England London South Mission: July 9, 2015- July 2017
Family/ Friends please send letters to letter address and packages to package address. I will update letter address if a transfer were to take place. Package address will remain the same. Thanks!

Letters Address:
RH11 9GA

Packages Address:
Elder Zachary Rivera
England London South Mission
The London Temple
West Park Road
Newchapel, Surrey RH7 6NB
United Kingdom

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas in England 1/2!!!

The Best Mission in the World!
Hello and Happy belated Christmas to all! 

I hope everyone was able to have a wonderful time with the family and friends to celebrated such
a wonderful holiday. We had a great one over here across the pond! It was a little different not having all the traditional stuff but hey, it was still a wonderful and memorable day! Hope everyone else's was too! Leading up to the new year now, I have been able to reflect on this year and I've sketched out some goals I want to achieve for this coming year, one specific one being reading the four standard works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) Just one of the many few I wish to achieve while out on the mission during my "Black Year" (full year in the mission field) so we shall see how I do by the time this time of year comes again!

Tuesday: December 22nd, 2015
We were on exchanges today with the Woodley elders and Elder Baum and I had quite the day. So to keep it short, we basically had a ton of rejection while we were out contacting and knocking but the coolest thing happened. Ready? So we were leaving this area we knocked and we saw the bus drive by and so of course we missed it... So we waited about 10 minutes for the next one to come around and then we headed into town. However, the bus driver needed a break so he pulled over to a stop and we waited again for 10 minutes. Then we get a text from a recent convert who needed a visit and so when we finally got back into town we started walking his way and here is where the miracle happened. As we were walking, we were randomly talking about oceans and then a man named Jason came up to us and asked if he could talk to us. Well... Of course! He mentioned he has an impression to talk to us when he couldn't even see our name tags (it was pitch black and we were wearing big jackets because of the rain) but he listened to it and stopped us. So he went through and explained his life story with great emotion and tears. I don't want to exploit all the details but he basically was an atheist his whole life and the last week and half, he has been able to find God in his life and came to know that God is real! He said he wanted to have this wonderful feeling of peace and love he has felt forever and so we taught him and extended a baptismal date on the street! He gladly accepted with tears in his eyes and it was seriously the coolest experience I have had on my mission so far. It just comes to show that our Father in Heaven knows exactly where he needs us when one of his children is trying to find the way to light in this dark and dreary world.
Spoiled Little Missionaries...

Wednesday: December 23rd, 2015
We had district meeting in the morning and then we were at the temple the rest of the day with Scott and we also had to pick up everyone's Christmas packages and letters.

Thursday: December 24th, 2015
Christmas Eve didn't even feel like Christmas Eve... We literally drove for 11 hours today delivering packages to the zone and the Nyman's (Oxford Senior Couple) had us over for dinner and that was well needed because we didn't get to eat all day until that point! It was fun playing Santa Clause for the first time!:)

Christmas Morning!
Friday: December 25th, 2015
Now this... It didn't feel like Christmas whatsoever! It was really strange to see that it was Christmas and I knew it was Christmas, but it just didn't feel the same being away from home. It was still a very great day though! We had a visit with the Bakers and then Tammy. We were spoiled with gifts... I might need an extra suitcase just for my Christmas stuff! Haha. But after we got to Skype home for the first time and that was amazing. It was super nice to see the family and talk face to face. Crazy how it has already been 6 months! What the...! That is seriously crazy!

Saturday: December 26th, 2015
So the 26th is actually a holiday in England. They call it Boxing Day (I don't know much about it so you might want to look it up if you want to know what it is) so we had two more dinner appointments today and then we had to make a video for the Assistants for Training a New District Leader. Umm... Let's just say we were very special during the making of the video... It took us about 30 tries to get it all right without messing up... It was a very funny night.

Sunday: December 27th, 2015
Today we only had one hour of church for some reason but it gave us time to do some Sunday proselyting for once! We headed into a new area we haven't worked yet and the results were very promising. We were talking to one guy who was very interested named Steven and as we finished talking to him, a guy named Brian just rolled up on his bike and said, "hey you want to take down my number and we can setup a time to meet?" Uhhhhhh.... Sure? YES! It was crazy! We just walked off after and were speechless that something like that happened. Funny part is we were on the road we didn't mean to go to so we contacted for a bit on that road before driving to the correct road and that's
Dinner with the Nymans, Danny, Emily, and Joseph
what happened. Again, God puts people in certain places at certain reasons! We have a lesson with him on Tuesday so we will see how it all goes! We finished up with dinner at the Rushforth family home and then accounted for the rest of the night!

So as you can see, there were a lot of wonderful Christmas miracles this week and it really was amazing to have such amazing gifts given to us by our Father in Heaven. I hope that everyone will have a wonderful and safe New Years! Can you believe it is already 2016?!?!?

Love you all and be safe!
-Elder Rivera

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Christmas Quacker

Very Merry Christmas to everyone! 

Most decorated home in all England
(not very many houses look even close to this)

I can't believe that this week is already Christmas!!! What... Time seriously flies by and guess what...
We are almost in 2016 which is even crazier! Remember when we were all supposed to die four years ago... Yeah, guess not haha. But this week has been a really good one but a hard one. I personally was getting so much opposition in the work with so many people dropping some serious f-bombs and such and it was just so absurd with how people aren't even happy during Christmas. Come on now... It's the most wonderful time of the year and that's how you act. Anyways... Besides having two people get all up in my space this week (literally about two inches from my face denying the existence of God and the joke of the work we are doing) I stood my ground and defended the cause which made it a better week because I truly felt so good for defending my God and my Savior and
His work. Something big is around the corner for sure! Opposition always before a great miracle! Anyways, hope all is well and that everyone is enjoying this Christmas Season! Here is this weeks scoop!

Cheeky Smiles after getting haircuts
Tuesday: December 15th 2015
So today was interesting. We started by having such a good contacting day and then after that, it kind of spiraled down. Explanation: So, after we had lunch, we had to pay for a ticket because our landlord didn't send us our parking permit in time and the popo got us and so we drove to Bracknell to pay for it but when we got there... We realized something special; we had forgotten the ticket at the flat. So then we had to drive all the way back to the flat and grab the ticket and drive all the way back to the chapel. So now we get there to pay it and then our payment didn't go through so we then had to do it a different way (through a member and we just paid her back) but then... Here we go again right? We drive to Farnborough to do some potential finding and then Elder Richins forgot his satchel at the chapel... So guess what, we have to go all the way back again. haha It was a very long day after that and we just finished with some quick lessons with some recent converts and Victor (our soon to be baptismal date if him and his girlfriend get married soon!)

Wednesday: December 16th, 2015
We went to Oxford for a district meeting and that went super well and then we began our exchange with the Didcot elders. I had a great exchange with Elder Wagaman and we found a couple of potentials that they can teach sometime after all this crazy Christmas stuff cause everyone is busy and traveling.

Thursday: December 17th, 2015
So we got a call early morning from the assistants about some urgent news we had to take care of so that was what we did after we exchanged back and later that night did some service and then dealed with the issue at hand. 'Twas good.

Friday: December 18th, 2015
Elder Yang: Master Chef
We went on exchanges with Basingstoke today and it was a great one. I was with Elder Yang (he is from Taipai) and he was also a professional cook before his mission and so we had investigators request him to cook dinner for the night and he really enjoyed that and then we had a wonderful
lesson with them on Eternal marriage (Victor and his Girlfriend and family) and it went super well and they asked us why we wanted an eternal marriage and we gave them our responses. This was also the day when people dropped some serious f-bombs and got up in my face so it was a great day! I love opposition.

Saturday: December 19th, 2015
We exchanged back at about noon and then we all went District Finding in Bracknell and after loads of opposition again (and another person screaming in my face) we found about 10 solid people for the sisters to teach) We finished up the night with the Bakers and we had a very bold lesson with them on some things that they need to work on and that they have committed to do and so it was effective but frustrating to say the least.

Sunday: December 20th, 2015
Sunday's Sunset!
Today was a good Sunday, very interesting start which I will probably share later in the future but for now, we will keep it at interesting!:) Ask me in the future for the full story! But it was a great day at church, the primary performed the nativity and it was amazing! So many cute little munchkins running around doing their role and it was really good! Later that evening, the Reading stake had their Christmas choir concert and that was AMAZING! We then had our accounting and called it a night!

Monday: December 21st, 2015
So today we are just doing some preparations for the Christmas week and have some cleaning to do in the car and the flat and then we will just resume as normal but we are really looking forward to Christmas this week (that sounds weird...) and then of course, being able to skype home for the first time on the mission field which is exciting and also weird because it has come very fast but I   am really looking forward to it!

Verse of the Week:
Isaiah 9:6
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!!!
I love you all and will talk to you soon!!!

Elder Rivera

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Temple Trip!

Nativity Scene at the Visitor Center

The Reading Zone!
Hello everyone!

Can you believe we are already 11 days from Christmas! That is totally insane... but I'm loving it. So this week was a great one. I managed to snag food poisoning from dinner so my stomach wasn't doing well and my appetite has just came back to me! We had our Temple trip this week to and it was so amazing! I learned so much from the temple and also President Gubler. It was a well needed trip and I also managed to gather some thermal garments so I am super warm now haha!

Tuesday: December 8th, 2015
So again, today was a really good day until dinner came around. I was fine all night and then yeah... enough said there.

Nuff Said!
Wednesday: December 9th, 2015
I was sick all day and not feeling well. I woke up super early and puked and then puked again and so I was stuck in the flat all day until we had a lunch appointment. I slept at the members home and then we had to go to Elder Richins drivers test. He passed so I got to sleep while we drove to Reading. When we got home I passed out after taking some medicine and drinking Powerade to replenish all my lost nutrients haha.

Thursday: December 10th, 2015
Fall makes it look so nice!
So to celebrate my 5 month mark (not intended) we got to go to the temple for our mission Christmas present from President and Sister Gubler. We got to have our temple endowment session and it was so wonderful! It was the Reading, Staines, and Portsmouth zone with us. There was truly so many things I learned that day and the Spirit confirmed so many answers I had from my blessing and also personal questions I had. Like I said, it was a well needed trip and I felt so much better! Glad food poisoning only lasts a couple of hours so I was happy! I can't believe the next time I'll be able to go through the temple again will be a couple of months! It's sad but it just makes the time in there so much more valuable and sacred. Always be in the temple if you can because that is where you will have answers to questions that you wouldn't be able to find anywhere else. I love it!

MTC Group Temple Pic!

Friday: December 11th, 2015
Today we were on exchanges with Woodley and we had great day. Elder De Wilde and I went contacting around the University and we met a lot of good people. One was Steven who was fairly interested and then we went and visited Sybil who was just baptized two weeks ago and she is doing so well! She looks so happy! She is a true definition of change and what the gospel truly offers people who accept it. But it was a very well rounded night.

Coca Cola Truck in Reading!

Saturday: December 12th, 2015
Before we exchanged back we had a crazy lesson with this lady named Jenny. She is a Quaker and had so many good questions regarding the Book of Mormon and how it relates to the Bible and how together they come together to bring the fullness of the gospel. She also asked questions about the Priesthood and also of how Apostles are called and if they receive revelation and we just got to answer so many questions that we wish everyone would ask. We exchanged back after that but before that, we had some Mexican burritos for lunch and then we headed home. We had some lessons and then we had a lesson with the Bakers.

London Temple at night!
Sunday: December 13th, 2015
Today was a good day in church and then we had our typical accounting and then we also watched he Christmas Devotional.

Verse of the Week: 3 Nephi 14:14
"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

This was a great week and I truly learned so much this week and can't wait to see what this week brings but I love you all!!! Happy Holidays!!!

Talk to you all next week!!!
-Elder Rivera

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Discover Why We Remember December...

Sunrise in Basingstoke!

Hello all of my wonderful friends and family!

I hope the first week of December has treated everyone well and that everyone has been able to get their shopping done for the holidays! People over here have already put up all of their decorations and everyone is embracing the Christmas spirit and I'm loving it! It's crazy busy everywhere you go and there are sale deals everywhere to so loads of shoppers coming in and out of the shops which means... Lots of people to contact! We are planning on wrapping Book of Mormon copies for Christmas and handing them out to people as God's gift to them this year! Hopefully it will all work out the way we plan it to and we will also plan on doing some caroling around a neighborhood or in the town center. But we shall see what happens! Anyways! Here is this weeks rundown of what we did to start off December!

ELSM December 2015 MLC

Tuesday: December 1st, 2015
We had our MLC meeting today and we did A LOT... We went in and went over things that President thought we needed to go over and we also came up with our study plans for December that we would, "Discover Why We Remember December" so we are re reading 3 Nephi to truly get a grasp on the Spirit of Christmas and truly remembering this Christmas season of the things that we have and the things that we have been given and that the lord has done for us. It was a very good day! We also had stake correlation after MLC and that went very well this time around compared to our first one. We had a lot of positive stuff to bring and also take away from it. President Gubler also had everyone watch (with a role play) of what a Real ward council should look like and let me tell you... It was definitely something else because I have never seen a ward council comparable to that one!

Wednesday: December 2nd, 2015
The Reading Zone Goons....
Today we had our DLC meeting and so it was basically the same thing as MLC but at a district level this time so nothing to crazy. After we had a baptismal interview for Sybil in Woodley and she is so golden! She actually got baptized on Saturday so we were super happy for her because she was being taught for months and she finally made it!

Thursday: December 3rd, 2015
Guess what, another meeting! Woohoo! We had district meeting today and it was a very powerful and spiritual one. We talked a lot about Christmas and the importance of it. I got to present as well for that and I recapped a little from a talk given by President James E. Faust in the December 2001 ensign. It's a great read if you really want to get in the spirt of Christmas at a more joyful level! After that we went and had some lessons and then we helped a member put up her Christmas tree.

Friday: December 4th, 2015
Today we had exchanges and so Elder Schulthies and I got to work together today and we had a service night we were going to with the Reading Sisters at a town home for old folks. So... Old people know how to get down! We served them a three course meal and let's just say... Before the food, they were getting pretty krunk on some sherry. I've never seen old people pound shots down so quickly... Oh man, it was insane. After the dinner and dessert, they had DJ funk master come in and start singing and doing his thing. He was also an older guy but man he could sing. Anyways, moral of the story is old people know how to party and we missionaries got to do some wonderful service for them and to see the smiles they had were very heartwarming and priceless. I really enjoyed myself! Also, they had these cool things called a Christmas cracker... America needs to adopt them! Look them up, they would be perfect to have in America for parties such as New Years or Christmas!

Saturday: December 5th, 2015
Service and Party Hats!
So today was a ton of planning and then we had a very cool experience with our lesson we had with Victor (investigator) and his family (members). So Jessie, his girlfriend wanted us to teach her entire family but because they only speak Portuguese and Spanish, we had some issues there... BUT! We resolved it! Elder Richins and I pulled out our Spanish brains from high school and did our best to read from the pamphlets in Spanish. So we taught the entire Restoration in Spanish and it was amazing! Jessie (she's been having a hard time with things and church) said the closing prayer and she began to cry during it and oh my goodness... Yes there was a language barrier but oh my... You could feel the Spirit working through her and it was such an experience to take home that night. A language barrier is very easy to break with the Spirit!

Sunday: December 6th, 2015
Fast and testimony meeting today at church was amazing because everyone was bearing their testimony about Christmas and it was so wonderful! Other than that, we had our usual Sunday night accounting and planning for Zone Training on Tuesday.

So today, we went and did some shopping and I was able to grab some new ties, a new shirt and we have the rest of the day to prepare for the week so it should be grand. We might shoot some hoops or something before FHE tonight with the Baker's!

Discover Why You
Remember December
Verse of the Week:
I've been studying Doctrine and Covenants this week and this is what I found and pondered over for multiple days and I also connected a scripture chain to it if you want to find one for yourself with it as well!

D&C 9:8
8 "But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.!

I hope everyone continues to have a wonderful Christmas season and that you all manage to stay warm this winter! I love and miss you all! Talk to you soon!

-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!!!!

Hello everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal this year!!! We were able to have our own Thanksgiving over here due to a member, which was amazing! I can't imagine not celebrating "gorge my face with food until my stomach hurts" day. It still seems to be going by so fast these days... and the holidays aren't making it seem any slower! We are almost in 2016 which is very weird to say... what happened to 2012? Well, I hope everyone is prepping themselves for a wonderful Christmas and especially with the First Presidency Address this coming Sunday!

Thanksgiving in England!

Just want to give a shout out to my brother Statler today as he is no longer a teen tomorrow... HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROTHER!!! Hope Chicago continues to treat you well!

Tuesday: November 24th, 2015
Today was moves day so a lot of driving around and then we had a dinner appointment and a lesson with the Bakers to help them with their stuff.

Wednesday: November 25th, 2015
Today we decided that it would be very smart to clean out our area book because it looked super nasty... papers everywhere and they were super old so we fixed everything and made it look very neat and organized. I've realized how much I have become organized as the months have gone by...

"You Gon Eat That?" -Dad
Thursday: November 26th, 2015
Thanksgiving in England! Truly was a day for many thanks! We mapped out a lot of potentials on our maps.me app and were able to pinpoint a good finding spree for a couple of hours and wow... we were truly blessed. We had lunch at 12 so we decided to hit as many houses on the members road before 12 and there were so many people that were home and willing to listen! God truly blessed us with multiple miracles on this great day of Thanksgiving. After lunch we did even more contacting and we saw even more success! Then of course, we went and had our delicious English Thanksgiving dinner! It was so tasty... I remembered why this time of year is the best because not only do we get to gorge our faces with food and not be judged about it... but we also get to truly remember how
great that the Lord has been to us and how many times he has led us by the hand to where we need to be and where we need to continue to go. I've learned so much this holiday season and I can't wait to be able to see what this next month has in store for me and the people I am surrounded by. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!
"Yes I am...!" -Elder Rivera

Friday: November 27th, 2015
We had so much planning to do today... weekly planning and transfer planning took up most of the day and we didn't even finish!

Saturday: November 28th, 2015
Finished up our planning today and then we had to go check and see if the set up for MLC would work at the request of the Assistants. After we noticed it wouldn't work... we quickly put all the stuff back and raced home to have a lesson with our baptismal date Michael and then we raced over to a members home for dinner. She bought us Chinese and lets start by saying that my chopstick skills have slacked... but hopefully I'll gather them back so I can eat Chinese food like a champ again!

Sunday: November 29th, 2015
Welcome, Welcome Sabbath Morning! We had a great day at church. Two of our investigators came to church so we were super happy about that and we got to teach the lesson during Gospel Principles! We of course had our Sunday night accounting as well and with the new program we have, it really makes accounting so much easier and quicker! I love it!

That's the basic run down for the week, we have MLC this Tuesday so looking forward to that to see what the Lord has in store for us to do next throughout the mission in order to continue to bring forth the great second harvest in this land!

Verse of the Week: Finished the Book of Mormon again so what better verse to use this week than the wonderful portion of Moroni's great promise to all!

Moroni 10:4-5
4 "And when ye shall receive these things (the Book of Mormon), I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart (1), with real intent (2), having faith in Christ (3), he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

I hope we all prepare ourselves spiritually for this Christmas season and truly give back to the Lord for he was the greatest gift we could have ever received. Remember, not all great and wonderful things come out of a box, but rather... the greatest gifts are those that are shared with our loved ones and are physically felt in the heart. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! Happy Holidays!!!

Rejoice and be merry, for this truly is the greatest time of the year for us all!

Love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Rivera

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Reading District Meeting!

Hello everyone!

Oh my goodness... how is it already the end of November??? Thanksgiving is this Thursday and a lot of members have us lined up for dinner so I am going to gain a couple of pounds this week! haha In preparation for Thanksgiving, I have been writing down each day, something I am thankful for. There truly are so many things to be grateful for but for this specific year, I was truly taken back to everything that God has done and given me in my life so far and the things He is continuing to offer me as I do my part. The list has come together nicely and I have been able to truly see God's hand in my life more as I have pondered over the things I have in my life, truly blessed. Its been a good week, we just finished up dropping off people for transfers so we get the rest of the day for ourself. This next transfer will be the best due to Christmas, Thanksgiving, and my birthday... its crazy... I won't be a teen anymore! (there goes that excuse...) But yeah, a very good week!

Tuesday: November 17th, 2015
We had our first of three exchanges this week with the Woodley Elders. Myself and Elder Redd got to move out a flat the entire exchange and a couple of lessons in between but other than that, we  watched the entire special features section of Meet the Mormons (watch it if you haven't had the opportunity) so we were up late (oops...) It was our last exchange together so we said... "bah, who needs sleep... lets watch Meet the Mormons!"

Wednesday: November 18th, 2015
So we exchanged back and then we headed to Basingstoke to begin our next exchange. Myself and Elder Schulthies had a killer one together... it was super cold, but we had a good time visiting some potentials and following up with some former's we met.

Thursday: November 19th, 2015
Now at the last exchange of the week and I went up to Didcot with Elder Phelps and we again, had a really great exchange. We had to do some traveling so that took part of the day but we were able to be effective with the time that we had. We did some super late night contacting (8:00 PM) and we were freezing... England doesn't joke around in the winter!!!(especially the wind! Icy Wind+Rain= a not so good time...)

Friday: November 20th, 2015
We were waiting for leadership calls all day to see what the beginning of moves was gonna have in store for us and then we did some work around Didcot!

Saturday: November 21st, 2015
Transfers are almost compared to Christmas... you receive an email and it has every single detail on who is moving, new calling and positions, new zones... etc. It is literally the most nerve racking day of the transfer because if you don't receive a call... you're in the dark until that email is sent out to you in the morning. But we went to the chapel to figure things out and then we had some contacting and a lesson with Alice and then we headed home to finish up planning for the upcoming week.

Sunday: November 22nd, 2015
Typical great Sunday as usual, the talks were about keeping the Sabbath Day holy again and the importance of doing our best to always remain reverent throughout the day. Then we had accounting and that was all!

Monday November 23rd, 2015
Yesterday wasn't our preparation day so we helped the Reading Elders clean out a flat again (only had to bring a wardrobe downstairs) but then we traveled back to do a progress record and also had a lesson with Michael before we had a delicious roast dinner at Tammy's... oh man, roast dinners are still definitely on the top of the list of my favorite meals out here so far... besides the fish and chips of course! (could do for some Pete's sauce but I can deal I guess...haha=)

Verses of the Week:
3 Nephi 27:21-22
21 "Verily, verily I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do, even that shall ye do;
22 Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day."

3 Nephi 27:25-26
25 "For behold, out of the books which shall be written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men.
26 And behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books which shall be written shall the world be judged."

I love you all and hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!
Eat up all that wonderful food like there's no tomorrow!=)

With Love,
Elder Rivera

Monday, November 16, 2015

Called to Declare Glad Tidings of Great Joy!

The Fab 5!

Hey all you people, hey all you people won't you listen to me...? (if you know where's that's from, we need to be best friends, unless we already are!)

This week was one for the books! We had our zone conference and then we had exchanges with the Assistants and that was such a blast. Elder Ribeiro and I had a super stellar exchange together. We went contacting for 11 hours and oh my goodness... I never thought it would be so fun! We had a lot of people respond to us and we taught a lot of good solid people and we planted a Book of Mormon which was the first one in a long while... But hey, miracles happen when you stay positive and have the desire to talk to everyone and OPEN YOUR MOUTH! But here is the run down for the entire week! We got to play basketball today and man... Do I miss playing with everyone back home and being on a team... Hopefully the future is bright for #10!

Tuesday: November 10th, 2015
So... Today was great, we started off a little rough by waking up early to wash the car before zone conference and then we drove to Staines for ZC. It started at 10 and finished at 5pm. We learned a lot
about increasing our skills at planning and also becoming a consecrated missionary. (I started a 40 day yesterday (as there are 40 days left till Christmas) and it's called the Process of Purification.
You basically put away and change anything that takes away or offends the Spirit and so for Christmas, I'm planning on doing my best to give my whole heart and soul to the Lord in order to become a more consecrated missionary!) We also got to watch the new Christmas initiative video from the Church before anyone else!:) Learned a ton from ZC and also got to see people from my MTC group again which was nice, we also had a Thanksgiving dinner with everyone.

Wednesday: November 11th, 2015
We didn't do much today, we had to finish up some planning and then we had to travel up to Reading for Elder Richins' final driving lesson before his test this Saturday! We were also completely out of food for the flat so we went shopping during our dinner hour to stock up. Some missionaries in our zone made a covenant with each other that for the rest of our missions, we would not eat any sweets or unhealthy items of food, only exception is at a members home for a dinner appointment. So we have been buying healthier stuff and man... It's so much more expensive... No wonder I just bought In n' Out and Taco Bell all the time...!:)

Thursday: November 12th, 2015
Today was another planning day because we didn't finish on Wednesday. After planning, we had a lesson with Michael and George and we had a cool experience with George. So he is 18, about two months ago we were teaching him and he had a baptismal date and everything and he was committed, however his phone broke and so we lost all contact with him. But by "happens chance" we found him at ASDA one day when we went shopping and he gave us his new number and so we finally were able to meet up with him this time since two months and he totally remembered everything about the Restoration. It was amazing! So we are meeting him again this week and we will invite him to be baptized on December 5th, 2015. We just have to work out some work issues with him because
he works in London Friday to Monday (every weekend) so hopefully it all works out. Pray for us! We finished the night by traveling to Crawley to pick up the Assistants and take Elder Clark to Basingstoke and Elder Ribeiro and I headed to Farnborough and Elder Richins of course, stayed in Crawley with Elder Bos.

Friday: November 13th, 2015
As I was saying earlier, we went contacting for 11 hours and so many things happened. We had a lot of rejection but when a lot of rejection comes, there is always something good that comes from it. Every time we had 10 no's, the next person we talked to was really interested. We found two new investigators and then got a referral for the sisters in Aldershot. We met this girl named Mel who took a Book of Mormon and then also said if she were to read it and prayed about it came to know it was true, she would be baptized. We are meeting up with her again this Friday to see how things are going for her. But she was super super interested and very keen on learning more. It was a really entertaining day with Elder Ribeiro! He wants to come live with me in Arizona before we go to college and are roommates haha! He's a cool guy and a great missionary. He is also from Leeds, England.

Saturday: November 14th, 2015
We exchanged back and the Assistants headed to President's to help him finish moves. They had to start and finish today so it was going to be an all day thing for them. We came home and did even more planning! (If I'm not a good planner by the time I get home... I'll be ashamed!) After we planned we headed to visit a recent convert and then we went to dinner at the Donaghue's. Fun fact... They all have black belts except for two of the young kids... Brother Donaghue teaches martial arts and he's been doing it for about 8-9 years now and he was explaining a lot of cool stuff about it. It would be a fun family thing to do in the future. Challenging... But could be very fun!

Sunday: November 15th, 2015
Ugh... We were very frustrated today... three of our recent converts didn't show up to church. Again! It's really hard but they have their agency but come on... Church is super important and we NEED it. Especially as a recent convert... I know how much it helped me out. After church though we had a quick correlation meeting and then headed to the Hobbs' for dinner. They feed us the greatest and probably my most favorite meal out here. It's just brilliant... Roast dinner! Yum! Potatoes, roast beef, steamed veggies, gravy, and my personal favorite, Yorkshire Pudding. It is so delicious! After we went home and packed and headed up to Reading to finish weekly planning and then did our Sunday night accounting. Transfers are this coming week so we will see what happens! We shall see if I survive another one or if I'll be moved into another zone!

Elder Ribeiro and Myself Being Cheeky!

Verse of the Week:
3 Nephi 5:13
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."

It was a very eventful week and I hope you all have a good one this week! I love you all and hope to hear from you all soon!!!:)

Lots of love from across the pond!
-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Remember Remember the 5th of November!!!

Hello to all of you wonderful people out in the world today!

It's hard to believe that we are already through the first 10 days of November and that Thanksgiving is only in a couple of more weeks! Its pretty sad that they don't celebrate it over here. So we will have to hope that someone is down to have a good Thanksgiving dinner with two American boys who just love to scarf down food around this time of the year.  Hopefully everybody's week has been a good one full of wonderful things and hopefully everyone also had a stellar weekend! We have a lot of cleaning to do today so it should be fun!!!

Duo trouble with the guard!

Tuesday: November 3rd, 2015
We had MLC and we talked a lot about how we can improve our planning through out the mission in order to bring forth the blessings of baptisms. This is the next step the Lord has told us we needed to really improve on but that the mission is finally ready for The Harvest to begin!

Wednesday: November 4th, 2015
We had exchanges today with the Woodley and Newbury Elders because they are in a trio and they are covering two areas for the remainder of this transfer until a new missionary can come in. But I got to be in a trio for the first time and it was really cool! We got to do a lot of knocking together and then we forgot the keys in Reading so we had to go grab our spare keys from a member. But it was a very great exchange with Elder Baum and Elder De Wilde.

Thursday: November 5th, 2015
Today before we exchanged back we did some service for a member and she wanted us to strip the paint on the railing for her stairs because she wants to repaint them. But after, we exchanged back and then had a good rest of the day! The 5th of November is like Fourth of July in America, fireworks were going off like crazy. Go look up the story sometime. "Remember Remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, treason, and plot." Its a crazy story about someone who tried to blow up Parliament and now they celebrate a special event every year since then! Good story to look up!

Friday: November 6th, 2015
So today we had round two of exchanges for the week with the Didcot Elders.  Man... It was a good one! Elder Wagaman and I just took it to town together. We literally went into town and the 2nd person we talked too wanted to know more about what we were saying so I asked him if we could sit down somewhere for 15 minutes and he was like sure! But because of the rain, every seat was soaked so we decided to stand and teach instead which was totally fine. He made a commitment to come to Church (but he didn't make it) but then he also committed to read the Book of Mormon so we gave a copy to him and then exchanged numbers and then we went to visit some potentials too! Had a couple of return appointments assigned and it was just a great night!

Saturday: November 7th, 2015
After we exchanged back, we had to go pick up an elder who was performing a baptismal interview for the sisters baptism. Everything was strange today because they had a baptismal interview and the
baptism on the same day, a couple of hours apart. Weird right? But hey, it all worked out. Daniel is his name and he wants to be a missionary once he turns 18! Solid guy and it was a very good
experience to be a part of!

Sunday: November 8th, 2015
Just a really great Sunday today. It was Remembrance Sunday so it was a pretty emotional Sacrament Meeting. But all went well! We had to do some planning and then we had dinner before we headed over to Basingstoke to account. We were nearly done accounting and some members came and saw us and didn't recognize us because we have never accounted in Basingstoke and the ladies totally thought we were fake missionaries... I wish we had a badge or something that indicated we are the real deal... Someone ask Salt Lake for me will you?:) it was pretty funny... They took the padlock off the gate... So we couldn't even lock it after we were getting ready to leave. Some people...

Anyways... This week was a really good week for me out of the Book of Mormon! I don't know which verse to pick... But this one definitely hits the mark for the week!

Put on the whole Armour of God.
Ephesians 6:11-18

Verse of the Week!

~Alma 53:20
"And they were all young men (or women for sister missionaries), and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all--they were men/women who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted."

Just an invitation to all, if you haven't had a chance or haven't taken the chance to read the Book of Mormon, I strongly encourage it! You'll be amazed to know what you can find and learn from it! Just
make sure you read with purpose and questions!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

The book is blue, the church is true, and Jesus Christ, will always love you!:)

-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cloudy With A Chance of Windsor!

Found my red telephone booth. Check.
Hello all you wonderful people!

This week has been again, another interesting one! We had another Elder leave home early which was so hard... he was such a killer missionary but things just got hard for him which was super sad. It is super hard to drive someone to the office knowing the end result and such... but hopefully everything works out for him in the end. Other than that, we got to do a temple session this week which was a complete miracle (more details later) but we also just finished up with a trip to Windsor Castle. It was so fantastic!!! The pics will hopefully show for that!=) First Castle down... many to go!
Another one just before we
headed into the actual castle

Tuesday: October 27th, 2015
So today was hard because we had an exchange and I was with the Elder that was going home and it was just so hard to not think about it. There was also nothing that I could do to help because his mind was already made up and no one was going to change it. But we worked hard and we had a good day and then he started packing towards the end of the night and he didn't want any help so I kind of just gave him his space and read a bit. It was a long day to say the least...

Outside St. George's Chapel within the Castle
Wednesday: October 28th, 2015
So here is where the temple miracle came into play. We had to take the Elder up to the mission office to drop him off and also pick up the new missionary that was taking his place. But their was an office meeting going on that night and we had exchanges planned with the Assistant's and because of the meeting, we were going to be sitting around for three hours doing nothing so Sister Gubler asked President if we could do a session while the meeting was taking place and he said it was ok, so 7 of us who weren't going to be a part of the meeting went and did a temple session! It was my first time in the London Temple and oh my goodness... it is beautiful! It was a well needed session again to say the least!=)

The Queens Gate
Thursday: October 29th, 2015
Today was a bit of a slow day, we had to take the Sister Trainer Leaders (STL's) to their exchange and so that took a bit of the day and we also had to do some re-planning exchanges because of the changes that were made with the missionary going. But that was basically our night.

Just a knight on a horse... no big deal!
Friday: October 30th, 2015
Windsor Castle with the squad!
Again, more travel because we then had to re-exchange the sisters and then we had weekly planning and a couple of lessons before our ward's Halloween Party! It was super fun and there was a very good turnout. A couple of non members came so we had a good talk with them.

Saturday: October 31st, 2015
A very Happy Halloween it was for us! We got to do some work for a couple of hours and then we had dinner with a member and some service as well! However, as we were there... sadly only 7 knocks at the door for Halloween... like come on...! America has like 7 in the first 10 minutes! But oh well... hopefully it gets bigger in England as the years go by.

Elder Richins and myself!!!
Sunday: November 1st, 2015
The Guard with a kid thinking he's funny...
Fast Sunday was amazing! There were so many people that bore their testimony,  including me! Somehow, there was a theme to our meeting though, "Standing up for what you believe in" Somehow, every testimony hit that theme. Coincidence? I think not! But it was a wonderful Sabbath and we got to go to the Rushforth's for dinner and it was delicious. They also made a super delicious dessert that I sadly can't remember the name of... but just know it was SUPER GOOD!!! (I'll find out though for the future because I want to make it later down the road
Full overview of Windsor Castle!
Fire in the hole!

Verse of the Week:
Alma 48:17
"Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."

First Pic outside Windsor Castle!
Panoramic of the courtyard
We need castles in America...
I wanted to poke him...
its alright to smile mate!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and strive to be like Moroni so that the temptations of this world could have no grasp on you! Stand firm and hold the ground that you have already conquered, no matter how limited it is!

I love you all and I am grateful for all you do and for the support you all offer me! It truly means a lot! Have a great week!!!

-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 15/104 I can't be bothered...

Happy Early Halloween!
Hello everybody!

It is crazy to think that yet another week has flown by out here... We also gained an hour now due to the clock changes so we get an extra hour of sleep which is amazing to be honest!  This week was another busy one full of traveling and such.  It rained a lot again and the weather is really cooling down, I don't know how I feel about it quite yet but we will see how that goes because winter is on its way!

Tuesday: October 20th, 2015
We did a lot more painting today for Tammy and then we headed up to Reading for Elder Richins driving lessons. This week he did super well and I wasn't scared for my life this time.=) We then headed home after and finished up the rest of 12 week and then we had two lessons with Sarah and then Andrew and then we headed over to the Bakers' home to celebrate Tracey's birthday and we had a good dinner and a fun time there. They were all just dancing around and having a good time and it was fun to see.

Wednesday: October 21st, 2015
Today was a loooong day. We headed up to Oxford for a district meeting
London Temple at night!
and then we headed up to an area to pick up the elders and then we headed to President's home for dinner. It was a rough week because one of the elders headed home early due to some personal stuff (not my place to share them) but we tried our best to help him and nothing changed so we went and had a good dinner with President while they talked and such and then we dropped him off at the office elders flat so he could catch his flight in the morning. It was a very hard night for me... its hard seeing someone you grow close to in the mission field and then they are struggling and you can't do much to help rather than praying for them. But he will be missed!

Thursday: October 22nd, 2015
Still getting over this little common cold I snagged because of the weather change but I didn't feel to good today so we took a day for me to rest and finish some cleaning and planning so I could get better. After, we went and did some more service and then headed over to the Baker's for a lesson and to read with them. They bought me and Elder Richins a dream catcher and they are pretty sweet. Easy but successful day.

Friday: October 23rd, 2015
So... We had exchanges planned but we then received a call from President Gubler and he asked us if we could bring another missionary that was struggling up to his house for dinner so we had to reschedule our exchange. We took the STL's up to Oxford for their exchange and then we picked up the elders and headed over to president's again. We had another good dinner and then a great gospel discussion from the Book of Mormon; 2 Nephi 24 to be exact. (Isaiah Chapter basically explaining that Satan will get rebuked by everyone during the millennium. Its pretty funny!) We were there super late and we didn't get back to our flat until... well, lets just say the Holy Ghost went to sleep already by that point. (it was past midnight...oops)

Saturday: October 24th, 2015
Today was another long day of traveling. We had to re-exchange the sisters from Oxford and then we came home, ate, and then did our weekly planning and then finished up the night with a Reading Zone Miracle Call for the week. All the missionaries just took turns sharing miracles that occurred throughout the week.

Sunday: October 25th, 2015
Today the clocks changed so we got an extra hour of sleep to prepare
Can you find which path leads to the Temple?
for church and the day! It was pretty nice if I do say so myself. Scott will bless the sacrament next week so we are looking super forward to that and he is super nervous. We also taught in 2nd hour the importance of eternal families and eternal marriage (not that I need to focus on that right now, but it was nice to learn and think about things for the not so distant future) Brother Ewing had us over for dinner and we got to teach him the Restoration and then headed up to Reading for our Sunday night accounting.

This week was an interesting one but we are just doing what is asked and required of us by the Lord and also President Gubler. We haven't had much time to do finding and such which has been hard but it will hopefully pick up very soon.

Verse of the Week:
Alma 17:9
"And it came to pass that they journeyed mane days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct."

I hope you all have a wonderful and spiritually filled week full of miracles! I love you all so very much and thank you all for the support and emails!

Until next week!
-Elder Rivera

p.s: I can't be bothered= (It doesn't matter/I don't mind/care)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Another Week Come and Gone...

Hello everybody!!!
Foot Long!!! 

Yet another week has disappeared and it is insane! It is crazy to think that we are already past the midway point of October... like that actually makes no sense whatsoever. Time does seriously fly by
out here. But it has been another wonderful week! We had three baptisms in our Zone this weekend so that was wonderful to hear and be a part of! The Lord is truly blessing this mission with lots of miracles and it is truly a privilege to be a part of it. Today we are just going to play some sport and then relax as it is yet another cloudy day in England!=)

Wednesday: October 14th, 2015
Elder Richins behind the wheel for the 2nd time,
Nothing to be scared about...
Elder Richins had driving Lessons today so we were up in Reading for a bit while he took care of that. After his lessons we had a meeting with the STL's to set goals for the zone for this transfer. After, we raced home to have dinner with the Ashley's because they made spaghetti and bolognese with garlic bread... Brother Ashley thought it would be funny to grab the first cake he saw at Costco that had the word 'American' in it so he then comes out with this GIANT cake... I mean a good 8 inches tall and about 10 inches across the top... I've never had so much chocolate cake in my life...

Professional Spray Painter
Thursday: October 15th, 2015
We got to do some service today for Tammy. She is redecorating her entire kitchen so we stripped down all of her cabinet doors and we sanded them down and then spray painted them! It was actually a really good time and she is super happy with how close it is to being done. We will go by sometime this week to finish it all up for her. We finished up the night with dinner at the Hills and had a very spiritual lesson with them about the Restoration. None of us could deny the feeling we had after that lesson. Reciting the first vision really hit me this time around and it was remarkable. We had rice pudding for dessert afterwards and for my first time having it, it tasted rather well. (kind of like a maple and brown sugar oatmeal packet from back home)

Friday: October 16th, 2015
I felt blessed today. I got to perform my first baptismal interview and it was so amazing. His name is Sydney and he is truly a golden investigator (now member as he was baptized on Sunday) but he was just so prepared and he knew so many things about the church from all of his previous encounters (sound familiar?) He works for Huawei, some big phone company that is like supposed to be better than Apple soon. But we had the interview at his office at the Huawei building and oh my goodness... we had like first class service there... Truly we were the most spoiled missionaries ever. We got lunch paid for us and then we had badges on top of our Missionary Badges. It was high class stuff. We got to choose from like five difference food types at the buffet and I chose of course... fish and chips. It was the traditional fish and chips too so they didn't skin the fish! Scratched that off my bucket list and it tasted SO GOOD!!! Add some Pete's sauce to that and oh man... but we just got super spoiled and he is a really awesome guy. He wants to bring the gospel to China!!! Sydney will be a great tool for the Lord to use in this work!

Tracey Baker!
Saturday: October 17th, 2015
Tracey's baptism! We spent the day by tending to some missionaries that were struggling and then we prepared for the baptism. Tracey was super excited for her baptism and kept telling us how happy she
felt afterwards and you could see it. Following the baptism Scott received the Priesthood and being able to be a part of that was quite the experience. It is truly amazing to see a family come together and to all find the Gospel within weeks of each other. Truly the greatest miracle God could deliver us.

Sunday: October 18th, 2015
Triple R&B!!!
I know I say this a lot... but Sundays are the best...! Today was a little different though. With Scott receiving the Priesthood yesterday, he was able to have a part in the Sacrament Ordinance. Here is where the touching moment comes in. Grab your tissues ladies and gents. So, Sister Baker (Scott's mom) hasn't had a priesthood holder in the home since her husband passed away a couple or so years back and Scott was passing the Sacrament today and it wasn't a coincidence that he went on the exact side that his mom was sitting.  Being able to see Scott hand that tray over to his Mom was truly... a humbling experience for me.  Not only seeing a recent convert progress so much (by the way, he is also a Young Men's Advisor now) but for Sister Baker, she was in tears after he received the Priesthood and explaining how it felt to have the Sacrament passed to her by her son.  David will receive the Priesthood this coming week and Ryan the following week.  Charlie will also receive her calling soon as well.  Truly truly blessed to see so many miracles.  I need to be more grateful for the things I have seen, that is a personal goal for me and to give God all the gratitude.  Everyone is on Cloud 13 (as Tracey Explained how she felt)

Scripture for the week:
Mosiah 23:10
"Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth."

Love you all! Have a great week!
~Elder Rivera