Monday, February 24, 2014

It's a sunny day in Nuevo Mexico! | week 73

Hello Familia!!!

Happy Monday to you as well. I like you mom like the new starts that monday brings. For us it is even more literally a new start every week, because our key indicators drop down to 0 and we start over. It sounds like you are all doing great. I love all the pictures. I am getting better at taking pictures. I need to get ALOT better, but I am working on it. Thank you for the package update. Mom, you sound trunky in your letter haha. I miss you all too, and am excited for the day I get to see you, but meanwhile the field is white and ready to harvest. Just think Mothers day will be here before you know it!

We had a great week. It went soooo fast. Oh my goodness I can hardly believe it. After 3 months of diligent effort, we are starting to see the fruit and much of it has come in the last week. I am so grateful for that. I have learned that the Lord blesses us when we don't give up, and we keep going. Sometimes I think he reserves the blessings until we have proven to him that we are willing to do what it takes.

Some of the highlights of the week:

The # 1 highlight of the week was the S's got baptized!!! Their baptism was amazing, spirit filled, and wonderful. It was great. Those are truly our Pay Days as missionaries. They came to the waters of baptism through the efforts of many missionaries over a year and a half. I am so grateful that I got to see it. The water heater was broken in the church, so their baptism was icy cold.... we felt bad for them, but it all worked out. They were filled with so much faith. Just before M got baptized, I felt the spirit so strongly. I love that feeling. It witnessed to me again of the sanctity of that ordinance, and how important it is to our salvation. Their faith strengthens mine.

Our investigators are doing awesome. C and her family are soaking up the book of mormon, and they are so awesome to teach. I love teaching them. They are so excited to learn and to grow. They ask really good questions, and the spirit is always strong. She has read into 2 nephi already in the Book of Mormon. 

Another investigator we got this week, named B is really special as well. Her mom and daughter have gotten baptized recently, and she has seen the difference the gospel has made in their lives. She lives a really hard life, in a lot of poverty, and many other really hard circumstances. The member we took out with us pointed out to us that she has the "hungry for happiness" look in her eyes. That is so true. I have seen as we teach her that she truly is a starving spirit, in desperate need for nourishment. I am so grateful that we have the "living water" and the "bread of life" to offer her. I am excited to teach her more this week.

Elder W, our AP and my good friend came out with us for a day this week, and we had a blast. He is a huge example to me, and is such a good friend. We also got to go down to Columbus and teach a family that he baptized when he started his mission here. They are inactive, so it was really special that he got to do that for them.

We helped a member roof a house this week. It was a first for me. It is a really really old house. It was pretty fun, and as usual for me I got sunburnt :)

One miracle from Sunday. It was 8 pm and we didn't have anything to do, so Elder P had the idea to go see a recent convert family that didn't come to church that day. So we went, and we sat down without a real plan of what to teach them. I opened up my scriptures, and I had the idea to teach them about the parable of the prodigal son, and the beautiful story of repentance, forgiveness and redemption that it teaches. We were amazed as we finished teaching them to hear from the father, that he needed to hear that exact lesson, at that exact time. It became an emotional evening for all of us. I think it is my favorite thing in the world to know that the Lord has used me in some small way to care for one of his children.

We have our work cut out for us this week. It is going to be a doozy. To my dismay, it is the last week of the transfer. So next week I might be coming to you from a new place. Either Elder P or I are leaving, but we have no idea who. I ADORE our branch here, so I would be really sad to leave, but I have learned that every transfer is inspired so we will see what happens!

I want to leave you with my testimony of the Savior. I truly know that he lives. HE LIVES. He loves us. He atoned for each of us. On Sunday in our little Columbus group of just a few people, we had sacrament meeting, and then for Sunday school we watched a movie. We watched The Testaments. There in that little rented school, watching a movie about our Savior on a dinky little tv, my testimony of my savior was re-witnessed to me. I say re-witnessed, because It is something I already knew, but I love to be reminded of what I know. I never tire of it. I love all of you, and I love this gospel. Take some moments this week to think about the Savior. Much of our problems come from not remembering, and forgetting. The word remember is so important. Read the sacrament prayers again and you will see why. All that the gospel and the temple teaches is about remembering. So I challenge you to remember the Savior this week. I try to every day here on my mission, and that has made all the difference.

I love you all so much. Adios until next tuesday, from hopefull here in Deming, but maybe from a new adventure!!


your son/brother/grandson/friend/cousin/nephew

Elder Hughes

Monday, February 17, 2014

May Weather in February!!! Welcome to the ATM! | week 72

Hello there family!!!

It is wonderful to hear from you. It sounds like all is well in Rock town!

Thank you for all the pictures and information about Heidi's memorial run! I had no idea that was going on! I cannot even begin to express my thanks for running in my behalf. I wish with all my heart that I could have been there with so many people I love honoring someone I love so much. You made me cry in your letter, congratulations haha. It is a different kind of memorial for me, I hope that I can honor Heidi by pressing forward in the Lord's work. I love each of you, and I love so much the friends and family that I know where all there at the race. Give each of them my love. What a wonderful way to remember her. I have cherished memories growing up with that awesome girl. I love the picture that you wore. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I am so grateful that you ran for me, I wish I could have been there, but I am so happy to be a missionary and honoring her in this way.

That's exciting about your callings!!! I am sure you will love to be back in young men's dad. Mom is in the charge of the bulletin!!!! Awesome! Seriously it is though, we need someone to make a program for us here in our branch haha. One thing I have learned alot about here in the mission is how important every single act of service we do is. Also remember that there are so many ways to get involved and get creative in serving others. Sometimes the normal callings leave us the most time to search for new and unexpected ways to serve others.

As for our week here in good ol Deming! It was a really good one. I felt like we finally made some real progress in the work here. First of all, there has been AMAZING weather. Sunny and 75-80 every single day. SO GOOD. We have been biking and walking alot, which has been great. Good weather always makes me happy :) Some highlights of the week:

We found an AWESOME new investigator named C this week. She has been so prepared to hear the gospel. We just 'happened' to be passing by their house and we contacted her. It turns out she has been searching for a church, and had some contact with the church many years ago. She has been super open and excited to learn more, which makes us really happy. We have struggled so much here to find progressing investigators, so we are excited for the future. She has a baptismal date, and we are excited to see where it goes.

The S family that the Sisters and us have been teaching are getting baptized this saturday!!! We are really excited. They have investigated the church for over a year, so it is a long time coming!! I have loved teaching them, they are really special.

We had interviews with President this week. It was great. I always come away from them feeling encouraged and inspired. He is really happy with our zone. Our zone is doing better now than it has ever done since he got here almost 3 yrs ago, so he is a happy man. I am so proud of the missionaries in our zone. We have 8 baptisms this coming sat. in the zone!

One change that is exciting is that our area is getting bigger this week. The sisters had previously been the ones going down to columbus the tiny little border town. Now we are going to be going down there, it changed for a bunch of reasons, but we are excited to start working down there. It is a crazy little border town, where Pancho Villa has a bunch of history.

This week I had to translate for the high council speakers in Sacrament meeting, which was my first time translating in public. It went well. I was really nervous, but the spirit thankfully helps us missionaries out alot.

As usual the week was full of many opportunities to serve, teach, and testify to the many people that we come in contact with. We taught alot of inactive members this week, and many are still returning. The Rescue is something that is vitally important. Just as important as baptizing. I have come to love the challenge and spirit filled experiences of teaching those who have stayed away. One miracle I saw this week was when we went on splits with the members, and I went with our amazing branch president to visit some families. We had no luck finding anyone home until we came to our last house of the night. Her name was H. We had a wonderful visit with her, and we invited her back to church. She was amazed that whenever she is having a really hard time, and doubting what she should do, someone from the church always shows up. It's funny how that works. I appreciate every opportunity that I am given to be a part of that miracle of a process. We gave her a blessing, and went on our way. 

I have a deep deep love for our spanish branch here. This branch has truly captured my heart. I love being a part of this little part of the Lord's vineyard. I am so glad that the Lord has guided me here.

Thank you for your support, love and prayers. I feel them and appreciate them. I finished the Book of Mormon this week. What a wonderful book it is. I love it. Keep reading it! The spirit always witnesses to me of it's truthfulness.

I am so grateful for all I have been blessed with. Today I contemplated in the shower (where lots of deep thinking happens) for a while how exceedingly blessed I have been. I sometimes can't believe it. I am so grateful to my father in heaven for all he has given me. Don't forget to take a moment in life to remember what you are grateful for. One of my biggest blessings is each of you. I love you all so much. Have a wonderful week!


Elder Hughes

Monday, February 10, 2014

Yay for Rain!!! The desert is still dry as dirt here :) | week 71

Hey there family!!!!!

What amazing news to get from home, one of my best friends receiving her mission call, a modern day rain miracle in the great state of California, and a happy family at home! All amazing news. I have been keeping Cali in my prayers for a while. What power prayer and fasting can and does bring! I love all of your pictures. It is funny to hear your perspective on mission time. I as well feel the same. I am excited for a new start to a new week. I think that is what your quote is all about. We must not give up ever. Many times it is after the trial of our faith that the miracles come.

I don't even want to think about Riley and Zach getting old. It is freaking me out a bit. For some reason I just think they never will grow up haha. They both look great. I love each of you so much. 

This week was a bit all over the place. It went so fast. Sometimes I get to the end of the week and wonder when I was supposed to have time to accomplish all that I need to do. The week was full of lots of small miracles and tender mercies of the Lord. Elder P and I are still pressing forward. For some reason, we have not been able to find investigators who are TRULY willing to progress. We are working on that. No matter what I always take comfort in knowing that I am doing all that I can. But the Lord always finds little ways to remind me that I am doing HIS work and he is at the helm. 

One of those was this week when we had a frustrating evening, all of our appointments fell through and our back up plans as well. We were left wondering what to do with the 30 minutes we had before dinner. We decided to try and see a member that we had been trying to see for a long time. We had tried many times and no one was ever home. That night she was home, and so we taught her a quick lesson teaching her how to invite her friends to hear the gospel. She stopped us and looked kind of amazed. She then explained that, she had been talking to her friend that very morning about the gospel. Something she had never done before, and that she had been left wondering how she should invite her friend to hear the gospel. Then we happened to show up on that night. We all were amazed to see the wonder of the timing of it all. Not a coincidence. There are no such things in this work. 

Another small highlight to the week was when M and R (who we passed off to the english elders) wanted to take the 4 of us missionaries out to eat. We ate at denny's and then had a great lesson. My favorite part being when we all talked about the Holy Ghost. One of the Elders described the feelings that the Holy Ghost brings us, and asked them if they have ever felt that. R than said "Yes, every time we are with each of you." What a joy it is to witness moments like that.

I went on exchanges to Silver City this week, and had a great time. I love being able to talk to younger missionaries and help them in their starts to their missions. At that time, I was kind of having a tough day. I was feeling down about the work in our area and why it wasn't working. Then on exchanges we went to teach a man who similarly was struggling with his own set of very different challenges. My companion and I and the member all taught and testified about the challenges our Heavenly Father gives them, and how to overcome them. The spirit through teaching him, taught me alot more. He taught me and helped me through helping someone else. That has truly been the essence of being a missionary. I have seen it over and over again. It really is the essence of being a disciple of Christ. And oh how it blesses us and all around us.

Towards the end of the week, we have seen some more success and we have found some more really awesome people to teach. People that I feel we were led to.

Like Tanner, we as well have seen lots of success in helping the less active members return to church. We had 4 of them at church this week.

One lady I just met in our branch made me think alot about you mom. She just returned to Deming from El Paso because she had been in the hospital with her 2 premature twins for the last couple months. I was only able to meet her briefly at church, but I assured her that my own mother could definitely relate to her. 

I have been reading in the Book of Mormon (my favorite book in the world) and this week I was blessed to read the powerful sacred chapters of Christ's visit to the America's. There is so much power in the book of mormon. I LOVE the Book of Mormon. Whenever I am having a hard time, I pick up that miracle of a book. It truly has power. I am so grateful for the opportunity to invite all to read it. My favorite way of contacting in public places is asking people " Hey, Do you like to read?" That one question has opened for me many conversations about my favorite book that we always carry as missionaries! 

I love you all so much. I love your words, and support and faith.

I have one last invitation for you this week. And this comes from President Killpack himself: I quote:

 I would like to present an opportunity to you. Here is an idea I want each of you to try. It comes from a conversation Sister Killpack had with two of our missionaries. She says, "So, the other day, I was talking to the missionaries while President Killpack was doing interviews. We were talking about finding and the importance of talking with everyone. I asked them who everyone was. I got the usual answers of people on the street, members, inactive members etc. I asked who else? Elder Landon said, "Well, my cousin told me of a friend she has here that we should teach." His companion Elder Obray said, "Maybe we should ask our family." 
With that we decided even though we can't use Facebook yet, our families can. So as missionaries we want you to ask through your weekly email to all your friends and family members:
Who do you know who lives in the Arizona Tucson Mission, who would be willing to have the missionaries come and share a message about the Gospel? If a name came to your mind, please send me an email back and I will have two amazing missionaries go visit them. We are excited to invite you to help us find people to teach and we love the idea of having family and friends more involved with our mission.

They could even post the invitation on their own facebook, twitter, etc... and invite others to send names our way. Sister Killpack posted the 'Who do you know...invitation' on her facebook just last night and has already received 3 referrals for missionaries in our mission and 5 others who shared the invitation with others. If each missionary received just 5 referrals back, that would be almost 1500 referrals for us to teach. Keep track of how many referrals you receive back and please forward them to the Office promptly. The Lord will bless us as we do ALL in our power to find those who are prepared to hear the restored gospel.

I have learned by experience that when I follow the counsel of this great man, I am blessed, and so will you!!!

I love you so much

Elder Hughes

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chicken Murders and more mexican food :) | week 70

Hola Familia!!!

Lots of big news from the homefront! I am sure the changes are big to the ward, I can't wait to hear more about everything that is happening. I will always have a very special love for both of those wards. As for the superbowl, we were pretty sure that the bronco's lost when our rowdy neighbors who are mega bronco's fans looked pretty depressed last night.

It sounds like you are all doing well. Riley and Z man it is great to hear from you guys! I can't wait to see you too in a couple short months. The time is flying by. 

As for our week here in Deming, it was another good one. I feel like sometimes I must sound like a broken record. Things are going really well here. We are slowly but surely seeing the first fruits of our labors here. Many times it takes time for those to come forth. We had alot of dropped appointments this week with the families we are teaching, but we are continuing forward in teaching them. We found another new family to teach that I am really excited about. Sometimes I just get a really good feeling about someone when we start teaching them. Her name is M and we are going back to see her and her family today.

Some highlights from the week:

I had my first experience ever in Chicken slaughtering this week. It was bloody, and fun. Our ward mission leader Brother Q needed to get rid of some roosters, so the sisters and us went over and had a slaughter house morning. The way mexicans kill chickens is by grabbing them by the neck and whipping them around until their head flies off. Then you have to run and catch the body that keeps running around. We got a good lesson in how to skin, gut, and prepare them. It was fun, Hno Q says that we need to learn one day so we can be prepared for the second coming haha.

We went down to leadership conference on Friday. It was great. I have lots of dear friends who serve with me in these positions and it is always so fun to be with them. I learned ALOT. That is always a sure bet that we are never done learning. President Killpack trained us on how to become master teachers. Teaching is so important, and I still have a long way to go in being a better teacher. I loved it and learned so much. Now we get to take it back to our zone's and train them. I found out one of the other missionaries there is a twin too! We had a conversation that only twins on missions can fully understand. It was awesome.

Like the other Elder Hughes, I too have seen the Lord's hand in my life so often as a missionary. Leading us to those that need help. I am so grateful for that. There really is nothing better. We met a lady named S this week. I really feel like we were led to her. She is struggling immensely. We happened to knock on her door a couple hours after her daughter was life flighted to the hospital in El Paso. We were able to pray with her, and began to teach her. As is usual, it was her faith that inspired me. We left her house feeling uplifted ourselves by her amazing faith.

We passed off M and R to the english elders this week. In that lesson we taught the Plan of Salvation. It went so well. The spirit was strong. M blew me away. She said, "I have truly felt like something has been missing in my life. I have never been able to pin point it. I have worried about it, and tried many different things, but I just cannot figure out what it has been. I feel like you missionaries finding us has been the start of that missing part of my life being found." How amazing is that!!! It really shouldn't surprise me, but it still always does about how the Lord lines everything up.

Lastly the S family who all 4 of us missionaries here have been teaching is doing wonderful. We just had a lesson with them last night, and it was amazing. They are so ready. It has been a long road for them, they have been investigating for more than a year! But on the 22nd they are getting baptized! We are all really excited.

I, like Tanner said, feel like I am in the prime of my mission as well. The Lord has blessed me so much. I stand in awe sometimes. Last night we taught mission prep for the youth here in Deming, and we talked about some of the things that I have learned so far as a mission. The full version of that questions is very long, but one thing that I have reflected alot about this week is about diligence, patience, obedience, and hope. I haven't seen hundreds of people flock to the font on my mission, but I have seen miracles. I have seen the Lord's hand guiding my life and mission. I have felt the enormous blessings that come from patience, diligence, obedience, and hope. The goal of my whole mission has been that when I walk onto the plane to go home at the end of my time here that I will be able to say honestly that I gave it my very best. 

In so many ways that is what our entire lives are. That is what we need to be able to say on our return home to our heavenly father. So it applies to all of us. Thankfully we have a perfect example, we have a Savior. That knowledge has changed my life.

Have a wonderful week! You are always in my thoughts and prayers. I love you all so much!


Elder Hughes