The Ward is AWESOME!

Dear Family & Friends,

Well this week might be short I am really short on time. But it was a really good week we have seen some amazing success with the efforts with the ward and growth with our investigators, its one of those weeks where I feel like you can take a sigh of relief that maybe your efforts are paying off. We had ward council this week and with the first one for the year the ward was very enthusiatic with many different ideas to step up there efforts. It was great to see that this time was much more focuses on missionary efforts. Especially the Relief Society president. She is such an example and that goes for all the women in the Relief Society here they are so awesome. They have made our investigator feel really welcomed and they are all so observant that without us even saying anything come and greet her and friendship her, invite her over for dinner, exchange numbers tell her all about the activities, make her kids feel welcomed. They are awesome! Our investigator is going to have her sister come to an activity soon, we met her before now its just bringing her in. The Elders Quorum is starting to follow there example they have really gotten so much better. Our investigators father came to church my himself even though his son didn’t come he said he is too busy to take the lessons but he loves elders Quorum so we will keep working with him. Referrals are the way to go for sure. Things are great I am great I am changing for the better everyday.

Love Elder Cordon.

A Rebirth For Some and A New Decade For Me

Dear Family and Friends,

Well two more wonderful children of God have entered the waters of baptism!! Kevin and Lori have come a long way since I first met Kevin in a parking lot back in December. I am excited to see what they can make of this wonderful opportunity. A big shout out to Bishop and his wife who were so instrumental in getting us to this point. They opened to their home up to lessons several months ago and that definitely solidified the testimony kevin and lori already had. It is just amazing to see the change that comes into people lives as they begin to accept the gospel!

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Thank you to all who helped to make my birthday last week a special one! I was definitely taken care of here in the Hendricks Avenue ward. At the end of the night on Thursday my companion had organized a small surprise gathering of cake and gifts. Some of my favorite people in the ward were there so it was definitely a wonderful moment. Sis. Laskis also fed us that night and gave me another cake haha. There are so many wonderful people here. The Lord definitely gave me a great week seeing as how we had one of my most productive weeks yet! (Matthew 7:11)

All in all it was an incredible week. We started teaching this wonderful young man Alfred again! I taught him a few months back with Elder Hamilton, but he was lacking that real intent so we parted ways. A couple Sundays ago, his Sister (who is an active member) told us that her mom wanted us to go see Alfred again. We went by the next day. As we sat down with him he just got quite and said, “Elders, I am going to be honest with you…” as he paused I braced for what I thought was bad news, he then continued saying, “I really want to change my life now and I just want you teach me whatever I have to do to have what you have.” Talk about music to a missionaries hears! With maybe a little too much enthusiasm we proceeded to unfold before him the truths of the gospel. We have met with him every single day since and each time he has read from the Book of Mormon and taken notes on what he read. Can I just mention how great god is! His power to soften the hearts of people in their time is amazing!

Inspired by my amazing sister Shalese, Elder Frazier and I are going to take a picture everyday of something we are grateful for/makes us happy! It should be good. Perhaps I might share a few with you next week. If you are lucky haha.

Love, Y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

God Answers Prayers

Dear Family and Friends,

So, once again on preparation day we have beautiful weather. Makes it pretty clear that God is watching over us as he gives us these tender mercies. He truly does take care of us in every aspect of our lives. I have become ever more aware of his presence of my life this past week. I know that God answers my prayers!

Last night was crunch time for us. We had agreed and sustained a goal less than two weeks ago that by yesterday we would’ve found 11 new investigators. Coming down to our last available hour we still had to find 2. We were starting to get pretty downhearted when we kept running into walls at every turn. With about 17 minutes left we were faced with the decision to either see a recent convert who hadn’t come to church and to check up on him, or go see one more potential on our list. Having considered what Christ would do, and reasoning that he would be a man of his word and do everything in his power to accomplish that which he was said he would do, we decided to try the another former on the list we had been working off of. On the way there I was saying a prayer in my heart that I had not made the wrong decision, that we would be able to accomplish our goal, and that God would grant unto us a miracle in these last few minutes of the day. We arrived at the home which happened to be a duplex. There was a girl sitting outside of one of the doors, and so we asked her if this is the correct address and if the people by the names David and Christine lived there. She told us that it was her neighbors. She also informed us that she was a member of the Spanish branch after we had invited her to hear a message of Jesus Christ. Feeling a bit embarrassed that we had just invited a member of our church to learn about our church, went over and knock on the neighbor’s door. They were home, invited us right in, and had no problem with us coming back. It was strange because it was so easy and just fell in our lap. I knew that God granted unto us a small miracle, and helped us accomplish the desires of our hearts.

Another great experience was a member present lesson we had this past week. Since I have been in this area, we haven’t really been working with the bishop at all. He is a nice guy, but we were just doing our own thing. Considering the fact that the bishop holds the keys to missionary work in the ward we knew that this had to change. Finally, we resolved that the best way to do this would be to have him teach one of our investigators. We successfully had our investigators, Kevin and Laurie, taught in the bishops home with him and his wife. The lesson was the best lesson we have had with them yet, and the bishop did a terrific job of teaching to his needs with us. They became instant friends with Kevin and Laurie, and they even committed them to be baptized in April. The difference since then for our relationship with the bishop is like night and day. He’s called us several times and has already talked to Kevin four times since the lesson. They also want to have a weekly lesson in their home with Kevin and Laurie. The wide spread impact of that lesson is seen in the fact that I have not been to single ward Council or PEC meeting since I’ve been here, but this past Sunday Bishop asked if Elder Hamilton and I would come. Just from hearing him talk in that meeting I can tell that he has had a complete change of heart towards missionary work. I am excited for the wonderful things ahead for us!

I know that God is aware of us and of the desires of our hearts. I know that he answers our prayers. I have prayed diligently to find our goal of 11 new investigators, and to find a way to connect with the bishop and the Lord has provided a way for both righteous desires to be completed. I would encourage all of you this week to set worthy goals, make intelligent plans, and diligently labor to complete them. Make sure to include God in every step and trust that he will provide away. As you do so, you will become the incredible person that you want to be. I know that will happen because it’s happened for me. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a wonderful week!

Love ya’ll!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Improvement and Progression – Josh

Dear family and friends,

So, it was the first preparation day since Christmas that there wasn’t any sunshine. It’s amazing what kind of difference weather makes on attitude. It is not that am not happy but I’m a little more relaxed when it’s dark and gloomy outside. We are going to take advantage of all the rain though and play some sports out in the mud. This should be a lot of fun!

Fun thing that happened last week was that the day of transfers I knew that my old ward mission leader and his wife would be driving the missionaries from the ward to the transfer building. So I arranged ahead of time for us to meet up and get some lunch while they’re here in town. It was great to see them again and hear about how Deepcreek is doing. It reaffirmed the fact that I really want to go back and visit that Ward shortly after my mission. I definitely have a lot of good friends there.

My mission trainee Elder Barcala got transferred here to Jacksonville, and he is serving in the area next to mine. However, it is across the river and it is not in my zone. I don’t know how often I’ll see him but I am happy that he was finally able to train, something he was really looking forward to doing.

While most of the missionaries in my zone stayed put we did however get a new district leader and new sister training leaders in the zone. In order to get the district leaders up to speed with the vision that Elder Hamilton and I have established we got lunch at chipotle with the district leaders. There’s something really nice about having a meeting outside over lunch. It just really makes things feel official, yet relaxed. I feel like there will be a lot of good things happening here in this in the next couple months.

We have been trying to get our companionship more integrated with the ward. After initiating some game plans we came up with to strengthen our relationship with the bishop and with ward members it feels like things are really starting to change. After having nobody sign up for dinner to feed us the first two months of February we filled our calendar for this week on Sunday. We also lined up several service projects throughout the week for the ward members. Some of the advice that we got from the stake presidents meeting we had on Sunday was to befriend ward members so that they could trust us with their friends.

We had already decided to initiate that idea so it was good to see that as we follow the spirit or vision was aligned with there’s just in time for us to see results the very week they suggested it. I hope that by the time I leave here missionaries will be begging to come to this area knowing the members will help them in all aspects of the work.

I guess one thing I never expected a mission would teach me is that of problem-solving and creativity skills. Truly you cannot just go through the work every day doing the same thing. You will have little success and you won’t be very happy. However, when you do your best to come up with good ideas and good ways to create change things really do improve, a lesson and A skill I hope to apply to everything I do for the rest my life. As Winston Churchill put it “to improve is to change to be perfect is to change often.”

More importantly, I have learned that true change comes from centering our lives on Jesus Christ and making an attempt to be more like Him. Not only is He the perfect example of how we should live, but He is also the way that we change. It was His atoning sacrifice that gives us that ability. What a blessing it is to be able to partake of that blessing each and every day! I Love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I know He loves every single one of us.
How can you change this week to improve your life?

Love,
Elder Joshua Cordon