Monday, May 28, 2012

Life continues its journey ever-forward!!!

Meus amados,

Well, life continues its journey ever-forward.  I'm loving my mission, as always, and am excited for a few recent developments with people.  Lisete and Noêmia are getting ever-closer to baptism (just a problem of marriage with one of them and a problem with feeling prepared for the other.  We'll get them through it in no time.), Teresa needs a good fire lit under her, and a few new investigators who are showing some great promise.  With a little luck we'll be moving this week.  Sadly, due to some laziness, other compromises, etc. of the 6 people we'd invited to church (who said they'd come) no one showed up.  One great big goose egg!  But that's okay--that's life sometimes.  Nothing to be done for it but to stress the importance of it this week and guide them down the path.

We received some awesome news!  By the end of the year, we'll 40 missionaries in Angola.  3 who were going to Mozambique are now coming to Angola.  Others are being called.  What a blessing!  The Lord is good to us here in Angola.

I had a thought recently and, though it's nothing too new, I wanted to share it.  "Taking up your cross" can be thought of as the hardships that we'll have to endure as we live the everlasting gospel.  For some, the cross may seem light at first.  They aren't inclined to drink, smoke, break the law of chastity, swear, etc.  For others, the cross is very heavy at the beginning.  They have to fight bodily urges, habits, addictions, lifestyles, traditions, etc.  My thought was simply this:  It doesn't matter how heavy the cross seems.  Take it up, follow after Christ, know that it gets easier, and realize that your cross will never be as heavy as His was.  Be it the shakes that come from giving up a body-craving addiction, the loss of friendship that comes from living a life outside of the bar or the turning away of bad company, broken relationships that come from a new resolve to live a chaste life, or what have you...  It's worth it.  Lehi describes the fruit of the tree of life as being desirable above all others and sweeter than anything else he had ever tasted.  It is.  It is.  I know it and I know that you all can know it if you don't already.  It doesn't matter how heavy your cross is; take it up, bear it with a smile, find joy in the journey, and you'll find a strength you never knew you had.  You'll partake of the fruit (which, as we learn from Nephi, is the love of God) and never again wish to return to a life without it.  I solemnly promise you that there's a way to bear the infirmities.  There's a way to support the hardships.  I won't tell you that they won't come.  They will.  With a firm certainty I'll tell you that they will.  But He's mighty enough to show you how to bear them and grow you along the way.  Go forward.  March on.  I promise you the reward comes.  And I leave these thoughts with you all in the name of that same help, comfort, and counselor, even Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Cody R. Eckman

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