Monday, October 8, 2012

Highlight of the week, a man named "Batista"

Dear everyone,

Gosh, I feel good today!  Another hard week in the way of numbers and "success" (of course we all know that success has only a little bit to do with numbers), but a good week, overall.  I find myself thinking less and less on home and more and more on the mission.  I'm really trying to be the missionary that you all probably think I am.  I'm really trying to be more like my father--an incredible man, to those of you who don't know.  Highlight of the week?  A man by the name of Batista.  He was simply a street contact, but he's turning into so much more.  He speaks better French than Portuguese, but with the help of the Spirit and the pamphlets that we have, he's understanding.  We're fellowshipping him with a member from the Congo.  The first time we sat with him, he just glowed.  I can't explain it any better than that.  He stands out.  And he's so accepting and so willing.  He loves God and knows that God loves him.  He lives in a one room concrete shack that is incredibly well-kept.  It has essentially a little bed and a chair inside of it.  He said to us, "God loves me!  I have a home, a job, I eat well, and I always have enough extra to send home to my family in Gabão."  He then explained that he doesn't like smoking or drinking, doesn't want a relationship with a woman, and hasn't yet attended any churches in Angola.  We invited him to come to ours and he said he would!  He had to travel before this Sunday, however, and he won't be back until next Saturday.  That all said, I'm so excited for him!  He's so special.

This week was an awesome one.  Missionaries can now serve with 18 and 19 years of age!  What a cool blessing!  I'm excited to meet some of these new, incredibly prepared missionaries.  We need them.  If you're thinking about serving, do it.  That's my advice.  Do it and do it right.  Prepare now.  NOW is the day to shine.  Don't leave it for later.  It's a mistake.  There are so many things I wish I had done to better prepare myself.  The basics are so important here:  Prayer, Scripture Study, Repentance, the building of a strong testimony, and worthy temple attendance, to name a few.

We had the privilege to watch the Priesthood Session of General Conference yesterday at the mission home.  It's the best session I can remember seeing.  Wow!  What power.  What a beautiful message of preparation, priesthood, and support.  Watch it.  It's possibly life-changing.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes the best missionaries the best.  I've found a principle that I believe applies to all membership in the church.  The best missionaries (members) worry themselves with specific people, details, and the will of the Lord.  They don't obey sort of.  They don't go out and do a part of the work.  I've been very guilty in my life of being a "half-wayer".  It doesn't work in life and it doesn't work in the Gospel.  It certainly doesn't work when seeking the Lord.  He wants workers who work.  He wants servants who serve.  And when we do it right, He endows us with power from on high.  This is the only sure way to true success:  Do always the will of the Lord.  I'm starting to learn what that means.

I'm trying to consecrate my life, thoughts, actions, attitude, and abilities to the Lord.  I'm by nature a very selfish person.  I think, to degrees, this is true about a lot of people.  I'm learning what it means to hold someone else in a higher regard than I hold myself.  It's been a long journey thus far and I'm only slightly closer than I used to be.  I have felt your prayers and fasting as of late and I thank you.  I love you guys.  I'm trying to serve the Lord the way that you do and in the way that you all think that I already am.  I'm growing.  He's helping.

I love you guys!

Elder Cody R. Eckman

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