This last week was pretty good! We got a little sick on Saturday and Sunday, so we were out of commission for a bit, but the rest of the week was good.
It always makes for a good week when I get to break out the ole´machete. We went to the monte twice this week. We usually go in the canoe for about a half hour, and then we get out and just chop down a ton of long tall grass and plants around the banana and coconut tree farms. A couple weeks ago, the guy we were with killed a HUGE boa constrictor he hit with his machete. It was like five feet long! So there are some interesting experiences in the monte. Then we usually carry out bananas or coconuts and get in the canoe and go back. The monte is always really tiring, but it helps me sleep good at night, which sometimes is a little different in a hammock.
We will be having a baptism this Friday! The guy's name is R, but everyone calls him shark. He is 24, and he is the one we are teaching how to read. It has been interesting teaching him to read. I don't remember learning to read, so we are using this online program meant for little kids, and I hope it doesn't make him feel dumb, but it really is helping him. He is coming along little by little. So this Friday, it is his birthday, and we are going to load up in the canoe, and someone in the branch has a really nice private island where we do the baptisms, so we get to head there and have the baptismal service! I am so excited! We will have another next week too! Before I came out here, it had been a while since I had had a baptism, and now we are seeing so much success. I know it is because of our desires to be as obedient as we can.
We are starting something new in the zone. We are going to hold the first once-a-transfer zone meeting on Wednesday in Narganá! We will have the whole zone there! It will be the only time the whole zone has been together ever. We will have each companionship prepare a lesson and a practice, and then we will play games and do activities after. Our zone is having success, but we know that we can do better, and we have high hopes that the meeting will help us reach our potential.
This last week was really good. I realized that the spirit is what allows us to magnify our calls as missionaries. If we don't have the spirit, we can't do anything in the work. If we do, we can do many miracles. We have seen a lot of miracles this last week. We have found new investigators, less active families, and we have seen an increased desire in the members to share the gospel and help us in the work. The branch is stronger than it has ever been, and we are working to get it to the point where it can function without the help of the missionaries. We are ALMOST there. We are just trying to get the leaders trained on the computers. A lot of them have never even used the internet, so it is pretty interesting sometimes!
I am happy. I know why I am here, to help others come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. I am so thankful I have the opportunity to preach the gospel and become converted as well. I love you all so much!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp