Saturday, January 6, 2018


We received news about Thomas S Monson the hour it happened. We were somewhat sad but mostly felt at peace. I am going to miss Tommy. He was the best.

Since Lao doesnt really get ANYTHING translated or get news from the Church, or even have much church material...the members here still dont really know that he passed away yet.

I received a phone call yesterday from the Branch President's wife. She is the sweetest person ever. She asked why there were so many pictures of Tommy on social media. I told her that he passed away. She cried for a few minutes and we bore testimony to eachother. She loved him soooo much and so do all the members here. They are amazing.

Commitment: Read his last talk titled 'The Power of the Book of Mormon.'
Watch his Special Witness of Jesus Christ video on the Book of Mormon

Tommy Monsons main messages during his reign were Missionary Work and the Book of Mormon. I hope you will ponder and apply what he testifies of in those two talks.

In the next few months, we will be getting a new Lao Book of Mormon. Also, the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price will be printed in Lao. I am so excited for this. The Lao Book of Mormon is great but even when I was first learning Lao I could tell it needed some changes haha.

One big thing I have learned on my mission.

America is the best.

I know my Americans dont think that way. But it is true. I can guarantee that most missionaries who served out of the US agree. We are the best. Our country, cannot be beat. But also the amount of things our country does for other countries is amazing. First off the US Embassy in Lao is literally the nicest building in the country of Lao. But for a real reason... the CMR.

Center for Medical Rehabilitation. This is where we spend most our days. Whether its hanging out, teaching English, visiting with deaf children, or studying. I loooooove this place. It is my Disneyland. America also plays a huge part for this place. Although America has had a really shaky history with Lao and Vietnam, we have come back and done amazing things.

One day while we were teaching deaf children, this delivery truck showed up full of donation supplies. It was packed to the top with many heavy items labeled from Japan. I helped unload and thought, man I wonder if America donates anything to the deaf children. I thought. A few minutes later as we got deeper into the truck...there appeared hundreds of massive bulky bags labeled USA on them. They were heavy and took 3 people to carty 1.

There are so so so many little moments like these where I get so proud and bleed red white and blue.

I like to ask others what they think about America. The answers I get from especially Australians and Canadians is: " you think you are the best."

We are the best. When friend DJ Bassett and I heard that from one of our Australian friends, we took no hurt from it. We looked at eachother and said: yeah youre right. We are the best.


The greatest conference talk given ever. 1975 by Vaughn J Featherstone.

 I think it is time we should all awaken. Our concern isn’t about the flames of freedom which burn so brightly in our generation; the concern is that in the upcoming generation the fire has never been kindled. Our youth have never known anything but criticism of the United States of America. We need some faithful, free-loving patriots who will issue forth a clear, loud trumpet call. Remember Paul’s counsel: “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare … to the battle?” (1 Cor. 14:8.) Freedom ought to ring in the heart of every Latter-day Saint regardless of his country.

We as Americans need to see the blessings of life in America more. Its sad growing up in such an amazing country hearing nothing but bashing on the country. 

I love America. And my heart is proud for America. I desire so much for Americans to feel the same. Imagine how much greater America would be if Americans loved America.

"But Watchman, What of the Night?

I am thankful for America and Tommy Monson and for Lao and my mission and my family and the deaf children and the Lao members and Jesus Christ. (:

What a blessing.

Love Elder Higginson

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


We traveled a lot.

Had a lovely Christmas Monday, and skyped with ya on Tuesday which was the best ever. Immediately traveled to Udon, then flew to Bangkok. We eventually arrived at my greenie area late at night. Slept over at my greenie house where Elder Jens Fillmore is currently serving and that was the greatest night ever. We woke up really early, did visa work, traveled to the office and picked up stuff, then flew back to Udon, and eventually made it home late at night again. We woke up the next morning and took a bus 5 hours east to Bolikham. It is a small small village in the Boulikhamxai province. There I met up with my past companion Elder Xaiyavong. It was so good to see eachother. Sadly his dad passed away, and he was granted a week or so to come home and take care of him. He made it here just a couple days before his father passed away. His Faith is amazing. Amidst his very buddhist family, friends, girlfriend, village, etc... he had some amazing things to say about his father. 

"I will see him again."

I also know he will. I am so grateful for eternal families.

Also really impressive is how well he can speak English. He credits me for it but I didn't even do anything hahaha. He is amazing and I am so grateful to be able to serve him and his family.

We got home once again late that night.

One of my favorite things to study and read and share is For the Strength of the Youth.

It explains so so perfectly how to live a righteous life while also enjoying your life. The Gospel simply is to help us do our best to prepare for a successful future while also enjoying the present. So neat.

One quote I absolutely love and is good to ponder and apply...

Remember, true freedom comes from using your agency to choose obedience; loss of freedom comes from choosing disobedience.


What a statement right there. Many people think that choosing obedience takes away our free agency. But I KNOW that that is the opposite. Through obedience, I have seen my life blessed. I have seen my family and my companions and the members and Lao be blessed.

On my mission, I have seen the consequences of disobedience when an investigator or member chooses wrong. I see the loss of free agency. I've seen it in my own life.

It's a hard concept to explain for some reason for me, although it is so so simple.

When I obey, I feel God's love for me. He lets me know He is proud of me, and then blesses me according to my desires. That is how obedience gives us free agency, because we then have more power in our hands to do what we want. Because God trusts us.

Recently I have read in Alma 40-42, and if you want a spiritual reminder or spiritual punch in the these chapters. Obedience is crucial to God's Plan of Happiness.

They are really good.

I am grateful for obedience. It sure does take Faith to be obedient, but it sure does bless you to be obedient.

I love you 💙

Elder Higginson


Friday, December 22, 2017




My mission has taught me many things. And yesterday, I was changed forever.

Hope is a crucial factor in every human's life. It motivates us and keeps us Faithful and going.

It keeps us Looking Forward with an eye of Faith.

This Hope you and I have, is too amazing to not share.

I feel like God progressively has humbled me more and more through my mission to show me what I truly desire in life.

I desire Hope.

Sharing this Hope has given light to many people's lives. I have witnessed many many people completely change due to this Hope.

As I share this Hope, my desire to share it more increases. I love this Hope and it shows me God is real, because of how it has changed me as well.

Coming to Lao where we cannot openly share this Hope has often been difficult, but also taught me.

So how I've most greatly been humbled is by observing and trying to understand the circumstances many people I am surrounded by have.

What I've learned is that although I have this Hope, I do not deserve it at all. None of us do. I have learned how unbelievably easy our lives are, especially in America. The complaining and arguing over politics and race and everything is sad.

Many experiences have led up to this, but what I experienced yesterday was it.

We were visiting with the deaf children before teaching them. When I first walked in, I heard a little girl crying and I found her all lonely and holding her arms around her knees. At first I just thought I would visit with her and make her happy. But after she rejected me, I thought about the situation and I felt sadder than I have ever felt before.

This specific girl is one that reminds me of Leah and Ruby. I love her. Seeing her like this broke my heart. I don't really even know how to explain how much it hurt.

Imagine one of the people you care about and love the most. Then think of them taken away from parents who probably do not even visit them. Then take away their speaking and hearing ability. Then imagine they have no actual way of communicating their thoughts to anyone because they haven't even picked up sign language. Imagine being so frustrated with no hearing, and no one understanding you. Imagine having not too much understanding of the world and knowing no religion and being stuck in a small rehab center your whole life with teachers who don't care too much about you. I don't even know what language they would be thinking in. But imagine this sadness and frustration and some other kids bullying you making you want to do nothing but sit and cry forever. About complete hopelessness.

That is the best I can do. My heart was broken. And it still is.

I immediately made it my goal to give this girl happiness and Hope.

I couldn't focus for the next several hours because of my pondering process.

These people with a countless amount of others are people who deserve Hope.

My greatest desire is to give that Hope to them.

To be honest, most people in these 2 countries live lives that I wouldn't want to live. Many people live in misery and difficult circumstances. Many people desire good but don't know where or how. So many people grow up not knowing what their potential really is. Many live and die not even knowing this Hope.

So so many people need Hope. So many people deserve Hope much more than we do. Our lives are so easy I cannot stress it enough. My life is already good.

We need to Count Our Blessings more and think of ourselves less.

My focus has changed. I am not continuously searching the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation anymore to prove to me that it is true. I am done with that. I need to know it is true for all those I love, who actually need Hope. Not for me. I am more satisfied knowing it for them.

Because my life is already good, I need to know that their lives will one day be good. I need to know that they can have Hope and they will be healed, loved, cared for, with families and everything. That they will one day 'enter into His rest.'

All I want is a nice long hug from Leah and Ruby. That would help me feel better.

This quote mom used to say all the time has been ringing over and over in my mind since coming to Lao.

'Entitled to Nothing, and Grateful for Everything.'

I am so so grateful, more than ever right now, for the birth and life of Jesus Christ. He is the Hope. He is my Hope. I know He lives and I know that all these dear people I love and wish so much good for will see Him and love Him. And He will be so happy.

I am excited to meet the Savior. But even better would be seeing all of these people I love meet the Savior.

I am sorry this email is all over the place. I cannot even say the smallest part of which I feel.

Another touching moment is this one deaf homie who knows a little bit about Jesus. Once in a while he will bring Jesus up with me and talks about the 2nd coming and that he with the other deaf children will hear again and he is so excited.

I know I do need to live by Faith but oh my goodness for the sake of those I love, I need to know.

I will be working on that.

I speak to this about more than just the deaf children.

Billions of people deserve Hope more than we do. I wish for them all to have it.

And with that is my dedication to serving others. I desire to 'lose my life for His sake.' For the sake of His children.

Keep me accountable.

I am grateful for Christmas and the opportunities to think of Him more. I think of the people who hoped for His birth back then and imagine the joy the wisemen and shepherds and all believers felt. I think of those after His death who hoped for His resurrection and the feelings they had as they felt the prints in His hands and His feet.

And I think of the second coming and hope that we will be ready and Faithful. I think of the Children's Hymnbook song 'When He Comes Again' and try to press forward with Hope and Trust and Faith. I think of all the people I love and seeing them there. I think of my family and everything and want nothing more than all of this. Boy oh boy. The joy this sentence gives.

I know that my Redeemer lives.

M e r r y C h r i s t m a s

And after a couple hours with great effort, I did make that girl happy and smile again. Happiest I have ever been.

I love Hope.

Love, Elder Higginson


Thursday, December 14, 2017



I am busy as ever, and I love it.
Lao is going so well. Miracles everyday.

I am learning so so much. I have been learning to prioritize and be a quicker and more efficient decision maker. Also learning how to be mature sometimes.

Let me go over a classic Sunday...

At about 9 am we have several investigators show up and we split up and teach. That later turns into about 20 or so investigators at church. Usually while I am teaching, I am called to go translate for some meeting. Right after the meeting I have about 5 minutes to choose Hymns and play prelude music. I then proceed to translate Sacrament Meeting, count attendance, play hymns, and occasionally give a talk or bear a testimony. (The actual Sacrament portion of Sacrament Meeting is the best and has so much more meaning now). As soon as the meeting is over, the Relief Society, and Young Men's/Women's are both asking for the only piano player in the entire country, also the white members are asking for a translator, and also investigators need taught. Fortunately we fixed the 2nd hour for translating by opening an English Sunday School haha. Anywho, I usually end up playing piano and printing/copying stuff for members second hour. No matter what I do, many people's hearts are broken. After church, its straight teaching mode.

Moral of the story, any of you who can play the piano... please take a 23 month trip to Lao as I finish my mission so I can fulfill my number one priority in my Purpose as a missionary (,:

I am so blessed. The only time I really get to visit with members is when we take 2 to 3 hour trips North to visit them at their houses, and you can't even get a whole lot of members in in one trip. There is plenty of members scattered throughout the city. We bike soooooo much and ride sooooo much. These members are the best. 

With all honesty and pure intent of heart, the Lao members are the best... in the entire world. No one can make me think otherwise. Come visit here, I dare you. You will see how amazing they are. They have the greatest Faith and diligence. I am the most blessedest person alive to be able to serve here surrounded by such a wonderful and beautiful people. I love Lao (:

Lao has taught me what really matters in life. Lao people live in probably the most unfair, not good circumstances ever. They have a corrupt government, poverty, and plenty more; but what is amazing is how loving and happy they are. They don't complain.Thailand may be called the 'land of smiles,' which is true. But Lao is the 'land of real smiles.' These people know where happiness really comes from. Anytime I hear about America, it's that people are complaining about government and other people and ahh everything. I wish everyone were like the Lao people. They love life, and love eachother. I love them.

I love Thailand and always will, but what's different about here is drama. There is always drama everywhere. But here it is different. In Thailand, every single area and ward and branch has drama within. Lao's only drama is outside. Here is like a big loving family. Since Lao and Thai don't get a long very well, the Thailand Mission Office sometimes doesn't treat us the best. The District Presidency and Thai members aren't very nice to the Lao members. It's way sad. There's been countless experiences where members and the Branch Presidency are treated not very well or aren't informed on stuff, etc. Anywho, grateful for President Johnson who is a huge help. I love this place and it deserves better.

When I first got here, the Young Single Adults were few. Not because we're a struggling branch, but because all the YSA has either moved to America, or are on missions. (Actually last night we sent off the 3rd missionary I've farewelled since coming here). But us Elders have taken that information and turned it into a challenge. We have created a friendship group through the members of about 20 people who are all between 17-22 years old. They are sooooo fun and are thriving and feeling the Gospel. About 10 of them are Hmong and have inspired us to learn Hmong. 

Been stacking up the baptismal daters for January 21st. Classic. Not even on purpose......

Perfect timing, Brother Mino graduated college in Australia and has returned to Lao until he leaves on a mission in 6 months. He is amazing. He served as Ward Mission Leader in his Australian Ward and they ended up being the highest baptizing ward in their whole mission. He showed up this last week and has been fire. Exactly what we needed for this big YSA push.

One activity we did was we went to a Hmong New Year Festival. When we first showed up, I saw a soccer field with some kids playing there so I did what my mind first told me to do. As I started playing, an announcer over huge speakers started laughing and saying crazy stuff and I realized that it was only halftime of a real Hmong soccer game. A couple thousand people were watching me play goalie for a bunch of older children. Scary but it was way fun and everyone was only laughing the whole time. That's all. Also the only other white person at this entire festival turned out to ask us if we were Missionaries and we awkwardly said no but she knew. So she asked to learn and turns out she is like a secret missionary for a Methodist church but thinks mormons are homies so yeah let's go.

If you want to know what the most joyful and bestest thing in the world is, hang out with and teach deaf children. I promise you it turns any frown upside down. They are the world's joy and oh my goodness I love them. Also even better, secretly teach them about Jesus. It's a good time lemme tell ya. Jesus WILL help them hear one day. I know it (:

They're the deaf homies. In Lao we have all these different clans that I've named. The Hmong homies, the English homies, the white homies, the homie members, convert homies, the BP homies, etc. I've got this habit of calling everyone and everything homie. But I'm working on it. Homie is in the dictionary, therefore it is not slang. It is a classifier in my vocabulary. Classic.

Obedience is at its highest right now. Classic. Actually way proud of myself haha. President last interviews asked all the missionaries to commit to one thing we will be obedient on. We were already pretty obedient here, but wow obedience does bring blessings and God helps us be obedient too.

We've had to contact President Johnson several times lately for several issues. Most of them have been about the church. It is currently under huge construction. I also stole a copy of the blueprints for the new church building and it is going to be soooooo amazing. It's going to be the new church headquarters for Lao as we are gradually being granted more rights and are rapidly growing. I love this place!

Now President will be visiting Lao this coming Sunday. Yay.

Also one miracle I can share the rest of the story for later, but God placed an island in the middle of the river next to the church for a reason. The government wouldn't let us own this (previously) hotel if it weren't for the island. Also where the church is is amazing and will one day have a temple next to it. The end.

Also thank you everyone for the letters and love. I love you.

One tip, the euro step. If you know what it is, share it with those who don't. I have gained a lot of experience on my mission and especially in Lao with maneuvering through crowds. It can be tough and really test your patience. But I am a witness that the euro step is the best way to get around. Try it. It works.

One thing I love about Language Lao is that there is no word 'just.' In English and even in Thai, people use it allllllllllll the time. I am one of those people, until I learned Lao. I committed myself to rid of the word 'just' from my vocabulary. It usually isn't used in very productive ways. It's usually in the form of whining or demeaning something. Just a quick thought haha.

One investigator's name is Onny. For several weeks I have called her Mother Tawnie hahaha. It's funny. But she calls me grandpa John.

Ate some M&M's and couldn't handle how sweet they were. Also been super super cold lately although its still in the 80s. I'm turning into a Lao person it's okay. Also my skin is darker than many Lao people's. Classic.

I am called 'technical support' by the members, Elders, Senior Couples, everyone. Classic. I'll let you understand the backstory by yourself haha.

One of my new favorite words: wuuuuuuuuu.

Gift of Tongues is real.

Heavenly Father and Jesus are real.

Really grateful for great friends and great missionaries who serve in and take good care of my previous areas. I've served in the best areas and am way proud of them and sure do require good missionaries to continue doing good things there. So many people to thank right now, but specifically Elder Fillmore in my greenie area right now.

Monday night we took yet another emergency trip to Thailand. We got to the border and the officer asked why we were going to Thailand again. He was asking as a friend because coincidentally I had met and befriended this officer in Udorn one day when we were inviting at the park. He's a homie. Anywho, first thing that came to my mind was to tell him exactly what we were doing. So I did, 'going to get drugs to bring back for our friend here in Lao.' He then looked up and asked 'what kind of drugs?' Then I realized what it sounded like and explained myself haha.

Really really grateful for those I get to serve with. Elders Hansen, Johnson, and Fjelsted are so so fun and doing really great things. I have a lot of pride in our group here. The amount of inside jokes is unreal. Being in Lao, several crazy things happen daily. So we've began this "2 truths and a lie" list. If you know the game you'll understand why we're making a list. I'll give you a few examples:

We teach in the same room Obama has been to before.
I often receive phone calls from deaf kids.
I once smuggled drugs into a communist country.
I've had someone actually legally submit my name in for a wedding, I had no idea.
I once biked across the entire bridge at the border with no hands and a cowboy hat singing the American national anthem.
We've had the US Embassy called on us.
A moment ago I spent 24 minutes sawing through a heavy-duty lock to get into our house. I succeeded and that is why I am here today.

I am beginning with the mediocre stuff.


Test prayer more often, even for little things. Something I've been learning lately is that our testimonies only rarely grow off of huge spiritual experiences. Many many Little answered prayers are what God wants for us, and I am so so grateful for those. Please try.

My little prayer.

Who is Jesus Christ to me?

He is my example as my older brother.

Being in the many positions I am family wise, friend wise, sports wise, school wise, missionary wise, many many ways... I am looked up to as an automatic example. Whether my example is good or not, I have no choice whether I am looked up to or not. For a long time, I felt that it was unfair and wished so bad I had an older brother. I was always counseled to be a good leader and example. But I didn't know how, because I like to follow. Fortunately I matured a lil (very very little) bit during Senior year of High School and realized the influence I have on so many people. I recognized more the Savior in my life, and strove to be like Him, as well as my dad. Because my dad is the best and so is Jesus. (: And so is my mom. Anywho, I have recoginized that I can have an older brother and that is Jesus and that He is the example I can follow. So at a meeting about 2 months ago, Elder Evans said that "the greatest leaders are the best followers." I was meant to hear that because it touched me and I've taken it upon myself to become the example and leader I need to be through Following the Savior.

I love Jesus Christ.

I love you.

Love, Elder Higginson



Monday, December 11, 2017

District Leader (and 2nd counselor in the branch presidency)

11 December 2017

Dear Brother and Sister Higginson,

The Lord has called your son, Elder John Kimball Higginson, to serve as a District Leader of the Vientiane in the Udorn Zone of the Thailand Bangkok Mission. As a District Leader, he will be responsible for helping the missionaries in his district understand and live the principles described in 'Preach My Gospel' so that they are able to help people "come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end".

Elder Higginson has shown a desire to be dedicated and obedient. His leadership and example will be a blessing to the missionaries he serves. Thank you for all you have done to prepare Elder Higginson for the great trust the Lord has now place upon him.

Sister Johnson and I thank you for your son and for your continued faith and prayers in his behalf.


President Kelly R. JohnsonThailand Bangkok Mission


Monday, December 4, 2017

Loving Lao

So news about this week...
I set the new Lao elder banana record and ate 18 at branch presidents house.
We are fulfilling goals through faith and seeing soooo many miracles. Social media is helping so much.
We signed another deal with the Ministry of Health and will be teaching the deaf kids more officially and often.
We got 6 new investigators this week so far. Getting new investigators out of Sunday is unheard of.
The members and elder relationship was really awkward but we are rebuilding that and have been gaining trust HUGE and it's working and the white members are proud.
We teach the deaf kids English. Mostly we just talk to them and learn together. A few of them can hear a little bit and so we help them to speak a little. These kids are the best. They've grown up smiling and being super enthusiastic and moving a lot and using their face to express themselves and so they all just have the cutest smiles and are so happy.
John didn't want anyone to know but I am putting it here anyway. He was made 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency and he is the District Leader. Sure love this kid. He always says he has 24 months left, since he got to Lao. He's down to 23 months now. But really, 8 MONTHS!!!  I love the experiences he is having.

Friday, November 17, 2017

dream of making our escape


I love you.

I say this every email but it has been a very eventful week. I love serving somewhere where each day has something super crazy and fun and new and awesome in it.

Us 4 Elders do a lot of switching off, even throughout the day just to get to certain assignments and appointments, etc. Monday I was with Elder Johnson and we watched as the President of China flew in and drove to the Lao Presidential building. It was really fun. There was thousands of people dressed up in classic Lao clothing and everyone was holding China and Lao flags. Speaking these people's language makes everything soooooo fun. It's funny cause they think it's the most amazing thing in the world when a white man can speak Lao. 

Sister Bounmii passed away. She was the sweetest, most loving person ever. I'm not saying that in a cliche way at all. She literally was one of the most Christ-like people ever. She is a pioneer. The very first Laotian member ever. She brought the Church to Lao.

Her funeral was a really great experience, so many people spoke of experiences and her love and especially her love for the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ. She was even buried with it. I am so grateful to have met and known her.

There have been many many festivals and celebrations the last several weeks. The Lao culture has quickly become my favorite. I love the music, the food, the people. I feel so good just being here.

Hmong New Year is coming up this next week. And the Lao Rocket Festival.

Also Christmas. Yay!

In a testimony given by President Tiangsak at the funeral, he shared many scriptures and special insights that were so neat. One scripture I have pondered a lot about is Alma 37:46. He focused on the last two lines.

The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.

I have really loved thinking about the word look. There are sooooo so many good examples of the word 'look' in the scriptures. Look it up in the Tropical Guide. Here are a few that were shared in district meeting with great thoughts as well...

Mosiah 18:21 3 Nephi 13:22-23 Alma 33:19-22 Alma 5:15 D&C 6:36 Helaman 8:13-15 1 Nephi 18:16 2 Nephi 2:28

Look and apply.

I love the concept of looking to the Savior, with an eye of Faith. What this means to me is looking with hope. Keeping a grasp on that goal, that plan, that potential. As we consistently Look, we will consistently be uplifted. It is easier to overcome temptation, harder times are more worth it, the good times are even more good, God and His Spirit are more welcomed with us.

So how can we Look?

I've thought of a few ideas, and I'm sure you can add to this which I would love if you did.

Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually.

Physically, I would loooooove to have more pictures of the Savior around. Moving into a new house in a country where pictures of Jesus would get us sent away.... yeah we just don't have any but I will be getting a lot for inside the house haha.

Mentally, constantly thinking of the Savior. Doing as He would. But even more, one thing I love is trying to pray as the Savior would. This sure helps me look to Him more.

Spiritually, focusing studies and the sacrament and anything you can on building your relationship with Him.

My commitment to you is to Look Heavenwards. Allow the Lord to teach and inspire your heart and your mind.

I love Lao and Christ and the Book of Mormon and oh yeah especially Alma 5 go read that and I love Baptism and the commandments and life and everything yeah and you (:

Sorry that's all. 

You know I love you so.

Look Heavenwards

Love Elder Higginson