The Best Two Years

The Best Two Years

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Faith is Power

Nuedi! Nue gambi!  That means hello, how are you? in Kuna. Bien.   I am glad to hear that everything back home is going well. Grandpa is a trooper so I am sure he will be fine in a couple of weeks! 

This last week was a pretty interesting one, as changes week always is!  Coming out of the office, I thought changes week would be normal for me, but it seems I was wrong. We shipped out Tuesday morning for the city, and had to wait until Wednesday to get the money and start the shopping spree.  In the meantime, we found out who was leaving the zone and coming out, and we found out that Elder Oakley and I are in a trio now!  Elder P from Kent, Washington is our new companion!  Since Elder O leaves four weeks after I do, President wanted Elder P to have a lot of time out here to get travel and all the zone things down before we both leave. That means that this change, we will be travelling a lot between all the islands doing companion exchanges with all the missionaries.  And, we will be able to do double work in our area, doing exchanges with the members!  I am super excited to have the new experience!  Also, Elder S from Bluffdale is in our zone with Elder A!  He played football at Riverton High, but I never knew him, but it is fun to talk about Riverton High!

This week, I started to read the book called "Lectures on Faith" that was written for the school of Elders back in the early days of the church.  It has given me a whole new idea on faith.  I have always looked at the word "hope" with a bit of doubt attached.  But, in Spanish, I realized that the word "hope", "expect", and "wait" are all the same verb. Esperar.  I much prefer the word expect.  Faith is an assurance of things that we can't see. Christ couldn't see the earth before he created it, but He expected that it would appear at His command.  It has changed my viewpoint of faith in missionary work.  Instead of just being obedient and expecting the Lord to shed blessings upon me, I can have those promised blessings at the front of my mind, and really truly expect them to be given me. I can envision results and through my faith bring them to pass.  I don't really know how to describe what I learned, but I recommend reading the Lectures on Faith.  Faith is power.

We are going to start district meetings through Skype this week! It will be a great pick me up for the zone.  We are one of the highest baptizing zones in the mission and we know we can improve even more!  There are so many people prepared in San Blas, and we think that doing regular meetings will give the missionaries the training necessary to find and baptize those people! Things are taking off here!   I am going to give more details on the call home on
April 6th in an email to mom a little later.  I love you all!

Elder Austin Michael Kipp
P.S. Pizza mas an gumbie! ( I want to eat pizza.....)

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Last Transfer, Monte Dog and The Carriers

Happy Preparation Day everyone!!!

This P-day has been pretty great so far!  Elder A(my office companion) and Elder M came from Ukupa and Irgandi to bring things they need taken to Panama City tomorrow when we go in to do the changes shopping bonanza.  We went with them to the monte to walk to a waterfall, about an hour hike.  We took our branch president's dog, Kippcito (Little Kipp) with us to train him to be a monte dog.  He fits in my pocket.  He whined the whole way, he is still pretty young.  He spends every minute he can in our house and he thinks he is our dog sometimes! haha!  The waterfall was really pretty!  We explored for a little bit and saw some cool jungle then came back home.

This last week was a pretty good one.  A very wise missionary once gave me the counsel that I can be a missionary and myself at the same time.  I sometimes get uptight because everything doesn't go exactly how I expect it to, but this last week, I really tried to focus on who I am.  A missionary and representative called of Jesus Christ to preach His gospel.  It helped me to know that even when we have hard times and problems, that the Lord is still at the head of this work, and that if I try to do my part, I cannot fail because He will be helping me every step of the way.  I also figured out that I don't have to be uptight and get annoyed by every little problemito and difficulty, but that I can be Austin Michael Man and a representative of Christ at the same time.  It is better that way.  If I give myself to Christ and His work, He can work on me and mold me into the person He wants me to become.  All I need to do is dedicate myself and give my whole self to Him, because he can't work on what He doesn't have, and he can't have me unless I give myself to him.  (The "Fourth Missionary" talk is great.  It talks a lot about our potential and who we want to become in our lives.)

There are some guys here on the island who we call the "island carriers".  They all have super long hair, speak no Spanish at all, only Kuna, and look like someone just took them right off a pirate ship. They rush across the bridge whenever a plane gets here to carry all the cargo across for the people, and that is their job.  They are all so funny! We were able to start teaching one of the carriers, A, and his brother and two friends. We took Hermano U to the three lessons with them this week, and the spirit was seriously STRONG!  They all accepted to be baptized!  It is great to see people finally find what they have been searching for their whole lives, the happiness and blessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, this week marks the start of my last transfer in the mission.  I still have a lot of things I want to accomplish, and I have set many goals to accomplish those things.  I cannot believe how fast the time has passed, but I am thankful that I still have a little time left. Time is an interesting thing.  Time seems to run faster with time.  I want to take advantage of every minute I have left to help the people here in San Blas! (I still haven't heard about changes yet, but I am pretty sure I am going to be staying here!)  I want to be as focused as I can, so please help me out!  I am doing pretty well right now.  I don't even feel trunky! Haha!

That is so crazy that C is already home!  Now you all officially know her family better than I do, I am so excited to meet them all soon!  Well, I will let you know about changes as soon as I can!  We leave on a plane for the city tomorrow so I will write a small note from the mission office.  I love you all!

 Elder Austin Michael Kipp

P.S. Remember, Nephi lived in the desert of Jerusalem for eight years with little provisions.  He built a boat starting with literally  nothing, and crossed the ocean all the way to America. He did it all through prayer and the guidance of the spirit.  We can do great things in our lives if we live worthily of the companionship of the spirit and pray to God for thanksgiving and blessings.

I can't believe I forgot to put V's baptism in my letter... best convert ever!  He is super strong! And he comes over to our house every night with Hermano U to pray!  Satan didn't want his interview to go through, but we got all the Skype problems fixed and he got baptized on Saturday!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Twelve People and the Power of Prayer

Hello family!

Thanks for all your letters this week, they really helped me out!  This last week was a pretty good one.   I was able to do divisions with Elder T in Ukupa, the smallest area in the zone.  It is on the Panama coast, it is not actually an island.  I was there for two nights, and we were able to visit Aidirgandi, another town on the coast.  There are less than two hundred people there and after visiting, I am convinced that all those people are totally prepared for the gospel!

We took the branch president and another member who is preparing for his mission with us to do divisions and get more work done.  We were able to talk with the syla (chief), and some other families, and we were able to put eleven new baptismal dates!  Oh, this pueblo is an hour and a half walk from Ukupa, the nearest church.  So, to get baptized, these people have to walk a total of three hours every Sunday to go to church and back home.  We were completely confident that they would come.  And lo and behold, twelve people walked all the way there Sunday morning to go to church!  It was a miracle. 

When I got back to my island, I figured out that there are a lot of problems in our island with drugs right now.  It seems like the island has completely changed in a matter of days, and it has been a little difficult for the work.  But, I am trying to keep up the faith.  I know that the Lord is just giving me this experience to stretch me and push me so I can learn and progress. Every time we are faced with a decision in our lives, it means that the Lord is giving us an opportunity to develop, in small measure, His attributes, or do the exact opposite and develop the attributes of the Adversary.  We are trying to make all the right decisions through these trials so we can have the spirit and know how the Lord wants us to handle the work here in PlayĆ³n Chico.

I read something that hit me in "True to the Faith." It talks about teaching the POWER of prayer, not just the PRINCIPLE of prayer. Something I have tried to do that has made my prayers more powerful is to pray for the guidance of the spirit to make my prayers more meaningful.  I know what God has prepared for me to do and I can ask for His help.  He knows me better than I know myself and can tell me what to ask for that will help me be stronger and happier.  Prayer truly is one of the greatest blessings we have been given, and it is the way that I have been able to grow so close to my Savior.  One of the greatest blessings of my mission is the relationship I have developed with my Savior.  I know God hears our prayers.   It is up to us to prepare to receive our answers, because I know he answers our prayers.

Glad to hear that Grandpa is doing better.  I bet he is pretty glad to be eating something more than ice chips now!  I will keep praying for a good speedy recovery!

I love you all!

Elder Austin Michael Kipp

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lessons Learned of Charity and Love by a 19 Year Old Hard Headed Son

Hello everyone!

Where do I start today? There are so many things running through my mind right now and I can't get my thoughts straight. 

First things first, grandpa is alive.  Glad to hear that.  It is so awesome that dad has been able to be there for Grandpa and Brother R during the time off.  Mom and dad, you are both some of the most charitable people I know and I thank you for your example. 

Speaking of charity, I studied charity and love a lot this week.  I had a lot of down time to study because my companion was sick in the hammock for three days.  I was told by the spirit that we can grow our love for others in three ways:  Praying that God fills our hearts with charity and love, making a constant and whole-hearted effort to show that love to others by serving them, and making a constant and whole-hearted effort to show that love for God by keeping His commandments and serving Him.  He promises that He will increase our love for others if we do these things.

A mission is all about love.  It is the best opportunity that God gives to his hard-headed 19 year old sons to learn how much He loves each one of them.  It is the perfect opportunity for those same hard-headed 19 year old sons to learn a couple things about how that selfless, unfailing love can change lives, not just their own, but the lives of all they show their love to by serving them.  A missionary is given the best possible opportunity to do those three things that will develop a stronger love for God, which will bless him and others for the rest of his life.

I finished the Book of Mormon yesterday.  Scott N's promise stays true.  No matter how many times I read it, every time I pick it up I learn something new. It is an inspired book, and Joseph Smith was called to be God's Prophet and translate it by His power. 

Tomorrow I get to go on a three day division with Elder T in Ukupa!  And we get to go explore another small island and see if we can put missionaries there!  And then on Thursday, we are going to go to ANOTHER island, and apparently there is an apostate Mormon church there that we are going to start fixing up.  I love the work out here in San Blas!

Hermano U is still a boss. There aren't really addresses here or mail on the island but you could just send it to the mission office in my name or another missionary and on the inside put that it is for him on Playon Chico, San Blas, and they will deliver the 

I love you all! Remember, Christ showed unconditional love to all.  If we want to become like Him, we must love all unconditionally as well.   I love you all!


Elder Austin Michael Kipp