Reach Out!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has just been non-stop awesome!! We are in a position where we rarely get a second to stop and think, it has been rather nice. I love being incredibly busy. However, at the same time a breather, where you can catch up on some things and gather your composure before going head first into the next week is always a nice thing. We have some exciting things ahead of this week. We have Elder Anderson of the quorum of the 12 Apostles doing a pitstop for a short mission devotional this week which will be a great experience and then the very next day we have another trip down to the temple. Then on Sunday our wonderful friend Donna will be baptized right after church. We are already filling practically every available crack with appointments. We are truly blessed with great prosperity right now. God really has been blessing us incredibly.

The lesson I learned this week is captured incredibly in a talk by Henry B. Eyring. It is called “Heavenly Father Reaches Out To His Children“. (*editors note: link is for an audio of the talk) In this talk he helps to explain how Heavenly Father can possibly stand watching so many of his children struggle and suffer. We think there is a lot of bad in the world and we cant even stand to watch, imagine seeing all of it happening at the same time and knowing each individual very personally. That sounds incredibly painful, yet that is what God experiences each and every moment. He tells us– and you must know that this is not at all doing justice to the talk and in no way replaces the benefit of actually hearing it for yourself– that the reason that Heavenly Father can stand it is because he has us. He has mortal servants down here who can reach the people and be an extension of Him in providing love and support during this difficult sojourn of life. He share a quote that is as follows, “it is against the order of Heaven for Angels to be sent to complete a task that can be accomplished by a mortal servant.”

The responsibility is ours. We most reach out and nourish and care for those around us. We cannot simply be concerned with our life alone but with the many lives that surround us each and every day. If we are sensitive to the needs of our loved ones and we are sensitive to the spirit we will see many opportunities to reach out and give support. It never has to be anything complicated, they simply need to know that you are there and that you love them. I am going to attach the link to the talk and I would encourage all of you to listen to it and to consider how you can be an extension of our heavenly father. As for me right now in my mission, these missionaries are my family. And I feel a great responsibility to reach out and to provide support and love to them. I hope God will guide me as I attempt to do just that.

I love y’all so much!

Elder Joshua Cordon

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Chaos and Melodies

Dear Family and Friends,

This week had my head spinning!! Our week was packed with appointments, we had a million and half (divide that by 50000 and it is probably more accurate) people we need to get in contact with, we had to prepare and give a training for a meeting that was most of the day on Wednesday, and I have a new companion who has yet to meet everyone in the area, and I did two exchanges. Haha it was crazy. It pushed me to my limits in a lot of ways. The blessing and the curse of high stress situations is that it quickly brings to your attention different flaws in yourself. As nice as it is to have some direction as to were you can begin making improvement, it also isn’t the most painless process. I made a number of mistakes this week that I wish I hadn’t made, however, I am grateful for the Atonement of Christ which helps me to put them behind me, to learn from them, and to change. I am so very grateful for change. This week was met with a lot of blessings though. Donna, one of our good friends is still on track for baptism here on the 18th and she is so excited. She just begins to live everything immediately. She reads the book of mormon several times a day and she is trying to get her brother to also begin studying with us. She has quickly won the heart of the ward and everyone is happy to have her join the ranks. She is a prime example of someone who has a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I am grateful God has allowed me to be part of her story. Jorge is also still ready to go with baptism on the 24th of this month and the ward is very excited for him as well. The sisters in our ward just had a baptism this past week and I think having 3 baptisms this month will do wonders to build excitement in the ward to share the gospel. Last week we had 10 people in church and this week we had 7 so we are getting some consistently large crowds which is really exciting. After a lot of work the teaching pool here is very large and now the trick to get them all progressing quicker and quicker.

I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunity I have to be engage in such great of a cause. I frequently ponder on how lucky I am to be able to have been born in the gospel and to be able to have it simply be part of who I am. I have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, and I want the whole world to join me in singing this sweet melody!

image1Picture Caption:ย We had to capture the moment! Also the elder on the right is not myย companion I was on an exchange and the guy on the left is a recent
convert who I am good friends with and the girl is Tara the amazing
woman we baptized back in July. Happy New Year everyone!

I love y’all!!

Have a wonderful week!
Elder Joshua Cordon

 

Lightening, Cameras, and…. Snow

Dear Family and Friends,

How is it possible that week after week things just get better and better? You think you should just get to a point where you would just stop progressing and you are as happy as you can be… Except that would be false doctrine and the exact opposite of what I teach people, so it makes perfect sense actually. I love truth!! It is just so… motivating!

This past week at Zone meeting we had one of the most inspired goal setting sessions i have ever experienced in a Zone Meeting! I have struggled to get a goal that everyone embraces and one that unifies, but I think we finally did it. It started with a spiritual epiphany I received several weeks back, and one I have been praying about ever since. I realized that God wants his sons and daughters baptized more than I want them baptized. No duh right? Well it definitely changed the way I pray. Then I realized that he spends everyday preparing people to received this message and that there are prepared people out there and we just need to find them. Now I kinda knew all this already, but it finally hit me in a different way, the kinda way that leads someone to change and to act. My companion and I then came up with what we knew was a inspired plan. We decided that if we pray and fast and work our tails off, that every single companionship can find and baptized someone in the month of June. When we first introduced it we had a lot of doubting eyes staring back at us. So we pulled out our secret weapon, the faith building pep-talked we prepared. Before we were even done the spirit was very thick in the room and every single missionary jumped in excitement for our goal which is twice as much as a number we thought was impossible the month before. Good things are coming ๐Ÿ™‚ #raiseyourexpectations

So if you haven’t seen our video on Facebook yet, I pity you. I would also invite you to repent and go and check it out. We are forming an amazing group and we need your help! It was a lot of fun to film and it was definitely interesting scenery. I hope you enjoy/enjoyed it!

I also had the opportunity to go on exchange last week to required me to hop on the bike again for a whole night! Before we even finished our dinner it was raining. I decided to go without a raincoat though because I new that if I wasn’t wet with rain water than I would be wet from wearing a non-breathable coat in the thick humidity. As we biked around we enjoyed natures natural firework displays. I was hoping that people would take pity on us considering, but it didnt seem to work too well! haha

Another amazing experience was that this past week Alfred opened up that he was still unsure of Thomas S. Monson being a prophet. We decided to help him out by watching the move about him called “On The Lord’s Errand.” Before we were even able to finish the movie he said that he knew that it was true! He is such a champion! He will be interview this week for baptism so we will see how that goes!

Oh ya and about the snow comment. We were about to go meet some less-active members at an apartment complex when we saw a pile of snow on the other side of the fence. I had to look to twice to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. I made a snow ball!!! In Florida!! OUTSIDE!! How is that possible!?! Well… it helps if you are next to an ice rink haha. Nevertheless, it was awesome!

Once again everybody join the Facebook group Called To Share and invite all of your member friends. Then tomorrow (Tuesday) post a picture of you holding the Book of Mormon just under yours eyes with #discoverthebook and with your testimony of how you know it is true!

Love Ya’ll!!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Bring on the rain!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, Hurricane season is officially here. The wise old patriarch of the ward strongly urged all of us to be ready. Don’t worry though, we are. We have been stocking up on food for the last little while. The cupboards are full and we have food for at least three months. Also, if anything does happen, what a great opportunity it will be to serve those around us. It will also make it easier to baptize if the streets are full of water. Of course I am only slightly joking! It did storm rather heavy every single day last week! We even had nickel sized hail several times.

Moving on.

Some really good things happened this past week! Not the least of which is the mission leadership council meeting that we had in which a lot of good things are coming about. I really love where President Craig is moving the focus and I am excited to exoerience all the good that will follow. For me personally, that meeting was very inspiring. I left with my expectations raised and my vision expanded. I realized I hadn’t been stretching myself enough, but that is going to change! Starting with my online proselyting, which is something that I have completely neglected these past few months. I have been looking for ways to improve and now I finally feel like I have concrete direction on how I am going to do that!

An exciting thing that happened this week was that Alfred had a change of heart. A week ago he was pretty down and he wasn’t his normal cheery self. He didn’t come to church last week because he was so down. He started to have a lot of doubts in what we were teaching because he still hadn’t had a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon. We set out this week to help him have one. On Wednesday we talked a lot about prayer with him, we knew that if he could understand how prayer works then getting an answer will be easy. Near the end of our lesson he seemed to have a really good understanding of prayer. We then challenged him to pray right then and there and ask god if the Book of Mormon is true. He was a bit hesitant, but he agreed. After praying we had us just sit in silence for a few minutes so he could pay attention to the way that he felt. Needless to say, Alfred finally can recognize what the spirit felt like! It was pretty incredible! This Sunday at church he just kept saying, I feel the spirit and I can’t help but smile!

And on that note I want to end by saying, if you are looking to smile a little more in your life, then do something that will invite the spirit, and soon enough, I promise you, you will be smiling! It happens to me every single day!

I love y’all!!

Elder Joshua Cordon

GET OUT OF MY STATE!! haha I say that out of love :-)

Dear Family and Friends,

First of all I love you all, especially my family. So when I say that I was in Florida first don’t take it the wrong way. I just still can’t get over the fact that you waited to go to Disney World until after I serve my mission IN FLORIDA. It is ok though, no hard feelings… ok maybe a little ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank goodness I am not in the Orlando mission haha.

On another note. Elder Hamilton and I are a power team! We motivate each other really well and just get work done. We took a challenge from the Assistants to the Presidents to find a ridiculous 30 new investigators (the standard of excellence in the mission is 5)) this past week. We worked like crazy and met so many wonderful children of God. Many of them have great potential! Basically God granted us 25 new people to teach. It changed my perspective of what inspired goals, complete faith, massive action, and an expectation for mighty miracles can do.

We also had a Zone Meeting last week that went really well. I had to give a 20 min training which I was really nervous for because we don’t really have that much time to prepare for things like that because we have to worry about preparing lessons for investigators and doing proselyting still. The spirit really helped me out though and felt as if it took over. I could tell it had a positive impact on the Zone. God truly is good. I couldn’t handle all that is on my plate without him.

I had the blessed opportunity to baptize a wonderful brother into the fold of God. He is a humble man who is from Sudan, Africa. He was put into the military at the age of 12 there, but was able to leave to America when he was 20. My companion found him 10 weeks ago and he hasn’t missed church once. He has an incredible amount of faith, and he is really is just a wonderful brother. His name is Solomon Deng Deng. He was given the name Solomon when he was baptized into the Catholic church shortly after he moved here. I was very humbled by the fact that he asked me to baptize him, and what a blessing that was.

Another cool thing that happened this last week was when we swung by the mission office to take care of some different items of business. Right as we walked in Elder Rhoads, the vehicle coordinator (yes, I do realize the irony there), told us that we were going to help him out by driving one of the 2014 Ford Fusions to the Uhaul to get a bike rack hitch. Of course I had no objections. What a beautiful car that is. It is similar to the one we had when I first came out but that was a 2013. I was really hoping they were going to give us that car in exchange for the crappy 2011 corolla they have us in. But hey I shouldn’t be complaining it is better than biking haha.

I really love this area. I love the people we have met, and I have already learned so much. I have no doubt that God cares for each and every one of us individually. And that he really has a plan for us.

A spiritual lesson that I learned this week is that God cares more about our spiritual well-being than he does our physical. Here is what I mean by that. I have been sick for going on 4 weeks now. It stinks really bad, I just want to better. However, I find that at the end of the day, when I have given my all, I didn’t even feel sick all day until I slowed down just before bed. Basically when I lose myself in the work I forget about all my problems. God understands that we will have physical problems, that is just a part of life, but what he really cares about is that we keep the faith through it all. Every challenge is an opportunity to grow, so rather than praying for a change in circumstances we should pray for a change in character that will allow us to conquer our circumstances. That is something that my companion taught me. That is what I did, and it made all the difference in the world.

I love you all so much!

Elder Joshua Cordon

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

Just remember that prayer actually works!

I love ya’ll!

Elder Joshua Cordon