Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hello Family! Well, it was an eventful week here at el CCM--which is the Spanish for MTC. First let me tell you that the reason I'm no longer going to the Dominican Republic is not because of the hurricane. The Latin American missionaries who attend the DR MTC have not been able to get their visas, so they can't leave. And since it's such a small MTC they can't bring us down there. One thing I've learned to dislike about the MTC--some of the kids here are quite the Mormons. There was an Elder here who argued with one of our teachers in a workshop: he said "If we're not supposed to take the sacrament unworthily, why would we invite non-members to take it?" The teacher said, "Very good question. If you'll allow me to show you the next slide on the power-point I'll answer that question." So he changes the slide and there's a highlighted part that explains the answer to this Elder's question. Well, is this Elder paying attention? Nope. And the teacher called him out on it: it was awesome actually. He said: "Hey, if you're going to question what I'm teaching you can at least pay attention to me when I'm giving you an answer." Those weren't the exact words, and the tone of his voice wasn't rude, but you get the gist of it. This same Elder sat next to my district at lunch the same day, and we heard him telling his companions: "Yeah, I wait 5 minutes after I get my lunch to eat it. One of MY goals is to learn patience." Wow. And that's not all either: he answers EVERY question in workshops and such. And this is just one example among many of the missionaries here who find themselves to be more righteous than the rest of us. Here's another example: One of the Dominican Republic missionaries told me I lacked faith because I said I wish I'd have the experience, like him, to live among--and speak with--natives for 6 weeks in the Dominican Republic. He thought I needed a lecture about the miracles of God. Well, at this point my frustration was pent up, so I directed him to the "Learn Your Language" section in Preach My Gospel where it states clearly "THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR SPEAKING WITH AND LISTENING TO NATIVE SPEAKERS OF THE LANGUAGE YOU ARE LEARNING." I have been blessed with the gift of tongues here, and I wholeheartedly believe in miracles. I've been the recipient of not too few miracles in the past three weeks. But I know that there is a line between gaining knowledge through experience speaking and teaching native speakers (who speak NO English) and merely sitting in a room looking over flashcards. Alright, there's my rant for the week. I promise I'm not as bitter as I sound :) I'm very happy here at the MTC! I'm getting along with my district and companion great! They call me the "scripture master" here haha I'm really humbled by their desire to ask me questions about the scriptures and the gospel. We got new teachers this week. Because of BYU Fall semester the teachers' schedules all had to be changed. I now have the great opportunity to be taught by Henry B. Eyring's granddaughter. That's really cool. And my other teacher is pretty cool: I know he's going to drill Spanish into us. Last night he had us all read Moroni 7 in Spanish...we were all impressed at how well we understood it. I'm learning Spanish pretty well right now--like I said last week, I kind of hit an apex with the language that I'm trying to surmount. There are a couple little things I'm trying to master right now, which are very tedious. But overall, my understanding of Spanish is increasing rapidly! There are days here where we only speak in Spanish--it's part of the program :) Neil L. Anderson spoke here last week. Wow! What an experience to see him walk through the doors in the gymnasium. It was electrifying to see him and know that he is an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke about "10 Things President Monson Would Tell You if He Were Here." It was very uplifting! I have all the notes and I look over them once every couple of days. I'm so impressed by the reality of revelation: how is it that so many people know the things of my heart, though I've hardly spoken them? Neil L. Anderson spoke to my needs this past week, and I don't even know him! I can personally promise that God knows us as individuals and cares for us as we need. Elder Acor was an example of that this past week as well: he and I gave each other blessings because we were so sick. In the blessing he gave me he gave me a blessing concerning things no one here knows about me. I haven't told him that much about me, yet he was able to bless me with something I needed--and that "something" was NOTHING obvious. There is revelation on this earth today, and it comes through proper priesthood authority. There were a lot of challenges in the past week: I see how the Lord is answering my prayer for mountains to climb. There are definitely times when I am ready to go back to the room and nap, or just throw my flashcards or other work under my desk and just relax. But I am constantly reminded of Spencer W. Kimball's words: "Give me these mountains! Give me these challenges!" In Luke 6:48 the Savior expounds on the wise man who built his house upon a rock. The Savior teaches that in order to build upon the rock, the wise man first "digged deep" to find the foundation whereon he would build. Likewise, we have to "dig deep" to set our foundation. I'm learning so much about that here: haha and I know I'll have so much more to learn about that in life, especially at the end of these next six weeks. Anyway, thank you all for you love and letters! We get mail after lunch, and we always sing the "Mail Time" song from Blue's Clues when we leave class for lunch. Letters really do make your day: I got one from Sydney yesterday that really buoyed me up! I'm so grateful for all of you back home, and can't wait for that two year reunion! Love you all! Elder Cevering NEWS...August 24, 2012 Hello Mom! Well, here´s the next mountain to climb! All of the elders going to Puerto Rico are no longer going to the Dominican Republic MTC next week. As of right now we will be staying in Provo for the full 9 weeks! Hacho! It´s really frustrating. I was thinking just this morning how ready I am to be done here in Provo--and now I've got six weeks more! I'm really really really disappointed. But you know, maybe Elder Acor and I will end up being zone leaders now...not that that's a position I want. Oh man, I can't fathom being here for 9 more weeks. Either this is a direct answer to my prayer for mountains, or there's a definite purpose in our remaining here--or both! Ay me. Es no bueno. I thought you'd like to know that I saw James pretty quickly after he got here to the MTC. He's not in my zone, and we actually don't have a similar schedule like we very likely could have had. But hey, he's leaving in three weeks and I'm not! So lucky him. But I've been able to talk to him a few times actually. He seems really happy and excited to be here--I'm sure Leigh would want to know that. And his companion seems really cool. I don't know what else to say. Other than...Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke at the MTC this past Tuesday night! It was awesome! His topic was "What President Monson would tell you if he were here." It was a great talk. Oh man, I'm going to have a lot more of those I guess...which isn't bad, but I'd rather hear them in the DR! I remember feeling sorry for the missionaries that had to be here for 9 weeks, and look: now I'm one of them! They said there's a slim chance we'll be out of here by week 6, like they sometimes are able to, and that they're fighting for us to be out of here by then. But they told us not to expect it. Well, there's really nothing else to tell you. I'm getting new teachers next Monday since BYU starts Fall semester next week. One of my new teachers is actually President Eyring's granddaughter. At least that will be a cool experience for the next six weeks. She doesn't like to talk about him though, she's embarrassed when people ask her about it. Okay, well I sent a letter to you guys. Anyway, love ya! Elder Cevering p.s. Kara Liston sent me an apple pie this week. I don't really know how to thank her since I don't have her email or address. Please tell her my companions and I are very grateful for it and we loved it! My feet are fine too. Like I said, I put my shoes on and went to work and all the pain and symptoms went away.

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