First of all, Dad, congrats on getting that job with American Express!!! My companion and I prayed for you day and night, as I know you and Mom did, and the Lord blessed you guys! That is so exciting that you get to stay with the company!
Second of all, this past week was all right. It was super hot and humid here! It rains every day, pretty hard, for about twenty minutes to an hour, and then it usually sprinkles throughout the day. The storms here are crazy!!! And then after it rains, the sun comes out, and it gets REALLY SUPER humid!!! And the humidity makes it seem so much hotter! It makes me sweat a ton, but I am losing weight here! We went to dinner on Tuesday & Saturday with a family we ate with during my first week, and they all told me I looked a lot smaller than the first time we ate there! Mom, I am so excited that you have lost so much as well! It is truly an answer to fasting and prayers! I am excited for you too Dad, that you get out and ride your bike so much, and you´re starting to feel better! I know I feel good after walking around all day! Tired, but I feel better than I have in a while! The air here is really clean too, so that helps a lot. The air in Mexico was really dirty, and it actually made us sick!
So, the food here is pretty normal. We eat a big plate of rice at every meal, with chicken, every single day. Sometimes, they give us fried platanos, or "patacones" which are really good! I haven´t eaten anything too weird here yet, the worst thing I had was a small piece of liver that was gross, but other than that, nothing bad.
Work here is starting to pick up! As of now, we have 16 baptismal dates, but I don’t think they all are really wanting to do it, they just said they would to make us happy. There are some people who really want to though. There is a family who has a son who is a member, and we have been teaching the parents the last three weeks! They were super Catholic, but it has been cool to see the change come over them as we have taught of the Book of Mormon. The dad, I think, will be baptized this Sunday, but the mom will take a little more time. It will be my first baptism, because the two kids we were supposed to baptize yesterday aren’t ready yet. Kind of disappointing, but we will keep teaching them, and hope they continue to progress!
Also, there is this old guy who we have started teaching, named Nicador. His wife is a member, but she is inactive, and he is a drunk. He is almost always drunk. But, we went over there last week to talk to him, and he said he had a dream about me the night before. He had this weird voodoo doll thing that a lady gave him, and he dreamed that he was at a party, with the voodoo doll. He was going to start drinking, but he saw me in the background, telling him not to drink. After he told us the dream, he said that he thinks I am an angel sent from God to help him. He said, "You´re not a Prophet, and you´re not Jesus Christ. But, you are someone really special." I know I told him I would teach him before I came to this earth. Hopefully he stops drinking, he believes what we teach him, but he has to stop drinking to be baptized.
We ended up not going to the canal last week, kind of disappointing, but we met a huge black guy last week who works down in the locks, and he said he can give us a private tour of the locks, where no one is allowed to go! It’s going to be awesome! We taught him about the restoration, and he agreed with everything we said. He was a cool guy, but he is Adventist. Adventists believe pretty much everything that all the Christian religions teach, so they are hard to convert. But, we will continue to work with him, and hopefully he continues to progress!
So, not as much baseball is played here as I thought. It’s all about soccer where I´m at! Baseball is still big, everyone is obsessed with the Yankees because Mariano Rivera is from Panama. But, I have started to like soccer a little more! Whenever a big game is on, it is hard to teach people, because everyone just wants to watch the game!!! The world cup race is going on, and everyone is obsessed with it right now!!! Dad, try and get me some updates on how the Mariners are doing! I´m sure not a lot has changed, they probably still are terrible, but maybe I will be pleasantly surprised!!!
Well, time is running short. I love you guys, I will continue to pray for you!!! Please continue to pray for me, it is still pretty tough out here with the language and everything, but it is getting a little better every day!!! Love you guys, can’t wait to hear back from you next week! Love you all!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp