In The World but Not Of the World!!

Dear Family and Friends,

So much happens every week that I never know what to tell you… I guess I will start with the 4th of July!

After a wonderful ward breakfast and flag raising–which included a hilarious little bike parade of all the kids– are day went on as normal. We got a lunch with a recent convert and had a good lesson to ease some of her concerns that she has been having. She has every reason to be happy, yet she wont let herself because of things in the past. I fear that what she is experiencing is far too common in this church. We found a sort of secluded picnic table and gave her a blessing. I am personally not a fan of public blessings, but when someone needs one then they get one. It was a really powerful blessing, and she has been at ease and smiling ever since. I have gained such a huge testimony of priesthood blessings. I know from personal experience on my mission that they indeed save lives! God is ever mindful of us and that is one way that he shows his love.

That night for the fourth of July we got two zones of the mission together and blitzed this huge event they have downtown on the river. Thousands of people go for a carnival like event and to watch the fireworks that they shoot out over the river. Our zone covered the North Side and the other the South. I drove a 12 passenger van full of sisters and headed the convoy of 5 vehicles down to our rally point. From there we rode the monorail to the other side of the river we were divided into our respective areas. Only us and the sister training coordinators were in the alcohol section. In contrast to missionary life it was like Sodom and Gommorrah, though in worlds standards it probably wasnt that bad. The goal of all the missionaries was consistent with our sacred calling, find those who are ready to receive the restored gospel. In the first hour we met probably 15 less-active members there. The would come up to us and squint at our tag and be like, “ELDERS!! Hey I am a member!… I haven’t been in a while, but I respect you a lot for what you do and I am thankful for you!” It was a pretty neat experience! Less-active and active, there are just so many wonderful members of this church!! We just need them all to come regularly and bless us with there love.

As the night rolled on people become more and more tipsy and the contacting a lot more difficult, so we changed our strategy. We started taking pictures with people to test the water of whether or not they were sober enough to carry a conversation, and then if they seemed interested we would get their facebook information. That was surprisingly successful. At the end of the night we realized we had handed out over 100 pass along cards and gathered a bunch of names for the local missionaries to teach. We were also very surprised at how receptive the general populace was to us. We would walk by people and hear them say to their friends, “those men are preaching the word.” Haha you better believe it! We finally got out of there as the fireworks started going so that we could be first to the cars so that sisters wouldn’t be waiting by themselves in a dark parking lot. We opened all the doors on the mini van and blasted the mo-tab to bring a peaceful spirit into the evening. The music combined with the events of the evening left everyone smiling as the approached the vehicles at the end of the night. I learned in a powerfully dramatic way that one can be in the world, but not of the world. I was quite surprised at my ability to maintain wholesome thoughts and keep the spirit with me despite the environment I was in.

So there is my story for the week!

I love y’all! Have a great week!

Elder Joshua Cordon

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Month Mark!!

Dear Family & Friends,

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This past week was incredible! So much has happened that I don’t even know where to begin. We had so much success this past week! The Lord has truly blessed us. We have these two great progressing investigators named JC and Mat. They are really making some incredible progress in changing their lives for the better. They are both 19 (i think) and are best friends. We are great friends with them to which is just terrific. They are both trying to quit smoking and dipping and I am very impressed with how willing and strong they are. Both are planning on getting baptized here in a few weeks!

Other than that the work is really picking up. We have a lot of people we know now and so planning our days is becoming a lot easier. I feel like I have been doing this work my whole life!

One small story to share. We were trying to find a less active on the church roster and when we got to their house they weren’t home. So we decided to knock a few doors before we left. The third house we went to just so happened to be the home of Br. and Sis. Sutton. Sis. Sutton was baptized into the church at 17 and hasn’t gone to church since. Which is even more incredible when she told us that she wants us to teach the discussions to her husband so they can be married in the temple! They were so fun to talk that we just chatted with them for probably 45 minutes. Also her husband is a terrific cook and he said he wants to cook us dinner. We have him scheduled for theĀ 4th of July! ‘MERICA!

Anyhow, I am loving my mission. Even more so I am loving how I am more clearly seeing how the Lord blesses us each and everyday. I think if all of us really took some time each day to see how the Lord has blessed us we would all stop complaining and feeling entitled to any more blessings! I love you all and have a great week andĀ 4th of July!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Here are a few pictures of my adventures so far.
One of our temple trips while at the MTC.

One of our temple trips while at the MTC.

In the south there are signs directing you to the different chapels.

In the south there are signs directing you to the different chapels.