Children of God

Dear family and friends,

This week was an incredible week! The best part about it though was without a doubt the weekend. This is considering the fact that we had a powerful mission changing meeting on Monday, and that I got to go to the temple in Orlando on Thursday.

The best part about this week was that on Saturday at 5:00 Aniya, Cheyenne, and Marquez were all baptized. It was one of the sweetest baptismal services I have ever been part of. The turnout was great and the spirit was strong. I would like to just take a minute to tell all of you about the three beautiful children we entered into a covenant with their Heavenly Father.

Aniya:
I have been working with Aniya since the first week I got to the area. We never ceased to be amazed at how impressive she was. She was only 11 years old when we first started teaching her and she had a stronger and more doctrinal sound grasp on the gospel than many adults. She carried herself with eloquence and she stood up for what she knew was right among her peers. When she entered young women’s her talents were only magnified. Just a few weeks ago she taught the Family Home Evening lesson to a group of adult converts and she lead the conversation with grace and everyone felt edified.

Cheyenne:
While we were working to the lay the ground work for Aniya so that she could get baptized suddenly after New Years Cheyenne came into the picture. Cheyenne is Aniya’s younger sister. We started the lessons over with her to help her have a good foundation of the gospel and of other restored truths. After a few weeks of working with her we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel and looked like their dad who was baptized 4 years ago last Friday was able to finally get things lined up for them to be baptized as well. Cheyenne in just a few short weeks has shown immense growth and an increasing level of maturity. By the time the baptism came around she was bearing a strong testimony in the Book of Mormon and in the truthfulness of the church.

Marquez:
We venturing into new neighborhoods about 5 months ago when we saw a dirt road that was off to the side that lead to some distant homes. There are not very many dirt roads in our area so it peaked our curiosity so we went walking down to find some people to share the gospel with. The first house we came to was the home of Ms. Betty, Marquez’ grandmother. We would visit Ms. Betty from time to time and about a month after we started visiting her we became acquainted with Marquez when we helped him get the Christmas lights out of storage for his grandmother. After talking for a bit I told Marquez about scouts on Wednesday night and asked if he would like to come and join the group. He seemed really excited by the idea. He came the next Wednesday and well the rest is history.

This final weekend was a battle to get everyone ready for the baptism, but miracles abounded and right prevailed. Aniya and Cheyenne’s father was able to baptize them, and one of Marquez’ young men’s leaders who has been a great example to him was able to baptize him. While they were all changing, Elder Jorgensen and I were able to stand in front of a large crowd of members and non members and the teach the message of the restoration while wearing our baptismal whites with the font as the backdrop. It was very powerful and probably the best setting I have been afforded to preach the gospel. I never thought that I would be able to say that I had done that. As we taught I felt the spirit speak very powerfully to my the heart that this message is indeed true and I hope that a similar witness was born to the those who sat in the congregation.

On Sunday in order for Aniya and Cheyenne to be confirmed by their farther he was sustained by the congregation to be an elder and then I conferred upon him the Melchizedek priesthood, and ordained him to be an elder. Right after that he stood up and confirmed his daughters by that priesthood. Then I was blessed to confirm Marquez. It was an amazing weekend! I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father that I have been able to be part of the 3 incredible lives. I also found out that I am getting transferred to another part of Jacksonville this week Wednesday so it was a wonderful finished to an life changing experience while I served in the mandarin 2nd ward. I am excited for the amazing adventure ahead.

Thank you for all the love and support you have shown me and I hope that you know how much I love and appreciate every single one of you.

I love y’all!

Elder Joshua Cordon

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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

Sunday Blessings

Dear Family and Friends,

I had the blessed opportunity of going to the Orlando Temple last week!! Nothing is quite as rejuvenating as a trip to the temple! I am grateful that God has provided a way for me to still maintain temple attendance despite my circumstances. We had a Q&A with the Temple President afterwards, and the only question I had afterwards was how do i ask a question that is worth asking haha.

After some long time of contemplation I believe I have arrived on some answers to that questions which ironically in this case is more questions 🙂

We were blessed immensely this past week! We had some powerful lessons Saturday night with some of our awesome investigators. One of them is a man named Madison. He is very thoughtful man. He was taught several months back but never progressed. Something changed in his life though and he was so ready to listen and to act. We taught him about humility and the importance of a having a strong relationship with God. Near the end of the lesson he just stopped us mid sentence and said, where is your church at? I need to go to church tomorrow. Sunday morning I got to see his smiling face come walking in the door with his girlfriend right behind him! It was so beautiful to see. God definitely provided.

On that same note of miracles. We are teaching a brother and sister, Shauna & Christian. We just started teaching them a week ago and they wanted to come to church yesterday. Shauna texted us at 8 in the morning though and said that she got called into work and wont be able to make it. We were rather disappointed to hear that, but we were at peace for some reason. Shortly after the meeting started we were surprised to see both of them walk in the door and grab a seat on the back row. I was so happy to see them there!! The ward just wrapped their arms around them and made them feel so welcome. We talked to Shauna after sacrament and she said that when she got to work she still wanted to come to church so she got someone to cover her shift so she could come. I know God will bless them for their faithfulness!

There is no greater work than this! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

Love
Elder Joshua Cordon