Hello! 

Dear Family and Friends,


This was an interesting week. We found ourselves engaged in a lot of service this past week which was a blessing for sure. We actually resolved that our focus is going to change. After much consideration we are going to put a greater focus in service and working with part member families. So the fact that we got a bunch of service right when we resolved to focus on it was an indication that we are on track. The nice thing to was that every service opportunity resulted from someone asking us for help. We already have two service projects lined up. Our goal is to get different people we are working with to help us with the service projects. 

A person that we are working with who really came along this past week is a girl named Shy. We have taught her the first three lessons already and she reads the Book of Mormon during her bus ride to work everyday. She told us that she has fallen in love with the book and that it has opened up her eyes to so many things. We invited her to be baptized at the end of May and she asked if she could do it sooner and set a date for the 16th of May. It was really awesome. She has already started teaching other people about the Book of Mormon and she is going to come to church this weekend. 

This Ward here is wonderful but it is really struggling in that there are 10 members who have been admitted to the hospital lately. We have an older congregation and it has been tough to try to meet everybody’s needs. However, it has been a strong motivator for us to go and work with more less actives and part member families so that we can strengthen what we have so that the ward can support growth.

Elder Curran and I continue to learn from our mistakes and from one another; as a result, we feel the lord continues to provide tender mercies that move the work along. One big tender mercy is embodied in the Estrella Family. We have been able to teach Ray a few times and he is just eating it up, along with Michelle. I can’t wait to see how the gospel will continue to bless their lives. 

Love y’all!
Elder Joshua Cordon


Sent from my iPad

Progress

Dear Family and Friends,

Progress, I like progress; it feels nice. I’m sure y’all probably agree with me. Here are some updates on some names that you probably remember.

Trevor: Trevor is really getting back in his groove and then some. He has come to mutual three weeks in a row now and he even came to church on Sunday. His friend Wittney Garçon (He is someone we have been trying to get back into contact with) also came with him on Wednesday and Sunday. We were blessed with some kind members who helped us give them rides so we didn’t have to walk with them there; however, we were willing to do that if necessary. They had a great time and hopefully we can step up the fellowship for them. The youth program here is really small so they are pioneers in many ways.

Michelle: She came to scripture class again and even surprised us by bringing her daughter, Victoria, and her daughters boyfriend, Chandler. Victoria was super engaged and participated a lot in the discussion. We are going through the Book of Mormon chapter by chapter and we were on 1 Nephi 15. The discussion really kicked off when we began teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Victoria had such a good experience that she came up to us afterward and asked, “can I keep this Book of Mormon?… Here take down my number I am going to have some questions… Alright so how do I read this and where should I start?” It was pretty awesome to see her jump right on board. A couple days later we went to see Michelle at her place and she made us breakfast for dinner. Chandler was there and we got to know him some more. He is about to start school to go be a doctor. The greatest news was that we found out that Victoria wanted to go to church on Sunday. She showed up with Chandler and they had a great experience.

It is good to see some people make those steps that we need to be seeing. We have some others that we are working with but these were the ones who made the most progress this week.

An awesome little miracle happened after a great experience at the hospital on Friday. We went to the hospital to administer to three afflicted members of our congregation. When we parked we realized that we needed $2 in cash to pay the toll, but we both only had our debit cards. We figured we would just not worry about it, and that we could take care of that after the blessings. Two of them were quick in and out visits, but with one lady we stayed and talked for almost 45 minutes. Her cousin was there and it sure was a hoot talking to them. It was nice to help her take her mind off the cancer for a few minutes. She was missing her son especially because the day before she found out she had cancer he was deployed over seas. She asked me to give the blessing and it was a great opportunity for me. During the blessing a very sweet spirit entered to room. She started to cry and said that it really helped and that it made it feel like her son was there. On Sunday she was able to make it to church and thanked us both again for the blessing.

After the visit we got off the elevator on the first floor and tried to figure out where we could go go get some cash. Right then one of the employees said, “Are you lost elders?” We responded with “You must be a member. What Ward are you in?” He told us that he was in the San Jose Ward (Spanish Ward). I had actually met him before when I was serving in Hendricks Ave. He opened up his wallet and he pulled out $2 and said, “It is all I have.” He smiled and then walked away. I looked down at the cash in my hand, just amazed about God blesses us in the most personal ways. That was a really good day!

I love y’all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Conference Answers Questions

Dear Family and Friends,

This was among one of the most inpiring weeks of my life. The Friday trainee/trainer meeting and then a Saturday and Sunday of general conference answered so many of my questions about life I had to start thinking of new ones while conference was still going to continue to get the most out of it. I am so glad I took the advice and wrote down some questions. One of my favorite talks was Elder Eyring’s during priesthood session. I had asked a question on how to improve my prayers. I got more of an answer than I ever was expecting. I even had a question about college and just my future in general that I really wasn’t anticipating receiving an answer to, but God had other plans.

The week went really well. I will tell you about a few miracle men that we had. The first is this man Jeff. He was a miracle that we had several weeks ago when we had arrived at the apartment about 10 minutes early. Rather than going inside which I have never done. I told elder curran, we are not going home until we have a miracle. We began to walk and hopefully find someone outside. At exactly 9:00 this man yells from his porch, “are y’all missionaries?” And we of course went right over there and said yes. We replied with, “yes we are!” He told us that his dad is Mormon and that he has a lot of questions. We struggled for weeks to meet up with him. This past week we decided to give it one more try. He was home and we had a phenomenal lesson. He really did have a lot of questions. The next day we went back and he had read 50 pages and done tons of research. He said that a lot of people don’t support the church but he feels like this is where he is meant to be. He accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 25th of this month. It was awesome!

Another great thing about this past week began with a challenge presented by elder Kopischke called “priming the pump”. He said that we should go and ask them to pray for us that we could find a family to teach in their home. We decided to try it with the awesome Nhiev family. The very next day after we started it we met Michelle who I mentioned in one of previous letters. This past Monday she joined us at the Nhiev’s for a family home evening and everyone had a great time! Then on Friday we had a lesson with her and her husband Ray. On Saturday they came to the church and watched the afternoon session of general conference with Br and Sis Nhiev. It was awesome to see how quickly everything is coming together when we exercise some faith. God really is just so good! The challenge worked so well we are trying it again with another family. Wish us luck!

Love y’all!
Elder Joshua Cordon

People, Quotes, and Family

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello Everyone! So this last week was a good one. We finally got some good lessons with a few people and it definitely was a week that allowed us to see who we really have as a solid base in our teaching pool. Lets begin with Davie. He is really coming along we saw him last week and had a good lesson that really just involved reading 3 Nephi 11 and testifying of Christ. It was a great experience because until that point he just couldn’t bring himself to read it on his own, but to be able to just sit and read a chapter with him really helped to alleviate that fear. After hearing it out he said something similar to, “you know, it sounds like true scripture.”  He is making steady progress. Hopefully we can get him to join us for the bbq and broadcast priesthood session of general conference at the church this Saturday.

Another wonderful soul that came into the picture last week was a character named Stew. We met him at a bus stop. He was sitting there with no intention of getting on the bus but just because it was something to do. We learned that he had found out that he arrived in
Jacksonville only a week prior and he had come from Oregon. He is here with the intentions to get a restart on life. Before our first conversation was over he knew that he was meant to meet us and learn what we teach. Over the subsequent days we taught him three more lessons and have made some good progress with him. We have already set
him up to start attending different classes and things are looking bright for his future.

The other awesome brother we are working with is a high school student named Trevor. The previous missionaries taught him and made some good success. When we first got here we struggled to connect with him. But during the week before last and last we were able to break down some walls and really connect with him. He committed to work towards being baptized in May and he is excited. We couldn’t find him a ride so we
made the hour/ride walk with him last week to the church so he could go to young mens. He brought his skateboard and we had our bikes so we took it easy and talked all the way there. He ended up having a great time and wants to come every week now.

So that is how the work is going. We had a couple of instances while tracting where people mocked our beliefs and told us we were teaching false doctrines. It was interesting. I got to boldly tell them what we believed and then we left. I always ponder on those experience during the following days because I feel there is much to be learned from
those encounters. As I did I realized a trend in both cases: both times the major insults came after I bore my testimony. Three quotes come to mind, I don’t know the sources for two but they are still great:

“You know you have lost an argument once you get angry.” Unknown Author

“Anger is the reaction you have when you don’t know how to react.” Unknown Author

“Anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone, you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha

Taking all those into consideration I realized that while all three of those men acted childish by the time we walked away we were the victor in all cases because we never got angry while they did. Now I do have to admit that I was frustrated as I pondered on the fact that people would embrace and express those particular views about our church, but luckily it was not in the moment. A lesson I learned is that you can’t convince someone of spiritual truth, that is The Holy Spirit’s job. Another lesson I learned was if you simply bear your testimony of what you know to be true their reaction will quickly tell you whether or not they are ready for more. If they do not receive the truth you have shared so far then they definitely won’t receive anymore, so there is no point in sharing more.

The same is true with all cases in life. If either party in a conversation isn’t ready, then stop the conversation. Their is no point to share anymore because clearly what has been shared so far won’t work. Now, this doesn’t always mean you have to walk away –though that is a great option– you can apologize, you can change the subject, and you can even just give them a hug. Sometimes that last one isn’t a good idea depending on the tension level. Either way a person who is angry is a fool and will do foolish things. And as the Lord put it, “…fools mock, but they shall mourn…” (Ether 12:26)

I am sure none of you struggle with anger but I felt like mentioning it. I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

P.S. I have a challenge for all of you. The church on Friday released a new video to celebrate Easter. It is super good. You can find it at HeLives.Mormon.org.  So here is the thing. All the full time missionaries in the church off of Facebook for the time being, that
means the responsibility falls on the members shoulders to spread this message all over Facebook. So here is the challenge: will each of you share his video with 5 of your friends before Easter? It can be in person or in a message. I promise that as you do you will feel the true spirit of the Easter weekend enter into your heart, and your love and appreciation for the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, will burn within your soul. I know that to be true because it has worked for me. Good luck!

 

The Work Moves On

Dear Family and Friends, 

This week was a riveting roller coaster ride of emotion. Everyday was very eventful! A couple of highlights can be really help you see where I am coming from.

On Tuesday we were biking to a few potentials and street contacting on the way when I saw a girl headed my direction. She was carrying a red gas can and was clearly headed to the gas station behind me. I approached her and asked if she needed any help, and if her car ran out of gas. She said that she would be alright and that she lived around the corner and was just getting gas for the lawn mower. I moved the conversation to the gospel. Noticing that she had her hands full, literally, I suggested that we come back another time and share our message with her. She, to our surprise, told us to go and visit her mom right then and that she would be willing to listen. 

Happily acting on that suggestion we rode right to her moms house and knocked on the door. Right when she answered she invited us right in and started to pick up a few things to make room for us on her couch. Turns out she was a Mormon when she was a young teenager but went inactive many years ago. We had an awesome conversation and she agreed to come to scripture class the next night. Along with this woman, Michelle, we found a bunch of people in the area that we talked to and got return appointment with. 

On Wednesday we had a solid day lined up with several member present lessons, service, and the scripture class. Everything cancelled except the service. So after a fun service project which included a great lunch where the main dish was crab. We spent the rest of the day knocking doors. It was a long day. We found a few solid potentials though so it definitely wasn’t all for not.

For rest of the week everything went very well! We were very busy and we found many elect souls! The Montcrief family we met while they were sitting in their garage just enjoying the good weather. We approached them with the intent of talking about families. That beautiful family of 6 then accepted a return appointment.

The other was Rusty. When we knocked on his door he came out to talk to us and about an hour latter we had taught the whole restoration lesson and he readily accepted the Book of Mormon telling us that Mormons were the only religion in America that was the “real deal.” We are excited to see where he goes in the next little while.

Finding new souls is basically been our focus over the past several weeks. Hopefully now we can change the focus to helping all these
wonderful souls along their new life-changing journeys.

I had to write quick this week because I was taking care of other things, but I hope y’all have a great week.

Love, 

Elder Joshua Cordon

Elder Kopischke Comes To Town

Dear Family and Friends,

The highlight of this week was hard to pin down so I will share a couple. The first great one was a mission conference that we had on Friday. We have had 4 in 4 months. That is surprising because I only had 2 my first year.

Anyhow Elder Kopischke was the one who visited us. He is a wonderfully-jolly german-man, and it made for a fun 6 hours that we spent with him. I think the most powerful lesson that I took away from that meeting was that the gospel is about relationship, and relationship requires investment. That is a lesson that I have been learning through-out my mission and I believe hearing it that way helped me put it all in perspective. As I reflect upon all that I have experienced so far, it is the relationships that I have developed that I consider to be my most valued treasures. He helped see missionary
work in a new light that helped us with our priorities. It was a great lesson to learn to help me capitalize on my remaining time. We only had a 20 minute break during those 6 hours, but I could have stayed for 6 hours if he would have let us. It was a very spiritual meeting and I had many questions answered.

Another amazing thing that happened this weekend was that a man named Davie that we found my first Sunday in the area came to church. We met with him twice last week and he was curious about our services. His lives in a mobile home park that a member of our bishopric owns and manages and so he had immediate fellowship. Everybody loved seeing him there and he seemed to enjoy himself. It was great that so quickly the Lord has blessed us to see the fruit of our labors. I look forward to the many other things he awaits to bless us with.

I know that Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer and that if we come to him, miracles, purpose, and true joy will begin to flow into our lives in a very personal way. It starts by us coming unto him.

I love y’all!
Elder Joshua Cordon

The Thick of Thin Things

Dear Family and Friends, 

This past week brought a lot of change for me. After serving a wonderful 8 months in the blessed Mandarin 2nd ward it was time for me to move on to the next step. As part of the transition I am blessed with the opportunity to train Elder Curran. He is from Clearfield, Utah and so far we have enjoyed every minute. Our personalities really mesh, so it has been easy to get unified quick and get to work. We are in a car share as well, so we have been on biking a lot. 

“White-washing” an area as they call it has been a wonderful experience so far. I got a similar opportunity when I started my mission so it has been reminiscent and very fun. We are doing our best to reach out and become familiar with the members as soon as we can. We are loving the ward so far and we can tell that a lot of good things are going to happen here. Last week alone was full of amazing miracles. Every single night after 8:00, with the exception of Friday night because we were playing basketball with some investigators, we found someone new to teach. Often missionaries will consider that a less productive time to find, but it has been an hour of miracles for us. We plan to keep that going for as long as we can. 

On Sunday after church we were having a correlation meeting with the sisters and the Ward Mission Leader and his assistant and we started talking about the different reasons that members havent been sharing the gospel. Something that was brought up involved that idea that people are simply filling there schedules with too much “stuff.” They simply are not putting into practice the age old principles taught in the object lesson of trying to fit rocks, pebbles, and sand all in a jar. I reflected on how my last ward mission leader somehow made so much time for missionary work, even though he was a full time law student, had a young child, and worked 20 hours a week.

To my surprise that same theme was reinforced this morning during my personal study when I was reading a conference talk by A. Theodore Tuttle given October of 1971. The title of the talk was The Things That Matter Most. There was this quote in it that I really enjoyed!

Some years ago, I read an editorial in the Deseret News entitled “The Mechanical Rabbit.” I quote:

“Most of our readers must have smiled the other day when they read of the greyhounds in Britain who don’t know a rabbit when they see one. So long had they chased a mechanical rabbit around the racetrack, that when a real rabbit bounded across the track, the dogs didn’t give it a second look.“Stupid, eh? But sad too, this perverting of the natural instincts. …“We chase mechanical rabbits, too.“We chase paychecks, and don’t give a second look to the glint of the rising sun on a snow-topped peak.“We chase our way through the appointments of a crowded desk calendar, and fail to take time to chat with the next-door neighbor or to drop in on a sick friend.“We chase social pleasures on a glittering noisy treadmill—and ignore the privilege of a quiet hour telling bedtime stories to an innocent-eyed child.“We chase prestige and wealth, and don’t recognize the real opportunities for joy that cross our paths. …”Wordsworth said words appropriate to this condition:“The world is too much with us: late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.”“Race on, you poor, blind over-civilized hounds. You’ll never catch your rabbit until you learn to recognize a genuine one.“But, you’ll have company in your race; the company of unnumbered men who’ll never catch the joy they chase until they, too, learn to recognize a genuine one.”This points up our challenge: See “that the things that matter most … are not at the mercy of things that matter least.” (Ashley Montague.)Someone rephrased this thought: “Too often we are involved in the thick of thin things.”In modern revelation the Lord said:“Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?“Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men. …” (D&C121:34–35.)



The moral of that story and the reason I have brought it up, is that I hope all of us will take time to prioritize our lives and if necessary stop spending time doing the things that don’t matter most if they prevent us from doing the things that do. The great blessing of coming into an area with a companion who isnt already serving there is that you get a fresh start, and an opportunity to make sure that your priorities are straight without having to do the sometimes painful process of re-prioritizing. I has been a great blessing to engage in the simple things for often that is how miracles are most often experienced. For me, learning to prioritize has been a blessing of my mission.

 Hopefully these sentiments are beneficial!

I love yall!
Elder Joshua Cordon