Monday, April 28, 2014

Hello there Family | week 82

snakes. I thought of you dad!

Hey family!
Thanks Dad for the email! I am glad you got to share my message with grandma Jeannette. My prayers have been with her. It sounds like life keeps pressing on! Mom, I hope that you remember to take time for yourself :) I am so excited to talk to you soon! It has come so quickly, I can't believe it.
We had a good week of lots of hard work. Elder T and I have been working our booties off here in Benson. We are still trying to get the work here moving at full speed. Sometimes it just takes time, and work. We are seeing miracles though. I have learned alot about diligence as a missionary. It is a vital principle in our lives as missionaries. We must never give up, and we never do. It is always worth every effort. I have learned that lesson over and over again out here in the mission field.
Elder T and I have become real good friends. We laugh alot, and work very hard.

We went to the temple this week! Oh, it was so wonderful. I cherish the time we get to spend there. I truly know that it is the Lord's house. I feel his presence there. It is tangible, and it always helps me so much. I always receive answers to my prayers, and so much strength there. There is power in the ordinances of the temple. I hope to make temple attendance a habit of my entire life.
We are teaching a family named the A's. They are actually 3 cousins that live together, and it has been really fun teaching them. They have really good, challenging questions, so they keep us on our toes. Last night we were able to teach them about the plan of salvation. I love teaching people about that great plan.
Elder T and I have been working out every morning very early at a cross fit gym. It has been kicking my butt!!! But it's great, because I need it. I actually have really enjoyed it. I am going to find a cross fit gym when I get home. I have already seen a huge difference in just 2 weeks.
I am so grateful for the blessing of being able to serve every single day here in the mission field. I have loved every moment. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have come to understand so many things. My perspective has changed greatly.
We had a really cool referral yesterday. We were just leaving church, and a member pulled us aside. This member named D, was a bit less active so we went by to visit him. We shared a message with him, and his fellow rock band members were there. We invited them to learn about the gospel, but they declined. Well that was a couple weeks ago, and D came up to us today, and said that his friend was so touched by our message, that he has been very preoccupied about it. Now his friend told Derek that he wants to start taking the missionary lessons. It is a very simple thing, but I was touched to know that sometimes we don't know how much of an effect we are making. Sometimes we tend to doubt our ability to help people, but it is by small and simple means that great things happen.
I know that my Redeemer lives! I truly do. I got to sing that song in sacrament meeting this week, and I thought about that phrase alot this week. I think I love that song so much because it is a testimony. It is my testimony. Don't be afraid to bear it!

I love you all so much!

Elder Hughes

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Late Easter | week 81

Hello there family!
First of all I want to express my love for Grandpa Shirley. It is sad to hear of his passing. I always felt his love and support when I was with him. He was a good man, with a good heart. I wish I could be there to support all of our extended family. I am so grateful for the plan of salvation, it has empowered me to see life in the way that we should. It helps us know our place in this plan, and how death is just like walking into another room. It is just another step. Give all of our family my love.
You guys look like you had a great week in SoCal. It looks like a blast. I miss our wonderful Hughes family vacations. We always had so much fun just being together. Zach man is looking OLD!!!!! THAT CANT HAPPEN!!!!
Similar to you, I have lots of pictures to send. Those will tell much more of the story. We had a great week here. My new companion is great! We have become good friends already. He is from Wyoming, and grew up on a cattle ranch. He is a state champion wrestler, so I can't make him mad haha. He actually reminds me alot of you Tanner. That must be why we get along so well. We have alot of fun.
This week has been kind of a week of rebuilding and new beginnings here in Benson. Most of our investigators got baptized, so we have been starting from square one again. We spent much of the week trying to find new investigators, and help the ones we have to turn into 'real investigators'. I just love the work of the Lord. Our area has huge potential, so we are pressing forward to help even more people come unto Christ.
They put new sister missionaries in the area next to ours, and they got in a car wreck this week which gave us a real panic. We got a phone call to go to the hospital, so we rushed over there. Thankfully they were left with only some airbag burns and bruises, but it had us worried for a bit. We gave them blessings, and everythings worked out ok. It was quite a miracle that they made it out ok. Heavenly Father watches over his missionaries.

This weekend for Easter, the G's who we live with throw a huge easter party. They go all out. Lots of members and non members came, and it went really well. We also had another mini missionary from Tucson living with us for a couple days.
I am so grateful for Easter. I have reflected alot on it. What a hopeful and wonderful day it is to remember our living savior. We saw that video because he lives alot. We shared it with many people. I love it. Because he lives, we will be with our loved ones again. We can have a new starts. I love how the video says 'new beginnings' and 'clean slates' I am SO grateful for those. I truly know that he lives. I hope that each of us can remember that every day!
I love you all so much. I am loving the work here, and am doing well. Life is so very good.
I love you all so much. Never forget it!
Elder Hughes

PS Quote of the week goes to recent convert D as she walked into Sacrament: "He is Risen!!! So lets go kick some butt!!" haha. It was a classic D moment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A week of rejoicing | week 80

Hello Family!!!!

I love to hear all about your exciting times at home in California!!! The Hughes family never seems to slow down haha. Your baseball games and birthday celebrations seem like they were awesome! I love to see all of your pictures! Have fun down in SoCal. My thoughts were with each of you this week on your birthdays, I love each of you and wish I could have been there to celebrate with you.

Transfers are in! I am staying here thankfully! Elder F is headed off to my old area in Deming which is exciting! I will miss him, we have become good friends. My new companion is T. He is great! I just met him today, I am excited for what our new transfer has in store.

Oh what a wonderful week we had. Probably one of the best weeks of my whole mission. It was truly a week of Rejoicing! I love this gospel and I love being a missionary. We were very very very busy this week with alot going on, but it was wonderful. A and K got married on Thursday! So we put together their wedding for them. It was great. The ward helped us out alot. It went very well. Everything worked out perfect. A and K were so happy and so excited. A bunch of their friends and family came to join with them. The Bishop married them, and then there was a little dinner afterward. Elder F and I got sent off to pick up the wedding cake for them, and Safeway accidentally didn't make their wedding cake... so we had to bargain to get their money back and three extra cakes. I thought of you grandma barb, and channeled my inner Gbarb to get their money back. :) Everything went off well in the end. They didn't even care that much they were so happy to be married, K was actually happy to at least get her money back! 

We spent alot of the week getting all the investigators ready, interviewed, and prepped for the baptisms. We found some really cool new investigators to teach. I am really excited because we are teaching alot of families right now! I love teaching families, and I have not had the chance to teach as many as I would have liked on my mission. So I am excited to be teaching families. We have seen alot of success in getting referrals from members, of their family members to teach. The gospel is truly about families, so what could be better than sharing the gospel with our families!

The culmination of the week and the transfer came to this weekend! It was so wonderful. Elder F and I had to come down off of a spiritual high after such an amazing weekend. Saturday's baptismal service was for D and A. It might have been one of the best days of my mission. Their service went great. The spirit was strong and tangible. Both A and D were so happy. We all rejoiced together. As I witnessed each of them enter the water, I felt the sweet, pure, witness of the Holy Ghost I always feel at baptisms. As we come to know the sacrifice and faith that it took for each of these people to make it to this covenant, it shows us an even greater miracle. It is all worth it. No sacrifice is too great for the reward of rejoicing of a new covenant made with our heavenly father. President Monson is correct in saying 

"Those who understand the eternal blessings which comefrom the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, nostruggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings." There truly is no sacrifice to great. Not for us, not for the members, not for the investigators. Some of the sweetest moments came as we all went to the dressing room. Alfred's best friend baptized him, and so him and alfred and Elder Fairbanks and I all went into the dressing room. Alfred was so incredibly happy. He made me cry. He felt the immense joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all rejoiced together. It was a moment I will never forget. How incredibly grateful I am to be a missionary. I have been so blessed, and I would not trade it for anything. It is days like Saturday that make every sacrifice, every hour of work, every dropped lesson, and every exhausted drop into bed worth it.

We also got to participate in the Relay for Life this week! It was great! The member's we life with are awesome. They are truly like our parents away from home. I love them so so so much. That is who sent you the pictures. Their daughter beat breast cancer last year, so we were going out to support them. We had some fun too :) The family we live with are the Garner's. We have had some very powerful experiences with them this week. I love them so much.

The next stuff probably shouldn't be on the blog, Sis. Garner who is like our mom away from home is my hero. She is so awesome. She has a son who is struggling alot. Very much. He has immense anxiety and depression, he has been suicidal, and is a recovering heroin addict. Over 10 years of pain, it has been very hard for sister garner. Yesterday I went out to feed the chickens and found sister garner crying and very upset. I had to give her a big hug, and her and Elder Fairbanks and I talked for a while. We gave her a blessing. I truly have come to know how much god loves each of his children. He loves each of us so much. He knows how much we suffer. He knows how it feels. We all came away feeling uplifted, knowing how much god loves each of us.

It was a week I will not soon forget. I have been so incredibly blessed. I want to share one last thought today. In Ward Council this week we talked for a long time about people who need our help. There are many in our ward. It was eye opening. Our bishop is one of the best leaders, and most christlike people I have ever met. Our relief society president said something along the lines of "Bishop, we are losing him." Talking about a member who is falling away quickly. Our wise bishop said something that I won't forget. "No, we don't lose anyone. We only lose people, when we stop trying. The Savior never stops trying, he never gives up on us." The spirit was powerful, and he had most of the ward council in tears as we all were taught by our good bishop. I know that what he says is true. So if someone in our families, or wards, or communities is lost. Don't give up. Don't ever give up. There is always hope. With Christ there is always hope. 

I hope that this week we can focus on the Savior's life as we approach Easter. I love each of you so very much. I miss you and love you. God be with you til we meet again soon. (on skype) (in a couple weeks) (or in next week's email) :)

All my love

Elder Hughes

Monday, April 7, 2014

April Sun brings more May Sun | week 79

Hey there family!!!!

I hope that you are all doing well in Cali! I have been thinking about you mucho! I hope that all is well!

It has been a wonderful week of spiritual feasting!!!! We have been incredibly busy. There are just not enough hours in the day... It was a marvelous conference weekend!!! I loved every moment. My questions and prayers were answered and my testimony strengthened by the words of our prophet and apostles. What a privilege it is to be a part of this restored church!! I don't even think I can pin down my favorite part. Some of my take away's are that we have been asked to defend our faith with courage and love, the day's ahead may test that. Also that God loves his children so very much. He is aware of us, and he knows us. Obedience is key to all that we do. And also that we should have hearts filled with gratitude for our many blessings. I hope that each of you had the chance to feast! 

We also had MLC this week. It was wonderful. It is always great to be instructed by our leaders. I also love it, because I have many really good friends there with me. 

It has been a very busy week for us this week. Time is flying by. We are preparing for 4 baptisms this coming weekend! That makes me so very happy! A, D, A, and A are all going to enter the waters of baptism! I am so excited for each of them. I am so proud of them. It has not been any easy road for any of them. So we are going to be very busy getting all of that ready!

We had a mini missionary with us this week! It was really great! He was actually a not-so-mini-missionary, he has a football scholarship to the UofA so he wasn't real mini haha. It was an amazing experience for all of us! He is a convert of 3 years, and is in the final stages of his mission papers. He was very open about how before he came, he was doubting alot if he should come on a mission. He almost decided not to go. We had many amazing experiences with him as we taught all of our investigators and shared with him the joy of missionary service. It was great. He loved it, and it helped him commit to serving the Lord. It was a joyful time! He pointed out some wonderful things that sometimes we forget after many months. One was easy it is to love others, even people we don't know as missionaries. It is so true! I love all the people I am teaching so much! 

D is still going strong, and is set to get baptized on Saturday! It has been a very interesting road with her, and I am so excited for her! She is a very strong woman of faith. 

A has also faced many obstacles, but is doing so well! He is set to get married on Thur and get baptized on Saturday! It has been a miracle to really see all of it come together. He gets really anxious, so we are hoping to do all we can to help him calm his nerves.

I got april fooled this week haha. Elder P, my dear friend is in our zone, and he texted me to tell me their car got stolen, I got all concerned, and was about to call the mission office, when I found out it was all a big joke haha. It was pretty good. I am a big sucker sometimes for those things :)

I have a challenge for you! Actually it isn't my challenge at all, it is Elder Ballard's but I double challenge you! Elder Ballard has asked us all to study preach my gospel, the missionary manual. I can testify of the power of that manual. It is perhaps the most inspired manual in the church. It is wonderful!! He even specifically challenged the families of missionaries to learn about what we are doing by studying it. I promise you that if you do, you will see miracles in your lives and you will affect others for eternity! If you don't believe me, take it from an apostle (

The work is rolling forward here! I am so glad to have been even a small part of it. There are many other people we have met, are visiting, and doing all we can to help. I never have much time to talk about even the smallest part of our work. This is the last week of the transfer, and my companion will most likely be getting transferred. It has FLOWN by. I cannot believe it. The Lord has blessed us so much. I am so grateful for all that I have been blessed with. I marvel sometimes at it. Each of you are counted as some of my highest blessings. I love you all so much and miss you! I am so grateful for this church, and gospel. Without it, we would be lost. I am so very grateful for the Savior. His life and sacrifice have literally changed my entire life. I hope that our lives show how grateful we are for him.

I love you all so much! 


Elder Hughes