A little update on people we have been working with:
Patrick is someone we see every day, who is really really solid, but is waiting for his kids to come from the Marshall Islands so they can be present when he is baptized. Apparently they plead with him to wait every time they talk with him. We are fasting and praying for them to be able to come quickly.
Albert and Matella (whom I have nicknamed Nutella) are working toward marriage. Albert should have gotten paid this last week, which should speed up preparations. They are a little quiet, but really funny and they always poke fun at one another during lessons.
Richie and Zniko (pronounced Zenicko) are so awesome. Probably because they understand "white people humor." Marshallese humor is really dry, so sometimes we'll insert something funny into our conversations and it goes right over everyone's head because they just aren't used to that kind of humor. Richie and Zniko are masters at our humor and even shoot things right back at us. I got my own joking turned back on me the other night by Zniko. One of my "favorite" verses to call upon with a bit of fire and brimstone humor is 2 Nephi: "Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell." I shared that with them when Zniko misremembered something, and she smashed me with that verse later that night when I told them the wrong page number. I totally deserved it. Right now we are trying to contact Richie's family in the Marshall Islands so they can make wedding plans.
Barmill is another great investigator. He's really shy, but he and his fiancee, Helen, are wonderful. We are about to set a marriage date with them--probably this week. We've got a lot of marriages coming up.
A funny experience this week:Side note on why marriage is important to us from www.mormon.org: "It's no stretch to say that a person has a serious advantage in life if they come from a loving, supportive home. Many people still succeed though they come from less-than-ideal family situations, but having our basic needs met, knowing that our parents love us and learning life lessons at home make all the challenges of day-to-day living that much easier to face. Likely, as an adult you want a happy home for your family.This is no coincidence. God organizes us into families so that we can grow up in happiness and safety, and so that we can learn to love others selflessly—the key to true joy. Within the family is the best place to learn to love others the way Heavenly Father loves each one of us."
We were sitting in a lesson with a member named Tommy when there was a knock at the door. He opened it up partway, but so that we couldn't see who it was from the couch, nor could they see us. We heard a man introduce himself as a new preacher from the church half-way down the street and then say, "Tommy, have you found God?" in a demanding voice.
It was so hard not to laugh out loud at the situation and it was all we could do to not answer for Tommy. I'm sure he would have been shocked to have happened upon two missionaries, but preachers around here like to try to bash with us (argue about points of doctrine) and that's not our purpose. We all had a good laugh about it though.
One thing I've been thinking about this week is leadership. Often we think about leadership as managing something like a company. Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says that "Management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things." That ties in to a talk given by one of our General Authorities recently. He said that the greatest leaders are the greatest followers: they follow and live true principles and eternal truths.
Eternal truths are things that are true regardless of our own perspective. Gravity is a good example: on earth, things fall. Even if I don't believe in gravity, if I drop something it will fall at around 9.8 m/s2 toward the ground. We may not understand everything about gravity, but we know it is a law of the universe. Similarly, there are eternal truths and principles that exist, regardless of our perspective, such as integrity. Imagine a world that had no honesty, no integrity. It would devolve into chaos if no one was ever genuine and each person lied to seek after his own gain. We can see that, even if we don't always believe integrity will benefit us in the moment (such as when a child has no money for a candy bar, but the clerk isn't looking), it is a true principle that will help us to be happy if we live it.
Sorry for the technical tangent; back to leadership...The greatest leaders are the greatest followers because they follow these true principles. As they live these truths, they invite peace of mind and happiness in their lives, and they inspire others to do the same. They follow the principle of being genuine, so people trust them. They may not be perfect, but they try to continuously improve. It is because others see these things that they begin to follow this leader--others aspire to be like them.
In this case, we may not all be managers, but we all have the ability to be leaders. My challenge this week is to be a leader. Live by true principles, not by whims or popular vote. Our society in general continues to decline in morality and principle in favor of things fleeting, lesser value. Be a follower of good, true principles and help others be inspired by the good they see in your life and the happiness and peace it brings.
If you aren't sure of what to live for, I suggest reading Steven Covey's book. It gave me a good start. In addition, I have been able to listen to modern-day prophets that stand as witnesses of eternal truth and help us understand how to live by it. They have helped guide me through my life thus far, and I have continually found great value to the precepts they share. I would invite you to go to www.lds.org and hear for yourself what they have to say.
I know that I have seen a difference in my life when I have lived by following these principles and not only has it brought me peace and happiness as I have followed these truths, but it has brought me great joy to have discovered that I have inspired others to do the same. I promise that as we lead others to greater light in their lives by living true and correct principles ourselves, we will all rejoice together in the happiness we find.
Sorry for the novel today. Have a GREAT week!
Elder Josh Kilmer
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking
Fudoshin: immovable spirit