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

No comments:

Post a Comment