Monday, October 26, 2015

Monsoon Miracles

Hey look Elder Chamberlain.... a snake!

I know... this week the title was a little lame. I didn't get much time to search ponder and pray about it. But there was a Monstrosity of a monsoon that hit this week. Everything flooded, and we were walking in water all day so that was SWEET! 

The best pic I have of how hard it is raining right now....

Don't worry Mom - that poncho came in way handy, and we got some new investigators because I looked like a giant plastic bag - so props! 

The Work: 
Some cool things that happened this week. One of our investigators that moved to another area got baptized this Sunday! Her name is Sister Claire. She is awesome. Loves the Bible and was all about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. "I have finally found the truth." 

Another amazing thing: we finally had someone show up for their appointment, and it is a family! They want to change religions to Christian and are willing to do anything. The dad accepted a date for baptism in the future. 

Update: Grace and Augustine are doing great! We showed "The Restoration" in Urdu (their native language) and that gave them a better handle on it. They love talking about the work of God! (See picture.) 

Augustine, Munaib, and Grace at their home with Elder Chamberlain!

Something I noticed this week: Here in Thailand the first lesson is mainly focused on who God is, who Jesus Christ is, and who the Holy Ghost is. God is not a thing here in Thailand very much. Most people say they know who He is but have no idea what He has done. Think of it like if some Buddhist people came up to you in Utah and asked you if you wanted to learn about Buddha... you know who he is, but you don't understand the religion or anything. That is how we proselyte! (Except we ask if they know Jesus,... they already know Buddha hahahahahaha.) Normally our first lesson ends with teaching the investigator how to pray, rather than the restoration of the gospel. Just an interesting thought.

I had an amazing switch off with the Zone Leaders this week. I switched off with Elder Theerapong. He is absolutely a stud. An amazing example of what a representative of Jesus Christ should be at all times and in all places. He is a convert of 3 years and is the only member in his family. I love Elder T. He is a STUD! Also I taught him some hilarious English expressions during language study (we only spoke Thai so I got to teach him a little English). I can't express the feeling I got when teaching with him. He taught with boldness and with power. He asked the right questions that were prompted by the Spirit, and I learned a TON. Amazing man. 

The man, the myth, the legend: Elder Theerapong

The Culture:
1.There is a Wat (Buddhist temple) right next to our house so every morning when I shower I hear the monks chanting outside. A great wake up:) I love the culture here in Thailand! 

A former investigator whipped this up in 30 minutes!

2. There are lots of poisonous creatures here, including a centipede that I found while cleaning a member's backyard (picture not included because if I got too close, the venom would kill me).

3. They serve food at restaurants hot when it comes out. You don't normally wait for everyone else to get their food. You just start eating. Unless you are with really old people and then you wait even if your food gets cold. 

Delicious Thai treat... it was actually very good!

4. Strange thing that I found out when teaching family history this week - most KhonThais don't know their exact birthday. They don't go to hospitals or anything like that, so their birthday is usually a month of the year :) Kind of cool you could have birthday cake every week! 

They see me rollin....

1. Elder Chamberlain found a live cockroach in his shoe this morning hahahahahahaha. No explanation needed.

2. Our investigator Augustine said that when angels are happy, "Throngs of angels praise God. And they are happy, and they eat KFC and are even more happy." Hahahahaha KFC is a big thing here.

3. Because they use padlocks for their homes (usually), sometimes people get locked INSIDE their homes because another person has the key and has left the house already. Hahahahah cough cough Brother Ding cough cough.

Hilarious man with a Hello Kitty bike
[Mom comment: Abraham is truly a giant in Thailand.]

Spiritual Thought: 
Recently I have been studying in the New Testament and have absolutely loved the parables that are found in it. Jesus mainly taught using parables because it was easy enough for others to understand but hard enough that after a lifetime's study, the pure lesson can never be found. Each time you read a parable you get something new. I love reading the parables from the perspective of being a missionary. It is different than reading the parables as a student. Simplicity is the essence of the gospel. But it is so simple that it will take years to expound on the understating of the teaching of Christ. If you are reading this email - I want to challenge you to pick a random parable today. I want you to read it, and I want you to write down in a journal or on a phone your thoughts of what you think it means. And when you have done this, I want you to pray and ask Heavenly Father, "What lack I yet?" Each parable that Jesus teaches inspires us to be better and to do better. By asking this question to our Heavenly Father, we give him the opportunity to give us revelation personal to us. The parable is the gateway for understanding what quality we lack. I promise that when you do this, you will feel the love of God more so than ever before because you are using a principle of truth. Faith + Action. And that is the recipe for success. Read a parable, pray, ask, follow up. You can do it! I did it, and the response was AWESOME! 

I love you all so much! Here is some Thai that may lighten your mood. But no using Google translate that is cheating. 

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Life in COLOR

What an absolutely interesting week here in Thailand. Some ups, some downs, some all together unexplainable experiences. And so it goes.... 

The pictures selected for this week are from chalked artwork we do during our free time. (Copyright of Dream Team Productions, limited partnership with Chamberlain Photography). Any use of these pictures and images is strictly prohibited without written consent. Please enjoy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLIVIA I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! DON'T KISS ANY BOYS. THEY ARE DANGEROUS ;) Love you sweetie. I will be thinking of you this Wednesday! 

Also... for Elder Chamberlain's birthday we took a little joy ride on the motorcycle. Happy 20th birthday amigo hahahahaha. Don't ever try this at home kids. For questions please see the white handbook ;)

Polo hired two Mormon models for their Thailand shoot
The Work: 
These last couple weeks have been very trying and interesting. In the last three weeks, we have had EVERY SINGLE new investigator appointment no-show. 14 people that we have contacted on the street, had an appointment with, confirmed the appointment to meet at a certain location... all 14 in a row have canceled/no show. This is obviously very disappointing... and I don't think Elder Chamberlain or I could have done anything more to get new investigators. So we are kind of struggling with our investigator pool right now. But that is OKAY - everything will work out. All we can do is try our best and keep going. The work here in ธนบุรี (Thonburi) is marching right along, however. The other companionships have been having great success with baptism. Every week we see people in the font, which is a great blessing. But more than that we need to make sure these new converts are converted 100% to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And in so doing, we must be well balanced missionaries. Not just baptizing, but retaining, strengthening the members, helping the branch function. There is a lot to do and so many areas to put your focus in. The vision is to be balanced.

1. Thai people answer the phone in any situation. If the phone rings in a lesson, they answer it and talk to the person. If a phone rings during scripture class, they answer it, put their hand to their mouth so no one can hear (but we all can hahahha) and continue to talk. It is so surprising and rude to us farangs, but to everyone else that is completely normal. 

2. If someone tells you you look like a female it is a HUGE compliment. If a male has lighter skin, nice cheekbones, and a "fair nose," they say you are very handsome because you look like a woman. Let's hope this trend doesn't continue when I get back home or else we might have some problems hahahaha. 

3. Instead of a Primary Program, they have "Kids Sacrament Meeting." After the sacrament, the Primary children (all 5 of them) lead the sacrament meeting. They announce the speakers, give talks, sing songs, address the congregation with topics... it was SO AWESOME. We should do this in the U.S for sure.  It was adorable hahahahaha. 

Chicken feet... delicious
1. We have officially named our water monitor Billi. He is our friend - so long as he doesn't eat us.

2. We helped an amazing lady the other day. Her name is Sister Fie. She is a nonmember who is married to a member here in Thonburi. She is a very talented doctor and will be presenting some research in San Diego this week. She learned English from textbooks, and she hasn't had any time to practice with native speakers. So we go and help her. Last Wednesday, we helped her with the grammar in her presentation titled: 
"Multivariate Regression Analysis to Identify Factors Influencing Successful Pain Control." I learned about some very interesting research last week hahahahaha. CRAZY VOCAB

3.Every time we street contact, people ask if we are either siblings or boyfriends. No joke. Please keep in mind this is Thailand. Culture is a bit different. 

Spiritual thought: The unseen power of the Gardener
I had a very interesting personal study that I would like to share with you all. Today I studied the concept of "Garden." It peaked my interest the other day as we were teaching about the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane. It hit me that 2 of the most important events in human history happened in gardens. So I decided to study that, and I found some amazing stuff! I want to focus on the unseen power of the Gardener (figuratively). In the notes below you will find my sources. But God is the Gardener, and we are the desert. He makes weak things become strong, yet He allows us to shrivel up and die as well. The symbolism of rebirth is fascinating. In a garden, the Gardener is responsible for tending the plants, swapping out soil, watering, uprooting and moving. Sometimes the frost comes (at least in Utah). And plants die. But there always seems to be one left standing (see Matthew 13). It lasted because it had strong roots. It was rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gardener treats all of His children equally, but it is up to us how much we want to dig down deeper for something more. Out roots are strengthened by constant scripture study, church and temple attendance, and personal prayer. Important things happen in the garden. The Master of the vineyard will never forget us...but every garden must rely on the Master.  See Isaiah 35, 2 Nephi 8:3, Jacob 5, and Matthew 13.

Photo of our garden outside our balcony... also home of Billi

I love you all! Happy Birthday Olivia! 
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Monday, October 12, 2015

God's Grace

What an incredible week of miracles! I will share just a few. First of all - we got to watch General Conference this weekend. (We watch it a week after it is broadcast for translation purposes.)  And I got to see my cousin AUDREY singing in the choir! Go Audrey!!!

THAT'S MY COUSIN!!!!!!!!  

(Link to Conference:

How we watch General Conference...gotta have gummy bears.

Also my favorite talk was Pres. Uchtdorf at the Saturday morning session. I loved his message just to keep the gospel simple. "The gospel doesn't need to be complicated!" We should always try to preserve that pretty flower of the true doctrine of Christ. If we stay true to that... if we are converted to the Lord - we cannot fail.

The Work: 

The title of my email this week reflects a remarkable person whom we taught for the second time this week. Her name is Grace. She is a Pakistani refugee here in Thailand and has more faith than any person I have ever met. I really mean that. And I say this because not only can you feel the power of the Spirit in her tiny home, but more importantly that she ACTS on her faith. As was said in this last General Conference, faith without works is dead. And work, without faith, is also dead. We taught Grace with a Thai member who will be serving a mission in Ogden, Utah in the next couple of months. His name is Brother Ding. What a great opportunity to use his English skills! We taught the Restoration to this remarkably faithful woman. Brother Ding taught about Joseph Smith and the role Joseph played in translating the Book of Mormon. After we were finished with the lesson... before we had even challenged her to read the Book of Mormon, she looked at us and said this: "I believe what you are saying is true. If Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, this book must be scripture. I will read it and pray about it. When I have questions, I will write them down. And next time when you come to visit, we will talk of the good word of God together, no?"

I was literally speechless. The Spirit had testified to her already. 
All I could say was, "Yes, Grace. We want you to do EXACTLY that." She thanked us for allowing her to serve us. She thanked us for coming over and because we came over, we brought blessings. She recognized us as servants of the Lord and invited us over any time we wanted for some "good Indian cooking." This woman is a testament of amazing faith. She fled her country for her religion - and she knows that God will lead her. Because "that is what he has always done." I love Grace. And God loves her even more. I know that Miracles happen. They are real.

Elder Chamberlain, Brother Ding, and the Book of Mormon in Urdu 
(Grace's native language)
The Culture:

1. Most common pet (besides a cat and a dog) is a sugar glider! (Like a 
squirrel that can fly - those things :)

[Photo added by mom.]

2. Yoga is spelled Yoka here in Thailand....

3. There are so many amazing people here in Thailand. We were walking 
by a mosque the other day when these very nice Muslim people talked to us for a while. A monk walked past casually. This place is thriving with religious excitement. Who would have imagined? Talking on a bridge with a monk, Muslims, and two white Mormons hahahahahhaha. I immensely respect devout people of other faiths. There are amazing people everywhere in the world! And it is such a privilege to teach about eternal truths... whether you are in Thailand or South Africa or South Carolina or Peru. What an honor to mingle with devout saints.

Some Thai treats: pumpkin juice in a bag and steamed bread with bean custard paste.  Green is the natural color.

A river with some interesting graffiti on the wall.

A giant water monitor clawed at our window...we were ready. 
[Mom comment: If you read last week's post, you know they needed weapons!]

The Funnies!

1. I messed up on a member's birthday and accidentally put only one 
number on his birthday cake instead of both numbers. Oops... so we sang to him and congratulated him on turning 4.... instead of 24 hahahahahaha.

2. Any sort of candy is considered a "child treat." So when we buy candy, 
everyone looks at us and asks if we are children hahahah. Idk - adults don't eat candy at all!

3. I sleep talk so much... poor Elder Chamberlain has to deal with me 
all the time. I talk in Thai, English, everything. Last night, apparently I was in a battle or something because I shot him with a nerf gun I keep beside my bed. I shot him in the face while he was sleeping. Hahahahah I was sleep talking/shooting.... he just thought it was hilarious the next morning because I didn't remember it. [Mom comment: He gets this from me. The stories Ben could tell...]

4. This little 5 year old kid was riding a bike that was meant for 
someone of Dad's height (6' 4") - so when he pedaled, he stood up on the pedals and it looked like he was running hahahahahah. He couldn't really reach the seat. He went so fast though! He even passed up a motorcycle on the big road! It was hilarious!

Me with a random minion just chilling' in front of a shop.  
I swear the minions are everywhere.

Spiritual Thought:

Just like Pres. Uchtdorf said during the Saturday morning session - the 
gospel doesn't need to be complicated. It needs to be simple. In fact, it has to be simple in order for us to stay rooted in the things we know are 100% true. This is what Grace does so well. What an amazing examble of humble service and constant focus on the basics. May we all focus on the basics. We need to be converted to the Lord. Not to the Church. If we are converted to the Church, converted to its programs, its activities, even its leaders - we must needs fail... because those things are not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those activities and organizations are good things for sure - and they are a big catalyst in getting things done in a world wide church - but that Church is focused on the simple doctrine and gospel of Jesus Christ. Stick to the basics... become as little children... and we are promised eternal life.

I hope I can do those things. I know we all can with God's help. He 
will carry us along as long as we are "yoked to Him."

God bless you all. You are all in my prayers constantly.

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Getting Buckets . . . of RAIN!

People with glasses will understand this photo. 
[Mom comment: Look at their actual lenses.]

Pouring rain in this picture. 

Soaked to the BONE but not even cold this week. You see, the thing is that in Thailand, the gorgeous tropical land that it is, the rain is never cold - so it feels WAY good. The down soon as it starts raining, it is so humid my glasses fog up, and I cant see anything. It is a good thing I have my chums or else I wouldn't be able to see anything. Every time we get out of a cold taxi, Elder Chamberlain and I have to walk blind for a solid 2 minutes... very entertaining (see pictures above).

Last week for P-day, we did some supermarket runs, which consist of us going and trying all of the new Thai candies. There are some pretty strange candies here... And this week, we are headed to some fabric stores and the tailor to get our custom suits made baby!!! WOOHOOO so pumped! 

ALRIGHT lets get down to the real business, shall we? HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

The Work: 

I would like to focus on three investigators today that made this week special. The first is Brother Samran. He is an old man who just showed up to church randomly in the middle of the day so we taught him a lesson about prayer. He has been an investigator for about 5 weeks now. He is small, bald, holds a retractable cane, and wears TOE socks with sandals - THE MAN IS A LEGEND. He is progressing slowly but surely. At first he was just interested in learning why we worship the way that we do...but over time, he has started to read the Book of Mormon. He has started praying.  He comes to church, and he feels like God is in his life. In our last lesson, he expressed his concern whether or not he had to tell his friends he was Christian. We said it was up to him.  But this means that he considers himself Christian - which is HUGE. Here in Thailand it is 95% Buddhist and 4% Muslim.  Christians are not really accepted in society full of idol worship. Idols are big here. They worship lots of images, necklaces, all manner of jewelry, monks... lots of things. And that is just the way they show their beliefs.

The other tender mercy this week was the chance we had to meet with Sister G. and Brother A., who are Pakistani refugees who live here in Thailand. They are working to send money back to their family in Pakistan. We met Sister G. while on the street contacting. She actually approached us and said - "You are messengers of God, no? I want to have you over for lunch where we can talk and serve together." We were shocked and of course said yes! As we met with her and her brother - I realized they have the most faith of any person I have ever met. They fled their country because they believed in God, and their culture was not accepting of that. As we were talking with Brother A, he expressed his beliefs like this: "We have faith in God. Things come our way, people die, terrible things happen, but we look forward. We keep our eyes exactly focused on God. We have absolute faith that he will make everything OK. He will direct our path just like he did with Moses." WOW. They agreed to reading the Book of Mormon, and we have found the book in Urdu so they can read it in their native tongue. This work is a worldwide effort. And whoever translated the B.O.M in Urdu - God bless you my friend your work was not wasted!

Pakora that was served to us by the Pakistani people! SOOO GOOD


1. When taking the sacrament at church, both feet should be on the floor to show respect. Never cross your legs when important meetings are being held or when meeting with really old people.

2. Bicycles have an average of 3 seat cushions so that 3 people can ride. It is not uncommon to see little pedals on the front of the bike for little kids to pretend they are riding. So adorable.

Hilarious Thai advertisement.  We have no idea what is happening in the picture! 

A creature we saw after the rain one day - about 8 feet long called a "water monitor." They basically are giant lizards that just chill everywhere. Very scary!

My boy Tony the Tiger! 

 Crabs at the local market.


1. While on the street contacting, a man told us I liked look David Beckam and that Elder Chamberlain reminded him of John Denver. Hahahahaha!

2. We secretly proselylize at supermarkets when it is raining. No one goes outside, remember? So they are all trapped in the supermarket. So naturally, we grab a little cart and put one item in it (usually a snickers) and then walk around asking people to recommend food to us. After they recommend random things, we ask them if they know about Jesus Christ. BOOM so fun! 

3. I fall asleep everytime we get into a taxi for longer than 20 minutes. Hahahaha. I don't know what it is.  When I am not going 100% of the time at 100 miles an hour, I sit down in the taxi and ALWAYS end up falling asleep... I feel so bad and apologize to God everytime. And sometimes to Elder Chamberlain for falling asleep on him hahahaha.

4. Elder Chamberlain Quote of the Week: "Why can't sharks be dinosaurs too? I didn't know dinosaurs were that exclusive.... those bigots!" Hahahahahahahah. 

Two Thai sister missionaries literally wearing bags because of the fear of rain. 
This wasn't for fun they were serious hahahahahah.

Spiritual Thought: 

Please take 15 minutes tonight and read 2 Nephi 5 [in the Book of Mormon] and think about how we can all live after the manner of happiness. President and Sister Johnson shared it at transfer meetings. (Oh btw I am still in Thonburi for another 6 weeks - yay!) The Nephites who lived after the manner of happiness did these 5 things - how can we do them in our own lives? 

1. Kept the commandments (v. 10)
2. Prepared themselves (v. 14)
3. WORK (v.15)
4. Temple worship (v.16) 
5. They were industrious (or anxiously engaged) (v.17) 


I love you all! Until next week my dear family and friends... may God bless you all. Stay happy - Happiness is a choice! 

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?
D&C 128:22

Check out this AWESOME transfer meeting video 
from the Thailand Bangkok Mission!  

(Posted on the blog by my mom.)