Well, I just realized on Saturday that I was hitting my 18 month mark! So, we went to Hermano U's house to buy some lobster for dinner. He is a diver, and caught us a mammoth three pound lobster! It was pretty tasty! I will send some pictures!
This last week, everything just seemed to fall into place. I think it was one of the weeks where I saw the most success and progress in my entire mission. It all started with our Zone Meeting. We went the day before to do divisions with the two elders. It was a big party, those two elders are so much fun, and we were able to work with them a bit. On Wednesday, everyone got there for the conference, and we gave each companionship a topic, one of their strong points, and had them share a fifteen minute lesson on that topic. It went really well, and the spirit was definitely felt. It was the first San Blas zone meeting ever, and we definitely saw success. Yesterday when we reported numbers, the zone had some of the highest numbers we have ever had! I know numbers don't matter, but with high numbers, it means the missionaries are working more and bringing more souls unto Christ. We are really excited, the mission has been in a baptism slump this year, and we really hope the San Blas Zone can be the examples for the mission on how to work effectively.
We had a baptism on Friday! R got baptized! We went out to a member's private island in the canoe, and baptized him in the ocean. The water was crystal clear and he definitely got the witness that what he was doing was right. He progressed really fast! And he is really excited to teach the gospel! So yesterday, we did divisions, and my companion went with another member, and I went with R. He took me to a girl's house who I didn't know, and she told us she wants to get baptized, so we set up a date with her and she accepted! Then, he took me to his uncle's house, where we found seven new really positive investigators, a whole family that could be eternal someday! And then, he took me to his cousin's house, where we taught her and her daughter, and they told us they wanted a Book of Mormon. So we gave them one, taught them the Restoration, and invited them to watch the Joseph Smith movie with us this week. We ended the week with 17 new investigators, thirteen baptismal dates set, and the highest church attendance we have ever had, 74 people. We have Hermano U's baptism coming up this weekend, and other baptisms planned up through the end of the year.
This last week was one of the most incredible of my life. I learned that the Lord truly does bless us when we are obedient and exercise our faith. I learned, yet again, that this church and the Lord's work are true, and that it truly is a privilege to be a missionary here in Panama. I have less than six months, and I want to give it my all so that I can hold my head high and say I did everything I could to build up the Lord's kingdom here in Panama. I love you all!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp