The Best Two Years

The Best Two Years

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Last Week in the Mexico City MTC

Hey Fam,

It was so good to hear from all of you today!  It always amazes me when I log into my email, how many people have written me that week. This week, I got a message from the Gundersons, they are so special to me. They told me of their conversion, and how the missionaries helped them, and how I have that same opportunity to change lives.  I have gotten three letters from you while I have been here, but only one had pictures in it.  And yes, I got the driver license, thanks so much!!!  And thanks for not opening it, the picture is hideous!!! haha! So, I will be sending a package home next week when I get to Panama, it has a little gift for Dad for Father's Day, and some stuff I want you to put in my scrapbook, and a letter for the fam!  Dad, I want to wish you a happy father's day, and let you know that I love you and am so thankful for you in my life!!

MOM!! This next message is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE!!!  The Elite group known as Quantum 3, composed of Elder A, Elder C, and I, would like you to start a mission blog for all three of us while we are out titled "The Quantum 3".  In the next letter, I have written down all the contact information for both of their moms, and more details about this blog, and all things Quantum that have been going on in the MTC. This would be a huge deal to us, because when we get back, we want to have something to look at of each others missions, plus, we are planning on going up to college together afterwards, and you can get to know their moms as well. Elder A is from Orem, so you could even meet up with his mom if you want!  Please Please try and do this for us!!!  THANKS A MILLION!!!

So, I know that I will be able to call next Tuesday while I am in travel status, but... my plane leaves Mexico at 6:45 in the morning, and gets to Panama about 11:45 in the morning. So I would either have to call before or after. I want to call after, so it would be about 10:45 or 11:00 your time. Please please try and be available to answer the phone, I know it might be hard with work, but it would be awesome to talk to you!!

Dad, I’m super jealous that you got to go to the big event!!  Some of my favorite memories were made there!  And at Book of Mormon youth conference as well!  But, I know I will get the opportunity again someday!

So, I'm quite popular here, as I have many crazy and hilarious adventure stories to tell.  I have already enlisted six new soldiers to the Cause of the Falcon Corps!  Please alert General Brown that we will have many valiant Falcons joining in two years, and that my wishes and prayers go out to my brothers-in-arms fighting for the cause of the Falcon Corps this year.  I have my patch, and I love remembering those paintball wars, and the true sense of brotherhood I have built with the people there!! Kind of silly, I know, but it is truly a really cool bond with everyone there!

So, one more week and I will be in Panama!!  I am so excited to put everything I have learned to use out in the field!  I have grown and learned so much here, and I know that I will be blessed for my efforts here in the MTC, both with the language, and knowledge of the gospel and the ability to teach it effectively! I have gained such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, and how literally PERFECT it is in my life, and how perfect it will be in the lives of those I will teach!  I know this is the true gospel, and that it is my mission in life to teach it, and to change lives.  Not just in my mission now, but throughout my whole life.  My patriarchal blessing says I will be able to share this gospel outside of my mission experience as well.  I love reading that blessing, and pondering how my life will begin to play out, and follow the pattern of that blessing. I am so blessed in my life, and I can’t wait to share those blessings with Panama.

Well, time to go.  Know that I love you all, and I am so thankful for each one of you in my life!  I will continue to pray for you!  Please pray for the people of Panama, that they may receive this message, and be welcomed into the Kingdom of God.  Please pray for them.   I love you all, I will be calling on Tuesday!!!


Elder Austin Kipp

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Teotihuacan & Quetzalcoatl

Hey family!

Sorry I am writing a day early, our P-Day got changed to Tuesday this week because the President of the MTC decided it would be good for us to go to TEOTIHUACAN!!!!! So we got to go earlier today!!! It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!  First of all, the symbolism there touched me. We got to the pyramid of Quetzalcoatl, and around it were 12 small pyramids, and behind it, three medium-sized pyramids. (Twelve tribes, twelve apostles, first presidency, three kingdoms of glory).  Then we continued to walk toward the pyramids of the sun and the moon. 

We had a tour guide with us, who is a Stake President here in Mexico, and he said he found out all these facts about the people by meditating, praying, and reading the scriptures!!! We got to a visitor center, and outside was a big Olmec mural on the wall. It had many pictures that symbolized the resurrection, how becoming a god requires two people (eternal marriage), and temple ceremonies! Remember, this was about 800 years after Christ that they built these, so this is during the Great Apostasy.  It was truly amazing to see how God reveals his gospel to his children.  Next, we went through the visitor center, and saw statues and figurines that depict almost EXACTLY some of the goings-on in the temple ordinances. We even got to see an ancient baptismal font, and walk underground through a part of one of the temples!!! It is definitely a place we need to try and get back to some day with our family!!!  Then, we got to climb the pyramid of the sun. The path leading to it through the city is perfectly straight, and runs over a river that symbolizes baptism. Then, there it is, the journey symbolizes coming into God's kingdom,and receiving the glory of the sun.  It was such a spiritual experience!  We learned so much more, and we didn't even put a dent in what there is to explore in that ancient city!!!  I definitely want to return with you guys!!!

So, the weather here is rainy one day, hot the other.  Not too crazy hot, and not terribly humid, either . Just enough to make me start to hate having to wear my suit jacket every day here!!!  I know it will be much hotter in Panama though!  Two weeks from today, and I'll be in Panama! It has felt longer than four weeks here, the MTC has not been my favorite experience, as we are stuck at desks ALL DAY!  But, I have also had the most spiritual experiences of my life here as well.  Last night, Elder C Elder A, and I talked more about how close we really are, and how we knew each other before this life.  We decided we all needed blessings of comfort, so us three went into a room on the third floor where no one is staying, and each of us had the chance to offer and receive a blessing.  Let me tell you this, I never thought the Power of the Priesthood, and the power of the spirit could be tangible.  I physically have felt the power of the spirit enter my body many times while I have been here.  It is real.  I cannot deny it.

I don't have time to write Court back, but I think your idea of Christmas in Panama is GREAT!  It will help all of us develop a more Christ-like love for the people there, and like Courtney said- Since our family has been so blessed with so many amazing Christmases, it is time to share those blessings with the world!  Because we have been given much, we too must give!  I will give you more information as it gets closer to Christmas time, and we can make a final plan for how to do it!!!  Thank you so much for coming up with this amazing idea!

So mom and dad... you will never believe what the Elder from Panama who was here last week gave me... HE GAVE ME ONE OF THOSE PANAMANIAN TIES WE SAW IN THE MISSION BLOG!!!  His mom made it, and I traded the white striped tie I wore at my farewell.  It was hard to trade that tie, but it was totally worth it! I will try and send a picture!!!

Well, I need to get going in a minute, I am also sending a letter today with more information about the goings-on at the CCM in Mexico! Oh yeah, something I forgot to write in the letter... We switched dorms to the second floor last week, and w have a stupid ROOSTER, squealing pigs, and junkyard dogs right outside our window!! They wake us up at five in the dang morning! Well, other than that, I love it here, but will be excited to go to Panama! The language is coming along great, so now I just want to go out and teach!!!  I want you to know I love you, and that I can feel your love and prayers for me!  I know we will all be blessed through this great service to the Lord!  This is his gospel, and I truly KNOW it.  I love you all, I look forward to hearing from you next week! Please send more pictures for my album! Love You!!!


Elder Austin Kipp

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Halfway to Panama

Dear Family,
I am so happy to hear that you all are doing great!  Mom, 64 pounds is pretty amazing, and I hope you can reach your goal!  I am so happy you and dad are trying so hard to change your lives!  I think I have lost a couple pounds being here, because we all have had a little stomach bug from the food…but, the food is so delicious!  At every meal, we have some sort of meat, with tortillas of course, vegetables, cereal, mounds of fresh fruit, and rice and beans!  There is an Elder here from Panama right now, and he said the food there is pretty similar to the food in America!  He lives east of the canal, right next to Colombia.  He brought two of those way awesome ties that we saw on the mission blog!  His mom made them, and he is writing his mom today to see if she can make me one for five bucks!!!!!  That would be so exciting!!
   So, to give you a taste of P-Day, we wake up at 6:30, then head to breakfast.  P-Day starts at 8:00, but we don't do laundry until 9:00, and we can't email until 11:00.  So today, we walked to the bank with a teacher, and took some money out of the ATM.  Then, we went back to the MTC, and did our laundry, and I took a nap because I think I am getting a sinus infection, and it is wiping me out!!  And that brings us to now!  After email, at 12:00, we have lunch, then we go to the temple!!!  The temple here is so beautiful!  It is hard to do the sessions in Spanish... But we still feel the spirit!   Mom and dad, I echo you when you say it is the greatest blessing to be able to spend eternity with my family!!!  I love you guys!!!
   Classes here are hard for me. I am tired in the morning, and it is hard for me to sit in my chair all day and listen to teachers.  But, I do it, and pray for strength every morning!   I am learning so much more Spanish!!   Elder W, my Companion, is still having a very hard time with the language and grammar and pronunciation. We teach investigators (actors from the MTC) every day, and the words just seem to come to us.  It is the most amazing thing, and after we teach, I feel SOOOOO much happier!!  This last week, one of the teachers here brought in her friend who is a REAL investigator.  She told us about fifteen minutes in advance that Elder W and I were going to teach him!  We were super nervous, but we got in there, taught him about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Church, and he committed to read the Book of Mormon.  He asked lots of hard questions, but we were able to help him and answer them through the scriptures!
   This past week, I had the most amazing, spiritual experience exercising my priesthood I have ever had.  Elder N is REALLY, REALLY struggling with the language, and Elder C, his companion, asked me to help give him a blessing.   I went in their dorm, and we talked with him for about twenty minutes about how we love him, and always want to help him with anything he needs.  Then, we laid our hands upon his head... And Elder C and I LITERALLY FELT the power of the spirit enter our bodies through the tops of our heads, go through our arms and our hands, and into Elder N.  It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced!  All three of us were crying.  It was a motivator to me to keep on trekking here until I can go to Panama and help more people with priesthood power.
   Yesterday, the Area Pres. came and did a devotional about how we need to teach with the spirit, otherwise we are useless.  He said that it is a COMMANDMENT of God to teach with the spirit, and if we do, our teachings will be considered scripture.  It was an amazing devotional!!!
   The new Latino elders we got last week are not nearly as friendly as the last group.  We can hear them every night grouped in one dorm making fun of us while we are trying to sleep.  They all use lots of English cuss words, and so we told the President of the MTC about it, and I'm not sure what he is going to do.  But, there are a few really nice ones!  Elder Perez, from Panama, is really cool!  Also, the Origel twins from Northern Mexico are really nice too!  But we definitely miss Elder Ponce, Flores, Cordero, and all our other favorites from the last group, but know they are happy doing the work of the Lord!!!
   Last week, as I was struggling with homesickness pretty bad, I opened up to D-C 9:14.  It said something to the effect of  "Stand fast in the work wherefore I have called you, and not a hair of your head shall be lost, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day."  I don’t know if it said exactly that, but pretty close.  I have had days where I have just wanted to come home, but that scripture reaffirmed to me that I need to be here!!!  Please continue to pray for me every day, I can definitely feel the strength from you, and the love you all have for me!  Know that I love and pray for you every day, ten times a day, at least!!!  I don’t have much more time to write, but I want you all to know that I truly know this is the Lord's Gospel.  The Book of Mormon is like the boat that Nephi was commanded to build.  If we abide by its teachings, it will carry us across the "great waters", or trials and tribulations is our lives.  I love reading the scriptures.   Every day I find one that is perfect for me at that specific time!  Know that I love you all so much, and I am so thankful for the inspiration you are to me in my life, and for the example to me in my life! Mom and dad, thank you for raising me in the gospel, in a way that I was able to serve my mission.  I love you! I didn't have a chance to write any letters this week... but next week I definitely will!
I love you all!!!
Elder Austin Kipp