Despite the name, we didn't really get a whole lot of stuff done this week. It's actually been crazy because the van is currently in the shop, and will be until late this week, so we have to bike everywhere. Which is really tough because Elder Tetea has a tough time biking for some medical reasons. So we have been really blessed because the first day it was an issue and we stopped and prayed and asked what we should do. I was a little uncertain because I didn't want to be far away from missionary houses if we had some problems, but we both felt like we should go to our next appointment. He's been fine all week ever since. It's been a major blessing because we've been able to work because of it.
Alright, this one is going to look weird because I copied it from our letter to the mission president, but this one is awesome. A little background on this: There is a member in our branch that we are really wanting to get to trust us, but we really haven't known how to do that, because they haven't given us anything when we have asked how we can serve them. They are an integral part of this branch and we need their trust and we want to work well together with them, so this has been a matter of prayer and much discussion. Finally, we determined that the best thing to do would be to visit members of their family.
Unfortunately, in this family, the culture is to follow the eldest brother, who is a pastor at another church that is very unfriendly towards our church. Another family member is a return missionary from our church and is also a pastor at this other church (by the way, sorry that this is super vague, but I'm trying to not point fingers at anyone specific). So, essentially, we don't expect very much of a warm welcome from this family. But we really felt like we needed to try. Here's the miracle (I changed the family name):
Remember how we talked about the Alkij family and our plan to see them to serve Brother Alkij? Well, the other day, we were biking past a house that I knew was a Alkij house and that probably had the return missionary who is a pastor there. I had a feeling that we needed to be there. We stopped for a minute and some people opened the door, saw us, and ran back inside and closed the door. I figured that wasn't too good of a sign and also wanted to stop by someone else who was nearby and who loves the missionaries, whom we haven't seen in a while. Well, they weren't home. While we were knocking on their door, I saw what looked like Brother Alkij's car rounding the corner. I put two and two together and I turned to Elder Tetea and said, "Want to do something crazy?" He was up for it, so we went across the street to the Alkij house. We pretended like we didn't see Brother Aljkij parked there, but he flashed his lights at us, so we walked over. He seemed happy to see us. We told him we were going inside and then knocked on the door. Long story short, we were invited in by someone we learned indeed was the return missionary pastor. But he was very kind to us and talked to us for a bit. He told us himself that he served a mission in San Diego and then allowed us to share a message to the 30 kids running around and say a prayer with them. Apparently they are moving to another state this Friday, but we offered to help them move if they would like.
It was a huge miracle because we definitely didn't deserve that warm welcome in that house (well, we did, but they, within all reason, shouldn't have given it to us). We thought they would toss us out. But we had a good experience with them and to top it all off, Brother Alkij, the very guy we were trying to serve, was sitting right outside and saw us go in for a good 20 minutes. It was awesome and a clear sign of God's hand in this work.
Once again, somehow I am out of time, but hopefully I was able to get across how amazing that was. Seriously, biggest miracle of my mission. Love you all, sorry I'm so low on time again this week. Talk to you all next week!
Elder Josh Kilmer
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Mission
不動心 Fudōshin: immovable mind