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, December 1, 2016


Assistants of the ELSM
What a week it has been in the England London South Mission! Can't believe we have once again welcomed December into our lives... crazy how fast the time is flying and how quickly this year has flown by...

We have come to another close to a transfer and another successful moves has taken place leading into the Christmas season. We spent Thanksgiving very well and also had a super good week of training with the missionaries again. Elder Tunnicliffe headed out into the field to train this time around and we welcomed in Elder Wright to the companionship along with Elder Cloward and myself. Crazy thing is... these two were best friends(I mean like... best friends back home in Heber City, Utah) and they are like the Statler, Ty, and Zach combo but in two haha. Super crazy that they get to serve together on their missions but also as assistants... pretty good blessing from the Lord but I guess that is why we have revelation. We had a super good week though and we capped it off with two baptismal dates for New Year's Eve so we are super excited to be back in working business again as we don't have to worry about Specialized Zone Trainings this time around!

Thursday: November 24th, 2016
Thanksgiving 2016!
One of the most successful days of my mission and it was truly a day of Thanksgiving! Nearly forgot it was a holiday until dinner time which was pretty weird... Elder Green and I got to work together again and did we see fruit??? Yes we did! We have the Christmas Initiative that is taking place now so we started to to use that in our contacts and because everyone loves talking about Christmas and the holiday season, we had some amazing conversations with people and had 5 new investigators that we picked up to teach. We also have a Christmas party coming up on the 17th so we have been inviting people to that as well. Just a wonderful day of good talks and good fun together on the
mission! Later that evening... well, Elder Cloward and I had a fun drive to Bristol... well partially to Bristol. We left at about 8:30 and it would have gotten us there at about 10:15 but I failed to grab my suit coat and so we needed to turn back after about 30 minutes of driving... that was fun. Then we continued our journey again and we got stuck in mad traffic on the M3 and the motorway went down to a single lane and we were stuck for about 45 minutes there. Our GPS then told us we would get there at about 12:30am... and that was definitely not happening... we called President to see what he wanted us to do and he told us to try and get off at the next exit and sleep at the nearest elders' flat. We tried to get to Reading because that would cut the travel in half but the exit we needed was completely blocked off due to road maintenance and that butchered those plans. We then had to continue to the only open road which then took us to Staines and we ended up by the chapel and still had quite the journey to go there. We called again for guidance to our president and we took some counsel from him to just take the other route to get to Reading and stay there for the night. We gave him some other options on staying at the chapel parking lot and sleeping in the car or making the journey back to our flat or just continue to Bristol but yeah... he said Reading haha. Fun trip and we finally made it safely after a good journey.

The Fab 5...
Friday: November 25th, 2016
Today wasn't much of a day... We ended up leaving the Bristol Specialized Zone Training early due to me feeling poorly... kind of sucked. So we went home and I just slept... good fun.(not really)

Saturday: November 26th, 2016
Today was rough... stayed in the flat all day and just slept. Worst thing on the mission.

Sunday: November 27th, 2016
Elder Tunnicliffe had his last Sunday today and bore his final testimony to the Crawley ward. He is quite the missionary and he was a huge example to me. I had the privilege of being his longest companion in the mission(we'll go home together in May so it'll be fun to have a final catchup at the temple)

Monday: November 28th, 2016
We had an awesome baptismal dinner again at presidents again and we good time. I lost my voice which is horrible... first time in like 4 years but yeah, it was a good night.
Baptismal Dinner!

Tuesday: November 29th, 2016
Today was moves and training the trainers again. Had a good meeting with President to covering some things we need to work on before Christmas comes! Super excited for our Christmas Conferences. 

Wednesday November 30th, 2016
We welcomed in the 6 new missionaries and got them assigned fairly quickly and did our final Trainings and got them on the way to their area to begin working! Another fun experience but my voice still wasn't back fully yet so it was hard to do things but I endured through it.

I can't say enough about this one...
17 month wait, worth it!
Thursday: December 1st, 2016
Today, we picked up a gift for President and Sister Gubler and ventured into Taco Bell...! Hidden miracle of the trip! A Taco Bell in our mission now haha! The best thing ever!

Verse of the Week:
Mosiah 15:28
"And now I say unto you that the time shall come that the salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people."

Things are going super well! Hope you are all doing well! Love you!

-Elder Rivera

Thanksgiving Week Round 2/2...

Hello everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!!! I hope you all enjoy stuffing your faces again this year with turkey and all of the mashed potatoes! As I just emailed on Saturday, there is not to much to report this week!

Here is a short rundown of what has happened though since Saturday!

Sunday: November 20th, 2016
We had a super great day of church and had a super awesome time with the Ryan's again and also the Cooper's! Nothing to intense today sadly...

Christmas With the Cooper's!

Monday: November 21st, 2016
Today we had accounting with our president and then we finished up more of the transfer finalizations leading up to this week and then we prepared for our last 2 SZT for this transfer! It still amazes me to see things come together like a puzzle during moves little by little until the whole board and arranged according to the way that God wants it.

Wandsworth SZT

Tuesday: November 22nd, 2016
Today... well, I woke up with a sore throat and a headache as well and it just wasn't the best day. However, I still made it through our training and role plays okay and then had a good nap on the way home as we were stuck in about 2 and a half hours of traffic on the  way back to the Cooper's to have Elder Tunnicliffe say his goodbyes. It was super fun and they even had an early Christmas with all of us since it will be our last time together all of us. Still can't believe we are almost into the month of December!!!

Wednesday: November 23rd, 2016
We are in the middle of having an office meeting and then we are going to play some sport after and hopefully relax for a bit! We have one more final training on Friday and then we will be done for at least a transfer with SZT and we will start prepping for the Christmas Conference!!! Can't wait!!!

-Elder Rivera

An Attitude of Gratitude..!

Dinner at Sister Eckelt's
Hello everyone! 

I realized that this week is Thanksgiving... weird huh? A family is having us over this week to celebrate so I'm super excited! Anyways, this week was super eventful to say the least! It's also been a super long week. My body is feeling it today... but that is GOOD! It means I'm doing something right I guess!

Thursday: November 10th, 2016
We had another Specialized Zone Training today in Poole and it went super well! Today marked 6 months left and so it was pretty sobering... I set some personal goals that I want to achieve over the next 6 months of my mission and the time I have left in England. Following the training, Elder Tunnicliffe and I headed down to Reading for exchanges with the Elders. 

Friday: November 11th, 2016
It's been about 8 months since I've worked in Reading again and it was a blast! We stopped by some former people I used to teach but sadly, most of them weren't home. We also had the chance to see some old members along the way that I was connected with while serving over here. In the evening we had the chance to watch and witness 3 of the baptisms that the elders had. Fatmata, Abraham, and Adam were super excited. I had the chance to teach them before the baptism and was also invited to share my experiences with them at the baptism and it was super awesome!

Saturday: November 12th, 2016
Portsmouth SZT!
Another day of exchanges in Staines today and I got to be with Elder Thomas again and we had a very different type of exchange together. We had to finish cleaning on the final pieces of their old house because it was needing a deep cleaning before they could return the keys to the owners. So that was fun and then we headed up to Peckham again for another baptism we were invited to attend. After the baptism and dinner, I had the chance to talk to President Smith who is the Elder's Quorum President for the Peckham Ward and we had a good conversation. He was asking me about a lot of things and I sought advice from him and maybe what a missionary with 6 months could do to finish strong and be ready for the next step. He shared some very valuable advices especially about an 80/20 rule he has about doing 80 percent of what you know you can do and 20% of stretching room for some things that will help you move forward. Trying to apply that now haha. One thing that the Spirit struck me in the heart with was a comment he made. He said in effect, "For a convert of 2 1/2 years, coming on a mission and the Lord calling you to be an AP... I don't know about you but thats pretty darn good. That just shows how much conversion has taken place in you, how much He trusts you, and what He knows your capable of doing to help others with the skills and talents He has given you." When he said that... it just struck me and it was something I needed to hear. It really showed me the connection I had with God and the reality of what I am currently doing and how I've been doing a good thing for me recently and seeking more of His help in all things and doing my best to grow. "There is no growth in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the growth zone." 
Casual Day at President's!

Sunday: November 13th, 2016
Another Remembrance Sunday on the mission and it was amazing. There were some members that shared some stories that they personally had or members of their family had during the time of the war. We then had a show at the chapel that MANY people came to watch. It was called, Faith the Musical and it was umm... good but also interesting. There were stories of the first pioneers among the Willie Handcart Company.   President and Sister Gubler invited their neighbors Philip and Kathy to the event and they came! They also loved it and then invited them over for dinner the coming Wednesday! Super cool!

Monday: November 14th, 2016
Today was another day of accounting and we talked about a few things that sparked up some good conversation. We talked about future replacements for myself and Elder Tunnicliffe as we are the oldest Assistant's. That was fun. Haha. Let's just say, the New Year will be fun! =)

Tuesday: November 15th, 2016
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
We had another SZT today at Maidstone today and then headed to a member's home that Elder Cloward knew for dinner before we headed out. One of his friends he knew also did some size measuring on all of us and he is purchasing us all an African tribal suit for Christmas! Super excited for that! Something I learned today was the reason we mark our scriptures isn't about finding things later on but it is evidence that God is personally speaking to you as you read.

Wednesday: November 16th, 2016
The Christmas season is upon us! Today we got to head to our President's to prepare for moves preparation but we also helped set up for Christmas! I felt like a little kid again setting up a proper Christmas tree and Christmas lights again haha. I helped President set up the lighted wreaths around the stairwell and then I helped Sister Gubler put the Christmas Tree lights up while my companions(who are much taller) worked the outside forces haha. All I know is that time is speeding up so much more... it feels like every transfer just comes by more rapidly and unexpectedly(not really). We did a huge chunk of the moves board today and then drove down to Portsmouth to beat the early morning traffic for SZT.

The final product before the end of the night.
Featuring me and President.
Thursday: November 17th, 2016
Well, it seemed this week was kind of a "lets visit all of my previous areas" kind of week. Elder Cloward and I both had a mini "Mission Tour" due to Specialized Zone Trainings and also Exchanges. Pretty neat. Anyways, SZT went really well and then Elder Dennis and I had a POWERFUL lesson with Katie. She is an investigator that has been looking into the church for nearly 3 years now but she has made so much progress. We talked with her over the phone for about an hour and the Spirit was just guiding the entire discussion. We had some good things going on and then she had some concerns and both of us just worked some things out with her as she was stressing over her baptism that would be this weekend.(explain more later) After the call, Elder Dennis and I headed to Sprinkles to grab some ice cream to finish off the night and we had a good talk over it as well. 

Friday: November 18th, 2016
Well... these last two days have literally been some of the most spiritually connected days in a while. Elder Dennis and I had the chance to teach Katie again and with the help of President Gubler for the first 15 minutes, the stage was really set. She was still stressing over a bit of things leading up to the baptism and stuff. We literally talked for 2 hours trying to help her recognize a few things from the past that she has experiences and gone through that have gotten her to this point. Just for a little background quickly from last nights call that will help this portion. Elder Dennis gave Katie a promise in the name of Jesus Christ that if she were to pray and ask for help and guidance at this time, she would receive an answer to her question. Now... Katie had the mindset of, "I'm quitting and I can't do this." She then asked, "Can I quit doing things...?" What she shared with us was amazing! Katie then said that she got a clear cut answer from the Lord... as if it were a voice that just said... "No, you can't" That frustrated her but she knew it was the right thing and so we talked and talked and talked some more. We used analogies, similes, examples, and I just felt prompted to share so much personal things and experiences I have had in the past with it all and then we proceeded to invite her to figure it out and call us back later. She did and then we talked again some more.(We did a lot of talking these past 2 days haha) She finally came to the conclusion that it is the right thing to do but she had a concern. A genuine one of course. Her family is very on board with it and has made it hard for her and she doesn't want to do anything without having their support or even a knowledge of what she is doing. We encouraged her to go through with the baptismal interview anyways to gage where she is at with things and then go from there trying to help her parents understand the answers she has received and the things that have happened to her. Elder Tunnicliffe interviewed her and what was awesome is that he shared a bit of what happened and how it was one of the most powerful things he has experienced.(also his first interview) Katie then called the Zone Leaders and explained how in the interview... she was able to share things and knowledge about stuff that she didn't even know was there. That woke her up and she realized what she knew and it helped her a ton! She won't be getting baptized tomorrow but she will soon! She just needs to work with her parents and get things figured out there and then she'll be ready but she knows she wants it now and wow... it feels so good to know and see and I mean... "see"
God literally work His hand in all things and work through us to help her. I've never felt so connected to someone or to heaven like I was this past weekend and the results... well, they speak for itself. It was a great reunion in Southampton and so many miracles happened! God is real... I know this. God answers prayers... I know this also. But I also know that God loves His children and is willing to give them help and guidance in all that they do as long as they are willing to listen and do what He says to do. This weekend has been evidence of these things and I know with a surety that these things are real. 

Saturday: November 19th, 2016
Today is just another relaxing day! We spent the morning in Southampton and then headed back to Crawley! Good news is is that my BYU application has been finished. Please pray for me to get accepted!:)

Verse of the Week:
D&C 6:22-24
22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
23 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?
24 And now, behold, you have received a witness; for if I have told you things which no man knoweth have you not received a witness?

Have a great week of Thanksgiving! 
Trio-Life is the Best Life! Love these Elders!
(this is a pitchfork yes...)

Love you all and I am super grateful for all you do and the support you give to me!

-Elder Rivera

My Solo Journey Around England..!

Hello everyone!!!

Arizona in England! Mucho Mango Style!
Well this week was one for the books. Nothing to crazy happened. Oh wait. A lot happened. I got to travel a bit of England on my own due to roaming exchanges and had to work through the train systems of London to make my destinations. I'll share more later in the email though! Just know it was an adventure I'll never forget!

Wednesday: November 2nd, 2016
Well, besides more of my college stuff. I had quite the adventure today. I was going on exchanges with the Washford elders (an area far out west of the mission) and it was going to be about a 4 hour travel by train for myself. It was rather nerve racking to be honest because for one... I don't do much public transport since we always have a car so it was something new to me. However, I got dropped off by my companions and boarded the train heading into London Victoria (the main station for most travel right in the heart of London, super cool) anyways, I got off the train in Victoria and boy.... it was LOADED with people. There must have been at least hundreds to thousands of people just waiting for trains and checking times on trains coming in and everything else there. I headed to the underground system to catch my next train and this is where it got nuts... there was literally a HUGE queue (line) for the underground with roughly again, hundreds of people lined up. I had to wait about 30 minutes for the tube (underground train) and then headed off to London Paddington Station where I would then catch my 2 hour train ride into Taunton (closest area to Washford) It was super fun! 

London Paddington!
Thursday: November 3rd, 2016
So today we had a district meeting and then we taught a friend of theirs named Liam and we had a good connection together. We have similar ideas and goals in life and also background with beliefs and everything and I got to share my testimony with him and we became good friends and had a good conversation about how I came to the church and what it was like for me being involved with it since baptism and how it has changed my life. It was nice to bear my testimony to him and share examples of what it can do for someone who follows it. Then I traveled back home again for another 4 hours through the train systems but I took a different route this time through Reading and then Redhill. On the way to Redhill, I met a guy named Rob who was studying a packet on the Cerebellum(a part of the brain) and I instantly clicked on it and we started talking about medical things and school and he wants to become a neurosurgeon which I thought was intense. We had a good chat about the UK and also a bit of American in which he shared some things he literally JUST looked up about Park City in Utah for Skiing. Crazy right? Although I've never been to Utah I got to share a bit about it since I'm wanting to head there for school. We then got talking a bit about what a missionary is and what I was doing. Had a simple conversation about God and it turns out he wasn't much of a believer but he was open to the idea of looking for something and so we talked and I gave him my number and a website to check out on his own time to search for himself. It was a good way to end the trip though heading back home.

Friday: November 4th, 2016
We were on exchanges again today(where one missionary companionship comes with another companionship and we swap companions; for example: Elder Dey and Elder De Kock are companions and Elder Cloward, Elder Tunnicliffe, and I are companions but Elder Tunnicliffe went roaming into their zone and Elder Dey and I became companions for the day to work together). Pretty fun day but it was also pouring rain for the first time in a while and we went knocking into it haha. Big mistake cause we were soaked but it was worth it because we did it for Him. Also saw a super nice Ferrari that was parked in a drive way so I literally slammed on the brakes and pulled over to the side of the road to go knock the door of the owner of the car. Nobody was home though... =) He's an awesome elder though and we had some good chats along the way of our travels and also throughout the day working.

Saturday: November 5th, 2016
We did some service this morning where we helped a member put up a shed for another member(again, my power tool skills are enhancing by the month) and then we finished up our exchange and had a good chat again with Elder Dey before they left. A good time for both of us to just kind of vent to one another and figure out how we can both move forward as missionaries and individuals. Later we had a wonderful pasta dinner with the Stamps to celebrate the 5th of November(its like the 4th of July, but just not as American... haha)

Sunday: November 6th, 2016
A great fast and testimony Sunday! Quite the theme this week on giving gratitude(Thanksgiving of course) and also Charity to others. We then had a sweet "Taco Bell" style lunch with all of the office staff at a mansion... yes... a mansion. The family rents out a part of it to one of the senior couples and so... we got to tag along and enjoy a bit of some luxury today. Gotta love England!!! 

Monday: November 7th, 2016
Missionary Leadership Council: November
We had a powerful accounting today at President's. Accounting is where we report for the labors of the missionaries throughout the week and also share a bit on how each of the missionaries are doing personally and also a companionship and how their area is doing in the work. We then also conversed over items for our MLC meeting which would take place on Tuesday and we also got to see the new Christmas Initiative Video... oh my goodness!!! I hope you are all ready to #LightTheWorld throughout the December season! 

Tuesday: November 8th, 2016
MLC today went super well!!! President and Sister Gubler shared some things they were given training on at their most recent Mission President's Seminar Training in Budapest, Hungary. It was amazing things that are going to help the mission move forward a ton. One of the biggest things those was going over more of the Christmas Initiative items. #LightTheWorld in 25 ways. Over 25 days!

16 months out...! (Sister Bills, Sister Gwilliam,
Me, and Elder Persicke)
Wednesday: November 9th, 2016 
Today, well... It it my 16 month mark... don't know much to say there besides the fact that I'll see you all in 4 transfers. :( :) :l Mixed emotions... :'( =D.... anyways, yeah.

Verse of the Week:
Alma 17:3
"But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God."
(Spirit of Prophecy is the testimony of Christ)(Rev. 19:10)
(Spirit of Revelation is thoughts to the mind and feelings to the heart)

Hope you all have a great rest of your week and I hope that you all enjoy the wonderful time with President Trump..!

-Elder Rivera

Oreos, Push-Ups and The Imperial War Museum..!

Reading SZT!
Good morning everyone!

This is a small rundown of how the week has gone and of course, my week was great once again! Hope yours' was too!

Thursday: October 27th, 2016
We were in Reading today for another Specialized Zone Training. Another great one and then we had a great time traveling back home in traffic...

Friday: October 28th, 2016
We had our hometown Specialized Zone Training today in Crawley and wow... today was a good day! Learned a few new things I needed out of my Patriarchal Blessing and then had a good chat with President for a small unscheduled interview before myself and the Worthing Elders headed to Worthing.(I was the roaming assistant again for this round of exchanges) 

Crawley SZT! Yeah, I'm the tall one! :)

Saturday: October 29th, 2016
The exchange went super well... it was difficult due to the fact that we had a good morning of finding and then both elders and I had a heart to heart, bro to bro talk. Each needed some help and I was grateful to put the counsel I received literally the night before into effect to help someone else. Funny how God works. Anyways, had a good long talk with each of them and then  I embarked on another journey back to Crawley. My luck is great with my roaming exchanges... trains always are just messing around. This time my whole train got cancelled that was originally meant to go into London Victoria and it called (stopped) at Gatwick Airport (which is where I needed to change) and it completely cancelled. I then caught a train heading into Brighton and then got a train heading into Burgess Hill which then landed me into another train going off to Three Bridges. So another fun adventure haha... roaming exchanges provide for some great memories.

Sunday: October 30th, 2016
Today was a great day! My companions headed off to deal with some other missionaries that were struggling and I stayed behind to work with the Crawley Elders and boy was I glad I did. We had a lesson with an older lady named Sheila who had a stroke about 8 months ago and was paralyzed from her arm down on the left side of her body. She expressed that she had felt she lost her faith and was feeling low but she decided one day to pray and ask for help and that same day, Elder Chrimes and Elder Walker knocked on her door and taught her about the Book of Mormon. Then we saw her a few days later and we sat down and shared some scriptures on faith and how miracles happen by faith and WOW...!!! Get this... as we were sharing these scriptures and talking about them and promising her the blessings of reading the Book of Mormon and praying daily, I saw her left arm twitch (remember, paralyzed from left arm side down) and I was curious about it and then a few minutes later... all things stopped when we saw her focusing everything she had into her leg... her leg was moving... it moved! She lifted it up twice and with a big smile on her face, and with all of us in astonishment, she called her husband in to witness it also. It was amazing... miracles do still happen and there were 10 pairs of eyes that witnessed Sheila moving her paralyzed leg. God is great!

Monday: October 31st, 2016
Typical day of accounting with President and Sister Gubler and we headed home a bit earlier due to the fact they were heading to Budapest, Hungary for a Mission President's training...(that means my companions and I are sort of responsible for a lot of things right now... oops?) oh yah... it was also Halloween but it also wasn't Halloween... it just didn't feel like it and I totally forgot really that it was. Haha, boo hoo!

Tuesday: November 1st, 2016
Well, Elder Phelps and I were on Exchange again and today we headed to a Zone Training in Wandsworth as we were invited to attend. Wow... there was a portion that displayed an object lesson which involved Oreos, lots of push-up, and tears here and there. It represented Christ's Atonement and how some will accept and decline the free gift of His sacrifice and whether they accept it or decline it, He would still suffer for them. That was a serious start to the morning and then after a quick lunch, we headed to the Imperial War Museum(missionary purpose of course) and we went
Imperial War Museum Extravaganza!
through the Holocaust exhibit. We were talking about physical and spiritual warfare and how it is all around us and how the battle continues to rage on. The exhibit was very, very, very humbling... the stories you heard, the videos you watched from Holocaust survivors and also real artefacts and other stuff around it was well... astonishing. I won't lie when I say that my heart sank a few times putting myself into their shoes as I listened and watched their stories. There came a part of the exhibit where you literally sit in a small cubicle with speakers around you and you just listen to stories of those that arrived into Aushwitz(the deadliest concentration camp at that time) and it was nerve racking and tear jerking stories... I truly learned today that I have no reason to complain, stress, or be angry at small things that happen or have happened, or will happen to me in my life because these people literally went to the deepest of all despair and trials and yet, there were some that found joy in the hardest and darkest of times. Definitely something I want to go back and do again in the future when I return because there was so much more to do outside of the exhibit.

Quote of the Week found at the Holocaust exhibit: "For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing."

-Elder Rivera

The Book of Mormon is Everything...

Southampton halloween reunion!
Hello everyone!

I hope your week has been sweet! I know mine has! October is already winding down to its final days and Halloween is around the corner once again.. strangely enough that is weird... however, with the addition to last weeks commentary, I'd actually like to keep it that way and share more about myself and what I am actually doing in England to explain more to those that don't know or just to enlighten others with my own notes and feelings towards things! Enjoy!

Thursday: October 20th, 2016
Due to moves this week, today was preparation day. We drove down to Plymouth to prepare for our Specialized Zone Training with the Plymouth Zone... such a long drive. But the good thing about it is that a drive to Cali will be a piece of cake when I get home.

Friday: October 21st, 2016
The Training went super well. President taught again about questions of the soul such as: Who am I? Who is He? Why am I here? It was such a powerful meeting again and it's just amazing when you can feel the Spirit testify of these things over and over again to you. It's a comforting reminder of who I truly am underneath the skin. After the training we made another drive back down to Southampton for a baptism that Elder Cloward was taking place in. On our way we stopped in Poole to get dinner and oh boy... we found one of the best burger places ever! It was called Smokey's Flame and Grilled Burgers and wow... it was one of the best burgers I've had in England.

Carving pumpkins missionary style!#31
Saturday: October 22nd, 2016
Before the baptism we had the chance to stop and have lunch with Brother John Ozard, one of my favorite members in Southampton and then we also had time with the famous Dave Hutton. The baptism went super well! Following the baptism of Chris, we had a small Halloween activity and then headed to Chef China (most genuine Chinese food I've ever had) (yes... better than Panda) Heading back was rough... the M25 (major highway to get us home) was closed due to maintenance work and so we had to take a HUGE detour through the forest roads in pitch black weather. Let's just say... due to that, we didn't get home for a "while".

Sunday: October 23rd, 2016
Amazing day at church again of course! It's amazing to take the Sacrament each week and have a fresh start! We were invited to the Ryan's for dinner and then we saw the Ashpole's again! Wow! It was a super good lesson but we really needed to help the, understand a few things. They are making good progress but we need to get them to church. We taught CPR to them which is Church, Prayer, and Reading. Or in others words, Spiritual CPR! Super good lesson and they understood it well and we will be seeing them again this week following their holiday trip. Keep them in your prayers please!:)

Monday: October 24th, 2016
Well, today we had our usual accounting but the best part of the night was just being with President and Sister Gubler. Being around them each week so closely shows you a different side of them and it is amazing! They have really become my mission mom and dad recently! I've learned so much from both of them but especially President and things outside of the work. He is just a perfect example for a lot of things both spiritually and physically. He has been one of the biggest influences on my entire life by far... no question about it. Since day one, he has helped shape and change me through teaching me to my needs. It's been an amazing journey throughout the last 15 months and can't wait to see what more I can learn from him over these next 6 1/2 months. 

Tuesday: October 25th, 2016
We headed to Staines today for our 2nd SZT and it was even better then the first.(that happens often haha) President added some extras to his presentation on the portion of where we are going and how no matter how hard we try to imagine or think about the Celestial Kingdom, we will never ever come close to its reality. (1 Corinthians 2:9) We can only comprehend the beauty and majesty of a telestial world and although you find so many beautiful things in this world... they are nowhere close to what God has prepared for us to experience. 

Staines SZT!

Wednesday: October 26th, 2016
Today well, the continuation of college apps for BYU and other things preparing for this week as we have another busy week with a SZT in Reading and also in hometown Crawley. It will be good!

I thought I'd try and keep the commentary going a bit more due to the fact that it probably has SO MUCH more meaning than just a small little "journal entry" like email. So hopefully this helps someone who is reading this to come to know and understand something new.

One of the best...!

Verse of the Week:
Mosiah 21:35
"They were desirous to be baptized as a witness and a testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts."

Now if there be any mistakes below, they are the mistakes of man, so please forgive haha!=)

Why do we need the Book of Mormon?

There are many people that I have met in England over the course of my missions and a lot of them ask the same thing... "Why do we need the Book of Mormon?" Most of the world believes that revelation and prophecies and the work of God among the children of men has ceased. Many believe that when the Christ was crucified, the Apostles were killed (except John), and the Bible came forth that that was all. No more revelation. No more Apostles. No more scripture. Well, in the most blunt and honest way I can and with boldness I say, this is false and all those that believe this have been deceived by the enemy himself who is the devil. This is exactly what he wants the world to believe because he can blind you and close you off to discovering the very things a God has revealed and brought forth in these days. "The Savior warned that in the last days even those of the covenant, the very elect, could be deceived by the enemy of truth."(Safety for the Soul, Jefferey R. Holland) Sadly, I have seen this happen with my very own eyes. I am a witness that Jesus Christ and our Father and Heaven live and love us so much that they continue to speak to us. There is still revelation. There are Apostles on the earth today. There is more scripture that has been given to us today for OUR benefit. 

So why do we need the Book of Mormon? Well, to put it plain and simply, without the Book of Mormon, you won't ever come to know God like you should. You won't ever be the person God expects you to be. You will never make it to the Celestial Kingdom. You will never know true happiness and you will never... ever... be able to truly come to know Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and it holds everything together. Just as Elder Jefferey R. Holland once said, "If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages--especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers. I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work--and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times--until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies." I add my witness to that of Elder Holland's, the Book of Mormon is true and it is the most influential book any person could read. It will bring you closer to God than any other book could.

What role does the Book of Mormon have?

The main purpose of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Christ. Hence why it is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ". The Book of Mormon has 6607 verses in it and 3125 verses refer to and talk about the Savior of the world. Roughly, every 1.5 verses talks about Him. If this isn't enough evidence that the Book of Mormon is crawling with Jesus Christ in it, I don't know what else could. There is no other book like it. The Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel and it testifies of the divinity of Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God and the truthfulness of God's mouth still speaking to His children today. In these our times; in the fulness of times; the Last Days... only through reading and coming to know for yourself that the Book of Mormon is true and by giving strict heed unto the counsel and precepts it contains can you be safe and strong and even SURVIVE the Last Days. The Book of Mormon is a powerful evidence of the divinity of Christ. It is also proof of the Restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith. If you take away the Book of Mormon, you lose a lot of things. The Prophet Joseph Smith once said, "Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none." The Book of Mormon is so key to understanding the Father in Heaven in which we love and worship each day and each night. Reading the Book of Mormon brings forth a witness of Jesus Christ, the fulness of doctrine, and a foundation for a testimony that will drive you to get closer and closer to Jesus Christ until you know him fully. The Lord himself said in the Doctrine and Covenants(latter-day scripture and revelation given to Joseph Smith), "And again, the elders, priests, and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel." Together these two canons of scripture along with the latter-days scripture that has come forth provide the children of men with all the necessary tools and resources to draw closer to Jesus Christ. The Bible can't do it alone and the Book of Mormon cannot do it alone. They must go hand in hand and together, they add two witnesses of the divinity of Jesus Christ and explains the fulness of the reality of the Godhead in which there are three separate beings including the Father, the Son(Jesus Christ), and the Personage of the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon is true.

How has the Book of Mormon changed my life?

For myself, I have come to know and understand the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon over time. It wasn't this one instant moment where I knew everything about it but as I continued to read it with an open mind and applied the teachings to my own life and personal circumstances, I saw the change that it was making in my life and finally, when it came time and I desired to know whether the Book of Mormon was true and was indeed the word of God, I knelt down and prayed to my Father in Heaven asking if it was true. I had as Moroni's says, "a sincere heart, real intent, having faith in Christ" and the answer came. I knew that God had answered my prayer and the Book of Mormon has been the foundation of my testimony and with it, I know my Savior more than ever before and I know who I am in relation to him and to my Father. I am a son of God. A literal son of God. Through the Book of Mormon, I have learned the importance of living a Christlike life and doing my best to do as Christ would do. In doing so, I have seen my own relationship with heaven come closer and become more of a reality. I know Jesus Christ lives and I will proudly, boldly, and joyfully proclaim the truth in which He has commanded me to share. I have come to earth at this time... in these last days to do this very thing. I made promises to Him that I would stand as a witness of Him at all times, all places, and in all things and I intend to keep my promise because I love Him and I will do anything for Him and that is because I have come to know Him more and He has taught me more about myself than I could have ever taught myself through my own efforts. I testify that He lives and that the Book of Mormon is true and if you haven't accepted the challenge stated in Moroni 10:3-5, I invite you to accept the challenge and find these things out for yourself for they are true and if you come not know them and come not to accept them, they will be a rock of stumbling unto you and if you believe them not and if you do not believe in the things in which I have shared, take the counsel Nephi gave in his final words found in 2 Nephi 33 which say, "And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye-- for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness." He goes on to say, " And you that will not partake of the goodness of God and respect the words of the Jews(the Bible), and also my words(the Book of Mormon), and the words which shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God(Latter-day scripture), behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, for these words shall condemn you at the last day."

Accept the challenge so that you may rejoice in finding the peace, joy, and everlasting promises that God has made to those that keep His commandments and hearken unto His words continually for God's words never cease, but they continue to flow out of the mouth of His prophet on the earth today in Thomas S. Monson and through the scriptures in which he has laid before your very eyes to behold. Remember, "As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."(1 Corinthians 2:9)"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that give the to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."(James 1:5) "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall fine me; ask, and ye shall receive, knock, and it shall be opened unto you."(D&C 88:63) 

For the promise is found in Moroni 10:3-5 which is: "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things(the Book of Mormon), if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things(the Book of Mormon), I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere hearts with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Of this I witness and testify that it is true in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Rivera