Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hey 9/30/13

Hey everyone, this week has been fun. Before I explain I need to finish explaining why in my last email I said Merry Christmas... So in the Philippines Christmas is celebrated about 3 months in advance. They take it very seriously. 

So this week...

Not really much has happened. I got a new house mate, hes not a pet but I have held him and played with him. He is very nice and doesnt bite at all. Actually I played with him for about 15 min in my hand before he got a little temperamental and had to find something to eat so i let him go. Wow, thats exciting that Preston got him mission call, I didnt even know he had put in his papers!!! That is good for him. 

The other picture is the view I wake up to each morning when It is nice and sunny outside which has been only the last two days. My schedule is kinda tight so I have only A little bit of time to write anyone. So because of this, and because it takes a long time to write and send this email to everyone I am going to add a link with the blog that my aunt set up for me if you do not already have it. That is where you can get a weekly update from me. I will of course still try to respond to as many emails as possible if you still want to write me.

My actual address... is... you can send packages or mail to this address. But remember that It takes awhile for me to respond. So mail should come by email if possible. 

Elder Alex Rivera
Philippines Baguio Mission 
LDS Chapel National Highway
Brgy. Lingat, San Fernando City
La Union

In order to ease some peoples minds about the water situation here. I have pure water in my apartment now.. we didn't for the last week because of the water filter not working. Umm I stopped carrying my water bottle with me because it is not needed in the city... I can always but a water bottle for about 15 peso so if that freaked you out I am sorry. But it is kinda weird to carry that water bottle when it is unnecessary and plus it takes forever to get water out of it. There is not much I can not get here if I want to buy it. I just bought Dominos pizza a little while ago.. so good. The philippines is amazing. I have two baptisms this week and two more later this month.

Monday, September 23, 2013


September 22, 2013

Well, hello everyone. How goes it? 

So this week... well I finally moved out of a Hotel and moved into an actual apartment, it is really nice and has warm water also. The other american Elders are jealous because of the warm water. Umm, we were stuck indoors this past saturday because of all the rain and wind. Its been interesting having to walk up stairs and mountains in the storm. But the work must continue so only this past saturday were we told to stay indoors. Luckily we only have minimal flooding here in Baguio city, so thats all good. Lets see, I tried Balut a few days ago, I am the first white Elder to do so so far. (Balut, a fertalized duck egg) it actually was kinda good. But it makes your blood pressure spike crazily. Its kinda nice here, beautiful except for the weather. Lets see... my stomuch is not very happily with me right now. I never used the filtered water bottle that they gave us in the MTC, and I always buy food from sketch vendors. But is all good, I will get used to it. At least I hope, the work must continue right! haha, well saturday becuase of all the time I had to ponder life I acctually got a little bit homesick.. of couse my mission president would send me to the one area of the mission where I can not see the ocean:p but its all good. I love my area and the food here is amazing. 

I will admit that storms are not fun, and the rain is something that also sucks, but the people are so humble and nice. I get to see people with machine guns all the time, if you know a little bit about the phillippines there is a muslim presence here that they try to grab americans and stuff like that. So the security is tight here. I saw some girls walking around with guns, my companion told me that they were drug runners.. so yeah. I live in an interesting country. 

On that note, GUESS WHAT.. everything is so cheap here. Like super cheap. I can get a pair of vans for about 10 dollors american, or 400 pesos... and the food is also so cheap. Ill send so pictures next week about stuff Ive been eating. Clothes are so cheap also, I can get a custom made suit for around 75 dollars american, im thinking about right before leaving just buying a ton of clothes and and stuff like that because I will not need most of the stuff I brought here. 

well, Ill see you when I see you, 
Elder Rivera

Sunday, September 15, 2013

First Week in the Philippines!!! I HAVE TOILETTE PAPER and WARM SHOWERS

Kumusta everyone! 

Wow, It has been such a long time since I last contacted everyone. Lets see, After 2 days of traveling. Im not joking, literally 48 hours of trains, planes, and buses I have finally arrived here in Baguio. (btw, dearelder still works. Just put it under the Baguio Mission tab thing) 
Umm, let see. I flew into manilla when it was morning. Got through security very quickly for a foreigner, because of my cool visa. I got out of the airport and immediatly met a random philippino told me he was supposed to take us to the bus stop. We believed him and got into the car with him and we drove around in manilla for a little while until we got to the bus stop. Manila is such a crazy place, they have like no driving laws or something. So i got to the bus stop and had to wait for the next bus that was going to San Fernando. I got on the bus and 8 long hours later I arrived at my mission home and met my Mission President. Pres. Balledos is such a cool guy, he is a small pinoy and has a great sense around him. We has to wait for two days in the san fernando heat, which was crazy, over 100 degrees with full humidity. I didnt even need a blanket to sleep it was that warm. I have never sweated as much in my life as then. I have yet to get dry still. On friday I enter my mission area. I have been assigned to the Pacdal C, Baguio City area along with my trainer Elder Ramos. He is a small pinoy who speaks broken english and so we have a blast trying to communicate with each other. Right now we are staying in a small appartment in a hotel with the zone leaders while we wait for our appartment to get ready. So we have to ride in several jeepnys in order to get to our area and teach people. We have 4 baptisms already sceduled in ocotber and three of them I get to baptise. the only one I am not going to baptise is a 20 year old philippina who I have been the first to teach here. Her name is Rhose sta ana, and she has been to church already with us. Ohh, we walked into church on sunday with another new investigator. The area is beutifly here in Baguio City, it is always cold and raining. And i mean COLD and RAINING, it is around 65 degrees here and never stops raining, its way better than the humidity of everywhere else in the philippines. The only problem is having to walk everywhere up and down the mountains in the rain to get places. It is sooooo crazy, I have eaten so much good food. They feed us so well here. ASK ME QUESTIONS please, I have no idea what else to write about!? 

Lots of Love, 

Elder Alex Rivera

p.s. They have showers and toilette paper here, although I have yet to use the toilette paper and have embraced the philippino way of wiping... never shake with the left hand :) 

One of the pics is me with my companion, the other is the mission home, which is on the beach.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Final Week MTC

Finally! I am almost to the Philippines, in the next two days my flight leaves so the next time you receive an email it will be from wherever my first area is, along with my new companion's info! I can not wait until I get there. 

Lets see, this week has been long and quick at the same time. My teaching lessons have stopped and nothing really interesting has happened except one thing which I will talk about shortly. Yesterday(Friday) was the most boring day I have ever had at the MTC, we had an eight hour in-field orientation that honestly was the most general info I have ever heard. It was for all Elders and Sisters who were leaving, including English speaking, so it was not area specific which was in my opinion pointless, because each area is radically different. And plus we could not ever speak in Tagalog because the other people couldn't understand us, so for a whole day we felt different that we were hearing English almost the whole day. I would have thought that I would have liked that, but then again it is cool being able to speak in Tagalog with people.

This past sunday we had the coolest people every give all the missionaries a devotional, they were the MTC presidents of the Philippines. Which was awesome, we got the see pictures and hear stories about the places we were all heading. All the other several thousand missionaries were bored except us going to the Philippines. It was a big boost for our moral when he was talking how the Philippines was the best missions to go to. 

So the most interesting thing that has happened this week has been that my companion, Elder Manning, decided that right before we get to the Philippines he was going to go to the doctor to get his ingrown toe fixed. Smart move right? Well it was pretty normal, we got a ride off the MTC campus which was so nice! My first day away from the MTC in over 5 weeks. So we were both incredibly excited that we were leaving, even if it was only for a short while. Anything that is a change to our schedule excites us nowadays, kinda sad I know. Back to the story, so we arrive at the doctors office, I have to go into the room with him so I get to see the whole thing. The doctor comes in, Gets a giant needle out, sticks it into different places around his toe in order to numb it, and all is good. The doctor leaves and I get out a language book so that I can study and not waste too much time. Right when I got the book out, my companions head drops slightly so I look up. My companion then proceeds to go into a seizure, now this of course frightens me, so I slightly raise my voice and call for the doctor who comes in at a calm pace. The doctor just seems to be amused, which is weird, and just waits for my companion to wake up out of the seizure. Apparently my companion does not like shots. 

I am sorry that nothing else exciting has happened this week. It was really a boring week other than what I have already said. I miss everyone. And I will give you all my new address as soon as I get it. 
Mahal po ko ng lahat mga tao! 
"I love every one" 

- love, Elder Rivera