People, Quotes, and Family

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello Everyone! So this last week was a good one. We finally got some good lessons with a few people and it definitely was a week that allowed us to see who we really have as a solid base in our teaching pool. Lets begin with Davie. He is really coming along we saw him last week and had a good lesson that really just involved reading 3 Nephi 11 and testifying of Christ. It was a great experience because until that point he just couldn’t bring himself to read it on his own, but to be able to just sit and read a chapter with him really helped to alleviate that fear. After hearing it out he said something similar to, “you know, it sounds like true scripture.”  He is making steady progress. Hopefully we can get him to join us for the bbq and broadcast priesthood session of general conference at the church this Saturday.

Another wonderful soul that came into the picture last week was a character named Stew. We met him at a bus stop. He was sitting there with no intention of getting on the bus but just because it was something to do. We learned that he had found out that he arrived in
Jacksonville only a week prior and he had come from Oregon. He is here with the intentions to get a restart on life. Before our first conversation was over he knew that he was meant to meet us and learn what we teach. Over the subsequent days we taught him three more lessons and have made some good progress with him. We have already set
him up to start attending different classes and things are looking bright for his future.

The other awesome brother we are working with is a high school student named Trevor. The previous missionaries taught him and made some good success. When we first got here we struggled to connect with him. But during the week before last and last we were able to break down some walls and really connect with him. He committed to work towards being baptized in May and he is excited. We couldn’t find him a ride so we
made the hour/ride walk with him last week to the church so he could go to young mens. He brought his skateboard and we had our bikes so we took it easy and talked all the way there. He ended up having a great time and wants to come every week now.

So that is how the work is going. We had a couple of instances while tracting where people mocked our beliefs and told us we were teaching false doctrines. It was interesting. I got to boldly tell them what we believed and then we left. I always ponder on those experience during the following days because I feel there is much to be learned from
those encounters. As I did I realized a trend in both cases: both times the major insults came after I bore my testimony. Three quotes come to mind, I don’t know the sources for two but they are still great:

“You know you have lost an argument once you get angry.” Unknown Author

“Anger is the reaction you have when you don’t know how to react.” Unknown Author

“Anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone, you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha

Taking all those into consideration I realized that while all three of those men acted childish by the time we walked away we were the victor in all cases because we never got angry while they did. Now I do have to admit that I was frustrated as I pondered on the fact that people would embrace and express those particular views about our church, but luckily it was not in the moment. A lesson I learned is that you can’t convince someone of spiritual truth, that is The Holy Spirit’s job. Another lesson I learned was if you simply bear your testimony of what you know to be true their reaction will quickly tell you whether or not they are ready for more. If they do not receive the truth you have shared so far then they definitely won’t receive anymore, so there is no point in sharing more.

The same is true with all cases in life. If either party in a conversation isn’t ready, then stop the conversation. Their is no point to share anymore because clearly what has been shared so far won’t work. Now, this doesn’t always mean you have to walk away –though that is a great option– you can apologize, you can change the subject, and you can even just give them a hug. Sometimes that last one isn’t a good idea depending on the tension level. Either way a person who is angry is a fool and will do foolish things. And as the Lord put it, “…fools mock, but they shall mourn…” (Ether 12:26)

I am sure none of you struggle with anger but I felt like mentioning it. I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

P.S. I have a challenge for all of you. The church on Friday released a new video to celebrate Easter. It is super good. You can find it at HeLives.Mormon.org.  So here is the thing. All the full time missionaries in the church off of Facebook for the time being, that
means the responsibility falls on the members shoulders to spread this message all over Facebook. So here is the challenge: will each of you share his video with 5 of your friends before Easter? It can be in person or in a message. I promise that as you do you will feel the true spirit of the Easter weekend enter into your heart, and your love and appreciation for the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, will burn within your soul. I know that to be true because it has worked for me. Good luck!

 

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The Work Moves On

Dear Family and Friends, 

This week was a riveting roller coaster ride of emotion. Everyday was very eventful! A couple of highlights can be really help you see where I am coming from.

On Tuesday we were biking to a few potentials and street contacting on the way when I saw a girl headed my direction. She was carrying a red gas can and was clearly headed to the gas station behind me. I approached her and asked if she needed any help, and if her car ran out of gas. She said that she would be alright and that she lived around the corner and was just getting gas for the lawn mower. I moved the conversation to the gospel. Noticing that she had her hands full, literally, I suggested that we come back another time and share our message with her. She, to our surprise, told us to go and visit her mom right then and that she would be willing to listen. 

Happily acting on that suggestion we rode right to her moms house and knocked on the door. Right when she answered she invited us right in and started to pick up a few things to make room for us on her couch. Turns out she was a Mormon when she was a young teenager but went inactive many years ago. We had an awesome conversation and she agreed to come to scripture class the next night. Along with this woman, Michelle, we found a bunch of people in the area that we talked to and got return appointment with. 

On Wednesday we had a solid day lined up with several member present lessons, service, and the scripture class. Everything cancelled except the service. So after a fun service project which included a great lunch where the main dish was crab. We spent the rest of the day knocking doors. It was a long day. We found a few solid potentials though so it definitely wasn’t all for not.

For rest of the week everything went very well! We were very busy and we found many elect souls! The Montcrief family we met while they were sitting in their garage just enjoying the good weather. We approached them with the intent of talking about families. That beautiful family of 6 then accepted a return appointment.

The other was Rusty. When we knocked on his door he came out to talk to us and about an hour latter we had taught the whole restoration lesson and he readily accepted the Book of Mormon telling us that Mormons were the only religion in America that was the “real deal.” We are excited to see where he goes in the next little while.

Finding new souls is basically been our focus over the past several weeks. Hopefully now we can change the focus to helping all these
wonderful souls along their new life-changing journeys.

I had to write quick this week because I was taking care of other things, but I hope y’all have a great week.

Love, 

Elder Joshua Cordon

Prayer of Faith!

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow!!! Wow!!! Missions are so amazing!! There is literally not a week that goes by where something amazing doesn’t happen.

Amazing things that happened this week:

Mission Conference

The first year of my mission I had 2 mission conferences. However, we have had 1 every month for the past 4 months. Along with 1 other 2 months before that. So, it has been awesome!!

This time we were visited by Elder Zwick of the first quorum of the Seventy, who I will say is one of the manliest men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and Br. Hemingway who is assigned to the Missionary Department of the Church and is the Director of the proselyting division for the whole world. When I shook Br. Hemingway’s hand he said with a pleasant surprise, “Oh, I remember you. How are you doing?” I had met him a little over a year ago when he came to introduce iPads to the mission. He was the Mission President in Rochester, New York when we first moved there, and knows the Tuttle Family fairly well.

President and Sister Craig where with these fine brethren for several days in Salt Lake City at a special Mission Presidents conference that included the 28 Facebook/iPad missions. We were the first mission to receive training and instruction from what was discussed at that conference. Basically, we are entering the next major stage of testing for iPads and Facebook proselyting. The biggest changes come in the fact that we will receive brand-new iPads next week and there will be a Facebook restart that will result in us going offline of Facebook for a while. We also received training materials produced by the church that are finally standardizing the training of iPads and Facebook, something that we have been begging for for a while. On top of all of that we received powerful trainings on Personal Conversion, and Will-Power. All of it was very inspiring. But anyway, enough of that, it is probably not nearly as exciting for you as it is for me. And if it is exciting for you, then think how excited I am!

Prayers of faith=Miracles

There were several instances this past week that we incredible miracles as a result of a prayer, but there is one that I would like to highlight. On Saturday, it was beautiful weather but it was slower day for some reason. We tried everything I had ever been taught to do and nothing worked. Luckily we had a dinner appointment with two of my favorite people that I had to look forward to. One was a less active and that was the first lesson we were able to teach all day. After dinner we tried to knock some doors, hoping to get some success from those efforts, but after striking out we stopped at the nearby gas station for a bathroom break. While I was waiting for my companion, I saw these two kids at a table. After striking up conversation we were able to teach him the whole first lesson and give him a book of mormon which he agreed to read. Things started to look up.

Still we had about an hour left of the night. Elder Jorgensen suggested that we go and see a man who had not been home for our appointment earlier that day. Considering how far away he was it seemed like an illogical decision, but we both agreed that it felt right so away we went. I remember thinking about the nice peace I had felt on the way there that was a nice contrast to the frustration and anxiety I had experienced earlier. Once we got there we knocked on his doors with hearts full of faith only to find that nobody was home.

I knew at that moment that we were there for someone else. Unsure of what to do next and how to find this person that we were meant to find we knelt down in the grass in front of an apartment building. It was 8:35 roughly we knew that time was not a luxury. After Elder Jorgensen offered a mighty prayer we started knocking. Nobody answered the first two doors and as we turned to head to the stairs we saw a woman, her daughter, and their two dogs walking in the parking lot. We used the dogs as an ice breaker before bringing up the gospel. Before we could even get to it though, she asked us what we were there doing. We told her who we were and asked if we could share our message with her. At this point her little girl Aryah while tugging on her jacket said “Mommy, can we hear their message.” It wasn’t very difficult for her to say yes after that.

We proceeded to teach them the whole first lesson and they loved every bit of it. She told us that they were looking for a church that would prick their heart with the spirit. She even said that because they had just moved there that they were still looking for a church. At the moment they are attending a Brazillian church and because the service is in Portuguese they have to wear headsets with the translation. She started to express concern about the idea of having a prophet today but after we showed her a video of Thomas S. Monson, she said that she knew that he was a prophet the moment she saw him. All of us departed that night feeling very grateful that the lord had caused our paths to cross that night. Jackie and Aryah probably don’t even realize how incredible the journey they just started really is.

I want to bare my solemn witness that God hears every single one of our prayers. I know that he loves us and that he will provide us with miracles as we rely with faith.

I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

A Week of Miracles!!

Dear Family and Friends,

I had something come to mind, an experience in my life that is rather simple, but it is a wonderful analogy of what it is like to come into the fold.

When I was about 10 it was finally resolved that I needed to get some contacts. Up until this point I had worn neither contacts or glasses, so it was definitely a new experience. I was thoroughly convinced that I could see fine, and I am sure that if someone were to even imply that I was blind would invoke in me a very defensive response. Nevertheless, my parents who cared for me and who knew what was best insisted that I get them anyway. After getting those on for the first time it was like I had become part of a whole new world. There were so many things I had not noticed before. I remember staring at the blinds on the window and being amazing at how distinct the separation was between each panel. The smallest things of life took on a whole new level of interest for me. I remember going home and grabbing a pair of binoculars and just sitting on the porch for what felt like hours taking in the breath-taking scenes of which I had been entirely unaware and unable to behold. Simply enough, (with the pun absolutely intended) my eyes had been opened.

For me this is what it is like when someone finally allows the gospel to be part of there life. While the experience of gaining a testimony and increasing in spiritual knowledge is not so instant, nor can it be captured in one simple moment, the reception of the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the opening of your spiritual eyes can be. When someone receives the gift of the Holy Ghost the scriptures are unfolded before them in a way that they never have experienced before. They will learn things and see things that they were completely unaware of. Even Joseph Smith who by the power of God was translating the Book of Mormon made the following comment after receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, “Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of.” (Joseph Smith–History 1:74) I can bear testimony that this is true. For I have had personal experiences that have born witness to me of this fact.

I thought of this story when we were preparing for the baptism of Kristin this weekend. It was such a special opportunity to be part of that baptism and to see her make the steps in preparation for that wonderful day. She began her journey many months ago when her twin sister came into contact with the missionaries. She was studying with them and had even planned to get baptized back in April/May sometime. Something happened with the baptism though and she got stressed out to the point where she called it off. On top of that she still had a lot of questions and felt like it was too early for her. Her and sister then went back home for the summer and when they returned to Jacksonville for school in the fall. When they returned. Her sister wasn’t actively attending any more and they weren’t really in contact with the missionaries anymore. They are really good friends with two of the recent converts in our ward though and they started coming to the Family Home Evenings that we have each monday. Then they started to come to church with their friends as well. We called the missionaries that had been working with them and asked if we could begin teaching them. They hadn’t met with them but a few times and they were coming to church with us so it worked out. In only a few weeks Kristin was ready to get baptized and now her and her twin sister, Kaitlin, is back active in the church. It was a beautiful service on Saturday. Chirag, their friend, baptized her, and Kaitlin gave the talk on baptism. I am so very grateful that I got to be part of her story, even though this was all member work that brought these girls back and into the church. I would have pictures but they were on someone else’s camera and I am still waiting to get those.

On Sunday we had the awesome experience of having Amelia and her son, Tyrell, join us at church. Tyrell has down syndrome so we got to spend the day at church walking around with him as he introduced himself to everyone. Children with down syndrome just prick your heart in a special way that you just cannot help but love them. The bishop found Amelia through an interesting chain of events. She just got to town trying to get away from a bad situation. She was staying at an extended stay here in Jacksonville and the previous tenet had not erased the voicemails on the phone. She thought they were hers so she listened to them. One happened to be from the Bishop of our ward. A while later she was planning on going to the parade, but she wasn’t able to make it so they went to the beach instead. Some young adults were there playing volleyball and taking pictures. She admired how well groomed and well mannered they all were. She noticed that they had written something in the sand, but it wasn’t until she had walked to the water and back that she noticed that they had written “MORMONS” in the sand. It was then that she felt prompted to call the bishop. They had an amazing discussion and we were there teaching her the next day. It is an amazing miracle. God works in miraculous ways to bring people to the truth.

I love y’all! Have a wonderful week!

Elder Joshua Cordon

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Tyrell with the Ward

 

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Tyrell with the Elders

 

Record Setter!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well what a wonderful week in Aberdeen. This was the first full week that we had together here and it really shows that we work well together. I don’t think I have had better unity with any companion previous. We set a mission high for both of us at a good 16 other lessons (editors note: lesson without a member present) which is about twice as much as what people call a good week. I am not saying this to gloat but only to glorify God because this is also 4x the high for lessons in the last 5-6 months for the area. We had a pretty crazy schedule this last week with three trips to the north side of the island during the week for activities and missionary meetings & a birthday party at a mental rehabilitation center. Still with time being short throughout all this we often filled those random gaps of time with some great finding and the Lord always put someone in our path who was ready to listen. I have not done really anything different with people than I normally do. Just the Lord felt it was time to really do some work.

With that we also made great progress with Simon who before was really confused and not motivated to being focused and eager to learn more. He really likes speaking English which is good and all but there is a reason the Lord called me Chinese speaking I have a hard time keeping things simple in my native tongue. Although we overcame these barriers and did well. We are also working with two potential families which is so great! next week they should be at church. Also with hope of a third on the way. Things are so good here in Aberdeen! My area is just almost all predominant finding.

We see boats for days and plenty of huge yachts here in Aberdeen, which finds me having a desire to live in a yacht.

Here are some pictures of my last two p-days in butterfly I will get some of Aberdeen soon.

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Love you all,

Elder Jared Cordon

TRAVELL PLANSS!!! – Jared

Wait what is that?

I think.. wait what.. that’s MY TRAVEL PLANS!!! YEAH! YEAHHHH!!!!

I can’t believe its almost here!! Next time you here from me I will be in Hong Kong!

Am I ready?… NO

Am I scared?… Not one bit!

If there is one thing I have learned in the MTC is this is the Lords work and he has proven time and time again that it doesn’t matter what the language is, when his missionaries obey he will fill in whatever they are lacking. Which for me might be just about everything except for Faith.

So first I hope everyone is doing okay I know its gonna be hard not hearing about the boring MTC life but, don’t worry it will get better, I promise. This last week was a blast!! I got to Host for the first time which was so great! I had the privilege of scaring new young Elders about the Horrors of the MTC. I am sure they will be relived when they fined out everything I said was true… 😉 haha. Also another great time was TRC!! It’s lesson we give to volunteers every Saturday morning. They Sister we taught just got back from her mission to Hong Kong also like 5 others who just got back where there. So after our lesson my companion and I talked with them for a good 40 mins. All about what to expect. They gave me some great advice never let the thought of going home come into your mind for one it will take over and start wasting a lot of time; because the moment I step off the plane coming home I am gonna be wishing I was right back in Hong Kong.

Sunday might have been one of the most spiritually uplifting days of my life! Some things I wanna tell you all is: I know that Thomas S. Monson from a very young age was being prepared to be our Prophet and he is truly an inspired man of God. Go to the mormonchannel.org and watch his video! Also I have seen the most mission changing talk of my life. Sadly you can’t read because its one they only replay in the MTC. It’s Elder Bednars Doctrine, Principles, and Applications. The problem with most members is everyone only studies the Application like lets set new goals or the answer to better Home teaching is to bake a cake. Doctrine is Always the Answer, and True Doctrine understood changes attitude and behavior. When someone gives you a question like why can’t we drink alcohol, well most Mormons as well would I is to immediately give them and application response, for example, well its been scientifically proven…. well instead given them a doctrine response like go read section 89 of the D&C and get back to me. True Doctrine understood changes attitude and behavior. So I challenge everyone to know there doctrine better.

Sadly this is the time were I say farewell for longer than normal.. But don’t cry I will be back soon!

I love all of you and hope your lives are fantastic!

Love Elder Jared Cordon