The Pure Joy of Unexpected Blessings


“I had no control over my emotions and would always end up crying if I tried to share my thoughts out aloud in class – so I just kept quiet.”

Of course, one might expect to receive academic knowledge and life skills when one attends a Pathway course, but Namiko Obeketang-Jibok wasn’t expecting her self-confidence to explode! Namiko had no problem journalising her thoughts and did so regularly, but to voice them out loud – no way!

There are many reasons individuals don’t speak up in a class situation:

fear of sounding like a “know it all”

fear of exposing a lack of knowledge or understanding

fear of being misunderstood, and, for some, it’s

fear of uncontrollable emotions. Like Namiko.

Namiko's family

In Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, Elder and Sister Vila from the Philippines run a Pathway course and Namiko is one of their students.

Quite unexpectedly Namiko has received an incredible blessing – all thanks to the kind encouragement of Elder Vila, who helped her to understand the importance of sharing her thoughts out loud so the rest of the class can benefit from her spirit, her knowledge, her insights, and her God-given experiences.

He told Namiko that she would never know when something she shared would be exactly the help someone else might need. Namiko admitted she had never thought of class participation in quite that way but recognised how much she herself had been edified by her classmates.

The day came when she decided she would try and share her thoughts verbally with the class.

The result has been extraordinary – no longer a shy woman in her community and at Church, Namiko confidently shares her thoughts with others – and, what’s more, she does it without her emotions taking over. No more breaking down in public or flowing tears!

Not only is she participating more fully in her Pathway classes, but her new-found confidence is helping with her studies at the College of Marshall Islands (CMI). Plus, she’s now able to play a greater leadership role in her Church callings; she serves as the Stake Young Women Secretary, Second Counsellor in the Delap Ward Young Women auxiliary, and as a Family History Consultant.

So—when does Namiko have time to study for Pathway and CMI? At night . . . mostly – after her busy three-year-old son, Omni, goes to sleep.

Namiko and her husband

Namiko was born in Majuro and except for a visit to the USA for several months, she has not travelled anywhere else. She met her sweetheart, Mackbin, in April 2012, and they married on 21 May 2016, in Majuro.

Mackbin comes from one of the outer islands where only Marshallese is spoken; he was too shy to even speak to the locals in Majuro when he first arrived. But joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has completely changed him. Namiko is in awe of Mackbin’s ability to now stand at the pulpit on a Sunday and deliver his sacrament talk – not just sounding confident, but he even looks at the congregation while he speaks! 

Mackbin has found a new stride in his step. He loves talking to his friends about the gospel of Jesus Christ and boldly invites them to hear the lessons taught by the missionaries. And—he loves his calling as the Young Men’s president. 

Being a member of the Church brings with it so many blessings, and when they come in unexpected ways – well – that’s just pure joy