Monday, September 28, 2015

Obey, Work, Love.

Wielding the scriptures of doctrine, along with the thumbs up of a positive attitude for the day.


Time has gotten away from me so this letter will be short! Transfers were this week and Elder Martins and I will be staying here in Jardim Satélite for another transfer. Woot! 

We heard the news about Elder Scott’s passing this week, and we all were pretty sad. He was a good guy. It will be an interesting General Conference this weekend! 

Since I’ve been in Brazil, I’ve been told I look like Chris Pratt, Captain America, various German actors, Thor, the guy from the newest Jurassic Park, George Clooney, both Buzz Lightyear and Johnny Bravo, a Maori warrior, more Germans, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dad, and John Cena. I think I look like a missionary.

This week went by super quick and it was both really hot, and it poured a ton too. We’ve eaten very well recently, however the members tell me I look small. The mission does odd things to you, I swear. Also, my suit pants are still in the hospital—they may be torn past repair sadly. :/

There was an activity at the chapel here that we helped out with this week all about The Family. It was a conference for the community here in São José to hear about why we must work to protect the family, and why the family is so important. There were Mormons, Catholics, Baptists, Masons, Presbyterians, and others there at the chapel who were all invited to sit on the stand in support of our message—because the importance of the family is a message for all. There were 240 people there and we handed out a bunch of pamphlets! The family is important and The Family, A Proclamation to the World is an excellent source to look to as to why! ( The conference here was going on at the same time as the interfaith World Meeting of Families in the U.S. this week.

Dad, I loved what you had to say about obedience and love last week, about how obedience and love is a pretty good recipe and at some point the two things become one and the same. Our mission motto is “Obey, Work, Love,” and President Silcox gave the training on that this week which was really good.

We got a call early one morning this week from Presidente Silcox for Elder Martins and I to meet him and Sister Silcox at the nearby chapel. When we got there, there were also others -- all missionary trainers and trainees. We talked about the importance of mission rules, why we have them, about goals and how we want our missions to proceed for the next two years. Sister Silcox made cookies that were really good and we were so happy to have some sweets! 

Anyways, that was really the week. It went super fast and so I don’t have too much to say! It’s getting hot here, and it’s getting hot quickly. It also sporadically rains often so that’s good. My goal to think in Portuguese is going well, and Presidente Silcox told me my Portuguese was better than his (ha ha). He and his wife are awesome! I thanked him and told him I still have a lot of work! 

Here’s a short (really short) spiritual thought for the week: We can’t become perfect unless we recognize perfection in others first.

Have a great week and I love you all! 

Elder Hughes 

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Best Two Years

(L to r) Me, Elder Martins, Elder Miranda and Elder Monteiro wishing we had food cause our dinner fell through.


This week was quite hot out—we were walking, sweating, and saw a thermometer. 44°C. About 111°F. We decided to buy açaí. It was like that three days in a row!!

This week went well. We taught lots of people; we had two investigators at church this week! Yes! They liked it a lot and we have high hopes for them. We’ve taught them almost all the lessons and they are feeling good about what they are learning; they are praying, and starting to gain testimonies. It’s awesome! 

We were listening to music on our little Nokia phone that has been really well-loved, and the theme song from the missionary movie “The Best two Years” came on, about "going to the land of the tulips, where I’m gonna make the best two years.” 

Elder Martins said to me, "Don’t they know they are missionaries?" 

"What?" I replied.

"The land of the two lips. They are missionaries ... isn’t that against the rules to kiss people?"

I explained the difference between tulips and two lips and we laughed rull hard. Portuguese to English. English to Portuguese. Ah, language is a funny thing. 

This week I taught the District meeting training. Usually Elder Martins, who is the District Leader, does them, but I asked if I could to practice my teaching and my Portuguese, and so I prepared the lesson. I taught about how we can use our time wisely on the mission, and in Preach my Gospel, there’s all the suggestions about key indicators and the area book, but I used Alma 17 mostly. In Alma 17, Ammon reached King Lamoni and asks to be his servant. He defends the king’s sheep because he makes a goal in verse 25 to "only be a servant." I thought that the best way to use time wisely is to develop our testimonies of why we are here on missions, and that this time is the Lord´s time. When we do that, we will understand better the importance of this two years time, and we will want to just serve, just as Ammon did. And Ammon was a boss at using time wisely.

I had a cool chat with one of the Zone Leaders who leaves in 3 months, and I’ve got about 3 months out on the mission. We talked about things he’d wished he learned early on the mission, which was cool. He’s nice and has time for everyone. The other ZL here is fast and has a fire for the work, which is great, but his fire doesn’t accommodate much for someone still learning the language, so it was cool to talk to a ZL who had time.

I’m thinking in Portuguese now. My intense language study has stopped, and I made the goal to think in the language now. I had an experience this week where I was conversing and understanding everything clearly and it was really cool cause I was as comfortable as if it were English! 

I’ve developed a liking for cheese as of late. Odd for me, I know. One member gave us some cheese with a fruit jelly of Goiaba, a really good fruit here. It was so good, and I ate more than I should have. This week I also developed a fascination with carrots. I drew 4 carrots this week, and it was oddly fun. It could be the tremendous heat that has caused this odd behavior, or that I need more water, or that cheese and carrots are cool. I’m not sure, but I will follow up with you. 

I’m happy and learning lots of good things! I’m happy, feeling the Spirit, and loving the people. The days go by really really fast, so it’s gonna be a quick two years I think. Zoinks. 

That was really it for this week; I will take better notes on what goes on this week.
Love you all and I hope you are doing well! I am praying for you.

Please pray for the people here and our investigators! Also for sore feet.

Elder Walker Hughes 
On a very hot day, the only cold thing we had in the apartment: an apple.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Speaking like a 7-month-old

Brazilian rainstorm from my window.


This week was good and we’re finally finding people to teach who are really interested. Also, I went to a meeting this week with an investigator (a good ‘ole trade of church meetings, though he didn’t end up going to ours).

This week it rained cats and dogs so much. I actually caught a pretty bad cold this week too, which was a real bummer, but I walked it off. We had a Zone Conference this week with the 1st counselor in the Brasil Area Presidency, Elder Mazzagardi, who is in the 2nd quorum of the 70. It was really cool! He talked for hours to us without stopping and we all felt like complete rule breakers haha. It wasn’t meant to be a rebuking, but we all realized how much more potential we have as missionaries. President Silcox (Mission President) surprised me and called on me from the pulpit to give the closing prayer. 


I gave the prayer, and blessed the food we had to eat, and when we were eating, all the missionaries here asked me who I was and I explained that I was new and that this is my first transfer. They were generally surprised at my answer! One Brazillian Elder asked me how long I’d been in country, and I told him I’d been in the field four weeks, and he told me he thought I’d been in the field for at least seven months! That lifted my spirits from being sick (I had a fever during the whole conference I’m pretty sure). 

We also did divisions this week, or splits as they are called in the US. I went to Vista Verde with Elder Morales from our district, and we taught one man who was very receptive and asked about the age for baptism. We explained that we don’t baptize infants, and I felt impressed to share Moroni 8 with him, that talks about how "little children are alive in Christ." He really liked the message and asked many more questions! 

This week we switched up my training program to where essentially I’m acting as the senior companion now, and I try and cope haha. Really it’s not that bad and I like the structure that I have when planning now. I make all the phone calls to the members about our lunch appointments. My first phone call in Portuguese was absolutely terrifying and I had no idea what was being said to me, so Elder Martins politely called back for a repeat of the conversation. 

Also, yesterday we had lunch with Manu and her husband Rogerio whom we love! And a lucky surprise... we also had dinner with them! Elder Miranda from Mexico and Elder Monteiro also came along who live nearby and are in the other ward here, and Elder Miranda made tacos. So good! I missed Mexican food so much. I wore my suit to lunch right after church, and when we left their house the first time, we received a call from them that "Elder Hughes might not know, but he has a hole in his pants. Like really really big!" As it turns out, not only had the hole reopened, it got worse. As Elder Martins would say, "Que bênção." (The phone call -- what a blessing) haha. Also, I have now learned twice about the importance of the double-stitch. Guess it’s time to do the double-stitching.

During the week I was thinking about the change of heart talked about in Alma 5. At some point we all must experience this change of heart to fully accept the doctrine and Gospel of Christ. This change of heart is what allows us to "awake from a deep sleep, and awake unto God." I like those verses in Alma 5 a lot (verses 1 to 7). At this point in my mission I am ready to more fully devote myself to the work even more; I have been ready and focused pretty much all my mission and am trying to be 100% obedient every day, but the more skills I learn here the more I realize I’m capable of. Like with the language, I didn’t know I apparently speak like I’ve already completed a quarter of my mission! (ha ha). With our testimonies, we always have room to grow and always have room for more potential in our conviction. We just need to work everyday on how we each personally can awake unto God. 

Well, that is about it! This week went fast as have all the others. I’m healthy and going strong.
We need all the prayers we can get.

Love you all and I will continue to pray for you! 

Elder Hughes