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, April 26, 2017

A Season of Miracles...

Dusky hospital visits provide for a view...

This week was full of amazing miracles! I'm super excited to share a few of them with you and then a few brief thoughts about what I've learned these past couple of days. I hope everyone is doing well and keeping on. It rained in London for the first time in like 4 weeks yesterday so... apparently England is in a drought... haha. Anyways, here is the week!

Thursday: April 20th, 2017
Had my last District leader exchange today with Elder Jensen! It was a good one to finish off on. We had some time to go try and locate some "Lost Sheep" people that Bishop asked us to try and locate but had no luck ion this attempt. One of the families though that we had on our list didn't live at the home buuuuut, the lady that now lived there(actually as a tenant to the family we were looking for) was interested in learning more and so Claire and her son Calem gave us a time to come back another day. It was super to see how even though the people we weren't looking for provided us with some fruit because we were faithful in finding some new people to teach.

Friday: April 21, 2017
A bit of a planning day because of weekly planning and interviews with President this weekend. In the evening though... we had received a referral to visit a lady who was apparently a member that wanted a blessing on her home because of some "strange" things that were happening in her home. We walked in with a member and examined the place and it literally looked fine... however, we sat down and proceeded to let her tell the story of what was going on and it was like the story changed 4 times before we finally decided to just give a blessing on the home and then get out of there before it got any stranger. On our way out we asked if she was a member of the church and it turned out she was a Methodist but she believed that only the Mormons could pray with enough faith to rid whatever was causing weird smells(most likely the green stuff) and weird noises happening. She was so scared to leave her house but there was literally nothing wrong with it. it was just a strange experience in general. I could say I have probably seen it all now... haha. As we exited she pulled £40 out and offered it to us for giving her a prayer on the home and we politely declined and tried to get out as soon as possible. Needless to say, it was a fun time. After as we walked home, we received a random call from Utah from a guy named Mark asking that we head into the St. Thomas Hospital to provide a blessing for his friend named Tyler who had come down with a severe fever. We traveled by and just made right before visiting times ended. Cool story to go with it, not that he has a crazy fever or anything but turns out he was from Mesa, Arizona and his wife was from Washington(Elder Walker my companion is from Washington) and so it was super coincidental(I think not...) but they were super grateful to have the blessing and the help in those hard times. That's why I love the priesthood... it's main purpose is to serve others and it's an amazing blessing to be able to use the priesthood of God to bless the lives of others whenever we need to do anything that is needed of us!

Saturday: April 22nd, 2017
We had our interview training today with all the missionaries while president and his wife were interviewing them. We had 5 stations so each of us leaders had the chance to do a 1 on 2 training and it just came together nicely. We talked about the importance of Ephesians 6:11-18 and the armor of God. I had the chance to talk about the Sword of the Spirit and how it correlates to the Word of God. The sword we use today is sharper than any sword and it is the Book of Mormon. Think of it this way, the Sword or the Word(without the S) is the most powerful offensive tool we have today and is the only offensive piece of the Armor of God. Everything else is made to defend us and protect us against the "wiles of the devil" but the Sword of the Spirit is our offensive weapon in the fight and cause for truth and righteousness. I love the Book of Mormon so much because it has helped me become a new person in Christ. I have truly looked to the book and as I have done so, I have looked to the Lord. Following all of our interviews(I had to wait one more day due to myself being a departing missionary and well... those take time. Anyways , I had my final interview with SIster Gubler and it was tender. We talked a lot about the future and how much it will benefit my life by applying everything I've learned. It always hurts when she cries talking about having to say goodbye to one of her "special sons" and it's like saying goodbye to one of her own kids. I am grateful for the friendship we have built together over the past two years and especially the nine months I had to work very closely with her and president. Couldn't have asked for any better mission president and wife. Truly a blessing to my life... and my mission.

Sunday: April 23rd, 2017
Well... today was a hard day. Stake conference was super good and they talked a lot about the importance of strong testimonies and the importance of nurturing it to the point where it is woven in our characters rather than just printed on us. Following conference, I had my departing interview with president and man... so much advice and so much to talk about. There were a lot of things he shared with me about things pertaining to the future regarding successful discipleship, marriage, family life, and school/work advice to. Just what I needed and there were some good insights and revelation that came forth from our discussion together. I am never going to forget the things he has taught me. I asked him a question I felt I needed some clarity on regarding why the Lord had called me so early to be a leader in my mission and why I was in leadership my entire mission and the only answer he had was that the Lord had to give me some specific positions that would provide experience, skills, enhance my skills and gifts, and provide further knowledge for times to come in the future. He shared how that is how his mission was for him and he has been able to look back and see exactly how to solve problems or how to do a specific task due to the experiences he gained on the mission. President and I are super similar and we talked about that for a few minutes and how he was like me at my age and it just brings me great hope knowing that if someone like him could be strong in the faith going through the same things(not all, but some) that I have, I know all things will work out because God works in patterns. It is up to us to find and notice the patterns in our lives and learn from them and I found a pattern in president and I have done my best to closely watch and respond to the promptings I was given and the time I had to learn working so closely with him. 

Monday: April 24th, 2017
We had a solid day of accounting as usual and then we headed to our bishop's home to go over some material regarding our area and the members and offered some help in checking on a few of them and also gathering information so we could work more effectively with part member families. It was a successful and super good time and dinner came out of it too(missionaries live for random DA's). We have made so much progress with our bishop though and are finding great ways to work with him to begin to turn the wheel of member-missionary relations and efforts. Super cool miracle tonight as we got home as well. Elder Walker and I were eating dinner and as we did so, we were calling some of the former investigators from a while back to see if we could meet with them again and there was no luck but then the phone randomly rang. It was an unsaved number and so I answered it and a man named Norman just called and as we asked what we could do for him, he just said I wanted to say hello. Random... but we asked if he had known missionaries before and he said yes and wanted to meet up again. We scheduled to see him this Thursday and it was just a tender miracle!!! Norman wouldn't have been able to be contacted unless he called us because we didn't have his number or any idea of him at all. We knelt down so fast and gave a prayer of gratitude for the miracle the Lord blessed us with!

Tuesday: April 25th, 2017
Well... I had the last exchange of my mission today with Elder De Kock who is the newest assistant to be called last transfer. We have built a pretty good friendship over our missions and it was nice to have a good close with a good friend. I was his first exchange of his mission back when I was a ZL in Southampton and he was a new missionary and now, 14 months later, he was my final exchange. Just a good way to close things off with exchanges and we saw some amazing miracles. We picked up 4 new friends throughout the day and also a family that we are all seeing this week. Titi(the mother) was super interested and never headed of the Book of Mormon before and so we shared a little bit about it with her on the side and then set a time to return to visit and she agreed! Then we asked if she knew anyone else that would want to know more and her son Joa just jumped out and said, "I want to learn! Please!" It was pretty funny and then her daughter as well was interested! So please keep them in your prayers! We will be seeing them Friday night! The others we met were just super solid and full of life! Andrews was one of them and he was the strongest Christian man I have ever met outside of the church. He was in the park by our house just pondering about personal things and also reading the Bible... couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to share more about the restored gospel than that. We did and he was interested to learn more about it as well because he knew a bit about the church and Joseph Smith but not enough to make a decision on what he thought about it so we offered to teach him more and so we will be seeing him as well next Monday which we are excited about! Good things happening and it's picking up little by little again!

Wednesday: April 26, 2017
Heading to the Borough market today which should be fun. Doing some final things and just relaxing! Looking forward to the rest of this week and then next week will be busy with all the meetings leading up to my final few days... crazy!!!

Verses of the Week:

Book of Mormon:
Jacob 3:2
"O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever."

I loved this scripture this week because as clear as anything, I learned about the importance of having a good heart. If we have a good heart and good feelings in it, then because the heart is what pumps physical blood throughout our bodies, our spiritual heart must be good to. If it is, then good things "flow" like blood to every part of who you are. As we study the Book of Mormon, we allow good things to enter our heart(both physically and spiritual) and that allows virtue to flow to our minds, and if our minds are clean and virtuous, then we are able to feel of the Spirit(or his love) and when we feel His love, we are always wanting to do our best to be firm in our minds that we may continue to abide in His love. 

Scriptures(Book of Mormon)-->Heart(feelings)-->Mind(thoughts)-->Who you Are

Doctrine and Covenants:
D&C 124:17
"I have seen the work which [you] hath done, which I accept if [you] continue, and will crown [you] with blessings and great glory."

Quote of the Week:
"If you're not willing to die for it, you don't qualify for it." -Andrews(strong Christian man in the park)

Next week will be a special email... stay tuned!

-Elder Rivera

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Love My Savior Because...


This week has been a good one... a lot of crazy thoughts flying through my head as I had my last Zone Conference in the mission field. We talked a lot about faith and president shared some powerful experiences about repentance from the time he served as a bishop. I've never seen him so emotional before and the Spirit just touched my heart. It's just weird... having this last conference meant it was the last time I would see some of the missionaries I've worked with for months! It was just a weird feeling to be sitting there knowing that and just trying to soak it all in. There were a lot of great insights that came to me through the Spirit and one of them was very profound to me. An impression came to my mind which said, "Remember that you know that I live... you won't convert everyone but as long as you convert yourself in the process of facing the world by defending My name, then you have been successful." I have tried to do that to the best of my ability these last two years. No better way to remind myself of that this Easter season as it came to a close.

Here's another one just for you Dad!
Among all the things that took place last week, I only feel impressed to shared a few things that have happened throughout the week. On Friday, we gathered the zone together for an Easter Finding activity that we put together and we invited people to write on white boards that had the question, "How do you find peace?" written on it. Thousands of people walked by throughout the three hours we were there contacting and it was just amazing to see the responses the people would put on the board. Were we fully teaching the gospel to them? Yes... by example and by word and deed. Teaching and sharing the gospel isn't always about giving someone a Book of Mormon or sitting down and teaching the Prophet's First Vision. It's more than that. It's simpler than that. All it takes it showing people a smile and inviting them to write down what makes them smile or bring peace to their lives. We had so much fun as missionaries in just sharing goodness to everyone around and we had some tender miracles. One is super sacred and it is probably the pinnacle moment of my mission and I couldn't have asked for it at any better time than in these final weeks. It is one that I would rather share in person because I couldn't even begin to try to explain it in just a few words through an email. It means more to me than that. I feel it would only be appropriate to share it in person. So, wait patiently for the story of Andrew to come at a later time.

The City...
We had some amazing miracles though this week. We had a friend named Francis that works at one of our visitor centers refer himself and we will be seeing him this week. President challenged me to
get one more person into the font and to bring them the blessings of the gospel before I finish up and this Thursday will be the beginning of that final last minute journey. A fourth quarter last 10 seconds kind of play. We also met someone on the tubes that was interested in learning more about the Mormon faith because he has heard so much about it and some of his friends are members. When we exchanged numbers, I noticed his phone light up and I looked at the caller ID and it said "Elders"!!!! What??? I didn't say anything at the moment but then I talked to Elder Walker about it and we were confused on whether he met with missionaries in the past or what the deal was there but my number was saved so it was a pretty amazing thing to see. We will be seeing them both on Thursday so if you want to keep Francis and Qbba in your prayers for May 6, that would be awesome!

The Best District Ever...!
Other than that, things are continuing to roll forth. We have our interviews with president and his wife coming up this weekend and I'm excited but also sad. This will be my final interview with President before our last night at the temple together with our departing group. There will be 7 of us heading home this transfer and it's a pretty diverse group. I'll be the only one heading back to America and then everyone else but 2 are heading to other countries. That has been one of my favorite things about the mission is the amount of diversity our mission has but then also the areas I've had the chance to serve in, especially London. It's a priceless opportunity to have and to cherish. I've learned more about different cultures and various languages than I thought I would coming to England.

Just a small portion of the week!

Well... I love you all! Hope you have another great week!

I love my Savior because... He is my best friend. He has pushed me to reach heights I never knew of and He has wrought a mighty change in my heart that has helped me become the new man I am today and that I've become over my mission.

Why do you love him?

Mesa and QC: Arizona Brothers
Verses of the Week:

Book of Mormon:
1 Nephi 2:1
"Blessed art thou [Elder Rivera], because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee."

Doctrine and Covenants:
D&C 115:4
"For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Quote of the Week:
"Repentance doesn't crash the party... it's a celebration of the party."

-Elder Rivera

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Waters of Eternity...

So Elder Walker... you're telling me I can't go there?

Today marks a special day and milestone for me... three years ago today I embarked on the journey of a lifetime as I entered into promises with God through baptism by someone(my best friend Statler) holding the power and authority of God(or the Priesthood). I can't believe how much has changed over these past three years. I don't know where to really begin to explain it all. Most of you will have to just hear or see it all when I return home but all I can say is that I have never looked back. I haven't had any reason to. It has been by far... the greatest decision I have ever made thus far in my life.

Three years ago I never expected to be where and who I am today. I've shared recently a little bit about that but it is true. I never expected to be on a mission(let alone finishing my mission in a few weeks) and also knowing the things I know now. It truly has been a promising journey that I hope some if not all, will embark on the same journey I did. I look back and I am just so grateful to the friends I had, the examples they were to me and for the graceful hand of God placing them and their families in my life that helped me get to this point of my life. My mission has taught me three things that I've kind of made my "life motto" and I love to remind myself about it often and it is, "Remember who you are. Remember why you're here. Remember what it took to get here." So much has been put into these past three years. I always used to think that life couldn't have gotten any better but I was wrong. My mission has truly showed me a different view of everything and I'm beginning to see things as God sees them. Not perfect all the time but it's a learning process for sure. Life isn't easy though. Everyone must eventually walk the shores of life before they begin to enter into and appreciate the waters of eternity.

As I reflect upon what has happened since April 12, 2014, all I can think about is what has happened to myself both physically and spiritually. I feel like a new person. I have truly come to know my God and my Savior Jesus Christ. How? It is purely because of the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost. When the prophet of God gets up and stands before the world in his physical weakness and bears his testimony with great spiritual strength on "The Power of the Book of Mormon", I can only add my testimony to his that I know what he says is true. I have seen how the Book of Mormon truly does have an effect on both the physical and the spiritual matters of our every day lives. My witness of the Book of Mormon hasn't come from a lightning strike or a vision from heaven, but rather it has come over time as I have read it, pondered over it, and lived by its teaching(along with praying about it). I have seen with my own two eyes what the Book of Mormon can do to people as they read it with a sincere heart, with real intent, and having faith in Christ. It changes you. It changes the way you live your life.

You know you've been out a long time when you come
with ideas like this for accounting.
I'm my own witness of what the Book of Mormon does to the reader. I can look at myself in the mirror and see my spiritual testimony in the physical. I think about what I knew coming into my mission and it is nowhere near where I am now. It is a tender mercy to see the "seed" grow as I have nourished it.(Alma 32) The Holy Ghost truly does help us to remember all things(John 14:26) and can bring all things to remembrance that we once knew. Hence, I believe firmly that this life is all about remembering. We all knew these things to be true long ago and we defended them and were willing to do the same on earth. This life... is all meant to help you travel along the journey until you come to the destination of remembering what you once knew so you never forget it again. I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon and for living prophets and apostles. I am also very grateful for a
merciful God who loves me enough to give me challenges that are sometimes bigger than me, but He always provides a way for me to accomplish whatever He puts in my path. My life has been full of adversity and I love it because I thrive in the opposition. It's who I was before this life and it's who I always will be. Above all, I am grateful for my Savior. He is my Champion who walked through the valley of the shadow of death and went through what He did so I don't have to. It has been a glorious three years so far and I know there are so many more blessings in store to come throughout the rest of my life because of the decision I made to be baptized and join the Lord's only true and living church upon the earth today. There's no going back and I know where and who I stand with, for He will always go before me and He will be on my right hand and on my left with His Spirit in my heart and His angels round about me to bear me up.

This is only a portion of what has truly happened and it will take a lifetime to continue to share what exactly has happened to me with those I love most and those I keep close. I love you all and I just wanted to thank you for everything so far! There's only so much that words on a text can say but I can't wait to express my gratitude to you soon! Have another great week!

Verses of the Week:

Book of Mormon:
The Testimony of Three Witnesses:
"We know of a surety that the work is true" "We beheld and bear record that these things are true." "We should bear record of it." "We bear testimony of these things."

Doctrine and Covenants:
D&C 110:9
"Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house."

Quote of the Week:
Remember who you are.
Remember why you're here.
Remember what it took to get here.

General Conference Quote of the Week:
The Beauty of Holiness
"In strength and honor, we forsake the ways of the world and keep our covenants, that we may be “clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness."

-Elder Rivera

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Last Melon...

March 2017 Eastern Zone Leadership Training

Good morning everyone!

Well... another transfer has come to a close and we have a shorter transfer coming up now. We have a 5 week transfer rather than the usual 6 week so it'll go by super quick but super excited for it! As you can probably tell by my subject line... as Ice Age would call it, this is my "last melon" or my last transfer in England! Elder Green headed out to train a new missionary coming in and I'm now training a new zone leader! Elder Walker is my new companion and he has a lot of potential to be a great leader in the mission and president gave me a special assignment to help him out and give him some good pointers and tips on leadership because he may soon walk the same roads I did but we shall see. When I was an assistant in Crawley, he was being trained upstairs with Elder Chrimes and so go back a bit and it's just been fun these last few hours as companions. Good memories and just good vibes of joy and hard work coming out of him.

I had a great experience this week with Conference and all and to be fair, wasn't the best week for our
zone and it was humbling. Every great warrior needs to get bruised or wounded every once in a while to remind him that he is not immortal... yet. So that's what happened to us this week. I had a humbling moment with the Lord on my knees getting ready for this last transfer and got some great direction and guidance and because we baptized the most out of the mission, we had the chance to attend a well needed and perfectly timed temple session. I couldn't have asked for anything better following an amazing General Conference, a sleepover St president's home, and then some heartfelt prayers seeking guidance on how I can make this the best transfer yet. There's a lot of stuff that I have to worry about this transfer and the pressure is really on. With My Plan, to trainings, to leading, to meetings... there is just so much that will happen this transfer and it's going to make things fly but there are good things to look forward to.

Baptismal Dinner Round #7

How I've seen it here last few days is after 21 months of service to God and to His children in England, I have 5 weeks to truly prove to myself more than anyone who I truly have become. An impression came the other night as I was praying and it said, "This last transfer will define who you are, who you have become, and what your mission really did to and for you and you'll see for yourself what you're truly made of and capable of." It was humbling and I immediately wrote down the impression when it came as I laid down in bed. Normally I wouldn't do that because I trust my mind and remember a lot of things but... Elder Rasband said to follow the first impression so I got straight up and jotted it down before it went away and I'm grateful I did because more revelation came to me in the temple regarding the impression.

I just wanted to share these small experiences this week. I'm so grateful for prophets and apostles that receive guidance and direction for us and then provide exactly what we need to hear every single April and October when we get to listen to them! Just like our beloved prophet explained... there is nothing greater that you can do each day than read from the Book of Mormon. The greatness of the evidence of these last days is found within its pages and the feelings that come to you through the power of the Holy Ghost. I love the Book of Mormon and I'm grateful for the chances I've had to deeply study and ponder its teaching over my mission and it has helped establish a great foundation for the rest of my life and I know it can do the same for all those who sincerely pick it up and read from it too.
Looked like Harry Potter so thought I'd send a pic

Love you all! Have a great week!

Verses of the Week:

Book of Mormon:
With finishing the Book of Mormon again, I share the same everlasting promising scripture from Moroni!

Moroni 10:3-5
3 "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, 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.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, 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 heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

Doctrine and Covenants
D&C and 103:36
"All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith."

The Last Companion...
Quote of the Week:
"The absence of evidence isn't the evidence of absence."

Conference Quote of the Week:
"God's greatest reward goes to those who have no expectation of reward."

-Elder Rivera