Monday, October 26, 2015

Blitzes, Singing and Wal Mart Brasil


First things first: This week was both really rainy and really hot, and we even found a Wal Mart that had American things! I did not find any 3M stuff at Wal Mart Brasil, so that was a bummer, but I did find Snickers Bars! They didn’t have any Colossal 100 Protein Bars. I shed a single tear and sucked it up. However, our ward mission leader who works for Pepsi is going to Dallas this week and is gonna hook an Elder up. 

Yesterday we had a fireside at the MTC in São Paulo with the area presidency of Brazil. They showed a clip of missionaries in Brazil. John Frye was one of them, from Napa Stake! I think he served in Recife. It was cool to see people I knew! 

Elder Hurst and I (the two Americans here in São José) decided that we loved patriotic music during the mission zone blitz this week. We sang about 5 songs over and over, including “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” and “I’m Proud To Be An American.” Never have I ever been so happy to sing American music! We sang and laughed. 

To explain a blitz: a mission blitz is when all the missionaries in a zone go to the same area for a day to visit people on the church ward (congregation) list to see if they still live in the area, share messages and help with any needed service. We also do contacts during the blitz to help the people of that area-- the blitz was in our area of Jardim Satélite. We had a great time and helped a good deal. 

This week we also had interviews with President Silcox, mission president here. He interviews missionaries in our mission every three months to get to know each missionary better and to give support, advice, answer questions, etc. He had very good advice for me that was specific just for me. My interview was really good; President Silcox is awesome! He had great, specific advice for me and talked about specific things I’ve done well. He really cares about the mission, the missionaries and the people here! He started the interview with me in Portuguese and we just continued it all in Portuguese. He’s pleased with my progress. He shared scriptures with me about giving thanks and about gratitude, and strongly advised me when I go to the temple this Wednesday to just give thanks, so that’s what I’ll do!  

This week I also gave my first talk in Portuguese at church. Right before the meeting, the secretary from the ward asked me to speak for 3 minutes on faith. Cool, I can do that, I thought. However, when I stood up to speak, the Bishop asked me to take 15 minutes!! What?! I gave a good talk for 5 minutes, rambled for another 5, and then closed when the Spirit guided me to a perfect closing thought. My organization was creative, but everyone said I spoke really good Portuguese, so that was a success! I felt somewhat like a child speaking so awkwardly, but hey; such is the Kingdom of Heaven, right? Haha. 

And this week I have been thinking a lot about faith. This area is hard -- hard to find people willing to listen, and here you need to have faith to keep working hard and not slack off. I remembered Abraham this week. He waited for so much time to have a son, only to later be instructed to sacrifice him. However, because he endured the trial of faith and accepted that he would follow the God’s will, Isaac was spared, and Abraham and  was blessed beyond measure. The trial of our faith brings blessings that we can’t comprehend. Family scripture: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. We can’t even imagine all of the blessings. 

That was the week! I am doing swell! Serving makes me happy!
I’ll continue to pray for you all. Love you! 

Elder Walker Hughes 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Portuguese and English


How are you all? 

This week was incredibly hot; it also rained and was very cold ... 

This week we did contacting all day, every day, and we know the area really well, as you can imagine. We learned this week we´ll be having interviews with President Silcox soon, and we’re going to the temple in Campinas this month on the 28th! Woot that is a blessing! We’ll be at the temple on your birthday! Doing some temple work will be my present to you (dad).

We also ate very well with our favorite members this week. They made pão de queijo (cheese bread ball dough things) with qoiaba inside, which a fruit that is like unto Heaven. It was so good and I ate too much. 

As I think to myself in English sometimes, because I’m so starved to hear it, I find myself trying to think really philosophically, like I’m very distinguished and scholarly. Ha. I find myself wanting to speak English so much. I understand why Sydney wants to study it. Thai must have been much harder than Portuguese! 

We were doing contacts on a street one day this week when we happened upon a bench to sit for a second. BLESSING. It was extremely hot and we were wishing and day dreaming about swimming and ice and Antarctica and all things cold. We then saw in the distance a small shop. We had to squint to see what it was: we thought we saw a sign that said some sort of oddly familiar word. We looked closer...No! Could it be? We moved closer. Closer still. Good heavens above: Açaí. We did it. We found some close to us! We went in the shop to escape the heat—the shop was one big refrigerator really. We looked at the menu, knowing that we each only had four reais (açaí usually is like 8 reais here in São José, the ice cream that is, not the actual berries). We looked over the menu in the refrigerated store. cannot be! Sweet mother of meat: Açaí for 3 reais?! We instantly bought some. Good day. Açaí. 

This week I did much of my studying reading in Portuguese, which is helping my language tremendously, so I’m going keep doing that. I like the language a whole lot, but I love English so it’s hard to think to myself in Portuguese. I’m doing well with Portuguese, but need to be better. I need to increase my vocabulary. Ha, I’m learning too much slang from our conversations with people. Still, though, I have my goal: think in Portuguese, think in Portuguese. Now, however, as I type this email in English, I realize that is a little difficult for me. Ah, English is so nice. 

I learned a bit this week about humility and about faith and about growing faith. I’ve also thought about pioneers quite a lot this week and the sacrifices they made. I’ve been thinking about gratitude and service. Missionary work is a small way we can give back. I’m learning about preparation and patience, and learning more trusting in the Lord.

We are working hard. Every morning I write “Awake Unto God” in my planner for motivation for the day!

Love you guys! I am praying for you all! 

Elder Walker Hughes

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Lunch Blessing

Dear family,

So there’s not going to be a big weekly letter this week because I don’t have time—it’s national Children’s Day in Brazil and the internets are going close down here in the café! 

This week was pretty rough physically. I got blisters like I’ve never had before; we still walked everywhere all day to do contacts. Got plenty of bandaids indeed. And we got açaí this week so that was a win! 

The area is good and we had a couple cool experiences this week where we met people who were really receptive to what we had to say, so we have hope.

I’m learning the language well but it’s still rough. I’ve included in my language study the study of humility because I can’t fully recognize any gift from God without it.

A cool thing that happened yesterday: We contacted into a stake president who invited us in and made us a lunch—our lunch appointment went out of town this week for Kids Day so food was much appreciated—and we talked with him for two hours about the gospel. It was awesome! 

Hope this week is good for you. We’re working hard and doing our best! 

Love you family and I’m praying for you all!! 

Elder Walker Hughes

Monday, October 5, 2015

Listening and Learning

(l to r)  Manu, Elder Martins, Edlers Monteiro and Miranda, Rogerio, me


This week was quite good, but this letter will be a short one. We enjoyed Conference, and sustained three new Apostles! None of my guesses were chosen; I guess that’s why we have inspired leaders, right? Also, there’s a guy in The District (missionary training series) from Napa? Awesome!

A Brazilian asked me if I were from Brazil this week when I was talking! I’ve developed a Portugal-Portuguese accent, however, thanks to Elder Martins. I speak with sh-sh-s sounds, which is amusing to me.

I did splits this week with Elder G Santos who is from Campinas, Brazil. That’s like if I were called to the Sacramento mission from Calistoga, so he had visited many parts of our mission before he got his call. He sings everywhere he goes, and that is really entertaining. We were talking about our families and I showed him a picture of Sydney and said she studied English, and he asked me, "Why? Is she Brazilian?" We laughed rull hard ha ha. He promptly asked if she was single.

Conference here was at 1pm, 5pm, and the Priesthood session on Saturday was at 9pm -- which we had permission to watch -- we are usually back inside by 9pm if we aren’t teaching a lesson. It was all in Portuguese but I understood much of it. Still working on better comprehension while listening. I did have a great experience listening and learning. Can you send the Ensign with all the talks when it’s out please? One of my favorite humorous moments was when Elder Martins tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "Hey, did James E. Faust speak yet?" I replied, "Yes, like 10 or 15 years ago." He responded, 'Why hasn’t he spoken for so long?" I then explained that James E. Faust had passed away several years ago. Elder Martins looked so puzzled I just busted out laughing, though very quietly because we were in the chapel watching Conference, which made things harder to be quiet ha ha. I also loved the squirrely kids in the choir!

A spiritual thought: This church has ordained Apostles just like Christ’s church that He established during His ministry. We have a living prophet today who acts under the direction of the Lord. Because we have apostles, we have the ability to hear the Lord´s will for his people—for all of us—through their words to us, especially during General Conference. We can hear words of peace and comfort and happiness. We know from Alma 7:11 that Christ knows perfectly how to help each of us because He suffered all of our pains and trials in the Atonement. Because we can hear the inspired words of church leaders that the Lord gives to help us, this is one way we can find direction and comfort our lives. Listen to inspired leaders!

We taught a bunch this week; things here are going well and we are working really hard! I’m eating well and am healthy! I work to be better and learn each day. And each day is a new chance to do that. 

I am signing off my family! I love you dearly and sorry I don’t have more time to write more!
Love you all and I pray for you all the times!!

Elder Hughes 

Like Christmas stockings, but not really
Francesinha at Manu and Rogerio's
We also had mousse ...