The Dawn Of A New Day!

Dear Family and Friends,

I may have shared this already, but I got a fortune cookie once that said, “Relish the transitions in your life, they will happen regardless.” Well I am approaching one of those big transitions of the mission. A new companion. Spending 24/7, with a few exceptions, with the same person for 4 1/2 months can either create a great friendship or quite the opposite. I am lucky it was not the latter of the two. Elder Hamilton is one great missionary!! I feel like part of me is leaving. Indeed he will be missed! I wish him the best of luck as he finishes out the last two transfers of his mission. Fleming Island is blessed by the best to have him coming their way.

My new companion is going to be Elder Frazier, who just so happened to be trained by Elder Newbold just before he trained me. So basically we are brothers. I am excited for this next phase of my missionary experience!

This past Sunday was hands down the best Sunday of my mission so far! We successfully committed several people to come to church that day and most were able to come! Even Steven who said that he had to work that morning was able to get work off early to come!! It was so awesome! I can tell the difference it made on the ward, there was just a contagious excited feeling. In all we were able to share this wonderful experience with Bro & Sis Nesbit, Bro Colney, Steven Bryant, and Daniel. All of them seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves!! What a blessing it was to have all of them come! The ward just wrapped their arms around every one of them and the love was tangible. They all have baptismal dates on for the coming month and I hope all the pieces come together that will allow them to join the fold.

Something strange that happened last week was that we were asked to do a baptismal interview for the YSA sisters. Not that being asked was strange, but rather the circumstances that surrounded the interview. We were sent to the large campus of UNF and had to somehow find this dorm which proved to be a challenge in and of itself. Upon finally locating the dorm hall we learn that the sisters wont even be there for the interview which is regular protocol. They told us to just wait in the lobby and she will come down to meet us. So here we are on a college campus in a dorm hall just sitting in the lobby waiting for a girl. It didn’t help that we were wearing suits and we appeared to be lost. We also had no idea what this girl looked like, so we just said high to every girl in the lobby– hoping each would react in such a way that let us know if she was who we were looking for. After a few awkward attempts, we decided to just take a seat and act like we knew what we were doing. No sooner had we done so that the awkward tension subsided and a sense of control over this situation returned. In a few short minutes the baptismal candidate arrived that interview commenced.

Moral of the above story and the lesson for you all this week, always act like you know what you are doing even if you don’t.

Love, Ya’ll!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Mandarin Zone Elders

Those with a second tie around their necks are the Elders being transferred.

My Companion and I

Elder Hamilton and I

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