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, September 29, 2016

I Know That My Redeemer Lives...

Heya everyone!

Hope everyone has had a brilliant week... it's been a tiring and busy one again over here in the land of England but that's the way I like it! It's starting to cool down a bit finally (crazy how I complain about 70-80 degree weather being hot now...) anyways, it's nearly October again... weird right... Conference right around the corner... then Thanksgiving and then Christmas again! Best time of the year is here!

Central Zone Conference!

Thursday: September 22nd, 2016
We had our first Zone Conference of the month and it went down super well. Choppy here and there but I guess that's what happens when you run through everything for the first time. Following the meeting and after a long wait as someone we were taking home had to meet with president, we drove the long 2 1/2 drive down into Plymouth from Poole. It was super late but we had an amazing car discussion the whole way down.(mainly doctrine, conversion stories, and mission strengths and struggles)(essentially 21 questions for missionaries haha)

Friday: September 23rd, 2016
The wonderful Fold family!
Elder Phelps and I celebrated a good exchange we had together with eating Sizz All (amazing buffet restaurant with everything possible in it) We finished up with our Plymouth exchanges and then drove another 2 1/2 hours down to Poole and had dinner with an awesome family called the Fold's(currently looking into the church)! We had a powerful dinner discussion about the importance of the church and how God guides us across a bridge and is essentially telling us to "not look down" as we cross and once we safely cross, we reach the goal and the door back to the treacherous bridge is closed and we are safely enwrapped in his arms. Then we headed down to Weymouth and I got to have my roaming exchange with them!

Saturday: September 24th, 2016
We had a super good exchange and a powerful review... I mean, the Spirit led my words and the things I shared with them and God was good to all of us in there... after finishing, we finally headed back to our area after being 4 days away on travel and exchanges and conference. Crazy to think that next week will make my 7th general conference I've watched since joining the church. I can't wait to hear from our living prophet and living apostles.

Sunday: September 25th, 2016
So today was great! Elder Cloward received strict instruction to stay in bed all day to get healthy and rest from his sickness and so him and I both stayed home all day and a he rested, I managed to study a lot of the Book of Mormon. Mainly the Isaiah chapters... the least to say is I was thoroughly nourished by the good word of God with new insights this time around studying Isaiah's words.

Monday: September 26th, 2016
So we were supposed to account today with president but circumstances changed due to some stuff. Anyways, we ended up going to look for a new flat and the first one we really liked on the advertisement we loved and put a deposit on it. However, there were still 2 other viewings that Simon was going to show. Strangely enough, as we were leaving, both of my companions had a very strong feeling that one of those viewers could use the flat more than us, so we called and canceled our deposit. We all felt really good after doing so. It was for a wise purpose in God in which we knew not.

Tuesday: September 27th, 2016
Another Zone Conference with the central tri zones and man... it was powerful! A lot better than the first one and it was just a lot of good fun and enjoyment was all around the room! President bore another powerful testimony at the end and it was just ringing true to my heart... I learned a lot of personal things I was looking for and needed and God delivered through my priesthood leader. I was so grateful for it and it helped me establish my next step to becoming a better missionary and a better individual.

Still got it... :) Light Outs #10(BYU Basketball?)
Wednesday: September 28th, 2016
Today is just a relaxing day... we got our stuff done already and we are all pretty knackered so we might just rest a tad today before our last conference tomorrow...

Verse of the Week:
2 Nephi 19:2
"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."

-Elder Rivera

God Knoweth His Children!

Hello everyone!

Hope your weeks have been great! Mine has been superb so far! There is not much to report of this week so far due to my email on Saturday but I'll fill you in on what's happened the last couple of days because they have been like stellar days!

Sunday: September 18th, 2016
Alessia walked up to us today and asked if we would baptize her! She is the only non baptized member in her family and she finally had an experience with the Spirit testifying of the truth of the things she's been learning at church and other youth activities. It was a tender mercy of the Lord! We haven't had time to work but we were able to be blessed! Literally one of the best moments a missionary can have and it made it a great Sunday! She'll be getting baptized on October 8th, 2016! 

Monday: September 19th, 2016
Full day of accounting again and we also had a sweet revelation come to us and President as we finished up our accounting and planning for Zone Conference this week. The most I'll share is that we had a number come to mind and we have created a plan and movement to achieve it. #31 More information will come as it opens up!

Tuesday: September 20th, 2016
We had exchanges today and I got to work with Elder Green again and we had a sweet day. I got to bring my inner office elder out for a bit and help him create some graphs and presentations for his Stake Correlation notes which was pretty fun. Following that we went and saw Graham and went through a member missionary work initiative to help him fulfill his responsibilities as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It went super well and then we had a great dinner at Peri-Peri. After dinner, we went to teach Alessia and wow... my testimony of God knowing His children has increased as of last night even more. We went in originally planning to teach the plan of salvation and then the Spirit said to teach about the Book of Mormon and how reading it and abiding by its precepts(trying what it says) would draw her connection to God more. Little did we know that is what she needed! She even said the closing prayer which was amazing because she was nervous and shy about doing so in front of people but she was able to do it! It felt so good to teach finally after such a long time of just meetings and planning. Grateful for the experience tonight taught me.

Wednesday: September 21st, 2016
Honestly... I'm so exhausted today. Elder Cloward ended up coming down with a crazy sinus infection and so we've been doing what we can to help him and keep things easy today to rest up. Nothing to much happening today! Just a lot of rest and preparation for a long weekend of exchanges in the western zones!

Verse of the Week:
2 Nephi 1:15
"But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love."

Elder Rivera

Box Hill & The ELSM Titles of Liberty!!!

Hello everyone!

Round 3 of ZLT!
Well, it has been one of the quickest but most tiring weeks in a while. We had MLC, and a triple header of Zone Leadership Trainings over these past few days. Due to moves last week and having to train the trainers and also help President assign companionships, we didn't have time to really have a preparation day and it's kind of the same story today but hey, that's life I guess haha. Anyways, apologies for the long email but I guess due to last week and is week being a late preparation day, you'll just have to suffer a bit if you want to know what happened in jolly ol England this week! Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday: September 7th, 2016
We finished up the finalizations of training the trainers and then had the trainer assignment meeting and it was amazing! It was our last big group for a while so it was good fun while it lasted but now we'll be having smaller groups coming in from this point on. Roughly another 14 coming at the end of this transfer but smaller than roughly 30 from the last two groups. It was also our first time presenting things together as a trio group and it was interesting splitting the parts between us but we made it work out!

Thursday: September 8th, 2016
Today was a very long day of planning! We had transfer planning and accounting times to switch up for all of the zone leaders due to our trio now and it was just a mess. We didn't even finish the full of it tonight and so we had to postpone the rest of it to another time.
The Three Englandites Leading the Troops

Friday: September 9th, 2016
Today was that other time... Hah, we spent a few more hours finishing up the schedules for the transfer and how and where the roaming assistant would be going throughout our exchanges. Finally after that, we headed to President's to have another meeting to go over plans for the coming week and the many meetings and presentations that would take place... That took a while but then we went to Toby Carvery with our Ward Mission Leader to introduce the three new elders to our area and that was sweet, one of the chefs met with missionaries in the past and said to get back into contact with him too, so we had a good fruit come from dinner besides stuffing our faces with an English Roast.

Saturday: September 10th, 2016
The Crawley Elders and us got to go help Jonathan today with his garden allotment with pulling weeds and clearing up some of the area so he could prep it for a small harvest before winter. Good fun until it started to rain on us... Thanks England. Following that, we headed to the temple office to meet with the office elders to go over and review our mission handbook and make adjustments to it with all of the recent changes we've had happen to our mission. That took some time but we got it done and then headed off to some shops to gather our materials to make our projects for the upcoming MLC.

Sunday: September 11th, 2016
Lo Zion's Banner is Unfurled!
I can't believe that today marked the 15th anniversary of the "Pearl Harbor" of my day... A day I remember as clear as I can remember my own name. It was different this year being in England during this time of year as its wasn't really recognized to much but it was a good day. We spent the whole of it making a bunch of "Title of Liberty" flags for the MLC group and I had to use my artistic drawing skills(not really) to write down all of the zone names on these tattered bed sheets we created from newly bought sheets. It's interesting when missionary work doesn't always pertain to finding and knocking but rather preparing also for the missionaries we have stewardship over. It's a blessing to be able to serve so many missionaries and learn from them in the process of it all.

Monday: September 12th, 2016
We had our beautiful day of accounting in the morning to accounting at president's and then we went over final touch ups for the week and discussed everything we needed to focus on and what our goal for the mission was and what the Lord has given us through revelation. President sat the 3 of us down before dinner and taught us the importance of receiving revelation and learning how to recognize those answers from God and how we can be more susceptible to receiving more when we think more about what God wants for His mission and the ways we can be of assistance to Him. Very big day of learning for me for sure...

MLC at Box Hill!
Tuesday: September 13th, 2016
MLC today! We headed up to what is one of the highest points I've been to in England. The place is called Box Hill if you want to look it up. It was a beautiful scenery for what we had planned. President and Sister Gubler shared church history of what took place in England and then my companions and I led everyone through the scriptures of Captain Moroni and The Title of Liberty (Alma 46). It was one of the most powerful experiences ever... They say if you want to have a high connection, reach for the peak. We did so and the Spirit was evident in our presentation. We handed the flags out and everyone raised them high in the sky and with the wind blowing them around, we sang High on the Mountain Top and proceeded to proclaim our purpose and D&C 4... As we did, I had chills running down my back the whole time as we see 50 missionaries raising their banners for "Zion" and proudly and boldly proclaiming the reason we are on a mission and that is to help God save His children and help them make sacred covenants(promises)with Him. A very big spiritual day for the lot of us.

Wednesday: September 14th, 2016
Round one of ZLT today with all the western zones and after going through the various presentations we had planned between us and President, we had a lot of chances to practice and teach the leaders way to improve in areas we struggle as a missionary team. Along the process, President taught us the importance of recognizing patterns in our daily lives. A few I'll share blew all of the missionaries minds... because none of us really caught it.

Retiring to Bed and Waking up with the Rising of the "Son"
- You retire to bed each night and physically almost looking dead, and then you rise in the morning when the sun comes back up.
- The "sun" rises in the east and the "Son" will return in the east.
- All the saints will rise with Christ in the morning of the first resurrection
- Everything God does has a purpose... Nothing was made without a purpose. That means everything around you testifies of Christ and God's purpose(bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man)
- Patterns of family on the earth are equivalent to how they'll be in heaven. You won't live in the same home but you will still visit with each other with things you need counsel on.(earth=temporary family dinners asking about how their "world" is going. How are the kids, the events of life, etc. Heaven=Asking about ways to fix their worlds and help perfect their kids and help them to become exalted beings as well.

Pattern of the sacrament
- The sacrament table with the bread, water, and cloth reflect the resemblance of a body(Christ in the sepulchre)
- The bread(His body) is broken before the blessing because His body was bruised and broken before the blessings of the Atonement took place and could provide the blessings of His sacrifice.

Another I'll share later as it is to intense to share via email.

Thursday: September 15th, 2016
Round 2 and same as Round 1

Round 2 of ZLT

Friday: September 16th, 2016
Round 3=Round 1&2 but after, I had a chance to sit down with President and ask some questions I was pondering over regarding school and other personal questions that I wanted counsel on and I got exactly what I needed. I'm grateful for the priesthood and the blessings that come from worthy priesthood holders. Always trust God and His counsel for it comes directly from Him.

Brigham Redd, Until we meet again!
Saturday: September 17th, 2016
Today now... Well, I got to say goodbye to one of my favorite missionaries before he heads home next Friday. Elder Redd is a star and him and I have had some good times together. He was my first zone leader and my first exchange of my mission and we've built a great friendship in the course of our missions and I'll miss him dearly. Today is the rest of our preparation day and then we have a baptism for someone in the ward that we need to help set up for and fill the font! Baptisms are great! With proper authority, they provide the keys necessary to open the doors to the celestial kingdom to one day live with God again forever to never more depart His presence.

Verse of the Week:
1 Nephi 15:13
"And now, the thing which our father mean the concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the messiah come unto the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed-"

Oh ye Gentiles... Open your eyes...God has again spoken to His children, The Book of Mormon has come forth... it contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ and anyone who is not willing to read it is foolish and is missing out on the blessings of finding their treasures in heaven. Anyone foolish enough to deny 531 pages without really reading the book or giving it a chance... has been deceived by the adversary himself and unless they partake of the nourishing word of God, they shall never find the treasures they seek in this life, nor in the life to come. Read the Book of Mormon and I promise you that if you ask in humble prayer if it be true, God will show you with great power that they are His words and that His Church has been restored in its fulness with the proper priesthood authority to minister in the saving ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which provide every humble and willing person who partakes of these ordinances to one day enter the kingdom of God clean, perfect, and clothed in righteousness forever; to never more face death, sickness, pain, fear, or darkness ever again, but to be encompassed in the light of sweet serenity and everlasting happiness in the presence of their Eternal God and with their family and children forever. Of this I am sure... This is something I know for myself and hope one day, those who know not these truths will accept it so they may be candidates for the Celestial Kingdom of God.

-Elder Rivera

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Three Amigos??? Three Musketeers??? Three Nephites??? Or The Three Englandites???

Hello everyone! Whichever of the titles we are now, after 2 transfers of 2, the good news is there's now 3 of us!!!

Three Amigos??? Three Musketeers??? Three Nephites???
Or The Three Englandites???

This week has been amazing! We had the chance to finish up the final Specialized Zone Training with the Poole Zone and then we finalized moves and Elder Cloward (the newest addition to our trio assistant companionship) joined us in Crawley and we've had a good few days to start. It's weird being in a trio because it's the first time for all of us so we all have some adjusting to do but it's been a blast. Hopefully the designed plan of having 3 assistants again brings some push and fire power to the rest of the mission! 

Wednesday: August 31st, 2016
We enjoyed the wonderful Arundel trip as mentioned previously last week. I haven't managed to get the pictures off of my camera just yet so you'll all have to wait for the post mission slideshow to see them all and the stories tied together with it!

Thursday: September 1st, 2016
We had our final SZT for the transfer today and it went super well. Because there are 4 companionships on Guernsey and Jersey, it was smaller than normal which had its pros and cons but at the end of the day it worked out.

We found an American shop... I don't know
whether to be grateful or terrified I
found one of my favorite sodas...!
Friday: September 2nd, 2016
We traveled up to Crawley from Poole and had a good little road trip stuck in traffic. Had a good exchange though with Elder Wilfley and we found this awesome American Sweet Shop that has literally every American candy possible and then some. They also have Arizona's Mucho Mango juice and we are totally off the moon for them.  

Saturday: September 3rd, 2016
So today we finished up the finalizations of the exchange and then deep cleaned our flat and re arranged everything because we needed some serious space to be able to fit Elder Cloward in. Let's just say that was a fun time and our flat looks a lot more spacious than it ever has been before.

Sunday: September 4th, 2016
Great Sabbath Day and we had a very powerful fast and testimony meeting and then we had a wonderful break the fast meal at the temple with the office staff and then we finally picked up a Elder Cloward from the temple! Good night, we had the chance to help him unpack and then we discussed some things for the upcoming few days with trainings for the trainers and new missionaries coming in. It'll be a blast of a time with 3 of us and it'll open up a lot more doorways to many things. Looking forward to seeing what we can do as we may only have a tri for a transfer or two before Elder Tunnicliffe heads out to train twice before he heads home in April and then myself following him in May. (May 9 to be exact now due to a 5 week transfer)

Monday: September 5th, 2016
We had our usual Monday routine again! Accounting in the mornings and then we headed to a president's to help host the baptismal dinner for the missionaries who worked hard and received the reward of doing so and then we also prepared for this coming week and also the week following preparing discussions for MLC and ZLT and also the upcoming Tri-Zone Conferences this transfer.

Tuesday: September 6th, 2016
Today we are taking our preparation day due to the fact that the rest of the week is ridiculously busy! We have training of the trainers tonight and then tomorrow we will finish training them and then help give instruction to the new missionaries and then help assign them to their new companions! Always a fun time of the transfer!

Verse of the Week:
Baptismal Dinner Round 3
"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."

From My Scripture a Study Notes:
Tender mercies are all of the miracles that the Lord works among the children of men according to their faith because only faith are miracles wrought.

The Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individual blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord's tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord's timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these blessings.

Nephi declared in the first chapter of the Book of Mormon that he would show us the "tender mercies of the Lord" in his writings. In the last chapter of the Book of Mormon, Moroni told us to remember "how merciful the Lord hath been."

I love you all and hope you recognize the tender mercies the Lord offers you each day so that you may one day see the biggest miracle of all and that is what has happened to your heart along your journey back to your Father in Heaven.

-Elder Rivera

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Push Yourself to Your Limits...

Hello everybody!

So, we had a super good week! More trainings but they went super well! Super busy week and we have transfers coming up so my companion and I headed out to President's to help finish it all up and we managed to get it done in two visits compared to last moves which was like 4 haha. I would make mention of a few surprises that would be happening but I'll share more when it's all completely set in stone and sent out this coming week. Stay tuned! Anyways, I had some very powerful personal moments this week that helped me move forward even more! Hopefully we are all pushing ourselves to our limits each day because if we do, then God will grant us extra strength to complete the tasks he expects of us.

Sorry for the short email, we went to Arundel Castle today which was super beautiful!

Wednesday: August 24th 2016
We had a good day of basketball and sports! Then we had a super short exchange I mean.. Like 3 hours haha. Our schedule was packed and due to preparation day and a SZT we couldn't have a full exchange.

Thursday: August 25th, 2016
SZT in Crawley today and it went well. Had a super good dinner at Peri-Peri again with the Brighton elders and then we had to do weekly planning as we couldn't do it Friday due to moves at President's.

Friday: August 26th, 2016
We had moves at president's and got about 95% of it done from 11:00-6:45pm... That was a very tiring and stressful process as a lot of changes are being made in the mission with more missionaries heading home but also some changes to other areas of the mission.

Saturday: August 27th, 2016
We had exchanges with Portsmouth and Elder Cloward and I got to go work some neighbourhoods and we saw so much opposition but on the last door, we found a family that was invited us to come back Sunday!

Sunday: August 28th, 2016
So after a great day of church, we headed back to visit hat family and a Elder Schulthies and I stopped by and I feel that when we are together, we always get these notorious doors that go from good to awkward. The husband of the mother we met started by telling us that for 
1) No one by the name of Lucy lives here
2) I'm an atheist 
3) I'm actually a C of E member
4) I know what God's plan is for me 
The best was this one...
5) My wife showed me that last night and we just aren't interested...
It was dressing really that he would go that far to just say what he could've said at the beginning which was, "not interested at the moment but we know where to find you."
Fun stuff...

Monday: August 29th, 2016
Accounting and more accounting with President. We also went up to a venue we were looking for a possible finding spot with President and also a meeting spot for a future MLC and in the process, within 30 minutes, the 4 of us (President and Sister Gubler, Elder Tunnicliffe and myself) found 4 people (including a couple that approached us while on the venue) super amazing to see President work with people, it was amazing how smoothly and powerfully he worked and we ended up gathering their Facebook information to teach them in the future.

Tuesday: August 30th, 2016
We went up to Wandsworth today for a SZT and had a powerful meeting. One of the best we've had. Went longer than expected again haha but it was a good one! After like 2 hours of London traffic, we had a super good dinner with the Coopers before Charlotte (the daughter) headed off to America for a holiday trip.

Wednesday: August 31st, 2016
Today, super fun trip to Arundel Castle for Elder Schulthies last Preparation Day! Him and I went for the gold plus pass to see EVERYTHING! Super worth it!

Verse of the Week: Introduction to the Book of Mormon
"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

Hope you all have a great week! Pics of Arundel will come next week as I took them all on my camera!

-Elder Rivera