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

Monday, August 24, 2015

Rain, Rain, and some MORE Rain!!!!.......

Good morning everyone! (very early morning for some of you back in the states)

I hope that this week was full of adventure and what ever else was involved as some of you are preparing to head back to school!(yay or nay?) haha, sorry, but this week was really stressful and just was yeah, stressful with everything going on. We are trying to arrange all of our baptismal dates and set them up so the ward can be there (they are having some yearly party on our original date... and asked if we could move it) So we have been stressing and trying to figure things out. So yeah... busy busy week coming up and today we are heading to Reading for a huge zone p-day, apparently it is going to be a very very fun so definitely looking forward to seeing what it is because they said to bring extra clothes because we would be getting VERY dirty so who knows what that means... anyways, here's the gist on this past weeks events!

ps: It rains like no other if you didn't catch on...

Tuesday: August 18th, 2015
What a DAY TO CONTACT! We had a ton of success this morning, however, with great success also comes LOADS of opposition... but we were able to snag some return appointments just before we headed in for lunch. After having more curry, we set out for our appointments for the day. We stopped
Plane from the shopping centre!
by Tammy's to give her a blessing and then after that headed to the Laborero's for dinner; a very rich and delicious fish and potatoes dinner with a creamy sauce to cover it all, then followed it up with a peach cobbler dessert. We chatted it up for a bit about their holiday (vacation) to Cassis, France (definitely going there for a few weeks one of these summers) But then we talked about how IMPORTANT the Book of Mormon is in our lives and literally how it is the single greatest and truest book on the face of the earth!

Wednesday: August 19th, 2015
District meeting day and all was well. It again took a lot of travel time and we added an extra hour and a half of travel time because of traffic due to an accident over in Bracknell by the chapel. When we finally got home to the flat, we cooked up some pork chops and then we headed out for our lessons but we ended up getting flogged so we headed back and just did 12 week and then headed to the Hills' for dinner; spicy curry and blackberry pie for dessert =)

Thursday: August 20th, 2015
Rough start to today by the results of our contacting but it got really good by the end. We had SO much rejection and no body wanted to even answer the simple question of "how are you doing today?" So... that got annoying but it was okay. Elder Bos (one of the AP's said to always rejoice in the rejection and both Elder Richins and I have been doing that haha! It really works because we are happy with all the rejection because it means that something really good is going to come very soon and it did! We met this awesome gentleman named Stan. We ended up having a really good talk about religion and all of his points of view on the matter and we testified a lot but he still was stuck in his ways so it was sad and hard to see it go that way. After that, we met with George (18 years old) and we taught him the Restoration and he loved it and was really interested in it! We were able to set a baptismal date for him for September 19th and he has never been baptized so he was interested how it all works out and stuff!:)

We finished up the night by doing some service for Tammy. She needed some shelves moved around and cleaned up so it was nice to lend her a hand in doing that.

Friday: August 21st, 2015
Today... my testimony of the power of the priesthood truly was strengthened. I cannot and will never deny that fact... for today, I was able to truly see how the priesthood (being faithful and magnifying it) can truly be manifested before our very eyes. I will not share the experience for it was very special to be a part of for the both of us, but the priesthood power is real and truly has been restored to the earth... God is real, and he truly HEARS OUR PRAYERS.

Okay, so today was a great one (if the above didn't already make that clear) We had a wonderful lesson with Tony and the Bakers and we also had two random people on the bus ride home talk to us and ask us about the church and we exchanged numbers with one of them and gave the other a website card with our number so we plan to meet with Penny sometime this coming week. But all I can say for today, is it was truly amazing and we as priesthood holders need to be ready at ALL times to magnify our calling and as we have faith and pray and have a desire to magnify it, God will grant us opportunities to magnify it and we will be able to see the miracles of God and his hand extend forth right before our very eyes. Today has been a changing point for me so far in my mission and I will remember this one for a long time.

Saturday: August 22nd, 2015
So we did district finding today, Bracknell and Basingstoke came down to Farnborough today and we had some amazing success as a whole. Elder Richins and I met some amazing people; Sabina(she is from Kenya), Jason, and Mike were the key ones that gave us the time to talk with them. What was amazing, is each of them had some history with missionaries and also with the church as a whole. We originally had planned a trip to go to the temple but some of the people that we scheduled with couldn't make it so we had to cancel it and reschedule so it was a bummer but we also had a lot of good things happen because of it. We headed to a member's home so Elder Richins could practice for his driving test that he is taking in a couple of weeks. (that was special, his results started out really well and kept going down the more he took the practice tests...=) but we finished up there with some spaghetti and then headed the Baker's for a lesson! They were totally golden on a certain part of the Word of Wisdom they were struggling with, but they are TOTALLY CLEAN NOW!!! We were so happy and it was the perfect way to end the night!

Sunday: August 23rd, 2015
Elder Redd...enough said there....
Sabbath day! Another great Sunday, Scott was able to make it to church today and he enjoyed himself (he's been in the past but work didn't allow him to make it recently). We did some 12 week after church and then headed to Norman's house for dinner (or tea in UK) but oh my goodness, he fed us like kings...! We seriously could NOT move after we finished... I almost exploded. As we were eating I just kept saying through, " through Christ I can do all things" I just kept repeating it in my head as we ate haha. We had a delicious chilli and baked potato dinner and it was so filling and to top it off... he brings out these giant slices of strawberry cheese cake and apple pie with whipped cream and strawberries and Elder Richins and I just looked at each other and you could see that we were about to struggle through this... but we were able to manage. I'm a total sucker for strawberry cheese cake
so I couldn't resist but as I finished, Norman (and Elder Richins...) insisted that I have a nice slice of apple pie to go with it and let me tell you... the struggle through that slice of pie was real... I probably put on at least a good 5 pounds with that one meal... so I seriously need to go running so I don't put any unnecessary weight on my skeletor body you know? So yeah, today was a true challenge of endurance through that meal (which we both finished it all) so I am proud of myself for getting through that, even if it meant walking away like a waddling penguin. I'll take it!

To finish things off today, I want to share what I have learned in personal study this week.

One area that really stuck out to me was regarding to Jacob chapter 5. The entire chapter as a whole is really truly inspiring. It all revolves around the topic of missionary work (some could see it differently) but, from what I took away from it is that, the Lord has nourished, pruned, dug about it, and dunged it in order to preserve it and to gather the fruits that come from it. Throughout the chapter, in his vineyard, it talks about the trees and the fruits that come from them, whether they be good or whether they be bad fruits. As the chapter goes on, the Lord and the servant continue to do what is necessary for the garden to flourish, and the servant keeps telling the Lord that we need more time, we need more time to nourish all the fruit of this vineyard, please, give the trees (or us) more time. The Lord has given us so many chances and preserved us from being cast down into the flames and because of the servant, he granted us more time. HOWEVER, time is no longer our friend, rather, he then calls for more workers for the vineyard and we truly need more workers to help preserve and prune the garden, WE NEED MORE WORKERS! Whether you have a physical badge or not... you better paint one on your heart and get to work because we are the laborers of His vineyard and we NEED to serve him with all of our might in order to preserve, and bring forth those good fruits from not only ourselves, but help others bring forth good fruits as well.
They are tearing this old pub down
right across from the flat and it is really... loud!

Jacob 5:71-72
"And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard, for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come."
"And it came to pass that the servants did go (servants being ALL of us) and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things."

So... how does this relate to us? The Lord has given us one last chance to labor in His vineyard, but are we truly doing all we can to serve him with all of our might? Are we obeying all of the commandments he has given us? Our time on earth is very limited and it is also the time for us to prepare to meet God... So are we TRULY preparing ourselves? Are we just dancing without the music and just going through the motions, or are we listening to the music and stepping to the beats that it provides and really enjoying the music and working up a sweat? The Lord has given us one final chance to bring forth good fruits and be preserved rather than bring forth bad fruits and be cast down into the fire.

I say unto all of you... DON'T QUIT AND DON'T YOU DARE LOOK BACK once you have taken a step towards the straight and narrow path that leads towards eternal life. It will be hard... no one said it would be easy, but as long we labor next to one another and help lift up others, the journey will never have to be made alone. We are never alone... so please, never believe or think that because it is a lie. There is always someone to turn to, they may not be physically next to us, but they are always with us. Our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ are with us every step of the way, and they are there with open arms if we just call upon their names and look to them for everything we do during this time period of preparation. Our end goal of the Celestial Kingdom cannot be obtained alone... we need both our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in order to succeed.

I love you all and I hope that something of what I said will stick out to you and touch your heart because I know that reading it and truly studying it, it has touched mine and has changed the way that I look at how I have done things in the past and how I want to improve on so many other things for the near future.

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

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 5 in Farnborough!

Hello everybody!!!

This week has seriously been the greatest one yet
so far! We had an AMAZING  zone conference and I learned so much from
The beautiful London Temple!
President Gubler! This week was another one full of rain and we
finally got some sunshine by the end of the week so it was nice to
finally get some contacting time in! But its another day to day thing
with the way the weather is over here!

We just went shopping earlier at ASDA (wally world of the UK)
and then we headed over to Tammy's to well... email of course, and
also we made some homemade pizzas and it was seriously the greatest
thing ever!!! But then we got lessons later tonight and we are also
having dinner with the zone leaders to celebrate Elder Redd's birthday!

Tuesday: August 11th, 2015
Zone conference!!! The greatest part of the week for sure! Again,
learned so much and the spirit that was there was just so
remarkable... so many questions that I had were answered and I was
reassured a lot of things I was thinking about as well. Tears were
shed and I really can't deny the spirit that I felt and the things
that I was told. I've been reviewing my notes and just remembering
everything and trying to apply it to the day to day work. I can't wait
for the next ZC (zone conference), that's for sure!

Wednesday: August 12th, 2015
Today was crazy! We were out contacting in the town centre and we
bumped into a lot of amazing people. Some were non members, but we ran
into SO many less actives and got to sit down and talk with them for a
bit and we got some return appointments with them and we also bumped
into a recently returned missionary who was bringing his family
through his mission area. After all of the good stuff happened, so
much opposition throughout the rest of the day. So that was a bummer
but we were still happy!

Thursday: August 13th, 2015
Today was an eventful day! It was Elder Richins official one year mark
and it rained ALL day long... but we had some awesome lessons
throughout the day. One with a recent convert named Daniel (literally
reminds me of myself, only member and he plans to serve a mission in a
year after he does a semester of Uni) But because of the rain, we
didn't have much success on the contacting side of things all day. We
had dinner at the Read's; we had chicken fajita's (chipotle
style) burritos. We finished off by having a seriously deep doctrinal
talk about the last days and the millennium. Brother Read blew my mind
away with some of the stuff he shared. I really learned so much from
him that night and it really made everyone stop and think for a bit.
Our friend Daffy that we met at the Temple :)
We calculated the time we are here on earth based to Kolob (1000 earth
years is 1 day in Kolob) but think about this... we are only gone for
whopping 90 minutes from the presence of our heavenly father! A lot of
the people in the world probably said something like this when we
knew (cause we did), "90 minutes??? pssh, what could go wrong?" But
yeah, it was a really good discussion!

Friday: August 14th, 2015
Another rainy day. We got to go do some service for a member and
basically, we cleaned up every wall in the house from stains and such
on the walls because someone is moving into the home. I think its a
fact that England has like 100 times the amount of spiders than
Arizona... just saying... but we got to meet with Nancy later on after
that and then we headed over to the Toms' for a fish and chips dinner!
(I miss Pete's Fish and Chips for sure, especially the sauce..) But
finished up our night with a lesson at the Baker's and retaught them
about the Law of Chastity. (so much easier to explain to married

Saturday: August 15th, 2015
Early morning contacting before lunch and we didn't have to much
This is Scott and the men in black!
success. We gave a Book of Mormon out but other than that, a guy
flipped us off and just held it for a good 7 seconds as he walked
away... so that was interesting. We had some bacon sandwiches for
lunch along with mac and cheese and then... Greatest part of the day,
we got to take Scott (baptism date for the 29th) to the London Temple!
We got to watch the video about Joseph Smith and then we took a tour
around the grounds of the temple and let me tell you.. the London
Temple... is SO beautiful... I can't wait to see the inside of it! But
Scott loved it and he really felt the spirit as we were there and he
has really committed himself now. The temple is my favourite place to
be and its rough not being able to be there more often... =( buuuut,
that just makes the experience even better right now.

Sunday: August 16th, 2015
The Sunday of Miracles! Tony came to church again, but this time...
his mother came to join him!!! Her name is Gale (Catholic background)
but she was really intrigued on why her son Tony was so excited to
come to church and to read this new book he had received from
us (B.O.M) BUT SHE LOVED IT! She really really enjoyed herself and she
said that she'd read the Book of Mormon once Tony had finished it.
Tony also out of the blue, came to church completely clean shaven and
in very nice Sunday clothes (we didn't tell him to) but he felt like he
should have and he did. But Sunday's are great! We get to take the
Sacrament and also see miracles like this happen when someone shares
their interests with family/friends. All it takes is for us to share
and invite and then it's up to them to act upon it and experience it
for themselves.
I got a little crafty with my picture! =)

When we open our mouths and we truly have the desire to share the
gospel with others, the results could be remarkable. All it takes is
for us to take action, open our mouth and then watch the gospel spread
like wildfire. Fan the flame of your faith, open your mouth, and start
sharing this Gospel of Truth to every living creature because time is
short, and the time to share it is right now! All I can say is be not
afraid, and only believe. People are ready, whether it's here or there
or anywhere, we never know who is going to accept Christ's message
unless they hear and come to know what the message is first.

Love you all and hope you are all doing well!

-Elder Rivera

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's already been a month....What?!

Hello hello all you wonderful and amazing people!

I hope that everyone's week has gone the way they were hoping it would? But this week has been good. A couple of highs and lows but that's life right? I have truly brought the Arizona heat to Farnborough.. it's been scorching the last couple of days but today and the rest of the week, we have a chance for more rain and cooler temps so DEFINITELY looking forward to that... But again, this week was full of everything and I'M LOVING IT! We have zone conference this week and I'm really looking forward to that because guess what...(might of said this earlier) but Elder Richins and I get to sing a duet!!! It's going to be so fantastic! We have been practicing like crazy every morning so we don't mess up (but we might, as none of us have sung in front of a congregation before... let alone just a duet) but all is good... haha So pray for us=)

England Sky

Here we go...

Tuesday; August 4th, 2015
We had a wonderful wonderful day! We got to do some contacting for a bit and then we met with Tony. Tony is seriously golden... he reminds me of myself a lot. He's Catholic and again, very religious. We got to teach him about the Restoration and how God has provided us with a living prophet today. His eyes lit up... we asked him how that made him feel and he just told us how happy that thought is and how true it could be because God doesn't change. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever, so if he called prophets back then, he'll call them now. But he just said it would be so beneficial to have someone lead and guide us in the right path. He was just so excited and we extended a baptismal invitation and he said yes!!! So August 29th is the day and it's going to be amazing. He's so awesome and is just so into what we share.

Wednesday: August 5th, 2015
We had District Leadership Council and it took a huge chunk out of our day. So many good insights were shared between the lot. That night we had dinner with the Freeman's and then had a lesson later that night. Now here's where the low point comes in... very low point. The lesson was just a total mess. No focus and a lot of contention between the family. We tried everything we could to keep them focused and also as reverent as they could be but it just failed miserably. One week before, we are cloud 9 and then this week was a total ground zero. A lot more details but I don't want to release what happened. So that night was very frustrating and it was the hardest thing I've had to go through so far...

A little P-day adventure

Thursday: August 6th, 2015
Another day where our time was cut short. We had to head to Basingstoke for district meeting and that again, took most of our day away from us. When we got back, we headed to Eddie's home (a recent street contact) and he wasn't there so huge bummer because he really needs this message. But on our way back into town we met with a Polish woman named Meerka. She is super nice and very interested in what the Book of Mormon is and again, the idea of God calling prophets in the present day. We're meeting with her this Thursday so we will see how it goes!=)

Friday: August 7th, 2015
First exchange of the mission! Elder Redd and myself got to cover Reading for the weekend together (Friday night and Saturday morning in reality) While there, we got another baptismal date! We also had lessons with a lot of wonderful people. Ade, Sally, Tanya, Paul, Andrew, and then Magda. But I learned a lot from Elder Redd and he and I get along so well haha. We are both very special people (the way we act) but our personalities are similar so we had some serious fun together! Apparently I laugh just like his best friend back home in Idaho so he just freaked out and had to give me a hug... it was funny but strange all at once! But he's an awesome guy and a really great missionary.

Elder Redd and I have style!

Saturday: August 8th, 2015
We headed back into Farnborough to exchange back and then had some curry for lunch. We went out contacting after, before dinner I started applying what I learned from the exchange with Elder Redd. We then headed over to Tammy's house for a bodacious barbecue... it was so so so good. We headed home and started our fast (doing a 4 week zone fast for the season of mircales) but the topic for this week is love so it'll be amazing to see the miracles that come from us participating in this zone fast.

Sunday: August 9th, 2015
Another really awesome Sunday! (every Sunday is awesome, lets' face that fact) TONY CAME TO CHURCH and that's not all... HE LOVED IT. One thing he told us after church was, "I loved church today, and the reason I loved it is because it's a very different atmosphere than the Catholic church and also, what I love is that you practice what you preach." Best compliment Elder Richins and I have received yet! So after church we headed to the Hobb's for lunch/dinner and they made us a roast dinner with Yorkshire pudding (greatest thing I have ever eaten, just saying...) but then we got to share a quick message about the season of miracles and then we headed back to the flat for 12 week and then accounting with the district and then the zone leaders. Again though, it seems like every week seems to go by faster and faster and I feel like we never have any time to do anything... but the Reading Zone now has 20+ baptisms for the month of August and the miracles just keep on coming! God is so good to his faithful and obedient servants. We always see the results as we do what we need to do!

This tree looked like it was from Harry Potter so I had to snap it... Oops.

In closing, I've learned so much from the Book of Mormon this week. I've nearly finished it after 2 weeks and I've found so many great things while reading this time around that have helped me stay so positive and always looking for ways to help others and also help myself learn and grow. I invite everyone to read the Book of Mormon with questions in mind every time you pick it up and I promise you as you read it with those questions in mind, God will show you the answers to the questions as you search diligently.

Mormon 9:21
Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

Missionary Status    (tried to copy Stat haha)

I love you all and I am so thankful for the support and all else you do!


-Elder Rivera

Monday, August 3, 2015

Another Week Down!

Hello everybody!!!

I hope everyone's week has gone well and you're enjoying yourselves! It's crazy to think that it's already August! Time just seems to fly by out here and the next thing you know, it's another p-day. This week was awesome! We had a ton of miracles happen and we can really see the Lord's hand in the work over here in Farnborough! But I hope everyone is doing swell again!

Monday: July 27th, 2015
So after we finished emailing and all, we had a lesson with the Baker family and they also had a friend (Ryan) sit in on the lesson and we were teaching the Plan of Salvation and he was really interested in a lot of things and kept asking questions about it all. We drew out the plan for him and we gave him a Book of Mormon to read and to join us for the next lesson.

Tuesday: July 28th, 2015
Today was special. We had lunch at the Johnson's and they gave us four referrals to go visit after and so we Elder Richins and I did just that. So we were so happy to have some referrals finally and we went and walked to each home and guess what.. none of them were interested. One slammed the door right on our face and we just stood there and were like... k..? But the others talked with us for a bit but declined to meet with missionaries again so we'll just have to keep them our prayers and let the Lord do the rest!

Wednesday: July 29th, 2015
TODAY WAS THE BEST DAY IN THE MISSION SO FAR!!! We had our district meeting in Bracknell (which took about an hour to get there) but we learned a lot of things and what we could focus on for helping the Baker family get ready for their baptismal dates on August 29th. But here's where things get CRAZY. So we went over to the Baker's for our lesson with David, Charlie, and Ryan was there as well. Elder Richins and I decided to start from lesson one to help Ryan understand everything because he was INTERESTED! So we taught them all the Restoration and the Gospel of Jesus Christ together. Best decision ever! The Restoration went super well and then we jumped into lesson three and as we were teaching about baptism and repentance, Charlie asked us questions about her family being sealed together forever. We explained it to her, and here's the miracle. You could see the light in her eyes flicker and she stood up, grabbed all her tobacco and threw it away, came back inside, and said, "you know what, that's not good enough" so she ran back into the kitchen, grabbed all of her teabags and went outside and threw ALL of those away as well... everyone in the room was just blank faced. She came back and sat down with just this huge smile on her face and was so involved in the lesson after that. We finished up the lesson by reading 3 Nephi 11(originally we only planned to read 3 verses) and Charlie said we should read the whole thing with excitement (another miracle) So we finished up the entire lesson and proceed to answer more questions they had that were concerning them or of the sort, and then we got Ryan a baptismal date for August 29th as well! Elder Richins and I went back to the flat and were just on cloud 9 the whole night. That lesson was as close to perfect as you could get (so we think) but now our focus is to keep them doing everything they need to do to prepare for the end of the month and then the rest of their lives! It truly was a day of miracles...

Thursday: July 30th, 2015
Very uneventful day following Wednesday. We just did some service for a member and helped them pack the moving truck and then did some visits to recent converts and finished up with some contacting.

"Service Day"

Friday: July 31st, 2015
Today we met up with someone who stopped us on Thursday and wanted some information on the church (yes... he stopped us, miracle right?) but it went well and then we headed to the flat and Elder Richins taught me how to make Korma Curry. (SO DELICIOUS, but the states doesn't have curry so bummer...) Later, we finished up with contacting and then some studies.

Saturday: August 1st, 2015
We woke up and were amazed that it was already August and we were so happy to flip the calendar page (we're weird like that) but we went and did our usual contacting in the town center and we met a really awesome guy named Tony. He's studying to be a religious studies teacher so he know a ton of things about other religions and what their books say and what they believe but guess what church he hasn't studied or read up on. That's right!=) He was super interested in wanting to know more so we exchanged numbers, handed him a Book of Mormon and we are meeting up with him tomorrow (August 2nd) and we'll begin teaching him more. We had another lesson that night with Scott (Daniel's brother) and he has some stuff going on in his life right now so we had to push back his Baptism to the 29th as well, so now the entire family will be together on that date. (zone leaders also told us that on the 29th, half of our zones baptisms will be taking place on that day so what a blessed day that will be)

Sunday: August 2nd, 2015
Fast Sunday! I hope everyone's fast was amazing and you got some answers to your prayers! I know I did! But I had the opportunity to formally introduce myself to the ward and also bear my testimony and it was so nice to finally do that. But church went well, we then went to the Mcfarlane's for lunch and had a very delicious chili con carne meal. Since it was fast Sunday, we were starving so after lunch, we also had a dinner appointment at Tammy's (she is seriously the best) but she made us steak with mashed potatoes and veggies and wow... it was so good to finally taste steak again. We finished up by having waffles and ice cream, brownies and caramel. SO GOOD! The end of our Sunday was just a zone conference call with our leaders and that was it.

"England Sky"

Monday: August 3rd, 2015
Today we just did some shopping and then we are heading to Bracknell for a zone p-day and FINALLY... FINALLY I get to play basketball... it's been weeks since I've even touched a basketball, let alone shoot one.. so that'll be interesting. We also have a lesson with the Baker's tonight so hopefully that all goes well!

I love you all and think about you like crazy! It's already almost been a month! Crazy, but the work is starting to pick up and I'm finally getting the hang of things so we're almost at that stage of just unfolding the miracles that the Lord has in store for us! Love you all and hope to hear from you soon!

--Elder Rivera