Change

Dear Family and Friends,

So this was a great week! We had an investigator make the step of baptism. Tre has aloud the gospel to change his life in so many ways. He came from a very rough past but the gospel is such that the atonement covers everything. He has really come to know that God is truly our Father and that He loves and cares for us, also that we get to live with him again and that the Gospel makes that happen.

Tre at his Baptism

Tre at his Baptism

Seeing him grow towards God has really given me another witness of the glory that awaits us at the end of this life. We have this life to prepare to meet God lets not waste it.

We have another investigator Tim that is a husband of a member. He is letting his desire to know the truth grow inside him and it is wonderful to see. Funny story I almost met them in NY haha small world we live in.

So this week was my first week as District leader. What a GREAT opportunity I have to really come to know just how unworthy I am. HaHa I laugh because just how great it is that we are always going to be unworthy. This gospel is not a museum for the righteous it is a hospital for the sinners. We get to grow every day and perfect talents and abilities given to us to strength the kingdom of God. We are also given weaknesses so that we may humble ourselves to God and allow Him to shape us into who He needs us to be.

It was such a great experience at District meeting. The Spirit did so much teaching and confirming. The spirit will always teach to our understanding and in a plainness that allows testimony to be built on solid truth without any room to second guess. What a great blessing that we have, to be able to have to spirit as a guide.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Love
Elder Steven Cordon

It Is Nice To Know People Who Know People!

Dear Family and Friends,

I had a pretty wonderful week! Last Monday I had the opportunity to do my first round of golf. It was on the beautiful green grass of TPC Sawgrass where the PGA championship is held every year. I felt like royalty! We had this pretty awesome caddy with us the whole time, we got our named engraved onto these medal bag tags that have the picture of the 17th hole carved in it, and then halfway through we had a guy roll up to us and give us cold towels to cool us off. It was the best secular experience of my mission so far! I am grateful for my companion he was the one with the connections to get us in. We brought two older gentleman with us who just soaked up every minute of the experience. Both are golf enthusiast and never thought they were going to have the chance to play such a course. They were one team and we were the other. We did a best ball scramble to keep pace. Since Elder Layton is really good we came on top in the end. I had a few really good hits. I definitely did better than I thought I was going to do.
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As far as the spiritual side of things, I got to go to the temple this past week. It was am amazing experience and I definitely had some pretty powerful spiritual experiences while in there. In order to get some of the missionaries down there we drove a van up to Kingsland, Georgia the night before, then left from there in the morning. After the day was said and done we did about nine hours of driving. It was worth every minute though and the whole trip was very enjoyable. I think my only regret was that I went for the large sandwich at firehouse instead of a medium. It is not the best thing to put in your system when you going to sit for several hours. Other than that though it was an amazing trip!

On our way back we had this cool little miracle that happened. About 20 minutes before we were and home and before we passed through
downtown Jacksonville, we passed this guy who had all these things strapped to the roof of his SUV. He had a law mower, a generator, a industrial fan, a ladder, and some other things all on the roof! Plus his car was full of a bunch of tools. We took a photo and continued on our way. When we got back to Jacksonville we had more time that we thought so we pondered on how we could best use it. We both felt that we should head to a particular complex to try a potential. As we pulled in we saw that exact same SUV with all the stuff ahead of us. We tried our potential and then walked over to his car to see if he needed help unloading. Turns out that he has to leave it all on there because it is for his work. He is self employed but doesn’t have enough money for a truck and trailer. If he were to take it off he would spend hours taking it off and on every day. He needs every minute he can after work to spend time with his family. He said that he his nervous that someone could steal all of his stuff but he has no where to put it. He said that he just says a prayer and trusts that god will keep it safe. He was open to hearing our message another day so we took his number down and walked away with a renewed sense of reverence for the humble and hard-working family-man.

His story coupled with a lesson I learned this week highlights the power of determination. If you want to succeed then you all it takes is for your determination to make it happen. I quote that comes to mind is “that it is never to late to be what you could have been.” In other words, despite every thing else, even your past, if you are determined you can be what you want to be.

Another lesson I learned was that of focusing on the present. You can learn from the past, and you should plan for the future, but if you are not living in the moment and embracing the situation that you are in, you are missing the most important aspect of this existence. If you are determined to change it will not come from the lessons of the past, or the plans of the future, it will come from simply just doing it right now in the present.

Just a few thoughts.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

I love y’all!
Elder Joshua Cordon

A Message of Joy

Dear Family and Friends,

I try to reflect on my life as much as I can. Even on a mission its hard to find time. But when I do its always a joyous experience. A principle that I have striven to get my investigators and recent converts to understand and is simply and clearly laid out in 2 Nephi 28:30–

“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”

The Lord knows when we are ready to receive new revelation. You must do all you can to seek what God has and to always do his will. I think a big part of that is receiving the revelation in the order which he desires us to receive it. We can all strive to understand the basic ordinances and principles of the gospel being first faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and second Repentance. If we all devoted our entire lives to studying these two principles then we truly would only understand a fragment of what they mean, there is so much to learn. There is a reason that truly all conference talks relate back to these two things.

On an even deeper note– How many of us truly love our Savior Jesus Christ? How many of us really love our neighbor? I dont know if I have ever heard someone express the intensity of Joy they felt as did Ammon or Alma after having given everything to the Lord and learning to love their enemies who countlessly tried to end their lives. I know that their is no greater joy in this life than that of a servant of the Lord. No matter how much money, material wealth, or excitement you can draw from a temporal nature it cannot and will not compare. If you find your life not were you desire it then I invite you to choose this day to serve the Lord and partake of incomprehensible JOY.

I love you all and appreciate all the support.

Elder Jared Cordon

I <3 HK

Dear Family and Friends,

Well I have had a good eventful week and a half since I last got on!

For starters picking up from the beginning of last week. President Hawks (mission president) called a special district leader meeting. He was a professor at BYU before his mission. He has influenced my life in so many ways! But because he was a professor, teaching means everything to him as it does to me. A missionary had introduced some videos (a link to 1 of 24 videos) by Elder Bednar and other general authorities, Teaching No Greater Call (a link to the website with ALL the material), to him and President Hawks is a man who is quick to observe. He felt every missionary needed to see these videos so he called the district leaders together to introduce the new district meeting plan for the next three months. After that truly mission changing meeting we were able to have a mission changing district meeting. Which set off a fantastic week where we were able to add two new baptismal dates to the teaching pool. They are both friends of a young man in the ward! He has introduced so many people to the church he is awesome!

Then this week we had a last minute meeting with a powerful group of men. Elder Rasband president of the seventy, Elder Allen Director of the missionary department, and the Asia Area presidency (Elder Gong, Elder Wong, & Elder Funk). So we were able to hear from five general authorities and there wives! Very powerful.

The the next day all the members in Hong Kong and all the missionaries got together in a stadium for an all day race event! It was fun I won one race!

Today we have the chance to attend the temple always one of my favorite things to do! Its such a spiritually uplifting experience!

Love you all,

Elder Jared Cordon

What An Amazing Experience!!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week after spending 10 days with my new companion, he was called to a different zone and I got a new companion to finish training and was called as district leader.

It was a great week. Except for the part that I was deathly sick for two days. I felt really bad that my companion had to just stay home. Besides that it was a very good week with lots of miracles, we found three new people who have started to learn about the gospel and we have an investigator (someone learning about the Church of Jesus Christ from the missionaries) that is going to be baptized this coming weekend. He has made amazing changes in his life to come unto God and allow the wonderful atonement to change his life

We had Stake Conference this weekend. What an amazing weekend it has been. We had a new Stake President (similar to a superintendent in a school district the Stake President resides over several wards in a geographical area) called as the new Stake President. So because we had that happening we had two members of the quorum of the seventy come to speak at the stake conference.

We had Elder Larry R. Lawrence and Elder Craig C. Christensen. What inspired men they are, with the knowledge and wisdom that they were able to bring to the people here in Pasco we shall see miracles happen in the coming months I am sure of it. This is truly the time that the Lord is spreading the gospel throughout the world and we can either jump on or get left behind. We have the privilege of being able to help with such a wonderful work. He is not going to drag us along kicking and screaming and He is not going to wait for us. The Gospel will go forward and we have the opportunity to help and experience countless miracles from God. What will you do?

Something that was was told to us by Elder Lawrence that really stuck with me was his talk about Light. Light is truly what this life is about, gaining Heavenly Light. We all started with some light, The Light of Christ the world knows this as our conscience. We were sent here to expand on that light, we have been given the gospel to help us do that. We can use L.I.G.H.T. to helps us in this process.

L. Love is the quickest way to gain light, it is the greatest of all commandments. Love the Lord thy God and Love thy neighbor as thyself.
I. Invest time in the scriptures. They have been giving to us to use and to guide us, so use them.
G. Go and Do. When you learn truth go and do it. Don’t wait to make adjustments that you know you need to make.
H. Hearken to the voice of the spirit. As you listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost you will develop that gift and not only will you be better at hearing that still small voice but you will hear it more often.
T. Tell the Lord you want more light. Don’t be afraid to ask for help for what you are trying to do. He loves you and wants you to succeed, He will help you.

The challenge that was extended to us during the conference was to pray to find someone that we could share the Book of Mormon with. It is a book that contains the truth of this gospel. Help the world find more light share the Book of Mormon with someone this week.

Love you all,

Thank you all for the blessing of your support and prayers
Elder Steven Cordon

Mission Experiences

Dear Family and Friends,

Week after week I am molded and shaped more into who I am meant to be.
The real essence of becoming is very apparent to me right now. When I
have had the opportunity to have a glimpse of my potential if I
continue embracing the gospel, I have wondered if many of the promised
blessings would ever come into fruition. This past week they did. I
know that doesn’t tell you much, but it was a very tender moment for
me. I pray that all of you will hold out for the priceless blessings
afforded to those who patiently press forward with a steadfastness in
Christ. The world around us is full of people who exchange those
blessings for immediate and fleeting pleasures. The gospel is the
science of increasing returns, but the lack thereof is the science if
selling yourself short.

This past week I was blessed to experience a lot of miracles. I don’t
think there was a day where anything went according to plan, yet at
the end of the day everything seemed to work out. A great example of
that was on Friday; we were looking at a night that was supposed to be
jam packed with teaching appointments, but as we called to confirm one
by one they canceled. No sooner had I desperately racked my brain for
some ideas before finally pleading “now what are we going to do?” When
we got a call. A guy we are teaching asked for help loading up a
truck. He said that his parents neighbor got sent to jail and the bank
was forcibly evicting them. There were hired guys there throwing all
of the stuff out of the house into the front yard. This was a lot of
stuff! Nice stuff too. Which didn’t help the fact that storm clouds
were rolling in. When we arrived on scene we realized that we were the
only help he had because he had no one else to call on. We were
grateful for that opportunity to serve. He actually didn’t even have
to help these people, and on top of that the lady that lived there had
been incredibly rude to his family, but he told us that he was raised
that you serve everybody, whether or not they have been nice to you. A
great example of charity.

Willie, who has become a great friend over the past several months was
baptized this past Saturday, the day after he graduated from his
wounded warriors training. We went to his graduation which was at
Maggianos, and we weren’t expecting much, but all the big wigs of the
Wounded Warriors project were there in this room of about 40 people.
It has been a great experience to get better acquainted with that
wonderful organization and the people that keep it running. The
knowledge I gained and connections I formed there were an unexpected
blessing of my mission. Willie’s wife flew in from California for his
baptism. It was great to meet her in person, she is a hoot I’ll tell
you what. The baptism was really touching and had strong spirit, but
the best part was when Willie shared his testimony with his class
mates who came to support him. The next day I confirmed him a member
of the church and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost just to have to
follow that with a goodbye as he moved back to California that day. It
really was a miracle that he was able to find the gospel and get
baptize during his short visit here in Jacksonville. He will go on to
great things, I just wish he could stay so I could be part of all of
it. Either way we will be keeping in touch and besides it is never
goodbye, it is just see you later.

On a less than positive note, a dear friend of mine and my ward
mission leader in my last ward passed away last week on Labor Day. I
found out a couple of days later and it definitely was shocking to
hear. At first they declared it a suicide, but we know how wonderfully
accurate our news media is (I am so grateful we don’t have to watch
that garbage as missionaries) but it has been determined that there
was fool play. My heart ached as I thought of his beautiful wife,
children, and grandchildren that he left behind. If I ever knew a man
who didn’t deserve to die he was it, but if I ever knew man who was
ready to meet his maker he was that man too. I went to his closed
casket viewing yesterday and got to see his wife who I got to know
very well too. She had a genuine smile on her face as I gave her a
hug, which brought such relief to my heart to know that she has been
able to hold on to her knowledge of the plan of salvation to help her
through this hard time. I have also been comforted because of my
knowledge that families are forever. I know that one day they will be
reunited and they will live as a family for eternity. It is hard to
remain sad when you keep in mind. He was the biggest gator fan that I
have ever met in my life! I will always be able to remember him with
the gator head that he gave me which sits on my desk. I will be able
to remember how much he was willing to give to help others receive
this incredibly gospel. While he is no longer with us in person, his
example of discipleship will continue to encourage many people to come
unto Christ, as it has done for so many already. I love you Br.
Ortega! God be with you until we meet again!

Life is too short so please never let an opportunity to let those you
love know how much they mean to you. You may never get that chance
again in this life.

I know that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day as a
resurrected being and that he lives, and because of that so will all
of us. There is life after death.

I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

The Best Guide

Dear Family and Friends,

This was a wonderful week. It seems to be a divine truth that when you are feeling down, if you let God pick you up, in those moment you have the opportunity to learn some amazing things about what to do and where to go. I have had the amazing privilege to have three companions for my first there transfers. I am learning so much from my companions, I am able to refine myself and grow in ways that I didn’t think that I would have to.

I am so grateful to know that God is truly in our lives and knows who we are and what we need to grow to become who he knows we can be. We can try and shape our lives by ourselves or we can let God, who created the path that we need to travel. Why not let the maker guide us?

Everything that comes from God is made to build us and get us back to him. I am so grateful to be able to become who he needs me to be from this mission just as long as I let Him guide me and not try to do it myself.

Love you all so much. Thank you for your prayers and faith.

Elder Steven Cordon