Sunday, May 14, 2017

Blessed are the little children!

Monday, May 8, 2017 
(Mea culpa on the late post - Love, Mom)

With some of the young men!

The Work: 
This week was fantastic! Here in Lao, as representatives of Deseret International Charities (DIC), we have the blessing of attending what we call "turnovers," which is where DIC has built some sustainable water towers along with bathrooms and has donated them to the school. We get to celebrate the event with the children. It is the elders job to entertain them, dance with them, laugh with them, hug them, and show them Christlike love. That is easy to do, since these children literally come from heaven. I love my job! 

Elder and Sister Jensen with Elder Cheney

The school girls dancing for us 

It was a pleasure this week to meet our new friend Brother Hollis Hunt! Brother Hunt is the father of my dear friend Elder Hunt (a former companion). He stopped in Lao, and we grabbed some food. He attends the Lao-Thai ward (in SLC), and I can't wait to visit when I get home from my mission. Thanks for the good times Elder Hunt! You are always welcome!

Getting started up on English classes soon! We gave out a placement test this last week. 

The Culture: 
Away from much of the bustle of the city of Vientiane lay quaint towns full of farmers. These are some pictures of their children. All schools are uniform. Always. 

This little one stuck with me the whole day. He had his little bag and his little eyes kept looking at me. I finally asked him his name and asked if I could take a picture with him because I thought he was very handsome. He agreed... probably never seen a camera in his life. I wish you could see his smile...but I think he was more fearful that my eyes were blue. Probably the first person with blue eyes he has ever seen. Till we meet again my little friend!

The Funnies: 
While we were eating lunch with some English students this week, they were asking about snow in America. They asked if you can eat snow. I responded and said, "Of course you can but not the yellow snow!"... Elder Cheney and I were the only ones who laughed. I quickly realized they didn't get the joke. I explained and they all laughed hahahaha. They thought it was the funniest thing..."Yellow snow!"...they kept saying hahahahaha.

We spent some time with Yale Layton, a new addition to the ward. He works for the American Embassy here in Vientiane and just moved here a couple of months ago. He is so much fun, and we went golfing together this last week! What a funny guy! But the funniest part was that when we went to his house, it had American furniture and style and everything... then I walked into the living room and my feet recognized something I had not felt for a long time.... CARPET. I quickly sank to the floor practically doing a snow angle in the carpet. It felt good. Brother Layton was probably like, “Wow.... this elder is really strange.” Hahahaha. 

Brother Layton giving Elder Cheney some tips on golfing. Pretty sure Elder Cheney is a natural at golfing... it was his first time, and he golfed way better than I did. Hahahah great job man! (Having an awesome coach helped. Thanks Yale!)

It was fun to spend time with Rob Stevenson and his wife Alison this week as well. HUGE shoutout to them for a delicious meal and even better company. Also...they introduced me to shooting some gas powered air soft guns. Boy I am a terrible aim, but we had a good time! 

Trying on some traditional Hmong clothes with Sister Lily's mother and brother, along with her cousin. Hope you get this picture somehow Sister Vue. I think you will laugh hahahahaha!

Spiritual Thought: 
The saints in Lao have been very patient and very faithful to the Church in times of uncertainty. The Church has been doing everything legally with the government to get a church building. Day after day, we get closer and closer. There is too much to explain, and I don’t know if I can disclose a lot of what is happening because of liability reasons, but the Church is very close! In no time at all, we will be able to teach and baptize. The members in Lao keep everything going by their faithful commitment to follow the Savior. When I think of my dear friends, I think of Helaman 3:35: “They did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility.” These faithful members have been keeping their tithing, waiting for the day to pay it for almost 6 months, finally getting a chance to receive those blessings.  At times, many of us may have thought, “Where is God in all of this?” As these faithful members prayed continually, they became “firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.” Not everything is according to our plan. Sometimes we have to wait a long time to see the blessings that come from living a righteous, Christ-centered life. Brothers and sisters, I have seen the power of prayer manifest in this small country. The people are poor, but their spirits are powerful. The Lord will always succor his people in their infirmities. These humble people of Lao have changed my life. For me, they are the epitome of people who “yield their hearts unto God.” Oh my dear friends, how I want to be like them. Many of you back home have prayed and pleaded with the Lord for the people of Lao. It brings great joy to my soul that so many care about so few. 

A little group of disciples in Lao is supported by many members across the globe not only in spirit, but with tithing money as well. It is because of tithing and faithful members all around the world that we can purchase a building. From the bottom of my heart I thank you brothers and sisters. Great things are about to happen in Laos. The work is always moving forward. And things are about to get really exciting! Forward ever, stopping never.  May we yield our hearts unto God continually that we may see the blessings that are prepared for us in heaven is my humble prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Love the Lord and Laugh, 
ອັບຣາຮາມ ສະມິດ-ດິກສ

Abraham Smith-Driggs  

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