The Best Two Years

The Best Two Years

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Hey Family!!!
   I am glad to hear that you are all doing well!  I am doing well, still struggling with homesickness pretty bad, but I have been living on my knees, and I know you are all praying for me too. I truly feel the guiding hand of the Lord in my life, and I feel the spirit so strongly here! The language has been tough, and very frustrating, but I know I will be blessed and start to pick it up very soon!  The days are very long, besides meals and gym time, we are stuck in one entire room for the whole day for personal and companion study, lesson prep for our investigators (MTC workers acting as investigators), and for language and Gospel study. We play basketball every day at gym, and it is good to have a taste of America! All they play in Mexico is soccer!!!!
    So all the elders have been kind of sick this last week, some food we ate had something in it I guess.  It was an amazing week filled with priesthood blessings! I have received three blessings since I have been here, and it is truly amazing to feel the instant power of the priesthood bring peace and comfort over my body. I have truly been living on my knees here in Mexico, praying for all of you to be blessed by my service! Mom, I am so excited to hear that you have lost 62 pounds!  I truly am so happy for you, when I get back you will be a whole new person!  Dad, I am happy to see that you are still riding your bike, and I hope your knee and ankle can begin to heal well, and that you can start to feel better!  I’m sure pitching to me all the time didn’t help much, but it meant so much to me when we got to spend that time together!  I am looking forward to playing catch with you when I get home!!
   Mom, I hope you have an amazing birthday this week!  I will be there in spirit, and I am in your heart!  I am excited that you get to go to Washington for the wedding, give Julie and Paul my love and tell them I am happy for them!  You deserve an amazing day surrounded by family, and filled with fun!   I am so proud to have you and dad as my parents, and for the way you have raised me!!   I couldn't ask for better family in my life!!!  I miss you guys a ton, but I know this is where I am supposed to be!
   The MTC is very frustrating because of the language, and being stuck inside for fifteen hours a day... I can’t wait to get out into the field!  But I truly do feel the spirit here, and I don’t want to look on this experience as a bad one, because it hasn't been.  In D&C 9:14, it reads, "Stand fast in the work wherewith I have called you, and a hair of your head shall not be lost, and you shall be lifted up at the last day. Amen."   I truly know the Lord has called me to Mexico and Panama for a reason, and that I need to stand fast and keep pushing forward in this work.  It will bless me, all of you, and the people I teach in so many amazing ways.
   Mom, I am sending letters to our house for you and dad, Courtney and Ryan, and one for Caleigh.  Please make sure she gets it, I didn’t have her address.  Also, please send more pictures!  Seeing them gives me strength!  I look at my photo album every night, and it makes me so happy!
   So, our Latinos left on Monday morning, it was hard because we love them so much and grew so close with them!  But we are happy for them to be out in the service of the Lord! We exchanged emails with them all, and the night before they left, I had most of them write their testimonies in my journal!  It was a really neat experience! We get new Latinos today, and I am hoping to grow as close with them as the last elders!!! :)
   I don’t have much more time to write today, but I want you to know that I love you more that I can explain. I am so happy to have you as my family, and I am so blessed to be able to live with you for eternity!  That is another thing that keeps me strong, knowing that we can be together for eternity!!!  I can’t think of a greater blessing!  I know this gospel is true, I know it with all my heart. My heart has changed here, and I truly love the Lord. In my blessing, it said I would have a relationship with Heavenly Father like I have with my earthly father.  I know that is true.  I am happy I have such a great relationship with you, mom and dad, and Courtney and Ryan, and I know it will only get better!  Please continue to pray for me, and I will continue to pray for you!!!  I love you all so much!  I will send pictures in another email.

Elder Austin Kipp

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

One Week

Dear mom and dad,

Thank you or your emails, I have been looking forward to talking to you guys all week!   I am doing so amazing here, after I got to call you guys I stopped feeling sick, and began to feel so happy!!!  The President of the MTC here has been talking with me almost every day to make sure I am all right, he has been a huge blessing in my life.  It has been hard for me, and some of the other Americans, being so far away from home... But everyone here is a spiritual giant, and I can feel of their spirit, and I most certainly feel of your prayers in my behalf.  I pray for you guys every day!!!

So, my companion, Elder W, lives five minutes away on 118th South in South Jordan.  We sit with the Latinos at meals to practice our Spanish and meet everyone, and practice our Spanish.  He is a nice guy, and he is very spiritual. We have been teaching an "investigator" the last week, named Roberto, and it has been a good experience. It was hard at first, because he spoke in fluent Spanish, and we couldn´t understand a word he said!  But, yesterday, we taught him about dispensations, Joseph Smith and the Restoration, and Christ´s ministry and his example of baptism. In our second lesson, we committed him to repent, read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and come to church. And he followed through! Yesterday we asked him to be baptized, and he said he wants to be, but he needs to pray about it first to make sure it is right for him. But, I´m pretty sure we have him!

So, the food here is different every day!  We had tamales just like the ones from Omar a couple nights ago, and most nights we have some sort of chicken and vegetables with sauce, and every table has a stack of tortillas to wrap it in.  There is so much fresh fruit at every meal, and the good Lord has blessed us with as much cereal we can eat at EVERY MEAL!!!!!  The food at first was hard on us, but we are beginning to adjust just fine. :)

Today we got to go out into the city with security personnel from the MTC, because we needed Mexican pesos for buying things. We walked about six blocks down a sidewalk, under lots of tents, where there were lots of little taco stands, rugs laid out with items on sale like office supplies, and places where you could buy magazines and drinks. The exchange rate from pesos to dollars is about twelve to one, so we can get 200 pesos for about 20 American dollars. It was such an eye opener to me to see the poverty in the city, but also to see how happy the people were. Everyone here greets with a smile, and a Buenos Dies, Buenas tardes, or Buenas Noches!

 Our schedule pretty much goes as follows; we wake up at six thirty, get ready for the day, and eat breakfast at seven.  At eight, we usually have a language practice class and personal study until ten. After that, we have some sort of meeting with all the American missionaries, and the President of the CCM (Centro de CapacitaciĆ³n Misional), or MTC, and then lunch at noon.  We have more language classes after lunch, and personal study time and companion study, for teaching out investigators.  At four, we have gym time, where we sometimes play basketball, or go across the street and play soccer with the Latinos. They are so good!!!  But, it is good to get out and play.  After gym time, we have more language and personal an companion study, and we go in groups to teach the investigators from five thirty to seven forty five.  We eat dinner at seven, and then after dinner and teaching, we do EVEN MORE language study!!!  It gets a little boring doing that all day, but we have already progressed so much since we first got here!  Then, we go to our dorms at nine thirty, mess around with the Latinos, trade ties, and take pictures until about ten thirty, then we go to sleep.

Tell Ryan that his scripture marker that he gave me is the most popular thing for all the elders right now!  Today was P-day, so for an hour we took pictures with the flash of the camera and made it look like we have light sabers!!!  Our favorite Latino elder is Elder P, he is so hilarious!!!  We have taught him how to say "whats up homies", "what´s shakin, bacon?" and lots of other funny American things.  He is just a huge jokester, and loves talking with us, even though we can´t communicate well.  The Latinos have a very special spirit about them, they are so humble, and they truly love the Lord and his Gospel.  The most spiritual experience so far for me, was when they all came in singing "The Army of Helaman" in Spanish, and we started singing in English.  We sang many more hymns, and I think all the American Elders were crying...It was so incredibly powerful!

So, I love these American elders!  They are so much fun to talk to and mess around with!  We can cry together when we are having a bad day, we can talk with each other about anything, and we all help each other grow and progress with the language and knowledge of the gospel. Mom, Elder A and I were wondering, if I got you the emails of all the Elders´ mothers, if you could start a blog for all our emails and pictures, and so you mothers can talk to each other!  Let me know, and I will get you their emails!

I want you all to know that I love you.  I love you more than you can ever imagine. I didn´t realize how hard it would be for me to leave, and I miss you so much every day... But, I know this is where I am supposed to be.  I know of a surety that god listens to our prayers, and that he answers them.  I know that this gospel is truly the Lord´s gospel, and that it is the only true gospel on the earth today.  I know of the truth of the Book of Mormon, and I begin to love it more every day.  I hope you are feeling the peace and strength that I am praying for you to have.  I know you are praying for me, and I want you to know that I am feeling it as well. I love you all soooo much, and I am so happy to hear that all is well at home!! Please forward this on to Courtney and everyone else, I don’t have time to write her back this week.

I love you guys, and am so happy for the blessings that my mission will bring to you!! I sent a letter off today, and I will try and send all the pictures I have next week, as I don’t have time today. Again, I love you soooo much!!!  I will talk to you next week!!

Love, Elder Kipp

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Elder Kipp's First Email from the Mexico City MTC

¡Hola mi familia! yesterday was a crazy day! the flight to Atlanta went smoothly, sorry i didnt call when i got there.. We had to grab some lunch and run! We met another missionary in Atlanta, he is from North Carolina, so we had fourteen total on our flight. The flight to Mexico was cool, we flew over the Gulf of Mexico, and it was cool to see the ocean. When we got to the airport, we had to go through customs and it was confusing because no one spoke english! then, to top it off, we couldn´t find the greeter from the MTC! we waited about a half hour to forty five minutes for them to come. They had a suburban that the sisters rode in, and a bus that the brothers rode in with all the luggage. There were six brithers, luggage for fourteen people, and three seats.... And i was the one stuck standing with Elder Weston on the twenty minute ride to the MTC!! so i didn´t see much of Mexico yet... the temple is closer to our dorm than the church is to our house, and it is beautiful!! Elder weston and i are companions, and we can see the spire out our window! it was an interesting night, we ate dinner, then unpacked in our teeny tiny dorm, it is about as big as the dining room with a bunk bed, two closets, and a desk. We wrote in our journals, had prayers, then went to bed.
    We woke up at six thirty today, then took showers and ate breakfast, and it has been so crazy ever since! getting new nametags, doing immunization paperwork, and on top of all that, about 70 new latino missionaries are coming in today! The people at the MTC said we are the pioneering group, the first group of american missionaries down here at the MTC (Centro Capitacion de Mexico! I think they said they are taking our picture and putting it in the liahona and ensiagn and stuff, but im not completely sure..... So keep an eye out for me! It has been tough here today because the MTC workers speak hardly any english, and it has been hard to know what they want us to do.. But we are learning crazy fast! i already know more than I did when i left home!!!!!
     Well, i have to go, my time is up... Please forward dthis email on to everyone, our P Days are on Wednesdays, so expect to hear from me then. I love you guys so much, and the4 spirit down here is amazing. I know tht this is where I am supposed to be!!!! Hasta en dos aƱos!!! (I´ll see you in two years!)

Mucho Amor,
Elder Kipp