Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Monday, July 29, 2013

Email July 29, 2013

Hello Family! It was a pretty normal week here in Carolina: we've just been working to find old investigators. I was thinking the other day about how long missionaries have been in Carolina and I realized that now that I've been through the campo, there's not really a place where missionaries haven't been here. Then I realized I needed to focus on finding old investigators and work with the people who missionaries previously found. The thought was, "Why am I trying to start a whole new farm when the old one is ready to be harvested?" The Lord is so much wiser than His missionaries. Haha. So Elder Delcompare and I have a list of 43 old investigators to visit and from that we've found about 10 new people to teach. We've only contacted about 18 of them too. What's been happening is these old investigators already have that awkward barrier broken down between they and the missionaries. So it's easy to go back to their houses and talk to them. And even if they don't live there anymore, we just contact the new families and that's worked pretty well too. We have a guy who was really receptive to having us come back, though he didn't know anything about us. The other cool thing about talking to old investigators is they present doubts to you pretty quickly, and we've been able to see where they didn't understand the doctrine, which we are able to clarify and then set up a return appointment. For example, we met a really cool guy named Julio. He came out and said, "Well, I just didn't understand why you use a different Bible..." We then said, "We use the same Bible, but we also have the Book of Mormon..." and explained to him what the Book of Mormon was and he was blown away. He started telling us, "I've always thought the Lord must have had people in the Americas." Missionaries just hadn't explained to him the message. It was a really cool experience, and the fruits are really great of this way of working. It's really easy to plan too :) The thing about missionary work is it's very difficult. Before the mission, I just thought we would be working all day and it would be hot and we'd be sweating. And that's true: you do just work and sweat here in PR. But the stress of the mission is so much more than that. I was in the house last Thursday, and despite all the success we've been having, and despite all the fun we've been having as well, I was sitting down and I just thought, "Man, this is hard..." I got some stuff from James this week that really helped me out: a notebook he's been filling out for me. He wrote about being a disciple of Christ and shared some thoughts from his mission. It really strengthened me. Really, the mission makes you learn how little you are. You feel so weak sometimes. And you feel like you're alone, and you feel like you have too improve but you don't know where to begin. Part of that feeling comes from those moments when you think you're about to have success and then you don't. Rosa and Omar didn't do their blood tests this past week, which was so frustrating and sad. They've been working with us missionaries since January and they still won't take that step to do their blood tests. They place priority in other things. It really brought me down: and then I realized that perhaps I was thinking too much about myself. And then I just felt selfish, and then I wanted to be better, and I don't know how to just NOT be selfish sometimes. haha. Do you follow me on that? I guess I write that because I've felt a desire to express to you that I'm not just "gozando" as President Alvarado always told me. Gozando means "enjoying." He said that because he knew of the success we were having. And in a way, he was right: we are blessed to have so much success compared to missionaries who work, and work without the same results. But really, I'm not better than them. This has nothing to do with ME. The Lord has just blessed me. But I suffer just like other missionaries. I'm not Superman. And I don't want my emails to sound like I'm portraying myself that way. I get frustrated, sad, angry. I make mistakes in lessons. I have temptations daily to just do nothing. The words of the Savior to Peter are my inspiration, "Do you love me?...Feed my sheep." Peter wasn't perfect. But man, wouldn't I love to be like him? I'm grateful to be here in Puerto Rico where the work isn't so easy. There is a church next to our church called "La Iglesia de Adoracion y Restauracion Familiar." That means, The church of worship and family restoration. Want to know what they were listening to in their church yesterday? Bruno Mars: "I should have bought you flowers..." I don't want to get all proud and angry, but the majority of the churches here in Puerto Rico are disgracing the name of the Lord. When I think about it all, I am reminded of Paul's experience in Greece when he found the altar dedicated to the "Unknown God". Sometimes I just want to go out and get all preachy: but the Lord is teaching me that I have to love more. He wants me to be so much humbler. Okay, enough about me. This week Elder Delcompare are going to be working night and day to get more baptismal dates set. We're working for 12 baptisms on the 25th of August. Our problem has been that we've found these great people, but they're busy. We were able to talk with most all of them and set up appointments for the week. We're really excited. The other problem a lot of these investigators have is Sunday commitments. Rodney and Rebecca like to go biking on Sunday (well, at least Rodney.) And Leangie is always taking her daugther to do things on Sunday. Then others have their church. But they are all pretty darn solid. We were planning last night and we felt so much peace as we discussed and wrote down our ideas. I can honestly say that, though there were some moments last week that were hard, I have never felt more peace in my mission than I did last night as we finished our planning and left the chapel. The sky was clear, there were coquis croaking in the building (I love being on an island), and the streets were pretty quiet. I felt so calm. The Spirit was really strong. I Love you all! Thanks for your support and your prayers! In one week I'll be completing a year. If the next year goes by faster, we'll be saying hi in the airport pretty soon! But don't worry, I'm not trunky yet :) Elder Cevering

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