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

Monday, June 20, 2016

With Many Farewells Comes Many New Faces...

Hello all!

This week has been so tiring...! We had a lot of training to give to brand new missionaries and trainers and also a ton of driving around to and from the temple! Quite the week though! We have a lot of good things coming up this week! We get to have some exchanges with the Zone Leaders and I have the opportunity to go on exchange with my trainer Elder Richins towards the end of the week and as this is his last transfer before heading home... It's kind of weird to think I've been out for nearly a year now... But the work continues to grow along with my testimony of this marvelous work and my Savior Jesus Christ. I've come to know Him more than ever in the last couple of transfers and it has been the greatest blessing ever. I hope everyone continues to grow closer as well because we all need to gain that perfect knowledge of the divine truth that is in the world again today! Anyways, hopefully everyone's week was great! Here is my jam packed busy week!

Monday: June 13th, 2016
We had a preparation day today and got the goods we needed for the week and then we did some other items of business and I got to unpack a bit as well. (still not done) But then we got to go to President's home for a dinner they hosted to all of the highest Baptizing areas throughout the mission. It was a really good experience to have 20+missionaries there enjoying the company but also rejoicing over the successes they had.

Tuesday: June 14th, 2016
I won't lie... These next two days have been the most tiring days of my mission so far. Today we were training all of the trainers and that took a few hours but we also needed to help shuttle missionaries to and from the train station to the temple that were leaving or heading to a new area. That took forever... But the training went really well and we are looking forward to seeing what this group of trainers can do!

Wednesday: June 15th, 2016
We finished up training the trainers again and giving some final words of counsel before the new missionaries arrived and when they did, it took me back to when I arrived, it was crazy. Following their arrival, we had some time to let President introduce himself, his counsellors, and his eternal companion. Then Elder Tunnicliffe and I proceeded to introduce them to the mission and give them the details they needed to get settled in for their first day in the field. Really crazy to see so many new faces but they are totally ready and prepared missionaries. The Lord truly saves His best for last. Funny thing is as we sent them out to go finding with temporary companions (we had no clue who President was going to assign to who) about 60% of our matches were the very same matches President and his counsellors has made and prayed about. Super cool to see how the Lord works. Some of missionaries were just bouncing off the wall when they got to be trained by their "temporary" but not permanent first companion. Really cool experience. To finish the day... We had to do some unexpected shuttling for some sisters which totally surprised us and we had to shift some things around. Really good day though!

Thursday: June 16th, 2016
We had to do some transfer planning today and that took quite a while and then we also started our area book planner training. Our mission gets to pilot the app for the entire Europe area which is pretty cool! After a long day, we finished up with a dinner appointment with brother Simcox! Super cool guy and he made an amazing chicken dinner. It was wrapped in bacon and had some type of cheese in the middle of it all which made it super nice.

Friday: June 17th, 2016
Weekly planning and then we had some lunch, finished up our exchange schedule and then finished our training on the area book. Following that, we headed off to the Coopers to help paint their home. Crazy family but they are awesome! One of the kids is just nuts! I've never seen a kid so hyper in my life besides myself... he was just completely off the walls haha.

Saturday: June 18th, 2016
We built a chicken house today for Brother Vowells! It was sweet! He made a design and shaped all the wood and we came and put it together and it came out pretty well! Let's just say I'm a lot more handy with power tools now haha;) We went and saw Graham and taught the new member lessons of review. We'll be showing him the Restoration film next week sometime to review it. We then went to this Portuguese restaurant called Nando's and it is super good! Spicy good! 

Sunday: June 19th, 2016
Really good day! A new missionary named Elder Harward bore his testimony at church today and introduced himself and we had a good lesson teaching the youth... Boy, teenagers never stop talking... Anyways, following that we had an amazing lunch with all the office staff and President and the VC staff too. Following that, we went and stopped by some referrals and then had accounting for the rest...of...the...night! That was the Sabbath for us!

Verse of the Week:
Alma 18:34
"I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought gonna knowledge of that which is just and true."

I hope you all have a great week and continue to enjoy all that you do! Love you!

My New Flat Address for Letters (in case y'all want to send one) is:

Elder Zachary Rivera
22 Copeland House
Rathlin Road
RH11 9GA

-Elder Rivera

A Week to Remember..!:)

The best mission with the
best missionaries in the world! (it's true)

Hello everyone!

First of all, this week has been something else... From Elder Oaks and London to a 12 hour MLC, to a new area. It's been a crazy busy week but everything is just going super well now! I'm looking forward to working with my new companion Elder Tunnicliffe. He is from England and is just a stellar missionary! We've had some fun on exchanges in the past but now we get to serve together It'll be super sweet and that English accent will hopefully start to come along:) Anyways, with all the packing and traveling and events that occurred, this is definitely a week to remember for sure. Tuesday was a transitional day for sure... 

Tuesday: June 7th, 2016
One of the greatest days of my life! We had the privilege and opportunity to meet and hear from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was by far coolest experiences ever and every single missionary got to shake hands and officially meet him.  We basically shook hands with the Lord as His servants are His representatives. We also got to meet and hear from the Mission President from the London Mission, our Mission President, and President Kearon of the Europe Area Presidency and all of their wives including Sister Oaks. It was a day to remember and being able to sit so close to him was incredible. We managed to get seats in the 3rd row which was the first row behind all of the reserved seats for those that were a part of the program! Insanely great day and one to remember for a long time!

Wednesday: June 8th, 2016
Longest MLC in the history of MLC's today but we came to the very conclusions that the Lord needed us to get to that day because of some major changes and focus points we need to take as a mission. By far the longest meeting ever but the results were phenomenal. 

Thursday: June 9th, 2016
We had a district meeting today and then we did some cleaning up and Elder Lika was packing for home and I myself for moves and that was about it for the day. We finished up with dinner with Dave one last time and then continued to pack.

Friday: June 10th, 2016
Finished up packing today and headed out to my new area in a place called Crawley with my new companions and then we had a chance to visit with President and have dinner and go over a few things to finish up moves and also to go over some of the ideas regarding the Mission Training Plan that we had discussed previously during our MLC on Wednesday. Quite the day...

Saturday: June 11th, 2016
We had a lot of service today that we got to do for two families and then we went and visited some members and had dinner with our ward mission leader and then continued to help Elder Avanesjan finish his packing for home. Really tiring day but it was super good to see some of the faces I hear about a lot about.

Sunday: June 12th, 2016
First Sunday in Crawley and I had the chance to bear my testimony and give a brief introduction to myself. This ward has something special. As I was sitting on the stand waiting for some of the other missionaries to finish their closing remarks from serving in the ward, there was just a very special feeling about them and I had to add that into what I shared. I look forward to working with the ward and the many amazing members that are in it. After accounting, we had a quick chance to take a walk around the temple and then headed home... Let me tell you, it was super nice to see the temple lit up at night and take a breather from everything that happened this week. 

Verse of the Week:
Alma 13:6
"And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! We have a super busy week coming up with training new missionaries and then preparing a lot of things for the mission! Looking forward to it!😉 Love you all and keep keeping on!

-Elder Rivera

Alma 8:24; Being Instruments in the Hands of the Lord to Work Many Mighty Miracles!

Hello all you wonderful people! 

Sorry for the very extensive email this week but this was a very solid week full of amazing things and I could not wait to share them with everyone with a hope that it sparks something in your little big hearts! I hope you enjoy it as much as my companion and I did!

The Smoldering Reunion After 8 Months..!
Tuesday: May 31st, 2016
I had the opportunity to go on exchange with Elder Redd again after like eight months! Crazy how fast time has gone and it was definitely a well awaited time for us both. We had the best day ever and it was probably not only one of the most successful days ever, we also had a ton of fun with it. I'll share the full day's events at the end of this email. We also had a very good stake correlation with the stake leaders and our mission president and his wife. A lot of good was discussed and some new action points we wanted to hopefully take as a stake in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday: June 1st, 2016
We finished up the exchange and headed to did strict meeting this morning and then we had some stuff we needed to get done back home on the computer so we did that and then went and visited some people in the evening with Dave.

Thursday: June 2nd, 2016
We had another round of exchanges with Winchester and Elder de Kock (South African) and I helped the Chinese elders move into their new flat which took quite a bit of time but it was nice to help out. We then went knocking on a road that a member gave us as a referral and that was about it for us today...

Friday: June 3rd, 2016
After our exchange we went and had the chance to help a member with some unexpected service as we showed up at their house. Later in the evening, we met with another member to help him set some goals to do some member missionary work, turns out she was already ahead of us so we just discussed how we could help!

Saturday: June 4th, 2016
Now today... This might be a long story but I have to capture it for you all! 

So we went to the temple with our friend Ali who has been on the fence for a couple of weeks now. We arrived at around 11:30 and sadly, he was about an hour late so we had some time to relax and enjoy the temple until he showed up. Right when he arrived we jumped right into it. We watched the Joseph Smith movie and it was intense! The Spirit was super strong and you could tell he was really enjoying it. Following that, the sisters began going over the temple and what it is and why we have them and as they were, Ali asked us if we would give him some space. Strange..? Okay we said, and decided to go to the office to pick up some stuff and a Book of Mormon he wanted in a specific language called Urdu. We gave him time there and when he finished meeting with the sisters, he wanted to go for a walk around the temple grounds and we did so and it was peaceful. The sun was out and everything was just quiet. As we continued to go around we came to a bench on the front side of the temple and decided to sit down. Elder Lika shared his conversion story with him and after doing so, Ali had asked if he could have five minutes to himself. He went for another walk and we sat and talked about the mission and how we felt he was doing. On his return about 10 minutes later, he sat down and said with a smile, "I went and prayed... And I got my answer." Our faces lit up... But he didn't tell us what it was yet haha. He wanted to take us to dinner and so we went to KFC along with the Assistants who were invited by Ali as well. As we were eating, the assistants had a baptism at six that night and Ali was looking forward to seeing one and so we asked him if he wanted to come and he said he had a lot of stuff he needed to get done with work but then, he changed his mind, and was like, "forget that stuff... Let's do it!" So we headed off to the baptism and again... After an amazing service, Ali took some time to himself and was just so happy with the day. He really enjoyed it all and as we were leaving, we asked him how the day was in a nutshell... "I went to the temple expecting an answer to something and it didn't come, but I found something a lot more beautiful in it." Something amazing to be apart of for sure... This was probably the best temple trip and Saturday of my life. Stressful because it was a do or die day. We are looking forward to seeing him today to see what results came of it and if he is ready to take a leap or not yet. We shall see! Amazing! 

The Three Muskateers!
Sunday: June 5th, 2016
Great day of church! I love fast and testimony meeting because the Spirit just touches everyone so tenderly. It was quite the day and Dave invited us over for lunch after and we enjoyed a nice sub sandwich and then sat in his garden for a bit in the sun. Good day for sure!

Here are Tuesday's Miracles:

Elder Rivera and Elder Redd on May 31st, 2016

Today was quite the day for missionary work. While we were in the park contacting in the morning, after about an hour of pure rejection, Elder Redd noticed a guy with a grey and red Nike hoodie and with time running down, he was going to be our last contact until we headed to our lesson following that. His name was Shane and was super interested in what we were sharing and he really wanted to learn more. We were able to say a prayer with him there and in his words he said, "I felt shivers after you finished." Whether the Spirit answered him or testified of truth or if it was the cold rain that was pouring upon us, we don't know, but what we do know is that he was super interested and wanted to learn more and as he walked away, Shane said, "I hope your day with be just as good as mine has already started with you two." Now keep those words in mind because that is just what happened to us throughout this day.

Following that, we were able to visit one of our friends in the morning named Michaela and after having a powerful lesson with our Ward Mission Leader (who shared some very good insights and experiences as we taught) we were able to extend a baptismal invitation to her and has gladly and immediately accepted it. She will be preparing for a day on June 18th.

Following that amazing teach and a well deserved lunch, we met with our other friend who we have been teaching for three months and after a very brief explanation about the temple and why we have them, we were able to help him ease his nervousness about visiting the temple. After having a visit with him a few days prior, we showed him a talk by Elder Holland titled, "Safety for the Soul" and after the video had finished, he pulled his calendar out and he said that he needed to move the day for our Temple trip forward from the 9th of June to this Saturday (June 4th) The results were very promising and he is looking very forward to seeing the temple with us but more importantly, for himself.

The excitement continues as we went knocking on a road that we have had success on before but as we were finishing up the final houses on the road, we managed to knock one last door and a 22 year old man named Alex answered the door and after explaining a few things of what we as missionaries do and our purpose, we asked if we could share more with him and he allowed us to go into his home and we had a very good introduction visit with him and he was interested in taking a Book of Mormon and also our number for future reference as he is preparing to move back home but wanted to learn more in the future after he moves back.

To finish off the list of great miracles the Lord blessed us with on this wonderful day, while Elder Redd and I were enjoying a wonderful dinner, a number that was unknown to Elder Redd popped up on his phone and he answered it and it turns out that a former investigator had contacted him and a few months ago, he was taught my the missionaries and after having much time to ponder over what he learned and had his own experiences, he called and asked if he could be baptized and asked what he needed to do in order for it to happen. Super amazing experience to hear and see. 

We definitely saw the hand of the Lord blessing and guiding us to those who have been prepared by His hand and we were super blessed to be able to be instruments in His hands in order to help our brothers and sisters come closer to Him. This work is the best work in the world and it is truly amazing to "hear" miracles but when you put yourself in the position to be "in" the miracle, your day just seems to light up more than the others and they are the moments you remember for the rest of your life!

This week has been something else! It almost seems appropriate that all this happens and tomorrow the best of it all comes! We get to go to London and have a conference with Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! I'm so pumped and looking forward to it!!! This will be a day to remember for the rest of my life and a huge day to remember from the mission!

Verses of the Week:
Alma 9:32
"And it came to pass that they went forth and began to preach and prophesy unto the people, according to the spirit and power which the Lord had given them."

I hope every has a great week! Love you all!

-Elder Rivera

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Temples, Castles, and Much Travel..!

Arundel Castle!
Hello everyone!

This has been a super good week! Lots of travel and we had a couple of exchanges and they went super well! It has also been a great week of sunshine which is quite unusual but I'm enjoying the most of it while it lasts! I hope everyone in Arizona isn't boiling yet... Haha. Anyways, I am super excited because next week we get to travel to London to see Elder Oaks and learn from an Apostle of the Lord. Can't wait! Anyways, here is a rundown of this weeks events.

Tuesday: May 24th, 2016
We met with a wonderful ysa aged girl today names Michaela. She has two kids and is on her own but she is super golden. Had a strong lesson about the plan of salvation and it turns out, it was the anniversary of her fathers death and so it fit right in. She really enjoyed it and found peace in it. We then had exchanges and Elder Bradford and I got to work for the first time together and it was super fun! We had a great dinner with some members and then we were able to do some knocking around their area and it was super good.

Wednesday: May 25th, 2016
District Meeting with Winchester a District went really well. A lot of ideas for preparing for Elder Oaks next week. Elder Bradford and I then had an amazing exchange review and then we had an awesome lesson with Ali.

Thursday: May 26th, 2016
We headed up to Crawley today to have exchanges with the Assistants and I got to work with Elder Tunnicliffe for the first time and it was a blast. We got to teach their baptismal date Graham and he is super golden. He'll be baptized this next weekend but we then got to do some contacting around for a bit and visit some formers in their area and we just had a great time together. Got work done but we made sure there was a lot of fun in it.

Friday: May 27th, 2016
We got to have our review at the Temple today and I love being on the temple grounds. As a missionary it truly is a blessing because you can't go to often but when you do, it is super worth it. The sun was out and we had a super spiritual review. Both shared very inspired training for one another and we were able to celebrate with some doughnuts afterwards:)

Saturday: May 28th, 2016
Soooooo, finally after like 3 weeks of stress... The zone newsletter was finally completed and I was super pleased with how it turned out but kore importantly, to just finally have it done! We then traveled to Arundel to meet the assistants to grab Elder Lika's bag and iPad that he forgot in their flat. It was a super posh place full of tourists and a beautiful castle! I also had the opportunity to perform another baptismal interview for a man named Damian. He successfully passed and will be baptized next week and we will get to go and witness it.

Another huge cruise ship called, "Independence of the Seas"
Sunday: May 29th, 2016
Today was a good day. After church we stopped by Ali and showed him Safety for the Soul by Elder Holland and afterwards, he pulls his calendar out and says, we need to bring this date forward.(our Temple trip was planned for June 9th, but then he moved it to this Saturday, Super cool!)

Verse of the Week: 
Mosiah 27:3
"Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble."

Have a great week! Love you all!

-Elder Rivera