Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Email November 18, 2013

Hello Family! Transfers were this week and Elder Contreras and I are both staying here in Aibonito. YES! We are super excited. We already have appointments for thanksgiving and such and it will be great because neither of us will have to spend Christmas getting to know a new ward or branch. Six more weeks in the mountains! The only problem about being in the mountains at this time is the cloudiness: I love how cold it is up here, but because of the clouds our solar panel doesn't heat our water. Yum: good old cold water in the morning. This past week was a really, really great week. Miracles are happening here in the branch. The Melchizedek priesthood holders are coming back to church. Another man who hasn't been to church for many, many years came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed himself. I'd never seen him happy before like he was there. The branch president is really excited about that: he and his counselors are discussing callings to extend to these returning men. It's all part of "real growth." I'm not sure if you've heard about that, but I'm sure every missionary in the world has. It's kind of the theme right now for missionary work. A miracle occurred in the life of Amarilis this week. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and one day just felt that it's all true. She read in 3 Nephi 11:29 about the spirit of contention casting out the Holy Ghost and so she prayed to the Lord for forgiveness for having "contended" with us about women not being able to perform priesthood ordinances. Then she went out and defended the church to two of her friends, invited another friend to the branch activity we had last Friday, and is reading the Book of Mormon to her mom. WOW. I was in shock when I heard all that. I felt the Lord's approval of all we'd done to teach her and felt how true it is that the Lord knows His children. We also had a really incredible experience with our investigator Junito. He's been having a hard time with alcohol. We went to his house last Monday with a member of the branch. When we entered the house, the member said, "This man used to be my hair stylist." We talked about the blessings of being part of the Savior's church, the member shared his experience with coming to know the church and living the commandments, and then I told him, "Our purpose as missionaries is to invite people to come unto Christ. Elder Contreras and I are the only two authorized people here in Aibonito to help you to do that in your life right now." I felt the Spirit really strong when I said that. I'd never said that before to a person. Then I said, "And we are the only two authorized people here in Aibonito who can invite you to come unto Christ through baptism. So, Junito, we invite you to come unto Christ by being baptized by someone holding the authority of God. Would you do that?" He looked at us seriously, and for the first time in all the time I've talked with him, I saw him truly smile. I'd never seen such joy fall on someone's face. He said, "Yes." After that lesson we got into the car and started driving away. We asked the member if he thought Junito's faith had increased. He said, "Yes. But something else. When he remembers me, he will remember that he and I used to wake up drinking together at the bars." That was touching: Elder Contreras had felt inspired to take that member with us to the lesson, and it turned out that he and Junito had once been drinking pals. Again, the Lord knows His children perfectly. We're also now teaching two young guys (cousins) that we play basketball with. Their names are Jose and Tato. They are family members of a family from Carolina, and that's how we met them--through the reference from my good old friends back in Carolina. Jose's dad died and when he heard about the atonement of Christ he started to cry. He grabbed the plan of salvation pamphlet immediately after Elder Contreras put it on the table, and started reading it. That same week, his sister had put on her facebook that she wanted to learn more about the resurrection and about life after death. So we're hoping to meet with the whole family this week. The ENTIRE family--meaning Tato's family, Jose's family, their aunts and uncles--are coming to our branch's thanksgiving party on Friday with the family from Carolina. We are excited because we're going to be showing some Mormon Messages and talking about the church, so it will be a really spiritual experience for them. We also have this tradition of going to a bakery every p-day here. I've gained 5 pounds. But I'm not fat haha. There's a girl that works at the bakery who's in love with Elder Contreras. We asked if we could share a message with she and her family and she said she'd let us know the next time we passed by (today). We're hoping she says yes: she told us that she is one of 14 children. The work is good in Aibonito, and I've got 6 more weeks here. Then Elder Contreras will probably leave because he'll have 6 months here at the end of the transfer and President Smartt doesn't want missionaries in the same area for longer than that. I'm hoping that will apply in this case so I can spend more time here out of the hot Caribbean sun. Love you all! Elder Cevering

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