So I am now officially 21. It feels a WHOLE lot different than being just a mere 20 year old, let me tell you...
Today has been a rather good birthday. I woke up at four in the morning with a splitting ear ache, and got a blessing from Elder M, and it went right away. When I woke up again, we bought some scones and I proceeded to pretend that they were an ever-so-delicious box of Pillsbury toaster strudel, an Austin birthday tradition. We then proceeded to go to the river to fetch water in a boat by a Panamanian-turned-Kuna crazy teenager who almost managed to crash us into some abnormally large sticks jutting out of the water at the entrance to the river. After making a half hour pit stop to his secret mango spot, and returning to the boat with no mangos, we proceeded forward. We filled up all the tanks, then went back to the house, where we ate a hearty lunch consisting of Spam, patacones, and Frank's hot sauce. After finishing lunch, we proceeded to clean the house, shower, get dressed, and that brings us to now! Let's just say that Operation Birthday: Sector Nargana will never be forgotten! So that's that.
Wasn't conference just great? I came in with a couple questions. I have always heard that we can receive happiness and strength through the Atonement, but I had always been searching for a clear answer on HOW can we receive those blessings? I knew that they were reachable, but how could I attain them? Well, I sure got my answer! There were so many talks that I really liked. We watched conference in Spanish on Saturday because the internet here was really slow to watch it in English. I can't wait to go back and read it in my native language. On Sunday, we were able to watch in english! I loved the talks by Gerald Causse, Elder Holland, and President Uchtdorf. This conference, I noticed two themes: A Christ-centered family, and coming to Christ. I enjoyed the focus on Christ's divine attributes, because without a knowledge of the attributes of God, we cannot exercise faith in Him unto salvation.
I am on divisions here in Nargana right now with Elder M! They had two baptisms on Saturday, and it was great to be able to interview the two candidates, and watch the ordinances. The spirit was strong. These divisions have been very effective, and both of us have learned so much! Well, I am going to send this and hop on Skype so I can talk with you guys face to face! I love you all!
Elder Austin Michael Kipp