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  

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