Monday, November 7, 2016

I feel like a potato

My mind and my body are absolutely exhausted. This last week has been a whirlwind. But ask me if that phases me..... NO! It doesn't. The work goes on. Why do I feel like a potato? Honestly that was the first thing that came to my mind. I think potatoes are quite delicious. They have kept the human race in existance for many, many years. And we get french fries from potatoes. So if I were to pick a vegatable - it would have to be the potato. Shout out to God for making the potato!

The Work: 
We still don't have a church yet. But that is ok. We will get one soon. A lot of people ask us what we do for Sundays if we don't have a church. Well, we go and visit the members. We have a lunch appointment and another lunch appointment, then we have a dinner appointment. All the while just saying hello to members. Other than that, the Lao elders teach English all day. What a joy it is to be a missionary in Laos! I honestly love it with every bone in my body. I feel like I am contributing to a work that has been prepared from the foundation of the world. The saints in Laos will get a church, and when they do - look out :) 

The cherished words of our Primary hymn come to my mind... I am a child of God!

The Bottom Line: 
As I (along with thousands of other missionaries before me) have said before, being a missionary takes every iota of your emotional and physical strength. That is why being a missionary can be such an influential part in changing a life. If you give your 100%, the Lord literally has an easier time to mold your heart into the person that he wants you to become. We learn that we have eternal potential... so why not dig deep and find it. 

Elder Magill's last dinner with the Browns!

The Funnies:
1. This week we held a big Halloween party for all of the members at Sister Stevenson's home! Big thanks to Sister Stevenson for letting us wreck your house with assorted murder scenes.... especially the bathroom that smelled like ketchup for 3 days... hahaha. Bless your soul. You are awesome! It was so much fun. All of the elders put on these pranks. We dressed up in black and would pretend to be dead people, or we would grab people's legs from the bottom of their chairs, etc. It was a lot of fun, and the members really enjoyed it. Gotta love Halloween! 

2. I am currently in Thailand, and so I got to call some of the recent converts I know... but when I try to speak Thai, it just sounds awful. All of them were like, "Elder Smith-Driggs, your Thai isn't very good buddy..." Face palm hahahahaha.

The Culture: 
As I got training from Elder and Sister Wong from the Area Presidency, I was reminded of the different cultures that exist in Asia. The Chinese are so different from the Laotian. The Japanese are a world a part from the Korean's and the Thai people. I can't explain it really, but those of you out there in South America that think that Asian people are pretty much all the same.... nope. They are pretty darn different. Just like Argentina is different from Brazil. Pretty different. Isn't it great that God made us all different? I love God! 

This is for all of the elders that have served in Laos.

The Spiritual Thought: 
My dear family and friends, I do not have a lot to say today. But yesterday I was reminded that good people need to repent too. Elder Wong taught us that bad people need to repent to be good. Good people need to repent to be better. And better people need to repent to be best. But it is impossible to be best. Not even Thomas S. Monson (the prophet) is the "best." Only the Savior can take that head. So why even try? Who cares? If we can't be perfect, if we can't repent from everything we have done because we can't remember the sin or whatever the reason... why even try? Because God told us that if we love him we need to obey him. A big part of that process of obedience is making mistakes, learning from them (S/O to Mom for the Mistake Cake*), and repenting.... then trying again to obey. The Lord does not expect perfection, but he does expect that we love him. And if we love him, we need to obey him. I testify that the love of God is infinite and that he invites us all to repent. Whether you think you need to or not - the Lord needs you to be better. I am trying to do that now. And oh how my soul hungers to be better. I am weak. Very very weak. But with my Savior I can be made strong. 

I love the deaf kids :)

I love you all, and I hope you have a fantastic week, wherever you are in the world. If you are in Idaho, please go pick some potatoes and make some fresh french fries. I could use some of those right now :) God bless you guys.  See you next week.

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ

Abraham Smith-Driggs  

*Mom comment: The Mistake Cake is a family tradition.  Here is an article I wrote about it for those who want to use the idea:

My son’s unexpected text read, “Mom, I’m done. Please come get me.”
“What?” I thought.  “How could the meeting be over already?” For weeks, my son had been anticipating attending a mandatory meeting for potential class officers.  I hurried to the high school only to find out from my son that the meeting had occurred the day before.  He was devastated.  He had listed the meeting date on our family calendar the day he heard about it because he was so excited to run.  But sadly, he got the date wrong.
We approached the administration that afternoon asking for an exception, but they answered, “No.”  I remember distinctly feeling deep disappointment for my son because he wanted to run so badly and had planned it for years.  I was also personally sad because our family wouldn’t get to celebrate his victory.  I was sure he would have won, and we love to celebrate.
As I walked to my car in the school parking lot, this inspiration came to my mind: “Celebrate anyway.  Celebrate his mistake and what he learned from it.  Life is about learning.  Celebrate the learning – not just the successes.”   
At dinner, I surprised my son and family with a cookies and cream cake they love.  I called it the “Mistake Cake” and explained we were going to celebrate our mistakes by learning from them.  Happily downing the creation, my son then told the family about what he had done wrong and what he’d learned from it.  We talked about what he could do in the future to avoid making a similar error, enjoyed the cake, and decided that our family’s mistakes now had a yummy chocolate lining. 
Quickly, the other children clamored to know if any of their mistakes warranted a Mistake Cake.  “Not yet, “ I said.  “You have to make a mistake big enough to learn a really good lesson.”  As of that night, our family shifted from trying to avoid mistakes to finding joy in learning from mistakes when they occurred. 
We have celebrated mistakes often since then.  One time we celebrated one of my whopping errors so the kids would know parents err too.  Another time, we celebrated one of our daughter’s mistakes but chose not to divulge what it was to the family because of its private nature.  But we still celebrated what she learned.
The following month, one daughter didn’t make the school volleyball team.  My husband decided we needed a way to celebrate our children’s attempting new things. Trying was different than making a mistake.  If one of our children didn’t get cast in a show, make a team, or win an election, we could still celebrate the learning that accompanies trying.  We enjoyed our first “Try Pie” that night.  It was a delicious, homemade key lime pie.  The kids then began striving for Try Pies as they attempted to develop new talents.
At last, one daughter actually got cast in a part she had worked hard to get.  “Hey, what do I get?” she asked.  “I didn’t make a mistake, and I did more than try.  I made it!”  “I Scream for Joy” ice cream became the final treat in our celebration triad.
In spite of putting on some pounds, we love learning from our mistakes, tries, and successes.  Learning itself has become the treat. 

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