It is good to hear that all is well at home, and that you are all finally getting some time to relax after the crazy summer! I am jealous that you had the opportunity to go to Book of Mormon youth conference! I will always remember that experience, the Becksteads were great, and it was one of the most spiritual weekends of my life! I love the Book of Mormon. In our District Conference two weeks ago, Elder Duncan said that no inactive or less active member reads the Book of Mormon, but people who read it always stay active. I have learned that it is the key to conversion. I have been a little timid to use it with investigators, since they know nothing about it, and people here believe that the Bible is the only true book on the earth. But, I have seen in the lives of our investigators, as we read with them, the peace and happiness the Book of Mormon brings into their lives, because of the fullness of the Doctrine of Christ. A, our Dominican investigator, has a great love for the Book of Mormon, and he is getting baptized this Saturday because of that book. He really has come a long way since we first started teaching him, and I know it is because we read a chapter with him during every lesson.
We found a really great family this last week, a single mom and her six kids, all ranging in age from 8-18. They lived in Louisiana for six months so one of the daughters could have surgery on her hips, and the missionaries found them in the hospital, and invited them to church. They are very excited to go back, and during the first lesson, we put a baptismal date with the six kids for the 14th of September! It will be tough, because they have to go to some form of church activity three times, but we will get it done! Elder P leaves the area on the 18th, so it would be awesome if he could see them get baptized!
These last few weeks have been rain rain rain! This last week, we had the biggest storm I have seen here so far. Usually the storms last for twenty or thirty minutes, but this one lasted for two hours, and absolutely, torrentially poured, thundered, and lightninged. The lightning strikes were extremely close to the store we were at. We were sitting under the roof outside, and the thunder was the loudest thing I have ever heard in my life, but it was actually cool! People in our lessons always ask us why the storms here are getting worse than they have ever been now, I believe it is a fulfilling of many prophecies proceeding the second coming of The Savior.
Today is not actually P-Day, but we are at the internet cafe, because tomorrow we are going to the temple with our zone, and then to the Panama Canal. I am excited to go back, I have missed it a lot since I had the opportunity to go every week in Mexico City! I remember one day specifically, our last temple trip in Mexico, I sat in the Celestial Room with four or five other elders, and we talked about the blessings of the temple, and looked around the room at all the symbolism. We discussed for almost an hour what all the symbolism meant to us, and it was a really amazing experience. I firmly believe that the MTC and the temple are the two most spiritual places on earth, and I will remember those experiences and people I met in Mexico forever! It was quite QUANTUM!
Thanks for the sports updates, dad, no surprise that the Mariners will miss out on the playoffs yet again. I think the Braves have a good chance this year, or even the Pirates! (who would have thought?) Keep me updated on BYU and the Titans as well if you can!
Well, time is runnung short today, we have to go. But, know that I love you all so much, and that I thank God every morning and night for having you all in my lives! He has blessed me with so much, the gift of tongues, and strength to endure when it gets hard. Another thing Elder Duncan said in conference was to always have the end view in sight. I keep imagining that day when I walk off that plane, with no regrets, knowing I gave my all to God. Also, the day when I meet my Savior again, and he says to me, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a few things, now I will make thee ruler over many."
I Love you all so much! Remember to always thank God for what he has blessed us with, for he truly has given us so much to be thankful for!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp
P.S. No letters yet, probably next week. It takes about three weeks. As for packages, I am not sure... Let me know also when my package gets to you guys..Love You!