This last week has been pretty good, it was a little busy with some things trying to get ready for the Zone Leader training meeting, and we had seven missionaries go home a week before the transfer. Four of the elders that went home were in the office too, so they came to our house and stayed for a couple nights which was cool. It was just weird to hear them all talking about going home! On Thursday in the morning, we had to get up and go to the airport because my companion had to pay for all the overweight baggage fees, so we got to see them all off. This week seventeen more elders including Elder P go home, so it will be a little bit of a crazy week. The new missionaries also come in tomorrow, so we have to prepare training meetings and lunches for them as well. Yesterday was a good Sunday! We had four investigators in church and two less active people that we invited. One of them has come the last three weeks, so we are hoping for a complete reactivation pretty soon. We are finally seeing some results after some good work for three transfers. It has been awhile since I have had a baptism, but we are close with a few. We are just waiting for a divorce to finalize so we can get two people married, and then we should have a couple baptisms coming up! Even though we haven't had a ton of success in baptisms, we are helping people and planting seeds.
After church, my companion and I had interviews with President Carmack. In my interview, he told me about some of the transfers coming up, and it looks like I will be in the office at least two, maybe three more transfers, we will just have to see. He is starting to keep missionaries a lot longer in their areas because he says that the third, fourth and fifth transfers are really when you know the area and the members well enough to put forth a full effort. If I stay in two more transfers, I will have five here in Cincuentenario (Panama Viejo), but I am alright with that. I definitely feel like there is a lot more for me to do here. We also talked about some other things, some questions about doctrine and I have come to discover that President Carmack is a genius. It was a good interview. After that, Elder P and I loaded up in the truck and drove out to his area in Arraijan, and did some visits, then on to Ciudad Bolivar. We got out really late, and didn't get to Ciudad Bolivar until 8:00 at night, so we went to visit Hermano F and Hermana M, and their son M who is a member and just got his call to Guatemala. They are some of my favorite people I have met in Panama. When we entered Ciudad Bolivar it just felt like home and that I had never left. We taught them a little lesson, and ended up staying for a couple hours talking and eating dinner! It was a great experience for Price to be able to say goodbye to his investigators and members. We also took a fridge to some Elders late at night and we kinda got lost in the jungle but we got the fridge delivered and home safe.
Today for Preparation Day, we went out to the middle of Panama with the AP's and hiked a mountain called The Sleeping Indian. It was cool to be able to see the middle of the country where the mountains are because I had only been through at night. We got there and it took us about 45 minutes to hike it, it was pretty easy, just really rocky and slippery on the mountains. It was nice and cool up there, and the view was awesome! We came back down, drove home, and now we are getting ready to go teach a lady that is planning on going through the temple next week. It was a good P-Day! Well, I will keep praying that the surgery will go well. We did a mission fast yesterday and that was one of the things I fasted for. I am glad to hear that everything back home is normal. Dad, take good care of mom so she can get better quick! I love you all so much!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp