Saturday, March 25, 2017

Family Prayer - an essential element of spirituality

March 20, 2017



The Work:
Something that I was really grateful for this week was the opportunity to invite. I feel blessed to be in a country where I have the opportunity to do that. Just yesterday, Elder Rawlinson and I went to invite at a park where I sat down with a young man named Guy. He is 18 years old. As we got talking, I shared the restoration with him. I talked to him about the nature of God as our father who loves us and cares about us. I told him about baptism, and he said he wanted to be clean of his sins. So we set a date for his baptism right there. The simple truths of the gospel can be taught in any place to any person who is willing to open their heart just a little to the thought that - “Hey... maybe God is there.... and maybe he has a plan for me.” Elder Rawlinson and I have been really blessed this transfer with having the opportunity to teach new investigators and help others prepare for baptism. It has been such an adventure serving here in Udorn. I love the Zone here. All of the District Leaders are working really hard and trusting in God and miracles. Remember Sakornakorn and Khonkean that got those 25 numbers last week? We challenged the Udorn district leader, Elder Brown, to do it as well....which he did. 25 exactly. Those 25 numbers in each of the areas have turned into many new investigators and even some who have dates to be baptized in the following weeks. I am so grateful for the opportunity to open my mouth and preach of the gospel. This week went by faith.... as should all of our weeks. Do I know everything as a Thailand Bangkok Missionary? HECK no. I make a lot of mistakes... but I do understand that I need to put myself out there... no matter if I am comfortable or not. That is the beautiful thing about missions that change people. We get to see a little glimpse of the potential that God sees in us as his spiritually in-tune sons and daughters. 

Down to Bangkok... again for a switch off!

The Culture: 
  1. Here in Thailand lots of our investigators believe in reincarnation. So it is always fun to teach the resurrection. When we understand that we are on one trajectory... I think it helps us understand that this life is time to prepare to meet God... not just wait until the next one where we have another shot. So DON'T MISS IT! 
  2. Coconuts are a big part of the culture here. You will see many trucks on the side of the road selling coconuts out of the back, freshly picked. Many delicious treats and oils are made by this exotic plant! 
This is one of our new investigators, brother Kade.... he sells coconuts - go figure! 
(Hint: can you find the B.O.M in this picture?)

Teaching English in Thailand

The Funnies: 
1. This week I got a call from a +1801 phone number, and at the bottom it said, "Call from Utah." I stopped riding my bike and the worst popped into my mind. As a missionary you don't just "get calls" from Utah. I thought someone had died for sure. With a tremoring voice I answered in Thai, "Hello this is Elder speaking"............ and across the other line comes these words, "WHAT’S UP Dude this is Alex Tamaeng the RM speaking... how are you doing Smith-Driggs? Can you send me Elder Hart’s number when you get a sec?" I was like "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME ELDER TAMAENG??? YOU GAVE ME A HEART ATTACK!!! NEVER CALL FROM YOUR UTAH PHONE NUMBER AGAIN!!! I THOUGHT SOMEONE DIED HAHAHAHAHA." Thank goodness you are all in good health. 

2. This morning we got up early and did some morning YOGA with President Tiger and President Jack from Sakornakorn hahahahah. We had a great time. Let's just say President Tiger kept complaining he had eaten to many ice creams from McDonalds because he just didn’t quite get there on the back bends hahahahahah. What a fun morning with dear friends! 

3. We were biking in the city two nights ago... and all of a sudden this group of 30 water buffalo blocked the road.... we couldn't get through so of course we took pictures.

The Spiritual Thought: 
This week I read these inspired words from President Hinckley. He said: "I submit that a return to the old pattern of prayer, family prayer in the homes of the people, is one of the basic medications that would check the dread disease that is eroding the character of our society. We could not expect a miracle in a day, but in a generation we would have a miracle." I love this quote. I remember the nights when all the kids were tired, and mom and dad are asleep after a movie we all watched... as we groggily walk up the stairs, Mom's voice calls from the kitchen, "Family prayer!" With Dad's glazed-over eyes (Dad always falls asleep in movies... just give him 3 minutes and he is out), we say a quick prayer of gratitude and head to bed. Before meals...eating as a family at a set time of night - these habitually done, family routines make or break a home. President Hinckley is helping us see that the simple times of quiet serenity with our families is what makes a house a home. Home is where the heart is - and home is where prayer is too. May we all be more aware of how we treat family prayer in the home. If you don't do it - give it a go. If you are doing it - keep it up... the Lord needs his families to be strong to face the whirlwinds of change from the adversary. It is my prayer that we can repent and do better, me included. I pray with my family every night. Their picture is on my desk. Family prayer can still exist across the world. I miss you guys, and I love you all. 

God bless you all and have a very merry March! 

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

Abraham Smith-Driggs  


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Still and Small

Monday, March 13, 2017

HELLO! I am going to make this week short again, sorry folks. 

"My boy scout buddies.. and ELDER BROWN sneaking in the photo I SEE YOU BRO"
[Mom comment: Not sure what festival they are celebrating here.]

The Work: 
Yesterday we got to see Sister ChewyChai get baptized! She has really worked hard to live the standards of the church. It has been such an honor to see her change over the course of learning with us. I was SO HAPPY to see her enter the waters of baptism yesterday, making her first covenant of many with her Father in Heaven. She waited a long time to be baptized, but she needed to make sure the Lord wanted her to do it. After that confirmation, she decided to act in faith and be baptized. Congratulations Sister ฉุยฉาย (ChewyChai)! 

Congratulations Sister ฉุยฉาย!!

Miracles in the Udorn Zone are happening right now! Elder Rawlinson and I challenged Sakornakorn DL and KhonKaen DL to get 25 phone numbers in a single day. We prayed for them and sent them texts throughout the day to encourage them. They accepted the challenge, but neither of them had much free time in the day that was set apart for contacting (inviting). With prayers in their hearts, they asked the Lord where to invite at what times. We followed up that night about their results, praying in our hearts that they reached the goal we had set. Elder Cheney from Khonkaen picks up the phone, "Elder Rawlinson, sorry we didn’t get 25 numbers.... we got 26!" WOOOOHOOOOOO Faith changes everything! We then called Elder Bjarnson and Elder Johnson in Sakornakorn - they respond, "27 numbers Elder Smith-Driggs!" When I asked them how many they got the day before that, they responded: 2 numbers. Amazing. And thus we see that as we raise the bar for ourselves and trust in the Lord that he can help us, miracles can happen. It is as simple as that. I am so grateful the Lord gave the opportunity for both those district leaders and their companions to learn something about faith. So did I. I love miracles. I know they happen! 

The Elders of Udorn!

The Culture: 
Here in the Isaan (eastern part of Thailand), one of the most common things for the locals to eat is tammarind (off of the trees) and sticky rice. I tried it for the first time on Sunday and all the members were like, "Elder Smith-Driggs you are a true Isaan missionary now hahahahahah." 

"Welcome to Thailand! Feat: Elder Brown"


The Funnies: 
1. The same grandma that introduced me to the sticky rice and tamarind treat sat down on the grass on a piece of paper and looked up at me saying, "Elder... look at me I am Aladdin!" Hahahaha. 

"I am Aladdin Elder - Look!"

2. This week Elder Brown and I placed a bet that the district leader was the person who had to do the baptismal record, not the zone leader (if the zone leader was the one interviewing). So we called Elder Lindley, the AP... his reply: Elder Smith-Driggs wins the bet hahahahahahahaaha. I love Elder Brown - he is such a great guy, but he owes me some treats at 7-11 hahahaaha. 

The Spiritual Thought: 
For one of my personal studies I watched the Face to Face event with Elder Holland and Elder Eyring. Elder Holland said something about receiving personal revelation that I LOVED. He said: "Heavenly Father will wait until we can provide an environment that HE can be STILL and SMALL." We need to take more time to listen to the still small voice, and create that environment of silent meditation, of being alone, in a quiet place, just like Joseph Smith did. Let’s give Heavenly Father a chance to answer our prayers instead of just asking for the answer then quickly closing the prayer... we need to wait, listen, and think quietly in order to create that environment. I know that as we do, we will hear the Lord's voice more clearly in our lives. For he is always waiting for us (Jacob 6:5).


Some of the MTC guys at a conference in BKK


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

Friday, March 10, 2017


Monday, March 6, 2017

I cannot adequately describe my feelings two weeks ago when I walked into the church building in Vientiane, Laos. President Khonsavan was standing on the balcony of the newly acquired building, greeting everyone as they came in. [Laotians typically arrive about 30 minutes early for church to prepare themselves to partake of the sacrament.] I walked up to the 3rd story, where the members had gathered quietly to partake of the sacrament together for the first time in 22 weeks. As I walked up the stairs, the members saw me and let out an audible cheer (a small one of reverence of course). I ran to them and greeted each one telling them how much I missed them. They responded and said, "I missed you too Elder Smith-Driggs... and I MISSED THE SACRAMENT. And today we get to take it. What a wonderful day." 
The LDS Church in Laos

I translated the meeting for Sister Johnson and the Carters, along with another member who worked at the embassy. As I saw these faithful saints partake of the sacrament, all I could do was cry tears of joy. It was a very special moment for them, as it was for me. I am so happy and grateful to all of the attorneys, leaders in Hong Kong and Salt Lake, the priesthood leaders in Lao, President Johnson, and everyone who helped make this day possible just for a couple hundred saints in the middle of Laos. All of that energy just so that a couple hundred of God's children could renew their baptismal covenants with the Creator of the world. The sacrament holds a very special place in my heart. I am grateful for the Savior who carried the saints in Laos through this hard time. I know the Lord lives, and he loves us. There CAN be miracles, if only we BELIEVE. 

The Work: 
I am still serving in Udorn, Thailand, which is a joy every day. Having the opportunity to open our mouths as representatives of Jesus Christ is a great privilege that I will always treasure. Elder Rawlinson is doing great - such a stud! We have been teaching a lot of people recently, which is always nice. It is great when you put in the work as a missionary to be able to see the promised blessings that come from missionary service. Sometimes you don't see them, but you plant seeds for someone else. Others see them immediately as soon as they step out the door. I feel like it comes and goes (at least for me). I like to focus on the positive that happens in the day, the miracles that happen. They do happen. I can testify of that. I know that without the Lord I am nothing. He is everything, and I glory in Him. This is his work. Our investigator, Sister ChewyChai, will be getting baptized this week on Saturday. She has been taught the discussions for about 6 months now and is finally ready to make her first covenant. I am so excited for her! My favorite thing about teaching Sister Chewychai is seeing the change as she repents. When I met her, she was a lot different than the person she is now. Something changes in the countenance of the person once they understand how to fully utilize the blessings of the Atonement. It has been wonderful to see that change. Saturday will be a special day! 

Fun at Zone Conference!

The Culture: 
Thai people love white skin. Kind of the same way Americans want to be tan because we think it looks beautiful. It is the opposite here in Thailand. Thai people also have a fascination for noses and eyebrows. They like noses that have a bridge, not flat noses. They think flat noses are ugly, noses that look like white people are beautiful. Interesting, huh? I have sent you one of the tabloids that is the definition of "Thai beauty." 

Beautiful noses hahahahahaha

Also, all of the males want to look “beautiful,” like females. I can't explain it. But just look at the male in this picture.... if you put female hair on him, he could easily be a woman hahahahaha. 

The Funnies: 
While Elder Rawlinson and I were in Laos, we were eating breakfast at a Chinese buffet. Elder Rawlinson is half Chinese and speaks a little Chinese too! Anyways, a customer walks in and we strike up a conversation in Chinese (well he does... I just stand there and try to look happy). Then we figure out this Chinese man speaks Lao! So I start going hard on the Lao, and he speaks fantastic Lao! (This time it was Elder Rawlinson's turn to stand there and try to look happy). Then we finished the conversation off in English (which he also spoke). Wow. Only in the middle of Southeast Asia hahahahahhha. We had a good laugh about that! 

Traveling with President Johnson is great! But he is so tall that sometimes these southeast Asian countries can’t handle it - hahahahahaha love you President! 

Spiritual Thought: 
I want us all to take a good look at how we see our sacrament worship. Are we there before the service? Spiritually preparing? Are we talking during the sacrament, playing on our phones, or chatting with friends? Why do we take the sacrament? If you treated the sacrament service every week like it was the last week of your life on earth, would your experience be different? I can't answer these questions for you, as this is a very personal experience. But I would encourage everyone to understand the great blessing it is to go to church and to partake of the sacrament. It is a covenant most of us have made to go to church and partake. Please do so brothers and sisters. I promise it is worth it. So do the members in Lao. It means the world to them.

Thank you for all of your sincere prayers for the members in Lao. They have been answered, and the Lord is pouring out blessings on his people there! It brings tears to my eyes to think of how many people care about a little communist country on the other side of the world. Thank you so much my dear family and friends. God bless you all. 

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ

Abraham Smith-Driggs