Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I'm Coming Home!!!

So I'm done my mission. We didn't have any time whatsoever to email yesterday with the trip to Bacolod, and the devotionals, and the last dinner, and testimony and stuff. It's pretty cool.

We had Lechon Baboy for dinner which is the 4th or 5th time I've had it on my mission. 

The exit interview was cool. It was really nice. It was mostly congratulations and stuff like you've done it it's time to move on and love life and continue to serve the Lord in new and amazing ways. 

It's been a weird couple of days to be honest. With no work but the name tag still in the pocket. It's been too chill even President Barredo is being very chill. Very informal. It's more like just hanging out with like a bishop or something. It was cool

We are basically just hanging around here until Wednesday.

I love my mission. It's going to be sad to leave but I'm still excited to go home and relax. But this mission will be something that I will have with me for the rest of my life. It has changed me in so many ways and it has shaped me and molded me and made this awesome person that I am today.

I've had so many crazy experiences but I regret none of it!!!!

I'm coming home!

Elder Rivera

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy 'ber' Months!

So seeing as it is SeptemBER, the Christmas season has now begun. We sang a Christmas hymn on Sunday. hahaha. It's awesome! A great way to end the mission!!!

So the baptism went thru without a hitch. She did get confirmed on the Saturday as well because she was not able to attend Church yesterday. but it's all good. It's uncertain if I'll have a baptism my last Saturday but we'll see what we can do.

I am battling Trunkiness! It's crazy to think that I'll be back in Canada by next Thursday! I'm still going to try and give it my all and just do the Good and awesome things I can before my time is up.

I Can't think of a whole lot to say except I love you ALL And I'll see you in 9!!!

Keep serving till the day I die in the mission!!!!!

Elder Rivera





Monday, August 29, 2016

16 Days!!!

So ever since Elder Insular and I have been companions the countdown has been going on. He used to count down the days for me. But the countdown just hasn't stopped. It's crazy. It's also crazy to think that tomorrow is my last District meeting, I'm giving my last training. Then next week is my last Zone Training meeting. Just flies by like crazy!

So yup we had a baptism. And we should have another one this week too. But the 10th is still 50/50.

So this past Wednesday we were invited to a Community Service Project in La Carlota. We were told to meet in front of the Sister's apartment at like 6:30 am. We got there at about 6:50. But everyone else got there at like 9. So we already started the day late. Plus we were also not given any information about what we were going to do for this. But when we got to the school that we were doing this service at we found out what were doing. We dug pits for compost or something. It's one thing to dig a pit in dirt but we were digging in THICK clay. It was the worst. Don't get me wrong I love to do service and stuff. Like paint, pick up garbage, help put up a roof kinda thing. But we were in the heat of the day digging. Slave Labour. At least the food they fed us was awesome!

I think I'll be fluent in english again by the time I get home. We speak so much english at the house and even while walking. It's fun to have conversations that nobody else can understand.

I'm looking forward to being home again. But I'm going to miss the Philippines a lot! It's the best. I'll bring home some food from here like Piaya!

See you SOON!

Elder Rivera

Monday, August 22, 2016

Transfers...

So I didn't get transferred but Elder Insular did. My new companion is from Mississippi.... Elder Trussell. My second foreign companion. 

I'm excited for this area and for the work here. I'm going to finish off Strong.

This weekend we finalized our baptisms for this week! We have this YM that his parents were more than happy to agree to him being baptized, especially since his sister was baptized on the 13th. Then for the 3rd we have another set up. He just needs to come to church this next Sunday and he'll be good to go! 

To be entirely honest the real miracle will be the baptisms we have set for the 10th. Which are the parents that we had originally asked for permission earlier for their daughter to be baptized. They really opened up! They even pinned up a picture of the temple! They came to church this past Sunday.... AND THEY LOVED IT!!!! They are excited to come back to church next week too!!!!

Let's go to Chorizo when we I get home! then Chakos on Saturday. Then lets just keep eating at all the amazing food places that I've been missing out on for the past 2 years!

I love you guys!!!

Elder Rivera

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mission Tour

So this week was awesome!!!!!! We spoke to the parents of one of our baptismal candidates, the one that hadn't given us the permission yet. After one lesson we got the permission right away. I know the spirit was with us no doubt!! So we were able to baptize them this past Saturday. We also might have a baptism this Saturday as well. We just need to finalize everything.

I'm not really trunky yet but I am excited to see all of YOU. I miss Canada A LOT! I can't wait to get back to it all!

Elder Insular had what seemed like Dengue on Friday. But when he got his blood test everything came across as normal. So we just rested for a day. Then got back to work the very next day.

Tomorrow we have mission tour with Elder Shane M. Bowen. It really was unexpected. Almost like an emergency mission tour... I don't know it should be good though.

This was my week mostly. The time is flying by. It's crazy!! I'll see you soon!

Elder Rivera

Monday, August 8, 2016

San Enrique is Awesome!

Soaked after storm
So I'm back in my favourite zone, La Carlota Zone! I've always loved this zone ever since I was in La Castellana. It's the best, but most missionaries say that this Zone is the worst because there is no success here, but they are just dumb. ahahaha. Just kidding.

5 weeks left of work to do. Then it's time to go home. Dang it's been so fast! I'm Freaking out a little. But I can't wait to get back to the Great White North. But my heart will always be Filipino. hahaha

The game we are going to see between the Orioles and the Jays will be a more intense game because they are in the running for the East. I think the package is finally here because Sister Hopper told me that there is a package for me in he office I hope that it's the one.

That's crazy that Summer just started and now you are already preparing for back to school. Time is just blowing by like crazy. I'm already getting everything finalized for the flight home. It's been the wildest best 2 years anyone could have ever asked for!

Elder Insular
So we've been working hard my new companion and I trying to help as many people as we can in my last few weeks. I love the people in this area they are awesome! The best thing that happened to us this week was this. So this week we have 2 baptisms set up. Both of them are young women. they are awesome and really want to be baptized but we need to ask their parents first. But from what I heard they don't want us to baptize their children. So we decided to talk to their parents. We taught about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We did our best for the Spirit to be with us. And by our small and simple lesson we had a miracle. Her parents said yes to her being baptized and also agreed to come to church and her mother did but her father was busy. Next week probably. The other young woman hasn't got the OK yet because her parents have weird schedules but that's our plan for tonight to visit them. We'll do our best!

Well I guess I'll see you soon.

Elder Rivera



Monday, August 1, 2016

Back to Work, and Transferred!

Waiting for a haircut
My Dengue is all gone and I worked a full week. My week was OK but I got transferred. I'm going back to La Carlota just a different area than last time. I'm going to San Enrique Branch and I'm a District leader. I hope this is my last area! I don't want to transfer again!

District picture
I hope Quebec was awesome. I haven't gone back since grade 8. I have a question.... Seeing as I get home in the afternoon will you all be able to go to the airport?

For the Jays game lets go to the Yankees game because I want to see the Jays destroy the Yanks. hahaha

De la Cruz family
So I had an interesting thing happen to me. So when we were walking home last night there was this lady on the other side of the street. She saw me and bolted across the street almost getting hit by a van in the process. When she got to us she shook my hand then went in for the hug. She was being all weird and loving to me and started kissing my chest. She then tried to go for a kiss on the lips, luckily she was too short to reach my face. hahaha. We kinda got away awkwardly and I gave her a pamphlet and a hand shake she even kissed my hand at parting. It was so weird. hahaha

Raining
Well, I've only got 6 weeks left then we will see each other. It's actually weird being the oldest group of missionaries in the mission. But it's cool going home I guess. 

Plus It's More Fun in The Philippines.

Elder Rivera





Monday, July 25, 2016

I Spent 2 Nights in the Hospital

So my platelets got so low that Sister Loveday (the mission Nurse) and President Barredo thought that 
I should be hospitalized because the risk of internal bleeding was extremely high! 

I didn't do much so I'll explain how my time at the hospital went.

Thursday. I get a text from Sister Loveday saying hey get ready you are going to the hospital. We got to the Emergency room, they did another blood test which eventually led to an IV in my hand and me getting into a hospital gown. What really scared me was the fact that the nurse in training almost put the IV into me and the doctor was not ready, luckily the chief nurse stepped in before it got serious. We then got a private room, and watched TV basically the whole time. The food was terrible, and it just so happened that as soon as I get sent to the hospital is when I started getting better. But not without a blood test every 12 hours.

This was basically my week. But All the nurses were surprised when they discovered I could fluently speak Ilonggo. So I guess it's a win for me.

I miss you only 6 more weeks after this week!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Rivera




Monday, July 18, 2016

Don't Freak Out

So this week has probably been the hardest week of my mission. On Wednesday I developed a fever. Then On Thursday when we went out to work and it was almost as if the fever hit me with a ton of bricks. We went home early and when I took my temperature it turns out I had a fever of 40 C which is 104 F. So the mission nurse told me I wasn't allowed to work. 

On Friday I still had a pretty high fever so another day with no work. Then because I still had a fever on Saturday Sister Loveday took me to get a blood test to test for Dengue. The results came in and they were positive. Don't Freak out it's not a serious case but it's serious enough to confine me to our apartment. And now every other day I need to go in for blood tests. My life is getting more and more fun everyday.

I don't have any pictures because I've been inside all week. Maybe next week.

I love you!!

Elder Rivera 

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Zone Experience

Zone after training
So this week I gave my first training as a Zone Leader. We took like 3 hours planning our training for the zone. We basically take what we learned from Mission Leadership Council and adjust it to meet the needs of the zone! It was good I think. at least that"s what they all said.

Zone experience at the resort
This week we had another cool experience. We have this one investigator that became really busy with work, she makes decorative flowers for cakes. She said that she might not be able to have us over always so she took our number and said she'd text us. One week past and she hadn't texted us. So on Saturday we decided to visit. And when we visited she said her prayer was answered. She had prayed to know if the message was true and she said that if this truly was the way that the Lord wanted for her then he would send us to her even tho she never texted. It's awesome she accepted a baptismal date for July 30. Miracles.

Giant fruit bats, like from
Indiana Jones
Earlier we went to a resort in Elder Warnick's area called Mambucal. It was pretty awesome. We went hiking and saw a lot of cool things. most of the Zone was there but it wasn't a  Zone activity, it was a Zone experience.

We just keep on keeping on!

Elder Rivera

p.s. I  can't wait for Taco Bell





Emergency toilet in the middle
of our area

Friday, July 8, 2016

Travel Plans

Dear Brother and Sister Rivera,
This is a note to give you an advance copy of your son’s flights home.  He still has a while to go, but the tickets were sent to me already.  I am passing this information along to you.  When all the tickets have arrive for his batch of 23 missionaries completing their mission, I will send this to you again and include him in the official email of his return travel  and also copy it to the Bishop.   Your son is a fantastic missionary.  He has done so much good here.  We are not anxious to send him home, but the time comes when we must return our finest missionaries to their parents. We appreciate and love him so much.

Best Regards
Senior missionary couple
Sister Hopper
Travel


Monday, July 4, 2016

Blessings

That's too bad about the Jays. I'm sure they'll win the first game I go to. 

Stellan is still a really cool name! I'm sure he's a big chubby ball of fun!

My week has been ok. It really really is rainy season so we're soaked everyday. But the day starts off super sticky and hot and then it always ends in rain and wet clothes! 

We also went on exchanges this week. I went with my batch Elder Boyce. He's pretty cool. he's from Austrailia. He's going home early to get married. I didn't know that you could do that. hahaha.

We have a meeting tomorrow at the mission home. We are going to be trained and then on Thursday we give the training to the zone. I'm kinda nervous but I'm excited too.

I had a cool experience happen to me. On Friday this one member was really sick and when we were at her house she asked for a blessing. But the only problem was we both forgot our oil. But she still wanted it. So I gave the blessing, And then we didn't see her the next day. But then on fast and testimony meeting she gave her testimony about how she overcame her sickness and was alright because of the blessing. It just feels good sometimes to know that you've blessed some ones life.

That's all.

Elder Rivera

Monday, June 27, 2016

My week in Mansilingan 3rd Branch

I think it is kinda funny how as school is finishing out back home but here it's just getting started. I like the city here. I like the tone they have here, it's called Bacolodnon and It's like impossible to explain but I'll demonstrate it when I get home. It's just really nice the way they talk like Sweet sweet. The people are OK they don't really pay any attention to us, but when ever we  have a hard day we look for the silver linings And there are a lot of them!

Being Zone Leader is pretty cool I guess. Elder Cabada and I are in charge of 3 district of 11 companionships so 22 missionaries. You don't really do much else except ask for every district numbers and report it to the APs and try to solve companionship problems and help the Zone progress and stuff. I haven't had to chastise anyone but I'm not looking forward to it.

This week has been, in a word, WET! It has been raining for like 3 days now, off and on. My shirts are soaked, and so are my shoes. 

We are working pretty hard, the area is a little challenging but the members here love missionaries, and we have dinner every night!!!!!!

I think this area will be a good place to end my mission in like 79 days. I'm not Trunky I promise.

Elder Rivera


Monday, June 20, 2016

Transferred Again!!!

So ya I got transferred after only a week in Talisay but I'm still in the city. I'm now in Mansilingan and.... I'm a Zone Leader.

This has been a pretty rough P day! We got called early this morning, Usually they call the Sunday night but I guess they forgot and seeing as we didn't have a transfer call to our District we got up a 4 am and went to a cool place with a bunch of statues and stuff. Campuestohan! It was super fun! We took a lot of pictures. Then right when we were really having fun the APs called and I had to rush back home and pack and then go to Bacolod right away. It was good times!

We worked pretty hard in the week of our companionship.

I don't have much to say I'll make next weeks email better! Sorry!

Elder Rivera



Monday, June 13, 2016

Transferred!!!

I'm now no longer in Sagay 1st ward. I'm now in Talisay. Which means I'm finally in Bacolod. My first area in the city it only took 21 months. hahaha. But I'm excited!

The transfer was actually super rough. It was the bright idea of one of my traveling companions to take the cheaper mode of transportation to save money. But it turned a 1 hour and 45 minute ride into a 4 hour ridiculous ride of uncomfortable pain! But it's all good because I'm here now.

I actually have a funny story this week. So this week Elder Mahan and I went to go teach one of our investigators who is really progressing, the former marine who is being baptized on June 25 in Sagay galing. But we forgot that his cousin died so when we stopped by their house we were surprised to see that the casket was at his house and.... it was an open casket. Elder Mahan didn't even want to go inside but we were invited in right away so I walked straight into the house and Mahan had no choice but he was completely freaking out. hahaha. He was kinda mad at me after but it's all good.

I almost forgot my new companion is the Winter Soldier. It's because he broke his arm on the mission and now has a metal bar in there. It's just a joke his real name is Elder Lacasandile. I've met him before. I've met everyone basically.

So how are the Jays doing? I miss you guys!!!! 3 months left. #IMNOTTRUNKY

I love being a missionary,
Elder Rivera

Monday, June 6, 2016

Kinda Rough!!!

On our way home in the pouring rain


So This week was rough for a few reasons.

So on Tuesday it rained, and when it rains here it pours!!! The streets were flooded We were walking home in ankle deep water. To top it off there were no tricycles out to pick us up so we walked and walked and walked to get home. We were absolutely drenched. This proved to be even more of a hindrance to the work because Elder Mahan got a bad chest cold. We had to adjust our schedule a little bit, cut down our efforts a little but we are looking to make a comeback this week.

Stellen sounds like a really cool name actually. And I'm glad it's a boy!

We actually have been working pretty hard. We have been working on finding and teaching and when you do all you can to work and to help those whom you serve the Lord always helps you out. And he will bless you regardless of the results. Big lesson I've learned. The area will not progress if you don't work.

I hope everything goes well back home. I officially have 100 days left. Crazy!

Elder Rivera

Monday, May 30, 2016

Another Week!!!

Just relaxing
This week has been a tough one. We have had a lot of appointments fall through like I'm little numbers. But the numbers don't tell success. Success in a mission is not in the number of lessons you taught or the number of baptisms you've had but in the lives you've changed for the better. The ultimate results of everything you've done will be presented at the VERY end. Truth

We had Stake Conference this past weekend. It was pretty awesome. I never thought I would say that about Stake conference. 

Our Ward choir for Stake Conference
My spiritual thought at Zone conference was actually pretty good. D&C 44:1-4. Set the tone, but I was way out done by the amazing musical number. What a set of lungs. Speaking of lungs I forgot to mention that the ward that I'm serving in was called upon to be the choir for the Stake Conf. And we were in it. I sent the picture of it. I was in the Bass section. hahaha.

We learned a lot and have been applying it and are slowly but definitely seeing the results in our area. I love it so much!!!!

Elder Rivera




My Area

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Miracle baptism!!!

Wow so by the time I get home I'll have another cousin which would make 2 cousins that I haven't seen yet. Crazy. 

Our miracle baptism!!!
We definitely had a miracle this week. He has actually been an investigator for a long time but no one had the faith to teach him because of his past. But we know that the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ is for everyone. No matter what sin, or what transgression, you can be forgiven by the Grace of the Lord that comes from the Atonement of The one and only Lamb of God even Jesus Christ. A change of heart was evident in our lessons and more so after he was baptized by proper priesthood authority, and even more so after he had received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. That is literally what being a missionary is. Giving people the power and ability to change by helping them receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ especially baptism and Confirmation!
Our Jeepney ride after our service project

This coming up week we have Zone conference and I'm giving the spiritual thought.... I'm kinda nervous. Everyone is going to be there. Like President Barredo, so I'll do some extra studying tonight to get the perfect scripture verse.

This picture was after a ward service project. We were all cramped into a jeepney to get back to the City.

It's more fun in the Philippines,
Elder Rivera


Rice to go

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sagay

Being a missionary is pretty awesome. It changes lives. not just the people I teach, but mine too.

Ya we skyped in the bedroom of the owner of this restaurant. He's pretty nice. and it was his tv that has skype. It was pretty cool.

This week has been pretty good. We have been working and sweating like crazy to help strengthen this Ward and this area we're assigned in. We have found some pretty bakod people who are interested and willing to learn and apply the Gospel to their lives. We will be having baptisms this month! All investigators we found!

I'm seeing the finish line and it freaks me out. hahaha. I'm not ready to go home. I just am trying to push myself harder and harder so I will have no regrets.

Love your Missionary,
Elder Rivera

Monday, May 2, 2016

My Week

So Elder Ngalu has been transferred. But I'm sure my next companion will be awesome too. Even tho it was only 3 weeks we became pretty close. I'm going to miss him!

We were chased by a water buffalo. So, when we work we pass by water buffaloes everyday. Always, no matter where you go in this mission you will see a water buffalo. Usually they're chill and just eat the grass or what ever really. But this past Tuesday we past one, he got mad and chased us like a bull... horns first! Luckily we managed to book it and we are safe but it was kinda fun!!!

We are probably going to be in the stake choir. So We were invited to join the Sagay Stake choir for the upcoming stake conference. I'm all for it except they want practices every SundayTuesday, and Wednesday. And if it is anything like last Sunday. It is going to take for ever!!! We have work to do too, so I'm not sure if we can continue...

Mother's day is this coming up Sunday so that means I can Skype on the Monday after it!!! I'l try and get to the computer shop at like 8 am so it will be 8 pm back home sa inyo. Just email all the stuff and I call right away!

Can't wait to watch Star Wars!!!!

So the Sagay District has 8 missionaries. Elder Dimla and, my former companion, Elder Ballesteros are companions in Sagay second ward they are both from the Philippines. Then there are also 2 sisters in that ward Sister Dionisio and Pascual. They are from Manila. Then there is Sister Loua She is from Samoa and her companion got transferred. I'm also in the district and I'm from Canada. Then of course my companion but I don't know him yet so we shall see.

It's more FUN in the Philippines!!!

Elder Rivera

My birthday cake and meal

A great hike the day of my birthday

Just chilling


Elder Ngalu

Monday, April 25, 2016

My Birthday!!!

So ya I'm old now. 21! It's crazy how fast time goes by. 21 years I've done so much. Graduated high school, first job, almost finished my mission, and not to mention I got super handsome along the way. I can't believe that I've got just under 5 months to go before I return to The Great White North! Time just keeps going and there is nothing that can stop it, you just need to live every second of it.

Grandma and Grandad are looking good and happy. We should visit them as soon as I get home! Share some crazy mission stories with them!

I'm glad things seem to be going well back home with of course the relative stress that comes with everyday life! Things here are going... We have been doing a lot of finding the past few weeks. But this past Sunday we didn't have any investigators at church and to be honest that doesn't happen very often, at least not during my mission. But in the most trying times of life, that is when God opens your spiritual eyes to show you the miracles that he has performed for you. We had a lot of less active members return to church this Sunday. They were families that we visited but only because they had some investigators living with them. But I guess God is showing us how we can and should bring the gospel to those families we are teaching. We first need to focus on those lost sheep that need to be nourished once more by the Goodness and peace that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring.

My Birthday has been pretty good so far. We went hiking with the sisters from Sagay first and second ward. It was really fun even when I fell in the water. hahaha. And it doesn't end there later tonight a member is feeding us white spaghetti and banana cake, and last night and the day before that we have been fed for my birthday and both of them were my favourite dishes Adobo and Bicol Express! They were awesome!

Love being a Missionary!
Elder Rivera 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sagay is Sick

So my new companion is from Tonga. And his name is Elder Ngalu he is awesome. We are like the companionship from the movie

"The Other Side of Heaven." He even calls me Kolipoki.  We just try and have fun everyday and relieve the stress from any of the aspects of the work while working super hard at the same time.


My new area is pretty cool, it's in the city and in the countryside. it's a pretty big area, full of  people to teach, the only thing is, we need to find them all. We had a baptism this past Saturday and that was pretty awesome. After that we have a really small investigator pool. And we are spending most of the time finding. But it is pretty cool because the area and the members are awesome!

I think when I get home we will go on a food trip! We'll eat everywhere. And we need to go to a Filipino restaurant. They have bunch in Toronto!

I love you!
Elder Rivera








Monday, April 11, 2016

Transferred!!!

So I'm now transferred to my sixth area in Sagay 1st ward. It's pretty cool my new companion is cool, or so I've heard. I haven't met him yet. But the area is really good. I'm no longer a District Leader just a regular senior companion. It feels good.

Conference was amazing! They all were amazing! I really was edified for maybe the first time. It was because I wanted to be edified!

I can't really say much else. I had an interesting week topped off with this transfer. But The saddest part was I might not see Elder Warnick and Elder Cagampang for a long time if ever.... They are more than just elders to me. They are brothers!!!

Elder Rivera