Mission Experiences

Dear Family and Friends,

Week after week I am molded and shaped more into who I am meant to be.
The real essence of becoming is very apparent to me right now. When I
have had the opportunity to have a glimpse of my potential if I
continue embracing the gospel, I have wondered if many of the promised
blessings would ever come into fruition. This past week they did. I
know that doesn’t tell you much, but it was a very tender moment for
me. I pray that all of you will hold out for the priceless blessings
afforded to those who patiently press forward with a steadfastness in
Christ. The world around us is full of people who exchange those
blessings for immediate and fleeting pleasures. The gospel is the
science of increasing returns, but the lack thereof is the science if
selling yourself short.

This past week I was blessed to experience a lot of miracles. I don’t
think there was a day where anything went according to plan, yet at
the end of the day everything seemed to work out. A great example of
that was on Friday; we were looking at a night that was supposed to be
jam packed with teaching appointments, but as we called to confirm one
by one they canceled. No sooner had I desperately racked my brain for
some ideas before finally pleading “now what are we going to do?” When
we got a call. A guy we are teaching asked for help loading up a
truck. He said that his parents neighbor got sent to jail and the bank
was forcibly evicting them. There were hired guys there throwing all
of the stuff out of the house into the front yard. This was a lot of
stuff! Nice stuff too. Which didn’t help the fact that storm clouds
were rolling in. When we arrived on scene we realized that we were the
only help he had because he had no one else to call on. We were
grateful for that opportunity to serve. He actually didn’t even have
to help these people, and on top of that the lady that lived there had
been incredibly rude to his family, but he told us that he was raised
that you serve everybody, whether or not they have been nice to you. A
great example of charity.

Willie, who has become a great friend over the past several months was
baptized this past Saturday, the day after he graduated from his
wounded warriors training. We went to his graduation which was at
Maggianos, and we weren’t expecting much, but all the big wigs of the
Wounded Warriors project were there in this room of about 40 people.
It has been a great experience to get better acquainted with that
wonderful organization and the people that keep it running. The
knowledge I gained and connections I formed there were an unexpected
blessing of my mission. Willie’s wife flew in from California for his
baptism. It was great to meet her in person, she is a hoot I’ll tell
you what. The baptism was really touching and had strong spirit, but
the best part was when Willie shared his testimony with his class
mates who came to support him. The next day I confirmed him a member
of the church and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost just to have to
follow that with a goodbye as he moved back to California that day. It
really was a miracle that he was able to find the gospel and get
baptize during his short visit here in Jacksonville. He will go on to
great things, I just wish he could stay so I could be part of all of
it. Either way we will be keeping in touch and besides it is never
goodbye, it is just see you later.

On a less than positive note, a dear friend of mine and my ward
mission leader in my last ward passed away last week on Labor Day. I
found out a couple of days later and it definitely was shocking to
hear. At first they declared it a suicide, but we know how wonderfully
accurate our news media is (I am so grateful we don’t have to watch
that garbage as missionaries) but it has been determined that there
was fool play. My heart ached as I thought of his beautiful wife,
children, and grandchildren that he left behind. If I ever knew a man
who didn’t deserve to die he was it, but if I ever knew man who was
ready to meet his maker he was that man too. I went to his closed
casket viewing yesterday and got to see his wife who I got to know
very well too. She had a genuine smile on her face as I gave her a
hug, which brought such relief to my heart to know that she has been
able to hold on to her knowledge of the plan of salvation to help her
through this hard time. I have also been comforted because of my
knowledge that families are forever. I know that one day they will be
reunited and they will live as a family for eternity. It is hard to
remain sad when you keep in mind. He was the biggest gator fan that I
have ever met in my life! I will always be able to remember him with
the gator head that he gave me which sits on my desk. I will be able
to remember how much he was willing to give to help others receive
this incredibly gospel. While he is no longer with us in person, his
example of discipleship will continue to encourage many people to come
unto Christ, as it has done for so many already. I love you Br.
Ortega! God be with you until we meet again!

Life is too short so please never let an opportunity to let those you
love know how much they mean to you. You may never get that chance
again in this life.

I know that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day as a
resurrected being and that he lives, and because of that so will all
of us. There is life after death.

I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

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