Monday, October 31, 2011

Testimony of Prayer

Dear various peoples,

Well, I'm starting this letter with boldness because... I feel like I should. =)

Prayer is INCREDIBLE. Use it every day! Glory in it. And, if you don't right now, that's okay. Fix it. It's simple as that. Just... DO it. We have within our grasp the opportunity to speak with (not to, WITH) the Almighty God. ...Why wouldn't you want to do that often? Prayer is pure joy. It's... Well, it's something beyond ordinary. It's a language of light and has a power beyond this world. I testify to you of the power of prayer by telling you that without having it in my life I would be not only unfaithful, but likely downright Atheistic. Prayer has changed my life because I can feel Him there, speaking to me, encouraging me, holding me up when I need it, listening patiently when I need to talk, and bringing edification to the truths around me. Prayer is beautiful. PLEASE, do not be afraid of it. PLEASE, do not think for one second that He wouldn't like to hear from you. And, to those out there who might not believe in Him, before making such a sad and despondent claim, why don't you try talking to Him? What in the world do you have to lose? Precious ignorance? Or are you too close-minded to consider the possibility of someone greater than you? Think on it. I witness that He's there, that He cares, and that He expects us to pray. Don't let Him down.

The next step is reading. God has not put the scriptures in our lives to sit on a shelf and collect dust. Pick them up, put them to use, and don't make excuses. You need them--whether you think you do or not. Hold them close, study them ravenously, and share them with your loved ones. The Book of Mormon especially has changed my life. As was recently related in conference, that book is one of two things: Pure truth or blasphemous lie. It CANNOT be any other thing. It's not stories that have good morals but have no foundation in truth. It's not just a "good book". It's salvation. And if you don't KNOW this, find it out. Don't take my word for it--the word of man is weak. Read it. Prove it. Test it. I solemnly promise, with all the authority of my calling, that that book is not only true, but that you will NEVER read something more important to the eternal salvation of your soul. Why should you cry out against MORE of God's words you believers of the bible? He's given you another witness; what you do with it is entirely up to you, but it's of gravest importance to Him that you find it, read it, and live it.

Jesus was and is the Christ. He is the only path to salvation and the only way to true, lasting happiness. This is our grandest message: Jesus Christ atoned for the wrongs of mankind. He was not merely a good man--He was and is the Son of the Most High God. He is our Advocate. He is our Light. And He will make you free from all things if you will but turn to Him and seek His paths. I implore you to find Him and stay in His narrow way. Thank you for reading this and I close in the holy name of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Angola is grand, as always. Today is Halloween, I suppose, but that's not a celebrated Holiday here. Go figure. However, the Reedies (I sure hope that's spelled right) had us (16 elders!) over for a little party today as it's P-day and they are the sweetest people on the face of the planet. They're a family from the US (Santa Clara, actually... Small world, right?) and they take good care of us missionaries.

Let's see... Stories. Umm... This week was District Conference. It was really good and I was able to sing with the choir (what a blessing! I miss singing fiercely). Tomorrow we find out about our first transfer. I'm assuming that I'll stay in Luanda 2 (my branch) but really, anything could happen. Sorry that pictures haven't been posted yet... The computers here are so slow that it's nearly impossible to send pictures home. I'll keep trying.

Well, I'd better head. I love you all. May the Lord keep you and bless you.

Elder Cody R. Eckman

Monday, October 24, 2011

3 Baptized, 4 more ready

Dear Adoring Fans and the eye-rollers who know me better than that,

I'm not sure what happened to my blog before, but no matter. Mom, could you please transfer all my old e-mails to it as well? I want to have those for myself when I get home. Also, spread the word around that this is the new blog site! Everyone! Please.

On to the meat of things. I'm trying to reply to everyone, but it's hard. Sorry for the delay, but please try to be patient with me--I only get 1 hour a week for e-mails. (Honestly, any more than that would start to drive me nutty.) =)

Life here is great as always! All 3 of our prospects (Francelina, Albertina, and Judith) were baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday! SO cool! Baptisms are an incredible blessing.

We had sort of an epic leak at the chapel last week, but we took care of it like men. We were without running water for a few more days, but that's handle able and now everything is up and running again.

It's looking like we have 4 more people who will be ready for baptisms soon (Ivonaldo, Domingas, Zidani, and Alberto) so I'll update on those when I know! =)

Elder Sande and I are starting to get on well... It's an on-going process. =) We're making goals and doing much better, however. It's great fun.

I got to see conference in English this week and I have to say... WOW! What an incredible set of talks. Priesthood session especially was very enlightening. Choosing a favorite is hard, but I loved what President Holland had to say about "lines of worthiness being drawn".

I've realized that life isn't complicated. People complicate it, but life itself is very pure, very simple. Notice the little things! They're hugely important. I am a big believer in the idea that if we pay attention to the little pieces of life, the big ones just fall into place. Think on that.

Today, I want to talk about Proverbs 1:7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Take the counsel of the Lord and DO something about it. It'll change your life. It's changing mine. Be teachable. Encounter wisdom. And seek to know all things for yourself. I invite you to do these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all! Please, get word to people that this is my new blog site. I feel like that's important. Take care!

Until next time,

Elder Cody R. Eckman

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Welcome to the new Mission Blog

Family, Friends,
The Blog for Cody's mission was deleted for some reason, all I can think is that there was a problem with Cody's E-mail and I do not have the codes to restore it and there fore his blog was shut down. I have decided to start one of my own and that way I can control what ever happens with my codes and passwords.
Welcome to the new Blog for the weekly updates on Cody's mission.