Always Be Watching

Dear Family and Friends, 

So this week in one of my morning studies I was thinking about answers to prayers and receive guidance from the Holy Ghost and how it works. I have heard it referred to as a traffic light, green for go, yellow for caution, and red for stop. In that reference it is talked that most of the time we get yellows because God wants us to use are agency.

So as I was pondering on it I was thinking about the use of agency and do I use it as I should all the time.  So let me paint a new picture. 

Life is a road, and not a freeway because life has a lot of choices. So a city street like downtown New York City street. Very Busy, Lots of Distractions, Lots of other Dumb Drivers. Life is not just a cruise down easy highway doesnt matter what anyone says.

Okay so now that we have the picture of the actual road of life. I want to focus on the traffic lights. I personally in my life have only gotten 4 green lights that I can remember that I was very very clear on what to do with a choice in life. Lots of yellows in which I needed to really look both whys or slow to a stop. But where my thoughts took me was to the red lights. 

I have always thought of the red lights as wrong choices. The ones that would lead down wrong paths and misery. I have changed my view, not that red doesnt mean that it is a wrong path cause  it can. Although sometimes, as I reflect in my life, it just simply means that you need to stop and wait for the traffic. That in that moment it is not safe to cross, not that you need to make a turn of the road or change direction in any way it may just be a time to reflect and see what God wants to teach you. 

I then started to reflect on how many times I have used my agency to just run those red lights, Or speeding up on the yellow light to make it through so that I dont have to stop and wait cause I am in a hurry to get to where “I” want to go. Life is certainly about the journey but sometimes that journey means to sitting at a red light. 

I have sadly reflected and realized that I have ran a lot of red lights in my life. Times that I have missed a chance for god to teach me because I would have been waiting and would have noticed the small and simple promptings. 

Dont be moving through life so fast that you dont see that it was a red light until it is in your rear view mirror. Cause I know I have.  

I love you all so much!!  

Love 

Elder S Cordon

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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

Referrals!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well a wonderful week is under wraps. It was one of those weeks where you don’t see any of your usual people and it has lots of finding; which is ironic due to the fact that finding was our huge focus when we planned for last week, I guess you get what you plan for. One thing we did last week was take presidents advice and do consecrated finding. When we did weekly planning we prayed and picked two hour blocks everyday that we would not move for anything, and then we would pray about those days all week. Well we saw many many cool miracles happening every single finding time had something very unique to bring and we really saw the lord rewarding us for our faith. We also had our zone training this last week and its one of the best that I have ever had. So many things very specific for my needs.

Also personal accomplishment of my mission is I have finally mastered personally cutting my own hair. I got it down. Clippers on the sides scissors on the top and I even got thinning scissors mastered. It was hard at first but i got it down now.

I named this email referrals because this last week we received four referrals!! sadly none were from the ward but 3 are from investigators and 1 is from church headquarters which will be the first my entire mission! so that gives a lot to work with. One of the investigators was reading the tree of life vision and when he read the verse where lehi tastes of the fruit and then desires his family to partake he had a really strong feeling to invite his family so he introduced to his daughter and he shared that verse, it was really cool.

Today is also the second time I have finished the Book of Mormon on my mission and the second time really sincerely in my entire life. But I have applied the promise in Moroni 10:3-5 again for the second time after reading the entire thing and again like before it was so good. I don’t get an intense feeling or anything crazy but just a calm peaceful feeling of complete certainty that the book is true. This time I read the remake of the first edition that I have and highlighted when it spoke of christ and also his words. The miracle of the outcome is not only did I come to know about Christ but I come to know Christ more fully in ways that can only be experienced not explained. I know if anybody will follow that invitation they will truly come to know their savior.

I love you all

Elder Jared Cordon

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Live from the apple store!

Good Week!

Dear Family and Friends,

I love being in this area, not that I didn’t love my last area, it has just given me some great growth that I needed in the mission. I have learned to turn to the Lord. I have come to know him very personally and I am praying more and it is really helping my strength. Coming closer to Christ doesn’t mean that you are not going to have problems. It doesn’t mean you are going to have problems taken away. However it does mean that you will gain a new perspective on the things that you do need to deal with. An Eternal perspective.

We had a family that we have been working with come to church this last week. They had a great time and felt the spirit. We were able to get a lot of people in the ward to make sure that they went and said hi. Sometimes it is a matter of bringing it to others attention of what they need to do.

Well I love you all. Have a great week.
Elder S Cordon

God Answers Prayers

Dear Family and Friends,

So, once again on preparation day we have beautiful weather. Makes it pretty clear that God is watching over us as he gives us these tender mercies. He truly does take care of us in every aspect of our lives. I have become ever more aware of his presence of my life this past week. I know that God answers my prayers!

Last night was crunch time for us. We had agreed and sustained a goal less than two weeks ago that by yesterday we would’ve found 11 new investigators. Coming down to our last available hour we still had to find 2. We were starting to get pretty downhearted when we kept running into walls at every turn. With about 17 minutes left we were faced with the decision to either see a recent convert who hadn’t come to church and to check up on him, or go see one more potential on our list. Having considered what Christ would do, and reasoning that he would be a man of his word and do everything in his power to accomplish that which he was said he would do, we decided to try the another former on the list we had been working off of. On the way there I was saying a prayer in my heart that I had not made the wrong decision, that we would be able to accomplish our goal, and that God would grant unto us a miracle in these last few minutes of the day. We arrived at the home which happened to be a duplex. There was a girl sitting outside of one of the doors, and so we asked her if this is the correct address and if the people by the names David and Christine lived there. She told us that it was her neighbors. She also informed us that she was a member of the Spanish branch after we had invited her to hear a message of Jesus Christ. Feeling a bit embarrassed that we had just invited a member of our church to learn about our church, went over and knock on the neighbor’s door. They were home, invited us right in, and had no problem with us coming back. It was strange because it was so easy and just fell in our lap. I knew that God granted unto us a small miracle, and helped us accomplish the desires of our hearts.

Another great experience was a member present lesson we had this past week. Since I have been in this area, we haven’t really been working with the bishop at all. He is a nice guy, but we were just doing our own thing. Considering the fact that the bishop holds the keys to missionary work in the ward we knew that this had to change. Finally, we resolved that the best way to do this would be to have him teach one of our investigators. We successfully had our investigators, Kevin and Laurie, taught in the bishops home with him and his wife. The lesson was the best lesson we have had with them yet, and the bishop did a terrific job of teaching to his needs with us. They became instant friends with Kevin and Laurie, and they even committed them to be baptized in April. The difference since then for our relationship with the bishop is like night and day. He’s called us several times and has already talked to Kevin four times since the lesson. They also want to have a weekly lesson in their home with Kevin and Laurie. The wide spread impact of that lesson is seen in the fact that I have not been to single ward Council or PEC meeting since I’ve been here, but this past Sunday Bishop asked if Elder Hamilton and I would come. Just from hearing him talk in that meeting I can tell that he has had a complete change of heart towards missionary work. I am excited for the wonderful things ahead for us!

I know that God is aware of us and of the desires of our hearts. I know that he answers our prayers. I have prayed diligently to find our goal of 11 new investigators, and to find a way to connect with the bishop and the Lord has provided a way for both righteous desires to be completed. I would encourage all of you this week to set worthy goals, make intelligent plans, and diligently labor to complete them. Make sure to include God in every step and trust that he will provide away. As you do so, you will become the incredible person that you want to be. I know that will happen because it’s happened for me. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a wonderful week!

Love ya’ll!

Elder Joshua Cordon

I’m lovin it!! -Jared

Hello Family and Friends,

This was a fast but very amazing week!

Our 1 investigator is starting to see the difference in his life after he started meeting us and is showing a lot more desire to accept our message. He said you and your companion are always so happy! I believe its because of your faith. I want that. Well he will get it, he knows he needs to give some things up and thats the first step.

We also added another number to the list of invetigators another old man who we met in the park taught a lesson, then again the next day, and brought him to church and I think he is really liking it. So we got two underway and if we can meet with four other very awesome people we had taught last week then we can be seeing some real growth.

A big lesson I learned this last week is the true need to have the spirit in all you do, the teaching, the finding, the studying and especially the planning. This last week at one of our nightly plannings we were pretty lazy about where we should go and kinda just picked. Well the next day we really felt the effects of that. We had a couple experiences and just really were not feeling the spirit and we didnt know what was wrong. Well we prayed to have the spirit and kept working but that didn’t seem to work. So finally we decided that maybe we should go where The Lord wants us to go. So we prayed, looked at the map book, and went to a new spot we both felt good about.

Well we then ended up having two very good street lessons to people who really needed it and we should hopefully be seeing them again this week. It taught me a lot about really and truly relying on the lord in all that we do!

I have a quick thought for you all.

You become what you think about.

Read Mosiah 4:30

“to a great extent we accomplish what we think about. Your life is influenced more by your own thoughts than anything else. How could a person possibly become what he is not thinking? Nor is any thought when persistantly entertained, too small to have its effect. The divinity that shaped our ends is indeed in ourselves” Spencer W. kimball

“A mans’ character is the complete some of all his thoughts, you can know a man soley on what he thinks about, when he doesn’t have to think.” Can’t remember

Just a good reminder to keep your thoughts on what’s most important in life!

Love you all!

Elder Jared Cordon

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Mission Conference with Elder Zwick!! – Joshua

Dear Family and Friends,

This last week was definitely an interesting one! I don’t think it really got good until Thursday though. In order to keep missionaries out of trouble on Halloween they made a rule that we all had to be inside someone where by 6. It through and interesting twist into the scheme of things. We managed to stay busy for most of it. But we ended up getting a free hour in the apartment, at the end of it. We spent the time going through a Halloween gift basket that a wonderful sister in the ward put together for us, and I tied the first few notes of my paracord scripture case that I am making for Stefan (who had his baby this week!) as a baptism gift. It is going to be sweet! haha

Friday was simply amazing! We had the blessed opportunity to go to Gainesville for a spectacular Mission Conference that was very much enlightening. It was put on by Elder Zwick. He is the executive director of the Missionary Department. He is a very powerful speaker and he gave some very insightful comments. I got the opportunity to participate with Elder Barcala, by doing a brief training on listening to the spirit. It was a wonderful opportunity for me and I hope that it also helped somebody else. Besides being able to meet Elder Zwick, I got to see President and Sister Craig which is always a wonderful thing, as well as Elder Newbold! We got to chat it up as I filled him in on the latest and greatest that is happening in Deep Creek.

One of the highlights of the conference was the talk by Elder Zwick on sanctification. He taught that sanctification begins by living the Law of Sacrifice. He defined the Law of Sacrifice for missionaries as a perfect use of the Lord’s time. I did a lot of reflection about how I could use the Lord’s time in a more productive and effective way. He also showed us one of the fully loaded Ipad-minis that we will be getting very shortly which will be super awesome!

After the conference and before the evening devotional we got to go procelyting on UF’s campus! We had some good success actually. 2 new gators in only 1 1/2 hours 🙂

My miracle is that on saturday we were trying to contact a potential investigator, but his house was empty and apparently he had moved out only a few days before. We went over to talk to the neighbor who informed us and it turns out that he is a less-active member. He is actually one of the 3 Ensey brothers who we have ran into bumped into randomly over the last month. His brother Thomas actually just moved into the that he was at, and so we talked to them and met his fiance and her daughter. We also were able to give Thomas a blessing of healing for his ankle because he sprained it. We went back on Sunday and had a great lesson with them! and then they came to the CES dinner and broadcast at the stake center with us! We have another lesson with them today! Finally another family to work with! I love families! Plus their little girl Nevaeh is possibly one of the most darling 5 year olds I have ever met! God definitely put us in their path and they are so ready for the Gospel right now!

I love this work so much! I know that true happiness and peace in this life comes from living the gospel. I know from experience that this is true. I know with my whole heart that, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” (3 Nephi 5:13) I love you all and I hope that you have a great week!

Love Y’All

Elder Joshua Cordon