Monday, March 11, 2013

Update to church policy, so, I'm back! =)

Dear Everyone,

There has been an update to church policy:

Missionaries are to write to their families each week and are also
authorized to communicate
by email with friends, priesthood leaders, and new converts. Mission
presidents should allow
sufficient time on preparation day for missionaries to write emails
and letters. While in the
mission field, missionaries should receive authorization from the
mission president before
entering into communication, including via email, with converts and
others of the opposite
gender within the mission boundaries (see Missionary Handbook, 36–37).

So, I'm back!  =)  I have been sending letters to many of you, but I
fear that they may not have gotten through.  I hope that this is not
the case.  Regardless, I am now able to e-mail and to receive e-mails.
 Please feel free.  =)

I have received so much exciting news lately that my head's spinning!
Everyone's getting married, having kids, going on missions, receiving
exciting new callings, and progressing so well.  =)  Congrats to all.

This last week was so good!  We worked our tails off, had great
lessons--quality and quantity, which is always nice--met a few new
people, and are running toward the 23rd with gusto.  I'm stoked.

I was really touched this week by the concept of Grace in our lives.
Many a time I have been met with a difficult situation and asked
myself, "Why is this happening to me!?"--generally a useless and
selfish question--instead of, "What can I learn from this?" or, "How
can I change this situation?"  Our Father in Heaven doesn't plan on
making every challenge go away when we ask Him to.  He doesn't even
plan on making things easy for His people or taking away sorrows at
the drop of a hat.  Our Heavenly Father is a God of perfect
understanding, love, and care.  He knows what we need, why we need it,
and He will not deprive us of opportunities to grow.  He is as a
skilled surgeon--if He stopped cutting partway through an important
surgery just to stop us from a little pain, the surgery would be
useless and we'd gain nothing from it.

So what does He offer us if not His divine hand to lift us out of
every difficulty?  The answer is an easy one and, while perhaps a bit
less showy, many times more marvelous:  Grace for hard times.  Grace
is not a miraculous "hand of God" that takes away our troubles, but
the simple and beautiful power that changes who and what we are.  It
strengthens us, gives us capacities beyond our own, and enables us to
grow past ourselves.  Ether 12:27 (a personal favorite, as you all
know) means so much more to me when I think of Grace as an enabling
power and not as a miraculous "auto-change".  Just some food for
thought taken from an old talk by Elder Bednar.

Another study topic of the week was The Book of Mormon.  I had already
decided that I needed to focus on The Book of Mormon more in my
studies, my teaching, and my life.  Then, I read a wonderful talk by
President Ezra Taft Benson.  It's a famous one, but at the moment the
name escapes me.  It shouts volumes of the importance of The Book of
Mormon in our lives.  The Book of Mormon is truly the New Covenant and
we will truly be under condemnation if we treat it lightly.  As I read
the pages of such a sacred record, I grow closer to my Father in
heaven and to my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I feel that I am never closer
to heaven than when I'm partaking of the Holy Scriptures.  I love
reading, studying, and applying the scriptures to my life and to the
lives of others.  I invite all to make The Book of Mormon a part of
daily home, personal, and religious life--you'll only find greater
peace, joy, love, and harmony in all that you do.

The week was great, as I said.  We had 8 investigators in Sacrament
meeting and 2 more that showed up as the first meeting ended.  =)
Elder Whitaker and I sang "O Senhor Meu Pastor É" (The Lord is my
Shepherd) for Sacrament Meeting and I think it went well.  Our Branch
Missionary program was reorganized and is raring to get to work.  Life
is good.  I love my District and I love this work.  I know that Christ
is the head of this church.  I know that God is my Father and that He
loves me.  I know that Joseph Smith was called of God and given the
authority to do everything he claimed that he did.  I know that he
truly did those things.  The Plan of Salvation is the Plan of
Happiness and it's perfect.  There is no flaw in God.  He knows all
things, loves perfectly, and forgives His children when they come unto
Him.  He provided the way and it's easy--indeed, if we but look, we
may live.

I love you all and wish you the best,

Elder Eckman

PS: For anyone interested in E-mailing Cody and need his E-mail address please contact me at or send me a message on Facebook.
Lori (Cody's mom)

No comments:

Post a Comment