Let Bygones Be Bygones

Dear Family and Friends,

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:13–14]

I decided to write about this topic today because of a trade-off that I went on with an elder earlier this week. To often we spend way to much time living our lives in the past. This is seen in phrases like, “the good ole days,” or “I wish I could just go back.” The beauty of the atonement of Jesus Christ is that because of him we can always be happier tomorrow than we are today if we allow his grace to work in our lives. Life is not intended to have a peak of happiness and then go down hill from there. Men are that they might have joy (2 Nephi 2:22), not men were that they used to have joy. Not only is that wrong doctrinally, but probably grammatically too.

This philosophy of seeing every new day as a possibility to progress rather than regress has changed the way that I look at my mission and at life. I am excited by the fact that through Jesus Christ the future will always be something to look to with eager excitement. This is the case because true lasting happiness is never determined by our circumstances, but instead by our character. Even through Christ, death is not the end, but the pathway to an even brighter and more glorious day, that is of course–like always–if you apply the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Often however, through our own stubbornness and pride we hold ourselves back from progressing by not letting go of the past. This wonderful quote somes up my thoughts on that quite nicely. “When something is over and done with, when it has been repented of as fully as it can be repented of, when life has moved on as it should and a lot of other wonderfully good things have happened since then, it is not right to go back and open up some ancient wound that the Son of God Himself died trying to heal.” (Elder Holland, ‘Remember Lot’s Wife’)

Anyhow, I hope y’all loved my spiritual thought. I just thought it was a fitting message for Easter. This past week was a great one as always. It started with a wonderful FHE at the mission home, and then we got to see a wonderful ward function for the Messiah by Handel on Saturday. Then Sunday was great when this young guy named Mat who we met the day before came to church and loved it! However, that is the past now 😉 And though it warms my soul like the hot sun on my back, I am more concerned by the beautiful scene ahead of me. I have the blessed opportunity of seeing 4 wonderful children of God enter the waters of baptism this Saturday! Boy the future looks so bright, I might need sunglasses!

I love ya’ll! I hope this week is better than any before, which is your choice by the way 😉

Elder Joshua Cordon

Elder Holland

Dear Family and Friends,

Alright an exciting week and a Half!

Well as usual Elder Holland had some amazing things to say! That was for sure an all day even cause we were coming from forever away! We road a bus and got a sweet view of all of Hong Kong. His main focus in his lesson was for the first 45 min express his love to us, then ended by really hitting on the fact that God Speaks.

He was making it clear that our investigators need to believe in revelation. If they don’t then nothing else matters. Also he made an interesting connection to 1 nephi 1 and joseph smith. Lehi and Joseph have very similar stories. It started with a desire to know then lots of pondering, prayer, vision, diving beings, a book, revelation from the book, teach from that book, then every tries to kill him. A very interesting connection.

We have really been blesses this last week and a half we have been meeting a lot of prepared people and are really building up a lot of investigators, now the tricking part getting them to accept a baptismal date. So hopefully by next time I write I can send the good news.

We had a cool little miracle this week apart from the many others this one was very clear. We were finding and had been doing pretty good but nothing special, then we only had thirty minutes left, so we stopped and said a quick prayer asking to meet a prepared person. Well right after we stood up there was a guy standing there who was smiling at us and was more than happy to see us. we sat down taught him a great lesson and will see him again on saturday.

Also here is personal idea. Read Mosiah 23-24. You can see the necessary trials and growth the lord wanted for his saints, it also gives an interesting perspective on why we might have trials and how the lord is helping.

Love you All

Elder Cordon

Elder Holland!!! – Jared

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this week has been pretty Great! Some of the Highlights are that Elder Holland was in Hong Kong last night and he did a fireside to all the members, sadly he is in my old chapel and I had to watch it from our stake center. But its okay I will be seeing him tomorrow. He is so powerful and he gave a wonder talk on how we are all pioneers. Also how amazing this dispensation is. Its the first time we are commanded not to run from Babylon and establish Zion or Jerusalem, But to face Babylon and conquer it with a promise that we can not fail. He also gave a good warning using Jesus’ own words. That God will come back and people will surround him saying they are his people but he will say he never knew them. God will recognize his church, but whether or not he recognizes each member is up to us. I pray he will recognize me.

Another thing that happened was this week did my first service project in awhile. At this place called crossroads its a place that takes donations and sends them to Africa! I got to work with bunch of Somalians! Very cool!

We had a district find and before they had this stage set up in the town center, this one kid was doing all these tricks with a Chinese yo yo. Well later in the day we saw him again! He preformed for us and he has a whole bunch a sick magic tricks, He also has really bad turrets so its awesome to see him develop talents that don’t conflict. Best part is got his number and plan on meeting with him again. I can see it now I’m a Magician, I have turrets, I’m A Mormon.

One of our investigators is in a wheel chair due to an injury, yesterday he told us how, let me share. He said he was seeing a doctor for some depression but he gave him bad drugs that messed with him and pushed him to suicide. He ended up jumping off of 19 story building, the next thing he knows he is hanging across the power cables for a light rail train, so he pushes himself off and falls and hits his head on the rail. So he has this huge bump on his head, and is stuck in the wheel chair, but somehow this man is alive and only ended up damaging his back breaking his leg and he didn’t get brain damage. A pretty crazy miracle , that was in 1997.

Well I got Elder Holland tomorrow that I will tell you about the middle of next week. I got temple coming up.

Love you all
Elder Cordon

Here is a picture from our apartment window, And me with Elder Chan rocking the little and big ties!

Elder Cordon & Elder Chen rocking the ties

Elder Cordon & Elder Chen rocking the ties

View from our apartment window!

View from our apartment window!

Causeway Bay!!!… that’s my ward!

Dear leihdeih(you all),

Well one more week down! This was great minus the water heater, for the shower, being broken… But hey I had a lot faster showers which gave me more time to get ready in the morning!

Things have really been picking up. We have a baptismal date with another shortly on the way and some others with potential. Its been a fight in this area but I feel like it has really been picking up nicely!

There is a really cool thing that our mission does! Its called My Conversion Story Fireside. Its when all the missionaries who are going home at the end of each transfer pick one of their recent converts who tell their conversion story! It was a great tool we used for our investigator who was trying to receive a witness and was wondering how it might come!

We also had a huge meeting with all the ward and stake leaders in the surrounding area about how the members and the missionaries can work together better. It was really good for both of us. We have been able to see the the success of one ward with less actives. The secret is really with the members on less actives we missionaries may have got them there but they will only stay if the ward will make an effort. Less actives are a huge problem here. One ward took the initiative with the members and they have about 20 LA’s at church a week and that’s a constant number even with them becoming and staying active again.

I also learned a great deal of importance about commandments. Never be scared of the commandments this church has, their no better way to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet then to partake of his fruits, like the Book of Mormon, or the word of wisdom. If you follow the words of wisdom and you receive one of the specific promised blessing of that commandment then there is a witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet.

John 7: 17 “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”

We used this with our investigator and it went great!

Also at the End of the Month Elder Holland will be coming so that should be awesome!

Love,
Elder Jared Cordon

Well I Am in Hong Kong – Jared

Wow!!!

This has been an interesting two weeks!! I got to See conference twice I finally got to Hong Kong! Met my President, my trainer, my zone leaders, and the ward. So I had one of the hardest yet greatest weeks I could have ever had! Yet through all my trials the lord has been sure to take care of me!

Alright well first that last week was crazy. It was hard saying goodbye to the teachers and the Australian Cantonesies; but I got to leave seeing conference which was just amazing! I learned a lot and mainly took out of it to step up my game. I felt as if it was a call to prep up cause things are not gonna get easier. Man was that true!! I thought my Cantonese was alright… I can basically say hello, and thats the problem because then they start talking and then I pray they can speak english. haha I met my trainer Elder Howell super cool and very excited! He has been here for 4 months and his Cantonese is amazing! So that gives me hope.

So they moved us to Cause Way Bay which is in the best Area in the mission it’s right in the heart of Down Town on Hong Kong Island. Our area includes the Wanchie chapel which is amazing the second most expensive building the church owns! Check it out online or something our appartment is right next to it. Since we are both new and there is already two Elders in this Area we are starting from scratch. No investigators, So we go finding all day long… I cant speak for my life so its a very long day.

It was such a blessing because the last two days is when Hong Kong watches conference and all the missionaries can watch it in English! I thought it was good the first time, well not as good as the second time. I didn’t understand Elder Hollands talk until this time. I started getting that depression he was talking about and it was bad, I was having a hard time those first few days. Now I look at things differently. I can’t speak any better, but I realize this is the trial of my faith. Now I will doubt my doubts before I even think about doubting my Faith!

I have been able to look back at last week and realize how much the lord has blessed me and my companion! I may not be able to talk but I was able to listen to the spirit and the four big success we have had are because I said hi and got them to stop or by letting the spirit lead me to the most random places. I know this is the lords work and he won’t let me fail. We even have a meeting with this guy I ran into on the street, Also he Speaks English!!

I am in for a long ride but I love the people and this city is so unreal!! I am not a big fan of the humidity, but its cooling down. Also I am blessed to have some really cool Elders sharing my area and appartment its Eder Parker and Elder Passie. They are the Zone leaders and have both getting close to going home so they are a big help!

I encourage everyone who is going through any hard times that are really breaking you down. To change your perspective. Doubt your Doubts before you Doubt your Faith. You may realize how much the Lord has been really helping you, and your probably have something big you can learn from what your going through.

I love everyone and hope all is going so swell!

Elder Jared Cordon

Just chipping away at those weeks -Jared

Dear my beloved Family and Friends,

This week was another one of those average weeks! You know one of the 12 apostles(Elder Anderson), and getting soaked in the rain afterwards! I had to farewell to my friend Elder Cheung heading to teach the wonderful Cantonese people of San Francisco. I had to give up the double bed to my roommates they think we need to share!

But man has it been a test of faith this week!

I had a point one night where I was wondering my purpose and why I am doing this, because I can’t seem to get the Language in the MTC how am I supposed to get it in Hong Kong! So I did a lot of contemplating and after everyone retired to there beds, and were softly snoring. I snuck out of the room to the janitors closet where I could be alone, I said a really big prayer out loud to my Father in heaven. I started out by apologizing for being so forgetful of all the Blessings he has given me! Then after saying some other things and closing my prayer. I sat there for a moment and just such an overwhelming feeling came over me! I knew that the lord will help me! No doubt in my mine! It doesn’t mean it will get easier! Because from the words of Elder Holland if your mission is Easy your doing it wrong! No one here in the MTC is smart enough to learn Cantonese in 9 weeks. Except maybe the spirit.

Another thing I would like to inform everyone you don’t have to get fat in the MTC cause I have lost 5 pounds already and its not like I don’t eat that! Just make sure I work out when my roommate doesn’t have giardia.

Overall here in the MTC life is good I have had to pleasure to see a lot of friends, make a lot of friends, and just grow closer to my spirit! Plus anyone and everyone should go rewatch Elder Hollands talk Safety for the Soul.

Love you all!
Elder Jared Todd Cordon

Knowing the truth is like walking in sunshine when the whole world is covered in rain clouds.

Dear Family and Friends,

I wish I could say that I came up with that line about the sunshine and all, but it is actually from a song on of my companions CDs. I totally feel that way though!. It seemed even more true when I considered that line as it has been raining these past few days.

To be completely honest this has been a very annoying week. We still have nobody that we consider a progressing investigator (someone we have had a follow-up appointment with). We meet all these great people who look so ready to receive the gospel and enjoy all the wonderful blessings it brings then they just either don’t call us back or are not home for the scheduled appointments. We still are finding many great people we just need to get some progress with some of them and then I will be jumping for joy! A great find happened on Saturday when we were walking through the park. We talked to these two guys and the one I focused on was from South Africa and he was interested and shared how he really wants the strength to quite smoking and drinking. I told him that if would read and pray about the Book of Mormon that he will find that strength that he needs. He said that he would only do it if I really believed that and I replied firmly, “No other book will give you more strength and guidance by bringing you closer to God than any other book.” He promised to read and pray about it. I hope he reads it!!

I was really excited for the World Wide Leadership Broadcast! I love how they emphasized that every member is a missionary. I’m eager to see how it jump starts the ward. Our ward is great about going out with us, but we are struggling to get any member referrals at all. Elder Newbold and I decided this morning that we are changing our entire strategy. Starting tomorrow we are now doing what we call the “Operation Less Active Attack, or Battle LA”. The ward here a has like 300-400 on the roster and only like 80-100 active. If we get some reactivation going or work with part member families I feel like we could really do some good work here. I am exited to see what happens.

I love you all and I know that God loves you even more. He truly blesses those that are faithful to his word. One of my focus topics for studying this past week was faith. Two of the most powerful discussions of faith I found was Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon and Elder Holland’s Talk from the last General Conference. Read them both! It talks about how the size of your faith doesn’t matter. It is all about how true you are to the faith that you already have.

God Be With You Till We Meet Again,

Elder Joshua Cordon