Who knew missionary work could be so INTENSE!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this week was truly a terrific week! So many great things happened and I have been blessed beyond measure. Anyone who thinks of their mission as a sacrifice doesn’t understand the bigger picture. It seems like there is this attitude of referring to missions as a sacrifice, but I never could even from the very first hour of my mission. Looking back I can’t help but just laugh at how I thought I knew the blessings that would come from a mission then, but oh how my mind as been opened to the beauties and blessings of the Gospel. I can’t wait to laugh at myself again 6 months from now. OH HOW BLESSED I AM TO BE HERE! I wish all of you could be experiencing this as well. On that same note, thank you Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, and my home ward, along with anyone else I have forgotten, for making sacrifices in your lives so that I could have this experience.

The experience I want to highlight this week was a lesson with the wonderful Lily. She is the 17 year old sister of Hugo, a recently reactivated member. My wonderful companion found them street contacting back in September and has been teaching them ever since. On Friday we felt that it was finally time to get her to commit to a baptismal date. They have tried in the past, but she always said that she wasn’t ready. Our last few lessons have all been really powerful and we just knew that the time was now. We also knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, and that without the spirit it would be impossible.

We started out with some ice-breaking gentile conversation to lighten things up. After a few minutes we got to business by inviting the spirit in with a wonderful prayer. After the prayer we began with our plan of reading Alma 32. When I say that that scripture was perfect, I am serious! There truly could not have been a better chapter of scripture that one at that time for her. It addressed all of her concerns and we knew as we read that the spirit was confirming with her the truthfulness of those words. After reading I transitioned the lesson to our main objective of committing her to a baptismal date by giving a short shpeal (not a word, i know) on the importance of goal setting. She saw right through us and new exactly what we were trying to do. Nevertheless, we pressed on as we talked about how we know that she is ready and that it is within her grasp. I knew that it wasn’t too well received so I called an audible and told her that what we are going to do is to have everybody close there eyes for thirty seconds and just feel the spirit in the room, and then I would read to her the baptismal covenant in Mosiah 18. As we sat in reverent silence the spirit thickened to the point of tangibility. In a hushed voice I read the covenant and then looked her in the eyes and said, “I know you love God, so why not show it to him by committing your life to him.” Elder Hamilton followed up by bearing a powerful testimony and then he introduced the date of Jan. 26 as the day for her to be baptized. She seemed still hesitant and then he said, why don’t you pray about it? She responded with “okay, I’ll do that,” thinking that she was off the hook. Then Elder Hamilton said you should pray about it right now. She surprisingly agreed and said that we should join her. So we all knelt in a circle as she gave a humble and sincere prayer. She even said in that prayer that she knew that what the Elders have taught is true. After the prayer we sat for a few seconds to let her think about the answer she received. After about 5 seconds she was like, alright I know that is what I need to do. OH MAN!! I so excited, but in an attempt to keep the spirit by not shrieking with joy, I just sat there with a grin on my face simply nodding my head in agreement. IT WAS SO GREAT!!

Anyway, I hope ya’ll enjoy the story and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

I love ya’ll!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Knowing the truth is like walking in sunshine when the whole world is covered in rain clouds.

Dear Family and Friends,

I wish I could say that I came up with that line about the sunshine and all, but it is actually from a song on of my companions CDs. I totally feel that way though!. It seemed even more true when I considered that line as it has been raining these past few days.

To be completely honest this has been a very annoying week. We still have nobody that we consider a progressing investigator (someone we have had a follow-up appointment with). We meet all these great people who look so ready to receive the gospel and enjoy all the wonderful blessings it brings then they just either don’t call us back or are not home for the scheduled appointments. We still are finding many great people we just need to get some progress with some of them and then I will be jumping for joy! A great find happened on Saturday when we were walking through the park. We talked to these two guys and the one I focused on was from South Africa and he was interested and shared how he really wants the strength to quite smoking and drinking. I told him that if would read and pray about the Book of Mormon that he will find that strength that he needs. He said that he would only do it if I really believed that and I replied firmly, “No other book will give you more strength and guidance by bringing you closer to God than any other book.” He promised to read and pray about it. I hope he reads it!!

I was really excited for the World Wide Leadership Broadcast! I love how they emphasized that every member is a missionary. I’m eager to see how it jump starts the ward. Our ward is great about going out with us, but we are struggling to get any member referrals at all. Elder Newbold and I decided this morning that we are changing our entire strategy. Starting tomorrow we are now doing what we call the “Operation Less Active Attack, or Battle LA”. The ward here a has like 300-400 on the roster and only like 80-100 active. If we get some reactivation going or work with part member families I feel like we could really do some good work here. I am exited to see what happens.

I love you all and I know that God loves you even more. He truly blesses those that are faithful to his word. One of my focus topics for studying this past week was faith. Two of the most powerful discussions of faith I found was Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon and Elder Holland’s Talk from the last General Conference. Read them both! It talks about how the size of your faith doesn’t matter. It is all about how true you are to the faith that you already have.

God Be With You Till We Meet Again,

Elder Joshua Cordon