This last week has been a good one, the end of the month is always busy for my companion. He is the financial secretary and he has to pay all the bills by the end of the month, so a lot of time is spent in the office.
This last week, we really tried to get family home evenings going in the member’s homes. One of the main focuses of our mission right now is trying to work harder with the members, and get them excited so they will start doing the missionary work as well. It has been a little bit of a struggle trying to involve members here, but it has been a great learning experience for us and the members as well. We were talking to President Carmack yesterday, and he said there are about 3.6 million people in Panama, and about 10,000 active members, and 40,000 less actives. He said that if we could get 20,000 members to contact 175 people, we could have the entire country contacted in a year and a half. One of the hardest things for me is opening my mouth and talking to everyone, but my companion and I have set a goal of trying to talk to everybody we can about the gospel, whether it be taxi drivers, people on the bus, or people in the street. It not only helps them have the opportunity to receive the gospel, but our testimonies are growing as we are sharing them more.
Yesterday, I got to see Colon for the first time. I had always wanted to go, and President called us after lunch to have us go with him to pick up a sister who was being transferred areas, and he couldn't go alone. It rained really hard, and Colon is the most jungle area of Panama, so it was really cool! It reminded me a lot of Ciudad Bolivar!
After we got back from Colon, we met up with C, and we took him to the temple. Every Sunday, President does temple tours for missionaries who want to bring investigators. We are working on getting C married, and so we thought it would be perfect to take him to the temple. I learned a lot of new things as well, as President explained the significance of different things of the temple, and C had a great time. We are getting the papers ready this Sunday for them to get married, then we should be getting them baptized within the next few weeks!
We also found a reference this week that we had been trying to find for a while. His name is A and he lives basically right next to us! He went to church a couple times in another ward, and he loved it! We taught him the restoration and he accepted to be baptized on the tenth of May. We might be able to baptize him sooner if we can get all of the lessons taught to him!
Well, not much more to report on…have had a good week, and I am excited to see the effects of the hard work we have been putting in! I love you all so much! Tell all the family in Washington Hi and that I love them!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp