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

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemonade, Make Lemons. Then Life Will Be Like..What?

Good morning everyone! 

First full week in London has turned out to be a GREAT ONE! We have had some awesome miracles happen and we also had some mission meetings where we have seen ust how far the work has progressed and moved forward within the past year! It is such a privilege to be serving in London as a missionary(as many don't get the chance to) and  there is so much to do here and so many people to teach! We have a lot of potentials that could lead to a surplus of opportunities to teach people the message of the Restoration and help them make it to the waters of baptism. So much to look forward to and now that my companion and I have created a "London Bucket List" for the next 6 weeks(as that will probably be the only allotted time we'd be given together(so we think)(he hasn't trained yet and I only have 11 weeks left and president wanted me to train a new leader for my last transfer) buuuuuut we shall see exactly what happens when it happens. We'd both loved to stay together because we get on pretty well and we just have a great vision for our area and the rest of the zone. #London

Thursday: February 23rd, 2017
Finally settled in and got everything that I needed unpacked... something nice about our flat is we have a gym downstairs that has all the gym equipment you need to build some good muscle and so we all agreed we'd go pretty hard in the mornings to get some muscle and protein power going among us all. Maybe I'll actually gain some weight for once and break my skinny streak... Elder Green and I have jumped right into everything together. We've had the chance to work a lot together when I was an assistant and so we have had some good times on exchanges but now that we are companions... so much better! We just have a huge respect for each other and we learn a lot each day about ourselves
and about the other. I came into London with the mindset of trying to do things that have never before been done before so we can just boost the zone and the areas more than ever. We had a correlation tonight with the sisters and we ended up creating an event that we felt inspired to do and luckily... it
was on the only day that there wasn't another stake event going on. So March 24th, we plan one bringing all the members, missionaries, friends, and others on the street to join us for an "All Around the World in 180 Minutes" event. We are planning on inviting everyone to bring food from their diverse cultures and then we are hoping to get everyone involved with different cultures and then to cap it all off... bring culture and faith together and share more about how we must all be one as a people. Hopefully it all comes together the way we envision it to be cause at the end, we'd all watch Meet the Mormons together to show just how diverse our own church is and it doesn't matter what culture you are from or who you are... you can blend with the church in whatever location you are in. Should be a blast and it'll be fun to put together with all the flags and decorations and such!

Friday: February 24th, 2017
We had to some planning for the baptism today and prepare the font and programs so we didn't have to worry about doing it all last minute. We took a good chunk of time to get it all done because baptisms are a special day for those are ready to receive it! That was a lot of our day and then more transfer planning.

Saturday: February 25th, 2017
Baptism of Michael
BAPTISM!!! So Michael was baptized today. We had a pretty stressful day of trying to get everything planned out for the activity on the 24th but then also trying to get a key to turn the font on...which was a total nightmare... but we finally grabbed one from the Bishop of the Spanish ward in Kennington(they meet at the same building as us so it was perfect) Stressful because we couldn't come up with any ideas today(the ones I mentioned above) but then here is where the fulness of the idea came out! My companion and I went out to visit some people and invite them to the baptism and as we did, we kept talking about ideas of what we could do that would use bring a good amount of fruit but we were stumped... so I felt inclined to ask someone that was standing next to us as we waited for our friend to come to the door and we just asked him what he would want to see if he came to an event held by our church. A quick response came back about, "A film about Christ or something about your church." Well... duh I though. What better film that teaches about Christ in a very nice and subtle way for those not a part of the church and also talks about the church... well hey, Meet the Mormons was perfect... God works in mysterious ways to give you the ideas you needed haha. The baptism of Michael was AMAZING. We had a good turnout after being afraid that no one would be able to make it due to the announcement not being published til after his interview was passed which was on Monday(normally announced on Sunday to the Ward) but he was so excited and just full of joy all night. He ended up bearing His testimony at his baptism and he shared a poem at the end that made everyone in the room drop their jaw. He said:

God is everywhere
Where am I
God's sees all
I see nothing
God knows all
But I know nothing
God is all
I am nothing
But I am a child of God
I have everything...

It was so powerful coming from him right after his baptism and all of us missionaries just looked around at each other with amazement at such a statement that he said came to him one evening when he was pondering after reading the Book of Mormon. This gospel changes people... I have seen it change peoples lives but more importantly and more intimately... I have seen and felt it change my own life. I have seen what this gospel can do for someone as they learn it, live it, and begin to love it. It changes everything about you... it has changed the way I look at life, challenges, heartbreak and heart ache. When you're down... you can always look up and get up. When you feel that life gets to hard to stand(and it will) kneel before your Father. There is no such thing as a bad day... it only depends on what perspective you are looking at with. It's like the cup of water... it's either half empty... or half full. Same thing with life... we are either looking at life with this "half empty" view or we look at it with a "half full" vision wondering what is next to come to take us to the next adventure. 

God has taken me on a journey in my life... He gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers and I have had moments of sadness, trials, and heartbreak... but that led me to truly understand and find joy, freedom, and myself among the crowd.

D&C 6:14-15
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth."

I have learned for myself in a very powerful and sacred way that who we are, what we are, and who we become is based upon timing and patience and that through it all, God is eager to help us achieve our goals by pushing us to our limits until we finally reach destinations that we once thought were only distant dreams.

Sunday: February 26th, 2017
The Cutty Sark
I've said this before but it is still true... confirmation Sunday's are some of the best in the mission. Michael was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and received the gift of the Holy Ghost today! What a journey. I wish I could've seen the full progress of his journey to baptism and confirmation but 1 week was all the time I was allotted to be a part of among this part of his journey. I had an experience tonight that really touched my heart. We had just finished having a super good correlation with the sisters again about transfer planning, interview planning, and the stake event and as we closed I had the chance to offer up the prayer. I only got out the words... "Our Father in Heaven" and I just had a strong feeling of love and gratitude towards my Heavenly Father and I feel it now as I'm writing this up now. So much has been given to me in my life. My Heavenly Father has blessed me so much.. He has given me a wonderful family, great friends, and more importantly, he has given me a firm testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel and the reality of His living Son, and the opportunity to learn for myself what it truly means to be YOU. God helped shape my life from the beginning and it is amazing to look back and see just how the puzzle pieces have come together. Another is the pieces that are now coming together. There came a point in my life on November 16, 2014 where God told me as if I heard His voice... "You've had it your way. Now we will do it my way." I have learned what it means to give your will to God. I have so much to be grateful for but one of the greatest things to be grateful for is my knowledge of a loving Father in heaven who pushes us to become better every day. The rising of the sun is a symbol that God has given us another chance to become better than the person we were yesterday and a foresight on who we can become tomorrow. We just need to trust Him and rely on Him and when we do... we'll be amazed at what can happen in every given moment of our life!

Monday: February 27th, 2017
What a day! We had a great weekend with the baptism and confirmation but we sadly didn't hit the mission vision in our area which was a shame but no worries... cause we went out and got the job done in a few hours today! We had accounting this morning and then we had to head to the dentist for Elder Green cause he kept procrastinating his visit but then Sister Gubler told him he couldn't have food at interviews unless he went to the dentist. So we did and wow... miracles come from listening to the mission president's wife. We found two new friends to teach along the way back home and then in the evening we picked up two baptismal dates with our friends Joe and Kirk. We also decided that as a four man flat that we would have family home evening every Monday(our companionship study is combined basically) but we would BYBI or "Bring Your Best Insight" from your studies and we would see who could bring the best doctrinal bomb from their weekly studies. It was a lot of fun for the first time. It's interesting to be in a four man flat. I've had a two man flat, three man flat, and now a four man flat. It's a lot of fun but we keep it well under control! Reminds me of the college dorms again but in a more mature manner haha.

Tuesday: February 28th, 2017
We had MLC today which tagged my 20th one on my mission... (that's a lot for a missionary) I've been a part of every MLC of my mission except for one and today it was amazing to see how far our mission has come. We did a lot of comparisons for what happened throughout the year of 2016 and what has occurred so far in 2017 and we have throttled so many records this year already! Our averages are up, numbers are up, and success is up. Just a lot of good things happening all around in the ELSM. Pretty powerful experience today as we listened to "Let Us All Press On" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Just had a strong spiritual experience throughout the whole song and it just inspired all of us again as missionaries to continue to press on and continue to get more and give more for the Lord. Then president shared some insights on "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" which was amazing to think that we are those lower lights that much help the boats(or people) safely reach the shore amidst the storms(waves and winds) of life. We then had our usual Tuesday night activity in which we had some friends show up and I got to meet a couple of them that we have been working with and trying to get more involved with. Lot of fun with pizza and games night and it is just a great environment to get people comfortable with missionaries(cause we are normal people) and also in an environment that takes them out of the world for a bit.

Wednesday: March 1st, 2017
Found Myself at the O2!
How can it be March already... time is just flying... got an email a few weeks back saying Happy Feb and now all of a sudden... we are saying Happy March..! What is time? We are heading to the O2 stadium in Greenwich where they play Rugby in London and then just relaxing and seeing a bit of the area there. Our bucket list is getting ticked off one by one! It should be fun!

Verses of the Week:

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

Doctrine and Covenants:
D&C 68:6
"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come."

My Quote of the Week:
True joy is created and established in one's heart, when one begins to find happiness in the smallest victories.

Love you all!

-Elder Rivera

No comments:

Post a Comment