Monday, November 10, 2014

Its time to be cool!

Hey everyone!

So guess what. I was not transferred again. Guess I will be here for 6 weeks. SO of course I have a new companion, his name is Elder Mandigma. He is from Batangas, Philippines. So that is my 9th companion, and my 9th Filipino companion. I think my Mission President must be having a lot of fun because I am the only American in the whole mission to not have had another American companion at least one transfer. But I am alright with it, I get along with the Filipino's much better than the Americans here... I know a few American Missionaries who have had only American Companions there whole missions. That must suckkkkk!

Here is a picture of some of the missionaries that are in my Apartment. They are freakin cool!
The one on the right is Elder Busby, he is a New Zealander and might become my companion soon. We found out from my Companion Elder Mandigma that he had a problem where he can not see at night without lights... well my area has no lights.. so my companion has to ride a bike at night unable to see... I think that after my Mission President finds out that he might not want him here anymore.

Let see what else, Honestly I am alright. I am starting to have so much fun here im my area. I have been here a crazy amount of time!

Love Elder Rivera


Hello Everyone,

Some Good and Bad news... Its TRANSFER week. GOOD NEWS, I am most likely not going to transfer, BAD NEWS I could still transfer. My companion Elder Gaa has recently gone home because he finished his mission, and so I am curretly with one american and one new Zealander. Both are really cool missionaries. I love the Polynesian people here in my mission are the coolest!

Lets see, What else do I really enjoy. My area is really cool! Honesty I have no idea what I feel right now. Within the next 6 weeks I will be able to skype home.. It should be really cool. I hope to enjoy it.

Lots of really fun times here... Lots of work also.

Hope to email more soon, Enjoy

Elder Rivera

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sorry, This email is going to be really short

My week has been really good, no storms, no problems. I recently learned how to cook using coconut milk and I can not stop.Email is really bad today, internet connection is slow here because of all the kids going back to school and during their break they email only. I promise A lot of stuff next week. My companion goes home at the end of this week. He has finished his mission.

Sorry, this email has taken 30 minuets to write. I am sorry again

Elder Rivera

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mission life


Nothing much happening here in this part of the world.. I think. It is really calm right now. I really enjoyed watching conference this past weekend, (re-broadcast).

I am excited for Cumorah. I know he will enjoy preparing. I will have less than 6 months when he Leaves for his mission. I hope that he is excited. It will be fun..

Nothing much right now is happening. I am preparing for my Birthday next week (hint hint) and am having a great time with my companion Elder Gaa who goes home in a few weeks.

In short, ALL IS WELL


Elder Rivera

P.S. Please email the lonely missionary... Less than 2 emails does not make a very good Monday for any missionary.

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014

Yup, SO guess what..

While me and my companion are fine now, there was a about a day where he was not happy... almost to the point of getting in a fight. BUT we have worked everything out.. and am in one of the best companionships I have ever had as a missionary.

I have also started getting more nerdy as I am trying to not be bored. I ironically have a lot of time between getting home and going to bed. And while I will say that reading is something I enjoy, I do not think I will ever be able to read everyday for an additional 3 hours... It is just not in my body. So I started playing Magic: The Gathering.  Don't judge, it is alright it's not every day. Just sometimes. Just be prepared for Nerdy Elder Rivera, and not Swimmer Elder Rivera.... hehe


Elder Rivera

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cell Phone (September 29)

Hello Everyone.

So today has so far been a rather interesting day. I began today waking up without any problems which is always good. It was very very nice to spend today waiting until P day begins so I could stand for two hours on a bus going on windy roads to get to Baguio City so I could buy stuff to help me not be bored...aka games.

While I was on the bus I was looking around to try to not be bored and to forget the fact the my leg was almost asleep. While I was looking around I noticed this really cool cell phone that someone was playing with. It looked really cool. Nice screen really nice camera... it does not matter that the person was a female... BUT as I share this experience understand that the gender really did not matter.

So lets begin. Being really bored I saw her new boyfriend, I assume he was new, look through her pictures on her phone. Now I am not saying that she was one of those people that just focus on herself or anything but It seemed from me that of all her 500 or so pictures not a single one had another person in it. She had 500+ pictures where she was alone.. My mind was really confused because she seemed really happy to be with her male friend who was probably not just a friend. They seemed very close... but from this I started thinking what If I was to take some other persons phone I could learn a lot about them. I could learn their likes.. maybe their dislikes. and could potentially learn everything they would not like me to find out.

I find it really interesting to think that people have their whole life usually on technology... And that for the most part it could tell you what kind of person you are... now comes the analogy (sorry I have to) What would happen if we really did have everything we have every done read to us... or all those moments we were embarrassed, or did something stupid was in the hands of someone we did not know. We would probably think something like " How did he get that" or " That's mine" but I think that would be the time we would realize just how much we would not like everything we have ever done known to someone close, or far away. Sometimes we make mistakes. I am very glad that I believe in a way to have all the stuff that we have do wrong completely erased from memory (repentance through Jesus Christ). But it takes a little bit of work from us for that to happen. It is not just a click of a button. I mean this is your life. It is a little bit harder than just a click.

But yea.. I am happy right now. It was really funny to come here to Baguio today. Nice and cold weather with pine trees. Supper nummy.

Elder Rivera

Safe and Sound (September 22)

hello Everyone,

Everything is good, I am doing great. Although parts here in the Baguio Mission are not doing so well. I will explain.

As you know a Typhoon hit us last week.. well Actually we had TWO Typhoons hit. The Second one was a direct hit on the northern parts of the mission, do not worry about them. They are safe now, they got pulled out of their areas and are not able to work. But they are safe. Their areas are pretty much under water right now.. so that is going to be fun to return to when the water goes down. I feel bad for them.. but they are safe.

So for me... I was unable to work pretty much all of last week because of floods, or storm warnings, or flooded areas. But for the most part we are doing really good. We spent 5 days playing monopoly and cards... and eating lots and lots of rice. But we are good and healthy.

Personally I am doing good, I am loosing weight. I am getting excited to find out what is happening soon in our mission. I expect some changes to happen due to the recent storms and for the soon to come storms. I am kinda tired recently, nothing to do and being stuck indoors really takes away all the energy I had before. But I will be back working hard 2moro.

So yeah, that is pretty much the only thing that is happening in my life right now.

Elder Rivera

two emails

September 15, 2014  Typhoon week again
Sorry For Not sending a email Yesterday,

I was busy in a Typhoon.. I tried to email but the Internet and Electricity was shut off yesterday. Sorry:)

I will be taking the time today to email. Love you all!

Elder Rivera

August 18, 2014 Still working on Perfection
Hello everyone!

Hope you are all doing great. I am enjoying the same companion, and the same area. So I happy for a change, I get a companion for more than 6 weeks for like the second time. SO i am happy. I was able to see some very cool people and friends as I traveled to Baguio today. Thats were I am right now. I got to eat Pizza again:) and had a really fun Preparation Day.

Nothing much has changed. Still doing good work. Still doing the Best I can.

Love you all,
Elder Alex Rivera

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lesson to learn in life

Magandang Hapon sa inyong lahat 

Isn't it a great world that we live in. And this is the reason that I get to talk about a lot of things that I have learned so far. We live in a very different world than I remember when I was growing up. Now all my friends and me have our own different lives. But as I am now a little bit older, and have seen the world in a very very different way. I have been helping and teaching people who honestly want to change, and I get to tell them that it is possible. 

Of course as I do this I get to see the changes in my life, and the possibilities that I have in life. I can not know really on a mission what to do with life. But I have recently started to see my own potential, what I can do when I get home, how I can continue to help and teach people. I am not sure if all my plans will work out, but I realized how totally amazing the world can and should be, and how awful we people can let it get. No I am not talking about the crazy hippy things that I love to believe about peace, and love. But of the real truth of the world. The Honest power that people have in our own hands to change our situation. All we honestly need is desire. You can never change anything unless you want to. We all have that choice to trust something other than ourselves. It sometimes is hard, but its the first step. I would like to share my favorite poem...

desiderata - by max ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Love, Elder Alex Rivera

This has been my week (July 27, 2014)

Dear All who read these, 

Luckily this week was really good, otherwise the annoying text in the morning when I woke saying that we were not allowed to work due to high winds and heavy rain would have annoyed me. But it was alright, I got to use the time to study  the languages here, to study the bible, and of course to study the back of my eyelids.  

Other than the weather everything has been really good. Nothing too bad, except an old lady yelling at me, who then went into her room and grabbed a pale and basically told me if I did not stop speaking she would through her.. feces at me. This was a really bright day, I mean getting threatened with old woman feces really makes me happy, well I am glad there is sometimes opposition in all things... ohh and than a little later she found out that I was an American... She had a lot of bad things to say about Americans, always remember patience while in life. Hmm.. what else. 

Me and my companion have been teaching some really interesting people, a lot of our investigators and Less actives have been able to come to church. Which is really cool to see. The only problem right now is the fact that we have one investigator, he is British, who lets just say has one of the most complicated love lifes that I have ever heard. Lots of fun. But really cool, he is a commercial diver, and was working for the U.N during the Genocide in Rawanda. So he has seen some very scary things. Super nice, and it feels that I always get to teach the fun people. Sometimes it is cool commercial divers, and the other time it is old ladies who hate you:) 

Love all of you,.
Elder Rivera

Monday, July 21, 2014

359 Days left, But I am not counting:)

[From Toni:I am posting this weeks letters and catching up on past ones. There was a week he couldn't write]

July 20, 2014

So I should explain, my companion is honestly the first missionary who wants to be obedient because he enjoys it. It is alright now between me and him. Sometimes it still is a little hard, but I think I was able to make a good breakthrough with him. He kinda understands a little bit more how it is to be me in a foreign country. 

We have a British man we are teaching. His name is Bob, he is a commercial diver and has already gone to church twice and he really enjoys it. He is one of those people that I have an easy time connecting to, and really enjoy teaching. His wife even asked us to have FHE at their house tonight. So we are going to have a blast! It is really hard honestly for my companion who I never speak English to, so for him teaching in English is really hard. Especially when there are two English speakers talking in rapid, excited English. I feel so bad for him. So we have a better understanding of what it is like to be each other.

Now for a slightly funny/sad story. The funny part was what happened, the sad part is why it happened.  So this past Sunday the sister missionaries in our Branch had a investigator come to church.. little did they know that she was drunk... It honestly was extremely funny. But really sad. She was a very attentive person who enjoyed asking a lot of really confusing questions.But it was fun because Drunk people here always like and become good at speaking English. When they are sober they never speak it to me, but as soon as they are drunk it becomes so much easier for them to speak English. Kinda sad, but funny for me and the other missionaries. 

What else, we had a Zone Activity( an activity with other missionaries)  that basically was us trying to fight each other for a greased coconut, super fun:) My large stature right now really come in handy:) 

Ohh, we had a Level 2 Typhoon hit us this past week. Had to stay indoors for the whole day, super boring...


Elder Rivera

July 13, 2014
I am sorry but I have spent a lot time trying to fix some things online and my companion not the patient and VERY VERY obedient.

Pray that I do not kill my annoying companion who never talks, or like to talk about fun things, and who is very forceful about very small rules. 

Love, Elder RIvera

July 7, 2014
Agsubleyak madamdama

Hello Everyone,

Hello this is the coolest website EVER!!! haha, just joking. But for those who want to know what everything looks like here, this is the best place to start. 

Ahh, so what is new in my life... well i have been transferred again. Back to the hot weather, although this time I have a companion is an older missionary, and was an old Zone Leader. So it is really going to be a successful area I hope. I was able to celebrate 4th of July with Steak and Mashed Potatoes( I asked a family in my last area to cook it for us missionaries) 

So what else, I hope to be able to send pictures of my new comp and my new lifestyle, we have bikes... Blahh.. Forced exercise! 

What else, hmm my new comp is named Elder Lapid, he is another Philipino from the southern islands in the philippines. He is really quiet, and when he does talk it is hard to understand him because he mumbles a lot. 

There is so much I wand to tell you, but it will have to wait until next week because I am spending a lot of time uploading pictures. 

With Love, 
Elder Rivera

June 15, 2014
Sorry na

Hello everyone! 

Sorry about not emailing last week.. Lots of stuff I was doing and my message was not able to be sent. Some internet thing here messed up. But I am doing really good now. I have made my 8 lesson a week area into easily getting 20 lessons without trying and my mission president is really happy right now. Although he still has really strict rules... but all is good. 

I am happy! I am safe! I have a good companion! I will try to be better in emailing stuff. But I have no idea what to write at this point. I get annoyed just writing about boring mission things.. Hopefully more interesting things will happen. 


Elder Rivera

June1, 2014

Hello, I am doing good. I have started to get slightly sick and tired recently. But other than that I am doing good. My new District Leader is very good at making sure we are all EXACTLY obedient. It makes him probably the least popular person.. especially to those missionaries who are always relaxed. This key board is making me mad. Sorry. I will promise to write more when I feel better. 

Love, Elder Alex Rivera

May 18, 2014
Kumusta naman kayo

It has been one of those weeks that start out amazing and only get better! It started with spending my day off going to a Military Academy and getting to play in old WW2 tanks and other fun thing. I had one of the coolest members of our ward here take me and my companion touring the party scene in Baguio City! Joke, we only went to cool places.

Elder Rivera

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mothers Day

Hey Everyone!

Happy Mothers day to all those mothers out there! I hope that your children did something really nice for you. I was able to call my aunt. We had a great discussion.

I hope that all of you can appreciate, freaking big English word, well as you can tell from my emails I have been neglecting sometimes to actually write things that could be considered interesting. Blah, so hard to know what to write each Monday.

It's gotten to the point where I am not sure how to describe how I am. I am fine, I am content with my mission, I miss home of course, so many feelings that it is hard to simplify my experience so far. So many things that I have learned and I hope to share with people when I get back.

The hardest part right now is the weather.. I know what you are thinking. The philippines is always warm, hot, humid. FALSE! In Baguio City it is not like that, it is cold, cold, wet, cold, and raining almost everyday. For people use to the warm weather it is shocking to come up here. And even though I live around lots of people they are always busy no matter what. So hard to schedule things. Island life, represent!

Love you all. I hope some interesting things happen. I do not think that I will be coming home early.. yet.. Enjoy,

Elder Rivera

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May Day in the Philippines

Dear Family and Friends, 

I am having a great time here. So many stories I have that I wish I could tell. I have unfortunately spend a lot of time today emailing a couple of people that I believe really did need it. 

Hmm. But I can say that this week has been one of the hardest of my mission so far. I do not think missions are supposed to get easier as you get older in the mission field. 

I promise a better email next week. I wish you all luck and safety

Love, Elder Rivera 

This week was (4/27/14)

Not a good one... 

Lots of people on vacation right now. But worse is the fact that It has rained every day here and it is cold. We all have jackets on right now. So cold here in baguio city. When people told me Baguio is the coldest place in the philippines I though that it ment is was slightly cold. Not I hate it cold. Hate is a strong word. Lets just say that I would much rather just sit playing Monopoly and eating rice than going to work. The other bad thing about having lots of cold rain is that no one wants to talk to us. No one is outside. And people just kept telling us to only come back when it was not raining. So I have very few lessons this week and its expected to be this way for a long time. Hmm lets see what else. 

My mission president wants my mission to have 100 baptisms this month of May, and we are trying our hardest to get that. My President has moved all the higher baptizing missionaries into harder areas.. So not so fun because a lot of people were white washed.. meaning both missionaries were transfered out and two new elders were transferred in.  Elders are not know for there willingness to write in area books. So the new elders don't know what the previous ones did and who they were teaching, etc. 

Lots of fun though. It is funner in the Philippines.. except for some people... 

I will say, right now the hardest part in my area are the other religious leaders here.. They have no love for anyone other than there own memebers. The local area leader hosted a inter faith concert, but only the smaller churches showed up, and then us mormons showed up. Half of the people were members of our church, and the other half were from about 12 different Christian churches. The two bigger churches are Jehovahs Witnesses, who declined the invintation and Iglesia Ni Cristo.. which i dont inderstand. 

So yea.. nothing more interesting this week. Have fun.
Elder Rivera

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Week

Hmm.. So lets see.

Holy Week here in the Philippines was very nice.

So lets see.

This week.. Not much happened. I actually met a family who loved to speak English and have been to San Jose California and they also have family in milpitas. They are really nice and very very good cooks:)

I have an area that is in the middle of a dumpsite.. yes I said a dumpsite. It is the most worst thing I have about seen in the philippines.. And I have seen a lot of weird things... but this was the worst. They have houses built into the trash mounds. Very poor here. We have to travel through it in order to get to some house that we are teaching at.. I will not take pictures of this area.. It would not be good at all.. Even the thought of it scares me.. and makes me sick.

Hmm. Holy Week has been really fun.. None of the weird people did anything crazy.. at least in Baguio City.

Nothing much now. Love you.
Keep Sending Emails.
Last week I received 3...

Elder Rivera

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Mountain of The Lord

Hello Everyone,

Sorry for the last few emails. I know I need to write more often and longer emails. But do not worry. I am always doing well. almost always... But you do not have to worry about the less the perfect days:) i can deal with those.

let me think... Alright some interesting things that have happened recently.. I got transferred again... It is kinda funny one of the people the has been on her mission the same time as me just got transferred. I am currently in Baguio City again. My Mission president gave me an open open area that was white washed... actually most of my zone that I am currently in was white washed.. which kinda sucks.. but it makes it easier to start new. Some of the people in the area are kinda weird. Let see what else. My new companion is Elder Tabucol, He is from Saipan and speaks perfect English.. Guess what else I found out.. Saipan is an American Territory.. learning new things everyday!

When I first arrived in Irasan, my area I found out that I was the farthest area from the chapel and that the average lessons taught in a week was only 9.. This made me super sad although it just means that I have to work harder. luckily I already knew my companion from a previous zone. Sorry not a lot of stories this week. Only had two lessons this past week.. But lots of Dinner and Lunch appointments. Super NUMMY

Alright, Well I would like to know what kind of things you would like me to email in the future so i have a better understanding of what people like to read:)

-Elder Rivera

The Missionary Life (from 4/7/2014)

Alright so just to help some people understand what missionary life is like right now its like this.

Right now every missionary is out of money. I mean literally we have no money. All of us, we used to be able to withdraw every two weeks, but this past month they are having us withdraw on the 15th of every month. The bad thing is that we are only allowed to withdraw on Mondays ( our p day). So right now I am using the money that I have saved up. And because we have no money it is hard to be able to pay for transportation. So working has turned into a lot of walking. Lots and Lots of walking. So it is not until the 21st that I get money again. Luckily when I get it I will have money.. but until then...

alright no more complaining about money issues...

Now the more fun stuff.

Recently we had another baptism, it was fun, I preformed the ordinance. Very good, lots of people attended. The person(Paulo) is 14, and very funny, lots of freakin deep doctrine questions. and other fun stuff. But yea, another baptism. Only my 9th:(

So a few days after the baptism I found out that I was transferring... So yea, I guess I have a new job to do now... somewhere else. Everyone thinks I am going to be a Zone Leader... But I have yet to receive a call from President Balledos. I do not think it will be soon that I get made a Zone Leader, I am enjoying District Leader more. Much more close with the missionaries. And I do not have to worry about having to deal with every problem of a zone. Which is good. Although the amount of rumors that go around is quite entertaining it is also kinda irritating sometimes.

As I get further into my mission, and less and less people write to me. It gets less and less fun to email back to people... seriously. There are a few missionaries who have stopped emailing friends and family and only email other missionaries because of the lack of communication between people and them.. Dont worry. I do not think that will happen to me... hopefully.

Elder Rivera

Monday, March 31, 2014

I owe you a big letter next week... Lots of things happened. But time constraints..

Sorry, I will write a lot more, included will hopefully be news of a baptism that we are having tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lots of Fun and other stuff this week...

I can never tell anymore what time it is over there.
As people have asked me what the postal service is like here. I will gladly explain. There are three ways packages can be sent here. Expensive, Cheap, and Cheaper... 
Expensive way is through LBC, it it the equivalent of FEDEX, but very expensive. The Cheap way is through the govenment postal service, much cheaper..  Like for me to send a letter, a simple letter from here to america through LBC is around 27 dollars American, and sometimes more. But through the Government.. I think 60 to 80 pesos.. or $1.50. But the cheapest way by far is give it to a random bus driver going to the area. And he will give it to someone else, who will give it to someone else until it gets to you.. Do not worry, the Church has their own version of the mail system. So that is why the address is sent to the missions not to my actual area.
Lets see what else, ohh this week.
Hmm.. Well one of my worst weeks for teaching, because I was really busy.. My companion has some problem with his teeth.. so we had to go to Baguio twice to get X rays and talk to the doctors there. We actually might have to go out of mission boundaries if they can not preform the proper operation.. But all is good. I think next week we might have a baptism.. not so sure though. I will explain that fun story later.. after we see if he can pass his interview.
Lets see, How is the world? Anything interesting in the news? Any of my friends married or going on missions? or anything... I do not get a lot of news from my home ward...
Love, Elder Rivera

Monday, March 17, 2014

Good Morning World

Hello, I am Elder Rivera
I am currently serving in the Baguio Philippines Misison, Speaking the language of Tagalog, and Ilakanno. Both are difficult languages but through my study I have been able to learn a lot. I am currently almost 9 months into my mission. Almost half way, and I have learned so much already. Some things that I can share with people. 

"Sometimes people will not believe your words, but they will believe your actions" 

Simple really when you think about it. But really hard sometimes to do. As a missionary in one of the most happiest places in the world sometimes it is hard for people when they see the missionaries be serious. Which is one thing sometimes I have a hard time adjusting too, although it is worth it more than anyone can imagine.

This week I have been very interested in helping certain people, my goal has been to try to help those who are inactive who can still apply for their missions. My hope is that they will find a desire to go back to church. The only problem is they have problems with some of the members. So my advice is this, there are a lot of people who are less active, try your best not to become like one of them, and try to fellowship them. As we get older we tend to forget the importance of fellow shipping new investigators, and less active member. 

This is all I can really say right now, not much time for a really spiritual upliftning story, I have many, but somethings are very difficult to write and some of the things I can write are difficult things to understand. 

Thanks for the Love, 
Elder Rivera

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Malapit na! mga 16 months pa!

Wow, Good Week this past week. I wish everyone could have been here for what happened. So this past week we had a huge missionary leadership meeting. All Zone Leaders, District Leaders, and the Sister Training Leaders, and Assistants all got together to discuss how to become a better mission. It was really cool, My trainer Elder Ramos goes home this transfer and he was there, so basically for 7 hours me and him we chatting... But when I was not distracted the training that we had was very helpful. We talked a lot more about not just baptizing people but more on retention and re activation. Only one of my american batch mates was not there, he.. had problems working as a district leader with the zone leaders. But yea, all is well in the Philippines... at least I think since I do not know what is happening in the world! 

Hmm. We had 3 investigators show up to church which was good. We had fun explaining to them everything about what we do, and how we teach. Great Week, Lots of fun.. Had exchanges with another American, I so need an american companion, if that happens I think the Philippines will start burning. Joke! Actually me and my current companion are doing good, still a little contention concerning my opinions of some people, although it turns out that I was right... But that is not actually a good thing.. but still... 

Found a really cool new investigator this week, he is 10, very funny and really wants to be baptized. He has been going to church since I arrived here but we never knew he was not yet a member.. hopefully soon that will change. 

Thats all for now, Thanks for all your love and support. I can not wait until my year mark. 

Elder Rivera

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Good Stories

Hmm... This week what can I say.. How about a few stories.. yeah!

1. Language Story

Alright so lets begin with saying the best language thing that happened this week. So one of my friends in my District was having FHE with some families that are less active. Well they started playing a tagalog game were your say a word and it changes directions. For example, I say shoman, another would say shaomai, and so on.. well when it came to my friends turn to say a word. Instead of saying one of the words he was supposed to say he ended up saying a very un-missionary sexually suggestive word, Hmm... I was laughing so freakin hard. 

2. Baptism Story

So lets see, tomorrow I will be having another baptism, he is 13 years old and I have had so much fun teaching him. Not much of a story...

3. Learning to Learn

Now this is probably  the most interesting thing that has happened to me recently. Last week my zone leaders decided that my apartment needed an intervention. It really did, we did not get along at all recently.. for like.. the last 6 weeks. There were a lot of things causing  this. But in reality it was me and my last companion who got transferred to a different area. Basically we never resolved a lot of anger to each other over some stupid stuff. But what happened is this. He is kinda childish so when we had a apartment inventory all he said was that everything was fine, we just needed to clean our house more. So basically everyone in the apartment knew that he was lying.. but we all decided to not say anything. But afterwords I decided to to clean our house.. which took a long time. It has been a long time since someone cleaned it.. It took several hundred peso and lots of acid.. but now our apartment is clean. And with a few other changes including family prayer each night and the fact that transfers are this week made it a lot better. We laugh, we got over the problems we were having.. and basically we learned a lot. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Seek ye inspiration from random people. Talk To everyone.

Hello Home world,
This week has been very busy for me, trying to prepare training for other missionaries, interviewing canadets for baptisms, helping Elders get over girl problems, and many other weird things this week.
Let me think of a good story this week. So this week me and my companion have been learning patience. Not with each other, but with investigators. Let me explain. We have two investigators who are brothers.  I think they will be baptized this week, well at least one of them will be. anyway they are probly the people that ask me the most questions. I've taught preachers and strict baptist and they never asked as many questions as these two young men. But everything is alright I hope with them. One still is having trouble with a few things but it is all good... sana. anyway. 

I am in Baguio city today. I took a fieldtrip with my companion so that we can go buy stuff, mostly I just want a tazer. One of the other white elders told me I could taze  him if I wanted.  So yup, sounds like it can make a great story when I get home.. 

So this week we also went walking and just talking to people, members, random people, and we just simply talked to them about their life and so on. It was really actually a fun thing, people are so surprised that I know tagalog. hehe.
So that was pretty much my week.  Sorry, no really crazy story yet this week. I will try harder this week to do stupid things so I can tell them to people later..
Enjoy this week.
Elder Rivera

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year, and also Valentines DAYYY

Love is in the air here in the Philippines. All them girls be checking me out! Actually not even a joke. I think the best pick up line that I keep getting from the gay people and them females is I quote "Heyyy, whats your religion" I never thought that religion could be used as a pickup line. Only in the Philippines could that happen.

So lets see, This week I have been extremely busy... being sick. No joke for last last few weeks(3 months) I have been having headaches. So I decided that I would figure out how to get rid of them. So I began with drinking water all day everyday, again not a joke.  I have been drinking so much water that  my urine is clear. Literally.  You should have seen me in lessons when I had to go to the bathroom. I think they thought I was extremely excited to teach. Although all I could think about was the fact that as I walked I could find a place to go to the bathroom.

SO back to my headaches. I decided it had something to do with my eyes, which was logical. My eyes would start hurting and then my headaches would start. So I got permission to visit the doctor, 400 pesos, or 10 dollars. SOOO CHEAP. But the eye doctor told me my amazingly blue eyes were perfect. So I asked him if it could be because my eyes were blue and they received more light and because of that I have been getting headaches. He said that was most likely what was happening. So at this point I was thinking.. YES! I have a medical excuse to wear sunglasses. So as soon as I got outside I texted our medical person here(wife of the mission pres) and she told me that she would ask her husband. So the next day of course I got food poisoning... and she responded with and told me to rest for the day.. which happened to be 2 days. Regarding the sunglasses she asked the area presidency if I could wear sunglasses while walking around during the day, I thought it would work! but it did not. They told me to just drink more water... But dont worry, I have a few other missionaries with blue eyes complaining about headaches right now. Maybe I can start a revolution here in the Philippines! 

Sorry, not to spiritual this week, unless you count worshiping the toilette spiritual. JOKES "." 

Elder Rivera

P.S Ohh, and how is everyone doing. I have no idea what is happening in the world! Send me news peoples!!!!!! I keep hearing missionaries say that China is going to invade the Philippines. 

P.S.S send me pictures of everyone... I need to know what people look like! Ohh, and more picures of what I used to look like. Like my amazing beach body! LOVE YA

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Another good week

As it becomes more and more fun to do missionary work, there are some things that start changing. 

First, My body

I do not know why this is the first thing that I mention, I think it is because it is the only thing that you can notice at first glance, My body has literally gone from Tan, Muscle, California boy to skinny, white, Mormon Elder. The only good thing is that my white skin actually helps in the missionary work, along with the fact that I am from California. Almost everyone here has a relative in California. I actually was given a list of people to look up when I get home and where they live. 

Second, My Language

This one is one of those things that I would say "Duh" to. My language has changed so much from what I used to say. Speaking Tagalog has caused several things to happen to my English. Including, but not limited to, I accidentally speak Tagalog words to white people, I sometimes forget how to say a lot of things in English. And many other weird things that you will have to find out when I get home. 

Third, My Mind

This one is the one that probably scares me the most, no one likes to change, especially when I am only going to be a missionary for 2 years. But this is the one thing that is necessary for missionaries. Yup, mind change. Hurts my head sometimes. But very very good for me right now. 

SO what else is up in my life. My mission President worked with me and my companion, something that scared me very much at first. But it is all good now. He had nothing bad to say about the lessons that we went together. Although I wish they would have given me more time to prepare for working with President. Long story short, he was very impressed. Although no matter how much I tried he would not let me go swimming, but I did have a water-balloon fight earlier today. Do not ask me why. :) 

Well, with lots of love
Elder Rivera

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

John 2:1-6 (When Christ turns water into wine)

[Toni: Elder Rivera's reference to the miracle of Christ turning water into wine was to show the parallel of in his own life the miracle of Christ change him]


I have been doing a lot of changing recently, in fact the changes in me have been crazy dramatic. I have finally been able to completely lose myself. What I mean is that, I have let my old self go for now. When I get back maybe I will find it again, but for right now I need to keep focused on my job here. These changes came as I realized how much responsibility comes with leadership positions; there is not new power, or authority that comes with leadership, only more responsibilities. Even the Assistants to the President of the mission are not given more authority, all of us have the same authority on our missions, but some are just given more responsibility.

What changed me? I think really what changed me was with a person I met, I cannot spell his name but I can tell you how I met him and what he made me think about.

My companion and I have been working very hard this week to find new people to teach. We have also been getting to know our area better, there is a lot of stuff to do here, and as we were looking through all of our records we came across a name that we had not seen before. This man had been baptized in 2001 and became less active about three years ago. So we went to find him. Guess what, we found him. And we found out why he is less active. His situation is one of the worst I have seen so far, this man has 11 kids, but three years ago his wife died. And he was unable to find the strength to return back to church. He is a farmer and speaks mostly Illakano, but from him I learned so much... I learned how right after he became less active how the missionaries came to teach him once, or twice, but because he could not go back to church the missionaries stopped teaching him. I do not know why this man and his humble testimony about what we said [Toni: I couldn't figure out what he was trying to say in that last sentence.  I think he is losing some of his English skills]. This man has forgotten so much because he has not been able to come to church.

As I sat there and was listening to him talk about his life, how his only friend at church stopped visiting him, I realized how important friends are. As I realized that I do not know what happened, yes I still miss swimming, and my home, but I realized that for only 2 years do I get to meet and teach these wonderful people. I realized that I may not be perfect but there is a lot of stuff that I can do, even though there are things I need to work on.

And there is one other thing that really influenced me recently. My second companion, and one of my best friends I have ever met, was sent home, or choose to go home. I do not know what happened and it is something that I do not need to know.

This changed me because of one thing...

I was able to attend a baptism of a family that me and Elder B taught and really spent a lot of time with. As I attended their baptism (we had promised that we would) it affected me that Elder B was not there. At this time I did not know that he had gone home, but I felt that he was not going to be able to attend when we had communicated via email. His excuse was that he had an appointment. But something told me that I would not be seeing him for a long time. This family had been taught by many many sets of Elders before, but Elder B and I were able to do so much for them, and we helped them resolve their concerns, and finally agree to be baptized.

As I was talking to them before they were baptized they asked me why Elder B was not there. I could not speak for a second. I did not know the real reason, but I knew something happened and that they would not see him as a missionary. As they were baptized it felt weird being there, it felt weird telling them that Elder B was just really busy in his area. Now that I know what happened I hope that when they find out that he went home, that their testimonies will be strong enough to keep strong in the gospel that they grew to love.

I have seen so many miracles recently. So so many... I cannot describe them all.

Elder Rivera

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I am so tired, haha

So first, I finally got a new companion. His name is now, Elder Villenuava. From somewhere I can not type. 

Second, I could only put one picture, my two SD cards were corrupted. Woops... SO i am trying to see if a computer person can fix them, or at least retrieve some of the pictures. 

This family is one of my favorites, they are extremely nice. 

So I have yet to recieve any of the packages, they may just be taking a long time to get to me. Hopefully soon though. What else.

I got some bad news, recently due to miss behavior of missionaries all our rules were changed and it became sticker. One of the missionaries was Elder Baello, my companion while I was in Candon, Santiago. He has been sent home... So I am very sad for him. The new rules are actually not really new, just the enforcement for breaking the rules. 

Lots of things are changing, the fact that it takes me around 5 days to remember movies is a bad thing. But at the same time it is also a good thing. So I have no idea what has happened to my american friends here, I have not heard if they are in Baguio still or if they finally moved to the low lands, where I am. ahah. 

my area was recently changed, I was given the farthest areas, so basically I am opening an area again, meaning no investigators or others. So I am tired lol

Lots of love, I heard Mark is on his mission now, tell him to email me if he can, I would love to hear about his expiriences in the mission field. Ohh and also tell that to Preston... 

With Love,
Elder Rivera

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week of... Not counting anymore

I have been here way too long... haha, I realized that for several reasons, 

First, When I went to play on the beach this morning, I started playing soccer and frisby but after awhile I realized that my body started hurting. And to make matters worse I injured myself... My right hand pinky is swollen, I accidently hit my comp in the  face, and my left foot pinky toe is swollen also, because for some reason someone thought they could play in the sand with shoes on.. which I did not realize until my toe was jammed into their shoes.. so there. 

Second, President recieved inspiration and decided I would make a good Distric Leader, ehh. Mabey I will... although my idea of a good District Meeting is still going to the beach and siting talking about the world opinions, something that I think would be very looked down on. 

Third, last but not least. I forgot what it felt like to swim:( 

So sorry for the short email, lots of things I am having to do on the internet right now,

Love, Elder Rivera

Saturday, January 11, 2014

pictures from Baguio

Hi this is Toni,
As you all know, Elder Rivera is not so good at sending pictures.  There is a couple serving in the same mission as Elder Rivera and they take lots of pictures.  You will be able to see what it is like there.  I also found some picture with him in them.  Here is the link: another blog

Monday, January 6, 2014

Well, gwapo pa rin ako

As of this Wednesday I will be exactly 1 year 6 months away from swimming, not from seeing all my friends, just swimming. That's all I can think about in the Philippines, it's hot and the water looks so nice, and the ocean is warm. So many things that I want to do, but luckily it's all good, the only time I get homesick right now is when me and my companion do not get along, which is almost every day for the last 5 weeks, so maybe I should stop thinking about home.

So this week I have had a lot of fun, we found a lot of new people to teach, and even me and my companion have started to get along, right when he is about to leave, I think we all have our ups and downs as missionaries. But its all better when you realize that since the language is a lot easier right now I am not as stressed with teaching and talking to people in Tagalog. I stopped learning Illakano for awhile because it is not necessary.

I wish every one was here, it is beautiful in the Philippines, really it is. The people are so nice, and I truly love it here. I really want to return after my mission. Maybe I will just live here.. Joke.

Well not much has happened. This week has been really normal because its the week after News Years. New Years days was amazing. As a missionary I did not stay up, But as Alex, the human, I did, Let me explain what it is like in the Philippines for new years day. Lets just say lots of illegal fireworks, and people spend a lot of money of them. Around 100,000 peso, or 2000 american, on fireworks. So for about an hour strait I though that world war 3 had started.

Lots of love,

Elder Rivera