The Best Two Years

The Best Two Years

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Best Two Years OF and FOR My Life

Hola familia,

It has been a little bit of a hard week.  I didn't have changes, so I am still here in David, which I am happy about.  It has just been hard with the companion.  He is just doing some disobedient things right now, and whenever I try to talk to him about it, he doesn't talk to me.  The whole last change I was just trying to remember that God put me with him for a reason, to learn something and to teach him something.  So I am still trying to find out what those things are that I will learn and teach.  I have never had problems like this with anyone, and it is a little fear of mine to have to talk about them.  But that is what the mission is about, overcoming my fears and developing and becoming a new person.  I have been praying so much for strength to be able to talk to my companion about things, and that he will realize that what he is doing is not in harmony with our calling. 

We have found some golden investigators, a family of indigenous Nase, and they are super excited.  They have already come to church twice, and have come to three activities we have had in the church!  They are getting ready to be baptized on the 8th of February!  We also found a guy named J.  He is the dad of a girl that got baptized a year ago.  We have taught him the restauracion and the plan de salvacion and he is really acceptive and excited!  He just works a lot, so it is hard for him to come to church...but, he is trying to get Sundays off so he can come!

As for P-Days, we always come to internet at ten, and then usually end up going to a church to play sports and eat lunch with the zone.  Sometimes we go to Boquete or Cerro Punta, the cold parts of Panama, which is nice to get a break from the heat! The sweating never stops though, due to 85% humidity!

I know this gospel is true.  I have really tried to put it in practice much more these last couple weeks.  Not just learn it, but learn how to apply the gospel to every situation and need that I have.  One of the leaders of all the MTC's in the world came to Mexico, and told us that there are 7,000,000,000 different people with 7,000,000,000 different needs in the world, and there is ONE gospel that fills EVERY SINGLE ONE of those needs, and that as missionaries, it is our duty to help people find out how the gospel fits and helps their needs.  It is the same thing with me.  As I have been reading the Book of Mormon, I have prayed so much to have the Lord open my mind to new understanding so I can apply the principles in that book to be a better person. These past few weeks have been some of the most spiritual and most progressive weeks of my entire life.  I can't deny the gospel.

Well, not much more to report right now, just that I am learning and helping people learn, which makes me happy.  I am happy.  Pray for my companion, please.  Thanks for all the prayers on his and on my behalf!  Also, pray for the Presleys, a senior missionary couple who crashed their car into a guardrail this last week, and are very lucky to be alive.  Thanks for everything! I love you all!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp

Monday, January 20, 2014

Planting Seeds

Hola familia!

Better start the letter off by telling mom that the charges on the card are not fraud, some missionaries needed stoves and so I bought them, and they reimbursed me in my mission account, so no worries.

So, I was thinking I was going to have changes, but I do not.  I will be here for another change.  I am happy and sad. Happy because I love the area and it is finally making progress, but a little down just because of things going on with my companion.  I have been studying a lot about humility, and am just trying to always remember that Heavenly Father put me here, he knows what is best for me, and I have something to learn and something to teach to my companion.   It is hard, but I have felt happier as I have tried to humble myself and serve my companion.  It is tough, but God knows what is best for me.

I am glad that you guys are starting to do more service and missionary work.  I was reading on Sunday in third Nephi about the twelve disciples that Christ called here in the Americas when he came. The thing that struck me about the story is that it says that they were not converted until after they had been doing service among the people.  They were the men of strongest faith in the land, and Christ taught them things that could not be written or spoken by tongue of man, but that did not convert them.  Only after they were serving God and his children were they truly converted.  I think the scripture is in third Nephi 28?? 

It is still hot as hot as ever out here in David, and the sweat is always rolling!  We aren't even in the hottest part of the year yet, either!  But, it is helping me slim down a bit, sweating so much!  I finally had to get all my shirts fixed because they fit me like tents.  The pants come next, and I think I will have to get my suit coat shrunk a bit too.

Our baptism didn’t happen this last week.  We still have to teach her the word of wisdom, and she has to go to church one more time.  She is never home, so it is hard to teach her or set up appointments.  But, we did find a good family who came to church this Sunday.  We invited them and they came, and we went back after church, and they are pretty positive!  So, I am hoping for a few baptisms this change!  Like dad always tells me, if I am obedient, I study, and work hard, we will be blessed, whether it is baptisms, or planting seeds.  I have planted a lot of seeds here.  I was reading about Joseph Fielding Smith and how he never even had one baptism in his entire mission!  The numbers don't measure the success, but the change that I can help other people make and the change I myself make, measure my success. 

Well, time is running short.  I am thankful that you are starting to work in the Temple, and serve more.  If you have time, help the missionaries in the Stake.  Being a missionary, I now know how hard it is when members do not work with the missionaries.  Try to help them, give them references, go on visits with them, whatever you can do to help the work, and you will be blessed immensely!   I love you all so much! Thanks for everything you do and your support!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp

Monday, January 13, 2014

Things I Never Thought I Would Learn

Hey family!

It is good to hear that you are all doing well!  How is the weather up there?  Still freezing cold?  It is still hot here, but the summer winds have started to pick up, so it is nice to have a breeze during the day. 

This last week has been interesting.   My companion still isn’t talking to me a ton, but it is getting a little better.  There is a sister who shares our area and she had some problems with her first companion here, so she has been helping me find out what is best to do.  I still don't know if I will have changes or not.  I think I will, but I won’t find out for another week.  I love the ward here, but it has been the two hardest changes so far with companion troubles and other difficulties.  I think I have learned the most though.  I am studying humility right now in Preach my Gospel, and just trying to remember that the Lord put me in the position I am in for a purpose, and I am trying to figure out what that purpose is.  I have learned a lot.  It has just been hard. 

It has been a good week.  On Tuesday, I went on divisions with Elder B, our Zone Leader from Idaho, and it was awesome.  I introduced him to all things Quantum.  On Saturday, we had interviews, so President came out, and in my interview I told him that I want to go out to the San Blas Islands.   He said that they usually send the people that tell president they want to go, and he told me my time will be coming soon.  As for the surgery, I will find out at changes whether I need to do it in David, or if I will be getting changed into an area closer to the city.  The mission is getting coverage for the missionaries soon, so I might wait until February so that we don't have to pay.

We had an awesome lesson with our investigators that are going to be baptized on the nineteenth of January about the restoration.  The spirit was strong as we explained about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  I love teaching about the Restoration because it is what makes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints different.  It is the central message of the church, and I love to see people get excited when they hear about Joseph Smith and what he did. 

Well, not much more is going on here.  I am learning so much right now, things I never thought I would learn in the mission.  I am learning how much the mission really does turn a boy into a man, and prepare him for the rest of his life.  When you get a chance, read Moroni 9.  It is the epistle of Mormon to Moroni, and talks a bit about our responsibility as members of the church to do the Lord's work.  I use it all the time with less actives and have seen positive results in reactivation.

I love you all!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp

Monday, January 6, 2014

Learning from Trials


So, it has been a couple good weeks out here in David!  We are finally starting to see some results of our hard work!  In my two transfers here, I had never seen more than 64 people at church, and the last two weeks we have had more than 85 people!  We have also had investigators for the first two times in my time here in Las Lomas!  We are working a lot with less actives right now, and we are trying to do family home evenings in a member's house every night of the week. So far, it has been going great!  My favorite lesson we did was about Nephi, when he constructed the boat.  God told him how to do it.  Our faith and testimonies are our personal "boats" to cross the waters of life.  The Lord has told us how to build them, through his gospel.  He has given us the tools to help us build and strengthen them, like the scriptures, the prophets, and temples and church buildings.  I learned the new point of view on this story in the MTC and it still strikes me really strongly. 

My companion right now is a bit of a trial.  It hasn’t changed much from my last companion, only that now I am trying to do even more to try to help him.  I was reading in Moroni 8 today, where it talks about charity and faith.  It talks about how a person with charity and faith does not get irritated easily.  I had been getting irritated with my companion very easily, and have realized that it was driving the spirit away.  I am trying harder to be patient.   Pray for him please. I want him to finish the mission out strong. He goes home in May and he is struggling a bit right now.  I know he can fix it and I know he knows he can fix it too.

There is a lady in the ward who is 84 years old. She cannot come to church, so we have the special opportunity to take the sacrament to her every week.  Her name is R, and she is so nice.  She loves to hear the hymns, so every time we go, we sing a ton of hymns to her!  It reminds me of when I got to do the same service for the Morgans, Higbees, and others who couldn't come to church.  I have realized more in the mission of how great a privilege it is to help someone take the sacrament and become clean again.

Well, there is not much more to report.  I think we will be having a baptism here on the 18th, maybe two, so that will be exciting!  Kipp daddy is tired of not baptizing people!  Also, tell General Brown to send me that footage of the guy taking over the bunker!  I always like to relive my days as a mighty warrior for the Falcon Corp stalking with Dan and Kurtis over email.  Fun times!

Well, time to go.  Know that I am happy, even though the mission is full of trials.  I prayed yesterday and just thanked God for my trials, because looking back on the last two transfers, I really have learned so much, things I didn't think I would need to learn, or would learn in the mission.  I am learning so much and know that I will continue to grow.  I love you all so much!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp