Wednesday, August 28, 2013

week 47 | I heart mondays too!

(no pictures again this week, he promised me he would send some next week :) )

Hello there family!
It is great to hear from you guys as always. I love to read everything that you guys write me. It really helps me so much. It sounds like all is well with you guys. It feels like it was just yesterday that we were all getting prepared to leave on this mission, and it was a year ago! What a ride it has been. I love you guys and miss you guys. I love to hear that Riley is doing so well. That makes me so happy! Did him and Zach get my letters? I LOVE bro Sterri. I loved his class. Honestly his class prepared me so much for this mission and especially for the temple. That is why I invited him to come to the temple with us when we went through was because he played a key role in my life in preparing me for that. Speaking of the temple we are going to the temple on Wed. this week. I am so excited. I love the temple. It is a refuge from the storm. I always leave feeling strengthened and ready to face the challenges that life brings (and especially that this mission brings) Ahhhh fall. I really don't think that Arizona knows what fall is haha. It is still hot and deserty as always :) Getting back into a routine is always nice. We definately have a routine here. It is definitely a marathon. I have compared it to being handcuffed to a treadmill. You don't get off, even when you are really really tired, BUT it makes us so much stronger. It forces us to rely on the Lord and turn to him for the peace and comfort that we need. That is fun that dad gets to travel to Utah! 
It has been a crazy week here. We have been focusing a ton on finding new investigators, because most of ours have fallen through and we really only have 2 right now. So we have spent many many many hours this week knocking doors and asking for refferals and planning open houses and lots of different things. It has been good. We have found quite a few people. The only problem is that they don't speak spanish. When we find people who don't speak spanish we have to hand them off to the english elders, so we have been finding alot for them haha.
One awesome miracle we had this week. We hadn't biked in a while since Elder B doesn't have a bike since he is waiting for his visa. But one day this week we decided to bike, so we borrowed the bike of one of the missionaries, and set off on our six mile trek in 100 degree heat haha. Little did we know that the Lord needed us to bike on this day. We were going along, and a guy asked Elder Alston where our church is at. He slammed the brakes and talked with him. We all ended up having a thirty minute lesson on the street corner. This guy has been so prepared. His name is C, and he just moved here to live in a halfway house. He is recovering from drug and alcohol addictions, and is looking to change his life. One of his good friends is serving a mission right now, so he know a bit about the church, and had tons of questions. It was an awesome lesson. He is so prepared. He even asked us how he can become a member of the church, great question haha. It was amazing. I marvel at how the Lord uses us to accomplish his purpose's. Sometimes I feel like I work so hard and nothing is accomplished. I doubt. I am ashamed that I do that, but the Lord always sends me little miracles like this one that show me once again that he is using us. As long as we are giving our very best he can and will use us to accomplish his work.
Our trio is doing really well. We have alot of fun together. We laugh alot, which we need out here. It helps us deal with some of the things we face.
I went on splits this week with Elder J. He is from Guatemala actually! It was really fun. We had a blast. He demolished me on the bike, I am so out of shape right now haha. We were able to visit lots of inactive members. I love doing that. I love serving and helping those that have strayed away.
You would have been proud of out creativity this week. We had an open house for the church building, and we had a video all ready to show, but they didn't have the right cords and everything was all messed up. We put together the most insane set up of cords and tv's so that we could get the video on the screen with sound. It was really funny.
Last night we had a fireside for all of the spanish branches here in Tucson and President Killpack spoke. I had never heard him speak in spanish before, because he is just starting to learn it. It was really funny to hear him talk in Spanish. Strangely he has a German accent when he speaks in Spanish haha. It was an amazing fireside. I felt the spirit so strong. I need those moments sometimes to remind me that no matter what. No matter if no one listens, or if we don't seem to be making progress, it is by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass. We just have to do our best. So we keep pressing forward! I am excited for a new week. Raquel our investigator has been struggling, we are continuing to be patient and work with her. Oh how the Lord teaches us patience out here. I read a talk this week by Elder Uchdorf about Patience. It was awesome. It made me see that patience is much much much more than just waiting. It is about perservering. It is about doing everything we can, and expecting the best from ourselves and then being patient in waiting for the blessings to come. I have learned about this alot here. I love being a missionary. I love what we get to go out and do every day.
Thank you for your prayers and love. I miss you and think about you every day. I feel of your prayers, and I hope you can feel of mine. Pray every day to be placed in an opportunity to help someone else. I know that the Lord answers those prayers. He does for me. I know that the Savior lives. I have always known it, but it has become my sure foundation. I have no doubt that he is with each of us.
I love you all!
Until next week!
Elder Hughes

Monday, August 19, 2013

week 46 | another week down

Hey familia!
I hope all is well with you guys!  I am sure you are all gearing up to go back to school!
It has been a pretty normal week here in Tucson. Sometimes we just have pretty normal weeks in the work of the Lord haha. It has been a challenge to get this area up and running. It can take many many weeks of effort sometimes to get an area really going. We have focused a ton on finding new investigators. We have gone through the people that we have this week and we spent many hours knocking doors. It flashes me back to this last summer in Wisconsin haha. Finding is really all about faith. We have to be diligent and have faith that the Lord will put in our path those that are being prepared. In the process of trying to find people we have met some pretty intense people. Oh goodness. There are some pretty crazy people here in Tucson. I definitely have seen the whole spectrum of people here on my mission. We all have many differences and different lives, but truly there is so much that we all face in common. I truly believe that we all are searching for the true peace and joy that is only available through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It does not come any other way. Money does not buy it. Drugs and alcohol can not provide it, and violence definitely doesn't solve it. I have seen that so much here, and it truly is a dead end road for people.

We are a trio now! Elder B is now with us. He is from Park City, Utah and is waiting for his visa to come in so that he can go to Argentina! He is a way cool kid. He is a great missionary and is doing awesome. The 3 of us are having a blast. Trio's are infamous for being really challenging, but our trio is doing great. It has been really fun.

We had zone conference this week which was awesome. I love hearing from President and Sister Killpack. It is such an exciting time in our mission. Things are changing, and the Lord is hastening his work. As always I felt the spirit so strongly. There is always so much to learn. The longer I am out on a mission the more I realize how much I still have to learn. Thankfully the Lord is patient with us. The spirit always prompts me with the lessons and things that I need to learn. We found out that in the next 6 months (sometime) we will be getting ipad's and will be launching into the whole new era of missionarywork. It is going to be really exciting. There is alot that will be coming our way very soon.
We have also been focusing a ton on reactivating inactive members of the church here. We had 2 inactive families come to church this week!!! One of them hadn't been to church in more than 2 years. It is amazing to be a part of that. I love seeing people come to realize and remember the things that they have been missing. Truly Christ's arm's are open to each of us. He is just waiting for us to take the steps to walk back to him.

Our one really solid investigator here is R. She is a woman of so much faith it blows me away. She is continuing to go through so many trials. We had some really intense lessons with her this week. She is facing things in her family that are so hard. How grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches us so much about how to find strength in our families. We are excited to keep working with her.
It has been a week of new challenges this week, but I am excited to get another one and to give another week my all. Truly life is about taking it one day at a time. I have focused on taking the work of the Lord one day at a time and giving him everything I have every day. Sometimes we don't see the blessings right away, but they do come. I have experienced that time and time again here.

Thank you for your love and support.

I love you guys and I hope and pray that you guys have a wonderful week. I hope all is well, I am sure it is, did you get my letters to rilo and z man?

I love you guys so much!


Elder Hughes

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hello Again Familia! | week 45

Hey there family!!!
It sounds like you guys are doing great as always. The Hughes family always knows how to finish off the summer strong! It has been an intersting week getting adjusted to things here in Tucson. The work is different in all different places, and sometimes it takes a week to kind of get your bearings, but I am so excited. Some info about our area. We cover a branch here with 4 other missionaries. This branch is really really struggling. They actually might get shut down if it doesn't get better. The branch is focusing a ton on helping the inactive members and less actives. There are LOTS. We are helping alot with that. I love working with inactive members, and it is so important. We are on the South side of Tucson, South of Ajo way and all the way down to the airport. Z man you would love it. There are TONS of airplanes. We live really close to the airport and really close to the air force base here. So we hear planes flying over all the time. It is an area with alot of poverty, there are alot of people in need of the gospel here. It is HOT here in the desert. Nogales was much cooler, but you get used to it pretty quick. I am going to freeze when I get home, I have gotten used to it being mega hot.
I am not training Elder A, he just finished his training. (He is a pilot by the way Zach, it is pretty awesome) He is in the air force as well. We actually got some surprising news yesterday. At church President Killpack called us and a bunch of Visa Waiters are coming in today, (they are missionaries waiting for their visas to come in so they come to our mission for a period of time. It could be for months or a week, we don't know) SO we are going to be in a trio and train the new missionary! We are going to pick him up in an hour or so! It has been crazy. It is gonna be hilarius trying to fit us all in the apartment. It is SO small haha. I will send you guys pictures. So that is exciting. I also am still serving as the district leader here. It has taken me this week to get my footing in this new area, and I am so excited for this coming week. We have alot of work to do. I have learned so much about working smart. So much of life is about planning and working smart. We had to weed through some of the investigators that this area has this week. We came out of that with about 3 solid investigators, and we are going out to find lots more this week. The family we are teaching their names are R and R. It is a mom and a son. The missionaries have been teaching them for a while. They are so awesome. I feel like R is teaching us much more than we are teaching her. I feel the spirit so strong when we teach her. She is awesome. She is going through some INSANE stuff with her family right now. Life has thrown many many many trials on R. I am so grateful for this gosple that gives us the answers and ways to deal with all of these things. She really opened up to us this week, and we were able to teach here about prayer and recieving answers to prayer. It was so powerful. What a gift it is for us to be able to communicate with our heavenly father at any time. I am excited to keep working with them, they came to church and are going to get baptized soon.
The field truly is white. The Lord is hastening his work, and I am so grateful that I am part of that every day. I gave a talk on Sunday in the branch here on how as followers of Jesus Christ we have a responsibility to serve. That is what his whole life was centered around, was loving and serving others. There is truly no greater mission in the world than to go forward spreading his love. It changes others and it changes us when we do that. I have felt that in so many ways.
Thank you for your love and prayers and support. I think of you guys every single day. Last night Elder A and I were talking about our families, and I once again was so happy to know that I have such an amazing family. You guys are the best. Thank you for all that you do. I am doing well. I have seen the Lord's help and guidance in my life everyday. Somehow he can take me as weak and simple as I am and use me to accomplish what he needs done. When we are on the Lord's errand we are entitled to his help. We can all find opportunities to be on his errand. It doesn't require a tag.
I love you guys! Sorry I don't have much time today!
Until next week!
Elder Hughes

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

HELLO California! I am coming to you from....... TUCSON! | week 44

Hey Family!!!!
It is wonderful to hear from you as always!!! I got transfer calls, and I am now in South Tucson with Elder A. I am way pumped. The district here is DESTROYING. As a whole district they found 33 new investigators last week. It is an awesome area. We all cover one branch here in Tucson and it is gonna be great. I was sad to leave Nogales, because I have seen so many miracles there. I am a completely different missionary leaving that place from when I arrived. It has been unreal. I am still in South Zone, which makes me happy, I love our zone and our zone leaders so it is going to be awesome. Elder A is from Utah, him and Elder G actually went to the same high school. He just finished being trained, and he is way cool. We are excited for this coming transfer. I came on exchanges to this area a couple months ago, and I am excited for the new opportunities that it will be bring. It is always mixed emotions to get transferred, just like all change in life is. I am really excited for a new chapter in my mission experience here. I don't really know much about my area or investigators here as I just arrived this morning. :)
Also we have a brand new 2013 Frontier truck. They just got it on Friday. IT IS AWESOME. Just sayin.
Thank you for all the news from the homefront. It sounds like life as normal at home. That is awesome to hear that Grandpa Cahoon is headed back home. That is so cool to hear his reaction to our letters :) Keep me posted on Aaron. I actually had planned to ask you guys about him this week. I will definitely be keeping him in my prayers. He needs miracles.
Speaking of miracles. It has been a week full of them in Nogales. I love this work so much.
The highlight of the week was definitely Ig. He got baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. It went really well. He is doing awesome. It was such a powerful experience. As with all baptism the spirit was so strong. His family all came and they all felt the spirit. 2 of his siblings have baptismal dates which is really exciting. His dad came and really felt the spirit. He was really touched by what he felt. I really know that they all will follow Ig's example. It was so awesome. There is truly nothing better in the whole world than giving your investigator a great big hug right after they get baptized. It has taken months, but it went so well this weekend. We continued to find and teach a ton this week in Nogales. The Lord has blessed that place alot. I am excited to continue to hear news from Nogales on many other people.
I got to go on exchanges with Elder Taylor my old MTC comp this week. We had a blast. It was so great to be able to catch up, he will always be one of my dear friends.
It was hard to say bye to R. We have had some amazing experiences being a part of this process in his life. We started teaching his girlfriend this week as well. It has been going awesome. The Lord has a plan for each of us.
One awesome experience we had this week. It was actually right after the baptism on Sat. We went back to teach this lady named C. A week ago we found her and invited here to read the Book of Mormon. She told us it would be really hard for here because it was long, but we encouraged her. She is a single mom and works at McDonalds. When we returned we asked here how the reading went, she started making alot of excuses and apologizing (which is very common). Evenually we got to asking her how much she read. SHE READ 108 PAGES. I think my mouth dropped open. What made it even better is that it was followed by "ever since I have started reading that book everything in my life has been going so well, everything is better!" Truly the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love the BOM. It has changed my life and it can change every soul that reads it with a sincere heart. This is why we invite EVERYONE to read it. What a miracle.
I want to throw out a challenge to you guys as well! I am just finishing our mission Book of Mormon challenge in Spanish. Rilo I know you have the book of mormon for seminary this year as well. So I challenge you all to read it again. I can promise that you will be so blessed. I know firsthand.
I love you all so much. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I love this work. There is truly no better feeling than helping others come unto Christ, and it happens through this resored gospel. I love you all and think of you often. I am excited for a new adventure here!

Elder Hughes
Ps for my birthday (I have had to think really really hard haha) , I want actually a new set of english scriptures. AND we are allowed to wear kaki pants now!!! So I would like a pair of those. :)


saying goodbye to many people he has grown to love in Nogales