Well, I am writing late (11:00 PM EST) because it is changes week and today was crazy!!!!!
I am glad to hear that you are doing so well! I want to wish mom and dad a Happy 28th wedding anniversary! I am so happy that we get to be an eternal family. One of the saddest things here in Panama is to see incomplete families and young kids growing up in single-parent homes. I am so grateful to both of you for raising me in the gospel and for staying true to your covenants and being incredible examples to me of good parents and spouses. Also, Happy 3rd anniversary to Court and Ryan! Man, it seems like just yesterday you two got hitched! I was looking at the family pictures from the wedding the other day, and I sure looked like a BOSS that day! haha! Ryan, you sure picked well! Court, thanks for picking me such an awesome brother-in-law! I can't wait to get back and hang out with you guys again! Happy anniversary to everyone!
This last week has been interesting. We did have a great day Saturday, my companion and the other Secretary, Elder M went on a panga adventure with the assistants to an activity in San Miguelito, so Elder G (the tight Mexican raised in Las Vegas) went with C and his boss, D to the temple in the afternoon. C, an investigator, gave us the reference! It was so cool to see C excited about his friend learning the gospel! D is awesome! Basically just like C, but I think he will actually progress faster. Carlos is a hard one, he comes to church, prays, and reads the Book of Mormon, it is just a little tough helping him understand some things. The temple was a great experience. We were there alone, because the temple is closed for a month. We were able to walk through the gardens and talk about some of the functions of the temple. The spirit was definitely felt. I love to see the looks on peoples' faces and hear their comments when they see the temple and feel the spirit there. It truly is the House of the Lord. I see both those men in white!
Today, the fiasco of changes started! There were six gringos that got here this morning from Mexico, so we went and took president's car to the airport to pick them up. We took them to his house and gave them a training meeting. One of them is into all the same things I am, all the same bands like Def Leppard, Sum 41, Rush, Blink 182, and he plays guitar, a Gibson, and he is being trained in the Panama zone, so, I think we will get along pretty well! That took up most of the afternoon, and now we have to get ready for tomorrow, one group of nine that come in the morning from Guatemala, and 18 more at night from Provo! Also, I will be getting a new companion this change because Elder O is going to train a new financial secretary this week, so we will see who it is!
This week has been a week of reflection, and a week of spiritual enlightenment. I chose to do a personal study on the atonement, because it is key for missionaries to teach, and I believe even more key for them to apply in their own lives. I read from the four Gospels about the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, and as I studied it deeper and prayed, I felt the love of my Savior. I learned a little more about how I can apply better the atonement in my life. It was a great experience. Well, that is about all the time I have.
I love you all so much!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp
P.S. Names here for cities are so weird. A direct translation of two cities are "Sugar Bread" and "Little Saint Michael" !!!!! haha!