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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Lightening, Cameras, and…. Snow

Dear Family and Friends,

How is it possible that week after week things just get better and better? You think you should just get to a point where you would just stop progressing and you are as happy as you can be… Except that would be false doctrine and the exact opposite of what I teach people, so it makes perfect sense actually. I love truth!! It is just so… motivating!

This past week at Zone meeting we had one of the most inspired goal setting sessions i have ever experienced in a Zone Meeting! I have struggled to get a goal that everyone embraces and one that unifies, but I think we finally did it. It started with a spiritual epiphany I received several weeks back, and one I have been praying about ever since. I realized that God wants his sons and daughters baptized more than I want them baptized. No duh right? Well it definitely changed the way I pray. Then I realized that he spends everyday preparing people to received this message and that there are prepared people out there and we just need to find them. Now I kinda knew all this already, but it finally hit me in a different way, the kinda way that leads someone to change and to act. My companion and I then came up with what we knew was a inspired plan. We decided that if we pray and fast and work our tails off, that every single companionship can find and baptized someone in the month of June. When we first introduced it we had a lot of doubting eyes staring back at us. So we pulled out our secret weapon, the faith building pep-talked we prepared. Before we were even done the spirit was very thick in the room and every single missionary jumped in excitement for our goal which is twice as much as a number we thought was impossible the month before. Good things are coming :) #raiseyourexpectations

So if you haven’t seen our video on Facebook yet, I pity you. I would also invite you to repent and go and check it out. We are forming an amazing group and we need your help! It was a lot of fun to film and it was definitely interesting scenery. I hope you enjoy/enjoyed it!

I also had the opportunity to go on exchange last week to required me to hop on the bike again for a whole night! Before we even finished our dinner it was raining. I decided to go without a raincoat though because I new that if I wasn’t wet with rain water than I would be wet from wearing a non-breathable coat in the thick humidity. As we biked around we enjoyed natures natural firework displays. I was hoping that people would take pity on us considering, but it didnt seem to work too well! haha

Another amazing experience was that this past week Alfred opened up that he was still unsure of Thomas S. Monson being a prophet. We decided to help him out by watching the move about him called “On The Lord’s Errand.” Before we were even able to finish the movie he said that he knew that it was true! He is such a champion! He will be interview this week for baptism so we will see how that goes!

Oh ya and about the snow comment. We were about to go meet some less-active members at an apartment complex when we saw a pile of snow on the other side of the fence. I had to look to twice to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. I made a snow ball!!! In Florida!! OUTSIDE!! How is that possible!?! Well… it helps if you are next to an ice rink haha. Nevertheless, it was awesome!

Once again everybody join the Facebook group Called To Share and invite all of your member friends. Then tomorrow (Tuesday) post a picture of you holding the Book of Mormon just under yours eyes with #discoverthebook and with your testimony of how you know it is true!

Love Ya’ll!!

Elder Joshua Cordon