Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Experiment on Faith

Iokwe aolep!

This last week was awesome. Best part: we had our semi-annual temple trip on Thursday and also got to have interviews with our mission president. What a blessing it was to go to the temple and spend some time in the Lord's house. For any of you unfamiliar with our temples, they are a special building, just like the ones you can read about in the Old and New Testament. After they are built, a dedicatory prayer is offered and they are set apart as the house of the Lord. As such, they are a very wonderful place, and a special spirit is always felt inside. Whenever I go, all of the worries and problems I had been facing that week seem to be left outside, and a feeling of peace and happiness prevails inside. So that was a major joy this past week.
Visit to the temple (Josh is back row in the center)

Also, in church yesterday, one of the counselors in the branch presidency (leadership in our congregation) spoke during the third hour and got really fired up about members and missionaries working together. Basically, he spoke to us for 30 minutes about how he felt there was nothing stopping us from converting all 3,000 or so Marshallese people in Enid. When members speak of member-missionary work, they usually talk about how it's the duty of the members and they need to contribute more, etc. Basically a guilt trip. We were excited to hear him simply talk about how he knew we could help a lot of people come closer to the Savior if we would work together. It was definitely an energy boost for us missionaries.

One thing that has struck me somewhat this past week is faith. The longer I stay on my mission, the more I run into people that struggle with faith. Often, they speak of faith as something that is childish and foolish, as if we trade wisdom for belief. It's really sad for me to hear that, because as I have felt my faith increase, I have seen my happiness increase. Especially as I receive quiet, subtle confirmations to my faith, I can see that faith in God, faith in the Savior, and faith in His church have provided lights for me on this obscure path we walk through this life. Often on my mission, challenges and questions have arisen to which I have had to shrug my shoulders and answer with an "I don't know." But being able to have faith that God does know and that he has a plan for each of us has been a life-saver. 

I know that sometimes faith is hard. That would likely be due to the definition of faith: belief in something that you can't see. Especially since true faith drives us to action. Sometimes it has been really hard for me to act on that belief. But every time that I have, I have been able to see God reciprocating and taking care of me. I know that faith - though difficult to exercise - can be built on real evidence and tangible confirmations from a loving Heavenly Father. When we are humble enough to seek for those confirmations, I know that faith will bring us greater peace in this life, and a happiness that can't be found from relying on ourselves.

I know I often promise peace and happiness, but that's because I so often see those two blessings in my own life in consequence to what I share in these letters. I know what I share is true because I have experienced it for myself. I wasn't entirely sure of my direction for this letter, but I would like to extend the challenge for you to try a little faith yourself. Experiment on it, give it some time and nourishment, and see if it doesn't bear fruit. 

Love you all. Thanks so much for being so supportive and continuing to read these letters and send some of your own. I am so happy to hear from all of you and hope you get something out of reading these letters too. Have an awesome week!


Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking

Fudoshin:  immovable spirit

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