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 

Prayer of Faith!

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow!!! Wow!!! Missions are so amazing!! There is literally not a week that goes by where something amazing doesn’t happen.

Amazing things that happened this week:

Mission Conference

The first year of my mission I had 2 mission conferences. However, we have had 1 every month for the past 4 months. Along with 1 other 2 months before that. So, it has been awesome!!

This time we were visited by Elder Zwick of the first quorum of the Seventy, who I will say is one of the manliest men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and Br. Hemingway who is assigned to the Missionary Department of the Church and is the Director of the proselyting division for the whole world. When I shook Br. Hemingway’s hand he said with a pleasant surprise, “Oh, I remember you. How are you doing?” I had met him a little over a year ago when he came to introduce iPads to the mission. He was the Mission President in Rochester, New York when we first moved there, and knows the Tuttle Family fairly well.

President and Sister Craig where with these fine brethren for several days in Salt Lake City at a special Mission Presidents conference that included the 28 Facebook/iPad missions. We were the first mission to receive training and instruction from what was discussed at that conference. Basically, we are entering the next major stage of testing for iPads and Facebook proselyting. The biggest changes come in the fact that we will receive brand-new iPads next week and there will be a Facebook restart that will result in us going offline of Facebook for a while. We also received training materials produced by the church that are finally standardizing the training of iPads and Facebook, something that we have been begging for for a while. On top of all of that we received powerful trainings on Personal Conversion, and Will-Power. All of it was very inspiring. But anyway, enough of that, it is probably not nearly as exciting for you as it is for me. And if it is exciting for you, then think how excited I am!

Prayers of faith=Miracles

There were several instances this past week that we incredible miracles as a result of a prayer, but there is one that I would like to highlight. On Saturday, it was beautiful weather but it was slower day for some reason. We tried everything I had ever been taught to do and nothing worked. Luckily we had a dinner appointment with two of my favorite people that I had to look forward to. One was a less active and that was the first lesson we were able to teach all day. After dinner we tried to knock some doors, hoping to get some success from those efforts, but after striking out we stopped at the nearby gas station for a bathroom break. While I was waiting for my companion, I saw these two kids at a table. After striking up conversation we were able to teach him the whole first lesson and give him a book of mormon which he agreed to read. Things started to look up.

Still we had about an hour left of the night. Elder Jorgensen suggested that we go and see a man who had not been home for our appointment earlier that day. Considering how far away he was it seemed like an illogical decision, but we both agreed that it felt right so away we went. I remember thinking about the nice peace I had felt on the way there that was a nice contrast to the frustration and anxiety I had experienced earlier. Once we got there we knocked on his doors with hearts full of faith only to find that nobody was home.

I knew at that moment that we were there for someone else. Unsure of what to do next and how to find this person that we were meant to find we knelt down in the grass in front of an apartment building. It was 8:35 roughly we knew that time was not a luxury. After Elder Jorgensen offered a mighty prayer we started knocking. Nobody answered the first two doors and as we turned to head to the stairs we saw a woman, her daughter, and their two dogs walking in the parking lot. We used the dogs as an ice breaker before bringing up the gospel. Before we could even get to it though, she asked us what we were there doing. We told her who we were and asked if we could share our message with her. At this point her little girl Aryah while tugging on her jacket said “Mommy, can we hear their message.” It wasn’t very difficult for her to say yes after that.

We proceeded to teach them the whole first lesson and they loved every bit of it. She told us that they were looking for a church that would prick their heart with the spirit. She even said that because they had just moved there that they were still looking for a church. At the moment they are attending a Brazillian church and because the service is in Portuguese they have to wear headsets with the translation. She started to express concern about the idea of having a prophet today but after we showed her a video of Thomas S. Monson, she said that she knew that he was a prophet the moment she saw him. All of us departed that night feeling very grateful that the lord had caused our paths to cross that night. Jackie and Aryah probably don’t even realize how incredible the journey they just started really is.

I want to bare my solemn witness that God hears every single one of our prayers. I know that he loves us and that he will provide us with miracles as we rely with faith.

I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Sunny Side Up

Dear Family and Friends,

What a wonderful week. Full of growth and development, and also backed full of miracles!! I Am grateful for the atonement and its ability to make us better then we were yesterday. To have the strength and power of Christ to work in our lives with common problems to make them better and to come out the way they need to for our betterment. He is the one that knows what we need to grow into who we need to be, so trust in him.

I also learned a very important lesson that if your own house is not in order you are not able to help anyone else.

I am so blessed that I get to see literal miracles happen all the time. This week we got started teaching the son of Katie and he is excited to learn why Brian (his stepdad) and Katie have made so many changes. He is excited to learn more about his Heavenly Father and the plan that he has for him. Its is always a testimony to me of this truth, that even little children understand it and can feel of its truth. We can all have the faith of a little child, we just need to remove all the disbelieving.

We also met a new man this week Corbin and we felt VERY prompted to keep talking to him, and then VERY prompted to invite him to be baptized. He said yes and also to a date of March 21 so we are going to do everything that we can to get him ready for that date.

God is out ahead of us missionaries preparing people for His truth. Are Spirits will recognize the truth if we give it time to listen. We have been taught it all before so it will have a familiar ring to it.

I am so very grateful for all of your support and love.

You are in my prayers.

LOVE
Elder S Cordon

IMG_6846Beautiful View that I enjoy

Happy Chinese New Years!

Dear Family and Friends,

It was another great week in the Life of a missionary. It was a week of all finding because for the last couple of weeks we have not been able to meet with people that we normally would meet, although they all still keep coming to church. I am very grateful that they will at least do that. The Kwok Family has now come twice in a row and they plan on coming still next week and then to Elder Ballard so they are moving great we just need to teach them.

We have continued the consecrated finds and again this last week I can say that something of a little miracle came out of each one. I have realize also that I have been noticing these blessings mainly because I have been looking for them. As I have started applying that mindset to the other times It seems that all of the times we find diligently something cool will happen.

This last week while finding we tried doing some finding in the less traveled places and thought of places, it takes more creativity and effort when praying and picking where we will go, but its so worth it. We have found a few places which have turned out to be very prosperous. I have been here for almost 2 transfers and its amazing that I have never thought of going to these places.

Elder Wong and I have been getting better at our unity and just trying to make finding an enjoyable process, because a happy missionary is a successful missionary.

I have been pretty consistent about my prayer journal every night which is what I said I would do to show my love towards Christ and its cool because it has got me pondering even beyond the day to my whole life and I have been able to recognize how the lord has answered many many prayers.

Here is an experience I would like to share with you. When I was at my first semester of BYU very grateful to have been accepted and very confused about what I wanted to study. I started the pondering process as I tried different things. After the first semester having tried a variety of classes I realized that maybe business was not what I wanted to do with my life and neither was anything with science and math. So I thought I would try ROTC and fulfill my childhood dreams of the Air Force. Well I no sooner found out that they wanted me to pick my major for me to be able to progress. So the pressure was on and I was clueless but the help in the process they gave me a list of degrees that the Air Force limits to their officers. Well basically none of them caught my interest but languages for some reason did. I reflected how during high school I spent 3 years struggling through spanish but, still it felt right. After more research I found myself contemplating learning chinese, and the more I thought about ti the better it felt. Still very uncertain I thought I need to take this to the lord. So I remember on a friday just before noon (likely the same time that my mission was being assigned by an Apostle of the Lord) I knelt by my bed in prayer. I am not sure why but the words that came out of my mouth were “If Chinese is what I am supposed to do with my life send me to Hong Kong on my mission”. Almost immediately I was overcome with a very warm and very certain feeling that I was going to be serving in the China Hong Kong mission. So I immediately set off on the computer researching all about my mission and ever purchased a learn Mandarin CD(I have never heard of cantonese before). Not to long after that experience was I opening my call to serve here in this amazing mission. I know the Lord answers our prayers and I also learned a lot about preparing our minds and our hearts for those prayers which will bring very specific answers.

This week should be a great week like all the others.

Elder Jared Cordon

IMG_6845

Another Transfer Done

Dear Friends and Family,

So I am staying in my area I am with the same companion which means that we can keep our momentum going. I love this area and it is so very beautiful. I love the wonderful blessings that are pouring out as we are moving forward in faith. Seth and Liz had their baby blessed this weekend and Monty and Deedee are still doing awesome. They are studying for an hour every morning. WOW They are such examples of what it takes to get asnswers from the spirit. I love that I am able to be on the mission and see the miracles and be an instrument in Gods hands.

We are also teaching this wonderful girl of a family it is the oldest daughter of this young family. She is 11 and has been going with her grandmother to church for many years and she wants to get baptized so we set a goal of march 14. We are hoping that bring the lessons into her home will also invole more of the family with her.

Very short but more to come, next week with more miracles happening everyday. :)

I love you all so much
Thank you.
Elder S Cordon

Happy Monday

Dear Family and Friends,

An interesting quote from C. S. Lewis to inform your day that My Mission President shared:

“Repentance is not something God demands of you before He will take you back, and which He could let you off if He chose; it is simple a description of what going back is like”

Well the last week was awesome! Since we saw you last we have seen a huge boost in our finding. We have been working on making the adjustment to short power statements and right to reschedule for a sit down lesson. Its been hard changing our habits and our approaches at first it was awkward we wondered if it was better but, we persisted and now it feels a whole lot better. Our struggle for a long time has been new investigators but just within the last two days we have rescheduled 3 people. We do realize that everyone that schedules wont always show up but, unless you reschedule someone no one will show up. This has been a good change and it came from pray and practice. The Kwok Family is really moving a long we went to dinner with bishop last night and brought them along. They really enjoyed it and then after we had everyone bare their testimonies it was powerful and Sister Kwok commented how she always feel so happy whenever she is at church or with members. She is moving along great and we committed them to family prayer and scripture study. As soon as they can make the necessary changes in their lives they will be great members. Sadly the dad is not involved they are not divorced but they are separated. If we were to move towards baptism would we need the fathers permission?

We have been working on some plans to really build more unity in the ward from the similar Idea of what the Pok fu Lam Elders and Sisters have been doing. Sadly we are finding it quite difficult to schedule members, not sure why but besides about 3 families it doesn’t seem like we can schedule a visit, we also made it clear that we dont need a meal appointment just 20 mins to sit down. So we are working on some ways to figure that one out.

I have really seen the blessings of using my language study everyday it has been a huge improvement and characteristic of my time here in Aberdeen and the biggest blessings are after the consistency over a long period of time.

I said I would make a prayer journal and take ten minutes in the evenings to ponder how the lord has answered my prayers. Doing this has really increased my awareness to his blessing. It just seems like my simple ones that I have always asked for I have been taken for granted. The little blessings are sometimes the most miraculous.

Elder Jared Cordon