Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays from Georgia


Dear Family and Friends,
This week has been an enjoyable one, in the Spirit of Christmas President King asked us to focus on serving people, to emulate the love of Christ in others lives, and as we tried to do so, it made the season a lot more special. At the Mission Christmas party that we had Tuesday, we talked a lot about traditions, and their importance, and it really got me thinking about how important traditions are in the foundations of families. They are the basis that we can use to invite the Spirit into our homes, and teach our children important gospel principles in ways that will help them learn more powerfully than just rambling on. They say that actions speak louder than words, and that is definitely true in the case of being an example of the believers. They say that the most important duty we have in this life, is to raise a family in righteousness, and no success can compensate for failure in the home. I would like to add my testimony to that truth, the righteous traditions that we establish our families on will be the foundations of gospel learning for generations to come. I've done a lot of reflecting this week, and as Iv'e done so, I've really become frustrated by the lack of care that seems to run rampant in the hearts of the children of men. Too many of us in this world are so caught up in this world, and the pursuit of joys that come from it, that we neglect of forget to search out the truly important things. If this pattern continues, the world truly will dwindle in unbelief, and God's Plan that he created for all mankind will be a failure. I truly cannot understand why someone would not be willing to obtain the blessings available from the gospel, simpoly because it sounds like a lot of work, or might require me to do something that I don't like. I never in my life wanted to serve a mission, because I was/am terrified of what I do every day, but to think of all the experiences that I've had since I've come, I cannot believe that anyone would not want to do this. I know we all have weaknesses, God GAVE them to us on purpose, and he promises that if we turn to him he will make our weaknesses strenghts. We have so many gifts given to us for our benefit and learning, so that we can reach Exaltation, and I think it's about time we give back to God. In the words of President Uchtdorf, we need to get back the basics, realign our desires, and get ourselves on the straight and narrow path to Eternal Life. May I remind you that anything short of reaching Eternal Life is failure to live the Gospel. The greatest gift we can give God is to Love him, and if we Love him, we will obey him, it becomes so natural. I ask you, Why can you not Love God with all you heart, mind, and soul? I testify that if you do this, he will lead you to Eternal Life. It wont be a burden, it will be a blessing. In the words of Christ, "Whosever will not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." So lets try a little harder to take up that cross, and lets reach a little deeper to Love the Lord, because I Love you, and he Loves you, and he wants you to come back, but Justice cannot overpower mercy, we must obey. I hope we all can strive together to work towards exaltation, know that I pray for you, I love you, I miss you, and I hope you're all doing well.

Love

Elder Hughes

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Mail

Dear Family and Friends,
Man this was an interesting week, Tuesday night I went and spent the night with the Zone Leaders down in Sandy Plains, because we had to go to another meeting in Lilburn Wednesday, and it was fun, but the couch I slept on was like a rock, and I didn't sleep much. The meeting was cool, and President taught us some cool stuff, and helped me understand what I can do to help the District I'm in charge of more. I also had the opportunity to ask him for a blessing, because I'd felt like I needed to, and it was such a cool experience, just thinking about it makes my eyes water. The Spirit was so powerful, I just felt so loved, and confident, and glad to be where I am that it made me cry, and President gave me a very powerful blessing that had helped me a lot. Then, we had to head home, and that's where things got hairy.... On the way home, we took the freeway route, which ended up being a very bad idea. The temperature dropped below freezing, and there was a light mist of rain falling, and very soon the traffic came to a screeching halt. We got on another freeway, and very soon the same thing happened, and 2 of the other missionaries in the car started making fun of the cars on the other side of the road, because they were driving 25 miles per hour of less, in no traffic at all, but they quit laughing when they saw the first suv sideways in the middle of the freeway.... Needless to say, the roads iced over very quickly, and getting home became quite a chore. Luckily we made it without harm or accident, but the hour long trip ended up taking 5 and a half, and to top it all off I had to use the bathroom the whole time. Anyways, the rest of the week was uneventful, just working with the members and teaching away. Our main investigator is getting much closer to baptism, but unfortunately I think he's going to be leaving before it happens, but oh well, onward and upward. I'm really starting to think this ward wants to get rid of me, on account of all the comments being made recently about how long I've been here, so I don't what that means, but oh well, I can't control that. Anyways, I'm so grateful for this awesome time of the year, and for all those of you who've sent cards of gifts, I extend my sincerest thanks, you're help is so much appreciated. I would like to bear you my witness of the reality of the Priesthood, it is absolutely real, and it absolutely contains the power to strengthen, and uplift us in our life, and help us accompish the Lord's will. I know that our Savior lives, that his life and example are the key to returning to the presence of our Father, and that his Atonement makes it all possible, I testify that this gospel is true, that God knows and loves his children, and that he wants to and will help us as we ask in Faith. I love you all, and leave this with you in the name of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ Amen.
Elder Hughes

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas

For Family Home evening this week Craig and his companion went to help a nice family put up a Christmas tree and make sugar cookies. They were nice enough to send me an email and share some pictures with me. (I'm sure the missionaries had NO problem eating those homemade cookies)



Mail's Posted


Dear Family and Friends,
Brrrrrrrrrr, it's a blistering 34 degrees outside and there is some furious wind blowing. There is SNOW on the ground here in Georgia, and just in case you don't believe me, I sent pictures. But yeah, last night was the coldest night I've ever spent here, it was freezing, and the wind was howling. If it would've snowed very hard, it would've been blizzard conditions. Anyways, the missionary work this week has been slow, it seems like everyone is sick this time of year, and everybody's leaving town. But we're moving on, and hoping things get better. nothing too exciting happened this last week. We got to help a family decorate for Christmas, and clean up their yard. We also go to teach a lesson at mutual about the importance of mail to missionaries (I had nothing to say), and testimonies, and it was pretty fun. This week was a good week however for learning, I've really been impressed lately with how the scriptures can answer questions and resolve concerns. It seems like every time I have something come up, I open up to right where I left off last time, and boom, there's the answer. It's really cool to get to see the Lord watching over me like that, but it's saddening to think that people don't want that in their lives. I hope we all this wonderful Christmas season can take time to make a new years resolution to read the scriptures more, I know it will strengthen us, and bring us closer to our Father in Heaven. I also hope that we will all take the opportunity to invite people to feel the Spirit of the season throught the scriptures and trhough church, because this truly is a blessed time of year. I love you all, and I hope all is well. Thank you for your support, know that I miss you.

Love,
Elder Hughes

Monday, December 6, 2010

Big News From the Mission Field...

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was an interesting one, we had a specialized training with President King Friday, and WOW is all I can say, I never would've thought the words he said would ever come out of his mouth. I'll quote him "I do not want you to tract anymore!" I (along with 74 other missionaries) was blown away. We're now going to be relying on referrals from the members to teach people, because (drum roll) we're now using Mormon.org as our primary proselyting tool. So, this is going to be interesting, because we're in a unique transition phase where we know what's going on, but the Bishop doesn't have a clue, but President King is working on training them. This is crazy, we are actually asked now to spend time learning everything there is to know about the site, and how to use it. If I may, I would like to encourage all of you to check it out, and create a profile on there. So that's the big shake up this week, that and we found out last night that my companion and I are staying together another transfer, which means, I'll have spent more time in this area than the previous 5 combined, which is just absolutely nuts, but it's fun. That's all the big news this week, nothing to exciting outside that happened. I hope you all are doing well, thank you for your support, love, prayers, and letters, they mean a lot to me. I pray for you, and I hope you all are doing well.

Love,
Elder Hughes

Monday, November 22, 2010

On Time Mail...(Miracle)

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a looooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggg one, Monday night we stayed with Shallowford, because we had to go to Leadership training Tuesday, and Wednesday, so we spent a lot of time sitting in a car, and then had a 9 hour meeting both days, which was insane, but I really enjoyed it, because the Spirit was very strong, and I got to learn all about being a better teacher, and how to help other missionaries be better teachers. I really enjoyed the opportunity, and then Saturday, we had a fireside with John Bytheway, which was pretty cool, but again, it was in Lilburn, making a total of 3 round trips this week. Then you add on District meeting, and all the planning we did, and our week was all but shot, but on the good side, we're hopefully now ready to get things done more efficiently, so I'm excited to see what happens. Then, Sunday was pretty funny, the High Counciler over missionary work was in our ward, and he was getting very animated about our wards' lack of help for the missionary effort, and he coordinated with us about what he can to do help us out, so hopefully things start picking up a little. We also heard from him a really cool story about one of our investigators that he knows. He told us that this mans house is usually surrounded by ravens, but the first time we came to meet him, he noticed that the ravens flew away, and there were songbirds singing all around, so that was pretty cool to hear. Apparently we have some flock of songbirds following us around, luckily they don't drop surprises on us, because that would be terrible. Anyways, I would like to talk about the importance of the holiday season, at this time of year, the Spirit tends to touch people more, because they remember the birth of the Savior. It is a great time to share the gospel, and will surely open doors for great missionary opportunities. They say that every new convert, or returning member needs a friend, so be that friend that could help someone come back to the fold, it truly brings joy to my soul to be able to share the gospel with others, and I can witness that it will do the same to you. One of the greatest joys in life, is giving others the blessings you enjoy. Contemplate for a minute if you will all the blessings that come from having the Atonement in your life, and then imagine your life without them. When I do this, I picture nothing but emptiness, and disappointment, now ask yourself, who can I bring those blessings to, and if you can't think of anyone ask the Lord to bring you someone, and I testify that he will, then just as the Prophet Nephi, go and do as the Lord commands and offer the greatest gift that can be given to mankind, the Atonement, and I promise you, that you will feel the joy of being a missionary in your life. I testify that our Heavenly Father needs our help, and he will do what he can to help us, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love,
Elder Hughes

Last Week's Mail...

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was rather uneventful, we did a lot of tracting. But, we got to have Zone Conference, and it was pretty cool. We also had an opportunity to go on exchange, so I had the new Elder in Woodstock come over here, and we got to work together for the day. It was cool, because we found another new member that isn't on the rolls, but unfortunately he may be moving soon because of his job. Then the ward chewed us out for not getting his information, because they expect us to interoggate everyone we meet, so we can tell everyone their life story, and I just don't like to do that, because then it seems like that's all we care about and it's just ridiculous. Anyways, the ward Primary program was this week, and it was so cool to see all the kids up there singing, and there were a bunch of visitors, but nobody told us who they were (there are still a lot of people in the ward that I don't know because they show up so sporadically), so we didn't get to talk to any of them. But at least they came to church, and hopefully felt the Spirit. I'm having a lot of fun, getting to work and learn, and I've definitely gained a testimony of Diligence, it seems like the more tired I am at the end of each day, the happier I am. I can't really explain it, but that's how it works. Overall, things are going good, and should only get better, so I'm excited. I hope you all are doing well, know that you're in my prayers. I hope we all can take an opportunity to really ponder about the meaning and power of prayer, and try to be more sincere, and by so doing, invite the Spirit into our life more powerfully, that we may become closer to the Lord, and more in tune with his will. I know that Heavenly Father loves us, and wants to hear from us, and is willing to grant us the righteous desires of our hearts if we ask in Faith, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love,
Elder Hughes

Monday, November 1, 2010

Post is Here

Dear Family and Friends,
How are you? It's a beautiful day here in Georgia, the weather has finally cooled down, I've got a new companion (meaning I didn't get transferred), and we got to confirm a new member of the church yesterday. All in all, it's just a great day here in the land of preaching the gospel. My new companion is Elder Christensen (2nd one in this area), he's from Fillmore Utah, oddly enough, and he's been out as long as I have. It's interesting being with him, because he doesn't like silence, and I quite enjoy it, so this'll be a good opportunity for me to work on my patience. This week, I get to go to Lilburn for a meeting with President King, and all the other leaders in the mission, so I'm excited about that to see what's going to happen. Elder Arnett wound up going to Athens, just in case anyone was wondering, and I'm stoked because my second companion is now one of my zone leaders, so I get to see someone I know again. Being at transfers was a very cool experience, and President King told us that he feels that the baptisms in our mission will get back to where they're supposed to be very soon, so I'm excited for that, but it's going to require a lot of work, and even more faith, so onward and upward. I think I am beggining to thoroughly enjoy myself being here, I seem to only be getting happier and happier these days, I truly can feel the gospel bringing light into my life. I also have the opportunity currently, to teach our gospel principles class, so that's fun, and I get to do that on top of everything else I do, so I'm staying pretty busy. We are trying to extend our range for finding, and we met some nice people in a new neighborhood, so hopefully we can get something going there, but as of right now, we're kind of in a building phase, but I'm confident that things will pick up. Anyways, I hope you are all doing well, know that I love you and I miss you, and missionaries always love mail......Ttys

Love,
Elder Hughes

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hello

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was a long week, that had such a sweet and at the same time heavy ending.....We spent a lot of time working with one of our investigators, and Satan was really trying to mess with him, but he was baptized yesterday, and I must say it was one of the most touching baptisms that I have ever seen. I got to assist in the baptism, which was really cool, and it was a good thing I was there because I'm not sure the man baptizing him could have picked him back up out of the water. But, the Spirit was just so powerful, and everyone there was crying, and it was just amazing. The thing that made it really cool, was that the missionary that found him originally over a year ago got to be there, so it was so cool. Later that same night, we had transfer calls, and thankfully I'm not packing (yet), but it was an ironic night. My companion, and the rest of our district for that matter, has been telling me I was going to be a District Leader soon, so when the AP's called, my companion was laughing his head off, then something crazy happened.....President King called, and all of the sudden my companion quit laughing, because it was for him, and he's going to be a Zone Leader, so he's a little overwhelmed. So, needless to say it was a crazy day....The rest of the week was really fun, we got to see some investigators that we haven't seen in a while, we were super busy all the time, and we had another unique experience.... Saturday we had the opportunity to go to a Messianic Jewish service, and it was really interesting and different, but I much prefer being LDS if I do say so myself. The funny thing was that the Rabbi was talking about not being hypocrites, as he was taking stabs at our church and what we do as missionaries, but he acted like nothing was different afterwards, so I thought it was funny. Then after this service this lady comes up to me and starts telling me that I don't need to be going around witnessing to people, and I was on the verge of saying something really loudly, but I didn't, so I was proud of myself for making some progress on controlling my temper. I'm really excited to see who my new companion is going to be, and what's going to happen this week, it should be really fun. I hope you all are doing well....

Love,

Elder Hughes

Monday, October 18, 2010

Message for the Week

Dear Family and friends,
This week was a lot of knocking doors, a lot of bike riding, and a lot of annoyance. We spent a good portion of most of ours days tracting very unsuccessfully, hopefully though we should have a couple baptisms coming up soon, but we'll have to see. One day in particular stands out in my mind, it was Wednesday. The first house we came to was abandoned, so we went to the next, and the guy came out the door and cussed us out while threating us, and told to get off his property (first time this has ever happened), thankfully I've gotten my temper under control a bit better, or things may have gone south really quickly, because this man was just plain rude.... So that was the first door we knocked that day, and the rest of the day was just terrible, until we got to the last door. We had a referral in the area, so we decided to go contact him, and thank goodness he was home. So we sat down on his porch and began to talk with him, and fairly quickly he told us of a dream he'd had the night before we first contacted him, and in this dream he saw the second coming, and the final judgement, and he was told that "the Latter Day Saints would lead the way." After he told us this, I didn't know what to say, but the Spirit bore witness to me that this man had received a witness that our church is Christ's church, and all I could think was how quick can we get this man baptized, unfortunately we soon found out that his family is not so receptive, but that didn't even matter to me. To think that the Lord had prepared such a miracle was so astonishing to me that I was speechless, and it humbled me to tears. I've been looking for something cool like this to happen my whole mission, and it seems all that's ever happened has been the crazy stuff, but I guess I was finally ready for it. It was really cool to see that the Lord really does have his hand in this work, and to get to know that he is preparing people for us. That's something I've struggled with ever since I came our, but I know now how much he loves us. The rest of the week was pretty uneventful, but I'm sure things will pick up. I love you all, and I hope you're doing well, know that I pray for you, and I am deeply grateful for your prayers in my behalf. I know that this Gospel is true. Take time to study it and learn, and I know that you can learn how to be happy and successful in life.

Love,
Elder Hughes-

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mail's Here

Dear Family,
This week was kind of an interesting one. I went on exchange again, and got meet a very nice Catholic man who took us to lunch. It was cool, because he knew one of the Elders in my districts former Bishop, so he was real nice and loves the church, but he's a devout Catholic. Funny enough, my companion and I tracted into them last transfer, so it was quite hilarious. We had a new investigator come to church, and accept the invitation to be baptized, so hopefully things go well with him. Another of our investigators had surgery again, and we finally found out what exactly is wrong with him, but he has told that he would like to be baptized as soon as he can, but we have to wait since he can't physically get himself wet yet, so it should happen in a couple weeks. Our recent convert is doing very well, she has a calling in the relief society activities commitee, and is just having a blast with the church, but she is still adjusting to the lifestyle, so it's fun to see her growing. I had the longest day of biking thus far on my mission, and my legs have been killing me all week, but it's all good. We were having very bad luck with finding this week, then I made a joke during weekly planning about how we never get any referrals, and like 4 seconds later I get a call from the AP's who are trying to send us some referrals, and we ended up with 3 that same day, so the Lord once again showed me that he has a sense of humor. We are the pilot mission for a new advertising campaign, and as a result have some pretty sweet new pass along cards, and are giving them out like candy, hoping that it works, but thus far not too much is happening, granted it has only been like 2 weeks. Church this week was really interesting, we had members bearing their testimony about the Constitution, and I was really not too happy since it was our investigators first time to church, but there was nothing I could do. I did take the opportunity to bear my testimony, which was very refreshing, and fun. In the 3 months I've been here, it's been cool to see how much my testimony has grown. Before I leave I would like to share some of it with you: I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father that hears and answers our prayers, I know he loved us enough to send his firstborn son Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer, and I know that they live, and are waiting for us to return to them with open arms. I know that our Father in Heaven prepared the Holy Ghost as a way to commune with us since we cannot be in his physical presence. I know that Joseph Smith was called and annointed as the Prophet of this last dispensation before the foundations of the earth were lain, and that we refoiced when the Savior annointed him. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God that leads and guides us today, and I know that by obeying the laws and principles of the Gospel, and taking part in the ordinances thereof, all mankind may return to live with our Father in Heaven, with our Families, and have Eternal Life, and Exaltation, in the name of Jesus Christ, I bear you this witness, Amen.

Elder Hughes

Monday, October 4, 2010

Good Tiddings

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a slow one, and hasn't been as productive as I would've liked, but at the same time it was a week to remember. I loved General Conference, it was so amazing to hear the counsel and guidance we've been given. We don't have any baptisms coming up too soon, but hopefully we'll be able to get things going. I really don't have any funny stories this week, it was pretty boring other than the debate I had while I was on exchange about facebook and how I'll never be on there. The weather has finally started to cool off, thank goodness. My companion is whining about it being cold now, but it feels sooooo good. I would like to express my heart felt thanks for all your love, support, and prayers while I've been out here, I really do appreciate all that you do, and I hope you all know that I pray for you as well. I thank you all for your encouragement and righteous examples, and I truly hope that we may be able to work at becoming more like our Savior. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, I know he lives and loves us, I know that we have a living Heavenly Father who loves and communicates with us through the medium of the Holy Ghost. I hope all of us may be able to ponder the messages shared in General Conference, and apply them in our lives. We truly have a great blessing being members of the true and living church of Christ, and we need to show our gratitude by living as righteously and we can. I know the Lord will strengthen and bless us as we strive to do so. I love you all, and I hope you're doing well!

Elder Hughes

Monday, September 27, 2010

life and times of missionaries..

Hello,
This week was really slow work wise, not much seems to be happening, but we're working hard and trying to get things done. We found out that our main investigator is afraid of being baptized, since someone has to lean him backwards, and he isn't to prone to trust people. But, we're going to keep working with him. None of our other investigators were available this week, so it was a rough one, but hopefully this week is better. We had an interesting experience, last week a member was telling me that my backpack looked like it was about ready to die, and Tuesday night, as we were biking home I had it packed full of stuff, and it was quite heavy. So as we're biking home, I hit a bump and hear this tearing sound near my right shoulder, so I started asking myself, what was that, and then I heard it again, and I realized that the shoulder of my backpack might be tearing, so I reach back and sure enough it's almost gone. So I start freaking out, and I think to myself if that strap breaks, the other wont be far behind, so I determine in my mind to be as close to home as possible before it happens. Then I start thinking that my companion is probably going to think I'm crazy, but I had no choice, there was no way I could carry all the stuff in my backpack, and we're a mile and a half from home, and it's almost curfew. So at the conclusion of these thoughts in my mind, I start shifting the gears and I take off. I must really have been cooking, because we made it through the door in about 10 minutes (mail stop included), but anyways we get to the mailbox in our complex and my companion pulls up and he asks "What was that?" so I showed him my backpack and he was pacified. Then later, I find out that he'd been thinking of scary stories when I'd taken off, so he'd been thinking something had scared the snot out of me or something, so it was hilarious. On the other side of the spectrum, as we were studying, I ran across something that really impressed me, and made me truly look at life a little differently. If we look at the account of the Saviors' crucifixion in John, it says that after he had died, a Roman Soldier stabbed him with a spear, to make sure he was dead, and an interesting thing happened, Blood and Water came out.... Now, normally if you stab someone, just blood comes out, but if blood comes out mixed with water, it means that the chest cavitity had already been filled with blood, and that the blood had mixed with other bodily fluids. This has happened on a few occasions, where nothing actually physically caused someone to bleed internally, yet their body is filled with blood, so what it means is that some vessel within the Savior must have broken in order for this to happen. It has also been scientifically proven that when a person is subjected to enough physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual torment, it can actually cause the walls of their heart to rupture, which brings us to an interesting conclusion.... The actual physical cause of Christs' death was a broken heart! When I learned this, it truly pricked my heart, and made me realize just how crushing the Atonement must have been for the Savior, he felt so much pain, that it literally caused his heart to break. That is quite astonishing to me. The other thing that really hit me, was that hatred is not actually the opposite of Love, indifference is... Hating someone requires you to still have strong feelings concerning said person, whereas indifference means you have lost all feeling regarding whatever the object of your desire is. Anyways, those are my thoughts for the week, I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and that he gave everything he had for us, so that we could inherit all that his Father has. I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and I pray that we may all use it more fully in our loves, and express our Love and gratitude to our Father in Heaven for the matchless gift of his Son, In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sincerely,
Elder Hughes


p.s. his new back pack got mailed last week

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mail Please

Hello,
This was a rather strange week, we had as usual a lot of ups and downs, but there were quite a few cool experiences. ONe of our investigators had acool experience with praying about the Book of Mormon, he said that after he had asked, he felt this odd peaceful feeling, and all his troubles seemed to disappear, it was really cool. He was also able to come to church, so he is making some good progress. Hopefully we'll be able to get him baptized soon, right now we're shooting for the 9th of October. We also had a good time working with a family that we're working with, they're super cool, and they're making a lot of progress, so hopefully they can start coming to church soon (stuff keeps coming up) so that we can get them ready to be baptized. We also found out that one of our other investigators had a wild party this weekend, and has been kicked out of his previous residence so now he is no longer an investigator, and we're trying to work with his ex-girlfriend. Really interesting stuff there, because the lady we just baptized can totally relate, so we're going to see what we can do. Anyways, we also had some good times tracting, but no one was able to/wanted to talk when we came back, so that was kind of a bummer. But overall it was a good week, I had some fun times studying, and I really feel a lot better. I've been studying about how the Spirit works as I've read the Book of Mormon, and it has been quite astonishing to see how much the Spirit really does. I would encourage ya'll to try it sometime, it really is amazing. I would like to leave you with my testimony, I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of God that was instrumental in ushering in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, I know that Jesus is the foreordained Savior and Redeemer of the World, I know that we have a Father in Heaven, that knows us to the thoughts and intents of our hearts, and that he loves us all unconditionally, and that his entire Purpose and Plan for our lives revolves around us returning to live with him for eternity with our families. I know that this life is our time to prepare to meet God, I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ will prepare us for eternity if we live it, I know that God has prepared a way for our etermal progression and happiness, and that we consented to follow this plan, I know that we rejoiced when Christ was chosen as our Savior, and that we all sustained him whole heartedly, I know that Thomas S. Monson is a the Prophet of God called and chosen to lead Gods' children at this day time, of these things I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekly Message

Hello,
This week was an up and down one, we had the opportunity to see an investigator get baptized, but I also realized how much I hate when that happens. I love to see someone come unto Christ, and enter the path to Eternal Life, but that means I don't get to work with them anymore, and that is extremely hard. It was interesting, because during her confirmation I felt how much I had loved working with her, but at the same time the emptiness of knowing that she was now in the wards' hands. But, it was a neat experience to get to be a part of it all. Last night also happened to be transfer calls, and we found out that our entire District is saying the same, which is extremely surprising since this will be our 3rd transfer together, which never happens. I think my companion is probably tired of me by now, but he's stuck with me, so hopefully he doesn't go crazy. This week one of our investigators had surgery, and told us he wasn't coming to church because of it, and our other investigator who is supposed to be baptized mysteriously wasn't home when we came to pick him up for church, so things have hit a wall for now. But, we'll get everything sorted out I hope. This week has also been a humbling experience, everything we've tried to do has fallen through, and I spent a lot of time being chastened, but on the bright side, I think I know what we need to improve on, so hopefully things start to get better. This week, I've really been impacted byt he importance of really talking to our Father in Heaven, I realized that I wasn't being as sincere in my prayers as I should, so I started to really put my heart into it, and I must say it was quite a difference, I would urge all of you to try to be more earnest and sincere in your prayers, because in the time that we have with our Father in Heaven, we really are able to receive guidance from him about what to do, and as we sincerely pour out our hearts to him, he will be able to speak to our hearts, because he'll know that we truly want to know. I know that our Heavenly Father lives, and loves us, and that he is waiting to pour out his blessings upon us, but it's up to us to show him that we truly desire them, and I know that if we do that, he will help us in every aspect of our lives where we may need his influence. Prayer truly is one of the most important things we have in this life. I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love,
Elder Hughes

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mail

Hello,
This week has been another busy one, nothing too crazy has happened though other than the weather has finally started to cool off, I think we dropped below 90 for the first time in llike 4 months or something, it was glorious, and I must say there was much rejoicing. This week was kind of the week I didn't want to happen, but it did anyways. We had a lot of appointments fall through on us, and a number of things combined to discourage us, but the work goes on. We did have a cool lesson with a less active member that we've been working with who is now exctied to come to church, and wants us to teach her kids. we also got the sister that is getting baptized this Saturday interviewed, so we're excited. She was able to attend a child of record baptism yesterday, so she's all excited now. We also had a chance to give her a Priesthood blessing, and she was pretty awestricken with what she felt happening as we blessed her, so she's just having all kinds of cool stuff happen. Unfortunately, the other people we have with a date weren't able to make it to church, so we may have to push them back, but I'm still confident that things will work out. Apparently the Bishop seems to think that the ward is really happy with us trying to work hard, so people are starting to try and help us out, but again it takes more time than we have. But, it's good that they trust us, we're pretty exctied about the future. Transfer calls are coming up next week, so I'll find out if this becomes my longest standing area, or just another blip on the missiom map of Elder Hughes. I'm so ready to just not get transferred again, but it's just not going to happen, anyways, we'll see what the Lord has in store. This week I would like to talk for a minute about a unique experience I had while readin the scriptures, I was reading a chapter in the Book of Mormon that I thought didn't have anything too cool in it, but the Lord proved me wrong. It was in 2Nephi 1, I was reading near the end where it talk about rising from the dust and shaking off the chains of Hell, and putting on the armor of righteousness. When I read it I had to do a double take, because I was like "whoa." It was cool, because it emphasized the importance to me of continuing to endure, rising from the dust, no matter what happens, and doing our best to always recommit ourselves to do better (shaking off the chains), and striving to follow the Lord and walk in his ways. It was also cool, because I see myself as a missionary as part of the Lords' army, and it was like a call to me to wake up and get to work. I know that as we try to do these things, the Lord will bless us, and will help us to draw closer to him. I love you all, thank you for your support, know that the Lord will bless us as we strive to live righteously.

Elder Hughes

Monday, August 30, 2010

Things are going good!

Hello,
With fall right around the corner, I must shout Hallelujah, the temperature is finally starting to go down, and biking is becoming bearable (except the plague of my bike always wanting to break down on me, I think it's tried of having to carry me around everywhere and is trying to tell me it needs a break of something). I think the "crazy" parts of my mission may have seen their end, and I'm now stuck in the busy busy busy part, but I don't know, I'm just doing what I can. I keep running in to people that think they're related to me, which is weird, but it makes sense since southerners settled southern Utah, but I don't know. The work only seems to get crazier and crazier, so we have to bike more and more and more, but it's a welcome tradeoff. This week was so strange, it seems like a dream of some sort. We had several appointments that seemed to take way too long, and we just couldn't seem to find time to do all the things we needed to, so we just did what we could, and somehow it all worked out. We now have 3 investigators with baptism dates(the 11th, the 18th, and the 25th), which is super exciting, and we are working with a less active lady that is starting to show interest in coming back to church. We had an extremely rare opportunity to have our investigators meet Elder Hinckley of the 70, and Elder Burns of the 70, and our Mission President in a special meeting before Stake Conference (they re-did the Stake Presidency), and it was awesome, we had quite a few people there, and they loved it! It was so cool, I was soooo excited and we worked like crazy people all week trying to get people to go, and in the end it all worked out. Now it turns out that Elder Posey of the 70 is coming here this Tuesday for a special meeting, so the entire mission is going to be at the office, and it's going to be insane! I'm super excited about the work, everything is going great and we're staying busy enough that I can't see straight, so we must be doing something right. I want to briefly touch on the power of the scriptures, I know that when we truly study them, not just read them, but study them, and try to apply the principles they teach, the Spirit of the Lord will reveal unto us his will for us in our lives. What a great blessing it is to know what the Lord asks of us as we go forth trying to serve him faithfully and diligently to the end. I know that God lives and loves us, and that he sent his Son to die for us. Thank you all for your support, I hope to hear from ya'll soon, I love and miss you.

Elder Hughes

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekly News

Hello,

This week in Georgia has been an interesting one, we had Zone Conference this week, and it was pretty awesome besides being almost 9 hours long. We got to learn a lot of cool stuff, and start working on learning the new missionary curriculum that the church has come out with. We also go to see the new Preach My Gospel DVD's, the District 2, which are pretty awesome if I do say so. It was a really good week, we didn't get a lot done it seems like, but at the same time we did. We found a new family that we've begun teaching, who seem pretty receptive. I'm excited to teach them and see what happens. We have an investigator going in for back surgery this week, so prayers would be appreciated. He apparently has a cist on his back that he has had multiple surgeries for, but they've never been able to fix. We have a baptism coming up in 2 weeks, which is really exciting, and we have started working with a couple of the part member families in the ward, so overall last week was a good week, but we rode a lot and sweated a lot and it didn't seem like anything was happening, but the tender mercies of the Lord have taken care of us. I finally feel like I might be getting the hang of this missionary thing, but we'll see. I haven't had any crazy experiences lately, so I don't have any cool stories to tell, but I'm sure there's something around the corner. Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers. I hope everything is going well at home, I love you all and I miss you. Know that the Lord will take care of us all, and that he is just waiting to help us if we will ask him. (Mormon 9:21) I know that our Father in Heaven loves us, and that he wants us all home, so lets try a little harder to do what we can to get there.

Love, Elder Hughes

Monday, August 16, 2010

Check him out....

Craig sent a few pictures of some of the new friends he's made...
They seem to like them tall in Georgia.


Weekly Update

Hello Family and Friends,
This week was an odd one, it was like one of those insanely hard weeks that seems like it was only a dream, but then something crazy happens at the end and everything just goes topsy turvy and you forget all the craziness. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Woodstock on exchange, we did some service and a ton of walking in the blistering hot sun with who knows how much humidity, then we spent the rest of the week biking all over our area from Heavens to Betsy, it was crazy. We had a lot of good lessons, one of our investigators wants to be baptized as soon as he can get away from his current church (he teaches primary), then another we finally got to teach him with his family, and they all agreed to read the Book of Mormon, but there was no clear commitment on coming to church. Then we gave our other investigator that just got back in town a date for next Friday, but it got cancelled because her Dad couldn't be there, so last night we had to reschedule, and it's now the 11th of September. It was weird, but I remember the first thing I thought when we set that was wow, what a day to have a baptism....I'm sure it'll be really cool. Anyways, we got a referral from some other Elders about a former investigator who came to church yesterday, it was awesome, and he wants us to teach him and his family so we're excited about that. We also met a new family last night that want to get back into a church and were happy to have us come back. The man that I mentioned last week who had been in the wreck, came to church with his family, and is hoping that his wife and daughter can be baptized soon, so that was really cool to see. In all we had 7 people at church yesterday (the record for my mission thus far). It was a touching experience, because we weren't expecting that many people to come. I truly felt like dropping to my knees and just giving gratidtude to my Heavenly Father, which I did later, but it was just amazing. I've been studying lately in 3Nephi, the account of Jesus Christ, and it always amazes me how many things he asks us to do, but then I always remember the scripture that we all know so well from the 3rd chapter of the book. I really have grown to love the scriptures, there's so many great things we can use to improve the qality of our lives, and work towards becoming perfect. I love the personal ministry of the Savior, he's just such a great teacher. I've really been trying to thinkg of the types of questions he used and apply it to my teaching, because our Mission President is really pushing asking inspired questions, and it definitely does work. I've also found it interesting as we studied the Christlike attributes in companionship study this week, that the whole time I was trying think of how to apply them, but all I could seem to think about was their role in the afterlife. It was weird, but cool at the same time. Then when I was on exchange, I found out that the other missionaries in our district just so happened to be studying the same thing, it was crazy. I have really been focusing on letting the Spirit lead, and it has been amazing to see some of the small miracles and things that the Lord has done, even in so short of a time. We're still having a hard time with finding, but things are starting to work somehow, so I'm just trusting the Lord and continuing to press onward ever onward, and I hope you are too. May we all try to remember the Lord and the influence he has in our lives, and strive to notice the small miracles that happen everyday to help us accomplish all the things we are able to. I know that as we do that, we will truly be able to feel the Love of God more abundantly, and will be able to know more about how much we have to be grateful for. I love you all, and I hope all is going well.

Elder Hughes

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mail Call...

Hello,

After yesterday, I'm beginning to think that I'm some kind of joke to the Mission Presidency...President Alba one of President Kings' counselors was at church, and he told me how sorry he was that I was being picked on and how he had told President King to leave me alone for a while. The day before that, another missionary told me that he had told him the same thing, so I'm really starting to think there's some kind of conspiracy going on...But anyways, the comments must have worked because I'm still here in Allatoona (But I haven't made it to a full transfer here yet so ya never know). This last week was weird, Tuesday we had a meeting that lasted until 4pm, and Wednesday we had to go to transfers, so half of our week was pretty much shot. Then everything we tried to do just tanked, except for Saturday. It made no sense to me, we got more accomplished on Saturday then the other 6 days combined. But, we had a couple of really cool experiences...First was Tuesday night, we have started playing basketball on Tuesdays, but no one showed up last week, so we were walking home, and on the way this girl pulls over and starts talking to us. She was really nice, and agreed to meet some other time, so later in the week we met her at a fast food restaurant, and taught her the first discussion. It was really weird because she said she doesn't usually pull over for strangers, but she felt inclined to so it was cool, I'm not sure how well the discussion went since she was pretty argumentative about some things, but hopefully she's reading and praying. We also met a member who has been inactive for years, and had not let missionaries into his home for 10 years. Apparently a member about to go on a mission told a lie about him that cost him a 6 figure job, and was still able to go on a mission, so he figured he didn't want missionaries anywhere near his home anymore, and hasn't let them in since. But, recently he got in an accident where almost every bone in his body from his neck down was broken, and he actually died, but he never lost consciousness (or his Spirit never left), and he heard a voice telling him it wasn't his time, that he still had work to do. The Doctor in the ER sent him to another Hospital becuase he was proclaimed dead, but when he got to the other hospital he woke up. Not only did he wake up, but he started moving around and pulling himself up and things. After several months, he started physical therapy, and everytime he hit a roadblock, something would prompt him to keep going. For example the nurses wanted him to walk, but he didn't think he could, but he felt something hit him in the back of the head, and tell him to stand up. So he did, and he started walking. Then just a couple of days ago he was depressed about never being able to walk by himself again, and he heard a voice tell him to let go of his walker, so he pushed it away from himself, and then walked to it. As he was telling us his story, I could feel tears in my eyes, and as I stood there listening I felt like this man should be teaching me about the gospel not the other way around. But, he now knows what he's supposed to be doing and is determined to get himself back to church, and it just so happens that we are the first Elders he has welcomed to his home in 10 years. I don't know what this has to do with me, but for some reason I got to be here to see it happen, and be part of this mans' story, and I'm truly grateful for it. On top of that, yesterday our investigator that has been out of town told us in church that she would like to set a date to be baptized, so we should be able to do that soon, and it just so happens that our ward has a Temple trip coming up the day we want to baptize her, so we're going to try to do it early so she can go. I'm pretty excited about that. The Lords' work continues to roll on, I hope you all are doing well, I love ya, and I miss ya. One last thing, We talked this sunday about gaining a Testimony, and how we do it. I would like to challenge you all to try this with any aspect of the gospel. First, you learn about it, second you desire or hope to know that it's true, then you act on that desire, and you will receive your witness. I know that by doing this we can strengthen our testimonies of the principles of the gospel, and I hope you'll all take an opportunity to do so. Until next week,

Elder Hughes

Monday, August 2, 2010

Things are lookin' up..

Hola seniors and seniores,
This week in Allatoona has been a scorcher, and it has also been the week where I spent more time tracting than anything else. We also had an interesting experience at church, where one of the members bore his testimony to an investigator that was with us. It was a new experience to me, and I wasn't sure how it was going to be received, but it seemed ok, so it was cool. On the bright side, the work is starting to look up. we have a LOT of people to see this week, and aren't quite sure how we're going to do it. There's a lot of potential in the next couple weeks, we're just hoping that we can get things going. This tranfer has been a struggle, but the next one should be pretty rewarding. We have some investigators that are reallly looking good, and should be ready for baptism soon. I am also extremely relieved that as far as I know I don't have to pack for once (although, we still have to go to transfer meeting since Elder Christensen is leaving us(I'm praying for a car). I'm pretty excited about that, I'm just not excited about the fact that this has been one of the hottest summers on record so far, and they say it's going to get hotter. I'm not sure how that's possible, but they say it is. Trying to learn and implement the churchs' new missionary curriculum has been quite the task, and is definitely going to take time, but I can definitely see how it will have some long term benefits. It really focuses on getting the members involded in missionary work, and us doing everything we can to help them feel comfortable doing it. I would encourage you all to read the article in the July ensign about sharing the gospel, it's really good. I've been very impressed this week by a passage in the Book of Mormon, Alma 59:11. It says that Captain Moroni, the man that it says could shake the very powers of Hell because of his righteousness only a few chapters earlier, got discouraged. But what is extremely important to remember is that he was in a war, and could not afford to be discouraged, and that he never quit or gave up. He was up against an innumerable foe, and the government had seemingly turned its' back on him, but he continued to lalbor in all diligence, and he was delivered by the Lord, and went on to conquer his foe and retain his liberty. This was a very encouraging discovery to me, and I hope it is for you as well, may we all press on, trusting in the Lord with steadfast Faith in Christ. I know that if we do that, the Lord will deliver us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Hughes

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dear...

Dear Family/Friends/Those who may or may not know me who read this anyways because it's semi-interesting/Everyone else,
This week was action packed, Monday night we gained a new companion (who I didn't meet until Tuesday, becuase I was on exchange in Woodstock), we are now a trio in Allatoona with Elder Brent Christensen. He's really cool, I was with him in my first area (not as my companion but in my apartment), and it's really nice to get to learn from a more experienced missionary again. I feel extremely inadequate to be trying to teach another missionary what he's supposed to be doing, but I am trying my best. Wednesday, we got to go on a split, and I wrecked on my bike on the way home, but luckily the only thing hurt was my bike and my pants. But, all those years in Home Ec. finally paid off. My pants look really funny, but at least they're not holy anymore (buh dum, ch). We had one of our investigators leave town for 2 weeks, so we're praying like crazy that she comes back the way she left. Because the night before she left, she agreed to set a date to be baptized when she gets home. We have also started teaching a Former investigator, and are making good progress with him, but he has a long way to go. We are still struggling with some of our investigators, but if they would ever make up their minds, we could baptize a ton of people. But, we can't force anyone to do anything since they still have their agency. The humidity here seems to be picking up, and it is absolutely nasty, I think I sweat more than I could have ever thought possible. We are still not having a ton of success finding, but we're trying some different methods so hopefully things pick up. I don't think I'll ever get over my being shy, it seems like no matter how hard I try it just never works. I'm really staring to feel like I just don't have a missionary type personality, because I'm just too laid back apparently, but I figure the Lord called me here for a reason, I just can't seem to figure out what it is. Transfer calls are coming up in 6 days, so I'll see if my streak keeps going. I'm guessing it will since there are a lot of things on the horizon here, it's about time for me to get transferred. President seems to think I wont, but I'm not going to take his word for it. I've been really impressed this week with the importance of reading the scriptures, it seems like every time I do I find something else that I need to do to be a more effective missionary, and occasionally person. So I would admonish you all to read them daily, but not just read them, ponder and pray about them and do all you can to apply to what you're doing in your life. I know that if we do that, the Lord will show what we need to do to further our progression, and to grow more like our Savior Jesus Christ. I truly appreciate all the support and love that you guys have been for me, and I hope the Lord is watching over you in all that you do. Love,

Elder Hughes

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mail's Here...

Hello,
This week was a hot one, and a wet one. We got caught in a couple big rainstorms while tracting, and I ended up getting soaked to the bone.But it was nice to get a break from the heat for a little while. We did manage to find a new investigator that came to church this week, and meet some of the less active members of the ward, who are all super nice, they just don't come to church for one reason or another. Things have been tough getting going here, because we don't know anybody and everyone seems to think we should by now. They keep telling us to do stuff, and I feel like it's impossible since they aren't trying to help us out all that much. Our Ward Mission Leader has been great, he's helping us out a ton, but he's really new to his calling so he's learning just like we are. The work hasn't really started to pick up yet, but it's definitely starting to look more promising. We have a lot of potentials, and follow up visits to work with this week, so hopefully things go well. We're going to try to start visiting other churches, and improve our relationships with them since there seems to be a lot of hostility due to previous experiences with missionaries. A lot of Pastors are preaching against us, so we're going to do all that we can to fight that and trust the Lord to make it work. This week has been a good testimony builder of the importance of hard times in life, we all face them, and we never know what to expect of them. Some are more trying than others, and some help us grow more than others. But the one comforting thing to know is that Christ has descended below all things, and knows the pains that we feel, as well as our stress and discomfort, and is willing to help at any time in our lives. But, what I want to talk about it being a disciple of Jesus Christ. As a disciple, we have a responsibility to help those arounds bear one anothers burdens, but as with any of the commandments or covenants we make the Lord has attached a promise. He tells us that if we lose our life to the service of others, we will find ours. This rings true in the case of our trials, when we help others face theirs, it helps us get through ours. Thus creating a mutual support system that strengthens and enlightens and uplifts both parties. This truly is a great part of the Lords plan for us in our lives, and he truly wants us to have help and support along the journey of our life, and since he can't do it himself, he asks us to do it for him. I know he does it because he loves us in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. I hope ya'll r doing well, and staying out of trouble. Ttyl
Elder Hughes

Monday, July 12, 2010

Adjusting in Allatoona,

Bonjour,

As you all know, I was moved again last Monday, and I'm now in the Allatoona ward. Things here have been kind of tough since the last missionaries didn't keep very good records of anything. It has made things extremely difficult since we can't find any of the people that they were teaching. But we're doing our best, and trusting that things will all work out. My new companion is Elder Arnett, he's a good missionary, and a hard worker which has been a nice change. This area isn't too fun, due to its' monstrous hills, and the fact that we're on bike, but hey at least I'm getting a good work out now. I feel like a fish, I've been drinking close to a gallon of water a day, but I think most of that is probably being sweated out of me. I often wonder what it must look like to see 2 white guys in white shirts and ties pouring sweat with backpacks on standing at your door, from the sounds of it it's not very appealing if you ask me, but what do I know. There have been some crazy changes going on in the mission world around the church, and I don't know much about it, but we're having interviews this week so we'll find out what's going on. I have a feeling that I may be here for a while since I need to get my behind in shape I guess. The work in this area seems to be going alright though, and the ward seems to be really good about reaching out to people they just keep hitting road blocks in the work. But, overall things are going alright, we're hitting lots of doors and hoping we can find the people we're supposed to. Anyways, love ya'll, hope to hear from ya soon.
Elder Hughes

Monday, July 5, 2010

Moving AGAIN...

Hello,

Well, this is officially my last letter from Shallowford, turns out I'm being emergency transferred to the Allatoona ward. I think this is probably due to the fact that for the last week my companion has had to stay in our apartment, and so the President is moving me and taking him to the Office so they can take care of him. Which means, I have set my speed record for serving in an area, making it not even 2 weeks here. We're leaving our current apartment at 6 o clock tonight, and I'll be heading on to my new area. My short lived stay here was quite a productive one, we got a lot of good things going in this ward, but unfortunately after we leave there wont be any Elders in the ward and I'm not sure how they feel about that. I think a lot of them will be hurt, but there's nothing we can do. This is a perfect example of how important it is for us all to know that no matter what happens, it's for our good. I'm not exactly sure why the Lord sent me here, but it ties into his plan somehow I'm sure. Needless to say, I think I now hold the record for the number of areas served in in 8 months. My bike has also had a lot of trouble this week, I've had 4 flat tires and a blowout, I have no idea why, but I hope I've got it all sorted out. Anywho, the work goes on. I've been very impressed this week with the topic of enduring to the end. We all face trials in life, we know we're going to, it's part of Gods' plan. So we should expect it, and do all we can to prepare for it. But there are times in life where we get thrown a curve ball, and it's those moments where we don't know what to do that we are truly tested and learn. It's at those points in life where we really have to dig in, do what we can, and lean on the Lord, and I know that if we do that, he'll carry us through. I've also been impressed with the importance of Obedience, it's the most important Christlike attribute, and is the basis for all blessings we receive. But my challenge to you would be to study the difference and importance of Strict Obedience, and Exact Obedience. I love you all, and I hope you're doing well.

Elder Hughes

Monday, June 28, 2010

Moved Again

Hello People,

Now coming to you live from the Shallowford ward, Elder Hughes gives you his weekly report of awesomenessess. My new companion is Elder McBride, he's pretty cool, except for the fact that he is allergic to gluten, and so has a very strict diet. That makes it rough on the members to feed us, but they're being very helpful and we're very grateful for they're support. It turns out, that I've actually served in this area before (on exchange) so I kind of know what's going on. But on the down side, since I left, a lot of bad things have happened and a lot of ward members have been very offended by the previous missionaries. On top of that this is the hardest area in this mision to find people to teach, due to the fact that everyone here is rather well off. So, this area is really going to be a challenge, but we're moving forward with Faith and Trust that we can do what we need to. We're workig on setting up a lot of things right now so it's kind of hectic, but in the end I think it will all work out to be a great benefit and help to the work. This week I've been really impressed by the latter chapters in Alma, particularly the ones about the stripling warriors, and I've been think a lot about the difference between strict and exact obedience and why they're both important. I've also been studying a lot about finding people to teach, and I've been tryign to figure out what we can do in this area, but unfortunately it takes time to get all these things gong so right now we're just in a building stage. I would like to express my appreciation to all those of you who have sent me supplies and assistance, they are much appreciated and you will be blessed for it. That's about all for this week Love ya!

Elder Hughes

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Letter for the Week

Hellllllo,
Breaking news in GANM, Elder Hughes is being transferred yes again. This will make 4 transfers in a row, having only spent 6 weeks in 3 areas in a row. I think this has to be some kind of record, but I do not know. I'm beginning to be scared about what the future may hold, since this is supposed to be preparation for life, apparently I'm never going to stay anywhere very long. But, the work goes on, and I have other people to teach. I found an interesting scripture in my studies this week, and since most of you wouldn't look it up, I'll just tell you what it says...Proverbs 25:25 "As sold water to a thirsty sould, so is news from a far country." I'll let you figure out what that means. Well, I doubt anyone has heard the breaking news in Dahlonega, but last wednesday, a Tornado touched down, and ripped through town. It touched down near our apartment, and knocked down quite a few trees, knocked out the power, but as far as I know no one was injured. We were at a members house for dinner while it happened, so we had no idea until we came home and saw the clean up crews all over trying to cut up all the trees that were blocking roads and such. Beyond this nothing too interesting has happened lately, other than missionary work. I did get to go on exchange with the Zone Leaders, and then in Dawsonville. I spent less time in my area that week than I did in other areas which was quite odd, but it was good to get to see how the work is going in other areas. The gospel topic that stuck out to me most in my studies this week was Revelation. Sister Julie B. Beck talked about it in General Conference, and made an interesting statement. She said that learning how to Prepare for, Receive, and Follow Revelation is the most important thing we can learn in this life, and I believe she is absolutley right. If we want to be guided by the Spirit we have to know how to listen to it, and that is what we call Revelation. This made me think of how pre-occupied we are today with technology, and I now understand why the Prophets are counseling us to detach ourselves...Technology is one of the ways satan distracts us from Revelation, he uses something that is not technically evil to dull our sensitivity, so that he can lead us carefully away from the Lord. As an emmisary for the Lord, I would encourage you to take time out of your day, to put all these things aside and focus on obtaining from the Lord the necessary Revelation and direction we need in our lives. I know that if we will do this, we will be blessed with guidance to know where to go, what to do, and what to say. The Lord will be better able to help us along the path, and will be more fully able to guide us. I can promise you from personal experience, that if yo put forth the effort and the time to focus on the Lord, you will be blessed. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. I love you all, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Elder Hughes

Monday, June 7, 2010

News from Dahlonega, Georgia

Hello,

Last week I realized that I forgot to tell y'all where I am, so just so ya know I'm now serving in Dahlonega. Anyways, the work here is very different, and challenging for me, but I think it's all part of the Lords' plan to help me grow into who he wants me to be. There are a lot of struggles in this area that are quite unique. The churchs' here are small, and so are very tight knit communities and trying to get some one to leave one and come to another is very difficult. We have one investigator for example, that believes that our church is true, but refuses to leave his because all of his friends are there. It makes it difficult, but the Lord prepares who he will, and makes a way for all those thta truly want it. I had the opportunity to bear my testimony in church yesterday, and it was really interesting because I was only there for maybe 30 seconds, and I have no idea why I said what I said, but it was really neat to feel the Spirit testifying through me. I would that all of you are continuing to study the gospel, and learning the principles that will help us to imrove in our lives and prepare for eternity. I would like to leave with you some of my testimony...

I know that Jesus is Christ, and that he is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet that restored the Lords' church in this dispensation with all of it's teachings, and the Authority to administer the ordinaces thereof. I know that our Heavenly Father has a plan and purpose for all of us in our lives. I know that he knows us individually, even to the thoughts and intents of our hearts. I know that he has provided Jesus Christ as the way for us to return to live with him for eternity, and enjoy all the blessings and privileges that he now enjoys. I know that we are all sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, and that he loves us more than we can comprehend. I bear you this witness in the Name of Jesus Christ Amen.

I love you all, and I hope you're doing well.
Sincerely,
Elder Hughes

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

News from Georgia

Hello,
This week has been full of lawn and garden service, we've planted a ton of trees, and I've rather enjoyed it. I can't believe anyone in Georgia is crazy enough to plant (as if they don't already have millions), but to each his own. I had a cool experience talking to a rather nice lady this week, where I'm pretty sure she could feel the missionary spirit that we carry with us. It was really cool, because I've never really seen that before, and it truly helped me see just how much the Lord does for missionaries. I've decided that I'm giving up on the mail thing, because nobody in this world (besides my parents) seems to have time to do anything anymore, and I'd rather you spend the time it would take to write a letter doing Temple work or studying the gospel. I've been reading the conference Ensign quite a bit, and President Packers' talk about the necessary development of the Power of the Preisthood continues to draw my attention to the importance of living righteously. This week I also was pondering the blessings that we have in this dispensation that were not in the previous ones. We may not have the Savior himself, but we have the records of his dealings with two nations, and a complete record of his teachings at our fingertips simply waiting for its' mysteries to be uncovered. In this dispensation I feel we all take the gospel for granted, we have the sum total of thousands of years of sacrifice on the part of people that didn't ever see the blessings we've seen, and yet we can't find the time to learn about it. I would be willing to bet that in Moses' day, if people would've had the scriptures we do, there would have been no need for a Prophet to be constantly reminding them about their duty to God. I would hope that we can all focus on being more studious when it comes to the gospel. The mysteries of God will be unfolded to all those who deligently seek, that is a true statement, I have seen the fulfillment of it in my personal studies. I know that we all can, if we will but search. We should all remeber that these things are there to bless our lives, not be a burden. We should not look at studying as a task to be done everyday, we should look at it as our personal time with God. Where he can teach us the things we need to know to improve our lives, and the lives of our families. The greatest gift God can give us is knowledge, but we have to work for it! How blessed will we be to take as much knowledge as we can with us when we return to our Father in Heaven? I would ask that we all try to do a better at learning about the great and eternal sacrifice that our Savior has made for us.
Sincerely, Elder Hughes

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekly Hello....

Hello,
My dearest amigos, things here in my latest area are going pretty well. i have remembered some important details that I thought might like to concerning this area, and the configuration of my mission. In the last transfer meeting, the Georgia Atlanta North Mission was split into 8 zones instead of 7, and it just so happens that I am in the Newest Zone that was created. The actual size of the mission didn't change, but some of the wards redid their boundaries, and the splitting of the zones was to make things more efficient. I have heard rumors of complaints and allegations against my methods of distributing information, but I would like to point out that the reason for said methods is due to the slothfulness of those from whom the information is withheld. Not much is going on here, lots of service and such, but very little misionary work due to the lack of people to teach (seriously, there are hardly any people around). But we're doing our best with what we have, and I'm sure the Lord will bless us.

I've been thinking a lot lately about President Packers' remarks in the last General Conference, and the phrase "there will come a time when all that stands between your homes and the adversaries mischief is your Priesthood," has really made me think about how important the Priesthood is in our lives. I've also been thinking about how living righteously makes us more powerful in the Priesthood. At first this confused me, but I soon realized what President Packer meant, and I came up with this analogy. If you think of the source of the Priesthood as a battery (God), which has a switch next to it that can turn the current off and on (Gods' will), and then you have a lightbulb connected to the end of the circuit which represents the effects of the Priesthood such as healing. Now if you place a resistor inbetween the switch and the lightbulb, then the amount of energy getting to the lightbulb decreases. That resistor would be us in our imperfect states. But as we live righteously, we are sanctified/purified, and the amount of resistance we put up decreases. Resulting in more power reaching the lightbulb, and the light burning brighter. As I reflect on the first statement, I would encourage all of you to prepare yourselves to be that protection to your families, and would hope that we can all try to lift the Power of the Priesthood to where it should be.

I hope you're all doing well, and may the Lord bless you in all you endeavors. I love you all, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Elder Hughes

Monday, May 17, 2010

Update for the week

Hello People,
It's been a couple weeks since my last letter, and some exciting things have happened. First of all, I got to talk to my parents and brothers on Mothers' day, which was very exciting. I would like to make a formal apology to my Father for not including his name in the list of people that are still writing to me, it was implied just not stated, but I'm sorry dad. Secondly, my companion did not have surgery on his hand yet, but it is in the works. Last but not least, I have been transferred.....again.....making 3 in a row. But this time was a little different, my companion and I were both transferred, and they brought sisters into my old area. I am now in the Redneck capitol of my mission, which also happens to be one of the areas my Trainer served in. My companion has an extremely ironic name, but I've decided that I'm not going to tell anyone (except my family and aunt Jaimie since they were the only ones cool enough to figure it out last time) so good luck figuring out where I am and who my companion is. The work here is very different, and so are the people. But so far I'm liking the area. We have a senior couple that serve here with us called the Greenhalghs who are conveniently from Fillmore. I like them, they're pretty nice people. We do a lot of service here, I think I've spent more time in my service clothes than proselyting since I got here. I'm supposed to be the senior companion, but my companion has been out longer than I have so I'm not really sure why that is. I hope you're all doing well, and I would encourage all of you to read over the last ensign, as I have I have definitely felt the power and comfort in the counsel we've been given. How lucky we are to have a living Prophet in these days. I love you all, and I'll talk to you soon.
Elder Hughes

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mail Stop

Hello People of the Family that are related to me and such as may know me,
This week has been pretty tame, not too much exciting stuff going on. All of the college kids are getting ready for finals right now, so nobody has time to talk, which is making things a little crazy. But on the bright side after next week they wont be busy anymore so they wont have any excuses :) (evil laugh). Last week, during basketball, I made the mistake of driving on 3 other guys to shoot the ball playing 21. While in the air I was knocked to the side by one of the 5 flailing arms I was going through and landed at a terrible angle on my ankle. So for about 4 hours I could only limp and I still can't walk like I'm supposed to, but, I made the shot so it's all good. Then, about an hour later my companion broke his hand. He was chasing a loose ball and someone slapped him, and his ring finger snapped down by his wrist. So we have to go in Thursday to find out whether or not he needs surgery. So injury wise it's been an eventful week, but teaching wise not so much. I have had some pretty interesting experiences in my studies though, as I've been studying in first and second Nephi. Some of the things in there are truly amazing, and as I've studied I've been trying to think of how I could apply them to my life, and it's really helped me understand just how much we can all do to bring ourselves closer to the Savior. In church yesterday we talked about the Priesthood, and how to become a powerful priesthood holder. While we were talking about that I was thinking to myself, that it makes sense that we have to work at it, because that's how the Gospel works in every aspect line upon line. So I would urge all of you who may hold that Priesthood to make it a goal to work on becoming more powerful in it. I also had the opportunity to go to a Bible study this week, and we talked about how we could employ our talents over the summer. I think they brought up some good points about dedicating time to go out of our way to help others. I know that if we all were to try that, we could spread some Charity in the world. I'm starting to get used to the ward finally, so now I'll find out next sunday whether or not I'm staying or going. If anyone would like to make a prediction, You can let me know or not it's up to you. Anyways, I hope you're all doing well, and that you are trying to improve your relationship with your Savior. Love you all,
Elder Hughes

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Life & Times....

Hello,

This week has been a rather interesting one, we had a fairly slow week, but it had it's ups and downs. For District Meeting this week we talked a lot about how much God must have loved his children to call another Prophet. It really made me think about how much God really does love us. I think the scripture John 3:16 is often taken lightly, because it is so commonly used. But if we take time to think about the blessings we have in our life because God loved us enough to restore the truth about the gospel, it gives this scripture a whole new light. This week I've tried some interesting food, that has really been difficult to manage, but somehow I've survived. I taught my first Jehovah's Witness that actually listened to what we have to say, and was engaged in the conversation. A lot of people here view the Jehovah's Witnesses as bad people that have really far out beliefs, but they really don't. A lot of their beliefs mirror ours, they just lack the understading of Jesus' life and the scriptues that we have. It is really interesting to talk with them though, becuase they really truly believe they have the truth, the only problem is they don't ever ask God if it is. He wouldn't accept a Book of Mormon, but at least he was open to learning about our religion. We seen to also be running into a lot of people that have been taught never to associate with Mormons, so that has been really interesting. I'm still learning how to deal with situations like that. The highlight of the week to me, was definitely yesterday. Church was super good, it was all about enduring to the end, and how we can't just endure, we have to do it well. That really hit me considering my present situation, and I felt chastized for not doing a better job, but it has strengthened my resolve to work things out and try to do my best. Later in the evening time, we were talking to a Pastoral candidate that claims we dont' truly know what the Bible said. It was a very difficult conversation for me, because he made several remarks that grieve my heart. He told us that God was a respecter of persons, and that Jesus Christ suffered because of Gods' wrath, and that he didn't suffer for all people, only some. That hurt, but the part that hurt worst of all was when he looked me straight in the face and told me that Joseph Smith was a false Prophet. While we were conversind with him, you may imagine that a hard time not interjecting and rebuking this man, but I remained calm the entire time. The Lord guided me about what to say and when to say it, and I confounded the man several times, and he couldn't answer any of the questions I asked. Then right after he had talked about Joseph Smith, I was prompted to stop the man so I did, and I leveled my eyes into his and seemed to peer straight into his soul, and I bore my testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. The man had nothing to say to that, but he would not accept anything we said, so we left him but before we left my companion said "in the after life, just remember to say yes." We talked a lot about that one later, and what we could have said, but I think we said exactly what we were suppposed to. This last week I've been studying a lot in the Bible, and I've been looking specifically for scriptures that support the lessons we teach. It's been really amazing to me to see that everything we believe really is in there, people just don't see it the way we do. Another funny story that I forgot to tell you guys occurred last week, and the week before. On the 14th, we were coming home for the night, and as we rounded the corner we noticed that my bike had been stolen. I was devastated. But, I prayed and asked Heavenly Father if I was going to be able to get it back. He told me that I would, so I tried to wait patiently, but it was hard having lost something so important to me. As the days past my faith that I had heard him right was beginning to shake. But then on Monday, we got home from basketball and got ready to head out, and lo and behold my bike had been returned, on the bad side my companions had been stolen. This really helped me strengthen my faith, and has prepared me for the days ahead. I want to leave you all with my testimony again, that I know beyond doubt that the Book of Mormon is true. Love you all, and hope to hear from you soon.
Elder Hughes

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mail

Hey y'all,
How's it going? Things in Kennesaw are pretty repetitive right now. We have a lot of people in our potential teaching pool, but it's extremely difficult to get a hold of them because they're always busy, or at school and finals are coming up andverything. So we don't get to do a whole lot of teaching, mostly walking around and knocking on doors. We are teaching a couple people, and we should have another baptism or 2 coming up pretty soon. We are just trying to get people to church, which is as always a challenge, but the ward here is very helpful for getting people rides and helping out. This last week I had to give a talk in the singles branch, about prayer, and it really made me see the imoprtance of taking prayer seriously. I think as people we all tend to slack in this department sometimes, meaning not taking prayer as seriously as we should. One thing that I've found helps me is imagining that I'm literally talking to my Father in Heaven, it really helps me focus. I had my first experience with struggling to talk to someone this week, it was really funny because I got all shaky and I couldn't breathe and everything. I think the person probably thought I was hyperventilating but my shy side just came out. Hopefully I'll figure out how to fix it, because we're going to see said person tomorow so that'll be interesting. We had interviews with President King this week, which was cool. He gave me some advice on following the Spirit when it comes to certain situations, and it was really good. My companion and I are not gelling quite as good as we could, but I'm trying to work it out. It's hard though becuase he's on a really high horse and likes to argue with me about everything. But I'm trying hard to make it work so I'm sure the Lord will help me out. Basketball today has been cool, other than getting punched a couple of times and having a fat lip. We had a zone P-day so we have like 20 missionaries here balling it up. I've been studying the Old Testament a lot lately, and it's been really cool to see how things all got started so I can actually know what I'm talking about when I tell people stuff. Over all, I'm having fun and I continue to learn everyday. I miss you guys and I love. Hope to hear from you soon.

Elder Hughes

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mail's Here...

Hey all you peoples of the not Atlanta area,
The weather in Atlanta is heating up, pollen is everywhere (thank goodness I don't have allergies), and the work is going well. My companion and I have started to work together a lot better. This last week has been pretty eventful, we went on a team-up with a less active RM and the original guy wasn't home, so he was like "who are we going to go see?" So Elder Lee and I decided to go visit this past media referral we had that we've been trying to get in contact with. So we call him up and he's like sure I'm at the cemetery just come on over. That should've been a sign but you know how 20 year olds are.... So we get to the cemetery and Elder Lee stops us before we get out of the car and we pray. We approach the guy, and before we even say anything he says "I can't talk to you guys yet, all you are is androids to me, you don't have any symbols." So he pulls up his shirt and he has all these tattoos of different symbols of Gods, and I was kind of freaked out, but I stayed cool. He starts talking about different dimensions and how he's from Saturn, and how we don't even know what we are gender wise. He gives us a dollar bill, and says that's my symbol -referring to the eye on top of the pyramid- and then he starts talking about how he's into -and on- drugs like meth and shrooms and stuff, and then he starts talking about how he's been to jail a bunch of times and knows the cops really well. Then he starts talking about how he's a Mason and his wife called the cops on him once because he was floating, and about this time he gets to this point he starts foaming at the mouth, and he starts getting really fidgety and touching Elder Lee and he was getting worked up. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see this cop car come creeping past this tree down into the graveyard. It pulls up, and has 3 behind it, one of them was unmarked. So the guy just walks backward, and says don't worry I know these guys real good. They walk up, and start talking to him and Elder Lee starts to leave so one of them flags him to stop. Then the seargant comes over to us, and pulls us aside. Out of the blue he starts asking us about our missions, and it turns out he's an RM. I was like "huh?!?" so he asks for our ID's and he runs them, then tells us not to mess with this guy cause he's crazy. So we leave, and the member was freaked out, but I felt like I should've done something, I just don't know what. Apparently run ins with cops are quite frequent on the mish, or at least mine. Earlier in the week, I was threatened to be escorted out of an apartment complex by the police if we didn't leave so it's been a scary week. Anyways, the other big event that happened was we had a baptism this week, of an 84 year old lady who's son was converted a year ago. That was pretty cool. I also had my first lesson where the law of Chastity was being broken in another room of the house by the girl we were teaching's roommate. That was awkward! Other than that though, it's been a good week, we had some really good lessons with some of our newer investigators, and have found a lot of prospects so things are really looking up. I love you all, and I hope you're doing well. I want to bear you my testimony that I know that when we're in dangerous situations, the Lord will send his angels to watch over you. So weirdest part about our police encounter, no one called them in, 4 police cars just so happened to be in the exact same spot at exactly the right time. I don't know what may have happened, but it wouldn't have been pretty so never think for a second that you're ever alone.

Love, Elder Hughes

Monday, April 5, 2010

Transferred...So Mail on Monday again

Hello,
I was thinking about playing the guessing game again to see if anyone could figure out where I am, but since my companion doesn't like to check mail it would be completely pointless. I would like to thank you all for your love and support, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the letters that I have gotten. I'm now serving in the Kennesaw Ward/Big Shanty Branch in the Marietta zone. From what I've heard in the short time i've been here, I'll probably be transferred again in 6 weeks, so I'm living out of my suitcases right now because I'm straight up sick of packing. Things here are interesting, there happens to be a college campus included in this area. However, we aren't allowed to proselyte on the campus so unless someone talks to us first we can't talk about the gospel. The members here are very cool, most of them are YSA and are returned missionaries that like to help with the Work, and know how much we appreciate it. There is a bad reputation for missionaries in this ward, because of past transgressions that has shaken the wards trust in us, and caused this area to be shut down for a while. It was opened the same time as my last area, and as such we have a small teaching pool, but we're working hard to try and get things going here. My new companion is Elder Lee, He's from DC, but was born in Germany. He's been out slightly less than my last companion (starting to notice a pattern there), and has a very strict way of doing things that I don't necessaryily agree with. I'm not saying I don't like him, just that I don't agree with some of his methods. I hope and pray that all of you had the chance to watch General Conference, I thoroughly enjoyed it. A lot of great advice was given about the most sacred calling in the church, that of a Mother or Father. I hope that all of us may learn from these things and follow the counsel we have been given, so that we can fulfill our sacred responsibilities. As a missionary those things are obviously a long way off for me, but it's never too early to start preparing. I would also hope that all of us will study these talks when they come out in the next Ensign. I think I liked the last piece of advice given the most, turn to the lighthouse of the Lord. What a powerful statement, we know that we can always trust in the Lord to lead and guide us, and we also know that as we seek his light we shall find it. As I thought about the Savior and his Atonement, it really sparked my desire to live a more righteous life, and I hope Conference has done the same for you.

This week has been pretty much me following my companion and trying not to get lost. There are so many people, and I'm back in the city and we're on foot, and things are crazy, but it's been fun thus far. I can't believe I have been away for 5 months already, it seems like only yesterday I left. I hope this finds you all safe, happy, and knowing that I love you all. I pray the Lord will watch over you all.

I would llike to leave you with my witness that Jesus is the Christ, that his Atonement was the ultimate sacrifice of love, that he gave up his life and was resurrected for us, that he lives today, and that he loves us all and wants us all to strive to follow his example, In the name of Jesus Christ Amen, God Bless


Love, Elder Hughes

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

mail

Hello,
I must admit it has been a loooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggggggggggg week, but some cool things have happened. I got to baptize my first person ever on Saturday, and confirm her sunday. I was way excited, and nervous at the same time but it was super cool. I also got to go on 2 exchanges this week, and both times I got to take over the area and both times we found a ton of new people. Elder Shapiro is having a hard time keeping up with all the new people we're finding.We found out that our Bishop is moving to Utah (go figure), so our ward is going to be bishopless until the Stake President calls a new one. He had a meeting with all the auxiliary heads and had a "Come to Jesus" meeting, which basically meant he was trying to get the ward excited about missionary work, because it's become more tedious than fun because of all the meetings and such. Then I found out that I'm being transferred again, so I'm all packed and ready to move again. I think I'm just going to not unpack from now on, because I finished unpacking last week finally, and now I've repacked everything, and since President King likes to move me around, it makes sense just to keep as much as possible packed. Elder Shapiro's birthday is today, so it's been a pretty fun day. We had a super cool district meeting today, that I really enjoyed. As far as I know I'm not becoming a senior companion or anything, so nothing to worry about there. I'm being stalked by a Jehovah's Witness that we talked to while on one of the exchanges, she really wants me to come to their celebration of Jesus' death, but I don't really want to go, so.............yeah. I'm really going to miss this ward, it's such a nice place, but I guess the Lord needs me elsewhere. Well, have a good week, be safe, and may the Lord watch over you.
Love, Elder Hughes

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

.....Hello...

Hello World,
I am sorry for the delay, but I have recently mailed out responses to almost all of the letters I have received so you shold get them soon. This week was pretty good, we did a LOT of service. We dug a drainage ditch for one of our investigators, and helped another one put up a fence. I fixed a water heater for some members that live in town, so it was a busy week. We didn't get to do much finding, but we did get to spread some of Christs' love in Monticello. Our investigators that we've been trying to get to church forever came, so we get to baptize them on Saturday. I'm super excited about that, and I'm actually on exchange with the District Leader, and we're going to do the interviews as soon as I'm done emailing. I get to be in charge of my area for a day since my senior companion is up in Covington, so I'm kind of nervous but at the same time excited. We had district meeting today, and we got a chance to ask questions and talk about them together. I brought up a question that someone asked us recently which is: How could Satan talk to God like it says in the Book of Job? My companion realized that he was talking to Jehovah, and that cleared things up. Though I still don't understand it here's the answer I came up with: Jehovah had not yet received a body, and had not inherited his Celestial Glory so Satan being cast out of God's presence wouldn't affect the situation, and would allow Satan to communicate with him. This isn't doctrine, it's just what I came up with. Things here continue to go well, but we're trying to do better always. I love you guys, and I hope all is well. I pray for you all the time.
Love, Elder Hughes