Monday, March 27, 2017

Iokwe from OK: Some pictures


This week is more pictures and transfer updates!

Elder Lazarus and Elder Oberender will be Marshallese speaking West
Elder Smith (Marshallese) and I will be Marshallese East
Elder Smith (Spanish) and Elder Rodier will still be Spanglish in Enid North

I am so excited! I wanted to be Elder Smith's companion ever since I met him in the MTC. Dream team is here!

1) Us walking home because our car was grounded.

2) Candid of Elder Lazarus

3) LittleRose (who moved!!!) and Sheren and a sunburned Elder Kilmer (from walking because the car was grounded.....)

4) Elder Rodier and I are both climbers, so we created our own traverse out of tables.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Iokwe from OK: Weird Week!


So, we had a curve ball thrown at us this week when on Thursday Sister Mansell called and told us that Elder Nicholas is getting moved to be an office elder in the city to go help relocate the mission office from OKC to Edmond (I think) during the next three weeks or so. Apparently they only had one office elder at the time and needed another one to help during the move. So she basically said that some missionaries were coming up in about 2 hours and we both needed to pack because he was leaving and I was forming a trio with Elder Lazarus and Elder Tetea to cover all of Enid. Soooooo that was sudden and weird. It was also hilarious because Elder Nicholas and I always joked about how being called to an office elder was a huge insult, as if President Mansell were trying to tell you that you were a terrible proselyter so you needed to be pulled out to do busy work so you don't do any more damage. We had a good laugh at Elder Nicholas's expense over that one. 

So currently, Elder Tetea, Elder Lazarus, and myself are in charge of both the East and the West Marshallese areas in Enid, which has been a bit of an adjustment because we have been trying to merge our records and get acquainted with each other's investigators. But we're starting to work things out. They told us it should be a temporary change for just these three remaining weeks in this transfer and then we should have two companionships again and things will be back to normal. 

When you're a missionary, living in a trio equates to working really hard to follow the schedule and get to things on time (even with our two bathrooms), and especially with our weird move and sudden changes, we've really struggled to get in our studies this week. I've really felt the impact of losing those precious hours of spiritual preparation for the day. I've found that I've been more inclined to think about myself only, respond poorly, complain, and generally give in to all of the selfish impulses that make us worse people than we want to be.

 I've discovered in my own life that there are certain things that I need to consistently do in order to maintain my well-being. These things include (among others) daily scripture study, daily prayer (ideal when humble and sincere), spending time serving others, spending time with uplifting people, engaging in uplifting and wholesome media, attending church each week, exercising, eating well, etc.

Honestly, it's not hard to see that those things are good. Every time I make a list of those things, I feel kind of stupid because it's so obvious. However, I've found so often in my life that I end up excluding some of those activities from my daily life for some reason or another and then end up wondering a few days or weeks later why on earth I feel so stressed and oppressed by everything in life. I end up so irritable and I feel like I'm not in control of my life, and every time I stop to think about what is wrong, I can see that for the past while I have cut out those good things in my life, either intentionally or accidentally.

I feel like we are a little like plants in that respect. Though they need constant nourishment, if necessary, plants can go a day without water. However, when several days pass, they really start to miss it. After a while longer, they wilt, turn brown, and eventually start falling apart. 

As I work hard to make sure I get the necessary water for my well-being this week, my challenge for you all is to evaluate your lives and see if you are missing anything that you need. And then make time for it. I know that sometimes those little things don't really seem to make much of a difference, but I promise that over time you will feel a whole lot better as you invite more light into your life. We see it every time as the people we meet with begin to read the scriptures, pray, and come to church. I'm especially a big proponent of those three. They bring me so much peace. 

Hope your week goes well as you give it a shot!


Elder Josh Kilmer
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Mission
不動心 Fudoshin:  immovable mind

Monday, March 6, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Awesome week


This email will be almost entirely dedicated to my exchange (note: exchanges are when missionaries switch companions for a day to learn from each other and help out in the other missionary's area) on Wednesday with Elder Rodier, our district leader, because that was an awesome day (this is going to be long, but the whole day was awesome, so you're getting all of it):

In the morning, before the exchange, I made a few goals for things that I wanted to improve on, including listening and testifying with feeling and sincerity. We then met up at their house to exchange for the day. We had a little down time, so I pulled out Preach My Gospel (our missionary handbook) and read in Chapter 5 about how the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ and how when we share that with others that the Holy Ghost should be a witness of our testimony and the power by which we share that. That stuck with me, since it related to one of my goals for the day.

Immediately after that, we went to go teach one of the English missionaries' investigators, named Isabel. We were going to teach her about some of the commandments we have received and had been invited to a member's home to do so. It turned out that this member was an older woman who had a caretaker helping her out that day. We taught Isabel and not only did she accept the commandments we shared with her, but she also asked if there were any more and what they were! Elder Rodier and I were surprised (because who asks for more rules?) and happily overviewed the rest of the commandments, which she accepted and told us she is already paying tithing and fasting in her church. 

She then proceeded to tell us that she feels that the Book of Mormon is truly God's word, because of the change in her life that she has seen as she has been reading it. We were so happy to hear that and we could see that she seemed happier and like there was more light in her life than when we had first met her. 

During the whole lesson, the caretaker I mentioned had been sitting in the background and listening. I had noticed and intended to talk with her once we were done, but Elder Rodier beat me to it and zoomed right on up to her, asking what she thought of what we were talking about. I was caught in a conversation with the other two, but when I zoned back in on their conversation, I heard Tony (the caretaker) talking excitedly about how she always felt like she wanted more scripture that was written for our time. I quickly joined their conversation and we spent a good 30 minutes explaining to her about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She loved everything and seemed so hungry for more knowledge. We left her with a Book of Mormon. 

After that lesson, we returned home to plan out an important lesson with Doug, another investigator of theirs who had been really struggling lately and had several concerns about baptism and why it was important for him, as well as how the Book of Mormon and Bible support each other and work together. We spent about 2.5 hours planning for this lesson, pulling out scriptures from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon and discussing the direction we wanted to take for this lesson (which was so much fun; I love planning). 

Just when we were starting to finalize everything, Elder Rodier stopped and said "I feel like we're missing something... I feel like we need to be out working right now."  We were both happy to skip dinner and head out to follow our impression, which we did promptly. Upon leaving our house, we saw a woman across the street who was packing up and about to head inside from working in her yard. We biked over and after talking with her for a little, we learned that she is currently trying to get back together with her husband and that she is having a rough time. I got to share with her how reading the Book of Mormon has helped me during some really hard times in my life because of the witness it gives of the Savior, who is able to help us when we can't do much for ourselves. I really tried to follow what I had read and set goals for this morning and I meant what I said and said it with feeling. Elder Rodier jumped in to add to what I said and we all felt the Spirit testifying that what we were saying was true. She began to tear up several times and told us at the end of the conversation that she felt encouraged and strengthened. We credited that (appropriately) to the Spirit. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she would read it. 

We were both really happy to have followed through on that prompting from the Spirit because if we had waited, she would have gone inside and we never would have gotten to talk with her because her husband is less-than-friendly to strangers and had put a sign on the door to discourage people knocking. That was the perfect time to meet her.

At the end of the night, we had our lesson with Doug. I have been to his house several times now and already knew that my allergies and their 6-7 dogs would not make for a very happy Elder Kilmer. Every time I had been there before I had been left sniffling and sneezing the whole time. Before we went inside, I said a quick mental prayer, asking that I would not be incapacitated and that I would be able to participate in this important lesson. Well, the lesson went really well and, despite several dogs lying on top of me, I didn't sneeze or sniffle once (though as soon as we got home, I got hit so hard by my allergies that I had to change my clothes and sneeze about a hundred times). At the end of the lesson, Doug said the most humble prayer I have ever heard: he said he knows that in the past he has been really stubborn and run away from things that are good, and he asked that God would send His Spirit to help him recognize what His will is so that he doesn't make the same mistake now. 

At the end of the day, we had experienced so many miracles and everything from talking with everyone we saw, to preparing a personalized lesson plan, to skipping dinner to follow an impression was exactly what I had hoped for in my mission. It was such a great day and a huge blessing for me to see that Heavenly Father really is in charge of His own work. He knows all of His children and will make sure things go well when they are willing to be obedient and seek after Him. 

I wanted to share this with everyone, even if you don't follow all of my beliefs, to provide an uplift after last week's kind of downer email, and especially to testify that Heavenly Father knows us and will bless us by reaching out to us personally, just as He did for me on this exchange. This whole day was tailored exactly for me; all of it was absolutely perfect and I couldn't have asked for a better day. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and wants so badly to bless us and help us recognize those blessings. 

Also, the struggles I mentioned last week are starting to work themselves out now. The future is looking bright! Have a great week!


Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking
Fudoshin:  immovable spirit