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

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