Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bangkok Kid

The Vegas of Asia.... Sin City.... what an AWESOME place to preach about God. This last week was very special. Very special for me. So let's get started....

The Work! 
This last week Elder Stone and I did something kind of strange, but we felt like it would help all of our investigators, members, and LA [less active] members. We decided that every lesson we would teach, we would teach the Atonement and repentance. And HOLY COW that has been the key in conversion for us as well as the people we teach. 

Here are some things that happened:
We were teaching a new investigator (Brother Nat) in his first lesson and asked him, "If God were here right now with you, what would you tell him?" He sat there for a couple seconds and then said these powerful words: "I would tell him I want to be an apostle of Jesus Christ." THAT IS POWERFUL. Brother Nat is 21, in the Navy, and an amazing investigator. He loves asking questions, and he loves understanding the doctrine - especially the Atonement.
Brother Nat
We taught an investigator named David. Another amazing person that I love deeply. David is Burmese, and in lessons we teach him in English and Thai, and he reads pamphlets and such in Burmese. God's language is the language of the Spirit. And it testifies about the love God has for His children through the Atonement.

Grace and Augustine, as we taught them our understanding of the Atonement, shared with us their feelings about God's grace and His love. They have committed to live the Word of Wisdom so that, in the words of Augustine, "Our body can be a temple... like a residential address for God." 
The Work is moving forward here in Thailand. Bangkok is a city of a lot of sin. A LOT of sin. But God never forgets His people. That is why we are here. "Behold, we are disciples of Jesus Christ, called to declare repentance unto this people, that they might have everlasting life." What an honor it is to be here.

The Culture:
1.Taxi drivers love to play the most random music. The other day a man turned on CCR [Creedence Clearwater Revival] for us because he loved Americans hahahaha. I thought of you Dad. You would have loved it. So of course we jammed out. 
2. While cleaning Buddhist wats (or temples), no shoes are allowed in the wats or anything like that. So they were renovating a wat the other day, and all the painters were barefoot climbing up these huge wats on the rooftoops... just an interesting fact.

 Wat under renovation

3. It is hot here and rainy.  

The Funnies:
1. (While riding on a bus back to the church) A white guy yells out from the sidewalk "farang" (which means white person in Thai) and says he makes burgers, and he is from New York. I looked at Elder Stone and said, "Hop off the bus! Get off the bus now!"... so we jumped off the bus and ran to this man who we have an appointment to eat burgers with. Yeah - real New York hamburgers - BOOM. You KNOW he is getting baptized..... we first need to learn how to understand his thick accent hahahaha. 

2. I was eating some chicken that tasted strange so I asked what it was (big mistake).... it was chicken butt hole. I probably won't buy it again... 

3. Brother Nat, when he met Elder Bush: When Nat looked at Elder Bush, the first words out of his mouth were, "Are you a boy?" Hahahahahaah Elder Bush has rosy cheeks hahahaha so Nat thought he was a girl hahahahahaha. Welcome to Thailand everyone. 

4. We went to district conference this week in Asoke, and there is an RC [recent convert] that is absolutely in love with Elder Stone. When the meeting ended, we left to get food... until she started running full speed after us. So we were booking it across the street... and I kid you not, literally through malls and buildings and parking garages... until we lost her. Hahahahaha Elder Stone was terrified hahahaha. There are some crazy ladies here in Thailand. You have to be careful. When we got back to the church, she was waiting for us - pretended like nothing happened. Classic. Very funny - we had a good laugh, but she was very good at tracking us. Very skilled.  [Mom comment: Elders are not supposed to fraternize with women.]

5. Whenever someone asks where I am from, I use some slang that Brother Chilli taught me: The word literally means, "Bangkok kid"... it is not inappropriate or anything don't worry. But when I tell people I am a "Bangkok kid" or a dek tabe (Thai romanized)... they just die and think it is so funny that the white boy says that hahaha.

Bangkok kid!

Spiritual thought: 
As we have been teaching about the Atonement this week (literally every lesson focused on it), I have learned a great deal about the love our Savior has for us. So my first challenge to you all is to sit down and study the effect the Atonement has had in your life for 30 mintues. The second challenge is a little bit harder - but SO rewarding. 

These last 2 weeks we have started something our mission is doing called the "40 day fast." You fast for a day and ask Heavenly Father at the end of the day what you can give up... what you can sacrifice to Him. What are you willing to give up for 40 days to show Christ you are growing closer to Him? Elder Stone and I have been doing this and keeping each other accountable. I am telling you - It has made a huge differenece in how much I can feel the Spirit and teach with power. It makes a difference in how well I can speak Thai and how much love I can feel for my investigators. The 40 day fast is changing my behavior and my nature. So my challenge to each one of you who reads this is to give this a go. Maybe you need to get rid of Instagram for 40 days. Maybe you need to stop saying the word "shut-up" or "that sucks." Maybe it is as small as making your bed every morning and telling your mom and dad you love them. Whatever it is - it will make the difference. Ask Heavenly Father what you need to do. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO FAST FROM? 
I promise you that when you do this... you will feel the influence of the Holy Ghost directing you in the path of the Savior and the path of salvation. It is making all the difference in my life as a missionary and in my life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Don't EVER think that just because we are missionaries we are invincible or we know everything... we are the only ones that can 'really' get rid of Instagram for 40 days because we don't have a phone to do it on hahahaha. Don't think like that. I know absolutely nothing. I glory in my God because He is amazing... As for me? Forget it. There is no way I could speak Thai or even get up in the morning without my Savior. I love Him with all my heart. I know it is possible as a college student, a parent, a 12-year-old, and a high school seminary student. It is possible - make the change in yourself. Go for it - 40 day fast. It will not be easy... oh boy it is tough let me tell ya - but what a difference it will make. I know these things are true because all good things come from God, and as we consecrate ourselves by giving up something we love - the more we feel closer to Him and the more we become like our Savior. 

I love you all dearly. Mom, Dad, Eliza, Olivia, extended family and friends - you mean the world to me. I love you with all of my heart. God bless you.
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

                                                                   Brother Luck

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