Sunny Side Up

Dear Family and Friends,

What a wonderful week. Full of growth and development, and also backed full of miracles!! I Am grateful for the atonement and its ability to make us better then we were yesterday. To have the strength and power of Christ to work in our lives with common problems to make them better and to come out the way they need to for our betterment. He is the one that knows what we need to grow into who we need to be, so trust in him.

I also learned a very important lesson that if your own house is not in order you are not able to help anyone else.

I am so blessed that I get to see literal miracles happen all the time. This week we got started teaching the son of Katie and he is excited to learn why Brian (his stepdad) and Katie have made so many changes. He is excited to learn more about his Heavenly Father and the plan that he has for him. Its is always a testimony to me of this truth, that even little children understand it and can feel of its truth. We can all have the faith of a little child, we just need to remove all the disbelieving.

We also met a new man this week Corbin and we felt VERY prompted to keep talking to him, and then VERY prompted to invite him to be baptized. He said yes and also to a date of March 21 so we are going to do everything that we can to get him ready for that date.

God is out ahead of us missionaries preparing people for His truth. Are Spirits will recognize the truth if we give it time to listen. We have been taught it all before so it will have a familiar ring to it.

I am so very grateful for all of your support and love.

You are in my prayers.

LOVE
Elder S Cordon

IMG_6846Beautiful View that I enjoy

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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

 

Bring on the rain!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, Hurricane season is officially here. The wise old patriarch of the ward strongly urged all of us to be ready. Don’t worry though, we are. We have been stocking up on food for the last little while. The cupboards are full and we have food for at least three months. Also, if anything does happen, what a great opportunity it will be to serve those around us. It will also make it easier to baptize if the streets are full of water. Of course I am only slightly joking! It did storm rather heavy every single day last week! We even had nickel sized hail several times.

Moving on.

Some really good things happened this past week! Not the least of which is the mission leadership council meeting that we had in which a lot of good things are coming about. I really love where President Craig is moving the focus and I am excited to exoerience all the good that will follow. For me personally, that meeting was very inspiring. I left with my expectations raised and my vision expanded. I realized I hadn’t been stretching myself enough, but that is going to change! Starting with my online proselyting, which is something that I have completely neglected these past few months. I have been looking for ways to improve and now I finally feel like I have concrete direction on how I am going to do that!

An exciting thing that happened this week was that Alfred had a change of heart. A week ago he was pretty down and he wasn’t his normal cheery self. He didn’t come to church last week because he was so down. He started to have a lot of doubts in what we were teaching because he still hadn’t had a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon. We set out this week to help him have one. On Wednesday we talked a lot about prayer with him, we knew that if he could understand how prayer works then getting an answer will be easy. Near the end of our lesson he seemed to have a really good understanding of prayer. We then challenged him to pray right then and there and ask god if the Book of Mormon is true. He was a bit hesitant, but he agreed. After praying we had us just sit in silence for a few minutes so he could pay attention to the way that he felt. Needless to say, Alfred finally can recognize what the spirit felt like! It was pretty incredible! This Sunday at church he just kept saying, I feel the spirit and I can’t help but smile!

And on that note I want to end by saying, if you are looking to smile a little more in your life, then do something that will invite the spirit, and soon enough, I promise you, you will be smiling! It happens to me every single day!

I love y’all!!

Elder Joshua Cordon

A Lesson Of The Mission

Dear Family and Friends,

These last couple of days have been pretty interesting.

I had the opportunity to meet with a pastor from another faith. It was really interesting too because previously we had met him and had scheduled a time but for some reason we never met up and I had not cared too much to see him but then one day Elder Au just had this feeling to go to this village called Lung Gu Taan. Now this man lives there with his family and when we were there I saw his house and didn’t want to bother knocking on his door. He is really nice but he is pretty dedicated to his belief.

Our time there was kinda of a bust until we were leaving then we saw this man and his family pull up in there car. So we spoke for a second and he was super nice and wanted to meet back up. It struck us at this point that maybe that’s why we needed to go to Lung Gu Taan. So that time was last Friday. When we first met him he had posed the question how can someone read the gospel of John–he said its his favorite book–and be led to believe in our church then he told us to study it. Well this is pretty funny cause his name is John Johnson. But I added that to my study and man I never been more convinced that someone with the gift of the spirit can led to believe more deeply that this gospel the Church of Jesus Christ teaches is true. Now I knew that he wouldn’t put that question to us unless he had a reason someone couldn’t.

Well we met up because I felt this is what the spirit was telling us to do. Well we didn’t really discuss the Gospel of John, I just had to defend my faith against the pride of the world. This meeting was interesting it provided me greater insight on the war of words this world is facing. In this meeting you had two people sitting on one side of the table who had gained their testimony of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit in reverent prayer, while on the other side you had someone who gained his testimony from years and years of study starting from a degree in religion and then throughout his paid career.

I now understand why we needed to meet with this man, I know that all the words the world can throw at you have no effect compared to the quiet whispers of the Holy Spirit in prayer. This has been a great reminder of the kind of missionary and teacher I should be, I can never convert anybody that power is the responsibility and calling of the Holy Spirit. I must not forget who the real teacher is. The people of Hong Kong deserve a foundation of stone not sand.

I love you all and wish you the best.

Elder Jared Cordon

Happy Chinese New Year

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this was a pretty awesome week! We had the Chinese New Year which meant Deep Clean. Its the day when we all spend the entire day cleaning every crack and corner of the appartment! It looks so good now! Also to finish that day we watched the fireworks over the bay! Pretty Amazing.

Earlier in the week I also had the chance to do my first exchange but this one was the entire Zone mixing and matching. I got to have Elder McEwan who was in my MTC group. So we were both very new and also very blessed. We had to make a random trip to the airport even with all the delays we still managed to get a new investigator in my area which never happens! BABY POWER!

Also many other blessing came Elder Howells and my way this week although everyone is busy over Chinese New Year we were able to meet a few families and found a couple of guys who also live in our area. We felt prompted to go to this area we had never been and frankly we didn’t know what it was we just walked under the freeway and down this path to this beautiful bay side dog park! Way cool we ended up finding two people and teaching streets lesson, they both live in our area. So Cool!

Also today we got to go to Stanley its on the ocean side of Hong Kong Island and it had some amazing views. We decided to spend our P-Day with the ward for a great chinese BBQ!

I love you all have a great week!

Elder Cordon

Well a Pretty Crazy Week of Gratitude -Jared

Dear Family and Friends,

I am so grateful for this opportunity, I am grateful for my companion, I am grateful I have had so many blessings in learning this language, I am grateful for the blessed Causeway Bay ward, Amazing food and Amazing missionaries, My amazing Mom!

I could go on forever! I now realize how grateful I am for hot water, flushing toilets, kitchen sinks that drain, and gas in the stove. Haha the Lord decided to remind us of all the simple blessings we have every day. Our whole street flooded! A huge pipe burst and the water was coming out like a giezer all night long! I will send pictures next week.

I had a cool experience Yesterday, Elder Howell and I had both felt the prompting to go to this park (its one that has never been successful before). So we went about as planned and went through the whole park with no success. Well we finally get to the very last part of it and we see two little kids playing with a lady watching them.

We said hi and she said hi back in english and then went back to the kids, so we assumed she was a helper at work and went on our way. As we were leaving one of the kids called her mommy. Well I didnt think much of it, and me and Elder Howell went to the next area as we had planned.

Well the spirit spoke to Elder Howell because he felt very prompted to go back and talk to her, thinking heavily on the kids comment when we were leaving. So we went back and talked to her and she happen to be Japanese and that conversation turned out to be an amazing experience. We didn’t get a new investigator but that was the first she has ever heard of our Church and really even Jesus Christ. She may not have been ready at that moment but I got no doubt she will be later. It was a simple testimony to me that we need to listen to spiritual promptings and especially in this work. If my companion gets a prompting and I have not then I just have to trust him!

How you all have a wonderful week!

Love Elder Cordon

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Wow that was fast!! – Jared

Hello Family and Friends,

This might have been one of the fastest weeks I have ever had. Probably because it was just so good! A couple of firsts this week, we got our first investigator. We also will be seeing him again tonight. He is 84 and we can comprehend what he is saying! That is a miracle in itself! Also I taught my first street lesson yesterday in all Cantonese! The gift of tongues is real! Normally I just let my trainer do all the talking! I also went to a normal sacrament meeting this week, which was amazing because it has been 4 weeks since I have been able to take the sacrament. It was quite an amazing experience the spirit I felt to be able to feel the gift of the atonement and know that all those mistakes I have made I can be forgiven of!

The ward here is small but they are amazing! They are blessed to be one of the only wards with 6 missionaries! 2 Sisters and 4 Elders, President would love to see this ward grow enough to have to split!

This is the first week we have been able to have street lessons with people we will actually be able to teach! So far it’s been a lot of girls and non-Cantonese speakers. But we have taught 5 to Chinese men. That’s a miracle because this city is so crazy and everyone is so busy! So to get that kind of time from the men was pretty amazing! Our secret is to get over the lack of confidence and stop and asking people for the chance to teach them and just do it. When you’re really assumptive and assertive in a polite and kind way it really works. We were tired of people saying no, truth is they don’t realize what they are saying no to, so don’t give them the option.

I realize how much of missionary work is truly the work! You have to try your best to be the best missionary you can be and that is having the faith to talk to people and the diligence to grow. We have been struggling with boldness so this last week we really focused on it! For these Chinese men you got to be very confident and bold, something I struggle with in Cantonese because I am really insecure about the language. Yesterday though something hit me and we stopped in the middle of evening studies and went out and I was talking to as many people as I could and that’s what lead to the street lesson that I gave. The Lord is amazing. He can even help me speak Cantonese.

I love everyone and hope all is well! Thanks for all the support!

Elder Jared Cordon