Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Leaving Enid.

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!


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

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