Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Email March 25. 2013

Hello Family! To answer Colby's question, NO. We don't have any "milestones" in this mission. Burning a tie is considered apostasy in Puerto Rico. Besides, I like my ties :) This was a pretty good week: we were able to set a lot of baptismal dates for April, and we secured two for this Saturday. I'm really excited about it. Maria Teresa finally made her decision to be baptized. Here's the story: the last time we invited her to be baptized was not last Wednesday, but the Wednesday before. It was me and Elder Castaneda and the Collazos. She told Elder Castaneda that she wasn't ready. Then Elder Collazo talked about how the day of salvation is today. Well, that very night the sister of Pablo entered the hospital. Apparently she drank a lot and then took morphine (spelling?), and some other medications. She was rushed to the hospital and was living off a respiration machine. So, Pablo invited us to give her a blessing. As we drove there I was thinking about whether or not I had the faith to heal this woman. It was tough because I had seen others be healed by the priesthood--I'd myself given blessings that resulted in overnight recoveries--and I was debating in my mind whether the Lord would really permit me and Elder Castaneda to perform this miracle. So with all of that in my mind we went into the hospital and into the basement where Pablo's sister was laying. Pablo went right to her head and gave her a kiss, then he invited us up to see her. Then Elder Castaneda did the annointing. Then I stepped up and put my hands on her head to give her the blessing and I didn't feel like I could bless her to be healed. I began the blessing but felt the inclination to bless her to follow the example of Pablo and be baptized. But I knew as I was blessing her that I coudn't heal her. So I ended the blessing and we left. And two days later she died. When we went back to visit Maria Teresa she said, "I've been thinking about what Elder Collazo said. Pablo's sister didn't know she was going to die. So I have to make my decision today to be baptized. So I will be baptized." We were all so excited when she said that! Haha. It was a really great moment. But that's not all. She went on to tell us about how she told Pablo's other sister that she was going to be baptized. Pablo's sister said, "But Maria, you were already baptized." And Maria said, "No, the priest just put a little bit of water on my head. That's not baptism." And that simple testimony caused Pablo's sister to invite us to teach her. She said, "I want to learn about this church." We also had a really great lesson with Omar and Rosa this week. Rosa has been saying that she won't get baptized until next year, the same time she wanted to get married. She wanted to save up her money to have a big wedding, get drunk, and then get baptized. Well, that obviously can't be the goal. So we talked with them about the Restoration. We watched the short Joseph Smith video of him reading in the Bible and then praying and receiving the First Vision. At the end we talked about the priesthood authority, and how Christ gave "keys" to Peter. It's my favorite example. I asked them, "What do you do with keys?" They explained, "You open things, you can drive cars, etc." And I asked, "And will you just give your house keys to anyone?" Obviously they said no. So we expounded on how the "keys to the heavens" that Christ gave to Peter had the same function of a house key. The keys to the heavens were the priesthood authority to open the heaven. They understood that really, really well. And it also helped them understand how the loss of priesthood keys during the apostasy closed the heavens. So then we invited them to be baptized, and Omar and the sons said yes, but Rosa looked at me like "I already said, I want to save my money to get married and have a big party next year..." But she thought about it and said, "Yes." I thought Elder Castaneda wasn't going to sleep for three days. Just imagine being this young missionary and coming into the mission field where you have all these investigators accepting baptismal dates. His greenie fire is raging. :) Elder Castaneda and I are working well together and seeing a lot of good things happen. The only downside is really that our ward is full of people who don't want to help us. It's funny to me how many members who don't have cars are willing to leave with us, they are simply "too busy". Well, I love you all! And I miss you. Elder Cevering

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