Monday, January 23, 2017

Hiking + Church shoes = My Dad

Happy Birthday Dad! Today my dad is turning 53 years old. If I know my dad, I would guess that this is what his day would be like: In the morning, get up very early and wash all the windows in the house so he could see the sunrise. He would read/study about a new project he is working on/a new business he wants to start. Then at around 7 am he would start making some cream of wheat. He would put on some football, then get really into the game without caring who wins (he just wants a good game), he would go wash his car then sit down and talk with his friend Dave Pierce, eat a chocolate mousse cake that my mom makes only once a year (extra raspberries) then would play board games with his family. I hope you have a great birthday Dad! I love you so much! 

What’s up UDORN
The Work: 
This week I got to travel back to Lao for some visa work. When we went back, President Johnson and I agreed that it would be better if we went in normal clothes. So for the first half of this week, five other Mormon guys and I were biking around Vientiane visiting old friends, eating Lao food... it was really good to be back! I love all of the members there, and it was so nice to see them again! 

Brother Bo

Visa work yeahhhh

When I got back to Thailand, we had Zone Conference. But the days leading up to it I started to get really sick. My whole body was screaming in pain for a couple days...and I was just not feeling it. The night before Zone Conference it was hard to breathe, and I needed some help. I was worried because I was conducting and training in the Conference. President Tiger told me to ask for a blessing, which I did. A miracle happened. I woke up the next morning, trained the zone, ate lunch, sat through all of zone conference with no problems. As soon as the conference ended - boom, it hit me again. I was so grateful that Heavenly Father gave me the strength to conduct and do whatever I needed to the whole day on Saturday. That was all I needed to get me through the day. I am recovering slowly now because I have good medicine, but it was a great miracle this week that I am really grateful for. I am confident in the Lord's power to heal people. I have a hard time asking for blessings. I find that I am very stubborn (I think most males are when we ask for help). It took someone prodding me to do it until I would ask for help. It was a powerful lesson that President Tiger taught me. I need to ask for help... and that is ok! 

Me, Elder Lor, Elder Brown, Elder Cherd

The Culture: 
Thailand is very "cold" this time of year. Not to any of us Americans... but all the Thai people are in full on coats, and we are chillin’ in t-shirts. Classic white missionaries from SLC, UT. Missing the snow right now! 

Buying some fresh(?) meat

The Funnies: 
This week I decided to write down funny things about my dad. They are just classic "Ben Driggs" things. I hope the family will appreciate these:

  • My dad wears dress shoes all the time. Boating, hiking, mowing the lawn, working... always dress shoes
  • My dad loves to have things clean - you will find him on Saturdays making sure one area of the house is spotless ...... what a blessing...thank you Dad! 
  • My dad loves to put the things he needs for the day (books/briefcase/computer/phone) all right at the base of the front door so he won't forget them when he leaves... this causes trouble when the kids go to school and run over his financial documents.
  • My dad loves to read books! But he only gets to page 4 by the end of a month or so because when he gets a paragraph in, he immediately falls asleep hahahaha.
  • My dad loves to watch movies! But he only gets about 4 minutes in because he falls asleep hahahaha.
  • My dad wears my clothes and has started to wear my brand of deodorant... I am flattered Dad.
  • My dad loves to dance... just ask him.
  • My dad likes to laugh at random times because he believes the more you laugh the longer you live. He will just start laughing (laughing attacks) and then say at the end "I am going to live longer!" 
  • My dad loves his red Toyota Corolla. It fits his personality. It is simple and it works.. that is all he needs! 

I love my dad so much. He is my hero. I look up to him just as much as I look up to the Church leaders. He is one of my best friends, and a lot of who I am as a person comes from him. I love you dad and I miss you. Happy 53rd Birthday! 

The Spritual Thought: 
During Zone Conference, President Johnson taught from this scripture: Mosiah 4:3, "And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them." He focused on those words "peace of conscience"... he taught us that of course we can't do everything right in one day, and sometimes we may feel like times are hard, but if we feel that peace of conscience given by the Holy Ghost, we know that we have done our best. I really liked that. As I look at the areas I have served along with my companions and the amazing people I have met so far on my mission, I am trying to re-evaluate my motives, effectiveness, etc. But something I need to ask God for is this peace of conscience. At the end of my mission I want to go home putting having put everything on the table... I want to look back with peace of conscience. That is a goal I have made here in the last 6 months of my mission. I know that the lord will help us feel like we are enough, and that he will always take us as we are. The Lord never gives up on us. I testify that he is there and that he loves us. 

Keep going. Keep loving, keep reading that book Dad! Maybe when I come home, you will finish it ;) Happy birthday. LOVE YOU ALL HAVE A GREAT WEEK 
Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ
Abraham Smith-Driggs  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." ( - This scripture has brought me great happiness this week. Today, I am in Laos. [Monday, Jan. 16.] Border hopped yesterday and will be renewing our Thai visas here for 4 days! SO GREAT TO BE BACK. But I spent my week in Udorn with Elder Cherd - here is the update :) 

Headed over the border!
The Work: 
Something that I have been trying to get used to again is inviting (street contacting). Now as a missionary, you have to do this. You GET to do this (unless you are in Laos). It is our job to declare the word with everyone. I understand this, and yet it is so hard for me to open my mouth and testify to my Thai brothers and sisters. I know that I need to do it, and I know that Satan doesn't want me to do it... but every time I open my mouth, I just choke on my words. It is really hard, and I can't understand why. Luckily my companion Elder Cherd is really patient with me. The other day I tried to invite a family... and it came to the point where I was supposed to invite them to come to church. I stuttered for about 10 seconds.... I don't know what it was but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Elder Cherd stepped in and invited them, to which they declined. We walked away and tears filled my eyes.... am I scared? Is it a habit I developed? What is happening? I used to do this every day with great success!.... We kept walking and Elder Cherd didn't say anything.... All he did was pat me on the back and say, "Good try Elder. You are going to be ok!" The next house, we invited her together.... and we have a return appointment for next Tuesday. I am so grateful for good companions who encourage and inspire. The transition to Thailand is strange, and this week was a little bit tough, but I am surrounded by amazing missionaries and amazing members that support me. The Lord is good to us - we just have to keep trying our best and asking for help! 

The Culture: 
I was reminded yesterday as I crossed the Lao border how much Thailand is 2nd world and Lao is 3rd world. There is a literal change in the feeling of these two countries. But I love both of them. Both are filled with fantastic happy culture and lovable people. I love serving in the Thailand Bangkok Mission. Elder Carter likes to say, "WHO ELSE GETS TO DO THIS???" 

We didn't burn the fish at all...

Elders back in Laos for a couple days
The Funnies: 
I have some great ones here this week for you all.

1. Elder Cherd and I took a plane to Bangkok for a meeting for the Zone Leaders... that came at a cost. A man on the plane on our way to Bangkok was so drunk he almost passed out. Apparently he didn't like plane rides. Then, we spent the travel time back on a government train (free for Elder Cherd because he is a local). The 13 hour train ride was accompanied by a drunk man sitting across from us... and my legs were touching the lady across from me. Elder Cherd was a total champ about it. He got 4 hours of sleep. I got a solid 2. Hahahahahahah.  So all in all - traveling in Thailand with drunk people is a joy. :) 

Train of wonders

2. When we were down in Bangkok, all of the Zone Leaders crashed at the Assistants house (that is typical). A lot of the elders from my MTC  group were there which was really fun. But there were also like 6 phones with alarms set for 6:30 am. Naturally we were all tired, but when 6:30 hit the next morning, I awoke with such fear because I thought I was either at a circus or being bombed in Berlin! The alarms and their different sounds collided together creating a very happy sound hahahaha.

Friends from The MTC! 
MIA: Elder Krebs (Burma), Elder Smith (Kumps), Elder Ellis (Bangbuathong)

3. Elder Cherd and I were waiting for an appointment in a little gazebo. There was a fashion magazine sitting on the side of the bench. Elder Cherd and I looked at each other and both had the same idea. (I am convinced it was from the Spirit ;) We opened up the magazine and found a picture of a very modest pretty girl (it was totally appropriate people - let me assure you)..... perfect size for our purposes. We ripped it out of the magazine and after the day was over headed home. We went to Elder Lor's room and very expertly inserted this picture into his planner... and then set the picture as his screen saver on the phone hahahahaha. The next morning was a great surprise as Elder Lor looked at the phone and shrieked with fear hahahaha - we totally got him! (Still don't know if he found the actual picture yet though...)

The Spiritual Thought: 
The reason I entitled my email, "I can testify," is because it is something that has been really hard for me this last week. As much as the title is a pump up for you all, it is kind of a pump up for me as well. Sometimes it takes talking about something and applying it as much as you can in order for it to get into your brain, you know? We all have the ability to testify. It is legal in Thailand and America. You can physically make the sounds with your vocal chords. We all CAN testify. But do we CHOOSE to testify. What is our fear? What is the thing holding us back. Is it social pressure? Pressure from friends? Fear of rejection? Maybe we are just shy and are not confident in our ability to communicate our feelings effectively. These are all logical responses. But as much as these excuses rack our brains day after day... I am confident that everyone knows within themselves that they are disciples of Jesus Christ. Whether a new convert, a Beehive, or a full time missionary... there is somewhere in our hearts that understands that sharing the Gospel is the right thing to do. I can't say anything to pump you up or to tell you that everyone needs to start hitting the street with Jesus cards... If I were to say that, I would be a hypocrite because it is something super hard for me right now, and I am trying to get over my fear. But it is my prayer that each of you will look into your hearts and ask yourself - "Should I share?" And if the answer if yes.... be bold. Dare to be a Mormon. Dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm. Dare to make it known.

My prayers are with you all. I sure miss and love you. Keep killin' it wherever you are. I LOVE YOU ALL. 

Elder Smith-Driggs

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

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Thank You 4th Ward!

It is a great day in the kingdom brothers and sisters! I am so excited to be emailing you all today. Sorry if I didn't respond to your emails last week. I was pressed for time. Let's dive in then, shall we? 

The Work: 
I am still getting used to teaching PMG lessons every day. In Lao, the way we taught was a little different. We didn't go through the lessons like 1,2,3,4,5.. instead we asked the member what they needed for that lesson and only focused on that thing. That is a hard transition to make coming back to Thailand where the teaching is not simply a conversation about religion and how Jesus can help them, but also a structured order of teaching that has a beautiful way of touching the heart. The first time I taught was absolutely awful. I am so rusty... poor Elder Cherd just tried to save the lesson, but I was all over the place. We are getting better though. I am just re-practicing like a greenie hahahahaha. It is great to be back in Thailand! 

Back to teaching about the gospel.

When district meeting gets a little chilly...Elder Cherd is prepared.

The Culture: 
Every day is filled with a go - go - go attitude. Which is nice - that fits with my personality much more than a very laid back attitude that we had in Laos. Right now I am fitting somewhere in the middle, and I really like it. 

Everything is very clean in Thailand. You can tell the 3rd world difference from the 2nd world big time. From the dust alone... 

I love Lao though. I miss it like crazy! 

We made larb!

The Funnies: 
1. I feel like I have PTSD because every time I say the name, "Jesus Christ," I whisper it. Or every time I am talking about the Gospel in Thai, I look around frantically looking for cameras and stuff. I hope that goes away. It has been pounded into me for the last 6 months that I CANNOT DO THAT... and now I am doing that 24/7.... it is a big shock! 

2. Brother Sai, Sister Lilly, Sister Thon, and Sister Buiy came all the way from Lao to visit me and come to church on Sunday!  LOVE YOU GUYS - thanks for coming to visit! I miss them so much, and it was so fun to see them. Great people! 

Thanks for visiting guys! Khoy huk phuag jao laaiiiii tea!

3. My dreams have been super vivid recently, and last night I slept talked and yelled, "You can't do that! That is just not right!!!" - like 5 times the same thing from 11 pm to 12 pm. Elder Brown was just laughing and laughing and laughing. Classic Elder Smith-Driggs. 

4. Elder Cherd and English - need I say more? The guy is a STUD! 

When Elder Lor puts your helmet on the electric pole..."DANGIT LOR" - Elder Cherd

Spiritual Thought: 
This week I was really grateful for the opportunity to go to church. What a blessing it is to have a building where we can worship God, have activites, and be with our big spiritual family. As I shared my testimony, I was hit with great gratitude for the opportunity to be at church. My dear friends in Lao are still waiting. I received some mail this week from my home ward. All of the Primary children had written me notes and drawn pictures of the church in Lao saying that they were praying I could preach the gospel and that Lao could get a church. All I could do was cry because of the love I and the Lao members get from you back home. To my dear ward who sent me all of those notes and posters - THANK YOU SO MUCH. That meant the world to me. I can feel your prayers. Thank you for going to church! I am so thankful that we can go to church in Thailand and in America. It is a real blessing. So let's treat it like a blessing. Take full advantage of church! 

LOVE YOU ALL - thanks for your prayers and your constant support. You guys ROCK! 

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

P.S. Just got this photo from the family...can I just say I have the best looking family on the face of the planet? I mean seriously people - in Thailand you have to pay money to even look at these kind of people ;)... LOVE YOU GUYS. 

(My mom is super embarrassed I added this joking comment.)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Back in Black (Nametag that is....)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hello Fam and Friends! Super short email today because we are getting back late. 

Update: In Udorn (eastern Thailand about 2 hours from Laos). 

The Work:
New Companion: I am actually with an OLD companion, ELDER CHERDCHAYAPHUM (Cherd for short). We served together in Bangkok and are now Zone Leaders together! So excited to be with him. We have been having a BLAST. He is from Korat (middle of Thailand). Such an awesome guy! 

Emotions: So happy and grateful to be here in Udorn with Elder Cherd. Our house is awesome! With Elder Cherd, Elder Lor (also served in Laos before), and Elder Brown! 

BAPTISM...I can say that in this country now!


We went to Three Rock Whale Mountain today for P-Day.


1. I keep getting scared opening up the Book of Mormon in Public. I get really nervous when we just talk about God. I find myself looking around making sure we are not being filmed. Elder Cherd just pats me on the back and says, "We are in Thailand. You are ok...we can do this here!" He is helping me out a lot! Great guy.

“Elder, I heard you were fasting so I decided to eat right next to you.”...“Thanks brother.”

2. Elder Cherd ate raw shrimp, and it destroyed him later hahahaha classic. When a member is like, “Elders Elders eat up!”.... classic missionary moment.

3. People freak out when I speak Lao. Really fun stuff!

When all your socks are dirty...oops hahaha.

Spiritual thought: 
"Service is not a list of things you do, it is a lifestyle!" - some random Mormon video I watched hahahahaaha.

An inviting card!.... how I have missed these!

I love you all so much. Great things in store. I am very happy and am really enjoying Thailand again. Sorry so short today. See you all next week. I am alive and doing well! 

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ

Abraham Smith-Driggs