Monday, January 27, 2014

Hola Familia!! | week 69

Hola familia! Siempre estoy muy feliz leer sus mensajes! 

It sounds like it has been another eventful week in the life of the Hughes family! Your trip to New York looks like it was amazing. I am so happy you guys got to have a real get away together. You don't get those often enough! I love to see your pictures. Not only do you both look so young, but you look so happy! That makes me happy! My thoughts were with each of you on Saturday on your anniversary and on Rilo's birthday. Thanks for sending me all the pictures! 

As for the news about our ward being split :( To be completely honest it makes me real sad, just because I LOVE the Rocklin first ward. It is where I grew up pretty much my whole life. I have marvelous memories from my time there. I love and cherish all of those. BUT life is full of change. I have come to really learn what that is like out here as a missionary. Change is always a little bit hard, but I am always grateful for the new opportunities and excitement that it brings. It is a huge opportunity for us to grow, learn, and stretch ourselves. SO am excited/nervous with you this week as we all wait for the news! Whatever it is, it will be right.

We had a great week here this week. This is one of the first weeks here in Deming that we actually felt fully successful haha. It was great. We got a referral on Monday night to go see a recent convert that moved here from Pheonix who couldn't find the church here in Deming. She had been away from the church for 4 months or so, just because she couldn't find it. It was a little miracle that she found it again, and her two older daughters aren't baptized so we have started to teach them, and they came to church this week! It is exciting. All the stars are lining up. That happens alot in the Lord's work.

We started teaching a family here. I LOVE teaching families, and I wish I could have taught more of them here on my mission. They are the Z family. They are awesome. The parents are hilarious  and the kids are really great as well. I don't think they understand all the way yet of why we are there (even though we explain it alot haha) but they are feeling the spirit, and we are so excited to keep teaching them.

We are helping an inactive man named A stop smoking right now, and we are reading the Book of Mormon with another inactive man alot as well.

The Branch here is doing Awesome! I love it. In the last couple months there has been a big change in the missionary spirit of the branch, and the members are helping us lots. All 4 of us missionaries just adore our little ramita. We had an amazing church service on Sunday, and we had a packed gospel principles class full of investigators, recent converts, and returning members. It is an exciting time.

I can't remember if I have told you about the S family. Us and the sisters have actually been teaching them together. They are 'eternigators' or people that have investigated the church for way to long haha. They are doing amazing right now. They are super ready for their baptism that is coming up in a couple weeks. They are so excited. 

Life is good here. The work rolls forward. I am happy, healthy, and my obsession with mexican food is growing every day.

We have a busy week coming up, Elder P and I get to make the long trek to Tucson for Mission Leadership Conference, so we will be stocking up on ruffles, root beer, and some Elder Holland talks to get us there. :)

I have been thinking a bit about temples this week. Oh how grateful I am for temples. I love the temples of our church. It is one of my favorite things about our magnificent church. Did you know that the bible dictionary teaches us that the second most holy place in the world besides the temples are our homes (if we make them that way). Check out this new temple: It is SO beautiful. And it is in my mission state ARIZONA!

I love each of you so very much. I think of you often. The gospel is so true. I hope you all remember that. The more we let it, it will bless our lives. Ironically, we are usually the ones that get in the way of those blessings. So let's get out of the way and recieve some blessings.

I love you all!

Until next week!

Elder Hughes

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I am still here in Deming! Yay! | week 68

Hello my dearest family and friends!
I made it through another round of transfer calls :) I am really glad I am staying here for another transfer. I really haven't felt that I have yet accomplished here what the Lord needs me to do. Pretty much every time I have been transferred I have really felt like it was time, and I haven't felt that yet. Elder W my good friend who is an AP gave me a mini heart attack by faking a transfer call to me. I was quite stressed haha. But it was all a joke. Thankfully!
I want to start by saying how touched I was by the letter of your friend. The Lord works in small and simple ways to accomplish his purposes. What a miracle it all truly is. Thank you for telling me about that. Nothing makes me happier in life than being used in some small way to accomplish what the Lord needs.
It sounds like you all are doing great! I love to hear your words of how you are all doing. I am so excited for you both to go to New York! One of my favorite places in the world! You both deserve an awesome adventure. Go see a broadway show for me! I love to hear you talk about how good you are feeling right now spiritually. I feel good too. Sometimes the mission life is crazy with so many different emotions and feelings, that sometimes it is hard to get a bearing on myself haha. But I really feel good as well.
It has been another week full of experiences, miracles, tender mercies, disapointments, sadness, joy, and every thing else you could imagine. Sometimes I am in awe at how crazy our life can be at times.
A quick rundown of the week.
On monday we had P day, and played capture the flag at a place called "city of rocks" that is out here in the middle of the desert. It was pretty awesome. (Deming district won by the way) It was really fun. I love our zone out here in desolation as we lovingly call it. Or "demnation" haha.
On tuesday we were really busy with the funeral for Hermana R. It all went well. The spirit was strong, and it was a beautiful funeral. She was a wonderful woman, and her family was all so blessed by her life. I actually found myself thinking alot about Heidi. I love and miss her. I still find time to remember her.
Wednesday we had zone meeting and Elder P and I had the chance to train our zone. It went really well. I love the chances that we have to learn from each other out here in the mission field. After that we headed to Duncan to give a baptismal interview to a lady named E. First of all, I still love every time I get to go back to see Duncan. That little farm town still has my heart. E is actually someone I met when I was there. She wasn't interested in learning a year ago, but now a true miracle has taken place in her life. I have never been in an interview as powerful as the one we had. The spirit was so incredibly strong. I have learned a trend when it comes to the spirit and how it works. It truly has everything to do about faith. I feel the spirit the strongest when I or the person I am listening to have greater or stronger faith. E has some pretty amazing faith, because it was amazing hear her testimony. I was moved by it. We laughed and cryed and shared testimonies. Baptismal interviews are like a 30 minute conversion story. I love to give them. I hope to have faith like E's one day. We had a little bit of extra time so we got to stop by my good friend K's house. It was awesome. She is doing wonderfully well. The only problem is that there just wasn't enough time haha. I am so grateful for true friends.
The days from then on kind of blur together haha. Our zone had 4 baptisms this weekend so we got to go to lots of those (which is pretty much my favorite thing to do). Meanwhile Elder P and I worked our butts off to try and find solid, progressing investigators. It has been a challenge for us. For many days this week it has been an uphill battle. We had more moments this week where our faith was truly tested. We have been praying so hard for the Lord to lead us to those who are prepared. We went quite a few days with little luck, and a lot of prayers. Then yesterday actually we decided to go knock some more doors, and we found some amazing prepared people to teach. I am so grateful for a heavenly father who answers prayers. We are really excited to start teaching them this week.
One family we started to teach are really cool, they have lots of questions. The wife is actually a photographer! I told her about you mom, and she looked you up and was very impressed. If you find anyone named Michelle who may have friended you, that is her.
I have been thinking alot about each of you this week. I have learned over and over here about how important our families are. They must be strong in the world that we live in. I am so incredibly grateful for our family. Mom and Dad you are both my heroes. I love you so much. What you have done for me cannot be expressed. You have taught me how to have my own strong family one day. I have witnessed so many examples of destroyed, unhappy, painful families out here as a missionary. Satan is raging in the family right now in the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ must be at the center of our hearts and families. I love the words of the prophet and apostles "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." Thank you for teaching me all of these. I love you so much for that!
I love you all, have an amazing week! Happy anniversary mom and dad!! I love you. Riley, Happy 17th! Holy COW! How did you get so old. I remember my 17th birthday like it was yesterday. Enjoy every moment! I can't wait to be with you so we can truly celebrate.
I love you all
Elder Hughes

Monday, January 13, 2014

Another week has flown by in Deming!!! | week 67

Hello there family! 

It is great to hear from you all as always! One of my favorite things to do is to get on my email and hear from you guys. I love you all! It sounds like life is pretty normal :) It has been a good week here. Full of many different emotions!

I am sure you all want to hear about Elder Holland. I really want to hear about it too haha, because we unfortunately got some really bad news the day before our trip. Elder Holland cancelled his trip :( it was definitely a bummer, it must have been something really huge that came up on his schedule, because 6 missions of missionaries were gathered together. We were all a bit bummed, but it all worked out. Because they had already rented 6 buses we still went to pheonix and we heard from the area 70 there. They kind of avoided the elephant in the room that Elder Holland wasn't there, until the 70's wife described it as saving your whole life to see the beatles play and having the dixie chicks show up instead haha. It was still really really good. The spirit was strong. The spirit always teaches me so much, no matter who is speaking. He talked to us alot about how we can truly be changed by our missions. Truly it comes down to forgetting about ourselves and serving others. That is the great secret to happiness and success in life. I have witnessed that first hand here as a missionary. It is the best feeling in the world to lose your self in the service of others. That is why the spirit is truly the best teacher. I know investigators must feel that way, because many times our teaching skills in spanish aren't expert level haha. 

The day we headed down to Phoenix was on saturday. It was a REALLY long day. I was completely wiped when we were done. I passed out on the bed haha. We got up at 3 am and drove 2 1/2 hrs to thatcher. Then took a bus for 3 more hours to pheonix. Went to the conference, and then made that trip all the way home again. It was great to see many of my missionary friends from around the mission. Phoenix was great. I had never been there before. It seems really nice there. I loved how warm it was :)

We also had zone trainings this week with the Killpack's and the assistants. It was wonderful also. There is always SO much to learn in the mission field. I am just beginning to understand how to truly do this work.

We had some other surprises this week. On thur as we came back from zone training we had dinner scheduled with a member, and so we headed over to their house. This member lives right across the street from another inactive family that we have been teaching alot. The mom Maria had just returned to activity as we had been teaching her. She had been to church 3 weeks in a row and had an appt to renew her temple recommend. We pulled up to the members house there was a ton of police and ambulances (yes I still cannot pronounce that word). We thought someone was hurt, so we wanted to see if anyone in the family needed a priesthood blessing. We talked to the policeman and he let us go inside, where unfortunately we saw the body of our friend Maria who had just passed away. She had a heart attack. She was still on the ground, surrounded by her family. It was very emotional and hard for us. The daughter who hasn't been active in a long time begged us to give her mom a blessing, I think hoping we would restore her mom to life. We were stunned, but gave Maria a brief blessing of protection for her body and comfort for her family. It was a miracle that we happened to be there at the right time to be able to do that. We were shocked, but so grateful to have known and worked with Maria. It is very hard for her family. She is a single mom, and was the rock of her family. Life truly is so precious. The plan of salvation is so real. We had the chance to go back a couple days after and teach her remaining family the plan of salvation. What peace there is in the knowledge we have. Her funeral is tomorrow. We are so happy to know that the Lord's hand led us to her before and after her passing away. She passed away as an active member. What a miracle.

We have been super busy this week, trying to help our investigators to progress and to find new ones that will. We haven't made tons of progress, but we are hopeful about this week. I absolutely adore our branch. It is amazing. The members are so strong, happy, and are so good to us. I would love to stay here the rest of my mission. We actually have transfers this coming weekend. I am 98% sure I won't be going anywhere, but the 2% always scares me. Oh some cool news. Elder Z is going to be our new AP. No surprise there he was a wonderful trainer and is a good friend.

Other cool news! R from Nogales is doing great in the gospel, AND his girlfriend who when we taught him was very opposed to us and the church is getting baptized next week! Awesome news! It always makes me so happy to hear.

On friday the sisters here in the branch had a baptism. It was one of the most beautiful and powerful baptisms I have ever been to. The spirit was amazing, and more than 80 people came (keep in mind our branch has about 30 that usually attend). It was amazing.

Ummmmmmmmm I have some other news. This has really been a week of all sorts of news. I got pulled over this week for speeding :( wooopsiee. I honestly was just not paying attention. SO I have a ticket to pay :( it is 76 dollars. I will pay you back for that one when I am able. I can pay it online. So whatever way is easiest let me know. I learned my lesson.

I have learned alot this week. One more personal experience I had was earlier in the week I was struggling with some questions and doubts that I had. I had prayed that I could find answers to those questions and doubts. I then sat down to study that morning and right as I opened the scriptures, the ensign, and our sunday school manual for this year I was amazed. The answers I needed were right in front of me. I was overcome with emotion at how fast Heavenly Father had answered my prayer. I love him. I love how he speaks to us. I marvel at the Lord's individual care for each of us. I encourage each of you to take your doubts and questions and struggles to the Lord. He answers. Sometimes it takes time, sometimes it is even fast. I know that he is real. That he is there and loves us. I love teaching and testifying to people of that truth.

I hope and pray I will still be coming to you from Deming next week!

I love you all so very much!


Elder Hughes

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy 2014!!!!!!!!!!!! | week 66

**Taylor filled our inbox today with pictures from the last month. It looks like he is having a great time!

Hey there family! Phew! I finally caught up on sending you guys pictures! YAY!!

I love the start of a new year! We had a crazy busy week here. We had a temple trip on Thur which took almost the whole day and then we had to make the almost 4 hour trek in to Tucson for our mission leadership conference. It was a packed few days. This was my first mission leadership conference and it was awesome. It is really cool to be able to share in the vision of the mission. The spirit was strong, it is such an exciting time to be here in the Arizona Tucson Mission. I love this mission. Every missionary says they are part of the best mission in the world, but the ATM truly is the best in the world!!!!! The day before at the temple was awesome. It is truly like the biggest deep breath when we get to enter the walls of the house of the Lord and feel of his love there. It is truly his house. It is truly a refuge from the storm. I felt so much peace there and received alot of personal revelation. Truly the only thing that could make it perfect is when I am in the celestial room with all of you!!!! The people I love most. That will truly be heaven. 

It has been a week of lots of different emotions and feelings. Sometimes this whole mission thing is quite the rollercoaster of emotions. We had some really tough days of work here this week. Sometimes no matter how hard you work, no matter how many times you pray, no matter how obedient you are, things don't always work out. The Lord is very good at testing our patience and endurance. There were many times this week when my companion and I looked at each other in confusion as to why every thing seems to be falling apart. We have done alot of praying and planning as to how we are going to get things going again. I am excited for the future. We are moving forward and I know that the Lord has so much in store for us. I love every moment of being a missionary. There really is nothing like it. It is full of joy. 

I love our little branch here. It is very small in size but very big in spirit. It is such a strong group of members. I love them all. I hope to stay here for a long time.

We did get to teach Mario and Bressany a family that we found last week. They got baptismal dates and we are really excited to keep teaching them. 

I love your words of excitement for the coming year! Truly it will be a memorable one. I am so excited for what it has in store. What an exciting time it is to be a missionary and to be a latter day saint.

For this coming week we are really excited to go see Elder Holland on Saturday! It is going to be amazing. I can't wait. It is going to be really strange. For a period of time on Saturday there will be no full time missionaries in the boundaries of our mission. Kinda weird to think about.... It think it kind of freaks President Killpack out haha.

It is going to be an exciting week in the work. I love this work. It is true. Remember how blessed we are all. I love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Elder Hughes