The Best Two Years

The Best Two Years

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Ask and Ye Shall Receive."

Hello family!

Mom and dad, tell the family up in Washington that I say hey!   This last week has been great. Elder T is still with us.  His new companion gets here tomorrow so he will be going back to his area tomorrow. It has been a ton of fun having him here, and I have learned a ton from him! He is an awesome example to us. 

This last Saturday, the baptism streak kept hot and we were blessed with four more baptisms!  We baptized four youth.  It was a really awesome service, and they all looked super happy afterwards.  Elder T, Elder O, and I were all able to baptize one of them, and I baptized the other.  I have been blessed to see so many of God's children enter the waters of baptism, and I owe it all to the Lord and the Spirit.  They are blessing us for our efforts to be more obedient. 

We had a Seventy come to the mission a couple weeks ago, and really say some things that were hard for some of the missionaries to take.  Our mission isn't baptizing much right now, and the mission is not reaching its full potential.  The Seventy put out a lot of rules and a lot of the missionaries are having a hard time accepting what he said as truth. I have a hard time seeing missionaries that don't accept what a servant of the Lord commands them to do.  I liken it to the scriptures in the Book of Mormon, when a prophet was sent among the people, they rejected him.  Our mission could be so much more successful, and more importantly we could change so many more lives if we listen to the counsel of our leaders who are called of God to help us.

We saw a pretty cool miracle this last week.  We went to two other islands with Elder M and Elder M. Elder M is in the district presidency, and he wanted to visit the branch presidents, so we took elder T and went with him.  Chak drove the boat.  We got done, and we were coming back to our island in the dark.  All of a sudden, the engine dies, and we realize that we are out of gas!  We shake the gas tank, pump the tube connecting to the tank and the motor, and nothing. Bone dry.  We decided to say a prayer, and then Elder M started to pump the hand pump again.  At first, nothing, but after a minute, the tube filled with gas, and we had just enough to get to a hotel close by and buy some more.  The Lord literally gave us the extra fuel we needed to get back.  It was a total testimony builder of the power of faith and prayer, and all that experienced that miracle were greatly struck by the spirit that was felt.  "Ask and ye shall receive."

This week is the last week of the transfer.  We are going to have two more baptisms and then we will head to Panama City to do the whole transfers purchasing routine, and I will find out if I stay or I go.  I love you all!  And mom, I will send some pictures of the hut right now, and the two dogs named Kipp.  I officially have two dogs, one monkey, and one squirrel named after me now. 

I love you all!  Go Seahawks!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Obedience and Service Bring Blessings

January 19, 1015

Hello family!

This last week has been an interesting one.  We are in a trio with one of my favorite Elders, Elder T.  His companion went into the city because he has medical problems, so we are waiting for Elder T's new companion to get out here.  It has been interesting learning how to work in a trio, but it has been fun!

This last week, we have been able to find a ton of new people to teach!  The whole mission has the goal to start working with and baptizing families.  We are really working hard to try and teach the whole families of all our investigators, and this week we have put up a lot more baptismal dates through the efforts.

I think my faith has been strengthened out here more than in any other time in my life.  These few months on San Blas, I have tried hard to be obedient and trust that the Lord will bless me. He truly has.  Even though it is the hardest part of my mission, every day we see small miracles that make it worth all the struggles and difficulties.  Obedience and service truly do bring blessings. 

I love doing service!  We were able to go to the monte (mountains) a couple times this week and do some work for our branch president and Syla G.  We had to walk for over an hour, and we carried a ton of coconuts to the river and back in a canoe.  Elder T came with us, but here they don't sell boots big enough for him, so he did the entire service in flip flops.  He has had a ton of difficulties and trials in his first six weeks here, but his attitude is always so positive, and I think that attitude is one of the most important factors in missionary work.  If we are constantly complaining about our circumstances, we will lose the spirit and we will not be able to do the will of the Lord.  He has been a great example to me of enduring to the end. 

Well, I don't have much more time this week to write, but I love you all!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp

P.S.  Utah State online classes are definitely an option so I can save money!!!  I will have to keep thinking about that one


Monday, January 12, 2015

The Angry Sea, Colombian Ship, Pangas and Miracles

"The sea was angry that day my friends... Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli!"

Hello everyone!

This last week was pretty interesting.  We had four other elders in our house, and we were planning on getting out Wednesday to go to the zone conference.  So they got there on Tuesday, and then we figured out that no pangas (passenger boats) could go out because the sea was too wild.  So we prayed and prayed and we decided that we were going to try and find another way to do the zone conference.  I won't tell the whole story, but it was a crazy, prayer-and-fast-filled couple of days, and we literally looked into every option to get to Narganá.  We even talked to the small red chicken biplane that brings chicken to our island from the city. 

Well, the Lord answers prayers. We got on a Colombian boat (a big boat that sells stuff to the islands, like hammocks and food) and we set out.  The sea was angry, and so we sat in the middle on top of the cargo hold, and there were a couple times that I thought we were going down.  We made it all right, though, and the conference was a huge success!  Two of the assistants came out, and all the missionaries were really excited to see each other. The meeting was really spiritual as well.  I talked about a talk from Elder Ballard called "Mental Tenacity", it talks a lot about being creators of circumstances, and not creatures of circumstances, and leaving the excuses behind to have a good attitude about the work, no matter what the difficulties are. My companion talked along the same lines, and we didn't even plan that one out. It was a real spiritual meeting. We have a boss zone. 

The ride back was pretty interesting.  We got in a panga, because they lifted the panga ban, and set out.  The waves were pretty big, and the boat was jumping, but we all got back safe and sound.  We saw so many miracles, and the Lord definitely answered all our prayers. Oh, and I WAS able to get my Christmas package.  The assistants brought it out!  I already created my own Lego ships.  Also, Elder Fish, a missionary who finished in June and was on Blas for a year, is here visiting with his family and brought  me Swedish fish, beef jerky and sunflower seeds!  So mom, if you could send some with Hermana W, I wouldn't mind one bit! haha!

We did have a baptism this week.  Yamilsia got baptized, she is around thirty years old, and she has come a long way. It was a really spiritual baptism. We have been blessed with baptisms every week of the change so far!

Well, that is about all I have time for... Mom, the pictures of the hut will have to wait until next week.... sorry!  I love all you guys!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp

Monday, January 5, 2015

Two Baptisms, New Years, Noriega Dolls, and Always a Missionary

Hello Family! 

This last week was great!  We started the week off by going out to Narganá to do divisions with Elder M and Elder M.  We helped them move out of their church and into a house, and we helped them get a good start on the work in the area.  It is hard out here December through February, because the schools are out and everyone goes to the city to visit family for those three months, but we got them some good leads on some positive people!

We also did mission leadership council there over Skype.  They talked about working with the members and baptizing families.  The mission has a goal to double the number of baptisms this year that we had last year, and if we work with members and try to find more families to teach, we will do it!  We have our zone meeting with the Blas zone this Wednesday, so we are hoping that helps the missionaries in the zone to be excited about working with members and finding families!

Coming back from divisions was crazy! The tide was super high, and we got soaking wet!  My companion got really sea sick!  Hopefully it calms down Wednesday so we can travel.  Pray for us that the wind and the waves will calm down so the chief will give us permission to travel.  If not, we can´t do the zone conference.

So, we had another baptism this week!  Two, actually!  Hermano U's wife and daughter got baptized!  It was the first family baptized in 2015 in Panama!  It was great to see a family enter the water, and I hope we can get them to the temple in a year.   I would totally come back for that one!  We have been blessed to see so many results here!  We have two more baptisms planned for this weekend, so we are pretty excited! 

New Years was pretty interesting.  We spent the day moving the elders into their new house, and eating GRILLED CHICKEN, MASHED POTATOES, and RANCH!!!!!  It was the best dinner ever!  Well, on San Blas anyway.  We don't get anything like that on our island, so it was awesome!  Here for New Years, everyone makes life sized Noriega dolls and burns them on New Years.  It was pretty interesting.  Not too many fireworks on the island, but there were a few small ones to watch. It was a good New Years!

This year, I have made it a goal to never pass up a chance to share the gospel, whether I am a missionary or not.   I never want to stop doing missionary work.  I challenge you to do the same.  We have chances every day to share the gospel with people.  It can be something small and simple like sending a text with a scripture in it to somebody, or a small act of service and an invitation to learn more.  I challenge you to take advantage of all the opportunities you have to share the message of the gospel!

Well, I am about outta time.  Dad, I sure hope you get feeling better! Mom, I keep forgetting to take pictures of my hut.  I will get one to you next week, I promise!

I love you all!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp