#ThisStruggleIsReal

Dear Family and Friends,

Satan is a real being, He has real power, and He will use everything He has to make sure that you do not succeed in what God wants you to do. We all have what he will never have and will never receive we have a birthright to glory. He wants to take as much away from us as he can. He has been able to perfect his tactics and tricks, he also knows us from before we were born into this world; He knows us to our very souls and knows how to personalize his attacks for us. He also knows how much He needs to focus on each person.

A quote I have received from a friend from the movie ‘Gods Not Dead’ is:

“Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble, because he doesn’t want them turning to god, his sin is like a jail cell, except its so nice and comfy, there doesn’t seem to have any need to leave, the door is wide open, till one day time runs out, the door slams shut, and suddenly its to late.”

Satan doesn’t always hold you down by chains and shackles. Just like with an elephant that is chained and shackled as a baby, so that when they are an adult all they need is a piece of rope tied to their ankle and they don’t move.

Following the light of the gospel is the only way to stay out of his darkness. It is a every day choice that needs to be made; that you will follow Christ. If it is not made every day Satan can direct and will direct you away from reaching the Glory that is your birthright.

I know this to be true and I seal it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Steven Cordon

Good Timing and Out-Growing

Dear Family and Friends,

We had incredible miracle yesterday! Last week on Sunday we met a mother and daughter who were members of the church. Mother was in town for a couple of months and she works for the FBI, and her daughter was just visiting before she goes back to Idaho for college. We know it was a miracle that we even met them for because we followed a prompting that Elder Layton had to go and knock the other side of the complex we crossed paths 5 seconds before they walked into their apartment. Needless to say the time between them going to their car and the apartment is a small window of opportunity but God has great timing. Patti, the mother told us that she would come to church the next Sunday. We swung by to see her Saturday and she was still determined to come and after talking for a bit she opened up about her past and we were able to resolve many of her concerns. Yesterday she came walking through the chapel doors and filled me with joy. One of the sisters in the ward is practically a carbon copy of her (they even wear the same glasses) invited her to dinner on Tuesday. She had already signed up to feed us and figured she could bank on the opportunity. It is amazing how she is only in town for a few months, but God is taking advantage of this time to help her strengthen her testimony and get reactivated. Our Heavenly Father is one smart cookie.

We had a powerful Zone Conference this past week!! After it is all said and done, one of the things that my testimony has been strengthened in more than anything else is the power of personal revelation from the Book of Mormon. Among those that believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, it is something that I feel is not used nearly as much as it should. I testify that the Book of Mormon will answer the questions of your soul. Whatever it is! I know because it has answered mine. It has answered spiritual questions of “how do I access the power of the Atonement?”, and lately it answered the question of how can I help those I am teaching to come to church? Now, anybody who has read the Book of Mormon knows that there isn’t an obivious chapter which specifically lays out how a missionary gets those he is teaching to church, but I can testify that it is in there. You just have to have the spirit with you to find it. I found my own personal answer in Alma 50 which talks about how Captain Moroni maintians liberty among the Nephites. As I likened these scriptures to me the answer became very clear on what it was that I needed to do. I will make a promise to every single one of you, that if you pour your heart out in prayer to God for answers to a specific challenge and then you read the book of mormon actively seeking for your answer, by the power of the Holy Ghost you will receive that answer in a simple and powerful way. Then if you write that revelation down, it will develop and how you must act will become even more clear.

I know that our Heavenly Father loves us. I have felt his love for me and for others abundantly in my life, and the joy that brings is sweeter than anything else. I also know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, I know that he died for me and that his Atonement is active in my life. Through the Book of Mormon I have gained that faith in Christ, and not only that, but I have also learned why he died for me, and how I can access the enabling power of the Atonement in my life. Knowing these things has given me greater meaning in life and deeper and more profound joy. I meet many faithful Christians on a regular basis, and many who profess to be Christians, and while their faith is genuine God doesn’t want just a lip service from his children, he wants a personal relationship with his children and he wants us to out-grow ourselves. In the Prophet of the Restoration Movie, Alvin Smith tells Joseph of a small sea shell at his uncles home. He tells him that a small creature made that shell layer by layer until he finally out-grew it. God doesn’t intend to help us become content with ourselves as we are but rather for us to grow into our true selves. The Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us how we can do this, and Jesus Christ helps us do it so that one day we like Paul can say, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) I know that these things are true and I say them in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love y’all! Have a great week!

Elder Joshua Cordon

As Always!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well a wonderful week in the orient! We had a lot of mix ups happen this last week in the zone and in my district. They sent away the sisters and brought a set of elders in. Which happens to be my MTC (Missionary Training Center) companion Elder Cederlof and he is training its awesome it work near him and both be training at the same time, and then the other sisters in my ward are training as well so 3 greenies (*editors note: new missionaries) now in the district (*editors note: group of missionaries in a defined area). Its good the ward clearly sees good things happening in this area and we are excited to see the effects of all the excitement new missionaries bring to an area.

This week we also made some great progress with our investigators. We were able to organize a ward activity after some reluctance but it will be awesome we have already got 14 investigators coming and should be getting more. We are doing a good old potluck when I said the idea no one knew what it was but they like the idea. Our ward mission leader is so enthusiastic about all this he has taken a brake from work to do full time church service. It will be a fantastic event! Our investigators have really made some fantastic progress. We have now got uncle Fighter to church twice in a row and he has said he really wants to get baptized its just getting over a lot of addictions. First comes the desire then comes the change. We also got Peter Lo to commit to coming to our activity. We are going to introduce him to Gary because they both are in wheel chairs, love speaking English, Love America, Hate communism, I think they will be best friends for sure.

The biggest difference maker in the work this week is something that was expressed by our investigators. We heard on multiple occasions: You really care about me don’t you? with a look of tears on their face. People are really influenced by the amount of love you can show if you look at them the way Christ does. Well fantastic week.

Love you all! Enjoy the little things!

Elder Jared Cordon

Good Times in the Neighborhood

Dear Family and Friends,

It is such a good day to be alive. I am not ignorant to the chaos around us this world–not the least of which is the current development in Missouri– when I say that. To be completely honest, none of the craziness really matters at all. It doesn’t matter because it has absolutely no relevance to my personal happiness. I am either at peace or not independent of the rest of this world. The reason I teach the gospel is because of that fact. I know that anybody, regardless of their circumstances, will be made happier by living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that because it is the only source of true and lasting happiness. Every person who is happy to any degree receives that happiness from living some portion of the gospel. Missionaries are out in the world teaching people the rest of the gospel they have not received. I honestly have the best job in the world. I am a full-time spreader of happiness!

While it is nice that I know that though, a lot of people do not know that that is why we are knocking on their door. On Saturday we went to go see a lady who we helped move in a couple of weeks back. When she opened her door she immediately tried to nicely tell us to leave by saying that she just moved in and is still in the middle of unpacking. Clearly she didnt recognize us in a shirt and tie. We just replied to her by just saying “ya we know!” All of a sudden she remembered who we were and it was a night and day difference. She immediately invited us in and introduced us to her brother-in-law. We chatted with them for a bit and set up a time to come back another time. They are such wonderful people! I learned something in a more profound way during that experience. Most people are wonderful people who are a lot of fun to be with! Most people see us as two shirts and ties standing our their doorstep rather than two people who want nothing to do but serve them in any way. And if most people knew who we really are they would be really excited to see us standing on their doorstep, just like this lady. Just another example of the obvious difficulties of knocking-doors. Yet despite all of that miracles still happen from knocking doors.

I wonderful experience I had this last week was that I was able to go back to Lake City to do an exchange with the Elders there. It was so strange to be back in the old stomping ground. Everywhere we drove I gave them referrals for different people that may be ready to hear the message now. The best part of it all was that I got to see one of my most favorite people in the world, Stefan! It was a last minute meeting that happened at the burger king. A lot has happened since I last saw him. I wondered if he was going to be the way I remembered him. It was such a sweet reunion though. Being able to see him again has been one of the greatest blessings. I made him a scripture case out of paracord that i have been meaning to give him for over 8 months now, so I was able to give that to him, and best of all I was able to introduce him to the elder that serves in that area and they will probably be able to start teaching him again.

Another miracle had was that on Saturday I felt very impressed to put a particular less active at a certain time on Saturday. I was a surprisingly strong impression. So of course I listened. As we were heading to go and contact that less active we passed a lady on the side of the road who was walking with her son. They were about 20 yards ahead of their little car that had just ran out of gas. We were able to help her out and get acquainted with her as well! Not only did we save her a few hours of her day that she would have spent walking to her home and then to a gas station, but we were able to brighten her day. A teaching opportunity may even come from this. I love serving others! It fills you with the love of God so quickly, it is unreal!

The experiences of this past week have taught me many things. One powerful lesson that was reiterated was that God has great timing! I know without a doubt that God has placed certain people in our lives at certain moments in order to give us the perfect opportunity to become who we were meant to become. I know that if we trust God and just embrace all the wonderful people who cross out path and strengthen the relationships we have already been given that we will find ourselves not only becoming the people God wants us to be, but also finding our lives becoming increasingly enriched by an abundance of cherished relationships. I know what God meant more than ever when he said that the two greatest commandments were to love God and to love your neighbor. Truly that is all that matters!

That being said, I love y’all!! Have a great week!!

Elder Joshua Cordon

My Heart Is Full

Dear Family and Friends,

I am so overjoyed with the changes that I have seen this gospel bring into peoples lives. Everyday I get to witness people making steps to come closer to Jesus Christ both members and non members alike. To be able to facilitate and guide that in any way at all is such a wonderful blessing that God would trust me enough to help in such an important work. This is work that is vital to the eternal salvation of His eternal family, and for us to be able to be apart of it just shows how much he loves us and wants us to learn and grow.

We all have such an important role to play in this life, and we all have so much at stake. We have been given the path to follow, laid out very clear and simply, all we have to do is follow. Christ’s simple words “Come, follow me.” He is the example. He is the way.

It is truly amazing just how simple it can be to just follow his example. Such evident of this to me is the example of a 12 year old boy in the area that is in a part member family he is not yet baptized but comes to church every week. He knows that the gospel is true and has a testimony there are times that he is the only one that comes and still he gets ready and comes to church. He lives the gospel and is such an amazing young man, He is such an example to me to never to for granted what I have and the amazing support that I have in what I am doing. He will be getting baptized soon and he knows that it is what he needs to do. He knows that he needs to live the gospel so that he can be happy and live with his Heavenly Father again.

So simple guidance “Come, follow me” and “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

I am choosing every day to follow these commandments I hope that you are too.

Short letter but these are the words of my heart and I seal it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder S Cordon

Badabatadatbaa I’m Lovin’ It!!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well just another wonderful week in the life of a missionary in Hong Kong. Training is going smoothly and the ward is picking up we are seeing a lot of good things happening. We have been doing a lot of Less Active work and tried our luck with some old investigators and we have seen some good things happening. Less active work we really stirred up the water so now we have some great potential there. But we really do have some characters for our investigators. Peter Lo is a man who is in a wheel chair cause of polio I mentioned him a few months back. He loves america. Uncle Fighter haha man love him. We actually visited a former and was teaching him a lesson at his door then the door right behind us opened and it was Uncle Fighter and his wife. It was cool to meet his wife. We got family potential there. Then of course you have this english class that we teach these these 9-11 year olds, they are the best! I love them its funny how no matter where you are your gonna get every stereotype of kid in your class. I cant wait to teach english in Mainland.

Elder Tam is just awesome though we do plenty of laughing and he has got so much potential we are going to see miracles together I know it.

But working with a lot of less actives recently has helped remind me of a principle that Joseph Smith taught is that when you fall away from the church your not on nuetral ground anymore you made your decision the only other option is the other direction. Well you choose to fall from a higher plane it hurts cause you fall hard. I have seen some sad situations but I have also seen some amazing ones where a few of these people a very sincere and they recognize what there decision has done to their lives and they are ready to change, they are ready to feel the warm embrace of gods love.

I know the work I am doing is of an eternal nature and that why I am doing it.

I love you all!

Elder Jared Cordon

What Would Jesus Do?

Dear Family and Friends,

This last week was a very hard, wonderful week. There was a lot of service hours that we did for members and non members in our ward. Service is such a wonderful way to show love for another person to give of your time and energy selflessly is an amazing experience. Unlike donating money, or cloths, or food, or anything material (not that people shouldn’t do that because it needs to be done) which all of those things can be earned back. Your time can not be earned back once used it is gone. So truly the ultimate selfless act it to give up what cant be returned. Everyday when the service ended I felt so much love for the people I had just served. I got to see them in such a different element, then in their living room on the couch, teaching a lesson. Serving next to a person really lets you see who they truly are.

The part member family that we helped lay concrete this week was such an amazing miracle. We stopped by a week ago to talk to the less active member of the family to just say hi and find out if they needed anything sure enough they did so we got the time and date and showed up ready to work. The non member husband was worried that he was “going to have to tell us what to do the whole time” not knowing that we both had done concrete before was very impressed with our work. It was VERY hot so we had to make fast work of the job or the concrete would set wrong, it was a great challenge and great to work next to all of them. Two days later the less active wife came to church, she hasn’t been in over a year, and not only came but she took the stand in testimony meeting and told the story of this service and how that morning her husband (who is anti church) told her that she needed to go to church. WHAT!!! I know that giving up your time and servicing others rains down blessings. Charity is the pure love of Christ.

Christ spent his life in the service of others and in building peoples faith. What a wonderful example that we have to follow, to always be looking for someone or somewhere to serve and then when you find it, DO IT. Don’t wait thinking that hopefully someone else will help, or that you are to busy, or that maybe they don’t want it. (if they chase you off with a stick for helping them you still will get the blessing for trying, but only if you try) God wants us to be in the service of each other so the blessings that will come from ALWAYS doing what he would have us do will ALWAYS out-way any possible worldly satisfaction that would come from passing by the opportunity to serve.

I know the blessings that come from truly giving of yourself to another. I know that selflessly, without any other motive then to just share love, giving of yourself to another WILL ALWAYS touch your heart and there with the pure love of Christ. I love this work. I love being able to get up everyday and my soul purpose is to build the faith of Jesus Christ in the people around me. I cant think of anything that I would rather be doing. To bad a mission cant last forever.

Thank you all so much for your love, support and prayers. I am praying for all of you and love you all so very much.

UNTIL NEXT WEEK

Love Elder Steven Cordon

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Oh ya totally went to a wedding this week it was awesome!!

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