Monday, November 30, 2015

Thailand Turkey Bowl

My brothers

Well.... I wouldn't exactly say turkey bowl due to the fact that we ate KFC for Thanksgiving this year... so it's a stretch hahaha - just deal with me here people. 

"Thanksgiving Chicken Dinner... thanks Kentucky"

We had a different festival this week. Called "Loygratone." (That is just how it sounds in Thai hahaha.) It is a big Buddhist holiday comparable to Valentine's Day. Each couple sends off a little boat made from a banana tree, decorated with all sorts of natural flowers and such. So OBVIOUSLY we had to embrace the culture and celebrate with my companion hahahahahaha.

Happy Buddhist Valentine's Day hahahahaha...

Oh, we also went bowling.... I would like to say I got a strike on this bowl but I can't lie.  It is against the 10 commandments.  

When you almost get a strike . . .

The Work: 
This week was awesome! We taught investigators, saw miracles, taught some less active members. saw more miracles, and eventually got back to bed each day exhausted but praying that the next day we would have the strength to do it all over again. Teach, Testify, Convert, and Love. What a pleasure it is to do this every day. It is also the most fun I have ever had in my whole life. I didn't think this was possible because whenever I saw missionaries as a kid I always thought that they were serious 100% of the time. The badge was everything - they never laughed... all they did was testify with the Spirit and that was it. I was so wrong. The mission experience is for those who want to find joy in serving others. That joy can come from anything - seeing an old lady walk down the street selling brooms, but she stops you and asks you why the tall handsome boys don't have Thai girlfriends yet.... yeah - you bet we laughed at that one. I used to think that missionary = serious. That is true to a certain extent - there needs to be a sense of professionalism in order to represent the Savior. But I am almost positive that Jesus laughed too. I have a bookmark that I keep in my Thai scriptures that has this motto I try to live by: "LOVE THE LORD AND LAUGH." Joy is found in the little things. We all need to learn to laugh more. The Thai people are very good at that... almost too good hahahaha. Sometimes we need to focus on the Spirit instead of the white American's hilarious, bad translation hahahaha. The work is strong here in Thonburi, and the branch [small local church unit] is progressing nicely. Right now we are working on prepping the branch to become a ward [large local church unit]. It is a lot of fun! 

The Culture:
1. It is incredibly rude to leave books/learning materials/scriptures on the ground. In lessons, you don't put anything but your bag on the ground. "The ground is for your feet, not books."

2. Thanksgiving isn't a thing here, sorry America. We celebrate Buddhist Valentine's Day.

3. While eating, we only use a fork and a spoon. To be honest, it is so much more efficient. The knife is such a useless utensil. (No offense to whoever invented it - I am sure he or she was really pumped about "the knife.") Also the spelling is a little strange, but that is ok, KhonThais absolutely love trying to pronounce it.

4. When you ask people how their day is going, the most common answer is either "It's Hot!" or "Big Traffic today".....

The Funnies: 
1. Tuk Tuk Driver while driving us to an appointment, "Yeah I am an old man and have been driving this tuk tuk for over 50 years.... in fact my eyes are beginning to go..." 

2. We are prepping for Christmas by buying our own Christmas tree and playing Christmas carols on the harmonica and recorder. I hope you enjoy the recording I'm sending - it is priceless. [Mom comment: I haven't figured out how to post it to the blog.]

Spiritual thought:
This morning I was reading in Ether 12 (I highly recommend it). As turmoil is happening around the world which is very troubling, this verse gave me peace and comfort. Hopefully it will do the same for you. 

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

I love this verse. I love how it talks about faith being an anchor. That is so true. I used to think that faith was just something to appease the people, something that said - "Well, have faith that the unseen is there and keep pressing forward... hopefully something will work out." I thought it was blind obedience. I was so wrong. Faith is more than belief; it is actions that prove your faith. They cement that anchor to the bottom of the sea. Those acts of faith show our Heavenly Father that we care and that we really do "glorify Him." I love you all and my prayer is that we can all evaluate our faith.... are we being obedient for the right reasons? 

I love you all so dearly and can't wait to see you on Christmas. God bless you all! 
Stay sweet.

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

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