I guess I better start this letter off answering all of mom's questions from her letter before I forget.
1. We can't proselyte after dark because the chiefs of the island have said no.
2. We do have a lock on the hut door.
3. I have NOT actually rolled out of my hammock. I am even surprised on that one, but it is pretty hard to roll out of a hammock. But alas, nothing is impossible.
4. I haven't eaten anything with members yet. There are some HUGE lobster and crab that they catch here!
5. Yes, I have the guitar. We have a lot of in-house time at night, so it comes in handy.
6. We do sometimes play with the kids, but they are in school during our proselyting hours.
7. We live in a town. The biggest thing here is the dock where there are usually two huge Colombian ships that sell stuff like clothes, hammocks, rice, etc.
8. We wash clothes in buckets with water that we boil on the stove
9. We usually work in the mornings on P-Days, then go to internet and clean the house in the evening.
10. As for Christmas, I really do not care. But, if you want me to get it by Christmas, the next time I will be in the city will be December 10th. So just be sure to get it out early!
11. No bat yet. But the fried house cat is pretty tasty.
12. There is a HUGE long PVC pipe that goes all the way across the bridge from the island to the mainland and up the monte to the river. So yes, we drink, bathe and wash clothes in river water.
13. Yes, we have a cell phone and our whole island has good coverage.
14. We email in the church, it is the only place with internet besides the school.
So, this last week was interesting. We went to Tikantiki, where there is a companionship of sisters, for two days to visit their investigators and evaluate their teaching. I ended up getting sick the morning we came back, so I spent two days in the house with another elder that was on our island, whose companion was in the hospital for a bug bite on his leg. On Friday, there was a youth activity in another branch called Ukupa, which means small beach. We stayed overnight on Friday and watched "The Testaments” with the youth, and Saturday morning, we had our baptism! We did it in the river right next to the ocean, and it was awesome! It was a really spiritual service, and lots of youth and members were able to attend. He got confirmed yesterday in church. I got to confirm him, and it was my first confirmation, so it was a neat experience.
The culture here is really interesting. The Sylas (chiefs) hold congress with all the men on the island every Monday and Thursday, and no one can leave their houses. Yesterday, all the Sylas from San Blas came and they are doing a big congress today. So that kind of hinders the work sometimes. But I guess we have to obey the laws of the land. Any time we go into the city, we have to get permission from the Sylas to leave the islands. Tomorrow, we are going in to the city in a plane because the transfer just ended, and we have to help the new missionaries buy all their stuff and get all the food for the zone.
We should be having 2 more baptisms on the 8 of November! We are being more obedient and are definitely seeing the results, with the less actives and our investigators! We are trying to teach one investigator to read right now, so he can read the Book of Mormon. He is one getting baptized on the 15th. There are a lot of interesting ways to give service out here on the islands. Well, that is about it for this last week... I will try to think of some more good adventures to write about next week! I love you all and have a happy Halloween! I will send pictures tomorrow when we go to the mission office. The internet here is slow uploading pictures.
Elder Austin Michael Kipp
P.S. I found some epic Mola this week, but you will have to wait until I get home to see it. Sorry. Hey dad, glad to hear that the biking is going well. Is the ole' knee holding up well enough to play some baseball when I get back? It's been a while since you have struck me out.... that is a challenge. haha!