Sunday, March 24, 2013

We've been digging in and working our tails off

Dear everyone,                                             March 18, 2013
Wow!  It's so wild to hear from you all!  I miss you bunches and love you so much.  I'm trying to get back to everyone.  Sorry if the responses are underwhelming.  =)
So, many people have been delayed due to slightly-slower-than-hoped-for-progression.  =)  Still, we'll have about 19 baptisms on the 23rd in all of Luanda--3 of them are my companionship's.  C..., R..., and N... are all so ready to enter the Lord's Kingdom and I'm so excited for them.  On the 6th of April we're hopeful for another 6 from our companionship.  From there, I'm hopeful to create the habit of baptisms every other week--really every week that we have baptisms in the mission--so that the branch can continue to steadily grow.  We'll have a Stake before you know it!
We've been digging in and working our tails off (in fact, I've used that phrase in my journal a lot lately =)) and we're seeing so many miracles.  The Lord is opening the path before us.  We're still trying to find more people, but we have found, at the very least, very prepared people.
I'm trying so hard to make my last 2 1/2 transfers the best of my mission.  The smartest.  The most effective.  The most spiritual.  The most charitable.  The most reliant on the Lord.  The happiest.  The most obedient.  The most success and the most fruit.  And, frankly, it's hard.  I love this work.  It's a tiring work.  It's not one to be done alone.  I'm learning--very slowly, it feels--how to trust the Lord and others.  I'm learning what discipleship means.  I've probably said it before, but there's no such thing as a casual Christian.  There's no such thing as a casual missionary, either.  =)  You're in this war or you aren't.  If we halfway a war, we very quickly become a casualty.  As Jefferey R. Holland once taught, "Casual Christians become Christian Casualties."  I think it's applicable to this phase of the Lord's work.
I'm learning the truth that this isn't my mission.  This isn't my church.  It's the Lord's and I belong to Him.  It's the Lord's Kingdom and I'm a subject and a servant.  Who am I to do my will or to lead my way?  A stewardship is simply an opportunity to do that which the Lord would do if He were in your place.  Slowly, I'm realizing how much I have to learn about the Lord's will.  =)
I feel...  Indescribable.  It's a sort of light, I guess.  I just feel good.  Is that enough of a description?  I feel wonderful.  I feel happy.  I feel euphoric, at times.  And it just doesn't stop.  I believe.  I know.  I live.  And it makes all the difference in who I am and how I feel about myself, the world, the folks around me, and my Father in Heaven.
I have learned one singular lesson on my mission--the 1st one.  In 1820, a young man had a vision as he prayed to know the truth.  My Heavenly Father and my brother, Jesus Christ, appeared to him and showed him the way.  The heavens opened.  Man was once again endowed with power.  God's hand was once more fully present.  The Lord established His church and His way.  And now, the question is simply if we're willing to accept that.  The question is not if it's all true.  It is.  God will tell us that if we just ask.  The question is how do we follow His will in our lives?  Our lives are all about His will.  That's what I've learned here.  Just ask Joseph Smith.  Just ask Moses.  Just ask Christ.  I know that our happiness depends on how we carry out His plan for us.
That we might all pursue the Spirit and the will of God,

Elder Eckman

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