The Best Two Years

The Best Two Years

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Arrival in Panama

Hey mom and dad! 

So I am finally in Panama! It is so beautiful here!!!  It is SUPER SUPER humid though... and hot and, my companion, Elder P, and I walk about ten miles a day! In our area there are a TON of big huge hills to climb! But, we have found some good people to teach! We eat lunch with Sister L four days a week, and dinner with her on Sundays. I never know how poor it was out here in Panama, outside of the city.  The houses are literally made out of cinder blocks, with a tin roof.  It is pretty meager circumstances.  It has been an eye opener! AND.. I  have seen more spiders and bugs here that ever before! Huge ones! In our house, there are bugs EVERYWHERE! It is a gross house. It is really dirty on the inside, and the fridge is caked with mold and dirt on the inside, and there are bugs everywhere! Our bathroom is the same way. Plus, we have no hot water, so it is cold showers every day! What a joy! haha :) But, it hasn't been as bad as I am probably making it sound! 

The Panama temple is beautiful! Our first night here, we stayed in the building next to the temple, it was pretty much like a 5 Star hotel room, nice and cushy and comfy. I was in a room with Elders O, B, and W from the MTC. It was fun to hang out with them that day!!! We also got to go to the temple, another nice surprise! It was so beautiful on the inside, and I definitely can’t wait to go again!!! The surroundings of the temple are gorgeous too!!! Jungle and green all surrounding it! Right now, our area, Ciudad Bolivar, is about an hour or more away from the Temple, so I don't know when I will get to come again.
It was kind of a frustrating week. Actually, a VERY frustrating week! The language here is so different than any other Spanish I have ever heard!!  They speak so fast, and they cut their words!  But, everyone here is so friendly!  'They always greet you with a "buenas" (good day, morning, or night), and everyone here is really receptive to the missionaries. They believe it is a sin to reject anyone who carries the word and message of God. So, we have talked to a lot of people! I actually don't think we have been rejected once!!

So, the last day in the MTC was interesting.  We left for Panama on Tuesday, but every other missionary in the MTC, including the other Americans, left on Monday. So on Monday, the MTC was being moved to the New High School, the Benemarito. We were told by the President that we would be helping move in there, so in the morning, we helped pack up our branch presidency and the MTC presidents stuff in big vans. There wasn't room for us, so we waited with the Pres. and his wife for the vans to come back. But, they never did, and the President and his wife left, and we were literally stuck at the MTC all day with NOBODY except us Panama missionaries.!!!  The MTC was all cleared out, and we couldn’t go in. The Temple was closed, so we went and walked around the grounds and took pictures, but it was a strange day….OHHHH!! We did find one of those nacho libre three wheeled bikes, so we rode that around forever, and then we packed up all our stuff. We were literally alone the whole day. At dinner time, we had to go into the eating area, and search for our dinner. We finally found it in the freezer, then we had scripture study and went to bed.  When we woke up at three-thirty, no one was there to pick us up!!! Finally someone showed up, and took us to the wrong gate at the airport!
They finally realized and took us to the right gate, but it was crazy! We got to the plane on time though, and I slept pretty much the whole flight there.  We got to the airport, went through immigration and everything smoothly, and met the ZLs and APs with President and his wife. They took us on a bus through the city, which is SUPER COOL!  It is all high rise buildings! Then, we went to the temple, ate, and had some training. Then, we went through the temple, and went to dinner, then bed. It was a pretty crazy couple of days though!

Know that i have a testimony of this gospel. I know Jesus is my savior. And he loves us, that is why he made the sacrifice for us, so that we could return to his presence after this life. Know that I love you all so much, and that I pray and want the best for you!  Mom, I am so excited to hear how much weight you have lost! it is an answer to my prayers! I love you all so much!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp

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