Many Reasons To Be Thankful

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow! What a week! I never feel that I can even come close to capturing all that happens in one week in these short emails. Never in my life have I had so many things happen in such a brief amount of time as I have at this time right now. And with the Holiday season there is no sign of things slowing down, which I am grateful for!

Thanksgiving this year was just one jam packed day of AWESOME! We started it off with playing in the Turkey bowl. We had some awesome turn-out because we combined the Mandarin 1st and 2nd wards. We had 3 games going at the same time and so it was non-stop which was awesome. I was happy to see that everyone was good sports and we just were able to have a great time. The weather was beautiful and we were able to have two investigators, David and Marquez, join us which was great experience. I have mentioned David before, but Marquez is someone we just started working with. He is the grandson of a lady we have been visiting for several months now. He came to young mens the last two weeks and was able to come to the Turkey Bowl and has loved every minute of it. He is 13 and has a size 14 shoe. Br. Henderson who recently joined the church a few years ago, has taken Marquez under his wing. It works out because he is able to relate having come from a rough past and he is also Marquez’ young mens leader. Marquez even came to church and he along with David have both become great members of the deacons quorum. Have I ever mentioned how awesome this ward is at fellowshipping.

We ended up getting 4 different Thanksgiving dinners which was heavenly. Each one was uniquely delicious and very filling. I had to perform a thorough taste-test of each and every dish of mashed-potatoes to see how they would stack up to what I was raised on, and Mom I am happy to inform you that while the competition was respectable, you took the cake. It was also amazing how each one provided us with missionary opportunities. The first we had a recent convert there with us. The second we had a part-member family there. The third had our investigators Amelia and Tyrell with us. A little note on that was that it was so much fun to be able to kinda “tag team” with Tyrell as one of us talk with everyone the other played with Tyrell and the other kids. To be completely honest I think it seemed that both of us would rather have spent time playing with Tyrell, Emma, and David than talk with the adults. And the fourth was with another part-member family that we have been working with. I could not have asked for a better day.

The next presented new challenges as i found it difficult to rise from my bed. I was heavy with food and sore from football, more sore than I have ever been on my mission. After winning that battle I had the blessed opportunity to go down and do a session at the Orlando Temple. I limped through the whole thing but the spirit filled me to the point where I didn’t even notice. I am so very grateful for this wonderful gospel! I know without a doubt in my mind that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to happiness in this life and to eternal happiness in the next. I know that it makes us happy because I have seen it give peace to the broken hearted, give purpose to the hopeless, and increase of joy to those who were already living pretty good lives. I love this work so much and I pray that all of you will take time this month– especially considering the wonderful reason of the season– to find ways to serve others and fill your lives and theres with the love of God.

I love y’all!
Elder Joshua Cordon

God is SO Good!

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week has been one crazy week! It is transfer time again and the one thing that is guaranteed to accompany it is chaos. I wouldnt have it any other way. We got the opportunity to the temple again on Thursday which was an incredible experience. Even though I am constantly engaged in spiritual efforts there is still something so uniquely powerful with the temple. That is just another of the many testimonies that I have received that those buildings truly are sacred.

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Everything has been non-stop craziness since we arrived back from the temple. We have had some Elders staying with us since Thursday night, who need to be in Jacksonville for some doctors appointments. In order to keep them busy we have both just taken one and have been constantly covering twice the area with them. It was a huge blessing because we had meetings galore this weekend, so we were still able to get plenty of good things.

One of the major highlights of the weekend was the ward Chili Cook-off and Trunk or Treat on Friday. I got to be a judge for the chili along with some of the other elders. It was tough to choose a winner because they were all so good. We had some awesome turnout from our investigators though, we ended up having 9 people come that we invited which was awesome and they all had such a blast. 3 of them were a complete surprise though. We went to the home of one of our friends named Ty to invite him to come. He said he wasn’t feeling it, but his room-mate, Dean, and their friend, who just so happens to be the boyfriend of someone the sisters have been teaching, said they would come. There was another couple at the house at the time named Ray and Rose, but they didn’t seem interested in coming. About a half hour after the party had started, we see all 5 of them there! They ended up having a blast! Especially Dean who did not hesitate to work the crowd and meet as many members as he could. Though he wasn’t drunk, his breath definitely smelt of alcohol, but I was really happy to see how the ward members really didn’t care and they were so welcoming. We ended up teaching Dean and Ty the next day and though he has much more to learn he expressed to desire to be baptized and has agreed to work at preparing himself for the last week of November.

David loved the camping trip! His dad wasn’t able to make it, but they also came to the ward party on Friday and to mutual on Wednesday so they are really coming along, it has been amazing to witness. All of this came from just strengthening a recent convert, which is just a testimony to the importance of retention. Truly the growth of that family is a dream come true for Aileen who is their sister/daughter. She has a had to overcome so much to be where she is at, and she never in a million years could have imagined even the progress they have already made. On Saturday Aileen was with her all her siblings and her dad, so we told her to get them to all pray together. She texted us afterward and told us that they did, but it was her dad’s idea (we had just taught him about prayer last Wednesday). That is the first time they have ever prayed as a family. It was such a tender moment. I love that families can be together forever!! Jorge and David were both able to the ward party, and even all of church on Sunday, so it has been really awesome to how they are just really becoming part of the ward. It has been a very natural experience for them and the ward has done so well with wrapping their arms around them. David has truly become a part of the deacons quorum. We are going to have to get him a set of scriptures so he can start to put them to use on Sundays. The work is just going so well here and it has been amazing to see how people just are coming out of the wood work and things are coming together. I am so much happier now than i have ever been in my life, but I know that there are only greater joys in store for me.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week!

Elder Joshua Cordon

I even made my pumpkin be a missionary!

I even made my pumpkin be a missionary!

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