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

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

IMG_0211.JPG
Oh ya totally went to a wedding this week it was awesome!!

IMG_0210.JPG

Another Week Down

Dear Family and Friends,

Well This has been a really fast week! But a fantastic one. This week we were honored to have a mission tour with Elder Funk and Elder Wong. Elder Wong is the new the general Authority from the first quorum of the seventy. His talk was pretty awesome I even got water poured on my head haha. But he is so powerful and I can’t wait to hear his talk next general conference! Elder Funk, Elder Wong, And President gave amazing motivational talks on some very basic and well needed things like the book of Mormon and the message of the restoration. We were also blessed to hear from Sister Hawks, Sister Wong, And Sister Funk. They gave amazing insightful talks on the same topics.

Training has been going really well. We get along awesome and there is plenty of laughter which makes it much easier to talk to people when your smiling all the time.

This week though we really focused on Less Actives and made some great progress with some less actives that we have not seen in a while.

Things are going fantastic and with our new invitation for all the members in the ward to find one person to give a Book of Mormon a lot are taking the challenge. We should be seeing the referrals pouring in.

Love you all
Stay amazing!

Elder Jared Cordon

Sunday Blessings

Dear Family and Friends,

I had the blessed opportunity of going to the Orlando Temple last week!! Nothing is quite as rejuvenating as a trip to the temple! I am grateful that God has provided a way for me to still maintain temple attendance despite my circumstances. We had a Q&A with the Temple President afterwards, and the only question I had afterwards was how do i ask a question that is worth asking haha.

After some long time of contemplation I believe I have arrived on some answers to that questions which ironically in this case is more questions :)

We were blessed immensely this past week! We had some powerful lessons Saturday night with some of our awesome investigators. One of them is a man named Madison. He is very thoughtful man. He was taught several months back but never progressed. Something changed in his life though and he was so ready to listen and to act. We taught him about humility and the importance of a having a strong relationship with God. Near the end of the lesson he just stopped us mid sentence and said, where is your church at? I need to go to church tomorrow. Sunday morning I got to see his smiling face come walking in the door with his girlfriend right behind him! It was so beautiful to see. God definitely provided.

On that same note of miracles. We are teaching a brother and sister, Shauna & Christian. We just started teaching them a week ago and they wanted to come to church yesterday. Shauna texted us at 8 in the morning though and said that she got called into work and wont be able to make it. We were rather disappointed to hear that, but we were at peace for some reason. Shortly after the meeting started we were surprised to see both of them walk in the door and grab a seat on the back row. I was so happy to see them there!! The ward just wrapped their arms around them and made them feel so welcome. We talked to Shauna after sacrament and she said that when she got to work she still wanted to come to church so she got someone to cover her shift so she could come. I know God will bless them for their faithfulness!

There is no greater work than this! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

Love
Elder Joshua Cordon

Training!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well a wonderful week has passed by. I got my trainee last week and he is super awesome I love him he is so diligent and hardworking and fluent in the language and his teaching skills are awesome and we have fantastic unity. Well I think my job is done. Now comes the part were he starts training me. I really have learned a lot from my trainee already as far as teaching and preparing for lessons, not to mention the language. Its pretty awesome! One good thing is he hasn’t even had to go finding yet. We have been teaching so many lessons that sadly we haven’t had to be out in the heat sweating our brains out.

We also had our first ward activity in Butterfly ward and its been almost 6 months. It was a lot of fun and yielded some great results! A member brought along a family with him and they had a wonderful time and we were able to earn the trust of the husband its not to the stage of teaching yet but it will get there and then we also met a kid I have been hoping to see again he is so prepared!

Also got called as the district leader so I moved up a lot this last week from junior to senior, trainer, and district leader. Its a lot to take in all at once but Its been going pretty well so far and should keep getting better!

Love you all,

Elder Jared Cordon

Good Week

Dear Family and Friends,

Well another wonderful week on the Lords Errand. The Butterfly ward is really feeling the blessings of the Lord as two people yesterday entered the waters of baptism! One lady was from the sisters and another lady was from the mandarin elders. Its amazing that after 2 and a half years of no baptism in a two month period we have seen 4 people come unto Christ. Its really the Lords pouring his blessing upon the area and I am truly blessed to witness this mighty change of hearts.

This last week spent with my summer missionary has been super awesome! He is an amazing man. He was baptized a year ago and is a killer missionary. I dont know if I have learned more in any previous week on my mission! His testimony is so powerful! This last week we have met a few people who I could picture in white! from when I first met them. We continue to see new miracles every single day.

Something that just happened this morning is when i was doing studies president called me and i was not sure why but he is asking me to train. this is by complete surprise because elder au has only a little time left and I have been here for quite some time now. But it will be an amazing opportunity and I hope to fulfill it to the best of my abilities!

Well love you all and remember that life is good.

Love Elder Jared Cordon

Slightly Scatter-Brained

Dear Family and Friends,

So much happened this past week!! Where do I even begin…

Well I learned a lot of valuable lessons like always. I am learning to love the way that God works with me. I’ll compare that to working out–which I do frequently because the gospel is very easily comparable to working out. If your arms are weak, then you focus on your arms during a workout session; however, when you are working your arms for that moment you may be neglecting your legs. Now here is where perspective comes into play, I could be frustrated that at any given moment I never have balance because I am always neglecting some muscle group, or I could be at peace because looking at the bigger picture I know that after a weeks time I have worked every muscle group and in the end I am always achieving balance as long as I stick to the workout routine. The lesson I am hoping to teach from that is that as long as you are consistently working at improving you will maintain a balanced life even if it doesn’t seem that way. The trick to being able to see it comes by maintaining an eternal perspective by keeping your eye on your future potential, just as someone who begins a serious workout routine keeps their motivation by seeing what they want to begin.

Anyway enough of those work out metaphors.

This past week was fairly eventful! I was able to go to the part of Jacksonville known by the locals as “Sin City” and do some work with one of the Elders there, which was an interesting experience. I forgot how many strange people reside in the ghetto. Those people are thinking on a whole other wavelength than the middle class people i teach. I am starting to think that class structure is far more based on mindset rather than opportunity.

The next day I worked my own area with an Elder who knew my room-mate in college before the mission. It is such a small world! We had some awesome success that day! We had the blessing of teaching one of the most prepared people ever! His name is Willy. He is retired army and 100% self-motivated. Before we even taught him the word of wisdom he had begun quitting cigarettes and even called the number to the addiction recovery group in the sacrament meeting program to set up a meeting. It has been such a blessing. He is scheduled to get baptized on 6th of september because that is when his wife will be in town. Yesterday at church he brought his friend Joe who he has been teaching the gospel too at work! In class he was bearing testimony of his conversion! It was so awesome!

Another great thing we did was Saturday morning we went and cleaned up the backyard of the mother of a recent convert in the ward. It was nice to get my hands dirty, it reminded of all those days in New York I spent doing landscaping. We cut down a few trees, trimmed the bushes and raked leaves. It was an amazing transformation!

Anyhow… that was my week!

I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

20140729-175809-64689976.jpg
I decided my desk could pass for an I-Spy game. I took the picture though because it contained so many telling elements. That I thought were notables can you find them? (By the way, the only stage item is my name tag)

Just Do It!

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week was a rather exciting one! We got the privilege of going to Gainesville to do an exchange with some elders there. For morning exercise we ran bleachers at the UF stadium known as “The Swamp.” Not gonna lie, I almost threw up. After racing the other elders up the entire bleachers I was finished. My legs were wobbling for the next hour. It was a pretty fun little trip. We took some bikes there for some sisters too who had ordered them, and put them together for them before dropping it off at there place. During all the road-tripping I kept my hands busy by working on making a satchel out of paracord. I am making up the design as I go and beside a few hick-ups it is coming along rather nicely. Stay tuned for the final product.

I don’t have much time, but I want to share a wonderful lesson that I learned this week. I will call it the principle of “Just Do It.” I am amazed at the false philosophy taught by the world that we are a product of our environment. It never ceases to amaze how prevalent this way of thinking is in modern thinking. However, to show the world that this is not true, I will share a simple example of how I applied this principle.

While I do consider myself to be a fairly positive person that does not change the fact that in the world we live in, it is very easy to be negative. All it take is to watch the news for a week and you have enough material to be negative about politics, the economy, religion, and society for a month! Sadly many people get caught up in all that. Even in missionary work, while we are surrounded by endless miracles, and endless reasons to praise God and be grateful, there is also negative. Sometimes I find myself getting frustrated at the sight of some missionaries who I know have the potential to be so much more than they are, yet they chose to live far below their privileges. Such were the feelings that enveloped my heart and mind for a middle part of the week last week, which culminated in a vent session that left me emotionally and spiritually drained. It was at that point that I realized that I am benefited in no way by endlessly speaking of negative things. My companion and I made a pack that we would be the most positive set of people in any given room at any given time, mostly because God has given us every reason to be. Just like that, in a brief moment, I as a person changed. It wasn’t too dramatic, but it was enough to dramatically change my outlook on life.

From this simple example I learned a few lesson that I hope to share with you at this time. The first is this, that at any given moment in your life, you are presented the opportunity because of our Savior Jesus Christ to change. You can this very instance decided to be a better person. The only thing stopping you is yourself. The second lesson I learned or relearned rather, was to be grateful for the fact that God lets us fail. He let me slip and fall onto that negative slippery slop for a day, allowing me the opportunity to learn a valuable life lesson. I am grateful that God managed to teach me that powerful lesson in such a short time because as far as I know I am not suffering any lasting consequences from that day haha.

I will conclude my letter with my testimony which is embodied in a scripture from the Book of Mormon. “… And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.” (1 Nephi 16:29) I love this work and I love my God. I am grateful the small moments of weakness in my life that allow me the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons. That all of you will take advantage of those same opportunities is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love Ya’ll!! Have a blessed week!

Elder Joshua Cordon

20140721-205254-75174369.jpg

Good Things to Come

Dear Family and Friends,

First things first Aaron got the priesthood and it was an amazing thing indeed. Thats the part I really look forward in taking part in. Thats when he receives the greatest tool and blessing the of dear beloved Heavenly Father has to offer. Right now we are working with the ward to strengthen these recent converts and getting the Butterfly Ward prepared for the many more the Lord has in store.

We were worried about Gary this last week, he seemed really off and of course I get worried about him and the gospel. Its hard for me sometimes to think of a world outside of the gospel. It turned out to be just work and he is still moving a long like he needs to be.

We have been realizing the need to focus on the basics the need for new members and investigator to read and pray is everything. I have to come to realize that its our personal devotion to God thats everything. Thats what makes our church so special than what I have come to realize is typical Christianity. God really expects everything from us.

We have been blessed with some miracles this last week. We have been finding it hard to fit finding time in. So when we have it we appreciate it even more. But what we have seen is no matter the length of time the Lord has put a prepared person in our way. We have been able to meet two fathers whose main interest is in their families. How great will be my joy when they enter the waters of Baptism I could picture them in white when I saw them!

Now we are blessed with this opportunity to have summer missionaries. These are young men and women in hong kong who are willing to be a full time missionary for two weeks. So my companionship is split and now Butterfly has 4 elders. I have a great opportunity to influence this young man for the rest of his life. The great thing is he is actually a recent convert. We are gonna see miracles these next two weeks.

PS I say the word miracles so easily cause Its just a common thing you see when your on the Lord errand. Its also not restricted to missionaries. “The Lord is no respecter of persons”

I love you all.

Elder Jared Cordon