Monday, November 30, 2015

A Thriller of a Week

Photo courtesy José Filho

 Hello! Happy after Thanksgiving to you!

This week we had a huge miracle in the ward here—after about 4 months of learning and gaining a testimony and going to church here, our investigator Eduarda got baptized! So awesome, and we are all super happy for her! We are teaching her mom and sister now too.

This week we also had another awesome miracle. We knocked on a door about 4 days ago and a little old man answered and said, "Oh! I’ve been waiting for you guys! And you got here at a good hour too!" His name is Manoel, he’s about 65, and he wants to marry his girlfriend. He went to Eduarda’s baptism the other day and he said he wants to be baptized too! The miracles here are insane.

During the week there was a big ward activity that had been planned over a number of months called "Festa das Nações," or Festival of the Nations. All of the various groups here at church represented different nations and some had plays or dances that accompanied each nation, and they were each competing against each other to win first place against the other performances. The young men represented the USA and sang “Called to Serve,” which I helped them learn as I’m the only native English speaker in the ward. They then danced to “Thriller” by Michael Jackson along with the bishop. That was quite hilarious haha. However, the Primary kids representing Italy stole the show. They danced and sang to an Italian song. It looked like three of the kids got tired and they just sat down during the song, but in they end, they beat out all of the other groups and won the Festival! They all ran up to the front of the room when they found out they won while “We Are the Champions” blasted on the speakers. Some of the kids started crying, they were so happy.

For Thanksgiving this week, I celebrated and ate some sour gummy worms. Because those are American, of course. I was thinking a lot about gratitude and how I can better show my gratitude. I have come to the conclusion that showing gratitude is best demonstrated through service. We are able to show that we are thankful by giving back and helping others. Helping others is one of the greatest gifts we can give to God, and love for others—or charity—is the pure love of Christ. Gratitude helps us develop a thankful heart. And so I’m trying to be more grateful and to serve more.

Well, that was the week! I hope you all had excelente weeks too! Love you all!

Elder Hughes

Photo courtesy José Filho
Photo courtesy José Filho

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


#brothers  |  photo: Diogo Jones

I don’t have much time now so this will be a short email, sorry! 

Last night the local soccer team (and there are at least 5 here in São Paulo) won a game 6-1 against the local rival. There were fireworks and flags in the streets and screams and it was something else. The Brazilians sure love soccer. 

The week was good and it passed really quickly. We had training from President Silcox and that was really cool. I got my packages from home then and had a lovely time reading and looking at all of the things, and I almost died when I saw the brotein bars! (hehe).

This week we had Family Night with a church member here, and we shared an “I’m a Mormon” video. I gave the message and talked about how our families are united by the gospel all around the world, and also about how Christ taught, "If you love me, keep my commandments." A member here named J. Silva continued the message after me. He explained how the gospel is really one giant family, and he and bore his testimony about the gospel and his love for his family. It was a really powerful experience for me, and for all of us. This time of year as we head into Thanksgiving (which I accidentally celebrated this week—with nutella! Haha) I have been thinking of my family and how thankful I am for them. I love my family and am thankful for their examples in my life and for the experiences I have had with them. I am thankful for the blessings of the gospel and the priesthood authority to realize those blessings so that families can be together forever. For this I am thankful! 

Well, thanks about it guys...sorry. Super short, but my computer here is slower that a tortoise that has no legs. I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving and consider of the blessings you have in your lives! 

I love you and I am grateful for you this time of year! And all the other parts of the year too. 
Love you!! 

Elder Hughes 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Cidade Jardim and looking forward

What 4 months looks like.

Hello! How are you all? I’m doing quite swell! 

This week was really pretty awesome! We had transfers, and I am now in Cidade Jardim in the same zone I was last in. The previous area closed at the transfer, so I’m opening again but this time with four elders! Yes! It’s true! There are four elders in the area, and the work here is moving rull fast! My companion is Elder Rojas from La Paz, Bolivia, who only has two transfers left on his mission. He’s very humble and I’m learning a lot from him. We're here with Elders Mota and Vasconcelos, from Manaus and Recife, respectively. They are the Zone leaders in the zone and we’re learning from them too. Elder Mota could be home now, but he asked to stay one more transfer because he loves the work so much. I thought that was pretty cool. 

The ward here has about 300 people in it, with about 200 who attend every Sunday. The Bishop is awesome and has done splits with us twice already. The Ward Mission Leader is a 20 year old who was baptized 3 years ago, and he will be going on his mission soon after he finishes college studying...yes! English! The ward is really something of a work of genius. Clayton the WML, Diogo, another young man prepping for his mission, and the bishop, are totally involved in the work and the members all love the missionaries, so it’s really something of an amazing miracle here. We have a number of investigators and one new miracle who spoke to us on the street our first day here and who wants to be baptized! 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of testimony this week. Our testimony is really how we know that something is true in the gospel. A testimony is proof that we have hope in the gospel because it allows us to look forward without doubt, and with the assurance that what we are doing with our time is worthwhile for tomorrow´s work—because if we know the gospel of Jesus Christ and His church is true today, it’s going to be true tomorrow, and if it’s true tomorrow, we have work to do today and tomorrow! The Lord said in the Doctrine and Covenants that if we know him, we would labor while it is called today. I like D&C 107:99-100 a lot about working and about our testimonies. If we have a testimony, we will exercise it "in all diligence." But just having a testimony is not enough—we need to share it. As missionaries, we share testimony every day, and it is important that we share testimony; we learn in the Bible that sharing testimony allows other people to hear testimony, and hearing testimony is how others can gain testimony. That being said, a testimony is not something to be taken lightly; it is to be nourished and kept sacred, and shared through the Spirit. Because the Spirit speaks to edify. 

Anyways that was the week! Elder Martins left São José to go be a zone leader elsewhere in the mission, and oddly, I did not take any photos this week. For that I apologize. I am a sinner. Love you all!! 

Elder Hughes 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Transfer this week to Cidade Jardim

At Irmã Linas! Everyone loves coke and pizza here. The world is a small place.

How are you all doing? I’m doing swell! This week was an interesting one. 

I ate a pig ear (delicious)! I watched ants cut a leaf apart and then carry it all over the place (cool)! Also I heard a song by Scotty McCreery (blessings)! 

This week it rained all of the days and then was super hot in the afternoons which was odd. The weather kept playing mind tricks with me! 

This week we went to an English School here and gave a presentation about our experiences learning a new language. It was cool to talk in both Portuguese and in English to all the students! The teacher really guided the conversation based on what he wanted to learn about the United States. Our conversation ranged wildly from topics about the true meaning of Christmas to the increased militarism in the United States after 9/11. It was an interesting experience, but we had a great time answering questions and even helped some students with their homework. We handed out pass-along cards and we’re hoping for the best!

I heard a Christmas song this week—the first one of the season! Heck, yes, and it was like this odd electronic thing too. Interesting stuff here the Brazilians listen to. I also ate a square pizza. 

So we got a call late last night from the Zone Leaders about the transfer that’s coming up tomorrow, and Elder Martins and I are both going be transferred. I’ll be heading to Cidade Jardim, which is still in the São José Zone, about 20 minutes away, and will be opening the area with my new companion. Opening two areas in a row...ahh yee. Should be awesome!! We´re going to be living in an apartment of 4 elders—my comp and I and the two Zone Leaders here. Should be fun! 

That’s really it for the week. We ate a lot of pizza, talked to so many people, and taught a whole ton of lessons. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about obedience this week, and why we should be obedient, and I think One: obedience is a commandment, and Two: essentially the commandments are offers, or invitations. When we are obedient, there is a law established by God that we will receive blessings from the laws we are obedient to. The blessings all already exist, and God wants us to have them; we just need to grab ahold of them through our obedience. A lot of the time, I think we accept that we´ll just receive what God wants to give us sometime in the future, but we don’t recognize or accept that we have the ability to be obedient and claim or accept the blessing according to our obedience. This makes obedience more meaningful to me because I know that when I’m obedient and receive blessings, I am living God´s will for me and I’m showing Him that I want His help not just sometime in the future, but Now. 

Anyways, that’s it for the week! 

Praying for you all! Love you all!

Elder Hughes 
Elder Martins and I before we get transfered!