Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sammy & Wandy's Baptism

November 26, 2012 Email

Hello Family! Well...Let me just be honest right from the start: the way I've been feeling is very day-to-day. I'll give you more background of what has happened and then jump into my past week. So, we went to the surgeon two weeks ago where we learned that I have abdominal tears in my umbulicular muscle, which have the potential to cause a hernia. However, there were no hernias caused so nothing happened. However, I was given instructions not to bike or exercise or such, and that I would have to come back in two weeks. Well, tomorrow would be two weeks. Am I going back to the hospital tomorrow? No. HAHA. They think that I'm "Just Fine" so there's no need to pay the money. But now, to let you know how I'm doing today: I am doing alright. Like I said in the beginning of this email I feel very day-to-day. I'm going to try to describe it: Missionary Work is very different from what I ever thought it would be like. Now, I knew it was going to be hard work and I knew I wasn't just going to baptize a bunch of people, and I knew that working with companions wasn't going to be an easy life. I knew I'd have to do my own laundry and cooking and shopping. 6:30 A.M. was always something I dreaded before my mission. And none of that bothers me: I enjoy the independent feeling of being on a mission. But through all of this experience--the injury, etc.--I think the hardest thing has been asking myself: "Why am I here?" Well, it's definitely not for my mission president, and it's definitely not for my companions. It's definitely not for my parents--because I'm too selfish to do this for anyone but ME. So, why am I here? For me. This is something I've wanted to do all my life. I want to be here to help other people come unto Christ: there's no question about that in my mind. But with the injury and the anxiety I began to feel like I was going to lose that opportunity. I began to fear injuring myself more, or something like that. Throw all of that onto a newborn missionary and what does he do? Haha. It's funny. I don't know the purpose of all of this, and I don't know if I ever will know for sure. But I'm just trying to take it all a day at a time. It's really tough right now: but here's the good news: I LOVE where I am now, and I love my new companion, and I love the members I work with. I was reassigned to the Toa Baja zone here on Puerto Rico (east of Arecibo, west of San Juan), and I am specifically assigned to work in an area named Corozal and Naranjito. It is BEAUTIFUL! It's a little "pueblo"--or town--in the mountains. The roads are narrow, the clouds sink down into the valley during the day, and at night I just listen to the coquis in the fields as I walk. It's a wonderful place. I love looking at the lights in the pueblo as we walk the hills at night. My companion is Elder Peacock--he is a great missionary! He was the assistant-mission trainer for the mission before he became my companion. That means he did a lot of traveling to teach missionaries here. So he's really smart, but he's also a very open learner: he asks me a lot of questions about things just to learn, which is great. We have some good discussion. He's from Kaysville so that's not far from home. I live with six missionaries right now: one from El Salvador, one from Honduras, one from the Dominican Republic, and then Elder Peacock and another Elder from Utah. There are less than 10 members in Corozal and Naranjito--I guess I should say ACTIVE members. They all have to drive down the mountain to go to church. So Elder Peacock and I want to work to be able to create a Branch up here, but that's all just our opinions. We think it's possible and that it would really help the area and the members. We have two investigators in Corozal with baptismal dates (Martha and Augustine). This past week when we invited Martha to be baptized we had a great discussion with her: we talked about the need for priesthood authority in baptism, which she understood really well. She's been baptized twice before (Catholic and Pentecostal) but she said she was excited to be baptized again! haha. But the cool story comes here: She told us that when her aunt died years ago she had a dream of her aunt standing at the doors of heaven, knocking and trying to get in. She said that that was surprising to her because she thought she would have seen her aunt inside heaven. So she told us "Now I understand why I had that dream: She wasn't baptized by the proper authority!" To that we taught her about baptisms for the dead, which she was so excited about. One of the members up here in Corozal likes to call Elder Peacock a lot of different bird names, so that's where the title comes from. Some days he'll yell "Elder Chicken!"or "Elder Rooster!" It's really great. And as for my McGuana title, that was something that one of the AP's said last week to another missionary. There's not anything really funny behind it. Please don't worry too much about me! Just be glad to know that I love where I am right now :) I love you all and miss you all a lot! Elder Cevering

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012

Hello Family! Here I have been in Puerto Rico...sitting on a couch the last few days in the home of Sister Visker (the mission nurse). I am going a little bit crazy...I am going to the orthopeudic doctor tomorrow to find out what's wrong with me. To let you know more specifically about how I am physically, I am feeling worse now than I did when I was working: right now my abdomen just aches really bad! I alternate my bag of ice hour-by-hour, and rest all day long, taking Ibuprofen ever 4 hours to reduce the inflammation I have (I've never felt so pregnant! haha). So overall, I'm just ready to not have this issue anymore. I'll tell you more about the circumstances in a minute, but just know that if Monte says it takes 6 weeks to heal, I am going to go insane! I really wonder if I'm going to be home soon: to rest and recover. We don't have the means here to help me recover the way I think I should: I can't just stay in this house for 6 weeks: every day I sit around from 9:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M. The AP's pick me up and take me to different houses to sleep in for the night (I'm not allowed to sleep here because I'm not sick enough and I also don't have a male companion--and living in a house of females is WEIRD), then they bring me back in the morning. I've gone out and worked once--I'll tell you more about that--and I was in a lot of pain after that. So we went to the hospital, got my CT scan (the scan preparation drink they gave me was terrible!), and it just so happens to turn out that all my insides are fine---------but the funny thing was, we still had no idea what was wrong with my abdomen. We'd done tests on everything else--blood, intestines, liver, kidney, blah, blah, blah--but not the muscle that I had hurt. Wow. I was so incredibly frustrated. I haven't gotten angry, but I've been pretty down about this whole thing. There are some perks to living with the mission nurse though: last week she had to go to the south side of the island to a city named Guayamo. I had to go with her because she is my "companion", so I have been able to see more of the island. The south side is nowhere near as pretty as the north side--at least, as far as what I've seen. It's really flat and hot: there are a lot of cactus there. While we were in Guayamo I went on an exchange with a missionary--Sister Visker was meeting with his companion. We met with a member and his non-member wife and her cousin. It was actually a great lesson! We talked about The Book of Mormon and invited them to be baptized, to which they both accepted: it was a really powerful lesson! There aren't really a lot of words to describe it. I'm really grateful to have had that experience. I didn't know who those people were, I don't even remember their names: but I was able to share my testimony with them and bring them closer to Christ. Besides that, my life is really boring. There is nothing else to tell you about my week: so I'll give you more information about my injury. I injured my abdomen more than 3 weeks ago! I was using the ab wheel, and as I was in the downward motion--ab flexed, body straight, knees on the ground--I felt a sharp, hot pain run straight up my ab. I fell on my face and just started laughing because it hurt so bad: I'm sure you wouldn't think that would make it funny, but I couldn't stop laughing. It took me about 10 minutes to get up, and when I did get up I spent the next hour on the couch just gripping my ab because of the pain. As time went on I did my best to work: the pain moved into my back and even down above my groin. I began to feel like I had a needle in my side, and my stomach was swollen. I felt bloated! haha and I still do. The pain kept me up at nights, and the weakness in my core wore me out by mid-afternoon. Even after we got a car I had a difficult time turning the wheel after a couple hours of driving, and my back would start to hurt really bad because there wasn't much strength coming from my abdomen to support me. So that was my life for the last three weeks: work and rest, rest and work, go to the hospital to have my kidneys and other insides checked, go back to work...etc. So, now I'm here living with Sister Visker and I'm still not improving: three weeks after the injury, four days of rest: no improvement. I just sit around and talk to the sister missionaries all day: which is really weird. There are three that live here: Sister Visker, Sister Stoddard (who are both senior missionaries), and Sister Medina (she's from California, born in Mexico). The only really great thing about living here is getting to be with the AP's at night: there's one named Elder Medina (he's from Chile) and he's hilarious! He's learning English right now so he'll talk to me in English a lot. He was asking me about my injury, and as I finished telling him he said "Oh Elder, I'm sorry. You're in the uh...um...oven? Yeah! Oven of affliction!" HAHA oh man, it was so funny! He's really hilarious: in fact, all Latin American missionaries are pretty funny. The AP's have had me sleep with a lot of different people over the past few nights: I spent one night with some Elders from Panama, some Elders from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Chile. I'm learning Spanish really well! HAHA. But, the bottom line is, nothing exciting is happening, and it doesn't look like anything exciting will be happening soon! Don't be surprised though if you get an email that says I'm coming home. That's the hard part: this injury has brought me to the depths of decision and desire. What do I want right now? That's the question I ask myself every day: What do I want? Haha I laugh at myself for praying for "Mountains to Climb", and I laugh because the prayers have clearly been answered: I've never been so conflicted in my life than now! Mountains to climb! I am really grateful to all of you that have been writing me! I wrote a lot of letters before I came to live with Sister Visker, but I didn't bring any of them with me because I didn't think I'd get the chance to go to the office to send them. So all those letters will have to wait (Olivia Buttars, Tanner Family, Bailey Love, Lund Family). I'm sorry! Maybe you'll get them hand delivered sometime next week ; I got your letters though. Thank you for sending me a pillow! haha there are really no pillows in this world we call the Puerto Rico San Juan mission. I have only had one pillow in the three different places I've slept in the past few days. Isn't that crazy? Well, I really have nothing else to say. I love you all! Don't worry about me: I know that's the same as asking you not to breathe, but I'm doing alright. Elder Cevering

Friday, November 9, 2012

Update on Elder Cevering's Injury

Brother and Sister Cevering, Today Elder Cevering and I have spent the entire day together. I picked him up at 6:00 AM in Arecibo and made it back to San Juan at 9:00 AM to have the CT exam. The results came back at 4:00PM and it shows everything as normal. All of the tests to this point have come back normal. It is looking more like we have an abdominal muscle tear. We spoke with an orthopedic doctor after receiving the results and he thinks it could also be an abdominal tear. He ordered complete rest, ice every hour along with ibuprofen every four hours. He will evaluate the treatment and severity of the pull on Tuesday. Elder Cevering will spend his days with me resting, studying, icing, and healing. He will spend the nights in an elder’s apartment not far from me. His attitude is very positive about this course of action. He is also making a plan to use his down time wisely getting closer to his Heavenly Father, becoming more familiar with Preach My Gospel and studying in depth some gospel topics that he and the chooses. I appreciate that you have raised him to be always a gentleman. We will keep you up dated on his progress. Sister Mary Visker R.N. Puerto Rico San Juan Mission Nurse

Monday, November 5, 2012

View of Arecibo Puerto Rico

An Iguana & a Spider

Helping Investigator to make Christmas Lights

Chinese/Puerto Rican Food

Coqui Frogs

November 5, 2012

Hello Family! Well, I know you're all dying to know how things went at the doctor: as of right now, I have no idea what has happened! Haha. All I can tell you is I didn't pass an abdominal-rub test, then I was sent to a hospital-like location. But I don't know the results yet: we were supposed to get my x-ray results today, but my sonogram work won't be ready until Wednesday. So, I go to the doctor last Monday: Elder Astle and I had NO idea where it was . We found it eventually, but it was tough. Then I met with the doctor, he tested me on some things, wrote up some papers, and told me I should go to the hospital to get an x-ray and all that. Well, I was thinking and hoping that I would be able to do that the next day but I couldn't, because President Alvarado didn't want me to. He made me wait until Friday of last week to go to the hospital. President told me to just work hard and not to drive the car as much as I should bike, even though Sister Visker (our nurse) and the doctor both told me to not bike with my injury. He didn’t want me to go until Friday because that was the day of our zone conference: he would rather have me work through the pain for the week and miss two hours of zone conference. I'm sorry, I'm really not in a good mood right now. I LOVE my investigators, I LOVE Puerto Rico. But I'm really struggling with this whole injury thing. Elder Garcia and President want me to work a lot more than I feel capable of, and a lot more than Sister Visker and the doctor have told me. But in not working according to Elder Garcia's and President's standards, I then gain the reputation of a lazy elder...frustrating! Alright, enough of the negative. Let me say here real quick thank you to everyone that sent me a letter or card for Halloween: the Tanners, Lunds, Grandma and Grandpa, and Olivia Buttars! You all made my week that much better. The rest of my week was very uneventful, as you can imagine: we actually spent a lot of time in meetings last week: Last Wednesday night we had a meeting at the mission office. As you can imagine, we were trying to avoid the fanfare of what every missionary loves to call "The most dangerous night for a missionary". And then Thursday morning we had a meeting with the first counselor in the General Young Men's presidency: Larry Gibson. It was pretty good! He gave us some good ideas for working with our wards, which is the main focus right now here in Puerto Rico. We're about to implement some great ideas in our ward which I think will rapidly increase the excitement over missionary work in Arecibo. We didn't have a baptismal service last Saturday: I'm sorry that I failed to tell you that none of our investigators attended Church the week before, so they couldn't be baptized. The mission rule is investigators have to attend 3 straight Sunday services before they can be baptized. So, we're back--essentially--to square one and are waiting for the end of the month, hoping our investigators will be faithful and come to church! Haha I really love all of them. We started teaching a great kid this past week. He's 17 and preparing for college here: he's very religious, but his family is essentially uncaring towards religion, though they believe in "good-and-bad" things. We passed him last Tuesday and talked with him and invited him to read a pamphlet about the Restoration, then we met with him Saturday and asked him how it went. He then proceeded to tell us that he prayed about the truth of our message and received a feeling that he could not describe, and that he knew what we are teaching him is true. Elder Garcia and I were so excited! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he is excitedly reading. The couple we are teaching are both...at a stand still haha He is not progressing more with his smoking addiction, and because of his work he can't get to church. He's way busy making his lights right now: we actually helped him make a few last Saturday, hoping that would help him have the time to attend church, but he still told us he doesn't think he'll be able to attend church until December. I think his decisions are impacting his wife: they both know our message is true, but their lack of church attendance keeps them from the font: and she would attend church but he isn't. Hmmm...what can we do? Haha we're praying really hard for them. Well, that's really all about it! Tonight I'm headed up to spend the night with the district leader. Hooray for sleepovers! We'll see how this week goes...I'm confident things are going to be fine! Love Elder Cevering