Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Monday, October 7, 2013

Email October 7, 2013

Heeeeeeeello! Well, I really have nothing much to report this week. I'll let you know what happened with the surgeon: I visited him Tuesday and I told him all that had happened: that I'd been using an ab wheel, that I tore my ab, that they ran tests on me and found nothing wrong other than the tear in my ab, and that it's been a year since the injury occurred and I still have pain. The surgeon asked me to lift up my shirt and began feeling my ab. When he put his finger in my belly button I wanted to hit him haha it hurt. But he said he didn't feel any hernias. We then talked and he said, "There's nothing I can do for you." What? I asked him more and he told me that the pain I'm feeling in my ab is comparable to having a headache: there's no procedure that can get rid of a natural pain. But he told me that if I continue to have pain that I can come back. HAHAHAHA. What a crazy old man. I laugh because it's so inconsistent and I have to laugh about it to not be angry. When I told Sister Smartt what he said she looked at me like, "What? That doesn't make sense." I told her my uncle is a physical therapist, so she wants me to ask for his advice: So ask Monte what he thinks I should do. I haven't been able to exercise in the mornings because exercise hurts my ab. But we're literally at a dead end concerning this ab thing. Ha. Last year one doctor told me I had a hernia, the next one told me I didn't have a hernia and that the pain would go away in 6-12 weeks if I rested, and then this last doctor says I'm experiencing natural pain and that there's nothing he can do to fix it. Frustrating. So honestly, I have no idea what to do about my ab. However, many missionaries tell me I'm getting skinnier. That's a blessing from the Lord since I haven't been able to exercise for a long time. As far as the week goes, we had some cool things. We had the best pina coladas I've had on Puerto Rico. I ate octopus with rice for the first time. And yeah. Literally nothing exciting happened this week other than General Conference. The disappointing thing is that only one member from the branch came down to conference. There are two families that I imagine watched it at home in English. But other than that, no one came. Not even to the priesthood session. It's not that that frustrates me, but that it's a clear red flag to the spiritual state of the members. We're going to continue working hard with them. We're trying to serve them really. We painted a roof, scraped a ceiling, and washed a car this week for members. Haha. Life in the mountains is great. And I'll be here again next transfer with Elder Contreras. I want you to know that I love you both a lot! Knowing that Jacob will soon leave for the mission and the funds it will require is another one that hurts me. I'm grateful for your sacrifices and your examples to serve the Lord. You've done so much for us as your children: I wish that I would have been kinder and more willing to help out around the house when I was there. Now, to assure you that I'm not here moping over such things, I wanted not only to express love, but I wanted to give you my testimony about suffering. Unfortunately, we all get to suffer in this world. President Alvarado always told us that it was inevitable that we would suffer, but that God gave us the agency to suffer with joy through obedience and the atonement. I believe that's true: the mission is NOT easy. I feel like I've suffered all through my mission. But I know that I have these feelings--these feelings of sorrow and struggle--because the Lord is refining me. He knows He's got a lot of work to do to get this Elder Michael Todd Cevering smooth around the edges haha. At the beginning of my mission, when I first tore my ab, I felt an overwhelming feeling of desperation. When president Alvarado interviewed me after the injury, I wanted to come home. I wanted to get to a safe place where the pain wouldn't be so bad. He was very direct with me that the Lord would help me through it and that I needed to be more faithful. Now, a year after the injury, I look back and I say: "Thank you President Alvarado. Thank you Lord, for loving me enough to use President Alvarado to keep me here." I don't want to imagine the life I would have had if I had not had this past year of experiences. This past week as I got ready to go to the surgeon I was really afraid but there was a bright beam of hope: I didn't want to go home. I mean, of course as a missionary you will always long for home. But this time I didn't want to go home like I had so badly desired when I was first injured. And that has given me so much strength of spirit: I have changed! I am stronger than I was before. I know that God gives us challenges so that we can be stronger. We just have to have the courage to face them and not run away. Thank you for always taking care of me and not running from the challenges of being parents. I love you so much, and I will be praying for you and the family. Mom, don't feel bad that Jacob wants to be with his friends at this time. Be grateful that he will soon learn how much he loves his family :) We teenagers are a bit difficult sometimes aren't we? The thing is, we cling to our friendships because we know that they are slipping away. It may not be apparent, but missionaries miss their families a lot more than they miss anything else. Well, I love you all! Elder Cevering

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