Spirit Led

Dear Family and Friends,

This was an amazing week! Last week had many frustrations despite the fact that we had many miracles, and I let it get to me. However, God taught me a profound lesson this week on Monday that helped to put me in a proper unshaken mindset this week. Here is what happened. Monday was effective and efficient, but we didn’t have any tangible results from our labors yet; nevertheless, we were in good spirits and we pressed forward. At about 8:00 we found ourselves deciding between two different plans that we’re going to take us to different parts of our area. Having resolved which one we were going to do we set off. We tried to take a shortcut that we normally took but they had locked the gate because they were selling the property. We tried to find a new shortcut and just found ourselves bush whacking for a good distance only to find ourselves having either to forge an alligator infested creek, or go all the way back around and take the long way; It was an easy decision, we took the long way. The potential we were going to try wasn’t home, so we knocked on a neighbors door we hadn’t tried last go around.

There were a lot of people home and a lady stepped outside onto the porch to inform us that they had just barely come back from the funeral for their mother and they were just spending a few more minutes with their father. With an expression of sympathy we asked if we might come in and pray with them during this hard time. She said that would be great and invited us inside informing everyone of our entry as we came in. We were invited to take a seat and introductions were made. The mood in the room became more relaxed as we familiarized ourselves for a minute and even laughed a little. Being men of our word we navigated the conversation toward the prayer we were going to offer and I offered it for the group. The Holy Ghost helped me as I offered the prayer and it seemed to touch the hearts of this family in a powerful way. They were visibly moved and expressed gratitude for our concern and love for them. We talked a bit longer and we left them with a DVD on the plan of salvation and our card so that they could call us anytime if they needed any service. The request to do service and help out with any of the yard work seemed to be a cherry on top.

One lady during our parting conversation said that she walked out of the room when we came in because she thought we were missionaries from another church whom she bad experiences with. However, when she heard us close the prayer in the name of Jesus Christ her demeanor changed and she came out to talk with us. We walked out the door feeling that we had just left the home of good friends and feeling very grateful that we got be instruments in the hands of God that evening. It was at that moment that the spirit whispered to me, “that is what missionary work is all about.” Feeling very humbled that I had in some degree let myself forget that lesson I received a renewed vision that has carried me through the week. I am so grateful for the many big and profound lessons that God has taught me in such small and simple ways. My mission is chalk full of experiences that will carry me for the rest of my life.

This last week had many great things happen and I want to share one in particular. Elder Curran and I had about two hours of time we were designate to finding someone to teach. The dinner appointment we had was in a nicer part of town that we had yet to venture and we wanted to get the work started there. We stared at our map like two generals planning a battle plan and finally we decided we would both pick two streets and then we would narrow it down after discussing it. After prayerfully picking the streets we found that two of them were connected and they were the ones we felt most prompted to visit. It was a successful finding time and we met some solid people and taught a couple of lessons. Little did we know that the real miracle was yet to happen. We had planned with one of the people to come back on Sunday.

When Sunday rolled around we weren’t able to meet with one of our potentials, but after getting a lead from one of the neighbors we tried the people next door and that was a miracle find of the month. He let us right in and after getting to know him more and learn of his religious background we taught one of the best lessons in have been part of. The pivotal moment of the lesson was when I felt prompted to stop and discuss a previous point in greater detail. He really opened up with that point and he was right along with us and completely on the same page the rest of the lesson. After we introduced the Book of Mormon to him we asked for his thoughts and feelings on it. He responded with something along the lines of, “it makes sense that God would still speak to man. To me the Book of Mormon is a continuation of God’s word and I think people should be grateful that God has revealed more to us.” Amen Wayne, amen. As we were leaving we told him how we now know why the spirit led us to his house. And he responded with great enthusiasm, “the sermon today was titled ‘spirit led’!” God has been so very good to us!

Love y’all!
Elder Joshua Cordon

Miracles Abound!

Dear Family and Friends,

A miracle that happened on Sunday was that a man we had met at the bus stop the previous Sunday whom we invited to church ended up showing up. I was in the foyer waiting for our investigator when he came walking up to the door. He clearly was there for the first time from the uncertain look on his face and he had in his hand a crumpled pass along card with the church address on it. He really enjoyed himself, and the best part was that the sisters investigator who came for the first time was his cousin. So they sat together in Sunday school and really enjoyed themselves. We still don’t have any contact information for him, but when he said that he would come back, I really do believe him this time.

Another Miracle we had was that Wittney, a wonderful young man from Haiti, has accepted the invitation to be baptized on May 23rd. He has been very active for the last month and he is more than ready for this step. I am happy to see how this will bless his life. Hopefully we can find him a bicycle so he can bike with his friend Trevor to church and back. That would be a real cherry on top.

All in all thanks for all the love and support!

Love y’all!
Elder Joshua Cordon

I Will Relish The Transition!

Dear Family and Friends,

Sorry for a short one this week, but things have been non-stop crazy–that is normal though.

The biggest thing from this last week is that I got a new companion. This time with Elder Layton has been one awesome ride! I have learned so very much from him and I thank God for everyday I had with that good friend of mine. As much as I had to say goodbye, which no one likes to do, I get the chance a of learning from and gaining a whole new friendship. My new companion is Elder Jorgensen, he is an amazing person. He’s got the work-ethic of ten Idahoan farmers combined, and the intellect of eight amatuer chess players…. Okay I don’t really know what either of those are supposed to mean, but either way he is really awesome! He is from San Diego he has had one interesting life story. To say the least he graduated high school by home schooling himself at the age 15 and he read the Book of Mormon for the first time when he was 5. Even though that makes him look super nerdy also know that he played rugby in high school… I honestly feel like God knew just what I needed to progress in this next phase of life and Elder Jorgensen has got all I need to learn what I need to learn. We are already full speed ahead!

Anyhow, love yall!

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Joshua Cordon

P.S. I got a fortune cookie once that said, “relish the transitions in
your life they will happen regardless.”

Tender Moments

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a wonderful week! I had a lot of tender experiences that really made things very enjoyable. I did an exchange this week on Wednesday back in my old stomping ground of Deep Creek. Luckily for me the plans had us going to the home of my old ward mission leader Br Strattan. I love that family so much they definitely have enriched me mission experience! It was like I never left when i saw them. After catching up for a bit Elder Francom who I was with got to work getting some info on some referrals while Sister Strattan had me add myself to a group for the Deep Creek ward that shows how everyone is related. I found out that Sister Strattan was my 8th cousin and that Betty Hicks, a black sister in the ward who was recently baptized is actually my 6th cousin. It was a funny moment to learn that, but really awesome at the same time. Betty was one of the first people I met when I got to Deep Creek. We had a great day there though and were able to get a lot of work done. At the end of the night we had a lesson with a girl that I met the last time I was there about 6 weeks ago. They had been struggling to get a solid lesson with her since then, but we were able to sit down and have a very powerful lesson with her. We laughed at the thought we would just have me come every 6 weeks and help teach her.

On Thursday I was in Georgia with the incredible Elder Welsh. He is one of the best Elders in the mission and I was grateful to be able to spend the day with him. We had an awesome experience after trying to contact a less active member. After noticing that the family who we had an address for had moved we began knocking on the neighbors doors. After a few doors a school bus showed up and dropped off some kids. These two boys were teasing these girls and one of them was crying while her sister was walking with her back to there house. Turns out that Elder Welsh knew these girls because they are the daughters of a member and the older sister had been to church a couple of times. They told us that the boys were teasing them and one of the boys took an old can of vienna sausages (which are gross to begin with) that he found on the ground and opened it up and threw it at one of the girls. Not too much got on her but nevertheless it was completely unacceptable. After showing the girls a quick video on Jesus Christ we walked over to the home of those boys to invite them to repent. One of them timidly opened the door, he was probably 15 and less than half my size. He wasn’t the major trouble maker though, his cousin who was hiding behind him who was 18 couldn’t even look us in the eye long enough to answer our questions. We proceeded to teach them how unchrist-like their actions were and if they ever wanted to amount to anything in life they would learn quickly to grow up and be real men. Hopefully, an ounce of that sunk in. As we finished up with that the girls mother had arrived home and had been informed of what we were doing. She was very impressed and was very open to hearing our message. Prior to this moment she was very against the idea of becoming a Mormon or even associating with Mormons. By the end of our lesson with her we had her and her daughters all excited about the idea of getting baptized and return appointment to teach them as a family the next day.

On Sunday we had Stake Conference. The building of the Hendricks ward is my Stake Center so I was able to go and say hi to all of my old friends. It is so nice to be able to maintain such a close relationship with my recent converts. In that meeting I had two recent converts in the Hendricks Ward, Solomon Deng and Jim Colney, be sustained by the stake to be ordained to the office of Elder. Solomon wasn’t able to be there that day but Jim was, and my old Bishop was so kind to think of me that after the meeting he went and found me so that I could help with Jim’s ordination. I had no idea that I was going to be able to have that opportunity, but it was definitely a very special moment for me. God has been so good and to give me many tender experiences this week and I know that he loves me very much. It never ceases to amaze me how personal of a relationship that we can have with our Heavenly Father. My mother pointed out in a letter a couple weeks ago that God will bless us very specifically and personally if we are ready to receive those blessings and I can testify that this is true!

I hope everyone of you can look for ways that the lord has specifically blessed you this week and make sure to give him thanks for those blessings!

I love y’all! Have a wonderful week!

Elder Joshua Cordon

God is SO Good!

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week has been one crazy week! It is transfer time again and the one thing that is guaranteed to accompany it is chaos. I wouldnt have it any other way. We got the opportunity to the temple again on Thursday which was an incredible experience. Even though I am constantly engaged in spiritual efforts there is still something so uniquely powerful with the temple. That is just another of the many testimonies that I have received that those buildings truly are sacred.

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Everything has been non-stop craziness since we arrived back from the temple. We have had some Elders staying with us since Thursday night, who need to be in Jacksonville for some doctors appointments. In order to keep them busy we have both just taken one and have been constantly covering twice the area with them. It was a huge blessing because we had meetings galore this weekend, so we were still able to get plenty of good things.

One of the major highlights of the weekend was the ward Chili Cook-off and Trunk or Treat on Friday. I got to be a judge for the chili along with some of the other elders. It was tough to choose a winner because they were all so good. We had some awesome turnout from our investigators though, we ended up having 9 people come that we invited which was awesome and they all had such a blast. 3 of them were a complete surprise though. We went to the home of one of our friends named Ty to invite him to come. He said he wasn’t feeling it, but his room-mate, Dean, and their friend, who just so happens to be the boyfriend of someone the sisters have been teaching, said they would come. There was another couple at the house at the time named Ray and Rose, but they didn’t seem interested in coming. About a half hour after the party had started, we see all 5 of them there! They ended up having a blast! Especially Dean who did not hesitate to work the crowd and meet as many members as he could. Though he wasn’t drunk, his breath definitely smelt of alcohol, but I was really happy to see how the ward members really didn’t care and they were so welcoming. We ended up teaching Dean and Ty the next day and though he has much more to learn he expressed to desire to be baptized and has agreed to work at preparing himself for the last week of November.

David loved the camping trip! His dad wasn’t able to make it, but they also came to the ward party on Friday and to mutual on Wednesday so they are really coming along, it has been amazing to witness. All of this came from just strengthening a recent convert, which is just a testimony to the importance of retention. Truly the growth of that family is a dream come true for Aileen who is their sister/daughter. She has a had to overcome so much to be where she is at, and she never in a million years could have imagined even the progress they have already made. On Saturday Aileen was with her all her siblings and her dad, so we told her to get them to all pray together. She texted us afterward and told us that they did, but it was her dad’s idea (we had just taught him about prayer last Wednesday). That is the first time they have ever prayed as a family. It was such a tender moment. I love that families can be together forever!! Jorge and David were both able to the ward party, and even all of church on Sunday, so it has been really awesome to how they are just really becoming part of the ward. It has been a very natural experience for them and the ward has done so well with wrapping their arms around them. David has truly become a part of the deacons quorum. We are going to have to get him a set of scriptures so he can start to put them to use on Sundays. The work is just going so well here and it has been amazing to see how people just are coming out of the wood work and things are coming together. I am so much happier now than i have ever been in my life, but I know that there are only greater joys in store for me.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week!

Elder Joshua Cordon

I even made my pumpkin be a missionary!

I even made my pumpkin be a missionary!

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A Beautiful Gift

Dear Family and Friends,

I think an overarching thing that my past week taught me is that of the simplicity of personal revelation and the importance of actively seeking it and then acting upon it long enough to reap the rewards. I was left in a mode of pondering after the recent general conference which made no small emphasis on the importance of personal revelation. That all finally developed into a phenomenal learning opportunity as I was on an exchange with one of my fellow missionaries this week. I think the trick to receiving revelation is to learn how to ask the right questions. After talking to him all night between lessons about pretty general topics I could tell that something was on his mind. When we got home and after I planned for the next day I started to pry a little to see what I could get out of him. I had no idea the amount of revelation that we were going to receive during that conversation that night, and again in the morning. We talked about all aspects of missionary work with the goal of trying to figure out what the missionaries in his stewardship needed from him. And really it was as simple as us asking a good question and then seeing the spirit guide our answers to helping us find the solutions. It seemed so easy, it was just coming to us. The amazing thing was that we both were completely on the same page. We were receiving the exact same answers. In the morning we even ended up studying the exact same chapters in the book of mormon and in PMG. It was quite wild. I felt like the early saints describe in the Acts 4:31-32 “And when they had prayed… they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul…” This experience of personal revelation this week has happened many times before, but I was especially aware of it this time and I feel like the lessons I learned were very profound.

Making an extra emphasis to put the revelation to work Elder Layton prayerfully considered an exact street that we should go and knock on Friday with the goal of finding a family that would be open to hearing our message. An exact street came to us and we wrote it down. The next day I was on another exchange this time with my MTC companion, Elder Searle, and we went to the street that we had planned. We found a potential investigator right at the start but we went for almost an hour after that with no success. That is when we knocked on Tony’s door. Elder Searle did the initial approach flawlessly and we found ourselves trying to comfort this man as he tells us how is 9 year old daughter was killed by a drunk driver, and that that same driver killed another few people last year because of the same thing and he is still not behind bars. While we did feel sorry for his loss but we were also happy because we knew that we had something that would help to remove the pain and anguish from his heart. After having a simple doorstep lesson with him, he told us that he would read the Book of Mormon that night and that he wanted his family to hear this message. I knew at that moment that it really was inspiration that we chose to go to that street at that time so that we could meet this man.

Another amazing miracle that we had Saturday night also began with a prayer. It was 8:05 and we had no idea what we were going to do for the next 55 minutes. The plans we did have had fallen through and it wasn’t exactly the best time to be knocking on someones door. We prayed and asked God were we should go. At first we still had no idea so we started to just drive back to the other side of town that we live on. As were driving a thought of a lady, but when we called she didn’t answer. Then I got another idea to try someone else just down the street from our apartment. We knocked on her door, but no one appeared to be home. Then Elder Layton thought to try Gladys, which was strange considering the fact that we officially removed her from our teaching pool last Friday after a month and a half of no contact. We tried it though. She happened to have just gotten home moments before and she was open to chatting. We ended up having a 45 minute lesson with her which began with her saying how exhausting work and life in general has been to it ending with us finding out that she was already baptized a Mormon and her doing the chicken dance as she tells us a funny story. She recognized how much the spirit of the gospel lifted her burdens and made her forget about the stress of life and said that she would like meeting with us regularly, so that we could help her start coming back to church. Another miracle that began with asking a simple question and receiving very simple revelation.

I want to bear testimony that the Holy Ghost is real and that it is actually a third member of the Godhead. Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which allows me to have this member of the Godhead as my constant guide is undoubtedly the greatest gift that God has given me. I know that if we are worthy and if we listen that we can receive the quite whispering of the spirit that will send us down unknown but glorious paths on our journey back to Heavenly Father. I am grateful to have been blessed to have received the gift of the Holy Ghost by one who holds proper authority, truly this is the greatest difference between the true church of Jesus Christ, and all others. My only desire is to bless the human race by helping whoever will listen receive this incredible gift into their own life. This is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

P.S. If you are wondering how you could help yourself be better at receiving personal revelation then read the devotional address, “An Educated Conscience” by Stephen Covey, the May 27th, 1975 BYU devotional.

The Small & Simple Things

Dear Family and Friends,

It seems like it was only four days ago that I was writing y’all… o wait… So it was a wonderful weekend. A lot of really good things happened as usual. One notable event of this past weekend was going to a party on Saturday. So we have a recent convert that we have been working with and she is just wonderful! She has been a member for about 4 months now and has grown so much in that time. She made some dramatic changes in her life in order to get baptized and still has been battling with some of the lasting effects. One of those is her relationship with her family. Because of who she was before she has spent the last little while repairing those relationships and building the family she wishes she always had. It was her birthday this past weekend so we got together with her and another one of our recent converts to celebrate and have a lesson with them. It was a really great time and we even took a fun picture to commemorate the event. After the lesson she had plans to go over to her uncles house to have a family get together for her birthday. She really wasn’t looking forward to the event because it potentially was going to be a really awkward get together. After encouraging her to still go to the party and giving her our two cents of advice, the idea came to me to just have us go with her and take some of the focus off of her so that it wouldn’t be awkward any more. It was more of a facetious comment at first but then she loved the idea so we decided to go for it. The party ended being a really fun event. We got to see her dad and brother who are investigators of ours and to get to know the rest of her family. One of her cousins had even flown in from Peru (which is where her family is from) to be there and had fun getting to know all of them. She ended up having a wonderful time and really felt like it helped to make it one of the best birthdays that she had had.

It was such a simple thing that we had done, but it really brought about amazing results. On top of everything else we also got to expose her whole family to fact that Mormon Missionaries are normal people behind the shirt and tie. I wouldn’t be surprised if this could open up the door to some more baptisms in the future in her family. “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6) is the principle that I learned from all of this. Never underestimate the powerful impact of simple expressions of love and kindness. There is a wonderful Mormon Message that just came out that illustrates this principle rather nicely and touches those who view it in a variety of ways. If you want the link, here it is http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=3792885561001.

Another wonderful thing is that we found out that one of our investigators will be able to get baptized sooner than we had expected. Her father wanted to baptize and confirm her, but was living with his girlfriend so he wasn’t going to be able to, and her mother wouldn’t agree to let her get baptized, so we had expected for it to be a much more distant event. However, her dad just split up with his girlfriend so he could be worthy and he is going through the court system to get full custody back. It is amazing how what seemed to be a very difficult and near impossible task has become a reality almost overnight. Truly there is no commandment that God won’t provide a way for a us to accomplish (1 Nephi 3:7) if we simply just try our best.

I love this work so much! The wonderful thing about the gospel is that whenever you give it away you always get more of it, whether it be love, joy, or even yourself, it doesn’t really make sense but that is what is so wonderful about it.

I hope every one of you takes advantage of the opportunity to watch general conference this weekend. I am stoked! It is like the super bowl for missionaries!

I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

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It Is Nice To Know People Who Know People!

Dear Family and Friends,

I had a pretty wonderful week! Last Monday I had the opportunity to do my first round of golf. It was on the beautiful green grass of TPC Sawgrass where the PGA championship is held every year. I felt like royalty! We had this pretty awesome caddy with us the whole time, we got our named engraved onto these medal bag tags that have the picture of the 17th hole carved in it, and then halfway through we had a guy roll up to us and give us cold towels to cool us off. It was the best secular experience of my mission so far! I am grateful for my companion he was the one with the connections to get us in. We brought two older gentleman with us who just soaked up every minute of the experience. Both are golf enthusiast and never thought they were going to have the chance to play such a course. They were one team and we were the other. We did a best ball scramble to keep pace. Since Elder Layton is really good we came on top in the end. I had a few really good hits. I definitely did better than I thought I was going to do.
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As far as the spiritual side of things, I got to go to the temple this past week. It was am amazing experience and I definitely had some pretty powerful spiritual experiences while in there. In order to get some of the missionaries down there we drove a van up to Kingsland, Georgia the night before, then left from there in the morning. After the day was said and done we did about nine hours of driving. It was worth every minute though and the whole trip was very enjoyable. I think my only regret was that I went for the large sandwich at firehouse instead of a medium. It is not the best thing to put in your system when you going to sit for several hours. Other than that though it was an amazing trip!

On our way back we had this cool little miracle that happened. About 20 minutes before we were and home and before we passed through
downtown Jacksonville, we passed this guy who had all these things strapped to the roof of his SUV. He had a law mower, a generator, a industrial fan, a ladder, and some other things all on the roof! Plus his car was full of a bunch of tools. We took a photo and continued on our way. When we got back to Jacksonville we had more time that we thought so we pondered on how we could best use it. We both felt that we should head to a particular complex to try a potential. As we pulled in we saw that exact same SUV with all the stuff ahead of us. We tried our potential and then walked over to his car to see if he needed help unloading. Turns out that he has to leave it all on there because it is for his work. He is self employed but doesn’t have enough money for a truck and trailer. If he were to take it off he would spend hours taking it off and on every day. He needs every minute he can after work to spend time with his family. He said that he his nervous that someone could steal all of his stuff but he has no where to put it. He said that he just says a prayer and trusts that god will keep it safe. He was open to hearing our message another day so we took his number down and walked away with a renewed sense of reverence for the humble and hard-working family-man.

His story coupled with a lesson I learned this week highlights the power of determination. If you want to succeed then you all it takes is for your determination to make it happen. I quote that comes to mind is “that it is never to late to be what you could have been.” In other words, despite every thing else, even your past, if you are determined you can be what you want to be.

Another lesson I learned was that of focusing on the present. You can learn from the past, and you should plan for the future, but if you are not living in the moment and embracing the situation that you are in, you are missing the most important aspect of this existence. If you are determined to change it will not come from the lessons of the past, or the plans of the future, it will come from simply just doing it right now in the present.

Just a few thoughts.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

I love y’all!
Elder Joshua Cordon

Personal Revelation

Dear Family and Friends,

The spirit of revelation is an amazing gift!! I am grateful everyday for the fact that I have received the gift of the Holy Ghost which allows me to have the right and the responsibility to receive personal revelation from God. It is without a doubt one of the greatest blessings of my mission to have learned how to develop and use this gift. My heart was warmed this week in an incredible way by an opportunity to use that gift and experience a miracle.

On Friday evening we had just left a lesson with a wonderful part-member family that I have come to love. We had plans to go by and check on someone we have been working with for a few months now. But as we were driving both of us felt that we weren’t supposed to see them, but we had no idea who we could see instead. We decided to pray. I had a name in mind before we prayed but I wasn’t sure if it as inspiration or not. I still felt good about it afterward but just to be sure I asked Elder Layton who he thought we should see. He said the exact same name that I was thinking, so we hit to road and went right there. As we approached Perry’s house I started thinking about it. Perry is a young married guy, and it is Friday of Labor Day weekend. There is just no way that he is home. I decided it was still worth a shot. We walked around the corner and his light was on. I chuckled to myself realizing once again that the spirit knows a lot better than us. Perry had just gotten home and welcomed us right in. We taught him the restoration and he was loving every bit of it. He definitely felt the spirit and just thanked us for coming over. He was excited to even do his homework afterwards just because he was just feeling so good. I once again can bear testimony that the spirit of revelation is real!

I have wondered how the spirit of revelation will play a role in my life after my mission and sadly I have noticed that a lot of members of the church don’t rely on that gift nearly as much as they should if at all. However, another blessing this week was that our ward mission leader returned from his 2 month vacation making this the first time I am officially meeting him. After our first meeting I have been just so inspired by him. He has prayed endlessly on what can be done to help this ward improve in its missionary efforts and it is clear that he has received guidance from god in order to do so. It was also an amazing example to me to see a man using the gift God has given him even after his mission. I know that if we pray to God and seek His counsel in regard to our life that He will bless us with knowledge on high and well will be able to make receive ideas and make decisions of immense wisdom that we would not have been able to do on our own. I know that every single one of us can receive guidance from God to help us in our life. I promise that if you pray diligently that He will answer you! I know these things to be true from observation and from personal experience and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love y’all!!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Good Timing and Out-Growing

Dear Family and Friends,

We had incredible miracle yesterday! Last week on Sunday we met a mother and daughter who were members of the church. Mother was in town for a couple of months and she works for the FBI, and her daughter was just visiting before she goes back to Idaho for college. We know it was a miracle that we even met them for because we followed a prompting that Elder Layton had to go and knock the other side of the complex we crossed paths 5 seconds before they walked into their apartment. Needless to say the time between them going to their car and the apartment is a small window of opportunity but God has great timing. Patti, the mother told us that she would come to church the next Sunday. We swung by to see her Saturday and she was still determined to come and after talking for a bit she opened up about her past and we were able to resolve many of her concerns. Yesterday she came walking through the chapel doors and filled me with joy. One of the sisters in the ward is practically a carbon copy of her (they even wear the same glasses) invited her to dinner on Tuesday. She had already signed up to feed us and figured she could bank on the opportunity. It is amazing how she is only in town for a few months, but God is taking advantage of this time to help her strengthen her testimony and get reactivated. Our Heavenly Father is one smart cookie.

We had a powerful Zone Conference this past week!! After it is all said and done, one of the things that my testimony has been strengthened in more than anything else is the power of personal revelation from the Book of Mormon. Among those that believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, it is something that I feel is not used nearly as much as it should. I testify that the Book of Mormon will answer the questions of your soul. Whatever it is! I know because it has answered mine. It has answered spiritual questions of “how do I access the power of the Atonement?”, and lately it answered the question of how can I help those I am teaching to come to church? Now, anybody who has read the Book of Mormon knows that there isn’t an obivious chapter which specifically lays out how a missionary gets those he is teaching to church, but I can testify that it is in there. You just have to have the spirit with you to find it. I found my own personal answer in Alma 50 which talks about how Captain Moroni maintians liberty among the Nephites. As I likened these scriptures to me the answer became very clear on what it was that I needed to do. I will make a promise to every single one of you, that if you pour your heart out in prayer to God for answers to a specific challenge and then you read the book of mormon actively seeking for your answer, by the power of the Holy Ghost you will receive that answer in a simple and powerful way. Then if you write that revelation down, it will develop and how you must act will become even more clear.

I know that our Heavenly Father loves us. I have felt his love for me and for others abundantly in my life, and the joy that brings is sweeter than anything else. I also know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, I know that he died for me and that his Atonement is active in my life. Through the Book of Mormon I have gained that faith in Christ, and not only that, but I have also learned why he died for me, and how I can access the enabling power of the Atonement in my life. Knowing these things has given me greater meaning in life and deeper and more profound joy. I meet many faithful Christians on a regular basis, and many who profess to be Christians, and while their faith is genuine God doesn’t want just a lip service from his children, he wants a personal relationship with his children and he wants us to out-grow ourselves. In the Prophet of the Restoration Movie, Alvin Smith tells Joseph of a small sea shell at his uncles home. He tells him that a small creature made that shell layer by layer until he finally out-grew it. God doesn’t intend to help us become content with ourselves as we are but rather for us to grow into our true selves. The Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us how we can do this, and Jesus Christ helps us do it so that one day we like Paul can say, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) I know that these things are true and I say them in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love y’all! Have a great week!

Elder Joshua Cordon