Elder Michael Cevering

Elder Michael Cevering
Puerto Rico, San Juan Mission

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pictures from Vega Baja

Email June 30, 2014

Helloooooooooo Family! I'm writing late today cause we went to the outlet mall in Barceloneta. It was great! We went to Ihop in the morning: I forgot what it was like to just eat good old pancakes. Then we went through all the stores. So when you see a $93 payment in Nike...just know your dearest son on this tropical island needed what he bought :) I love you :) Our week was pretty great. I feel like the time is passing at a normal rate: not fast but not slow either. There's not a whole lot happening here. We have some investigators but we're at step one still: FINDING. We have two investigators with baptismal dates: their names are Lizmariz and Josue. They're the grandchildren of an older couple that was baptized at the end of last year. They're cool kids: Lizmariz is 17??? and Josue is 11. Josue's really cool. He always pulls out his boxing gloves when we show up because he wants to fight with us. Ha. It's cool. He really likes the missionaries. He took us to their backyard--they live in the jungle--and he showed us all the animals they have. Their grandpa is a chicken fighter--a huge sport in Puerto Rico--and he also raises peacocks. It's cool. It was also cool to see all their trees full of iguanas. Haha. Good old tropical island. The other exciting things that happened this week were that we went to the beach. WOO! That was awesome! I will send you the pictures. And just so you know, it's NOT against the rules in our mission to go to the beach. We were at a member's house--she lives right on the beach--so we went outside and took pictures there. I hope the pictures make you jealous :) I also got a visit from a family in Carolina: it was their goodbye visit. That was sad but it was really great. The feeling of going home really set in when they said goodbye. They told me how grateful they are to me and how they wished I could have gone back to Carolina. It was touching. I'm grateful to my Father in heaven for all the wonderful people I've met here. President Boucher arrived last Saturday and upon his arrival he made some changes to the mission: he called me as the district leader for Vega Baja. I was happy to know that the Lord trusts me enough to keep me in that position. When I finish my mission I will have spent 16 months as a District Leader, which is something that I'm glad to have passed through. Things with Elder Kraft are great: we get along super well. This is the funnest house I've lived in over the past two years. I will miss them a lot! We get along super well and all think alike. It's great. Well that's all I have for the week. I love you all so much and am excited to see you in 30 days! Elder Cevering

Monday, June 23, 2014

Email June 23, 2014

Hello from Vega Baja! I am doing really well! I love this area and I love the missionaries I live with! I feel super blessed that the Lord sent me here to finish my mission. Don't misinterpret this, but I feel like I was sent to a vacation area haha. Our area is right by the beach and our house is sweet! We live in an actual house which has air conditioning and WARM WATER. It's the best. I've been loving waking up in a cold room and then taking a nice warm shower. And on top of that we live right next to some government apartments with a basketball court so we go there almost every day to play basketball with the kids. It's really great. It probably feels like a vacation area because of the luxuries. The ward here is really interesting. It's similar to Carolina but it's also very different. It shouldn't be a ward: there are only 60 people in attendance--that's among the higher attendance for the "wards" of Puerto Rico. I wouldn't say there are truly any wards in Puerto Rico but hey, the leaders are the ones who decide that. There are some really loving people here: we get a LOT of food. I am going to miss Puerto Rican food so much. We went to this house the other day so I could meet some members and--like every Puerto Rican family--they gave us food. We ate huge plates of rice, beans, and chicken, then lasagna. You'd think it's a random combination, but it's super great as a missionary: load up on rice and beans, then eat a big piece of lasagna. It's a carb boost. We don't have many investigators here, but the elders here have had some good success over the past year. I think they've had almost 10 baptisms over the last year and a half which is really high for Puerto Rico. Next week we're going fishing at the beach with a member: I'm really excited about that. The elders have been showing me pictures of some places here that are beautiful. I'm happy to be finishing my mission here. I've been in communication with the elders in Bayamon: they're really excited to work there and are happy with all we left in place for them. So I'm at peace with everything. I am super excited that Randee and Kyle are going to have a baby and that they're moving back to North Ogden! Tell them congratulations. And working at the temple open house will be awesome! Especially with the special needs. I will love that. One thing I am really excited about, and something I want to be sure to attend when I get home, is Education Week. I am STOKED for that. I love you all so much! Elder Cevering

Friday, June 20, 2014

Email June 16, 2014

Hello family! You're going to be super surprised: ALL FOUR of us missionaries are leaving Bayamon. They're going to be sending some ex-zone leaders here to train since President Zwyck combined 8 zones into just 4. I was able to enjoy our zone conference with President Zwyck. He is a spiritual giant: I learned a lot from him. So now you're asking, "If they're taking you out of Bayamon where are they going to send you?" This is the exciting news: I am going to Vega Baja. It's two wards over from where I am now, and--this is the part that will get you excited mom--it's the area where Arelys's family lives! Barceloneta is part of the Vega Baja ward. So if you want to get in contact with her and let her know I'm headed to the area where her family lives so that we can see if we can work with them then that would be awesome. I'm sure she'll get really excited about that. If she wants to get in contact with me to talk about her family she'll have to call the mission office. The other exciting news is that my new companion is Elder Kraft: he was in my district up in Aibonito. He and I get along really well: I consider him my best friend in the mission. He and I were joking just the other day that he'd get to kill me--missionary phrase for finish your mission. And now I'm headed to be with him. I'm stoked! He has been telling me that the ward in Vega Baja is super cool. I'm stoked. This will be a sweet transfer: the best for the last! I'm sad to leave Bayamon because some good things happened here and the work was finally beginning to work forward, but I am convinced and sure that every transfer I've had has been a manifestation of God's perfect knowledge and love of me. He has been very merciful to me in my mission, which I am incredibly grateful for. I've been really touched over the past week fews in sacrament meeting: I have learned a lot about the atonement in this last transfer and can say that "I feel my Savior's love." Tonight we're going to have a family night with some members of the ward. They were really sad to hear we are leaving. Luckily, though, I'm going with our ward mission leader to Vega Baja tomorrow so he and I will get to chat and discuss things which I'm excited about. He's a really good man, and he's offered me to be able to come back and stay at his house on vacation. I love these people a lot and will miss them! I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week! Elder Cevering

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Email June 2, 2014

Hello family! It's been really funny to see Sister Rosado get so excited about texting you. Haha. And I love reading what she writes to you. She's trying to learn English. She uses a translation APP. I am glad she sent you the pictures of the baptism: it was the most spiritual baptism service I've attended in my mission. 32 members of the ward came! That's incredible for Puerto Rico. After changing into their white clothes, Megdalia and Alondra decided to let the Book of Mormon to fall open to a random page to see what scriptures they could find. It fell open to 3 Nephi 5:13--"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." Megdalia was super touched by that. After the ordinances, Esteban--I don't remember if I've told you that he's in our ward, Lin's boyfriend who baptized her--gave a talk about the importance of member missionary work. As he talked about the experience with Lin, and full of the emotion from the baptism, tears came to my eyes. I was almost crying when I got up to lead the music. Haha. The bishop was SUPER happy with the baptisms. In fact, after Medalia's and Alondra's baptisms another man was baptized into our ward. His name is Ramon. His wife was baptized six years ago. I've NEVER seen any bishop or other leader be so excited about baptisms. He invited me and Elder Armstrong to speak in sacrament next Sunday. I'm excited. Now the ward is starting to get excited about inviting friends to listen to the gospel. They are seeing what Mormon spoke about in Helaman 3:27-30: "Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out." If in these last two months I can be a part in helping this ward see as Mormon saw that there are people who are willing to lay hold upon the true word of God, then I will be the happiest missionary that ever lived :) This week we have a ward BBQ and we're getting a lot of support from the members for it. A lot of people have said they are going to bring friends, so the pressure is on us. Haha. We have a good idea. The BBQ will be outside on the basketball court, and there will be a movie or something playing on the projector. Then at a certain point we're going to invite everyone to go inside the chapel where we will have a Lehi's dream stage set up. The members and their friends will grab onto a rope and pass through different rooms where they'll learn about the Book of Mormon. The rope will end at a tree where they'll get their dessert: that's how you keep a Puerto Rican at a BBQ. I'm looking forward to see more miracles here. The island has already changed so much over these two years. Miracles are popping up in the missionary news network here, and it looks like the church in Puerto Rico is FINALLY rising from the ashes of its past. It just requires that people do their duties and make wise sacrifices. Team work is what's changing the church here. I love you all so much and think about you all every day. My feelings are very mixed, but I look forward to the future with a lot of faith. I have a lot of goals for when I get home, and I feel like the Lord is helping me be prepared to step on a plane again. Have a great week! Elder Cevering