Monday, July 17, 2017

Iokwe from OK: Great Week!

Iokwe!

Big change: I have been in Oklahoma for about a year and a half now, which is the amount of time it took for me to not want to lie down and die as soon as it reached 90 degrees outside. Thank goodness. I hardly notice the heat anymore, which is good because it has broken 100 degrees several times the past couple weeks. 

Elder Kilmer at Leadership Conference.  I'm pretty sure he's not asleep.

Over time, I've made a lot of changes while serving here in Oklahoma. Recently, I have been doing a topical study of Jesus Christ. It's actually the same study that President Nelson did and suggested to us, for those of you who heard that. The change I have seen most recently has come from an increased testimony of the Savior. As I read about Him and His teachings, my perspective on life changes. I have enjoyed an increasingly greater understanding and feeling of Heavenly Father's love for us. I have recently come to realize that the things we do in life are purposeless if we are not focused on helping His children.

The idea that we are family is not integral to only those who are religious. The entire world recognizes that we are united as a species. Our family will either increase in love, strength, unity, and joy or it will atrophy and find envy, grief, hate, and misery. I have found the greatest joy in my life as I have spent less time on those things that serve myself and increasingly look outward towards those I can lift and strengthen. A major goal of mine recently has been to remove from my conversations and actions those things that would lift myself by cutting another down. I've recognized that so many of my jokes accidentally leave more of a sour taste than mirth. 

I'm not sure if others have noticed a difference as I have tried to be more of a blessing than a curse to others of God's children, but I have. I am more at peace and more happy as I have changed to be a part of this family that lifts others. I have felt more of Heavenly Father's love as I have done so: for myself and for others. I love these Marshallese people that I am serving. I love the missionaries that I am serving with. I am anxious to return and create more of the same at home. 

Extending a challenge no longer really seems right to me. I'm not really in a position above anyone else to do that. However, I do know that the same peace and love that I have felt is the natural consequence of creating a happy human family and would love to hear about your experiences in striving to find it. 


Love you all!


Jeramman!

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Leaving Enid.

Iokwe!
I'm not really leaving Enid. But I have gotten to spend some time outside of the Marshallese Black Hole this week. For a while now, we have known that the most Marshallese people in the US are located in Arkansas. We've also known that there are no Marshallese missionaries called to Arkansas; English missionaries get assigned to serve with the Marshallese. We've also known that they have no study materials to work with, except for Marshallese Book of Mormons. This last week, we've finally done something about it!

With his favorite 9 year-old monkey named Kalie

After some planning, President Mansell coordinated with the mission president in Arkansas to have a couple of our missionaries spend a week with their Marshallese missionaries to teach them the language and help get them started. Elder Oberender and Elder Lazarus were selected to go. It's going really well, from what I have heard so far, and they should be returning this Thursday evening. Because we lost two missionaries, that means the rest of us get to shoulder all of the responsibility. 
Moo Cows, Moo!

Which means, dream team is back!!!! That's right, Elder Smith and I are companions for this week and we are covering all of Enid, with occasional help from Elder Menlove, who is bouncing back and forth between Enid and Elder Lazarus's area about an hour from here. It has been so crazy.

With Elder Langi at transfers
On top of that, things are getting started in Ponca City for Marshallese work. We've had a member just come from the islands and he is doing everything he can to get a branch started up there. There are a ton of members in Ponca that just never come to church because they don't understand the language. So, starting last weekend, we have been driving up to Ponca City to translate for the Marshallese members during church and then driving back down to Enid just in time to join our own service. I got to be part of the translation crew this weekend and it was so tiring. There's nothing to humble your perspective of your language capacity like having to listen to yourself hopelessly try to explain words that don't exist in another language while keeping up with the speed of a proficient English-speaker. That burnt my poor brain out. The second round of church was like trying to listen while on NyQuil. However, I took a nap for a few minutes during our dinner hour and woke up feeling totally revived and like my Marshallese was flowing better than ever. We had great lessons that evening. 

This week has been so exhausting as we've tried to coordinate things across areas, across cities, and across states. But, it has been so wonderful to see how much the Lord has supported us. We definitely would have failed a long time ago if we were on our own. To close, I want to leave you with my testimony that this isn't our work. It is the Lord's work and our privilege to serve and participate. It has done wonders for me.

Love you all. Have a great week!

Jerammaan!

Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking
不動心
Fudoshin:  immovable spirit
www.mormon.org

Monday, July 3, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Back in action

Iokwe!

This has been a good week. I don't have the usual time I have to email this week (fourth of July stuff), so this is going to be brief:

The main thing that I learned this week has been very instrumental. I've realized that recently I have allowed myself to be somewhat paralyzed by doubt. This isn't really something that I thought I was capable of doing, but that's how it's been. I think the biggest problem was that I thought "Doubtful? That's not me. Being doubtful is dumb. That can't be my problem".

For a long time my drive to become better has pretty much been fueled by pride. I wanted to be better than everyone else so that everyone would look up to me and think that I'm awesome. Thankfully, God has slowly been refining that out of me. However, with my previous fuel gone, my drive and confidence have suffered because I have yet to find a better energy source. So, the real reason that I struggled so much to write those emails a couple weeks back was because I was so caught up in worrying whether what I was saying was actually what was best or whether it was what God wanted. Same thing with figuring out what to study, what to teach people, etc. 

The scripture that has helped (which I already knew about but refused to allow to help me because I didn't want to admit doubt was the problem - pride is bad everyone) has been this: 

For behold, it is not meet thashould command in all things; for he that is compelled iall things, the same is a slothful and not wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.  Verily say, men should be axiously engaged in good cause, and do many things of theirown free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;  For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lostheir reward. (Doctrine & Covenants 58: 26-28)
Currently moving forward striving to do good things of my own free will and be open to correction when needed. God doesn't need mindless drones; He needs courageous sons and daughters who are willing to trust in Him, try, and learn. 

No more time, but expect awesome things in the coming weeks! Have an awesome week!

Jerammaan!

Elder Josh Kilmer
OklahomaOklahoma City Mission, Marshallese speaking
不動心
Fudoshin:  immovable spirit
www.mormon.org