Merry Christmas! I have really good news for you mom, we get to skype!!! Your dreams do come true haha. We are going to skype from the Stake President's house, who invited us over. I am able to call you a couple days before Christmas to 'set up' the Skype call, and we can figure out details then. It will probably be in the afternoon sometime. I can't wait!!!
Thank you thank you thank you for the package!! It is perfect. I love it. The music is awesome, yes I do share your love mom for Christmas music :) I love my new ties, you guys have good taste :) And we opened our new wafflemaker today, and we are SO excited to make waffles tomorrow morning. Thank you so much. I love you all so much. I wish I could give you all some great gifts. Watch the mail before you leave for my gift to you mom and dad. It sounds funny, but the wrapping paper literally smells like our house haha. I loved that. And I may or may not smell the wrapping paper every day haha.
Things are going great here in Duncan! The work is progressing and Elder Z and I are seeing alot of mini miracles. The Lord truly directs his work. We are still teaching all the people I told you about last week, and we found two new investigators this week!!! On Friday we finally went over and visited a lady that showed up to church all by herself. She only speaks spanish, so my mediocre spanish came in handy haha. Her name is H and she is SO nice. I am so excited to start teaching her. We had to drive through a small river to get to her house, it is out in the middle of nowhere. By the way we drive ALOT here in our area. Our area is so spread out and all of our investigators are so spread out that we spend alot of quality time in our good ol' truck. Then on Friday, the Relief Society president gave us some cookies to go deliver to some new families, because she didn't have enough time to finish. One of the families is a part member family, and when we dropped the cookies off we ended up teaching the first lesson to the nonmember husband. It was awesome, he is so prepared and the spirit was so strong as we taught him. It got us both so excited. We are going back to teach him again today. Another cool thing last night was at the end of the night around 8:30 which is the toughest time, because we still have time to do missionary work, but it's late and nobody really wants to see us when it is almost 9. So we were pulled off the road and were trying to decide who to go see, and Elder Z had a prompting to go see an inactive guy who is our age who got baptized a year ago. He was prompted to see him, and it turns out that A has been really wanting to get active again, and has been praying for help. He was so happy that we came, and we are going to go over read the book of mormon with him this week, and bring him to church. We do alot of work with less actives and inactives here, and it is so great. It is one area that sometimes gets overlooked, and sometimes people get forgotten. We are having FHE's with another inactive family that are going super well. The Lord uses his missionaries to go after lost sheep.
The members here in Duncan are awesome, and it's a good thing because we do 100% member missionary work, because of how few people are here and how many members there are. We are continuing our twelve days. We are serving the most hilarious craziest and indescribable elderly lady in our ward. I wish you all could meet her. She is awesome. She also has the hardest 12 days house ever. It is in the middle of nowhere, no trees, lots of lights, lots of dogs, and fences. It is a pretty intense operation. I accidentally ripped some pants jumping over a fence the other day :) a lady in the ward is gonna fix them for me.
We have continued to do lots of service which I love. I love this work so much. Yes, I was actually gonna tell you about Elder Holland's ensign article too. I read it a week ago, and it touched me. I don't think I have ever related to an article so much in my whole life. It is exactly how I feel. The Savior truly walks with his missionaries. I feel it. I learn so much everyday. I love this Christmas season that helps us all be a little more like our savior and remember what he has done for us. I love you all so much!!! I will give you a short call before Christmas to set up the skype time/details, and then I will SEE you on Christmas!!! I love you all and miss you!!
P.S. Hey, I tried my very best to send pictures today again :( but the computers here are circa 1999 and they pretty much stink, haha. They don't read my camera. When we skype at the stake president's I will send em to ya. We get an hour to skype by the way. I am SO EXCITED! It will be awesome. I am doing great. Elder Z is such a great companion, I am so lucky to have him. We get along great. I hope you guys know how much I love you. Thank you for your support. Your package has brought me alot of joy :) I really don't need anything. Honest. I have everything I need. Your pictures look awesome. That picture of Rilo and Zach is great. I miss them alot too. I can't wait to talk to you in a week and 1 day! I know how much you like skyping more :) I love you all so much. FELIZ NAVIDAD!
I am so happy today, because I got your emails. The only reason I love P days is getting to read what you all have sent me! I am doing wonderful here in good ol Duncan Arizona. I have alot to tell ya!! The work is going great here. We are busy and full of excitement to be sharing the gospel at such an amazing time of the year. Missionary work here is highly centered on the members, because most of the population is members, tracting doesn't mean anything, so we stop by alot of members houses unannounced haha and work with them on finding people for us to teach. The people here are so great, they crack me up. I love them so much. They live very different lives from what we are used to in California, but they are so happy and their lives are lived much simpler. My companion and I are doing awesome, we are really good friends. The Lord directs who we are companions with, and I really know that we were meant to be put together. We are very similar, and it is so fun. We have a blast. So we literally live on a farm. We get our eggs from the chicken coop next to our house, and our milk from the dairy down the road. Although Elder Z says I am a wuss because I cannot handle the milk we get from the dairy. It is literally the milk straight from the cow, and it is NASTY. I am finally buying my own milk today haha. We go running every morning in the fields. It is awesome.
As for the people we are teaching. First off there are 3 recent converts that we work with alot here they are all awesome. One, K is a cop and she was baptized a couple months ago. She is hilarius and is SO commited to the gospel. She rocks. I wish you could meet her! Then there are two boys C and D who were baptized last month. They are the sweetest, most awesome kids, and we get to teach them the new convert lessons every month. I taught an entire lesson in spanish this week!!!! To a guy named R who the missionaries have been teaching. In the past they have brought a translator with them, but now we don't have to. He is so funny, and we are just trying to help him progress. He wants to come closer to Christ and he wants the peace that the gospel brings. We are trying to help him use this desire to gain his own answer through the spirit. We are starting to teach a whole family this week the M's that live way out far away on a huge ranch. A member of the 70 actually owns the ranch, so hopefully it will go well. I have a good feeling about it. We are also teaching a man named Terry and we are trying to find a spanish woman who came to church all on her own a couple weeks ago. It is all so exciting!
Church was great this week. I LOVE the spirit and revelation I can feel at church no matter where I am. We have two ward here, so we go to six hours of church. And let me tell you the 80's and 90's have NOT died here in Duncan. All of the styles are alive and well here, it is so hilarius, I love it. We get to do lots of service which is awesome. We spent 5 hours helping an elderly lady's lawn this week. I love doing service. We are looking for ways to serve more around Christmas. I am doing 12 days too!!! To a single lady in our ward. Thank you for your words of love family. I love you all so much! Everyone has mentioned to me that Nor Cal has been getting pounded with rain... so I was curious about that. Thank Aunt Jaline for me, for her gift she sent!!! I haven't opened it yet, it is underneath our little Christmas tree :) I love you all so much. I know that the Lord directs this work. I have felt of his love, and help as I do this work that sometimes feels so tough. It isn't easy, but I am happy and I love serving others and I LOVE the gospel. It is all true.
I made it into the field! It has been a crazy busy last couple of days!! My P day is on Mondays usually, on tuesday's once a month, and I am emailing today because we didn't have time the last two days! I am so happy to be out in the field!!!
Our travel went totally fine. I was able to talk to some people on the plane and give out some pass along cards. Sorry that the phone call was so short! I probably sounded really nervous, because I was haha. I am doing so great. We arrived in Tucson and met the mission president and his wife, the Killpack's and they are awesome! They are the nicest people ever. We then loaded all of our stuff in a van and headed into downtown Tucson! It is NICE and WARM here in Arizona, no more Utah cold :) It is definitely one big desert, with cacti everywhere. The cacti are HUGE the size of trees. There is a Mormon Batallion monument there. The Assistants dropped us off 3 blocks away from the monument, and they gave us each a Book of Mormon and talked to us about how urgent our message is. So to demonstrate it to the world we ran full sprint to the monument three blocks up. We got there had a little devotional and then left to the mission office. After meetings and meals that day we had an AWESOME testimony meeting and devotional with all the new missionaries and the president and his wife. It was so amazing, one of the spiritual highlights of my mission so far. Then we got up at 5 the next morning to go to the transfer meeting, and meet our new companions! My trainer is Elder Z! He is great, he is from Logan Utah and we get along awesome. He is an English Elder and has been out six months. We then got in the car and drove three hours to where our area is. We are in the middle of nowhere right next to the New Mexico Border in a town called Duncan and Virden! It is a tiny little town of not even 500 people and about 75% of the people here are members! It is awesome. We live on a farm in a tiny little 100 yr old pink house haha :) Next to a chicken coop, a dairy farm, and many farming fields. I love it. Definitely different from anywhere I have ever been before. The Sunsets here in AZ are gorgeous by the way. The best part of it all, is at night there are SO many stars, I have never seen so many in my entire life, it's awesome. We laid out in the back of our truck and looked at them for a while last night. We have a 2012 white Colorado truck, My area isn't spanish, which is kind of a bummer, but I am so excited to be doing the work in no matter what language ;) We are teaching 4 investigators right now which is so exciting, it is so great to be able to teach REAL people. All the people that I have met in Duncan (which is only a couple as of right now) are super nice and the members take super good care of us. We haven't gotten to do a ton of missionary work yet, because we traveled almost all day yesterday, and then today we had zone meeting which takes us an hour and a half to get to, but I am so excited to be out here doing the work. I am motivated to give this everything I have. I LOVE being a missionary, and I am so happy. I am excited to get our areas missionary work movin' Duncan is a pretty slow moving area for the work, but I am excited to change that and spread our message :) I love the gospel so much. It is so true. There is nowhere I would rather be right now than where I am now. I will send pictures next week ;) We hit an owl with our truck on accident last night, which was crazy haha all of a sudden it just flew into our windshield haha. Missionary work is definitely not easy, and the realities and complexities of it hit you in the face pretty quick, but I KNOW that with faith, hard work, and obedience all things are possible. I am so excited to be serving here in Arizona, I have received more confirmations through the spirit that this is where I am meant to be. I love the Lord, and I know he stands by us as missionaries. What a blessing it is to know what we know, and to have the hope and love in our home. This truth is why I am here and why I have sacrificed so much. No sacrifice can repay the joy and hope I have received through the gospel. I hope you all are doing well! I haven't gotten an email from ya! As for packages and letters you should send them to the misson office. That is the fastest and best way for me to get them. Address them to me. They said to send things through the post office, not ups. I love you all so much, I think of you every day. I hope your trip to Maryland went great Mom!! I love you all so much, and I get to talk to you soon on Christmas! I love this work, I know it is true with all of my heart. I know the Lord leads and directs it. I know that prayer works. It is real. I can't wait to meet the people that I was called to this mission to help. I love you all so much, I will email you next Monday!
I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving! I thought of you alot, and I am so grateful for all of you! I had an AWESOME Thanksgiving. One I will never forget. Elder Holland and his wife and all of their grandkids came to the MTC. We had an awesome devotional with them. He truly is an apostle of the Lord. A few of their grandkids performed musical numbers for us. I felt the spirit so strongly. He talked to us alot about how amazing it is to be here at this time in the history of the world, and the history of the church. We have more opportunities in one day, than some people in history have had in their whole life. It is such an exciting time to be a missionary. The Lord is hastening his work. We also got to be a part of a great humanitarian project, which went super well, we made 9,000 health and education kits that are going to africa! Thanksgiving dinner cafeteria style was definitely one of my more unique thanksgiving meals, but it was actually really good (not even close to your thanksgiving though mom). It was a wonderful day, except that you all weren't with me :)
Yay! Brother Brasher will be awesome, tell him I say hello!
That is such lame news for Elder Clark!!!!! :( Give him a huge hug for me, and tell him to get quick fast!! What a bummer, but he is such a stud, and the Lord has a plan for all of us.
I LOVE Christmas time, which you already know! I can imagine our house perfectly in my mind with some good 'ol Celine Dion Christmas playing in the background. I will miss being with you all, but I am SO excited to bless someone else's Christmas as a representative of the Savior. I feel of you prayers and your love, I love you all so much!
I am glad you got my card :)
I got a letter back from Aaron yesterday! It was awesome! It sounds like he is doing better.
As for this week in the MTC, I can't believe I have 5 days left. The time has absolutely flown by. It is getting down to the wire and we are all trying to cram as much in as we can, because we will never have the opportunity to study as much as we do here. After SO many hours of being in a classroom, it can be hard sometimes, but we have all set alot of new goals. Spanish is coming along, at this point I understand most of all the grammar, the challenge is applying it and practicing it. I love the Spanish language. It is amazing to see how when we first got here we had NO idea what anyone was saying and we couldn't read or understand the scriptures in spanish. Now we can actually teach the gospel (not amazingly well) and we can read and understand the scriptures in spanish!!! I have truly learned how to teach by the spirit. When I try and teach leaning on my own understanding I am such a weak teacher. It is so empowering to teach being led what to say. It has nothing to do with my own knowledge or skills, it is the Lord's work, not mine.
We have been back to the doctor alot for Elder T. It has definitely been a challenge, but he is taking it like a champ. We have doctor's appts today, thursday, and friday. On Friday they make the decision if he gets to leave with us to go to Tucson. Keep him in your prayers.
I got my travel plans last wednesday after all my email time was up!!!! I leave for the airport at 4 AM on Monday morning!!!! Our flight leaves at 7 AM to LAX and then we fly from there to Tucson and should be in Tucson at around 11:15 AM on Monday! So crazy! I am so excited. As for calling you, good thing you love me, because it will be in the 5:30 AM - 6:30 AM range MY time. So 4:30 - 5:30 AM your time range!! I will call your cell mom. I can't wait to hear your voice!!! I have loved my time at the MTC, but I am SO excited to bounce out of here and talk to some REAL people about the gospel!
We got an email from our mission president today which got us all really excited!!!
As for things to send me... honestly I am not really sure until I get to Arizona. For Christmas finding me some sweet ties is all I can think of right now. And lots of Christmas music.
Make sure you send the dear elders before Friday, we don't get any on saturday or sunday, and then I will be gone on monday.
I pray for Tanner every day, I love him so much! Tanner by the way: you should send me some emails BACK sometime ;) Say hi to all the people from my district for me!
Family, I want you to know how much I love you. It is impossible to describe how much revelation I have recieved here at the MTC. I know that this is the true church. We must be constantly working on our continued conversion to the gospel. I know that I have a living savior and redeemer. He is the perfect example in every aspect of our lives. We must walk closer to him and match his love every day.
Yo se que esta iglesia es verdadero. El Libro de Mormon es la palabra de Dios. Por medio del nuestro Salvador y Redentor Jesucristo, podemos ser limpio de nuestro pecados. Yo se que nuestro familia puede ser eterno. Estoy muy agredecido por su amor and el amor de Jesucristo. Yo se que esta iglesia puede ayudar todas personas aqui en la tierra.
Les amo mucho!!!! ( I love you alot) I can't wait to talk to you on the phone!!!!! 4 days!!! LOVE,
Happy Thanksgiving!!! I love you all so much! What fun plans for thanksgiving! We can all have an unconventional Thanksgiving together, since my all 6 of our Thanksgivings are going to be very different haha. I am so glad you all get to get away and have some fun. (more flags more fun) Go ride all the rides for me :) Meanwhile in Provo, our Thanksgiving is going to ROCK as well. First off, we have a devotional tomorrow with Elder Holland. (Elder T and I found out from a reliable source that he is coming to the MTC tomorrow!!!) It's gonna be awesome. If you think Elder Holland is intense in general conference, you should see some of his devotionals that we have watched the rebroadcasts of. They are awesome. I can't wait. Then we are spending most of the rest of the day doing service and making 10,000 humanitarian kits. Which is what being a missionary is all about. We also get Thanksgiving dinner of course. It should be wonderful. Although, I am going to miss being with you all for Thanksgiving, know that I will be thinking of you throughout the whole day. I will miss stuffed mushrooms as well :) BUT being a missionary is exactly what I love to do.
This week has been kinda crazy. Well long story short. Elder R my companion came back to the MTC! (We couldn't believe it) He is back! Which was awesome. I almost dropped the phone when our branch president talked to us. It was such a happy day. Spanish is still coming along. We are making alot of goals to work super hard our last 2 weeks to be as ready as we possibly can be to go into the field. This sound funny, but speaking spanish is super fun. I haven't been able to figure it our but EVERYTHING is funnier in spanish. I am so glad I was called to speak it.
One trial this week has been for Elder T. He has some pretty crazy health issues that are pretty confusing, and intense. It has been a really tough week for him, and one thing about companionships is that we are both in it together. We have spent many hours at doctor's offices all around provo in the last week, and we have four more appointments this week. He goes in for an MRI today. Keep him in your prayers. He is awesome, and we are super close friends. I have learned so much about how to serve others.
I found out that Sarina got engaged!!!!! How exciting!!!!! I am so pumped for her.
Give the Voges all my love. Thank the Jay's for their card that they sent me.
I sent you a Thanksgiving card, I don't know if you got it yet :)
I cannot even begin to explain how much my faith and knowledge have grown here at the MTC. My heart and soul are filled every day. I have learned how to TRULY teach the gospel by the spirit. Family, the gift of tongues is real. I am a witness of it. This sunday we watched a rebroadcast devotional of Elder Bednar's talk last Christmas at the MTC. It is one of the best talks I have ever heard in my entire life. I want to share with you what I got out of it: We must understand the Character of Christ. He turned out to others in perfect love, when the natural man turns into himself in selfishness. In order to be truly converted to this gospel, and to our savior, and to NEVER fall away. We must understand and develop this Character within us. We must turn outward in pure love toward others. It is then that we truly are converted. Find someone to serve and love every day. This is why I am on a mission to serve and love.
I am so grateful to all of you. You have blessed my life eternally. I am SO grateful to be a missionary, a son of Chris and Katie Hughes, a Child of God, a brother to Riley Zach and Tanner, and I AM so grateful to be a representative of Christ. I am grateful for your love and the love of our savior. I wish I could convey all that I have learned here. I love you so much. Don't worry about me, I am SO happy, although I miss you SO much, there is nothing else I would rather be doing. Go serve someone today and everyday. I LOVE YOU!!! I can't wait to talk to you all on the phone soon!