Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Monday, February 24, 2014

Email February 23, 2014

Hello I'm really tired right now so this email may not be too exciting haha. This week was a good one, we finally have an investigator who accepted to be baptized! His name is Jorge and is the best friend of our ward mission leader--member missionary work is so effective. We taught he and his son the Restoration and he accepted it immediately. He's not a really religious person, in fact, he's just recently started trying to find God in his life. But he's really humble and really prepared for the gospel. His only struggle is that he works every Sunday, so we're praying for him and looking forward to teaching him again. We have had a little bit of success in our own personal efforts to find investigators. A lot of people have invited us to come back to their houses, but now it's a question of teaching them. We did get to teach a family this past week, but when we invited them to be baptized they didn't accept. We're going to go back and teach the Restoration. Zone conference with pres. Smartt was this past Friday: it was the longest conference of my mission. I had to be there are 10 in the morning for a leadership meeting, and then after we were there for a full zone conference until almost 8:30 at night. Gaaah. It was long but it was really great too. We talked about the Fall of Adam and I learned a lot. It's incredible how you can always learn so many new things in the gospel. President Smartt is really smart--that's why they gave him that name haha. He invited all of the disobedient missionaries in our mission to go home in our zone conference. He's not here to mess around. He's pretty chill about most things, but he lives the mission manual. Our bishop gave a lesson about home teaching to the priesthood yesterday that was actually pretty good. He and his counselors have asked the ward to fast next week for missionary work to move forward. But their number one goal is to strengthen the priesthood and get them doing their home teaching visits. I am one hundred percent behind that. That will bring more baptisms to the ward and will strengthen the members spiritually. The weeks are all the same right now. I'm happy but I'm getting tired haha. I'm really grateful to be with Elder De Oleo, he's a really big motivation for me. He helps me to keep doing this work when I'm tired, which is really great because I don't feel like I'm alone in the work with him. He's probably my favorite companion. I love you all so much! Elder Cevering

Monday, February 17, 2014

Photos from Bayamon and Aibonito

Email February 17, 2014

Hello Utah! In all the honesty of my soul, I would say that apart from the weeks when I first tore my ab, this week was the hardest of my mission! But it was very beneficial for me and today I am a better person for it. To put it simple, it's been difficult because of the people I live with, the ward members, and the schedule. But things are improving. The walking situation isn't so bad anymore. I'm used to the walking and the sun now. The other elders are finally getting along better--I hope. And we'll see if the ward leaders make the effort to make changes. The tough part began Thursday: we'd been out working all week, having found no one new to teach, and we were asked to go to ward council. In ward council we started talking about the trainings that we want to do. Everyone in the council agreed with the idea. Our ward mission leader asked for a date to set the training for and the bishop said he needs to wait a couple more weeks for their next priesthood executive meeting--blah, blah, blah--to set the date. We were frustrated about that. That was Thursday night. Friday morning brought the next challenge. One of the elders here really dislikes his companion and just has a hard time dealing with other people. There was a lot of tension Friday morning, and it got me really angry. I had to go out of the house so I wouldn't say anything that I would regret. I chillled out for like twenty minutes and then got changed. After that, Elder De Oleo and I went out to work. The sun was really hot and I was frustrated and discouraged because of everything that had happened. Elder De Oleo wanted to use the bathroom in the church, so we went there and while he was in the bathroom I went into another room and felt an overwhelming desire to call President Smartt and tell him I was done, that I couldn't be the district leader here anymore and that I wanted to go home. So I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to bless me and to bless the other elders with whatever He could bless us with. Then I got up, and when Elder De Oleo left we started out on the streets again, and I felt strength in my legs that I'd never felt before: I felt what only Isaiah can describe: "But they that waith upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31. I felt like my legs were not my legs. I don't know how to describe it. My legs were moving faster than the rest of me, and the strength that was in them was not my own. That scripture in Isaiah came to my mind, and I felt full of gratitude, and I went on to try to do the work. And in the next two hours we'd found four people who asked us to go back and teach them. I know that the Lord knows us and is aware of our trials. Things have gotten better since Friday, and I feel much better about myself as a person and much better about my mission as a result. I've been feeling a little trunky, but I know that the Lord will help me through that :). I love you so much, and I am so happy to be a part of your lives. Elder Cevering

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pictures from Elder Cevering

At San Cristobal Canyon, with Victor Felix (a member who once was a pastor), with Elder Kraft, Elder Arana (in the glasses) and Michael's companion Elder De Oleo, with Lin, and one of the best snacks in Puerto Rico...cold cheese with tortillas! Yum!

Email February 10, 2014

Hello family! Well, unfortunately transfers came this past week and I wasn't sent out to a different island like I was hoping to. I heard something really funny: our zone leader asked president what his chances were to serve on an island, and president told him: 100% elder, you're already on one. HAHA. So I'm still in Bayamon with Elder De Oleo. Things are alright. The ward is in the beginning of a huge change: they just don't know how big it's going to be! We proposed an idea to our ward mission leader which we thought would help the members, he presented it to the bishop, and the bishop loved it and has decided to use it. They're going to start having trainings with the members, especially the priesthood holders, and they want our help to do it. I'm excited about that. Our bishop is an older man. He's a tough bishop and has almost always been against the missionaries here. But over the past year he's had a gradual change of heart and now we're invited to ward council and such. But the funny thing that happened this week was we were with him at the church on Tuesday and he began to tell us that he thinks President Smartt is crazy for taking our cars away. He said president Smartt is out of tune with the Spirit because he as bishop feels that we should have cars so that we can go up to Naranjito (the mountain area of Bayamon) in order to find people and start a branch. I said to him, "Bishop, we need to focus on strengthening the people who are already here in the ward of Bayamon before we start thinking about opening a branch." He got angry and had no response to me. The funny part: on Sunday he came up to us, after having his meeting with our ward mission leader and hearing all our ideas, and said to me--as if he were a genius haha--"We are going to strengthen the members here so that we can go out and strengthen others." And since he's an old man who doesn't remember anything, I said, "That's a great idea bishop." Haha. Life in Bayamon. We found a new investigator: his name is Eduardo. He lived in Florida and as a kid listened to the missionaries. His sister joined the church, but he didn't. He was super happy to talk with us because he really loves the missionary and invited us to go back to visit him this Wednesday. Our ward mission leader also has a family home evening set up for this week for us to teach some of his friends, so we'll see how that goes. I'm excited about that. We teach an English class every Tuesday and Saturday. Elder Arana--the Mexican who lives with us--teaches the class. He is really funny. He was giving definitions to words to the students and he said, "Dictionary significa arroz con gandules" or in English, "Dictionary means rice with pigeon peas." HAHA. I was laughing so hard. Love you all a lot! Elder Cevering

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A special message from Elder Cevering

Elder Cevering requested that I post this message on his Facebook page so I thought I would post it here as well. It is written below in English and then in Spanish. Hello! For those of you who don't remember me, my name is Michael Todd Cevering, I'm on a mission in Puerto Rico. That's a little island in the Caribean if you didn't know ;). So while you're freezing in the snow, I'm getting a sun tan. Beach time baby ;) I've arrived to the eighteen month mark in my mission: six months left till I'm back home in the cold with so many of you. That will be a good day, but it's not here yet, and I can't think much about it. But I have wanted to write to you all for quite some time now. As a missionary, you have the chance to talk with so many people: you are literally surrounded by people. However, you have experiences as a missionary that make you feel more alone than ever before. It's an absolutely bi-polar experience. Something that's been on my mind lately has been my previous life: my incredible family and friends who have taught me so much and helped me so much to grow. Also, I've thought so much about my mistakes. I want you to know that I love you all and I am sorry for my weaknesses. When I'm home, I hope to be able to resolve all my debts to so many of you. I have learned in reflection how it is that the love and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are so perfect that He permits us to meet others who will leave an eternal mark on our souls. This truth illuminated my mind to a deeper level this week as I was studying the Book of Mormon and read of Alma and Amulek coming together after angelic visitations. My love for you all is deep. I pray for you and hope to always be there for you all. May we ever reach out to others who need our help, especially in this time of the Hastening of the Lord's work. The Hastening of the work will bring much opposition: may we always be found on the Lord's side, doing all we can to fulfill our duty. God is our Father. Jesus is our Christ. They are aware of us. I know that to be true. In the name of Jesus Christ, and with all my love, Elder Michael Todd Cevering ------------------------------------------------- Hola, Por aquellos que no me recuerden, mi nombre es Elder Cevering. Todavía estoy aquí en Puerto Rico: la isla del Encanto. El diamante del Caribe. Si pudiera, iría a la playa con ustedes. Lo dejaremos para después :) Llegue a mis diez y ocho meces en la misión, lo cual significa que pronto estaré en casa, congelándome en la nieve. Oren por mi :) Debido a que no podemos hablar cara a cara, quise escribir esta carta para que supieran de mi amor. He reflexionado en mi pasado y me he dado cuenta de cuanto les amo y cuanto me han ayudado. También, me he fijado en mis errores y quiero pedir perdón a cualquier que he ofendido. Quiero ser una mejor persona. En esta semana, he sido tocado por el Espíritu y he sentido la gran veracidad que Dios--en Su amor infinito y Su conocimiento tan perfecto--nos permite conocer a otras personas que dejan una marca eterna en nuestras almas. Este me impacto tanto cuando leía la historia del encuentro de Alma hijo y Amulek en Ammoniah. El impacto de su amistad fue eterno. Agradezco a mi Padre Celestial por haberme dado la misma oportunidad con muchos de ustedes, quienes dejaron una marca en mi alma que me influirá para siempre. Recordemos que tenemos la habilidad de ayudar a otras personas. Vivimos en el tiempo del Apresuramiento de la obra de nuestro Salvador Jesucristo. Que siempre nos encontremos a Su lado en esta obra, magnificando nuestros deberes, es mi oración. Yo se que Dios vive, que es nuestro Padre. Se que Jesús es nuestro Salvador. Ellos nos conocen perfectamente y están atentos a nuestras necesidades. En el nombre de Jesucristo, y con amor, Elder Michael Todd Cevering

Email February 3, 2014

Hello family! Well, this week was not actually so bad. We're still trying to find more people to teach and still at a stand still in the progress with our current investigators, but we are feeling confident. We have a really good plan that we feel will help us and the ward a lot. First, we are going to start doing visits with our ward mission leader to the houses of members in order to teach them and help them do missionary work. That's going to bring a lot of changes. But we're going to focus on specific families, not the whole ward. Yesterday the bishop didn't come to church. We were surprised when we saw the elders quorom president sitting at the front of the chapel between the two counselors and the counselors said he was presiding. We had a talk with them afterward and showed them that the elders quorom doesn't preside when a bishop isn't present: the first counselor presides. We taught them the doctrine and read in the manuals about authority, and the first counselor said, "We've been making this error for years." Lots of work to do with the members. I also had the chance to clear up some doubts in the priesthood class yesterday. What a life. I feel like something really important for us to do here is help people understand true doctrine. That will help them all to have more faith. We have some good teaching opportunities coming our way this week. We have a couple that we're going to visit up in the mountains (I LOVE THE MOUNTAINS) and a couple of people down here. We found a Cuban man the other day who told us he's looking to join a church though he doesn't believe that religion is a commandment of God. We're going to really help him understand the doctrine of the Bible. I'm excited about that. Love you all! Elder Cevering