Preach My Gospel and Pot Luck

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this was a great week for missionary work we have made leaps and bounds in becoming Preach My Gospel missionaries. I think the mission overall has been a very very humbling experience everyday the Lord reminds me I am nothing without him, and now (I am not sure why so late) I have truly began to understand the power of preach my gospel. This experience to train I feel like has been more for me and less for him sometimes. I have learned a lot about relying on others and allowing them the opportunity to grow, Using my time wisely, and most recently working with the ward.

I was analyzing our situation with the ward and why we are not getting more and more members to be receptive. Then something clicked something so big that I have been missing. Ward Missionaries!! I have been here Six Months and have not used them at all. So I met with the sisters and expressed my desires of having a ward missionary correlation meeting then with the ward mission leader. It went Amazingly they are all on board and have made some new goals. This meeting could not have happened at a better time. It was the 5th sunday and we didn’t have meetings before church so we could do it then and get everybody to attend, also it was right after the ward activity that we had planned. I have been making huge goals about trying to get 1 ward activity a month.

The ward was not so enthusiastic at first but we worked so hard and invited everyone (we did a good old potluck) We ended up having over a hundred people there and about 28 were investigators. with 7 ward referrals! It was amazing the ward is really excited about the success which is the real outcome that have been praying for all week! So moving into this meeting everyone was really excited to plan another event we have now lined up one per month for the rest of the year. In my eyes activities are the genius of this church. Because we contact people every day who are Christians and every time we ask them how they became one its typically “my friend invited me to activities” this helped the ward know its not scary to invite friends to these events!

But hey love you all!
Elder Jared Cordon

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

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