Hey everyone! Since we were a couple of weeks behind, you get two posts from Elder Kilmer this week. He has officially been gone 13 weeks now. Next Friday (the 27th) is his 100 day mark; what a great milestone! As always, he appreciates any message of encouragement, via email or letter. Thanks for your support.
This week has flown by. It seems like I was just writing my last general email yesterday. The days felt super long individually though. Probably because we had to take the van into the shop where it stayed from to , leaving us with bikes only. I'm happy to bike, but it made time efficiency difficult because on the west side, we live far from those we teach and the area is fraught with busy streets, but somehow sidewalks got left out of the picture. We had another couple 30 mile days this week. By the time I get home, I won't need to climb up rocks, I'll just be able to jump right over them for all my leg strength.
HOWEVER, two days ago we discovered Enid Trails, which is a bike trail that runs horizontally across the city--complete with drinking fountains, bathrooms, and no cars. It was enough to make a grown missionary cry. Welcome to the sad life of a missionary--shedding tears over bike trails.
In other news, we had a new addition to our ranks this week: Elder Menlove. He actually came out at the same time as Elder Nicholas, but had to go home after breaking one wrist and spraining the other (that's why you always wear bubble wrap armor while biking, kids). He's finally healed up and ready to come back out. I like him already. He's from Colorado and he is the most outgoing guy you will ever meet. Yesterday, even though his Marshallese is rusty after being home for 6 months, he talked with every single member in sight. It didn't matter if he could say everything he wanted to or understand them, he let them know just how much he missed them. It was really impressive to me because I am in the same boat with the language, but I don't do any of that. I definitely have work to do.
One thing that has been way funny is that Marshallese people can't handle Elder Menlove's name. He'll introduce himself and they will just lose it. When they calm down a little, we get in broken English, "It's funny because...in kajin Maje! (Marshallese)...it's Men...Iokwe!" And then they lose it all over again. We've tried asking them what's so funny about that, but they just start laughing again. It's hilarious to watch and it's a great ice breaker.
So remember how last week I talked about how I've been learning to work with people? Well, this week is round 2. Apparently I have a lot to work on in this area. What I've been learning this week is how to let little things go. This was something I thought I knew, but I've discovered that I really don't fully understand it because I don't actually do it. Unity is essential in our lives. For me as a missionary, it's important because if my companion and I aren't unified, we can't teach. It's also essential in the workplace, in our friendships, and in our families. When there is contention, or disagreement, there is a lack of unity--they can't exist together. That doesn't mean you can't believe something different than others, or have a unique perspective. We aren't meant to be robots. But I'm starting to recognize the difference between having a different perspective, and thinking your way is the right one and trying to make that THE WAY. Okay, maybe we didn't take the most efficient route or we ended up 5 minutes late or my companion takes the lesson in a different direction than we had planned (I'm totally guilty of that one). When I return back home, roommates will likely leave dirty dishes out. Maybe some one in your family will want to take two trips instead of one. And most importantly, maybe your way IS the right way. It sometimes will be. The hardest thing for me was to recognize that we are all on different levels. The things I used to argue over have become pointless with that perspective. If it's not important, I have never regretted sacrificing my will for unity and peace. And sometimes, the other person has come back afterwards and asked for correction. Sometimes not. But either way, my life has been better in the long run.
So, my challenge: Let the little things go. Sacrifice contention for unity. Think win/win. When everyone is happy, everyone is happy--even if not everything is perfect. I promise that as you do so, your lives, your families, and your relationships will improve. You'll be happier, feel less stressed, and find more peace.