Great news! I can finally understand what people are saying! I have just broken through the barrier of using context, facial/body expressions to get the gist of what people are saying to now actually picking up the words the use. It definitely makes the lessons more fun because its full of real laughter, not “Oh, Elder Nicholas is laughing…ha, ha, ha.”
In other news, we should be getting a new elder from Kiribati (located near the Marshall Islands) ! We still don’t know where he will be going, but our guess is to Ponca City with Elder Oberander. We’re so excited.
Also, Happy Fathers Day! We had a Father’s/Mother’s Day party at the church yesterday that we helped host (we are currently trying to help the branch learn to have activities). During one point, a women got up and sang a few songs for the men. One consisted of the oldest woman joining in at the end of each verse and making fun of each individual man in the room. She toasted everyone pretty well; everyone was laughing.
This week, Elder Nicholas and I have been trying to learn how to use our time more wisely. We have been wanting to work hard, but have come to recognize that it doesn’t just mean outputting more effort haphazardly. We decided that the answer lies in the difference between working hard and being hard working. We decided that working hard means that you are expending a lot of energy and effort, but that it didn’t necessarily mean a lot was getting done. Admirable effort is applied, but the outcome may only be that you end up exhausted.
On the other hand, we felt being hard-working means that working hard is part of your character and identity; it’s who you are. But you don’t just exhaust yourself---you are hard working while trying to apply your effort to the things that matter most. Working hard while working smart by choosing things that are best, not just good.
How do we do that? I don’t know. We’re still figuring it out. But we are going to sit down this week and set carefully considered goals to which we can happily commit and wear ourselves out at.
So my challenge this week is to do the same: evaluate what you spend your time on. Choose to be hard working by making plans and setting valuable goals, and make working hard part of who you are—a lifestyle that feels rewarding through progress, not a life-draining quota you have to keep up with. I feel far too many of us nowadays spend so much energy on so many things that don’t matter, get nothing important done, and then feel they can’t rest because the still carry the weight of unfinished, truly important tasks. A stressed-out life is not how we are supposed to live. We should enjoy progress, but also enjoy rest. We are meant to be happy—that’s the purpose of life. Sure, there are mountains to climb, but they are there for progress. Don’t break yourself climbing the wrong mountain.
I promise that if we aim to focus on what is most important and put forth and effort into that, we’ll be able to enjoy the rewards of both working hard and resting. Our lives will be happy and full of peace---the way they are supposed to be.
Keep up your great work! You’re all awesome.
Elder Josh Kilmer
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking
Fudoshin: immovable spirit