Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Monday, July 28, 2014


Hello! Well, it finally arrived! I remember when Colby wrote home for the last time: he said "I'll see you in 48 hours." I always wondered how it would feel to say the same thing, and now to live it fills me with so many different emotions. The other night Elder Kraft and I went and played basketball with some kids in the government complex next to our house, and when we got back to the house we laid out on the wall in our front yard and looked up at the stars. As I was looking up I shed a few tears thinking about how I'll soon be at home. What a whirlwind of emotions haha. I guess I'll finish here by sharing just some final thoughts: at the beginning of my mission when I tore my ab I wondered how easy it would have been to just go home and never serve a mission due to injury. I'm so grateful for the help of the Lord in being able to suffer through all pains and afflictions. Suffering doesn't make us saints, but it can be a tool for refinement if we faithfully endure. When my soul has hungered I have found that, like Enos, I have simply had to exert myself to God and seek His help to be strong and to be filled. I am more than convinced that He is aware of us and our prayers: I know with all certainty that He is a God of answers, and a loving Father. I know that He speaks to His children. The greatest blessing of my mission has been to know that He will use us and speak to us in order to grow and to be able to help others. I have learned to recognize His voice in my mission. He lives and all men can know that if they will humble themselves, set aside their personal beliefs of how He should be and how He should treat His children, and simply seek Him out. I love my God and Father, and I am so grateful for the power of the atonement of Christ. This is not the end of my mission: this is simply the beginning to an important journey full of opportunities to labor in the vineyards of the Lord. I've found that He puts me to the test of my words, but I've also found that He's merciful and His grace truly is sufficient. About Arelys's family: I might visit them tonight. The problem is that we don't have a car and they live way far out in our area and no member has been able to take us there. We'll see what happens. May God bless you all. I give you all my love and gratitude for your support and love. What an exciting time awaits us! With all my love, Elder Cevering

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Email July 21, 2014

Hello family! This week was a solid week with great things that happened! We had zone conference, I had my goodbye interview with President Boucher, and we did the Book of Mormon Excursion here in Vega Baja. I am really happy with how things are winding down. My interview with President was really great: he got straight into the goodbye haha. He said, "Elder are you excited to go home?" I wondered if it were a trick question but I was honest and said yes. He said, "Good. I think you should be excited to go home at the end of your mission. That's healthy." We talked about different plans and ideas that I have for what I'm going to do when I'm home and he shared with me that he thought I had my head on straight. We talked about my mission: he asked me to share the most important lesson I've learned, and when I told him that the most important lesson was that I'd learned that God requires a lot from His children he looked surprised. He said, "Thank you for sharing that new perspective with me." It was interesting. He's a really great man. I would have loved to have had him as my mission president for a longer time. And his wife is awesome: I sat and talked with her for about 45 minutes before I had my interview. She's actually Bishop Burton's daughter---crazy right? Friday night we did the Book of Mormon Excursion here. It was a HIT. I think the members here liked it more than the members in Bayamon. We had to make some changes to it since there are two sisters in our district (so one of them acted as Abish, and the other acted as a nephite woman who was present at Christ's descent in the land of Bountiful). It was really awesome. They want us to do it again soon. The members who didn't come are really jealous and are asking us to plan to do it next week. Ha. I thought to myself, "Do whatever you want, I'll be home!" The best thing about the week though was to see the people who came to church as a result of the Book of Mormon excursion. There's a woman here whose husband doesn't like her to go to church with their kids. He's a member but he doesn't live the majority of the commandments. However, they came as a whole family to the excursion, and then Sunday the woman showed up to church with her kids for the first time in a long time. She asked us to teach her son and daughter and to prepare them for baptism. It was awesome! I felt really touched and blessed. Really, my feelings have been of profound gratitude. I've had some sleepless nights as I've pondered about finishing my end. I've felt trunky this whole transfer and the transfers before for different circumstances, but now I'm stuck between the excitement of getting home and the sadness of leaving. I haven't broken down at all, but I've stayed up till 12:00 some nights and had tears come to my eyes as the thoughts continued coming to me that I'll be home soon. They're tears of gratitude and tears of sadness and tears of excitement all at the same time. I know those feelings will probably last for awhile so I guess I have to get accustomed to it haha. I love you all so much! As I look around the ward and as I ponder on the families I've met in my mission I see in my mind my friends and my family at home and I am reminded how blessed I am. My Father in heaven has been merciful and gracious to me in my life. One thing I'm continually learning is how He is always with us: we just have to learn to recognize His work. That'll be something incredible about being home: starting a new work with the Lord. I'm not perfect but I know that He's calling me. I know there are challenges, blessings, and joys awaiting me, and for that reason I can look at the end of my mission and say, "Alright, this isn't the end." I've been preparing myself for this time my whole mission and now that it's hear I'm just excited to see what's in store. Elder Cevering

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Email July 14, 2014

Hello family! This countdown is getting me pretty excited: I will be home to Utah in 16 days. I've been feeling so many different emotions. Over the past few days I've had moments where I've sat down and thought about going home and I'm really excited and happy. Then I have other moments where I'm pondering and the tears come to my eyes when leaving Puerto Rico pops in. It's been a humbling and gratifying experience. We went to a member's house last week to do some service, then we shared a message afterward. We talked about the character of Christ, specifically His willingness to suffer for righteousness. We'd shared the same message in another appointment during the week, and the member who accompanied us was also present at this second lesson. He shared that he'd been pondering all week about my words, and a feeling of humility entered into me. I didn't feel proud of myself that he'd been touched by my message: I felt grateful that the Lord would consider me utile in order to use me as His instrument. And that led me to feel so grateful for all He's let me do in my mission, which brought the tears to my eyes, and I remembered that my patriarchal blessing says: "As you finish your mission you will be so grateful for the special experiences you will have through the Spirit." I felt known and loved by God and felt love for the wonderful patriarch who was worthy to give me that blessing. I've also been put into three good-old Bible bashing situations this week. We didn't argue with any of them: we taught them pure doctrine as we believe it and were able to end on friendly terms with each of the people we talked with. One of them was a young kid who thought he'd have a fun time by inviting us over and bashing with us. I have to admit that though we didn't bash with him we did give him a good reason to be humble :) Another kid was here on a mission from Texas. He only spoke English, which was among the first lessons I've ever taught in English. He was a cool kid and was understanding of what we taught him. He was surprised by how similiar our doctrine really is to his-- I think he's a non-denominational missionary. It was really cool. The only big news I have from this week is from the night Elder Kraft and I went to Wendy's. We had ordered our food, then looked up at the newspapers back by the drinks, and we saw the front page: Lebron James in his Cleveland Cavaliers uniform with giant words that said: DEVUELTA A CASA, which means Returning Home. Lebron James is going back to the Cavaliers! We both freaked out since we're big NBA fans and asked the cashier for the newspaper. We sat their at the counter reading the front page. All the employees were laughing at us. It was funny. Haha. I'm stoked for this NBA season now--I'll be home to watch it :) The funny story of the week: we were driving with an investigator up to an appointment near the bishop's house, and as we passed we saw the bishop outside his house just chilling in his garments. Ha. Not the first time I've seen that. But then we stopped and the investigator started talking to the bishop. The bishop just stood there in his garments and talked to him. Oh Puerto Rico. Anyway, I love you all a lot! Time's going by fast :) Elder Cevering

Monday, July 7, 2014

Photos of the ocean, a lake, a hike, etc.

Email July 7, 2014

Hello family! I wish I could say I had a really exciting week but it was really slow...The highlight of the week was our ward activity: we went to a park and hiked to a sweet water lake. It was really cool. I'll be sending the pictures. Our investigators Lizmariz and Josue went on vacation with their family to the other side of the island. So we didn't get the chance to teach them, or almost anyone. It wasn't too discouraging: I'm really happy to live with the missionaries here because we can always make situations better. The other thing we did this week was meet President Boucher and his wife: they're super great people. They seem to be really solid and really devoted to this work. We had an hour of a spiritual discussion where we listened to President Boucher's vision for the mission. Apparently he heard--even before being called to be the mission president--that our mission is super disobedient so he wants to change that. I don't know how much I agree with that: I'd say the missionaries here have been doing the best with what they've had for years and now it's just reaching a point where they can't do anything anymore without help from the members. I'll be home in three weeks and I have so much to tell you about this mission :) I know the church can grow on this island. Sister Boucher is really nice. After we had our hour of talking about spiritual things we moved on to a social hour sort of thing. Sister Boucher talked with all of us: she wrote down things about us on a paper with a list of our pictures on it. It was cool. Well I love you! Elder Cevering

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pictures from Vega Baja

Email June 30, 2014

Helloooooooooo Family! I'm writing late today cause we went to the outlet mall in Barceloneta. It was great! We went to Ihop in the morning: I forgot what it was like to just eat good old pancakes. Then we went through all the stores. So when you see a $93 payment in Nike...just know your dearest son on this tropical island needed what he bought :) I love you :) Our week was pretty great. I feel like the time is passing at a normal rate: not fast but not slow either. There's not a whole lot happening here. We have some investigators but we're at step one still: FINDING. We have two investigators with baptismal dates: their names are Lizmariz and Josue. They're the grandchildren of an older couple that was baptized at the end of last year. They're cool kids: Lizmariz is 17??? and Josue is 11. Josue's really cool. He always pulls out his boxing gloves when we show up because he wants to fight with us. Ha. It's cool. He really likes the missionaries. He took us to their backyard--they live in the jungle--and he showed us all the animals they have. Their grandpa is a chicken fighter--a huge sport in Puerto Rico--and he also raises peacocks. It's cool. It was also cool to see all their trees full of iguanas. Haha. Good old tropical island. The other exciting things that happened this week were that we went to the beach. WOO! That was awesome! I will send you the pictures. And just so you know, it's NOT against the rules in our mission to go to the beach. We were at a member's house--she lives right on the beach--so we went outside and took pictures there. I hope the pictures make you jealous :) I also got a visit from a family in Carolina: it was their goodbye visit. That was sad but it was really great. The feeling of going home really set in when they said goodbye. They told me how grateful they are to me and how they wished I could have gone back to Carolina. It was touching. I'm grateful to my Father in heaven for all the wonderful people I've met here. President Boucher arrived last Saturday and upon his arrival he made some changes to the mission: he called me as the district leader for Vega Baja. I was happy to know that the Lord trusts me enough to keep me in that position. When I finish my mission I will have spent 16 months as a District Leader, which is something that I'm glad to have passed through. Things with Elder Kraft are great: we get along super well. This is the funnest house I've lived in over the past two years. I will miss them a lot! We get along super well and all think alike. It's great. Well that's all I have for the week. I love you all so much and am excited to see you in 30 days! Elder Cevering

Monday, June 23, 2014

Email June 23, 2014

Hello from Vega Baja! I am doing really well! I love this area and I love the missionaries I live with! I feel super blessed that the Lord sent me here to finish my mission. Don't misinterpret this, but I feel like I was sent to a vacation area haha. Our area is right by the beach and our house is sweet! We live in an actual house which has air conditioning and WARM WATER. It's the best. I've been loving waking up in a cold room and then taking a nice warm shower. And on top of that we live right next to some government apartments with a basketball court so we go there almost every day to play basketball with the kids. It's really great. It probably feels like a vacation area because of the luxuries. The ward here is really interesting. It's similar to Carolina but it's also very different. It shouldn't be a ward: there are only 60 people in attendance--that's among the higher attendance for the "wards" of Puerto Rico. I wouldn't say there are truly any wards in Puerto Rico but hey, the leaders are the ones who decide that. There are some really loving people here: we get a LOT of food. I am going to miss Puerto Rican food so much. We went to this house the other day so I could meet some members and--like every Puerto Rican family--they gave us food. We ate huge plates of rice, beans, and chicken, then lasagna. You'd think it's a random combination, but it's super great as a missionary: load up on rice and beans, then eat a big piece of lasagna. It's a carb boost. We don't have many investigators here, but the elders here have had some good success over the past year. I think they've had almost 10 baptisms over the last year and a half which is really high for Puerto Rico. Next week we're going fishing at the beach with a member: I'm really excited about that. The elders have been showing me pictures of some places here that are beautiful. I'm happy to be finishing my mission here. I've been in communication with the elders in Bayamon: they're really excited to work there and are happy with all we left in place for them. So I'm at peace with everything. I am super excited that Randee and Kyle are going to have a baby and that they're moving back to North Ogden! Tell them congratulations. And working at the temple open house will be awesome! Especially with the special needs. I will love that. One thing I am really excited about, and something I want to be sure to attend when I get home, is Education Week. I am STOKED for that. I love you all so much! Elder Cevering

Friday, June 20, 2014

Email June 16, 2014

Hello family! You're going to be super surprised: ALL FOUR of us missionaries are leaving Bayamon. They're going to be sending some ex-zone leaders here to train since President Zwyck combined 8 zones into just 4. I was able to enjoy our zone conference with President Zwyck. He is a spiritual giant: I learned a lot from him. So now you're asking, "If they're taking you out of Bayamon where are they going to send you?" This is the exciting news: I am going to Vega Baja. It's two wards over from where I am now, and--this is the part that will get you excited mom--it's the area where Arelys's family lives! Barceloneta is part of the Vega Baja ward. So if you want to get in contact with her and let her know I'm headed to the area where her family lives so that we can see if we can work with them then that would be awesome. I'm sure she'll get really excited about that. If she wants to get in contact with me to talk about her family she'll have to call the mission office. The other exciting news is that my new companion is Elder Kraft: he was in my district up in Aibonito. He and I get along really well: I consider him my best friend in the mission. He and I were joking just the other day that he'd get to kill me--missionary phrase for finish your mission. And now I'm headed to be with him. I'm stoked! He has been telling me that the ward in Vega Baja is super cool. I'm stoked. This will be a sweet transfer: the best for the last! I'm sad to leave Bayamon because some good things happened here and the work was finally beginning to work forward, but I am convinced and sure that every transfer I've had has been a manifestation of God's perfect knowledge and love of me. He has been very merciful to me in my mission, which I am incredibly grateful for. I've been really touched over the past week fews in sacrament meeting: I have learned a lot about the atonement in this last transfer and can say that "I feel my Savior's love." Tonight we're going to have a family night with some members of the ward. They were really sad to hear we are leaving. Luckily, though, I'm going with our ward mission leader to Vega Baja tomorrow so he and I will get to chat and discuss things which I'm excited about. He's a really good man, and he's offered me to be able to come back and stay at his house on vacation. I love these people a lot and will miss them! I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week! Elder Cevering

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Email June 2, 2014

Hello family! It's been really funny to see Sister Rosado get so excited about texting you. Haha. And I love reading what she writes to you. She's trying to learn English. She uses a translation APP. I am glad she sent you the pictures of the baptism: it was the most spiritual baptism service I've attended in my mission. 32 members of the ward came! That's incredible for Puerto Rico. After changing into their white clothes, Megdalia and Alondra decided to let the Book of Mormon to fall open to a random page to see what scriptures they could find. It fell open to 3 Nephi 5:13--"Behold, 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." Megdalia was super touched by that. After the ordinances, Esteban--I don't remember if I've told you that he's in our ward, Lin's boyfriend who baptized her--gave a talk about the importance of member missionary work. As he talked about the experience with Lin, and full of the emotion from the baptism, tears came to my eyes. I was almost crying when I got up to lead the music. Haha. The bishop was SUPER happy with the baptisms. In fact, after Medalia's and Alondra's baptisms another man was baptized into our ward. His name is Ramon. His wife was baptized six years ago. I've NEVER seen any bishop or other leader be so excited about baptisms. He invited me and Elder Armstrong to speak in sacrament next Sunday. I'm excited. Now the ward is starting to get excited about inviting friends to listen to the gospel. They are seeing what Mormon spoke about in Helaman 3:27-30: "Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out." If in these last two months I can be a part in helping this ward see as Mormon saw that there are people who are willing to lay hold upon the true word of God, then I will be the happiest missionary that ever lived :) This week we have a ward BBQ and we're getting a lot of support from the members for it. A lot of people have said they are going to bring friends, so the pressure is on us. Haha. We have a good idea. The BBQ will be outside on the basketball court, and there will be a movie or something playing on the projector. Then at a certain point we're going to invite everyone to go inside the chapel where we will have a Lehi's dream stage set up. The members and their friends will grab onto a rope and pass through different rooms where they'll learn about the Book of Mormon. The rope will end at a tree where they'll get their dessert: that's how you keep a Puerto Rican at a BBQ. I'm looking forward to see more miracles here. The island has already changed so much over these two years. Miracles are popping up in the missionary news network here, and it looks like the church in Puerto Rico is FINALLY rising from the ashes of its past. It just requires that people do their duties and make wise sacrifices. Team work is what's changing the church here. I love you all so much and think about you all every day. My feelings are very mixed, but I look forward to the future with a lot of faith. I have a lot of goals for when I get home, and I feel like the Lord is helping me be prepared to step on a plane again. Have a great week! Elder Cevering

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Email May 26, 2014

Hello family, This week was a solid week! I feel so much better about continuing forward to finish my mission as a result of all that's been happening, though my trunkiness seems to grow every day! Haha. I love home, how can you blame me for that? We had our interviews with president Zwick this week, which went really well. He's strict, but he's not a preacher. Our interviews were short -- we only had 10 minutes to talk and it was just about the basics, like worthiness and such--but I could feel president Zwick's love and that's the important part. He said three things this week that have changed my mission specifically. He had a meeting with us and with each stake in the island, and in the meeting he had with our stake he came down pretty hard on the members. Ha. He read to them directly from the red manual of instructions about all the things they need to do to help missionary work move forward. He read about the ward council and its responsibility in doing missionary work, and then said, "Does that make ANY reference to knocking doors? NO." Ha. I loved it so much. He then said to us missionaries, "Elders and Sisters, you can contact as much as you want and you won't have baptisms. You have to work with the members." Then he said to me, in my interview, that he specifically, as an Elder of the first quorom of the 70, is going to approve for Migdalia to be baptized in the ward of Bayamon. He asked me about her whole story, then said, "I think it would be right for her to be baptized in Bayamon. I will take care of the details so that she can stay there." Then he gave me goals for baptisms: he asked me to have one more baptism with Migdalia. So...we invited her daughter to be baptized this Saturday with her and she ACCEPTED! It was a miracle. I'm super happy about it. I was humbled when she said yes that she would like to be baptized. I realized again how this is the Lord's work and not Michael Cevering's. And that's the only reason I have faith in this work: because it's His. In terms of companionship, Elder Matamoros and I are getting along much more. A member called us to see if two of us could go to his house to help him power-wash his roof. As you can imagine, the flat, cement roofs of Puerto Rico get filthy. I offered to go do the work, and Elder Matamoros went to the lesson with Elder Armstrong. And it turned out to be a good day to wash a roof: the sun was super hot so I got burnt all down my arms. It hurt bad haha it was probably the worst burn I've gotten in my mission. But I was happy to do the work because I'm grateful for that member and all he's done for us. It was a good lesson for me to learn. So, this week we have the baptism of Migdalia and her daugther. The ward is really excited about that. Our work with the members is starting to show fruits: we're supposed to have a lesson tonight with the friend of some members, and the ward also gave 4 references to our ward mission leader yesterday, so things look like they're on their way up. Our bishop is still horrible--he didn't want to give us a ride home yesterday after church---but we continue working anyway. And the members are rallying to the call. I believe this ward can see miracles if they continue growing like they are :) I'm grateful to be here. I love you all a lot! Elder Cevering

Monday, May 19, 2014

Email May 19, 2014

Hello Family! This week was a pretty good one, though I have to tell you a story: last Monday we were playing soccer and while we were playing I hurt my knee. It's been hurting me a lot as I've been walking around. I talked with the nurse and she's going to come see me today. So to be honest, I didn't do much proselyting this past week. We did, however, have some good lessons. We taught Migdalia about repentance and the commandments. It was a really great lesson because her 17 year old daugther was present. She had questions about the law of chastity, saying that the world embraces being unchaste. Haha. I just looked at her and said, "Alondra, I'm going to talk to you, youth-to-youth. Forget that I'm a missionary for a moment and remember that I'm a normal person like you..." then I went on to talk to her about the importance the law of chastity has had in my life and of the things I've learned from living it. Making it personal really changed everything, and in the end she accepted our invitation to live the law of Chastity. She's also going to be baptized now :) The situation with Migdalia is really interesting. She's completely ready to be baptized! She lives in an area of Bayamon that pertains to the neighboring ward Toa Baja. I've told you about that before, but here's the thing: though the stake gave permission for her to be baptized in Bayamon, I actually talked with Elder Cornish last week (yes, THE Elder Cornish) and he told me that Migdalia needs to be baptized in Toa Baja. So we're making a transition plan with the ward and missionaries of Toa Baja. I'm happy for her and believe she'll be able to make the transition. Our ward mission leader, however, is not too excited about it. On Saturday we went with the first counselor in the ward to clean the chapel--the men of the priesthood don't sign up to do the cleaning, so every Saturday morning we get a call "Elders can you help?" So we have to go. And we went, then we went to his house and helped him cut his grass and such. I was having a lot of pain in both my knee and my ab, so I asked him for some pain medication. He pulled out the only thing he had and--it was my fault--I took three pills...just to find out they were Tylenol PMs. HAHAHA. I was asleep in twenty minutes, and I slept basically all day. Haha. How funny is that? I love you all so much! Elder Cevering

Monday, May 12, 2014

Email May 12, 2014 (Short & Sweet because we got to talk to him yesterday for Mother's Day)

Hello! Yesterday was super great. I was so happy to get to talk to you. I wish it could be a longer time, but it was fun. Things are going well here with Migdalia. She should be getting baptized this Saturday. We'll see! Love you! Elder Cevering

Monday, May 5, 2014

Email May 5, 2014

Hello family, THE BIG NEWS OF THE WEEK The sad thing that happened this week was the release of President Smartt. Sister Smartt was diagnosed with MS, and the first presidency released President so that they could be together in the United States together for her treatments. We didn't know about it, but apparently Sister Smartt has been in the United States doing tests for awhile, and it was just recently that she was diagnosed. It's really sad. She's a really great woman, and President Smartt is a great man. Right now Elder Zwick of the seventy is presiding over the mission. Our new mission president will arive in June, but we still don't know who it will be. It's a really crazy situation. In other terms this past week was actually pretty successful. We have a new investigator: her name is Louisa. She's a friend of a member in the ward. She and her husband are young and really poor and they have a 1-year old son. They live up in the mountains, so in order to come to church Louisa had to stay Saturday night at the member's house. Her husband couldn't attend because he works. I don't know him, but she's really cool and interested. We have a lesson with her this week and hopefully her husband is present. Migdalia continues to progress. She is basically a dry Mormon. She doesn't drink coffee, she doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, etc. That's surprising because most Puerto Ricans love coffee. In Aibonito the people drank a LOT of coffee, and it's because they have it in their backyards. And apparently the coffee that comes from the south side of the island is really good. Things between Elder Matamoros and I are actually improving a lot. I've been trying to joke around with him a lot. He's really weird and such but we're getting along better. We're trying to do a lot of different things with our time. You know me and you know how my interests in things go up and down: I have the tendency to be super interested in one thing, and then after a few weeks that interest changes. Well, that's how I've been feeling about the mission. I've been really struggling to maintain my interest to talk with people in the street. And in order to relieve that stress I've been trying to find members who we can serve so that we can utilize our time well. There's one member we've been able to help a lot, and he's actually grown more active and his relationship with his wife is improving a lot. Last Saturday we were at this member's house helping him build a cement column for his house. It was really fun. Haha. We've been making a LOT of cement with him, and without machines. I think in all, we've gone through 50 bags of cement at his house in the past two weeks. We've been filling his patio, we built the column, helped him seal his septic tanks. And so on. We also have been helping him in his banana farm. It's sweet. I've really enjoyed it. We started a group to play basketball on Saturdays. It's our attempt to unite the priesthood more, give the members a chance to invite friends to the church to get to know us, and also for us to bring our investigators. It's going to be really great. The members have given us support in it. We're also going to re-start the English class we were giving, which should bring us two investigators. There's a couple from Naranjito--in the mountains--that we were trying to teach before when they came to the class, but it didn't work out because they were so busy starting out the year. They are accountants. But now we should be able to teach them. Well that's all. I love you so much and I'm looking forward to talking to you on Sunday! Elder Cevering

Monday, April 28, 2014

Email April 28,214

Hello family! Today I am feeling really good. In all honesty, this past week was one of the hardest weeks of my mission. I am so glad this transfer is coming to an end, and I'm hoping for some good changes to take place. But in the end of everything, I am happy right now and I am excited to get into this new transfer :) Things between Elder Matamoros and I are not too great. He's really, really tough to deal with. He says that he doesn't need anyone to tell him anything about how to be a missionary. I always tell him, "Look, when I began my mission I felt like I knew a lot too. I'm telling you now, after 21 months in the mission, that I wish I had listened more to my trainers." He acts like I'm unintelligent. Blah. I'm going to be making a plan with the other elders to try to accomplish some things in the ward--which is struggling along. We had a ward council meeting where it was proposed that we make a ward mission plan. But just in case that never happens, we have to get the ward moving in some other way. We, the missionaries, are basically the life force of every ward and branch on this island. We got some good news from the stake yesterday. Our investigator Migdalia--the one who wants to be baptized on May 17th--came to Bayamon to church yesterday. And we were stressing a bit about that because she doesn't live in our ward boundaries. Well, we talked to the stake mission leader and he said that it was best that she continued coming to Bayamon for one simple reason: she's learning. She can continue going to Bayamon and then one day, when she is firmer in the church, someone can teach her about the boundaries and then they'll leave it up to her. Ha. The funny thing is that she lives in an area named Toa Alta, which is basically a war area between the Bayamon ward and the Toa Baja ward. There's a line that divides the Toa Alta area into the two different wards, but no one respects it, and no one enforces it. There are members from Bayamon that attend Toa Baja. Blah blah blah. So that had a big part in the whole decision of letting Migdalia continue coming to Bayamon. So that's great. We have ONE investigator! Hooray! I will never be able to express fully what my mission has meant for me and what it has made of me. I will forever be grateful to have been sent here to Puerto Rico for two years of my life. But the mission is tough, and it's only meant to prepare us for the rest of our lives. I had a very personal experience in the sacrament yesterday. I know that it's a true ordinance--that Jesus Christ really did initiate it in His earthly ministry. I know that Joseph Smith restored the priesthood authority necessary for that ordinance to have a complete effect on our souls. The atonement of Jesus Christ was such an incredible act of love and obedience. I will ever be grateful for His love. I love you all so much! Elder Cevering

Monday, April 21, 2014

Email April 21, 2014

Hello family, What a week! I feel like it went by really fast, though nothing exciting happened. To be honest, it was a tough week. We had a great lesson with an investigator--she asked us, "When can I be baptized?" and then we found out she doesn't belong to our ward...SUPER disappointing. GAH. I was SO happy when we set up the baptismal date and everything, and I was so happy to have someone SO promising, just to find out that she didn't live in our ward boundaries. It was really, really frustrating! The ward has been making some big advances over these past couple of weeks. The home teachers are finally getting out and doing their visits! It's really great. And the visiting teachers are going out too. It really makes a difference in the Spirit that we feel in the chapel. A few months ago I gave an idea to the zone leaders to have a stake missionary fireside. They gave the idea to the stake president and he approved it. It was called "Returning the Hearts to the Family." Well, they took the idea and worked it out with president Smartt, then told us to invite everyone. Then this past week we were told that we--the missionaries--couldn't go. I wasn't too frustrated by that. I talked with some members afterwards and they said it was a really good fireside, so I'm happy about that. Hopefully it will have some good fruits. There is literally nothing else for me to write about. I'm just trunky really. I've got to get myself more focused, but I'm seriously having a hard time staying focused on the work right now. All of the investigators I've found here in Bayamon have either fallen through or they attend other wards...I contacted a bar the other day that's near our house. I asked each of the men in the bar if they were interested in listening to our message. They all flat-out said no, until the last man. The last man said, "What are you going to teach?" I gave him a short resumen of what we teach then said, "Do you think I would take my time to come into a bar to talk to people if I didn't think it would bless your life?" He then told me he'd like us to pass by. When I saw his address I saw that he wasn't from our ward. BAAAAHHHH. I was SO disappointed. He seemed so cool. Preach My Gospel says that "No effort is wasted" and I believe that. Maybe this is just a practice in humility for me. But I'm tired of having to send golden investigators to other missionaries :). But pa'lante. Oh well. Life goes on. I haven't gotten your package yet. The whole mail process is really slow in the mission. President wants us to get mail directly to our houses, but our house doesn't have a physical address so I can't receive mail that way. Bleh. But I got grandma and grandpa's package. Tell them thank you. I love you all a lot. I love you all so much! Elder Cevering

Monday, April 14, 2014

Email April 14, 2014

Hello family! Well, don't think that you missed out on anything by not getting a full letter last week because nothing exciting happened. Better things happened this week. Well, the exciting news from this week is that Jorge was baptized! It was a really great experience. The ward had a different Spirit in it on Sunday. I wish I could tell you more exciting things were happening. I'm doing alright. I feel like time is going by fast, but I feel like what I'm doing isn't making a difference. Despite all the people we talk to, and despite all the promising people we teach, it just feels like no one is really serious. That's the tough part: we are getting preached to about finding the people that will receive us, but even when they receive us they don't receive the doctrine. I know that faith is incomplete without enduring to the end, but it's just tough. This has been the longest period in my mission where my numbers have been low. I don't focus entirely on numbers, but I do know they are important and represent our work. I know I'm working, so I'm not second-guessing or thinking badly of myself or my efforts. I'm frustrated with the people. President Smartt says there are a ton of people ready to accept the gospel. I believe that, but I want to find them. You know? Well, I won't be negative anymore because I don't want you to think that I'm not doing well or that I'm being too hard on myself. I'm learning a lot about my weaknesses and I'm grateful for that. The atonement has been very active in my life this past week. I know Jesus Christ lives and is my Savior. We all ought to strive to be more like Him and be obedient to His commandments: doing our duties more than blesses us, it blesses others. Something I've seen in Puerto Rico is that the proud, idle "saints" bring a HUGE burden on the dutiful. So be responsible and faithful. I love you so much! Elder Cevering