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

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The Search is Over, But the Joy Has Just Begun

Dear Family and Friends,

This weekend marked another wonderful point in my mission. Like always far more happens then I could ever truly share in a simple email, but I will do my best to capture the amazing store of at least one man.

The story from my perspective really began with his daughter. She is one amazing person and I am grateful that I have been blessed to be part of her story. When I first got to this ward she had just been baptized into the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward. She had friends in this ward though and felt that she would do better in a family ward until she got her feet under her. We begun working with her though and teaching the new member lessons. Considering that nobody is perfect and that even after baptism most people have a long way to go before they are firm in the church. We worked with her a lot to help her develop habits of daily scripture study and prayer. As she strengthened her testimony the desire grew within her to share this message with her dad and her brother. If I could only describe the transformation that she has had since I have been working with her it would blow you away. Her transformation was so incredible that her Dad who never has been active in any church even though he has considered himself catholic all his life decided to join us one Sunday for church. He came for the first time last October. The spirit was so strong that he said that from the first moment he walked into the building he knew there was something different. At the same time her younger brother started getting active in the scouting program. After some time he had finally made the changes in his life to prepare him for baptism. He knew right from the beginning it is what he needed to do and he understood that it would be a lifestyle change, so now that he has finally been baptized he is in for good. The baptism went very smoothly and all his brothers and his children came to the baptism. Even his very strong catholic mom came and very much enjoyed the baptism.

It was one of the sweetest moments of my mission. To see the father of a family that I have worked so closely with and have grown so close to finally make that step. His son David will soon follow and his son Tony has started showing a lot of interest lately so perhaps before I even know it the family will be getting sealed in the temple. It is the moments like this that help me feel that my mission has been paid in full everything else on top of that is just a bonus. I love this work so much and nothing brings me greater joy than watching a family heal and come closer together through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Truly that is what this work is all about.

I love y’all
Elder Joshua Cordon

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Let Us Act

Dear Family & Friends,

We’ll last week was a busy one a good one for some ups and downs. We were able to add a few more people to the teaching pool so we are seeing some great success from our finding efforts, we have been really consistent since I got here. Some of our investigators made some huge improvement this last week, like one brought his father to church who is so cool! Which is so good cause we need more priesthood holders. One has a really strong desire and has had a lot of anti and family opposition and its cool to see her fighting through all of it. Because conference taught us “having sincere questions is not the question but, where you go for answers”. We have some investigators who have listened to our exhortation to read and pray to know for themselves and nothing is sweeter for a missionary when they do it and find that it works. But on the flipside this week we had two who would not, no matter how much we did on our end, read and pray. Its a simple fact, missionaries can bring the spirit unto people but we cannot bring it into people as 2 Nephi 32 teaches us that it is the spirits job and the individual through there agency to act is what allows the spirit to do that. I think if we apply these principles in any teaching situation whether it be in church, families, schools, sports, or military. Its all the same we need to teach and help people to do it themselves we are objects to act, any other way is simply contrary to our nature and the way God made us.

I love you and hope the holidays are full of happiness and joy as we ponder the glad tidings of great joy which is our Savior Jesus Christ who came to save us all if we come unto to Him. Let us show our true gratitude by coming unto to him and helping all that we can remember the true reason for Christmas.

Love you all

Elder Jared Cordon

P.S. Here is some pictures! BTW my pose is demonstrating how main landers sit everywhere, bus lines, when reading the paper, really anywhere.

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The Pains and Blessings of Missionary Work

Dear Family and Friends,

So the news from here in the Orient. Well the work has been going fantastically well. We were able to meet to ladies the sisters found, One she is amazing has two kids one 14 year old boy and one 8 year old girl. Super cute and the 8 year old will be a great addition to the primary of 4. We have not met here husband yet but that is to come. The other lady has a 6 year old girl, also a great addition. Also another potential family we are working with whose name is Mr Lam he has two kids one is 12 and the other 7 I am not sure. But if all goes well we will be populating the future of this ward quite nicely. Thats the foresight on the miracles lying ahead for December.

On other news, I got a call last night that breaks my heart and might be the hardest thing missionaries ever face. Gary my recent convert from Butterfly has informed the bishop and investigators that he is no longer coming to church and will be joining another church. No doubt there was anti involved but, this is so hard for me to swallow because last week I got his phone number and all week I have been thinking about him kept getting the impression to call him, I finally followed this yesterday and wrote him a letter and gave him a call but no answer, it was later when I received the call from the elders about him. On thursday I was even about to write him an email but something distracted me and I thought I would put it off for today. Well on thursday night is when this all went down. So I was able to get in contact with him and he hasn’t not responded to my text. I feel as if the Lord was trying to get me to be there for him is his time of decision making to be a light and a guide. But I missed my chance and for now he is gone. So all my recent converts now are less active. I try to wonder why this happens, what have I done wrong, I think the simplest thing is I am not perfect and the lord knows that although I have done all I can I think these people are starting to realize that salvation is not easy. We all at times feel like we need to quite that it would just be easier but the truth is we can’t. Because salvation is not a cheap experience. The Lord showed us that as he cried in agony on the cross asking the Father where are’t thou. Joseph Smith felt that on many occasions but, maybe most strongly in liberty jail. Truth is all Hell is trying to stop us from getting salvation because it is that great and that amazing, it is always worth it to keep going and we can’t give up.

I love you Thank you for the support.

Elder Jared Cordon

A Message of Joy

Dear Family and Friends,

I try to reflect on my life as much as I can. Even on a mission its hard to find time. But when I do its always a joyous experience. A principle that I have striven to get my investigators and recent converts to understand and is simply and clearly laid out in 2 Nephi 28:30–

“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”

The Lord knows when we are ready to receive new revelation. You must do all you can to seek what God has and to always do his will. I think a big part of that is receiving the revelation in the order which he desires us to receive it. We can all strive to understand the basic ordinances and principles of the gospel being first faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and second Repentance. If we all devoted our entire lives to studying these two principles then we truly would only understand a fragment of what they mean, there is so much to learn. There is a reason that truly all conference talks relate back to these two things.

On an even deeper note– How many of us truly love our Savior Jesus Christ? How many of us really love our neighbor? I dont know if I have ever heard someone express the intensity of Joy they felt as did Ammon or Alma after having given everything to the Lord and learning to love their enemies who countlessly tried to end their lives. I know that their is no greater joy in this life than that of a servant of the Lord. No matter how much money, material wealth, or excitement you can draw from a temporal nature it cannot and will not compare. If you find your life not were you desire it then I invite you to choose this day to serve the Lord and partake of incomprehensible JOY.

I love you all and appreciate all the support.

Elder Jared Cordon

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

I’m lovin it!! -Jared

Hello Family and Friends,

This was a fast but very amazing week!

Our 1 investigator is starting to see the difference in his life after he started meeting us and is showing a lot more desire to accept our message. He said you and your companion are always so happy! I believe its because of your faith. I want that. Well he will get it, he knows he needs to give some things up and thats the first step.

We also added another number to the list of invetigators another old man who we met in the park taught a lesson, then again the next day, and brought him to church and I think he is really liking it. So we got two underway and if we can meet with four other very awesome people we had taught last week then we can be seeing some real growth.

A big lesson I learned this last week is the true need to have the spirit in all you do, the teaching, the finding, the studying and especially the planning. This last week at one of our nightly plannings we were pretty lazy about where we should go and kinda just picked. Well the next day we really felt the effects of that. We had a couple experiences and just really were not feeling the spirit and we didnt know what was wrong. Well we prayed to have the spirit and kept working but that didn’t seem to work. So finally we decided that maybe we should go where The Lord wants us to go. So we prayed, looked at the map book, and went to a new spot we both felt good about.

Well we then ended up having two very good street lessons to people who really needed it and we should hopefully be seeing them again this week. It taught me a lot about really and truly relying on the lord in all that we do!

I have a quick thought for you all.

You become what you think about.

Read Mosiah 4:30

“to a great extent we accomplish what we think about. Your life is influenced more by your own thoughts than anything else. How could a person possibly become what he is not thinking? Nor is any thought when persistantly entertained, too small to have its effect. The divinity that shaped our ends is indeed in ourselves” Spencer W. kimball

“A mans’ character is the complete some of all his thoughts, you can know a man soley on what he thinks about, when he doesn’t have to think.” Can’t remember

Just a good reminder to keep your thoughts on what’s most important in life!

Love you all!

Elder Jared Cordon

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