Monday, August 25, 2014


Brother Tom, one of the great recent converts we work with. He is living proof that the gospel changes lives.

Dearest Family Family Dearest,

This was such a long and unusual week. There was a lot of change. Walker is at college. WHAT HE'S AT COLLEGE. New investigators! Sister Zaugg finished her mission and went home. Sister Speas and I are officially Sister Training Leaders. We are dead exhausted from our trips to and from Bangkok. And we love Udon. So here it is! Enjoy :)

We have a new and wonderful investigator named Philip. He is so funny. He is 17 with big hipster glasses. He uses his hands to talk and when we taught him that he could know that what we had taught him was true through the power of the Holy Ghost, he whispered, "Amazinggggg." :) He has a baptismal date for the 7th of September. We have another wonderful investigator, Jupe, who is the younger sister of a member. She reminds me a lot of my little Bam from Saphaan Suung. She will be baptized on Sunday.

So as for Sister Zaugg going was a little crazy. On Tuesday we found out that Sister Zaugg would be going to Bangkok on her own and that Sister Speas and I would be staying in Udon all week. But then we got another call saying that Sister Speas and I needed to go to Bangkok with Sister Zaugg on Thursday and stay through Friday for a meeting. Then we found out that we weren't going. It was a roller coaster. Then on Wednesday morning, the APs called again and told us we would be going to Bangkok. So Sister Zaugg packed up all of her stuff and Sister Speas and I had little overnight bags and on Thursday morning we took a bus down to Bangkok. 

Sister Zaugg’s leaving was so bittersweet. I was so excited for her to see her family and meet her baby sister (her mom had a baby in May!). But I was so sad to have her leave. Sister Zaugg has been one of my closest mission friends and companions. She worked so hard up until the very last second. She is an amazing missionary and I am so glad that I was able to be companions with her again before she returned home.

On Friday after we dropped Sister Zaugg off, we had Mission Leadership Council. It's training for all of the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. After, we tried to get on an early afternoon bus home...but to no avail. It was an overnight bus for us. We got to Udon at 6am on Saturday morning and Sister Speas and I are so exhausted. We get to do it all over again in two weeks for a meeting with Elder Steven Allen, who is the head of the missionary department! He is coming to visit our mission. It should be a really neat experience.

This week I have thought a lot about change. Why do we fight against it so hard? Why do we have this idea ingrained into us that we cannot change? The central message of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is just that—we CAN change. Through Christ, we can change. And not just change, we can change for the better. I love that. We can become new people again and again and again. 

I love Alma 5 verse 7. It says:

7  Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were 
illuminated by the light of the everlasting word.

Alma reminded his people that through Christ, hearts were changed. Christ changed them. Christ caused their souls to be illuminated by the light of His gospel. He has changed my life, and there is a light in my life that I never want to fade. Each of us can experience this change. It is not scary. It is not hard. It is possible, and it is good.

And there was my week ... Sister Speas and I are still recovering from our lack of sleep haha. 

I love you all, family. Thank you for all of your emails and your support and love. I can feel it!! :)

Sister Hungry (the people in Udon eat this one up, no pun intended haha whoops)

Sister Huang, saying goodbye to Sister Zaugg. Look at that angel face.
That grafitti says "bad kids" haha
Elder Brown telling us about the glory that is Dodgers baseball. :  )

Monday, August 18, 2014

“Jack, he cry when he hungry!”

Pulling over for a phone call

Dearest Family Family Dearest,

It has been a whirlwind of a week. Sitting at this computer ...I can't really even remember what happened...

This week Sister Zaugg and I went to Nong Khai. It is one of her old areas that is right on the Laos border. Because there are no longer sisters there (they were just taken out this transfer) we had permission to go make sure all of the previous sisters’ recent converts are getting taken care of and doing well. We were able to find Brother Tii ; he is doing well.

We have found many people while contacting this week who have been really prepared. One of our new investigators, Som, walked out of the mall we were at and when I asked her if she wanted to go to church, she said, "I just bought this book. Can you help me understand it?" She pulled it out and showed it to me—“15 Ways the Bible Can Change Your Life.” I just smiled. Pray for her! She has a really good understanding of what we are teaching her and I think it is beginning to change her. She is really busy, though, because she is about to graduate from college. Send some prayers her way!

Last night we celebrated Sister Zaugg's last Sunday in country with a dinner at the Brown's house. Here in Udon, we (the sisters, elders, and the Browns) all live on the same street in this little tiny neighborhood. I love that we are all on the same street. The Browns had a dinner for the sisters. We had PORK CHOPS and MASHED POTATOES and CHOCOLATE PUDDING. Real American food that none of us have eaten for ages. It was so yummy. Elder Brown served his mission here in Thailand when he was younger and is now back serving with his wife. They are so cute :) And guess what? Elder Brown taught Pa Gua. Yes, that is right. Elder Brown taught Pa Gua when he was a missionary. I feel like my mission has come full circle.

I have been instructed by the Browns to tell you this, family: "Elder and Sister Brown love me and think I am a great missionary." So there you have it. :)

Today we had a mini zone training to continue to encourage greater unity and to get everyone excited about the work here in Udon. There are 7 companionships in our zone; that is tiny! We met together and talked about loving the Lord and serving Him as best we can. Because I am one of the Sister Training Leaders, I had the opportunity to speak. (It was a little terrifying. I'm not sure why.) I spoke about Ephesians 3:14–21. I love these verses. They have changed my entire mission.  I'll tell you why.

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

These verses are from a letter the apostle Paul wrote. It illustrates so beautifully why we need the influence of the Holy Ghost in our teaching and what can happen when we listen to and follow divine guidance. When we seek and pray, we can be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and we can be strengthened according to the riches of God's glory. Christ will dwell in our hearts. Our learning and preparing and teaching will be rooted and grounded in love. This will become the foundation of all we do. And when this happens, we will begin to understand, with those we teach, just how big and life changing Christ's love for us is. It is deeper, taller, wider than we will ever be able to understand. When we do this, when we work with the Spirit, God will do more with each of us than we can even think to ask for. 

An important principle I have learned on my mission: my efforts and what I give to the Lord are important. He will take what I have consecrated to Him and use it for His purposes. Miracles can and do happen. I have seen them. They may not always be for me or for my companionship—it doesn't really matter where the miracles happen. I don't need to worry about how and where God uses my efforts as a missionary, because everyone is His child and is in need of blessings. I may not always see the fruits of my labors, but it never means they go unnoticed by Him. I am so grateful that God does more through my companions and me than we can ever know. 

God is good. And His work is the best work I have ever been a part of.

I love you, family!!

Sister Hughes

Quote of the Week

Brother Jack, a member in the branch here in Udon, was nicely teasing Sister Zaugg about crying when she bore her testimony, and Brother Ooh said this in English in response (maybe it's funnier if you know both of them, but it made me cry; we all laughed so hard):  "Jack, he cry when he hungry!"

Dinner with the Browns : )
Sunset at Nong Prajak Park
Banana lady
A temple and sunset in Nong Khai
Happy Thai Mother's Day
I have never met someone so full of laughs or smiles.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Weekly

Gaem and Cartoon and Cartoon's mom from Sisaket

Dearest family family dearest,

Hellos from the grand city of UDON!! I was moved this week to Northern Eastern Thailand, up on the Laos border. And I LOVE IT. More about moves in a minute.

Leaving Sisaket was hard. I don't know that I have ever worked so hard for an area before. I learned how to not only work hard, but how to work hard for something, for someone. I loved that area with everything I had. 

This is the story I will tell about leaving. It is about Brother Noy, my Thai grandfather. He has had a bit of a struggle with the scriptures since his baptism. They are hard for him to understand. Sister Croft and I discovered that he has a love for English, so we would write his "very important homework" (reading assignments in the Book of Mormon) on post-it notes for him. He would call us 6 times a day to tell us he was doing his "very important homework" in English, of course. So the day before I left, I called him to tell him I was leaving. I couldn't see him because he was out of town. He said, "Sister Hughes, I want you to know that I am not Laman." "No, Brother Noy, you are not Laman." "I am not Lemuel." "No, you are not Lemuel. You are Nephi!" "No, I am not Nephi." "Yes, Brother, you are Nephi." "No! I am NOY-phi!"
My heart. : )

So Tuesday night, we got on a bus and went to Bangkok for a training meeting (Sister Croft and Elder Hartman are both training; between the 3 companionships in Sisaket, there are 3 greenies! Crazy!!) and spent the day there. Because Sister Croft and I both served in the Pakkret area, we got to see a lot of recent converts and members that we love so much. I GOT TO SEE BOOKBEAK. We hugged so long and then realized we were both crying. I love that girl. It was so fun to see all the miracles that have happened in that area since I moved. It was good to see so many unfamiliar faces :) You don't always see the fruits of your labors as a missionary...but when you do, it is such a special experience. I may or may not have cried over my dinner hearing some of the miraculous stories that have happened since I left. One day I will tell you the stories that have touched me forever. But know this: God is good. He is so so good. And He always keeps His promises. We spent the night there, in Pakkret, and I got to be with Sister Weed the night before she went home. (Pakkret was her last area.) It was so perfect. 

Transfers meeting was rough. So many missionaries went home this transfer. 13 amazing sisters, including Sister Weed, Sister Painter, and so many other people that I have served around and loved working with. It was hard. Everyone who was companions with each of the "dying" missionaries got to say something nice about them. I have never seen President and Sister Senior so emotional before. I talked about how Sister Weed taught me how to love. She showed me that there is so much love in this country and she loved me so much. I have been forever changed because of her. Sister Painter was never my companion, but if I had stood up, I would have said she was the best karaoke / dance partner this country has ever seen.

And then I was assigned to serve in Udon. HOORAY! I am in a trio with Sister Speas, who was in my MTC group, and with SISTER ZAUGG. It was her dying wish that I "kill" her, or be her last companion. She goes home in 2 weeks to start school. We got our wish to serve together again before she goes home! Sister Speas and I will also be the Sister Training Leader companionship over the Udon Zone. 

This is actually the perfect place to be. This was Sister Weed's first area, and it will (hopefully) be my last. How poetic would that be? Ending where my trainer started? Haha. Sister Weed and I talked a lot after transfers about how perfect it is—how me coming to Udon kind of wraps up everything we have worked for our whole missions so perfectly. I am here with members that I have heard stories about for the just about the past year and a half and now I get a chance to know them. There is also the most wonderful senior couple here, the Browns, who feed us and make us waffles and take such good care of us. "Who loves you more than the Browns?" is a phrase that often comes out of Elder Brown's mouth. I love them. 

Well, that's about the update I've got for this week...there was so much that happened, I don't even know how to write it all down. Sorry if this is so muddled. We've got an appointment to learn how to make cashew chicken in a little bit! It will be fun.

I love you all!!

Much love,
Sister Hughes

Leaving Sisaket; me, Elder Lim with Brother Somsak, Sister Tan, Beem and Ribbon
ELDER ANGKHAM so good. That skirt was a leaving gift from Sister Bew's family.
Our last Sisaket district photos . . .  so good.
Sister Yaw and Brother Tong. I will tell you their miracles one day.
BookBeak. <3
Sister Weed and I at transfers.
Elder Okimoto and Elder Hartman; Sister Hermann and Sister Croft  : )
So squishied into a taxi. We spent an hour and a half like that to the train station.
Oh, it was painful. Haha. Two bikes were strapped onto the back.
We were all accidentally matching. That was good times. My shirt awkwardly untucked Ha.
Sister Adams, Sister Zaugg, Sister Senior, me, Sister Speas, and Sister Muller — THE UDON SISTERS.