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

Advertisements

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.

IMG_0608

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!

IMG_0624

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

IMG_0553IMG_0555 IMG_0556