Saturday, July 28, 2012

I've officially hit a year now.

Dear everyone who happens by,                                              July 23, 2012

Hi!  This week was very hard for me.  I don't want to sound ungrateful
or as though I'm complaining, it was just simply hard.  However, it
ended with some huge tender mercies and the Lord blessed my
companionship so much.  If you've ever doubted that He loves His
children, you're just ignoring the tender mercies you receive every

I've officially hit a year now.  It's a weird feeling.  I haven't done
enough.  I'm not who or where I want to be.  I'm not humble enough.
I'm not patient enough.  I don't love enough.  I don't have the focus
I want.  I have a million faults still.  I'm not the super-cool,
incredibly-converted, nearly-Christlike man that I envisioned early
on.  I've also realized that I'll never be quite that.  And, I've
realized that it's okay.  We all grow at our pace.  Mine's a little
slow.  I'm working at it, though--with all force of heart and soul.  I
just want to be the man that the Lord wants me to be.  That said, I'm
learning to be patient with myself.  The blessings are definitely

I feel so strongly that I should share with you all my thoughts on
purity.  Purity is power, trust, love, and comfort.  Purity allows us
to be so much more than this world and to grow to a state of happiness
that is much higher than this world has to offer.  Purity brings love.
 It starts outside--what we do, what we say, how we act, etc.--but
slowly becomes something inside of us.  That's when it is true power.
When we change what we are inside we become more like Christ.  That's
the goal.  Be as He is.  Just think on that.

Anyhow, life here is good.  Elder Borden and I are trying really hard
to find people in Nova Vida.  I've officially knocked my first door.
(It went really well, actually.)  We are growing the area and it's
going well.  The Thompsons still have no word on VISAs.  The Abdos
will arrive soon, however.

Well, I love y'all!

Elder Cody R. Eckman

Cats invade truck!!!

Dear everyone,                                                                                                                                July 16, 2012

Hey!  This week's been pretty wild.  We still haven't received the Thompsons.  They received the wrong VISAs and have had to resubmit.  We don't know when they'll get here.  We are, however, excited for them to eventually arrive.

A crazy thing happened!  On Monday night we saw a bunch of cats under our truck.  We only saw one leave, so we started to make noise, honk the horn, shake the car, etc.  Nothing happened, so we assumed the others had been sneakier than the one that we saw.  We were wrong.  We opened up the hood of the truck on Wednesday morning because it had been making some strange noises the night before.  What did we find?  A cat.  A kitten, really.  He quickly dived back down in to the engine to hide himself from us.  With time, water, a towel, lots of coaxing, and a little force we finally got him out.  We cleaned him up, fed him, and took him back to where he crawled up in.  Sadly, his brother didn't make it.  He died in the engine.  It was all very surreal.

We did a lot of stuff this week for the office.  Well...  Really, we aren't office elders.  Office elders have an office, after all.  And they do office work.  We run errands, buy things for the mission, do stuff for the branches, take care of any mini-emergencies as they arise, and do all the reports that South Africa asks for.  I'm not complaining nor am I bitter--it's been kind of fun.  Elder Borden is good company, the adventures are interesting, and I know Luanda like the back of my hand.  Plus, I get to help my mission roll along.  It's definitely a blessing.

I've received a few letters through the mail now!  It works.  Thanks a ton and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Well, I'm coming up on a year now and it's got me thinking a lot.  I love this work.  I'm glad that I still have so long to do it.  I am afraid, however, that it'll go too fast and that I won't do all that I want to.  Well, I suppose there's nothing to be done but put my head down, work harder, and take advantage of this time while I've got it.  Who knows what's next?

I invite you all to read Enos this week and ponder on prayer.  It's important, I think.  We need to realize how essential prayer is in our personal affairs.  He's there.  He's watching, guiding, and waiting for us to find Him so He can give us so much more.  Seek Him when you've got to make an important choice; He loves helping his children.

I love you guys!

Elder Cody R. Eckman

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Less than a year left!!!

Dear various loved-ones,

How are you all?  Life here is wondrous!  I'm really loving the work that I'm doing.  Yeah, the office is a bit of a downer at times, but it's all important.  President and Sister Thompson should be getting here on Saturday, but we'll see.  I have faith and am praying for them.

We've officially moved in to Cajueiro(the nice apartment)!  It's very normal, which is strange.  There's always energy and water, which is a huge blessing.  We'll only be staying for a little bit, but it's been good thus far.  Elder Borden seems to be passing through a bit of a rough patch, so if you could keep him in your prayers I'd be very grateful.

We've had to drop many investigators lately due to non-progression, but it's all okay.  The Lord is blessing us according to our efforts.  So, if we double our efforts, we double our blessings!  =)  The end of the office isn't yet in sight for me but Elder Borden and I both feel that he'll probably leave it this next transfer.  It'll be strange to see him go; he's been my longest companion thus far and a true friend.

Patrícia and Lizete are still both progressing well and will continue to do so until the end!  I mean the end, by the way--like the end we endure to.  I'm so happy for them and their families.  They are finding exactly what their lives need.

I have less than a year left.  Oi, it's sad.  I've learned to love this work.  I've learned to enjoy being under this calling.  It hasn't been easy (nor is conversion at any level, I believe), but it's been oh-so-good.  I've changed.  A bit, at least.  But more importantly, I'm changing.  I'm becoming less lazy, less light-minded, less worldly.  Bit by bit, the Lord's helping me a lot.  I doubt that the change is very noticeable yet, but I feel it coming.  I won't be the same person in a year.  I'm glad for that.

Well, I love you all.  I wish I could show you this place.  It's a miracle.  Missions are miracles.

Stay the course,

Elder Cody R. Eckman

P.S. If anyone feels the need to send me a package (You shouldn't.  I'm sure it's ridiculously costly.)  Please send the tracking number and a list of the contents with their respective prices to my mom who will get the information to the mission office.  We need it to cut through all of the red tape that comes with getting packages here.  Thanks!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

New instructions for sending mail and packages to Elder Eckman in Angola

Parents, family and friends,

I know we posted about our new post office box, but there is a bit of new information when sending "Express Mail"  packages so I made the corrections and am re-posting it for you to see this important requirement.  We are thankful for your faith, prayers, and support for the Angola Luanda missionaries and the work.  It is the time for Angola right now.  Com certeza!

Great news!  A post office has finally opened in Luanda, and the “Angola Luanda Mission” has opened a post office box.  Now our missionaries can send and receive regular letters.  To send a letter use the following address:
(Missionary name)
Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos S.U.D.
Caixa Postal 18404
Luanda, Angola
It currently costs $1.05 to send a letter from the United States to Angola.  However, it will cost about $3 (US) to send a normal letter from Angola to the U.S. It should arrive in less than 2 weeks in either direction.  The missionaries are starting to receive mail and they are extremely happy!
If you want to send a package via the US Post Office please follow these instructions exactly:
If the package weighs less than 1 kilo (2.2 lbs.) it will arrive at the Post Office where we have a post office box with no problems.  If the package is over 2.2 lbs it must be sent “Express” so that it will be delivered to our Post Office. 
If you send a package please DO NOT put the missionaries name in the address.  This will make it very difficult for us to claim the package unless the recipient missionary actually goes to the Post Office.  PLEASE NOTE: If you are sending a package put the missionaries name at the beginning of the return address.  Then we will know who it is for.  For example, the package should be addressed as follows:
Elder Smith
Smith Family
123 Elm Street
SLC, UT  12345
                                                Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos S.U.D.
                                                Caixa Postal 18404
                                                Luanda, Angola
We have received “Express Mail” packages.  In order for us to pick up “Express Mail” packages, the post office is requiring the tracking number as well as a list of the contents with their values.   Without these two things we cannot get the package!  Please email these two things as soon as you send the package to:
We would be interested in knowing how much it costs to send packages to Angola via the U.S. Post Office.  If there are any customs fees, they will be the responsibility of the missionary.
**With the growing number of missionaries it is best that we not burden the Reedy family or other expatriates by asking them to transport packages for us.

Goodbye to the Waltons this week!!!

Entes queridos,

Well, this week--Wednesday, in fact--I'll say goodbye to the Waltons.  Man, I'll miss my mission parents.  Those two are true saints and lovely people to have served with.  As sad as I am to see them go, I know the Lord's hand is in it and that He loves us all so much.  Aside from that, I'm excited to meet the Thompsons!  They sound like such wonderful people.

This week has been wild!  We have two people set for Baptism, the mission reached 101 baptisms in a year, and we had investigators in church!  Lizette--as always--is progressing rapidly and already seems to be an old member of the church.  Wow, she's incredible!  Also, Patrícia and her family are progressing.  She's headed toward baptism on the 28th.  We're trying to work with her husband as well and I have faith that it'll all work out.  I'm so excited for all of them!

I found joy on my mission this week.  This isn't to say that I haven't been happy or loving up until this point--trust me, there's nothing better than a mission  Still, this week I found joy.  When Patrícia came to church, accpeted her baptismal date, and decided to get her husband in the game a flood of light just happened.  I can't explain it.  I just have so much love for these people.  They're going through the hardest time of their lives and accepting the Gospel as a place to find solace.  They will be so blessed for this.

President Walton talked this week about motivation.  What motivates us is really important.  Why did we come on our missions?  Because in our society it's expected?  Because we wanted to get out and see the world?  Because we owe it to the Savior?  Why do we serve?  Why do we keep the rules?  The commandments?  Why obey?  Is it to impress leaders?  Fear of punishment?  For acceptance?  To satisfy those around us?  These are all motives, to be sure, but why should we do these things?  I propose that it's got to be love.  Love is the key to every lock in the Gospel.  Heck, in the soul.  We open doors with love.  When we forget our motives and find the Lord's (which were always love), He imbues us with His power and there's more room in our lives to serve Him.  Our motives matter.  They change us.  What are your motives?

As I wrote to a dear friend this week:  I know that in order to live according to the commandments and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we don't have to make any great change in ourselves.  We just have to return.  We're on this journey and the only true goal is to return to where we were and return better than when we left.  It's just regression to who we truly are.  Along the way we find more of ourselves until, one day, we're there.  So, go back.  That's what I'm trying to do right now--and will continue to do until the end. I think that that's enduring to the end.

One more thing:  Starting in August, I can no longer receive e-mails from anyone outside of my family.  Now that we have a mailing system, we have been encouraged to follow this rule and I find that exact obedience is pretty important.  Until August, I'm fine.  E-mail me!  I'll write back.  After that...  Well, send me letters.  =)  Also, if my parents are willing, President said that it's completely acceptable for my parents to receive e-mails from my friends and forward them on to me.  I'll write back through this weekly one (and I'll send letters to the states, too.  It's simple enough for me.  =))  I love you guys.  Thanks for helping me keep the rules!  (Family, this means that you should write me.  =)  I'll make sure that I'm better at getting to all of you each week as well.)

I love you!

Elder Cody R. Eckman