Sunday, October 23, 2016

Iokwe from OK! Marshallese fluency round 2


I hit my 8th month mark this week.  Crazy!

We have been SO busy.  A little update on what's going on:  I was just getting fluent before I left in July, and now after returning and being here for 2 weeks I still can't understand most Marshallese people.  It's frustrating x 6.  However, from what I can understand, we have a 9 year old girl who is being baptized next week.  We also have 2 other really solid investigators named Rose and Oliver who are progressing towards baptism too.

Also, we now have about 90-some odd people coming to our sacrament meetings on Sundays.  Our little branch may become a ward in a couple of months!  Each week we have about 3 set nights participating in a Family Home Evening in member homes--where at some FHEs about 20 people come.  They are awesome.  In addition to Sundayworship, Mormons gather their families at least one evening each week for what we call Family Home Evening. It is a time to strengthen family ties. We do this by learning the gospel together, by listening to each other’s feelings, thoughts and ideas, and by enjoying activities together. It is usually held on Monday evenings.  Prophets have promised great blessings to those who follow this counsel, including greater faith in the hearts of the youth, increased ability to resist temptation, and greater peace, love, and harmony in the home.  FHE has been a blessing in my own family, and I can feel the power of it in these gatherings.

We had a great first lesson with someone named Liro.  He asked US for a Book of Mormon before we even brought it up.  That was awesome.
Best story of the week:  Our house is 6 miles from Sunridge Estates which are at the very bottom of our area.  Elder Menlove and I were teaching a lesson at a member's home--also about 6 miles from Sunridge in a different direction. A member from Sunridge showed up and asked if we could give her daughter a Priesthood blessing, since she wasn't feeling well.  We planned on getting there around 8:30, so we started biking.  Just before we got up the overpass next to Sunridge, I shifted gears and heard the saddest grinding noise my bike has ever made, which was followed by an immediate halt.  Turns out my derailleur decided to be obnoxious and position itself inside the spokes of my wheel, which resulted in a bent and completely useless derailleur and no ability to bike.  I couldn't even spin the rear wheel.  It was 8:30, we were 3 miles and a busy highway away from our car, which we had the keys to and 6 miles from our house.  And we needed to give someone a blessing and be home by 9:00.  It was just like those "one time on my mission" stories you hear.  So we took some pictures, I detached my rear wheel and strapped it to my backpack, picked up my bike and jogged/walked down to Sunridge.  Turns out the person who needed the blessing wasn't home:-/  so we ditched our bikes at a member's home and got a ride to our car.  

HERE's THE GOOD PART:  While driving home, we noticed someone next to us was staring.  We rolled down the window and realized it was Patrick!!!  Patrick was one of our investigators a while ago who was just waiting on his kids to come to the U.S. so he could get baptized.  Apparently while I was gone, he moved and no one knew where to.  So all of the sudden we're at the same stop light as he is.  It seemed as if my whole biking incident had been orchestrated so that we could reconnect with Patrick at just that moment.  Miracles.

I love seeing the hand of God in the details.  It's great to be in Enid again.  Elder Menlove is a blast.  We are loving the work here.  Even though I am busier than I have ever been in my life, there is nothing I would rather be doing right now.  


Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking

Fudoshin:  immovable spirit

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Iokwe from OK! I'M BACK!!!


For the first time in 3 months, that greeting is once again appropriate because I'M BACK IN ENID!!!  Wooooo!!!  I'm so excited.  I'll be serving in my previous area, Oakdale West, and I'll be serving with Elder Menlove!!!

I'm somewhat sad to leave Norman and Elder Larsen though.  Norman is a nice area and the people we have been teaching have come to mean a great deal to me.  It's also rare that you get a companion as great as Elder Larsen.  He's honest, hard-working, selfless, intelligent, and he clearly understands his purpose as a missionary.  He has a great love for this work.  Anyone would be lucky to be his companion and I have learned a lot from him these past 3 months.

On this last week:  Our area has been crazy.  Like I mentioned last time, it has doubled in size, due to the preliminary transfers made in Norman.  Well, we didn't account for the extra miles needed to drive missionaries to and from their new areas (we only have a certain number of miles we can drive every month) and we accidentally went over our monthly mile limitations for our zone by 90 miles.  Ooops.  So our zone leaders instituted Operation Bike Week.  It was a little complex but instructions basically followed the lines of "Don't move your car no matter what ever ever ever until miles reset on 10/1."  I'm guessing Elder Larsen and I biked about 60 miles from Tuesday through Friday.  That's about the equivalent of the ride my dad and I did from San Juan Capistrano to San Diego.  Not only that, but we had to bike quickly to make it to our appointments on time.  My thighs are now bigger than my head.

Brief change in topic:  This weekend was General Conference, the time when the Prophets and Apostles speak to us.  President Nelson, one of the 12 Apostles, spoke about joy.  He said, "Joy has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives."  What a powerful concept.

Back to Operation Bike Week:  Some missionaries were complaining that they had to bike so much--especially since it really wasn't their fault.  No one had anticipated the early transfers and couldn't have prepared for it.  Other missionaries acceped the change in stride and chose a happy attitude anyway.  Both groups survived the week (mostly).  They both endured the same circumstances (aside from small differences in area), and spent the same amount of their time.  The difference was how much they enjoyed it.  Those whose focus was on their own personal comfort probably thought it to be a terrible week.  Those whose focus was working hard, serving others, sharing the things that make them happy, and following the Savior probably didn't find it pleasurable to bike so much, but likely found that joy was still present in their lives throughout the week, despite the circumstances.

We will all face less-than ideal circumstances in our lives. Hot days. Cold days. Lost jobs. Unanswered questions. Financial struggles.  Physical injury. Long days at work. Unfair situations. Loads of school work. The time we spend in these circumstances is often largely out of our control; it is also precious time we are spending during the one life on Earth that we get; it's also inevitable.  What is left up to us is where we place our focus, and therefore, how much joy we invite into our lives and allow ourselves to experience despite all of that.  

Let us shift the focus of our lives--make it happen today. Why wait until next week to allow more joy into our lives?  I promise that as we focus less on ourselves, our desires, our personal comfort, and focus more on those around us, on spreading light, building strong relationships, learning, growing, on things of worth, we will love life.  We will not always be blissfully happy, but our lives will be filled with long-lasting joy.  I also promise that if we make the Savior the center of our focus, we will find everlasting peace, fulfillment, and happiness.


Elder Josh Kilmer
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking

Fudoshin:  immovable spirit

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Going back to Enid!

Elder Josh Kilmer is being transferred back to Enid this week, were he served three months ago.  This means that he gets to work with the Marshal Islanders again.  He is going to be companions with Elder Menlove, who he has already met.  He has also been made the district leader there.

This is what he sent us this week--a letter with this at the top and his address at the bottom.  Do you think he's excited to go back?