Monday, April 24, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Meekness and Weakness


I've just got a couple things to share this week, both from yesterday:

During church yesterday, our high counselor (someone who visits the branch to speak on behalf of the stake president [the leader over several congregations]) came to speak to us again. This year's goal for us is to gain more Christ-like attributes. So far, they have discussed humility, submissiveness, and, yesterday, meekness. As far as I know, in Marshallese all of those translate to the same word, and they have similar meanings in English as well, so he explained how he believed they were defined.
As Elder Kilmer puts it: "Our district from left to right: Elder Lazarus, Elder Oberender, Elder Munson, Elder Rodier, Elder Hendrix, Elder Smith, Elder Marshallese Smith (my comp), Elder Awesome"

District Frisbee Golf

He said humility is the way we look at ourselves. Submissiveness is related to our interactions with those around us. So, essentially, if we are humble, we don't think of ourselves as being above or better than others. We recognize our faults and imperfections, but we also don't tear ourselves down and stick our heads in the sand. Being submissive has to do with whether we follow our will or someone else's, whether we bend to them or not. 

Meekness, he said, is about to whom you are being submissive. 

Meekness is not being weak because the way you are submitting is not just bending whichever way the wind blows or letting people walk over you. It is choosing to be submissive to God. When we choose to be submissive to God, it is not weakness. It is hard. It takes strength to submit to God; he doesn't ask us to do things that are always easy. Loving your enemies, doing good to them that hate you, taking time to serve others, paying tithing, making time for church, prayer, scripture study, not even thinking about committing adultery... Those are not easy commandments to submit our wills to. 

As he spoke, it became increasingly clear to be that by choosing to meekly submit to God's will, we aren't short changing ourselves or lowering our position. We aren't missing out on anything or losing anything important. We will gain strength in choosing things that are best. If we really believe that God loves us, shouldn't we also believe that His will is what will make us most strong, most happy, and leave us best off? 

My personal story on the matter:
This last week I read this scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 84: And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to 
continue faithful in all things, shall not be 
weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and hair of his head shall not fall to the 
ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, 
neither athirst.
I had been thinking a lot about this scripture this week. Pretty applicable to me because I'm tired a lot. Well, yesterday was the most physically and mentally trying day of my mission to date. Not only did I get wreaked by my allergies (there were literally balls of allergen stuff I could see floating through the air), but I also got hit hard by some sort of 24-hour flu. I felt like I could never get enough water in my system. My whole body ached, my muscles felt like they hadn't been stretched in years, and I was so low on energy that I felt as if I had been fasting for two days straight. It was hard even standing. 

However, I felt like I was not supposed to just lie around in the house all day. I felt desire to go out and work. I honestly thought that I was probably going to pass out mid-afternoon, but I got down on my knees that morning and prayed that if it was Heavenly Father's will for me to go out and work that day, that He would please grant me the strength to go and I would do everything I could to follow what He wanted for me. 

Not only did I not pass out despite biking about 8-10 miles yesterday, but we managed to find someone who told us that he had given up smoking and drinking on behalf of his family and wanted to continue making changes to get closer to God and teach his kids right; as well as resolve the problems of someone we are currently teaching who we have been rather concerned about. He had been sitting on the fence about whether he actually wanted to change or just stay in the same rut, but by the end of the lesson he decided to make some changes and wanted us to come back. 

I know the scripture says that they shall not be weary. I was so weary. I think the principle is that Heavenly Father will take care of His children when they are faithful. Despite being physically spent, I saw blessings from being obedient and submissive to what Heavenly Father wanted for me, even though it would have been nice in the moment to just sleep the whole day. But, by the end of the day, I felt fine again. This morning, I went on a run. 

I know that Heavenly Father wants what is best for us. By being meek and choosing to be strong by submitting to His will, we will be happier. My challenge this week is for you all to choose one thing that you need to do or not do in order to be meek and submit to God's will. Do it!

That's all, except for pictures. Love you all!


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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Iokwe from OK: Happy Easter!


So, this week was definitely crazy. We were trying to move out of our house by our deadline on Saturday, which was great except we had Zone Conference in OKC on Thursday and Elder Smith and Elder Oberender were going on exchanges in Edmond right after Zone Conference through Friday -- also, we still had yet to find a house to move into.... Which meant that we spent far less time doing actual proselyting than we wanted to and a lot of time tossing all of the contents of our house into the other Elders' house just down the street.... only to find out that our housing coordinator extended our stay at our current house for two weeks to give us more time. So we have now packed everything back into our house and are preparing for round two, hopefully this week!

Inline image 1
(Elder Lazarus, Elder Smith, Elder Kilmer, Elder Oberander)

In other news, this transfer I have really been focusing on being firmer in the faith of Christ. I have realized that I believe in God, I believe in Christ, I believe they exist... but they can sometimes feel kind of far away. Like they are some distant beings that I am unfamiliar with that I turn to for help from time to time. 

In Marshallese, to say that you know a person, you use an extra word that makes the sentence: "I know the identity of *insert name here*." So if you were to say "I know Jesus Christ" you would say "I know His identity" or "I know His character". I have really felt like I have been coming to know His identity more and more. As I have really sought to know Him, He has become real to me. Someone that I feel is close by, not some unknown being who watches from a distance. I feel that He is near me, and within arm's reach. 

I am so grateful for a Savior who is real. He really is. I know He loves us and He knows us. Have a great week!


Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Sleeping Like a Sea Cucumber


So, there is a phrase in Marshallese, which is "kiki in jibenben", meaning "to sleep like a sea cucumber". Do I know why they say that? Not exactly.... But if cucumbers sleep anything like rocks do in English, then that is exactly what I have been doing this week. At night, during studies, during lessons... I even fell asleep during a phone conversation with Elder Lazarus. Somehow Elder Smith and I don't know how to make sure we get enough sleep at night. There always seems to be something that we have to take care of that lasts past 10:30

However, despite the continual exhaustion, life is so great! We had 115 people at church this week. 115. That, in my experience, has only been surpassed by one week when we had 4 baby blessings, which is a family event, so Marshallese people ate it up and invited all of their relatives. The great thing though, was not the number of people, but rather that all of the people that attended were people that I have been working with for a year now. Families that we have consistently visited in an effort to get them a ride or to build up the desire to come to church, all suddenly attended together. The Spirit was so strong as so many of the members stood up in front of the congregation to share what they believe and the blessings they have received in their lives. 

Also, one of our members is a very prominent figure in the Marshallese community (he used to be the president of the community and still has a lot of interaction with important state representatives from all over the country), and a couple reporters came to interview him, which involved coming to church and sitting through the entire service. It was pretty fun to translate for them, especially since it was a testimony Sunday, so I got to translate to them the everyone's testimony of a living prophet today and of our Savior and Redeemer about 10-12 times.

In other news.... BARMEL GOT BAPTIZED!!!! 10 years in the running, having finally had his divorce papers filed and processed and having married his (now) wife, he was ready to go. He was so excited and he seemed so happy. Talking to him beforehand, he explained how he had made a promise to himself that when he was baptized, he would put everything in his old life behind him and move forward in doing what was right. I know that he has put behind a bad past and he said that while it was hard to leave behind a few things, he will now endure to the end of the world. What a blessing it was to hear such commitment from him. One thing that I am really learning to appreciate is commitment, especially commitment to following Christ. I know Barmel is going to be a strength to his family and everyone who knows him. 

As we lead up to Easter, I invite you to view this 2 minute video celebrating Christ as the PRINCE OF PEACE: .  This message is why I am serving a mission.  

Life is so good. Enjoy this next week!  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Firing it up in Enid

A few weeks behind on Josh's posts as we were on vacation.  Here is last week's.


Life is so good. We are literally (figuratively) on fire right now. 

Also, I just learned today from Elder Larsen that Dani and his family (remember them?) are doing SO well right now. Apparently they haven't missed a single week of church and they should be on track to be sealed in the temple as a family towards the end of this year. Elder Larsen reports that they are really happy. I love them so much and I am so glad they are doing so well. 

Back to being on fire: 
Elder Smith and I are having so much fun right now. We are also so. tired. *sigh.....* I want sleep so badly but I want to work even more.... But it still feels like my heart is being torn apart between two loves. 

Aside from the lack of sleep, things are going so great. Elder Smith is awesome. He has such a great desire to work and he has such a positive attitude. Every time something bad happens, he just shrugs it off and starts running way too energetically towards the next thing on our schedule. It's so great.

One change I've been experiencing recently is the feeling that the Gospel is really important. I always knew that for myself it has great value. But I have been, up to this point, rather timid sometimes when it came to trying to help others see that as well. If they came up with excuses for why they didn't pray or read or come to church, I would tend to accept those and let them keep making them. I'm really starting to feel now, however, the true importance of the things that we have to share with them and the importance of acting on them. Reading the scriptures is more important than sleeping in. Going to church and taking the sacrament is more important than the party your friends are holding (big problem out here). Feeling the Spirit is more peaceful than sleeping in. Being changed by the Savior's grace is more satisfying than being lazy. 

As I am really trying to apply this in my own life, I feel such a desire to help others to do the same. There is nothing I have found so far in my life that can bring more peace, more happiness, more love, more unity in our families, than actually living the principles that the Savior taught when He was on the earth. Principles like faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of His Spirit, loving others, serving, studying, praying, being humble, forgiving. No status, no position, no achievement, no pleasurable activity can provide the joy we can experience by applying these teachings because they are His teachings. As we follow them, we let the Savior and His light into our lives.

In Preach My Gospel, our missionary manual, it says:
"Commitment is the act of obligating oneself to a course of action and then diligently following through on that decision. When people are genuinely committed, they have real intent, meaning that they fully intend to do what they have committed to do. They make an unwavering and earnest decision to change. They become devoted to Christ and dedicate themselves to His gospel."

This is what I am experiencing in my life. Commitment. I'm committed because I have felt the change these teachings have brought to my life, because by living them I have allowed the Savior to change me into something better. And I am more happy. I have more peace. I have more light. 

If you felt anything while reading this, even the slightest desire stirring in you, my challenge this week is to follow the Savior, live these principles, and come and be happy too. 

I know what I shared is true. I know it has value in everyone's lives, no matter where we are or who we are. 

Thanks for reading this far into my mission! I really appreciate the support and I love hearing from you all! Have a great week! 


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