Monday, April 25, 2016

Gnarly Roi Et

I have been transferred to Roi Et! (ผมอยุ่ที่ร้อยเอ็ด!!!)  If you are wondering why I am not in Surin as I said in my last email/blog, please see “The Funnies” section of this email! Roi Et is so much fun. It is a total dream. 

Wat Pa Non Sawan. Roi Et, Thailand 
(Mom comment: Photo by Richard Bishop - from the internet)

Every member in our district is so awesome, and they are very hard working missionaries. SO grateful to be with them. I am in a house with the zone leaders, Elder Webb and Elder Leininger. My comp's name is Elder Matt Smith from Alpine, UT. 

Elder Smith

TOTAL stud - we knew each other back in the MTC.  Great guy - I love him! He works his butt off and is exactly obedient. On top of that, I genuinely like the guy hahahaha. So feeling blessed right now. [Mom comment: Elder Smith came to the MTC in the group after Elder Smith-Driggs.]

The Work: 

Roi Et is an area bursting with growth right now. The members and the leaders in this ward "get it" so to say. We have an amazing bishop who is a good leader. In fact, yesterday after church there was a baptism (Sister Chacha and Brother Form). After they were baptized, the bishop called all of the members back into the sacrament meeting room and had them assign themselves to 3 or 4 less active families in the ward - right then - to go visit those families in the next hour.  We all split up into cars and just visited members. It was like ward home and visiting teaching hahahaha. It was AWESOME! As he was explaining how this "activity" was going to work, all the missionaries were in the back of the room...not doing anything...the ward was self-sufficient. They did it all. We were just bystanders who went in the cars. I was so touched and grateful for the humble members of Roi Et and their great leader, I started to tear up... just sitting there looking at these faithful saints whom I have never met...doing their job in bringing back their friends to the so so grateful. It was awesome!

Mom comment: A little rest on the Sabbath day is a good thing;)

Thanks for your prayers for the investigators in Chiang Rai last week!  Brother Wit and Brother On got baptized yesterday!

Sheer joy!

The Culture:

1. I am now in Eastern Thailand. Things are a little slower paced, flatter (geographically), and very much hotter. Dang man - it is hot. Very hot. When I came up from Bangkok on the 8 hour bus ride, the bus was 104 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 of the hours hahahahaha. Yeah...there was a thermometer on the bus, so that was my source of entertainment hahahahahaha. 

2. Cock fights are illegal here, but everyone does them... big gambling scene. 

3. Different dialect here in the Isaan (east). 

The Funnies: 

So my last email/blog said I was going to Surin.... I legit thought I was, OK? Here is what happened. The elders in Chiang Rai knew I was nervous and excited to get transfer calls, so they pranked me and switched the contact in our phone from "Chiang Rai Elders 2" to "AP Elder Paxton."So after planning on Sunday night I get "the call," from Elder Paxton. Elder Rogers answered the phone pretending to be excited hahahaaha. He got the news and relayed it to all of us. All 3 other elders were in on it...It must have been fun to watch me email ALL OF YOU and tell you I was moving to somewhere...I even emailed President Johnson and said, "Thanks for sending me to Surin. I will do my best...blah blah blah..." Oh man, that must have been a real knee slapper. I figured it out when a recent convert told me that night that she overheard the elders planning this prank the other day hahahahahaha. Oh man, I was so mad! But it’s OK. I got over it, and when the real transfer calls came, the elders were expecting me to be confused...but I was just pumped again to be going to Roi Et as a District Leader. 

Spiritual Thought: 

As the Bishop yesterday talked to the members, his focus was one of love. He shared a scripture in John 4:11, which says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” What a beautiful scripture. As brothers and sisters, it is our job to love one another. That simple great commandment is very easy to understand. May we all do better in loving our fellow brothers and sisters is my prayer. 

God bless you all. Thank you for your prayers. I can sure feel them.

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
เอ็ลเดอร์ สมีธ-ดริกส์

Elder Smith-Driggs  

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