Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

maligayang pasko!

It is so nice to not have to be cold for Christmas, because I hate the cold. But just to clarify things, this past week I was able to Skype Toni, I am sure you have seen the pictures because I am just that special [Toni: I posted on FB, but will add here as well]. I was a little bit overwhelmed.. First I was using Skype, Second I had no idea what to expect and last but not least, my English was not the best during the Skype session. Mostly because I don't usually speak it anymore, unless I am talking to other american missionaries.

So lets see, Christmas... As I have said multiple times.. i think.. Christmas is celebrated in the Philippines for 6 months.. I mean literally 6 months. When I first got here it was already Christmas. So its been very nice to have to remember Christmas for 6 months, it makes all the missionaries homesick.

Lets see what else, My companion and me are doing better... well we at least figured out how to stand each other until transfers, although we still do not get along during the morning, or afternoon, and even at night. He is like one of the missionaries who are  like the police and always monitors what I am doing, He actually is watching me type this right now, luckily he does not understand too much English otherwise we would have another fight. :) lets see what else, hmm..

Well I happy to have been able to Skype this week. I wish I could have Skyped with everyone though. Maybe next time I will figure out how to do that. Or maybe not depending on mission rules and so forth. Enjoy Your New Years! 2014! I turn 20 this year!!! WOOO HOOO!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Week In the Philippines

Well, Hello.
Lots of fun this week. Places to go and people to see. But lets see, anything exciting... Well, just that me and my companion have been able to successively go though a whole week without too much getting mad at each other. So lets see, I celebrated Christmas this past Wednesday in Baguio city. Me and my group/friends from the MTC got to see each other. Two of them are companions right now. So it is kinda weird.  I believe in two weeks I will have exactly 1 1/2 years lets. People told me the days were long, not true. It goes way too quickly.

The days are going good. Some missionaries, I am not mentioning names, have the tendency that when its morning study time and the people who live near these missionaries happen to be blasting rap and reggae music really loudly. Instead of blocking it out they tend to open to front door to hear better:) I deny that it was me, or any of the other missionaries in my apartment.

Short Letter...

For some reason this holiday has been alright... except for a difficult companion. Well enjoy.. I am enjoying life here. lots to do.. never too much down time.

Elder Rivera

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Maligaya Pasko!


Well what is new this weeks? Not much, me and my companion are doing... better. Kinda. Although it is really hard still. But for the most part we have settled our differences. Mostly. So lets see, this week has been difficult for many reasons, we are opening the area meaning there is no teaching pool, or no one we have to teach. And trying to find people in our area is hard because of how far away it is. This area just got   split so that sister missionaries could work here, but unfortunately we had to give them the best area's within the area. So now we only have the smallest section that is so far that no one there will want to go to church. But we have had some luck so far.  We have been able to teach A few people which is cool.

So the last two days, Saturday, and Sunday I have been able to attend a branch conference where our mission president was there for both days. And it was nice because he was able to testify of the goodness of member missionaries. And then last night we were able to watch the Christmas broadcast from SLC. let's see... what else. Sorry for no pictures again. Due to my camera just getting here, and me not liking my companion I have found no need to turn it on.

Hmm, but I am doing fine right now. I get to hang out with my other white friends from the MTC on Wednesday this week. It has been a long time since I have seen them. A lot has changed in me and in them. President told us that we would be watching a regular movie, not a missionary movie. SO I am excited. I think next time I have an interview I am going to ask if I can listen to Tagalog rap... because I totally do not understand it :) And also will ask if I can swim... both of those I do not think he will say yes too... but a man must try since it has been also 6 months.

Love, Elder Rivera

Friday, December 13, 2013

Week 19 . . . . I think

So I was officially moved again. Some more interesting things happened in my area, but I will save those stories until I get home:) So my new area is really close to the Mission Home, My new area is in Bauang.

This is my third area, and my third transfer. I am going to become a famous elder soon. I have the same number of areas as some of the zone leaders and most of the Sister Missionaries.

My new companion, Elder Mila... It has been three days, and I already know it will be a difficult 6 weeks... we do not agree on a lot of things... especially how to be appropriate with families that we teach. So I hope that he is only my companion for 6 weeks... I HOPE. We have already gotten in fights.. kinda. Filipinos do not really fight.. they just kinda become quite and refuse to talk to people. So this is going to be a fun fun transfer.

Lets see, some interesting facts. My last area, I was the first white missionary since 1980. So I am very special... and now President Balledoes has promised that I would be the last white person assigned there.

My new area, there are white people here.. it is weird. They are from the United States and speak no Tagalog or Ilakano. I have no idea how they survive here. They both have lived here for at least 30 years.. kinda strange I know.

My branch that I now am in used to be a stake... there are membership record for over 1000 people.. only 100 people come to church.

No pictures this week. I forgot my camera in my last apartment. But I will have it by next week. My area is difficult, and I am finding it hard to contrantrate especially when I dislike my companion and how he teaches... He served in my last area also.. he left right before I came in... he was companions with my last companion also... he is also the reason why missionary work in my area went down and people stopped going to church. He is very offensive when he teaches. But I will fix that.. or figure out how to make that a positive thing.

Love you all. Enjoy

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hey Everyone

Christmas Greetings, here in the Philippines it has been Christmas for the last few months but only now is it really good, fireworks every day, drunk people at night! Man it feels like America. Joke. 

What else, so from that really great experience with the NPA that I talked about last week,  my Mission President called us and told me that I would be getting transferred this week. So I will have a new area and a new companion by next Monday:) 

How is it in America, the pictures that I am sending will show you what I do on my Prep Day, today we had a zone activity and we kinda just partied [Toni: in a Mormon missionary kind of way and he didn't send any pictures]. It was really nice, made me feel real homesick though. But then again I have almost been on my mission 6 months [Toni: by my calculations it has only been 4 months]

So what have I learned so far, well some of the languages... both ilakano and tagalog.. umm that having a great companionship is one of the best things ever. I really should learn to wake up earlier. And it would suck to be on an american mission for me. Candon has the best zone leaders... one is super ready to go home, he has 6 weeks left. And Utah Elders are the most strict of anyone on a mission. Sometimes this is good, although most of the time it just makes people in the Philippines hate Missionaries. What do I mean by this, each mission has a unique culture around it. In American missions all the missionaries are expected to be extremely obedient and hard working. Here, we are the same, but to Filipino standards. It is not less obedient... it is just we have a lot less people checking up on us, the expectations are different and the culture is different. So this last batch of new missionaries that are from Utah have really been a pain. They try to tell other missionaries how we should act and stuff, they all think their filipino companions are super disobedient and they refuse to really embrace the culture. Because of this of course the work in their areas have really taken a dive. You can not be an Missionary from America and expect everything to be the same as in american missions. And I have heard them wish things were different. So this experience has made me really glad that I have embraced the culture.