It is always good to hear that everything back home is going well, and that grandpa is recovering and progressing. There have been a lot of prayers on his behalf.
This last week was a good, but tiring one! Elder P and I caught some nasty colds a few days ago, so we have been trying to rest up and get better so we aren't out for a longer time. We are doing pretty well now. We have been doing a TON of service in the monte the past week, taking advantage of all three elders here to do divisions where one of us goes with a member, and the other two go with a less active or an investigator to help in the monte. The services are usually just chopping all the grass/weeds around the coconut/banana/plantain/cocoa trees, and then hauling some coconuts back on a stick so the people can sell them to the Colombians. That is how they earn their living here.
This last week, our recent convert, V asked us to go to the monte with him and camp overnight to help him cut down a BUNCH of big trees on his land that is pretty far back in the monte. We called president and he gave us permission. Elder P and Elder O had to go to Ukupa to do six baptismal interviews for the Elders there. (They baptized six people from that new island they found that is an hour and a half walk from Ukupa.) So I got picked to go camp in the monte and help V for the day! So, we packed up, and left at four in the morning on Friday. We hiked for two and a half hours, mostly in the dark, and we started right to work! We worked the entire day, just chopping away with axes and machetes at huge trees! It was SUPER tiring! We just caught some fish from the river and made a fire to fry them up, then sacked out until six the next morning, worked for four more hours, then made the big trek back. I got back completely EXHAUSTED!!! But it was great to give service to someone who really needed it! V said we can go back and visit his land if we come to Panama. He is going to build a house so we can put up some hammocks and camp a night out there!
We were able to find more investigators this last week! We are trying to contact everyone and it actually surprises me how many people on an island haven't met the missionaries, who have been here for thirty plus years. It is true that there are always people prepared for the gospel, wherever there are missionaries. We just need to make sure we are prepared to feel the spirit and recognize those people. Missionaries are always blasted with ways on "how" to work/study/teach effectively, but this week I decided to study "Why" we work/study/teach effectively. It is all so that others can feel the love of their Lord and Savior, and come to a true knowledge of Him so they can exercise faith in Him unto Salvation.
Well family, that is about all for now. Utah is one hour ahead of Panama right now, correct? So that means I will call you at six o'clock Utah time, seven my time. Sweet. I'll see you next week!
I love you all!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp