Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ghandi's Birthday

Happy birthday Dad! In honor of your 35th birthday this year, I wanted to share with the world your amazing 2015 Halloween costume. Please enjoy my father, Ben Driggs... as Ghandi. Happy 35th Dad - you are lookin good! 

Happy Birthday Dad
Mom comment: He's actually 52;)

The Work: 
Amazing things are happening here in Chiang Rai. We received some new training on how to work with ward and stake leaders and how we are going to be able to work together in building the branch one person at a time. We are getting the ball rolling, and I sooo hope I stay here next transfer to see the fruits of our labors. We are really focusing on teaching families and friends of the members who are already there - GOLD MINE. To illustrate this wonderful concept, I would like to share a story about my dear friend, Brother Bond. Yesterday during church, Elder Howard and I were sitting down making phone calls in a room. We heard a knock on the door and Brother Bond asked us with a smile.. "Excuse me elders, do you have a second? I want to teach my brother... will you help me?" With tears in my eyes I said, "Of course Brother Bond, let's teach him together." 
Brother Bond brought this investigator in (his friend - he just calls him his brother). He taught the entire Restoration by himself... answered all of the investigator's questions.... testified with the Spirit and told his friend this church has helped him more than anything else in his life. Elder Howard and I just sat there and asked for the investigator to say the closing prayer. We did not teach. We listened and learned from Brother Bond, a 23 year old stud who is preparing to serve a mission. THAT is the power of working together as a ward family. 

The Chiang Rai boys 
(Brother Bond is holding up the thing in the back.)

The Culture: 
How you speak is very important to the way that people receive you. For instance, in Thailand they really like when people speak in a high voice and a soft voice. They love it, and they say you speak beautifully. Kinda scared because I will come back to the States talking liked a timid woman..... oh well.

Freezing cold this morning

This was just too good....
The Funnies: 
1. Sister Gay gave me a calender as a gift. I opened it up and said, "Sister Gay, we can't have this calendar. It has beautiful Thai women on it!" (She owns a hotel, and it was her hotel's calender of traditional Thai women on it)... she said, "Oh don't worry, that is my niece.... and she is single Elder Smith-Driggs - so watch out" ........ Yeah, I haven't heard the end of this joke for 5 days now. Never gets old apparently. Elder Howard just loves it. 

2. A KhonThai in Chiang Mai spilled grape juice all over a table before a wedding... All he could say was, "An earthquake did it."

On the way to Chiang Mai

3. We had zone conference this week in Chiang Mai. Elder Stone [former companion currently serving in Chiang Mai] ... had some bad stomach problems and was down and out for the day.... Let's just say he ended up burning his basketball shorts. Hahahahahah poor guy hahahahahaha. 

Zone Basketball

Fearless Zone leader Elder Hartung

Spiritual Thought: 
There is a phrase that Joseph Smith uses in his account of the first vision. He says the words, "I know for myself." What powerful diction. What does it take for us to say, "I know for myself." Knowledge is something that comes from (as the scriptures tell us) much fasting, prayer, pondering, and revelation. We ponder it in our minds and our hearts and study it out in the words of the prophets... You see, there are many components in coming to a knowledge of something. I have been on this course my entire life. For almost 20 years, I have been taught to apply the teachings of the gospel but have never taken full advantage. As a missionary, I take advantage every day because I now understand the joy that comes from living the gospel and taking advantage of the revelations and blessings that the Lord is willing to give us. I now know for myself that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He will come again, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been restored through a modern prophet to guide us in these days. There is nothing more special to me than feeling God's love. I know he is there and that he loves us. I am not writing this because I have to, because I am bored, or because maybe this will "strengthen my testimony if I simply believe".... I am writing this because these are the feelings of my soul which I know are true. There is nothing more special to me than the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 
I know these things are true. And I cannot deny them. 
My challenge to you all is to change the things in your life that are keeping you from coming to a knowledge that God is real and that he loves you. There are many worldly distractions that are demanding our attention. But if we take a moment to stop and reflect, ponder, read, and pray - Heavenly Father promises us our answer will come. I love him, and I say these things in the name of his son, Jesus Christ, amen. 

Wat Rong Khun (called the White Wat)

Happy Birthday Dad! 

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
เอ็ลเดอร์ สมีธ-ดริกส์
Elder Smith-Driggs 

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