Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Email May 26, 2014

Hello family, This week was a solid week! I feel so much better about continuing forward to finish my mission as a result of all that's been happening, though my trunkiness seems to grow every day! Haha. I love home, how can you blame me for that? We had our interviews with president Zwick this week, which went really well. He's strict, but he's not a preacher. Our interviews were short -- we only had 10 minutes to talk and it was just about the basics, like worthiness and such--but I could feel president Zwick's love and that's the important part. He said three things this week that have changed my mission specifically. He had a meeting with us and with each stake in the island, and in the meeting he had with our stake he came down pretty hard on the members. Ha. He read to them directly from the red manual of instructions about all the things they need to do to help missionary work move forward. He read about the ward council and its responsibility in doing missionary work, and then said, "Does that make ANY reference to knocking doors? NO." Ha. I loved it so much. He then said to us missionaries, "Elders and Sisters, you can contact as much as you want and you won't have baptisms. You have to work with the members." Then he said to me, in my interview, that he specifically, as an Elder of the first quorom of the 70, is going to approve for Migdalia to be baptized in the ward of Bayamon. He asked me about her whole story, then said, "I think it would be right for her to be baptized in Bayamon. I will take care of the details so that she can stay there." Then he gave me goals for baptisms: he asked me to have one more baptism with Migdalia. So...we invited her daughter to be baptized this Saturday with her and she ACCEPTED! It was a miracle. I'm super happy about it. I was humbled when she said yes that she would like to be baptized. I realized again how this is the Lord's work and not Michael Cevering's. And that's the only reason I have faith in this work: because it's His. In terms of companionship, Elder Matamoros and I are getting along much more. A member called us to see if two of us could go to his house to help him power-wash his roof. As you can imagine, the flat, cement roofs of Puerto Rico get filthy. I offered to go do the work, and Elder Matamoros went to the lesson with Elder Armstrong. And it turned out to be a good day to wash a roof: the sun was super hot so I got burnt all down my arms. It hurt bad haha it was probably the worst burn I've gotten in my mission. But I was happy to do the work because I'm grateful for that member and all he's done for us. It was a good lesson for me to learn. So, this week we have the baptism of Migdalia and her daugther. The ward is really excited about that. Our work with the members is starting to show fruits: we're supposed to have a lesson tonight with the friend of some members, and the ward also gave 4 references to our ward mission leader yesterday, so things look like they're on their way up. Our bishop is still horrible--he didn't want to give us a ride home yesterday after church---but we continue working anyway. And the members are rallying to the call. I believe this ward can see miracles if they continue growing like they are :) I'm grateful to be here. I love you all a lot! Elder Cevering

Monday, May 19, 2014

Email May 19, 2014

Hello Family! This week was a pretty good one, though I have to tell you a story: last Monday we were playing soccer and while we were playing I hurt my knee. It's been hurting me a lot as I've been walking around. I talked with the nurse and she's going to come see me today. So to be honest, I didn't do much proselyting this past week. We did, however, have some good lessons. We taught Migdalia about repentance and the commandments. It was a really great lesson because her 17 year old daugther was present. She had questions about the law of chastity, saying that the world embraces being unchaste. Haha. I just looked at her and said, "Alondra, I'm going to talk to you, youth-to-youth. Forget that I'm a missionary for a moment and remember that I'm a normal person like you..." then I went on to talk to her about the importance the law of chastity has had in my life and of the things I've learned from living it. Making it personal really changed everything, and in the end she accepted our invitation to live the law of Chastity. She's also going to be baptized now :) The situation with Migdalia is really interesting. She's completely ready to be baptized! She lives in an area of Bayamon that pertains to the neighboring ward Toa Baja. I've told you about that before, but here's the thing: though the stake gave permission for her to be baptized in Bayamon, I actually talked with Elder Cornish last week (yes, THE Elder Cornish) and he told me that Migdalia needs to be baptized in Toa Baja. So we're making a transition plan with the ward and missionaries of Toa Baja. I'm happy for her and believe she'll be able to make the transition. Our ward mission leader, however, is not too excited about it. On Saturday we went with the first counselor in the ward to clean the chapel--the men of the priesthood don't sign up to do the cleaning, so every Saturday morning we get a call "Elders can you help?" So we have to go. And we went, then we went to his house and helped him cut his grass and such. I was having a lot of pain in both my knee and my ab, so I asked him for some pain medication. He pulled out the only thing he had and--it was my fault--I took three pills...just to find out they were Tylenol PMs. HAHAHA. I was asleep in twenty minutes, and I slept basically all day. Haha. How funny is that? I love you all so much! Elder Cevering

Monday, May 12, 2014

Email May 12, 2014 (Short & Sweet because we got to talk to him yesterday for Mother's Day)

Hello! Yesterday was super great. I was so happy to get to talk to you. I wish it could be a longer time, but it was fun. Things are going well here with Migdalia. She should be getting baptized this Saturday. We'll see! Love you! Elder Cevering

Monday, May 5, 2014

Email May 5, 2014

Hello family, THE BIG NEWS OF THE WEEK The sad thing that happened this week was the release of President Smartt. Sister Smartt was diagnosed with MS, and the first presidency released President so that they could be together in the United States together for her treatments. We didn't know about it, but apparently Sister Smartt has been in the United States doing tests for awhile, and it was just recently that she was diagnosed. It's really sad. She's a really great woman, and President Smartt is a great man. Right now Elder Zwick of the seventy is presiding over the mission. Our new mission president will arive in June, but we still don't know who it will be. It's a really crazy situation. In other terms this past week was actually pretty successful. We have a new investigator: her name is Louisa. She's a friend of a member in the ward. She and her husband are young and really poor and they have a 1-year old son. They live up in the mountains, so in order to come to church Louisa had to stay Saturday night at the member's house. Her husband couldn't attend because he works. I don't know him, but she's really cool and interested. We have a lesson with her this week and hopefully her husband is present. Migdalia continues to progress. She is basically a dry Mormon. She doesn't drink coffee, she doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, etc. That's surprising because most Puerto Ricans love coffee. In Aibonito the people drank a LOT of coffee, and it's because they have it in their backyards. And apparently the coffee that comes from the south side of the island is really good. Things between Elder Matamoros and I are actually improving a lot. I've been trying to joke around with him a lot. He's really weird and such but we're getting along better. We're trying to do a lot of different things with our time. You know me and you know how my interests in things go up and down: I have the tendency to be super interested in one thing, and then after a few weeks that interest changes. Well, that's how I've been feeling about the mission. I've been really struggling to maintain my interest to talk with people in the street. And in order to relieve that stress I've been trying to find members who we can serve so that we can utilize our time well. There's one member we've been able to help a lot, and he's actually grown more active and his relationship with his wife is improving a lot. Last Saturday we were at this member's house helping him build a cement column for his house. It was really fun. Haha. We've been making a LOT of cement with him, and without machines. I think in all, we've gone through 50 bags of cement at his house in the past two weeks. We've been filling his patio, we built the column, helped him seal his septic tanks. And so on. We also have been helping him in his banana farm. It's sweet. I've really enjoyed it. We started a group to play basketball on Saturdays. It's our attempt to unite the priesthood more, give the members a chance to invite friends to the church to get to know us, and also for us to bring our investigators. It's going to be really great. The members have given us support in it. We're also going to re-start the English class we were giving, which should bring us two investigators. There's a couple from Naranjito--in the mountains--that we were trying to teach before when they came to the class, but it didn't work out because they were so busy starting out the year. They are accountants. But now we should be able to teach them. Well that's all. I love you so much and I'm looking forward to talking to you on Sunday! Elder Cevering