Sunday, October 30, 2016

Strong As Ever

Dearly beloved… and friends! It is a blazing hot day here in Vientiane, Laos. I am in an internet store with a bunch of pubescent teenagers playing video games. There is screaming, whooping and hollering, swear words being thrown all around (in Lao and English), it smells like Ramen and sweaty men….And I have the wonderful opportunity to write home about the Savior of the World. What a serendipitous paradox. Let us begin!

Elder Magill finishes his mission this week. Love you man. You are such a great missionary. For all of you who know Elder Magill, you know his amazing ability to love others. His greatest quality: Patience. I love you man. Have a fantastic time with your parents this week!

The Work: 
We STILL don’t have a church. That is ok – everything is going fine. The Lord is watching over us. We will get it here in a few weeks. Oh what a day that will be to re-unite as a ward family on that beautiful Sabbath day in our own church with a certificate saying that we are legal! That we can officially worship! What a blessing that will be. It is my prayer and my prediction that as soon as the members/investigators have the church to go to – the work will take off like never before. The Lord provides a way for his work to be accomplished, and this “setback” will perhaps be a kickstarter for an even bigger work that will begin! THE LORD LIVES. LETS DO THIS THING BABY! KEEP US IN YOUR PRAYERS. WE ARE ALMOST THERE!

P-Day with the members... oh how I wish I could swim!

Cannonball baby!!!!!

The Bottom Line:

Missionary problems.... yes those are my feet.

The Culture: 
There are a lot of stray dogs here in Laos. More than Thailand (if you can believe that). Because of the Buddhist principle of reincarnation, most of these dogs get fed and bathed by random people. Way nice of them! The Lao people are so awesome!

Homeslice BOOOOOO

The Funnies:
1. Another classic Lao missionary moment – our students took us out to dinner the other night, which was so nice of them. Elder Magill will be leaving us here next week so they wanted to give him a little send-off. The funny thing was that all of them ordered beer (naturally they are celebrating… and to them we are just English teachers – keep that in mind people ok?). When it came out I looked at Elder Bouw. His eyes went wide and I could tell his mind was just going, “Do I need to leave the party?” I was like “Hey Bouw don’t worry about it man just drink your water… we are going to be ok. These people are our friends who ordered some beer.” I just laughed inside because you would NEVER see this in any other country around the world. It is SO hard sometimes not to just stand up and teach them the Word of Wisdom – why we actually don’t drink beer. Because God through a prophet of God commanded it…. But we can’t tell them that (unless they ask). Just kind of funny. SO we are still "Less Active," we accidentally drank coffee, we hung out with people who were drinking beer…. Goodness what is happening to the Lao elders? WE ARE TOTALLY FINE. DON’T WORRY WE ARE AS STRONG AS EVER hahahahahaha.

Friends from the Deaf school :) Thanks for lunch!

2. We got to explain Halloween to our students… and I was trying to explain the whole “trick or treat” thing… they still don’t understand why random people would just give them candy. They can’t see the connection with candy and ghosts. Frankly… neither can I!

Classic Smith-Driggs face - this is for you Dad.

The Spiritual Thought: 
This week I have been pondering a lot about sin. Why humans sin, why sin is necessary in the plan of happiness, and the destructive power of sin. I read two very influential chapters in the B.O.M  this week. The first is in 2 Nephi 2, which tells us God’s purpose as the supreme creator. He is all merciful and full of justice at the same time. As we rely on the Savior's Atonement, we can literally satisfy the means of justice because Christ payed for the sin. In so doing, God is merciful and still fulfills justice. The second chapter was about David in 2 Samuel. He sees Bathsheba bathing on the roof. And he STAYS and watches. In that, he sinned. It started with an honest mistake, but he sinned when he stayed and watched (unlike Joseph of Egypt, who got away as soon as he could). That woman bathing on the roof aroused his desire. His desires quickly turned to action in the verse following as he sends his messengers to take her and bring her to the palace so he could sleep with her. His desires turned to action. And his action ultimately changed his character. This is the same David that killed Goliath, the same David that ran into battles killing tens of thousands in the name of the Lord, the same David that worshiped with the priests and saved their lives because he loved the Lord. This is the same David who fell into this situation and in this moment, he chose to sin. It was his choice. I am confident that by now, David has repented and used God's mercy... but let us all remember that even the greatest of kings, raised in the righteous traditions of the Lord, one who has seen great miracles... still needs the mercy of God. For God will not allow anything filthy to enter his kingdom. It is my prayer that we can repent more often... for oh, how we need to love God. 

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ
Abraham Smith-Driggs  

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