Interesting factoid: I speak Portuguese like an African. I'm not saying that I'm perfect (I'm far from that), but I understand everything that anyone says and can easily express the thoughts of my heart. Irmã Valdes called me fluent a few days back. I'm not sure if it's true, but it made me feel good.
Here in Casssequel, we have an abundance of American families: The Reedys, The Weggelands, The McAllisters, and The Thompsons. Sometimes, they invite us over for dinner and it's always quite an experience. For instance, yesterday we had a real American breakfast for dinner and (with permission) stayed and watched the morning session of General Conference. President Thomas S. Monson's remarks blew my mind! We are so spoiled.
In a few weeks, we'll get to watch all of conference. I'm really excited. I love it conference so much! It is such a cool experience to hear our leaders testify of that which is right and true. Bask in it.
I'm still driving and still loving it. Elder Borden's health is improving, but please keep him in your prayers. He's awesome, by the way. Absolutely one of my best friends in the mission. I love working with him. We have some pretty epic conversations and his wit is so dry that the Sahara would have a hard time keeping up. He's great. Honestly, he reminds me a fair bit of Alan. It's hard to explain exactly why.
Life here is great. Challenges exist, but that's why it's so good. We've been without power for about 2 1/2 weeks. It's a very interesting experience and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know a bit what life is like here. We've been having a bit of a challenge finding investigators (because we travel so much for our job) but we're redoubling our efforts and are excited to see the fruits of it.
Mission life is such a blessing. I recommend it to everyone. Please, find chances to serve. You'll never regret it. Service is just this pure light that comes and makes everything better--for you, the person you're serving, and the world. It's fun! It's good. The Lord has found ways to use my talents here that I never would have imagined. I've been rebuilding and repairing branch computers for the last few weeks. It's part of my calling. Who knew? Also, MLS is very... officey (now a word). Overall, though it's a bit annoying to have much less lesson time, it's been good for me.
Well, I love you guys. Keep me posted on your lives! Life here is definitely happy.
Elder Cody R. Eckman