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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ryan's Miracle!!!


Hello all you wonderful people! 

Elder Schulthies!...11th floor in Basingstoke!
So we had another successful and amazing week, capped off by yet, another miracle baptism! I'll tell a little more about Ryan later in the email but conference is this weekend and oh my... it is going to be the greatest thing ever! 3 new Apostles... what? I cannot wait to learn so much from the Lord's Prophet and His Apostles! There are just so many questions that I have and I encourage you to discover some for yourself so you can receive the personal revelation the Lord has in store for you to receive this weekend!

Tuesday: September 22nd, 2015
We had exchanges again and I got to go up to Reading to work with Elder Baum and we knocked some 200+ houses and only like 4 actually gave us 5 minutes to talk. There was one house we knocked on and this
Elder Baum, "Is it Easter yet"?
old guy answered the door and was talking with us and then his wife
walked up and was like, "nope, we don't need it! Close the door honey." He proceeded not to close it and then she force slammed it and it ended up hitting the corner of her husbands head as it closed. It was pretty sad... but I guess closing the door on your husband to make a point for us as missionaries is totally okay? I don't know...

Wednesday: September 23rd, 2015
We had a brilliant district meeting today in Reading and then we had a lot of time to travel and do some things and prepare things for Ryan's interview on Thursday and that was about it for the day. Couple of teaches here and there but nothing to crazy.

Thursday: September 24th, 2015
Oh man! Today was just amazing. We had to travel about 4 hours back and forth to take the Sister Training Leaders on exchanges so that took a lot of time but, we made up for it by having some great lessons with Michael and Tracey! Both of them are progressing a little slower than what we would hope, but progression is progression. They have 2 weeks each until their baptism so we are just working around all the little kinks they have and then helping them prepare for that day. Ryan's baptismal interview went super well, he told us after his interview that he was just so happy and couldn't wait for Saturday!

Ryan's Baptism
Friday: September 25th, 2015
Round 2 exchanges with the Basingstoke Elders! We drove around for about 40 minutes trying to find parking which ate up a lot of our time before the exchange and that was a bummer... but again, we made up for the wasted time and had some great street lessons with some people and then had a couple of teaches with a less active member and than a part member family and then finished up our night with a nice steak dinner with a Jamaican Member Brother Powell! Coolest guy ever, ah man... his accent was totally the way I ever imagined it would be and it was just fun to talk with him. He's been a convert as well for a while now and he is just the coolest.

Saturday: September 26th, 2015
The day of Ryan's baptism!!! So here is the story of Ryan! So his best friends are the Bakers (we baptized them on the 12th of September) long story short here, he was super against everything we were teaching them and would always make negative and crude humorous jokes about the lessons and basically said it was all a load of rubbish. However, when
The Lucky Rub
the time for the baptism to take place came around, still hard hearted, he came to support them and as he watched each of his friends
go in and out of the water, the Spirit completely flipped his world. He became super emotional and just felt everything and gained a
testimony of everything we taught and what he witnessed at that moment and knew it to be true. He then called us and wanted to ask us a
couple of questions and when we met him (along with the Bakers) on Monday, he asked us what he felt and what it meant. He explained
The whole Baker family and Ryan
 (he's pretty much a baker)
everything to us and he got emotional again and we just smiled and started to testify right there and then he asked if he could be baptized. So 2 weeks of teaching later, splash! Ryan is such a great guy and you could really see the countenance change by just witnessing and feeling what he did. We did nothing on this one... this was all the Spirit and the Lord. We just did what was asked of us after that. Truly... this is one of the greatest miracles and things I have
personally seen and it has really opened my eyes to so many things and I just know God lives and he truly wants each of us to feel as Ryan did, but first, we have to just have an open mind and try something new in order for the Lord to then confirm it for us!

Sunday: September 27th, 2015
Confirmation of Ryan took place and then the typical Sunday routine! We had dinner with Norman after church and then we headed out to Reading to prepare for accounting and the rest of the night was just accounting and then we slept over again in Reading (thats like the 10th time already...) but that was about it!

England....Mercy please!
At the request of my sister Sabrina, I will be sharing a verse a week from the Book for Mormon that stood out to me during my study. (there are a lot that stick out to me every day but I will do the one that I feel I must share the most)

This week comes from:
Alma 33:23

"And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen."

The England Sunrise!

I love you all and pray for daily! Thank you for all the support and the emails! Truly blessed for all of you!

Elder Rivera

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

3 Months in England Already...! WHAT?

Elder Phelps and Myself!

September 21, 2015 3:22 am England Time

So this week has been one for the books! We had exchanges throughout the week so that was super fun and full of great miracles. We also had our Zone Training which went completely according to plan and the Spirit was present throughout the entire training. But everything is going swell and just loads of fun each day! Hope you are all doing great!

Tuesday: September 15th, 2015
Today I was on exchanges with Elder Syndergaard and we had a lot of good things happen for us while we were contacting. We gave out 3 copies of the Book of Mormon and also... Ryan, the Bakers best friend... oh yeah! He is getting baptized!!! But he was super anti to the church and thought
everything we taught was a load of rubbish but then the Spirit just overwhelmed him and he couldn't deny what he was feeling and he then asked if he could be baptized and if I would perform the ordinance for him. What a privilege! But it is truly amazing what the power of the Holy Ghost can do to people if they feel and recognize what they are feeling as the Spirit of the Lord confirming truth the them at that very moment!

Wednesday: September 16th, 2015
Before we exchanged back... we went to the hospital to give a blessing to a member who had a heart attack that led to a stroke and the life support was going to be turned off at 10:00am. it was by far... the hardest blessing I have ever given because I wanted God to heal her so badly... her son was in the room and he was just so sad and I wanted to help, but the Spirit told me it was time for her to go and it was just so hard to accept it... later after that, we just finished planning zone training and had a couple of lessons throughout the day.

Thursday: September 17th, 2015
SPLENDID DAY!!! Wonderful experience at Zone Training and we all learned a lot from each other and all the presentations that were given were so thoroughly planned out and it just went so well and
everything flowed just the way we were praying it would.  We had dinner at the hills that night and then had another hard lesson with the Bakers(recent converts now!=) But one of their dogs was really
sick and on the verge of dying and it was just so sad again... there was nothing we could do but just mourn with the entire family... I was just torn seeing them all say their goodbyes as the dog was struggling to breathe and then they took it to the emergency vet to put her down.=( It was just hard to see them all so sad...

The Squad

Friday: September 18th, 2015
We had exchanges again! This time we had to drive an hour just to pick up Elder Phelps and drop off Elder Richins. Although it was a long drive... the trip and the route we took was so beautiful! There was rolling hills and everything and we saw some deer and a huge buck. Also a very umm... nice Pristine White Lamborghini... But we exchanged and drove back and then we began contacting right away and we met this nice lady named Gloria and her son Nathan and we taught them the Restoration and she took a leaflet and also agreed to meet with us again and be baptized if she received an answer to her prayers. I then had a prompting to go knocking instead so we got back to the car and went knocking on this street that I have been dying to knock and I am glad I listened... we had 5 families talk with us for a bit and we also got return appointments from each of them so woohoo!

Saturday: September 19th, 2015
Today was just traveling back and then we had some stuff to take care of at the chapel for Elder Richins and his driving test... so we lost a lot of time because of traveling and traffic and the hundreds of roadblocks we hit... but then we had an awesome fajita dinner with the Catalanos'.

Sunday: September 20th, 2015
I just love Sundays... especially the Sundays when you have 3 of your baptismal dates show up to church when they said it was going to be hard to make it and they all made it! Proper miracle and they each loved it and are looking forward to their baptisms! But we then had a baptism for a child of record from the ward and then we had accounting the rest of the night! We have also probably set the record for the most sleep overs ever in a mission because we stay in Reading every single Sunday night because of how late we account! haha. It is all good fun and we enjoy our p-days so it is completely worth it!

Today we had a nice french toast breakfast and then we are emailing and then it is all random after that, we have some cleaning to do again and of course, we have to write some letters and all the good ol pday stuff!

Elder Syndergaard and Myself!!!

But I hope all of you are doing swell and that everything is going well for you all!

Thank you all for the emails, I really enjoy each and every one of them!!!

Love you all!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Baker Family!!! BAPTISMS!!!

Hello everybody,

So this week was amazing, however, today I forgot my journal at the flat and so this will all be from  memory so I am very sorry if it's not going to be full of all the details like it normally is but guess
what!!! We baptized a family!!! It was the greatest experience of my life and I am just so full of joy for them and proud of the people that they have become over a very short amount of time. But yeah, the week, topped off by a family baptism, what could be better right?

Baptism leads to Eternal Life (Idea borrowed from Elder Lemieux)

Tuesday: September 8th, 2015
So today we had to travel all the way up to Oxford to pick up some elders and then take them down to Crawley and then back up to Oxford for exchanges. So funny story... We were parking to pick up the elders on the first run and literally... 15 minutes of terrible luck... We leave for 15 minutes... And come back and guess what... Parking ticket. Really!? There just had to be an officer going around checking right then... Come on... But it is totally okay because I guess people get parking tickets all the time over here so the office was just like, yeah alright cool. But that was a fun experience to say I got my first parking violation in England... Woo hoo!

Wednesday: September 9th, 2015
Elder Clark, Myself, and Elder Richins
So we picked up Elder Clark yesterday and he is going to be with us for the week to train us and to help us understand and fulfil our role as zone leaders. Today we started by taking Elder Richins to take his drivers test and he failed by 4 points but hey, Elder Clark and I had a lot of good lessons while he was in there taking his test so there was a good plus that came out of that. However, I was sick... So it was really hard for me to work it we got things done anyway. I wasn't going to let a little sinus headache get the best of me. The rest of the day was studying and a couple of appointments in the evening. The Smith's bought us fish and chips for dinner and my oh my... Was it delicious!

Thursday: September 10th, 2015
So today we had a lot of lessons that we had to get to and also a referral that we had to meet up with. But then after that, the rest of the night was the baptismal interviews for the Baker Family and that
was the greatest thing ever seeing their smiles after coming out of that interview. They were totally stoked and just ready for Saturday.

Friday: September 11th, 2015
Crazy to think it is another anniversary already... Where does the time go. It was really weird today because normally, in America, it's the first thing you think about when you wake up because it a day of remembrance, but out here, nobody really took mention of it and to be honest... I completely forgot until that night during planning... I had to take a minute and just pray For the families that were again,
effected by that and we elders talked about where we were the day that happened and just had a good history talk for a bit before bed. But then, we got ready for the BEST DAY EVER!

The Baker Family Baptism
(Elder Richins, Scott, Me, Charlie, and David)
Saturday: September 12th, 2015
Today, the anticipation for the baptism just made us so hyped and ready to do work. We went out contacting early in the morning in the town centre and just went right into the work. We got a couple of great lessons with people and we also met a member who was down visiting from Manchester and we got to teach her son a quick restoration message before they departed and he was really thinking about what we said and he committed to reading it with his mom when they returned home so score! But then of course... We were already having such a great exchange with Elder Clark and we were learning so much from him and just taking it all in and the best way to end our exchange... We baptized Scott, David, and Charlie! By far, the rates to experience of my life... I remember walking into those waters holding another role just under 2 years ago, but this time, it was different and it was really nice to remember for myself, how I felt that day and send the smiles and the fullness of joy that they had and that everyone else had that witnessed it was truly remarkable. Our mission president also was able to make it after he just returned from a mission president seminar in Austria. By far again, the greatest feeling ever of being able to bring back our brothers and sisters back into the fold. We couldn't stop smiling or screaming that night and were just full of gratitude to our God for the opportunity we had to teach them and become a part of their family. I can't wait for them to go to the temple now and experience that for the first time as well!

Sunday: September 13th, 2015
Confirmations! We got to perform our first confirmations today and it was truly amazing. The Spirit just filled the congregation and it was
again, amazing to see their smiles after getting up from that chair and just feeling so happy and loved by everyone. Truly... I will never forget this experience ever, it holds a very special place in my heart because of the things that we had to do and help them with in order to take that extra step and know that they were truly ready to follow the example of Jesus Christ.

Baptism is that stepping stone for everything and with the help of the Spirit, we were able to bring back 3 of our Father's children back into the family of God.

There is no greater joy then being in that font and seeing those people walk down those steps... That is all I can say.

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

-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Week of Many Adventures!!!

Hello all my wonderful friends and family!!!

This past week has been a relatively busy one... and we had to do SO much traveling to and from Reading...(we are Reading for our p-day today because we had accounting late last night so we stayed the night with Elder Redd and Elder Baum) but it was fun and completely worth every single trip. We had our MLC on Friday and that was really a big earning experience for myself and others. We had to
Sunday Night accounting!!!
council about some things that the mission could really improve on to help us become the missionaries that the Lord needs us all to be for this great Season of Miracles. We finally, after hours upon hours, we came to a resolution for it all and the Lord confirmed that our decisions were what we needed to do. But other than that... like I said earlier... loads of travel and so many things to do now these days...

Tuesday: September 1st, 2015
It is really weird to think that is already September... where did July and August go??? It was our P-day due to transfers so we just did a lot of the usual p-day stuff. We finished however, with a very very powerful teach with the Baker family. I cannot explain what we all felt that night but, Charlie was struggling to recognize answers from the Spirit and when we finished the lesson... the prayer I offered to close was really remarkable. I said a slow but powerful prayer for her to be able to receive that witness for herself, and after... her husband David was like, "now you can't tell me you didn't feel that...?" Long story short, she now knows what it feels like to receive an answer to a prayer and I am so thankful for the power of prayer and the way that night ended.

Wednesday: September 2nd, 2015
Today wasn't to spectacular of a day... we had maybe two lessons but there were some issues going on with people that we had to resolve, one of our investigators almost got jumped with her baby in her arms, another just had things going on, and then a lesson didn't go through so it was a not so good day for anyone.

Thursday: September 3rd, 2015
We got our car!!! I feel so accomplished in my life because I am able to say that I drove on the wrong side of the road and I didn't die or hurt anyone else!!!=) But today is where the most of the traveling
kicked in. We had to prepare the Reading chapel for MLC for Friday and then we had accounting that night with the District Leader's so it made it easier to once again, spend the night in Reading(which we will do a lot this transfer...) But we got to meet the newest missionaries in our area and they are total stars!!! 5 of them came to our zone and they are all ready to work and each of them is from America(a lot from Utah and 1 from Arizona) But we got to meet them and introduce ourselves so that was fun. We also had 8 Elder's in 1 flat that night because we had some travel from areas to be ready for MLC in the Morning.

Just cooking curry....no big deal!!

Friday: September 4th, 2015
MLC!!! Really great day and just full of information and ideas of how we can make our mission better and again, ready for this Season of Miracles and for us to find ways to meet the standards that the Lord has set for us. We had a lot to take away and present to our District Leaders in DLC so we prepared for that the same night. Next MLC is in October before the end of the transfer to record our progress and see truly, how we did as a mission with the updated training plan and if we met the goals and reached our focus point that we had for the transfer.

Saturday: September 5th, 2015
Another long day full of meetings with DLC, we just passed on the information from MLC and then had a council about it and prepared things that we wanted to focus on as a zone and what we wanted to achieve and how we could do that.

The Supper 8...(Elders: Richins, Mayes, Dyer, Me,
 Redd, Syndergaard, Baum, and Schulthies)
Sunday: September 6th, 2015
The... Season of Miracles fasting prayer was the greatest thing ever. We had every missionary say a prayer on their knees, as well as stake presidents, bishops, members, the whole lot that agreed to join us in this fasting prayer. The Lord has prepared the ELSM for another Great Harvest and we have all received a witness from the Spirit that He has indeed, prepared thousands... of people to be baptized. President
Eyring has even received this witness and talked to President Gubler face to face about it. There are people beyond the veil that need work and they can only receive it by the people who are now being prepared to receive and accept the Gospel. I cannot deny this statement because the Spirit has witnessed it to be true to me... I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for us and the miracles that we get to unfold for Him and His work.

So that sums up this crazy week. This mission is a dream mission...not only is it a wonderful place to be and see, but the work is just going to explode and being able to help those that the Lord puts in
our path or us in theirs... being able to truly help them find truth and happiness in the Gospel and helping them come to know that what we teach is true by the power of the Spirit, It will make all the
difference in my life and the rest of my mission that I still have left to fulfill and unfold.

Happy birthday to all you wonderful September babies!!!

Talk to you soon!!!
Love you all,

-Elder Rivera

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Transfers Week 6!!

Hello everyone!

So due to transfers, I am emailing you today! =) So good news is Elder Richins and I are both staying in Farnborough together! This week has been a little hectic but I have really learned so much and A LOT has happened... It's been a a great week overall though so no worries there. But again, the England weather hasn't been to nice to us, its been raining so much these past couple of weeks haha. But we have MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) coming up this Friday so we are both really looking forward to that! Other than that, this week will just be a lot of other missionaries moving to their new areas and us preparing for MLC!

Tuesday: August 25th, 2015
Today was a very long day... all day rain again and then we went and practiced for our driver's test online. After we headed to Tony's for a lesson on the 10 commandments. Solid teach! After Tony, we visited Victor (family speaks Portuguese and Spanish) so Victor speaks English but everyone else doesn't so its hard to understand anything...(wish I could remember what I "learned" from Spanish class) Finished up the night by checking up on the Baker family and they are doing great. So proud of what they have accomplished together, it's truly been a miracle.

Wednesday: August 26th, 2015
Exchanges round two!!! Elder Avanesjan came down to Farnborough again so I got to work with him for a day and let me tell you, we got some work done! We started off on a hot start. We ran into these two ladies that were from Germany so Elder Avanesjan took that advantage to speak German to them. Lo and behold, I couldn't understand a single word they were saying but they were excited. He was telling them what we teach others and then we finally started talking in English with them again so I got to finally say some stuff. But after them, we met a great kid named Allen, he is a chef and we stopped and talked to him for a bit and then invited him to sit down with us right then and there and he agreed so, we taught him the restoration and then invited him to be baptized. He said the closing prayer and agreed for the 19th of September! He's a solid kid, he took a copy of the Book of Mormon and a pamphlet and then we had dinner at the Johnson's and then finished off by visiting the Baker's again. Today was really full of miracles and we seized the opportunities that were given to us by the Lord.

Exchanges with Elder Avanesjan and Wesley!
Thursday: August 27th, 2015
Finally stopped raining after three days and we just re-exchanged back with our normal companions. But I made my first successful dish of curry. (all from scratch) I was proud of myself as I didn't burn anything and the rice was perfect! But the rest of today was just tons of service. We helped the Reed's pack up a bed frame that was very hard to take apart, but I brought out my inner handy man skills and managed to do it! We had to then carry it down two flights of stairs but hey, it was worth it as we then got to pop a little bit of bubble wrap as we covered the frames haha.

Friday: August 28th, 2015
Today was umm... interesting? We got a call very early in the morning from President Gubler during our study time and he had asked us what our schedule looked like today and if we could make it to his house for dinner. We were like what... so we had to reschedule a lot of things and we got all jumbled up but we managed to get everything set up. We had to go to Basingstoke to give the sisters a blessing and then we headed to the nearby hospital to do a baptismal interview for one of their investigators. (Alex is golden!) But then we had to RUN to
Elder Richins, Myself, Elder Redd, and Elder Avanesjan
(Reading Zone Leaders)
the bus stop and make it to the train station within seven minutes and then catch the train to Oxshott to make it to President's in time. We barely... and I mean barely made it to the train. We got on and the doors closed right behind us... 1 hour later we arrive and President picked us up and took us to his home. There were six elders total (including us) and we had dinner, then President interviewed each of us and he took myself and Elder Richins in together and he asked us some questions about our companionship and all, and we are now the
Zone Leaders over the Reading Zone. So we were really excited that night but tons of nerves kicked in... but we both know we can do great things with this calling from the Lord.

Saturday: August 29th, 2015
So yeah, now that we will have a car, we will both have to learn to drive on the wrong side of
the road haha. (the test here is SO different than the one in the states) We studied today and then were
with the zone leaders the rest of the day so they could show us the ropes of things and all the accounting sheets and such. That was about it.

Sunday: August 30th, 2015
Another great Sunday!(as always) but today was just church and then we
headed to Basingstoke to clean the Elder's flat for the new ones coming in and then stayed in Reading to learn more from Elder Redd and Elder Avanesjan.
Accounting on Sunday

Monday: August 31st, 2015
Not a bad day. Most of the day was traveling back to Farnborough from Reading and then lunch so we didn't have much of the day to work with. So we set up our white boards and other stuff for the upcoming transfer and then went to dinner at a member's home and then finished off the night with the Baker' and Andrew.

So a lot of stuff happened last week and SO MUCH is going on this week so we are going to be traveling a lot this week and preparing presentations for MLC on Friday so we are going to be very busy and stressed... but I love it! Hope you are all doing swell and I'll talk to you soon!

-Elder Rivera