Monday, March 3, 2014
Email March 2, 2014
Hello Family! I want you to know that this past week was the happiest, best week of my mission. I grew a lot personally and learned a lot about my relationship with my Father in heaven. After receiving the talks from brother Roylance I decided I was going to pray more than I ever had in my mission. President Smartt had talked to us in our zone conference that we needed to pray more in our work, so I felt that the talks joined with president's words were inspired. So I put them to the test and began to pray a lot more in the mornings, pray in the streets during the days, and pray more at nights. I began to beg the Lord that He would guide us and give us power in our teaching. I begged Him that we could have just one investigator present at church. So with a lot of faith in prayer, we went out to work, and we more than doubled our weekly numbers here in Bayamon. We jumped from 2 lessons a week to 9. We jumped from 2 new investigators to 7. And the investigators we found are really solid! We taught them short lessons about the Restoration and then read in the Book of Mormon with them. It was really incredible! We found a family: their names are Abraham, Anna, and Miguel and two other young men whose names I don't remember. They believe in God and Jesus Christ but have seen the corruption in the churches in Puerto Rico so they ended their Sunday attendance. They told us about the second biggest church in Puerto Rico--the pastor's name is Wanda Rolon. Entrance into her church is $5, the order for sitting is according to your social class--rich, middle-class, or poor--but all in attendance are required to give extra offerings during her preaching or they are asked to leave. And for those who want to give a lot of money, there's an ATM in the church where you can take out money. That's not too rare in Puerto Rico, but it's one of the biggest examples, and it's the example they used when they talked to us about their religious beliefs. It was a perfect place to start teaching about the Restoration. We showed them how the corruption in the religions of Puerto Rico is the fruit of the apostasy, and they understood it perfectly. The Spirit was present, and they invited us to go back. We're stoked. Elder De Oleo said, "This feels just like all the other times I've found a family in the streets and they've gone on to be baptized." I had the same sort of feelings. When Saturday night arrived, none of our investigators were going to be going to church. Abraham was recently shot in the leg--he was out smoking in a park one night when a shoot-out started and a bullet bounced off the concrete and hit him in the leg. So he wasn't able to go to church. Crazy right? But Saturday night I still was hoping that God would answer my prayer. So I went to bed, and I woke up to Elder Arana saying, "Hey, Jorge is going to church today!" I was so excited! We hadn't taught Jorge during the week, so I was super surprised when I found that out. He went to church with his son and he loved it! He's got a baptismal date for March 29th. The other missionaries are going to start teaching him this week--they've been having some hard times finding investigators, and one of them has never had a baptism, so we are going to let them teach him. But that's not all: a part-member family showed up randomly to church for the first time in a year. The wife is from Mexico and isn't a member but invited us to her house on Saturday to eat and to share a message. Really awesome! And also, some random members from the Dominican Republic showed up and brought one of their friends here from Bayamon to church. They gave us the reference. So I was humbled, and I knew that God had answered my prayers to have investigators at church. To cap off the week, Elder Cornish came to Puerto Rico and gave a training to all of the bishops, branch presidents, stake presidents, ward mission leaders, and high councilmen. All of the mission leaders were invited, so I got to go. It was a really great training! We'd received the training before in a zone conference last December, but it was really great for the church leaders to receive it because a lot of them don't like to listen to us missionaries--for example, our bishop in Bayamon haha. The best part of the training, however, was seeing the bishop from Carolina! When he saw me he came running to me to give me a hug. He told me that seeing me made it the best Sunday he'd had in a long time. I felt really loved, and I am happy about that. Great things are happening! The Lord is at work here, and we just have to continue being faithful so He can use us. I know this is His vineyard and His work and that He uses mortal instruments to bring about miracles. I love Him and love you all so much! Elder Cevering Mom, thank you SO MUCH for the package! It helped me out so much this week. I love you!