Monday, August 21, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Losing time


Alright, confession time: English powers definitely came to me. I am starting to lose my edge on the Marshallese language. I still pray in Marshallese, but speaking it so infrequently has definitely made a difference. I'm going to appreciate opportunities I have when I go home to Skype friends from OK to keep up the language.

This week has gone by so so quickly. It seemed like each day was so short. I've realized more and more how important it is to make each moment purposeful. I've only got 6 months left here, but also time in my life here is either progressing forward or slipping away, depending on how I use it. 

We had an awesome service project on Saturday at the farm of one of our members. Attached are some before pictures. We didn't get to stay for a final "after" picture when everything was clean, but everything was clean. Seriously.
Inline image 1 
Those weeds were like trees, but everyone came in to help and chipped in with maximum effort and we got it done in a few hours. The Guthrie 2nd ward is so awesome. I really love these people. 

We caught about 85% of the solar eclipse today. We watched with President and Sister Mansell. It was pretty impressive. It will be a good story to bore the grand kids with.
Inline image 2
This week, some of our members brought their friends to church for the first time. Afterwards, the husband commented that he really liked it, especially how much he felt that everyone was genuine. He said that he hadn't been in a church in years because it had always seemed to him like no one lived what they preached and it was all about keeping up with the Jones's. He said he felt like everyone here was there because they wanted to be.

I can't explain how much it means for us to be genuine. The world craves something real. I don't think it necessarily means being extremely blunt - more like really meaning what we say and do. I've found great value in checking in with myself to see if I actually believe in what I am doing and saying or if I'm just doing it because I know other people want to see me do it. It's brought a lot of inner peace to cut out the things I don't actually mean. 

Last of all, I want to leave you my ever increasing testimony of the Savior. I really believe that He lives.

Love you all! Have a great week!


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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Iokwe from OK! Maintenance


This week has been way busy. We've spent a good amount of time on exchanges with other missionaries, including some familiar faces, such as Elder Menlove and Elder Smith. It's been a blast. 

Elder Wold (tall brand new missionary) Elder Lloyd (goes home this week), and Elder Kilmer

Currently, we are spending a lot of time setting up our area since we are all new and know nothing about the members of our congregation or the people the former missionaries had been working with. That's left us really busy and with a lot of preparation and planning to do. Elder Lloyd and I have often been up until 1:30 am planning for the next day, only to wake up at 6:30 the next day and run for the whole day. We've had so much to balance as well, so it hasn't been just a mindless robot day ahead of us.

Despite that, the first few days were going really well. However, after we'd been going about a week, it began to get more and more difficult. The lack of sleep was weighing on me and we had been driving a lot and were so busy that often we didn't get personal study in. That was the thing that hurt me the most. The decreased presence of the Spirit from my lack of seeking after it started to make it much more difficult to be fully engaged and patient and loving, especially in stressful situations. 

However, haven't I already been through this issue? Remember those 3-4 emails I sent before on the very same problem?

It's sparked a question for me: Why am I failing to live up to the lessons I've already learned before? Why am I failing to apply the gifts and attributes I've received already? Why when I shift my focus from one area to another does my proficiency in the first area drop? Can't I just learn something and keep it? Or do I need to make this same mistake of failing to read my scriptures every day when I get busy about every three months or so? At what point can I just hold on to something?

As I've considered this idea, I've drawn a couple conclusions: 
1) We have the capacity to choose what we do and the way we live and who we are
2) With God's help, we have the strength to live up to that capacity in its fullest
3) Receiving God's help also requires we give everything we have

I don't have all of the answers yet, so I'm going to save this thought until I feel I can answer it succinctly and clearly without rambling. But, to give you an idea of what I'm doing to work on it: my goal for this next week is to do an inventory/analysis of my testimony and my beliefs so that I don't just keep saying "I know" about everything when in reality I have some things that are more of "I believe" or "I hope"; and also to do a personal inventory of my character and look for character defects and faults that I am still holding on to and reluctant to give up. If I have to keep correcting myself on the same problems over and over again, then something else is wrong and I'm putting a band-aid on a deeper wound. I'll get back to you on what I find, but I strongly believe this:

It's tough to take a real look at ourselves and admit our faults. But it will help us move forward. I believe that true and sincere, lasting repentance is real and brings eventual peace. I believe that the Savior can take the weight of our faults so that we don't have to. My goal is to let Him in the next coming weeks. 

Love you all! Have a great week!


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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Iokwe from OK! "English powers, come to me!"


L to R: Elders Lloyd, Kilmer, and Wold

Thankfully I have remembered how to speak English. I still misspell so many words though... It takes me forever to type out a sentence. 

I also have very little time this week, but a lot of promises broken revolving around responding to personal emails, so I'm sacrificing my group email this week. I'll give you a better update next week. 

However, this is what is happening around here:

In Enid, Elder Smith and Elder Menlove are currently covering both the East and West areas waiting for their two new missionaries to come next Wednesday, at which point Elder Menlove will move to the West side with his new companion. Elder Oberender is in Ponca City for his last two weeks, trying to help out a little with the Marshallese work up there. 

I'm down in Guthrie 2nd, which is an awkwardly shaped area that covers a little bit of Edmond and all of Guthrie. We get to drive a lot in between the two cities. I'm with Elder Lloyd (he's served around me a little and was companions with Elder Smith in Ponca for a while), who is going home next Wednesday, and Elder Wold, who is a new missionary. I don't have the time to rave about them, but I will say that I really appreciate them and what great missionaries and people they are. We are having a blast.

The fun thing for us is that all of us are new to Guthrie 2nd, which means we know no one around here. We have spent the last 5 days getting to know the ward (congregation) and who they want us to work with and how we can help. It has been way effective, but also really really exhausting. We spend a lot of time planning and don't really know how to go to sleep on time. A friend just emailed me last week with this line: "I know you’ve been super busy and I hope that you have time to rest and unwind every so often."  *insert slightly crazy laugh here* Not at all! But there is nothing I would rather be doing right now. I love this work and it's making me something worth being. 

More of the same difficult personal improvements this week. No time for details, but I want to share again that it is really hard, but I know it's worth it. Little decisions today build up into a great character tomorrow.

Love you all, have a great week!