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, February 24, 2016

Southampton, City of Miracles and Taught From on High by Elder Johnson..!

Hello everyone,

Sorry for the long email but a lot happened his week!

MLC February 22nd, 2016
For those of you who are wondering why I am emailing today instead of the normal Monday, we had a MLC meeting yesterday and so today is our preparation day instead. Anyways! This week was so amazing! Lots and lots of miracles and lessons learned and teachings absorbed as Elder Johnson of the Europe Area Presidency visited our mission and we had not only a zone conference with him, but he and sister Johnson joined us for our meeting yesterday. Super cool people and totally normal I loved it! Well, I hope this email finds you all well and enjoy!

Wednesday: February 17th, 2016
So first full day in Southampton was a blast! We got to teach a ton of people today that they have been working with in this area for quite a while and it was super nice to meet these wonderful people. They are truly prepared people of the lord and I am super blessed to get to work with them. Couple of them are Felix (who I'll share a story about in a second), Rudy, Amy, and Anna (a Romanian family that is just brilliant.

Thursday: February 18th, 2016
We had a full sit down lesson with Felix today and it was good but we could both feel the Spirit telling us that something wasn't quite right and not settling with him (keep in mind he has a baptismal date set for the 27th) and we both left after teaching him with a confused look on our faces... Something just didn't seem right. Later we stopped by another friend (or investigator but we prefer to call them friends cause that's what they are in the mission) named Nathaniel and his son Lewis. Super cool people and we read the Book of Mormon with them and it went well. We finished up the night with a missionary correlation with the Ward mission leader and the Ward missionaries and oh man... So good.

Friday: February 19th, 2016
So today... Oh man! Taught from on high indeed. We had our zone conference which was just super amazing and we definitely learned a lot about not only the journey of our lives but specifically the
Central Zone Conference
February 19th, 2016
mission. What luggage do we bring and is it really necessary for the trip and do we fully live up to our privileges that are offered to us when we go on a journey? Lots of good notes for sure. Elder Johnson just had so many good teachings that he was giving us to help us as missionaries, understand the need for a step by step process to help our friends make the necessary changes and keep the commitments we have given them.

Saturday: February 20th, 2016
Sooooo today, here is a story that I hope you feel the Spirit as you read it. This is a miracle story for sure... So brace yourself.

Earlier in the week when we met Felix, he told us that he wasn't feeling ready for baptism and wanted more time to receive an answer if the church was true and if it was the path God wanted him to take and we were super confused at first cause he is just a golden person! Anyways, we planned a lesson for him about faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in him, and the idea of, "it will all work out"(most recent
general conference) Anyways, we have dinner with him and a member named Dave before the lesson and here is where it gets good. We teach and finally, he just opened up to us with concerns he was having about how he wanted to be baptized but when his girlfriend would as well. But she was closed off a bit but he shared a super cool thing. Ready? Okay, so he tells us... "Ever since I have met the missionaries, my whole life has changed... I've seen a difference in not only myself but my family and my girlfriend. Every time you would teach me something, I would immediately call her and share the exact same thing with her and she enjoyed it." So... Little by little he just taught his girlfriend the entire message of what we would share with him... It is crazy! He then asked us if we could contact missionaries in Angola to teach her and baptize her. WHAT? So after the Spirit just filling the room and us being guided in what to say and share, my companion and I shared our personal conversion stories and of how it will all work out with either his girlfriend, or in mine and my companions case, family. So, Spirit hit him super hard and it was just amazing. We also gave him a blessing (as we were prompted to) and then later that night we get a call from Dave and he said that Felix was asking a bunch of questions about serving a mission when he gets older (senior couple mission) and just a ton of things that golden people normally ask... It was a great night, lets just say that.

Sunday: February 21st, 2016
Miracle Sunday! Another miracle! So... Church was just great. The whole theme of church was again... Faith, trust, and prayer... Coincidence? No such thing. The Lord guides us to share what he needs us to and then he caps it all off with this at church. Oh so good! But here is the best part... After being confused whether he was ready or not... Felix received his answer from God. He walked up after church and put his arms around me and Elder Lika, and he says, "brothers... I want to be baptized" "When?" "Saturday" okay... No problem, lets do it! We were so casual about it because the Lord the night before told us... He is ready and it will happen. Bam! Miracle central in Southampton! It was just such a spectacular way to end the week!

Monday: February 22nd, 2016
So today we had our MLC meeting and it was super good! We counseled a lot about the next steps for the mission and then Elder Johnson just went crazy on us and taught so many wonderful and important things that he said the mission could focus on (as he met the whole mission the previous four days and saw everything and just gave us a lot of what we were needing. I know a lot of things I needed came from the words he shared and will be forever grateful for that because how does the
Lord answer prayers...? Through the scriptures or through someone else. My case this time was a Elder Johnson. He is just such a humble man and we were all super blessed to have the opportunity to meet him and learn so much from him! Can't wait until we get our next mission tour! There's just so much the Lord can offer us if we prepare ourselves physically and spiritually to be taught!
MLC Reunion..... Missing 5 of us!

So as you can see, this week was just full of everything but more importantly... I can testify without a doubt that God doesn't only hear prayers... But he answers them... Quickly! He lives and Jesus Christ lives and they love us all. Always remember that if we do our part, the Lord will always do his. (Scripture below) but I hope you are all well and that He will continue to bless and watch over you and your families. I love you all and will talk to you soon!

p.s: it's already going to be March... What the..?

Verse of the Week: D&C 82:10
10 "I, the Lord, am abound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not
what I say, ye have no promise."

Love you all,
Elder Rivera

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Elder Rivera... Welcome to Southampton!

Elder Oh (our district leader)
and Elder Lika (my new companion)
Hello everyone!

So as today is moves day, I will be emailing you today so for those who I maybe missed yesterday, no worries cause today is the day! With transfers happening again, I am sad to see Reading go but now I have been moved to Southampton in the Portsmouth Zone. I'll still be a Zone Leader and my new companion is Elder Lika and I am looking forward to working here. So we did the new travel system that the brethren have instituted and so I got to travel all ALONE! It was super weird but it does make life easy for everyone else not having to worry about moving everyone. But yes, Southampton is super beautiful and I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of success over here! We shall see how things go in the future but, happy to see a new zone and a new area and looking forward to working with a lot of new faces!

Tuesday: February 9th, 2016
Today we had our Specialized Zone Training and it went super well! We also had interviews all day with President Gubler and wow, I learned a lot again from him and the presentations that were given during the training. We also had the privilege to go to dinner with the President and Sister Gubler after our interviews. We went to this grill place called the Sizzling and it was super good! But great day overall.

Wednesday: February 10th, 2016
Today was kind of a blur if I'm being honest... But it was Elder Baum's birthday so we gave him a good surprise and had lunch with him and Elder De Wilde. After we did a lot of potential finding and
stopping by referrals and then later that night, we had a lesson with Jan and Sarah and it went super well. We could definitely feel the the Holy Ghost working within them and we just had to pray that they would recognize what both of us were feeling.

Thursday: February 11th, 2016
Today we had exchanges and it was the my last opportunity to be on one with Elder De Wilde before he headed home. It's super crazy to think that when he first came into the zone, he had six months left and now... He's heading home, time flies!!! We went to McDonald's to celebrate our last exchange haha.

Friday: February 12th, 2016
We got to go on exchanges with the assistants again and I got to work with Elder Clark again. He is such a stud missionary and it's crazy to think he only has one transfer left too. We went and had some great lessons with a family and stopped by a friend as well but they had family over and we couldn't teach them that night which was sad cause I was looking forward to that one. Anyways, after, we had accounting that night so lots of phone calls for the rest of the evening.

Saturday: February 13th, 2016
Today was moves calls and during study, we got the call from President telling us that Elder Mayes and I had some changes and that I was going to Southampton and that he was going to train a new zone leader from his MTC group. Super sad to leave because we had a ton of fun but we know it was the Lord's will for us.

Sunday: February 14th, 2016
Nothing like my favorite American
Chocolate bar for Valentine's Day!
Valentine's Day and the Sabbath. Two of the most significant days out together. Gods love for his children is so great... I got to give a talk about how the Spirit works with us in teaching and helps us truly show our love for the Lord by serving him and his children and how teaching by the Spirit is so crucial. I also had to begin packing so it was a crazy time there until it was time to account for the rest of the night.

Monday: February 15th, 2016
More packing and we took Elder De Wilde out for lunch to an American Steakhouse Restaurant and it was super delicious! I had a nice Pit Boss Ultimate Burger!(a burger with bacon, pulled pork, and then a giant hamburger patty) SUPER GOOD! Oh, and a root beer, can't forget that!:) we also had a good final lesson with the twins before I headed out and they are set to be baptized hopefully next week!

Anyways, as you can see, a lot has happened this week and it has been crazy! This week we have a zone conference with a Elder Johnson (mission tour) and we are super stoked for that! We will get to also have an MLC meeting with him the coming Monday which will be sweet! The more prepared we are the more we will receive from one of the Lord's anointed! Can't wait!

Verse of the Week:
Omni 1:26
"Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth he will be saved.
"If you keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land."
One day...One day...!

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

Love always,
Elder Rivera

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reading Stake Conference Weekend!

Hello family and friends,

Roy and Darrin and the Newbury Crew!
This week has been a super busy one for sure. There is not much to write this week but I'll give a rundown to the best of my ability with the amount that we had done. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying life because it truly is the greatest thing in the world. This week was full of meeting from day 1 to day 7 so... sorry for a boring email.

Tuesday: February 2nd, 2016
Today was our MLC day which ended up with a very good turnout in the end and we were definitely ready to head out and continue. The rest of the day was great and we just got right to work once we finished. We had a dinner appointment with the American Family again and that was amazing, again!

Wednesday: February 3rd, 2016
Today we had another meeting... DLC and then we had to clean out a flat from all the rubbish that was left behind and then we headed back home and worked around with some people. We saw Jan and Sarah again and that went super well. They fed us and so it is always nice when investigators invite you for dinner and a lesson!

Thursday: February 4th, 2016
Another meeting and more finding...

Friday: February 5th, 2016
We had another district meeting today and it was the last one for Elder McCappin and Elder De Wilde so we tried going to Rio's for district lunch but the line was super long so we settled for McDonald's (Don't worry... it is actually edible in England) After that, we had weekly planning and correlation meeting and then we prepared for stake conference weekend.

Saturday: February 6th, 2016
Today we went and did some service for a member and actually got to teach his land lady who has had a baptismal date before so hopefully we can help her get back on track very soon and then we finished the day with a Priesthood Session of stake conference and then the evening adult session and oh my... I had a very strong experience there and I wrote it all down but would not seem okay to share for me, sorry=)

unday: February 7th, 2016
Sunday session of stake conference and another great experience, and then after, we had lunch with the Woodley elders and then we had some time to work and finished up the night with the usual accounting on Sundays!

Again, not the most eventful week but it was a very important week full of great things to apply and learn and especially the things I learned through personal revelation and my studies in the mornings! The Book of Mormon truly is a divine book and I just can't get enough of it sometimes... I just love it so much and hope everyone can be able to learn to love it as I have been able to love it.

Verse of the Week:
Jacob 4:8
"Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God."

With that, all I can say is that I KNOW, that Jesus Christ lives... he lives and he wants us all to live with him again but we must be willing to live like he did and do the things that he is asking of us to do each day, no matter how hard it may be. Fear not, doubt not, be strong and of good courage and always remember... in times of trial or struggle, hold the ground that you have already won, even if that ground is limited. (Elder Holland)

I love you all and hope this week will be a great one for you all and hopefully, this coming week will be an exciting one for us all!

I guess I'll share this story real quick too because it truly was a miracle...

So a total moment of reconciliation with God... so a few months back, Elder Richins and I went to take his driving test and his instructor was totally interested in the church and she was looking for one to join because of some issues that were going on in her current church (I will not name it) but we both had a prompting to give her a pass along card and we both FAILED to do so... and so we were totally devastated at our terrible missionary skills and we were super sad because she was so prepared.

Now here is where things get interesting... I wasn't planning to take my driving test until about April because that was the next available one... however, my companion tells me to check and see if there are any new ones and I'm just like... there is no way there is one... but I do so anyways and turns out... BAM, there 's one the next morning and so I booked it and got prepared for it! Come test time I am waiting in the room and the night before, I prayed for a second opportunity to make amends with God for my failure moment a few months back and oh my goodness.... DOES GOD HEAR PRAYERS OR WHAT...! The same lady walks in and I'm just like... oh please God, let this be my chance... and she totally called my name! (my companion then sings very quietly... "Say my name, say my name" and yeah, basically the whole test, we talked about the church and her desire to find another one and oh my... I totally was super happy and not only did I have 0 minors or mark downs... but I was able to seize the opportunity and share a card with some numbers and address to the local church. SO yeah, God is super good and my soul can be at ease as I fixed the mistake that we didn't take control of last time. So yeah, God is super good!

Love you all,
-Elder Rivera

Friday, February 5, 2016

America the Beautiful...!

Nature is the greatest place
to feel closer to God.
Hello everyone!

I hope everyone's week has been great! So the funny thing is we went to Oxford last week, but we decided... Why not again..? There's a lot we didn't get to see so we're going round two! So hopefully my camera can snag some pretty nice stuff ya know? Anyways, here is the rundown for this past week!

Tuesday: January 26th, 2016
We had our zone training and it was pretty sweet! Every companionship presented something and the Spirit in the room was super powerful! We were all able to learn something we needed to and the greatest thing was that we had Costco muffins and Costco Pizza for lunch... Oh my, closest thing to America ever haha! After Zone Training, we went on exchanges and I got to work with Elder Biddle (from Australia) and it was super good! We power housed our way through a village and had a sweet dinner appointment with a member named Kulah. She made us Cassava Leaf food which is an African dish. Super good!

Wednesday: January 27th, 2016
Today we finished up our exchange and then we did some work in our area for a bit and saw some recent converts and less actives and also Jan and Sarah! We had a solid lesson with Jan as Sarah was sick, but we also had some unexpected events turn up in the evening which we needed to take care of for President.

This is the Chicago Burger at Rio's!
Thursday: January 28th, 2016
I passed my theory test by one point!!! It was so stressful... But I passed and that's all that matters. I one upped Elder Mayes so I was happy haha. To celebrate we went to Rio's, an American Burger place which is just so dang delicious! It was a good day for sure though!

Friday: January 29th, 2016
So today, we had our second round of exchanges this week with and I got to work with Elder Raveneau (From France) and we got to teach their baptismal dates and it was super awesome!!! It was raining like crazy too in Witney so we got a bit wet but no worries, cause today was amazing!

This is the Golden Rathbone Family!
Saturday: January 30th, 2016
Coolest day ever because a family was baptized! The Rathbone family is the definition of a converted family prior to baptism! They are also what we as missionaries call a "golden" family. It was super amazing to see and to be a part of the event! We also joined Jan and Sarah later that night at a church event that they had going on at their church. It was super cool and one thing I learned, is that a lot of churches do teach truth, however... A lot of what they were teaching was exactly what our church believes, but they just misinterpret it. They are so close on the dot... But there is just those small and plain truths... But it was super fun! They also invited us to dinner so we are making progress with becoming closer friends and they are super nice and hopefully, we will be able to continue to work with them and they'll be able to receive an answer to their prayers!:)

Sunday: January 31st, 2016
Great fast Sunday (as we have stake conference next week) but we had dinner with an amazing family the Sabin's.  They're an American Family from Virginia that just moved here! They have five kids and they are AMAZING! We had enchiladas and Spanish rice and oh boy... I never realized how much I'd miss American food after having it last night... But the rest of the night was accounting for the week!
The Oxford Boys!
Verse of the Week:
2 Nephi 9:52
52 Behold, my beloved brethren, remember the words of your God; pray unto him continually by day, and give thanks unto his holy name by night. Let your hearts rejoice.

Truly let your hearts rejoice for everything in this life is so great... Remember that you are children of a loving Heavenly Father and he wants what's best for you. I exhort you to ask God exactly what his plan is for you and I promise you, that you will learn a lot of things that you could have never imagined.

I love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Rivera