Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mushroom House

... you know it really is more than a mushroom house. It represents love, charity, teamwork, serenity, all of the good values that the Young Women's theme so expertly focuses on - we built the mushroom house in unity this week.... in 3 hours. BOOM 

The Work: 
We built a mushroom enclosure yesterday after church with some members an an investigator. This solid member (Sister Bu) will be selling the mushrooms so that she can save up to go to the temple woohoooo! 

Our investigators are awesome! Really looking good. This week God has blessed us with a lot of people saying, "Yes we want to come to church"... "Yes we want to be baptized." We had 5 investigators at church this week people! And two (almost 3) have baptismal dates for these next couple of weeks! I know this isn't a whole lot to be excited about, but I get excited when people come unto Christ! Especially after not knowing who he is??!! I mean what a privilege to see that progression. Brother Mxxang our Laotian guy is AWESOME. Something he said when we asked him about his thoughts on the Book of Mormon...he said, "I know this is true... not because you said so but because I can FEEL so." Awesome. Our investigator Brother Saw who is Chinese is doing great. We have had to teach all of the lessons twice for understanding purposes, and we use very simple language but the most improtant thing is that he is coming closer to Christ through developing faith and repentance... and he is doing great. He wants to be baptized so bad! In other news, one of the LA members we have been working with is now preparing to serve a mission and is coming back to church! What miracles this week! Thank you God! 

Pah Nit going to church

The Culture: 
1. A very common snack: fried pigs skin. It doesn't taste that bad actually. But it makes your breath smell like death hahahaha. 
2. I have hit my head so many times this week just walking into doors and stuff. I am just too tall. 
3. Most people go to bed early (around 9 pm) and wake up around 5:30-6:30 to go to the morning market and get food. 
4. Ambulances are free here. So no charge if you get a splinter and call the ambulance to pick you up. :) 

1. Last night, Elder Torres (greenie here) was trying to pass off his "how to begin teaching points," and he accidentally said the worst swear word in Thai while passing it off to the Zone leaders hahahahahaha. We other 3 older missionaries were just dying hahahaha, and Elder Torres was like, "What guys? I don't get it." Hahahaha I was crying last night. 

Spiritual thought: 
This week I want to talk about perserverance. Now, in the scriptures we are told that our time here on this earth is a time of probation. Ok, now whether that means taking a multiple choice test to get into the celestial kingdom or not I don't know. I can't say for sure, but I think showing perserverance and diligence in the things we do is key to our personal conversion and key to the way we build our faith. If consistently following faithful principles builds our character, and fortified character expands our capacity to exercise more faith, we must continually hold on with an eye single to the glory of God. God's will is unchanging, and so if we align our will with his, and enjoy the ride... we get to the end/looptyloop/whatever you want to call it... and it is that much more rewarding. Because we know we have held on to the end. This week was a testament to that. I had so much fun, and I feel so happy with our work here in Chiang Rai. 

That's it for me this week. Love you guys.

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

Monday, February 22, 2016

Old MacDonald Had a Farm?


Lunch with Brother Jago

Let's get the email sesh started off with some SHOUTOUTS! 

1. My sister got into BYU PROVO! HECK YEAH BABY HOLLA
2. Elder Nathan Peterson's birthday is tomorrow! WOOOOHOOOO 
3. Happy birthday Elder Howard yesterday! 

Such a great time already here on this day in Thailand. I am so proud of my sister she worked her butt off to get in to BYU, and her hard work payed off. Great job sweetie!

The Work: 

Things are going AWESOME here in Chiang Rai. We are killing it on the investigator front. God is really blessing us a lot. One man I want to talk about today is named Mxxang. He is a KhonLao (from Laos), and it has been fun teaching him. He already believes in God and is loving praying every day. He says he feels so peaceful... when he prays, he says that it is unlike anything he has felt before. What a beautiful thing prayer really is. Do we have the opportunity to really revel in our prayers? I would hope some because after talking to Brother Mxxang about his prayers, he has taught me how to pray. 

Another awesome highlight of the week was that ELDER GARY STEVENSON from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came to Bangkok this week and spoke to all the members. We got to listen in from Chiang Rai. He marveled at how far in 50 years so many things could happen. (This year marks 50 years since Thailand was dedicated for missionary service.) It is truly amazing. God hastens the work in every country according to the needs. Three stakes have been created, and 4 more are on the verge of emerging in the next couple of years. What an amazing thing and time to be a missionary and a member in Thailand. 

The Culture: 

1. PDA is not a thing here.... but it kind of is. Hahahaha. Check out the funny section.
2. People put ketchup on their pizza. 

Making some chow

3. We went to Me Sai and the Monkey Caves last P-Day. The monkeys are terrifying creatures..............absolutely terrifying. They are just roaming free all over this Buddhist temple.  It is crazy. They are wild - so that is always comforting. 

Just chillin with Larry

There are monkeys here - just gotta look for them
The Funnies: 

 1. KhonThais like to hold hands as friends... not as a couple. One of the members, named Brother Jago (STUD)... grabs my hand during an activity and just holds it as we walk down the street. Totally casual. No one is phased. Men just hold each others hands. Kinda scared for the return home when I casually strike up a conversation with a local BYU buddy and try to hold his hand to show him I care about him..... only a TBM missionary hahahahahahaha.

Spiritual thought: 

"The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeno pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit." - Richard G Scott (To Aquire Spiritual Guidance -

I will just let that one sink in. 

Love you all. Congratulations Eliza and GO COUGS! 

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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Love of a Mother

Hello my dear loved ones! I hope your week was full of good vibes. Here are some of mine :)

The Work: 
I have titled my email "The Love of a Mother" for two reasons. One will be shown later. But the first is shown by a woman named Sister Bin. Sister Bin is an investigator of ours that just got baptized yesterday! Yayyy! 

Sister Bin Baptism... and Doughnut

Her story of her conversion is awesome, but the ending is even better. Her husband was the first member in their young family. His name is Brother Damrong, and he is a worthy Melchizedek priesthood holder in the ward. The great thing about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it propels people to share it with EVERYONE. So he brought his wife to church, and we have been teaching her for a couple months now. They have a little 8-month-old adorable baby that makes sacrament meeting just an absolute joy. Hahahaha. The baby's name is Doughnut (seriously). This young mother, Sister Bin, comes to church from an hour and a half away with her little baby, and bless her heart, she cares for Doughnut like a pro. As she sits in investigator class, I ponder how my mother had to deal with me (except I was a lot fatter and had way more allergies.. I most definitely cried more). Sister Bin is a great example of a great mother who wants the best for her child, as all mothers do. When her husband baptized her, she came up out of the water, and she said in her native northern language, "I feel like an angel in white." That is the saving grace of the Atonement. So happy for her and her family. Next step - being sealed together forever in the temple! 

Another story about a member this week. His name is Brother Nid. We call him Pah Nid. He is about 75 years old and a little crazy. He lives by himself, his family has basically forgotten about him, and he makes potions for a living. He looks like a frog when he smiles, and he has no teeth. Elder Howard and I visit him every week after church. I think we are the only visitors he gets all week. He is a less active member in the ward. We didn't expect him to come to church or anything. But this Sunday, we went to his house at 8:30 and said, "Hey Pah! We came to get you for church. Do you want to come?" - His little face peeked out of his old shack with a hat on his head and said, "Wait a moment please." Next thing we see is little old Pah Nid tying his shoes, putting on his socks, putting his belt on (he uses a neck tie for his belt).. and he gets his bike. Now you have to understand he can't really see very well. His excuse for not going to church is that he literally can't see when he bikes. So we were pretty excited that he was actually coming, having no expectation that he would come, we were thrilled! We rode our bikes slowly by him all the way to church, encouraging this old man that it was going to be OK and that we could lead him to safety. I had to tell him where the lights were and when to go and when to slow down and stop hahahaha. But this little old man made it to church. He loves God, man and he sure showed it yesterday. We rode up and the branch president's jaw just dropped when he saw Pah Nid riding on his rusty bike between the elders. Hahahahahah. He gave us a big smile and a thumbs up. Pah nid took notes in his little notebook and stayed at the church for 5 hours soaking all of the lessons in. I have never felt so much joy biking with Pah. True happiness this Sunday. I feel very blessed.

Pah Nid goes to church

The Funnies:
The old ladies in the ward asked me if I had a girlfriend I was writing back home on Sunday. I said no. (Here in Thailand, you have to tell all the 20-year-old investigator women that you have a girlfriend back home or else things get sketchy... but to the old ladies you are usually ok..... usually ;) So anyway, I said no, and they got all excited (the old ladies) and made me promise that when I went home I would find a pretty white woman to date and to send them pictures of all the girls I was dating and a short bio about them, and they would choose my wife for me. How sweet of them :) My future spouse in the hands of 60-year-old Thai women. Awesome :) So sorry all you ladies at home. It isn't up to me... it is up to the old ladies in the Chiang Rai Branch who I get to keep dating. ;) 

The Culture: 
1. No culture for the week. I can't think of anything right now. Thailand is awesome. That's all.
2. Later email from Abraham: Guess what we are doing today? Going up to Me Sai and going to the Monkey Caves.... so look for some cool pics next week baby ohhhhhh yeaaahhhhhh woohoooooo!

Greenie magic 

3. Mom Comment about a tender mercy from God via Thai culture, loudspeakers:  
Remember last week how Abraham described the loudspeakers in each town?  Well this week, he got a fun surprise.  For those who know Abraham, you know he LOVES music - all types.  In his mission, they are allowed to listen to hymns only for personal music choices.  For. Two. Years.  Every mission is slightly different, but all restrict pop music as far as I know. Well today as Abraham was writing his weekly emails, he told me the town loudspeakers started playing "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars and then played "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor. Here was his reaction: "God still loves me baby:) Getting my groove on in this internet store. Woohoooo yeah baby dance party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEEHAAWWWWWW." 
I'm SO glad that when Abraham can't do anything about the music playing over the town loudspeakers that he can still enjoy it! Thanks city planning commission, or mayor, or whatever Thai entity chose to play those songs today;)

Spiritual Thought: 
This week in Zone Training we learned about charity. President Johnson highly encouraged us to re-evaluate the way we serve. Charity is defined as the "highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ." What a powerful definition. So much to study there! I have never thought of love as NOBLE... I mean that is pretty cool! Charity, like faith, leads to action. You will develop charity as you look for opportunities to serve others and give of yourself. I can do a much better job at this. I think everyone can, unless you are like my mom or something. She is a rockstar. As I think of powerful charity and examples of love, I think of my parents. My mother loves me unconditionally. No matter what. Not always will I meet expectations. I will a lot of times annoy her and frustrate her. [Mom comment: He doesn't.] But she always loves me and serves me. Same thing with my dad. Both show unconditional love and charity through their actions. Parents are an amazing example of charity. One of my biggest goals is to be a killer dad. My dad is awesome - like MEGA EPICALLY AWESOME. My mom - ROCKSTAR. Other than Jesus Christ, my parents are the best examples of charity that I know. 

[Mom comment: I think he's just really grateful for us right now;) I try, but I have a long way to go. His dad's true...mega epically awesome!]

No words.... I just love my dad.

I love you all. I mean that. Family - Eliza, Olivia, Mom, and Dad. I love you. I can't serve you physically right now, but I will when I get home. I promise. I love you so much. Friends that are reading this - I love you guys too! 

Love you all!

God bless you all. 

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

P.S. Mom comment: BIG THANKS TO ELDER STONE AND ELDER HARTUNG for lugging this package around until it made it to Abraham! I thought it was long gone.  I can't believe he finally got it:) Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys are the best. Jop! (Did I do that right in Thai?)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love the Lord and Laugh

Well my dear family and friends, another week has gone. This week had a big high and a big low. That is just how missionary work goes. 

Som Tam, Bik gai tod = DELICIOUS

The Work: 
We have a new greenie here in Chiang Rai! His name is Elder Torres from California. Good guy :) Having a greenie is a lot of fun because I can actually understand my greenie experience more. Hahahahaha. As a new missionary, all the members would just laugh at me, and I would laugh back because I didnt know what they were saying. Now I just realize they were asking me questions like, "Do you speak English ok?"... and "If you can't understand, that is ok, you will get it." Hahahahaha. Elder Torres is a good sport. 

Other than that, this week has been emotionally derailing. The most stressed out and on the verge of breaking down happened this week. I confess I finally sat down last night outside of our house, leaned against the wooden door and broke down. Sometimes as a missionary, you try your hardest...your very best...your be a worthy servant of the Lord. You push yourself and push yourself... but eventually you burn out because YOU can't do it by yourself. This week I realized I was not relying on the Lord as much as I should. The glorious thing about a mission is that all emotions are intensified. Love, anger, tranquility and frustration, happiness and sadness. Our abilty to cope when we come to the seemingly unsurmountable wall of work is when the Lord NEEDS to become involved. I know that with Him I cannot fail. 

Rainy day
The Culture: 
1. Here in Thailand, they have speaker systems all throughout the neighboorhoods so in the afternoon you can hear some sweet Thai songs while riding your bike. They also play announcements for the city from them from time to time, whether it be neighborhood activities or that an important visitor will be coming to town.

Stay happy

Random fruit...thanks

The Funnies: 
1. I fell off my bike.

2. We visited a less active member this week, and he is a martial arts specialist. So naturally Elder Howard asked him to show what he meant by "Martial Arts." You have to understand first that this guy looks like a total bum. He is chunky, about 5'8" and 21 years old. He then started calmly to manipulate Elder Howard's arm with his entire upper body until he said... "I could break your arm if I wanted to"... it was AWESOME. He didn't hurt us - don't worry - he just showed us how to hit people. It was awesome! Can't wait to try it out on Elder Thompson tonight ;) 

Spiritual thought: 
My spiritual thought comes from 'the work' section in my email this week. Sometimes it seems like we can't go any further. We feel as though what we are doing is not enough... nor will it ever be. I promise that the work we do as missionaries, if we try our best, is always enough in the Lord's eyes. I testify that he is always on our right hand and our left, guiding us through life like a shepherd leads his flocks... with LOVE. 

I love you all dearly. God bless you all.

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

Monday, February 1, 2016

Puu Chi Faa

Hello sweet family! My letter to you this week will be short and sweet. (Except it's not now because my mom added some things I sent later.) 

We traveled to THIS mountain this P-Day morning at 3 a.m. to see the sunrise, and I am exhausted... but it was so worth it! 

I'm on top of the world!

Puu Chi Fa is absolutely gorgeous...and absolutely freezing.  But it's like the Grand Canyon...the sun rises up (sound effect of rising sun)...and ahhhh...gorgeous.  I just loved it.  It was super duper duper. 

The District - Elders Weaver, Thompson, Howard, S-D

Also last week, we went to the Burmese border [Myanmar] with Elder Stone and Elder Hartung. Super fun! So in this week, I went to the Burmese border and the tallest mountain in Thailand overlooking Laos. Gotta love Chiang Rai :) 
Elder Hartung, me, Howard, Weaver, Stone, Thompson
The Work: 
It was about 8 degrees Celsius this week [46 degrees Fahrenheit], and with the humidity I thought I was going to die. No one came out of their homes for days because it was cold and rainy, and there were a total of 80 people in SE Asia who died from the cold... That is not a joke. Sooooooo it was hard to meet with people this week... totally understandable. I would want to stay in my non-heated-cement home too hahahahahaha. But this week was sure fun! It almost felt like winter time in Utah! 

We tried to find some less active members this week.  In Thailand, that's harder than it sounds. Addresses are not the same here as in the U.S.  Instead of a street name and address in numerical order, Thai addresses have a city, then an area within a city, and then a neighborhood within that area.  Then houses are numbered in that area by when they were built. Let's say we were trying to find number 300.  So the numbering may go like this as you search -  1, 2, 3, 700 and you're like ...WHAT???  And then it goes back to 22. You can't find 300 to save your life. So that makes finding less active members in Thailand SO hard.  But it gives an opportunity to be led by the Spirit. And the Spirit leads the way!  We found the two less active members we were looking for this week after a lot of prayers and searches.  

I'm learning how to listen more effectively here. I really love the power of the listener.  Discerning is more of listening with the heart, right? Elder Bednar says, "Discerning is hearing with spiritual ears and feeling with the heart - hearing and feeling the unspoken concern in a comment or question, the truthfulness of a testimony or doctrine, or the the assurance and peace that come by the power of the Holy Ghost." As missionaries that's our goal right?  To teach with the power of the Holy Ghost. And if we don't do that, we have no way to convert the investigator or to convert ourselves. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it's our privilege to have the ability to have the Holy Ghost with us always. And to be able to teach with that is such an honor.

The Culture: 
1. No one comes out when it is cold.... 

2. Thai food is just too good, and it costs about $1.  I'm going to miss that when I go home.  Good thing I have another year and a half.

3. Chiang Rai runs at a different pace than Bangkok. I have had to learn to understand the more laid back pace of life here in our missionary work.  You can't work effectively with a Bangkok mindset in Chiang Rai. Elder Howard has helped me to understand that a slower pace is not necessarily a bad thing, especially as we invite while we teach and we teach while we invite. I'm learning. I'm still a new missionary.

Props to whoever painted this

4. Shout out to The Hungry Wolf! One night for dinner this week, we pigged out and just ate some awesome American food.  This Australian guy owns a burger joint here.  Oooooaaahh.. it's sooooo good. Fresh burgers.  I didn't even get a beef burger because I like the chicken burgers there. They all think I'm a wuss. But I love the chicken burgers.  I think they're delicious.  So if you're traveling to Chiang Rai and want some delicious western food, check out The Hungry Wolf. It will bring you home. 5 stars.

Pretty bird

The Funnies: 
1. On the way up to Puu Chi Faa (a member took us in his truck)...I threw up all over the truck again, except I was in the back of the truck because I knew I was going to throw up. The member that was with us, Brother Dream, also threw up, so...I didn't feel too bad.  ROCK on. We had to stay in the bed of the truck the rest of the ride freezing hahahaha. We both just looked at each other going up this windy, steep road in a pickup truck.... and burst out laughing at the situation hahahahaha. I love Thai people so much. They are my best friends.  

This picture says a million words

2. We tried to keep warm by boiling water on our stove. It created a sauna-like effect. Hahahahahaha.

The well of eternal life? 

Spiritual thought: 
"It is nobility of character, that fabric of inner strength and conviction woven from countless righteous decisions, that gives life its direction." - Richard G Scott. (From:

I read these words of wisdom this morning in my personal study, and my mind shot to someone whom I admire a lot in life, and I want to give him a quick shout out. Josh Garff is a very dear friend of mine, and all of you who know him understand how much his character defines his faith... and how much that affects other people. Love you Josh. He is currently serving in Tahiti as an LDS missionary. To the Garff family that raised him - you guys are KILLER. Character is so important. It defines what we do because at the end of the day, our choice to do what is right is all we have. It is not difficult to choose what is right... so build your character and choose the right thing. I believe in you... God believes in you. 


Smiling's my favorite!
Love the Lord and Laugh, 
เอ็ลเดอร์ สมีธ-ดริกส์
Elder Smith-Driggs  

Skyline forever...