This last week was probably the busiest, but one of the coolest of my entire mission! We had zone conferences this week, and Hermana Carmack wanted us to make Family Home Evening kits for the entire mission, but we weren't able to get the toner for the HP printer until Saturday. So, we had to stay up late for four nights, printing and laminating almost 2,000 papers and burning 130 DVD's for all the missionaries. It was super exhausting! We had the conference on Wednesday, and it was great! We talked about four tips that Elder Nelson gave about "Preach My Gospel", and also how to find new investigators and goal-setting. It was a great conference!
We asked President Carmack a couple weeks ago if my companion and I could go to the Zone Conference in David, so he gave us permission! We drove out on Thursday afternoon with the AP's! Before, we stopped at Rico Burrito and ate this burrito called the MataBurro, and it is a huge 18 inch burrito!!! So that filled us up for about two days. We got to David late, and stayed at a cool member's house with a bunch of missionaries that had traveled for the conference. We had to run errands during the conference, so we didn't hear much of it. Afterward, I had called the R family and K, my convert from Las Lomas, and we went to visit them! It was so good to see them! The elders were taken out of that area two changes after I left. There are still sisters there but a lot of things have gone downhill. I told President to send me back if they put Elders there again! It was really good to see the people from David!
Saturday, we drove back to Panama City, and President gave my companion and I permission to go to Darien, in the middle of nowhere on the east side of Panama, so the AP's let us take the car to drive to my companion's birthday party with the members out there, and it is basically out in the middle of nowhere. Before we left, one of the members let me kill a chicken, so he tied up the feet and hung it in the tree and let me cut the neck. But, I ended up cutting the entire head off! But it was cool, I killed my first chicken last week!
Yesterday, we talked with C at church, and he said he wants to get baptized, but his wife, who is still in Nicaragua, told him she doesn't want him to because she wants to "take that step with him together.” So, he is having difficulty accepting her choice because he wants to get baptized. We are going to try to get him baptized this weekend, but it will be really tough. Pray that we can get him baptized soon!
I keep learning more and more about the Atonement. It is something I need every day. This week I learned that we cannot benefit from the mercy and love of the atonement until we love and show mercy towards other people, and we cannot be forgiven until we forgive others. Humility is another thing I have tried to study and develop throughout my mission, because I have realized that I can be really prideful sometimes, when I go against the Father and do my own will instead of His. I am so thankful for the Atonement and the ability to be forgiven.
So yeah, I am leaving the office in a week and a half. I very well could go out to Blas, but it isn't sure. One of the ZL's is going home at the end of this transfer, so we will see. But now it really doesn't matter to me. I am excited to get back to working in the field, wherever the Lord sends me. Time is up. I love you all so much!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp
P.S. We had another multi-zone sport activity today. I put on sunscreen, and have come to the conclusion that the Panama sun is unblockable, because alas, I continue looking like a lobster.