Sunday, September 17, 2017

now i always want to feel this way

On Sunday I was able to meet Brother Bunmaa. He is Elder Xaiyavong's younger brother who was baptized just a couple weeks ago. He is amazing and we are already best friends. He loves to share the gospel and help us teach.

Going by first names is still so weird and when people call me it usually takes a few times for me to respond haha. I've asked the Elders to call me Elder in the house and at church. I can't handle it hahaha. Just call me Elder when I get home and I won't have a panic attack.

I love Lao. It has been globalized pretty hard from the rest of the world. There's so much culture and food from all over the world, including a North Korean restaurant which we ate at. It is run by the North Korean government. The waitresses are a lil awkward and creepy but we just laughed and joked around and everything was okay. They'd keep turning on these propaganda videos for the restaurant. But we were the only people there. It was a good experience.

Lao, of what I've learned/heard/experienced, is a very humble and sweet country. Sadly it has been pretty compelled to be humble. Through great wars in the past century, Lao has not been treated too great. France and Japan with many others didn't treat Lao too well during the World Wars. And then during the Vietnam war, America sent bombing raids for a long time over the entire eastern side of Lao. This country is ranked the number one most bombed place in the world. Australia has kinda tried to pick up this place and start a lot of programs in english and doctors, etc. Which is great and all but the way they do it is kinda lame. I can explain later haha. 

Anywho, these days many countries have come back to Lao saying sorry and helping rebuild this place and give the amazing Lao people better lives. President Obama even visited here just over a year ago. 

So we are in Vientiane (pronounced Wiangjan), and here just has every culture and people and language you could imagine. Not religion though haha. If you go outside of the capitol city its 100% Laotion people but yeah. 

I love this place.

We get beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Just what I needed. As well as awesome rainstorms. We were also informed that a Typhoon is headed right for us so I'm excited for that.

I sleep in a hammock every night. Hopefully the new house will be ready soon. Prolly early next week.

Elder Jarem Saunders is such a great guy and I am so grateful to be his companion. He's training me here well.

Lao sign language is going great. Lao even better. This language is so so fun. We visit the Def Boarding School about every day. These kids are amazing. You can just see in their eyes how pure and sweet they are. What hit me hard was when I spoke (spoke?) with this one girl who looks and acts so much like Leah. It kinda hit me what these sweet lil kid's lives are like. A world with no sound, but they still manage to have so much joy and fun and happiness. For brief little seconds I can try to feel how they do. I have so much love for them. And I really can feel God's love for them. They are amazing. I know Heavenly Father watches over these children.

One more fun thing that occurs pretty often is Lao people asking me if I am ຄົນລາວ (a Lao person). Others usually ask if I am ລູກຄຶ່ງໄທລາວ( half Lao and half-Thai). I don't know what it is. I do tan easy and I love the people and culture but I didn't know I was becoming one haha. Also I'm like twice as tall as these people so it just makes no sense hahaha.

life has a beautiful crazy design

I love you (: 💙

Love, Elder Higginson

here i just want to stay

amazing day amazing day

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

ລາວ

Before I received my mission call, I was sometimes worried I would be called to a sign-language mission. It would be neat, I would still love the work, but if I were to learn a language... I wanted it to be something Asian, or at least something you speak. 

Anywho, I am here in Laos and happy as ever. This place is amazing. I am a greenie again. I love the people and the language and the work and all of it. My companion is Elder Saunders, and he is so so good. We have so much fun. The other Lao companionship is Elder Hansen with Elder Cheney. But we all have to go by our first names. Our work here in Lao is very different, but it just feels like I was meant for it. & I love it.

We regularly visit this boarding school for def children, and it is my favorite place in the world. These children are sooooo amazing and have so much love and hope and happiness even though they may not hear. We have the lovely opportunity to teach these kids, in Lao Sign Language. It is the funnest and best thing I have ever done. I'm picking it up kinda quick haha.

In a couple months, Elder Cheney and Elder Saunders will be returning home. Two more Elders will come to Lao, and then it will be just us four until just before I come home (in 2 years). Got some quick learning to do. Big responsibilities here.

Lao is a communist country who has strict regulations, especially on religion. Our job here can be summed up as 'undercover missionary.' I wish it were easy to explain it all. We do many things, but our number one job is to be friends with everyone. We are to build good relationships with everybody, especially the government. 

This place is amazing and I wish so much you could see it and feel the culture and everything. I am meant to be here. I love Laos.

I love you (: 💙

Love John Kimball Higginson

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

yeah you could be

Hey there. It is transfers again already. It's going way too fast. I am leaving Kalasin sadly. Actually we left already and are hanging out in Udorn for today.

My time in Kalasin was short, but this place is amazing. I love here. It was so sad saying goodbye. I hope that my influence may live on in Kalasin. I had some good opportunities to strengthen the members and some investigators.

I'd say the main thing I learned from being here is priorities. What you give importance to and what you get from it. Many members in our church have great Faith, but sometimes struggle to open the Book of Mormon. I can relate to this, because before my mission I had plenty of Faith, but sometimes really struggled to understand it. But what I have learned, and what I've been able to teach is that in order to get something special from the Book of Mormon, you must show God that it is important to you. More than often, reading the scriptures is something we will do before bed just to say we read every day. 

Before my mission, Bishop Pitt and I challenged each other to wake up early every day to read our scriptures. This gave me a great opportunity to show more importance in the Book of Mormon. I should've been more diligent at it, but I loved it. I love waking up to peaceful morning skies and cool air and beginning your day with personal revelation and time devoted to God. 

As time has gone on, the scriptures have become one of the most crucial parts of my life. God knows I Need them. This has allowed me to be filled with knowledge, light, and love. I cherish the scriptures and know that we need them.

The Book of Mormon has so much to give us. Even though I have learned so much from it, I know that I have only received just a small portion. One of my favorite ways to invite is to ask other's if they want to read a Book that will change their life. 

As we show God where our priorities and desires are, he will bless us accordingly. It takes sacrifice. It takes time. It takes setting goals and making plans. But we will receive what we want and need.

I know the Book of Mormon is real. It is more than 'just a story' (as I've been told by many). It's an amazing true story that shows God is real, and that He loves us. The Book of Mormon shows us that our Heavenly Father lives today and everything He does is for our benefit. The Book of Mormon allows us to be better. 

My heart actually hurts when people don't read the Book of Mormon. You should see my reactions even in role plays haha like my love for this Book is so real. Your opportunity to know God and feel of His love is right here.

28 And now, my sons, would that ye should look to the great Mediatorand hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;
30 have spoken these few words unto you all, my sons, in the last days of my probation; and have chosen the good part, according to the words of the prophet. And have none other object save it be the everlasting welfare of your souls. Amen.
Potential.

Love, Elder Higginson

in you I see

someone special
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Dream

I had a dream this past week that I was a family relationship counselor. It was way neat. I helped lots of people. One funny part was that these two children probably about my age came in and we talked. Their problem was loving their mother. I gave them homework to go find 10 black boys, and for each one ask who their favorite person ever is? and what they would give for their mother. something like that. and it worked it was funny.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Twin

President says I am this guys twin. Elder Cheney. He says we are the exact same person. 
He is in Laos right now and goes home in a month.
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Man on the Moon

Today's email is for Elder Fillmore.

About a year ago, I was sitting in the MTC when I received a letter from the Jens Fillmore. He is one of my closest friends since early junior high. He informed me that he would be serving in the best mission. This would mean that we would be learning the same language and serving in the same country and all that. Anywho, I've just really found it amazing and neat to be serving in Thailand alongside my best friend. It is so fun. But more than that, Elder Fillmore has been serving in the mission office the last few weeks. When you've got a close friend in the office, you better be taking advantage of this situation. I sure have. But I also may have overworked Elder Fillmore haha. Anywho, I am grateful to have been serving with Elder Fillmore. If you don't know him yet, then get to know him. He has helped me about as much as President Johnson has to prepare me to leave for Laos next week. 

I have been able to see Elder Fillmore quite a bit recently. It has been such a blessing. He came to our zone conference back in the Bangkok East, and then I participated in replacing yet another missionary returning home early; and then we met again in the Roi Et zone conference. It is so good to see him and all homely faces. That could've been the last time I see him for a while. But everyone please pray he doesn't go to Burma and goes to Lao. Haha. I am grateful that God called us both to Thailand. This work is amazing, and working with those from before the mission is a really special experience.

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Faith is one of the most important things in our lives. It is hard, but it is so good. In 2 Nephi 2 we learn that we must live by Faith. We must live by Faith because we must be equally acted upon by both good and bad. We must be equally influenced by both in order for us to make decisions completely for ourselves. We must live by Faith because it will show that we do good because we want to do good. Otherwise we would be doing good because we are compelled to do good. We live by Faith because if we didn't, that is what satan's plan was. For us to be compelled to do all things. That everyone would make it to Heaven, but we wouldn't have learned anything. We live by Faith to learn and grow and experience. We live by Faith because if we didn't, the Plan of Salvation wouldn't really work. We live by Faith to become our true, full selves. Faith allows us to have a brighter hope for the future. It allows and helps us in planning and having goals and becoming better. Faith magnifies our righteous desires.

Being surrounded by another faith for about a year has shown to me how important Faith is. It is heartbreaking to me, all that I have seen and learned. But I don't want to go into that right now.

Faith is complete trust. Please check your Faith. Faith allows us to reach our Potential. Exceed your Potential.

I love Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, and I know they are there.

Matthew 7:20

I love you 💙

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Monday, August 21, 2017

unique

Hello from beautiful Kalasin. I love this place. It's like Kamphaeng Phet and Ubon Ratchathani mixed together. It's a small town, with the most humble and nicest people. I am in love with this place, and the Branch, the food, work, everything.

I didn't want to leave Minburi ever, but coming here to Kalasin for a little bit is actually an answer to prayers. There is so much good happening in these next few weeks. I get to be with an amazing Japanese companion, Elder Fukino in the greatest area ever. We get to work our best and baptize all of Kalasin together. We have Zone Conference and I get to see two of my best friends ever, Elder Rosenvall and Elder King, before I leave in a few weeks. It's been raining every day, all day long since I got here. And it's not just rain, it's like a million firehoses dropped from the sky. My camera, several books, and yeah lots of stuff are kinda destroyed... but I love rain and its so worth it. What a blessing.

But yeah, the only pictures I have are a few people sent me randomly today.

One thing that's really been on my mind a lot on my mission is 'weakness.' In this training I'm currently taking, the very last lesson talks about feedback and correction. It talks about how as a teacher, it is important to give feedback on your student's skills and progress. It's amazing how much I've learned spiritually from this training to be an English teacher. I wish I could share it all. As I went through this lesson, I could not get the phrase 'God shows unto us our weaknesses, that we may be strong.' As a missionary, my weaknesses have been right in front of my face. Sometimes it is too much, but I am grateful for it. It is so much to have desire and become a better person when the problems are easily observed.

I have pondered and thought about this a lot. How important it is that our weaknesses be made known to us. If we don't know the problem, we cannot fix it. Our weaknesses being made known to us is for our benefit, and for better.

As God helps us by helping us see our weaknesses, we are doing the same as his servants. As missionaries we are constantly warning others of the consequences of their sins and weaknesses. We help them recognize what they do wrong, but we do it with love like God does.
And it's not much of what they do wrong, but it is about what they can become. God helps His children see their weaknesses, that they may achieve their potential. Our all-knowing Heavenly Father could just fix our problems on the spot. But think of how much better it is to have us do it ourselves. What would we learn if we had nothing to overcome or nothing to try to make better?

As members of God's church, it is our duty to take part in God's work. What I mean is that we must be helping other's recognizing what they're weaknesses and be better. This sounds way weird and for some sounds rude. But if you truly do love somebody, you desire for them to progress and achieve their potential. Corrective feedback done with love is one of the most loving things you can do for someone. And you have to be reasonable. I will include the 5 points from the training lesson about giving feedback.

Timely
Appropriate
Regular&Standardized
Balanced&Structured
Positive&Honest

Be someone who helps others fulfill their potential. But more than that, be someone who can take criticism and make the best out of it. It will take humility, and it will be so worth it. 

The way I've mostly thought about it is between me as my parent's child. I wasn't the best son, and I did not take feedback well at all. I know I was not good haha. But just what I've been pondering lately really humbles me, and I want to help you and the family. As children, I feel the first thing we must realize is how much our parents love us, and everything they do is because they want us to be the best we can be. They do it out of sincere love, and desire for our potential. Because of this love, parents seem to constantly be criticizing or correcting children.

How I think of this all is from one lesson in engineering class back in High School. I wish I had the visual for it, but basically it was about a module that has an input, and an output. The module takes in the input information/electricity, then decides if it will reject it, or send it through the output. The output can be anything. It could be a tool, or music, or lights. Something amazing! We should be taking all the information about us, said about us, shown to us, and turning it into a positive output. Don't ever reject any of it. Because any portion of rejection disallows turning information into positive outcomes. Rejection is when we feel bad about ourselves, or react to those trying to help us.  Wow this made no sense haha.

Thai culture is so neat and crazy. But one thing that I find really cool is how straight forward speak to one another. People in everyday conversations will just tell each other what is wrong with the other. I'm told multiple times daily everything wrong with me haha. But the Thai culture part of it is not to make anyone feel bad. The reason they speak so straight forward is because they want to help the other become better. They want to help others get rid of their flaws.

Just remember how much your parents love you. Allow your parents, and others, to help you be better. Don't you ever miss an opportunity to learn and be better. And don't miss an opportunity to help another person be better with love.

I love you!

Alma 18:27

a head full of dreams
a heart full of love
💙
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