Monday, June 11, 2012

Carlos, a professor of medicine contact

Dear friends, family, and various canines who have wandered in from the interwebs,

Well, this week has been wild, fun, rewarding, a lot of work, and oh-so-incredible.  Expecting to be moving into our "house-sitting" opportunity this week, Elder Borden and I started to "officially" work in Nova Vida.  It's essentially a new area (there's not a single old investigator) but there are a few members (most of them inactive), so that's been a blessing.  Working with members, if you didn't know, is the absolute best way to do missionary work.  We get references from them, they sit in on lessons with us, invite friends, etc.  Plus, we're doing some good reactivation work.  This week was great!  For being a fresh area, we still got 4-5 (possibly more if their families all work out) new investigators.  We met a lot of really great, sweet people, taught some powerful lessons, and contacted like crazy.  We're going to build it up well!

One of the coolest stories from this week came about because of contacting.  As we were walking down one of the main roads in Nova Vida, a man drove up, asked us who we were, where we were from, and what we were doing.  We told  him that we were missionaries, Americans, and that we were looking for people to share a message with.  He said that that sounded very interesting, asked us to get in his car, and told us that he lived just a few blocks away; he wanted to hear about our message!  His name is Carlos.  He's 55 years old, a professor of medicine, a very funny kind, intelligent, and wealthy man who just so happens to speak English.  (We tried to teach most everything in Portuguese, but he insisted on speaking English.)  We sat with him for a while, told him a bit more about the church and taught him about the Book of Mormon, he introduced us to his family, and we talked a bit about Angolan history.  Ultimately, he's open-minded, but not super interested.  We were able to go back and leave a Book of Mormon with him and his wife (who is very religious) and have decided to leave it there for a week or two.  If he accepts the gospel, it'll be slow.  It was, however, a very interesting experience and I enjoyed it a lot.  What a nice guy!

We'd been praying that day to have the right people put into our path.  I believe that he definitely was.  It might be slow, but I have faith that even if this is just "seed-planting", it's the start of a long path.  I'm excited for Carlos.

We also found out that "our" apartment fell through.  We won't be moving in to the "Celestial Mansion" of the mission.  However, we will be moving to Nova Vida with 4 other elders who work in other parts of Luanda 2.  Yes, another 6 man house.  The upside is that they're all very pleasant people and the house we're moving into is actually built to house 6 people.  We're very blessed!

This Saturday, we went to an island (technically a peninsula) and had a blast.  We were able to see Luanda from a different perspective, talk about our mission goals, unity, etc.  It was a lot of fun and we definitely enjoyed it.  Elders Walker, Borden, Hobbs and I built a sand castle.  I was buried in the sand by Elder Kelsey.  We avoided the temptation to go swimming.  It was just... Right.  It was good to spend a day out with the Elders.

My life is so wonderful.  Missions are such miracles!  And, more than that, so is prayer.  Prayer is the first and possibly most important tool in life's toolbox.  We should always turn to prayer.  It helps in every possible way--quiets the whisperings of the devil, tunes us in to the Spirit, and brings us ever-closer to our Father in Heaven.  Prayer is our first and final recourse.  Use it every day and you'll see the difference in your life.

I love you all!

Elder Cody R. Eckman

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