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

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Plan Ahead, Enjoy The Moment, and Count Your Blessings

Dear Family and Friends,

I am not sure if I mentioned this already, but I have come to learn a thing or two about myself on my mission. Big shock right? One thing i have learned is that i like action. If i spend three hours in a meeting and I don’t leave feeling like I have just received instructions of how to put into action and realize the very goals we have discussed, then i feel like time has been wasted. Luckily for me though, when i spent 11ish hours in meetings this past week, I do feel that much of the time was used wisely, and that is was productive.

Nevertheless, the time that wasn’t used wisely combined with several weeks and months of thought I’ve put into goal setting and planning has caused me to give a training on it this week in Zone Meeting. Time is too short and too precious to waste it with action-less-chit-chat. On the contrary to not talk through things at all could be highly detrimental for it would open the door the premature and inappropriate action. As in all things in life a balance is required. I feel like that is how we have worked here in the Hendricks area over the past few months, we have accomplished much with a proper balance of talk and action. Hopefully, my much study and pondering, coupled with inspiration from the spirit will lead me to be able to say a few wise words on the subject tomorrow, I guess we will see.

Anyhow back to reality. So one interesting thing that happened this past week was a move that we took part in. We found out about Thursday we had to help a lady in our ward move from one apartment to another. At first we thought we were just being asked to be part of moving crew they had already assembled, But then we realized that we were the moving crew. Personally, I am flattered by the fact that they thought we had the energy, stamina, and means to do the entire project ourselves. They must really think very highly of us. As tempting as that sounded, we decided to take the selfless route and share this blessed opportunity with others, and thank goodness we did, for the load ended up being a full U-Haul truck, and two truck-beds worth of furniture boxes and odds-n-ends. While i say that in partial jest much good came from including others in this service opportunity. Our fully assembled amateur moving team was a motley crew at best, it included us, the senior missionary couple (Elder and Sister Andrew), our burly elders quorum president, Solomon (our recent convert who was one of the lost boys of Sudan), and Johnny (our Cambodian brother, also a recent convert). It got done in a timely manner, we had a great time, and all reported that they appreciated the much-needed boost in spirit that comes from losing yourself in the service of others. In the end, a seemingly overwhelming task resulted in a blessing in disguise.

Another crazy thing that happened Saturday was that when we came by Solomon’s to pick him up for the service project the whole parking lot and courtyard outside his apartment were taped off with police line. Inside the line were 6 squad cars, more than a dozen officers, and several men carrying what appeared to be M-16s. Luckily Solomon was fine and he said that the police had been their since 10 o’clock the previous evening. According to him, somebody died. It is just a hunch, but I am suspecting foul play, that is just me though, so take it with a grain of salt. In most cases including the move I unwisely failed to capture the moment in a photograph. I need to be better at that.

We managed this past week after hurdling many obstacles to find me a bike to ride and a bike hitch for our car, so we were able to hit the pavement and do some good street contacting, it was definitely a major blessing for we had much success in those few hours of biking.

So, everything is going great with the many families that we are teaching. Lily is still on track to be baptized by the end of the month, she also wants to go on a mission! Wahoo! She will be a great missionary. The Conseillants are great like always, and they even came to church on Sunday. We finally were able to have a lesson with Kevin and Lori in their home which is about 2 1/2 months in the making, but was totally worth it. We got Daniel (the son of Br. Fonseca who was baptized 2 years ago) to finally set a date for baptism? We had him pick the number, so April 20th it is. And then their are just so many others who are coming out of the wood work to hear this wonderful message. God has truly blessed us with a plate as full as the one I ate yesterday at dinner, and both are delicious to the taste. And the weather has been beautiful which is another big plus.

Count your many blessings this week and you will be singing as the days go by! (“Count Your Blessings,” LDS Hymn book #241)

Love Ya’ll!!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Improvement and Progression – Josh

Dear family and friends,

So, it was the first preparation day since Christmas that there wasn’t any sunshine. It’s amazing what kind of difference weather makes on attitude. It is not that am not happy but I’m a little more relaxed when it’s dark and gloomy outside. We are going to take advantage of all the rain though and play some sports out in the mud. This should be a lot of fun!

Fun thing that happened last week was that the day of transfers I knew that my old ward mission leader and his wife would be driving the missionaries from the ward to the transfer building. So I arranged ahead of time for us to meet up and get some lunch while they’re here in town. It was great to see them again and hear about how Deepcreek is doing. It reaffirmed the fact that I really want to go back and visit that Ward shortly after my mission. I definitely have a lot of good friends there.

My mission trainee Elder Barcala got transferred here to Jacksonville, and he is serving in the area next to mine. However, it is across the river and it is not in my zone. I don’t know how often I’ll see him but I am happy that he was finally able to train, something he was really looking forward to doing.

While most of the missionaries in my zone stayed put we did however get a new district leader and new sister training leaders in the zone. In order to get the district leaders up to speed with the vision that Elder Hamilton and I have established we got lunch at chipotle with the district leaders. There’s something really nice about having a meeting outside over lunch. It just really makes things feel official, yet relaxed. I feel like there will be a lot of good things happening here in this in the next couple months.

We have been trying to get our companionship more integrated with the ward. After initiating some game plans we came up with to strengthen our relationship with the bishop and with ward members it feels like things are really starting to change. After having nobody sign up for dinner to feed us the first two months of February we filled our calendar for this week on Sunday. We also lined up several service projects throughout the week for the ward members. Some of the advice that we got from the stake presidents meeting we had on Sunday was to befriend ward members so that they could trust us with their friends.

We had already decided to initiate that idea so it was good to see that as we follow the spirit or vision was aligned with there’s just in time for us to see results the very week they suggested it. I hope that by the time I leave here missionaries will be begging to come to this area knowing the members will help them in all aspects of the work.

I guess one thing I never expected a mission would teach me is that of problem-solving and creativity skills. Truly you cannot just go through the work every day doing the same thing. You will have little success and you won’t be very happy. However, when you do your best to come up with good ideas and good ways to create change things really do improve, a lesson and A skill I hope to apply to everything I do for the rest my life. As Winston Churchill put it “to improve is to change to be perfect is to change often.”

More importantly, I have learned that true change comes from centering our lives on Jesus Christ and making an attempt to be more like Him. Not only is He the perfect example of how we should live, but He is also the way that we change. It was His atoning sacrifice that gives us that ability. What a blessing it is to be able to partake of that blessing each and every day! I Love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I know He loves every single one of us.
How can you change this week to improve your life?

Love,
Elder Joshua Cordon

Joshua’s Mission Address

For those of you who would like to send me letters while I am at the MTC for the next 10 days or when I am out in the mission field these are my addresses.  I would love to hear from anyone who is willing to send a letter!

From now until June 10th My MTC mailing address is:

Elder Joshua James Cordon
JUN11  FL-JAK
2013 N 900 E Unit 309
Provo UT 84602

**Feel free to use the free delivery service of dearelder.com if submitted by 10am MST he will receive the letter that evening. You will need his MTC address for that as well.

After June 10th send all mail and/or packages to:

Elder Joshua James Cordon
Florida Jacksonville Mission
8663 Baypine Rd Ste 102
Jacksonville, FL 32256
United States