So, I have been a little sad this week, on account of the lack of snow here in Panama. It's November. But it is 95 degrees. It just doesn't feel right...I miss the snow! But, I guess the rain will just have to do! We are in the rainiest month of the year right now, and it rains every single day here! Mom, I will definitely trade you right now if you want???
So, this past week has been great, just great. Our baptismal dates we put with the kids last week are still there, but the kids aren't really showing much interest. I don’t know what to do to get them excited, just pray and keep visiting them and bringing them to activities and the Lord will do the rest. Only after we do all we can, he will take over and help us. We found some good people this last week, and put another baptismal date for the end of this month, with a 21 year old lady named Esther. She was super receptive, but we haven't been able to visit her since. We are going back tomorrow, and I am hoping she still wants to get baptized!
So, the big six month mark was hit this last week! My companion hit 18 months this last week too, so we ordered a pizza from Domino's. There is a tradition in the mission that at 6 months, you burn a tie, 12 months a shirt, and 18 months, a pair of pants. So, we did just that! The pants wouldn't light, so we proceeded to soak them with sunscreen, the only flammable thing in the house, and they went right up!
This last week, I have really been focusing more on prayer. The only way I can be a successful missionary is through prayer and divine guidance. I read in a Liahona that we can improve our personal prayers by asking for the spirit to help us pray, and by seeking the Lord's will instead of our own. Instead of asking for things we want in our prayers, we should be asking for things that are in accordance with His divine will. I have noticed a big difference this week, in spiritual guidance. It has seemed easier to teach people, I can answer questions better and understand more of what people are saying.
We had Stake Conference this past week, and Elder Amado from the Seventy, the Central America Area President, came to speak. In the adult session, it was all about how the members can get involved with missionary work. President Carmack came as well, and said that to be a missionary, we don't need to plan a big long lesson, all we need to do is open our mouths, and speak simply and sincerely about the gospel. And the spirit does the rest. On Sunday, it was about how we can improve ourselves through repentance and daily use of the atonement. It was a great conference!
The English classes are interesting. I learned it naturally by speaking, so I never learned it in a classroom setting. My companion got an English book in the MTC, and he speaks, just with a super Mexican accent. So, he usually teaches and I help with pronunciation. We are starting a thing where each week, we are going to pick two people to choose a song in English, and they have to practice it and sing it for the class! It should be a fun one! I am going to be rocking some Backstreet Boys next week with one of our baptismal candidates named Jeffrey.
I talked to President Carmack yesterday, he is trying to get my surgery set up, I am not sure of the date yet. I will know by next Monday though! He should be calling you guys, is what he told me. I love you!
So, that is about all for this week. I love you all so much, and pray for you constantly. I know you all pray for me, so thank you. I can truly feel the strength. I hope all of you can take the initiative to open your mouths, and help share the gospel to others. You will be so blessed, as I have been.
I love you all!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp