Each time I write that introduction, it feels stranger and stranger. I’m starting to feel more and more like an English-speaking missionary.
This past week has been so nice. It’s cooled down quite a bit so we didn’t get absolutely baked and sweated out each day. On the other hand, my allergies have taken the opportunity to launch their own siege, beginning with a concerted attack on my contacts. After spending a day rapidly blinking and shifting my eyes from side to side in an effort to retain my contacts, I resorted to wearing glasses—partially to save myself the pain, but mostly in an effort to spare those we teach from the image of a wide-eyed possessed-looking Elder Kilmer.
That’s mostly saved me, but I had to laugh today when we walked into someone’s house to help them move and I unknowingly agreed to brave the perfect storm of seasonal allergies, dust, dogs, and cats combined—all of which unified to plague my sinuses. I’ve never sneezed so much, nor moved someone’s possessions out of their house so quickly.
A little update on those we are teaching:
We still get to see Danny and his family each week. They are doing so well. Danny now fellowships other members at church and goes out of his way to welcome people. We’ve nicknamed him Danny the Legend.
We’ve also picked up Courtney again—she is someone Elder Larsen has taught in the past, but lost contact with while she was moving. We met with her gain recently and she said that she didn’t remember much, but remembers that the church that Jesus Christ established while He was on the earth has been restored again, and that was her favorite part. We hope and expect to have exciting news with her soon.
We’ve actually had a bunch of other miracles, but none of them have ever panned out. We have those awesome “we-decided-to-turn-the-other-
way-and-met-someone-ready-to-l isten” experiences, but then they just never end up being home when we scheduled to stop by or they never answer their phone. It’s sad, but we can’t force it on them.
This week, I’ve been reflecting on how great it is to be a missionary. I’m just so happy—happier than I’ve been in my life. Despite people standing us up or rejecting us or being rude, I still experience a lasting happiness. I just love being out here.
The reason is that, as a missionary, we live what is important. All extraneous things we put off for two years. Not to say that school, work, family, etc are extraneous, but as a missionary, we apply the principle of “good, better, best.” We seek only after the best things; forgetting ourselves and sharing with others the things that matter most to us.
At first, I often would look back at the things I enjoyed, such as rock climbing, long boarding, shows or movies I like, and longed to have those again. Not that those things are bad, but they no longer hold a pull for me. Those used to take up the majority of my life, but now I feel that when I return, they will hold a lesser precedence. The reason being that while they aren’t bad things, as I mentioned, they were good things that I often let get in the way of the best things. I often sacrificed family time or reaching out to someone in need or enjoying the satisfaction of sincere prayer because I was worried about filling my time with the good things that I enjoyed.
As such, I want to extend the challenge this week that you evaluate how you spend your time and judge the things that you spend your life on. This challenge isn’t to command the banning of all pleasurable things or the tasks that simply must be done (like the dishes). It’s to remind everyone of the truth that I have recognized. We only have one life and when we get to look back on how we’ve spent it, it’s not very satisfying to see that we chose immediate and urgent good over the long-lasting joy of best. What the best things are will vary from individual to individual, but I promise that as we focus on what is best, and ensure that we make room for those things, we will experience more joy and satisfaction in our lives.
I think that often when we feel we aren’t finding true happiness, it’s because we fill up our lives with good, pleasurable things. It’s kind of like when you’re hungry so you just stuff a roll in your mouth. It satisfies for a brief moment, but something still leaves you feeling empty. I testify that as we focus on the best things, (I’ve found for myself that service and genuine relationships with others are some of the best things in my life) and spend only as much time as necessary on what’s merely good, that emptiness will be filled.
I look forward to hearing from you all. Have a great week!
Elder Josh Kilmer
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Mission, Marshallese/English speaking
Fudoshin: immovable spirit