Monday, June 20, 2016

365 Bowls of Oatmeal

.... have been eaten in my time as a missionary. One of the greatest memories of my father is that every morning I would wake up at 5:30 a.m. for early morning Jazz Band at my school. I would come down the stairs after taking a shower, and my father was always waiting for me with either "Cream of Wheat" or oatmeal. Every morning we would drink it in the car on the way driving to school.... with only our knees. No hands hahahahahahaaha I love you Dad, happy Father's Day! 

That's 1 year as a missionary people.. all thanks to this

"Yeah Elder, we got time...I have a whole year left!"

The Work: 
This week we had a great activity at the church. We called it "Come unto Christ" and focused on the new members of the ward. We told the bishop we wanted to sing a musical number with guitar... and the next thing we know, he has a whole stage and band hired out for the night in front of the church hahahaha. Guitar, piano, bongos, saxophone, chimes - the whole shabang. 

Getting set up for the gig

Hahahahahahah we were a little nervous to play, but we played one song with the bishop.. and then a Less Active member came up and asked if he could play a song. We said, "Of course brother!"He then, this old man, busts out an electric guitar and starts to play, "Born To Be Wild" along with an intense guitar screaming solo.... in front of the church..... EVERYONE FLIPPED OUT - IT WAS LIKE A ROCK CONCERT. Hahahahahaha we had a great time! I don't know if we got any pictures, but here is a voice recording from the gig :)  [Mom Comment: I cannot figure out how to post the voice recording on the blog, so I will post a video I received from a member of the impromptu concert on Elder Smith-Driggs's Facebook account.]

Classic พ่อจันท์

The Culture: 
- We do not really have an approved translation of the Bible here.
- Because of the belief in reincarnation, all animals on the street are fed daily by kind-hearted Buddhist people.... including ants. 

See that Mom - bleach!

The Funnies:
- We were visiting a member (Sister จิบ), and she has a special needs son. He is very violent. They had some kittens in the yard, and during the lesson her son grabbed one of the kittens and squeezed it as hard as he could... and a line of diarrhea poop shot out at me and hit the chair beside me.. spraying it with kitten poop hahahahahahahahahahaahahah. We all just laughed. It was a great addition to the lesson. 

The cat just pooped on the chair... what?

- We went to visit an investigator this week with Brother ปอ, and we went to get some KFC before the lesson. We ordered for Brother ปอ and told him to pretend he was Filipino (Thai people and Filipino people look similar) he had to speak all English. It was way funny. He kept saying things like, "Yes.. yeah... oops sorry!" Hahahaha I love Brother ปอ. 

Spiritual thought: 

This woman is mute.. but she comes to church every week 
because she understands the importance of the sacrament. Amazing!

In “Preach My Gospel” it tells us that "Faith in Christ leads to action." President Johnson has told us that sometimes the formula for faith is Faith = Belief + Actions + Confidence. I personally love the addition of confidence. Now I don't think I would be wrong in saying that most people reading this blog want to build their faith. I would like to share something I think about every day - THE INCHES WE NEED ARE EVERYWHERE AROUND US. The ways to build our faith in Jesus Christ are at our fingertips...and we know exactly what we need to give up, exactly where we need to grow. The little things are all in our reach. Our goal however, whether that be having perfect faith or being like Jesus so far away when we look at it from our standpoint, it is impossible to achieve. But as we look around us...the inches we need to take...or the steps rather that we need to reach our goal...are relatively easy changes that we can make. Spending more time with the family, spending that extra 30 minutes to home teach once a month, spending a Saturday night giving a blessing rather than watching the game. We know what we need to do. It is my prayer that we can start making little changes...start recognizing the "inches" or "steps" or whatever you want to call them...and make the change. 

I love you all so much! Dad, you are my hero, and I love you to pieces. Happy Father's Day! 

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
เอ็ลเดอร์ สมีธ-ดริกส์

Elder Smith-Driggs  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Faces I See...

Hello my dearest familia (not forgetting Spanish yet)! The majority of my mission is interaction with other people... so today I have decided to send a ton of pictures of people I see... nearly every day. 

10 things that I like to use to describe my father, Ben Driggs: 
- Interpretive Dancer 
- Chef 
- Entrepreneur 
- Good dresser 
- Model 
- Board game junkie 
- Critical thinker 
- Mathematician 
- Comedian 
- Home teacher
I love you Dad - Happy father’s day!!

The Work:
This week was really rough as far as the numbers go. We didn't get a single member present investigator lesson. But we DID have the opportunity to visit a lot of Less Active members, which was awesome, and we actually got a couple of referrals out of that, so great! Our capacity for love was expanded, our love for our Heavenly Father grew, and our prayers became more sincere and more urgent... as far as I am concerned - this week was amazing and helped me grow a lot. I love my companion Elder Young - he is a spiritual ROCK, and it has been tremendously encouraging to work with him as we grow together in teaching and personal conversion. 

I love Elder Young. He is so smart, and he has such great insights. We tried so hard to see what we were lacking this week. Honestly missionary work, as I have alluded to before, is most of the time hard work. As Elder Smith’s dad always said - "Action is what creates the result.. always has been, always will be." I believe in that principle! SO Elder Young and I did our best to just go and work this week! It was exhausting, and I just crashed every night... mentally and emotionally exhausting. Lots of tears.... this week was just awesome! 

The Culture:
People do dishes here in big buckets of water. There will be an average of 3-4 bins of water. You wash the dishes in the first one, dunk them in the second one which is soapy, wash them with your hand in the third bucket with the semi-clean water…then give them a rinse in the 4th bucket. (That is the hi-tech way of doing it).. most people have just 2 buckets. Yay. 

The Funnies:
- Brother ปอ calls me in to a meeting and says, "Elder, I saw your family dancing in London! They are so funny. I want to meet them! Is that your dad dancing like a funny dude?".... I was like - yes.. yes it is.. he is the MAN. All of the missionaries saw it in the district along with some other members. They thought you were so funny Dad hahahahaah
(If you want to see the hilarious dance video my mom posted about my dad for Father's Day, go to my Facebook page - Abraham Smith-Driggs - and look at a public post my mom put on my page on June 10. Feel free to share it if you want fun dads you know on Facebook to see it and to feel inspired to be their silly, crazy selves with their kids.)

- Elder Young keeps a count of how many mangoes he eats on his mission. He has only been in Thailand for about 4 months, and he has already eaten 140! 

Spiritual thought:
I am so grateful for tender mercies. I was feeling a little down this week, and after English class on Tuesday night I was just done. It had been a way long day, and my body was exhausted and we were discouraged... it was 8 pm and we were going to go invite cause we had no appointments. We get out of English class, and I get a call from Brother ปอ. He says "Hey elder. I just left some hamburgers on your bicycles... I hope you have a good day!". I almost cried as I went to my bicycle... where two KFC chicken burgers were waiting there. I said a prayer of thanks, sat down in the middle of a park with Elder Young - and we ate our burgers and talked about how discouraged we were for Thailand. But that there was always hope. It was a tender moment. What a tender mercy from the lord. Brother ปอ (Baugh) was just being a nice guy and leaving us burgers (which are expensive BTW)... and it gave us the strength to get through the rest of the week. I am so grateful for these tender mercies and would challenge you all to look for the little things in your days that make your life better. As we hold on to those little things, we can make it through with confidence that God will keep providing for our needs.... sometimes we just need a burger to keep us going. Thanks Brother ปอ. 

I love you all and am so grateful for your prayers for me. I can feel them. When I feel like I can’t go anymore, I pray for help and can literally feel the power of all of your prayers. Thank you. Thank you so much! 

I love you Dad - HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
เอ็ลเดอร์ สมีธ-ดริกส์

Elder Smith-Driggs  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Parental Guidance From a Kid's Perspective

What's up Family and Friends! I am still here in Roi Et, and I have a new companion! His name is Elder Ryan Young. Totally a stud - he is from Columbus, Ohio, and he is a total BOSS. He just came out of his greenie area, and we are loving working together. I have been so blessed with some amazing companions…and the trend continues. 

 Elder Young and Service

The Work:

This week was super hard. We had a lot of people cancel appointments, it rained a lot (and in Thailand that means you can’t go out of the house.. so again no appointments)... but that is OK because on Saturday and Sunday, we had STAKE CONFERENCE. Nine areas came together in Roi Et for the อุบนๅ stake conference, and so that meant all of the missionaries came to Roi Et as well! I got to see some people in my group that I hadn't seen in like 6 months... it was WAY fun.
Also it was great to see all of the members from other areas who I have met before, and they were just so great to see... I love Thai people. They are just great hahahahaha.

President Tiger and I saving the world...sort of...
But yeah, other than that this week was hard. Sad to see Elder Smith go…he went down to Bangkok in an area called Bangkapi. He was really excited to go, but he will be missed. 

The Culture:

Here in Thailand for stake conferences people have to travel in big school buses to get to stake conference, coming from hours away... pretty cool to bike up to them and see a bunch of Mormons screaming, "Elders! Elders!" and waving hahahahaha. I am sure Utah missionaries get bored of that, but we were HYPED here in Roi Et, Thailand.

พ่อจันท์ as a young pup... to classic

The Funnies: 

1.      We visited a member this week who is handicapped because he can’t walk very well, and he had just gone to the doctor to get new pain medicine...and the medicine made him super loopy. So all he did was laugh at us the whole lesson. Hahahah when we asked what he was laughing at he was like - this medicine makes me feel really happy... and just kept laughing. It was funny. 
I found a hot dog!

2.      When Elder Young came up from Bangkok, we had to go pick him up at the bus station at 4 am...they didn't have a phone coming up, but there bus was set to come in around 4. So we got there at 4 am on our bikes in our PJs... and waited groggily. Then the TV suddenly turned on, and the World Tennis championships came on... WAIT WHAT??? 4 a.m. in Thailand? Tennis? They don't play tennis here in Thailand. I said a silent prayer thanking God for this tender mercy and watched Djokovic and Serena Williams play their matches for 2 hours until the elders finally arrived at 5:45 am hahahahaha. Thanks God! Tender mercy! 

3.      We were riding our bikes on the freeway road, and all of a sudden a cow pops out of the bushes and just walks into the middle of the road and stands there... blocking all cars and everything. Hahahahaahha it was hilarious. 

 COW: Crush of the Week

Spiritual thought:

Exodus 20:12 says, “Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

OK so for you young adults out there (including myself)... let’s just take a look at this for a sec. Our parents gave us life, fed us and clothed us, got us out of the crib many long nights while we cried, were patient when we slept in their bed and peed on them, asked for food every 20 seconds, complained about school, and broke the rules...They have held our hands since we were babies; they sometimes have let us fall down just to show us that we can get back up; they teach and help us and are patient with us... and we still break the rules, are flippant, and don't listen to them? NOT IN GOD'S BOOK. High schoolers, middle schoolers - please listen to me when I say that your parents are not there to ruin your life. Your parents are not there (as much as you might think) to make sure you don't go to the prom. Heck guys - they have been to high school before... I guarantee you they have broken THEIR parents’ rules and seen the effects. God tells us plainly and simply to honor our father and our mother. Now... to do this YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO THEM. I am not saying to obey everything they say... that is impossible unless you are a perfect child. And if you think you are a perfect child, then you need to see a psychiatrist because something isn't right. I challenge you all to sit down with your parents (as much as you might hate it or think it is awkward)…and I want you say these words: "Mom and Dad/Parental Guardian... I know that you love me, and I am here because I know you know more than I do. But I was wondering how I can be a better daughter/son. I want to know how to have a better relationship with you as my parents. What do I need to do better?" 

Guys your parents will straight up pee their pants with excitement when they hear this... and they get to feel good for all the years you peed in their bed when you had "nightmares." It is like a payback for the parents. 

And parents - please don't start railing on your kids for doing all of the bad things... that will just make us angry. When I did this with my parents (I did it like once or twice maybe - I wish I did it more), I remember that they told me how much they loved me…and they were really good at telling me just one thing I could fix to have a better relationship with them.... As I tried to do that, I felt closer with my parents, especially with my mom. Honestly we high schoolers don’t get the picture (honestly I still don't)... but have a one-on-one council with your kid. And as you compromise together - I promise your relationship with your child will be better and be healthier. (These same principles also apply for our heavenly parents, just FYI.) 

It might work for you, it might not... but I would sure hope that all you guys will give it a go. No matter how much the school prom matters to you ;) 

Love you all and GOOD LUCK! 


Love the Lord and Laugh, 

เอ็ลเดอร์ สมีธ-ดริกส์

Elder Smith-Driggs  

S'more Fun in Roi Et

What a week! To be honest I was actually really sick most of it so it wasn't very fun hahahaha but that is OK. People get sick, life happens and moves on. Big thanks to Elder Smith for keeping our investigators contacted and everything still going while I was out of commission in my bed.... Elder, you are a stud. 

CONGRATULATIONS ELIZA FOR GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL.... (brother is in Thailand currently freaking out)

The Work:

Our progressing investigator Brother Boss is struggling right now. He didn't come to church yesterday, and we were pretty bummed. We found out that he has a slight mental handicap, which we were surprised to learn when his mother came to one of his appointments - good news... he is totally function-able. He just speaks very little and slowly... other good news - his mom is interested in the church, so blessings.... and actually there is no bad news. Hahahaha so just keep him in your prayers guys. We appreciate it. The work as a ward is good so far. We have stake conference on Sunday so that will be way fun. Practically all of Eastern Thailand is coming hahahahaha, and the missionaries too! It will be good to catch up with old friends. Transfers are this Thursday, and we still don't know who is moving... almost 100% I am staying though... I sure hope I stay. ROI ET IS THE BEST!

District photo?

Our friend Brother Toffee

The Culture: 

1. You can pay almost any housing bill at 7-11. 7-11 is like your local snack store here in Thailand. They can be found on almost every corner in Thailand.... quite hysterical actually hahahahaha but fun fact, we pay our water bill and electricity there. 

2. Thailand drives on the left side of the road... so everything is flipped from American standards.

3. Coagulated pigs blood is honestly not that bad... they put it in soups here, and it is actually quite healthy for you.


The Funnies: 

1. We decided on Saturday night to make a campfire in our back yard.. so we bought all the necessary supplies... and did it! We even made hotdogs and smores! Yeah it was roasting hot, but hey.... we all were missing the campfire vibe hahahahaha.

Elder Smith...S'mores...Can life get better?

2. I have been teaching Thai members some slang from America. So now whenever the Bishop's wife sees me she says, "What's up boy... or .... sit down boy!".... and I say "OK Momma." Another great example is with our Branch Mission Leader, Brother Baugh (ปอ), and I taught him, "Elder, we ain't got no time for that"... hahahahahaah with the Thai accent it is just way funny.

Spiritual thought: 

I felt prompted to talk about patience today. In Preach My Gospel (the handbook we use as missionaries), one of the chapters is called "Christlike attributes"... which encourages us to become more like our Savior as we serve our missions. One of the attributes in that section is patience. It says, "When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith - you must wait for the Lord's promised blessings to be fulfilled." (PMG 120). The spirit distinctly told me someone needed to hear that today. So whoever that person is - please remember that God is on your side and that sometimes he needs to step back and let us make mistakes. If he didn't do that... he wouldn't be doing his best work as a dad. Sometimes parents need to let their children fail... and the children never seem to understand that, but we are encouraged as children of our Heavenly Parents that we need to face our adversity with patience, hope, and faith - hope that Heavenly Father can see the bigger picture and faith that Jesus Christ can help us get through the hardest of times. That is my testimony. And although I am just a 20 year old punk kid - I do know that our Savior is watching us with a close and loving eye, guiding us along on this path of mortality.. watching as we stumble, and sometimes letting us get up by ourselves. I love you all and hope this week is full of miracles for all of you.

Love you all and God bless you! 

Love the Lord and Laugh, 

เอ็ลเดอร์ สมีธ-ดริกส์

Elder Smith-Driggs