Dear people of various backgrounds,
Olá! I love you guys!
Well, office life (minus the office, as one does not exist) is going... well. Slow, but we're getting better. Elder Borden continues to be amazing and we get along great. Please include him in your prayers as he's having some health problems. He's from North Carolina, has been out on his mission only about 3 months longer than I have, arrived in Angola one week before me, and served in Alabama for about 2 months. He's a blast, and we get along great. He cannot drive stick, so I'll be doing all the driving of our beastly truck.
We should've received the truck last week, but didn't due to a licensing issue. It has been fixed and we will officially get it tomorrow. It will make our lives much easier as taking taxis all over Luanda (which we've been doing) is slow, tiring, and, frankly, annoying. But, we are so blessed to be getting the truck!
We're living in the living room of the Cassequel Elder's apartment. There are 6 of us living there and it's a party (not literally... but we do have a lot of fun). I love these Elders.
We've started working with the Branch Presidencies here and have run the gamut of problems: fault of interest, no internet, people not following through, people not showing up for meetings, etc. That said, it's running. We're figuring out who to train to make sure it gets done, what each individual branch needs, etc. It's interesting. As of now, the records here are a huge mess. Oi... Really, I can't figure it out. People don't exist, families aren't combined, dates are wrong or not entered, callings aren't even filled in, and so on. It's a lot of fun.
We are teaching now and again. We had no investigators to start out (because we're a new "area") so we've recieved lots of references, we're contacting a lot, and we're trying to get in doors. We've already got 3 investigators and that's definitely a blessing.
An aspect of our work is visiting less-active members and strengthening the branches. We haven't done much of it yet, but I can tell that the experiences are going to be rich. Note to self: Never go inactive. Life really seems to take a dive when you do.
All that having been said, I'm more and more impressed by people. We have this incredible capacity to turn around and fix things. The Atonement allows that. We are never too far gone to find a way back. I've found that sin is loneliness. We distance ourselves from God and then get convinced that going back is either too hard, impossible, or just not worth it. It is, though. Loneliness gets dispelled by Him. I've found prayer to be such a cool and useful first step. When we pray, we open a very personal conduit to our Father. It's the opposite of loneliness. If you're feeling forsaken, lonely, hurt, or distraught... Take your medicine. Prayer is a perfect spiritual balm.
Well, I'm loving life. The Lord is so good to us. I love you guys!
Elder Cody R. Eckman