Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Email March 31,2014

Hey family! Well, my fourth and (hopefully) final child got here to Puerto Rico this week from Honduras. This is my third companion from Honduras. Stinking Hondurans. They're cool. His name is Elder Matamoros. Here in the caribean that means "kill rice and beans" if you're from the Dominican Republic. It's funny to see the Dominican people laugh when they read his name, even though I'm sure Elder Matamoros doesn't think it's funny. We started his mission off great. A member invited us to visit with one of her friends. It was one of the more incredible lessons of my mission. Her name is Migdalia. Her sister has been seeing their dead mom. So the member talked to her about works for the dead, and that's how we were able to have the lesson. As we talked to Migdalia about the different things her sister has seen she said that once her sister heard a voice say to her: "Don't worry about your mother, she's with me. My name is Carmela." Well, she didn't know who Carmela was, so she did some research and discovered that her great grandmother's name was Carmela. Well, we didn't get to talk to the sister, but we talked to Migdalia and we began talking to her about the atonement and our need for it. We talked about those who didn't ever receive the blessings of the atonement in this life, and read the famous scripture in Malachi that teaches us that Elijah will come to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and vice versa. When she read that scripture she re-read it again out loud, and we felt the Spirit come into the room and I could see that she'd been deeply touched. Then she suddenly started to cry and said that the scripture "impacted" her. So we taught a few other things, then left her with the invitation to go to church and she went! She even talked with her sister in the week about all we talked to her about and her sister is now interested in talking with the missionaries. It's a super cool experience. Before I get to what happened at church, I'll tell you another story of a new investigator. Elder Matamoros and I went out contacting, and I decided--according to prompts from President Smartt and from personal feelings towards being in the street--decided to be simpler in my contacts. I decided to stop trying to qualify people in the streets to listen to our message and simply started to look for people who could receive us after hearing a very short testimony in the street. So with that in mind, I went out with Elder Matamoros and we contacted a ton of people. After a couple hours we were walking up this street, and I saw a man standing up above us in his home, and I just walked past him, but felt that I should go back. So I shouted up to him, and he didn't want anything. But his wife heard my voice and came out and said, "Yes, please come up!" So we went up and talked with her, and she said, "My aunt was a Mormon." We talked with her about what she knew of the church and she knew a lot, though there were parts of our story that were broken in her memory. We pulled out the Book of Mormon and read the testimony of Joseph Smith with her to help her remember the story, and it really impacted her. She said to us, "I'd forgotten how important this book was. I was soon going to be baptized in an Evangelical church, but I'd forgotten all about this. I need to do some thinking. Where is your church? I want to go there." Sounds like a pretty great week for a new missionary right? Haha. But it's not done yet! We had our missionary training class with the members yesterday and it was a success. We had been talking and planning it for weeks, but on Saturday we just didn't feel like we were ready yet, so we said a prayer and asked God to guide us to know what we needed to do. The inspiration came quickly: we needed to do a very thorough demonstration of HOW one member can invite his or her friends to listen to the missionaries. So that was how the training started off: our ward mission leader acted as the member inviting his friend to listen to the missionaries. He showed exactly how it is that we are supposed to approach inviting situations: he got to know his "friend's" feelings and then talked with him and invited him to listen. Then they had a short "lesson" in the member's home and ended it there. We then analyzed with all the members the things that this member in the demonstration did to invite his friend. It was a good discussion. Then we showed a power point, and I shared some different thoughts about how to invite people to listen to missionaries. But the most important part was the 4 step process we showed to members that they should use to find people who will really want to listen to the gospel: 1-make a list of friends and family, 2-pray and fast for guidance and for them to receive the gospel, 3-talk with those people about the gospel (giving testimony of the Book of Mormon if possible), and 4-inviting them to talk to the missionaries in their home. It was solid! Members wrote down the points, so we're hoping they will now put them into practice. We ended the training by pulling out a flag we'd painted. I'll be sending a picture of it. We invited the members to write their names on it if they were willing to "hasten" their work with the Lord's work, as taught in D&C 88:73. It was solid. Our stake president was present for the presentation and he told us he loved it and thought it was the perfect form for teaching members. So we're excited and happy about it. Apart from that, things are getting really hot here. One of our fans broke in the house--we sleep with standing fans because we don't have air conditioning. So I've been putting my blanket in the freezer so that it gets frozen before I go to bed. If I don't do that, I can't fall asleep because I'm too hot. Haha. What an experience. Well, I love you all a lot! I pray for you and always hope things are going well. Elder Cevering

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