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