Monday, August 26, 2013
Email August 26, 2013
Hello Family! I am so excited to tell you that.......I AM GOING TO THE MOUNTAINS!!! I am super excited!!! I am going to a place called Ai Bonito: it's up in the mountains in the middle of the island where it's always misty and cloudy and cold. There's a just a small branch up there, but missionaries have told me you teach a lot up there and there's a lot of reactivation work to do. Apparently there's not a lot of organization within the branch, but that's fine. We can work with that :)...but you want to hear the more incredible story? Let me take you all back to June & July of 2012 when we went on a Mediteranean Cruise. Grandma and Grandpa were out on deck talking about me serving my mission in Puerto Rico when suddenly, the only Puerto Rican on board, overheard them and started talking to them. This woman--named Roma--then talked with me (Elder Cevering) and gave me names of her family in Puerto Rico. Then a year later Elder Cevering called those family members and found out they live in a little pueblo in the mountains called...Ai Bonito! What a miracle! I was blown away when I found that out. The Lord had put a Puerto Rican in our path clear over in Europe in order for me to receive names of her family and meet with them. I already got in contact with one of the sisters and we're going to be meeting up. I'll tell you just a little bit more about Ai Bonito then I'll tell you about my week. Apparently, Ai Bonito is the most European-influenced pueblo in Puerto Rico, very specifically influenced by the Irish. They call the pueblo the city of flowers or something like that. We'll find out what that means. And there are Irish people up there I guess. It supposedly looks a lot like Europe, but it's super campo, or jungle, and mountainous so we'll be on foot. I'm stoked about that: goodbye bikes for a transfer! One of my old zone leaders served up there, and he used to tell me that when he was up there he got cold a lot and they would get wet from the mist as they went about working. They taught a lot of people, but they have a hard time coming to church because they live far from the congregation. If I'm right, he told me the missionaries have a long drive to church Sunday mornings too. That'll be cool. I'm really excited! That was one of the areas I was telling everyone that I wanted to go to. When the ward members found out I was leaving they were really loving. They knew transfers were this week, and when I walked in to the church the very first thing the Bishop asked me--super anxiously--was "Are you leaving?" When I told him yes he just said, "AAH NO!" Haha. I love him a lot. They all took pictures with me, and we got a ton of invites for food and activities today, but we just don't have the time. We're going up to the bishop's house tonight, and then boom, I'm gone tomorrow morning for the mountains. Woo hoo! I'm super excited. And Elder Delcompare is staying here with Elder Helm. The two divisions in Carolina are combining, so they'll have a lot of work to do. It's sad to be leaving Carolina: I cried a little bit during sacrament meeting. But after being in the same area for 8 months, and after seeing people all around you move to different places, you're just naturally ready to leave. I love the area and I'll definitely be coming back here to visit one day. This was where I really learned to love Latino culture. For example, last Monday we were up in the campo at the Llanos family's house and they just invited us in to eat and we ended up talking for a couple hours. I love that Latinos will drop everything they're doing and invite you in to talk and enjoy. We laughed and laughed the whole night. It was a night that really changed my life: as we were driving down the freeway to go back to the house I was telling Elder Delcompare how much I'd love to live in a Latin culture. It'd be an incredible opportunity: come to Puerto Rico and help build the temple. One day it will be here! In truth, our week was pretty lame as far as missionary work goes. Leangie had a family emergency and had to leave the island, the elders' quorom president flaked on us twice, other investigators didn't show up for their appointments, etc. But there were some really cool things too. Tuesday night’s we have our English class, but Elder Delcompare and I always left early to go teach Leangie. However, this Tuesday Leangie wasn't there and hadn't called us to tell us she'd left the island, so we went back to the church really frustrated to help finish the class. I sat down with this non-member woman who's been coming each week to class. I started talking to her, and she began telling me about her desires to help people in Africa, and so on. Then out of nowhere, she said to me, "I have a problem." Then she continued, "And I need God's help to overcome this problem." She then went on to tell me that she's been sad and crying a lot for the past year because of something that happened. She told me she couldn't tell me what the problem was, and I understood. But I felt impressed to ask her about her family. She began telling me about her daughter and how she isn't married, that the only other family she has on the island is her father who lives on the south side of the island, and then told me that a year ago her mom was killed in an accident in the Dominican Republic and since then her family has never been the same. She said, "I pray all the time for help from God, but I just don't know what to do. I'm so sad..." I was blown away, realizing why it was the Lord didn't want us teaching Leangie that night. I talked to this woman and gave her a pamphlet about the plan of salvation, and she wants to learn from the missionaries. We also went back to teach our investigator Michael, who introduced us to a friend of his and asked us to teach him. Ha. It was sweet. They're both trying to stop smoking and live the law of chastity, and they're both young so they can strengthen the ward. They just need wives, dang it. Michael's girlfriend left him and went to the United States just a few months ago, and this other kid--his name's Jorge--has a girlfriend. So I guess the other Elders will get to talk to him about marriage. Neither of them came to church because they work on Sundays. Lame. Working on Sundays started a plague in Puerto Rico. As far as how I'm feeling, I feel alright. I changed my diet and that really honestly helped me. I didn't have headaches this past week like I'd had before. And I'm taking some health vitamins. We'll see how that works :) Man, I'm going to lose my tan up there in the mountains. So don't worry, I'm doing okay. My abdomen is alright: I don't really see what we can do about. It's not hurting me enough to keep me from working, and where I'm not going to be on bikes anymore it should help. I don't know what to do about it. I just want to wait it out I guess. If it gets bad enough I'll talk with the mission president's wife and we'll take care of it. But I think I'll be fine. The day I wrote to you about my health I was really not feeling good, in so many different ways. But I'm doing good! I'm just an excited missionary headed to the mountains! I'm going to be cold again! Haha. No more HEAT! Love you all! Elder Cevering p.s. Hank Smith was one of the directors at EFY when I went and I loved him. I'm sure Mikayla and the cousins really enjoyed him. And that's great about Arelys. Puerto Ricans really are incredible people, especially when they have accepted the gospel into their lives. I love them a lot.