So, these last few days have been interesting. I met up with my new companion, Elder J on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, we got to work buying everything for the missionaries in the zone. We had to go to Price Smart, which is the same as Costco, and get all the food. We eat things like mashed potatoes, canned chicken, pancakes, rice, pasta, and we drink tons of powdered Gatorade and lemonade. After we had bought everything, we had to go get things like machetes and sheaths, sandals, Crocs, and hygiene supplies.
Out here, we wear either flip flops or these nice Crocs that look like boat shoes, and we can roll up our pants if we want to. We sleep in hammocks, which is still taking me a little to get used to, and we live in a grass-roof hut, which is awesome! Our island is pretty small, so most people know the missionaries. We had to set up General Conference in the church. There is a translator that went to Salt Lake to translate conference into Kuna, but luckily we got to watch it all in English in the Branch President's office. It was awesome! One of my favorite talks was from Elder Uchtdorf in the Priesthood Session. It talks about looking inward and asking "Is it I?" I also enjoyed Elder Klebingat's talk about the six steps in increasing our spiritual confidence. It was a great couple of sessions!
After the last session yesterday, we saw a guy in the back of the chapel who came in on a trading boat and saw the church and decided to come in. He is from Colon, and he knows a few members. HE started to ask us lots of questions about the Prophet, and we explained to him about how God has called a prophet in our days, and we gave him a Book of Mormon. There was a member there with us who nailed it with his testimony, and the spirit was strong! It made me see the benefits of member missionary work, which seemed to be a trend in lots of the conference talks.
My companion is awesome! Elder J is from Collinston, Utah. He is awesome! We had a talk last night and planned for this change, and we both committed to give it our all. We do A LOT of hard service projects here, like going to the monte (mon-tay) or the mount, to get bananas and coconuts, and to chop down stuff to make farms, but we both made the commitment to get out and find people to teach, even when we think we are too tired. We want to live up to the challenge of serving with all our heart, might mind and strength. We get to go do divisions on the other islands in the zone! We are going to go to another island on Wednesday, so I will take lots of pictures! I love it here! I am so happy! This is the happiest time of my mission! I love you all!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp