Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Matter of Algebra

FAMBAM: what is crackalakin! Small world, Boppa and Kate are currently in Bangkok... just across the border! I wish I could come say hi to you, but I can't :(  Have a fantastic trip. I love you both! This week was crazy. Elder Morley finished his mission, and our new friend Elder Tanner Blocker came up from Thailand. More on him later.... let's get this party STARTED!

The Work:
Still don’t have a church. BUT IT DOESN’T PHASE US. WE ARE DOING OK! This week I wanted to introduce you to a man named Mino. He is a Lao person but went to Australia to go to college. He learned about Christianity down there and was baptized. Fun fact, he knows Elder David Ball (close relative/great friend/”smash” missionary) who is serving in the Sydney North Mission. Anyway, Brother Mino is a total boss. He loves the Lord, and he loves sharing the gospel with his friends. When he came back to Laos, he found the Church online and was surprised to find us here. We got a phone call in the morning from him asking if we could meet for lunch. So 4 of us went to eat lunch with this random guy. Come to find out that he is a member of our church, baptized in Australia, is the ward mission leader in his ward, and he wants to meet all of the members in Lao and be friends with them. 

It has been so special this week to go around with Mino meeting members of the Church who are his own people. His own language and culture. All of the young members here in Laos have been hanging out with Mino and his fam, and everything is going along great. It has been really special to watch Mino enter this world that he didn’t even know existed and to get to know some of the members. That has definitely been the highlight/miracle of the week. All because a Korean sister missionary invited a random Laotian guy on the streets on Sydney. Missionaries – never forget how important it is to open your mouths and invite people. You don’t know what you have ‘til you don’t have it. #inviteinlaosບໍ່ໄດ້ເດ
Imagine Mino here...
Elder Smith-Driggs sent a picture of Mino, but it didn't come through.  If anyone else has one, please reply with the attachment, and I'll add it to the blog.

The Culture:
1. You can drink beer here starting at age 15.

2. Most people sleep on the floor with a mat/cushion.

3. Most people wear face masks while they ride their motorcycles.

4. Our English students bought us our own soccer jerseys! And we totally played and got destroyed hahahahaha.

They even got our names on the back! Thanks Ms. Peng and Ms. Bo!

5. They do everything to avoid the sun here. Both males and females will bring an umbrella with them to keep them from getting tan. (They want to be as pale as possible.. here that is attractive - lol). They wear gloves, jackets, and long socks so that none of their skin will get tan. All of this in 95 degree weather. Hilarious and really cute. I love the Lao people. I think the elders are going to start wearing the face masks… there is a lot of dust here.

6. Elder Blocker is adjusting to the work just fine. He is a great missionary. It is always strange doing the work here in Laos. But it looks like he is adjusting fine. He is doing really well with the language - just going to town on it. Good for him :)  You can learn any language if you have help from the Holy Ghost.

The Funnies:
1. E. Saunders just learned how to do a handstand for the first time. And the first time he tried, he fell off the wall and nailed his shins on the cement floor. Ouch….

2. E. Ingleton has the worst diarrhea he has “ever had in his life.” He has been inside the bathroom more than outside today. Ouch….

Classic "elder" picture hahaha. I just had to throw this in here.

3. E. Bouwmeester bought for fabric for a bright red suit. Just so that he could have a red suit. Because no one else has a red suit. ແລ້ວແຕ່ Classic Elder Bouw.

4. E. Cheney fell asleep on the floor for 3 hours the other day. He was really tired so he just laid down on the ground on his back. Next thing you know, he wakes up three hours later. Good thing that he wasn’t teaching that week.

Classic Elder Cheney hehehehee. Got this bad boy while he was sleeping...

5. E. Morley went home…. Not a funny. Actually quite sad. He is a smash missionary. Love him to death. Soon he will be meeting my family in Utah. Awesome! Tell him I say hi Mom!

Elder Morley!

Spiritual Thought:
Learning about the gospel is like learning kindergarten all over again… except with a spiritual brain. The body/mind may have a master’s degree because you have trained it since you were a little kid, but spiritually, maybe you are in the 2nd grade, or even preschool. You have to allow your spiritual part to grow/learn at a pace that you can handle. Just because you don’t understand Algebra in 2nd grade doesn’t mean that you quit learning it. It means that you need to start step by step. We all understand that Algebra is a necessary life skill… but some of us don’t know how to get there. Sometimes we can see the benefits that other people have from being “spiritual” or participating in religion. Heaven help those poor Mormons with all of their rules, am I right?? Man those guys have it rough;)  But I think most people who meet the Mormons tend to say that Mormons in general are a very happy people (as a whole). Yes we have our crazies, Mormon culture comes into play here and there, but I think most people who are not members of our church or even religious at all recognize that we have something different. It could be the fact that we send 19 year old punk kids to teach about the restored gospel, or that we have our own pathetic swear words, or that we can’t use microwaves (that last one was a joke). 

The point I am trying to make here is that you need to give us a chance people. Spiritually, you may be going to kindergarten! Your very first day at school… you have your cute little Scooby Doo lunch box, your mom just sent you off, and you have no idea what is going on. And worse yet – the people teaching you keep telling you that all of the learning is going to happen not only by studying in books but by studying your soul. To all of you out there who are studying the soul, or studying with your spiritual mind, my heart goes out to you. That is the hardest thing for me – to understand how my spirit is doing. Is it growing, shrinking? Becoming smarter? Weakening? These are questions that can be answered by our Heavenly Father. He is the master teacher. Not the missionaries, not your parents, not your bff at the mall…. It is our Heavenly Father. SO ask him…. because his teaching is personalized, helpful, and free! If you have any questions, feel free to turn to him. He, just like Enterprise, is always willing to pick you up;)

I love you all so much and am praying for you!

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ

Abraham Smith-Driggs  

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