Monday, September 18, 2017

Iokwe from OK! -- Happiness is having suit pants

Iokwe!


It really is. I've had off-colored suit pants for the past few months since my suit pants had a hole and my normal slacks are close enough to not look horrible... Until you look closer. So I finally got those fixed this week and the relief has been tangible. Nothing weighs on you as heavily as social pressure to match your pants and suit.

Elder Kilmer in the middle with new missionaries.
Side note from Mama Kilmer:  for those of you who know and love Elder Kilmer, you know that probably his lowest priority is fashion.  Special shoutout to President and Sister Mansell for lovingly pointing out that a representative of Jesus Christ probably should care enough to shine his shoes and have matching suit pants.  😂

This week, what I have been learning can be summed up by a couple excerpts from two talks from a general authority and an apostle given this year:

"Do you remember the biblical story of the woman who sufferefor 12 years with debilitating  problem? She exercised great faith in the Savior, exclaiming, “If may touch but his clothes, shall be whole.” 
This faithful, focused woman needed to stretch as far as she could to access His power. Hephysical stretching was symbolic of her spiritual stretching.   
Many of us have cried out from the depths of our hearts variation of this woman’s words: 
'If could spiritually stretcenough to draw the Savior’s power into my life, would know how to handle my heart-wrenching situation. would know what to do. And would have the power to do it.'
When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is filled with His power, which is available to every earnestly seeking daughter or son of God."  

I have experienced this stretching over the past few weeks. But, not just because of inadequacy, but also because I have begun to yearn for greater light.

“That which is of God is lightand he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receveth more light; and that 
light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”

That light I feel has continued to increase for me. I am so much happier than I have ever been - life seems more full. I believe that it has come from a simple mindset to be light-seeking. Elder Bragg promises us that there is always light available to us, especially from three sources: light from the church, light from the gospel, and light from our Redeemer.

As I have stretched beyond what I thought was my capacity towards the Savior in an effort to draw His life-giving power into my life, I have found that light available to me. It's life-promoting and positive. I love my life and I love trying to share what I'm finding with others. In reality, the light from the church and light from the gospel is light from our Redeemer. My invitation this week is to be light-seeking and spiritually stretch out to Him as you read your scriptures more intently, pray more sincerely, and attend church more purposefully. Gather that light!

Make it a great week!

Jerammaan!

Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, English-Marshallese speaking
不動心
Fudoshin:  immovable spirit

Friday, September 15, 2017

Iowke in OK: Wow, that was fast!

Iowke!

Yep, transfers again. It was a really fast 6 weeks. Luckily.... I'm staying! With Elder Wold! I'm pretty excited to continue serving here. I really love this ward and I'm so grateful to have a companion like Elder Wold. He's so humble and willing to help out in whatever way he can.



This week, I'm keeping it short. But life is great. I'm constantly tired, but I've felt the Savior's staying hand this week. I'm determined to keep pressing on towards a brighter future. I love this gospel and I love being here on this earth and enjoying the time I have to learn and progress. What a great life.


Love you all!

Jeramman!


P.S. My camera battery has died and I still have yet to charge it. I'm probably in major picture debt right now. I'll make that happen soon.

Jerammaan!

Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, English-Marshallese speaking
不動心
Fudoshin:  immovable spirit
www.mormon.org

Monday, August 21, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Losing time

Iokwe!

Alright, confession time: English powers definitely came to me. I am starting to lose my edge on the Marshallese language. I still pray in Marshallese, but speaking it so infrequently has definitely made a difference. I'm going to appreciate opportunities I have when I go home to Skype friends from OK to keep up the language.

This week has gone by so so quickly. It seemed like each day was so short. I've realized more and more how important it is to make each moment purposeful. I've only got 6 months left here, but also time in my life here is either progressing forward or slipping away, depending on how I use it. 

We had an awesome service project on Saturday at the farm of one of our members. Attached are some before pictures. We didn't get to stay for a final "after" picture when everything was clean, but everything was clean. Seriously.
Inline image 1 
Those weeds were like trees, but everyone came in to help and chipped in with maximum effort and we got it done in a few hours. The Guthrie 2nd ward is so awesome. I really love these people. 

We caught about 85% of the solar eclipse today. We watched with President and Sister Mansell. It was pretty impressive. It will be a good story to bore the grand kids with.
Inline image 2
This week, some of our members brought their friends to church for the first time. Afterwards, the husband commented that he really liked it, especially how much he felt that everyone was genuine. He said that he hadn't been in a church in years because it had always seemed to him like no one lived what they preached and it was all about keeping up with the Jones's. He said he felt like everyone here was there because they wanted to be.

I can't explain how much it means for us to be genuine. The world craves something real. I don't think it necessarily means being extremely blunt - more like really meaning what we say and do. I've found great value in checking in with myself to see if I actually believe in what I am doing and saying or if I'm just doing it because I know other people want to see me do it. It's brought a lot of inner peace to cut out the things I don't actually mean. 

Last of all, I want to leave you my ever increasing testimony of the Savior. I really believe that He lives.

Love you all! Have a great week!

Jerammaan!

Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, English-Marshallese speaking
不動心
Fudoshin:  immovable spirit

Monday, August 14, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Maintenance

Iokwe,

This week has been way busy. We've spent a good amount of time on exchanges with other missionaries, including some familiar faces, such as Elder Menlove and Elder Smith. It's been a blast. 

Elder Wold (tall brand new missionary) Elder Lloyd (goes home this week), and Elder Kilmer


Currently, we are spending a lot of time setting up our area since we are all new and know nothing about the members of our congregation or the people the former missionaries had been working with. That's left us really busy and with a lot of preparation and planning to do. Elder Lloyd and I have often been up until 1:30 am planning for the next day, only to wake up at 6:30 the next day and run for the whole day. We've had so much to balance as well, so it hasn't been just a mindless robot day ahead of us.

Despite that, the first few days were going really well. However, after we'd been going about a week, it began to get more and more difficult. The lack of sleep was weighing on me and we had been driving a lot and were so busy that often we didn't get personal study in. That was the thing that hurt me the most. The decreased presence of the Spirit from my lack of seeking after it started to make it much more difficult to be fully engaged and patient and loving, especially in stressful situations. 

However, haven't I already been through this issue? Remember those 3-4 emails I sent before on the very same problem?

It's sparked a question for me: Why am I failing to live up to the lessons I've already learned before? Why am I failing to apply the gifts and attributes I've received already? Why when I shift my focus from one area to another does my proficiency in the first area drop? Can't I just learn something and keep it? Or do I need to make this same mistake of failing to read my scriptures every day when I get busy about every three months or so? At what point can I just hold on to something?

As I've considered this idea, I've drawn a couple conclusions: 
1) We have the capacity to choose what we do and the way we live and who we are
2) With God's help, we have the strength to live up to that capacity in its fullest
3) Receiving God's help also requires we give everything we have

I don't have all of the answers yet, so I'm going to save this thought until I feel I can answer it succinctly and clearly without rambling. But, to give you an idea of what I'm doing to work on it: my goal for this next week is to do an inventory/analysis of my testimony and my beliefs so that I don't just keep saying "I know" about everything when in reality I have some things that are more of "I believe" or "I hope"; and also to do a personal inventory of my character and look for character defects and faults that I am still holding on to and reluctant to give up. If I have to keep correcting myself on the same problems over and over again, then something else is wrong and I'm putting a band-aid on a deeper wound. I'll get back to you on what I find, but I strongly believe this:

It's tough to take a real look at ourselves and admit our faults. But it will help us move forward. I believe that true and sincere, lasting repentance is real and brings eventual peace. I believe that the Savior can take the weight of our faults so that we don't have to. My goal is to let Him in the next coming weeks. 

Love you all! Have a great week!

Jerammaan!

Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, English-Marshallese speaking
不動心
Fudoshin:  immovable spirit
www.mormon.org

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Iokwe from OK! "English powers, come to me!"

Iokwe!

L to R: Elders Lloyd, Kilmer, and Wold

Thankfully I have remembered how to speak English. I still misspell so many words though... It takes me forever to type out a sentence. 

I also have very little time this week, but a lot of promises broken revolving around responding to personal emails, so I'm sacrificing my group email this week. I'll give you a better update next week. 

However, this is what is happening around here:

In Enid, Elder Smith and Elder Menlove are currently covering both the East and West areas waiting for their two new missionaries to come next Wednesday, at which point Elder Menlove will move to the West side with his new companion. Elder Oberender is in Ponca City for his last two weeks, trying to help out a little with the Marshallese work up there. 

I'm down in Guthrie 2nd, which is an awkwardly shaped area that covers a little bit of Edmond and all of Guthrie. We get to drive a lot in between the two cities. I'm with Elder Lloyd (he's served around me a little and was companions with Elder Smith in Ponca for a while), who is going home next Wednesday, and Elder Wold, who is a new missionary. I don't have the time to rave about them, but I will say that I really appreciate them and what great missionaries and people they are. We are having a blast.

The fun thing for us is that all of us are new to Guthrie 2nd, which means we know no one around here. We have spent the last 5 days getting to know the ward (congregation) and who they want us to work with and how we can help. It has been way effective, but also really really exhausting. We spend a lot of time planning and don't really know how to go to sleep on time. A friend just emailed me last week with this line: "I know you’ve been super busy and I hope that you have time to rest and unwind every so often."  *insert slightly crazy laugh here* Not at all! But there is nothing I would rather be doing right now. I love this work and it's making me something worth being. 

More of the same difficult personal improvements this week. No time for details, but I want to share again that it is really hard, but I know it's worth it. Little decisions today build up into a great character tomorrow.

Love you all, have a great week!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Iokwe from OK!: Leaving Enid (For Real)

Short email from Elder Josh Kilmer this week as he was in a rush.  We don't know much about his transfer other than he is moving to Gutrie, Oklahoma, which is just north of Oklahoma City.  His companion, Elder Oberender, goes home this week.

Here's an earlier photo of Elder Kilmer with Elder Oberender next to him on his right.

Hey everyone,


So sorry, but I actually have no time this week. Another week of crazy P-Days. I have enough time to say that I am actually leaving Enid this transfer! I'll be moving to Guthrie, which is about an hour south of Enid. No Marshallese work, however, it has been where Elder Lazarus, my old Marshallese companion has been staying. 

I'll give you more updates next week, but just know that I am super excited! Also, not too sure if I'll be able to come back to Enid to see my Marshallese friends since I only have 4 transfers left. We'll see. 

Love you all. Christ lives. I feel Him closer every day.


Jerammaan!

Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking
不動心
Fudoshin:  immovable spirit
www.mormon.org

Friday, July 28, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Taste of My Own Medicine

Iokwe!

So, President Mansell announced a few weeks ago that he was going to dub one week this month as Bike Week and he would let us know when that was because he wanted to do research on the weather; he promised it would be a week that wouldn't be so hot. 

Well.

Last week was decided upon to be the don't-even-think-about-touching-your-car-keys week. It was also the hottest week of the year. I really don't look at the weather, but I'm pretty sure it broke 100 every single day. Thank goodness that it was a dry week and less of a humid week. It honestly really wasn't that bad - like I said, thankfully I've already reached the "It's hot, so what?" stage - and we just made sure to drink a ton of water. But we sweat a ton. I've never sweat so much in my life. My shirts are so dirty. Some days we would come home for dinner just drenched in sweat and have to change all of our clothes. It was actually pretty fun. The best part was the number of people that stopped us and asked if we were okay. Everyone was so concerned that we were biking in such heat. I think President's idea was that people would take notice that we were willing to put forth such effort to get our message out there and feel the importance of what we were trying to share, but I think just about anyone that I ran into ended the conversation by shooting us a "You guys are idiots" look. Haha, oh well. 

Yesterday, we had interviews with our mission president, and Elder Oberender and I were asked to train on something. So, we chose to train on not waiting to become the person you want to be and who God wants you to be. We invited everyone to sit and ponder who they felt God sees in them and what is holding them back. We talked about setting low expectations for ourselves and putting it off until "someday" as excuses that we use to protect ourselves from making commitments we think we'll just end up breaking. We explained that we can't give up just because we see less in ourselves than God sees in us. We taught that if we can just catch a vision of what God sees in us, and believe in that, then we can do it.

It was super great. And then we had opportunity to do it ourselves (something about not being above what you ask other people to do). I was so excited to do it. And then I got what I asked for. It was something that I had never considered before, nor did I think was possible for me to do. I was astounded. The more I thought about it, the more I began to doubt and create excuses and lower expectations and put it off until "someday". 

It was really tough. I want you all to know that I understand how hard it is to try to make changes. This one almost got me. But, I heard a voice in my head (that sounded suspiciously like a friend from back home) that said "You idiot, apply your own training." So, I did. Everything that we taught everyone yesterday, all of the principles we shared and reminded them of, I know are true because they applied to me and they helped me overcome something hard.

I know life gets tough. Sometimes it may seem like we don't have the capacity to make bigger changes and become better people. Often, we probably don't. But, if we believe in ourselves and believe in the Savior, there will always be a way. I still have no idea how I'm going to live up to this new goal. But I know that with His help I can. I'll let you know how it goes.

Love you guys. Let's keep improving.

Jerammaan!

Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking
不動心
Fudoshin:  immovable spirit
www.mormon.org