Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bebinha is back from Portugal

Dear friends, family, and assorted other folks,

Sorry I'm a day late again. We're still working toward obedience,
staving off pride with a rapid infusion of humility, fighting
trunkiness with the sword of the Spirit, and saving the souls we find
along the way. The Lord is very good to us, but we have to accept His
goodness and follow His counsels to completely understand it, I think.
Life's a party (which truly isn't always a good thing), and we're
figuring out how to do the work His way. My companion and I are
slowly coming to understandings with each other, slowly breaking the
walls that we have, and trying desperately to not build new ones.

One of my favorite members ever returned yesterday from Portugal and
invited us over for lunch today, so I'm super excited for that in
about an hour-and-a-half. Her name is Bebinha and if any of you
remember, she's the member who lost her husband, Ferão. Honestly,
we're very blessed with members like her who just like to feed the
missionaries. I'm probably gaining weight. (I honestly can't tell.)

President is working really hard to get everything ready for the 4 new
missionaries who are coming in about a week! I'm super stoked for
that! New faces are going to be a blessing. I also recently found
out that a friend will be arriving here in August... Elder Dyllen
Cafferty! I'm excited to see him. I'm sure he doesn't read this, but
I'm somewhat positive that someone who knows him does. Tell him to
write me and I'll tell him all sorts of awesome things to expect. We
need hard workers like him and I'm stoked that he's been called to the
greatest mission in the world.

I just finished the D & C and am now working on The Old Testament. I
read The BoM every day, too. I recommend it, as always. That book...
It's not of men.

I've realized recently that sin comes when we become too self-focused.
Wickedness never was happiness. Sin is the opposite of joy. Joy
comes from love. Charity is the pure love of Christ. Charity is
selfless. Sin is selfish. Sin makes us miserable. We were created
to be happy. No matter how you slice it... Sin is stupid. It halts
progression, tears souls, ruins families, happiness, realtionships of
all sorts, confidence, and the list just keeps on going. Sin is the
opposite of our purpose because it brings only misery. Keep
yourselves selfless, be pure, have charity, and you'll avoid the sins
that are going to bring pure, liquified pain. Have love. Sin not.
Have joy. This is the message of Christ.

Life keeps on pushing, love keeps on flowing, and missionaries keep on
working. I love you guys. Stay the course and know that somewhere in
Africa. a fat missionary is being called chinese by small half-naked

(If that didn't make you smile, you're not human.)


Elder Cody R. Eckman

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Better late than never!!!

Dear Everyone,
I'm sorry this is so late! I don't want to point any fingers or anything... Let's just say that we're really trying to work on obedience at home right now.
I have incredible news! Zefa is getting baptized this Saturday and she asked me to perform the ordinance! Wow. What an honor. I've worked with Zefa for a long time and I feel very close to her. She will surely be a dear friend for years to come.
Honestly, I don't have a lot to say today. Elder Soares of the Quorum of the 70 was here this last weekend for District Conference, Zone Conference, and various trainings. It was... Quite an experience, to say the least. Inspired men sure are neat. He gave exactly the advice that everyone on this mission needed. I sure hope we all follow it. Angola will not be becoming an official independent mission this year. Almost surely next year, but not yet. President and Sister Walton will be leaving in July. I'll sure miss those two! What an incredible couple. We're incredibly blessed to have them.
Do what the Lord wants. His will is... Well, it's more important than ANYTHING. If He asks it, it's for wisdom's sake. Also, it's for our good, our edification, and our happiness. His work is us. Let's not let Him down. He requires relatively little and everyone at the same time. He wants us to be who we are but to still live in the way that He in His infinite wisdom knows is best. He loves us. Let me say that again: He knows ALL--every fault, mistake, sin, hurtful word, short coming, shame, disgrace--and He loves us still. If you don't know that, please find it. It's a blessed knowledge.
Nephi said, "I know He loves His children. Nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Me neither, Nephi. But the knowledge of His love is enough to get through most anything, isn't it? Just... follow Him. I've seen the consequences of ths who choose other, flawed paths. It's not happiness. It's not joy or contentment. It's... Emptiness. Lack of something that you need. I promise you all that regardless of what we think we need, we need His presence way more. He knows that too. My invite is simple: Seek it.
I love you guys. Stay the course.
Elder Cody R. Eckman

Monday, February 6, 2012

February is the month of Baptism's!!!

What a beautiful family Antonica has.
I'm sure they are working towards an eternal Family!!!

Elder Eckman and Antonica & Samuel on Baptism Day!!!!!
Cody had the opportunity to baptize both Antonica and Samuel.

Dear friends and family,

Man alive, February is the month of baptisms! The mission will have over 20 this month--more than the number of missionaries we have. This Saturday I had the incredible honor of personally baptizing Antonica and Samuel. What an awesome experience. The gospel is true. Their confirmations were also incredible and a very special spirit attended them. On the 18th, Sefa will be baptized. I'm SO excited for her. She's such an incredible person and will be a wonderful addition to the church here in Angola. In our branch alone, we will have at least 6 baptisms this month. We are a very blessed bunch.

I'm sure loving the work and glory of God. This work truly is a marvel and a wonder. The love that is felt between the people here, between the missionaries, and between the investigators is something that I could never have imagined. Love will save us all--love already created us, paid for us, and now we just have to love enough to accept it all.

I'm learning a lot, growing a lot, and having way too much fun. I'm a missionary--what could be better? My only true reponsibility is to the Lord. That's such an incredible thought to me. This is the only time in my life when that's completely, one-hundred percent true. I need to take advantage! Who would want to laze, sleep, dream, worry, or fritter this chance away? I invite all to get to work because this is the standard that I am setting for myself.

This week we'll have District Conference and Zone Conference--both with Elder Suarez of the 70. I'm really excited to meet him and receive training from him! It'll be an experience to remember.

Amo-vos. Todos de vocês são muito especiais para mim. Obrigado por seu amor, os pensamentos, e o apoio. Sou eternamente grato por os exemplos que eu tenho na minha vida--minha família e meus amigos.

Fiquem bem,

Elder Cody R. Eckman