Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Chreestmat



It has been a warm one here in Chiang Rai. Being a missionary during the Christmas season is one of the things I have cherished most. The opportunity to share with people who Jesus Christ is is an amazing thing. It was so fun to Skype with my Family! WOOHOOOO yeah they are doing great. Still really scary to see you driving Olivia. My dog is still there, so that is good. I still can't believe you were all eating a steak dinner. That looked really good. But that is ok because I still have Thai food here for less than a dollar. This week was awesome! 

The Work: 
We are going hard on the LA [less active] work here in Chiang Rai. The cool thing is that we get to ride all the way out into the middle of the mountains to find these members. 

Most of their phone numbers change about every year or so (IDK why they change their phone numbers so much - everyone does it). So we have to go find them in the little villages. We also had dinner at a member's house up on this beautiful mountain (see pictures). 

Beautiful Chiang Rai

I thank God every day for the opportunity to serve in such an amazing country. It is truly a blessing. Our investigators are doing great - we still need our pool to get bigger. We trust in God and we are obedient, and we work our best every day. That is all He can ask for, so we trust that we will find success if we focus on Him. There is a special spirit that comes with obedience and love - if you have love for the work and you are obedient (to the minute... not just to the 5 minutes). God is not lenient.  He is organized, he plans, and he executes with faith. The same thing applies to His disciples and His missionaries. 

The Culture: 
1. Lots of different hill tribes here in Chiang Rai - lots of different random languages 

2. If you bike really far and go to a random mountain village.... there may or may not be little Thai children who have never seen a white person before. They are adorable.

These little girls had never seen a white man before...they were terrified of me hahahaha.

3. Everyone wears coats even if it is burning outside

4. People in the north have a different dialect, so that has been fun trying to learn that hahahha. It is pretty similar to Thai so that is good!

The funnies: 
I forgot to write down any funny things that happened this week so sorry... If you haven't figured out by now, Thailand is just a happy funny place.

The first noel. Merry Christmas everyone!

Spiritual thought: 
I love my Savior. I am so grateful that He was born. I know that because of Him I can actually change my life, my habits, my beliefs, and my faith. Everything is focused on Him for a reason. As missionaries, we don't just say these things because we have nothing else better to do than leave our family for 2 years. This is real. My testimony of the Savior is real and true because He is real and true. I know He lives. I know He lives. Only by Him and through Him can we change. You can do it. Fight on my friends.

God loves you, I love you. God bless.

Elder Smith-Driggs

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Well fam, it looks like they transfered me up to Chiang Rai! Way up in the north, the farthest place from Bangkok in the whole mission [13 hours away]. Also the coldest hahahaha, almost like coming home because I can see my breath in the morning! It is so beautiful here! 

The Work: 
My new companion is Elder Ethan Howard from Lehi, Utah and he IS SUCH A STUD. Just a solid missionary who loves being obedient, knows how to have fun, and absoutely loves the Lord and Thailand with all of his heart. Yeah - you bet it is going to be a killer 7 weeks with this guy. We get along great! He also works out like an hour every morning and every night, so we will see if I can catch up. Goal number one: try to keep up with my comp while running so I don't collapse with fatigue. Also... we ride bikes here. 

Pretty sure I haven't ridden a bike in a solid three years and pretty sure the first day riding the bike Elder Howard thought I was a complete imbecile because I forgot how to steer (face palm). I haven't crashed yet, so that is good news hahahaha. 

The members here in Chiang Rai are awesome! Way willing to work with the missionaries. 
So much so, in fact, that yesterday about 25 people gathered together, and we all split up to sing Christmas carols to some less active members. So fun! 

All of the KhonThais were like - why are these white people singing about Jesus at the top of their lungs? Hahahahaha some were so frightened. (Caroling is SO not a thing in Thailand.) I am sure I will get a better feel for our investigators and the members as time goes on, but so far - Chiang Rai is an absolute dream. I thank God every second for sending me here.

(Mom comment: I pulled this image from the internet.)

1. Northern food is my favorite food. The north of Thailand is known for their curry and their amazing rice dishes. Every meal is Christmas. SOOOOO GOOD

2. It reminds me of Southern California in the winter. Everyone is bundled up in full on ski coats, but it is only like 45 degrees outside hahahahaha. The mornings are pretty cold though. Good thing I brought a long sleeve shirt to sleep in.

3. There are lots of small Thailand tribes up here that live in the mountains. You know those people with gold rings that stretch up their necks? Yeah... that is 20 kilos from where our house is. AWESOME 

4. Instead of Bangkok where they ask you, "Wow, isn't it hot today?" Northern people say, "Holy cow, isn't it cold today? WHY ARE YOU IN SHORT SLEEVES ??!!!" 

1. Walking out the door today I had my bike helmet on (luckily) and slammed my head into the bathroom door frame because I was too tall. #whitepeopleinasia

2. We taught an old man the other day. Hahahahah he was trying to read the Book of Mormon through a piece of glass because he forgot his glasses. He is an LA we are working with, and he is kind of crazy. Hahahahahaha it was so funny. I had to end up reading for him because he couldn't decifer the scriptures with a solid piece of glass hahahahahaha. 

3. Caroling with the members was so much fun. But when we just showed up at these people's houses and started singing at the top of our lungs, one lady just sat there in her little hut and was like - "Why are these white elders singing so loud?" and again, "Why are you in short sleeves?" 

4. During studies this morning, we were interrupted by the other elders (Elder Weaver and Elder Thompson) who brought us hot chocolate...only in our freezing room at the border of Thailand would we be able to enjoy hot chocolate hahahahaha. 

Spiritual thought: 
Things change. Whether it is companions, areas, relationships, you move houses, change schools, etc. I keep reminding myself this week that I am in Chiang Rai for a reason. God needs me here. The same thing applies for you wherever you are. God needs you there. And yeah, things may change in Millcreek, Utah - but we need to be able to adjust accordingly and smoothly in order to make the most of our situation. Things that have helped me the most? 
1. Stop and smell the roses
2. Read the scriptures and pray for support
3. Count your blessings every night
Doing these things forces us to understand how blessed we really are. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He lives. I love you all and cannot wait to see you in a couple days! 

God bless and MERRY CHRISTMAS (cue Santa's voice)
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Don't worry these are Less Active members, not girls from home Elder.

P.S. Mom comment:  Because of transfers and Christmas, this week is a little different for internet time for Elder Smith-Driggs.  He emailed us that his P-Day this week will be Friday, Christmas day.  But they were allowed to get online today briefly (their usual P-day) to send/receive a few emails. I do not know if it will be next week before he gets a chance to view emails from this week or if he will get to see them Friday. Just thought I'd pass that on to those of you in correspondence with him.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bike for Dad


When Christmas comes early... THANKS FAMILY!

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope this week has been magical and exciting! It sure has been for me! I just found out I will be moving from Thonburi next transfer (starts on Thursday), so I have been reflecting on the wonderful things that have happened in this area.

Goodbye Thonburi

The Work: 
This week I learned that simple testimony brings pure joy. That is the single greatest blessing being on a mission. The opportunity to testify simply and effectively is a skill I want to improve...and during this Christmas season in the burning heat, in Thailand, we get to introduce the Savior of the World. This is a very special thing. The work this week has been a lot of fun and a lot of stressful! 

Brother Luck was confirmed on Sunday, and it has been really special to see him progress. I will miss him dearly. Grace and Augustine are doing well, and they send their love. They were very sad when they found out I was leaving, but I know that the Lord will take care of them. On my mission, there have been certain people that I have connected with more than others. We understand each other because we have the same desires and wants in life. Grace and Augustine were some of those people for me. I love them very much. Man.... this is kind of weird. I have never moved out of an area before, and I don't really know how to react - I am sad and excited at the same time. Kind of like leaving for the MTC hahahahaha same kind of thing. There have been a lot of good things that have happened here in Thonburi, and God is real - so He will take care of the rest. If any missionary or person puts their trust in God, everything always works out.

I am currently rocking out to my new Christmas music - gotta love PENTATONIX! I am seriously singing and dancing to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" in this little internet store.  Yeah, you bet it brings me home. Gotta love me some bass with the beatbox singing about Jesus Christ. AWESOME WOOHOOOOOO 

Long hard day...fell asleep with mini ball...every missionary should understand.
Mom Comment: Love the short-sleeve and watch tan lines;)

The Culture: 
1. Bike for Dad this week: All of Thailand bikes in Bangkok for the King. Every single person wears yellow, gets free flags... the whole shabang... imagine the Queen of Genovia in the "Princess Diaries"TM  but everyone is just sitting on the ground in yellow waving at the King x 100000 people. So naturally we stuck out..... and we took some pictures on the closed highways (of course.. why not right?) 

 About to watch the bikes come by!

Bike for Dad feat. Elder Stone

2. Gender in Thailand is merely a suggestion. This has led me to seriously study the family and the law of chastity. I am convinced there is more pornagraphic material here than in any area of the world. That may be false, but it has caused me to seriously study the effect that Satan has first on the individual, then on a group of people, then on the general public and acceptance of sin. I know that the Law of Chastity and the Family Proclamation are true doctrines. I have seen the effect of the opposite, and it is not beneficial for society. It will only be a matter of time when you have to question whether someone is a man or a woman all over the world. This is a real thing in Thailand. I am scared for the future, but I know that everything is in God's plan. That is why we have Jesus Christ, that is why He was born.  

The Funnies:
1. We are teaching one of our RCs right now how to be a ward missionary, so we told her to teach me as an investigator with a companion about the Restoration. She did great! Hahahaha she opened up the Book of Mormon and explained the pictures in the front of the book... also she explained the Liahona. So as an investigator, I asked if we had the ball here on the earth. And she answered and said, "Why yes we do Abraham! We have some Liahonas in the church!"... She was referring to the Liahona magazine hahahaha! It was so adorable, so we didn't tell her hahahaha.

When you play recorders in the taxi because you can...

Spiritual thought: 
Something that our mission president shared with us yesterday that I really liked:
Foundation of testimony should not be on an organization or a single gospel principle. You can have a testimony of faith all you want. You can love the Priesthood. You can know 100% that the Book of Mormon is true. But those things can be broken and split apart by the devil. He can break down the little bits of testimony that you have over time. Our focus (as it says in Helaman 5:12) should be on our Savior. He is our ROCK. And if our testimony is based on His principles and His Atonement, "WE CANNOT FAIL." I know that Jesus Christ is the center of our universe. Through Him we can be saved. Only through Him.

I love you all and am so grateful that this Christmas I get to be in Thailand. The Christmas spirit is felt all over the world because Jesus Christ is felt all over the world. I know that He lives and through Him all things are possible. God bless you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Dream
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sassy Elephants

I met some new friends last week :) Don't tell President Johnson, but I think I got hugged by a female...elephant. Oops :/ It was great :) 

I hope this wasn't against the rules....

We also had the opportunity to help out the Red Cross packing emergency supplies kits! Thanks Red Cross! Here are some photos! Enjoy! 

Service! - Red Cross is the best!

The Work:
What an awesome week here in Thonburi! I want to share the story of a dear friend of mine, Brother Luck. Elder Chamberlain and I met Brother Luck about 5 weeks ago fixing a car in front of his mechanic shop. We asked him if he wanted to know more about who Jesus Christ was, and he said yes! In our first lesson, he asked us what all of the "rules" were because he wanted to change to be Christian ASAP.... and so the story goes. Brother Luck is an amazing man. I love him dearly. He has told us many times of how he can feel himself changing. That is the power of the Atonement. Brother Luck is a great example of someone who can change through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He is so eager to follow every commandment that he taped all of the commandments above his bed so he could look at them before he went to bed and have them be the first thing he sees when he wakes up. What a great man. His son, Brother Gan, is awesome and a sweetheart. While his father was getting baptized, Brother Gan's face was pressed up against the glass intently watching his dad be the example. I love my brothers. 

Brother Luck and Brother Gan!

The Work is pressing on here in Thonburi. Many great miracles are happening. With Recent Converts, and Less Active Members. The branch is preparing to become a ward, and each member is stepping up to the plate. There is a good vibe going on here, and I really hope it stays that way! What a great week! 

Brother Somsak needed a break from his wheelchair, so this happened....

The Culture:
1. Father's Day here is the King's Birthday (Dec 5) every year. Everyone gets all decked out with lights, matching shirts, and usually there is some big activity. This year, the entire country will be riding bikes around Bangkok. EVERYONE buys shirts, and EVERYONE bikes. This country is so close knit, and they all love their King. It is awesome.

Father's day in Thailand! Woohoooo we love dads!

2. Fun fact - most KhonThais grow out their fingernail on their pinkie until it is about an inch long...they use that sharp nail for all sorts of utility purposes. How cool is that?!

Merry Christmas from this old man.  He is like Santa Claus! We found him this morning on our way to the internet place. Just a typical old man in Thailand. Rocking the boxers - hahahahahahaha.  

1. A baby elephant didn't like me. So when I went to hug it, it slapped me in the face with its trunk. That trunk was HEAVY people. I am surprised I didn't bruise. The elephant's trainer just laughed and said the baby was very naughty.... we all had a good laugh hahahahaha.

Missionary work

2. Sleep talk story (according to Elder Stone): In the middle of the night I am talking as always. I stand straight up in my bed, take my blankets and myself and plop down in my study desk... I turn to face Elder Stone in his bed and just keep mumbling to myself. Elder Stone asks me, "Hey man... you awake?" I answer: "Of course I am awake! Are you awake?!".... start mumbling again. I sit there for 2 minutes straight mumbling to Elder Stone, at which point I get up and perfectly lay the covers on my bed, get on my knees and say a prayer out loud in Thai, and flop back on my bed... silent. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA The end.

Spiritual Thought: 
My family has always done something called: Written Down Prayers. I am sure I have told many of you this already, but I want to say it again because they ROCK. A written down prayer is exactly what it sounds like. It is communication that you have with Heavenly Father. In our church, we believe in personal revelation - we thrive on it, and it directs our every day actions.... Imagine that you wrote those revelations and conversations with your Heavenly Father down. You could go back and study them, receive guidance on a monthly, weekly, daily basis if you wanted to. Obviously God knows more than we do... so why not ask for His help? Show Him that you care by writing His council down in a little notebook. 
In my own experience, the Spirit talks to me differently than others. But God wants all of us to receive guidance; all we have to do is ask for it. I do a written down prayer about 3 times a week now, and I love it. I have received so many insights and answers to my prayers. I challenge you all to do the same - IT REALLY WORKS!

I love you all so much. Family - you are the best. When I think of you, I smile so hard my cheeks hurt. Can't wait to see you all soon. God bless! 
Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs