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

Trio, Training, and Tracting with Bikes -Josh

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week has been an interesting one. We finished out our trio of Elder Largo, Elder Newbold, and I. It was a lot of fun being in a trio but it made it harder to focus on the work. I learned a lot though nevertheless and we still managed to stay very productive. By the end of it all I felt like I had two good friends.

Having to say goodbye to Elder Newbold was bitter sweet. I felt like we have become good friends after 3 months and we taught really well together, as a result I had come to trust him a lot. Though I am excited to mix things up, it has proven difficult to regain that trust. It will come though, of that I am sure.

Elder Cordon with his new companion Elder Barcala

Elder Barcala and Elder Joshua Cordon

On Wednesday I got my new companion. His name is Elder Barcala. He is from Scottsdale, Arizona and he is a convert of 2 years. He is 22 and already has his bachelors in criminal justice from ASU. He has a terrific fire for the work and I hope that as his trainer that I can kindle that fire and help him become a very confident and powerful teacher.

Wednesday night we went over to a members house for dinner and afterwards did splits with him and his brother. So day one I have my new companion going out on his own. He did pretty good actually.

On Thursday the ward mission leader and his wife helped us out a ton by showing my companion around and helping get bikes. Being on bikes has been bitter sweet, while we drip in sweat biking in shirt and tie in the hot Florida sun it is easier to street contact when you are on bikes. It is far less intimidating to approach someone on bike than in a car. Also when we would drive slowly in a car down neighborhood streets it was hard to not think that we were the police.

We have gotten into the groove now though and we are starting to build up our teaching pool again. We have been working hard and it is paying off. We are meeting a lot of good people and I just hope that in some small way that we make their day a little brighter with every visit.

We were blessed to be able to catch Ben last night and we took him to the church to watch the CES fireside. Ben has been through a lot and is living in a terrible environment, but while we were watching the broadcast I could tell that a lot of the things hit him really powerfully, and I hope that he can put into action some of the incredible advice of Elder Russel M. Nelson. I was really grateful to be able to see it and it just made me so pumped that general conference in coming up.

I just love this work so much. I know now more than ever that God loves everyone of his children here on earth. I also know that by applying the wonderfully beautiful and simple principles of the gospel into ours that it will make us happier. This life is about growth and constant improvement. I think that one of the biggest sins of this generation is laziness and complacency. God wants us to achieve our wonderful potential, but he can’t force us to do it. It is our job, but you better believe that through the grace of Jesus Christ he will be there every step of the way strengthening us. Life is like climbing a mountain. Some people get tired and convince themselves they are satisfied with how far they have come so they set up camp. Others are disheartened by the steep climbs that lie ahead. But for those who want to make it to the top to see the stunning views above the tree line, Christ has offered to be our climbing partner. He has the made the climb before and if we trust him and do our part, them we can reach the summit of our potential. So get off of the couch and get climbing! Spiritually of course 😉

Love y’all
Elder Joshua 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

BAPTISM!! Whoot Whoot!

Dear Family and Friends,

So the first awesome thing would definitely have to be that I had my first baptism on Saturday!! It was my first two actually 🙂 The two awesome kiddies were Chris and Kayliah, 12 and 10 respectively. We have been working with them for about a month. They are the grandkids of recent convert Sis. Hug. I got to baptize and Kayliah and Elder Newbold baptized Chris. It was truly a special experience. I feel like I can say that I experienced complete happiness during that baptism if only for a brief moment. A feeling that I will no doubt experience at many future points in my life. The baptism was beautiful though and I will make sure to send pictures next week. Sadly we can’t send any here at the library.

A bunch of other miracles happened on Saturday. The first is that I woke up knowing that we had to visit this less-active lady on the roster. We tried once before but she wasn’t home. When we got there, she had just gotten back the day before after having been gone for three weeks and she was about to leave for another week. That lady really needed us and we were able to chat a bit about the gospel and do some service for her then and we agreed to mow her lawn. She is still very heart broken about a divorce she went through and just really needs the gospel. Hopefully we can reactive her.

The next was that after the baptism we got three leftover pizza’s from an activity at the church earlier that day. At first I was like SCORE FREE PIZZA!! but then my comp had a different plan. We have struggling to see one of our awesome investigators Br. Sutton. So we swung by there place and just walked through the front door with the pizzas in hand. It ended up being an answer to their prayers because he had three hungry kids and was really stressed out. We were able to have a lesson with him and do a harvest blessing as well. The difference in the spirit before and after we left was really noticable.

Last week was a low numbers week, but we did find 5 awesome new gators. Also I feel like i really underwent so serious spiritual growth this past week. I have tackled some mentally tough gospel topics and have come out unscathed with a new found love for all the scriptures, and a stronger testimony in Jesus Christ as the savior of the world.

I know with every ounce of my being that our heavenly father knows and loves everyone of us (1 Nephi 22:25), and wants the best for us. I would die before I deny the testimony of Jesus Christ, and even more so I am living for that testimony by going on a mission. The best thing for us is to be tried and to grow. Like we always say here in the mission field, “there is no growth in the comfort zone.”

Some great scriptures from this past week include:
2 Nephi 1:13-23 (BE MEN!)
2 Nephi 1:27
D&C 101:35
Matthew 10:39
That should be good! Happy Studys 😉

Love Ya’ll

Elder Joshua Cordon

First Week in the Field

Dear Family and Friends,

Well to bring you all up to speed I’ll start with where I left off, the MTC. My last Sunday in the MTC was incredible. The Devotional was great, it was talking about how when you are teaching someone if you don’t understand each other than what you teach them will go right over there heads. So you have to make sure that you understand where they are coming from, and that they understand what your purpose is. After the devotional we went and watched the Character of Christ. It is a devotional given by David A. Bednar back on Christmas in 2011. It really put everything simply for me and gave me the proper perspective for my mission. To sum up the main message: Christ was the best missionary who ever lived, so if we want to be good missionaries we must be like Christ, and to be like Christ we cannot think about ourselves; basically we have to realize that it HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH US. I hope that I will be able to maintain this terrific attitude of selflessness my entire mission. I know that that is impossible, but I know by trying I will experience many miracles.

I left the MTC on Tuesday, In order to catch my flight that morning I had to get up at 2:30 in the morning. Well that is when my alarm was set, but I didn’t actually get up until 2:45. Either way my companion and I clean up shop caught quick breakfast and was on the bus ready to go to the airport at 4:00. After we got to the airport and escaped the chaos upon getting through security we were able to breath easy for a little while before our flight. It was this time that we could call home and talk to our parents for a little bit. It was truly a blessing to talk to my parents knowing that our next conversation wouldn’t happen until Christmas. Because of delays and just a lot of flying we didn’t get to the Jacksonville airport until about 4:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday.

When I stepped outside the airport I thought I got a concussion from how thick the humidity was. Now that I have been here a few days though I feel like I have acclimated quite well. We had some orientation meetings on Tuesday, before going over the mission presidents home and eating some awesome dinner. It was about time I got to eat some good home cooked food. The MTC food was starting to take its toll on my system. That night the Elders in my MTC distict and I stayed at a local members home, just to get back to the church at 8:00 in the morning. For most of the day on wednesday it was more orientation meetings. Very informative and helpful, but very boring.

Finally it was time to meet our trainers. I got a great trainer who happens to be from Bountiful, Utah. His name is Elder Newbold and we get along great. Along with assigning us our trainers they also assigned us to our areas. We got assigned to the Deep Creek area, which is a new area. So not only are we opening, but I am also getting trained. The Deep Creak area is in the nice slow community of Lake City, Florida. It is really nice out here and the people in the Church are awesome. We are getting fed by members 6 out of the next 7 days. On top of all of that we have a nice new apartment and we get to drive around the classy 2013 Ford Fusion. That car had only 89 miles on it when we got it.
We do have a lot of work ahead of us though. We have before us the difficult task of building a teaching pool, and until then it is basically just a lot of knocking doors. We have had to miracles though that I would like to share with you.

Miracle #1
After going all day on Friday without accomplishing anything, and I mean anything (we didn’t talk to a single person and all our scheduled appointments fell through). We decided to talk to an in-active member named Br. Green. When we pulled up to his house he was sitting on his porch relaxing and mending a broken rib. We talked with him for a bit and asked if any of his neighbors would be interested in hearing our message. He pointed out two of his neighbors and told us about them. We thanked him and went a nearby appointment that ended canceling on us. We decided then to go meet Br. Greens neighbors. The first house was home to Karen G.. As she answered the door she was a bit reserved at first, but decided to let us in to teach her about our message (first lesson of my mission). We got to know her for a little while and found out pretty quickly that she has a very close relationship with God. We taught her about Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and then after talking about the book of Mormon and other things, taught her about God’s Plan of Happiness. I could feel the presence of the Holy Ghost so powerfully and constant the entire lesson, and she really liked our message. After about an 1 hr and 40 min we finally closed with a prayer and left her with the commitment to read and pray to know if the Book of Mormon was true. We plan on stopping by again this week.
Miracle #2

We were knocking doors yesterday after little success for the day and finally someone answered the door. This happy guy answered the door and accepted our offer to here a message about Jesus Christ. He rounded up his wife and son, turned the T.V. off and was ready to listen. After getting to know them a little more we found out that they were knew to the area and that they were originally from Louisiana. We also found out that he was pastor in Louisiana for over 10 years though he pastured for nearly every denomination from Methodist to Baptist. We shared our message about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith and introduced the Book of Mormon. He was very open to our message and said that he knows that God sent us to his home to share that message with him and he was very eager for a return appointment. He also shared with us some wonderful words of encouragement and told us to never give up no matter how much rejection we face. And he said never complain about experiencing some hard times simply just say that you are “In between blessing.” I Really love that quote from him. We ended the lesson by leaving the Saviors peace and blessing on his home and family and he thanked us for the spirit that we brought into his home. O what a blessing it was to meet that family.
I know it was a lot, but a lot has happened. I hope everything is going well for y’all

Elder Joshua Cordon