Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

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


  1. That isn't the reason that he was released. The church allowed to believe this. They were covering up his misconduct. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/04/26/the-case-of-puerto-rico-when-the-mormon-church-promptly-removed-a-mission-president-who-deceived-and-victimized-young-female-missionaries

    The Church purposely allowed the people in the area to believe the Mission President and his wife were released due to her medical condition.

    Deception all the way!

    1. Johnathan, let me catch you up to speed and correct some of your misunderstanding.

      First off, the "Church" you refer to didn't mislead anyone. Rather, it was the assistants to the president who mass-messaged all the missionaries in the area, telling us President Smartt and his wife had been released for her health. Promptly after his arrival, Elder Craig Zwick of the 70 organized a mission-wide meeting in which he said, and I quote, "You have been told your mission president was released due to the bad health of his wife. This is only in part true." (It was, in fact, true that President Smartt's wife WAS receiving treatment for M.S.) He then went on to explain that President Smartt was released due to inappropriate conduct. This information QUICKLY spread through the stakes of the island. I had members asking me questions about it--members who even knew more about it than I did.

      So to recap a few things to correct you on: 1-the deception didn't come from the church, it came from President Smartt's assistants (young men only 21 years of age), 2-the "church" did indeed make it known that President Smartt was released for bad conduct, while not denying the fact that Sister Smartt was TRULY diagnosed with MS, and 3-You assume I (the missionary in this area) wasn't privy to this information, as if the church's recent announcement was somehow eye-opening. You come on my blog to tell me I've been deceived by the church. This is not accurate. I knew the truth within a week of President Smartt's release, as did other members.

      Before you make assumptions, and base your facts on the media, better to ask questions of a primary source rather than try to correct that primary source on a blog that's over 4+ years old.