Thursday, February 7, 2013

My week was full, successful, fun, and a good, growing experience.

Dear everyone,
I had a good, successful week.  I just want to laud the investigators who are making such cool changes and sacrifices in order to join with the church.
Agosto came to church!  And he loved it.  He showed up 2 hours early "just to be safe".  Without us even having taught The Sabbath Day commandment, he told his soccer team that he'd have to be done playing with them as they always play on Sundays and now he's a churchgoer.  Wow.  So cool.  He's giving up drinking, reading the scriptures, soaking in the Spirit and just...  Living the change.  I love it. 

At our last lesson with Agosto, we had a really cool experience.  In our companionship study, Elder Whitaker had been reading in 3 Nephi about how Jesus prayed for the people and how they felt so overjoyed by it to the point of being speechless.  He then made a really cool point:  We are Christ's representatives.  When we pray for our investigators do they feel this?  How can we help them to?  I liked that.  We talked about it for a while and went on with our study.  At the end of the lesson with Agosto, Elder Whitaker offered the prayer.  After he finished, Agosto looked up and said, "Wow.  I felt something different as he prayed today."  He couldn't really explain it, but it felt good.  What a testimony builder that was for me.  The Lord knows us and sends us little tender mercies every day.  We need to recognize them.
We recently met a man named Andr√©, sat with him once and invited him to church.  He came!  And we're meeting with him tonight--with his wife.  We're super excited.
Maritza gets baptized on the 16th.  She's so ready.  I'm excited for her and for her family whom she's trying to convince to sit with us.  They're coming to the baptism.
Cesar is preparing himself for baptism really well.  I think he'll make the 23rd without any problems.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation and it just... clicked for him.  He got it.  He's pumped for baptism and to enter the straight and narrow path.  =)
I had a couple of really cool personal experiences this week.  I have recently started feeling more...  Adult.  Mature?  Grown-up, at least.  I don't feel like were just a couple of boys out here calling out a message to our "superiors" or "elders".  I feel like I'm a man with an important message and that the Lord is behind me.  I feel like I'm making adult decisions and doing adult things every day.  I'm feeling less and less like a kid.  It's a good feeling.  I actually compared it in my journal to feeling as though a piece that had once been there was recently fit back in.  I just feel more complete.
Mom, you asked about mail and a safari.  Those are both news to me!  I've heard nothing about anything like that.  Mail is working fine (I just got a letter from Rachel and have recently sent out a bunch of letters) and I don't know of any plans to go on a safari.  I sure hope that one's true.  =)  I did get the package and I love the pants.  Tell Grandma hello for me and that I love her and plan on visiting soon after getting back.  It sounds like the house is going to be incredibly different when I get back!
A thought I've been bombarded with this week (by members, missionaries, and my own silly mind) is the future.  It got out that I've only got 4 fast Sundays left after yesterday and the members won't stop talking about it!  I've been asked when I'll get married more in the past day than in the 8 months before it.  Geesh.  It's a funny thought, you know--life after the mission and marriage.  I don't want to sound like "that missionary" but I truly have a hard time remembering what it feels like to not be a missionary.  I'm not completely sure what to expect when I leave the bubble.  As far as marriage goes, I'm not in a hurry but I'm not waiting either.  I'll get married in the Lord's due time to the right girl in the right place.  (Missionaries, I've found, make far too big a deal about how quickly other missionaries will get married.  It's a silly subject.)
So, my week was full, successful, fun, and a good, growing experience.  I love my area.  I love my mission.  I love the Lord.  I'm reading in Ether right now and I'm loving it.  3 Nephi was a doctrinal high and I will always recommend Christ's visit to the Americas as good reading.  I sure love you all and hope that your collective weeks were as good as my singular one.  =)
Stay Golden,

Elder Eckman

PS 
This week, as I read my Patriarchal Blessing, charity jumped off the page.  The word is only used once, but its the definition of many of the specific counsels given to me in the blessing.  I've realized that I'm not a very charitable person but that the Lord wants me to be.  So, this is my new focus.  I believe that as we focus on others, our problems really do disappear.  I have a testimony that charity is truly the pure love of Christ and that as we seek Him we develop it.  I love my Savior and I'm trying to love my fellowman as He loves them.  Bit by little bit, I'm growing in it.  I recommend a study on charity to anyone who's seeking more peace in this life.

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