Wednesday, February 8, 2017

3 Exchanges, 2 Countries, 2 Normal Guys

My dearest friends!

These last two weeks have been a blur. We have gone to Laos, visited 3 different areas in Eastern Thailand, and had just about a week to work in our own area. Things are going great, and I am very happy right now! This week I have a lot of funnies. And a LOT of pictures. Also quick S/O to the Sakornakorn members for taking us to lunch and ice cream! THANK YOU Brother Jack and Sister TukTa and Sister First and Sister Tum! You guys rock! 

The Work: 

Change can happen through repentance. Elder Cherd and I had the opportunity to interview people for baptism throughout the exchanges in the different areas. I was struck by the power of the Atonement. I am so grateful we have the opportunity to repent. We have some investigators right now in Udorn who are preparing to be baptized. They are learning how important repentance is in the whole purpose of the plan of salvation. As we understand the big picture, we are more willing to repent. 

Good ice cream, huh Elder Brown?

Switch off with Elder Duke!

Switch off with former companion and dear friend Elder Bouw!

Switch off with Elder Christensen! SO MUCH FUN!

The Bottom Line: 

If we don't feel like we need to repent, we are doing something wrong. Pride is entering our hearts. At the moment (especially as a missionary) that you think to yourself, "I am fine right now"... you enter into dangerous ground my friend. 

All of my journals...I write every day!

The Culture: 

Nothing here this week just pictures of Thailand and Laos:)

The Thai Lao border

It’s how we ride...tomatoes and all

Glad to be back for one day. I miss this country!

Lots of room on the Tuk Tuk..... yeah we can squeeze it

The Funnies: 

Mosquito Terminator

1. Conversation with one of our investigators: "We need to teach outside sister because we don't have a male in the room."... "But Elders, my friend is a กระเทย (ladyboy), doesn't that count as a male?"... I thought to myself... “Only in Thailand do we have this issue.” *face palm*

2. Elder Cherd stepped in dog poop 3 times this week... on the same shoe. Some bad Buddhist karma is coming his way apparently.

3. As we were traveling, we rode on a lot of buses. We would sit down and call other missionaries and just talk about life. Sometimes we forget that other people are around us. So Elder Cherd just let out a little burp (like we all do at home, let’s be honest people)... and then we both realized that the bus was full of people who awkwardly turned to Elder Cherd... who slumped in his chair, face completely red hahahahahah.

4. Another day on a bus: The bus driver comes up and closes the door saying, "If any of you have to pee on the bus ride, I hope you brought some Pampers cause we ain't stopping!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA We just died laughing hahahahahahahahaha. Bottom line: Bus drivers in Thailand are hilarious. 

Travel Travel Travel with bikes.... on buses. The bus drivers love us.

Pool game on P-Day

5. Sleep talking Elder Smith-Driggs (Batch 1): Three days ago I started singing in my sleep. It was a Thai song. Then, last night during my sleep I told everyone, "Smile everyone! Smile!" My companion and the other elders just die every time hahahaha. They think it is so funny. 


6. Sleep talking Elder Smith-Driggs (Batch 2): The phone went off in my dream... so I woke up like it was 6:30. Elder Brown was next to me and saw me praying on my bed. He said, "Elder Smith-Driggs, what are you doing?" I was like, "Elder it is 6:30... what are you doing???" Elder Brown: "Hey dude - it is only 11:30 pm.. .you can go back to bed." Elder Smith-Driggs: "Yes!! Thank you GOD!” (jumps onto bed and goes back to sleep) 

Spiritual thought: 

As I was talking to my dear friend President Khonsavanh (from Lao) this last week, I was again struck by how lucky we are to worship as we please in places like Thailand and America. There is just tooooo much to explain. But I am so grateful that we have a church here in Udorn. Yes, it is hard to be a member in Thailand, but at least we aren't getting threatened because of it. There are many countries around the world where worshipping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in public is just not an option. My heart goes out to those people. I didn't think I would ever be in an environment that would be like that. But in the time where I thought I was going to be preaching the gospel the most, I was in that country. That experience helped change my life. It changed my outlook on my rights. I am grateful to be an American. I was reading something the other day, and I wanted to share it with you all. I took this from an article entitled, "In Honor of the First Amendment:" 

It’s easy to take [our] freedoms for granted. After all, it is the ground many of us have walked on our entire lives. How often do we look down and appreciate that ground? Laws and rights inscribed on old parchments have little value if we don’t maintain them every day. Practicing our religion, speaking our minds, reading a newspaper, freely associating with fellow citizens and critiquing power are tender plants that require constant cultivation.”

There is no fear when we go to church that we will get arrested, there is no fear that carrying a picture of the temple could get us thrown into prison, there is no fear that we may be separated and shunned from our families, or that we may lose our jobs and status for our beliefs. We are free. But some people are not. Those fears are a reality for them. May we ever be grateful for all the freedoms that we enjoy is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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

1 comment:

  1. Another great post! Elder Smith-Driggs I love your wisdom! I'm so blessed I get to serve with you! Sister Martell😊