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, January 27, 2016

Oxford, Harry Potter, and... DINOSAURS!

Snake Time=Cuddle Time
Hello! (forgive me for the lack of details this week, we are in Oxford today so sorry but not sorry!:)

I hope everyone has had a great week so far because this week has been a super good one! We got to watch the first ever Worldwide Missionary Broadcast and it was super jam packed with wonderful things, things we already had but with more emphasis again. It was great! It was another busy week as well with exchanges and planning for our upcoming Zone Training tomorrow so we are super excited for what is to come! Lots of great things are happening in the missionary world right now and what is super cool is how inspired our Mission President is... Things that are now being announced or changed, we have been doing for MONTHS! The whole world is like wow... And we are over here like, haha, been there, done that! Not bragging, it is just super cool to see how inspired President Gubler really is, he truly is a great man of God! Anyways, here is the rundown for this week! Enjoy!

Oxford Natural History Museum!

Tuesday: January 19th, 2016
Iguanodon Skeleton!
We had exchanges today and I got to work with one of our new district leaders and it was a super good experience. We
had some great lessons with people after dinner and we also went and did some contacting on a street with a lot of potentials as well and that sent super well. We found the nephew of one of the members in our Ward and he took a Book of Mormon as well so that was successful!

Wednesday: January 20th, 2016
Today was our Worldwide Missionary Broadcast and it was super sweet as I said before! There was a lot I took away from it again. I loved Elder Bednar's portion where he says that we as missionaries need to bring the message UNTO their hearts but they have to let the message and Spirit INTO their hearts. Very true but hard doctrine at times.

Don't Take My Photo-Elder Mayes
Thursday:January 21st, 2016
Today we did some
area book cleaning and mapping out the potentials on our iPad but we also had a dinner appointment in a village so then after we knocked around in the village. It was super dark and sketchy but it was fun. It was called Dauntless Road which was really cool. (for all you divergent fans out there) 

Friday: January 22nd, 2016
Today we went on exchanges again and I got to work with Elder Brown, another Arizona Elder which was sweet. We had a great day and we also went to correlation which was interesting... But it was a good day.

Saturday: January 23rd, 2016
We exchanged back today and then later on after doing some visits to some members and investigators, we finished up our newsletter for this week.

Elder McCappin, myself, and our
new friend Rex!
Good ole T-Rex!

Sunday: January 24th, 2016
We had church today and it was super good today. Really great speakers today talking about faith and then we had accounting for the rest of the night. We also had to join the Woodley Elders for dinner because we ran out of food...Oops!:)

So yeah, sorry again for the not so detailed email this week but hopefully everyone enjoys the pictures! Love you all!

On Top of Oxford Clock Tower!
Verse of the Week:

1 Nephi 15:11
"Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?--If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you."

Love always,
-Elder Rivera

Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow in the ELSM!!!!

Pond Froze Over at the Temple!
Hello everyone,

We have totally had a fantastic day today and it was a really fun Preparation day to start off the week! Not a whole lot happened this week due to meetings at the beginning of the transfer so forgive me if there isn't anything to exciting within this week's email. So hopefully everyone else has had an exciting week as well!

Tuesday: January 12th, 2016
Today we had our MLC and that took place over the whole day and we went over a lot of the new changes that have come to the mission and the missions worldwide so that was crazy!

Wednesday: January 13th, 2016
We had our DLC today so another meeting that lasted almost all day passing along all of the things that we counseled about at MLC with President Gubler. We also had our first exchange of the transfer with the new Basingstoke Elders following the new way of doing exchanges which was super interesting but it was a great experience. Especially to be on exchanges with a fresh missionary that just came out. It was fun! Crazy to think that that was me six months ago! Time sure does go super fast... I still remember my first exchange with Elder Redd forever ago is what it seems like. ahh, good times.
This is what happens when missionaries park...

Thursday: January 14th. 2016
So we had our district meeting this week and some unexpected events came around which we had to take care of which involved some blessings and a lot of talking and encouragement.

Friday: January 15th, 2016
So today we had a zone fast together in order to find the elect and the prepared so we can find those that are ready to hear this wonderful message of restored truths and those that are ready to make changes in their lives and we have seen some great success from it already which is amazing. If we truly sacrifice, God rewards us greatly!

Saturday: January 16th, 2016
Today we took Angela and Angelica (2 of our friends) who are ready to be baptized to the temple and they loved it! "It was way better than I expected" they said. We got to watch Meet the Mormons with them and it was pretty amazing! I was also able to grab the DVD from the center so now I have it to take to investigators homes to watch now!=)

Sunday: January 17th, 2016
So today was church and the usual but cool story kept short here. We were going through formers and we went and knocked on their door before accounting and we got to meet someone totally new (still apart of the family) but someone who was taught in the past and we covered simple things but he had a ton of anti doctrine to the church and we tackled each question perfectly! We got to the point of answering questions and giving great doctrinal answers to them guided ENTIRELY by the Spirit, John just says after a long pause, smiling... "I have nothing else to say." TOTALLY changed his heart. All he wanted to do was indirectly bash and we indirectly bashed back but rounded off the truth and he agreed to read the Book of Mormon again and pray and ask if it was true because everything we explained made so much sense to him after being confused for such a long time. Super cool experience of seeing the Spirit work through someone so easily if we do what he needs us to do and say.
Missionary Nerf War!

Today we had a nerf war fight in the chapel and yes... missionaries get down and dirty, when it sounds like fun we agreed to join haha. So, we did all of our necessary stuff and then joined a member who had an entire arsenal of nerf guns and we had a war. It was super fun to be honest!:)

So that's how this week went, super busy but it was a good one!

Verse of the week:
  5 Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world.

It finally snowed in England so guess what...?

We need to always be sure we are doing the things that are pleasing unto God and not unto men or our own self satisfactory. If we do the things that God needs us to do, we will always be happy because that is a promise he gives all of us if we do what is required.

Love you all and hope you all have a wonderful week!

-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Be An Example and A Light...!

Hello all you fantastic and lovely people!!!

We have had a brilliant week so far and it just keeps on going! So of course, coming into a whitewashed area, we had to rely heavily on the Area Book and man oh man, we saw some crazy miracles in doing so. Cool story I'll share later but this week was a lot of planning for the upcoming transfer and of course, working A LOT! Which isn't bad, it was fun! We made it super fun by the way we worked and we got a lot done this week so we were happy, just very exhausted by the end of each day! (which is how it should be) But I hope that something I say in this letter will strengthen your testimony or help you to gain a witness of the power of this work and the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday: January 5th, 2016 
So of course, we had moves today and I already talked about that last week so no further business covering today.

Wednesday: January 6th, 2016
So to start things off in Reading, we found a name in the area book and went and tried to contact her. We never found the house but because God knew we wouldn't, he put a very nice gent named Christ in our path. Well, he was working so it worked out. TALK TO EVERYONE! We were contacting and Christ was putting signs on a fence and we decided to talk to him and see how his day was going. Totally nice guy and we ended up having a seriously good conversation as he worked and he asked a ton of good questions. His family is Catholic and he has seven kids and all his kids have been taking Religious Studies and they all are trying to find the truth and so we shared a quick but powerful message with him and he invited us to come and teach his family in a couple of weeks because he is sadly on call for work and so, we got details and everything so hopefully we will get to teach them all very soon!

Thursday: January 7th, 2016
So yesterday after Christ, we actually contacted another potential in the area book and we found these three massive great and spacious buildings (14 story flats that are solid grey and look like they have no life in them) but yeah, as we were walking, in a joking way, Elder Mayes was saying how crazy it would be if we knocked on all the doors in one of those buildings and of course... I took it a little to seriously and said lets do it! So we actually went to the building, went all the way to the 14th floor and we started knocking. We planned it out and with all three buildings, if we knock one floor a day, we can knock all three of them completely by the end of the transfer so... CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
Jollof Rice....Yumm!

Friday: January 8th, 2016
Today was a long day, and I had my 2nd dish of African food, I might spell this totally wrong, but it is called Jollof Rice. IT WAS SUPER GOOD! We also had Peanut Soup the day before so, I am finally experiencing some different foods from different cultures and oh my goodness... Africans know how to cook! It is soooooo good.

Saturday: January 9th, 2016
So today is the cool miracle day! We were having a drought of a day with the area book and knocking in our great and spacious buildings so we were just kind of going with the flow and keeping our heads up and doing our best to stay positive with all the unanswered doors or lack of interest and so that went on all day... until we finally had about an hour before we had to finish creating our Newsletter for the zone and so I grabbed the area book and put it on my lap in the car and just started scanning the pages for someone who would be willing to listen to us today. One person is all we wanted... we prayed over two names we found. Yan and Sarah, and the Spirit confirmed, go there, they are the ones. Of course, don't hesitate on that... so we drove there and we walked up their flat and we rang in, and before they even answered to see who it was, they buzzed us in. Elder Mayes and I then climb seven flights of stairs to get to their door and we knock on it and Yan answered the door and just says, "Hey guys... (takes a pause) you want to come in?" Keep in mind that we didn't call them or text them saying we were coming. He invited us in and his whole family was in the living quarters and they all introduced themselves and we had a very good casual conversation cause sadly, they were in the middle of dinner with Sarah's dad from Peru and so we couldn't stay but, before we even pulled our planner out to set up a date, Yan pulled his out and asked us if we could come back on Wednesday the 20th and we said... UH YES! So, just comes to show, if you are positive and work hard all day, even if you don't see much fruit come of your efforts, our Father in Heaven will sweetly reward you with such a treat! Yan and Sarah are young and probably the most normal British couple I have met. We look forward to helping them discover this wonderful gospel because they are super eager to learn!=DD The Church is true.

Sunday: January 10th, 2016
Our first Sunday in our new ward was interesting. They actually do Sacrament meeting last over here because we have two wards going at about the same time so the schedule basically does a complete 180 compared to the schedule back home. We go to Priesthood First, then Sunday School, then of course, Sacrament. It is completely unique and will take some getting used to for sure. We then went and did some more finding after church before accounting.

Here is another cool little story too. So yesterday night before we met Yan and Sarah, we were helping a member and his son install a fridge into another members home who needed it and because the dad had hurt his back weeks prior and had surgery but it has still been giving him problems, he asked us for a blessing. I had the privilege to perform the blessing and be voice for the Lord and oh my goodness, it was the most spiritual blessing I have ever been apart of. (not to mention we were in the back of his mini van giving the blessing, strange right) But hey, the results were so amazing. The next day at church he walked up to me, gave me a good firm handshake and said, thank you both for the blessing, as you were giving the blessing, I could feel the pain in my back lessen and it was a very powerful blessing, thank you so much. There was more to the blessing then just the back injury piece, but I wish not to divulge any further information about why he requested such a blessing. All I know, is that the Priesthood of God is real and we are the instruments in order to help his children to feel of His love for them and the power and authority that we hold, can truly be one of the greatest gifts we have ever received from our Father.
Searching for the Elect...with Chi Chi!

So yes, everything is going super well in Reading now and we are seeing some serious stuff happen and plenty of potential baptisms on the horizon. I love being a missionary and being able to wear the Savior's name over my heart each day, representing him and helping all of our brothers and sisters find the truth in this dark and dreary world that we all live in. We need the Gospel. It is the ONLY way to be truly happy in this life and the life to come, if people you know haven't heard this wonderful message... invite them to. They could be the very elect that the Lord has prepared to hear this wonderful message, but they just don't know where to look, so help them. Be the light for them. Be an example of the believers. If you do so, I can promise you that God will make you an instrument in His hands and he will bless you with the power to spread His Gospel to all those he has prepared to hear your testimony about the Restoration of the Truth and the Keys necessary for the ordinances of salvation.

I love you all and hope this email uplifts someone to get up, paint the badge on their heart and help bring this wonderful gospel to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, New Companion, New Area!

Hello everyone!

Elder Richins and Rivera Era Comes to a Close!
So the big news for the New Year is that yes, I have a new companion now, Elder Richins and I had our good run of 6 months together but it was time for us to move on and carry on the work with our new companions. My new companion is Elder Mayes (who is total goober like me) (He also reminds me a lot like Ty which is funny because Elder Richins was like Statler) (Weird huh?) he is from Wyoming and his old companion is Elder Dyre which is now Elder Richins new companion so we just did a little switcharoo with the Plymouth Zone. We are both super energetic people so this will be some serious fun together in the Reading Area now. We moved from Farnborough up to Reading now so that was another change that occurred. So yeah, this week was some serious stuff with packing and moving so a lot of our time went into that. But yeah, it is good to have some change now for the first time so hopefully things continue to work out for the best!

Tuesday: December 29th, 2015
So for my 20th birthday... which is super weird to say... no longer a teen so I can't use that excuse anymore (snaps fingers) we had a great day. We did some serious potential finding and God gave us a wonderful lady to teach who has been taught before about year ago and she has had a bad experience with any type of religion lately but I asked her if she would give God a second chance to help her and to show his love for her and her being willing to accept it and she did and so we planned to meet with her this coming week but because of the changes, the sisters will take care of it now.

Wednesday: December 30th, 2015
Today we went on exchanges with the Assistant's and I got to work in Crawley with Elder Clark and it was a super great exchange. On Wednesday night, we went running around in the boonies near this village called Kingsfolk and we literally knocked on every door in the village that night in the pouring rain! We came to a point where we ran out of houses to knock and we saw a strip of road next to this farm and we saw houses with lights on them and so we pulled up an app on the iPad to see where the road went and it was the only road that could get us to those houses so we ran about 300 yards down the road to get to the houses and we knocked on all of those as well. (it only turned out to be one house but it was a mansion which owned the entire farm... it was the biggest plot of land and the biggest house I have seen in England so far...! But again, it was a great first night of the exchange and I learned a lot in just the few hours we were working before we had accounting.

Elder Richins and I On Our Last Visit to Tammy's
Thursday: December 31st, 2015
To start the day, Elder Clark and I went and did some more potential finding in another area called Billingshurst and we had some serious guidance from the Lord during the few hours we spent there. We were going around knocking and we felt that we weren't achieving anything so we went around a corner to pray and as we finished the prayer asking for guidance on where we should go, we looked up and we saw a lady walking her dog about 150 yards away and we looked at eachother, smiled and shrugged and ran all the way to her. Turns out she was totally interested! Weird right...? NOT! God knows exactly what he wants us to do and he wants us to trust him and everything worked out wonderfully. We taught her while walking toward her home and then we received a referral from her as well which was an amazing miracle! Later that night we headed up to Didcot to do our final exchange of the transfer and it was a great one! Elder Phelps and I went running around the town knocking and talking to everyone that was heading to the parties to make decisions (bad or good, who knows but hopefully our influence helped them) I kept telling everyone we talked too to make good decisions that you wouldn't regret the next day coming!

Friday: January 1st, 2015
With leadership calls being today, again we were edgy every time the phone would ring (missionaries might understand why...) but we were knocking and running around this road called Samor Way and we only had about an hour left to knock before we had to go and do our exchange review and the coolest thing happened. So we knocked on the last house on this road and a very nice gentleman named Clive answered the door and we talked for about 10 minutes on the doorstep and then we asked him if we could come in and share a message with him. Keep in mind he used to be Christian gone Atheist in the last 3 years but he was totally open to it and he shared a lot of his life story with us which was very heartbreaking, he has gone to heck and back he said multiple times. He has also died on the operating table twice and came back and so he said there had to be a reason why he came back alive and one time being taken to the morgue. But anyways, don't want to give to many details but we had a good 45 minutes lesson with him and he was interested to learn more and the funny thing is that we asked him if he has a Book of Mormon and he actually had one on his shelf which also had a Plan of Salvation Pamphlet on it... again, weird huh? Its like we were suppose to knock on his door and talk about such a plan and just give a run down of what we do and set the expectations. He also had been taught by sisters about a year ago in March of 2014 so it was good. But the Didcot Elders will be teaching him this coming week so it will be good to hear about.

Saturday: January 2nd, 2015
Today, we literally spent the entire day inside the flat cleaning and packing. We were doing a very nice deep clean as we were going to be having sisters moving into the flat we used to be in so we had to make it all pretty and stuff for them:) I also found out that I somehow couldn't fit everything in my suitcases so we had to make some extra trips to deliver stuff which was good because the sisters had the same deal so it worked out wonderfully!

Sunday: January 3rd, 2015
The First Selfie of the Mayes and Rivera Era!
It was our very last Sunday in Farnborough and it was also a fast and testimony meeting so we got to bear our testimonies one last time for the ward and then we bid them all a good farewell. I'm really going to miss that ward. It was very good ward and it began to feel like the homeward back in QC but hey, I'm looking forward to the Reading Ward and what they will be able to offer and the service we will offer back!

Verse of the week: Started the Book of Mormon with the new year now here, new things to look for and learn!

1 Nephi 1:20
"And when the Jews heard these things there were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that hey might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen. because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

So there you go! A week full of events and a lot of changes!

Love you all!
Talk to you all very soon!
Happy New Year!

-Elder Rivera