Sunday, May 12, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST DAD IN THE WHOLE WORLD (and also some exciting news from Nogales) | week 31


 First of all I want to tell you feliz cumpleanos mi padre!! You are the best dad in the whole world. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you today. Dad, I love you, it is because of your patience, teachings, and true example of a father that I am here serving a mission today. I think about you often. Sometimes I can hear both you and mom's voices in my head. Funny how that works haha. I love you. Never forget it.

Sounds like mom has been super busy. I am sure that your pictures are as amazing as they always are. Rilo and Z man sound like they are doing good too! I CANNOT WAIT TO TALK TO YOU GUYS THIS WEEK. I have to not think about it, because then I get distracted.

SO. Some breaking news here in Nogales this week. On Wed. this week President Killpack called us. ( Which by the way ever since he called me about Heidi I have a mini panic attack every time he calls, it is super lame) BUT he was calling to tell us that I am training a new missionary. He broke his foot in the MTC right before he left, and so he had to go home to wait for it to be healed. Then when he was done they shipped him right out here. Transfers are technically not until next sun. so it was a big surprise. His name is Elder G. He is from Salt Lake City and he is awesome. We picked him up on Sat. afternoon. I was pretty nervous, I feel like I am just barely learning how to do missionary work myself, and now I get to teach someone else, but it has been really exciting as well. He is a great missionary so it will be a blast. We are in a trio right now with Elder W and I and Elder G. That will probably only last for a week until transfers. Elder W is probably getting transfered then, we aren't 100% sure. I love the excitement and energy that comes when people are just starting. When you have been out a while it isn't as strong. So, that was a big change in the week. I will be training him for the next two transfers. I am way excited. We are gearing up to see the miracles that need to happen here in Nogales. Oh another random thing. He knows the Greenwood twins from BYU. Random small world moment.

As for the work this week, it was good. I have "holy envy" for Tanner's baptisms ;) We are gearing up to see that here in Nogales as well. 

Some cool experiences this week. We have been meeting with a part member family named the W's. They are really cool. The husband is a member. His wife is Catholic. They have a long history with missionaries, but recently they had a tithing miracle that has totally changed the game for teaching his wife. J had been out of a job for months and was desperate. He finally decided to pay tithing and pray like he never had before. Then 3 days later he got hired in pretty much a miracle opportunity. It is the most awesome story. I don't give it justice. So it has been awesome teaching them.

We taught alot his week. Which I love. Teaching this gospel is my favorite thing to do as a missionary (besides baptisms). I love teaching. This gospel truly is a message of true hope and peace. Here the challenge is not finding people to teach, it is challenging to help them progress. People love listening, but when we invite them to act we have problems haha. That is what faith is all about is action. True faith must have action. 

I hit my 7 month "missionary birthday" this week. CRAZY. It was an insanely fast month for me. 

We volunteered this week at the Nogales food bank. It was way awesome. All 8 of the Nogales missionaries came and served. I thought that the guy in charge was going to pass out he was so excited that they had volunteers. There is nothing better than serving.

We are teaching an awesome lady named Alma. She is SOOOO prepared for the gospel. She understands exactly what we say. I love teaching her. She is just really busy. Which has been the story for most of our investigators. People are to busy!!!!!!! haha

We are teaching another really promising family here as well. I am so excited to keep moving the work forward here.

Ig.... I have no words. haha. He is crazy busy and he hasn't shown up for any appointments. I still have hope for him, we are gonna keep trying. That is one thing about missionaries is we are persistent. I think it amazes people sometimes haha.

The coolest experience of all this week happened with this lady named M that comes to our english class. She is way cool. We gave her a church tour last time that went pretty well. This day, we taught her the english class. As we ended I invited her to give the closing prayer. She said that she couldn't pray. that opened up on of the most powerful conversations I have ever had in my life. She opened up about how her 2 sons were murdered 7 years ago and the spiritual struggle she has been dealing with since them. She feels like it is impossible to pray to God when he let these things happen to her sons. She said she has almost no friends and that until us she has neve had anyone to talk to about it. Through all of this we all were bawling. Elder W and I then had the chance to do the best thing in the whole world, testify of Christ's love for her, and the plan that God has for us. I have never seen my testimony confirmed like it was in those moments. We were in the foyer, and right behind M was a beautiful picture of Christ. My eyes kept getting drawn there throughout this whole conversation. He is the way that M can find the peace she needs. Experiences like this is when I stand all amazed at the truth that we have. It heals all wounds. It has answers to every question. The Holy Ghost truly gives us the words to speak. This conversation might be the first time that I felt like it was not me speaking, but the Holy Ghost speaking through me. I know that my redeemer lives. I have never been so sure. She lives in the other Elder's area, so we are referring them to her. This is why I am here. 

How is Aaron doing? 

I thought about him this week. We are going to start teaching a guy named H who wanted us to help him overcome his alcohol addiction. We got our hands on one of the church's addiction recovery manual, I read it and learned alot. It was really good.

Things are going awesome with Elder G. I am excited, a bit nervous but mostly excited. He is a great missionary. The future is bright here in Nogales.

Awesome quote I found this week. 
"The submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar. It is a hard doctrine, but it is true. The many other things we give to God, however nice that may be of us, are actually things he has already given us, and He has loaned them to us. But when we begin to submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God's will, then we are really giving something to him." Neal A. Maxwell.

I love you guys SOOOOOOOOO much. I am so excited to hear and talk to you in a few days. It will probably be in the afternoon or evening, but I will find out. I will call you quickly on Sat. to set up the time. I love you guys so much. Happy Birthday Dad.

SEE you in a WEEK! 


Elder Hughes

Taylor with his new companion that he is training

HOLAAAAAAAA!!!!! | week 30

Hola Familia!!!

Feliz Lunes! It sounds like you guys are all doing great. Lots of crazy news from the homefront. LOTS OF MARRIAGE!!! Holy cow. That is exciting for everyone that is tying the knot. Mcall and Dyhre. That is awesome haha. What an amazing experience for Sheldon. Missions are literally that important. I know that. They effect eternity for those we teach and for ourselves. Thank you mom for giving him a big hug for me. RILOOOOO you little stud. Got yourself a lady friend. I remember the days of sunsplash training well. It seems like yesterday. I cannot believe how time has flown.

For your questions. Our church building is pretty normal size. Pretty much what you think of when you think of a church building. There is a ward and a spanish branch here. The branch is actually way bigger than the ward... which is weird. I think they have to have more melchezidek priesthood holders to make the branch into a ward. They are pretty close I believe.

As for our week this week. The Lord is blessing us immensely here in Nogales. We found 5 new investigators this week, which is awesome. I don't think I found 5 news in a whole transfer in Duncan and we found 4 in one day here. It is so exciting. We found one lady named M (not to be confused with the many maria's we are teaching haha) She is a former investigator of the church and I am really really excited about her. She is very open to the gospel message. We had a goal of 4 new investigators this week. On Sun morning we had only found one new investigator. We decided on Sunday morning that we would do all we could to meet our goal. So we needed to find 3 investigators in one day. Elder W hates tracting, I actually really like it. I have been trying this whole transfer to prove to him that it is not a bad way to find. Then on Sunday we were desperate to find news. We tracted one street and found two new investigators that we are gonna teach this week. It was awesome. Then later on in the night we stopped and talked to this old couple sitting in front of their trailer. They are wonderful people. So nice. We ended up teaching them and making them new investigators as well. The Lord truly has blessed us.

My testimony of prayer was strengthened this week so much. earlier on in the week I had a really hard day. Somedays are just tough as a missionary. Thankfully I have had very few really hard days. But Tue was a tough day for me. I have learned how to REALLY pray as a missionary. Sometimes we get so casual and robotic in our prayers. Then there are times when we really pray and are really talking to our heavenly father. I know that when we pray for help. The Lord brings it to us. He has done that for me over and over again.

We had interviews with President this week. It was awesome as always. President Killpack has a way of helping me so much as a missionary, and inspiring me to keep pressing on in the work with drive and enthusiasm. He truly understands missionary work.

I had a first this week. I helped build an adobe hut. It was super fun. A member needed help with it. We got really muddy. I have pictures to send you. 

Spanish is progressing well. I am learning so much. Every day I get better. Most of the time I can express myself and understand people. But sometimes we talk to certain people who speak weird, and it is so strange. I feel like I don't know spanish at all. Really weird feeling. I love having church in spanish. Everything is funnier in spanish. Another phenomenon I have not figured out haha.

Ig.... this kid.... We had one of those times as a missionary where your investigator drops off the face of the earth. We could not find him or contact him this week no matter how hard we tried. We are going to have to move his date again to the 11 of May. I really feel like he will be baptized. We are working hard to find him this week. I love this kid so much.

I have had the prompting many times this week that the Lord has blessed us so much here with new investigators, so we now have to rise higher as missionaries to help this people progress. That is the challenge. Sometimes it is overwhelming. Getting people to come to church here feels like pulling teeth (no pun intended bro Pettey)  I can't believe it sometimes that the Lord trusts us. Sometimes I want to ask him "do you know who you are trusting?" BUT I know that with his help we can continue to see miracles here (in the form of baptisms). With him we can do all things. That is the goal this week. I am excited to keep giving it my all. 

I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon. Every single person we have found this week, we found by sharing that amazing book. We could not do this work without it. I know that it is true. Every single word. I have recieved that witness over and over again. When we read it every day, the powers of heaven are with us. It is a miracle. The whole book is a miracle. I love the Book of Mormon. I encourage all who read this letter to pick it up and read it every day, even if you only have time for one verse. It is the word of God, and it is true.

I love you all. We have an invite to use a family's ipads to skype you guys in two weeks! I cannot wait. I love you all so much. I feel your love and prayers.


Elder Hughes
 sunset on our street
 building an adobe hut
 at the border

HI FAMILY!!!| week 29


It sounds like the weeks of, "well not much to report here in Rocklin" have passed you guys by. It has been a crazy month for all of us I think. I love you guys so much. I have truly seen how the Lord stretches each of us during times of trial. In fact that is the entire purpose of this crazy thing called life here on earth. Give the Treseder's my love. Wow, what a crazy time it has been for our ward. Give Sheldon a big hug for me. That is real tough about Aaron. I am glad the missionaries have talked to him, I wondered if they were. I know that you all have done everything you could to help him with your testimony's and light. The Lord needs us to do that for others, but he also gives us this pesky thing called agency. I will be praying for Aaron. Sometimes that is all we can do.

I saw Elder Clark this week and gave him your message!! He said hi for the Elder in your ward to me as well. Small world.

I love all the pictures you sent!!! I PROMISE that I am sending some this week for you guys. I love getting pictures from you guys. Your photography pictures look amazing as always mom. It seems like yesterday that you were just getting started, and the pics look AWESOME. I brag about you all the time here. I like your birthday presents. Not too long we will all be sitting around your new patio furniture together, BUT as for now the Lord has a work for Tanner and I to do, and man has it been awesome this week.

We had a great week here in Nogales. When I feel like my mission is crazy, I read Tanner's emails and realize it's not haha. The Lord has been blessing us and leading us here in Nogales.

On Monday we all went and played sports as a zone which was a blast. We have a great zone. On Tue we went to the temple. It was awesome. There is no better place on earth. Sometimes we need that time to be in somewhere quiet where the Spirit is so strong, to reflect on what matters most. I thought of all of you when I was there. It won't truly be heaven without my family. I am always amazed how the spirit can whisper to us. It is in a voice that is so tender and quiet. There is no way we could do what we do as missionaries without it.

I saw Elder Z at the pizza place we went to after the temple. That was cool. He is doing great.

Also on Tue. something that you guys would get a kick out of. I had my first big time bike wreck. We were crossing a wash (which is these big sandy trail things) that I have crossed on my bike tons of times. Well this time I went too fast and demolished myself. I went flying over the handle bars and my foot got caught on the pedal. My thigh slammed into the handlbars really hard. Needless to say I have a HUGE bruise/welt on my thigh haha. With my mouthful of sand, I limped the rest of the way back to the house. I couldn't stop laughing later :) I have pictures of that for you, but they don't do it justice at all haha

I is doing great. We had one of the best lessons I have ever had on my mission with him this week. We taught the Plan of Salvation, I LOVE teaching about it. It was so good. He and his sister loved it. The Plan of Happiness is real. I know it. They said things like "I feel like I have known this all along, but no one has ever explained it to me." Those are the best words to hear as a missionary. The spirit was there strong. Because I has been so busy we haven't had enough time to teach him all the lessons yet. So we moved his baptism back a week, but I really felt like that was going to be the best for him. He has been super busy, he ran a triathalon with the priest's quorum here.

We found three new investigators this week. One lady named M was a mini miracle. We were out looking for a family in the ward, we saw M talking to someone. We both felt prompted to talk to her, and we ended up teaching her the first lesson at her door. The Spirit truly leads us as missionaries.

I went on splits with Elder D one day his week. It was awesome. We are great friends, and we had a blast working together. I learned so much from him.

One of the most wonderful experiences of my mission so far happened this week with the M family. I had never met them. The Husband is an inactive member, and the wife is a catholic. They are wonderful people. We all got to know each other, missionaries had been there many times before. We started sharing a message. I testified of Christ and shared 2 nephi 25:26. The spirit filled the room like almost no other time on my mission so far. Sis M then blew me away. She told us that she had never felt this way before in her life. She told me that she sees a light in me that she has never seen before. I was speechless. She told me that God had sent me to her. It was awesome. I really was only doing the things that we always do as missionaries, testifying of Christ. The Lord truly leads this work. Of that I have no doubt. I know that I needed to come here to Arizona to help certain people. Sometimes I doubt if I am really an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Experiences like this remind me that as long as we are all diligently serving the Savior in our own way, he will lead us where we need to go. He knows where we need to be.

We are teaching many people. I love it. The Lord has blessed us with many new people to teach. Now the challenge is to help them all to progress. THAT is the challenge we face every day. I have learned that it all comes down to faith. Faith in action. Sometimes we all have to do things without knowing what is ahead.

I love you guys so much. Thank you for your support and love. I look forward every week to hearing from you. Keep the Faith. Take it one day at a time. That is what I have learned to do here. I cannot describe the love I feel for our Savior. He knows the way, we need to trust him. 

I read this quote today and I loved it
 "I have personally verified that concepts like faith, prayer, love, and humility hold no great significance and produce no miracles until they become a living part of us through our own experience, aided by the sweet prompting of the Holy Spirit. In early life I found that I could learn gospel teachings intellectually and, through the power of reason and analysis, recognize that they were of significant value. But their enormous power and ability to stretch me beyond the limits of my imagination and capacity did not become reality until patient, consistent practice allowed the Holy Spirit to distill and expand their meaning in my heart. I found that while I was sincerely serving others, God forged my personal character. He engendered a growing capacity to recognize the direction of the Spirit. The genius of the gospel plan is that by doing those things the Lord counsels us to do, we are given every understanding and every capacity necessary to provide peace and rich fulfillment in this life. Likewise, we gain the preparation necessary for eternal happiness in the presence of the Lord." Richard G. Scott

I love this gospel, and I love all of you. Thank you for your love and prayers. Until next week!


Elder Hughes


Good time in Nogales | week 28

HOLA FAMILIA!!!! (I feel like it is actually cool to use spanish in emails now because I actually get to use it in real life here)
You guys sounded like you have had a great week!! Happy Birthdays for two of my favorite people in the world. I love hearing about what you guys are all up to!! Congrats to Amy on the baby!!!! How exciting! That is awesome that Rilo is following in our lifeguard footsteps. I had a feeling he would work there too. It is a great job, he will love it. Congrats Rilo on passing the swim test for that.... It seems like yesterday that Tan and I were practically drowning trying to tread water with our hands out of the water haha. That is awesome Rilo on being involved in the best work in the world (missionary work). I love being a missionary. MOM, your 40! Now it is Dad's turn to tease you on this birthday! I thought about both you and zach alot this week. I love you all so much.
We had a great week of missionary work this week. I LOVE it here in Nogales. I wish I was a better writer and could express things better haha. On our P day on monday we went with our district to some insane abandoned mines here in Nogales. They were super cool. I felt like I was in The Goonies or something. It was way fun. I saw my first rattlesnake of my mission there. They blend in alot, one of the Elder's almost stepped on it. Also on monday I gave myself my own haircut. I have never done that before. I needed a haircut soooo bad, and we didn't have time to go get one, so I just used some clippers and shaved my head. I was cracking up the whole time, for some reason it was just so funny to me. It turned out pretty good, I was proud of myself.
As for more important things we had an awesome week here. We kept teaching I. This kid is so awesome. We set a baptismal date, he is getting baptized April 27!!!! He is so excited and so are all of his member friends that brought him into the gospel. I is one of those people where the light of Christ is really with him. I have been able to notice the 'light' that people have as a missionary alot more. I have met some people that have very dim lights. I truly has the light of Christ in his eyes. His friends were telling us that he love church so much that Ignacio is the one that is urging them all to be at church every Sunday. We are planning to teach him alot in the coming weeks so that he will be ready. We are teaching alot of his siblings as well.
Another tool we use in missionary work here is that we teach English class. I really like it. They usually end up teaching us Spanish as well. Alot of people here can't speak English. So we teach that every week.  There are some regulars that come every week that are really cool. We also play basketball every Thur. Tons of non members come and people have been taught and baptized because of it. I play, and get absolutely OWNED. hahaha. You guys would probably die laughing if you saw it. But I love to play. Even though I am the only short white kid there haha.
We had a zone training this week where I learned a TON. There are many moments as a missionary where I realize that I am just beginning to grasp how to truly be a good missionary. I have a long way to go, but the Lord doesn't ask if we are ready or able, he wants people that are willing who have the desire to learn and grow.

Thursday we had Mission Wide finding Day! Our whole mission went on splits and all 200+ missionaries spent all day finding. We all fasted and prayed to be led by the Lord to those he is preparing. I went on splits with Elder P. We were up in South Tucson (which is really really ghetto haha) It was alot of fun. I know Elder P from the MTC, we were in the same zone and are good friends. We had a great day. We tracted alot and contacted everyone we met. I truly know that the Lord leads his servants to those that he is preparing. We found a new investigator on the side of the road and taught him an entire lesson there. His name is N. This guy was insane haha. He is a former member of the Black Panthers and he was friends with Malcolm X, he also led the Black blood gang here in Tucson...... yeah crazy. BUT he has changed his life around alot. Missionaries had taught him before. He is truly an honest seeker of truth. We also got 7 referrals from one of Elder P's investigators. Mission Finding Day was a huge success. Fasting and Prayer work. Our mission found 124 new investigators in one day!! and 228 in one week!
Sunday was my first ever Sunday in Spanish, it was great. I understand almost everything that people say. The Sunday school class here is awesome, I have never laughed so hard in Sunday School. These people crack me up.

Here in our area. Elder W taught I!! We are really excited about him. He is reading the Book of Mormon and loves it. The Lord is blessing us here. We are working with alot of people. I love being a missionary.
This week I have thought alot about true conversion. We are all working towards being more like our savior. That is not a one day, one month, one year, or one decade process. It is truly an eternal process. I have felt that work in my life. Although I fall short every day, I do know one thing for sure. I know that the Savior lives and through him we can become better, try harder, and become better. I KNOW that he lives.

We get to go to the temple tomorrow! I am way pumped. It trumps Disneyland as the happiest place on earth.

I love getting letters from you Dad! You truly are my hero. I love you so much. I stand am so grateful for the example of true manhood that you are to me. I thank Heavenly Father every day that I get to call you Dad.
I love you guys so much. There is so much I wish I could express to you guys, so many experiences so little time. I think about you every day. I pray for each of you every day. Go and serve someone today. That is the cure to so many of our problems. I love you guys.
Elder Hughes

Hola familia!! Soy buenisimo aqui en 'NOGI' | week 27


It was so good to get all of your emails this week. What an exciting week it has been. I will start by answering your questions dad ;)

Nogales is awesome. I really like it here. The food is SOOO good. I have had some amazing mexican food. The people here know how to do mexican food the right way. I love it all. I live in kind of like a condo, it is really nice. One of the nicest apartments in the mission. It is sweet. I will send pictures once I buy myself a new camera charger today. (Usual Taylor I lost it haha). The spanish is going well. I have alot to learn, but I am loving being able to practice it so much here. I really love speaking in Spanish. I am at the point where I know enough to be able to communicate pretty well. I have alot to learn, but it will come with time. I am just grateful that I get to practice it so much here. The bike is great. I really like biking as a missionary.

As for the work this week. Transfer weeks are a bit crazy, but it was a really good week for us. We found 4 new investigators this week. The Lord is blessing us here. The guy I am most excited about is a kid we found this week named I. He is so awesome. He has been coming to church and mutual for a while with his friends from high school. He is 18, and he is so golden. Everytime I think about it I get so excited. We taught him the first lesson this week, and ended up teaching him and his uncle, sister, and little brother as well. We are really excited about continuing to teach him. He told his friends that he wants to be baptized and serve a mission, it doesn't get much better than that for us. We also contacted a referral that we got from the church's referral system. His name is I. Really cool guy. He has some mormon friends, and I think he was expecting us to show up one day, he started laughing when we knocked on his door. We are going to have a lesson with him this week as well. One cool experience we had this week was with one of our new investigators named D. She has had a really tough life. Many times as a missionary that is what we have to do as a missionary is just listen to people for a while. Many people have burdens, and in order to know how to teach them, I have learned how important it is to listen. We listened to her for a while, and then she asked us to pray for her. We of course said we would pray for her. Then I felt prompted to teach her how to pray. It has to be one of the most wonderful feelings in the world to teach someone how to pray for the first time. I taught her the steps, and then I offered a prayer so that she could see an example. We take for granted things so simple as prayer. We all felt the spirit.

We are working with alot of other potential investigators and investigators and less actives here. The field is white here in Nogales. I am excited to be a part of it. We are really busy which is great.

General conference was soooo awesome. We belong to the true church. The spirit touched me so many times. I am so grateful that we have a living prophet today. I thought about you guys during priesthood session. Dad, Riley, Z man, Tanner, and I were all watching it at the same time. I was so inspired by conference. I gained so much from it. I loved Richard G. Scott's talk on Sat. He talked about having a loving and christ centered home. I am so grateful to you mom and dad for the christ centered home that I was raised in. Our home was and is a bit of heaven on earth. Thank you for making it that way. We must go out and serve others. That is the true way to find happiness. I love the focus that President Monson put on obedience. When we are obedient, we are happy. That is as simple as it gets. There was so much talk about missionary work. As you can imagine as missionaries we love that. There is truly no greater work. I love serving the Lord. It is such an exciting time to be serving.

I love you guys so much. Our family is THE most wonderful blessing that God has given me. I love this work. Stay strong in all that you do. Remember the things that matter most. It is easy to let other things get in the way.

Thank you for the Easter package last week also. I completely forgot to say thank you last week. I loved it. I love my ties. I wear them all the time. 

Last but not least. FELIZ CUMPLEANOS to the best mom and little brother named zach in the whole world. I love you both so much. Mom I know you are turning 27 like you always say haha. And Z man I cannot believe you are gonna be 13! I wish I could give you both a hug for your birthday.

I love you all, and more importantly I know the Savior loves each of us more than we know. Until next week.


Elder Hughes