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, 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

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Transfer 2 Complete!!!

Hello Family and friends!!!

MTC Group Reunited! (Sister Bills, Sister England, Sister Gwilliam
Me, Elder Persicke, Elder Reynolds)

So we just finished up driving everyone around for moves and man am I exhausted. It was so nice to see so many people that I haven't seen in a while. There were 6 of us from our MTC group so we got to talk and catch up and then we all departed our separate ways again. However, another transfer has already come to an end... it doesn't make sense! But transfer three is going to be a really good one for our zone. Really looking forward to it! We have a lot of baptisms across the zone lined up for these next couple of weeks!!! The Season of Miracles is real!!!

Tuesday: October 6th, 2015
Today we had MLC again. We started things off by doing a study session with everyone and it was lead by President and Sister Gubler. They showed us techniques we can try to have more effective study and making it more personal to ourselves so that will be nice to try applying as time goes on. After we went into council about things that needed to be addressed for the mission and then we learned how to read a tenant packet, and keeping things in order in the flat. But the next MLC will be in 3 weeks so it will be fun to learn more again!

Elder Stull and Me
 (he is carrying me in this pic)
Wednesday: October 7th, 2015
We did the same thing as last transfer, we held our DLC today to go over the things we received from MLC and then what we wanted to do in order to improve our zone. A lot of things are being changed and it's really becoming a little to much but hey, it brings forth miracles so... worth it. We had to push Tracey's baptism to the 17th because we were in Reading all week and couldn't meet with her. But now she is all set and ready to go for Saturday.

Thursday: October 8th, 2015
Today was such a long day... in a good way. We had our Specialized Zone Training today so that took all day and we also had interviews with President Gubler so that pushed it back even further. We didn't end up finishing it all up until around 8:15pm, and we started at 8:30am. They taught us loads of valuable things to try when we go out contacting and also we reviewed some of the past events that have shown us that God truly is working with us right now in this mission
and how many miracles are coming about left and right. It was a really good day full of everything!=)

Friday: October 9th, 2015
We finally, after 7 days in Reading returned back to Farnborough. We got to visit some people today that we hadn't seen for a week. We had some short short lessons with a few and then we had to head home to finish up some planning.

Saturday: October 10th, 2015
We went over to Tammy's in the morning to view our moves lists that were sent out and then we had some bacon sandwiches. After all that we went and saw Tracey and then we visited the Bakers to talk
about family history and the importance of it and temples.
Just a candle lit dinner...no big deal!

Sunday: October 11th, 2015
Church was great today! Scott received his first calling in the church so we are super excited for him with that and he also should be receiving the Priesthood this weekend. But we then had pulled pork for dinner and it was delicious. Followed by better than anything cake! Then typical Sunday night of accounting up in Reading to cap off the

Monday October: 12th, 2015
Black Monday!(no p-day) We went and helped Tammy put up some new curtains and I'm glad my mom had the same style at home and so I knew how to put them up on the rod so that was fun to do. I can be a handy man when required I guess. haha. But we then had a temple trip planned
with the Bakers and they all got really sick except for Scott so us three "went" the reason I say "went" is because we got stuck in traffic for two hours because of an accident and so we decided after looping around trying to go a different way and we ended up at the same place after an hour, so we just called it quits... there's a reason we couldn't go and thats all that matters.

Its been a really good week so far and we have Tracey's baptism this Saturday so it is going to be even better. I don't know how some people can't see that God truly has restored his Church back to the earth and how we as his servants are doing our best to help them come to that knowledge. A lot of people are finally realizing it over here and it truly a miracle. So many good things happening each day in every part of the mission!!!

Got to see Elder Persicke for moves!!!

Scripture for the week:

2 Nephi 28:30
"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have."

I love you all and hope you have a great rest of your week!!!

-Elder Rivera

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 2015 General Conference!!!

Here was the most recent blood moon!
(pic received from another Elder)
Hello hello everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed General Conference this weekend! I truly love general conference and as a missionary, it was like 10x better! We are finishing up the afternoon session today for pday and then we got basketball and futbol lined up after. But there were a lot of things to take away from general conference this weekend and I hope we all had received answers to the questions that you had
in your heart.

Pre-Conference Photo!
(Elder Baum, Me, Elder Richins, Alas,
Elder Redd, Elder Phelps, Elder Johnson,
Elder Wagaman, and Elder De Wilde)
Tuesday: September 29th, 2015
We got to go on exchanges with the Didcot elders today and it was good, besides the point of being in the car for nearly seven hours of the
exchange due to traveling left and right and up and down and all around. We had youth night for the exchange so we got to teach some of
the youth what it was like to be a missionary and the way the schedule was and then they practiced contacting and knocking! It was funny to watch and I was amazed at how creative some of their approaches were.

Wednesday: September 30th, 2015
I woke up today and realized that it was already the end of September and I was just like... what? We didn't do much today due to traveling and then we just had a couple of short lessons and then accounting. But I did finish the Book of Mormon again for the 3rd time (twice on the mish) This time around as I read it again, I made a vow to read it a lot slower and find the connections that the Book of Mormon has to my current life and I even found a new study technique that I am going along with this time around so I hope to learn so much more on this read.

Thursday: October 1st, 2015
Elder Richins had his driving lessons toady so that was fun to watch. One year without being behind the wheel and then jumping on the wrong side of the road and car... he looked like me my first day. He just kept looking at me through the mirror and smiling because of how much the driving instructor was chewing him out and just making him feel like he didn't know anything about driving. He was a member though and was just totally pulling his leg but it was still funny.

Friday: October 2nd, 2015
Traveling... traveling, and more traveling... today we had to drive all the way to Basingstoke and then to the mission office to drop off one of the sisters because she was being emergency transferred to
This is the wonderful Sophia!
She is our Babushka (Grandma in Russian)
become a trainer for a new sister that just came in because her visa hasn't cleared yet. When we got back to Basingstoke to drop off the sisters, Sister Steeb had made avocado ice cream and dared us to try some. umm... yeah, it sounds delicious right? Well, lets just say I won't be doing that food challenge ever again. I nearly puked! Everyone just laughed and Elder Richins just swallowed the thing whole and thought it tasted like banana... what??? But we then went on exchanges with Reading and Elder Redd and I started by visiting the greatest convert ever, Tanya. But after that, we went to this lake to contact and we started chasing people around in the pitch black. We had some fun with Tanya though (see video).

Saturday: October 3rd, 2015
Elder Redd and I got to do some service for Sophia. People in England have the nicest gardens ever and they are HUGE. But she had us do a routine cleanup basically and there were so many leaves everywhere and I had to sweep ALL of them up! It was the best! She fed us a nice chicken curry after and it was completely delicious. We then prepared for general conference and headed to the chapel to watch it. Of course, so many answers to questions I had during the first session. I couldn't believe how many notes I took as well. (thats a first) But conference was just completely amazing. For today we only got to watch the morning session though and then we finish up the rest of it on Sunday and Monday.

So here is a little story to cap off Saturday night. Ready?

Pizza Express!!
So we got home after having pizza for dinner at a restaurant and Elder Richins forgot his bag in the car so we went into the garage to get it and when we went into the garage we heard someone screaming for help. Background story first though of course, Elder Baum and I went and bought food for the morning and went back to the flat and tried getting in but we forgot the key so we knocked on the door and this guy that saw us looked at us, flipped us off and then stormed out of the ground floor where we needed to get in. We were like, okay... what is that guys problem. So we went to dinner and got back so here we pick up from the beginning. Elder Richins and I walk in and that exact same guy was totalling attacking a guy with a hammer and the guy managed to grab a hold of the hammer and they were in a little mexican stand off for a bit. I walked up and Elder Richins is calling me telling me to stay back and I walked up and started asking questions. You know, "what is going on? What is the problem?" Typical questions you ask I suppose. But so the reason the guy attacked the other is because his kids (mind they are four years old) jumped around the flat to much and made to much noise and the guy couldn't sleep. However, the father defended his kids saying that they were at school so he didn't know how they made so much noise during the day (as the other guy said) But then two by two, more of us missionaries kept coming into the situation and again, there were 10 of us in the flat because of conference. So imagine 10 missionaries at a scene and this guy who is super mad already (he smashed the guys cars and broke the tail lights) but pair by pair we all come out and this guy just goes, "you beeping
The squad rocking our comp ties!
joking me? How many of you Jesus freaks are there?"

But long story short, he got arrested and we totally saved a guys life because Elder Richins forgot his bag. Coincidence? I think not! There
is no such thing! But the guy that we helped kindly left a letter at our flat door thanking us and it made my day. It was quite the way to end the night but it was a good way, no body got hurt, the guy that got attacked just had a couple of bruises from the hammer hitting him
in the arms and such from defending himself. So yeah, England was bumping!

Sunday: October 4th, 2015
By far the greatest session ever. Again, I was able to learn so much and I was personally rebuked by Elder Holland but you know, it opened my eyes to some things I need to work on when I get home. But other than that, I look forward to seeing these three new Apostles of the Lord fulfil the great work he has for them to do as His Apostles. We finish up conference on P-day so can't wait!

Verse of the Week and I'll add a quote from conference as well because there were so many good ones but I'll put my favorite.

Verse: 1 Nephi 19:23
"And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning."

Quote: "Exaltation is our goal; discipleship is our journey"- Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Locked and Loaded....
I hope each of you can go back and learn from conference as the talks were just so brilliant and full of wonderful teaching and guidance. I also wish each and every one of you to have a great week and to ponder about what you learned from conference because those 10 hours you sat and watched conference, everything you heard and learned must continuously be in your thoughts for the next six months.

Have a great week and I love you all!!!

~Elder Rivera!