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

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