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 Capacitación 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