Friday, November 29, 2013

Hello from the Philippines!

Well this week has been interesting. Due to the fact that are baptism rate for the entire mission for the past 3 months has been really bad. We have had a few workshops about how to prepare and extend a baptism date. Unfortunately we are unable(me and my companion) to reach our mission goal of 2 baptism a month this transfer. But so is life, we tried but are goals were crushed when we realized that no investigators were at church. Luckily though we might be able to have three or four baptisms next transfer. Speaking of which, so by the end of this week I will find out if I will be training or if Elder Baello will be training. We have been told that President was starting to make younger missionaries become trainers and also District Leaders, although I think that I am not yet ready for that...

So good news, for christmas I am aloud 2 45min calls  in the month of December to immediate family. So Im not sure when you are available, but message me and we can figure that out hopefully by next week. Im not sure how I am going to use both calls, but I can use them anytime. So just tell me what fits your schedule best.  

Lets see, so what happened to me this week that was interesting, before I tell you these stories please remember that I am perfectly safe, If my mission president gets any angry calls about how I am not safe.. I will tell no more stories ever.. joke.. kinda. 

First Story, kinda short.. 

So me and my companion were eating at a hotdog stand, yes we have them here, and they are really cheap also. But as we finished eating a truck full of about 25 Philippino guys jump out of it. It was packed with people everywhere, but it was alright because that actually is normal in the Philippines.  The not so normal thing was when we realized they had guns.. usually people do not just carry around guns here, although I have seen it.. but not usually a lot of guys. I noticed the guns and mentioned them to my companion, he basically told me to get out of there as quick as possible.. he was not sure but he thought they were NPA's or basically rebals fighting the government here, and they, the NPA's, tended to like to kidnap white people. So we got out of there very very quickly... We went to the Bishops house who jokinly told me I was going to die...  I did not appreciate the joke that much.. but he told us not to worry, there were no NPA's this close to town. Farther up in the mountains yes, but not where I normally am. So I am alive still.... 

Second Story, not scary at all... although I almost beat up a guy... 

Long story.  This story is actually about what happened at church. But actually this person actually was not a member and never goes to church. So right after church all the members and us were waiting for the ward meal to start.. and I noticed this guy walking angrily after some young children in our ward. And he was only in a towel.. and he kept trying to hit them very hard with a stick. So anyway, the kids run into the chapel where there parents are and the mostly naked guy runs into the church after them. By this time all of us men were protecting the children... but the guy decided to try to pick a fight with the members.. he was really angry. anyway, he kept trying to hit me, and an old guy in the ward and basically was yelling "I'm going to kill you" in about 4 languages. I understood 3 of them. But apparently he thought we had been throwing rocks at his house. which is next to our house. He made me very very very mad. And the only thing that kept me from punching him in the face was the fact that I was a missionary.. although Im pretty sure I would not get sent home for that.. but I did not want to find out. 

Well there are my stories. Enjoy them, dont think I'm going to die, I am safe.

Love Elder Rivera

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hello from the middle of nowhere Philippines. Joke.. kinda...
So this week has been really uneventful. My investigators and Less-Active families that I teach, all of them, were harvesting rice fields this week so my lesson count went crazy down. And my companion for two days had high blood pressure so he could not really do much because he was way too woozy to do anything. So mostly I just studied and slept as much as possible.

This past Friday the zone leaders called me and my companion and asked us to do a workshop for zone studies on Monday(today). So we accepted even though it was both of our first ever workshop with helping train missionaries. So today we gave it, and luckily it went very well.

I have officially started learning Ilakano. I started how almost everyone starts. . . by first learning things I should not ever say to people. So I now insults in 4 languages.  English, Vesiyas, Illakano, and Tagalog. The reason that I have started learning Illakano is because every sunday I have no idea what is being said because it is all in Illakano. So due to the fact that the Single Adults in my ward are always saying stuff to me and then laughing I decided that it would be good to start learning.

The pictures are of me and my companion in San Esteban. It's a brand new open area that they are going to put missionaries as soon as we are able to find them an apartment. We got the assignment to find the apartment because... well.. we were the closest people to this area. The Candon Zone, the zone I am, currently covers an area of about 3 hours driving. So yeah.. my zone is crazy big.

So news updates? I only see what has been happening from the storm. Btw.. Because of the storm one Philippine Mission is closing for awhile, it's the area my companion is from. All the missionaries there are safe, but are going to be relocated to different missions. Ohh yea, my companions house got destroyed during the storm. Luckily he has three more so it is alright. My companion is a rich pinoy :p Well I have to go now, enjoy America. With all the high prices. A day in the philippines is always interesting. In fact, they have a saying that roughly translates to "its always funner in the Philippines" I said roughly because the saying also uses deep Tagalog words so the is a lot more meaning behind it then that.

Elder Rivera

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Buhay pa! - still alive!

Hello my fellow Americans.

I am perfectly safe and happy, except the  "A" button on this keyboard is not working very well. But lets see, first off. I repeat I am Perfectly Safe and Happy! The only thing I felt from the super typhoon is  a little bit of rain.  I feel really bad for the other areas in the Philippines that were effected, they are going to have a hard time rebuilding, but then again they are always rebuilding the areas in the Philippines, that's because for some reason the Philippines gets all sorts of Freak Storms and earthquakes.

My weeks go by quickly now. I only have around 20 months left of my mission, which is crazy! I am going to be saying that a lot every few months. The work here does go by really quickly. I usually have around 4-10 lessons planned a day, depending if I have meeting or not. But sometimes people are not home, or do not want us to give a lesson. I takes awhile to get to some of my areas and so it's not fun when I walk to a villages 4 miles away and expect 5 lessons but only get 1 because all the people are gone. And when there is a death in my area, it seems like no one is home because for 9 days they mourn the dead here.

I'm sorry, this is going to be one of those short letters again. I have a lot to write my mission president this week because we went of exchanges [Toni: when they are with a missionary that is not their companion] and we are supposed to write our experience in detail to him :p So sorry for a short letter! Live Long and Prosper

Elder Alex Rivera.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Its been a long week

Actually this week has been semi-alright. Due to several holidays this week, along with elections going on it has been kinda scary to be white here in Santiago. I have been relativity safe though so that is good. So for 5 days this week we have been going home before it gets dark here in my new area. So what is my new area like? well, difficult is a good word to use. The Ward here actually is really good to me and the missionaries. We get fed very often and they love working with us. The only bad things are really my Mansion Apartment that has no running water. So I have several new experiences this week, one was taking a Philippine Bath/Shower. That really is actually not that  bad, basically it is having a bucket of water, going outside is just shorts and taking a cup bath. It feels really good when since it is always hot here Santiago. What else, hmm. Well I just sent some letters in the mail, so I hope those that I sent them to will receive them... Hmm. I have to walk almost 5 miles to get to a small village where we have a lot of families and people we teach every day. It is all good though, unless it is raining. I have a great relationship with the native people here, they flock around me and it is always easy to find new people to teach, the only real problem right now is the language, or I should say, both languages that I have to learn lol. So lets see, we get water by having it pumped into large buckets and then we bring the buckets close to our house. My house/apartment is two stories, very big and fun. But very hot and we have a pet cow that just disappeared yesterday. Lots of other pets too, like spiders, cats, chickens, and lizards. So yea, here in the Philippines is all good. I actually listen to some weird music though, today I heard a Bruno Mars song, mixed with Gangam Style, and Joy to the World, and two other Christmas songs. It was very, very strange.

With love, from the Philippines