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

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