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.