Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hill Walking

What eight months looks like. 
Hi all!

We walked a lot this week. A whole lot. There are more hills here than in São José, so that’s exciting. Also, we’re eating lots of pizza here—regular sized pizza along with small mini pizzas that are sweet and are dessert. Good stuff. Loving missionary work. Working hard and having fun. 

Mogi das Cruzes was quiet on Good Friday—no one was in the streets—and it rained a lot. A whole lot. Easter Sunday was so good. The director of the Brasil MTC spoke in Sacrament meeting at church about the life of Christ and being meek and humble as He was, focusing on the Atonement as the ultimate example of meekness and humility. A High Counselor shared a message about the opportunity we have to take the sacrament in remembrance of the Atonement and resurrection every Sunday. Awesome talks that I really liked. The MTC director then taught Sunday School about the history and importance of Easter that blew my mind. 

I’ve been grateful for Irmã Sonia this past week. She has given us home-baked breads and tea and has taken good care of us. She is an elderly widow who hasn’t visited with the missionaries in years. We went to her house to share a spiritual thought with her but she ended up teaching us haha. It was a great experience to visit and talk, and was a blessing. 

On Wednesday we are going to the temple which will be a welcome miracle! It will be awesome to go, and also to see other people in the mission. 

I've had the opportunity to conduct a baptismal interview with a woman named Maria, and it was a really cool experience to talk with her and hear her testimony. She found the church through a friend, has been learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and has decided to be baptized. Her two sons want to be baptized too. Awesome stuff. 

I’m excited for General Conference; I can’t wait to be taught! 

Love you! Will think of you all this conference weekend :) 

Elder Hughes

Me and Elder David
View from my window

Friday, March 25, 2016

The District

Hello! How are you all?! 

For transfers, I took the train—I didn’t go to the office. I went direct...alone! That’s the rule here now. We just go direct, so I had like 2 hours all to myself! Kinda odd but I liked it haha. 

The area here is really big with a small ward. The director of the Brazilian MTC lives in the ward. That’s pretty cool, and he gives lunch too! We’re still getting to know the area; liking it here. It’s very much city and not like my last area at all—lots of hills. We have a big area to open, so we're trying to get to know it and find where the members live. Good stuff!  

There are 2 Elders here in the district—me, and Elder David. Elder David is from Londrina, Paraná. He and his brother are the only church members in their family and both are serving missions and being awesome examples. Super inspiring to me! We met the ward on Sunday and were received warmly, and we were asked to bear testimony of missionary work which was cool. The district includes four areas—my area plus three other areas of all Sisters. We have had a meeting but we have yet to take a photo all together!

This week I’ve been inspired to really think about the Atonement and Resurrection before Easter. I’ve finished up the book of John, and I think this week I’m gonna try and read another one of the gospels. I really love reading in Portuguese. One of the biggest things I’ve learned on the mission is a love for the scriptures. Not reading them almost seems impossible now haha. I love reading about the life of Christ and the Atonement. I like feeling and being taught by the Spirit. 

And that is really it...sorry! We need to get to the mission office today to pick up a package Elder David got from his family for Easter. 

Love you!

Elder Hughes 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Hello all!

The transfer call came this morning (Monday). I was at the office earlier in the week with all the foreign missionaries to get a CPF document thing and President Silcox told me I was would be leaving São José, so I knew I’d be transferred, but to where, I didn’t know. President called this morning and I am going to the Zona Mogi das Cruzes to be a District Leader with Elder David. (I’ve never met him but he’s been on the mission for 1 year and 3 months. President mentioned that it’s a great area, but will probably be challenging; I’m keeping positive.) I’ll be opening an area for the third time in a row. In the three areas I’ve had on my mission, I’ve been able to help open each of them. Right on! 

At the mission office I also saw Elder Martins (my trainer); he is the Financial Secretary now, and Elder Hirst who is the mission Excecutive Secretary, which was cool. Anyways, it was a good week. Tonight we have a dinner night with people from the ward here to eat açaí. 

Awesome about seminary! I liked the Old Testament and wild to think that it was so long ago that it was just us every morning to read it! I have good memories from those days :) 

This transfer I learned more about trusting in the Lord to fulfill and magnify your calling. He qualifies those whom he calls and help us understand how we can do better and learn more. Training has been a challenging but very rewarding experience, and I have learned a so much about the fospel and about myself. I’ve really liked learning to put gospel principles in practice better and to be taught by the Spirit. When we have a duty in the Lord´s service, He helps us fulfill it. 

I’ve been inspired this week to develop my ability to think positively through trials and have patience in them. Learning this is kind of a learn-by-experience effort but it is necessary. We need faith and hope to work through our trials optimistically and learn from them; things we can gain from a testimony of the Atonement. 

I’m thankful for being companions with Elder Amancio because he has taught me so much during our two transfers together; I think I have essentially been the trainee. I’ve been thankful for his example and the opportunity which I had to work with him and watch him help others. Elder Amancio has great love for his family, and has showed that in our area and for our investigators and members. 

In the scriptures, I just finished the Book of Mormon in Portuguese and I’m moving on to the New Testament now, starting in John. One thing I noticed in the Book of Mormon over and over is that we need faith, hope, obedience, and charity to prepare ourselves to meet God again. We need these things to prepare ourselves for our trials and to have positivity through them. I’m liking learning and understanding better what I’m reading, and then putting in practice what I’ve been reading and being taught. It’s a little hard, but sometimes I get up early to read more and study which is fun. I just like the scriptures haha.

That was pretty much the week. We’re working hard and I’m looking forward to the next transfer. Leaving the area is hard ‘cause I really love the people here. It’ll be good, though, to see new things and meet new people. I’ve really liked São José dos Campos areas, but I am looking forward to the new ward and new zone and new experiences! Tomorrow I leave early in the morning to get to my new area and get to work.

I will have more news next week! Love you and pray for us!
I’ll be praying for y’all too! 

Elder Hughes 

Pizza with Diogo and Elder Amancio
Arm wrestling E. Amancio
photo: Diogo Jones
Zona São José dos Campos. Photo: Elder Vasconcelos
Photo: Diogo Jones

Monday, March 7, 2016

Awesomeness in a Pea Pod

Zona São José dos Campos; missing Sisters Feitosa, Cordner and Swindler 


Wild story about Donner Pass and sliding and snow and such things. Zoinks. I would have died a little inside i think if I was the driver haha. Good work to you I say! That is awesomeness in a pea pod.

The streets here fill with water because it rains so much now that it’s winter, but there’s also a bit of sun too. Bummer. I like rain lots.  

This week was super busy for us. This is the last week of the transfer. We’ll be having a baptism this coming Sunday—the last Sunday of the transfer. We’ll get the transfer call Sunday afternoon. I’ve been here in the Zone for a while (there are people who were here, left, and came back already haha) so i think I’ll be leaving. I feel like I’ll leave but then I also feel like I’m going to stay here. I’m going to keep working, that doesn’t change. Gotta keep on keeping on. 

This past week I learned that sometimes when you follow the spirit with regards to one thing, the blessings can sometimes come from a different direction. An appointment fell through because we then were able to go to an investigator’s house who lived nearby. The timing was actually perfect. She had contacted us to let us know she was ready and excited to be baptized, and we were able to go right over and talk with her. I was able to bear my testimony to J. that her decision to be baptized was the best decision she could make now. This taught me that God helps us in all sorts of ways! 

During the Saturday session, President Silcox spoke and talked about missionary work and how our small actions can bring about huge differences in the lives of those around us. For example, Wilford Woodruff taught President Silcox´s great-grandfather the gospel four generations ago, and now President Silcox is helping teach the gospel and serve here as a mission president in Brasil. Awesome stuff. He also talked about the importance of reading the scriptures and enduring to the end. During his talk, President Silcox asked all the 1st generation members of the church there to stand up, and nearly everyone besides elder Amancio and me stood. Crazy to me. Literally, the only ones sitting were Elder Amancio and me. 

The visiting General Authority, Brother Maurício Gonzaga, talked about developing charity and other attributes that we need to become more like the Savior. 

In the scriptures, I’m finishing up 3rd Nephi and will start the New Testament soon—reading in Portuguese. My goal for the year is to read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and New Testament in Portuguese. Do you have a favorite book in the scriptures or a favorite chapter? I really like John 21, but I feel like a favorite chapter or book in the scriptures isn’t playing fair, right?

I am happy, working hard, and I will keep praying for you all.
I hope you have an awesome week! 

Love you!

Elder Hughes 

Stake Conference with President and Sister Silcox. 
Domingo dia de Conferência! Photo credit: Diogo Jones