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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I Am A Child Of God

Dear Family and Friends,

Transfers has come and gone and thankfully Elder Layton and I are still working together. He is now officially the companion that I have served with the longest. We will have been together 6 months by the end of this transfer. Like always this week has afforded me an interesting time of reflection and contemplation. Spending time with missionaries on their first day and on their last day caused me to think about how far I have come and where I am going. It makes me so happy to see how the mission has made an impact on my life so far. I am not sure if there is any other way to learn so many life experiences so intensely in such a short time. I am grateful to God for everyday that he has given me to serve. Luckily for me I still have plenty of time to learn and become a better man.

I Am A Child of God, the classic primary song in the church, took on an entirely new meaning for me this morning. It was interesting how everything came full circle. It always does. Wednesday night I was at the mission home waiting for some missionaries to finish getting their final interview with President Craig. Among those missionaries are a handful that are very talented musically. Sister Heckel, Sister Dodd, and Elder Sorenson, received a request from Sister Craig to sing one more song accompanied with the piano before they left for the night. The hymn they chose just so happened to be I Am A Child of God. My initial thought when that was suggested was, “come on, that is a boring one, choose something else.” However, as they sang, they did a beautiful rendition that really brought a heavy spirit into the room and was very enjoyable. At the time, aside from being wrong about that song being boring, I really thought nothing more of it.

On Saturday we helped an investigator of ours, his name is Tom, he is the one that came into contact with the church via the app, Hanging With Friends. He is very busy and it has been difficult to sit down with him. In fact we only have once since the initial lesson, but we have maintained great contact through calling and text. He told us that he was going to busy this weekend moving some things and condensing two storage sheds that are across town from each into one. We saw it as a great opportunity to serve and quickly jumped on the opportunity. It surprised him at first but he let us help. Because our mini van can hold so much we ended up saving him two trips and we were able to do it in one. Afterwards we got lunch together and it became a very powerful lesson. In an attempt to help him and his girlfriend, Cathy, see why knowing about the pre–mortal life is so important for them I realized in a powerful and new way why it is so important to me. Tom is a man who puts family first, he does not hesitate to skip his breaks so he can make it to his sons baseball games and go on scout camps with him. He learned to put family though through the school of life experience. On the other hand I contrasted that with the fact that I am only 20 years old and I have not had the amount of life experience that he has but I have known my whole life that family is a priority and it deserves our time. I have known that I know it now because I understand where I am came from and why God sent me here. Knowing that I am a Child of God has helped me see what is most important in life. I am not perfect by any means, but I know who I am and where I am headed.

The next day on Sunday we were teaching Ty, and he is someone who is struggling to overcome the effects of his past mistakes and other things that continue to hold him captive. We helped him see that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that he gives us commandments to help us know what we can do to be happy, and that because we are children of God and because of Jesus Christ we are capable of living every single commandment that God has given us. Even though we are weak we have the potential and capability of overcoming everything that holds us captive. Because of Jesus Christ even the grave cannot hold us captive.

Finally this morning I was listening to a talk by Henry Eyring that he gave in 1988 at Ricks College. He talked about the power of knowing and believing the song I Am A Child of God. He talked about how it speaks of our potential. A child has the potential to become like its parent. Since that happens to be God our potential is literally limitless, we should never let anyone tell us that we cannot do something. Secondly he talked about how we are still yet children and that we need to be humble and wiling to learn the way that children are willing to learn. As people grow older they seem to think that people younger than them cannot teach them anything, but we are all children and we all have plenty of lessons to learn from one another. And thirdly, because we are Children of God we have the divine help of the Holy Ghost and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Knowing that enables us and helps us know that no matter how many mistakes we have made we are still capable of reaching the potential that is part of our nature. I coupled that with studying the life and atonement of Jesus Christ this morning and it was a very powerful experience.

I want to bear my testimony that I am a Child of God. I know that he has sent me here. I know that family is of God and that parents our a gift from God. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and redeemer and that will help me through every step of this mortal existance. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and the gospel has been restored through him. I say all these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love Y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon