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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Spirit of Summer!

If only I had a Mountain Dew right now...

Hello family and friends,

So, we are nearly hitting August... I don't know where the time has gone but yeah, it's been a super good week. Lots of spiritual moments during zone conferences and also with moves, it's been a very busy one! We have 28 new missionaries coming in on Wednesday and so it'll be a fun training for trainers and trainees on Tuesday/Wednesday! A huge group this transfer and it'll be matched again next transfer with what looks like another 28. The mission is changing rapidly as missionaries are coming and going. Crazy to think that my trainer heads home in two days and it's kind of scary but he will do well at home. Crazy week but nevertheless, I just take it as it comes sometimes and smile and laugh as I do so. 

Monday: July 18th, 2016
Look out Kamas, Big Daddy Richins is heading home!
We spent time with the Epsom elders today as it was Elder Richins last preparation day. We played football in the most scorching English weather in the world! It has nearly hit 100 degrees this week! It was so hot!!! Literally no cloud in the sky and just a whole lot of sunshine. We all went and had a super good lunch at Toby Carvery's and then we headed out to president's to finish up moves and also do accounting for the week. It was a good night! We did our preparations for central zone conference and western zone conference this week. A lot of busy work happening and the end of the transfer is coming fast and next transfer is going to be insane because we have a training nearly every single week... It'll be the fastest transfer ever. 

Tuesday: July 19th, 2016
Central Zone Conference went super well! It was nearly 100 degrees again on the inside of the chapel and we were all boiling! President threw down some doctrine and testimony today and it was intense stuff. We got to exchange with Portsmouth Zone Leaders as well and I got to head back to Southampton for a day and it was sweet! Felt good to be back!

Wednesday: July 20th, 2016
We had to head to an area and just counsel with some missionaries at the start of the day. It went super well and we were very pleased with the results. Later, we had the chance to boil in the car while we waited for the other elders to arrive. It was another super hot day and we rewarded ourselves with some McDonald's on a hot day. We then got to see the Connel family again and they are doing just wonderful. They are expecting their little girl in a months time so that'll be exciting to have number five enter the world! We finished up and drove to Christchurch to prepare for zone conference in the morning.

Thursday: July 21st, 2016
Another super good tri zone conference in the west! There were a lot of things that continued to hit home for me and I really feel like the mission is going to explode in the next couple of months. We all have a great potential to reach and we are doing everything we can to make sure everyone matches up to what President wants (including ourselves). We had a long day and after the meeting dropped some missionaries off at the station and then headed to the zone leader's flat for dinner. Good day for sure!

Friday: July 22nd, 2016
Today we were finishing up a lot of work, we had exchanges with Poole and due to some unexpected things with moves, we had a very different style exchange and we had a good time together working and serving and then we finished up the final pieces to moves and headed home.

Saturday: July 23rd, 2016
We had our final exchange of the transfer today with Reading Zone Leaders and it was a good one. Elder Johnson and I got to go visit some people that we had an assignment for given to us by Bishop and his counsellors and then we went and stopped by a referral and we also had another unexpected call from the Wandsworth Zone Leaders inviting us to come witness their baptism and who doesn't like watching and being a part of a baptism? So we made the trek of a drive through London and got stuck in traffic and arrived slightly late but we managed to finish the program and congratulate their friend Kelly. It was fun getting home to say the least... Lots of traffic and crazy things happen in London. We also before heading home stopped by this chicken and chips place and got 4 chicken wings and chips (fries for all you Americans) for £1 which was amazing... However, I wouldn't do it again. Most sketchy food I've ever eaten but at least I can say I did it right?

Sunday: July 24th, 2016
Miracle day at church! We had some unexpected people show up today and we also had the Coopers come to church and that was a gift in itself! Great day at church and because we forgot some stuff in the Reading Elder's car, we had to meet halfway and claim our precious possessions (iPad haha, but really, you love your iPad as a missionary, it's like the whole world stops until you get it back) but anyways, we did that, stopped by Graham and the Coopers and then finished up a great week of conferences and the end of transfers with another good solid accounting. We had 10 baptisms in the mission this week which is the highest we've had all year and it was just amazing. It was our President's birthday and he was well pleased with the "birthday present" but he was happier that we gave the Lord 10 more souls that he can work with to help them reach Exaltation and the Celestial Kingdom. Good week overall!

Verse of the Week:
Helaman 3:26
"And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the church of God, many souls"

Love you all! Have a great week! (I'm still melting in 80-90 degrees in England.. Who would have thought that could happen to an Arizona boy..?)

-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I love Mormon!

A photo from the Temple a few weeks back!

Hello everyone!

First off, I just want to give a huge shout out to my brother Statler for finishing off his mission in the Illinois Chicago West Mission! Super proud of him and I know his family is as well! Love ya brother!

Next up, we have this crazy week! We've had very little time in our own area and we've been crunched with so much this week. I'm still super exhausted (that's not new) but the Islands trip took a huge toll on me but that's life right? Anyways, things are going super well and life is just getting better and better each day!

Guernsey Lighthouse!

Monday: July 11th, 2016
Today we had a full preparation day for the first time in weeks haha! We went through the Guernsey town center and went through and looked at some sales that were there and I came away with a very nice Nike duffel bag that I needed to replace the one I brought from home as that one had ripped. It was fun and then we went and gorged ourselves in chips at a fish and chips place but we didn't want to spend a ton of money so we spent £1.80 on a large chips and they poured out like 3 scoop fills... It was intense stuff and we all felt disgusting afterwards... Good news is it that it was a good experience and they tasted pretty fatty.

This Crab knows karate!
Tuesday: July 12th, 2016 
There are many fish in the sea; but this
was the one for me!
Our last day in Guernsey and I got to work with Elder Biddle again. Last time we worked together was about six months ago so it's crazy to see how far we've both come. We went and did some contacting by the lighthouse and also went fishing while we did so to hook in some people. What was amazing is that I caught my first fish! We had no bait or anything but we had a sharp look and a line and so as we were talking to one another, I gave three good tugs on the pole and didn't think anything would come of it but I felt a snag. I didn't realize at first but after three minutes I decided to reel in the hook and lo and behold, a fish got hook in the back! I was super astonished and we ended up throwing it back in the water. Meanwhile, a man next to us caught this female crab and it was pretty sweet seeing him pull it in. We flew back later and then just crashed in preparation for another long day. 

The Chicken House we built a few weeks back!
Wednesday: July 13th, 2016
We had our eastern zone conference today and that went super well! It was a long day of training and presentations from President but they were amazing. My companion and I had to explain some stuff on the area book planner app which to be honest, I'm not to familiar with myself so that was a fun time. Piloting stuff is interesting because nobody knows how to do anything yet! After the meeting, we went to Nando's (Portuguese Chicken Restaurant) and dived into some spicy chicken and bottomless frozen yogurt! Super good and then Elder Cox and I on exchanges went to a members home to celebrate the birthday of her niece who will hopefully be getting baptized in two weeks.

Thursday: July 14th, 2016
Finished up our exchanges today and went out visiting some potentials from our area book and then had dinner at KFC with our ward mission leader... I've never eaten so much chicken in my life than on my mission. Seems like every week we have chicken at least three times for dinner...

Friday: July 15th, 2016
Today was a very long day... We headed to President's in the morning and we tackled the moves board! After hours of staring at the board and moving people around and having discussing throughout it all, we made a big dent in the moves for this coming transfer. It's really amazing to see how moves actually work and how much revelation goes into it. You could clearly see the power of God and revelation working through a key holder for the mission. It's a great experience and hope others have a chance to see and have such an experience. Following that, we drove into Peckham
(South London) for exchanges with the Wandsworth Zone Leaders and prepped for the day.

Saturday: July 16th, 2016
My drawing for the chapel open house!
Elder Draney and I got to work together and boy, they were having an open house at their chapel and there was people everywhere! Members, investigators coming, people off the street, it was sweet! We managed to solidly teach a girl named Mary, another girl named Samantha and then a guy named Jerome. Super good solid teaches with each of them and they were very promising. Asking loads of questions left and right and you could just sense the sincerity of their search for truth as other churches haven't provided what they seek in life but they did enjoy what was taught but more importantly, they loved the peace and feeling of home they had while at the chapel.

Sunday: July 17th, 2016
The Sabbath is always a delight! Being able to partake of the Sacrament and start each week fresh is a comforting act. My companion was throwing up due to the amazing African food he ate the night before in Peckham. It was funny because I did warn him that his first time having African food would destroy him but he went on with it anyway to try it for the experience. I loved it! African food has some amazing touches to it and as long as you don't ask what's in it, you'll enjoy it for sure!

All over London...!
It's been a really good week and we have another busy one this week. We have two more zone conferences in which we'll be heading west this week. This will be cool because I haven't gone to the west part of the mission yet, looking forward to that. We also have about final exchanges before the transfer ends and we prepare for a super busy month of August! Each week we have a training meeting and we will visit every single zone in the mission (9 different areas) so there will be a ton of traveling and speaking and can I mention a lack of sleep? It will be great!

Verse of the Week:
Alma 57:27
"Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually."

-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Jersey and Guernsey Island Address..!

Guernsey Island!
Hello from the Channel Islands!

We have had a wonderful last couple of days as we have been island hopping from Jersey and Guernsey! They are two islands right off the coast of France and you can even see France from where we are (not clearly so don't get to crazy). It wasn't for a holiday either... Missionaries don't do that but it has been a blessing to see the islands and work on them because I never thought I'd have the chance. It's been fun and I've been gotten quite the tan while over here (yes, I can tan apparently...) It's been eventful and it's also been a crazy busy week! Sad news... I have only 10 months left as a missionary after hitting my year mark and also, all of my friends are finishing up which is something to be joyful about! Can't wait to see what's in store for the lot of them as they return home. Here is the recap of our trip to the islands which ends tomorrow night and then we'll fly back to Crawley in preparation for Tri-Zone Conferences.
Flying to Jersey!

Monday: July 4th, 2016
Super good day! We played some basketball at the chapel today and we crushed it. It was super fun and then we headed to account and prepare for MLC and cover a bit for moves coming up in a few weeks.

Tuesday: July 5th, 2016
MLC today in Staines and we covered a few points that the Lord needed us to work on and we came away with a super cool idea from one of the Elders who suggested we have a small A6 size laminated copy of our Mission Training Plan so we could have a copy to fill in each day. I'll send pics at some point because this probably made absolutely no sense to you haha.

First Ever Zone Leader Training in the ELSM!
Wednesday: July 6th, 2016
We had our new meeting today that the Lord gave us through revelation. So, as Zone Leader Training about, we covered major portions where we lacked in the mission field (Planning, Zone Ministering, Finding, and Accounting). It was super successful and all of the western zone loved it and we were super pleased with the results that came about.

Thursday: July 7th, 2016
Round two of Zone Leader Training for all of the remaining eastern zones and it was another good day! We had to leave early because we needed to head to the airport to catch our flight to Jersey (one of the Channel Islands right next to France) (you can see France way off in the distance) We are only about 28 miles away. When we are at MLC, our Mission President and his wife pulled us aside and were like, "we have a crazy idea..." Elder Tunnicliffe and I both looked at each other and then came the words, "you should head to Jersey and Guernsey on Thursday." WHAT! But we were cool with it because they needed some assistance and help because it's a bit of a struggle but we moved our trip to Thursday compared to our original plan for September. So yeah, we had fun packing and heading and flying out again. It was crazy to be on a plane again, it was a super short flight (45 minutes) but it was fun again! We'll have five days on the islands and then we'll head back to the main land.
Jersey has the highest and fastest tides, exhibit A.

Friday: July 8th, 2016
Today on Jersey was amazing! We had 15 lessons as a group of four and we found 10 new investigators and just had a blast! We did some beachside contacting and that went super well! Elder Moorcroft and I met a super cool guy named Stephen who had a Book of Mormon but never read it but as he was going to leave the conversation, we asked a couple of questions that grabbed his attention and he took another Book of Mormon and accepted the invitation to read it. Really good day and Jersey is super beautiful! I never thought I'd have the chance to ever see the islands during my mission but the Lord blessed me with an amazing opportunity to see them and also work on them and see great success. I'll also get to spend my mission birthday on the islands which is super cool, quite the blessing huh? God is good!

Elizabeth Castle in the Distance
Saturday: July 9th, 2016
Year mark and let me tell you, it was definitely a day to remember!!! I can't believe I've been in England for a year. It's amazing how fast time has flown by... With the privilege we had to be on the islands, it was quite the year mark! Beautiful scenery and just a wonderful day full of almost everything from biking up and down hills (which I nearly died of exhaustion) to climbing up more hills with a scenic view to performing an accidental front flip on a bike and falling on my butt. It was hilarious and I came out with no injury at all. God was definitely looking out for me there haha. I'll share the full story some other day but basically, my companion I was on exchange with does mountain biking and he went down these stairs (it was only like 6 steps) with ease and I was like, "I've done this before, I can do it again..." As I went down, I braked to hard on the front tire (the brakes over here are reversed so on the right handle bar, it controls the front tire instead of the back tire like my bike back home and I totally spaced that) and the bike did a stoppie and the whole bike then did a front flip as I went down the stairs haha. Quite the experience, we were just laughing and I paused and just amazed at how nothing bad happened. Truly blessed. What I learned is don't do something someone else can if you've never fully done it before or if you're not skillful at it. What was crazy about it, is later as we were going down another hill, the elder I was with pulled braked way to hard and performed a stoppie of his own and also did a flip of his own... It was crazy and again... We laughed. Over the course of these past two days in Jersey, I've biked just over 50 miles! Let's just say my legs are super sore and I have taken the privilege of having a car for granted. The Lord taught me a lesson there! But I was super happy with how my year mark has turned out and how much has happened since last July!

Ping Pong!
Sunday: July 10th, 2016
We were delayed for a few hours due to the weather over Guernsey and so we sat around the airport for a few hours until things finally cleared. We made it safely after a 15 minute flight (it was ridiculously quick) and then we arrived to the mansion of a home with the Elders and the Dame's (Branch President and wife senior couple). Following that, had a chance to work a bit with Elder Hart and then we finished up accounting and then had some late night ping pong!

Verse of the Week:
Alma 42:31
"And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen."

I hope everyone has a great week! I made sure to take lots of pictures so please, feel free to enjoy the beauty of Jersey! (Guernsey pics will be later on)

-Elder Rivera

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Piña Coco is Life............Temporal:D

The Star Spangled Companion...
Happy 4th of July America!!! 

A great day of Independence for sure but remember, your true independence begins when you find the Lord and become free from the flaxen cord that Satan puts around you. Set your real self free and find your true eternal Independence Day by finding and giving yourself to the Savior. This week has been super good but again, busy busy. This week will be even busier with MLC and also our new edition of ZLT or Zone Leader Training. It will be fun and we get to perform the training at President's home and the weather looks promising this week so hopefully England won't fail us! An eventful week though, hopefully this week replicates it again.

We account with Pina Coco Juice! (Pineapple and coconut milk)
Monday: June 27, 2016
Normal preparation day activities and then we accounted and went through a lot of things with president which we want to work with the mission on and we have some new trainings that we established that we will be doing with the zone leaders and the sister trainer leaders in the future. 

Tuesday: June 28th, 2016
We had exchanges today and I got to work with Elder Green and it turns out that he went to Arizona like 4 years ago and was like 20 minutes from my house over by the Salt River Tubing place... Crazy day we had together though. We had some finding and then we had ward council which got cancelled and so we proceeded to have our Tuesday night football session with less actives and many new faces came which was nice. We were able to play on the pitch and it started to rain and let me tell you... I wish I was good at football. That is all.

Bambi joined us for scripture study!

Wednesday: June 29th, 2016
Finished up exchanges and then we had some stuff to cover and prepare for the next week with President. That took a bit but then we headed to see the Coopers in the evening and were able to have dinner with them. Charlotte made a super sweet nice meat lovers pizza from scratch and boy, it was delicious.

Thursday: June 30th, 2016
We had one of the most spiritual zone training I've been to on my mission this week with the Crawley Zone. Elder Richins(my trainer) and Elder Baum did a superb job and all the other missionaries that were presenting had an amazing presentation as well. Lots of tears were being shed and the atmosphere of the whole room was just illuminated by the Spirit. It was quite the day and I had a few powerful moments of some of the things that the Zone Leaders had shared... It was a sweet moment for me.
Elder Wright and Myself after a great exchange!

Friday: July 1st, 2016
Exchanges round 2 this week with the Maidstone Elders! I got to work with a long awaited opportunity with Elder Wright! He loves basketball and so exercise in the morning was a good time to be able to have all of us playing ball again after wanting to for such a long time. We had a super good day full of miracles! Paul and Linda(2 separate homes) were just stars. We are seeing them both this week and can't wait to see what turns up from the teaches. 

Saturday: July 2nd, 2016
Had service in the morning and we got to help Brother  Vowells build a dresser for his son JJ. That went well, power tools and I still aren't the bestest of friends by we are slowly getting there week by week haha.

Can't get enough of this temple and its scenery! <3
Sunday: July 3rd, 2016
Wonderful day at church and fast and testimony meeting was amazing! The Crawley ward just has something special about it and the members have a special glow about them that resonates within everyone! We went knocking later and saw nothing... Not even a seed... But then we had our usual accounting for Sunday and that went well. Had a good number of baptisms!  

Verse of the Week:
Alma 37:36
"Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever."

Have a great week everyone! Love you all! Enjoy the fireworks tonight!

Week leading up to my Mission Birthday! (July 9th, 2015) 
-Elder Rivera

Sunday, July 3, 2016


England London Temple

Good morning to all!

This week has been a super busy one! Lots of fun but also some struggles with a random cold just bouncing up out of nowhere. Which was a shame but things are better now. Anyways, we had some cool things happen this week but also a ton of cancellations on teaches we had set up so hopefully this week will be a lot better! But here is the run down for this rainy week! (it was a crazy week of thunderstorms and they were proper nice ones to. Pretty loud one that shook my core in the middle of the night one time, good stuff)

Monday: June 21st, 2016
We got some simple shopping done today and then played some football before we headed over to president to account and prepare for MLC on Wednesday. Long night but it was good.

Tuesday: June 22nd, 2016
We had exchanges with the Staines Zone Leaders and I got to work with Elder Senkans and we had a good time knocking around and visiting some potential formers that we got a few return appointments with. We then finished up our night with a football activity with some less active members.

Wednesday: June 23rd, 2016
We headed to district meeting early and then had to leave midway through so that we could prepare for MLC with President. We tried something different this time and gave a training over Oovoo instead of having everyone travel. It went really well and we were able to provide the necessary training in preparation for the mission piloting the Area Book Planner for the whole Europe Area. Pretty cool opportunity and the app seems intense but also very valuable. Everything will be on the iPad not which is good but also weird cause we won't need giant area books or planners anymore. Following MLC, we had dinner with members and then every other lesson we had planned dropped and it was super annoying...

Thursday: June 24th, 2016
We had lots of scheduled appointments today with some solid people but guess what... They all cancelled one by one and it was an utter disaster. We had no idea what was going on but we ended up going out with our ward mission leader and seeing some lost sheep and then had dinner at a carvery with him. Brother Hughes is a star and one of the best WML I've had so far.

Friday: June 25th, 2016
We had weekly planning at the temple today and then we had our exchanges with the Crawley Zone Leaders and I got to work with my trainer one last time! Crazy... He goes home at the end of this transfer and it was a great blessing to serve with him one more time before the sand in the hourglass runs out for him. We went knocking in this village and also stopped by some potentials and Sheralee was in and we got to set a return appointment for a future time as her son is coming down to visit her and she didn't have much time this week to have a visit from us but we will follow up soon with that one. She also referred us to one of her friends who was looking for some direction in life which was pretty amazing and totally unexpected.

Saturday: June 26th, 2016
So, we continued our service project for the Vowells family and after making the chicken house last week, we got to paint it this week and also do some yard work. There was 6 of us so the work was evenly distributed and of course, I got to paint! I love painting... But when it rains in England and you're painting... It's impossible to not get paint in places where the paint shouldn't have been.(on the chicken house...) The family then treated us to a nice barbecue  in the backyard and we had a good time there. I then got smacked in the face with a headache and the sniffles and was pretty roughed up.

Sunday: June 27th, 2016
Good day at church! Was fighting the sniffles and such and then we had our accounting in the evening. Was a very slow sabbath this week as I needed the rest because we have a lot of trainings coming up and I can't be sick for that. So I was commanded to rest and get better. Feeling much better now, just the back end of the cold now.

Verse of the Week:
Alma 30:41
"But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true?"

God has given us all the tools in order to find the Fulness of His truth. Will you find them all and search them to find out for yourself, or will ye deny them? Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. 

Hope you all have a great week and continue to search for more truth in your lives because believe it or not, there is much more out there that is still unknown to many... Come and see. The invitation is to all. Read and pray about the Book of Mormon and ye shall know the truth of what I say.

-Elder Rivera