Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Monday, April 3, 2017

Update: We got some money, we found an apartment, and we also applied for new passports. Things are going well! 

The Work:
When you and your companion are too tall for the door...

The members are doing great and are glad to have us back. Since we are not teaching English until our visas and new passports arrive, Elder Cheney and I spend our days visiting members, eating with them, chatting with friends, translating hymns into Lao, helping the branch presidents with various things, searching through the church storage for stuff, lots of dinner appointments, and studies. That is what our week has looked like. And that is what it is going to look like for the next couple weeks until we get to start the classes up and get the church completed. 

Searching for Lao hymn books in storage! 

The original hymn book - first one translated into Lao! Awesome! 

Visiting members with the coolest YSA 

Right now we have government permission to only be in the church and worship for 1 hour a week on Sunday. So we stick with that. It is so much fun to be with Elder and Sister Carter (I have missed them so much!). We don’t even have an iron yet in our apartment so we go to their house every morning to iron our shirts hahahaha. The work is going well. It is fun to get back into contact with investigators and encourage them to come to church. Sister L____ has been an investigator for almost 7 months now and when the church was back on the first Sunday, she was there. What faith! The same thing applies with Brother ຕ____. We can’t teach anyone yet though because we only have 1 hour to meet in the church, and the only place we can really talk about religion is in the church… so we have to hold tight for a little bit longer. That is ok, it is all in the Lord’s time! We love the Lord! Thank you for your prayers. The Lao members are coming back stronger than ever!

The Culture:
1. We were on the way to visit the northern members, and I sat down next to this lady on a truck, and a MONKEY jumped on her shoulder and landed in her lap. Now, for all of you Americans who have never seen wild monkeys… monkeys are not nice, fluffy creatures that everyone assumes them to be. They are vicious. They are mean. They have a complete survival mode switched on all the time. They will bite, steal your bag, eat your food, etc. So even though this baby monkey was looking all cute, I was freaking out… 7 missionaries in Thailand already had to get rabies shots because of these bad boys. I was like…“Only in Laos would a lady have a pet monkey.” She just fed it strawberries and had a little bib she wiped it’s mouth with. Classic. Don’t worry though Mom… no bite. It only growled at me ;)

The monkey pet

2. They love their electronics here in Laos. Like most of the world and surprisingly like most 3rd world countries, these people will live in little tin shacks but have big Samsung smartphones with their YouTube on it all day…. This is a strange thing to be sure!

Side of the road hammock = blessings 

3. The Lao people love their food 4 ways,
  • Extremely sour
  • Extremely bitter
  • Extremely salty
  • Extremely spicy
So it is quite rare to find something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When you think about it, it doesn’t fall into any of those categories. They go for the extreme spices here, so they think a lot of the things we eat in America are weird because they are saturated with fat and salt… other than that we don’t have any of the other extremes. So to them, they like a wider variety of foods. Which to us as Americans freaks us out when you see them eating some things and you sit there and think, “Why in the world would anyone put that in their mouth?” It is because of the “extreme flavor” factor. The Lao people do not like sweet things. The sweetest they get is mangos and fruits. Not a lot of sugar.

Soup that everyone eats for breakfast here. Their version of oatmeal. 
They call it Khao piak. 

 I think these are called hoverboards, but they are super fun. We tried them out in the mall last week hahahahah! 

A favorite here in Vientiane among the elders - "Sputnik Burger"

The Funnies:
1. So far, 12 people have said my companion and I are twins. On the road to 100 before I finish the mish. Elder Cheney and I look nothing alike… but sometimes we Americans see two short Asians and say, “Oh you guys are siblings right?” When in reality they don’t know each other, and one is from Japan and the other China! Which is a HUGE difference by the way.  But that is how they see white people here. So because we wear the same thing, and we are both tall and skinny, we get “twins” a lot. I am flattered - I think Elder Cheney is a great guy hahahahaha.

2. We went to Brother ອອນເກ້ວ’s house to eat food again, and as tradition, Elder Cheney tried to break his own record of 14 bananas eaten (after a full meal). He only got to 12… but he vowed that next time he would reach his goal of 15 bananas. The only other missionary close was Elder Morley who got 8 bananas. Way to go Drew! (Elder Cheney).

Updated office of President Khonsavanh hahahha

3. President Johnson and some visitors from Hong Kong were in Vientiane this week, so we ate breakfast with them at their hotel. One of them encouraged me to try a local French pastry treat with blue cheese. I did so. I then challenged him to eat the Lao style breakfast and brought him some sticky rice, a sausage, and mashed up fish guts with peppers. He said he would have to pass on the fish guts with peppers after I explained the fish was sitting in a fermented jar under the ground for a year hahahahahahahahah I LOVE LAO FOOD (I really do… you just have to try it and get over the way it was made!)

Spiritual thought: 
This week I was reading in Mosiah, where King Mosiah is talking to his sons and then Alma comes into the story and then Alma the Younger comes into the story… but there is a common theme throughout all of Mosiah that I quite like. The common theme is expressed by the word, “remember.”  Mosiah tells it to his sons, that they should remember being rescued from bondage. Alma tells it to his son, that he should remember the words of his father. When the angel appears to the wicked sons of Mosiah, a key element of his chastisement comes from the word “remember.” It is my prayer that we can remember the patterns of history. That we can remember the words of our forefathers ever since the days of Adam. Remember that there is a God. There always has been and there always will be. Remember that when we keep the commandments, we will receive promised blessings already laid up in store for us. Remember the consequences of sin set ‘literally’ in stone. God has rules and as Nephi admonishes us, we need to “obey.” May we ponder in our hearts our ancestors, the people that came before us, the missionaries that taught us, that first time that we received a spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon was the word of God. Let us REMEMBER and “perish not” (Mosiah 4:30). Do not throw away your faith just because you feel like your faith has been shaken and you can’t face the challenge ahead of you. Let us stay true to the concept of an “unshaken faith” which comes as a promised blessing of simply remembering. Don’t give up on God. He has never given up on you, nor will he ever. I testify of his grace and mercy. His arms are extending towards us always. I am his representative, and I will boldly proclaim his everlasting gospel until the day I die. For thus has the Lord commanded me, and I must obey (2 Nephi 33:15). In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunset over the Mekong River 

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ

Abraham Smith-Driggs  

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! Great missionary and great post!!!
    I love all the culture as well as the fantastic testimony at the end❣❣❣