Lead Thou Me On; Reflections On Returning Home

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Dear Family and Friends,

So reality can hit you pretty hard when you get home, setting aside the fact that you have to adjust to a whole new culture and way of living, there is the pressures of finding a job, going to school, and getting married, all of which are grand feats in and of themselves. Coming home has been the greatest adventure of my life so far. In just a few short weeks (which have felt like a few short months) I have made great friends, tried new things, shared the gospel, made tons of money, traversed hundreds of miles, and so much more. Truly I believe more than ever before that God never intended for the mission to be the climax of my life, seeing has how the fullness of joy has only continued to grow since then. However; I tend to worry, my biggest worry has been whether or not I am doing what the Lord wants me to do. With so many big choices immediately placed before me, I have found it to be very difficult to feel completely confident in my decisions. Little did I know that I was about to get a bigger lesson on faith and trust in God than I ever had. Not even a day after I got home, opportunities fell into my lap, and doors started opening for me which I didn’t even know were there. These were grand testaments to me that God really does provide; nevertheless, I still found myself worrying that perhaps I wouldn’t know what to do, that I wouldn’t have enough money for school, and that I hadn’t picked the right major. Clearly, all of these feelings and thoughts are not examples of exercising faith. I definitely wanted more faith, but just wasn’t sure how to get it. Constantly the spirit and loved ones around me have encouraged me that everything would work out for the best, but I couldn’t bring myself to embrace the idea. I have definitely had my moments of great faith since I have been back and I honestly did and do believe that God will provide for me, but I have had my moments of doubt and anxiety. Suddenly, I got spiritual reinforcement. It came the way that I have told people it would come to them for almost two years, it came in a simple thought and feeling; I got my revelation by listening to a hymn during Sacrament Meeting this last Sunday. Hymns have such a powerful way of reaching the heart in a way that words cannot. It seems to heighten your spiritual sensitivity allowing the holy ghost to converse with you more clearly and specifically. In a way that it has never done before Hymn #97, Lead Thou Me On, struck my heart and filled me with a supernal sense of hope. I stared at the words as I read them, almost incapable of speaking as I realized the words sung in that song were directly meant for me at that moment. While the whole song was powerful these parts struck me the most. “Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene–one step enough for me. I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that thou shouldst lead me on. I love to choose and see my path; but now, lead thou me on!… So long thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone.” As those words resonated within me I was overcome with emotion. Almost to the point of tears I thanked God for the blessing of his spirit and especially His Son, Jesus Christ. God had provided all things necessary for me to be happy and to succeed and he would continue to do so. As I listened to this song it’s message was written on “the fleshy tables of my heart”, and that truthfulness of its message was confirmed by the power of The Holy Ghost, sealing that testimony forever in my soul. Since that powerful moment, what I learned has only been confirmed as I have seen the hand of God working wonders in my life. I am still far from perfect and I still have much more to learn about faith, but I know for me, the newly returned missionary, daily relying on the spirit will, out of necessity, continue to be apart of my life. Coming home hasn’t been the easiest thing I have ever done, but I have enjoyed it and it has made me a better person; even better than who I was a little more than three weeks ago when I was still a missionary in Florida. I am know that my Heavenly Father loves me and that because of Jesus Christ, if I remain faithful, all things will work out for my gain and I will gain all that the father has in store for me. Until that time, “I do not ask to see the distant scene–one step [is] enough for me.”

I love y’all so very much!

Brother Joshua Cordon

Let Him Lead

Dear Family and Friends,

Well it certainly was a great week. It was a temple week and we had a baptism. Which also made the week a very busy, and spirit filled week. The temple is such a wonderful place to to be able to be bless to go on my mission is such a wonderful gift. The only other place outside of temples that I have been able to feel the spirit as strong is at the sacred grove. The difference is that temples are dedicated homes to the Lord, and we are given promises and blessings and light and knowledge in the temples when we seek for it. What a great blessing for the mission to be able to receive light and knowledge for the areas that we are in.

Had a really cool experience this week with getting a haircut and taking the time to talk to her about the Plan of Salvation. There are some many moments in our lives that we have peoples attention that we can share simple and small truths about the gospel. The question is are we taking advantage of them all. It was a lesson to me of how easy it was to take advantage of the time that I had while she was cutting my hair to direct the conversation to the gospel.

Come to find out that her mom has recently passed away and she has been doing A LOT of researching into afterlife and what is really waiting for us. I was then easily able to share with her the wonderful truth that we know about the life to come. I also was able to share with her how we know this because we have prophets and God still talks to the world through them so that we know of these wonderful truths.
When are truly willing to take advantage of every moment that is given to share truths of the gospel and build up His children. Then He will be willing and able to guide even the plans you make and the steps you take to give you the moments to build his kingdom and his children. The willingness to give him everything is the price, and the reward is more then could ever be dreamed about.

Life becomes so easy when everything is guided by Him. So that is the question are we letting Him guide us everyday?

I Love You All
Thank you for everything that you have done in my life.

Elder S Cordon

God Is Not Dead

Dear Family and Friends,

Such wonderful miracles this week. We have been teaching two Part Member Families that live together for a while now and making slow progress until this week. Seth and Liz, and Monty and Deedee are the two pairs. Well Seth and Liz just had a baby and it is incredible how life events like that can really change people instantaneously. The Book of Mormon has also been being read throughout the house, and this week Seth and Monty were at church and all four will be there this coming week. I am so grateful for the miracles that I have been able to witness with this family and cannot wait to see Liz and Monty get baptized and then to see them All go to the temple to be sealed as families.

That is what this work is about sealing families together forever. The goal is and always should be the temple. The missionary propose ends with endure to the end not baptism.

I cannot wait for the miracles that await this family as they progress toward Heavenly Father. That is the moat rewarding part of missionary work is to have first row seats to the miracles of God. To be able to see just how open God is with miracles in our day. Especially when there are so many people that dont believe in God let alone miracles.

I am grateful for the wonderful mission that I am able to take part in and dont wish to be anywhere else.

Thank you for you wonderful support and prayers. I love you all so much.

Elder S Cordon

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

#ActInFaith

Dear Family & Friends,

It is always amazing to see people, reach the gate of baptism. To make that step towards our Heavenly Father and to make that first of many covenants with Him. Brian made that step on Saturday, he has used the last 7 weeks to seek after and find truth. He has taken the challenge that we issue to everyone, to search, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon. To live the commandments and see if they do indeed bless your life, and then when this does happen, (for it always does) and when you receive your answer that the Book of Mormon is true, (which also always happens if done with real intent) then it is the simple step to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to be baptized by someone that holds the priesthood of God that was restored to Joseph Smith.

The miracles that take place in someones life helps to build my testimony. To see the restored gospel bring such light and knowledge into someones life is the miracle. It is the proof that the fullness of the gospel has been restored. There is no cap on the spiritual knowledge that can be received when given the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and when we make and keep the sacred covenants with the Lord. As one uses those gifts given freely, those are to steps on the climb to become like the savior, and to be eligible for the full birthright from our Father.

These are established laws to which the world is run on. It doesn’t matter what faith you are or if you even have faith at all. God is God and always will be God whether you believe in Him or not. So that being a truth God has established his plan and his laws that if lived will bring blessings from God, Regardless Of Your Belief. For if God did not honor His laws then he would cease to be God. Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”
In this verse we have our salvation, or our damnation. We have our gift or our curse. We have our joy or our sorrow. We have our freedom or our chains. For in this verse we are shown the nature of the double edge of our agency.

God lives, He has restored his church to its fullness, Jesus Christ is at the head of this church, our prophet Thomas S Monson is guided by Him, and anyone can know this by accepting the same challenge that Brian took. Test it for yourselves, Read, Ponder, and Pray with real intent and you will receive the same answer Brian did. Then when you do, ACT!

Elder Cordon

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Good Week!

Dear Family and Friends,

I love being in this area, not that I didn’t love my last area, it has just given me some great growth that I needed in the mission. I have learned to turn to the Lord. I have come to know him very personally and I am praying more and it is really helping my strength. Coming closer to Christ doesn’t mean that you are not going to have problems. It doesn’t mean you are going to have problems taken away. However it does mean that you will gain a new perspective on the things that you do need to deal with. An Eternal perspective.

We had a family that we have been working with come to church this last week. They had a great time and felt the spirit. We were able to get a lot of people in the ward to make sure that they went and said hi. Sometimes it is a matter of bringing it to others attention of what they need to do.

Well I love you all. Have a great week.
Elder S Cordon

Change

Dear Family and Friends,

So this was a great week! We had an investigator make the step of baptism. Tre has aloud the gospel to change his life in so many ways. He came from a very rough past but the gospel is such that the atonement covers everything. He has really come to know that God is truly our Father and that He loves and cares for us, also that we get to live with him again and that the Gospel makes that happen.

Tre at his Baptism

Tre at his Baptism

Seeing him grow towards God has really given me another witness of the glory that awaits us at the end of this life. We have this life to prepare to meet God lets not waste it.

We have another investigator Tim that is a husband of a member. He is letting his desire to know the truth grow inside him and it is wonderful to see. Funny story I almost met them in NY haha small world we live in.

So this week was my first week as District leader. What a GREAT opportunity I have to really come to know just how unworthy I am. HaHa I laugh because just how great it is that we are always going to be unworthy. This gospel is not a museum for the righteous it is a hospital for the sinners. We get to grow every day and perfect talents and abilities given to us to strength the kingdom of God. We are also given weaknesses so that we may humble ourselves to God and allow Him to shape us into who He needs us to be.

It was such a great experience at District meeting. The Spirit did so much teaching and confirming. The spirit will always teach to our understanding and in a plainness that allows testimony to be built on solid truth without any room to second guess. What a great blessing that we have, to be able to have to spirit as a guide.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Love
Elder Steven Cordon

Slow Start, Strong Finish! – Joshua

Dear Family and Friends,

Things went really well this week. We started the week off with some really low numbers, though we still experienced some great moments, but from Thursday on, things really took off.

One of the early miracles was with Mati. We have been working with her for about 2 months and in all that time have only had 1 complete lesson with her. We were in her area Monday night so i decided to shoot her a text asking if we could come over. To my great surprise, she said yes. We quickly made our way over there to have a lesson with her. She told us when we got there that she had no sooner finished praying for guidance and help when the phone buzzed with my text. I had no idea at the time that it was a prompting from the spirit to send her a text, to me it was just a good idea. Nevertheless it was a spiritual prompting and it got her into tears as she shared it with us. We then set a baptismal date with her for the 19th of October. The spirit was so strong in that lesson, and she kept saying how much peace she felt. I love this gospel!

The pivotal point this week was a humble moment of prayer. Thursday night heavily relied on the fact that one or both of the members who agreed to go on trade-offs that night would still be able to make it, which is why it was so devastating that they both called and said they couldn’t make it that night. Granted they both were pretty legitimate excuses, but it was nonetheless very frustrating. I was lost… I had no idea what were were going to do for the last 3 hours of the evening. It was at this point that Elder Barcala, offered the humble advice of biking down a side street, to do a kneeling prayer and beg for help. That is what we did. After standing up after the prayer, an incredible feeling of peace fell upon me. I still didn’t know where to go, but I knew that God was in charge. We got back on our bikes, and just started heading down the street. We talked to everyone we saw…everyone. And it paid off. We taught four great lessons, and got two new investigators in only three hours. Those are good numbers for a days work.

Another miracle we had this week was that on Saturday after two great sessions of Stake Conference, we decided to go and visit a former investigator. We happened to pull up to his house the same time he did, which was a miracle because he is never home. We talked to him for a bit and then he ended up offering us a ride home. We had a great conversation with him and he made several comments about how he was looking for a church that he was be comforted in. Seeing how he is a pretty bright guy, I am sure he had to have known what kind of reaction that missionaries would have to such a comment. Either he is pulling our leg or he is interested in investigating the church again. I pray it is the latter.

On Sunday, Nick and the Suttons were all able to come to Stake Conference and it made it such a great session. They all had great experiences and we are expecting to see their faces there quite frequently. It surprised Nick to find out how many Mormons he knew. He ended up talking with people for a solid 15 minutes after conference ended. We worked hard for the rest of the day and had two really great lessons with one of them resulting in a new investigator. Her name is Kim. She has two children in the military which was our original connection point. We went over there on Sunday and stood on her porch for an hour and one of the more spiritual lessons of my mission. She readily agreed for us to come back.

I have no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father cares about every single one of us. He proves that by making time for everyone of us, so that whenever we want to talk to him through prayer, he is listening. Listening with pure understanding and love. I know Heavenly Father hears our prayers, and he proves it by answering every sincere prayer we humbly offer. He wants to hear from us, so talk to him tonight.

I love ya’ll!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Here are some updated pictures of Joshua from his missions’ blog.

Crazy! Can you spot Elder (Josh) Cordon?

Short one this week!

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week was a terrific one. We stayed really busy and saw a lot of success. We managed to set 3 new baptismal dates and found 6 new investigators. The Lord truly is taking care of us.

I am all out of time though so I am just going to share a quick testimony.

I know with every ounce of my soul that this church is run by REAL Apostles and Prophets today. Men who truly do receive guidance and revelation for the world from God. I sustain these men and would serve in whatever capacity they asked me to do. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; that he truly did see God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that Book of Mormon is the most correct book of earth. I know that if someone wants to experience true and lasting happiness than they need to live the commandments. I honestly believe that if people only knew about the happiness they could receive from living the Gospel that not a soul on earth would reject us at the door step. I also know though that God is working on everyone, and that our job as missionaries is to find those who are ready and direct them to wonderful gift that savior has given everybody.

I thought to myself this morning that the savior is like a father over a few month period has lost sleep and put all his energy into making some handmade gifts for his children to give them at Christmas. Each gift is personal and was made with love, and designed to bring great happiness to each child. On Christmas day this father offers his gifts to his children. The first child notices that the gift is in a small box and decides that it most not be that great and doesn’t open it. The next child opens the gift and sets it on his shelf where it gathers dust. But the last child takes the gift and cherishes it and allows it to make him happy everyday. Just like these children Christ has offered us a gift that will bring us ultimate happiness, but what are we going to do with it? What are we doing with it?

I know that our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ love us and want nothing more than to see us be happy. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all!!!

Elder Joshua Cordon

Tried and Blessed This Week For Sure!!

Dear Family and Friends,

It is interesting how much my mission can feel like a roller coaster ride. Last Monday we had a district bowling party which was awesome! I had a whopping score of 116, and beat my companion so he had to buy me ice cream. He makes all these bets with me and has literally lost every one of them. He would have had to buy groceries twice now if I wasn’t so nice.

So one of the highlight lessons this week was when we got our super awesome family, the Suttons, over to the home of one of our awesome families in the church, the Hergets. I was on trade-offs that day and Elder Newbold went with Br. Hand up to the North side of town and Br. Herget was my companion so I could be there for the lesson. They had dinner and the lesson went great! It was about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Faith, Repentence, Baptism, The Gift of the Holy Ghost, and [Enjoying] to the End) blesses families. They have kids that are the same age so that worked out really well and the spirit was very strong. Also I got the Hergets to teach most of the lesson, and I feel like they could be great friends. It is so great to work with members!

So I go from that on Thursday to the worst spiritual experience of my mission on Friday. We going to contact a potential on our records when we saw this guy in his front yard playing with his dogs. We decided to go and talk with them and as I was walking up I got this terrible feeling like something bad was going to happen. So I should have just got out of there, but I wasn’t sure of how to handle the situation. The guy invited us inside, and once again I had that feeling and I literally new exactly what was going to happen. I prayed for strength though rather than just getting out of there.

We talked to him for a little bit and got to know him better, then suddenly the spirit leaves and the guy changes the subject and begins pegging us with these ridiculously worded and annoying questions. Trying to get us tangled in our words. He failed and it got him obviously frustrated. Then he starts to tell us how he had this experience where he went to turn the page of his friends Book of Mormon and he felt a feeling that he hasn’t felt since he did sorcery. And tells us that we simply haven’t asked enough questions or else we would see that our religion is false, and that he feels bad that we are going to hell and that he loves us more than we could possibly comprehend and that is the only reason he does this. I bore a short testimony about how I follow the spirit because it testifies of truth and that he didn’t speak truth. And that if he wanted to know, he could find out if the Book of Mormon was true but he has to read first, turning pages won’t do anything for you. Elder Newbold shared a testimony as well, and then we shook hands and departed. What a waste of a solid hour of prime proselyting time!

Also if anybody wants to know what that feeling was that he felt when went to turn the page, it was the same feeling Joseph Smith felt before his prayer in the grove.

After that experience we were totally drained of the spirit, so we gave each other blessings that night, and I was felt one of the most peaceful feelings I have ever felt. And the blessing gave me some wonderful counsel.

The following day went really well. And then Yesterday we had a baptism in the Ward! It wasn’t one of our investigators, but it is always good to see some one change their life for the better and come into the fold of God. God is great and he takes good care of those who listen to his counsel! I know this to be true and I can feel the blessings in my life as I try each and every day to align my will with God’s. Then only way that can happen is through sincere and earnest prayer, something that I am very grateful for!

I love you all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

P.S. this is the sixth week of my mission in the field which means that transfers is coming up! Here is a picture of the current zone though. I wonder how it will change.

 

First Zone of my mission.

First Zone of my mission.