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?)

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