So, remember my childhood and teenage years, when conference never exactly was the most entertaining thing ever for me? Well, I pushed myself and I sat through all five sessions and I discovered something. It is the greatest thing ever! I loved conference, I felt like so many of the talks given were meant exactly for me! It was so incredible being able to hear so many things that can help me be a better missionary, and a better person. I took so many notes and have studied them almost nonstop since the conference was over. My favorite talk was given in the priesthood session by President Uchtdorf. He talked about repentance, and he said something that really struck me. He said "Our destiny is not shaped by how many times we fall down, but by how many times we get up, dust ourselves off, and continue moving forward." I have learned that to have the spirit with us constantly, we should be using the atonement of Christ daily to be clean, not when we just commit the "big sins". By daily use of the atonement, we can enjoy renewed spiritual strength and guidance in our lives. I also enjoyed all the other conference talks, of course, and this was by far my favorite conference of all time! It was a little different though, as Elder Holland didn't give his usual "Fire and Brimstone, Repent Ye Repent Ye kind of talks! haha, and I was also shocked that no new temples were announced! But, there are so many in construction, and being ready to be started. I have been blessed to be able to go through so many times on my mission, and I will have three more chances in the next four weeks to go! It is a great experience every time, and I always learn something new.
We found a cool family this week, they are SUUUPER Catholic! We were out contacting in the pouring rain, and no one was home, or just didn't come to the door. We finally found a house with the door open, and they immediately invited us in, and asked what they could do to help us, and we told them we wanted to help them, by inviting them to come closer to the Savior. They shared some of their views on baptism and different things like that, and they are EXTREMELY Catholic, but willing to listen. I know God puts prepared people in our path as missionaries, and so I have faith that they will progress! Their son was playing guitar when we got there, and my companion just happened to tell them that I played, so they asked me to play, so I busted out some shreddage! Haha, it is nice to be able to play music, I have a guitar in our house, and music brings me such a peaceful feeling.
I am jealous that you guys got to go to Washington and that it is starting to snow! Mother, please send me a cooled package with snow for Christmas, some of the members are asking me to show them what snow is like! haha! That is awesome that you can get up to Washington to help grandma and grandpa so much, I pray for them all the time! I show everybody here pictures of the grandparents, and everyone thinks that Grandpa Gary's epic beard is sweet! I call him Quantum Santa Clause Grandpa! Well, time is running short! know that I love you all, and that I am doing so great! The language is coming, as is the gospel knowledge and guidance by the spirit. I am happier than I have ever been, and I can’t wait to see the growth I will experience as I continue on in the mission! I love you all!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp