Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tears of Joy

My dear family and friends,

This week was a week of hard work, a week of tears, and a week of miracles. What an amazing opportunity it is to be a missionary. I feel so blessed to be friends and family with such amazing people who have taught me important lessons. In my spiritual thought today, I will elaborate on that, but for now - THANK YOU ALL!

Sending off Brother Ding for his mission in Ogden, Utah.

The Work: 
This is my third transfer in Thonburi, and my new companion is Elder STONE. What a stud - this guy is the man! We get along way well, and he just makes me laugh. We have a good time. The first thing he says to me at the transfer meeting: "Alright Elder, are you pumped to see some miracles?"...... Yeah, it is going to be an awesome transfer!!!!!!!!! Funny thing, he actually trained Elder Allen (my companion in the MTC). My trainer, Elder Chamberlain, went to be Elder Allen's new comp up in KhonGhen... so we just switched trainers hahahahahaha! 


Companion switch... wait WHAT?

The crew from the MTC woohoo (MIA Elder Krebs).

Many miracles happened this week. Miracles are awesome... I just love them. They are always there - because God is a God of miracles. It is just a fact. Here are a couple of them:

1. We were working with the ward clerk on some records in the middle of the day on Saturday. A man walked into the church and recognized us. He said, "Hey elders, I was an investigator like 5 years ago. I want you to come to my house and eat food... and I also want my daughter to be a member of this church." WELL OK THEN! 

2. When Elder Stone switched (Thursday), he forgot maple syrup extract at his house in KhonGhen. He was bummed because he likes to make pancakes every morning. That morning, Elder Chamberlain had moved out and stripped everything in the room, including the bed. He also eats way healthy. When we returned home at night on Thursday, there were three items on the bed. And I kid you not: a bunjee cord, a bag, and an unopened bottle of maple syurp extract. Unbelievable. Elder Stone thought it was a joke.... but no one had been home yet. We were the first ones there. WOOHOOOO thanks God! What a start to a transfer of miracles! 

3. The first two days, 27 people gave us their phone numbers so we could teach them. Amazing what obedience, faith, and a willing heart will give you. As far as investigators go, we have an awesome guy named Luck who will be getting baptized next week. Grace and Augustine are progressing bit by bit and have agreed to get baptized. YEEEHHAWWW thank you for all of your prayers.

1. People eat bugs here... it's casual.

Spider as big as your hand. Welcome to Thailand!

2. On notebooks they put the most hilarious captions/bad English translations on them. The other day I found one (a journal mind you), with a picture of a little rabbit on it. There was a little poem in the corner that read:  "Love night, the ice weasels come." HAHAHAHAHA I have no idea what that means.

Pokemon - gotta catch 'em all! 

I found Mexican food..... and an American shake - woah! 

1. Pretty good messed up translation by yours truly. The words for ice cube and wooden cross are similar in Thai. So I asked the lady at KFC to only put a little bit of crosses in my drink. Hahahaha Elder Chamberlain just died. I felt bad because that is the same word we use for the cross of Jesus. Oops... 

2. A bird pooped on me today. First time... pretty exhilirating I must say... especially when it gets in your ear :) But no worries - The guy I was talking to gave me his number, and the man in the bathroom who I was washing hands with gave me his number too... so tender mercies rock on! :)

"Hey Elder Stone, how safe is this locust?" "Probably about as safe as locusts can get.".... "Ok, I'll eat it."

Sister Parin drew this (by hand) for our district last transfer.... hahahahahaha!

Spiritual thought: 

Yesterday at church, I was sitting next to Sister Bun, who is the mother of Brother Ding (who is on a plane right now for his mission in OGDEN). We sang "God be with you till we meet again." To feel this sweet mother's love for her first child in her family to leave on a mission (their whole family converted 5 years ago...) was amazing. We were both crying tears of joy because I was reminded of my mom's incredible love for me. And how hard it must have been for you, Mom, to let me go, even though you knew God came first. Moms everywhere are a testament of incredible, unfathomable love for their children. I love you Mom! 

As I was studying the scriptures today, I came across a verse in 1 Nephi 8:37. It is talking about Lehi when he is counseling Laman and Lemuel after he sees (in his dream) that they reject the fruit and turn away from the fam. In desperation, Nephi writes that his father "did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words." Oh how often do we not listen to the words of our wise parents? They love us so much. Both our earthly parents and our heavenly parents. You parents out there have felt this urgency when you know your child is doing something wrong - and as tenderly as your soul allows, you try to teach them the best you can... but you know in your heart, it is ultimately their decision what they want to do. God bless all parents out there. 

I love my mom and my dad more than life. They have taught me the ways of the Lord. They have taught me how to live the statutes of God. And they love me unconditionally. I feel that everyday, and I felt it more so yesterday sitting next to my sweet Sister Bun. God bless you parents everywhere. We children love you even if we don't say it. 

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

P.S. Mom Comment:  I realize missions are different for every person.  And for some, they are not all the missionary or parents hope for.  But I want to express how grateful I am for the eternal perspective, spiritual tuning, and family insights Abraham is obtaining in the Thailand Bangkok Mission (TBM).  I could not ask for a better experience for this great young man whom I get to call "son."

Also, I am soooooo grateful for Elder Chamberlain.  What an amazing trainer for Abraham!  Elder Chamberlain was kind enough to send me his letters each week as well.  So I got to hear about other fun adventures and spiritual encounters he and Abraham had each week. I'm posting this passage from Elder Chamberlain's letter this week because it was too good not to post about these great guys who played jazz trumpet together in Caleb Chapman's music program for four years;)  

"Trumpet Buds
Before being separated Elder Smith-Driggs convinced me that we had to at least try to get our hands on some trumpets. So after emailing and grabbing lunch on Monday we headed over to the middle school next to the church. We literally walked up, said we play trumpet and asked if we could play. They looked confused but told us we could go talk to the music teacher. We found him, talked for a minute, and before you know it we each had a trumpet in hand. 

After not touching a trumpet for over a year I'm a little bit rusty. If the trumpet professor from BYU was there he might question why he ever offered me a scholarship. Nevertheless, we had fun. It was great!"

We can still play the trumpet! Sort of...

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