Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Monday, February 25, 2013

Puerto Ricco Mission - Meeting with Elder Rasband & Elder Anderson

Tostones (Completed Product) These are fried, mashed, bananas.

At Juanita's House

Making Tostones & Photos of a Baptism

Email February 25, 2013

Hello Family, I am really tired! Haha. Elder Arteaga are hoping to take a nap today. We've been working really hard this past week: we've arrived to the house late and had to take Elder Delgado to Bayamon twice, and more. But a lot of great things are happening, so in the midst of the fatigue we're happy. We're also anxiously awaiting our move to the new house. First of all, Elder Delgado left. I am grateful for the lessons that I gained by being his companion. I love working with Elder Arteaga. He came from an area where he'd been for 7 months and he was ready to work hard. He and I had over 30 lessons this past week--23 of them were taught to investigators with members present. Colby can probably explain to you more about "member present" lessons. Elder Arteaga also really likes to joke around, so we don't just sweat and groan. We laugh a lot. He has some great stories from his old areas. We had two baptisms this past Saturday: Felix and Jonathan Rivera. They are two of Juanita's nephews. It was a really great baptism, and because of these baptisms we have had the ward is getting excited about missionary work. But about the baptism: when Felix was baptized he came up out of the water saying, "You drowned me!" to the bishop. Haha. And then Jonathan was really afraid to be baptized. He wouldn't go under water the first time: he grabbed on to the side of the font and wouldn't go under. But eventually the bishop was able to calm him down and gradually get him to go under the water. It was actually a really neat experience. I believe I told you about Milagros being in the hospital. Well, the doctors found a giant mass in her intestines or something and were sure it was cancer. But we gave her a blessing last Sunday, and then we went back and visited her on Tuesday. The doctors had still not operated on her. However, I had a strong impression that because of the blessing we gave her she would be fine. When they finally did the test on her--Thursday--they found out that the mass was not cancerous. It was truly a miracle performed by the power of the priesthood. She was so happy! When we went to visit Milagros on Tuesday we ran into a woman on the elevator who told us her grandson was really sick. We shared with her our calling as missionaries and priesthood holders and offered her our help. She accepted and told us to come back the next day with her to give a blessing. She gave us the floor and room number and then we left. The next day we went back to the hospital and to the floor and room the woman gave us: there was no little boy, but there was a family of 6, with a little girl who had dengue--an illness that comes from mosquitos. It's really dangerous and painful. We started talking to the family and found out that the little boy had been moved the day before and that this little girl had moved in right after. One of the sons recognized us as Mormons, and the mom had interest about what we were doing. We were able to share a message with them and they invited us to their house. It was really cool. While we were talking to that family in the hospital, the mom said: "Well, I want you to know that I'm not too religious. I drink a lot, and I smoke marijuana." But when she said it in Spanish she said it really fast like this: "Yo fumarijuana", and normally it would be "Yo fumo marijuana" but she joined the words. I thought she said "Yo fumo iguana." HAHA. We all laughed really hard, which helped us to break the ice even more. It was a really funny experience. Besides all of that, we are teaching a great family who I really love a lot: the family of Omar and Rosa. They are part of the family of Juanita, but they have lived in an apartment in a different city until last week. They moved into a house right next to Juanita. They all came to church yesterday: Omar and Rosa and their kids Luis, Gordo, and Jordan. Omar is really humble and has a lot of desire to be baptized, Rosa loves us and has seen how the gospel has affected her life, and the kids really love us too. They started climbing into our car yesterday when we went with members to pick them up for church. We had to tell them they couldn't drive with us, and they were disappointed. I love them a lot. Well, I love you all a lot too! The only thing that makes it possible for me to be away from you all is how much I love doing this work. I find myself hoping I can come back to the caribbean in the future and keep doing this work. Maybe it doesn't have to be in the caribbean, but I would love to come back here. My wife better be prepared! Haha. I better be prepared. Love ya! Elder Cevering

Monday, February 18, 2013

Email February 18, 2013

Hello Family! Wow, two weeks since writing: that's horrible. A missionary should always be able to write home haha. But last week we had too many things to do and too little time. We had transfers and at 11:00 Sunday night we found out we had to pick up Elder Arteaga--our new companion--in Caguas the next morning. That ruined our plans, and we had to go to Bayamon to get my license instead of Carolina. I was able to get it without having to take any tests, but we were there for 5 hours! So our p-day went out the window. I'm sorry, but I had to get other things done that day. It was a crazy two weeks here: we had a baptism with Pablo, which was really neat! He was so excited. We had a lesson with he and his wife a couple nights before, and the experience was very incredible. His wife--Maria--has never really listened to us. But she had her revelatory experience with us as we talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost. She told us that she had a dream one night where she saw two people dressed in funny white clothing. She didn't know who they were, but they smiled at her and then held hands and walked away into light. Well, she woke up from the dream and explained the people to Pablo: he told her that the people she described were his grandparents who had died many years ago. The clothes she described were the temple clothes! We were all shocked as she explained the way that Pablo's grandparents were dressed. We immediately began teaching about the sacred nature of the temples and the performing of temple ordinances for the dead. Pablo and Maria both began to cry, and the Spirit filled the room. Wow. It was pretty incredible. Then we had the baptism, and Elder Delgado performed the ordinance. But since Pablo has a bad knee I got to get in and help perform the ordinance as well. I was really excited to be a part of it. Then yesterday we confirmed the Holy Ghost in sacrament meeting and he will receive the priesthood in a couple of weeks in order to baptize Maria. The ward is really excited about it, and so are we. Our new companion is Elder Arteaga: he's from Bolivia. He has been here 9 months, and for 7 months he was in the same area on the south side of the Island. He was really excited to leave. Haha. We're only in a trio for now until Elder Delgado leaves next week, then it will be he and I. We're also moving into a new house in the neighboring city Pontezuela. The house is apparently really nice: the sister missionaries were telling us about it. The family of Juanita is really progressing but they have a big problem: Juanita and Samuel are not married, neither are the parents of anyone else in that family. Juanita's sister--Abigair--is not married to her boyfriend, and Juanita's son is not married to his wife. And all of the children and youth come from them! So we can't baptize them until they're married--that's what Preach my Gospel encourages us to do. But they all really love the gospel and have come to church consistently. The ward has really helped out in arranging rides for them every Sunday, which was been miraculous to us as missionaries. It was really cool yesterday to see a big old hummer--of one of the members--pull into the church yesterday, full of kids from Juanita's family squished in the back seat. Haha. So great. Well, lastly, one of our investigators Milagros is in the hospital. The doctors believe she has cancer: but in Puerto Rico, a paper cut can be considered cancer. We went and visited her in her hospital room: it was a really tender moment. She's really bloated: I can't think of a better word to describe her than that. She's only been there for three days too. But we went to give her a blessing, and as I was there I felt the love of the Savior for her. One of the most incredible feelings as a missionary is to have those moments to be with someone who is struggling so deeply, but to feel that the Lord is with them. I was so happy to be able to be with the other Elders and give her a blessing. What an opportunity to feel the love of the Lord. I love you all so much and miss you! Elder Cevering

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Email February 4, 2013

Hello Family! Today I went to get my Puerto Rican drivers license: and I couldn't get it because I don't have my social security card. There are some places here in Puerto Rico where you don't have to take your S.S. to get your license--Puerto Rico is crazy--but we don't have time to drive all over. So we don't get to use the car next week. Hooray for bikes! We'll see how that goes. I'm a bit excited to bike again because I need to get toned again. Driving in a car doesn't do any good for your body. It was a pretty exciting week too! This week we had 10 investigators in church: we dropped three of them--Milagros and Edwin--because they went to the Bishop to ask for money, and we just think they've been searching for the benefits of the church. And then the others had to work. People work a lot in Puerto Rico. But let me tell you about three of those investigators. You'll remember Pablo--the investigator with a baptismal date. He came to church yesterday and it was incredible what happened. After the time had passed and it was time to end sacrament meeting, he went up to bare his testimony. He stood up and said: "I hope that God can help me to say the things that I feel." He then went on to say that he had always wanted the opportunity to stand in front of a pulpit and share his feelings. He said: "I know the two young men that teach me are the true ministers of Christ, and that this is His church. I haven't been baptized yet, but I am going to follow in this way and become one of you. I hope to give each member of my family the opportunity to stand in front of this pulpit and feel like I do." We were all STUNNED. After the meeting I turned around to him--he was sitting behind me with the Collazos. He said: "When can I be baptized?" It was one of those moments where I felt like I never want to stop being a missionary. We are going to talk to him tonight about a baptismal date because he needed to look more at his schedule. But we're hoping to set the baptismal date for this week. Another of the investigators we have is named Lym. She is the daughter of a Pentecostal Minister. And, in order to talk to her, we had to attend her father's church this week. We showed up Friday night and everyone just stared at us. HAHA. It was really cool. The pastor gave a lesson about prayer and it was very doctrinal. It had some weird parts to it. They asked the question: "Why is it okay to use the name Jesus multiple times if you are in an emergency?" I thought about it and decided I didn't know the answer. Maybe I never will either. But it was a fun experience: Lym's dad introduced us right before we left, and as we were walking out the door he began singing "Which is the correct church?" A hymn I'm sure he made up on the spot because it had no real rhythm. Lym's mom even sent a text to her during the meeting saying: "Make sure they listen so they are converted." Haha. If they'd only known we were there to talk to her about her baptism. Lym has already taken all of the lessons, and she's 24 so she can be baptized without parental permission. The problem is she feels a lot of family pressure because she sings in her dad's choir and has always been raised in his house. Even now she lives with him. We're helping her develop the faith to take the step of baptism. I definitely feel for her though! As I was thinking about her scenario the other day I almost started crying: haha the mission brings you to love people way too deeply. I want her to make the right decision, but I feel her pain and the stress of the situation. In church yesterday she told us that she will be baptized before Elder Delgado leaves--the 26th of February. So we'll see! And lastly, let me tell you all about the family of 15: we aren't sure what we are going to do with them right now. We just found out that Juanity--the mom--is married to a man who lives in the Dominican Republic, but she's been living with another man--Samuel--for 11 years. She never got divorced, and it's a lot of money, and a lot of hardship if he lives in the DR. Plus, Samuel decided he doesn't want to listen to us anymore. We're going to meet with them this week with the Collazos. The sister of Juanita is really prepared though. We have to find out her situation with her boyfriend though before we jump to conclusions. She has two great sons who both really love coming to church--one is 18 and the other 14. The church really needs Priesthood holders, so we are excited to see them progress. Other than that, we are just waiting on Atawelpa to get baptized. He tells us he's not ready, but he always calls himself a Mormon. He talks about the things that "we teach" and "we do" in "our church." He gave a prayer in church thanking his Father in Heaven for the opportunity to "have the truth." We don't really know what to do with him. He believes Jesus Christ was an ordinary man who had sins of his own. He told us that yesterday when he asked us why Jesus was baptized. We thought he asked that question and was going to say he felt ready to be baptized, but that's not how the conversation went. Haha. Now, to end, let me tell you all about this great title. First, let me tell you that a lot of members in our ward call me Harry Potter. Don't ask me why--I think it's because of my glasses, and because they forget the name Cevering. But anyway, yesterday we were driving to a member's house and we started talking about movies. Elder Delgado said: "Elder Cevering, you're Harry Potter." Then he stopped and said, "You're a lizard, Harry!" trying to act like Hagrid from the first movie. HAHA. Lizard? It's so funny to see him make mistakes in English. Anyway, I love you all and miss you! And before I forget, Elder Neil L. Anderson is coming to our mission this week. I don't know how I forgot to tell you that before. It's going to be really cool! Elder Cevering