Monday, October 6, 2014

WEEK 105!! | week 105

Hello there family!!!!

It is great to get your letter this week! I am so glad you were able to hear the words of the prophets and apostles this weekend. I loved every moment of it as well. I really didn't want it to end. I with you am excited to be with you again and give each of you a big hug! I am also holding on tightly to every single day I have left. I love what we get to do as missionaries. It is the single most joyful work I have ever been a part of. I will miss it dearly, but I also miss all of you!!!
It was a very very busy and crazy week. I feel like a broken record, because all of the recent weeks have been that way. This one was especially so. We had a busy day on Monday teaching as many investigators as we could and preparing for transfer day on tuesday. Then one tue at 4 am we headed down to Tucson for the transfer meeting. My new companion headed back up to Thatcher and I stayed with the departing missionaries so that I could go on the final temple trip that they do for the missionaries that are going home. It was a wonderful day, It was great to be with my MTC friends, and to be able to get to know President and Sister Passey even better. We drove out of our mission and attended the Gilbert temple. I HAVE TO BRING YOU BACK TO THAT TEMPLE. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and gigantic. It was wonderful. I received alot of personal insight and revelation. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity I have been given to be a missionary. It has truly been such a privilege. We returned to the mission home and all enjoyed a meal together. We all laughed alot as we recounted our stories and experiences. We had a wonderful testimony meeting that was so powerful. I am always strengthened by the testimonies of others and of my fellow missionaries. The Passey's are wonderful. I wish you could meet them.
Some things never change. I still forget things everywhere. I left my wallet on accident in the temple :( So a senior couple grabbed it for me this week when they went up there to attend the temple.

In the morning, the missionaries all headed off to the airport and I stayed with the Passeys and began my 'two week bonus round' as I have been calling it. You might be grumpy about the two weeks mom, but I have been so happy about it. There is still some things for me to wrap up here :) President Passey had some things to do out in the Gila Valley, so he drove me back out on wed. It was great to be able to spend 2 hours with him. I have learned so much from him. He is a wonderful man of God.
On Friday, we returned back to Tucson for my last MLC. It was a wonderful meeting, and we were taught well. Our mission is growing in strength and unity.

We have seen some wonderful miracles this week.
We received a referral this week, with some really vague directions of how to get to his apartment. We weren't sure if we were in the right spot, but we decided to just knock some doors until we found it. The first door we knocked on was of a guy named J. He was awesome. He let us inside right away and we shared our message with him. We mentioned that we have modern day prophets in our church. He immediately asked "When can I hear the words of this prophet?!" We were then able to tell him "on Saturday!." What an awesome thing! He and his mom did come to conference this weekend, and we are going to continue to teach him this week.

We also started teaching a guy named B. He has recently been through some really rough patches of life, and his heart is so prepared and humble. I don't think I have ever taught someone on my mission who's heart is as prepared ad B. He has been very emotional, and we have had some powerful lessons with him. Teaching the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ to someone like B is indescribable. He came to conference this weekend, and loved every minute of it.
S is on track to get baptized this weekend! I am so excited for her! She has faced opposition and struggles, but she has overcome them all! I love sharing the gospel.
I am enjoying every day I have left! My prayers and thoughts are with each of you. I love you all so much. I could never say thank you enough for your support and love you have given to me throughout my whole life.
I love you

Elder Hughes

Monday, September 29, 2014

HELLOOOOOO family! | week 104

It is good to hear from you! That is awesome that Tyler is coming home this week! It will be fun to catch up with him. We have had another exciting week, and we have another crazy one up ahead!
Transfer calls came in! We will be in a trio for the remainder of my time. The assistants kindly informed me that on the 16th of October I will be transferred to Rocklin, CA and they haven't found my companion yet (Sister Hughes) but that I will have to find her :) (and no it's not you mom)

We have been blessed this week, we had many many opportunities to teach and testify. I am so grateful for those opportunities. Each and every one.
A got baptized this week! YAY! It was a wonderful baptism. The spirit was strong, and I felt blessed to be able to participate in some small way in his path to the Savior. I can tell you it is the most rewarding and most joyful kind of work that there is. I love this work! Saturday was full of rejoicing. The talks were given in spanish and french, which was fun. Lots of YSA's came to support him. He will do well in the restored gospel. I will send pictures :)

I had a great birthday! We had a baptism that day so what could be better than that? Only being with you guys! It was a good day. Elder G and I got some breakfast to celebrate in the morning, and then Shannon and her friends made us the most awesome Book of Mormon cake. They are so cool! I did get your delivery! We had to move apartments this week, and it took us many hours of deep cleaning and moving on Friday and Saturday, so it was a really nice break from our cleaning to enjoy the cupcakes. Thank you so much! I love you guys!
Funny story from the week (which involves me injuring my self of course). We had a YSA activity on friday and they had all sorts of races and games. There was a piggy back race, and as I was running with Elder G on my back, I went to fast, and had to much momentum and we biffed it really badly. I wish it was on camera. I ripped my pants pretty good and scraped my self up and bruised my finger haha. 

We have been busy teaching lots of wonderful people. S is progressing well, and so is M! S is set to get baptized on the last weekend of my mission, and M is going to be baptized on the 25th of October. She is going up to Salt Lake to see conference this weekend, which is a great place to send an investigator!
I am SOOOOOOO excited for general conference this week. I hope that each of you take the time to sit down and hear the words of living prophets seers and revelators. There is truly NOTHING more important that we could be doing than that. I am so grateful for the guidance and direction we receive from our leaders!
Tomorrow I am going into Tucson to go on the departing missionary temple trip. It should be wonderful. I believe we are going to the Gilbert temple. I will then spend the night there and President and I are going to drive back on Wed. to the Gila Valley. My fellow district mates from the MTC are all going home on wed.
I am grateful for every day I have been given to serve the Lord, and I am grateful for you and your support of me. I love you so much!
I know that the Savior lives, and that his gospel blesses our lives! I am so glad to be sharing it!

Until next week,

Elder Hughes

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hola Familia | week 103

Hola familia!!!!
Thank you for your email! I LOVED that picture dad! How awesome is that?! I have never seen that picture of you. What an awesome day. I am sure we were all rejoicing in heaven on that day, waiting to come down and be a part of your family. I hope to be able to thank those missionaries as well. Gilbert is only 3 hours from me, so maybe after the mission when I come back to visit I can go see him sometime. That is so cool.
Elder G and I had another really awesome week! We have been so busy, and excited. The Lord is continuing to bless us so so so much. I marvel.
One unique experience from last week, I forgot to write you about it then. We gave blood last week, and it was the poor lady's first time doing it all by herself. She was very nervous, and she was being evaluated. So she goes to put the needle in my arm, and it hurt alot more than usual, but I didn't think much of it. So I sat on the chair rolling the ball in my hand, and then all these alarms go off on the machine, and all the nurses run over and start taking everything off, and asking me if I feel like I am going to pass out haha. I said no, and asked if something was wrong, they told me no (which was a totally lie) I kind of laughed about that. Turns out she hit my artery instead of my vein. Which is bad, and doesn't happen very often. That is why my bag filled up so fast. So needless to say I had one heck of a bruised arm, and a bag of blood they couldn't use :) 

The highlight reel of the week is full.
 It rained alot this week!!! HALLELUJIA! I think I can count on one hand how many times that has happened in 2 years (excluding brief thunderstorms). I was on exchanges in a walking area on one of those days and we got completely soaked. I thought of Tanner, because that sounds like his whole life lately :)
RS who we baptized in Nogales got Endowed on Saturday!!! That made me so happy. I am so happy for him. He is strong in the gospel. He was going to get endowed in the Gila Valley temple so that we could be there, but at the last minute they had to change it to Mesa. That was a bit of a bummer, but I am just so happy for him.
A is doing great. He is set to get baptized this saturday on my birthday (a great day for a baptism). He is doing so well. One day this week he was doubting if he should take this step, because it all happened so fast. I was able to sit down and talk to him. I merely asked him the simple questions of "Angel, is the Book of Mormon true?" He said "Of course it is!!" Then I asked him if this was the church of Jesus Christ? He said, "YES!". I thought about that and told him, well then, "Why wait for these blessings, if you know it is true?" Since then, he hasn't looked back. I am so excited for him!
M is also progressing well.
We started teaching lots of wonderful people this week. We taught to girls from Africa named L and P. They are so awesome! They are from the Congo and Zimbabwe. Wonderful people, and they know the bible very well. They asked some of the best questions I have ever gotten from investigators.
S is doing well. He dropped us for a bit this week. We were really sad about that, but he changed his mind all of a sudden. He didn't feel right about that decision. He has been having some good experiences with the spirit that are helping him alot.
The best part of the week for me was teaching S. She is doing so well. We had one of the most powerful lessons I have ever had as a missionary with her this week. We talked about revelation through Prayer. She all of a sudden opened up about receiving and answer for herselft that the Book of Mormon is true. As she began, the spirit washed into the room. it was powerful. I could not hold back tears of joy as she related her story. She has been reading every day. She said that as she was driving back to Thatcher from the reservation last weekend an overwhelming feeling of joy came over her. She said she has never felt anything like it in her entire life. She said she feels some of it every single time she reads and meets with us. She declared that it was a witness from our heavenly father that these things were true. We were left sitting there in amazement. I am so grateful that the Holy Ghost is the true teacher.
I finished the Book of Mormon again this week. It was the 7th time I have finished it on my mission. Oh how I love that Book. I hope that you all choose to read it every single day. It is true. I am grateful for the invitation it contains to ask God to know if it is true. It is important that we personally apply that promise often in our lives. I know it is true. It has blessed me, and I find wonderful new insights every time I read it!
I love you so much! I am holding on to every moment I have left on my mission. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given.
I love you!
Elder Hughes

He is on the list to come home! 
Taylor's very bruised arm.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Half way through september already?!? WHAT!?!? | week 102

Hey there family!

I hope that all of you are doing well, and enjoying your week! You are in my thoughts and prayers!
Elder G and I had another great week this week. The Lord has blessed us so very much. I love working with the young adults here, it is a blast! We have been blessed immensely.
We were able to teach alot this week, which always makes me so happy! Those that we have been teaching are doing well. There is always some degree of opposition in this work. I always cringe as it comes, and it comes every time. There is an unmistakable pattern of it in this work. I have seen it over and over again. We have seen that in some ways with those we have been teaching. Things start to get complicated as people near their goals to be baptized. I do know as well that God always wins when we put our trust in him. I have seen it over and over again as well. The key is to not give up. A and M are both progressing well to their dates to be baptized. I love them both so much. They both have had powerful experiences already that have made their faith stronger, and mine as well.
I want to tell you about someone new we started to teach this week. She is really special. Her name is S. She is from a place called White River. It is a reservation of native americans. Her sister, T was baptized this last  spring here, and has really embraced the church. She brought S to school here, and it has been a huge change for her. S has faced an unbelievable amount of hardship in her life. Life is not good on those reservations. They start using drugs and alcohol at about age 12 or 13. It is unreal. S could barely speak from her emotions as she related to us just a part of the darkness that she has experienced in life. I cried from sheer sadness as she told us her story. Thankfully she is now in the right place! The best place! She has left behind and old life, which takes so much courage. There is very intense peer pressure there. She will be mocked and ridiculed for her recent choices of stopping using drugs. As we have begun to teach her the basic truths of the restored gospel light has into her life. S has some great friends here that have helped her.

The joy of this experience can be seen in a wonderful text we received from her friend this week: "Hey Elders! I just wanted to say thank you for everything! S was so excited after we met with you guys last night. We ended up reading and talking about Alma 32 for 3 1/2 hours after we left the institute. She asked about Joseph Smith and told us her concern with believing that he really saw God. We showed her the restoration video and after that, she said "How can anyone think that he was bad? How can anyone not believe that he got answers for himself and answers to help us? What is so bad about that?" She told us everything she has learned so far and pretty much bore her testimony to us. I feel like she knows more than I do! haha :) anyways... I just wanted to share that with you guys and say thank you for the lesson last night! Is there another chapter we could read with her before we meet again?"
How awesome is that!!!!! This is what makes me want to be a missionary forever.
M as well has had some great lessons this week as we have taught her about the Plan of Salvation and of Jesus Christ.
There are many others who we are working with and teaching. We taught a guy named Mt from Burma (which is near india) He was really cool and had some amazing questions.
I am so grateful for the chance I have been given to be a missionary.
We had the chance to go to the temple this week, which was wonderful. Going there always reminds me of the big picture of life. We get so caught up in the little things down here on the 'field' that sometimes we need the bird's eye view to be able to accomplish what the Lord needs us to do. I am grateful for the ordinances and covenants there. They have blessed me so much.
I love each of you, and I hope that you keep smiling and keep serving. That is where true happiness is found. Happiness is a choice!
all my love
Elder Hughes

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dear Family | week 101

Hello there!
It sounds like life is good in Cali! I am glad to hear that. Mom is always happy when she gets her fall stuff up. Dad, I am bummed that you didn't get the job. I love your perspective on everything though. You are so right. We have been so so so blessed as a family. I marvel at it regularly. Zach man is tearing up the football field. That is awesome. You look good in the maroon gold and white :)
It has been a whirlwind week for us. I feel like I am a broken record in saying that, but it's true. It might have been the busiest week I have had on my mission. The Lord is blessing us immensely. I am so very grateful. We have been blessed with many people to teach, and we have seen many miracles. The work of the Lord is vibrant here. That has come mostly from the consistent and successful efforts of the members in sharing the gospel. I have learned much from their example.
At the institute here there are lots of activities, devotionals, firesides, classes, and games that the members bring their friends to. So when Elder G and I aren't in our 'home' (the institute library) teaching lessons we are usually at institute events. We teach almost all of our lessons in the library. I kind of like it.
A is doing great! He is progressing well, so is his friend V.
J also is progressing well. We taught her about the temple this week AT the temple! There is no better place to teach someone about the temple, than right in front of one. After the lesson we went inside and sat in the waiting room with her and the members. There is such a beautiful spirit in the temple. I enjoyed just sitting there for a while. The chair I happened to choose faced the door into the lobby. Right in my view was a beautiful painting of Christ. I looked at it for a long while, and I was reminded of his role as our redeemer and the reality of the temple being his house. I am grateful for those moments. J is very close to the spirit, and she is very close to receiving her own answers from God.
S is doing well, we are slowly making progress with him. He came to church on Sunday dressed up very nicely. He struggles a bit understanding the principles of the gospel, but I have seen that he feels something here. Which, really, in the end, that is what it is all about. The understanding comes with time, and study, and diligence. Elder Bednar has said that investigators will not always remember what you taught them, but they will always remember how you made them feel. I am excited to keep working with S.

We witnessed a beautiful miracle last night. It was the highlight of the week. We started to teach the friend of one of the members of our ward. Her name is M. She has grown up her whole life here in the Gila Valley, so she knows quite a few mormons. She has an amazing story that has led her to us teaching her last night. She grew up here, but in high school she struggled immensely. She rebelled pretty badly, and was in some pretty bad situations. She said that she swore she would NEVER go to church, and the God would never be a part of her life. She felt completely ok with that decision, but life continued on. She goes to beauty school here, and she met her member friend Mo. Mo's example and love has changed her life. She said she had a 'strange desire' to ask Mo if she could go to church with her. Mo of course started bringing her to all of the activities and firesides, and M has already seen and felt a huge change in her life. She said she is happier than she has ever been. Last night we taught her for the first time, and it was so powerful. One of the most spirit filled lessons I have ever attended. God's had has been guiding M and Mo since the beginning. It was so wonderful! It is times and moments like this that I want to be a missionary forever. It truly is the most joyful work in the world! We are excited to continue to teach them.

There are many others who we are teaching and working with. The Lord has blessed us so much. We don't have enough time for it all.
My thoughts this week have been focused on the gentle Christ. His example of love, forgiveness, peace, and gentleness are a model for us all. I fail consistently, but I have been trying to be a little more like him every day. I have come to learn that truly "the words of Christ shall tell you all things that ye should do." The answer to every problem no matter how complicated can be found in his words and example. What a miracle that is! So let's use it. As we become more like him, our influence for good grows immensely. I have personally seen that to be true.
I love you all so much. I love the work of the Lord, and I am so grateful for all you do for me.

Elder Hughes

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Fall from Arizona | week 100

A quote I recently found :) "Courage isn't always grandiose. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow." -Thomas S. Monson

Hey there family!

Happy Fall to you! I know how much you love fall. It really doesn't feel like fall here, it is still over 100 every day :) It sounds like all is well! have a great holiday today! 

We have been very busy and very blessed this week. Time is flying by. I can hardly believe it. I told my companion today that I am now entering shock and disbelief stage at only having 6 weeks left to serve. I intend to make the most of every single moment.

We had many cool experiences with the wonderful people we are teaching this week. I love serving at the institute! It is a place of great goodness for all of us young single adults. Non members are naturally attracted to the blessings that we have there. 

A is doing wonderfully! He is progressing well to his baptism this month. I really wish you guys could meet him, he is so awesome. Teaching him has been another reminder to me of the reality of my call. I have felt that I needed to come here to teach him. Our area hasn't had a spanish missionary in it for a year or more, and I happen to get here when he comes. He just loves to learn about the gospel, and he has great friends here that support him. He is going to do wonderful things in his life, and he will be a great servant of the church. He has already expressed a desire to serve a mission. I have been honored to have the chance to teach him.

Also this week we started teaching a guy named S. He is a Navajo and it has been quite an experience teaching him. Native Americans are tricky to teach, they are hard to crack, it is really hard to tell what they are thinking and feeling. I LOVE teaching them about the Book of Mormon. It is so powerful for me to think about sharing with them a book that was written for them and their people. Prophecies are fulfilled in the Book of Mormon every single time we share it with them. S is a great kid, he is full of light and he is anxious to learn.

Our investigator J also is doing great. She also has been soaking up the gospel. We face alot of challenges with our investigator's families here in YSA wards. It is our #1 obstacle. Many parents of these good people are not happy to hear that their kids are learning about the restored gospel. We couldn't figure out why J wasn't praying about the Book of Mormon, so we finally asked her. She started to break down and explain that she has been scared to do it, because her parents were not happy with her that she has been meeting with missionaries. As we were teaching her the Plan of Salvation, J said that she felt her brother who passed away there with her. She told her family about this, and they doubted her and made fun of her. It saddens me greatly to hear this from our investigators. We pray for them often. We encouraged her and bore our testimonies.

We are working with many others, who we hope we will be able to help learn of this wonderful gospel!!!! We have another busy week ahead of us!

I love serving the Lord. I am holding on to every moment. I hope and pray that you all continue to be well and blessed.

I know that the things that we believe and know are true!!! I hope and pray that we do not take them for granted. It is such a blessing to know what we know. I believe we will be held to a higher standard at the judgement bar, because of the many blessings we are given. "Where much is given, much is required" I am grateful for a father in heaven who is patient with me and all of my weaknesses and shortcomings. He loves us, and he wants to hear from us. I have learned how to REALLY pray out here in the mission field. What a blessing it is. We are promised that we can call down the blessings of heaven.

I love you all so so so so so very much. Thank you for all you do for me.

all my love

Elder Hughes

PS!!! I almost forgot. I had the most crazy small world moment this week! There is a brand new missionary in our zone named Elder Mitchell from Bountiful UT. We went on exchanges this week, and as we talked, I explained to him that I have family that lives in Bountiful. Well guess what?!?!? He is one of Bailee's really good friends!!!! It's a very small world. :) I will send a picture :) Forward it on to Brooke and Bailee

My favorite pair of  brown shoes died!

the Gila Valley Temple at night

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hello Family | week 99

Helloo there family!!!
Thank you for your words and experiences. It is wonderful to hear about all that you are doing. Life has not slowed down a bit for me either. I have had one of the busiest weeks of my whole mission this week. Which is WONDERFUL. Busy is good for us as missionaries. It means people are listening.
To answer some of your ?s:
Yes, we are still doing cross fit. It has been kicking my butt. I am going to have to convert you all to it when I get back. It is quite addicting.
My companion Elder G is great! We have quickly become great friends. He is from upstate new york, an hour away from Palmyra. He goes to BYU as well, and he is in the Army. He is an outstanding missionary, and we are doing very well as a companionship.

First of all, serving in YSA is so wonderful. It is a blast. Our wards are FULL of recently returned missionaries who know how to share the gospel with their friends. It is incredible to see. If we could get the whole church to do missionary work like they do, we would see astounding growth. We have started teaching 7 new investigators this week who have been brought to us by their friends. It has been amazing to see, and the miracles have been pouring forth.

A is still doing wonderful. I LOVE teaching him. He soaks up all that we teach. I call it 'sponge mode' it is pretty much the best thing to see in an investigator. He is progressing well, and he will be a very committed new member of the church. It has been amazing to see God's hand in the whole experience.
We have started to teach a girl named J this week. All of her roomates are members, and it was a miracle how we found her. We felt one night as we were planning that we should go to some apartments and meet the many YSA members who have recently moved into them. We started knocking on doors and introducing ourselves to the members. We had just finished talking to one sister, by the bottom of some stairs when two people started walking down towards us. We contacted them and we met J who is not a member. We ended up teaching the entire first lesson to them on those stairs. The next day as we met with them again, J opened up to us. She explained that right before her and her roomate left their apt the night we taught them, she had a distinct desire to ask her roomate more about the church, but she felt scared so she didn't. Then they walked out their door, and down the stairs, and found us at the bottom! She said it was an answer to her prayers. I have seen countless times as a missionary, that the Lord puts us right where he needs us. We had some more powerful moments with her this week as we taught her the plan of salvation. It really struck a chord in her. She got very emotional, and the spirit witnessed to us all of the truthfulness of that plan.
Another miracle this week was in teaching K. We started teaching her when her friend brought her to us. She is so prepared. She is also so excited to act in faith. That is our favorite thing to see. She has a baptismal date as well.
There are many others who we have made contact with. It has been so exciting. The Lord has been pouring out his blessings on us.
On Sunday, Elder G and I spoke at a tri stake YSA fireside, with lots of people. We talked on missionary work of course!
Yesterday Elder Malm of the 70 visited us. There was quite an outpouring of the spirit, it was a wonderful day!! I wish you each could have been there to hear his testimony, and to be taught by him. He is truly a man of God, and he is a master teacher. I learned an immense amount, in fact I am still digesting all of it. He and his wife are from Sweden. They were so wonderful. He taught us much about how to teach by and listen to the spirit. He taught us about how to have a spirit of optimism. He taught much about our premortal life, and who we were and are. It truly does help us in our lives to know who we are and who those around us truly are. We must see past what we see on the outside. The spirit was poured out upon us in rich abundance. It was a wonderful day. I always leave those experiences energized and excited to take on more of the Lord's work.
I had the chance to be interviewed by Elder Malm as well. It was wonderful to recieve personal counsel from him. I learned alot.

I leave you with my love. This week at the fireside I talked about love and how it relates to sharing the gospel. If we truly love those around us, we will open our mouths and share with them the gospel. In a book I love "the power of everyday missionaries". We are taught in that book that when we take someone figuratively by the hand and lead them to Christ. We come to know how much God loves the person who's hand is in ours, and how much he loves us. I know this to be a true principle. I have felt it in my life as a missionary. It is real.
I love each of you so much. Thank you for all you have done for me.

God bless you
Elder Hughes

for more interesting news! a Hermana Toledo is serving in the spanish branch that covers Rocklin. She is one of my good friends from my mission! She is so awesome. I gave your address so she might stop by and say hi. I served in HER branch in Tucson and her and her mom did so much to help us there. They fed us every single week and more sometimes.