Monday, May 15, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Laughs and Tears (and more antithetical titles)


It's not as good as the jumping picture (somehow we managed to orient ourselves according to height and make equally enthusiastic faces as we were jumping through the air but utterly failed to do so as we were standing on our porch....) but here's the Marshallese group in Enid! 
In the picture, from left to right: Elder Nicholas, Elder Oberender, Elder Lakatu (that means "hot guy" in Marshallese), Elder Smith, and Elder Menlove

The laughs are due to Elder Menlove, who has gained slightly more control over his crazy laugh, which means it's an even more enjoyable challenge to get him to guffaw loud enough for the other side of the city to perk up. Even our branch president has joined in on the game. We are having a lot of fun; it's going to be an awesome transfer.

On to the tears: this weekend we had a funeral. One of the elderly members of our branch passed away early this last week. She had been sick for a long, long time, so it was actually a blessing and relief to her and to her family for her to move on to a more peaceful rest. So that was actually not the sad part, especially since her husband seemed to be at peace.

The sad part was the actual funeral. It was run by a group of pastors from another church, and not only was it disappointing, but it was a disgrace. Not once did the pastors testify of the Savior, the resurrection, or anything of value or comfort to this family. Not only that, but the funeral ended with a praise song - not to God - to the pastors themselves. As people walked up, shook their hands, and dropped money in a tin. The money was counted in front of everyone before the funeral even ended. It was disgusting. It is not my intention to criticize other churches, nor do I want the focus of my emails to be centered on negativity, so I am going to cut off my description there.

The reason I bring this up, however, is because the reason that funeral was so atrocious is because there was no hope. No truth was taught. No reminder of the Savior's sacrifice for us was given. No uplifting doctrine shared. None of God's promises of blessings for us were restated. At several points during my stay there, one of the daughters who had been separated from her mother during the last few months of her life stood by the casket and just wailed despairingly. And it left me wondering, "who is failing to teach these people?" 

Death is a really sad separation. If we don't understand its purpose. We came to this earth for two reasons: to learn and grow and to gain our bodies. Those are two major blessings. God loves us enough to provide a path for us to progress. As we come to this earth, we gain our bodies, and as we travel through life we have opportunity to, spiritually speaking, learn to crawl, walk, and run. We learn what choices are good and what ones make us and others unhappy. We gain intelligence. We progress. 

God loves us enough to want us to progress beyond a mortal body and limited intelligence. If we were to stay in this life forever, we would never obtain the blessings He has in store for us and we would forever be separated from Him. It's hard to see from our perspective here, where death seems like an end and a separation from our loved ones and from life and enjoyment, but if we were to not move on from here, we would only be able to receive a smaller portion of God's blessings for us. 

The Savior's purpose was to provide a path to overcome death. He lived for us, died for us, and then lived again for us. If He said "Come follow me", then that means that we will do the same. We are to follow His example in being obedient, following God's will, and moving beyond this life to receive our full inheritance of all that God has for us. 

I know that because of Jesus Christ's resurrection, we will be resurrected to regain our bodies in a more perfect state. I also know that God loves us too much to allow us to make friends and relationships and then tear us away from those we love. We will be with our families and friends again. I know that a knowledge and belief of these things brings us peace in this life and hope for a better life to come. 

Love you all. I know your Heavenly Father loves you too. That's why He made this plan. Let's follow it.


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

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