Saturday, January 12, 2013

I have made some resolutions for the New Year

Dear everyone,

Well, like the rest of the world I have made some resolutions for the New Year.  I'd like to share them with you!  =)

1.  Get at least 20 lessons a week.
2.  Focus on families and priesthood holders by seeking to find 20 men while contacting every week.
3.  Write 2 letters every week (not emails--physical letters).
4.  Read my Patriarchal Blessing every week.
5.  Read 15 pages of The Book Mormon every day.  (I figure that focusing on the scripture that I should be teaching out of the most is the best idea any way, right?)
6.  Work out every morning.  (I've got to lose some weight--the Holidays weren't kind!)
7.  Write in my journal every night.
8.  Write one poem weekly.
9.  Memorize one scripture weekly.
10.  Read Preach My Gospel every day.

So, yeah.  I've given a theme to 2013 so that I don't lose my vision:  2013 is Elder Eckman's "Year of Conversion".  I want to know even better than I do that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His Kingdom on the Earth, that Thomas S. Monson is and Joseph Smith was a Prophet called by God, that my Heavenly Father knows and loves me, that I have a purpose on this Earth, and that I can be happy by living these things.  I want to know it.  I want to be able to see it in my every step, hear it in every word, read it in every scripture, and feel it in every fiber.  I want to be obedient, charitable, humble, diligent, hopeful, loving, caring, faithful, knowledgeable, giving, confident, righteous, and just a bit more like Christ.  I want 2013 to be the year that I lay a surer foundation, shore up a more powerful life, and give more to the Kingdom than I ever have before.  I want to kill the Natural Man with faithful service.  So, I'm digging in, putting my head down, forgetting myself, and getting to work.

My battle cry this year should be the following:

I am a disciple of Christ.  I know where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going.  I know that the Lord knows me and loves me.  The rest are details in a grand scheme that I understand well enough to take part in.  Christ is my Savior, friend, and leader in all things.  I will not fail with Him as my constant goal.  I will not cede to temptation because of my flesh nor give place to the enemy to break my resolve.  I am on a mission of holiness and will not allow impurity to chink the armor given me of the Lord.

I had an incredible week and have some great news:  Mauro came to church and we're meeting with him tonight.  The Lord has guided our steps so much this week and we met some people as we walked in paths we usually wouldn't.  Most of it has been an effort in seed planting, but we're growing bit by bit and are having great success.

I have such a testimony of the power of fasting and just want to share it with you all.  If you need special help, to get closer to God, to feel more at peace, have more love in your life, feel less alone, receive more strength from on high, or any number of countless other blessings... fast.  It is a feeling of pure joy as you sacrifice necessary sustenance to show faith unto the Most High God and receive His hand more fully in your life.  It works.  It's beautiful.  I've never felt the arms of God around me so powerfully as I have this past week.  It's truly a miracle.

In other news, Marciano has given up drinking and he's understanding our lessons so much better.  The Lord has blessed him so much.  His wife (a devout Catholic) wants us over for dinner and we're hoping to speak with her as well.

We sat with our friend Pascoal this past week as well and had a really cool moment of teaching by the Spirit.  He's a Jehovah's Witness and has a bit of a hard time with some of the things we teach because of other things he's learned.  We gave him a Book of Mormon, explained it simply, bore testimony, and just waited.  Neither Elder Wilhelm nor I spoke a word for over 2 minutes as our testimonies sunk in and the Spirit worked on him.  He leafed through the book, read a verse or two and just thought.  The Spirit was roaring into the room and I know that he was affected by it.  I'm not sure where he'll go, but we're hopeful for him.

Mom, I'm excited to hear about your missionary experience.  I hope that it touched you deeply.  This work is so true and so breathtaking.  I love every minute.

Thanks for everything, my beloved friends and family.  You'll never know how your prayers, support, kindness, and love have shaped my life.  I'm eternally grateful for all that you've all done for me and hope to be able to explain it better one day when I'm more able, more eloquent.


Elder Eckman

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