Note from mom: Austin had surgery in Panama City yesterday for a hydrocele removal. The surgery went very well and he is recovering at the mission home. He will be off his feet and in a wheelchair for a few weeks. One thing about this surgery that impressed us is that when he was initially diagnosed by the Urologist in Panama City, his case was sent to the Church Missionary Department Medical Advisors in the United States. They reviewed the diagnosis to ensure that they agreed with it and approved the recommendation for surgery in a foreign country. Austin's mission president was with him during surgery and assured us that his physician was trained in the United States and that he was in a first rate hospital in Panama City. Austin is working in the mission office right now and he will be watched over carefully by his mission president and companion. We anticipate a speedy recovery for him with pathology results in a few weeks. We are very grateful for your concern, love and prayers! Austin must have been feeling pretty good yesterday because he sent us the following letter:
Guess I better report first on the surgery. Everything went well, I had it this morning, and I am still a little loopy from the anesthesia, but I am feeling alright now. Apparently, when I woke up, Elder O came in and asked me if I was in pain, and I just said, "No, but I saw a freaking cool building while the wheel chair spun in circles!!!" haha! President Carmack should be calling you guys today to let you know how it went.
We had a great day yesterday! There is a man from Nicaragua living in Panama, and he stopped going to church about 24 years ago. He is not a member, but his wife and kids are, but they are in Nicaragua right now while he is working here. He said he stopped going at about age 12, but that he had felt for the last five weeks that he needed to come to our church. He was really hesitant, but he came, and we taught him the message of the restoration. We told him about the Book of Mormon, and he said "well, if I read it and it teaches the same things as the Bible does, I will accept it!" So, we asked him to read in 3rd Nephi, when Christ does the Sermon on the Mount among the Nephites, and the chapters are compared to the book of Matthew. He was really excited to come back for next
After church, two Elders in my district, and the Assistants, had a baptism, so we went to the chapel next to the temple to see the service. I got to do the interview for the lady that the Elders baptized, and it was great to be able to see two people accept the gospel and start on the path of discipleship! I always love going to baptisms and seeing the peoples' faces right after they come up out of the water. I remember, right before I got baptized, I asked dad how I would feel afterwards, and he said that I wouldn't be able to frown, only smile. And I remember trying to make myself frown with my fingers afterwards to see if what dad said was true, and I couldn't do it!
So Courtney is the new Young Women's President? That is crazy! She will be a fun Young Women’s President though. I hope they don’t put me into Young Men’s that early! It would be super fun, don't get me wrong, just I remember all the crap that Dan, Kenny, Aaron, Skyler, McRae, Kevin Bacon, and I always did, like rolling tires and starting fires on top of mountains, and other shenanigans! haha!
Mom, I got the American Express gold card, I will only use it for emergencies, but what is the purpose of the green card? I wanted to ask if maybe I could use it like once a week or something on a small purchase, and you guys could just pay it with the money you would usually put into my account, so that I could build my credit up a tiny bit?? Let me know how you feel about that!
I have once again discovered the fried, meaty goodness of chalupas, and the fiesta fries burrito from Taco Bell. We don't have ANY meals with members except for Sunday, so all we eat is fast food. I think I am almost a platinum points member at Subway, which means free bacon, or double cheese, and double point values on EVERYTHING!!
We did a really cool activity this last week, where our entire zone went to a place on the coast called the Cinta Costera, and we set up a sound system with microphones in a big park, and we walked around contacting pretty much EVERYBODY that walked by! We also had people playing guitar and singing with the microphones, so I got the chance to sing a couple of songs, ”Come Thou Fount,” and a mashup of “How Great Thou Art” and “Oh My Father,” and “Called to Serve.” It was a great activity! It helped me get over my fear of contacting people, and I had some cool contacts placing Books of Mormon with some people! It was a spiritual activity. Well, not much more to report this week. I am glad to hear that Vince is home safe from Afghanistan, tell him that I say thanks for serving the country and that I love them both! I love you all so much!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp