Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Email January 21, 2013

Hello Family! This was one of the toughest, but the most miraculous week of my mission yet. I am very excited to tell you all about it! First off, let me give you a follow up on Atawelpa: he has finally come to accept Jesus Christ as "different" from other men, but he still doesn't really believe He atoned for us. I really don't understand why, and he hasn't given us a good reason for that belief either. I think he's been reading things on the internet: we all know that there is a ton of ridiculous viral information. But I haven't asked him about that. He is progressing, and I know that because he told us that when he first received the Book of Mormon he didn't really think much of it, but now he says it's "sweet" and "flavorful"--those are his real words. We tried to set a baptismal date with him, but he said he needs a LOT of time before he gets baptized. We'll see what we can do about that. Well, this is where things are going to get exciting: first let me tell you that in this mission we don't really live the 9:00 or 9:30 or 10:30 rules of bedtime/be-in-apartment times. We are always asked to do something more. This past week I drove Elders from Guaynabo back to Carolina, and we didn't get to bed until 12:30, and we had to be up for a meeting at 5:30. Really crazy. But I only bring that up because last night we had a miracle: as we were reporting our numbers for the week--at 9:00--the zone leaders asked us to go out and try to have one more member present lesson: the entire zone was doing that as a way to exercise faith in the Lord's hand. So...I thought for just a moment and a less-active member came to my mind immediately. So we drove to his house, unsure if it would even prove anything: the member present lesson rule is that you have a member with you when you teach a lesson to a non-member. Going to his house was a complete leap of faith, considering he is less-active and it was 9:00. But we acted according to the impression. When we got to his house the lights were out and Elder Delgado said "He must be sleeping." But I pulled into the driveway and we called him anyway. Ether 12:6 ran through my mind: there will always be a trial of your faith. I figured the lights being out was the trial of our faith regarding the inspiration. So we called him and he answered the phone. We told him why we were there and he said: "I am on the phone with my friend down the street who is really sick. Do you want to give her a blessing?" YEAH--said us. So we went with him down to this woman's house and we gave her a blessing, along with a lesson about the power of the priesthood. Less than five minutes after we gave the blessing her son called her and she told him: "I feel fine! Really, I'm suddenly beginning to feel so much better." It was a very humbling experience to know that the Lord knows His children so well to inspire our President to tell our Zone Leaders to ask us to give just a little bit more effort, just so we could go and give this woman a blessing and relieve her of the pain she was feeling. Another very humbling and very miraculous experience we had was that of finding a family of 15 people who live together in the same house. The mother inherited the house from her father when he died, and now she lives there with her husband, children, and grandchildren. The house is right between two factories, and some of the leakage from the factories has caused the house to sink into the ground quite badly. They are really poor and don't have a bathroom or shower, they live basically off the land, and the house is so small most of the kids have to sleep on the floor. One of the boys had his birthday just a couple weeks ago and he asked his mom for a cake, and she cried as she told us how she had to tell him they didn't have the money to buy one to celebrate. I have never seen anything so sad in my life! As I thought about it in my prayers this morning I just began to cry. But we have seen the miracles with them. The bishop and relief society president went with us to their house yesterday, and the plans are already in the making to get them all to church this week. We took them a big box of toys, some cakes, and a lot of clothes and towels all from people from our ward: even some of the investigators we are teaching have contributed. It's really incredible, and I have seen how it's beginning to impact the members of the ward. Something that we've been trying to do here in Carolina is get the ward members working with us, and we have been working hard to get the Bishop to understand that he has a responsibility to work for the salvation of those we are teaching. We taught him that he has the "keys to the facts related to the salvation" of the people in his ward (D&C 128:11). Because of this family the ward is finally working with us, and so is the Bishop. So the family is finally getting the help it needs, and the ward is strengthening, and the work is progressing. To give you an idea of how many investigators we will have in church next week, let me just say Elder Delgado and I are about to break the record for the most investigators ever in a sacrament meeting here in the Puerto Rico San Juan mission. Not that we have a record book or anything, but there has never been as many as we will have next Sunday: 23 investigators. We have three baptismal dates as well. The Lord is in charge of this work, and I am so grateful to be trusted with the sacred opportunity to be called His servant. As much as I miss you all and love you all, I know this is where I need to be. I hope you're all doing well: pray for me to have the faith and strength to help the Lord bless these people. I love you all! Elder Cevering

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