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

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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

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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

This has been a GREAT year!

Dear Family and Friends,

This coming Saturday will be one year, one year sense I knew that this gospel was the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. That Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son, our brother, Jesus Christ in a grove of trees in Palmyra NY in 1820. It has been such a wonderful year I am so glad that I had the courage to go to the pageant.

In this last year I have let the gospel change my life. The promise that we get, that following the gospel makes us the best that we can be is VERY TRUE. It is so weird to think that it was only just a year ago that I didn’t know that this church was true and now I am on a mission and am through my first transfer.

So crazy news about this first transfer I am getting a new trainer. Elder Lafond is getting transferred and I am getting Elder Butters to finish out my next 6 weeks of training. SO… it is kinda weird to think, we just assumed that we had 3 months together and so it did come as a shock. I am excited though because God is in the details of the mission and so I know that I am supposed to learn something from this so can’t wait to see what that is. A quote from President Lorenzo Snow, who was the prophet from 1898-1901.

“There is no mortal man that is so much interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the gospel as the Lord that sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord’s children.”

The Lord is invested in the success of our missions and He wants us to grow in the gospel and He wants us to become the best missionaries that we can be. He knows what that will take and he will give us the things and challenges that we need to mold us into the missionaries he needs us to be and the best we can be.

I am so excited about this next transfer and what it will bring. So a quote from me.

“There are many things a person CAN be, but the focus needs to be on what you SHOULD be.”

The gospel can change you to the best person that you can be so let it. Everyone can be perfected, so don’t get distracted by the things that aren’t in that direction.

Sorry this letter is so short next week will be longer :)

I love you all
Elder Steven Cordon
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Update on Sister Feathers (the bird we are teaching the gospel to) eggs have hatched and now we have two babies living on our porch.

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Washington Sunset

1 more down plenty more to go!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well what a wonderful week we just had. We worked really hard to help Aaron be ready for his baptism and the rest of his life. His baptism was a success! After he was baptized he actually spoke and it was really good. He has an amazing testimony and you can tell he is on the road to conversion as all good members are. Teaching him this last week has really taught me a lot of lessons as we were focusing on the holy ghost and receiving personal revelation. I can look back at my life and realize how much stronger my connection with the spirit is now than at any time previously.

Were also able to see Mike twice this week. We taught him half of the plan of salvation on Wednesday and after he was so excited to learn more he was scheduling the next lesson himself. So we taught him again on Friday after English class. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to teach him the lord has been here for us. Every time we get someone close to baptism I ask the lord whose next and he always has another person ready.

A couple in our ward also had the idea to feed the young men and two of our investigators who are in their friend group and that went so well. Its becoming the cool thing to be part of church for them. We were also able to meet another one of their friends and get a 3rd investigator. It really awesome to see the young men getting in the excitement of missionary and having success doing it. We just teach the all together on Saturdays then play a little basketball. Sadly they were not able to attend church but they will be there next week.

Sister Lau and Sister Syu are doing awesome they are really excited to continue to hear more. We have found out more about there families and are really pushing to meet there husbands this next week, we realize the only way to feel the fullness of this gospel is to have the full family involved, so that is our focus this week. With them living in mainland the best way for retention is to get them all.
Well it was an amazing week and I can see that the Lord will continue to progress his work I am so grateful to take part in the Hong Kong peak service to be able to hear about all the sacrifice made by the Chinese people in building the gospel. This is a blessed to be serving.

Love you all

Elder Jared Cordon

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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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The Lord is Opening the Flood Gates

Dear Family and Friends,

Last week was a busy one. For P-day I went and finally road a ferry. Also had the best gaak jai bang in hong kong. Gotta love mammies pancakes. It was a good day with a few upsets. One of the sisters got her card eaten in the ATM. But it was good times. Today we will be riding the worlds longest escalator.

Aaron has made some amazing progress we met him on Tuesday and then went to a dinner appointment. He is really set on serving a mission so he wants to help us teach and go finding. That night we decided to have him share the spiritual thought it went so well. The thought and impression really came to us that he is so ready now that we have no reason to wait until the 27th to baptize him. So we have moved him to this Sunday. He is more than happy. Its also really cool because he wants the Bishop to baptize him and the first counselor to do the confirmation. Its such a great way to get the members involved with these converts.

An amazing miracle has also happened on this very same day after teaching another investigator we heard a knock on the church door. Can it be that baptism are knocking on our doors? Well it just so happens that a lady feels very strongly that she must be baptized in our ward. She also wants her daughters family to be as well. So she came to english class than to church with her daughter and her kids and after church we taught them the first lesson and it went so well. That have committed to coming to church every week!

The young men in the ward have also stepped up their game. They showed up to church with two investigators that we have taught previously. Its great to see these boys start doing some missionary work.

Cheui HD (*editors note: HD means something similar to brother, so it would be Brother Cheui) a ward missionary also brought his dad, sister, and his sisters friend to church. We scheduled them for english class!

Heui HD also brought a relative to church He seemed to enjoy himself.

Things are going really really good here in the Butterfly Ward. Its crazy for me to think anyone ever could dislike this ward.

Also I got an amazing opportunity to attend the temple and man probably one of the best sessions I have ever had I am still on cloud nine!

Love you all,

Elder Jared Cordon

What an Awesome Week!

Dear Family and Friends,

This is a week that is getting locked in the vault. We are seeing lives blessed by the gospel and them building a closer relationship with their Heavenly Father. One that I am really excited about is Alicia, she is just ready to have the gospel be apart of her life. She is someone that I know the lord has been preparing for a long time. When we first met her she didn’t even know if God was even there, she thought that there might could be a God but she didn’t know. She agreed to let us work with her and she is already seeing how much Heavenly Father just want her to have him in her life. She walked a mile to come to a members house to see us. THAT IS WHAT I CALL EXERCISING FAITH! She has such an amazing desire to know God and she is showing it, I am looking forward to all of the lessons to come.

We also have Phil he is a non-member father of a member family, he has five boys and a wife that comes to church almost every week. (it is sometimes hard for her to get all the boys there by herself) Phil however doesn’t know if Joseph Smith is a true Prophet. We talked a little about it and he agreed that he hasn’t really taken the time to pray about it though. He also has some questions about the priesthood, the great news is he has committed to take the time to learn and to pray to get his answers. Which is great because that is all we ever ask is to pray about it and to find out for yourself if what we are saying is true. what a blessing it will be to that family when he accepts the gospel.

The temple trip was today! What a great experience that was to go to the temple and bring questions to the house of the Lord about my investigators and about how I can be a better missionary. I know that the Lord answers prays but it is just so different in the temple. I was able to get a spiritual recharge and get direction on what gifts the Lord has given me to help in this work. I have found so much comfort in going to the temple and knowing that if I take a question and in faith know that he will help me I will always get an answer. Rarely the one I want but always the one I need.

This week was such a growing week for me in so many ways. I was able to have many moments where I knew that my steps were being guided and my words were being given to me. This work is moving forward at such a remarkable rate, the Lord is preparing so many people to hear the truth. We have had a commandment given to us, it is not a new commandment, that the gospel be spread to the whole world. It is one that more need to take as serious as any other commandment, the greatest commandment given to us was to love one another. We need to take that love for everyone and share with them what brings the most happiness in this life. THE GOSPEL. I challenge everyone that reads this to talk to a friend who can learn more and share with them your testimony about one of these four things. Jesus Christ is the Savoir of the world, Joseph Smith is a true Prophet, The Book of Mormon is the word of God, or the Priesthood has been restored. Then invite them to meet with missionaries to know more. You don’t have to teach a lesson, let the missionaries do that, just be there to testify of truth and share what you know and love.

I know that this gospel is true and I am so grateful that I get to share it for two years. I know that God answers prayers and if you will ask in faith he WILL answer you and give you guidance in your life. I have a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and I know everyone can because we are all His sons and daughters. I seal this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Elder Steven Cordon

Miracles!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well what another wonderful week on the Lords errand. Hong Kong has a rich pioneer heritage as all areas embracing the do. They have made a film about this very thing. Sometimes I find myself not looking at the big picture, but this is an amazing work being done here. Yesterday we watched the movie in church and the spirit was so strong. That video helped me realize the amazing sacrifice early members of the church made to build this gospel. The first chapel here is still standing and it was build by the bare hands of the early saints, then you put that in contrast to the building in Wanchi and that makes it really clear how much the church has grown and is still growing. Getting in touch with the pioneer heritage, really helps remind me that the Lord is serious when he says he is building in the 4 corners of the earth, these are the last days and I don’t plan on sleeping through the Resurrection.

On top of that, this last week President Hawks had come out here to the New Territories. He had a special meeting and during the meeting while the district leaders and the zone leaders met, that left three who didn’t fit in to go finding. So us three went out to do some finding and President was really excited saying miracles were going to happen and sadly nothing I could see happened and when we were done, President said maybe you haven’t seen a Miracle yet but they are coming. Well about 30 mins later we saw one. We met with an investigator Uncle Fighter an “Eternigator” *Editors Note: A term often used to describe someone that has been meeting with the missionaries for a very long time* our lesson started with him debating doctrine per usual, until the topic of the spirit got brought up. Suddenly everything changed and he asked us what does it feel like? Well after that we come to find out he has felt the spirit a lot and he knows that our message is true and he needs to be baptized. He also spoke of a talk at the “My Conversion Fireside” were a recent converts testimony had really resonated with him. Its interesting that this was the turning point, because just before the fireside we felt prompted to meet with him after not seeing him for nearly 3 months. We met and he wasn’t willing to come to church and we invited him to the fireside and he didn’t want to come. Later that week he called us and sad he wanted to go. So we went then after the fireside he hurried out and we couldn’t follow up on how it went. We assumed nothing happened well turns out that a lot happened. So next step is preparing him for baptism.

Another miracle is that at church we had 3 referrals!! With two more previously this week! That’s more referrals than I have had my entire mission. With a total of five! When we baptized Gary I was wondering whats next, well here they come.

Another miracle is Aaron this week he has had a total change of heart he said “I know I haven’t been baptized yet but I really want to serve a mission!” Man I can’t explain how good it is to help find not only one of the Lords sheep but one of his Shepherds.

Another miracle is when we were finding yesterday. Finding recently has been pretty tough but yesterday we contacted a family. I can already picture them in white already. But here is the miracle we were out finding when I felt prompted to go to a specific spot. While there we met a guy who was not too interested but we ended talking while walking so we ended up no where near where we had planned. But then we see this kid and start talking to him and he has a lot of interest. He tells me he wants to learn more can you wait here while I run into my house. We thought this might be a way for him to get away since people have done that before. But he comes back out and we teach him the restoration and he says that he just recently started thinking about God again and really wanted to know if he was real, then we came along. We will meet with him again next week.

Here is a few stories I thought you would enjoy, there is plenty more but my time is short.

I love you all and hope everything continues to be amazing!

Elder Jared Cordon