Monday, December 19, 2016

The Elders Are Leaving Laos

My dear family and friends, I have very sad newsI never know how much we can disclose to our families about what happens here, but I was given permission to say what is happening and why are are being kicked out of LaosAs missionaries in Lao, we run under the direction of DIC (Deseret International Charities). We are volunteers, and we teach English at many places around VientianeWe have legal agreements called MOUs (Memorandum of Understandingwith each of the places that we teachThe elders' visas and anyone who works for DIC comes in with visas that are attached” to these MOUsSo as long as the MOUs are finished and OK, the elders are OK

For whatever reason, this year the process of getting the MOU is not OK. The process is not completeOur visas, which expire at the end of 2016, are attached to the MOUBecause the MOU is not completed, the elders have to abide by Lao law and leave the countryThe process of all of this takes a very long time, and the senior couples, Hong Kong staff, and the Lao Government are all trying to make these things happen. Thank you for all the work you have done in trying to make this happenOnce the agreement (or the MOUis completed, the elders will come backBut not II dont think I will make it in timeIn fact, President Johnson isnt sure any of this group will make it backI will be serving the last 6 months of my mission in the Kingdom of Thailand

President Tiger

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and your fastingI dont know why the Lord is having this happenI dont know why everything seems to be falling throughThe day we found out we were going to be leaving, we called every Church member in our phone telling them how much we loved themTears were streaming down our faces as we testified to these members that the Lord has not forgotten themThe elders are not abandoning themwe have to go because of English visa stuff - not because obtaining the new church building isnt finished

To see these people in their hardest time has been the hardest thing for me on my missionI cannot stand seeing other people suffer, and I cannot do anything to help themAll I can tell them is to rely on their Savior, and that is what I need to do too

Lao will always be my homeI consider it my second homeThe members are my familyand I am going to miss them so much. They have taught me more about the Savior and sacrifice than anyone I have ever metThey deserve to see the fruits of their labors the day the church opensWhen that day comes, when 6 new elders are called back to Laos because the MOUs are complete, when we can finally worship together as a family united in Christ, oh how my soul will sing, HosannaHosannaHosanna!” It is my hope that I can be there when that day comes

This photo was taken at a Hmong cultural festival we visited with some of the Hmong members last Saturday. It is in an area north of Vientiane near where the new church building is supposed to be.

The Stevensons

I will visit Laos again with my family in JulyIf any members are reading this – I cant wait to see you in July! Keep going! You can do thisHang onThe Lord will bless you if you hang onHe is counting on his strong members here in Lao to make it until the church comesUntil then, we must LIFT each otherI promise you all that as you LIFT together, the Lord will fill you with the Holy Ghost, and you will be filled with hopeAs Alma 2637 says, Now [my dear Lao brothers and sisters], we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earthNow this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. God has not forgotten youYour elders have not forgotten youWe pray and fast for you every dayYou mean the world to meI love you so muchGod is mindful of youHang onHang onWe can do this if we do it TOGETHER.

ພຣະເຈ້ົາຈະໄຫ້ພອນພວກເຈົ້າ. ພຣະອົງຢາກໄຫ້ພວກເຈົ້າສູ້ໆ.ໄນເວລານີ້ແນ່ນອນວ່າພວກເຈົ້ານາດຈະຮູ້ສືກວ່າບໍ່ມີຄວາມຫວັງແຕ່ວ່າຄວາມຈີງແມ່ນວ່າພວກເຈົ້າຍັງມີພຣະເຈົ້າແລະຍັງມີສະມາຊີກທຸກໆຄົນ.ພຣະເຈົ້າຢາກໄຫ້ພວກເຮັາຊ່ວຍກັນແລະກັນ.ໃນເວລາທຸກຍ້າກເຮັາຕ້ອງມີສັດທາຄືເກົ່າແລະອະທິຖານຢ່າງຫນັກຄືເກົ່າ.ເຮັາເອລເດີຮັກພວກເຈົ່າຫລາຍຄິດຮອດຫລາຍ. ຢ່າລືມພຣະເຈົ້າ….ເພາະພຣະເຈົ້າບໍ່ລືມເຈົ້າ.

My prayers are with you always my dear brothers and sistersUntil we meet again,

ເອລເດີ ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ
Elder Abraham Smith-Driggs

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ
Abraham Smith-Driggs  

Asia is so cute sometimes hahahahaha

Caught him sleepin' hahahah. Gotcha Bouw.

Mom comment: More photos in the series I call, "Sleeping Elders." These guys get so worn out.  Maybe I'll make a compilation of all the "sleeping elder" shots that Abraham has sent home over his 18 months in the mission field, including photos others have taken of him while he's been asleep;)

Last time with the deaf kids.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Opportunity to Choose

I have not had an opportunity to email these last 2 weeks…and as I opened up my email today, I was overwhelmed by many messages from people all around the world encouraging me and telling me that everything was going to be OK. Your messages bring tears to my eyes. I cannot express in words how much I appreciate your prayers and your faith. From the bottom of my heart - Thank you. 

This last week I had the opportunity of reflecting a lot about how much the Lord blesses us. Elder Saunders and I traveled with Elder and Sister Carter to a nearby province to donate water wells and bathrooms to 3 schools. 

These children were so excited to get these toilets and water. It meant so much to them. 
They threw big celebrations in our honor, fed us with the best food they had, danced for us, and smiled at us. 

There is a tradition that we participate in. It is a Buddhist ceremony called "Barci" where each person present blesses you and ties a white string around your wrist. The village people putting these strings around our wrists ranged in age from 16-70. 

As I looked into the faces of these farmers, I could see the gratitude. I could feel of their appreciation and their love for me and for DIC. All we gave them were a couple of fancy outhouses and a water tank, and it meant the world to them. 

My prayers and my spirit were revived this week as hundreds of these people looked into my eyes and said, "Thank you." It was an experience I will never forget. Our prayers get answered in strange ways. In this way, I could feel all of your prayers and your strength through participating in a Buddhist religious ceremony… who would've thought. :) You don't need to worry about me Mom. I am going to be OK. I just need to worry about the members. If you want to pray for anyone… pray for THEM. 

As different challenges and difficulties come into our lives, we are confronted with many choices. It is interesting to note that the central point in creating the Plan of Salvation was weighed on the ability to choose. The two major parties, Lucifer and Christ, duked it out in heaven just over this simple principle of choice. Boy… I take it for granted sometimes. Choosing to work hard. Choosing to be obedient. Choosing to take the right path (even if it will be the harder one). Choosing to be lazy. Choosing to be happy. Choosing to lift others. Choosing to eat PB&J or oatmeal. Choosing to start studies late. Choosing to forget yourself. The choices that we make have a large determining influence on our character. 

I’m going to get scientific for a bit here…stay with me for a sec...
Studies show that the way our brain cells work is that the more we think about certain things, the more we train our dendrites to “fire” certain ways and literally grow closer to each other. So the more we think about good things, our brain physically changes to accommodate that positive charge. Our bodies want to fire those emotions as quickly as they can, so our brain (being the smart cookie that it is) physically changes the length at which the electrical charge through the dendrites has to travel. The same thing applies with thoughts that we don't entertain as much…except that the dendrites or whatever it is that shoots off these electrical charges, actually shrink in size and grow farther apart because we don’t use them as much. If a quarterback is going to throw a football, we all know that it is going to be faster if he throws it to the receiver 15 yards away than throwing to a receiver 80 yards away. The same thing applies when sending emotions across your brain.  So if you keep thinking about good things regularly, your brain has an easier time shooting the good emotion impulse through your brain than the bad emotion - all because your body can process it faster because you have literally grown and trained your brain to "throw the 15 yard" emotion. So if we think more positively, over time, the positive emotions will be fired more quickly than the negative emotions.  If that last part didn't make sense… don't worry about it. I don't really understand it either hahahahaha. Science is my weakest subject honestly. #livingwithplantsneveragain

As children of our Heavenly Father, we have the opportunity to choose. We can choose right from wrong, better or best, Yankees or Red Sox, calculator watch or Rolex (calculator watch every time people - come on). With these choices, we literally change the makeup of our brain. No wonder it was such an incredible gift. The ability to change our character through making choices???? That is a risky gift for a dad to give to his kids. (And you thought buying an Xbox for Christmas was a big step!) 

Heavenly Father gave us the opportunity to choose because he loves us. We don't have a church. Yes OK… let's move on. Let's choose to be proactive in the missionary work we can do. We can't teach investigators. Yes OK…. Let's move on. We can choose to teach them over the phone or have them read church materials. We can't invite. Yes OK…. Let's move on. We can be disciples of Christ through loving each person we meet the way Christ would want… whether they know who he is or not. 

I testify that our choices make a difference. And sometimes, times get really tough. Yes they do… I am not denying that. Every day here in Laos right now is pretty brutal. As you could see from my last email, I get down sometimes. Yes OK… let's move on. Our choices make a difference. I choose faith, I choose charity, I choose the calculator watch, and I choose Christ. He will carry us home. He always has, and he always will. It is a great day in the kingdom. Let's move on! 

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ

Abraham Smith-Driggs  

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Yearnings of My Soul

Oh that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!.... I would do anything it takes. ( I pray for opportunities to share the gospel, I look for opportunities to serve, and yet I feel spiritually weak. Lord, what can I be doing wrong? 

I am slipping from the missionary that I once was. I haven't taught a single investigator lesson for over 9 weeks. As a missionary surrounded by others in our zone who have churches, investigators, people to work with….. it is hard to think of the members in Laos with none of that. I cry myself to sleep thinking of them. The members in Lao deserve more than this. The Lord knows when the time will come…. But when Lord? When will we begin again the work of salvation? All I can do is pray and fast. Pray… fast some more…. Cry some more…. More prayers…. Occasional lessons on the phone. 

Oh how I wish I could spread the Gospel to every person on the streets of Vientiane. They are my brothers and sisters. Oh how I wish I could ask God when his people in Laos would not suffer any longer. Oh that I were an angel, and could know the purposes of God's eternal plan. Oh that I were an angel, and could speak to the heart of my dear spirit family. Oh that I were an angel, that the reality of idleness could not shake me. Oh that I were an angel, always keeping my thoughts clean and abounding in virtue and good works. 

Brothers and Sisters, I am not an angel. I am weak. I slip up. I make big mistakes. I don't always deliver. At times it seems like everything is about to fall apart. And sometimes, it does. It is times like these that the Spirit prompts me to think about the yearnings of my soul. Where do I fit in all of this? How does my attitude affect others? Am I spiritually killing myself? 

My trial of faith may not come with any sort of logical or statistical analysis, or a car that takes off both of my legs, but maybe it is something that wounds the soul. It comes from discouragement. It comes from lost hope. It comes from factors concerning the soul. When the soul searches for its answer but comes up empty. When the yearnings of my soul can't turn into a reality…. I take a hit. 

I am getting hit hard right now. The members in Lao are getting hit even harder. The Church building cannot solve that problem, nor can any number of baptisms. The solution is not a number. It is not something we can touch. The yearnings of our souls can only be filled spiritually. That is the reason we continually read the scriptures. That is why we fast. That is why we go to church. That is why we pray. That is why we use the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

My dear brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ is there because he wants to help you with the yearnings of your soul. If you need healing, you take that time to heal. If you need a day's rest, you take it. If you need to say sorry for yelling at your wife, you do it. The yearnings of our soul are not found by a stethoscope, but by a deep Godly instinct. 

Oh that I were an angel, and could visit each one of you to tell you how much I love you. Oh that I were an angel, and could help you understand the smallest sacrifice that these members in Laos go through each day. Their spirit carries mine every day. Even yesterday, 16 members from Laos woke up at 3 o'clock in the morning and traveled 6 hours to go to church in another country. The yearnings of their soul were made manifest by their action of faith. What faith and consecration these people have for the Lord. I am trying to be like them. I am trying to be like Jesus…. But ??? He is a long shot, so I try to stick with reachable goals. And if one day I can have half the faith as some of the disciples here do…… my joy will be full. OH that I were an angel, that I may see the blessings laid in store for the Lord's people in Laos, for how great shall be their joy in the kingdom of our Father. 

We are hanging in there. We will patiently wait. We want to worship the Father. We will do whatever it takes. So will the Lord. He has not forgotten his people in Laos. He will never give up on the people that he gave his life to save. You are worth it. I love you all. I pray for you every waking second of the day.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lao Culture Experience

You know, when I sit down to write you all, about 10,000 things pop into my brain (“Should I tell them about this experience?… Or maybe I should write about this?… What does God want me to say?… How can I express what I have been feeling just with words?.... Why are all these boys around me screaming English swear words when they don’t know what they mean?”... etc.)  Contrary to popular belief, email times (at least for me) are one of the most stressful parts of the week.  How in the world can I explain to you all what I feel every day in just one blog entry? I try to give it my best each week, but if you want to hear a little more about subject a,b,c, etc., please shoot me an email, and I will try to accommodate to your needs as the reader. For after all…the only thing I do is type on a computer…the reader is the person who really gets the benefits from reading. So please let me know what you think! 

Jump rope champs

The Work: 
We are going on 9 weeks with no church. The members are starting to get a little discouraged. I think we elders are doing OK… but it is hard to see the members ask again and again and again, “Elder… are we ever going to have a church?”  All we can say is, “I know just as much as you do brother… we have no idea.” It is hard right now for the members, and that just kills me. I want for their happiness so bad. They are teaching me the way to be truly converted to the Gospel, with or without a church building. I just want everything to work out OK so that we can get a place soon. I am confident that the Lord knows exactly when we will get the new building. We don’t know that, so that is frustrating. But it is a great opportunity to learn patience, right? As positive as I am trying to make this sound, it is hard right now. Especially for the members. Please keep them in your prayers. Last Sunday Elder Bouw along with Brother ____ and Brother ____ went to Thailand to partake of the sacrament. There is a church building about an hour away from Vientiane (the capital of Laos). But it involves crossing the border and that involves money, which sometimes the members don’t have. I was reminded how grateful I was for these two faithful Lao brothers. Both of them are returned missionaries from Thailand. They are always willing to do whatever it takes to make the Church grow. They love the Lord, and they show it through their actions. Their faith is remarkable. Most of the time I spend in Laos is me just watching (with awe) the members work miracles through their faith. They receive dreams, visions, and other guidance from the Spirit, and they act on it immediately.  Every ounce of their soul is poured into the Gospel of Jesus Christ because they understand the eternal importance of it. Money doesn’t matter. In fact, you don’t even need running water to receive revelation. All you need to do is ask God. There are no pre-requisite courses or some bare-minimum test score evaluation. Everyone can ask of God. What a beautiful thing. Not to get all mushy on you… 

Let’s just go to the culture for a second, sound good? 

The Culture: 

1. This week we had Lao Culture Week. What I mean by that is the elders did everything like Lao people. There were certain rules Elder Cheney typed up. The rules went as follows:
  • Only eat Lao food 
Lao week food... mmmmmhhhh
  • Only speak Lao 
  • Sleep on the floor with no AC 
Lao week - my bed
  • No AC in the house for the whole week. Only fans 
  • Wash all clothes by hand 
  • Do the dishes the Lao way (involves dunking dirty dishes multiple times into bins)
  • Take off your shoes while in the house 
  • Use “the squatter” for all bowel movements (a squatter is a toilet in the ground… very common in Asia. Luckily we have one just out the back of our house… we cleaned that bad boy up, and it was as good as new).
Bathroom (aka the squatter)

I can’t remember who thought about doing this, but it was our way to celebrate Thanksgiving. By doing the things the Lao way, we became even more grateful for the cushy American way that we were all brought up in. The big killer for me was sleeping on the floor. The no AC was not a big deal… because my body actually runs at a lower temperature that most… so I don’t get hot very often. But every morning my back would just scream in pain. But we all did it (Except Elder Bouw hahahaha). We ended our Lao week with Thanksgiving dinner at the Stevenson’s home. 

Big thanks to Sister Stevenson for a DELICIOUS Thanksgiving feast!

What a treat it was to eat real turkey with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes…. What a blessing. Best Thanksgiving yet (on the mission)… Granted last year I had KFC when I was with  Elder Stone, but you know, home cooked meals are just unbeatable #missmommascookin 

2. In Laos, if a man wants to marry a woman, a dowry needs to be paid to the father. We rarely hear of this very traditional marriage style in the States, but in Laos it is an expectation. The terms are set by the girl’s father. Most males have to work years and years to save up enough money to pay the dowry. That being the case, most couples start dating/get married around the ages of 27-28 here in Laos, which is why they all freak out when they find out that we 20 year old kids dated girls before we came to Laos as volunteers. Hilarious hahahahaha.

The new crew

The Funnies: 

1. Classic Elder Smith-Driggs moment… sleep talking/walking. I remember my dream very clearly: I sat on my glasses in the middle of an English class, and I was freaking out because I couldn’t see anything. What actually happened in real life was this: It is about 11:30 at night, and everyone has peacefully gone to sleep until Abraham gets up and starts feeling around all the other elders on the floor for his glasses saying, “ແວນຕ່າຂອງຂ້ອຍຢູໄສ,” which means, “Where are my glasses???” I consecutively woke up 3 of the 4 elders and was pushing them around on the floor because I told them they were sitting on my glasses. I got a flashlight and started shining it at all of them trying to find them. Obviously not finding anything, I went back to sleep. Everyone else was just ticked off because I had messed up their beauty sleep on the floor with no AC hahahahahaha. 

2. This week we went to Brother ______ house, and his mom was so nice to feed us…. That is until the dessert. The last thing she brought out was a “green drink” as we would call it in the Smith-Driggs home. My mom knows well that if it’s one thing I hate… it is a vegetable smoothie. Especially the GREEN DRINK. I asked for the ingredients before I partook of the drink, and the mom answered saying, “It is made from ____ leaf, _____ leaf, ____ some dirt, finger roots and______ boiled plant. Make sure to drink it before it turns to gelatin.” I smiled up at her then with horror looked to Mino who was laughing his head off. I can eat crazy fish guts, eyeballs, duck intestines, pig skin, all that kind of stuff… but when you put a smoothie in front of me… I just can’t do it. The texture is just not right. So with determination in my voice, I said, “This is for you Mom… I am going to drink the green drink.” ONE GULP BABY. LET’S GOOOOOO. DOWNED THAT BAD BOY. I had to drink water quickly afterwards, but I did it Mom. Love you #happythanksgiving #smoothiesaredeath 

The green drink

3. I jump roped with some kids in the middle of the street. Except they were about 2 feet tall, and they were playing with yarn… so I had to squat down and jump with them. They loved it. There is a picture of them at the top of the blog. They skip rope right next to our house all the time. They thought it was hilarious that I could jump rope. To be honest, I was pretty excited myself.

9 bananas after eating a full meal... beat Elder Morley's record...fantastic job Elder Cheney!

The Spiritual Thought: 
I apologize for the lengthy email this week… there was just so much to say. But today I want to focus on two scriptures found in Mathew. Mathew 6:8 tells us that our “Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” I was thinking of this scripture from the perspective of a teacher. As teachers, we know exactly what our students need to do in order to succeed and to learn English. We wait and try to help them along the path of becoming better students, but we also have agency involved here.  Even if we beat the students over the head with a stick saying, “This is the way you need to do it,” the students never understand until they learn for themselves. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know exactly what we need to succeed. Prayer does not help our Father in Heaven in any way. He is a perfect being. He doesn’t need us to talk with him. He is always willing to give us guidance. For all you parents out there, think about this for a second: If you knew every single decision your child needed to make in order to be the best human being they could be, and they kept making mistakes… you would get pretty frustrated. Especially if they keep making mistake after mistake, and THEY DON’T EVEN ASK YOU IF YOU CAN HELP OR HOW TO DO IT… how rude. This whole time you are thinking that your kid is just being stubborn. Christ is the master teacher, and he knows how to help us. His arms are outstretched towards us at all times. Most of the time we are stubborn little naughty kids (bless our hearts). I have no idea what I am doing most of the time. I just kind of go along my life hoping God will help me out. I want to testify that God understands our needs. Prayer is free, you can do it anywhere, and you don’t have to be worried about anyone suing you. God will always help us with our needs. Mathew 7:7-8 tells us that if we seek for God’s help, he will help us. We may not have everything, but if we stay close to God through prayer we will be OK. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ

Abraham Smith-Driggs  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Matter of Algebra

FAMBAM: what is crackalakin! Small world, Boppa and Kate are currently in Bangkok... just across the border! I wish I could come say hi to you, but I can't :(  Have a fantastic trip. I love you both! This week was crazy. Elder Morley finished his mission, and our new friend Elder Tanner Blocker came up from Thailand. More on him later.... let's get this party STARTED!

The Work:
Still don’t have a church. BUT IT DOESN’T PHASE US. WE ARE DOING OK! This week I wanted to introduce you to a man named Mino. He is a Lao person but went to Australia to go to college. He learned about Christianity down there and was baptized. Fun fact, he knows Elder David Ball (close relative/great friend/”smash” missionary) who is serving in the Sydney North Mission. Anyway, Brother Mino is a total boss. He loves the Lord, and he loves sharing the gospel with his friends. When he came back to Laos, he found the Church online and was surprised to find us here. We got a phone call in the morning from him asking if we could meet for lunch. So 4 of us went to eat lunch with this random guy. Come to find out that he is a member of our church, baptized in Australia, is the ward mission leader in his ward, and he wants to meet all of the members in Lao and be friends with them. 

It has been so special this week to go around with Mino meeting members of the Church who are his own people. His own language and culture. All of the young members here in Laos have been hanging out with Mino and his fam, and everything is going along great. It has been really special to watch Mino enter this world that he didn’t even know existed and to get to know some of the members. That has definitely been the highlight/miracle of the week. All because a Korean sister missionary invited a random Laotian guy on the streets on Sydney. Missionaries – never forget how important it is to open your mouths and invite people. You don’t know what you have ‘til you don’t have it. #inviteinlaosບໍ່ໄດ້ເດ
Imagine Mino here...
Elder Smith-Driggs sent a picture of Mino, but it didn't come through.  If anyone else has one, please reply with the attachment, and I'll add it to the blog.

The Culture:
1. You can drink beer here starting at age 15.

2. Most people sleep on the floor with a mat/cushion.

3. Most people wear face masks while they ride their motorcycles.

4. Our English students bought us our own soccer jerseys! And we totally played and got destroyed hahahahaha.

They even got our names on the back! Thanks Ms. Peng and Ms. Bo!

5. They do everything to avoid the sun here. Both males and females will bring an umbrella with them to keep them from getting tan. (They want to be as pale as possible.. here that is attractive - lol). They wear gloves, jackets, and long socks so that none of their skin will get tan. All of this in 95 degree weather. Hilarious and really cute. I love the Lao people. I think the elders are going to start wearing the face masks… there is a lot of dust here.

6. Elder Blocker is adjusting to the work just fine. He is a great missionary. It is always strange doing the work here in Laos. But it looks like he is adjusting fine. He is doing really well with the language - just going to town on it. Good for him :)  You can learn any language if you have help from the Holy Ghost.

The Funnies:
1. E. Saunders just learned how to do a handstand for the first time. And the first time he tried, he fell off the wall and nailed his shins on the cement floor. Ouch….

2. E. Ingleton has the worst diarrhea he has “ever had in his life.” He has been inside the bathroom more than outside today. Ouch….

Classic "elder" picture hahaha. I just had to throw this in here.

3. E. Bouwmeester bought for fabric for a bright red suit. Just so that he could have a red suit. Because no one else has a red suit. ແລ້ວແຕ່ Classic Elder Bouw.

4. E. Cheney fell asleep on the floor for 3 hours the other day. He was really tired so he just laid down on the ground on his back. Next thing you know, he wakes up three hours later. Good thing that he wasn’t teaching that week.

Classic Elder Cheney hehehehee. Got this bad boy while he was sleeping...

5. E. Morley went home…. Not a funny. Actually quite sad. He is a smash missionary. Love him to death. Soon he will be meeting my family in Utah. Awesome! Tell him I say hi Mom!

Elder Morley!

Spiritual Thought:
Learning about the gospel is like learning kindergarten all over again… except with a spiritual brain. The body/mind may have a master’s degree because you have trained it since you were a little kid, but spiritually, maybe you are in the 2nd grade, or even preschool. You have to allow your spiritual part to grow/learn at a pace that you can handle. Just because you don’t understand Algebra in 2nd grade doesn’t mean that you quit learning it. It means that you need to start step by step. We all understand that Algebra is a necessary life skill… but some of us don’t know how to get there. Sometimes we can see the benefits that other people have from being “spiritual” or participating in religion. Heaven help those poor Mormons with all of their rules, am I right?? Man those guys have it rough;)  But I think most people who meet the Mormons tend to say that Mormons in general are a very happy people (as a whole). Yes we have our crazies, Mormon culture comes into play here and there, but I think most people who are not members of our church or even religious at all recognize that we have something different. It could be the fact that we send 19 year old punk kids to teach about the restored gospel, or that we have our own pathetic swear words, or that we can’t use microwaves (that last one was a joke). 

The point I am trying to make here is that you need to give us a chance people. Spiritually, you may be going to kindergarten! Your very first day at school… you have your cute little Scooby Doo lunch box, your mom just sent you off, and you have no idea what is going on. And worse yet – the people teaching you keep telling you that all of the learning is going to happen not only by studying in books but by studying your soul. To all of you out there who are studying the soul, or studying with your spiritual mind, my heart goes out to you. That is the hardest thing for me – to understand how my spirit is doing. Is it growing, shrinking? Becoming smarter? Weakening? These are questions that can be answered by our Heavenly Father. He is the master teacher. Not the missionaries, not your parents, not your bff at the mall…. It is our Heavenly Father. SO ask him…. because his teaching is personalized, helpful, and free! If you have any questions, feel free to turn to him. He, just like Enterprise, is always willing to pick you up;)

I love you all so much and am praying for you!

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ

Abraham Smith-Driggs