Sunday, November 8, 2015

Maze Runner

Lots of awesome and hilarious things are happening here in Thailand. I wish you were all here to experience them with me, but for now you need to rely on my mildly terrible grammar and some misspelled words for the update: LET'S DO THIS THING!

When you are too tall for the bus...
Training comes to a close this week.  It has been an absolute honor to work with such a missionary as Elder Chamberlain. 

What a STUD!

The Work
Recently we have been doing something I like to call "LA hunting." The title of this email reflects this "hunting" experience because Bangkok is like a giant maze. As you will see by the pictures this week, things are not exactly organized according to address. In fact, most people don't know their address. 

Panoramic shot of Thai mazes...

Mazes of Thailand

We have been running through the maze every day now for hours just trying to find members in the system who have not come to church in a while. What FUN! God places people in our path. 

In fact, just yesterday every single person we talked to on our way to finding a LA (who had moved 25 years ago), gave us their number for a follow up appointment. Miracles happen people - this is real life. 

Another miracle I would like to share. One of our dear friends, Brother Champ and his wife Fay, had the opportunity to go to Los Angeles these last two weeks. We committed them to visit the temple. 

Brother Champ
This is Champ's experience in his own words:

"I had no internet on my phone, and all I knew was that a taxi driver told me the temple was 22 kilometers away. I prayed and felt like God would make a path for me to get back home. My phone would die, but I trusted in God and hopped in the taxi. I traveled to the temple on Sunday, then found out it was closed. I have never been inside the temple before. I walked around every single gate and touched each corner of the temple just so I could feel the Spirit of God. What a powerful experience it was. A man then approached me saying his name was Brother Sean. He asked me if I needed any help. Brother Sean then drove me to the nearest church building where I attended Sunday School! What a beautiful congregation they had there. The members then offered me a ride back to my hotel. I got back safe and sound. I had promised you [Elder Chamberlain and me] that I would go, and I did. And God opened the way for me to go. This experience was a big builder of faith for me. Miracles happen." 
- Brother Champ 

I know that miracles happen. That is a miracle. Even though Champ wasn't even able to enter into the temple, he made sure he gleaned everything from it. He was able to go to church through a faithful member that followed the prompting of the Spirit and drove this random Thai man to the nearest chapel on his own time. Same thing with the members. I know that miracles happen. In Thailand, they happen every day. In the words of our mission president (President Johnson): "We pray for and expect Miracles in this mission. Because our God is a God of miracles." I know that is true.

The Culture
1. No one knows their address. In fact, the address is reflected by when the building was built, not where the building is located. For example, we will see (in the same street) the numbers 86,87,86,123,12, and 5. So you can see our struggle. We love the maze. 

2. People love big eyes here. They even have "big eye" contacts that almost everyone wears. It makes their eyes look rounder and bigger. IDK it is just the Asian culture I guess!

1. A tuk tuk driver was literally shaving with a razor while driving us to a lesson. He had shaving cream and water and everything. It takes multitasking in the car to a whole new level. And by car, I mean motor-powered Thai tricycle. 

2. I still shout random Thai phrases in my sleep, and this week I even sang a children's hymn (according to Elder Chamberlain).

3. A taxi driver thought that Elder Chamberlain and I were twins, but he said I was better looking (not in the gay way - he assured us he was straight). So BOOM Elder Chamberlain (you know I never let him live that one down).

4. A taxi driver rolled down his window and said, "Hey, it's the Mormons!!" This is funny only if you are serving a mission in Asia. NO ONE knows who Jesus is, let alone who Mormons are. So it was quite hilarious hahahahaha.
5. Some random kid asked Elder Chamberlain for his autograph while we were LA hunting. HAHAHAHAHa this picture is classic.

Spiritual thought:
My spiritual thought today goes with Brother Champ's story at the beginning of this entry. Before my mission, I didn't really think Miracles were a thing. I thought they were a logical occurrence based on mathematical probability that 1 in every 10 people that you talked to... maybe you had a chance of thinking that that one person was "prepared" to hear the gospel. It was a chance game. THAT IS NOT TRUE. I was a fool for thinking that way. As a missionary, I testify that people are being prepared all over the world for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Not some new church founded by Joseph Smith, but the original gospel principles established by our Lord and Master Jesus Christ when he taught in Jerusalem. Miracles happened then, and miracles happen now. Yes, I will acknowledge that some things happen with chance and numbers.... but not everything. May we look for miracles in our life - I know they are there... just take a step back and look for them. 

I love you all. God bless you in your quest for happiness. I know that it can be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you want to be converted - do the basics. Do not ever substitute anything for reading the scriptures, prayer, and continual church attendance. These things are essential for conversion. 

God bless you! HAVE FUN this holiday season, and enjoy all of the SNOW! 
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

1 comment:

  1. Your letters are wonderful and I thank you for doing a stellar job in capturing your experience and also in letting us feel the love you have for the Savior and the Thai people. I can tell they love you and not only because you are so darn handsome! Your attitude about the work and the complexities of success is fantastic. Thank you for serving and for representing the Lord and all of us members so well. Btw, I am giving your mom and dad half the credit since they did such a great job in not messing you up. ;-)