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!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Your last email from your 19 your old son!! (don't worry I think the 20 yr old version still emails too) | week 51

Hola Familia!

Como estan?!
I hope you guys are all doing well. What a week it has been here. We have seen many miracles, and the work continues to roll forward! I feel like every single week the time just flies faster and faster. I have truly learned that as we lose ourselves in this work the Lord opens doors that we could never have imagined. Elder P and I had an awesome week. It takes a bit of time to get settled in, but we saw so many miracles this week. I am really really excited about this transfer. We have seen the miracles that come through faith and opening our mouths. Thursday was a day full of miracles. That morning we had prayed to know where we should go to find someone who was prepared for the gospel. In missionary lingo it is called an appt with the Lord. Each of us pray and then we pick 3 streets, and then whatever streets we pick that are the same we go and knock doors on. We both picked the same street Melody st. and we went to go find on that street. The very first person we talked to was this guy named Is. It was so awesome. He immediately invited us inside (which is pretty rare haha). He is a 20 year old guy, and he happened to be studying the scriptures when we he saw us walk by. He is looking for a church to go to. It was such a miracle. We then proceeded to have such an amazing lesson. One of the most powerful lessons that I have had on my mission so far. The spirit was so strong, and he really felt it. He kept describing it to us. There is truly nothing better than that. It was the start of many miracles that day. We also found a family to teach, they are also "looking for a church." Those are magic words for us to hear. Then later that night we taught R. It so happened that her daughter Juliana just got out of jail that day. It was so awesome getting to teach her. It was a lesson I will never forget. She was so emotional, she has been through so much in her life. We were able to teach her simply about repentance and about the wonderful opportunities that Christ's atonement gives us. He truly gives us the chance to start again, to start new, and to leave all the things in our past behind. It was a lesson that I really have a hard time describing. We are continuing to work with R. She is SO CLOSE! We go and see her everyday. I really wish you guys could meet her. She is huge example to me. I cannot even describe the trials that she faces. We were able to have so many amazing lessons with her this week. Just last night we watched the Restoration movie. Afterward instead of us teaching, she bore her testimony to us about the truthfulness of this gospel and of the restoration! What a miracle it is to see that. There is truly nothing better.
We are pressing forward with alot of new goals as a district here. The branch that we cover needs lots of help, and we have united alot more as a district to help this branch accomplish it's goals. We have set some pretty awesome goals. One of them is that we are going to contact 15 people a day. Which has made us go out of our way to talk to every single person we pass. It has been a huge blessing. We have made it into a kind of a competition, and we CANNOT let the sisters beat us, we are tired of that haha. It has been amazing to be part of helping our branch and district come together. We have some amazing missionaries here.
I was thinking I need to tell you guys about some of the awesome just cultural things here. What is really funny about South Tucson is that it is literally the exact blend of American and Mexican cultures together. I didn't really understand the term spanglish until I got here. People literally use both languages simultaneously. They use about half english and half spanish in many of their sentences. It is really hilarius sometimes. We all about died laughing the other day as the super mexican sister who fed us dinner introduced dessert as "cakey". It is really bizzare sometimes haha. One thing I love about the people here is that they all love to laugh. We had an FHE with the branch this week and we played one really simple game, and they thought it was the funniest thing ever. Then we laughed so hard because they thought it was so funny.
The Lord has blessed us alot. What an opportunity and a miracle it is to be part of this work. I really try and cherish every day. It goes by so fast. I cannot believe that I have almost been out for a year. It has truly been the most challenging and the most rewarding year of my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I cannot really but into words all of the things that I have learned. I am so excited for a new year. I have been reflecting alot as I have come up on my birthday on my life. I cannot believe that it has gone so quickly. I owe so much to each of you. Your love and teaching has made me who I am. I am so proud to call you mom and dad and brothers. I miss you guys so much, but know that I am doing well. I know that this is where I am supposed to be at this time. Thank you for your love. Always remember the Savior. I have learned here that he is truly the source of all that is good in the world. He is truly the Light of the World. The closer we come to him, is in direct relationship to our ultimate happiness.
I love you guys so much!!!!!

Elder Hughes

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Coming to ya late this week! Better late than never eh! | week 50

Sorry I am coming to ya so late this week. It has been an INSANE week. Oh goodness. I am looking forward to some day when life will slow down for just a moment haha. Now I totally understand all the times you said that mom. We had transfers on Tue and it was an insanely busy day, we barely had time to do anything much less email. SO I am emailing tonight.
Big news from transfers. I am training again here in Tucson. I was very surprised. I thought for sure that I would be able to finish training Elder B but the Lord sometimes has other plans. I became good freinds with Elder B. My new companion is Elder P (I hope I spelled it right.) He is awesome. I have never in my whole mission met a better missionary than him. No joke. I feel like he is training me haha. He is completely 100% fearless. He talks to everyone. It is so awesome. It is going to be a great transfer. What is so crazy to is that he was Brea Lindsays EFY counselor and he was in Tyler Clark's ward at SVU. Small world. It has been crazy busy. He is a convert and he is the only member of his family. He has an awesome conversion story. I have always thought that it would be awesome to be a companion with someone who was a convert to the  church. Elder R my MTC comp is now in my district, which has been super fun. It has been a blast catching up with him.
As for this week. It has been a really busy one. Unfortunately at the end of last week I had to deal with some pretty lame stuff going on in our district. It makes me really sad sometimes that it happens. It was a kind of bummer way to end the transfer, but we keep moving forward. So many problems in life can be avoided when we just remember to do things as Christ would do them.
The work continues to move forward. Our district is awesome this transfer. We have some huge goals as a district. I really think it is going to be a wopper of a transfer here. All of the missionaries here now are filled with faith and diligence. Truly that is the key to success in missionarywork.
R is still doing well. She is still on track to get baptized. Her last hurdle is giving up coffee. It is kind of funny to me that she has overcome IMMENSE trials to get to the point that she is at now, and the last one that is hanging on is coffee, but I know she can do it.
We had such a miracle investigator this week. We went on exchanges this week, and we found this lady named M. It turns out she had prayed that day that something would come into her life that would help her grow her faith in Jesus Christ. Then 2 hours later we knocked on her door. Coincidence... I think not. There are no coincidences in the work of the Lord. It was truly a miracle. We have continued to teach her. She is one of the most dedicated learning investigators I have ever had. It reminds me of teaching R. It is awesome. She takes notes on everything, she can't get enough. We still have alot of things to overcome, but I know that we have been led to her. God has a plan for her.
P has been in Mexico for a long time. His son was in a car accident, and is really really hurt. So we have been praying alot for them. We are excited to keep teaching him when he gets back.
It has been a crazy week. I feel like I cannot even begin to write all of the experiences I have had. I want to leave you with something I taught today in district meeting. Truly The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. In this church we say alot how important the Book of Mormon is, but we don't always have that in our hearts. TRULY it changes lives. There is a direct correlation with our investigators between how much they read the Book of Mormon and their conversion. It is direct. I have seen it over and over again. It is the exact same with us as members. There is still a direct correlation between our conversion and how much we feast on the words of that book. So this week I challenge you to read it, just like I challenge all my investigators. It will change you, it has changed me.
I love you guys. I PROMISE I will take more pictures. I told my companion that he has to help me with that goal haha. He said he will :) I will send you some right now, and then I will stick the SD card in the mail. Apparently I have become technologically challenged out here haha. Speaking of technologically challenged, to answer your question dad, we have been told that we will get Ipads and facebook and all of that awesomeness in the next 6 months sometime. I am excited!
I love you guys so much! Have a wonderful week! I will talk to you soon on Monday!
Elder Hughes

Monday, September 9, 2013

week 49 | Hello again from Tucson!

Hey there family!!!

It is great as always to hear that you are all doing well! I love to hear that. I think about you lots. Thank you for all that you do for me. It is each of you that have made all of this possible. I cannot believe that we are entering September! What a ride it has been. We are entering the last week of the transfer, this transfer has FLOWN by. I think every single one gets faster and faster. I feel like I just got here to Tucson. It is very likely I will still be here next week, but we never really know what will happen... so we will see!!! I would love to stay here. Sometimes it can take a whole transfer to get an area up and going. I truly know that the Lord puts us exactly where he needs us.

Like you guys I felt exactly the same way about this week. It was so busy, that it has been hard to get a grasp on what to write to you today haha. Our area is doing well. We have been focusing alot on helping alot of these people progress. It is different for every person. So it is kind of like a puzzle sometimes. R is doing really well. She and her daughter came to church this week which was really good. I have always felt something special with her. She has been investigating the church for a while now. We set a new baptismal date with her, and we are motivated to really help her accomplish it. Satan does everything he possibly can to prevent these people from progressing. It really is a war, and we get a front row seat. The wonderful thing is that we know who always wins, our Savior. It has been amazing to watch and witness that in the lives of others and in my own life. This is a real war. I have never been so aware of that as I have here on my mission. Thankfully, wonderfully, we are on the winning team, and we have the most powerful tools there are. That is why we must use them. I have seen time and time again that when people really read the Book of Mormon, when they really pray, and when they come to church (use their weapons) Christ always wins. The heartbreaking thing is watching people not use the very things that will save them. We have some really cool people that we are going to start teaching this week. One guy is named A. He is a really cool guy, he accepted right away to read and to come to church, which is always a good sign. We are going to teach him tonight. Pedro we have had a really hard time getting a hold of this week. We are teaching this kid named M. HE LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE RILEY. It is actually a little freaky. It is kind of distracting when I teach him haha because I feel like I am staring right at Riley. He is 13 and is a way cool kid.
I got to go on exchanges this week in Rio Rico, which is right next to Nogales. It was a blast. It felt like going back home. I love that place, and the people in it. We had a few extra minutes so I got to go see Ig real quick. It was great to see him. He has been struggling at coming to church, so I reassured him and told him to make sure he goes. It was so great to be able to see him. The Zone Leaders told me that he came to church this week, which was great news to hear. I learned a ton on exchanges this week. Elder B is an awesome missionary. I have learned so much from him. We had alot of success on our exchange which was awesome.
Other than that there is not a ton of interesting things to report this week haha. Sometimes we have weeks like that.
I love this gospel so much. This work always brings new challenges and new opportunities every day. It is true what people say that it is the hardest thing I have ever loved to do. That can really only be learned by coming out here and doing it. I am so grateful for faith. When everything falls apart, when we don't know what to do, when the world rejects us, FAITH is always there pushing us forward to a brighter future. How grateful I am for faith in Jesus Christ. I know that he lives. It has been faith in him that has helped me in every single aspect of my whole life. He is the source of peace, happiness, and joy. We just have to get up, exercise some faith and follow him. I have been studying the life of Christ. What a life it was. He had perfect faith. He is our perfect example. Thank you for your example's of faith that have taught me so very much. Elder Benson told me something awesome this week. He said "There is nothing that 2 people can't do, if one of them is the Lord." How true that is.
I love you all so much. I say it every single week, because one time is never enough times. I love you guys. I feel of your prayers. Always remember the things that matter most.
Adelante y arriba!!!

Elder Hughes

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

week 48 | entering September!

Hello there family!!!!! I cannot believe that we are coming into september already!!!!! Holy cow!
Where has the time gone. It was another whirlwind week of here in Tucson. I am losing track of time lately. I am coming to you on a tuesday because nothing was open yesterday to email.
It sounds like you guys are doing great. Good ol football season is getting started. Sometimes I forget that those things exist haha. We kind of live in out own little world out here. Your weekend vacation sounded like a blast! You guys have alot of new places to bring Tanner and I to when we get back! I loved all the pictures. I love the beach too. That is so exciting Rachel starting BYU! How awesome! I need to email her.
The Lord has poured out the blessings on us this week. We have been really struggling to find really solid people to teach, and we have been led to some amazing people this week. I have learned so much about faith and diligence out here. Truly if we kneel down and have faith and then get up and work diligently, the Lord will answer. We found this awesome guy named P. He is so hilarious  He is very sincere about learning about the gospel as well. It has been amazing to be able to keep teaching him. He didn't accept a baptismal date last night, but I have a really good feeling about him. His wife was there and she made sure that we know that she is Catholic, but she actually helped us out a whole lot. She called him out every time he wasn't fully up front and honest with us haha. It was hilarius and quite useful.
We also started teaching a couple families! OH how I love teaching families. It is every missionaries dream to be able to teach entire families. One family we are really excited about and we are going to see them this week to teach them the first lesson. It seems like it is going to be really good timing in their lives. We also started to teach a family of born again christians, which is quite an experience. Let me tell you I am thankful for every single time I have ever read the bible when we teach them. It has been really fun, and interesting to teach them. There is another mexican family that we are going to start teaching this week as well. It has been exciting.
R is still doing great. We had a very very powerful lesson with her this week. She faces immense trials. I was able to give her a blessing. I am so thankful for the priesthood and the opportunity it gives me to help and serve others. She was so relieved and so thankful. She felt so much better. Truly the Lord loves each of us. I feel that every time I give a blessing.
We got to go to the temple this week! It was SO WONDERFUL. Oh how I love that place. It was awesome. I felt so much peace there, and recieved alot of personal revelation that I needed. If you haven't been to the temple in a while, I recommend a trip soon. The new temple video is breathtaking. It is awesome.
OH another amazing event of the week. We met Jesus Christ himself..... We were at a gas station and this homeless man started talking to us. He called us "his servants" and referred to the some new testament events that "he performed." We were a little confused until he told us that he was jesus. It was pretty hilarius haha. We meet some pretty interesting people. It was not how I imagined meeting christ would be like haha.
I love you guys so much. The work moves forward. I echo the words of my very wise brother Tanner. It is so important to love each other. That is the most important commandment, and when we look outward and forget about ourselves, everything fits into place.
I love you guys, I cannot even begin to write to you all the experiences that I have had. The church is true. It really really is. I am grateful every day for it.  I love you guys!
Elder Hughes