Buenos Dias Familia,
It has been a pretty normal week in the office. The highlight of the week was getting the birthday package and getting beef jerky. I am lucky that I am the mail guy. They aren't supposed to let any type of food pass. When I go to pick up the packages, I have to open every single one and review them with the mail lady, but luckily she loves us so she lets basically everything pass, unless it is just a ridiculous amount of food. And, if she does confiscate it, she usually lets us eat it right there so she doesn't have to throw it away! We call her tía (Aunt) and she seriously reminds me so much of Aunt Ashley and Kristie!
So, C is progressing so well! We taught him yesterday in Gospel Principles about the scriptures. He told us a really awesome story! He said that he went to a restaurant, and he saw one of his friends there, and she saw his Book of Mormon that he carries with him, and asked him if he was a Mormon now. C then told us about what was said in conference, about calling the church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and not by other names. So, he looked at his friend, and said, "I am not a Mormon. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." and he then bore his testimony to her about the book of Mormon! He is basically already a member! We just can’t baptize him until he gets married, so we are just finding out all that we need to do with his paperwork before we can baptize him. He reminds me a ton of A, my convert from Cuidad Bolivar, in his excitement about the gospel and his love of the Book of Mormon. We should be having a baptism in the next couple of weeks!
Speaking of baptisms, I talked with one of the sister missionaries who I shared an area with in David. She said that K (my convert's) daughter was baptized, also her niece that Elder C and I were teaching. Also, the daughter of Hermano J that got baptized on my last day in David got baptized! I felt so happy when she told me that, to realize that all those seeds I planted in David were finally being harvested! It was a special manifestation to me that the work and efforts we do, even if we do not see the results, are not in vain. Every effort we put forth in the service of God brings blessings.
I saw one of my favorite Mormon messages a couple weeks ago, a message given by Jeffrey R. Holland about when he was a young, struggling father. He gave a powerful quote about staying true to the gospel in hard times. He said, "You don't quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come till Heaven. But for those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God, and believe in good things to come." I have seen countless times in my life, that people think the gospel should make their lives problem free. That isn't the case. God gave us the gospel to help us know how to be able to support our problems and trials, and to learn and grow from them. A leader for world MTC's was in Mexico, and he told us that there are 7,000,000,000 people in the world, with 7,000,000,000 different needs and problems. And there is one gospel. He said our purpose as missionaries is to help all those people find out how to be able to use the gospel to meet their needs and solve their problems. I have learned, and am still learning, how to truly apply the atonement in my life, and how to help others correctly apply it, and there is no greater joy in life than helping someone become clean of their sins.
Well, this week hasn't been too eventful. I did finally get out and do some real teaching yesterday, so that was great! I am feeling good, and am ready to get out and bautizar!!!
I love you all so much! There should be a few letters coming in the mail!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp