Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Iokwe from OK! Hiking through Life

Iokwe aolep!

I get to email late today since we have actually been doing some translation service this week - a large part of yesterday and some more this afternoon - so our P-Day has been split across a couple days this week. 

This week's letter is a very honest one. Normally I like to cut out the things that bother me because I prefer to mostly solve my problems quietly on my own without having to drag others into it, but this is what is currently on my mind and I also think it is something that most people can relate to.

Life often feels like a hike to me. There are beautiful scenes, tough patches and enjoyable stretches. You move at different paces, sometimes travel with different parties. It's a great analogy. This last transfer has felt like I have reached a part of the trail that leads into a fog bank. I can kind of see enough to walk forward, but I'm unsure of the direction to take, or where exactly I am on the trail. At times the trail has been faint and it's been hard to tell if I have accidentally wandered off. 

There have been a lot of unexpected challenges this transfer. We got mumps for a week and couldn't work (we're all better now though). We've had a lot of sickness in our district and our car was in the shop for a week, which really crippled our ability to travel over our large area. These and other situations that are completely unfamiliar to me have made the past several weeks a huge guessing game and I often am unsure if I have made the right decision. Sometimes there wasn't a clear distinction between doing something good and doing what was best. 

This has been really difficult for me because I am happy to just change my behavior if I know I have been doing wrong, but I really have no clear perspective on that right now. It's also not really about doing right or wrong, but about good, better, and best, and about being diligent and doing everything you can. Also, many decisions have required more experience or better leadership skills than I possess at the moment. 

My friend, Sister Pun does a good job of talking about Jesus Christ and His Atonement for us; I figure I should take a leaf out of her book and do my fair share today:

When the Savior died for us, He didn't just do that so that we could live again after we die. He did that so that we could be forgiven of our mistakes. But that doesn't just include when we do something bad, but also when we simply fall short of being perfect, when we choose good rather than best; like how I do every day, but especially have done this transfer. The best part though, is not that we get to be forgiven and not have our mistakes stain our track record, but that the Atonement - Christ's grace available due to His death on our behalf - provides the enabling power to allow us to become better, to overcome our weaknesses and leave them behind. 

One of my favorite scriptures reads: And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. -Ether 12:27

I have definitely felt humbled by this past transfer. It has helped me recognize a lot of weaknesses of mine. However, I know that because of the Savior's sacrifice for us, it hasn't just been a trial by fire, but a refining fire to help me lose my impurities and become something more. That doesn't mean that these experiences aren't painful, but it does mean that they have purpose. I know that they have purpose because they are the Savior's way of helping us become more like Him and to follow him more closely. I know that He is the reason that we can find joy despite suffering in our lives. He is the reason life is worth it. I'm so grateful for His sacrifice for us and for me and for His constant love and patience with our weakness and my weakness. 

I know He lives. I know He loves us. I'm grateful to feel that every day out here. I promise that there is light that will prevail over whatever darkness we face in our lives, the small bad days and the catastrophic struggles. I also promise that we can overcome ourselves and become something more, no matter our weaknesses or imperfections. I know that will bring us joy.

Hopefully you can relate and it can bring us a little more joy as we remember the Savior this Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!


Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking

Fudoshin:  immovable spirit

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