Chaos and Melodies

Dear Family and Friends,

This week had my head spinning!! Our week was packed with appointments, we had a million and half (divide that by 50000 and it is probably more accurate) people we need to get in contact with, we had to prepare and give a training for a meeting that was most of the day on Wednesday, and I have a new companion who has yet to meet everyone in the area, and I did two exchanges. Haha it was crazy. It pushed me to my limits in a lot of ways. The blessing and the curse of high stress situations is that it quickly brings to your attention different flaws in yourself. As nice as it is to have some direction as to were you can begin making improvement, it also isn’t the most painless process. I made a number of mistakes this week that I wish I hadn’t made, however, I am grateful for the Atonement of Christ which helps me to put them behind me, to learn from them, and to change. I am so very grateful for change. This week was met with a lot of blessings though. Donna, one of our good friends is still on track for baptism here on the 18th and she is so excited. She just begins to live everything immediately. She reads the book of mormon several times a day and she is trying to get her brother to also begin studying with us. She has quickly won the heart of the ward and everyone is happy to have her join the ranks. She is a prime example of someone who has a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I am grateful God has allowed me to be part of her story. Jorge is also still ready to go with baptism on the 24th of this month and the ward is very excited for him as well. The sisters in our ward just had a baptism this past week and I think having 3 baptisms this month will do wonders to build excitement in the ward to share the gospel. Last week we had 10 people in church and this week we had 7 so we are getting some consistently large crowds which is really exciting. After a lot of work the teaching pool here is very large and now the trick to get them all progressing quicker and quicker.

I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunity I have to be engage in such great of a cause. I frequently ponder on how lucky I am to be able to have been born in the gospel and to be able to have it simply be part of who I am. I have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, and I want the whole world to join me in singing this sweet melody!

image1Picture Caption: We had to capture the moment! Also the elder on the right is not my companion I was on an exchange and the guy on the left is a recent
convert who I am good friends with and the girl is Tara the amazing
woman we baptized back in July. Happy New Year everyone!

I love y’all!!

Have a wonderful week!
Elder Joshua Cordon

 

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The Pains and Blessings of Missionary Work

Dear Family and Friends,

So the news from here in the Orient. Well the work has been going fantastically well. We were able to meet to ladies the sisters found, One she is amazing has two kids one 14 year old boy and one 8 year old girl. Super cute and the 8 year old will be a great addition to the primary of 4. We have not met here husband yet but that is to come. The other lady has a 6 year old girl, also a great addition. Also another potential family we are working with whose name is Mr Lam he has two kids one is 12 and the other 7 I am not sure. But if all goes well we will be populating the future of this ward quite nicely. Thats the foresight on the miracles lying ahead for December.

On other news, I got a call last night that breaks my heart and might be the hardest thing missionaries ever face. Gary my recent convert from Butterfly has informed the bishop and investigators that he is no longer coming to church and will be joining another church. No doubt there was anti involved but, this is so hard for me to swallow because last week I got his phone number and all week I have been thinking about him kept getting the impression to call him, I finally followed this yesterday and wrote him a letter and gave him a call but no answer, it was later when I received the call from the elders about him. On thursday I was even about to write him an email but something distracted me and I thought I would put it off for today. Well on thursday night is when this all went down. So I was able to get in contact with him and he hasn’t not responded to my text. I feel as if the Lord was trying to get me to be there for him is his time of decision making to be a light and a guide. But I missed my chance and for now he is gone. So all my recent converts now are less active. I try to wonder why this happens, what have I done wrong, I think the simplest thing is I am not perfect and the lord knows that although I have done all I can I think these people are starting to realize that salvation is not easy. We all at times feel like we need to quite that it would just be easier but the truth is we can’t. Because salvation is not a cheap experience. The Lord showed us that as he cried in agony on the cross asking the Father where are’t thou. Joseph Smith felt that on many occasions but, maybe most strongly in liberty jail. Truth is all Hell is trying to stop us from getting salvation because it is that great and that amazing, it is always worth it to keep going and we can’t give up.

I love you Thank you for the support.

Elder Jared Cordon

I Am A Child Of God

Dear Family and Friends,

Transfers has come and gone and thankfully Elder Layton and I are still working together. He is now officially the companion that I have served with the longest. We will have been together 6 months by the end of this transfer. Like always this week has afforded me an interesting time of reflection and contemplation. Spending time with missionaries on their first day and on their last day caused me to think about how far I have come and where I am going. It makes me so happy to see how the mission has made an impact on my life so far. I am not sure if there is any other way to learn so many life experiences so intensely in such a short time. I am grateful to God for everyday that he has given me to serve. Luckily for me I still have plenty of time to learn and become a better man.

I Am A Child of God, the classic primary song in the church, took on an entirely new meaning for me this morning. It was interesting how everything came full circle. It always does. Wednesday night I was at the mission home waiting for some missionaries to finish getting their final interview with President Craig. Among those missionaries are a handful that are very talented musically. Sister Heckel, Sister Dodd, and Elder Sorenson, received a request from Sister Craig to sing one more song accompanied with the piano before they left for the night. The hymn they chose just so happened to be I Am A Child of God. My initial thought when that was suggested was, “come on, that is a boring one, choose something else.” However, as they sang, they did a beautiful rendition that really brought a heavy spirit into the room and was very enjoyable. At the time, aside from being wrong about that song being boring, I really thought nothing more of it.

On Saturday we helped an investigator of ours, his name is Tom, he is the one that came into contact with the church via the app, Hanging With Friends. He is very busy and it has been difficult to sit down with him. In fact we only have once since the initial lesson, but we have maintained great contact through calling and text. He told us that he was going to busy this weekend moving some things and condensing two storage sheds that are across town from each into one. We saw it as a great opportunity to serve and quickly jumped on the opportunity. It surprised him at first but he let us help. Because our mini van can hold so much we ended up saving him two trips and we were able to do it in one. Afterwards we got lunch together and it became a very powerful lesson. In an attempt to help him and his girlfriend, Cathy, see why knowing about the pre–mortal life is so important for them I realized in a powerful and new way why it is so important to me. Tom is a man who puts family first, he does not hesitate to skip his breaks so he can make it to his sons baseball games and go on scout camps with him. He learned to put family though through the school of life experience. On the other hand I contrasted that with the fact that I am only 20 years old and I have not had the amount of life experience that he has but I have known my whole life that family is a priority and it deserves our time. I have known that I know it now because I understand where I am came from and why God sent me here. Knowing that I am a Child of God has helped me see what is most important in life. I am not perfect by any means, but I know who I am and where I am headed.

The next day on Sunday we were teaching Ty, and he is someone who is struggling to overcome the effects of his past mistakes and other things that continue to hold him captive. We helped him see that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that he gives us commandments to help us know what we can do to be happy, and that because we are children of God and because of Jesus Christ we are capable of living every single commandment that God has given us. Even though we are weak we have the potential and capability of overcoming everything that holds us captive. Because of Jesus Christ even the grave cannot hold us captive.

Finally this morning I was listening to a talk by Henry Eyring that he gave in 1988 at Ricks College. He talked about the power of knowing and believing the song I Am A Child of God. He talked about how it speaks of our potential. A child has the potential to become like its parent. Since that happens to be God our potential is literally limitless, we should never let anyone tell us that we cannot do something. Secondly he talked about how we are still yet children and that we need to be humble and wiling to learn the way that children are willing to learn. As people grow older they seem to think that people younger than them cannot teach them anything, but we are all children and we all have plenty of lessons to learn from one another. And thirdly, because we are Children of God we have the divine help of the Holy Ghost and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Knowing that enables us and helps us know that no matter how many mistakes we have made we are still capable of reaching the potential that is part of our nature. I coupled that with studying the life and atonement of Jesus Christ this morning and it was a very powerful experience.

I want to bear my testimony that I am a Child of God. I know that he has sent me here. I know that family is of God and that parents our a gift from God. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and redeemer and that will help me through every step of this mortal existance. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and the gospel has been restored through him. I say all these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love Y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Without Charity I Am Nothing

Dear Family and Friends,

This last week was one of the best weeks we have had in months!! It was just full of miracles!! After a slight tweek to our approach this week we suddenly saw a lot of things come together. As I reflect on what happened though, I found it interesting that almost none of our scheduled appointments happened… However it seemed that whenever each appointment cancelled we were able to be led to someone who was interested in hearing are message or someone we hadnt thought to plan to see. It was amazing how everytime something fell through the lord was able to guide us to where we really needed to be at that time.

Some exciting things that happened this week is in regards to a family that we have been working with. Their names are David and Jorge. They are the brother and father of a Aileen who is a recent convert of a couple of months. I am pretty sure I have mentioned them before. David made some huge steps in the right direction this week. We have been trying to get him integrated into scouts, but it has been difficult to get him there. We learned on Thursday that he had gone to the activity the night before and that his dad brought him and talked to the Elders Quorum President for a good hour. That made my day when I found that out. Then we found out Friday that David was going on the camping trip this weekend with the boys. He is just making all this progress and we arent even doing anything! It is great! haha. On Sunday David and his dad were there at church with Aileen. They had a great time there and David is already part of the group with the other boys, so we didnt even have to worry about him. Also we got his dad to be a judge for the dessert competition at the ward party on Friday. Everything is just falling in place for that family! It is really awesome to see.

I was pondering the principle of Charity yesterday and a scripture really caught my attention. It was, “Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out, (it being of no worth) and is trodden under foot of men.” (Alma 34:29) Considering the fact that Charity is usually grouped with Faith and Hope as the three most important characteristics to have, I began to wonder the role that faith and hope play. The conclusion that I came up with is that Faith and Hope are focused on ourselves. They prepare a person to then obtain and retain the attribute of Charity. Faith is the first attribute that we must have. When we act on our faith it leads us to repent. When we repent we develop hope through the atonement of Jesus Christ. As we grow our faith we develop hope, and as we gain hope it helps to sustain our faith. At this point, having cleansed the inner vessel first we are now able to reach outward and help others do the same thing. As we then reach out and lose ourselves in service of others our faith and hope will grow effortlessly and we will be filled with the love of God. This last step is vitally important, for someone who never reaches out will eventually lose all of the faith and hope they have gained. Consider the scripture, “He that seeketh to save his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (JST Matthew 10:34)

I love y’all!! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Joshua Cordon

What An Amazing Experience!!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week after spending 10 days with my new companion, he was called to a different zone and I got a new companion to finish training and was called as district leader.

It was a great week. Except for the part that I was deathly sick for two days. I felt really bad that my companion had to just stay home. Besides that it was a very good week with lots of miracles, we found three new people who have started to learn about the gospel and we have an investigator (someone learning about the Church of Jesus Christ from the missionaries) that is going to be baptized this coming weekend. He has made amazing changes in his life to come unto God and allow the wonderful atonement to change his life

We had Stake Conference this weekend. What an amazing weekend it has been. We had a new Stake President (similar to a superintendent in a school district the Stake President resides over several wards in a geographical area) called as the new Stake President. So because we had that happening we had two members of the quorum of the seventy come to speak at the stake conference.

We had Elder Larry R. Lawrence and Elder Craig C. Christensen. What inspired men they are, with the knowledge and wisdom that they were able to bring to the people here in Pasco we shall see miracles happen in the coming months I am sure of it. This is truly the time that the Lord is spreading the gospel throughout the world and we can either jump on or get left behind. We have the privilege of being able to help with such a wonderful work. He is not going to drag us along kicking and screaming and He is not going to wait for us. The Gospel will go forward and we have the opportunity to help and experience countless miracles from God. What will you do?

Something that was was told to us by Elder Lawrence that really stuck with me was his talk about Light. Light is truly what this life is about, gaining Heavenly Light. We all started with some light, The Light of Christ the world knows this as our conscience. We were sent here to expand on that light, we have been given the gospel to help us do that. We can use L.I.G.H.T. to helps us in this process.

L. Love is the quickest way to gain light, it is the greatest of all commandments. Love the Lord thy God and Love thy neighbor as thyself.
I. Invest time in the scriptures. They have been giving to us to use and to guide us, so use them.
G. Go and Do. When you learn truth go and do it. Don’t wait to make adjustments that you know you need to make.
H. Hearken to the voice of the spirit. As you listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost you will develop that gift and not only will you be better at hearing that still small voice but you will hear it more often.
T. Tell the Lord you want more light. Don’t be afraid to ask for help for what you are trying to do. He loves you and wants you to succeed, He will help you.

The challenge that was extended to us during the conference was to pray to find someone that we could share the Book of Mormon with. It is a book that contains the truth of this gospel. Help the world find more light share the Book of Mormon with someone this week.

Love you all,

Thank you all for the blessing of your support and prayers
Elder Steven Cordon

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

Good Timing and Out-Growing

Dear Family and Friends,

We had incredible miracle yesterday! Last week on Sunday we met a mother and daughter who were members of the church. Mother was in town for a couple of months and she works for the FBI, and her daughter was just visiting before she goes back to Idaho for college. We know it was a miracle that we even met them for because we followed a prompting that Elder Layton had to go and knock the other side of the complex we crossed paths 5 seconds before they walked into their apartment. Needless to say the time between them going to their car and the apartment is a small window of opportunity but God has great timing. Patti, the mother told us that she would come to church the next Sunday. We swung by to see her Saturday and she was still determined to come and after talking for a bit she opened up about her past and we were able to resolve many of her concerns. Yesterday she came walking through the chapel doors and filled me with joy. One of the sisters in the ward is practically a carbon copy of her (they even wear the same glasses) invited her to dinner on Tuesday. She had already signed up to feed us and figured she could bank on the opportunity. It is amazing how she is only in town for a few months, but God is taking advantage of this time to help her strengthen her testimony and get reactivated. Our Heavenly Father is one smart cookie.

We had a powerful Zone Conference this past week!! After it is all said and done, one of the things that my testimony has been strengthened in more than anything else is the power of personal revelation from the Book of Mormon. Among those that believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, it is something that I feel is not used nearly as much as it should. I testify that the Book of Mormon will answer the questions of your soul. Whatever it is! I know because it has answered mine. It has answered spiritual questions of “how do I access the power of the Atonement?”, and lately it answered the question of how can I help those I am teaching to come to church? Now, anybody who has read the Book of Mormon knows that there isn’t an obivious chapter which specifically lays out how a missionary gets those he is teaching to church, but I can testify that it is in there. You just have to have the spirit with you to find it. I found my own personal answer in Alma 50 which talks about how Captain Moroni maintians liberty among the Nephites. As I likened these scriptures to me the answer became very clear on what it was that I needed to do. I will make a promise to every single one of you, that if you pour your heart out in prayer to God for answers to a specific challenge and then you read the book of mormon actively seeking for your answer, by the power of the Holy Ghost you will receive that answer in a simple and powerful way. Then if you write that revelation down, it will develop and how you must act will become even more clear.

I know that our Heavenly Father loves us. I have felt his love for me and for others abundantly in my life, and the joy that brings is sweeter than anything else. I also know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, I know that he died for me and that his Atonement is active in my life. Through the Book of Mormon I have gained that faith in Christ, and not only that, but I have also learned why he died for me, and how I can access the enabling power of the Atonement in my life. Knowing these things has given me greater meaning in life and deeper and more profound joy. I meet many faithful Christians on a regular basis, and many who profess to be Christians, and while their faith is genuine God doesn’t want just a lip service from his children, he wants a personal relationship with his children and he wants us to out-grow ourselves. In the Prophet of the Restoration Movie, Alvin Smith tells Joseph of a small sea shell at his uncles home. He tells him that a small creature made that shell layer by layer until he finally out-grew it. God doesn’t intend to help us become content with ourselves as we are but rather for us to grow into our true selves. The Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us how we can do this, and Jesus Christ helps us do it so that one day we like Paul can say, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) I know that these things are true and I say them in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love y’all! Have a great week!

Elder Joshua Cordon