Monday, October 6, 2014

WEEK 105!! | week 105

Hello there family!!!!

It is great to get your letter this week! I am so glad you were able to hear the words of the prophets and apostles this weekend. I loved every moment of it as well. I really didn't want it to end. I with you am excited to be with you again and give each of you a big hug! I am also holding on tightly to every single day I have left. I love what we get to do as missionaries. It is the single most joyful work I have ever been a part of. I will miss it dearly, but I also miss all of you!!!
It was a very very busy and crazy week. I feel like a broken record, because all of the recent weeks have been that way. This one was especially so. We had a busy day on Monday teaching as many investigators as we could and preparing for transfer day on tuesday. Then one tue at 4 am we headed down to Tucson for the transfer meeting. My new companion headed back up to Thatcher and I stayed with the departing missionaries so that I could go on the final temple trip that they do for the missionaries that are going home. It was a wonderful day, It was great to be with my MTC friends, and to be able to get to know President and Sister Passey even better. We drove out of our mission and attended the Gilbert temple. I HAVE TO BRING YOU BACK TO THAT TEMPLE. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and gigantic. It was wonderful. I received alot of personal insight and revelation. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity I have been given to be a missionary. It has truly been such a privilege. We returned to the mission home and all enjoyed a meal together. We all laughed alot as we recounted our stories and experiences. We had a wonderful testimony meeting that was so powerful. I am always strengthened by the testimonies of others and of my fellow missionaries. The Passey's are wonderful. I wish you could meet them.
Some things never change. I still forget things everywhere. I left my wallet on accident in the temple :( So a senior couple grabbed it for me this week when they went up there to attend the temple.

In the morning, the missionaries all headed off to the airport and I stayed with the Passeys and began my 'two week bonus round' as I have been calling it. You might be grumpy about the two weeks mom, but I have been so happy about it. There is still some things for me to wrap up here :) President Passey had some things to do out in the Gila Valley, so he drove me back out on wed. It was great to be able to spend 2 hours with him. I have learned so much from him. He is a wonderful man of God.
On Friday, we returned back to Tucson for my last MLC. It was a wonderful meeting, and we were taught well. Our mission is growing in strength and unity.

We have seen some wonderful miracles this week.
We received a referral this week, with some really vague directions of how to get to his apartment. We weren't sure if we were in the right spot, but we decided to just knock some doors until we found it. The first door we knocked on was of a guy named J. He was awesome. He let us inside right away and we shared our message with him. We mentioned that we have modern day prophets in our church. He immediately asked "When can I hear the words of this prophet?!" We were then able to tell him "on Saturday!." What an awesome thing! He and his mom did come to conference this weekend, and we are going to continue to teach him this week.

We also started teaching a guy named B. He has recently been through some really rough patches of life, and his heart is so prepared and humble. I don't think I have ever taught someone on my mission who's heart is as prepared ad B. He has been very emotional, and we have had some powerful lessons with him. Teaching the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ to someone like B is indescribable. He came to conference this weekend, and loved every minute of it.
S is on track to get baptized this weekend! I am so excited for her! She has faced opposition and struggles, but she has overcome them all! I love sharing the gospel.
I am enjoying every day I have left! My prayers and thoughts are with each of you. I love you all so much. I could never say thank you enough for your support and love you have given to me throughout my whole life.
I love you

Elder Hughes

Monday, September 29, 2014

HELLOOOOOO family! | week 104

It is good to hear from you! That is awesome that Tyler is coming home this week! It will be fun to catch up with him. We have had another exciting week, and we have another crazy one up ahead!
Transfer calls came in! We will be in a trio for the remainder of my time. The assistants kindly informed me that on the 16th of October I will be transferred to Rocklin, CA and they haven't found my companion yet (Sister Hughes) but that I will have to find her :) (and no it's not you mom)

We have been blessed this week, we had many many opportunities to teach and testify. I am so grateful for those opportunities. Each and every one.
A got baptized this week! YAY! It was a wonderful baptism. The spirit was strong, and I felt blessed to be able to participate in some small way in his path to the Savior. I can tell you it is the most rewarding and most joyful kind of work that there is. I love this work! Saturday was full of rejoicing. The talks were given in spanish and french, which was fun. Lots of YSA's came to support him. He will do well in the restored gospel. I will send pictures :)

I had a great birthday! We had a baptism that day so what could be better than that? Only being with you guys! It was a good day. Elder G and I got some breakfast to celebrate in the morning, and then Shannon and her friends made us the most awesome Book of Mormon cake. They are so cool! I did get your delivery! We had to move apartments this week, and it took us many hours of deep cleaning and moving on Friday and Saturday, so it was a really nice break from our cleaning to enjoy the cupcakes. Thank you so much! I love you guys!
Funny story from the week (which involves me injuring my self of course). We had a YSA activity on friday and they had all sorts of races and games. There was a piggy back race, and as I was running with Elder G on my back, I went to fast, and had to much momentum and we biffed it really badly. I wish it was on camera. I ripped my pants pretty good and scraped my self up and bruised my finger haha. 

We have been busy teaching lots of wonderful people. S is progressing well, and so is M! S is set to get baptized on the last weekend of my mission, and M is going to be baptized on the 25th of October. She is going up to Salt Lake to see conference this weekend, which is a great place to send an investigator!
I am SOOOOOOO excited for general conference this week. I hope that each of you take the time to sit down and hear the words of living prophets seers and revelators. There is truly NOTHING more important that we could be doing than that. I am so grateful for the guidance and direction we receive from our leaders!
Tomorrow I am going into Tucson to go on the departing missionary temple trip. It should be wonderful. I believe we are going to the Gilbert temple. I will then spend the night there and President and I are going to drive back on Wed. to the Gila Valley. My fellow district mates from the MTC are all going home on wed.
I am grateful for every day I have been given to serve the Lord, and I am grateful for you and your support of me. I love you so much!
I know that the Savior lives, and that his gospel blesses our lives! I am so glad to be sharing it!

Until next week,

Elder Hughes

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hola Familia | week 103

Hola familia!!!!
Thank you for your email! I LOVED that picture dad! How awesome is that?! I have never seen that picture of you. What an awesome day. I am sure we were all rejoicing in heaven on that day, waiting to come down and be a part of your family. I hope to be able to thank those missionaries as well. Gilbert is only 3 hours from me, so maybe after the mission when I come back to visit I can go see him sometime. That is so cool.
Elder G and I had another really awesome week! We have been so busy, and excited. The Lord is continuing to bless us so so so much. I marvel.
One unique experience from last week, I forgot to write you about it then. We gave blood last week, and it was the poor lady's first time doing it all by herself. She was very nervous, and she was being evaluated. So she goes to put the needle in my arm, and it hurt alot more than usual, but I didn't think much of it. So I sat on the chair rolling the ball in my hand, and then all these alarms go off on the machine, and all the nurses run over and start taking everything off, and asking me if I feel like I am going to pass out haha. I said no, and asked if something was wrong, they told me no (which was a totally lie) I kind of laughed about that. Turns out she hit my artery instead of my vein. Which is bad, and doesn't happen very often. That is why my bag filled up so fast. So needless to say I had one heck of a bruised arm, and a bag of blood they couldn't use :) 

The highlight reel of the week is full.
 It rained alot this week!!! HALLELUJIA! I think I can count on one hand how many times that has happened in 2 years (excluding brief thunderstorms). I was on exchanges in a walking area on one of those days and we got completely soaked. I thought of Tanner, because that sounds like his whole life lately :)
RS who we baptized in Nogales got Endowed on Saturday!!! That made me so happy. I am so happy for him. He is strong in the gospel. He was going to get endowed in the Gila Valley temple so that we could be there, but at the last minute they had to change it to Mesa. That was a bit of a bummer, but I am just so happy for him.
A is doing great. He is set to get baptized this saturday on my birthday (a great day for a baptism). He is doing so well. One day this week he was doubting if he should take this step, because it all happened so fast. I was able to sit down and talk to him. I merely asked him the simple questions of "Angel, is the Book of Mormon true?" He said "Of course it is!!" Then I asked him if this was the church of Jesus Christ? He said, "YES!". I thought about that and told him, well then, "Why wait for these blessings, if you know it is true?" Since then, he hasn't looked back. I am so excited for him!
M is also progressing well.
We started teaching lots of wonderful people this week. We taught to girls from Africa named L and P. They are so awesome! They are from the Congo and Zimbabwe. Wonderful people, and they know the bible very well. They asked some of the best questions I have ever gotten from investigators.
S is doing well. He dropped us for a bit this week. We were really sad about that, but he changed his mind all of a sudden. He didn't feel right about that decision. He has been having some good experiences with the spirit that are helping him alot.
The best part of the week for me was teaching S. She is doing so well. We had one of the most powerful lessons I have ever had as a missionary with her this week. We talked about revelation through Prayer. She all of a sudden opened up about receiving and answer for herselft that the Book of Mormon is true. As she began, the spirit washed into the room. it was powerful. I could not hold back tears of joy as she related her story. She has been reading every day. She said that as she was driving back to Thatcher from the reservation last weekend an overwhelming feeling of joy came over her. She said she has never felt anything like it in her entire life. She said she feels some of it every single time she reads and meets with us. She declared that it was a witness from our heavenly father that these things were true. We were left sitting there in amazement. I am so grateful that the Holy Ghost is the true teacher.
I finished the Book of Mormon again this week. It was the 7th time I have finished it on my mission. Oh how I love that Book. I hope that you all choose to read it every single day. It is true. I am grateful for the invitation it contains to ask God to know if it is true. It is important that we personally apply that promise often in our lives. I know it is true. It has blessed me, and I find wonderful new insights every time I read it!
I love you so much! I am holding on to every moment I have left on my mission. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given.
I love you!
Elder Hughes

He is on the list to come home! 
Taylor's very bruised arm.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Half way through september already?!? WHAT!?!? | week 102

Hey there family!

I hope that all of you are doing well, and enjoying your week! You are in my thoughts and prayers!
Elder G and I had another great week this week. The Lord has blessed us so very much. I love working with the young adults here, it is a blast! We have been blessed immensely.
We were able to teach alot this week, which always makes me so happy! Those that we have been teaching are doing well. There is always some degree of opposition in this work. I always cringe as it comes, and it comes every time. There is an unmistakable pattern of it in this work. I have seen it over and over again. We have seen that in some ways with those we have been teaching. Things start to get complicated as people near their goals to be baptized. I do know as well that God always wins when we put our trust in him. I have seen it over and over again as well. The key is to not give up. A and M are both progressing well to their dates to be baptized. I love them both so much. They both have had powerful experiences already that have made their faith stronger, and mine as well.
I want to tell you about someone new we started to teach this week. She is really special. Her name is S. She is from a place called White River. It is a reservation of native americans. Her sister, T was baptized this last  spring here, and has really embraced the church. She brought S to school here, and it has been a huge change for her. S has faced an unbelievable amount of hardship in her life. Life is not good on those reservations. They start using drugs and alcohol at about age 12 or 13. It is unreal. S could barely speak from her emotions as she related to us just a part of the darkness that she has experienced in life. I cried from sheer sadness as she told us her story. Thankfully she is now in the right place! The best place! She has left behind and old life, which takes so much courage. There is very intense peer pressure there. She will be mocked and ridiculed for her recent choices of stopping using drugs. As we have begun to teach her the basic truths of the restored gospel light has into her life. S has some great friends here that have helped her.

The joy of this experience can be seen in a wonderful text we received from her friend this week: "Hey Elders! I just wanted to say thank you for everything! S was so excited after we met with you guys last night. We ended up reading and talking about Alma 32 for 3 1/2 hours after we left the institute. She asked about Joseph Smith and told us her concern with believing that he really saw God. We showed her the restoration video and after that, she said "How can anyone think that he was bad? How can anyone not believe that he got answers for himself and answers to help us? What is so bad about that?" She told us everything she has learned so far and pretty much bore her testimony to us. I feel like she knows more than I do! haha :) anyways... I just wanted to share that with you guys and say thank you for the lesson last night! Is there another chapter we could read with her before we meet again?"
How awesome is that!!!!! This is what makes me want to be a missionary forever.
M as well has had some great lessons this week as we have taught her about the Plan of Salvation and of Jesus Christ.
There are many others who we are working with and teaching. We taught a guy named Mt from Burma (which is near india) He was really cool and had some amazing questions.
I am so grateful for the chance I have been given to be a missionary.
We had the chance to go to the temple this week, which was wonderful. Going there always reminds me of the big picture of life. We get so caught up in the little things down here on the 'field' that sometimes we need the bird's eye view to be able to accomplish what the Lord needs us to do. I am grateful for the ordinances and covenants there. They have blessed me so much.
I love each of you, and I hope that you keep smiling and keep serving. That is where true happiness is found. Happiness is a choice!
all my love
Elder Hughes

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dear Family | week 101

Hello there!
It sounds like life is good in Cali! I am glad to hear that. Mom is always happy when she gets her fall stuff up. Dad, I am bummed that you didn't get the job. I love your perspective on everything though. You are so right. We have been so so so blessed as a family. I marvel at it regularly. Zach man is tearing up the football field. That is awesome. You look good in the maroon gold and white :)
It has been a whirlwind week for us. I feel like I am a broken record in saying that, but it's true. It might have been the busiest week I have had on my mission. The Lord is blessing us immensely. I am so very grateful. We have been blessed with many people to teach, and we have seen many miracles. The work of the Lord is vibrant here. That has come mostly from the consistent and successful efforts of the members in sharing the gospel. I have learned much from their example.
At the institute here there are lots of activities, devotionals, firesides, classes, and games that the members bring their friends to. So when Elder G and I aren't in our 'home' (the institute library) teaching lessons we are usually at institute events. We teach almost all of our lessons in the library. I kind of like it.
A is doing great! He is progressing well, so is his friend V.
J also is progressing well. We taught her about the temple this week AT the temple! There is no better place to teach someone about the temple, than right in front of one. After the lesson we went inside and sat in the waiting room with her and the members. There is such a beautiful spirit in the temple. I enjoyed just sitting there for a while. The chair I happened to choose faced the door into the lobby. Right in my view was a beautiful painting of Christ. I looked at it for a long while, and I was reminded of his role as our redeemer and the reality of the temple being his house. I am grateful for those moments. J is very close to the spirit, and she is very close to receiving her own answers from God.
S is doing well, we are slowly making progress with him. He came to church on Sunday dressed up very nicely. He struggles a bit understanding the principles of the gospel, but I have seen that he feels something here. Which, really, in the end, that is what it is all about. The understanding comes with time, and study, and diligence. Elder Bednar has said that investigators will not always remember what you taught them, but they will always remember how you made them feel. I am excited to keep working with S.

We witnessed a beautiful miracle last night. It was the highlight of the week. We started to teach the friend of one of the members of our ward. Her name is M. She has grown up her whole life here in the Gila Valley, so she knows quite a few mormons. She has an amazing story that has led her to us teaching her last night. She grew up here, but in high school she struggled immensely. She rebelled pretty badly, and was in some pretty bad situations. She said that she swore she would NEVER go to church, and the God would never be a part of her life. She felt completely ok with that decision, but life continued on. She goes to beauty school here, and she met her member friend Mo. Mo's example and love has changed her life. She said she had a 'strange desire' to ask Mo if she could go to church with her. Mo of course started bringing her to all of the activities and firesides, and M has already seen and felt a huge change in her life. She said she is happier than she has ever been. Last night we taught her for the first time, and it was so powerful. One of the most spirit filled lessons I have ever attended. God's had has been guiding M and Mo since the beginning. It was so wonderful! It is times and moments like this that I want to be a missionary forever. It truly is the most joyful work in the world! We are excited to continue to teach them.

There are many others who we are teaching and working with. The Lord has blessed us so much. We don't have enough time for it all.
My thoughts this week have been focused on the gentle Christ. His example of love, forgiveness, peace, and gentleness are a model for us all. I fail consistently, but I have been trying to be a little more like him every day. I have come to learn that truly "the words of Christ shall tell you all things that ye should do." The answer to every problem no matter how complicated can be found in his words and example. What a miracle that is! So let's use it. As we become more like him, our influence for good grows immensely. I have personally seen that to be true.
I love you all so much. I love the work of the Lord, and I am so grateful for all you do for me.

Elder Hughes

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Fall from Arizona | week 100

A quote I recently found :) "Courage isn't always grandiose. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow." -Thomas S. Monson

Hey there family!

Happy Fall to you! I know how much you love fall. It really doesn't feel like fall here, it is still over 100 every day :) It sounds like all is well! have a great holiday today! 

We have been very busy and very blessed this week. Time is flying by. I can hardly believe it. I told my companion today that I am now entering shock and disbelief stage at only having 6 weeks left to serve. I intend to make the most of every single moment.

We had many cool experiences with the wonderful people we are teaching this week. I love serving at the institute! It is a place of great goodness for all of us young single adults. Non members are naturally attracted to the blessings that we have there. 

A is doing wonderfully! He is progressing well to his baptism this month. I really wish you guys could meet him, he is so awesome. Teaching him has been another reminder to me of the reality of my call. I have felt that I needed to come here to teach him. Our area hasn't had a spanish missionary in it for a year or more, and I happen to get here when he comes. He just loves to learn about the gospel, and he has great friends here that support him. He is going to do wonderful things in his life, and he will be a great servant of the church. He has already expressed a desire to serve a mission. I have been honored to have the chance to teach him.

Also this week we started teaching a guy named S. He is a Navajo and it has been quite an experience teaching him. Native Americans are tricky to teach, they are hard to crack, it is really hard to tell what they are thinking and feeling. I LOVE teaching them about the Book of Mormon. It is so powerful for me to think about sharing with them a book that was written for them and their people. Prophecies are fulfilled in the Book of Mormon every single time we share it with them. S is a great kid, he is full of light and he is anxious to learn.

Our investigator J also is doing great. She also has been soaking up the gospel. We face alot of challenges with our investigator's families here in YSA wards. It is our #1 obstacle. Many parents of these good people are not happy to hear that their kids are learning about the restored gospel. We couldn't figure out why J wasn't praying about the Book of Mormon, so we finally asked her. She started to break down and explain that she has been scared to do it, because her parents were not happy with her that she has been meeting with missionaries. As we were teaching her the Plan of Salvation, J said that she felt her brother who passed away there with her. She told her family about this, and they doubted her and made fun of her. It saddens me greatly to hear this from our investigators. We pray for them often. We encouraged her and bore our testimonies.

We are working with many others, who we hope we will be able to help learn of this wonderful gospel!!!! We have another busy week ahead of us!

I love serving the Lord. I am holding on to every moment. I hope and pray that you all continue to be well and blessed.

I know that the things that we believe and know are true!!! I hope and pray that we do not take them for granted. It is such a blessing to know what we know. I believe we will be held to a higher standard at the judgement bar, because of the many blessings we are given. "Where much is given, much is required" I am grateful for a father in heaven who is patient with me and all of my weaknesses and shortcomings. He loves us, and he wants to hear from us. I have learned how to REALLY pray out here in the mission field. What a blessing it is. We are promised that we can call down the blessings of heaven.

I love you all so so so so so very much. Thank you for all you do for me.

all my love

Elder Hughes

PS!!! I almost forgot. I had the most crazy small world moment this week! There is a brand new missionary in our zone named Elder Mitchell from Bountiful UT. We went on exchanges this week, and as we talked, I explained to him that I have family that lives in Bountiful. Well guess what?!?!? He is one of Bailee's really good friends!!!! It's a very small world. :) I will send a picture :) Forward it on to Brooke and Bailee

My favorite pair of  brown shoes died!

the Gila Valley Temple at night

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hello Family | week 99

Helloo there family!!!
Thank you for your words and experiences. It is wonderful to hear about all that you are doing. Life has not slowed down a bit for me either. I have had one of the busiest weeks of my whole mission this week. Which is WONDERFUL. Busy is good for us as missionaries. It means people are listening.
To answer some of your ?s:
Yes, we are still doing cross fit. It has been kicking my butt. I am going to have to convert you all to it when I get back. It is quite addicting.
My companion Elder G is great! We have quickly become great friends. He is from upstate new york, an hour away from Palmyra. He goes to BYU as well, and he is in the Army. He is an outstanding missionary, and we are doing very well as a companionship.

First of all, serving in YSA is so wonderful. It is a blast. Our wards are FULL of recently returned missionaries who know how to share the gospel with their friends. It is incredible to see. If we could get the whole church to do missionary work like they do, we would see astounding growth. We have started teaching 7 new investigators this week who have been brought to us by their friends. It has been amazing to see, and the miracles have been pouring forth.

A is still doing wonderful. I LOVE teaching him. He soaks up all that we teach. I call it 'sponge mode' it is pretty much the best thing to see in an investigator. He is progressing well, and he will be a very committed new member of the church. It has been amazing to see God's hand in the whole experience.
We have started to teach a girl named J this week. All of her roomates are members, and it was a miracle how we found her. We felt one night as we were planning that we should go to some apartments and meet the many YSA members who have recently moved into them. We started knocking on doors and introducing ourselves to the members. We had just finished talking to one sister, by the bottom of some stairs when two people started walking down towards us. We contacted them and we met J who is not a member. We ended up teaching the entire first lesson to them on those stairs. The next day as we met with them again, J opened up to us. She explained that right before her and her roomate left their apt the night we taught them, she had a distinct desire to ask her roomate more about the church, but she felt scared so she didn't. Then they walked out their door, and down the stairs, and found us at the bottom! She said it was an answer to her prayers. I have seen countless times as a missionary, that the Lord puts us right where he needs us. We had some more powerful moments with her this week as we taught her the plan of salvation. It really struck a chord in her. She got very emotional, and the spirit witnessed to us all of the truthfulness of that plan.
Another miracle this week was in teaching K. We started teaching her when her friend brought her to us. She is so prepared. She is also so excited to act in faith. That is our favorite thing to see. She has a baptismal date as well.
There are many others who we have made contact with. It has been so exciting. The Lord has been pouring out his blessings on us.
On Sunday, Elder G and I spoke at a tri stake YSA fireside, with lots of people. We talked on missionary work of course!
Yesterday Elder Malm of the 70 visited us. There was quite an outpouring of the spirit, it was a wonderful day!! I wish you each could have been there to hear his testimony, and to be taught by him. He is truly a man of God, and he is a master teacher. I learned an immense amount, in fact I am still digesting all of it. He and his wife are from Sweden. They were so wonderful. He taught us much about how to teach by and listen to the spirit. He taught us about how to have a spirit of optimism. He taught much about our premortal life, and who we were and are. It truly does help us in our lives to know who we are and who those around us truly are. We must see past what we see on the outside. The spirit was poured out upon us in rich abundance. It was a wonderful day. I always leave those experiences energized and excited to take on more of the Lord's work.
I had the chance to be interviewed by Elder Malm as well. It was wonderful to recieve personal counsel from him. I learned alot.

I leave you with my love. This week at the fireside I talked about love and how it relates to sharing the gospel. If we truly love those around us, we will open our mouths and share with them the gospel. In a book I love "the power of everyday missionaries". We are taught in that book that when we take someone figuratively by the hand and lead them to Christ. We come to know how much God loves the person who's hand is in ours, and how much he loves us. I know this to be a true principle. I have felt it in my life as a missionary. It is real.
I love each of you so much. Thank you for all you have done for me.

God bless you
Elder Hughes

for more interesting news! a Hermana Toledo is serving in the spanish branch that covers Rocklin. She is one of my good friends from my mission! She is so awesome. I gave your address so she might stop by and say hi. I served in HER branch in Tucson and her and her mom did so much to help us there. They fed us every single week and more sometimes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Fresh New Transfer | week 98

Hey there family!
Thank you mom for your wonderful message. I hope you got some more sleep :) I loved reading all the small and simple joys that come into your life. I have found that you can really tell alot about people by what small and simple joy's they see in life. I loved all the pictures. Rafting looks like it was a blast. And so was the first day of school. Riley and Zach man look SOOOOOOO old. What happened?!?!?!? How tall is Zach? We had our own 'first day of school' here at EAC yesteday. It was the first day of classes here. Boy, has it been quite a week for us here at EAC. Lots of exciting things are happening. It can be kind of overwhelming at times. A feeling I know each of you are acquainted with.
I am short on time today, so I will have to be brief. We had transfer calls this weekend. Unfortunately Elder H got transferred. I will miss him, he has been one of my favorite companions. Elder G is here with me now. He is really awesome as well. He is from upstate new york, and goes to BYU as well. He is a great guy. It is going to be a good one. They combined two zones so we are now over 30 missionaries. We have been running around like crazy today trying to get everyone situated. Between last transfer and this transfer there are 8 new missionaries in our zone, so we have been very busy.

School started this week! It was very exciting!! THERE ARE PEOPLE HERE NOW!!! YAYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (That is how I feel about it) We cover 4 wards, of a total of 400+ YSA's here at the college. Sunday, all the ward were combined into a mega meeting to re-figure out the boundaries. It was quite a sight. We are excited to get to work! We have already received some referrals.
Last week we started teaching an amazing investigator named A. He is from Mexico, and he only speaks Spanish and French. He is 25, and is a dentist in Mexico. Through a series of miraculous events with members of the church, he immigrated here to the US to come here to study English. He has been very prepared by the Lord. He is hilarius as well. I have never laughed so hard in lessons. He is also very spiritually attune, and we have already had some wonderful experiences with him. He is one of those people who is not afraid to act in faith. He will do anythings we ask him to do. That is really what it is all about! Those are the kind of people we are looking for. Those who will act in faith. We asked him to pray about the Book of Mormon, and he got right down on his knees and prayed about it. We have been marveling. The spanish sisters in the branch here have been helping me teach him, so I don't have to do it by myself. He has a baptismal date for the 13th of September, which is very exciting. I am so excited for him.
This week I also had the chance to attend Hope's funeral in Duncan. Elder M, who is here in the Gila Valley (who served in Duncan as well) and I got permission to go to her services. It was very sad, because she died so young, but there was also so much joy in knowing the plan of salvation. We laughed alot during her funeral as people told stories from her life. She was a very entertaining and wild lady, so she had some pretty great stories. It was wonderful to remember her in that way. Everyone was smiling and crying at the same time. Funerals have a way of putting everything into perspective. One person who spoke said something that really touched me. They talked about how we forgot to tell the people we love how much we love them. We forget to put things into the right perspective. That it is sad, that sometimes it is only at times of someone's sudden death that we realize what is really important in life. It really shouldn't be that way. They spoke about the importance of telling the ones we love, how we really feel about them, while we still have the chance.
Those thoughts led me to each of you. I cannot every say enough how much I love you. I am so grateful for your sacrifice, love, help, guidance, and support that you have given to me throughout my life. I stand all amazed at how blessed I have been.

We have a very busy, and very exciting week ahead. A general authority is coming for an all day conference on monday, so P day will be on tue again next week. We have a new zone to get organized, practically a new area to begin, and lots of the Lord's work to do. I am so very excited. I love with all my heart the opportunity I have had to be a missionary.
Hurrah for Israel!!

Elder Hughes

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hola! | week 97

Hola Familia Marvillosa!!!
It is good to hear from you as always!  Thank you for your love and support. It sounds like all is normal, and well at home. All is well here in Arizona as well! We had a good week.
We are at the start of a very exciting week, all of the students move back this week!!!!! YAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!! I have never been so excited for school to start. We are gearing up and ready to go. We have spent alot of the last couple weeks getting ward mission plans made, working with our new ward mission leader, and working with the bishop. We have transfers next week, and they are probably going to be splitting our area with some sisters they will bring in. So we will probably by covering the one ward that is all on campus, and the sisters will cover the other three. They are also going to combine two zones, so we will be over one big zone of 32+ missionaries. Should be quite an adventure.
We had some really cool experiences this week. We have been led to some really cool experiences. I have truly come to see that God is so aware of every single one of us. He is aware of all of his children.

One day, our appointments had fallen through and we were just walking along the street. We walked up on a lady in the family ward we cover who was just leaving her work and getting in her car. We didn't know her very well from church, we had only said hi in passing. We stopped and talked to her for a bit, and she opened up to us about some huge struggles she has been having with her faith and testimony. She is a very active member with a beautiful family, but because of some things that have happened, she has recently been thinking about leaving the church. She opened up to us about all of this and we had a good conversation about it. We all talked together about the gospel, and our testimonies and the 'why' of our service in the church. After a bit, we all went our separate ways. As we walked on, Elder Hales and I both had the distinct impression that we had been led to that sister, at that time, for a special reason. I really know that we were led to her that day.
Another 'right place, right time' moment came this week as we walked down the street. We saw someone kneeling down on the sidewalk with their bike. As we approached we saw that she was hurt. We helped her up, and it turns out she is a YSA that just moved here, and she had just been hit by a car on her bike! It was crazy. It was a hit and run. Thankfully she was pretty much ok. She was banged up pretty good and bleeding, but mostly in shock. We carried her broken bike back home for her. She had just been hit when we walked up. 

The family that we have been working with are doing pretty good. Slowly but surely we are seeing progress in their lives. We had a surprise yesterday when one of the kids W came to church!!!! That makes our whole day when investigators come to church. I love it.
Also yesterday there were some cool experiences as an inactive member who we have worked with was recently reactivated. He served a mission and married in the temple, but over the years, he slipped away from activity. He taught the priesthood lesson on Sunday in his new calling, and it was so powerful. He was very personal about his journey, and his gratitude for his friends and neighbors for helping him come back. It was so powerful for me. It is amazing to see. The atonement is at work every day. I have come to love the challenge and joy of helping the lost sheep return to the fold. I have seen great joy in that aspect of the work.

We started teaching a YSA this week named J. He recently got out of jail, and he has a very pure heart. It has been really exciting to teach him. He can be really hit and miss with appointments, but every time we teach him things go so well.
We are looking forward to an exciting week. We are going to be spending alot of time helping people move in!!! YAY! That will be a good way for us to meet some potential investigators. It has already been fun contacting some people. Most of the people here right now are the football team. They are all from the south it seems like. Huge, intimidating black guys ;) They are pretty funny.

One of the days this week I was feeling a bit down. We went over to see Elder and Sister M, the senior couple we work with, because they had some things the needed to talk to us about. Just being with them made me so happy. I have learned alot about our influence as children of God. We have so much power to influence this world for good, if we will just let it. Elder and Sister Mathews have been that kind of influence for me. Along with countless others. When you are with them, you cannot help feeling happy, enlightened, full of the spirit, and full of hope. They inspire that in other people, by just being who they are. There is so much WE can all do to be just like that for others. More than just doing, it is actually about BEING. We can be a light to the world, to our friends, and family. There is enough despair, negativity, evil, hate, envy, lust, and sin in this world without our adding to it. I am so grateful for the lights in my life that have inspired me to keep going, and to be my best self. My family, you each have been those for me. For that I am so grateful. I love you so much for that.
I love you all!!!!!! Have a wonderful week. Serve someone!!!
Elder Hughes

Monday, August 4, 2014

Happy August to YOU! | week 96

Hey there family!
It is a beautiful morning here in Thatcher. Thank you for your letter mom! I always love to hear about your thoughts, and feelings and impressions. I know what you mean! I know how you feel. As a missionary it is inherent in our work that we are focused on things of great importance. There are still distractions for us as well though. Especially here in the United States. Sometimes I find myself asking the same questions as you. I have come to learn that when we evaluate and take life one day at a time, life tends to work out. We take all the good lessons we can from the past and we move forward in faith to create a future of joy and success.
You have done everything you have needed to and more. I have felt of your prayers and I have felt your love through all you have done. It is you and Dad's support that has made all of this possible in the first place.
I like the fall as well. Although here in Arizona it never really feels like fall. We always say there are 2 seasons in Arizona. Really hot, and less hot. I can't wait to do all the fall things that we always did.
Things are well here in Thatcher. We had a good week in the work. We are gearing up for the return of all the students! We are quite excited for that. We are starting to see people come back every day. We had some cool miracles to share.

One day this week, on Tue I believe, we were about to leave the apartment, and we always pray before we leave. We prayed especially to be placed in the path of those who have been prepared to receive the gospel. We walked out the door and there were some people right by our apartment. We started talking to them, and the guy pointed to his girlfriend and said "She wants to take the missionary lessons!". God answered our prayer about 10 seconds after we asked. It was so cool. I couldn't stop smiling for a while. We had to pass her off to the other elders here, but they are teaching her now and she has a baptismal date. Pretty awesome.
Another cool one we had this week. We were walking and we met a family that had recently moved in. We came to find out that they are both members, but are very inactive. We came back another night and we started talking to the wife. While we were talking with her, her husband came up really really drunk. He started cussing us out and yelling at us. He told us to leave and never come back. For some reason we felt like we should keep talking to him. He eventually calmed down, and we tried to answer some of his belligerent questions. As we talked, his heart softened. He started to break down, and he explained how he so badly wants to stop drinking. How he wants to be a better father. He explained that he knows the church is true, but that life is so hard. We ended up leaving with a return appointment and him begging us to come back at that time. We assured him we would. It was quite a change from beginning to end of the conversation. I have come to see that the latter end of that conversation is usually inside of people. Sometimes the tough and hardened exterior's block our view of who people truly are, and their true desires. I believe there is so much good in people. Sometimes it just takes further, careful, loving, and spirit-led conversations to find out their true heart.
I got some really awesome news this week! If you remember M L, our investigator in Deming who is so awesome, who was waiting for his parents permission to be baptized. He is getting baptized this week!!!!! It made me so happy to hear that.
We had dinner this week with Bishop B and his wife and President L who is in our mission Presidency. It was wonderful. I love each of those people so so so so much. Elder H and I afterward were talking and I said I believe heaven must be something like that night. Being with people you love, eating great food, and talking about the wonder and majesty of the gospel and of the Savior. That seems alot like heaven to me.

We had some non member single adults come to church yesterday. It was exciting. One guy we have to pass off, but another one we are going to try and start teaching. He is a big football player here.
We also had MLC again this week. It was wonderful as always! The spirit was strong, and I learned alot. Elder H and I had to give a training about integrity. In studying for it I thought alot about integrity and how important it should be to us. I am grateful to each of you for your examples of integrity to me. Integrity is captured in being true to who we really are. It is embodied in vigilant honesty and it is demonstrated in obedience. The world is in desperate need of men and women of integrity. It is a trait that is so rare in our government, our businesses and our communities. It is vital in the church as well. People of integrity are those that we can trust. Thank you for being people that I can trust so much. I love each of you and trust you.
I love you all!!! We are pressing forward in the work of the Lord here! I love this work, and I know it is true. Onward to another week!

Elder Hughes
PS small world mormon stuff. I just met a very recently returned missionary here. Elder Goodman. He just got back from the Honolulu Hawaii mission. He knows Rachel Hodgson!!! He said she is an incredible missionary. No surprise there :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Greetings from Arizona | week 95

Hey there family!
It sounds like the Hughes family summer adventures have continued unabated this week! Sounds like fun! Thank you Dad for your letter. I always love your enthusiasm and joy and questions. That is way cool about your go pro stuff Riley! That is so exciting. I am with you in not believing that Zach is old enough to start high school. How is that possible??!?! That is so true about what your lesson was about in Teachers quorum. There is not much gray area left in our world as for as standards and morality go. Sometimes we must stand alone for what is right. I wish I could have been there to hear the talk. There is nothing I love more to talk about than about missionary work. Good job Rilo!
Well as for us, it was another crazy week. I feel like every week I turn around and I am here at the computer emailing again. Our life is so busy. We were looking forward to a 'normal' proselyting week this week... and that didn't quite work out haha. We had lots of missionary issues to deal with this week with the missionaries in our zone. That took up much of our time, but thankfully everything got worked out. I am grateful for prayer and for the inspired direction and leadership of President Passey. Once all of that blew over, we got to focus back again on our work.

Here in our area we are really working to lay the foundation for a busy college semester that will start here. In about 2-3 weeks all of the ysa's will return and then the work really heats up here. I
I have really tried to focus on the small and simple ways that I have seen God's hand in my life this week. That exercise in my journal has opened up to my view many wonderful things throughout my mission. Try it sometime :)
Here are a few from this week:
-Attending a baptism of the Sisters here where the spirit was so powerful and wonderful
-Praying with someone for the first time
-Getting a card in the mail from a friend
-Hearing the testimony of someone who has just passed through the repentance process and feeling their joy
-Sharing the first vision
-Giving someone a blessing this week who really needed it, and feeling my words be guided by the Holy Ghost
-Eating homemade ice cream
-Teaching someone about their potential as a child of God.
-Driving past the Gila Valley temple all lit up at night
-Receiving a bunch of rain and a huge thunderstorm
-Being worn out int the work of the Lord
-Having a priest tell you that he has just decided to serve a mission
There are many many more.
We continue to teach and help our investigators. They are struggling to progress, but we are continuing onward. I have learned by experience that as we push onward everything tends to work out.
I am so grateful for everyday that I have been given to help in some small way in the work of the Lord. I have learned that there is always a need of help in this church, no matter where you are at. There is a great need for Christ like love. Elder Holland told us last conference that it is the greatest need that we have in this world. It truly is. I have learned that if we are willing God will use us to help him (to the extent that we are willing to help).
I love you all so very much. I know the work we are involved in is true. I know that without a doubt. Have a wonderful week!
all my love,

Elder Hughes

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Monday! | week 94

Hey there familia!!!
Happy P day to you all! We are coming to the close of a very busy week here. Lots has been going on. Elder H and I are looking forward to this week, a week of a normal missionary routine!! We have been very busy and very blessed here. Thatcher where we serve is pretty much like serving in Provo haha. I learned this week it is 90% members of the church, and that there are less than 600 non members living in our area. That is what is so fascinating about our mission, is that it is full of so many unique places. I have learned so many different things in so many different places.
This week we started off training our zone in a zone meeting. It went well. There are ALWAYS more opportunities to learn as a missionary. There is so much we can learn and apply in our work. I am grateful for those many chances, and the teachers always learn more than the students.
President Passey spent the night with us on Tue night. It was great to get to know him better. He is sooooo awesome. He is a very special man, and he has truly been called of God to be in our mission at this time. We had some great conversations with him, and he told us some hilarious stories from his adventures working for FEMA. He has seen some pretty intense things. Most importantly he is truly a man of God. We got to have interviews with him the next day, which were wonderful. I left feeling inspired, and excited. He gave me some wonderful counsel and insights.
As for this week, we have been spending lots of time trying to find new investigators. That is the huge challenge here. Especially once college starts here things really progress quickly, but for now we are pushing forward. We taught a girl this week named M. She is so 'pila' as Elder Hughes (Guatemala version) says it. She is golden. She has amazing questions and perspectives. We are passing her off to some other Elders, but it was amazing to teach her the first time. The spirit was strong, and it led the lesson well.

We have had some really cool experiences with inactive members this week as well. Many of them came to church on Sunday. In the young single adults there are many that fall away in that age period. It is truly the decade of decision, and so it is crucial that we reach out to rescue those of our age group who have stayed a bit. One sister named Q, got baptized this previous winter. She has a pretty amazing story. She is a native american, from the Apache reservation near here. She faces some very interesting challenges and family issues that are very unique to that culture. We have had some really good lessons with her this week, and she came to church on Sunday!!! It made my whole day to see her walk in. It has been amazing to teach her. The Book of Mormon was truly written for her people. It is pretty amazing to witness the gathering of the descendants of Lehi right in front of your eyes.
This weekend was the pioneer day celebration here in the Gila Valley. And oh boy do they go all out. They don't mess around with their pioneer day celebrations. The weekend was full of shows, pancake breakfasts, parades, fireworks, booths, food, and festivities. The entire community was there, so we all got to help out with some of the things and participate. Elder H and I were in the Parade, which was fun. It is quite rare to be treated like a disneyland character as you walk down the streets. We joked, that in Tucson it is quite the opposite, and yet Thatcher isn't like most places haha. We got some good pictures. We pulled a handcart for most of it, and sweated like real oxen. It has been very very hot this week.

I have been thinking this week alot about temples. First of all because we can almost see the temple from our apt complex, which is so awesome. I love everything about temples. They are so important. They bless our lives in every single way. One of the talks on Sunday was from a return missionary who reported on his mission, and he talked about setting a vision with the investigators of the temple. Oh how I love the temple. I hope each of us can make it a priority in our lives. It should be, as it is the house of the Lord.
I love you all so very much. I am happy and excited about the work that is before us here. I hope that this email finds you all happy and well!
all my love
Elder Hughes

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hello! | week 93

Hello there family!!!
I am coming you from the EAC campus today! It has been an exciting week, we have been very very busy, with lots to get done. Transfer weeks are always a bit crazy, so we are glad to be finally settling into our normal routine. It has been really fun getting to know the members here. It is strange to be back in a college environment again. It is so much fun. It is a bit slow on the missionary work side of things here, because almost all the students are gone for the summer. In a little over a month or so they will all be back, and the work should heat up quick. There are quite a few people students that almost got baptized at the end of the last semester who will be back to finish the deal when they get here. We have the most amazing bishop of the YSA ward here. He is so darn awesome. One of the best bishop's I have ever seen. He is a very inspired man of God and he is very focused on missionary work. Historically his ward has baptized the most in the stake by a long shot.
Elder H my companion is awesome. We get along great! That is so funny that grandpa and his dad know each other. They will have to take a pic and send it our way haha. We have been working hard to find new investigators this week. Thatcher is VERY mormon. Probably 70+ percent, so we have to get very creative, and it takes time, but we are excited.

There is an a great family we are teaching here. It is actually a grandma who is raising all her grandkids. We found them by just talking to them when we walked by. They have been through quite a bit of tough things in their lives, and the grandma (sis M) is a very inactive member. We have had some very powerful lessons with them. We had one this week on prayer, and it went really well. What was even sweeter was when we returned the next day, they had all prayed together as a family and had some very powerful spiritual experiences. That is music to our ears. It is amazing what happens when we have the faith to ACT. That is truly the key. We have seen small changes in them, and we are excited to keep working with them. The gospel truly blesses families. That is the 2nd principle we teach in the missionary lessons, because that is how important it is.
We are also working on reactivating a kid named A. He is going to be a Senior in high school, and he wants to change his life. He has struggled alot in high school, and he has some pretty bad family situations, but he is doing well. He is just soaking up all that we teach him. We had some powerful experiences with him this week.
Since our YSA area covers all the other missionaries' areas we end up finding lots of people for them to teach. We have found some really prepared people, which was pretty exciting.

We had the chance this week to participate in a youth conference from the Sahuarita stake, that came up here and stayed at the college. It was a blast. We taught some classes on missionary work to all the youth. It was great fun. They even had the chance to teach some 'investigators' like we do in the MTC. It was so fun. A bunch of the kids there were from Nogales! So it was a big family reunion! It was so fun to be with all of them. Some of the young men that we worked with there have received their mission calls. R's son M was there as well.
This week we had the chance to go to MLC again. It was the first one with President Passey, and it was wonderful. A spiritual feast. He and his wife are amazing people, with wonderful new ideas and insights for the work here. I learned much there. He is coming up here for interviews this week, and we found out that he is actually spending the night in our apt with us haha. A sleep over with the mission president :) Kind of funny, we are excited to get to know him better.
One thing that we talked alot about this week in our meetings was about Charity. Oh how important that gift is. Truly "Charity never faileth." In the words of Elder Holland "Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be,then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others. Jesus clearly understood what many in our modernculture seem to forget: that there is crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it(which He never ever did even once). Friends, especially my young friends, take heart. Pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world." Charity and obedience are connected attributes. We show our love for god by keeping his commandments. The world and our neighbors and family and friends all need charity. We need to be worthy of receiving the gift of Charity from God. We must pray for it. Thank you for the Charity and love that you have always showed me. I will be forever grateful for that example. It is through being "true followers of Jesus Christ" that we can become like him.
I truly do love each of you

Elder Hughes

PS On a scary/exciting/sad/happy note. My plane ticket was purchased today to arrive in Sacramento on Oct 16
Sister Greer & I

Elder George and I with our Nogales neighbors at youth conference

Me in front of President Kimball's house that he grew up in

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hey, I am going back to college early | week 92

Leaving Benson AZ & my Companion

My new Companion in Thatcher, AZ

Hey there family!
First of all your trip looks like it was a blast!!!!!!!!! How fun! You will have to take Tanner and I back for round two one day. I love all the pictures it looks so beautiful there. Goodness, it is so good to see green. Living in the desert for 2 years has made me so attracted to the color green haha. It sounds like you guys are busy as ever. Zach has probably started efy by now. He will love it! Rilo is getting in with the ladies :) Good work. Lifeguarding is a good place to do that :) Mom and Dad you all look great. It was great to see a pic of grandma and grandpa too.

I am coming to ya this week from the library of Easter Arizona College! It is in Thatcher Arizona in the Gila Valley. I am pretty close to the temple. I got transferred today to cover 4 YSA wards here in the college. It is going to be a blast! I am really excited. It is going to be a whole new adventure. My new companion is Elder H. He is wonderful. We have gotten to know each other a bit over our missions, and he is a great missionary. I am really excited for it. Elder H is also from LAYTON UT. A place I believe we are familiar with. He went to Layton High and his dad is an anesthesiologist at Davis hospital. So Grandpa Bill do you know him? Kind of a small world. Right now since it is the summer all of the college kids are home from college so we just have one ysa ward, but towards the end of this transfer school will start again. Right now we are also covering a family ward as well just for the summer.
It has been a crazy week with transfers and lots of other work and changes. Elder T and I saw alot of tender mercies from the Lord this last week. We spent alot of time teaching the members. We really felt that is how we were going to be able to help the work progress, right at the end we got some really solid referrals and one refferral was for a guy who was looking for us, he wants to join the church. We really like when that happens :)
We had a great 4th of July. We went to the Benson city parade and contacted some people and also to the Benson city 4th of july festival. We got roasted by the sun and spent most of the day there contacting people.
Monsoons have begun!!!! FINALLY. I was dying to see some rain. Some pretty crazy storms have moved through. Yesterday we watched a member's trampoline get demolished by the flood wash. I have never been so grateful for rain in my entire life.
Leaving Benson was a bit tough. I have loved that place. I love the members there. It was tough to say goodbye. Especially to the Garner's. I felt like I was leaving home all over again. I will cherish many good memories serving there.
We got to meet President and Sister Passey this week!!!! It was wonderful. They are amazing people. The spirit witnessed to me of the divine origin of their call. It just feels right. They are wonderful disciples of Christ, with so much energy and enthusiasm for the work of the Lord. It was fun to finally meet them. I look forward to getting to know them better in the future.

It has been a busy week. I am very very excited for one last area on my mission. It is going to be very good. I feel it. I am cherishing every day to be a missionary and be able to testify with authority of the divinity of our Savior Jesus Christ. As you pointed out I am in the double digits of days that I will be able to do that. I am grateful for that calling. I have never been so happy in my whole life as I have been in the mission field. That comes from a promise made by a prophet in Preach my gospel "The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humblyand prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children." That promise is true for all of us as missionaries, and for YOU as member missionaries. I know that promise is true!
I love you guys so very much. Stay safe in your travels and adventures!

Elder Hughes

the monsoons have arrived.