Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year Familia!!! | week 65

This is where I am going this week!

Hello Family!!!!!

Oh it was so wonderful to SEE you and TALK to you this week!!!!! I loved every moment of it! I had a wonderful Christmas! I loved seeing all of your pictures from the many Christmas festivities, you all look wonderful, I am so incredibly blessed with so many wonderful family members. You are all amazing. I don't know what I did to be blessed with such a wonderful family.

It was a wonderful week of Christmas. The mission Christmas conference was amazing. The spirit was so so so strong. It inspired me to keep pressing forward with all that I have. What a glorious gospel and a glorious message we have for the world. Christmas was wonderful. We ate a TON. Way to much. I got to talk to all of you, which was SO GREAT! And we ended the night going around and delivering cookies and singing to lots of the members of the branch. It was a wonderful Christmas. This Christmas had a great feeling to it. I really love every thing about Christmas. It has the power to bring to our hearts an even greater understanding and love for the Savior.

As for the time after Christmas, it has been a bit slow. Here close to the border, ALL of our Mexican friends head back across the border for the holidays. SO.... we have had a bit of a slow week, all of our investigators were gone, and lots of the members. BUT they are all coming back home here in the next couple days which we are really excited about.

I have to tell you guys about some of the people we are teaching! I feel like I haven't had a lot of time to do that yet :)

First is M. I don't even know if we can even classify this as teaching, because M is completely Mormon already. This kid is AWESOME! He has investigated the church for 5 months now, and hasn't missed church at all since he started. He is amazing. He is teaching us, really, by his amazing example. The big hang up, is his crazy parents that won't let him get baptized. It is really hard for him. We have been going over and teaching his parents as well, to try and see if we can make any progress. It is quite a challenge. His parents are very confused people. But we are praying for a miracle.

We are also teaching this really old lady named L. She is a really sweet lady that investigated the church a couple years ago.

We have lots and lots of people we found right before the holidays that sped out of town so we didn't get to see them much lately. BUT we are excited for the upcoming weeks to get the work rolling full speed here.

We have been teaching a lot of members and less active members lately about goals and repentance, and change, and a vision for a new year. It has caused me to reflect a lot about the last year, and about the coming year. That is one of my favorite parts of the gospel of Jesus Christ is it is full of opportunities to do better and become something. Truly this gospel is about change. The life of Jesus Christ and his atonement and sacrifice are all about change. I remember a while back giving a baptismal interview to some kids in a family. The little boys kept calling their baptism their "second chance." I loved that so much. I love second chances. I have truly learned that as we embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, second chances surround us on all sides. That is why it is so joyful. I love second chances, and third chances, and fourth. Those chances have changed my entire life. The gospel of Jesus Christ has changed me and my life forever. It has been a wonderful year. I can honestly say it has been the fastest year of my entire life, it has been the most challenging year of my entire life, and it has been the most joyful year of my entire life (so far). I love second chances.

My challenge to all of you is to ponder and pray about what the Lord's vision is for each of you. As we pray and ponder and learn, the spirit always teaches us more about who we truly are and who we can become. Then make goals and plans to make those things a reality into our lives. We have the power to become whatever we want to become. I love our mission's motto "choose to become" What are your vision's for yourselves? What are your goals and plans?

I want all of you to know how much I love each of you. I have a testimony of this gospel. I know the Savior lives. I know that he is real. His light and love and power is real. I have felt it personally and watched it touch the lives of others. I know that we are part of his church. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is truly the best book in the entire world! I wish everyone in the world would read it. I love you all so much! Discover the Lord's vision for you!


Elder Hughes

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas! | week 64

We did not get a letter from Taylor this week, instead we were able to TALK to him on SKYPE. It was so great to see and hear his voice. He is doing so well, having such amazing experiences. I am constantly amazed as his strength and his spirit. I am overwhelmed with Gratitude for the many great things they are doing and the sacrifices they are making. I am proud to be their mom!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hola from New Mexico!!! Merry Christmas!!!!! | week 63

I asked both boys a series of questions about their missions. They both answered and what they had to say was amazing.

Hello there family!!!

It is so good to hear from you, I always love to hear your words and support! I love your Christmas idea. What an unconventional way to do Christmas! That is awesome. The Hughes family is always good at trying new things. That is one of my favorite parts of our family. I love your story about your new friend. One thing I have truly learned here on the mission is that the Lord truly leads us to those that he needs us to serve, especially as we open our hearts to it. I know that his hand is guiding each of our lives. It has guided mine. There are truly no coincidences :)

As for our week. It was a good one. We have been really busy. The nature of whitewashing an area is that it takes a while to get everything sorted out. We spent a lot of time meeting all the members, inactive members, and some of the investigators that were left for us to teach. Oh my goodness I love the branch that I am serving in SO much. It is really small, but the members are AMAZING. They are all so happy, supportive, and so excited to do missionary work. There is a really special spirit here. There is one big family the Q family that is famous in our mission, because of how awesome they are. I have quickly learned why. They are phenomenal. Almost the entire branch council consists of their whole family. We are so excited to be here.

Now for your questions.... :) There are lots so, I will try to answer as many as I can!! I love questions.

1. Where am I serving? I am serving in the small town of Deming New Mexico!!! It is 30 minutes from the mexico border, and right now it is freezing cold. It might snow this week! YAY!
2. My area... Is basically a run down old town. It is about the same as all of my areas as far as poorer goes. I have never been in a rich area. We work a lot in old trailer parks. It is a quiet little town, with quite a few Mormons here. There are 2 small English wards, and our teeny tiny little Spanish branch. I really like it though.
3. My apartment is great! It is a lot bigger and nicer than our apt in Los Reales. I have pictures of it that I will send to you.
4. Oh the food is wonderful! I love love love Mexican food. I do not ever get tired of it. It is every kind of Mexican food you can imagine. Honestly my favorite is Sonoran Dogs... which I am going through withdrawls right now. No one here even knows what they are :(
5. Do I eat things I never thought I would? Honestly no. It isn't anything insanely exciting or crazy :) but that's fine with me.
6. The craziest thing I have eaten? Um I guess probably Lengua, which is cow tongue. It is really good :)
7. The craziest thing that has happened to me? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm well. To be honest, I have been blessed and not that many crazy things have happened to me. I have a couple things that I will probably save to tell you mom :)  I have met some pretty crazy people. That is pretty common as we walk around and talk to lots of people. I have met some crazies, but they are always funny. I really find it quite funny to observe how people react to us missionaries. Many times people are very confused with how they should react to meeting missionaries.
8. The best thing about the mission? That is a wonderful question. I have pondered on that a lot. There is so much that I love about serving a mission, but I feel like the best part is how many opportunities I have to serve others. We always have so many opportunities to serve, but being a missionary is FULL of opportunities to serve. The happiest missionaries, are the ones that just love serving others. My other favorite part is watching the Holy Ghost come and touch the hearts of those we teach. Many people's hearts are hardened, through the hard things in their lives, and if they will just open their hearts up, the spirit always comes through and changes them. Just last night the Sister missionaries and us tag taught a family that has been investigating the church for almost a year. I got to witness the spirit touch their hearts. It is my one of my favorite things to see and be part of.
9. The hardest part of the mission? Another good question. I have thought a lot about that question. I can think of two things. I have come to understand that one of the hardest parts of the mission many times is self created. The 'hard times' come sometimes when I turn inward and think about what I want. It is the fastest way to be miserable in life. I have learned that truly life is so joyful for me when I am thinking of others. The other hard part I think would be when I feel like I have tried my very best, and there isn't tons of success. That hard thing has also taught me so much about what is really important. Small things are important to the Lord. The spirit has taught me that things are not always really how we think they are. The Lord uses his sons and daughters to help others. I have come to see that can be in many ways, even if the people don't get baptized now. So really the 'hardest parts' about being a missionary (and really just being a human being) are really some of the best things, because they teach us the most. Although seeing that is really frustrating sometimes :)
10. What makes me happiest right now? Another good question. Some I can think of: Feeling the spirit, being the answer to someone's prayers, laughing, good food, reading the scriptures, helping someone else, thinking about how much I love my friends and family, thinking about how blessed I am. Those are just a few.
11. Hard question. What have I learned most? Well the hard things about being a missionary that I spoke about above have sure helped me learn a lot. I have also learned that every single person is a beloved son or daughter of god. I have learned how real Christ and his atonement is. I have learned that truly losing yourself in the service of the Lord is the only way to true joy. I could probably write a couple huge books on the things that I have learned here. It really is impossible to express properly. I can't wait to sit down one day and talk to you all more about it, but meanwhile... there is still much more to learn!!
12. Yes and no. The Lord has an interesting way of waiting until we have enough faith, for him to give us what we need. So yes I have done things I have not thought possible, but they have only happened when I have actually believed they were possible. If that makes sense... haha
13. My Spanish is doing really well. It keeps getting better. I feel totally comfortable with it. No, sadly I do not think in Spanish. We talk in English too much for that to happen, but I can translate pretty well.
14. I am hoping to accomplish lots while I am still here. I am hoping to BAPTIZE lots more! And I am hoping to continue feeling the joy of serving!
15. Not yet on the Christmas tree! We are looking for one though :)

Ahhhhh Ok I don't have much more time left! I always run out of time! But I hope and pray that you all will have a great pre Christmas week! Our branch of missionaries have decided that we are going to make it the best Christmas ever, and try and serve as many people as we can. I am excited. I will miss all of you lots, as always, but I hope you feel of my love!

I love you all. You mean so much to me. I hope that you all remember Christ at this time!


Elder Hughes

Monday, December 9, 2013

HELLO FAMILY!!!!!!!! I am coming to you from a new place...... can you guess where? | week 62

Hey there familia!

I am coming to you today from good ol Deming New Mexico!!! I got the transfer news on Sunday night, and it has been crazy ever since. I am serving as a zone leader out here over the new mexico zone! It is so crazy, I am coming full circle, because last year at this time I was out here in freezing cold New Mexico as well. Deming is the farthest out in the mission that there is. It is 3 1/2 hours away from Tucson. My companion is Elder P, he is awesome. We already know each other pretty well. He was in my MTC zone, and we have always been good friends. I took his place in Los Reales, and now we are the ZL's out here. We are whitewashing the area (which means neither of us has been here before) which is always a challenge, but definitely an adventure. I am really excited for this transfer. I have a really good feeling about it. We cover a tiny tiny tiny little Spanish branch here with another set of sisters. It is actually really fun, because I am serving with Sister S who I served with in Los Reales. Her companion is named Hermana Magnussen (I think that is how to spell it) and she is from Roseville CA!!!! It is crazy. We haven't had a lot of time to talk, but we know lots of the same people. One of the Elders in the English ward here Elder Gavin Murray, and he is from Anacordis WA which is kinda cool. He knows the Lamb family. It is a small Mormon world.

It sounds like all is well in Rocklin. If it makes you feel any better I am freezing my bootie off out here as well. It is COLD out here in New Mexico.

As for my last week in Los Reales. It was wonderful. I truly came to love that place a lot. The week was full of lots of work. It was a really good week for us. I always have lots of mixed emotions as I leave an area. It is exciting, sad, and scary all at the same time. That really is what all change in life is like. As a missionary change is such a constant thing, but it always makes things interesting. As the week wrapped up I reflected a lot about the many blessings the Lord has shown me there. As I went around to say goodbye to so many of the people that I have come to love so much, my heart was full. I didn't have tons and tons of baptisms. but I really felt the Lord's hand in my time there. I am so grateful for it. I am going to miss Elder P a lot. He is a powerful missionary and example to me. I have learned so so so much from him. I was honored to be his companion.

It was really hard to leave my district. The 6 of us grew to be so close friends. It was awesome. I learned so much from each of them. I love this gospel and how it unites us. It truly is the most unifying cause in the universe.

My dear friend R who I have worked with for months, who I love so much came back to church for the first time in many years on Sunday. It was priceless. I have loved teaching her. The spirit directed us so much as we did so. Saying goodbye to R was also hard. She is one of the people that I know for sure that I was sent to this mission to meet. She will always have a special place in my heart. She is continuing to face immense trials. I cannot even begin to describe the unrelenting forces of evil that surround her in her family. It is unbelievable. She has incredible faith. Faith that will always be an example to me.

There were many other wonderful experiences last week, and so little time to write.

Sister Uscharawadi who was in my district in Los Reales is one of my dear friends out here in the mission, and she is coming back home tomorrow. She lives in Granite Bay. She has a letter to deliver to you from me. She is a good friend and so you should take her out to eat. (hint: she likes sushi.) I gave her your phone number and email. She is awesome. One of the best missionaries in our mission, and one of my best friends out here as well.

I am excited for a new transfer and new opportunities to serve. I have only been in Deming for a few hours, but it sounds like the members are doing amazing, and that it is a really exciting time to serve here in Deming. I was trying to think of how to describe what kind of place Deming is, and Elko NV kept coming to my mind. It looks a lot like Elko. Out here in New Mexico it looks a lot like the drive from CA to Utah.

I have reflected a lot this week about the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. How amazing it is. I am so eternally grateful for the chances I have to get up and start again. That when I fall, the Savior is always waiting and willing to pick me back up. He love us with a love we cannot even begin to imagine. I hope we take a moment to reflect on that gift. It is real. I have felt it even more as I have tried to help others find it in their own lives. I know that the Savior lives. I know that he is waiting for us to "come boldly to the throne of grace" and be healed. That reservoir of power is waiting, he just need us to come and partake. I love Him and I love this work.

I love you all and my prayers are with you. Thank you for your love and support. I am excited for the packages ;) I love Christmas time! I cannot contain my excitement to talk to you all soon!


your son/brother/friend/grandson/nephew/and anything else I forgot

Elder Hughes

PS send a prayer up that I can find my backpack. In true Taylor fashion I lost it somewhere between Tucson and here, and I always find things when I pray. So I will be praying with you :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

HAPPY POST THANKSGIVING!!! Bring on Christmas time :) | week 61

Hellooooooooooo Familia!!!!
Oh my goodness I love you guys and miss you all so much. First things first. Dad are you growing a mustache?!? hahaha I died laughing here in the library. Do you like it mom? Props to you dad. Tanner and I always were trying to get you to switch up your style sometimes haha. I love you guys so much. I love all of your thanksgiving pictures. What a fun day. I as well was thinking of you all the whole day. I love you guys so much. Next year we will all be together! That will be so awesome. Thank you for your words of wisdom dad. I always tell Elder P how wise you are. You truly are my hero and I hope to be even half the man they you are. I love you all. I was commenting this week that Riley and Z man look so grown up! When did that happen? They aren't supposed to grow up! That is awesome that you got to spend some time with Aaron. Give him my love.
I am so happy to hear about your job blessings!!!! The Lord is blessing you for your sacrifices. What a miracle!!
We had a wonderful week here in Los Reales. It was so busy as always, the Lord has blessed us immensely here. We started off the week on a P day adventure to this place called the Biosphere 2. It was a really interesting place. Our district has become best friends. We just love to be together. We have a blast wherever we go on P day. This place was really interesting. We had an insane tour guide lady. She was nuts. I have a good story to go along with a picture later.
The Lord has blessed us so much this week. We started off the week and as we were evaluating we were talking about how we really just need to find new investigators. Many of our old investigators were flaking out, and we really just needed more people to teach. We focused a lot on finding this week with the spirit. It really was a miracle. The Lord led us to so many people who are prepared to hear the gospel. We set a goal to talk with everyone we meet. It has been really good. We found 8 new investigators this week!!!! It was a miracle. I am so excited for the coming week, where we can go forward and help them all progress. Finding people is always the first hurdle, and then helping them progress is always the next step. We witnessed many miracles as the Lord put us in the path of those who he has been preparing to hear the gospel. Sometimes I stand in awe at how this is truly his work. He is directing it.
There are too many experiences to write about, but we have found many different kinds of people to teach this week. An awesome family with 6 adorable kids, a single mom, a new father, 2 old ladies. The gospel of Jesus Christ is truly for everyone. No matter what they are like or what they have been through.
We had a really powerful experience with talking to everyone this week. Elder P is really good at talking with everyone. He has no fear at all. He is such an example to me. We were riding our bikes and we rode up on this lady feeding some cats on the side of the road. Her name was D
. She was this little old lady, and we started talking to her and soon got to know her. She is a very lonely lady. No family, no friends. She has been coming to feed these feral cats every day for 2 years. She lives a solitary and lonely life. She feels unloved and unwanted. At first she was shy and didn't really want to talk, but as we talked she opened up. She doubts if god is really there or if he really loves her. We were able to testify to her of that one simple truth. That God loves her, and he love each of his children. It was so powerful. The spirit was so strong. I learned a much greater lesson that day than she did. Sometimes the Lord needs us to talk to a lonely lady feeding cats on the side of the road so that he can teach us about his love for all of his children. He truly loves each one of us. We left her with our testimonies, our love, and a book of Mormon.
Yay for the start of Christmas time. My favorite time of year. How is the decorating going mom? You will have to send me pictures when you are done. I love everything about Christmas time. There is so much to rejoice about!
We had a great thanksgiving. Lots of food, turkey, pie, and good company. We ate at two different members houses. It was a good day. Nothing compares to being with all of you for that day, but It was a good day. I am so grateful for so many things. The list is long. I am so grateful for this gospel. It has blessed me so very much, and it does every day. I am so grateful every day for each of you. I love you all so much.
Unfortunately, the transfer is coming to an end this week. I will most likely be in a new place when I come you all next week. I have learned so much here. Like all change in life, it is always a bit sad, and exciting. I have come to love our branch and the missionaries and people here so much. I am sad that it will probably be my last week here, but the future is always bright with new opportunities to serve. I will miss my companion a lot. We have become very good friends, and he has taught me so much. He is hilarious. You guys will have to meet him one day. I have never laughed so much. I love this work. The savior lives! What a wonderful truth that is. Lets all look for opportunities every day to serve him. They are all around us.
I love this scripture from DC 122 "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us acheerfully bdo all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the csalvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."
That is my motto for the week.
I love you all so much. Merry Christmas!!


Elder Hughes

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Early Thanksgiving! (or dia de accion de gracias) | week 60

Hola Familia!!!!
Como estan?! I hope your week was great this week. My thoughts were with you lots this week as I thought about all of you and about Grandpa Cahoons funeral. I hope that you could feel of my prayers for you. I love you all!
We had a good week here in Tucson. I feel like every week time flies by so fast that I can barely get a grasp on it!!! I have the sneaking suspicion that is kind of what the rest of my life will feel like haha. We had a busy week of lots work! Unfortunately we had some downer moments with our investigators this week. M who was doing wonderful and progressing a lot, is now unable to meet with us or come to church. Her husband who she was getting a divorce with came back to live with her and he really doesn't like Mormons at all. It is sad, but he has banned her from meeting with us and from coming to church. That was kind of a bummer, but we have to trust in the Lord and in his timing. Many times we as laborers in the vineyard are preparing the ground for future missionaries to harvest. It saddens us, but we move on. D as well is really struggling this week. We are hoping for a better week with him this coming week. Because of all that we have been focusing a TON this week on finding. We have been praying lots to find people that have been prepared by the Lord to receive the restored gospel. The Lord truly answers prayers. We have been blessed to find some really cool new investigators this week that we are excited to begin working with more. One guy is named J. We found him yesterday. He is going through a tough time in life and we had a really powerful lesson with him. The spirit was so strong and he recognized it. He commited to be baptized on the 21st of December. I have a really good feeling about him and am excited to teach him again tonight! We also are teaching his next door neighbor now as well! I love the opportunities and hope that finding new investigators can bring. Finding truly is all about faith. I have learned that lesson the hard way a lot as a missionary through failure, but truly the Lord leads us to his elect when we have faith.
I have talked with some of the most precious older catholic ladies here. I truly believe God loves these ladies so much, they are so awesome. What an example they are to us.
We have kept working a lot with R. She is an inactive woman that I have come to love so very much. I have always felt a special connection with her. We are working hard to build her faith and help her return to activity. The blessings of the gospel are truly always there waiting for us to come and claim them!
It surprisingly hasn't been to often that we have taught people that are very aggressive in trying to prove us wrong, but we taught one guy like that this week. We were out with some members that came with us to teach, and we decided to stop by this guy's house that we had contacted before. It was a very interesting, and tense lesson as the whole time he was trying to prove all of our doctrines wrong. This time like many others has increased my testimony and love for the Book of Mormon SO much. I have such a love for that book. It has saved me so many times as a missionary. All that we believe and all of the questions that others can bring up to us really all boil down to the question of if the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It truly is! I am so grateful for it.
We had a half mission conference this week that was wonderful!!! Elder Paul V. Johnson of the 70 came and taught us. It was amazing. He is the head of the Church Educational System, and is a powerful man of God. It was an inspiring and uplifting day. It never ceases to amaze me how the spirit is capable of teaching us so personally. I felt at times that he was speaking right to me. I have learned so much this week, and am excited to apply the things I have learned. We talked a lot about following the spirit, and about turning outward with charity towards others. Truly that is how we have true joy in life is when we forget ourselves and focus on how we can help others. I have felt that over and over again on my mission. I am the most happy and the most joyful when I forget about all of my little problems and focus on how I can reach out and help someone else. President and Sister Killpack gave wonderful talks as well. I love them so much, they are both powerful leaders.
IT RAINED IN TUCSON!!! It was a miracle. It was actually pretty weird. I had come to believe that it never rained here haha. It actually rained for two days straight, it was really nice. Everything feels so fresh and beautiful after a good rain. The last couple of days are the first days that have actually felt like fall. It finally came! I keep forgetting this week is Thanksgiving!!! It came so fast! What are your plans for thanksgiving this year?
We had stake conference this weekend in the Tucson Arizona stake. It was wonderful. The spirit was powerful and strong. What a glorious purpose we have as missionaries and members to bring souls unto the savior. This week I feel like I have finally come to understand what my purpose is as a missionary. I love this work. I love the joy it brings to my life and to everyone who will try it. 
You all have been in my thoughts this week a lot. As we approach the holidays I have been thinking lots of you. I miss you so much. I smile when I think about all the wonderful memories I have of Holidays with you. Thank you for those memories. Much more are ahead. I will miss you all dearly this week, but know that I am happy and well. I am so incredibly grateful for each of you. I am sooooooooooooooooo thankful to be part of such a wonderful family. I love you so much. Eat lots of stuffed mushrooms and pumpkin pie cheesecake for me!!! I will miss you this week like every week, but know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Hughes

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Fall from Elder Hughes (the Taylor version) | week 59

Hello there familia!
I am really sad to hear about grandpa Cahoon. I am sad that I didn't have the chance to say goodbye to him. I know that he is once again reunited with grandma Cahoon. What a wonderful reunion that will be. I had the feeling that he wouldn't make it before I returned from my mission. I will miss him, and all of our christmas day memories at their house. He always showed me so much love. I always knew that he cared. He was such a happy and calm man. I am sad that I won't be able to be with all of you this week at the funeral. Please give everyone my love. Give grandma and grandpa a big hug just for me. I love them so so so so very much. Give everyone my love. I will write them an email as well. I am so glad that it all happened calmly at home with his family. I have gained and understood better than ever how beautiful the plan of our heavenly father truly is. Death is just one step in that plan. It is one necessary piece of the puzzle. It makes me realize how incredibly grateful I am for the savior. He truly overcame death for us. It is funny because my companion and I were talking this week about death and how there truly are things much worse than death. Death is just a new step, it is a moving on, and one day we will all pass through it. I love grandpa rolly and I know he is in a good place. Reading the scriptures always fills me with hope and with the spirit. It really doesn't matter where we read, it always blesses us the same. Read them when things are hard this week. That's what I do.

Your trip to Oregon looks like it was a blast!!!! It looks really cold and wet there. I haven't felt cold or wet in a long time haha. It is finally actually feeling a little bit like fall this week haha. It makes me laugh that it comes around mid november that it actually cools down a bit. What a good time. I miss our family vacations. I always tell people that we didn't even leave our state for most of our favorite vacations. That is why I love cali.
How awesome the pictures of Spencer coming home!!! Those make me so happy to see! Mark and Jamie and Spencer all look so happy and wonderful. That day will come fast for us, so don't worry about it :) I am SOOOO excited as well to talk to you all soon for Christmas! It should be wonderful.

As for this week. We had a pretty good week. As always we had not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that we needed to do. I am so grateful for the immense opportunities that we have as a missionary to serve. Really we are always missionaries and we should always be serving, but as a full time missionary we have so many opportunities to serve. I am so grateful for your sacrifices to make that possible for me.
We had a full week of lots of teaching. D is progressing well. M is also doing great. We had some really good lessons with her. We found an awesome new investigator named S. It really is a miracle that we found her and started teaching her. We have a bus stop that we seem to always find people at. We call it the magic bus stop. We have found quite a few referrals and investigators there. We were walking past it, and now we ALWAYS talk to everyone there when we go to the bus stop, because it is so magical. We met S there and she kind of laughed as we went up to her and talked to her. It turns out she laughed because she says that mormons seem to find her everywhere. She had a really good mormon friend who influenced her alot, and then in jail she went to the LDS worship services, and then we 'happened' to find her at this bus stop. We have started teaching her and it is going really good. She is really pregnant. The pregnancy has been making her really sick, so our lessons have been getting interrupted alot for her to go throw up in the bathroom. It has been an adventure haha. We laugh about it alot. She is doing really well, and I can really feel like the Lord has led us to her.
This week the Sisters had an eventful baptism. I interviewed the family that got baptized this week. I love baptismal interviews. They are so awesome to see. It is like seeing a mini conversion story every single time. It was a mom and her 3 awesome kids that got baptized. The kids by far had the best interviews. Truly children are the closest to the savior. They said some of the most hilarius and amazing things. They call their baptism their "second chance." I love that. It truly is a second chance, and we get that second chance every single week as we take the sacrament, and every single day that we repent. I love second chances. This truly is a gospel about second chances and third chances and fourth chances on and on until the day where we wont need any more chances, we will be perfectly clean and happy. Their baptism was crazy. They actually got pulled over on their way there and got their car taken away. So one of the members had to go pick them up on the side of the road so that they could get to their baptism!! Meanwhile Elder P and I entertained the awaiting audience for an hour haha. With lots of singing and messages. The baptism went great in the end, and the spirit was really strong. Yay for second chances.
We had the primary program this weekend. The missionaries were honorary members of the primary this weekend haha. There was only 6 kids in the program so they called us in. It's ok we still feel like we should be in primary anyway. :) I have been thinking alot about small and simple things. In life really the small and simple joys and acts of love matter most. As a missionary I have learned so much about how the gospel really is so simple and beautiful. We sometimes complicate things for ourselves. As things were really hectic and crazy before church, because sometimes our branch is just barely holding it together haha, I was NOT thinking alot about the small and simple things. I am grateful as we sang with the primary that the spirit reminded me about how important the small and simple things are.
I am really excited for a new and exciting week here. We have lots of good things happening in our area. We are having a mission conference this week, a member of the 70 is coming Elder Paul V. Johnson. It should be great. I am really excited.

My thoughts and prayers are with you always but especially with you this week as you have the funeral for great grandpa cahoon. I love you guys so much. I wish I could be there to give you a big hug. Just send a prayer up and I know that the Lord will be able to give you the hug I can't give. I love you all. I am so incredibly grateful for the plan of salvation, and for this gospel of second chances. I love you. Give all of my extended family my love and hugs. I truly love all of them.

Elder Hughes

PS read this amazing article. What an honor it is to be a missionary. The Lord always protects us.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A mi querido familia y amigos! | week 58

Thank you for your emails and all the pictures. WOOOOOOWEEEEEEE madre. Your pictures look great. You are beautiful in every way. Inside and out. I miss you! Your hair has gotten so long. I carry the picture of me you and tanner in my scriptures because people don't believe me sometimes that I am a twin, and everyone always comments on my beautiful sister. I then correct them and say it is my mom! I love you guys. I love all the news from the homefront. HOW EXCITING that Spencer is coming home. Give him a big hug for me and tell him hi! That must be a crazy feeling. Time flies, I am so glad that I still have some time here to accomplish the Lord's work. Have an awesome trip to oregon! That sounds like a blast! I miss our family vacations. We truly have fun no matter where we go or what we do. To answer your question about ipads and facebook. You know about as much as I know haha. We talked with the Killpacks this week and they don't really know anything either. They said we should get facebook "soon" and it sounds like the ipads might not be here until right before I go home.... but they really don't know haha. They said they pretty much just know rumors. Congrats to Z man on his talk! What a stud! Enjoy our big ward. We are fighting the other end of the problem here in Los Reales. We are lucky if we can get 30 people to come to church... It sounds like everyone is doing great. It doesn't really feel like fall here to me, because it is still really warm outside haha. Sometimes I don't believe it is November :)
As for my week here, it was really busy as always. I am coming to you a day late because yesterday all of the libraries were closed for the holiday. I feel like this was one of those weeks where I look back and wonder where all the time went!!! But it was a good week. We had interviews with President Killpack this week. I always love the opportunity to talk with him. He is such a wise and amazing man. Because of the size of our mission, it is rare to have time to talk with him, so it is always great to have a few minutes. We talked alot about our branch and the things we as missionaries need to focus on here. Our branch is really struggling, and so we are going to focus alot on working with, and strengthening the members and reactivating the nonmembers. It is a challenge and alot of fun to be here in this branch. It has brought many opportunities to serve in ways that we don't always get to serve. Elder P and I have been doing family history with many member families. Almost no one here has ever done it, and almost all of them have expired temple recommends. It has been a miracle to watch. As we sit down and help them find their ancestors to take to the temple, without even saying anything they immediately make plans to renew their temple recommends. We both felt like this was something we could do to help the branch in that way, and it is working. Just today we were helping Hno Valensuela to find his ancestors, and as we were leaving he commented that tonight he was having his temple recommend interview, and his temple rec has been expired for many years. It has been awesome to see.
With our investigators it was a tough week. Lots of fallen appointments, but that is kind of our life haha. We are pressing forward. D is doing well. Because of his work schedule we had to push back his baptism a little bit, but he is still doing great. He is a great guy, and it has been amazing to see the changes that are taking place in him. M we had a hard time with this week. She didn't show up to any appts but she came to church which was awesome. We are going to focus alot more on her in the coming week. Other than that we have been spending alot of time trying to find the elect! It is always an adventure. The Lord has blessed us alot here. I feel blessed.
Some funny things about life here. One is that on P day when we go shopping etc I can't tell you how many times people think that we work at the stores we are shopping at. It is really funny. Everyone comes and asks us on what aisle something is on.
This week I spoke in church. It went well. It is a whole diferent ballgame to speak in church in spanish. I spoke about repentance. It was something that I have been thinking alot about. Truly repentance is such a wonderful gift. The parable of the prodigal son is so awesome (Luke 15). We at times are just like him. Far away from home, unhappy, broke, and humbled. No matter where we are at or what we have done our father is waiting for us. He is waiting to forgive us. We just have to repent. We just have to lay down our pride and change, and have faith in the savior. We can change fast. I have seen it in my own life and in the life of others. There is no better feeling than running back into the arms of our waiting father. Like the young man we only want to just be put in as a humble servant, but the Lord rewards us with grace!!! It is truly the most wonderful feeling in the world. The Lord wants to forgive. He is just waiting for us. I have seen the power of every day repentance in my life. It has changed my life, and it can change every person that uses the atonement, no matter who they are or what they have done. It is such a miracle to watch that process in the lives of others.
So we are pressing forward! Many times we just do all that we can, and press forward no matter what. That is when the miracle come. I love this work. Sometimes I just smile and think about how wonderful it is to be alive, and more importantly to be a serving. I love you all so much, I miss you! I can't wait to talk to you on Christmas, it is coming quick!
les amo mucho
Elder Hughes
I completely forgot to tell you in the email! That we worked at a mormon heritage festival here in Tucson this week. It was awesome. We were in charge of the encampment booth which had to do with the mormon battalion. So we got to dress up. It was a blast. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Fall from Arizona!!! | week 57

Helloooooo there familia!
As always I love to hear from you, it sounds like all is well. I love those words all is well. Because all really is well when we put things in the right perspective. Thank you for your words and updates! It sounds like Katie Hughes Photography is gonna go worldwide soon haha. I love how awesome it is going. I am so proud of my madre!!! Remember to take time for yourself as well. We can't run faster than we have strength. I have learned that alot on my mission. Missionary work is exhausting in every single way, so I have had to take times to slow down and make sure that I am not killing myself haha. Lunchtime naps have literally saved me out here. I know, tell Riley and Zach that they should email me more often!! It only takes 5 minutes :) I love all of you so much. I talk about you every single day. I can't wait to share with you guys the joy of being a missionary. It is not easy, but it is so joyful.
THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE! I loved it. I love the pants and the party in a box. Unfortunately I got it the day after halloween so we had a delayed halloween party with it.
This week was a pretty good one. I feel like a broken record on here sometimes. Alot of things just don't change alot in our work, but we had a great week.
D, our investigator is doing really well. He is going to be baptized on the 16th. One of the fascinating things about being a misisonary is that every single investigator is so different. They all have very different needs and we teach differently to each of them. I love the challenge that each person brings. D has such a pure heart. He really loves to just be with us, and be with the members of the church. The Holy Ghost is really a feeling, it is the best feeling in the world. That is what really brings people into Christ's restored church. I have learned that lesson alot. It really doesn't matter so much about how good we are at teaching the principles of the restored gospel. What matters so much more is if we have the spirit with us. That is what changes people. That is what has changed me and touched my heart forever.
We started teaching a lady named M this week! It was awesome. A member reffered her to us, which makes all the difference. She was recently divorced and she is facing alot of trials in life. The gospel and the missionaries seem to find those that are burdened down and heavy laden. We came in and got to know her and her daughters and then we started to teach. The spirit was so strong. It was amazing. There is such a difference when we are teaching someone whose heart is open and humble. We had a powerful lesson, and she came to church on Sunday. We are so excited to continue teaching her and her daughters. Teaching families is the best!
We are still visiting and teaching R alot. Her faith is so strong, but she continues to face intense trials in life. We had some more powerful lessons with her. One of them this week, was so good. She was struggling so much. There is really no one in her life who tells her that she is valued and loved. People must hear those things. It is so important. After the lesson we had to give her a hug (it is technically against the rules), but there was no way I wasn't going to hug her. She needed it.
We are have been continuing to find and teach some new people. I love this work. I have learned so much here.
Elder P and I have had some of the most amazing conversations about the gospel this week. He is an awesome companion I have learned so much from him. Yesterday we had one of the most emotional and powerful conversations that I have had on my mission. We discussed alot about missions and the hard things about serving a mission. Sometimes we don't have as much success as our high hopes would tell us. That can be so hard sometimes, but I have really come to learn that when we do our very best and we use the atonement every single day. All is well. The Lord is fitting us to be missionaries not just for 2 years but for our whole lives. In all of our lives we just continue to be transferred. Transferred home and one day transferred to the spirit world. I have a testimony of this great work. It is real, and we are all part of it. We have so much potential and power to touch others lives for good.
I love you all! Not a day goes by that I don't think of each of you. I miss you and love you.
Elder Hughes

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Halloween!! I am thinking about dressing up like a missionary | week 56

Hey there family!
It sounds like all is well in the Hughes household! I love hearing all the news. It sounds like everyone is growing up! What the heck happened? Since when did everyone get so old. Zach man can never grow up!!!!!! Thank you for all the updates. I love getting your letters. That is good BYU news. GO COUGARS! President Killpack is a die hard ute fan, so us cougar missionaries tease him a lot and vice versa haha.
Transfers came in and I am staying here for another transfer, which I am so happy about. I love it here. I have felt everytime I have been transferred that I had completed what I needed to in the areas I was in. I haven't felt that here yet, so I am really excited for a new transfer. I love this work. I love my district. I have had an amazing district this transfer. All of us have become wonderful friends. On P day we would just go out to eat and have a blast talking for hours. Truly we all need good friends. Sis U who is in my district is from granite bay, and she is awesome. She goes home in December from the mission, and she said she wants to take you out to lunch mom! You will love her.
Elder B who I trained last transfer got his visa to go to argentina!!! He left yesterday! I am so happy for him! We became good friends.
One sad note this week. I regret to inform you that my precious backpack was stolen :( I am really sad. Mostly because it had all of my scriptures in it, the ones that I have had since I was 8. It was in the bed of the truck when we got out to get sonoran dogs, and the other elders were still sitting in the truck, so I didn't move it inside the truck, and it got stolen. :( It was a mega bummer. Some thief is going to get really disappointed that all he got was scriptures haha. SO I don't have any scriptures anymore, so I was wondering if we could figure out some early birthday present situation so that I can get some scriptures again. It taught me some lessons, one of which is how much I love the scriptures. They are so important. I love them, and I love reading them. My life has literally changed as I have feasted on the words of Christ.
As for this week. It was a good one! Really busy as always. We are doing everything we can to get our investigators to progress. Sometimes that seems like such an obstacle. In out Spanish zone, getting people to church is the hardest part. D came to church this week, which was awesome. He is doing great. We have had some good lessons with him. He has true desires to be a good man. He faces some pretty crazy family issues, him and his younger brother are basically raising him.
We have had a lot of great experiences this week. I feel like there are so many, I have a hard time expressing them haha. That it always the problem, there is really no way to convey to you all of the things I have experienced.
The spirit has blessed me this week a lot. I have felt his guiding influence. I have felt of your prayers. There is truly no better feeling in the world than to be the answer to someone else' prayers. I love this gospel.
We were able to help out a man this week, we has been homeless for 6 months. He had just given up alcohol after drinking for the last 40 years. We have been teaching him, and we took him to the er to get the help he needs. His family is actually investigators with the sister missionaries. It has been awesome to be able to help him. I have learned so much on my mission about hope and about how there truly is hope for every single person. No matter what. I am so grateful for that. That is made possible because of Christ.
Another quick experience. We were visiting a less active family this week. The less active lady's friend was there with her. The friend was asking us tons of questions and we taught her about the gospel. As we got up to leave, I had the thought to sing them a hymn. Elder P and I sing to people all the time, so it wasn't that out of the ordinary. We decided to sing I know that my Redeemer lives. I love that song, because it is a testimony. As we started the spirit was so strong, it was so powerful. We all felt it, and we all were blessed. I am grateful for the spirit that helps me do the things that the Lord needs.
We are pressing forward! I love you guys. I love this work. It is interesting that Tanner talked about prayer this week. I had some powerful experiences with prayer the last couple days. Truly the Lord answers prayers. He truly does. I have seen it, felt it, and experienced it over and over again. He answers when we truly have faith and we truly pour out our souls to him. I issue the same challenge that Tanner gave. To make all of our prayers meaningful. We can call down the powers of heaven every day. It doesn't matter what kind of problems or joys we are facing.
I love each of you, and I pray for you every day!
Elder Hughes

Taylor shared this link. A great story! The Elder they are talking about is Taylor's companion. Take a minute to read it, it's worth it!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mi Familia Marvillosa!!!! (y amigos tambien) | week 55

Decidi que ustedes no han visto que puedo hablar en espanol. ENTONCES, voy a escribir un poquito en espanol. He aprendido mucho desde el tiempo que llege a nogales y tambien aqui en Tucson. Necesito mejorarlo mucho mas para que pueda hablar muy bien con Tanner cuando regresamos.
Anyway. I loved your letter and pictures as always. The Hughes family is as busy as ever. The new York trip looked AMAZING. I love that place. That is so awesome for Megan Hodgson that she is going to New York on her mission. Tell her congrats from me!!!! How awesome. I love this gospel so much. It is such a wonderful time to be a missionary. Rilo speaking for the Stake! How awesome. What a stud. I wish I could have been there to witness it. I loved being on Stake youth committee. I didn't know he was doing that. I loved it. It is such a great opportunity to serve and lead. You will use those skills every day out here as a missionary. Your photography stuff looks awesome mom. How amazing how far it has come. I brag about you all the time to people here. Oh since when did you get a MacBook pro?! That's way awesome! Grandma and grandpa looked wonderful in new York. I laughed really hard at the Obama picture. SO funny. I love you all and miss you so much. The primary program sounds wonderful. We have such a wonderful ward in Rocklin. I hope you guys remember how blessed you are. It is a whole different story here in the Los Reales branch. I think a lot about Elder Uchdorf's talk where he talked about how some church units are like fighter jets, they are efficient, stocked with faithful and converted members. There are also Piper cubs, that just barely make it along. BUT the joy of serving is still the same in each of them, just in a different way. Your primary program made me think about our primary program that they are preparing for. There are only about 5 kids in primary. My companion is the primary pianist. It is a whole different experience, but the joy is truly the same. I have seen that a lot here in Los Reales. We get many many opportunities to serve. We bless, prepare, and pass the sacrament. Lead and play the music, and talk in church every couple weeks. I know the Lord has big things in store for our branch. It has been wonderful to be able to help them a lot. The 6 missionaries who serve here have the ability to help the branch a lot, and I am grateful for that.
As for the week. We had a really good week here. Unfortunately none of our investigators came to church, which is the story of our life here in the South Zone. For some reason it is really hard for our Mexican friends to come to church. We are going to really focus on that with all of our investigators this week.
We found some amazing new people to teach. I love when we find people that are truly prepared, and who truly want to learn. We found this lady named M this week. She is an awesome mom of three kids. She truly just wants the best for her family, and she has big desires to teach them more about God. THE PERFECT STORM. I love it. I love teaching families. I haven't gotten to teach as many families as I would have liked on my mission so far, I love how much the gospel blesses families. It is one of my favorite principles that we teach. We are going by and teaching her every day. I am excited for the future for her and her family.
We also found some other really cool investigators that we are going to start working with a lot this week. 2 guys were working on their car, and we ended up teaching them a lesson about the book of Mormon. It turns out one of them had read the whole book of Mormon when he was in jail, so that is a good start. I have learned so much about talking with everyone as a missionary. Elder P is a master at it. He has absolutely 0 fear talking to people. It is so awesome. I have learned a lot from him.
E, R's daughter is doing great she is set to get baptized on the 9th of November. We have had some wonderful lessons with her. Raquel is doing wonderful. I love her and her family so much. I have seen a literal change in her. It is the most amazing miracle to see.
We have been teaching a lot of inactive members in our area as well. I love being able to go to the rescue, just like president monsoon taught us. It is such a fulfilling work, because it is truly the work of the Lord. It is what he would be doing if he were here. We are teaching this lady named R who is super cool. She was baptized a couple years ago, and fell away. We have been teaching her a lot and she is doing so well.
We did a lot of service this week as well, which I love. We volunteered at a food bank. It was quite an experience. It is kind of a sketchy operation of a food bank haha. it was really fun though. The people that worked there were hilarious. I think they should make some kind of reality tv show out of it, because there are some of the most insane personalities there. From the insanely bossy, do not cross her, boss lady. To the hilarious Mexican lady. The whole lineup. It was pretty awesome. Somehow the Mormon missionaries fit in there too haha. Also us and about 40 other missionaries in Tucson set up a big clothing section for a big welfare event in Tucson. That was pretty cool. And every week we clean up parks on sat. morning. If you go to Midvale Neighborhood park association or something like that on facebook. The guy puts up lots of pictures of us.
I have a new food addiction. SONORAN HOT DOGS. Look them up. I am obsessed.
A really exciting thing last night was a girl in the branch opened her mission call. We are all really good friends with her. She got called to...........ROSEVILLE CA mission!!!!! IT WAS AWESOME. Sister U. and I made complete fools of ourselves. We got really excited and jumped up and down and it was pretty funny. I will try and get my hands on the video because it was pretty funny. We have some norcal pride.
Also Do you remember Iv from Nogales? He is investigating the church again!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't stop smiling for about 6 hours when I found out. It makes me so happy.
I love you guys. I can't say that enough. I am doing so well. My message this week comes from the wise words of President Killpack. He is a powerful man of god. I love him so much. "One evening, an elderly Cherokee Chief told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is EVIL. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.The other is GOOD. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generousity, truth compassion, and faith." The grandson thought for a minute and then asked his Grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee chief simply responded, "The one that you feed."
Lets feed the good wolf this week and every day :) It starts every morning with prayers and scriptures.
Elder Hughes

Monday, October 14, 2013

I have no creative titles for emails so I have written this boring email title | week 54

HOLA FAMILIA! (That is my favorite thing to say)
The Hughes clan is on quite a slew of adventures! How fun! I am sure grandma and grandpa and Riley are having a great time. It is always a blast to go on vacation with them. I remember well eating more than I ever had before haha. We got ice cream every single night! Good times. It sounds like everyone has been super busy, which is good. This week has flown by like all the rest of them. For her baptism I sang This is the Christ. Which in Spanish is "El Cristo Es"
That is crazy Spencer comes home so soon!!!! That is awesome. Time flies. It really does. No surprises about Mathew, he is such an amazing guy. It doesn't surprise me at all. I am honored to be his friend.
Elder P and I had a really good week. We have been really blessed here. We are still on the search for some new investigators. That is the huge challenge here. Sometimes we can find a lot of people, but almost all of them we have to pass off to the English missionaries, because we are looking for Spanish people!!! But it has been really good. We found this awesome guy from Africa named P. He was just outside weedwacking and we went up and talked to him. He was blown away by the fact that we would come out and leave our families to spread the gospel. We had one of the coolest lessons with him. I have 'holy envy' for the lucky missionaries that get to teach him. It was so cool to find him.
R is doing really well. She got confirmed this Sunday, and everything went great. I am so grateful for her. We are now starting to work even more with her daughter E. I have no doubt she will get baptized as well, she is just really shy so it will take a little more time. Not only that, but R is SUCH a good missionary. She invited almost all of her neighbors to her baptism, and she brought one of her friends to church on Sunday. It is so awesome. We all have a lot to learn about missionary work from the recent converts. They are the best missionaries.
We are teaching a guy named D and his little brother J and their mom L. We are super excited about them. D has been taught a lot in the past, but his big hold up was drinking. We could not get him to stop drinking. He really wanted to be baptized, and he loves the church, but that was the last hurdle. We stopped teaching him for a while, and one day he called us again after a couple of weeks and wanted us to come back and start teaching him again. Timing is so important. Now this time around, it has been so great teaching him. He is doing really well and he has a baptismal date for the 9th of November. Him and his brother are so fun to teach, because they are kind of like teaching kids. We teach really simply. I have come to see and learn that simplicity is so important. The gospel of Jesus Christ is really not that complicated, it just requires application. It has to be part of us. We cannot just talk about it, we must live it.
This week we made a lot of hospital visits which was kind of cool. The VA hospital is in our area so we get called in to go visit people there every so often. An inactive guy named C was there preparing for surgery. We had the opportunity to visit him a couple times. It was awesome. He is a changed man because of the trials he is facing at this time in his life. It was so cool to go and teach him and give him a blessing. He is truly changing his life, his perspective has changed. That is the key to life. Sometimes it takes big trials for that to happen, but we can learn to have that perspective change on our own. ALSO we got a call to go see Bro R who just had open heart surgery to remove a tumor from his heart. The R's are some of my favorite people of all time. They live in Duncan and I love them so much. It was awesome to go and visit him and his family. It was a surprise for them. Sister D was the one who called the mission office and sent us to go see them. It was so cool. It is a true miracle that Bro R is alive. Their family is so full of faith and love.
We have a lot of fun out here as well. In missionary work it is so important to learn how to laugh. Sometimes the situations we are in are pretty ridiculous especially when you knock on doors. We laugh a lot. One time this week, we knocked a door and all of a sudden I heard Elder P gasp and I look right to my left and there was a fake snake that looked SO real. I almost had a heart attack, because it was right next to me. We laughed for a long time about that one.
The work moves forward! We have been working so hard to find those that the Lord is preparing. I know that they are just waiting. I know that as we keep pressing forward we will find them.
The Gospel Principles class we have at the branch is the BEST sunday school class I have ever been in. I have been touched by the spirit so many times in that class. This week we talked about sacrifice. It has caused me to reflect a lot on why we make sacrifices and how grateful I am for the sacrifices that others have and are making for me. Ultimately, it has lead me to think about the sacrifice of the savior. He truly sacrificed for us. The greatest sacrifice of all time. We naturally come to love those who have sacrificed for us and those who we sacrifice for. That is why the Savior loves us so much, and that is why those who have used his atonement love Him so much. I thought of each of you on Sunday as we talked about this. Thank you for the sacrifices you make to make this possible for me. Thank you. I can never say that enough. Sacrifice is how we receive power. My life has been blessed by the sacrifices of others. When I am tired, when I want to take a break, I think of those who are and have sacrificed for me. Then I have the strength to keep sacrificing for the Lord. THANK YOU for your love and sacrifices for me. That has made all of this possible.
I love you all so much!
Adelante y Arriba (onward and upward)
Elder Hughes

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy Monday once again!!! | week 53


It is great to hear from you guys as always! I always love getting your emails. It sounds like you guys are all doing wonderful. That is what I love to hear. It sounds like life is as busy as ever. The week FLEW by for me as well. I would pay alot of money to get some more hours in the day. I feel like that is the limiting factor sometimes is TIME. We all get the same amount though :) Rilo is cracking me up. I like your shirt. I love hump days. Have a BLAST in New York. I love that place. I am 

jealous, I want to go with you, you will love it. Tell grandma and grandpa I say hi! I love you guys so much. I love hearing about all of your adventures.

As for us this week it was a wonderful week! I LOVE BAPTISM WEEKS. They really are the best. Everything with R's baptism went wonderfully. It could not have gone any better. The spirit was so strong. She was so happy, and the branch came and supported here alot. It was great. There is something so special and so wonderful about baptisms. From a carnal mind, it seems like something so simple, but to us as members of Christ's restored church it means so much, and the Holy Ghost is always so powerful. I sang a musical number for her baptismal program as well, which went great. It was a wonderful day. She is such a special person. She is the elect of God. Now we are working on her other family members alot more. The gospel is a family affair, and it unites and blesses families so much. There is no better experience than to talk with a recent convert about how they feel after they are baptized. She said "I feel so clean, I feel so good. A burden has been lifted from me!" There are no more beautiful words than these. It was a day I will not soon forget.
Conference was also SO AWESOME. Oh I loved it so much. The spirit was so strong. I love the opportunities we have at conference to be taught from prophets and apostles and more importantly for the spirit to teach us. I felt it in abundance. It is truly the guide for our lives. What an incredible time in history that we live in. I felt the urgency of our message. The world is changing, and clouds are rolling in. We need to be prepared. Thank you for your quotes dad I loved all of those as well. Some of the feelings that touched me is our responsibility to minister, love, serve, and spread the love of Christ throughout our entire lives. I was so touched by Elder Uchdorf's talk in priesthood session. We must all rise up and become something more and something better. Truly Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet. My testimony of his prophetic calling was strengthened alot. As the choir sang. I truly felt I am thankful for a prophet to guide us in these days. What a wonderful blessing it is to be part of the Lord's church on the earth. Conference is such a spiritual feast. I am excited to study the talks more. Most importantly the spirit witnessed to me again of the truthfulness of this work. I know it is true without a doubt.
Alot of this week was spent getting R ready for her big day. Now we are moving into a new week. We are on the search for new investigators!! We are teaching some people, but alot of them are having a hard time progressing. SO we are going out to find some new people.
The year mark was this week! Holy cow! It was weird to think about. What was really awesome is that Elder R and I were on exchanges on October 3rd. So a year later we were companions again on the same day. It was a blast. We had a great time reflecting on our first year and talking about the upcoming one. I know that the Lord has alot in store. I can't wait to see what adventures and miracles he has waiting in year 2. The first one went by so fast, I can hardly believe it.

We had a couple cool miracles this week.
We got our apartment inspected by the housing missionaries. After that was done, they took us out to In n Out (it always reminds me of cali) and we had just finished our lunch. We were getting up to leave and this lady comes up to us, and with tears in her eyes started talking to us. She explained that she and her family are from pheonix and have taken the missionary lessons before. She said that when her husband and her saw us walk into in n out they both had a powerful, overwhelming impression that they needed to talk to us and begin taking the missionary lessons again, and get baptized. She was so emotional. She called us "mi angeles" or her angels. It was so powerful. It blew us away. All we did was walk into in n out and order a burger, and the spirit used that to guide one of God's children back to him. It was so powerful. Truly this is the Lord's work. We got her information, and sent a referral to the missionaries in Phoenix.
Another cool experience we had. One night all of our appointments had dropped, and we weren't sure how to spend our last 45 minutes of the day. We drove by a baseball park, and saw a bunch of people, so we decided to go out and contact some people. We did, and the first lady we talked to we shared a message about the Book of Mormon. Everything was pretty normal, very usual, until we were about to leave, and she said that we had just answered her prayers. That she has been praying for help, and that she believes that we are part of the answer that god has given her. I have learned over and over again, that if we just go about doing good, doing everything we can the Lord will put us in the right places at the right times. I love this work. I love it so much.
Elder P and I are excited for a new week with new opportunities. I am so happy to be here. I love the gospel. Always nourish your testimonies every day, we all need that. We all need daily nourishment. Have a wonderful week. I miss you all and love you!

Elder Hughes

Bowling with the District on P-Day!

Monday, September 30, 2013

from your 20 your old son/brother/grandson/friend | week 52

How are you guys doing?!  I hope you are all doing great!

I had a great birthday week here in the great ATM! It has been a great week. Full of learning and growing and watching the Lord's work blossom here in the desert. I have reflected alot this week. THANK YOU THANK YOU for the birthday box!!! I loved it. It actually came the day after my birthday, so we had a second mini birthday party with the stuff you gave us. Thank you for everything. I love the tie and I am currently rocking my new khaki pants. They fit perfectly. Thank you so much. I loved it all. I loved the t shirt too! That was a pleasant surprise, I had no idea that there were Heidi 
t-shirts. I love it. Thank you!
Thank you as well for your help with the drivers license stuff! I am glad it all got figured out!

My birthday was a good day! We celebrated with cake for lunch. Our district all came over and we had a little celebration. The night before we didn't have anyone signed up to feed us so Elder P and I celebrated early with sushi. It had been FOREVER since I had sushi, and I forgot how much I love it. It was a good day. I was reminded of what you used to say mom, that when we get older birthdays become normal days haha. I reflected alot on the first 20 years of my life and how blessed and amazing they have been. I have been incredibly blessed. Sometimes I don't really know how or why. Truly living the gospel brings us so much joy and happiness. Not just believing the gospel but living it. Arizona gave me the best birthday present of all, cooler weather!! It was 85 on my birthday. I don't think that I have ever been so grateful for 85 degrees in my whole life. It FINALLY is starting to cool down a bit here.
It was a great week. We have some exciting news! R is getting baptized this Saturday between conference sessions!!! I am SOOOOOOOO happy! I really know that she was one of the reasons that I had to come here to Los Reales. She is very very special. I feel like she has taught me much more than I have been able to teach her. She has an incredible amount of faith. We have been able to have so many powerful lessons with her. It has been a miracle to watch how the gospel has strengthened her. She truly has a testimony of the restoration. She has faced more trials and tribulations than any other investigator I have ever taught, but through it all her faith has prevailed. She is super ready for her baptism. I can't think of a better weekend, general conference AND a baptism! He daughter Emily is starting to progress too. She is going to take a little bit more time, but I know that the Lord will bless here as well. I am so excited for R, I have always felt a special connection with her from the very first time I met her. It has been a miracle to witness the process with her. Truly every single conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ is it's own miracle.
That has been the really exciting part of our week. Other than that we have struggled to meet with alot of our investigators. Alot of them are out of town, or we haven't been able to find them. Sometimes that is tough, but we keep pressing forward. Finding new investigators is all about faith. I have learned that lesson alot on my mission. Actually life is all about faith.
We had an awesome conference this week. We had spanish missionary conference, which they do pretty rarely. It was wonderful. It was probably my favorite missionary meeting I have been to on my mission. The spirit was so powerful, and it was like a big family reunion. I have made so many friends here on my mission, and sometimes we never get to see any of them. It was awesome. Elder D, T, R, and I were all able to catch up. It was the first time in the year that we all 4 had been in the same room. It was fun. We are all still good good friends. We learned some news about the new technology things that are happening. We are going to start using facebook in proselyting in the next month or two. This winter/early spring we will get ipads and iphones! Which we are all pretty stoked about. Pretty awesome!
Elder P and I are pushing forward in the work! It is such an exciting time to be a missionary. I love it. We have seen miracles here, and we are excited to see more. Truly when we just apply correct principles with faith and diligence, the Lord can use us to accomplish his purposes. We have seen some really sad situations this week. Sometimes as missionaries we help and council people that are facing immense trials. We have been working with an inactive boy in our branch who is 13 and is heavily involved in drugs and has major depression. He has been in and out of the hospital. With him and some other people we have worked with, I have reflected alot on why there is so much opposition in this world. Ultimately, we don't have all the answers for that. The answer we DO have is how it can be changed and transformed through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Of that I DO know. I am so grateful for that.

As we go into conference weekend I am so excited. I have always had a love for conference. I truly know that if we bring our questions, our doubts, and our problems prayerfully to conference weekend, the Lord will answer our prayers. He can send a message directly to us individually. What a blessing that is. The spirit is a perfect teacher, and through the words of our prophet an apostles our lives can be changed! So watch conference with a purpose! I will be doing it with you! I love you all so much. I miss you, and I was sad I could not celebrate with you. I am grateful for where I am and what I get to do every day. I am excited for a new year of life. If it was anything like the last year, I will never be the same.
I love you all so much!!!!!!
Elder Hughes
A Missionary Birthday Party!

I hope this is what Elder Hughes was able to do for his birthday!