Saturday, August 31, 2013

Week 5- I think . . .

Great news this week! I got my travel plans, I will admit that I was so giddy with excitement. It is crazy to think that within the next two weeks I will be in the Philippines. On the 9th I catch a red eye flight from SLC to LAX, from there I fly to Hong Kong and then on to manila. Non of my layovers are longer than two hours which is good. On an interesting note, I also am scheduled to fly from Manila to Detroit Metro, MI if my Visa does not make it through that is the flight that I will take... I have to reenter the united states on a direct flight. :( does not sound fun at all... 

It is a small world here in the MTC. On Tuesday I met a girl from Denmark, who knew the Perkins. She was excited when I asked here if she knew them, her eyes light up when I told her that Michael was the one who baptized me. The whole time I was taking to her my Companion Elder Manning was awk standing near me with a confused question. I guess it is not normal in the MTC for Missionaries to randomly start a conversation with a female... 

On another note, Im sorry if my letters are kinda everywhere. I seem to have a lot on my mind here. 
Umm this past Sunday I go changed to only one companion, which is a lot easier to teach with only one other person. 

On Tuesday Elder Neil L. Anderson came and visited. He spoke on Love and Sacrifice. Which was awesome. That night it rained crazy hard in Provo, lighting and thunder were so loud that they had to delay the apostles departure out of fear for his and all of our safety. So we ended up singing lots and lots of songs while he shook peoples hands in the audience. 

My lessons have exponentially gotten better from what they were last week. We got an investigator to commit to being baptised which was cool, even if it was a fake one. Her name was nennet and she was extreamly difficult to teach. 

My favorite saying this week is 'Gwapo pa" which means Still Handsome... so when anyone askes me how I am doing that is my response. Im excited to be leaving the MTC! Ill be able to email again next saturday so there will be only one more email from the MTC. 

Mahal ko lahat 

-Elder Rivera

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week 4

Well, I have been here way too long, It has gotten to the point where I can have a pretty long discussion with someone about Gospel topics.. Tagalog is a very simple language luckily. It only has one structure and all the rules are only shortcuts that you can do to say things faster. My teachers have basically only speaking Tagalog in class right now. And since I spend 6 hours in class a day, not to mention the study time I am learning the language very very quickly. My new "Investigators" are improving a lot. It brings me great joy that they are able to understand me. Next weeks email will be a lot better than today. Mostly because I get my flight plans for travel to the Philippines next Friday. In the next 2 weeks I will be flying to the Philippines. Also beginning next week we will Skype someone in the Philippines and talk to them about just random conversational stuff. Hmm, my zone gets new District Leaders and Zone leaders tomorrow, which is cool because there are only 6 companionship that could be the new Zone leaders and mine is one of them pero I do not think the I am going to become the new ones. I mostly think  it is going to be this companionship that is not in my district. I was able to go to the temple last Saturday which was amazing, the new video was amazing to be able to watch. Sunday was boring, except for the devotional that night. The speaker was Via ...... something last name.... I do not have my notes on me and It takes me awhile to go back to my residence hall. But this Via person was an amazing speaker. He played on BYU football team like 30+ years ago. After his mission he played pro NFL and was the first Tongan to play in the NFL. He is mormon and so awsome, he played for the Greenbay Packers, the Eagles, and some other team I can not think about. He has some great insights on missionary work. Tuesdays devotional was a member of the 70 presidency. He was a good speaker and I enjoyed the fact that he served in the area presidency of the Philippines quite a long time ago. Well, I do not know what else to talk about, nothing really exciting happens here. All of the guys spend nights pranking each other, which is alright because it is never harmful. Thanks for all the letters and packages, It always makes me smile to know that outside the MTC there is an actual world that has things happening. If you have any questions about my life in the MTC or anything feel free to ask. I have enough time to respond and I enjoy doing that. 
With much love,
Elder Rivera

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week 3 MTC

Well I have been really busy this week, hopefully all my letters to everyone have gotten to them safely. Lets see, where to begin this exciting week. Well let me start where I left off last week. 
btw.. Thanks for the letters and packages for those who sent them:) they were very nice to get

- Nothing really exciting, we had someone from the MTC admin speak at the devotional

- Hmm, started teaching a new investigator which was cool

- Some very exciting stuff happened on this day. For the devotional I decided to sing in the missionary choir, the choir director is suck [I think he ment such] a funny cool guy. I wish i remembered his name but I can't and I didn't write it down. This day actually began with a Fast for my district. We decided we wanted to Fast in order to be prepared for learning the language at a faster pace. So I helped sing in the devotional on Tuesday, Elder Richard G. Scott of the quorum of the 12 apostles was the speaker. He spoke mostly about prayer and how we can better communicate with the Lord with praying sincerely. Twice he decided to give all the missionaries who were in the Marriott center who were also speaking a foreign language a apostolic blessing for the ability to have the gift of tongues. Which was awesome. This amazing thing happened twice, once in the beginning and then again at the end of him speaking. One of the more touching moments was when he talked about his deceased wife and how he knows that she was allowed to come down from heaven to visit him as he talked to all 3000 missionaries in the building. I think it was such a special meeting and its nice to know that all over the world people were watching the devotional. It was the first ever to be broadcast to every MTC worldwide. Which was awesome. That basically concluded our night and was a very quick, and direct answer to our fast. 

- today we started a English fast, we only spoke Tagalog throughout the day, since we know really only lesson words it was a very quite day
I saw Elder Batey which was cool! he seems excited to be here. [missionary from Morgan Hill who entered the MTC this week]

Just taught lessons and me and my companions decided to have a sleepover in another companions residence... that was prolly a form of disobedience but you know what, it allowed for us to get closer. The elders we stayed with were from the same district as us. So it was all good.

- Well today is Prep Day, so we get a lot of extra time to take naps. Around 2 we are going to go to the provo temple. 

I miss everyone! Write me, my life is so simple right now that anything you are doing excites me in many ways.... joke lang. 

Mahal Kita,

Elder Rivera

[Note from Toni: I added a couple of notes in italics and I also added links to explain some of the things Alex makes reference to for those not of our faith.  You are welcome to email me with any questions any time,, or add a comment to the blog and I will get an answer for you. I did get pictures and will post them as soon as I get a chance.]

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Week 2 - Still at the MTC... 8/10/2013
(Please excuse the poor spelling, tagalog is influencing my lack of english skills)
Lets see, I think I will talk a little bit more about my companions, ill send pictures as soon as possible, but yeah. My companions are pretty neat guys. Both are from Utah, Elder Manning is from North Ogden and Elder Eagar is from Provo. As a companionship we get along very well. One of the great things about them is that they are around the same age, E. Eagar is two weeks older and E. Manning is two weeks younger. So that is a blessing, we can still have those immature moments. The only problems we have had have really been frustrations with learning tagalog, but other than that we have been able to not get mad each other. The schedule here is a pain in my opinion, we roughly follow the same schedule. We arise at 6:30, Breakfast at 7:30, after breakfast we have 3 hours of classroom instuction by Guro(Teacher) Ward, followed by an hour of personal study time, Then lunch, after lunch we begin an hour language study follewed by 3 more hours of classroom instruction, followed by dinner and the gym time and then an hour of TALL(Technology Assisted Language Learning) which is the most boring thing of all. By 9 we have scheduling/distric meeting until we retire for be at 9:30. During Classroom instruction we have opportunities to teach "investagators" who are really just voulenteers. But starting this monday we actually have to teach our teacher once or twice a day lessons in tagalog without notes. So things are starting to get a bit stressful. So stressful they actually gave us a lesson of Stress. Which just annoyed me more because they asked me how I relieved stress before me mission and I commented on I used to Swim, Listen to Music, and Sleep which I either cant do because of mission rules or because there is no time for breaks. I annoyed my teacher just slightly when I commented on that. Umm... what else. This week we had two great devotionals, Last Sunday we had Jenny Oaks Bakar preform the violine and talk to us which was really cool, and then on tuesday we had Jay E. Jenson speak to us, he is an Emiritus(Retired) Gerneral Authorit who has been in the quorums of the 70 and such. hmm.. What else... There really isnt anything really else that happens here... Lessons, Feeling the power of God, Not being able to do stuff that I used to do.
One of the best things that has helped has been mail, which has been so entertaining to check everyday and almost always have something new to read and respond to.(hint hint) so if you have time I would like to recieve mail still while I can, not sure about the situation in the Philippines so right now is the best time. My address is
Elder Alexander Jeffery Rivera
2007 N 900 E Unit 52
Provo UT 84062
(go to to send me mail the day of so I do not have to wait half a week to get letters, or just send letters. Doesnt matter to me that much)
Lets see I Still have ahwile before my hour of internet is gone so... let me think... I have two teachers. (Brother) Guro Ward and (Sister) Guro Cope, both are amazing. P-day has become the best day which I knew would happen. We usually wake up early, like 5:00am in order to do laundry, so we can just go back to sleep and then we have nothing to do all day but "Study" and meals. One of the weird things is they have caffine free Mountain Dew, which is honestly the most confusing thing. Ohh and the Barqs rootbeer they have is in the normal can but does not have caffine in it. They apparently get it without caffine in Utah, who would have known. It is kinda funny, on the first day I was soo excited to see at least one soda had caffine, until my joy was shattured by my companions... my caffine withdrawl had been interesting to deal with.
If you wouldnt mind, whoever feels like it, see if you can send my address to anyone who wants or needs it.. I have very limited time to email people... and I would like to email more people and get more mail. There is a sister in my distric who everyday had more packages and mail than everyone else in the distriked combined:/ Time has started to fly by quicker, after the first sunday, which happend to be fast sunday:p.
I thank you all for your letters, and for those who havent send me stuff please do, I am stuck on a campus where news from the outside world is limited to letters and emails.... SO send me stuff.
I will send pictures as soon as possible.. it is hard to find a computer that accepts cameras because of all the filters and secutity they put on these computers... I have found a couple that do but they are alwasy in use and I have little time to do stuff. Life has started to become mundane but still continues to be stressful. The weather is also wierd here, it rained everyday for the past three days... i swear that its already fall here. I miss CA weather..
With much love,
Your missionary,
Elder Rivera

Ohh btw, If someone wants to be nice to my companions and send them letters also, i am sure that they would appreciate that. there letter address are the same as mine exept with there names at the top instead of mine. Elder Joel E. Manning Elder Tyler Eagar

Sunday, August 4, 2013

First letter from the MTC

There is a way of sending me mail that i will recieve the same day, it is quicker than email because I only log on once a week on saturdays.
It is called or something like that.
It will ask you my info, this is also my regular mail emailing address. DearElder is a quicker way of writting me if you would like to do so without
actually writting anything and it gets delivered same day directly to me. SEND ME STUFF PLEASE. salamat ohh, and tell everyone else this also, I want
to know whats going on with everyone, it gets very dull in the MTC when no one writes you. So foward, facebook, tweet this address or the DearElder stuff ASAP.
and I Will write back with an actuall letter. If you would like also include your living adress so that i can have something to send you. again, it gets dull here not having much to
look foward to other than lessons, and study time.
Elder Alexander Jeffrey Rivera
2007 N 900 E Unit 52
Provo UT 84602