This last week was awesome! We were able to go to the temple with one family from our branch and their two little girls, and our Branch President, T. The family was getting sealed, and all three adults got their patriarchal blessings. So, to get to and from Panama City and the island, we first have to travel three hours in a motorboat, called a panga, and then travel two to three hours in a car to the city. The road to get to the dock is the windiest, roller-coaster-iest road ever! I even started to get carsick!!!
We got to the city on Wednesday morning, and camped out at the AP's house till the session on Thursday. I saw the new movie for the first time. I learned a lot from the new movie! It was so good to be able to go through the temple again. Then, we got to go into the sealing! I had never seen one before, and it was really great. The two little girls were really reverent and happy, and the husband and wife knew that what they were doing was eternal, and that their family would be together forever. The spirit was strong. It was humbling to see the sacrifice it took for them to get to the temple. There were only the three adults, the two girls, and my companion and I. They are now saving to get back to the temple again soon. It makes me feel blessed to be from Utah, where we have a temple within a half hour in every direction of our house.
This last week, we were able to get some quality lessons in with our investigators. We have been thinking of ways to be able to be guided more by the spirit. We decided that right before every lesson, we would say a prayer outside the investigators house, going over the lesson plan quickly with God and asking for help. We do it with our eyes open reading our agendas, and in English, so it was a little strange at first. I can't even pray in English anymore, it is so hard! After every lesson, we do the same thing, just thanking God for sending us the spirit. The spirit is offended easily, and I would be pretty offended if I helped two young missionaries teach some epic lessons, and they didn't thank me. We have felt the increased companionship of the spirit lately.
We have a baptism this weekend! An investigator named E. He is seventeen, and he has a strong desire to follow the commandments. It is interesting teaching here, we have to teach things really simply, or sometimes they don't understand because they don't all speak perfect Spanish. For that, we have a Kuna book and are trying to learn the dialect a bit.
Culture is interesting here. The island has three governing chiefs, (sylas) and they hold Congress with all the men on the island every Monday and Thursday. Also, the chiefs do not let us preach after dark, so that is a bit tough, but it gives us lots of good study time!
Mom, we shower in a concrete stall with a bucket, we cook our food on a propane stove, and I do not believe there are any poisonous snakes in the river. But, I have seen some starfish, lobster, jellyfish, and dolphins out here. We have electricity from six to ten at night, and there is a PVC pipe with water from the river on the mainland that is shared between three other families, and if it rains, there is not water in the pipe, so we have lots of gallon jugs we fill up and we wash our clothes and cook with that water. And yes, having a machete is pretty flipping sweet.
Well, it is about time to get going. I hope you are all doing well! Dad, that is awesome that you are in Young Mens again! When I come back, I may just be going with you guys on some campouts, teaching jungle survival skills to the young men. haha! I love you all!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp