Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April 15, 2013 Email

Hello family! What a week! I cannot believe it's already over, nor that it's already the 15th of April. This was a good week: we had the baptism of Maria Teresa. It was really stressful actually because we had to plan it in Toa Baja because that's the closest chapel with warm water in the baptismal font, and Pablo and Maria got lost on the way there. Haha. We were there way early to start filling up the font because in order to have hot water you can't fully release the water from the valves. So we got to Toa Baja at 12:30, the baptism was at 4, and at about 3 o'clock the font wasn't nearly enough full. So we started filling up pots of water to boil, and we were filling big water igloos with water and then throwing them into the font. It was really hectic but really great. Milagros and Edwin didn't get baptized last week because Milagros entered back into the hospital Friday night and didn't leave until yesterday morning. The cancer is really giving her a rough time, but when we talked to her yesterday she still wanted to be baptized. She said: "I don't care if the water is freezing cold, I will be baptized!" Haha. And then she gave us her sister's address and asked us to go and teach her. It was really cool! Lym couldn't get baptized last week either: I'll just say it was her "time" of the month. I can't use other words because I'm a missionary. But she is set for this Friday to be baptized and she's really excited. The only thing is that she wants to keep it a secret because she doesn't want her parents to argue with her and try to keep her from being baptized: she's 24 but lives with them and she has a lot of fear that they will kick her out or do anything else to stop her. But we want her to be open about it, not hide from the truth. It would be worse for her family to know she did it behind their backs than to know it straight up. But she's really afraid. Apparently her sister just recently got her ears pierced and her dad slapped her and got so angry that he left the house and didn't come back for a day. Some pastor?? He was a bit eccentric when we met him at his church. :) But here is something else great: we set a baptismal date with Atawalpa. Do you remember him? He's the one who's been investigating the church since December and has been reading the Book of Mormon ferociously. Well, we've been trying to set a baptismal date with him for a long time, and he always says: "I want to know without a doubt that this is true before I get baptized." But we felt that we needed to invite him to be baptized this Friday with Lym and Milagros and Edwin. It was a crazy inspiration because he hadn't come to church yesterday and we hadn't had a lesson with him for a whole week, and he had been so closed off before. But we went to the lesson and really prayed. We began by talking with him in Alma 32 and how he has been wanting to know the truth but hasn't acted. We also asked him if he has prayed about the Book of Mormon. He said, "I have prayed but I don't believe that's the way my answer will come." I said, "How do you expect to learn the truth of the Book of Mormon if you don't do or trust what it tells you to do?" Using the example of his cell phone I said, "I can't come here and give you the directions of my cell phone to teach you how to use your phone. And if you did, and your cell phone didn't work as my instructions say, would you just throw it away?" He said no. So I continued, "You can't read the Book of Mormon thinking to discover the truth of it in a different way than it tells you. You have to get down on your knees and pray and trust the answer will come." That really struck him. And we had some intense moments: but it all ended with him sitting back, mouth twitching with wanting to find something to say, and then just saying, "You have to read." Then Elder Castaneda hit him with the invitation to be baptized this Friday and he said yes. WHAT!?! We went into that lesson thinking, "How is this going to work...?" And then we left thinking, "HE ACCEPTED THE INVITATION!" It was a really incredible experience. I've never had such an intense lesson before, and I really know that it was a lesson inspired and directed by the Lord. I've really learned that there is no one invested more in this work than the Lord Himself. I've really learned that He cares about His children. Yesterday we were just driving to church from an investigator's house and a white van pulled up next to us and honked. A woman inside asked us how to get to walmart: she was super lost and was on vacation, and didn't speak any Spanish. We told her we would drive her there: so we guided her and she was so thankful. I could see the stress had left her face after we got there. It was a blessing to know just to what extents the Lord goes to put us in the perfect positions to help others. I gave a talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting about Alma 37:34 and Mosiah 18:8-10. It was a really fun experience. I have really come to love this ward. The members are not perfect, but I love them a lot. I talked with them about how hard we've worked and for the fruits we've seen, but I told them that it's not the end but the beginning. I shared with them my gratitude for their work with us, and talked about how we need to continue working and keeping our covenants, even when we are exhausted, and that the Lord will give us rest. I spoke about Alma 7:24, which teaches us that if we have faith, hope, and charity we will always abound in good works. I felt so much love for them, and I felt the Lord's love for them. In the end we shared some hugs, and a lot of members asked me if I was going to be leaving at the end of this transfer, which I don't know but believe will be happening. But this has been a great time in my mission. In 4 months so much has happened, and if I leave I will leave Elder Castaneda with so much work to do and with a lot of success to come in May. We have a joke about baptizing iguanas in this mission. The famous baptized iguana in Carolina is named Charlie. The other day I was driving with Elder Duclos and Elder Mendez and there was a dead iguana in the road. Elder Duclos shouted: "Charlie! NO!" it was really funny. I laughed really hard. I love you all, and I miss you! Remember the Lord is mindful of His children. Elder Cevering

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