Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Dear Family and Friends,

What a wonderful week! I truly felt the Christmas Spirit and I will never forget these experiences!

We wanted to see miracles this week and so preparing for Christmas we did a special fast on wednesday. We asked to truly feel the love that Christ feels and to be able to find people that need our help. So Christmas after talking to family we went out to work and despite that fact that it was raining we met some really cool people who have had pretty hard lives! A ward member had given us these little christmas goodie bags to give to investigators and Less Actives so thats what we used. These people really enjoyed them and we also found other little ways to serve people. I think the greatest miracle I felt though is the pure love of Christ that filled my soul that whole day! We also saw some other miracles while doing some less active finding one ladies recorded said she did not want anybody to contact here ever again but we knocked anyway and she opened the door and said: “Elders I haven’t been to church forever, wow its been awhile since I have seen you, hows the ward…” She was so happy to be in touch with us again and we will see her next week. We also were able to see and give presents to some others as well. Also the ward Christmas party was this week and we were able to have a kid we met last week come who really enjoyed it then we taught him again the next day. Also another lady who we are working with drove from a mainland family vacation got to come then headed back after, and she loved it!

We also saw many other miracles this week and although most of everyone we are working with were too busy to meet up we were able to see some great success!

I have learned so much from these goals of 65 that just by pushing a little harder when you don’t want to go anymore and by just using every minute you have it really can make a huge difference!

Love you all and keep improving life is to precious and to sweet to stop!

Sorry for my poor english, my chinese is just getting better.

Elder Jared Cordon

#FilledWithJoy

Dear Family and Friends,

This week I was able to go to the temple. The temple is such an amazing place, a literal heaven on earth. I am grateful that we have temples on the earth today, to be able to learn so much about our Heavenly Fathers plan for us. To be able to make covenants with God which in turn gives great power and blessing from Him to make it through this life. I never fill closer to God then when I am in temples.

I also got to go up to Leavenworth this weekend. We were handing out PassAlong Cards for the share the gift campaign. It is such a beautiful place. I will come back to visit it for sure. The Christmas ward party that we had was a great success. There was a shadow nativity and musical performances and dinner. Lots of people brought friends, and everyone that we talked to at least invited someone. That was Friday and on Sunday we had a very spiritual Christmas sacrament meeting. The Christmas Season just has a way of filling everything with Joy!

Love you all very much.
Thank you all so much.
Merry Christmas.
Elder S Cordon

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It’s Christmas Time In the Mission

Dear Family and Friends,

One more week done and gone… I am at that point in my mission where that hurts to say that. I would be happy if time would just stop for a while. This last week was a great one though! Definitely the highlight was the fact that we had the mission Christmas Conference. I was on an exchange in Lake City the day before so I had to leave a lot earlier to get there but all was well. It was such a great time! I was amazed at how different it felt from last year. Even though it was in the same chapel as last year and the agenda was very similar, even the orientation of the building felt very different. Some big differences this time was, that I was helping run it rather than simply sitting back and enjoying it, also I know every missionary by name now too, rather than feeling like I only know a small portion. It was the same event, but my perspective changed the whole experience for me. Also I was part of our Zones skit. We did a missionary rendition of Elf, and when the missionary was trying to street contact in New York City, I was a street performer who got to bust out a few dance moves. I knew that my Folk Dance training would come in hand at some point my mission. It was a lot of fun, but now it is no secret that I like to dance.

This week we had two miracles! Sadly I was on an exchange out of town for part of it, but nevertheless they happened. The first was with a wonderful lady named Donna. We met her a week and a half ago and she said we could come by on sunday to teach her. That was last sunday. When we showed up to see if she was going to keep the appointment (because a lot of people don’t) we not only found that she was expecting us, but that she had dug up her old book of mormon that someone had given her a while back and she had read the first few chapters, marked it up, and had a few questions for us. I was dumb-founded as she told us all of this. Turns out this retired women with 11 birds is far more prepared than we ever would have thought. On Wednesday Elder Layton went back and taught her and she enthusiastically accepted a baptismal date for the 18th of January. She came yesterday to church and loved it! Also the relief society just adored her so it was phenomenal all around.

The other miracle was that on Wednesday, Elder Layton went and saw Jorge Simons. The father of one of our recent converts and has come to church for the past few months and has been reading the book of mormon almost daily. So of course we know that he is ready to make the step of baptism, but he has been so nervous to make the commitment. During the lesson on Wednesday Jorge has finally decided though that he is ready to make that step and he has picked The 24th of January as his time to enter into the waters of baptism. I am so excited for him! It is huge that he finally made that step!

I love all of you and I hope that you will take the time this Christmas season to reach out to those around you and help them feel the love of God we so frequently take for granted!

Love y’all
Elder Joshua Cordon

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Merry Christmas

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas!!

We had a really good week this last week. We were only able to meet with one of our investigators, and had our lowest week of teaching lessons. But we also had a week were we probably met more potential than any other previous week. One cool miracle is we planned to go finding out to Lamma island. Right as we were walking up to the ferry it was leaving, barely missed it. Well that gave us another 2 hours so we said to ourselves there must be someone we need to find, and that there was. We met a really prepared kid and taught a powerful lesson and rescheduled him for this next week. Later in the week when some lessons fell through we took advantage of the extra time to find well, finding went really well we found three really prepared people (one who has met with missionaries previously), finding was going so well we only took a ten minute dinner. During enlgish class, a mom we have been working with was not able to come but, instead she sent her sister to come for her with her kids. Her sister loved the spirit of the church and has a lot of potential and then the mom with her kids showed up to church for the first time and were able to see the Christmas devotional. Christmas time brings miracles I can attest. Another miracle that happened–which shows the effects of the holiday although its mostly secular here–we were finding in a place that is known to be a bad finding place and, I am trying my hardest to break that mentality because there is no such thing as a bad area, we taught a pretty cool lesson. We saw a guy way off in the distance and felt impressed to talk to him, well turns out that the first time is his life he has ever pondered the thought of Jesus Christ two missionaries from his very church decide to contact him. It was really funny he just kept saying over and over again that this must be a sign from god, And it really is I know he leads us to those who are ready.

I love Christmas and the reality of Jesus Christ our Savior its amazing time of year to ponder the most amazing man. I know he still lives and I know each and every one of us can know that for ourselves.

Elder Wongs style has taught me a lot as I have tried to take the follower role we have seen an interesting thing happen. Less lessons but more quality lessons. He delights in simplicity as is quick to discern when we are wasting our time talking to someone who is not ready. These two principles have helped improve our finding this last week. We taught less but we taught better.

Me personally I have seen such a huge change on my mission in my testimony in my behavior in my desires. Its hard to see the change sometimes because I feel like who I am now is who I have always been, but maybe thats because I am finally becoming who I am supposed to be.

We have been contemplating the words of our mission president about making this the most memorable christmas and with just finding scheduled on Christmas right now we have some plans in the works to make this the most memorable spirit filled find we have had thus far. We will fill you in on the miracles to follow.

By the way my chinese has been getting a lot better. Also I am becoming more versed with soon being able to contact in mandarin and chinese sign language.

Love you all and have a very merry CHRISTmas!

Elder Jared Cordon

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A mission wide rule of NO CONTACTS required Elder Cordon to sport some new specks!

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The view of Hong Kong from a hike Elder Cordon took.

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Batteries and Best Friends

Dear Family and Friends,

I had another wonderful week! I always do! That is a given when you really understand the gospel. I have been saying to a lot of people lately that one of my favorite things about being a mormon is that you always have an excuse to be happy. So very true!

One reason I love being a missionary is that we are endlessly given incredible ways to serve people! One friday we were driving to contact a less active member and I felt that we should take a different way than normal. It was for no particular reason and it was about the same travel time, but we did nevertheless. As we were driving down the road, traffic was unusually heavy. Finally we discovered the reason, a guys car had broken down in the middle of the road. We pulled over and offered to push into the near by parking lot, but he said that his battery was dead and for some reason he couldn’t put it in neutral. Our elders quorum president lived just down the road so we told him that we would run to a friend of ours house and we would grab some jumper cables. We sped on back and found him in the parking lot, apparently he got it in neutral and someone pushed him but he still needed a jump so pulled right on up. After trying our best it was very apparent that he needed a new battery. We helped him acquire a new one and in the meantime we got to get to know this good brother better. His name is Khanh and he just came from the pan-handle to be here in Jacksonville with his high school sweet heart. He hadn’t found a church yet that he liked and after hearing a little bit about ours he said that he would be interested in checking it out sometime. It was a really awesome chance to serve and in total we were with him for about an hour. He really considered us a big help because his girlfriends car is in the shop and so he was literally stranded. Even if he never comes to the church, I am so happy we got the chance to serve and to spread some of the spirit of christmas!

I also found out that I will be staying with my companion for another transfer, which will be really awesome! I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have been able to spend with Elder Layton, he is an incredible person who has taught me so much about missionary work and just about life in general. He is one who has really come to understand the atonement in his life and his ability to love people is amazing. I have been to learn from him how to really help someone change their life. Because of his incredible ability he has helped a recent convert literally transform her life. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have had to learn from him, and the experiences that we have shared, with many more left!

I am so grateful for this beautiful gospel and the many ways that it richly blesses our lives. I know that it is the only way to true joy and happiness in this life and I want nothing more than to share it with the whole human race! As for now I am taking it to one person at a time.

I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

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Another week into the rest of my life.

Dear Family and Friends,

So this past week was a good one. It definitely kept me on my toes as each day presented some unique experience. I would have it no other way though!

I did my first exchange as a zone leader with a district leader, and though I am sure it should have been the other way I learned a bunch on that exchange. Elder Feliz is such a terrific missionary. He has been out a lot longer, and is very humble. He is a convert from the Dominican Republic, and he one of best missionaries in the mission. One thing that I learned from him that I really appreciated was his selflessness. He is a YSA missionary which means he works with all the young single adults in his area. Nevertheless, during our exchange he still talked to everybody regardless of their age or relationship status. We ended up finding a family and a single guy that were both very interested, but he immediately handed them over to the missionaries who are supposed to teach them without even flinching. (I say that example because it is proving to be the exception rather than the rule) All in all it was a great experience for me.

Another wonderful experience was that we found this awesome Haitian family. They are both very intelligent and they have an incredible desire to learn. We had our return appointment lesson with them last night and it went really well. They had a bunch of questions from when they read the Book of Mormon, and they are excited to learn a lot more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their names are Gabon and Emmanuela. I am looking forward to our lesson with them tomorrow.

All in all it was a great week. I feel like I have so many wonderful experiences everyday that I would never be able to talk about all of them, but when it comes to writing this email it seems that a lot of it escapes me haha so well that is it for this week!

I love ya’ll! Merry Christmas!

Elder Joshua Cordon