. We are so happy for Bro. Dream! I will send photos of his baptism next week (hopefully) so you can see what a STUD this guy is. I love Brother Dream! Also... he sings a great version of "Imagine" by the Beatles...He has the glasses and everything, so Dad you would absolutely love him! He first heard of God in a song. The song says something like, "I try, oh my God, do I try." Now we had to explain to him that taking His name in vain is not really a very good thing... BUT isn't it cool that he didn't know what GOD meant in English so he followed up and came to church!? That is truly a miracle. I know that God is real and that he has prepared people. THE CHURCH IS TRUE EVERYONE.

1. AC units are everywhere - and they put them at 18 degrees Farenheit. So it is super hot outside... and then you walk into the church, and it's winter in Utah. I don't understand it but the KhonThais are not cold at all! I am FREEZING sometimes hahahaha. 

2. Thai people love braces. They love them - you can actually buy fake braces to wear each day - no joke! How funny is that! I think this is a trend we should start in the U.S. for sure... it would have made my middle school years much more bearable (because that was obviously the peak in my life for good looks, right? ;)

3. There are lots of lizards and spiders. A little lizard almost landed on me this morning during our work out actually. They crawl on the ceilings and drop randomly hahaha. They don't bite - they just eat bugs, but they are really quick! Not scary - just startling. ALSO - the things that are scary - SPIDERS. We found two spiders this week in our shower area both the size of our palm. So not enormous but significantly bigger than American spiders. Hearing Elder Chamberlain yelp like a girl when he found it was incredibly entertaining... then I was screaming - so no judgement there. Good thing we have bug spray! 

[Mom Comment: Spider is true to size on regular computer screen.]

4. Treats are kind of weird here. But most are really good! My personal favorite is ice cream with sticky rice, sweetened condensed milk with peanuts, all wrapped up in a hot dog bun! Hahahah it looks really weird but is so good! 

1. A new investigator didn't know how to pronounce my name - but he finally figured it out. My last name was not Smith-Driggs... but rather Smith-DRAKE. Like the rapper hahahaha (at least that is what he said). When Thai people say my name, it kind of sounds like this: Sa-Meet Deeg hahahah. I love it - it is so endearing.

2. Quote of the week from Elder Chamberlain: "My sense of security has been flushed down the toilet along with our giant arachnid friend."

3. Another investator, on a visit to his home, served us tea! It was a wonderful surprise... and when we said we couldn't drink it, he said it was very good for us, listed the ingredients on the box and told us to drink! We said we couldn't... so he went back to the kitchen and made us another kind of tea hahahahahaha. I don't really think he got the memo about the "No tea" rule. So we decided to teach the Word of Wisdom that lesson.  Hahahahaha classic.

Twin day.  Had to dress exactly alike.  We are sniffing essential oil tubes they sell at 7-11.  They keep you awake and smell great;)  [Mom Comment: Could not help but notice Elder Chamberlain is now sporting chums.  LOL.  Way to go Elder Chamberlain!  See last post for context.]

On another note - I want to wish my Aunt Elizabeth and her STUD of a fiancé, John, a happy wedding! I wish I could be there soooo bad. I love you both so much.   Please send me some of your cake in the mail so I can taste just a little bit of happiness from your wedding? ;) If not, that's ok I understand it may melt... but it's the thought that counts. Hahahaha love you guys good luck! 

Spiritual thought: 
First of all - our thoughts and prayers were with everyone last week as we thought of September 11th. May God bless those affected by that terrible crash just over a decade ago. 

My spiritual thought of the week is something I really feel strongly about. It is something that we don't often think about but is a lesson that we all can learn from. The lesson is - "We cannot slow down." What does this mean? It does not necessarily mean that LA traffic is a little busy in the morning and we should floss our way through every car (although that would be nice) - but I mean a more spiritual sense of not slowing down our devotion to our God. Every day - I try to wake up with the attitude of commitment. I commit myself to have a good day. I cannot afford to slow down. I can't afford to slow my progression in becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ by waking up a little later - by skipping scripture study. I cannot afford to slow down. Now, this does not mean we shouldn't slow down and relax for some of the day... in fact I spend 15 minutes each night doing breathing exercises (I know, kind of strange but it actually helps). What I am saying is that we cannot slow down our progression in becoming closer to Christ. He is counting on us to be good people. He is counting on us to answer the call of service. We cannot be slow to answer that call. For when God asks us to be ready to answer the call - can we be slothful? NO - we must be ready. We must constantly be reading the scriptures, praying, and showing our love of God through our service to others. 

I want to commit anyone who reads this to wake up tomorrow morning and tell yourself, "I commit to having a great day. Having a bad day is not an option." And then that day - to call someone randomly and tell them you love them...or clean your neighbor's an errand for your bishop... buy your waitress lunch (that is my personal favorite). There are people counting on you to show your love to them - because that is how God would want you to act.  YOU CAN DO IT. It is not as hard as you think. We cannot slow down. We need to constantly show our love for others. Because that is what the Lord wants us to do. John 21:17 - If you love me, FEED MY SHEEP.

Cleaning cat poop (8 cats) out of investigator's home.

Good luck my family and friends. I love you all! 

Until next week...

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Don't eat gum off the street . . . it's not free candy.

YEEEHHAWWW here we go! Every time I get on the computer it is gametime. I have to fuel up for these internet sessions because my fingers are flying at 1 million miles an hour. Another AMAZING week in Bangkok! Let us begin... 

The Work:
We had 92 people show up to church this week. That is 20 more than last week! We are all working so hard to get people to church. The main focus is retention and getting less active members back to church. Elder Chamberlain and I were soooo pumped on Sunday because 3 Melchizedek Priesthood holders who were less active showed up to church and payed their tithing! THIS IS HUGE PEOPLE. It shows that we have the work force to make the branch go. We pray so hard every day that people will answer our phone calls. I am so happy to report that we had people come to church. AWESOME.

Ahhh! This is Bro Chili! He is the ward mission leader. His story is just classic. Exactly one year ago today, he was taught all of the lessons in 1 week. (He started on Sunday after church.)  He was baptized the next Sunday - and is now the ward mission leader - one of the strongest members in the ward. Oh my gosh I love Brother Chili. He is a stud! I mean - just look at the guy - he drips cool :)

Also - some super cool investigators this week! I am always amazed at the influence the Spirit has on people. This man, Brother Dream, just walked by the church one day (he lives close by). He thought he would walk in and see what they did in there. It was 8:57 am... right before sacrament meeting. He stayed at the church for another 5 hours that week - watching a baptism, getting taught by Elder Chamberlain and myself - and getting an opportunity to feel the Spirit. We got his contact info and called him the next day... but the number was out of service! He had given us the wrong number (we found that out later). This week... guess who shows up with his pamphlet on the gospel of Jesus Christ to church - our main man Brother Dream! We were so pumped. We got his right contact info and then taught him again. He stayed for all 3 hours and the lunch afterwards. He is progressing... Not only that, but in the middle of our lesson about commandments he says, "This sounds awesome. I love the feeling I get when I come to church. Can I be baptized this next week?" We were THRILLED. We need to teach him for a couple more weeks because he is out of town this week and can't get all of the pre-baptism lessons in... but he wants to quit smoking and drinking coffee. We have the opportunity as missionaries to see the wonderful effects of the Atonement and of repentance. You can tell when someone is changing. And our friend Brother Dream is doing just that. The Lord is preparing his people in Thailand for a temple. And as missionaries we better be doing everything we can to keep up.

Family Home Evening in Thonburi

Elder Chamberlain is teaching piano to some recent converts. The branch president asked us to do it, so we got special permission. I also teach piano hahaha. I will be a pro when I get back. [Mom Comment: LOL.  Didn't know you even remembered how to play;) Mom knew what she was talking about when she said, "God needs piano players!"]

The Culture:
The Thai people are very funny people. I guess any culture is sort of strange and funny because you are not used to it at first. Elder Chamberlain so adequately put it this way: "I used to think Utah wasn't diverse, and then I came to Thailand." Hahahaha so adequately put. Everyone is Buddhist. Everyone wears flip flop sandals. Everyone rides scooters.  And everyone loves to talk! The Thai people are truly God's chosen people - no offense to everyone else out there ;). 

                                          This is how Thai people exercise.  They run on these. 

Rain ruins everything here. Because they believe if you get rain on your head, you will get sick. Last week there was a big rainstorm, and this mom was riding with her kids on a scooter with a garbage bag wrapped around all three of them hahahahahaha. It was soo funny. Most people put bags over their heads - no joke. I guess we do similair things in Utah that must be weird for the Thai people, like putting your feet on an ottoman or something like that... so rude. ;) 

Cigarette cases/boxes are disgusting in Thailand. Instead of having "Camel" or some appealing white cigarette case with the brand... the cases have pictures of what smoking does to your health - like black lungs, people with holes in their necks...and yet people still buy millions of packs. Smoking kills people - DON'T DO IT! But it was definitely a good move by the Thai government to put the gross pictures on the boxes. 

Anyway - some more things... when eating with khonthais, it is almost always on the ground cross legged (it is super fun!).  No shoes allowed in the house, and the word for cat sounds like mee-ow :) So that is always fun! 

This rabbit was just chilling with me as I ate at a restaurant.  The restaurant also had 2 cats and a dog hahahahahaha - gotta love Thailand's stray animals. Oh and Olivia - the weirdest thing I ate (but didn't eat 'cause it was in my soup)...was pig intestine :)

Sorry my thoughts are random, I just want to tell you all how awesome Thailand is and the funny things that happen here! Last thing - most people think Elder Chamberlain and I are around 30 years old hahahahaha. We get that all the time!

Last P-day we flew kites and played badmitton :) super duper fun. 
[Mom Comment: That tie though...]

I was told yesterday that only "old people or little children" wear chums. This sweet member then asked me if it was the same in the United States. I told her you could only wear chums if you were really cool in America... so she turned to Elder Chamberlain and asked him why he wasn't cool. Hahahahahahahahaha!

I drew my entire family tree on the board (Smith and Driggs sides)..... the Thai people were dumbfounded - hahahaha - especially at the fact that I have 50+ cousins on ONE side of my family. BTW Mom they love the little book (pictures of family, friends, home, and Utah). I show all of you off to the members in the ward, and they love you. They say that everyone is so beautiful and very, very tall hahahahaha. They can't believe Dad is taller than I am hahahaha.

Word of the week: Mankhiaw "to feel like biting into something. Used especially when seeing the temptingly chubby cheeks of a child." - This is strait out of the Thai dictionary! No joke.

When talking with an investigator, Elder Chamberlain asked them what their spirit animal was... they didn't know so he gave them his. The pterodactyl hahahahahaha! He started screeching at the top of his lungs hahaha. The investigator was like - "Oh yeah.... you would be a pterodactyl for sure." Hahahaha. They told me I was I lion - so obviously I was pumped.

I went to a member's house, and she literally lives in the jungle - so she had me pick some coconuts on this tree for her because she couldn't reach them hahahahaha. 

Lastly, The Spiritual Thought: 
Alma 16:16-17 says that people are being prepared all over the earth. They are being "Grafted into the true vine." Here in Thailand, there are many searching for a better life. Most are very poor, humble people. They are content with their lives because they are a happy people in general... but when they learn there is something more than just this life - they light up. As Heavenly Father is preparing His people for the temple, many many people are coming into the "true vine." Many are coming back to church, and many are being baptized. I can feel the love that God has for His people in Thailand. I know that God prepares us all to receive Christ, however that way may be... if it means coming and being baptized or if it means going back to church or if it means reading one more verse that day. God wants us to be completely grafted into the true vine. And that is completely possible through Jesus Christ. There are people that completely change their lives to fit with the standards of Christ's church. 

The same thing applies if we have been members our whole lives. We may go through the motions, but are we true to the covenants we have made? Are we true to the gospel? Are we true in enduring to the end? Are we TRULY grafted into the vine? It is my belief that that vine is constantly growing and that we need to keep up. May we always be true to our covenants. May we always be cognizant of our growth in the church... how can we improve? BE TRUE TO THE VINE.

I love you all my dear family and friends. May God bless you. Thank you for your prayers!

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs