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

Mission Conference with Elder Zwick!! – Joshua

Dear Family and Friends,

This last week was definitely an interesting one! I don’t think it really got good until Thursday though. In order to keep missionaries out of trouble on Halloween they made a rule that we all had to be inside someone where by 6. It through and interesting twist into the scheme of things. We managed to stay busy for most of it. But we ended up getting a free hour in the apartment, at the end of it. We spent the time going through a Halloween gift basket that a wonderful sister in the ward put together for us, and I tied the first few notes of my paracord scripture case that I am making for Stefan (who had his baby this week!) as a baptism gift. It is going to be sweet! haha

Friday was simply amazing! We had the blessed opportunity to go to Gainesville for a spectacular Mission Conference that was very much enlightening. It was put on by Elder Zwick. He is the executive director of the Missionary Department. He is a very powerful speaker and he gave some very insightful comments. I got the opportunity to participate with Elder Barcala, by doing a brief training on listening to the spirit. It was a wonderful opportunity for me and I hope that it also helped somebody else. Besides being able to meet Elder Zwick, I got to see President and Sister Craig which is always a wonderful thing, as well as Elder Newbold! We got to chat it up as I filled him in on the latest and greatest that is happening in Deep Creek.

One of the highlights of the conference was the talk by Elder Zwick on sanctification. He taught that sanctification begins by living the Law of Sacrifice. He defined the Law of Sacrifice for missionaries as a perfect use of the Lord’s time. I did a lot of reflection about how I could use the Lord’s time in a more productive and effective way. He also showed us one of the fully loaded Ipad-minis that we will be getting very shortly which will be super awesome!

After the conference and before the evening devotional we got to go procelyting on UF’s campus! We had some good success actually. 2 new gators in only 1 1/2 hours 🙂

My miracle is that on saturday we were trying to contact a potential investigator, but his house was empty and apparently he had moved out only a few days before. We went over to talk to the neighbor who informed us and it turns out that he is a less-active member. He is actually one of the 3 Ensey brothers who we have ran into bumped into randomly over the last month. His brother Thomas actually just moved into the that he was at, and so we talked to them and met his fiance and her daughter. We also were able to give Thomas a blessing of healing for his ankle because he sprained it. We went back on Sunday and had a great lesson with them! and then they came to the CES dinner and broadcast at the stake center with us! We have another lesson with them today! Finally another family to work with! I love families! Plus their little girl Nevaeh is possibly one of the most darling 5 year olds I have ever met! God definitely put us in their path and they are so ready for the Gospel right now!

I love this work so much! I know that true happiness and peace in this life comes from living the gospel. I know from experience that this is true. I know with my whole heart that, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” (3 Nephi 5:13) I love you all and I hope that you have a great week!

Love Y’All

Elder Joshua 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