Thursday, September 6, 2012
September 4, 2012
September 4, 2012 Hello Family! I've learned some pretty cool things in just my past week of study. For example: I had a thought once when I was singing a hymn about Joseph Smith, and that thought was "Did people in past dispensations sing songs about their prophets?" I don't really know the answer to that question, but I had a great doctrinal insight about it. Beginning with chapter 4 of The Book of Mormon we have Nephi talking to Laman and Lemuel about Moses--who is their dispensatory prophet. Well, if you look up the word Moses in the topical guide and follow the references listed, you will find some cool testimonies about Moses. So I guess what I've learned is that in the same way the Spirit testifies of Joseph Smith as a prophet to us, it also bore testimony of the divine calling of Moses to those of his dispensation. I have some other cool thoughts about the scriptures that come straight from Spanish substitutes for things in the scriptures. I can't think of the ones I had written down, so I'll write them and send them home. It's cool how the scriptures translate: you just get new insights on simple words. We never receive doctrinal instruction from our teachers. They only teach us Spanish and the fundamentals of teaching. All the doctrine we learn comes from personal commitment in reading the scriptures, and from lessons we have at either firesides or on Sundays. In my case, I'm blessed to have the knowlege I have because I can focus more time on learning the language, while others have to really put their noses to the pages. Besides that, I loved grandpa's letter he sent me! It was very uplifting. I'm also very grateful for the letter Julie sent about two weeks ago. Uncle Paul sent me an email also, for which I was grateful. He made me laugh. I haven't been good at remembering to tell you these things. But I was very grateful for all the personal letters I received. Ok so week 4 is over! It was really not very eventful, but I'll tell you what I can! First off, we had a HUGE tie trade night. I have some really nice new ties! The Elders here argued over the orange paisley tie you sent me mom haha I got something good for that one! I kept all ties I was given as gifts before I left, so don't worry! But I traded those that I had bought on my own. When I get the opportunity to send you pictures, you'll get some of me in some sweet new corbatas! (corbata is Spanish for tie) The title of this week's letter comes from a great conversation we had. Elder Perrenoud's girlfriend always sends him letters that she sprays in perfume, and the Elders here LOVE it! haha. But Elder Perrenoud left yesterday, so one of the Elder's in my district said: "Will you give me her address? I just want some smell goods..." HAHA. I'm finally getting respect as a basketball player :) That's right, I Michael Todd Cevering am becoming quite a lot better at basketball! Haha there are some kids in my district who are really good too. One of them is African American, so he runs all over me when we play. But hey, we have a great time! The newest member of the MTC presidency was announced this past Sunday, and he was hiccuping the whole time he spoke! It was pretty great. There's an Elder in my district—the one who used to be a Baptist :)--he has a lot of misconceptions about doctrine and truth. He's way into cloning and aliens. He likes to ask us questions about that. But Elder Acor and I have had a lot of great teaching experiences with him. We taught him about the character of God and exaltation, about the divine means of creation and the pattern that God has established for the creation of man as Spirits before men-in-the-flesh. Because of his background he really struggles to accept things. But he feels the truth of it. That's something great about him: no matter how much he likes to argue, he will always sit back in the end, with that look on his face of "I know this is true" and then he stops. The Lord is really helping Elder Acor and I to teach him. I love Hermana Eyring! She is incredibly kind! Elder Acor and I taught her twice this past week in our fake investigator thing--they call it progressive investigator. I don't really enjoy progressive investigator to be honest, but I've loved it with Hermana Eyring. She laughs and talks with you like you're her friends, while other teachers just sit there and judge you while you teach. It's incredible how you can be so edified by teaching in those lessons though: I was really touched by one of our lessons with Hermana Eyring. It's not real, but the Spirit that bears testimony of the things you say is very real. We committed Lilian--Hermana Eyring's fake investigator--to reading the Book of Mormon. I truly know that that book is the word of God. We talk about it a lot here, and the only thing anyone will ever tell you is: find out for yourself if it's true. My thoughts on that are very clear: What does someone have to lose if they will open their heart and read the Book of Mormon in sincerity to know if it's of God or not? Perhaps it will take courage, as President Monson would say, but it's worth it. The principles contained therein are too true and beneficial to be set aside as simply a lie or joke, and the Spirit that bears testimony of it is too real to be fraudulent. I love the Book of Mormon more now than I think I ever have. I have the opportunity to teach and read from it every day, and it has been changing my life. Haha it's like a new friend that you don't really acknowledge throughout the day, but is constantly edifying your heart, soul, and mind. Well, I can't think of much else that happened in the past week. James and I auditioned for a musical number (Savior Redeemer of My Soul). He played the piano for me, and we got a yes immediately after we finished. So we'll be performing some time soon. I'll let you know how that goes! Love you all! I do my best to remember you in my prayers. Elder Cevering p.s. thank you so much for the package you sent me! I loved, as did my companions, the cookies. Please thank Kara Liston for her kindness to me in sending me letters.