Literally and Spiritually Fed

Dear Family and Friends,

I had a wonderful week this past week, which is not surprising because I always do. I is raining today though, it might clear up, but we will see.

One of the notable experiences of this past week was that I had the opportunity to go into a full bike area for the day to do an exchange with another Elder. It honestly was really nice to get on the bikes for a full day. Considering the size of our area here and the usually scatter plot of appointments that we have it would be unpractical most days in our area so I am glad to have had that chance. I knew that this area was struggling to find people to teach and that things had been slow for them so I was hoping that by some miracle that the lord would guide us to at least one person who is interested in learning about the gospel. Well he answered my prayers and then some because we found two, both of which were found by listening to spiritual promptings. God really is just so good.

Also we ate so much food this week!!! I will send a picture of the meal we conquered on Tuesday. alone ate 3/4 of Chicken Fried a big bowl of mashed potatoes, 2 bowls of coleslaw, 6 biscuits, and a helping of creamed peas. It was delicious! Having not yet fully recovered we doubled dinner on Wednesday. Sadly, I had forgotten about the second dinner until after I already was full. But with only an hour to recover I still was able to step up to the plate and bring it home.

We had interviews with President and Sister Craig this week. I will have to claim the title of the most blessed missionary in the mission though. In order to make sure everybody else got their interviews we had to gross our fingers and put ourselves at the end of the day on Tuesday, but because they were behind schedule a little bit we had to go before we had ours so we could dinner that chicken dinner with a less-active. I thought I was just going to have to have mine a month late like last time, but after calling president he suggested that we just come over to his house at the end of the day on Wednesday. Basically we had true one on one time and no pressure to meet a schedule. The spirit in that home and in President and Sister Craig reminded me of the temple. I am so blessed!

I wish I could tell you about all the wonderful experiences we are having but time is short! Needless to say, I am happier than I have ever been and I know it only gets better from here!!

Love Ya’ll,
Elder Cordon

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People At Church!! Whoot! Whoot! -Joshua

Dear Family and Friends,

It will have to be a short one this week sorry! We don’t have a lot of time. Not having a car makes things so difficult sometimes. Especially on government holidays when the libraries close haha.

Anyhow, this past week was a great week! We kept ourselves very busy!

The one experience I do want to share with you though is regarding Mati. She is one of the greatest people we have ever met and every week we don’t see her just pains me. So, because we haven’t seen her for a couple of weeks it has been very painful. However, we decided to just swing by on Saturday during a trade-off and SHE WAS HOME!!! We had a wonderful lesson with her and she even said that she was going to come to church tomorrow. We also had her daughter Amar pinky promise us that she would go too.

We found out that the next morning Amar went running into her mom’s room at 5:45 yelling, “We got to go to church, we are going to be late!” Needless to say that she was ready this week haha 🙂
They had a wonderful time at church and I was all smiles the whole time. It has been so hard to get people to church and to finally see her there was just incredible! She got welcomed by the ward in such a wonderful way and her daughter wants to go next week even though Mati has to work.

Also Thomas and Ashley came to sacrament which was also awesome!

Anyhow, sorry to be short this week! I hope ya’ll have a great one!

Love ya’ll

Elder Joshua Cordon

My worst week of finding since week 2! Other than that not too bad haha :) – Joshua

Dear Family and Friends,

Contrary to popular belief, Florida does have enjoyable weather. WHO KNEW? It caught me surprise, I can tell you that. I actually love biking now. Not only does it feel great, but it means that more people are outside. Which is weird now that I think about it because well as my title suggests, we didn’t find much.

On other news, we did an exchange this last week and I went down to Price Creek which is out in the country and my companion stayed in Deep Creek. The best part about all this is that the elder who served with him for the day was his MTC companion which means they both had only been out for 4 weeks or so. The thought of the two newbies wandering the streets trying to figure out what they are going to do made me laugh. Not surprisingly they had interesting experience, but not in the way I expected.Here is what happened to them while I was down in the country. They started there day by helping with Bingo at the senior center, and then after they left they didn’t bike 300 feet before the elder who was borrowing my bike (which is a loaner bike from his companion) managed to cause the back sprocket to practically explode and render the bike unrideable. They walked about half a mile to the house of our ward mission leader who is currently in Vermont. They waited there for a ride for about 3 hours and then managed to get a ride for the rest of the night. I just feel bad for them.

Until my bike gets fixed I have been riding a bike that a sister in the ward loaned me. Luckily it wasn’t too girly and it is actually pretty nimble.

My miracle that I wanted to share this week comes from last Monday night. We hadn’t used our time very wisely and with a only an hour left in the night we felt like we had accomplished almost nothing. Recognizing that by our own efforts nothing would be accomplished we decided to say a prayer, begging for forgiveness and asking for direction. After the prayer ended I felt prompted to go and visit a referral nearby. When we got there this guy was standing outside waiting for a ride. We decided to verify with him if this was in fact the right house. He confirmed that it was, but that the guy we were looking for was in bed. Just then he asked what we were doing. We told him a little bit about the logistics of missionary work and how it all happens. Then he asked us for our information–which never happens! We exchanged information and he said he wanted us to come by and teach him. Then we got a text from him an hour later saying you will be hearing from me soon. So pumped! God is good!

Then we were finally able to get in touch with the lady who gave us her info at the library. Her name is Camekco and after a great first lesson she committed to be baptized on the 26th of October! 🙂 It was awesome 🙂

Just remember that prayer actually works!

I love ya’ll!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Wait a minute, you mean there is a better way then tracting! -Joshua

Dear Family and Friends,

So the trademark of Elder Newbold and I’s 3 month companionship was tracting. I honestly feel like we knocked half the doors in Lake City. Though most people were not home, so we never actually talked to half the people in Lake City, but we are making up for it now. Our method, street contacting. Turns out that is far less intimidating to roll up on a bike and talk to somebody than to drive slowly and creepily through a neighborhood in our car having everybody immediately recieve wrong impressions of us. Being on bikes though has allowed us to implement the fail-proof finding method of talking to everybody. Although we are drenched in sweat and soaked by the rain we find we can quickly disarm people by flashing our pearly whites and giving them a friendly wave and a “hi sir\ma’m, how are you doing today”!

To back up my testimonial, the following is one of our success stories.

So, we were biking home late friday night and passed a guy walking on the sidewalk. At first I did not stop justifying the heinous crime by saying that we were done with teaching for the night and it was time to go home. The spirit quickly worked these blaphemous thoughts out of my mind and I found myself squeezing the brake and turning the bike around. We approached the guy in our usual friendly manner, and began to converse about gentile things such as Star Wars–he had a tattoo of something star wars–and his particular line of work. We quickly navigated to the fact that we wanted to share with him the message of the restored gospel. His name is Blaze and he is one of our newest investigators. We are going back for our second appointment tomorrow.

As we kept biking home we passed a gentleman walked and eating a McDonalds hamburger. We informed him of who we were and ended up sharing with him the message of the restoration and being invited to come teach him at his house. All in all, street contacting is much more affective than tracting.

Some more great news is that Stefan Sutton before he has even been baptized taught a lesson to some of his co-workers during the lunch break about faith and he even used the Book of Mormon. 🙂 To all those who are NOT doing member missionary work… shame on you.

We also had the blessed opportunity to give talks in sacrament meeting. I made a deal with Br. Cook who was speaking with us that if I only left him 3 minutes he would buy us lunch. I agreed and prepared a long talk. When it came time to make good on my side of the deal, I forgot all my notes at the apartment. Luckily, the topic I had been chosen to speak on was prophets, and well, we spend all day teaching people about that. So I was still able to keep my side of the deal. I tried my best to stick to the New Testament during my talk because our investigator who came to church, Nick Harwell, was a preacher for ten years and I wanted him to relate. It made me really happy to hear that he enjoyed it. It was a great week though!

I just want to encourage ya’ll to speak to someone new each day this week. Just say hi, introduce yourself, give them a compliment, and it should flow very nicely from there, then when the setting is right invite them to hear the wonderful message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. If they say no, oh well, be there friend anyway!

Gospel means good news, and this message is the greatest news that anyone could hear because of how happy I know it will make them. Many of you have experienced the joy of the Gospel, so why wouldn’t you want to share it with friends or strangers. Whether they realize it or not. It is the ultimate expression of love! 🙂 Go out and be missionaries and spread the Love of Jesus Christ!!! Which simply starts with flashing your pearly whites and saying hey!

I love you ya’ll!!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Slow Start, Strong Finish! – Joshua

Dear Family and Friends,

Things went really well this week. We started the week off with some really low numbers, though we still experienced some great moments, but from Thursday on, things really took off.

One of the early miracles was with Mati. We have been working with her for about 2 months and in all that time have only had 1 complete lesson with her. We were in her area Monday night so i decided to shoot her a text asking if we could come over. To my great surprise, she said yes. We quickly made our way over there to have a lesson with her. She told us when we got there that she had no sooner finished praying for guidance and help when the phone buzzed with my text. I had no idea at the time that it was a prompting from the spirit to send her a text, to me it was just a good idea. Nevertheless it was a spiritual prompting and it got her into tears as she shared it with us. We then set a baptismal date with her for the 19th of October. The spirit was so strong in that lesson, and she kept saying how much peace she felt. I love this gospel!

The pivotal point this week was a humble moment of prayer. Thursday night heavily relied on the fact that one or both of the members who agreed to go on trade-offs that night would still be able to make it, which is why it was so devastating that they both called and said they couldn’t make it that night. Granted they both were pretty legitimate excuses, but it was nonetheless very frustrating. I was lost… I had no idea what were were going to do for the last 3 hours of the evening. It was at this point that Elder Barcala, offered the humble advice of biking down a side street, to do a kneeling prayer and beg for help. That is what we did. After standing up after the prayer, an incredible feeling of peace fell upon me. I still didn’t know where to go, but I knew that God was in charge. We got back on our bikes, and just started heading down the street. We talked to everyone we saw…everyone. And it paid off. We taught four great lessons, and got two new investigators in only three hours. Those are good numbers for a days work.

Another miracle we had this week was that on Saturday after two great sessions of Stake Conference, we decided to go and visit a former investigator. We happened to pull up to his house the same time he did, which was a miracle because he is never home. We talked to him for a bit and then he ended up offering us a ride home. We had a great conversation with him and he made several comments about how he was looking for a church that he was be comforted in. Seeing how he is a pretty bright guy, I am sure he had to have known what kind of reaction that missionaries would have to such a comment. Either he is pulling our leg or he is interested in investigating the church again. I pray it is the latter.

On Sunday, Nick and the Suttons were all able to come to Stake Conference and it made it such a great session. They all had great experiences and we are expecting to see their faces there quite frequently. It surprised Nick to find out how many Mormons he knew. He ended up talking with people for a solid 15 minutes after conference ended. We worked hard for the rest of the day and had two really great lessons with one of them resulting in a new investigator. Her name is Kim. She has two children in the military which was our original connection point. We went over there on Sunday and stood on her porch for an hour and one of the more spiritual lessons of my mission. She readily agreed for us to come back.

I have no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father cares about every single one of us. He proves that by making time for everyone of us, so that whenever we want to talk to him through prayer, he is listening. Listening with pure understanding and love. I know Heavenly Father hears our prayers, and he proves it by answering every sincere prayer we humbly offer. He wants to hear from us, so talk to him tonight.

I love ya’ll!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Here are some updated pictures of Joshua from his missions’ blog.

Crazy! Can you spot Elder (Josh) Cordon?

Trio, Training, and Tracting with Bikes -Josh

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week has been an interesting one. We finished out our trio of Elder Largo, Elder Newbold, and I. It was a lot of fun being in a trio but it made it harder to focus on the work. I learned a lot though nevertheless and we still managed to stay very productive. By the end of it all I felt like I had two good friends.

Having to say goodbye to Elder Newbold was bitter sweet. I felt like we have become good friends after 3 months and we taught really well together, as a result I had come to trust him a lot. Though I am excited to mix things up, it has proven difficult to regain that trust. It will come though, of that I am sure.

Elder Cordon with his new companion Elder Barcala

Elder Barcala and Elder Joshua Cordon

On Wednesday I got my new companion. His name is Elder Barcala. He is from Scottsdale, Arizona and he is a convert of 2 years. He is 22 and already has his bachelors in criminal justice from ASU. He has a terrific fire for the work and I hope that as his trainer that I can kindle that fire and help him become a very confident and powerful teacher.

Wednesday night we went over to a members house for dinner and afterwards did splits with him and his brother. So day one I have my new companion going out on his own. He did pretty good actually.

On Thursday the ward mission leader and his wife helped us out a ton by showing my companion around and helping get bikes. Being on bikes has been bitter sweet, while we drip in sweat biking in shirt and tie in the hot Florida sun it is easier to street contact when you are on bikes. It is far less intimidating to approach someone on bike than in a car. Also when we would drive slowly in a car down neighborhood streets it was hard to not think that we were the police.

We have gotten into the groove now though and we are starting to build up our teaching pool again. We have been working hard and it is paying off. We are meeting a lot of good people and I just hope that in some small way that we make their day a little brighter with every visit.

We were blessed to be able to catch Ben last night and we took him to the church to watch the CES fireside. Ben has been through a lot and is living in a terrible environment, but while we were watching the broadcast I could tell that a lot of the things hit him really powerfully, and I hope that he can put into action some of the incredible advice of Elder Russel M. Nelson. I was really grateful to be able to see it and it just made me so pumped that general conference in coming up.

I just love this work so much. I know now more than ever that God loves everyone of his children here on earth. I also know that by applying the wonderfully beautiful and simple principles of the gospel into ours that it will make us happier. This life is about growth and constant improvement. I think that one of the biggest sins of this generation is laziness and complacency. God wants us to achieve our wonderful potential, but he can’t force us to do it. It is our job, but you better believe that through the grace of Jesus Christ he will be there every step of the way strengthening us. Life is like climbing a mountain. Some people get tired and convince themselves they are satisfied with how far they have come so they set up camp. Others are disheartened by the steep climbs that lie ahead. But for those who want to make it to the top to see the stunning views above the tree line, Christ has offered to be our climbing partner. He has the made the climb before and if we trust him and do our part, them we can reach the summit of our potential. So get off of the couch and get climbing! Spiritually of course 😉

Love y’all
Elder Joshua Cordon