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