Sunday, June 4, 2017

May 8 | Principles and Blessings


This week was awesome.

So Last Friday, the leadership council was scheduled in the mission office, but there was a "paralização" or paralization / strike of all transport in Brasil due to the economic crisis, so the meeting was moved to this past Tuesday. It was great, and much of the training was about the Book of Mormon, its importance in conversion and using the scriptures. Elder Amancio, who is a zone leader in Mogi das Cruzes now, shared the experience of when we read the Book of Mormon together every morning during his training in Cidade Jardim. He said it was through that reading in his training that he gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Pretty much had to fight back the tears a little bit. I pretty much felt the Spirit stronger on very few occasions. I also was asked to bear my “last testimony” (which is odd for me to hear). I said that we can never be scared or embarrassed of the gospel!

On Sunday yesterday two investigators appeared in the chapel unannounced, both named Lucas. One of them has been searching for the true church of Christ (his own words) for some time now; he read about the Restoration of the gospel on the internet and has done some serious research and study himself and decided to come to church yesterday. We set up a lesson to meet with him for this Saturday! The other Lucas has been part of another church for 10 years but felt like it wasn't answering his questions and now he goes to many churches in search of the truth (Elder Moraes, who came to the mission field 1 year after his baptism, was part of the same church that Lucas went to. He also had been a member of that church for 10 years before meeting the Mormons). We are going to teach that Lucas tonight and tomorrow. He said he wanted two lessons haha.

We've also been blessed to find and meet some new people to teach which is exciting. The zone as a whole is doing well so that is also pretty exciting too! Woop! 

On Tuesday we will start teaching an intensive English course for three weeks only since I only have three or four more Tuesdays here I think. We’ve got about 10 people signed up to come, members and investigators.

This week I was thinking about many gospel principles and things, but one really stood out to me. The majority of the changes we experience through the Gospel, the majority of blessings we see, and the majority of the relationship we develop with Christ happens as we continue to carry on and endure to the end. Faith, repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost prepare us to endure to the end. Those first four principles of the Gospel bless us and allow us to receive the strength necessary to allow us to grow and progress as we are continually converted to the gospel and to the Lord.

Love you!

Elder Hughes

April 24 | And Last Transfer

Last photo in Jacareí
Well, last transfer ever! I got transferred to the Penha Zone to serve. I'll go there tomorrow. The Bishop there is the Sao Paulo institute director so that is great.

This past Wednesday, we had District meeting and we went to Cidade Jardim after to do split with the zone Leaders. It was cool to see the ward members there one last time. We visited some investigators and at night we went to the Chapel to play volleyball! Elder Clawson was a volleyball player in high school so he showed us all up. He said the next day that he was a little too competitive though since he was extremely sore haha. All in all, good splits!

Nelson was confirmed this Sunday which was cool! He´s excited to continue learning about the gospel and he really likes the whole lot of support the church provides through activities and all the classes, home teaches etc. It will be great for him. His daughter has been coming to church too so I think Elder Clawson and his new comp will start teaching her more too. 

Yesterday we went to a Family Home Evening at André and Miriã´s house which was really good. It was nice to see them before I leave. We all took a bunch of pictures which was good but also difficult. There are so many people here I love. All will be well!

This transfer was a good one, and I had it confirmed to me that people to be loved are more important than problems to be solved. The words of the prophets are true!

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 17 | Prayer, Baptisms and Easter

Elder Rodrigues’ last day

Hello! Another great week here in Jacareí,

Friday was Zone Conference in Jardim Paulista. President and Silster Silcox came, and they taught about the importance of prayer. But we started off with a message from the Stake Presidency actually which was cool. They came to coordinate how we can better integrate the Stake and missionary service, and had some great ideas that will be really helpful working together. We read the story of the prophet Enoch, how he was slow of speech and how he felt like all the people hated him, but God told him he just needed to focus on serving and testifying and he would be blessed with the words and abilities that he needed. Great!

Sister Silcox taught about the necessity and blessing of prayer in our lives to talk with Heavenly Father, and also how it is necessary to bring the gospel—Christ and His Atonement and Ressurrection—into our lives. She shared a bunch of examples of the need for prayer and examples when prayer was used, and examples and results when prayer was not used, from the scriptures. Really good. President shared a message with the same story about Enoch and of his own personal conversion, and talked about how when he was a college student he thought his life was excellent but one night he realized there was something more to life and dedicated himself to God´s service. Super powerful message.

Afterwards I had a baptismal interview for a woman named C. Her son is currently serving a mission in Ceará, Brasil, and she decided now that she was ready and prepared to be baptised. Though a series of very divinely coordinated events, President Silcox spoke with her son’s mission president—who was in Sao Paulo this weekend—about setting up a skype feed for him to watch his mother’s baptism. President also happened to be in the chapel in on Friday for the zone conference, which was C´s baptismal interview day, so she got to call her son and tell him she was going to be baptised! Wow! Very, very sweet experience.

Friday night was N´s baptismal interview which was wonderful. He did great, and was ready and was excited about asking Lucas Galhardi, the church member (recent returned missionary) who initially contacted him, to be the one to baptise him.

Sunday was great at church with a focus on Easter of course. N´s baptism was held after church meetings, and he was very happy. He was a little nervous before hand but when he was baptised I think he felt that Heavenly Father was really blessing him. Very wonderful baptism. That good man was very ready to receive God’s divine help.

This week I was thinking about Easter (of course) and about what Easter teaches us about God´s character and my personal progression on earth. Easter is Christ´s Atonement and Resurrection--what bring us back to His presence and allow us to progress continually. That teaches me that God actually loves me! And just as we learn in the scriptures, He does nothing that is not in our benefit. His happiness in our progress. The resurrection gives me the knowledge that my progress will continue eternally if I desire and thankfully I have eternity to progress. I am grateful God sees me and all of His children for potential to be like Him and not for who we've been. I’m very grateful to be here in His service this Easter Season.

Here in Brasil, Easter eggs are a thing too, only there’s this tradition where the kids will make a giant doll (kind of like a scarecrow) of Judas and drag him around in the streets and tie him up in trees. A little different than in the states. The Easter weekend observances start on Holy Friday, continue on Saturday (Passion of Christ), and culminate on Easter Sunday.  Easter in Portuguese is: Páscoa.

I hope you are all well and in good health. Have a great week this week.
Please keep praying for us!

Elder Hughes
District shirts

April 10 | Blessings

Two new horse friends this week
This week was a great one! I think we walked more this week than any other week during my mission since all of our compromissos were super far away from everything. Wild. We got to know the area a little better though so that’s a plus. We were also able to help prepare N for his baptism this Sunday which is so awesome! Really happy for him.

On Tuesday we went to the chapel at night to welcome home Guilherme who just returned from the Fortaleza mission in the Northeast here. He is Irmã Marta´s son. We’d been hearing lots about him every week so it was cool to meet him! We ate salgados (which are like little stuffed dough balls with chicken and sausage and cheese and things) which are so good. They are quite tasty so I was happy haha. Elder Rodrigues got a little homesick though since he goes home on Thursday. His birthday is Wednesday so he´ll have it in the misson field still.

Yesterday we visited some families so Elder Rodrigues could say goodbye. We ate lunch with the Galherdi family, and the returned missionary from Buenos Aires that I had previously met was there. He was in the same zone as Elder Cook! Lucas Galhardi, who also returned from his misson recently was there; his birthday is also Wednesday, so we commemorated both birthdays, and then we went to visit André and Miriã and their two sons. They also made a cake, so we ate more! We had a family home evening there and talked together about 1 Nephi which was really great. Then we went to Marcia and Evandro´s and ate more salgados. Ha. We ate a lot yesterday, and tonight we have another family home evening! Woot! It’s all so good; so many good people and so many blessings.

This week I was thinking a lot about the purpose of our mortality and why we came to earth. We know that we chose to come to earth and that we have the opportunity to walk by faith to learn how to choose—to choose the right and serve and repent when we need to. I liked Elder Ballard’s remarks in conference that we are to return to God and receive eternal life—and that’s it exactly!—eternal life is our goal. It’s ok to have faith and trust that we will receive eternal life. Knowing our goal makes our vision clearer and our decisions along the way easier to make. Thank goodness for the gospel plan.

This week we will have Zone Conference on Friday, N’s baptismal interview, Elder Rodrigues will go home, and we will keep on working.  Keep praying for us and twill be swell! 

Have a great week!

Elder Hughes

Elders Clawson, Hughes, Rodrigues

April 3 | General Conference, Interviews and Successes

District T-shirt

This week was a pretty great week here! We had general conference, interviews, successes—and some really good lunches so that was a bonus!

At interviews on Friday we went to the Jardim Paulista chapel about an hour away from us. We got the bus at 9 am because we had interviews at 10:30. And my package was there! Woot! I got it opened right away and ate the Skittles haha. Thank you!

Thank you for praying for me. I felt many answers during general conference about post-mission and school and such, and I think that was definitely a result of the prayers and dad’s fast for me. Thanks for helping me out! :) Also for loving me.

The missionary work is going well! N came to Conference on Saturday and he even brought his daughter. So that was awesome! She normally is not interested in listening when we teach him at his home so that she came was a truly miracle.

Also, today is Jacareí´s birthday, so nearly everything is closed down. There´s no one in the streets and it looks like a ghost town which is odd. Anyways, happy birthday Jacareí!

For General Conference, we stayed in Jardim Paulista almost the entire weekend. We left Saturday afternoon at 12ish and went back home at 11pm since we had permission to stay for the Priesthood session. And on Sunday we ate lunch at the Bishop’s house at 11am and went home at 7pm after the afternoon session. The sessions here were live broadcasted so all were after lunch here instead of morning and afternoon sessions. I loved this conference! I felt like many talks were directed exactly, specifically to me and I felt a lot of answers. It’s a great blessing to have a living Prophet on the earth today and to have the Apostles and general authorities as well. I sustain them.

This week we are planning on bearing testimony a great deal. President Silcox has a mission-wide challenge for the missionaries to reflect on our personal experiences with the Atonement so we can bear testimony to everyone about the power of forgiveness and blessings of the Gospel. We will speak with many a person this week!

I appreciated in Conference the emphasis on stretching spiritually. As we stretch ourselves beyond that which we have done before, the answers will always come. Just as the woman who stretched to touch Jesus’ clothing, as we stretch ourselves we will feel His influence in our lives and the Holy Ghost, as promised by President Nelson, will tell us all things that we need to do.

And that was essentially it for the week! Loving the work. Loving serving.
I hope you have an excellent week.
Please keep praying for all of us here in Jacareí!

Elder Hughes

Friday, March 31, 2017

March 27 | Happy and all the good things.

The trio
All is well here in Jacareí! The new companionship is great. Elder Rodrigues is only here for 2 weeks and then he goes home. His two years as a full-time missionary are all up; he will go home on the 13th. 

Vitor was baptised yesterday! That was awesome!! Yesterday was ward conference here, and there were about 300 people in the ward. Usually the Sunday attendance is around 220 more or less but yesterday was exceptionally packed! Adalberto, a member here, received the Melchizedek Priesthood too. He was assaulted once about three years ago and when he was trying to protect his family, he ended up being shot two times. He is now unable to walk, and each Sunday we take him to the chapel in his wheelchair. He was so happy today.

After the meetings was Vitor’s baptism. He asked Elder Rodrigues to baptise him which was really cool. Vitor has a brother and a sister who are church members and he´s been coming to the Church for a few years and decided to be baptised now. He asked us — that was a great miracle. Super happy for him. Good things!

We will be able to watch General Conference this week and stay for the Priesthood session too. I’m excited! I’ve got questions all ready too, or at least a few of them.

Our investigators are doing well. We were able to do a move this week as a service project which was cool; loving working here and getting things done. 

I was thinking this week about repentance and how the Savior promised to forgive our sins and never remember them anymore. That teaches us that God cares more about who we can be—our potential—than who we have been. Repentance is a testimony that we can become more, and that Heavenly Father sees in us our divine potential as His children. When we repent and continue to change, we can reach our full potential.

Super happy; super busy. Keep praying for us!

Have a great week!

Elder Hughes

the district

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March 20 | Transfers, Turning Blue and Singing in English

At CNA with some students. Elders Clawson, Freitas and me.

This was a good week! Pablo and Nelson are doing great. Another young man named Vitor who has been coming to all the ward activities asked to be baptised this week! There are some great things happening here in the area for this coming week!

We got the transfer calls yesterday—Elder Clawson and I will be staying in Jacareí for another transfer but Elder Freitas was called as the Financial Secretary so he will be leaving. However, we will still be in a trio. Another Elder, Elder Rodrigues, will be coming to the area. He is from the same home stake in the state of Ceará as Elder Freitas actually. Should be a good thing. Elder Rodrigues is finishing his mission this transfer so this will be his last area.

This week it rained a whole lot actually. Yikes!

We went to CNA this week—an English school here in Jacareí—a church member who is a professor  there invited us to give a short presentation and help with Q&As about life in the states so the kids could practice asking questions in English. I don't really remember typical american foods very well, and speaking English is difficult ha ha. Elder Clawson did most of the talking ha ha. We went to another classroom where the younger kids are learning English by singing songs. They wanted to hear our accents so they asked us to sing for them. A little awkward, haha but all was well.

It’s really strange that I’m starting my 2nd to last transfer here in São Paulo Leste. In mission slang here, I am “Blue” now. On the list of missionaries that President has, in the second to last transfer your name turns blue, and on the last transfer it’s red. Very odd all of this haha. But I am still excited about getting the work done and to keep serving and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ’s gospel.

Love you—Please keep us all in your prayers!
Have a great week,

Elder Hughes

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 13 | Pondering, Pie, and Preparation

Comps at the temple

I am going to try to eat some pie this week. Tomorrow perhaps, as it will be Pi day! Only here there is no pie like there is in California. I will shed one tear and get over it.

This week was a great week here with a Temple trip, Zone Conference and a baptism.

We went to the Temple Saturday with André and Miriã. We took family names with them on the ward Temple trip. (There was Zone Conference this week so we asked/received permission to go from President Silox). It was a really great experience. They brought their parents´names and were able to be baptized and confirmed for them. Which was amazing. I was able to do the confirmations which was cool. Very good experience, and they are already planning their return trip later next month.

Thursday was Zone Conference, and we´d been asked to read 2 Nephi 31 and 3 Nephi 27 in preparation. Sister Silcox was teaching that part and she explained very thoroughly the Doctrine of Christ which was awesome. She talked about how the Christ’s gospel is: faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  She said that even before faith, the first step is always having desire. Then she read 3 Nephi 27: 1-2 and talked about how Christ’s disciples had desire, how Christ appeared to them asking what they wanted Him to give them, and about the importance of how they needed to ask for an answer from Christ. Great conference. President Silcox also spoke a bit on proper use of technology.

In the temple trip, one of the Temple Presidency members talked about desire, pondering, and meditating as preparation for spiritual experiences. Essentially, this whole week was about preparation and desire for spiritual experiences and receiving answers.

Tamires was baptised! Her interview was Saturday, and yesterday she was baptised. This was a huge miracle; her family is being reactivated now and her brother Ricardo will be able to receive the Priesthood.  Elder Clawson performed the baptism which was his first ever. This is the family that contacted us in the street while we were walking to lunch one day and asked us to go to their house to teach Tamires. Miracles are real!

What I’m studying in the scriptures now is a lot about a lot of things. But recently I was studying the Restoration, and how Joseph was prepared, and how he clearly had desire for some sort of experience with Heavenly Father. Why did he pray? Because he had faith and accepted James’ invitation in the Bible. Why did he read the Bible? Because he was confused and wanted direction from God. Why was he confused? Because the people around him were in a war of words and had so many opinions. Why? The Apostasy. When he needed an answer, he accepted the invitation to ask God. He knew that if he called on God´s name, God would respond to him personally by name—which is exactly what happened. Sometimes we forget that God is a personal God and that He´s actually our Father, and that experience is a great reminder. When he was tempted to quit asking, he kept going and he received in the most difficult moment the answer to his prayer. How can we do the same? We can trust in God´s promises and trust that He will answer us and that He is preparing us for great things to come.

Love you all—you are my favorites!  
Elder Hughes

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 6 | Noite Familiar, Splits, Cidade Jardim and Good Things in Jacareí

Splits with Elders Moura and De Jesus

This was a great week! We had Stake Conference yesterday so I actually went to Cidade Jardim twice! I saw lots of members from Satélite and Cidade Jardim so that was really cool.  Splits was good in Cidade Jardim. We went on Carnaval so almost no one was home... so that was a little tough in terms of teaching people. However, we had a Noite Familiar (family night) with some church members there. We saw Jota Silva, Clayton, Diogo, Renato, and a few others. Overall super cool. We also ate really good pizza so that was a win!

In the area in Jacareí, we are planning on the baptism of Tamires this coming Sunday. She’s excited, and the family is ready to support her and be at church as well. And another young man who plays soccer at the chapel every week also is planning on being baptised on the 18th. His name is Pablo and he is very excited about it! And we are very excited for him.

Also! André, Miriã´s husband who was baptised recently, received the Melchizedek Priesthood at Conference. I think on Saturday we will be going to the temple with them for baptisms. Awesome!

At Stake Conference, Elder Dias of the Area 70 (Uncle of Sister Dias who was in my district for 4-5 months in Ipiranga) came and presided. He spoke for 50 minutes on the doctrine of faith which was literally awesome. One of the best talks I’ve heard on faith. He talked about how sacrifice can help develop our faith which was interesting. I got thinking about the Law of Moses and the various sacrifices that were required as way to prepare the people for the law of the gospel, the higher law. The sacrifices were all types or signs of Christ. The law was there so the children of Israel could learn to look to Christ in all things and begin developing faith in His sacrifice for them—the Atonement. Though at times they they failed to recognize the symbols of Christ's sacrifice. When we take the sacrament and always remember Christ’s sacrifice for us, our faith and trust in His promises grows. When we make sacrifices ourselves to be a little better every day, our faith in Christ can grow too.

Have a great week!
Love you!

Elder Hughes

Noite Familiar

A storm rolling in which let much water fall upon the city

February 27 | Keeping Nothing Back

Hi all,

This week was a pretty great one. Both extremely hot and very rainy. Tomorrow is Carnaval, so since Saturday, everyone has been out of town so there are few people to teach. But all is well. We did a lot of service this week—we painted a house and did a move and cleaned a floor. Success.

Have been thinking about the Apostle Paul—reading in Acts 20 this week—and something he said really stood out to me. Paul is going back to Jerusalem after 3 years in Ephesus as a missionary — and he's meeting with the church leaders there and describing his missionary service, I guess giving a mission report. He says “… I kept nothing back...” He worked and served with everything he had so he could “finish my course with joy.”

I'm excited to see y’all so soon but I also am excited to work a lot before that. I feel like Paul was probably a boss. I will try and be like him this week and work with that goal in mind too. To give it my all. That’s awesome about Jack (Morgan) talking about his mission and how it’s been such a blessing to him even after 50 years. My mission has certainly changed me —and just about everything. It is definitely a blessing just as it's been for Jack. 

We don’t have much time now since everything is closing soon here because of the holiday but I love you all. Have a great week!
Elder Hughes

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20 | Museu da Missão, Miracle Shoes, and Being Bold in the Work

Hi all!
Today marks two years since I opened my call to serve! Two years goes by quickly!

This week was good! We had interviews with President on Saturday here in Jacareí at 8 am, and I had decided earlier that day that Saturday would be the last day I’d use my brown Sperrys because I had worn completely through the sole … so I was like walking on the ground a little... but President brought my box delivered a few days before with the new Sperrys, and my feet are in heaven! Woot! Miracles are real! Got the envelope with candy and photos too which was great!

Mosquitos are a plague here but we’re getting through it. Not any really huge changes than the hour later time to get up / hour later to return. We do our comp study in the street though so everyone looks at us reading the scriptures haha. Getting noticed.

Training is going very smoothly. The trio is doing great and we are being able to focus well; there were many miracles this week so that’s nice. One man called to us in the street this week while we were on our way to lunch, and he said he was a church member but hadn’t attended in two years and his daughters hadn’t been baptised yet. We were able to teach them, and they are now preparing to return to church, and one of the daughters is preparing to be baptised which is exciting! Huge miracles!

We had the ward activity too, the Museu da Missão, or Mission Museum, where members brought their scriptures, photos, name tags and things to make a mini museum of their missions set up in the chapel. President really liked it. It was pretty cool, I thought, and it was enjoyed by many. The devotional also went well. One of the speakers had to cancel an hour before the program, so I spoke about "What is missionary work?" and the missionary purpose, which actually went surprisingly well with no time to prepare haha. Sister Silcox said she really appreciated it. Lucas Galhardi, who recently finished his mission, spoke about how to prepare for the mission, and Sister Silcox spoke about the Restoration a little, and President spoke on growth and member help and how Jacareí will be a stake. Overall, it was a great activity, and I think all who were in attendance enjoyed it.

This week I was thinking about how we can trust and understand Christ’s promises to better begin to understand Him, like Elder Bednar talked about in conference. Which makes sense since His promises are just as eternal as He is. When we serve Him, and serve other people, He blesses us generously. Always. And when we serve, we come to know Christ better. And that helps us know how to come unto Him to receive and believe in the promised blessings of the gospel. Also read in 2 Timothy where the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy with a reminder that God had called him to do His work boldly and with power, love and a sound mind. Great reminders to be bold in the work.

And that’s essentially it for this week. I will send lots of photos today! Keep praying for us here in Jacareí!
Love you!!

Elder Hughes 

The District
The Zone
A Jacareí sunset
3 Elders and Presidente and Sister Silcox
Wore through the inner sole of the shoe, though I put another temporary one in
so I wasn't totally walking with only a sock on the ground.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

February 13 | Generations

Me, Elder Clawson, Elder Freitas

Elder Alves, Elder Amancio´s son (my mission grandson)
and Elder Begnini,  Elder Alves´s mission son (my mission great grandson)

Us ansd (Elder) Vasconcelos who was visiting in the area

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February 6 | Transfer and Training



Got the transfer call yesterday and I’ll be training indeed in Jacareí. Elder Freitas will be training as well! We’re staying in the same area, same district, and same house—the house is quite large actually—so we’ll all be here! We have the trainers’ meeting tomorrow at 9 am at the escritorio. We´re about three hours away by ônibus so we’ll go tonight which will be good—we’ll be on time. 

This week wasn’t too rainy actually! Only at night it rains now and sometimes during the afternoon after lunch. It’s been getting pretty hot other than that. I’m looking a wee bit tan! Woot!—only it’s the odd tan lines on the neck and arms though, so that’s cool. There hasn’t been any flooding where we are which is good, though they say its a frequent problem in Sao Paulo this time of year. We’re hoping none of it comes this way. The only difference in how we work when it’s raining … is that we use an umbrella... only mine broke this week so I’m fixin to get me a new one. 

We got a good bit done this week here in Jacareí which was great—loving the work and the people. Rita and Adriana have been difficult to contact this week so that was a bummer but we´ll keep trying this coming week. On the 18th, we are going to have a ward activity about missionary work to help the youngsters get excited about serving missions. President Silcox is going to be here and speak which should be awesome. We´re working on getting everything all planned out and such—we´re going have a mission “museum” with photos from ward members who served missions—have their mission shoes and scriptures and such here too. Should be good! Pray it goes well! 

I had the realization again this week that when we partake of the sacrament, we show that we want to align ourselves with Christ, and as we do that He promises that He will sustain us as His. It´s a “where is my heart?” relationship that we can renew each week, where we are able to evaluate ourselves and start over and recommit to be better the next week. And He promises that we can have His spirit with us and receive a remission of sins. Sounds like a pretty good relationship to me. 

And that was essentially the week! This week should be awesome and filled with good stuff with two greenies in the area! We´re hoping it goes really well. Keep praying for us and I will pray for you. Have a great week!! 

Love you lots,

Elder Hughes

About to rain
In a hammock hammoc hammok? Don´t remember how to spell that word. ’Tis a mystery!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

January 31 | Miracles are happening!

Sunday—sunny outside with rain falling
Dear family,

This week was a good one. There was a worldwide devotional/training meeting for all missionaries on Wednesday which was very cool. We were gonna get the bus to lunch and then go back to the downtown area of the city to get another bus to the stake center here to watch the transmission from Salt Lake. However all buses were running late and we were late to every appointment that day haha. However, we got there—and the training meeting was great. We sat in on a missionary executive council meeting with Elder Oaks, Elder Bedar and several others. The transmission from last January's meeting was recapped, and there were also some sweet new schedule changes announced for missionaries. We were also reminded about our purpose as a missionary to invite others to Christ, trusting and living the gospel ourselves as missionaries, and how to be better teachers.

The schedule for us may still be adapted, but in South America most missionaries will now be up at 7:30! Bed will be 11:30pm—so the schedule just shifted a little bit to be able to be more flexible with most people's schedules here. Comp study after lunch and planning for the day in the morning. 

Sacrament was awesome here yesterday. A man spoke who served here twenty years ago and is now married and is a father. He was visiting, and was able to bear his testimony about serving a mission and how it has blessed him in his life.

Something I learned this week: In the Book of Mormon reading that President invited us to do as a mission this year—we are highlighting each name or pronoun of Christ in the Book of Mormon, along with every word that Christ says—with the promise through recognizing that we will come to know Him and not just know things about Him. However, as I was reading in Second Nephi, highlighting names and quotes, it almost became second nature and I realized I wasn’t focusing on what I was reading and what it was meaning. So I began asking myself two questions: How does my belief in Christ strengthen and change my life? And: Do I personally believe and have faith in Christ, and are His words part of me?

Asking myself those questions as I continue reading. I’m coming to better know the Savior through unexpected ways, and am learning that believing Him is trusting Him.

We saw the Lord’s hand yesterday when two investigators came to Church wanting to be baptised! We’ll be teaching them more this week. Please pray for them. Miracles are happening!

I love you!

Elder Hughes

The district
I have a year and 6 months in the mission and only have 5 more left,
Elder Freitas has 5 months in the mission and has a year and 6 left.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

January 23rd | Teaching and Trust

We went with the T. family to visit an investigator who lives on a mountainside neighborhood and got lost in the rain
for about an hour and a half. But in the end we got there!

Hi all; love you like crazy!

Grandma was listening to Rod Stewart? Awesome! There is a rock bar across the street from our house so for the past few weeks I’ve been falling asleep to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, REM and Alice Cooper. It’s a cover band over there, so all is sung with Brazilian accents.

I met a guy at church yesterday who was Elder Cook's Zone Leader in Argentina recently -- said Elder Cook is my cousin! He said, “Elder Cook?” And immediately flexed as if to suggest that that is the identifying trait for him haha. Said he’s the most lovable elder there is!

This was a good week for us. We found some new people to teach, and we’re working hard to concentrate our efforts in specific areas of the ward, so that’s helping. The city is pretty big, so we’re having to organize well. We’re working with the ward members too to find people to teach which is going well. There are two recently returned missionaries who got back in the last month, and next month one more missionary is returning. There are also a few who are going on missions soon, so were using their help too. Going pretty well all of this! We’re teaching people who don’t have traditional Christian beliefs which is interesting—reincarnation and other beliefs. Pretty interesting discussions, and they’re interested in coming to church to learn more about the gospel.

One of the RMs (returned missionary), Lucan Galhardi, taught in the Elder's quorum yesterday. He taught using President Uchtdorf’s talk from last conference—learning from Alma and Amulek about repentance and forgiveness and faith, and working together—which was really cool. He talked about the need to have trust in others and to be trusted by others. While on his mission he was thinking about trust, and started thinking about if God trusted him. So, he decided to ask. He said, “That night I decided to ask Heavenly Father what He thought about me. And that night I had never felt so loved.” I thought that was really powerful. Of course He would respond like that. Heavenly Father loves all of us. We are His children. My testimony is that the worth of every soul is great in the sight of God!

And that was the week. Please keep praying for us here, and I will keep praying for y’all too.
Love you!

Elder Hughes

Also - fun fact - There’s a Sister in the Zone who is from Panama, and she waited a transfer there for her visa... her district leader who called her every night to follow up was... can you believe it? Elder Taylor Green!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 16 | Portuguese + Español = Portanol

This week was a good one!

Thanks for the shoes headed my way. They will be greatly enjoyed!! My current ones are getting wee holes in them and now is the rainy season so new ones will be appreciated. Thank you!

Woot for the rain there! And for the drought ending!

The work is going well here. The area in Jacarei is an entire city of small neighborhoods that are far away from each other which makes some parts of the work different than in my other areas. We take the bus a lot, but that’s just a matter of planning. Last week we found three families to teach so we have high hopes. Some of our other investigators are agnostic, which is cool, and we are approaching teaching differently than I have on my mission, and learning a lot. All is going well!

We ate lunch this week at a couple’s house; they are from Uruguay. They have been in Brasil for 40 years, but still speak Spanish mostly, we essentially spoke Portanol! We were trying to remember Spanish words, and in the end we got it right, I think haha. We ended our lunch visit reading about tender mercies in 1 Nephi, and the brother said that we were inspired that day because he needed that message. Language of the Spirit is the universal one!

We’re reading the Book of Mormon as a mission, highlighting every time a name of Christ is used, and every time He speaks. It’s a New Year’s resolution for the mission to come to know Christ more, and not just to know about Him. It’s going great; I
like how clearly the scriptures invite us to follow the example of the Savior.

I hope you are all well and in good health! Love you! Have a great week!

Elder Hughes

January 9 | One year, six months; feeling old and new

All is well here! also sorry for the creative grammar my key board is having a crisis i think>  elder freitas is from cearà the same stake as elder rodrigues> he has 5 months in the mission and is super excited about the work. 

First week of the new year was pretty great. 2017 is going well. Miriã was baptised which is wonderful for her, and I think her husband André might be even happier than she is. André didnt even believe in God when he met the Elders. He’s now baptised and is extremely happy> amazing how the spirit works in our hearts and changes lives.

I hit the one year and six month mark yesterday and felt very old> though I still feel new in the mission> very odd feeling to be honest, but we’re going going going> this week should be great and filled with lots to do; we have high hopes!

love you!
elder hughes 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

January 2 | Feeling the New Year's Potential

Gerações  |  Taken on the day Elder Martins went home 
Hi all! 

Great week! We had a good transfer and I saw Elder Martins, David and Vasconcelos before they went home which was great! My new companion is Elder Freitas. From Ceará. Elder Ewerton, who was in Mogi with me, was his trainer. Elder Wengreen, who is in my zone right now, is training a new Elder from Chile. I have a Chilean grandson! The whole city of Jacareí is ours for the work right now. Very large place but we´re getting to it. Loving the work.

The New Year festivities went well here. We had permission to stay at a church member's house for New Year's Eve until midnight; we went to Irmã Marta´s house which was great. She made a huge churrasco (BBQ) which was delicious, and also had various fruits and dips which was all very tasty. Church the next day -- first Sunday here in new area -- was really good, though a little tough after very little sleep, but all was well. The ward has a frequency of like 250 which is wild. We visited a recent convert and his wife has accepted a baptismal date for this coming Saturday so that is awesome! Should be a great week to come!

Sorry for the short letter today -- a few pictures from the last two weeks in just a minute. 

I hope you are feeling the new year´s potential too! Love you!

Elder Hughes 

Mec Favela lunch
Christmas party
Christmas Day
Goodbye to Pablo
Zona São José dos Campos!