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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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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A Lesson Of The Mission

Dear Family and Friends,

These last couple of days have been pretty interesting.

I had the opportunity to meet with a pastor from another faith. It was really interesting too because previously we had met him and had scheduled a time but for some reason we never met up and I had not cared too much to see him but then one day Elder Au just had this feeling to go to this village called Lung Gu Taan. Now this man lives there with his family and when we were there I saw his house and didn’t want to bother knocking on his door. He is really nice but he is pretty dedicated to his belief.

Our time there was kinda of a bust until we were leaving then we saw this man and his family pull up in there car. So we spoke for a second and he was super nice and wanted to meet back up. It struck us at this point that maybe that’s why we needed to go to Lung Gu Taan. So that time was last Friday. When we first met him he had posed the question how can someone read the gospel of John–he said its his favorite book–and be led to believe in our church then he told us to study it. Well this is pretty funny cause his name is John Johnson. But I added that to my study and man I never been more convinced that someone with the gift of the spirit can led to believe more deeply that this gospel the Church of Jesus Christ teaches is true. Now I knew that he wouldn’t put that question to us unless he had a reason someone couldn’t.

Well we met up because I felt this is what the spirit was telling us to do. Well we didn’t really discuss the Gospel of John, I just had to defend my faith against the pride of the world. This meeting was interesting it provided me greater insight on the war of words this world is facing. In this meeting you had two people sitting on one side of the table who had gained their testimony of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit in reverent prayer, while on the other side you had someone who gained his testimony from years and years of study starting from a degree in religion and then throughout his paid career.

I now understand why we needed to meet with this man, I know that all the words the world can throw at you have no effect compared to the quiet whispers of the Holy Spirit in prayer. This has been a great reminder of the kind of missionary and teacher I should be, I can never convert anybody that power is the responsibility and calling of the Holy Spirit. I must not forget who the real teacher is. The people of Hong Kong deserve a foundation of stone not sand.

I love you all and wish you the best.

Elder Jared Cordon

Alligators, Snakes, and Trios

Dear Family and Friends,

Sorry I was silent last week, the pictures are of what I was doing instead of emailing. I hope that you agree it was time well spent, and if you don’t well too bad it already happened.

St. Augustine is a really cool city. It has some really neat attractions, definitely some of the coolest stuff I have ever seen on my mission. I got two items checked off of my bucket list, I saw huge gator, and I held one. Next task is to find one in the wild and poke it with a stick. A really long stick mind you. Okee Fanokee Swamp here I come! haha oh man that would be cool. 

Along with seeing the gator farm we got to see the Fort they had there and it was really cool. It was definitely a lot bigger than I thought it would be looking from the outside. Needless to say it was a really awesome trip! It all could not have happened without Elder and Sister Christensen though, they help finance all us poor missionaries and made the itinerary. I am very thankful for kind people like them!

Another interesting thing that happened this past week was that Elder Frazier went to the temple and I was in a trio for the day. It was an interesting experience. Luckily I got to pick were we go for the day, so I was able to stay in my area and keep the work moving along. Both of the Elders I was with are in full bike areas so they appreciated the break. Exchanges are nice because they mix up the monotony and you learn so much from serving with other missionaries. 

We got a call from President Craig yesterday and Kevin and Lori can get baptized this week so that is incredibly exciting! Also, we had transfer calls last night and every companionship of elders in the zone got changed except for us, and all the sisters in my district got changed, and 2 sisters in the other district. It was a massive change that I did not see coming! That just means that I get to build a friendship with a lot more missionaries though which is very exciting! Wohoo! Friends!

Love ya’ll!
Elder Joshua Cordon

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Things are happening!!! -Jared

Dear Family and Friends,

This was a great week for our companionship! A bad week as far as numbers are concerned but for everything else its awesome. The ward had given a referal the other week of a family. Well we have done our best with this opportunity. The daughter and her friend have been coming to English class and they have had such a great time that when we asked the mom to come to church that she could not refuse when the two girls were jumping up and down with excitement. So she came with the two girls sadly the husband didnt come but we will keep working on him. They ended up staying the whole time and had a really great experience! Also there is a opportunity down the road for another family through this girls friend.

Families have been a really big focus for the mission and especially the zone! this Last week we had a great zone training meeting and we all made a commitment to give a little time at night to additional prayer for families. Also yesterday I made a specific fast that we could find families. Well my prayers were defiantly answered we found more families yesterday than we have my whole time here. The Lord does not dictate our desires but when they allign with his he is sure to let us know.

Also cool little blip is that we will be reinstating the split tags very soon. Its been a long standing tradition in Hong Kong tell early last year to have split english and cantonese on the same tag. With the great diversity here there is a constant need for both. Well the church has finally reaproved that and we will be recieving those tags any day now. I can send a picture. Its cool cause we are the only mission in the world with dual language tags.

Well everyone I am so greatful for the prayers and the support and Happy New Year!

Love Elder Jared Cordon

I’m lovin it!! -Jared

Hello Family and Friends,

This was a fast but very amazing week!

Our 1 investigator is starting to see the difference in his life after he started meeting us and is showing a lot more desire to accept our message. He said you and your companion are always so happy! I believe its because of your faith. I want that. Well he will get it, he knows he needs to give some things up and thats the first step.

We also added another number to the list of invetigators another old man who we met in the park taught a lesson, then again the next day, and brought him to church and I think he is really liking it. So we got two underway and if we can meet with four other very awesome people we had taught last week then we can be seeing some real growth.

A big lesson I learned this last week is the true need to have the spirit in all you do, the teaching, the finding, the studying and especially the planning. This last week at one of our nightly plannings we were pretty lazy about where we should go and kinda just picked. Well the next day we really felt the effects of that. We had a couple experiences and just really were not feeling the spirit and we didnt know what was wrong. Well we prayed to have the spirit and kept working but that didn’t seem to work. So finally we decided that maybe we should go where The Lord wants us to go. So we prayed, looked at the map book, and went to a new spot we both felt good about.

Well we then ended up having two very good street lessons to people who really needed it and we should hopefully be seeing them again this week. It taught me a lot about really and truly relying on the lord in all that we do!

I have a quick thought for you all.

You become what you think about.

Read Mosiah 4:30

“to a great extent we accomplish what we think about. Your life is influenced more by your own thoughts than anything else. How could a person possibly become what he is not thinking? Nor is any thought when persistantly entertained, too small to have its effect. The divinity that shaped our ends is indeed in ourselves” Spencer W. kimball

“A mans’ character is the complete some of all his thoughts, you can know a man soley on what he thinks about, when he doesn’t have to think.” Can’t remember

Just a good reminder to keep your thoughts on what’s most important in life!

Love you all!

Elder Jared Cordon

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People At Church!! Whoot! Whoot! -Joshua

Dear Family and Friends,

It will have to be a short one this week sorry! We don’t have a lot of time. Not having a car makes things so difficult sometimes. Especially on government holidays when the libraries close haha.

Anyhow, this past week was a great week! We kept ourselves very busy!

The one experience I do want to share with you though is regarding Mati. She is one of the greatest people we have ever met and every week we don’t see her just pains me. So, because we haven’t seen her for a couple of weeks it has been very painful. However, we decided to just swing by on Saturday during a trade-off and SHE WAS HOME!!! We had a wonderful lesson with her and she even said that she was going to come to church tomorrow. We also had her daughter Amar pinky promise us that she would go too.

We found out that the next morning Amar went running into her mom’s room at 5:45 yelling, “We got to go to church, we are going to be late!” Needless to say that she was ready this week haha :)
They had a wonderful time at church and I was all smiles the whole time. It has been so hard to get people to church and to finally see her there was just incredible! She got welcomed by the ward in such a wonderful way and her daughter wants to go next week even though Mati has to work.

Also Thomas and Ashley came to sacrament which was also awesome!

Anyhow, sorry to be short this week! I hope ya’ll have a great one!

Love ya’ll

Elder Joshua Cordon

Week 2 Down! -Jared

Wow what a week!

So this week wasn’t any different, but I can say I did enjoy it a lot better! There is a great thing to understand you may not change your circumstances but you can change you attitude so thats exaclty what I did. Also I guess our mission is soley responsible for China its technically our mission. So I am in the biggest and most populated mission. A great work that is going on here is that the members in China are doing a great job of spreading the gospel so they convert their friends get them to start following all the commandments and once a month we get large groups of chinese that come stay at the mission home which has like a small hotel on it). They spend a whole day meeting with the mandarin elders and sisters recieving all the missionary lessons and then recieving baptism by the close of the day, then we send them back to China as newly set apart member missionaries! What a wonderful work. China is open just more in the way that the qurom of the twelve has been pushing missionary work, and thats threw the members.

Being in Wanchie is hard because this area has the most non Chinese populase so we have been doing a lot of turn overs. Its hard turning people over because you build that trust and you want to help them all the way down the path. I know this work is guided by the Lord so if I am called to find and only find so be it. We find a lot of people from Indonesia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Napal. They come here to Hong Kong to be hired as Helpers, for all the extremely rich people here. For example yesterday I saw 5 ferraris,6 aston martins, a rediculous amount of porsches and such! These are special people that come from these countries they are very accepting. I know i was sent here to help bring the Hong Kong people unto Christ and I will work and work until I do. The potential they all have can really be seen in the wonderful ward I am serving in. All the members are so kind and so Happy and I know that all the upset work beaten people I see once use to be sons and daughters of god and if they could only understand a particle of the joy they could feel from the gospel they would come running.

Well everyone I will keep you updated on the how the work is and I will be sure to put a picture up next week!

Just know that salvation wasn’t easy for the Savior, but the joy he recieved was greater than we could imagine!

Love Elder Cordon

I’m As Busy As By-George I Reckin – Joshua

Dear Family and Friends,

Sorry I didn’t write last week. Things got really crazy and we only got an hour to email. Anyhow and things are very crazy this week as well so it will have to be a short one. These past few weeks have been very crazy and a TON has happened!! But sadly I can barely scratch the surface! I will pick 3 experiences and tell those ones though.

For the first one I got a sweat recliner chair. It is so nice, but I only use it when I read in the morning so I almost feel like it is wasted, though it is thoroughly appreciated!

As for experience number two we have been meeting with this really awesome lady named Kim for the past little while. She is so nice and I always leave feeling full of the most peaceful spirit. We haven’t made much headway until this last lesson though. We taught her the Restoration and she believed it all! Which isn’t really that surprising because it is easy to believe the truth. Then we followed up to see if she watched any of the Mormon Messages (that was our last commitment for her) and she ended up watching half of the district!! (they are videos of real life missionary work that we use for training) Haha I think it is awesome though. She told us that she knows all of our secrets now :)

As for my last experience. About a month ago we ran into a guy named Dorian street contacting and we had a pretty good lesson with him. He was a really smart guy and very inquisitive. He had a few concerns but offered to read the Book of Mormon. Well we finally caught him last week and he has been reading and has a lot of questions for us. We had a terrific lesson, and he left the lesson feeling very pumped about reading the story of Enos. That is what happens when you show somebody how to study not to just read though :)

All in all it has been a terrific 2 weeks, but there is never enough time during p-days, so I got to go!

I love ya’ll!!

Elder Joshua Cordon

So close you could almost taste it! Release your inhibition!

Well hello there!

Alright 2 more weeks to go then Hong Kong here I come! There have been some nice mix ups this last week to remind me the importance of the MTC and other things just make me really wanna leave!

This week Elder Cederlof and I have been able to see what it feels like to truly work through the Lord with our investigators! We have been struggling along with one. She didn’t feel our messages relation to her and she wasn’t experiencing what we were saying!

So finally we buckled down and decided we need to hit straight from the source! We prepared a lesson about the love of Christ! Although it was not exactly how we planned, she felt the love of Christ! (I want to remind everyone this is not a real investigator) but, the Spirit there was!

She has been complaining about her knee hurting and making work bad for her. So we felt prompted to show her the Bible video about Jesus healing the palsy stricken man. Then we shared testimonies about Christ healing us through blessings we have received. She started tearing up, then we were prompted to ask her if she had faith enough to be healed, she started crying again, and said whimpering yes I do. After the blessing we knew the spirit was there and God answered our prayer! We then being prompted told her about baptism and how the spirit she is feeling could be with her always! We then invited her after more testimonies, she started balling again, after a long long silence she said yes!

That lesson was amazing the spirit was so strong and I could definitely feel the spirit working through me! We now know what it feels like to have our investigator experience the discussion!

Whats been hard this week is we ended up not moving to WyView. My whole branch did but us Cantonese, we are sadly getting moved to a new branch. So after saying all these goodbyes I feel like I should be on a plane right now. sadly that is not until 2 weeks. But I did get my Chinese tags with my Chinese name in Characters! I do know how to read that one at least!

Also after long discussions with the Elders from Hong Kong I can not wait! All my experiences with the Hong Kong people have really helped me develop a love for them!

The work is Hastening and as my brother said the miracle will not only be through Missionaries but also members! Open your mouth and The Lord will fill it for you!

Everyone Take Luck

Love Elder Jared Cordon