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, January 26, 2017

"Our Lives Passed Away Like As It Were Unto Us A Dream..."

Good morning!

This week has been one full of miracles and bunches of fun! We've been out far west and had some good fun in the beautiful city of Plymouth again! I hope everyone has been able to enjoy your own week and that everything is going well for you all! Here are the adventures of this week! Nearly closing off January already... weird huh?

Mission Accomplished farewell for Elder Stile (Temple Missionary)

Thursday: January 19th, 2017
We had the Western Zone Conference down in Poole today with the remaining 4 western zones and it was very different compared to the one in the east. Revelation just changes things here and there so we adjusted to what needed to be a tad bit different with role plays and added presentations and practice. Following the conference, we took the journey out to the far west in Plymouth for exchanges with the zone leaders and I also got to roam with the other Plymouth elders. Plymouth is always quite the road trip... we were all starving but we didn't stop for food for some reason haha. We actually made it a fun ride as we shared our own personal conversion stories.(funny how 3 elders(including myself) have almost an identical story of how we got introduced to the church and how we later ended up joining and coming on a mission. God works in patterns though right?

Friday: January 20th, 2017
We had a pretty sweet day! We started off by banner contacting in town with the rest of the district in the freezing cold Plymouth weather...(we tend to choose the best times to face windy and cold days haha. The life of a missionary though, you work rain or shine, cold or hot. Elder Watkins had a doctors appointment in the afternoon so we had to head to the hospital for a bit while he gathered some stuff from there and then we went knocking for a bit around a potential friend they've been working with and along the way... we saw a house that had a USA flag on it and I was intrigued to knock on it cause who doesn't love talking about America? Little did I know that a man was about to pull up into the driveway in a 59 Ford Thunderbird..! It was one of the nicest sights of my mission haha. He imported it along with a Chevy Nova from Cali. Such beautiful old cars... Dad you would've loved seeing them! It was like hitting the car shows again for sure...

'59 Thunderbird
Saturday: January 21st, 2017
We headed back home last night from Plymouth and stopped off in Poole and then finished our journey back to the land of Crawley in the morning. All 3 of us needed to finish some scholarship essays before the deadlines and so we received permission to pound those out and get them submitted... it took forever. It really made me evaluate what I actually wanted to do with my future when I return home. Time is quickly passing by and I almost feel like Jacob where he says, "our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream." But rather in the context of my mission. Day by day... all I want to do is continue to grow and learn more and prepare myself for whatever the Lord is going to bring my way come May. 

Sunday: January 22nd, 2017
What...a....day...! So our friends Jack and Maureen both came to church today and they LOVED IT! Again. Maureen was well taken care of by the members of the ward and we tagged along with Jack since it was his first time there. Throughout the meetings, Jack was intrigued and just very interested on a lot of what was going on and in Elder's Quorum, I had the chance to share an experience with him about an answer I received from prayer back on November 16th, 2014. It was such a powerful and sacred experience that I rarely share it with anyone but I felt impressed to as we were discussing the difference between what is real and what is imaginary. It helped me remind me of just how amazing God is and how He works which each of us. After church, we had lunch with the Hunt's and Maureen and that was great! We had a pretty powerful lesson after as well about the Plan of Salvation and needless to say, there were tears and all sorts of emotions going around as we talked about the blessings of the Plan of Salvation for our families, both lived and passed on. It was amazing to be able to see just how she connected with the family so well and we were all just so open to discussion and insights and the Spirit was tangible in the lesson among all of us. We finished off the night with Jack and Arcadia  and oh my goodness, they have changed so much! They just told us how much they want to make changes and get ready for baptism and just how they want to do it together as a team and they just really really want to do it!

Monday: January 23rd, 2017
Bowling Alley Teaches in Hollywood!
Normal Monday with President! We helped take down the Christmas lights(a small delay haha) but then we accounted and went over a view things. I tried to sneak it out of him on what was going to happen with us 3 assistants this transfer on whether we were staying or if it was my time to head out but he just had a giant grin and said, "We'll see what the Lord has for the future." President's most famous line when it comes to that type of question... Good things are happening throughout the mission though! for the first time ever, we hit the Mission Vision as a mission on average of Baptismal Dates throughout the mission and also on New Friends found throughout the week. ELSM is up and moving and the Lord is leading the way! 

Tuesday: January 24th, 2017
One of the best exchanges I've had in such a long time... Elder Jensen and I had the chance to work together for the first time in 4 transfers and we didn't hesitate to get the job done! In the early morning we saw Jack and Arcadia and taught them the Word of Wisdom and after, she threw her coffee away without question haha, it was amazing to see that. Instant results! We headed back and did some study and lunch before we headed off to visit a member and his non-member fiancé. Sadly, they flogged us and we talked to a guy named Graham which was fun. He was 76 and an ex detective which was fun to talk about but then he said he loved watching American football and that he went to a couple of super bowls in the past... EASY! I took a picture out of the Lombardi Trophy in London that I found and I used it to talk to him for a bit about football and then we shared a bit of a what we believe and he has met hundreds of Mormon's before but just isn't at the point of learning yet but we had a super good conversation in town. we decided to leave and head off to some referrals we received from some other missionaries from a few weeks back and although she wasn't interested... we found 2 new people and also set a return appointment with a former we ran into. Funny enough, My companions called Elliot earlier that morning and tried to set a time but he said he was to busy but then we bumped into him and set a time. God just gives people more than one chance in a day to set a time I guess hah. This message must really be important. To finish off the night, we saw Maureen again with Brother Mann and the lesson went SUPER well. We talked about the organization of the church and the importance of Prophets and Apostles in these last days.(Amos 3:7; Eph. 4:5, Eph. 2:19-20; Matt. 16:18-19) 'God is the same yesterday, today, and forever' so would he not work the same way he once did? Of course... we talked about how God will always work this way and to pay close attention to what churches actually have living prophets and apostles in the organization that the Lord Jesus Christ established himself when he was on the earth. He called 12 Apostles and also Seventy others to go out and preach the word of God to all places that they may go, covering the globe. She sat there and you could see all of the light bulbs just clicking for her... she then said towards the end, "It all makes sense... and it helps remove so much confusion that I've had as I've searched in other churches. It just makes sense." I then asked her what she understands about the things we've taught recently and also previously and why they make sense and she just immediately said. "That it's true..!" She is such an amazing woman and is truly a seeker of truth and God is granting her answers to some of the deepest questions no other church was able to offer her about life and also the fullness of the understanding of Christ's doctrine. "Upon this rock" means the rock of divine revelation... which means that the rock upon which Peter was being built was divine revelation and the receiving of the priesthood the keys to the kingdom to bind on earth and in heaven all things and would receive living revelation through the Holy Ghost. It's amazing how although you go to teach others, you're the one who still learns a ton too from the Holy Ghost throughout the lesson.

Wednesday: January 25th, 2017
We picked up a few more new people today was we waited for Elder Wright to return from his exchange down in Weston. Elder Cloward and I decided to have lunch at Toby Carvery because it'd be quicker than trying to cook food ourselves at the flat...(go figure haha) Then we had a few flogged appointments, five actually... and then we saw Arcadia and boy! She hadn't smoked in 16 hours! crazy miracle! She mentioned how on edge she was and how she wanted to bunch us all at one point but we were super okay with that haha. We finished the night by watching the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast which was a repeat of the last one for the missionaries that weren't in last years and also a few new things that came from our leaders. What better way to finish off the day then by diving into McDonald's for dinner?(best missionary diet ever...not haha) but he had fun with the Crawley Leadership for dinner and then headed home to finally relax and gather a well needed rest.

Thursday: January 26th, 2017
We sadly can't play basketball today cause they are re-waxing the gym(which is okay) so we will probably just relax a lot today! Which is what I need as I slept pretty crooked the other day and my back has been pretty sore because of it haha. I literally feel old... no offence to anyone out there but the mission takes a toll on the body for sure.

Jack wanted to be a missionary for the day!
Verses of the Week:
Book of Mormon:
Mosiah 24:14
"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders , that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."

Doctrine & Covenants:
D&C 32:10-14
"Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;
"Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and remember that they shall have faith in me or they can in nowise be saved;
"And upon this rock I will build my church; yea, upon this rock ye are built, and if ye continue, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you."

Quote of the Week:
"I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed, the die has been cast, I have stepped over the line, the decision has been made- I'm a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. my past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colourless dreams, tamed vision, worlds talking, cheap giving & dwarfed goals. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I won't give up, shut up, let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up for the cause of Jesus Christ. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till everyone knows, work till He stops me & when He comes for His own, He will have no trouble recognizing me because my banner will have been clear." 

Have a great week!

-Elder Rivera

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Moments Are The Molecules That Make Up Eternity...

Hello everyone!

Another preparation day has arrived! This week has been AMAZING!!! We had one of the best weeks as a mission but also our own area has flourished with success! We picked up 2 more baptismal dates which gives us a total of 4 now! Each of them are doing great and progressing well towards their big day! We also had our first 5 zone conference of the mission(we like changing it up a bit) and it was insanely packed to say the least. We had 110 missionaries join us in Crawley which is over half of the ELSM in one place at one time... crazy enough, we made it work and the conference went super well.

White Christmas came a bit late...

Friday: January 13th, 2017
President joined us today a portion of our day which was pretty sweet! He came and joined us for lunch at our flat and then we headed off to teach Maureen together. We taught her about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and she was very pleased with the answers to the questions his story brought to her. President explained very simply about how the need of a restoration was required and also that the miracles of God have not ceased among the children of men. I had a humbling experience today as we taught her and as I testified of Joseph Smith's First Vision and I am grateful to know that this event is true. I may not have been in the Sacred Grove with Jospeh Smith but I know with a surety that this is true and because of that, God is still speaking to us today through Prophets and Apostles that are called of Him. He has given us the Book of Mormon to know and discover for ourselves these truths that we may also be a witness of the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ upon the earth once again. Following our lesson, we headed back to our flat with president and we had companionship study together where we went through some of the scriptures with our 'master teacher' in the mission. I've learned so much from him in the time I've served around and with him... over 18 months, my knowledge of the scriptures has grown so much because of his example and his simple teachings of doctrine. With the background he has of seminary teaching, he is really good at ensuring that an understanding of his students(missionaries) takes place while he teaches and they go away learning what they needed to learn for that day. To top off the wonderful day... ENGLAND HAD SNOW!!! The first time we've had snow back since December 2015. The three of us were like little kids as we may or may not have had a snow ball fight briefly as we synced our iPads at the end of the day... oops. What missionary doesn't want to have fun in the snow when it doesn't drop down very often in England?

Saturday: January 14th, 2017
So after all of the snow, England wasn't to much in panic mode of an inch of snow so that was a relief to everyone I bet. We had some service today with the Hunt's and the Cooper's. We helped the Hunt's gather the pieces of their shed that they are having built in their backyard. Among the driving from place to place(which was about 40 minutes) Elder Wright and I had a long conversation and pretty deeply to about how our missions are literally the stepping stones to everything else. We reminisced in the moments of our missions and how they will help us in the future when we return home which is pretty soon for all 3 of us. Elder Cloward was asleep in the back so the two of us just kept talking on the way. It's an exciting time to think about when it'll come for all of us. The future is as bright as your faith and I'm super excited. I know that time I have left will go super fast... especially with the new missionary schedule we have and the busy schedule we have this transfer. Crazy to think I'll see all of you in 3 1/2 months... where has the time gone. I say this a lot... but my mission has taught me so much about myself but also what I want in life. Serving a mission has been the most rewarding experience in my life... in many ways. Not only have I had crazy spiritual experiences but I have had the chance to serve with so many wonderful missionaries over the past 18 months. It started with an awesome trainer in Elder Richins, to the many leadership opportunities that came after that with the others. God has put so many things in my path to be able to learn and grow and I've been grateful for every hard moment of my mission. It's been a blast and I'm glad I still have some time to create more experiences and gather stories to share with all of you upon returning back.

Sunday: January 15th, 2017
What a Sabbath! Maureen came to church and she LOVED it! It was like God knew she was coming or something... our lessons today and the talks given were all about prayer and Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel. Coincidence? I think not... We sat down with her at the end of the block and just asked her how she felt throughout the day and immediately she said, "Yeah, I'll come back." It was an awesome day for church and we also sat down with Brittany later on that evening and covered the blessings of obedience to God's commandments and the importance of what that obedience will do for us in our lives. I spent a lot of time pondering and studying my Patriarchal Blessing and thinking a lot about what it says about me currently and also what is to come for the near future post-mission. I look forward to receiving those promised blessings that will come from my service in the mission field! There is so much to take in every time I read it and a lot of it makes me nervous at times but then I realize that God has specifically given that to me personally as my own scripture and that brings a lot more comfort to me.

Monday: January 16th, 2017
Well... today started off super well with accounting as our mission had the highest number of new investigators at 253 during our Harvest Week. After the normal accounting with the Zone Leaders... we got a message from a missionary and then we received an assignment from President to go check out what was happening. Sadly, the situation was not a good one and the hardest time for both of these missionaries were upon them. One was in the right and the other in the wrong and sadly... by the end of the evening we were helping one pack their bags and he was coming home with us and then off on a plane the next day. However... in the evening hours after preparing for our conference the next day, we got a text in the late hours of the night asking for us to meet with one to talk. I had the chance to have a one on one conversation with this missionary and well... it was a tender but intense moment for me. I knew what the situation was going to cause and the result that was already in place but I did everything that the Lord would have me do in that moment to spark some hope and help for the future of this missionary's life. My mouth was filled... my heart was in pain for this missionary and all I wanted to do was help but the Lord had a course of action that needed to be taken and so it was done. I've had to many moment like this on my mission and it gets harder and harder every time... the only good that comes out of it is knowing how to better handle more situations that I'll most likely run into in the future in whatever circumstances may come about within the church and also in family life, parenthood, marriage, etc. They are great learning experiences but they are hard in the moment to really gather yourself and try and be a Christlike leader in the hardest of moments. I know that they'll be fine though. Rough day... and no sleep.

Tuesday: January 17th, 2017
So, on 4 hours of sleep we had our conference today with the 5 zones as I mentioned above and it went super well! We had zone breakouts after lunch and as we bounced around to different zones, we had a fun activity in one of them where we played a game where you could only ask questions to each other and give a response in the form of a question. Let me tell you, that was super hard but it really helped you to know how to ask really good questions and answer using questions. Later that evening, we had the Ryan's join us for a teach with Maureen and also two other friends that we have been working with for a while now and Maureen is still solid. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it rang true to her. She said it made so much sense about a pre-earth life(which is something she never really focused on) and also the reality of God having a body of flesh and bones along with His Only Begotten Son who are two separate beings. She loved it and we are continuing to see her growth in understanding and also the working of the Spirit upon her heart as she draws nearer to her big day of baptism into the Lord's true church!

Wednesday: January 18th, 2017
Today... well, I cleared out a bunch of junk that was within my suitcases that I didn't really need and I relieved myself of the pain of doing that later on. Basically today is a day on the computer as I need to do scholarship essays still and get that done before the end of the month. Yay..! It's exciting but when you haven't written a proper essay in over 18 months, you just really get to a point where it's hard to be diligent in doing them.  We'll be traveling to Poole tonight for our next Quad Conference with the Western Zones which will be super fun! The drive to Poole is always nice so looking forward to spending time there again! We'll also be down in Plymouth this weekend for exchanges so looking forward to being out in the far far west again(for maybe the last time) so it'll be loads of fun!

I left at 19 but still counts... :D

Verses of the Week:

Book of Mormon:
Mosiah 4:9-10
9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them. 

Doctrine and Covenants:
D&C 27:15-18
15 Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.
16 Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you;
17 Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;
18 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. Amen.

It has been a good week in England and in the mission field! Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Rivera

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Time Has A Wonderful Way of Showing Us What Really Matters."

Hello everyone!
If this doesn't define out MTC group, I don't know
what else will...ELSM 2015-2017

This week has been crazy! Moves week never seems to get easier and you would think that after doing it for 5 times now, I'd be used to the chaos that goes on but I guess not... This time around, everyone in England decided it'd be nice to have train strikes all week so that meant that all of the missionaries coming in and leaving would have a harder time with their travels. Fun right? It was good though! Half of our MTC group headed home this week which sparked a moment of reality for myself and I had to really gather myself and realize that time has actually flown by as fast as what it has felt like. I mean... 18 months has gone by and I have 4 months left to serve in England and it is actually quite scary now... We have a lot of awesome things happening this month with some Zone Conference trainings and also interviews with President again which I'm looking forward to. On January 25, we will be having another Worldwide Missionary Broadcast where we will get to here from the Missionary Department leaders and they'll get to explain some changes that will be taking place to all the missionaries in the world. (We already know but things could change come that time) Something to look forward to!

We had an exciting week and some awesome miracles so hope that you enjoy!

Thursday: January 5th, 2017
Today we had MLC and we had the chance to go over some of the changes that would be taking place among the missionary schedule! I am so excited for the chance to learn how to schedule things differently and at our own will now! A little more power in our hands and we can grow up just a tad more than we already have! Super nice! 

MLC Leadership January 2017!
Friday: January 6th, 2017
We started a new tradition where following MLC we will also do a training for the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders and today was powerful. President basically went away from the agenda we produced(pretty normal haha) and we were totally fine with it. He conducted basically a heart to heart moment with all of us and didn't stop until he felt the Spirit tell him to stop. Within the next 3 hours, we talked about a baptismal goal for the mission, personal experiences, and a few leaders shared some personal testimonies which brought the Spirit into the room! It was a well needed heart to heart moment which got us all pumped and ready to go! Later that evening, I had a small talk with President and his wife and just talked about that little moment of reality hitting me that my time in the mission field is quickly coming to an end. He reiterated something he has told me before and it was that there is nothing to be nervous or concerned about when heading home! It's an amazing time and one of the best and it's something to look forward to with great anticipation. He also mentioned to just have fun and enjoy the time I have left. I swear... he is just full of some of the best wisdom you could look for.

Saturday: January 7th, 2017
MTC Group's Last MLC Together!
We had a pretty solid weekly planning today and set up plans to accomplish the mission vision weekly and also to baptize this transfer. I set a baptismal goal before I left to England on how many people I wanted to help receive the blessings and joy I have found in my own life 3 years ago and I have 4 months to get 2 more. Right now, we have some solid people on date and they are just wonderful! 

Sunday: January 8th, 2017
Alright so this was literally the best day of my mission... I know I say that a lot but it's because every new day literally brings that statement! We had a teach tonight with one of our friend's Maureen and along with us, we had a member of the ward join us to help us out. We sat down and had good conversation about her life and her husbands for a bit with just natural things and bike riding and stuff. Then we jumped into the lesson and after the prayer, this member just started right off with asking question after question about her beliefs and wow... it opened her up a ton and then we went into the Book of Mormon, and then the Bible, and then the Book of Mormon again. We covered a portion of the Bible in John 3:1-5 and we talked about the baptism of water and of the Spirit(also known as the baptism of fire). After he explained a little bit of the scripture, she just paused and was like, "wait... it's so simple and right there. Wait, this means that every other church out there only performs half the baptism. It's right there... so clear and plain! How did I miss that?" It was INSANE! All 3 of us elders just started laughing in amazement with her and were blown away by how the Spirit literally taught her right in front of us. Then we proceeded to add another witness of it from 2 Nephi 31:13,17 and she was just loving it! Literally one of the most powerful lessons I have ever been in and it was amazing to see how the Book of Mormon and the Bible come together to truly correct the misinterpretations of scripture and false doctrines that are taught throughout the world today. A testimony builder for myself for sure.

Monday: January 9th, 2017
18 month anniversary today... weird enough haha. We went to president's and had our usual Monday routine and then prepared for the coming days training meeting for the new missionaries and trainers! Tonight we said our farewells to those that were departing which is always the hardest part of every transfer, especially when you realize that this time, it was your MTC group leaving... time flies...

Tuesday: January 10th, 2017
We trained the trainers today which was fun again. We had a couple that have already trained but we also had some new ones that haven't trained yet that were among the mix. Tonight we also said our farewells to those that were departing which is always the hardest part of every transfer, especially when you realize that this time, it was your MTC group leaving... time flies...

Wednesday: January 11th, 2017
It's always exciting to see new missionaries and the excitement that they. By excitement, I means nerves on end... haha! I know how they feel though... even though it was 8 months ago, I can still remember our bus ride over from the MTC and then our assigning meeting... funny being on the other end of things now giving the training but also seeing their reactions and knowing exactly how they feel! We had a powerful lesson with our friend Brittany tonight with the Cooper's and we talked about our true identity and relationship with God and also about baptism and repentance tonight. We promised many things in the name of Christ to her that if she would do them, God would answer her tonight with an unmistakeable answer. The Spirit in the room was strong as we left and committed her to baptism if she found it was true.

The Mann! (Jake)

Thursday: January 12th, 2017
So we woke up this morning to a text from Brittany which said in effect, "I'm sorry for texting you so late(11:40pm is late for us sleeping missionaries) but I had to tell you what happened. As I prayed tonight, I felt something different than just the peace and calm feelings that normally come. I felt as if I were somewhere else, my heart started pounding super fast and I also felt like someone was with me and the moment I started praying about (personal subject) I immediately began to cry and felt so great. I also promised God I'd be baptized after my birthday!" It was a crazy thing to wake up to! So intense! This is just evidence that God knows His children and WILL answer them when they pray with a sincere heart, real intent, and having faith in Christ.(Moroni 10:3-5) I love being a missionary and seeing God's hand work right before our very eyes. God is real and does indeed hear us, we must be ready to listen when we pray though so we don't miss the still small voice and the whispering of the Spirit.

It has been a very eventful week full of just about everything! Wouldn't trade any of these experiences for anything else because they have helped me truly see that God does indeed live and is at work with the children of men. It's just amazing to see it all come together one puzzle piece at a time.

Verses of the Week:
Book of Mormon:
Jacob 6:11
"O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life."

Doctrine and Covenants:
D&C 20:37
"All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church."

Love you all and hope you have a great week!
-Elder Rivera

Dream BIG, Be Yourself, and Remember Who You Are..!

Well!!! Hello everyone and hello 2017!!! Can you believe it..? Crazy that another year has come and gone and now we are looking at another January... weird enough right? I hope that everyone's New Year went well and that you all enjoyed the Holiday season! It was a grand ol time in England for sure! Far better excitement and enjoyment this time around compared to my first Christmas and New Years but hey, it happens! Great things are coming soon to the missionary world and it is an exciting time to work so closely with President during it all! Truly a privilege beyond measure. Grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to learn beside president and also with so many missionaries. 2016 was a HUGE year for me but I'm even more excited to see what 2017 will bring my way!

Wednesday: December 28th, 2016
We had moves  all day with President and nothing else really happened today.

Thursday: December 29th, 2016
Well, 21st birthday was a success! We went to two of our favorite restaurants today (Peri-Peri and Toby Carvery) and then Elder Niuelua and I had a pretty sweet exchange together! We did a lot of goal setting for what we wanted to become in the upcoming year. Good stuff and super spiritual.

Representing Statler and Ashlen Cluff!
Love you both!
Friday: December 30th, 2016
Well, today was fun. I headed off to Newbury for a roaming exchange and it took about 4 hours to get down there due to delays and I also missed a train... oops. We did some contacting when I got there and then well... I got sick from food poisoning... great fun!

Saturday: December 31st, 2016
I finished up my exchange in Newbury today and then I headed back still feeling a bit sick in the stomach but I dealt with it. Nearly slept the whole way back and nearly missed my stop haha. Anyways, something cool that happened, Elder Chapman(lives above us with Elder Chrimes) gave us Christmas presents and he gave me a tie with kangaroos on it(he's from Australia) and he said that the reason why was because a tie is meant to make someone look good and he references it back to how I make the Savior look good by the example I set and also the amount of kangaroos on it portrayed the amount of lives I've touched throughout the course of my mission. Might sound funky, but that was the biggest answer to a prayer ever... God works in mysterious ways but He knows what He is doing for sure.

Sunday: January 1st, 2017
So stayed in the flat all day due to being sick and following mission mom's order of resting so I could be better for the coming days of training and such and to just let it run its course. Did so and I'm doing great now!!! I don't know if its the way American's cook their food or if its all the weird chemicals we use but I have never gotten food poisoning so much in my life than in England... haha. What a way to start off 2017 though right?

Monday: January 2nd, 2017
Went to presidents again today and took care of the final pieces of moves and also covered the trainings we will be doing later this week regarding the #NS2017 and also a few things we'll be doing with the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders on Friday. Pretty intense stuff and I'll have to put together another presentation and get it ready to present on Friday! Should be fun!

Tuesday: January 3rd, 2017
Had the chance to work with Elder Mahaffey for the first time with him being one of the most recently called Zone Leaders and boy... we laughed so much! It was like working with Elder Tunnicliffe all over again but we just had a blast! Had to take care of a bit of administrative work for President due to the lack of some things on our accounting sheets for baptisms but then we had a super sweet miracle with our friend Anita! We talked on the doorstep for about 30 minutes and it was just a super powerful moment with her! She shared a ton of things about her life and we just had a very good but powerful common conversation with her and then extended the invitation to teach her family and she agreed to have us back over again this Saturday so please pray for them!!!

The fog in England is crazy..

It has been an eventful week over here in England! Congratulations to my two best friends Statler and Ashlen, sealed for time and all eternity! So happy for you both!!! Love you!

Thank you everyone for the support you give and I hope to hear from each of you soon! Happy New Years and let's make 2017 one to remember!

In my studies, I have begun reading the Doctrine and Covenants along with the Book of Mormon and will be able to finish both by the time I finish my mission and so I'll be sharing insights from both parts of my study for "in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."

Verse of the Week:
Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 29:5
"And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers."

Doctrine and Covenants 6:11
"And if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous; therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, convincing them of the error of their ways."

Hope you all have a great week!

-Elder Rivera

The Adventure Continues in 2017..!


Well, as I Skype home yesterday, there is not much to really share this week, it was definitely a Christmas to remember! Loved having the opportunity to speak with family and close friends and it was just a tender moment for sure.

I won't give a weekly basis but I'll give a "Reflection in Time" summary for this past year!

Christmas 2016
Life in England has been just great! I can't even begin to imagine that 2016 is coming to a close... I feel that I have just started my mission as yet, I've literally been in England for nearly 18 months now! So much has happened... I don't know where to really begin but I have loved every bit of it! All the learning experiences that have come have been great! Hard at times to take in but definitely worth it in the end. 

2016 has brought a lot to me but I want to share a few things that I've learned this past year.
1) Jesus Christ lives and He is everything...
2) When you get absorbed in the Book of Mormon, you find out more about yourself, God, and Jesus Christ than in any other place
3) Life is meant to be fun, so enjoy it!
White Elephant, London Mug Style!
4) Love is what you go through together...
5) The eyes tell the whole story of how someone really feels on the inside
6) The rising of the sun is a symbol that God has given you another chance to be better than the person you were yesterday and a foresight on who He wants you to become tomorrow.
7) Patience really is a virtue... no matter how long it takes, when the answer finally arrives, it is wonderful and well worth the wait. 
8) When life gets to hard to stand, kneel.
9) Take time out of your day to just kneel and say, "Father in Heaven, I'm here to spend time with you."
10) Goals without plans are just wishes that will never come to pass
11) Two people can do any things, as long as one of them is the Lord.
12) Life is full of choices and it is up to you to choose what you make of it
13) God looks at the heart of each individual
14) All things are possible to them that believe
15) True friendship is like looking at the stars, you may not always see them, but you know they are always there.
16) The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step...
17) Revelation is key to knowing what God has planned next for you to do
18) It doesn't matter how fast you get to the destination, as long as you get there safely.
19) The best leaders are those that are the best followers
20) 2017 will be full of new adventures and I'm ready to embark on the journey with whomever the Lord puts into my path!

For the Beauty of the Earth..

Try it Sometime... you won't regret it!
This is just a small portion of what has happened... but I'm looking forward to seeing what 2017 will unfold. With 4 months left in the mission field, there is still much work to be done and many things to be learned that will prepare me for what is to come. I'm excited for the day when I can say, "My mission taught me that..." or "I learned from my mission..." or "I remember when..." There is so much
to do and so much to be happy about! 2017 will be a fresh start once again! Try something new! Get out of your comfort zone! Remember, there is no growth in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the growth zone! Make 2017 a good one! Set a goal on what you want to achieve by the time 2018 hits and set plans in order to achieve it by the time the clock hits 0!

Sweet Serenity on the Beaches of Worthing..!
In every thing that you do, remember that the best thing you can do with your goals and plans is to involve God in them. He knows what is best for you and He is already setting things up for you that you may not even see coming. Be prepared to take on the journey of a thousand miles at any given moment because they will come!

Dream BIG...! Whatever it takes, blood, sweat, or tears, you name it. Your dream awaits you. You will be tested. You will fail. You will be hurt. You will feel pain. You will feel like you can't fight anymore. But you will rise up. You will fight. You will be strong. You will smile. You will be the best you. You will be successful but success will have to be earned. Goals will be achieved or failed But that's what it takes to grow and become who you are meant to become. Whether you get your dream or not, the journey is always a story... a story you can share, or others can share as they see you rise above the occasion... So greet the challenge ahead of you. You'll get knocked down along the way, but stand up, pull back your arrow, fire, and let it carry you over the mountains to success. This is your time and 2017 is right around the corner, but your greatest journey has yet to begin. Are you ready?

Sandy Messages!
Verse of the Week:
D&C 100:12
"Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end."

Merry a Christmas to you all and have a Happy New Year! 2017!!!

-Elder Rivera

Christmas Week 2/2!!!

Christmas 2016..!

Hello Everyone,

Well, after typing up my entire email... I accidentally deleted the entire thing... so here is round two. I hope you are all excited for another round of the Christmas Celebration! 

Thursday: December 15th, 2016
We had the central conference zones for Christmas today and it was a good time being with the missionaries again! Just had a lot of fun and it was totally worth the time!

I think they had a long night...!
Friday: December 16th, 2016
Elder Wright and I had the chance to be in a duo today as Elder Cloward was on a roaming exchange today and we ended up getting called out to do service in the middle of the day to help clear out a members home. Needless to say, the windows were open and stuff was flying.(apparently not illegal in England. ''Twas fun.

Saturday: December 17th, 2016
I had the chance to go on a roaming exchange to Maidstone and it was so much fun! We wrapped some copies of the Book of Mormon and then headed out to the high street to contact and share the Christmas initiative with people on full blast through my Bluetooth speakers.

Sunday: December 18th, 2016
We had an awesome Christmas service today! We also hit the mission vision in one day! That was insane! We had the chance to knock on a families door to and they were super sweet! They thought we were carolers and then we surprised them by saying no..  shared short message with them and then they invited us back! Then we sang them a carol to end the approach with peace! Super awesome!

Monday: December 19th, 2016
The Gospel Library!
We had an awesome accounting with president and found out some awesome things!!! Super excited for the future and we started moves as well! Super good things coming and I'm excited for the new year!

Tuesday: December 20th, 2016
We had an awesome temple trip today and it was by far the most influential and impactful day of my mission! I took some questions to the temple and then answers came in multiple ways! I felt the Spirit so strongly and I can testify that fasting brings added spiritual sensitivity and answers will come to your deepest questions! By far... the most influential day ever and I'm excited to have the next 5 months to reflect on the events of this day!

Christmas Wrapping!
 ( I can actually wrap gifts now... mom, you'd be proud1)
Wednesday: December 21st, 2016
Today we headed up to London to spend some time with the missionaries up here and then also play some sport.

Love you all and I'm super excited to see some of you soon on skype!!!

Verse of the Week:
2 Nephi 9:33
"Behold, my beloved brethren, remember the words of your God; pray unto him continually by day, and give thanks unto his holy name by night. Let your hearts rejoice."

-Elder Rivera

Stay By The Tree...!

Hello everyone!

We've had a super good week! We've begun our Christmas conferences and they have been so much fun! Stressful getting everything together and it has been an awesome experience being with the missionaries.

Wednesday: December 7th, 2016
We had MLC today and it was the longest one we've had in a while but things went well. We covered things on the Book of Mormon reading from January to April... I received a strong prompting to begin reading earlier and finish the Book of Mormon by the time I head home by diving in super deep into my studies. It's been the strongest study I've had so far and it has turned out super well so far!

Thursday: December 8th, 2016
I had a good day today roaming in the Weston Supermare Area with the elders there and we did some awesome beachside contacting.

Friday: December 9th, 2016
I had the chance to work with Elder Baum again and today was just a super sweet exchange. We Started with a district meeting in Guildford and then headed back to our flat where we did a few hours of finding and then we had an awesome night of basketball with the members and some friends they invited! Had so much fun with playing half court 4 on 4, needless to say, shots were falling and the competition added to the fire! Good night and just a good way to get people involved using our talents and skills.

Saturday: December 10th, 2016
We had an awesome Elder's Quorum activity today and it was sick! A member who is ex-military set up a shooting range in the cultural hall(we didn't shoot) but we got to watch the others run through the course and shoot targets with airsoft guns. Pretty good day and then we had a pretty powerful exchange where we talked about the things we wanted to achieve and do/learn before we head home.

Sunday: December 11th, 2016
So again, my Book of Mormon studies have been super good and powerful and I've thoroughly enjoyed this study, more than ever before! As you look to the book, you look to the Lord! Funny moment of the night was we were out tracting and a guy answered the door who had an accent and Elder Cloward asked him where the accent came from and as he did, the man looked up, pointed up and said, "The Sky..." and then closed the door. Pretty funny moment! Haha. Another one I'll have to share at another time about our friend Paul, remind me hah!

Monday: December 12th, 2016
Typical day at President's and then we headed off to the temple to help do any final set ups for the Western Zone Tri-Zone Conference and were also in charge of making sure all the missionaries were in their accommodations and not causing any trouble. Good thing our missionaries are the best! Haha. It was a late night getting back though but super excited for the temple trip for us next week. We have the privilege of being at all of the conferences but we only go through the temple with our eastern group so looking forward to that and the answers it will bring me!

Tuesday: December 13th, 2016
Awesome Zone conference! Can't talk much about it yet but I'll share more when we have ours on the 20th! But we shall say that it is an awesome reminder of the beacon of Light that Christ is and the reason we fight urgently to reach and Stay By The Tree..!

Wednesday: December 14th, 2016
Today is Elder Cloward's birthday and so we celebrated with some lunch at a place called Chimichanga(pretty good mexican food but the wait was LONG!!!) Anyways, finishing up scholarship applications now and still waiting for BYU to respond but things are going super well... December 24th marks my Doctrine and Covenants challenge where I'll read a section a day leading up to my final night in the mission and have a few moments to reflect on what has happened in the past 2 years to me and to my testimony of Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven!


Well... I'd send some pics but for some reason... my iPad reset itself today and I lost A LOT of apps and photos and everything else... pretty bummed about it and the worst part about it... I won't get most of the applications back that I need in my current calling but at least I won't have to worry to much about it anyways... I'll end up getting a new system when I get back anyway. New Macbook Pro perhaps? =)

Love you all and hope everything continues to be jolly this Christmas Season! Look forward to seeing the family for Skype in 11 days!!! Gonna be super sweet to see you all and catch up after nearly 6 months has passed again... can you believe it...? Time is going by fast. Nearly 150 days left in England... scary thought but that's reality... the sisters in my MTC group go home at the end of this transfer which smacks the reality button again... Crazy to think about how far we have all come in nearly 18 months and the time we'll all remember serving in this mission!

Well, love you all! Talk to you soon!

The Three Englandites

Elder Rivera

The Reasons We Remember December..!

We found this beautiful spot on the way home
from a members! Had to capture it!
Happy December Everyone!  

It has been great first week of December so far, especially with all of the #LightTheWorld events going on throughout the world each day! Continue to #LightTheWorld leading up to this Christmas season as we celebrate another wonderful year coming to an end and welcome in 2017

Friday: December 2nd, 2016
Today we went to the doctors and I grabbed some medicine and good news! Im doing super better so no worries there haha. We then finished up the rest of our administrative work leading up to the beginning of the new transfer. Good things happening and we are super excited for the upcoming Christmas Conferences with the mission. 

Saturday: December 3rd, 2016
We had the adult session of stake conference tonight and in the middle of Sister Gubler's talk about member missionary work, she started talking about me and my friends (indirectly of course) and how all members should be as they were and still are! Super crazy and it gave me a POWERFUL answer to a personal question I was seeking for. Really good night and a good start to the stake Conference weekend.

Sunday: December 4th, 2016
We had the Sunday conference and wow, President Otterson gave a remarkable talk(new temple president) about how the world always goes to the internet to find answers to the questions only God and the Spirit can give. So true... I don't know how many times I've shared something I've experienced first hand and yet people say, "but I saw this on the internet about your church" or "I've heard this about your religion and it is false..." But yet, none of these people actually go to the credible sources!!! Such a sad world we live in. I invite you to ask Siri if the Book of Mormon is true... she won't be able to give you an answer because only God can testify of such a divine book and teach you the truth of this divine work and Restoration of His eternal gospel. Give it a shot... eventually, technology will fail you and only then, will you realize that God was the best source you should have gone to in the first place. He's real... trust me, this i know! I also know Jesus Christ lives and loves each of us so much that He gives us all opportunities to discover Him but we must use the resources He has given us that actually have credibility. Rather than by going by third party voices that cower behind the internet to tell the world what Mormon's believe... just ask a Mormon and they'll happily share what they believe and know to be true! Ask me! Haha

Monday: December 5th, 2016
We had an awesome accounting at President's again and our mission is moving!!! We have 90 friends on date for baptism now which is the highest we have had all year and boy... things are beginning to move! 

Tuesday: December 6th, 2016
Preparation day today due to MLC tomorrow and a meeting President had to head to today so we are just enjoying the day and are going to play some basketball in a few which is something I'm looking forward to hah!

Cold, Foggy, Wet...Awesome Missionaries???
Must be England...

Verse of the Week:
3 Nephi 6:20
"And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people, or in other words, the resurrection of Christ; and they did testify boldly of his death and sufferings."

Please remember why we Remember December... it's not always about the biggest gift or the biggest price tag... but it is rather a time to spend with family, friends, and rejoice in remembering the birth of our Beloved Savior and Redeemer, even Jesus the Christ. Make this Christmas open to remember by going about to #LightTheWorld in all that you do to celebrate this wonderful Holiday Season!

-Elder Rivera