So, I am now in Norman, which is by Oklahoma City. It is a college town and super beautiful. The roads are smooth here (what a blessing!). Also, there are so many trees! It actually feels a lot like vacation. I keep expecting to hit the beach or something.
My new companion is Elder Larsen, who's our district leader (a district is a group of three to five missionary companionships). He came right after high school and has been out for a year (I actually just passed my five month mark <<gulp>> time flies). He is into computer programming, but I haven't gotten much time to discuss that with him because we have to bike super fast to make all our appointments (The sister missionaries mostly keep the car).
Sadly, there are no Ri-majns (Marshall Islanders) here. I keep asking, but hardly anyone has even heard of the Marshall Islands. We do see a lot of Native Americans though. I almost got a red-tailed hawk feather from one. I was so disappointed when he said he brought it for us but never actually ended up handing it over.
My dad asked me to explain the pictures of the cut on my face from a while back. I thought I had explained that before, but it'll tell the story here, just in case.
So, Elder Nicholas and I were biking down the sidewalk one day. I was in the lead and I saw some low-hanging branches that extended downward right in front of me. They looked pretty flimsy, so I thought, "No tree gets in my way!" gave my best battle cry, and plowed head first right through them. Well, it turns out that it was a branch that had fallen from higher up in the tree and wedged itself pretty tight on a lower branch, so it had very little give. Hence my facial cut. Am I dumb? Yes. Would I do it again? Also yes.
We have been teaching a family recently who wants to get baptized and confirmed. Danny, the father, told us that in the two weeks that he has been meeting with the missionaries and reading the Book of Mormon, and praying, he has never felt happier. To be honest, when I first decided to serve a mission, it was to meet expectations. I knew that I was supposed to go, but I didn't really have a desire to serve God or help other people or anything noble like that. But, since I have been out here and really living the teachings that we share with everyone, I've recognized how happy following the Savior's teachings makes me. It really does make me so happy. I've seen other people's lives change as we have taught them and I can tell it makes them happy too. It's easy to see there is a difference in the lives of those that live these teachings and those that don't. They go through the same rough times as anyone else, but those that live the gospel are always the ones with a happier countenance.
We are taught that if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine (John 7:17). That is, we can know if these teachings are true if we will test them by living them. That's my challenge this week: try this church. Test its teachings. If you truly try with an open heart and mind, I promise that what you reap from your efforts will be delicious above all else because it is Christ's church and His teachings and, therefore, His blessings that you will receive. If you are already sure of this fact, find a way to live it a little more in your life.
I testify from personal experience that it will make you happy. Maybe you already are happy, but just like an intelligent person can learn new things, a happy person can still increase in happiness, gathering more light until the perfect day. It may not come at once, and it will take some effort, but it feels good.
Elder Josh Kilmer
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking
Fudoshin: immovable spirit