Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Now she's back from that soul vacation

I feel WHOLE.

I am now complete.

Girl goes west round 2 was perfect, the perfect remedy for the English girl who was love sick for America. 

I was worried about going back, I LOVED being a missionary and I loved my Americans. I was worried that I would become bitter about not being a missionary anymore. Instead of being bitter about not being a missionary I was filled with so much peace.. I did my best and it was time for me to move on... and now, I'm okay with that.

There is a time, a time to love,
A time to sing, a time to shine,
A time to stay, a time to go
There is a time, a time to cry,
A time to love, a time to,
There is a time, a time to sing,
A time to love

Ah, my boys Mumford & Sons putting things so perfectly again. 

Life is good because God is good. #FeelingBlessed

I've never had a trip that was so good for my soul. There is something special about walking down memory lane retracing old steps and reconnecting with loved ones that just fills you up. I was able to reflect on who I was as a missionary and I was able to realise better that I can still have the qualities of "Sister Hughes" even though now I don't have the beautiful black name tag. 

I was so blessed to attend conference in the centre, like I did as a missionary.. and the tradition of finding someone that I know still continues.. I guess somethings just don't change.

The mountains and the people were just as beautiful as I remembered them. Unfortunately I wasn't able to visit everyone that I met as a missionary, but that just means I have to make another trip back.. oh what  shame.. the Americans can't keep me out now anyway. 

But I am so grateful for the time that I was able to spend with my Americans. They have blessed my life so much by their examples, it's because of them that I am the person that I am now and that is something that I can be forever grateful for. 

You've been dreamy 'murica, God bless you and I'll be back to you real soon but until then, just remember that you make my heart full. 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

I'll be home in a while, lover I'll be home #Happy1year

Hello, it's me.
After all these weeks i'd thought I'd write a post for you to read
to go over everything..

I've been home one year now, finding Waldo is easier than finding a missionary that I know in a picture.. haha I aint a recent RM no more..

As one of my friends would put it "life is grand" right now. I am teaching missionaries, the journey has been long. Struggling with feeling good enough but I am grateful for the love, support and the confidence that I have been given by those around me. I literally LOVE my job. You don't understand when I say I LOVE my job. Remember when I was a missionary and I was in love with being a missionary? okay, it's like that but for the MTC teacher. I like literally LOVE it.

Because it's been a year, time to go back walk old tracks and look up to see the mountains. I am so excited to go back, reconnect with loved ones and be able to hang out with them in sweatpants and not have a curfew. 27.09.16 - 18.10.16 GIRL GOES WEST ROUND 2 literally cannot handle my excitement.

Being where I am now reminds me how God always has a better plan than me, and I need to trust him more. He has blessed me in so many ways that could have only come from serving a mission

I had to teach the whole of Relief Society (all women's meeting) on Sunday.. talk about daunting! But anyway, it was on Fatherhood but it just reminded me that God is in every hand of our lives and that he has a plan for us. If you want to see the video 'Earthly Father, Heavenly Father' which I shared in my lesson then click here

Thursday, 26 May 2016

When God closes a door, he opens a window

Life is full of surprises- big ones, little ones... the whole bag. 

(Can I just point out that I cannot believe we are almost into June. I can't handle how fast this year has gone!!! Anyway back to the blog) 

I have a love/hate relationship with surprises. Like everyone else, I don't like bad surprises. But with good surprises, I don't know. I like surprises once I know what the surprise is. (Yes I know, defeats the purpose ha) It's just the not knowing what's about to happen, it kind of stresses me out. 

So a couple of weeks ago, maybe a month, I had an interview with the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Chorley, it was such a good experience and a lot of fun! I spent the day with lots of great people. Then I went on a business trip to Ireland and whilst I was there the MTC emailed me to let me know that I hadn't been successful. It wasn't until then I realised how much I wanted the job. But obviously it wasn't meant to be and I carried on working. 

..until the other week... 

The MTC got in contact with me and offered me a summer job!!! Biggest surprise ever and a good one too! Even though I am sad to leave Joules, I'm super excited and nervous. My first day at work is the day after our FSY Training in Nottingham.... I feel tired already, gimme strength. 

Everything has literally fallen into place, which shows that it's meant to be. 

It's things like this that remind me that God has a plan for me.

Here's to a new chapter!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye!

That's Scottish for "What’s meant to happen will happen."

Oh my goodness, I had a cracking Easter weekend in Bonnie Scotland. 

There was a Convetion up in Glasgow. Since I had never been there I thought, "why not?" So a friend of mine and I packed up our bags and drove 4 1/2 hours... Oh my goodness, it was long, but we made some stops on the way 

It was a beautiful wedding, I couldn't have asked for better weather.... Shame I wasn't the one really getting married. The bride did look beautiful though and I managed to find a hunky Scotsman... He was a waiter and we exchanged glances and I said thank you. Shortest relationship ever. It was nice whilst it lastest haha. 

On the way we made a stop in Dumfries and caught up with a childhood friend. Even though we're now in our 20's, we still talk like we used to. Though it certainly made me feel old looking back on the good old days. 

Then we made it to Glasgow! And had a wonderful open mic night, the scots are musical geniuses! No one played the bagpipes that night though. 

The. Saturday we had a devotional in the morning. The pews in the chapel were the comfiest ones I have ever sat on. Then we had lots of different activities going on. I did 

- heads up

Story time. So one of the categories we chose was 'animals' and all these different animals came up that we had to act out. The next animal was Koala. And I think "what on earth does a koala do... They just sit in a gum tree and eat leaves..." Without thinking, I just latch onto the girl right next to me Koala style and decided that she was going to be my tree. We didn't know each other, I don't blame her for looking surprised. But it made a good laugh for the rest of the weekend. My friends would randomly come up to me and latch onto me shouting "KOALA!" 

So for the weekend and probably the rest of my life, I will be known as 'Koala girl' 🐨

- hungry hippos 

- minute to win it 

- quiz 

It was all a lot of fun.

After lunch we went to the Glasgow press

It was so cool, if you're in the neighbourhood you should totally check it out! The guys there was so lovely and they told us loads of interesting things... I can't remember what they were, all I remember is that it was super interesting. We even got to make something's too! 

"I needed to text my mum, she would be so impressed!" 

Then in the evening we had a ceilidh. Oh my goodness that was an experience. SO MUCH FUN! I have to say though, the Scottish people are a very fit and healthy bunch. They can dance these energetic, intense dances all night long without breaking into a sweat, while the rest of us foreigners have glassed onto the floor gasping for breath after the first dance. It was so much fun being spun round by a scot. I need to find me a man that can dance.. I loved it, despite not knowing what was going on half the time and being super dizzy hahaha 

Sunday was a normal affair. We had sacrament and then we joined the family ward for the other classes. Because I was so tired I fell asleep in relief society (women's meeting) until there was a musical item and the woman singing was singing so high she woke me up. My friends were laughing whilst I looked rather sheepish. 

Then it was a munch 'n' mingle for us young ones which was nice. A couple of girls that we had met over the weekend turned out to be going to Edinburgh that day just like we were so we decided to carpool. 

Once we had dropped our things off at our B&B we all met up together and explored Edinburgh! 

"2 Brits, 2 Americans and 1 Aussie all walk into... The place where JK Rowlings wrote parts of Harry Potter!" 

We also found Tom Riddle's grave. Whilst we were walking around the graveyard we were playing the Harry a potter theme tune... It was so creepy! 

Later on in the evening we went to a catholic Easter service, even though it was different to what we were used to it was nice to focus on the Saviour and what he did for us and because of this event we can become so much more. 

After the service a friend of ours who is a local took us up this super high hill which over looked the whole of Edinburgh, it was super pretty. It began to rain pretty hard... And because he was a gentleman he drove us all home to our different places.

Monday we had breakfast at this cute little place 
You should totally check it out! Great food, great prices and great staff! I was in the best mood for the rest of the day, no joke. 

It was sunny but windy so it was super cold so we went into a primark to get a scarf and a coat so we didn't end up next to Tom Riddle in the graveyard. 

We did a little tour, went to the national museum which was super cool and then met up with the rest of the girls. 

We also tried some local delicacies 

The famous fried mars bar. It wasn't too bad...but all I could think about was how many calories were in it... For the foreigners the scots like to play a joke and tell you to order a "fried jobbie" whatever you do don't. They're just having a joke with you. A "jobbie" is a Scottish name for a poo. 

The scots drink this like its water, it's pretty good! I am converted hahaha 

We went to the castle 

We also checked out some markets and shops, it was great! 

But alas, all good things must come to an end. We had to head home. 

"2 Brits, 2 Americans and 1 Ausie. The type of people that meet on a Saturday at a Convetion (some for the first time) and on Sunday find out that you're all going to Edinburgh so you decide to carpool and spend the rest of the weekend together. Gals, you were a dream. #Squad" 

Going back to the title of this blog post "what's meant to happen will happen" I honestly feel like this was meant to happen. 

The Aussie that I spend the weekend with knew my Aussie mission companion, small world! And because I love America I was with Americans and I'm grateful for my fellow Brit that drove the whole weekend and for being a great friend.... Even if we both are duvet hoggers. I'm also glad that we are the type of international group that all like to stick together.

Anyway, that's a wrap from me!

Stay tuned for another adventure!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

You CAN make a difference

""No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." ~ Aesop 

On a mission your life is orientated around others. You eat, breathe, preach, repeat the gospel of Jesus Christ thinking about how it can help someone in their life. 

One of the hard things I have found coming home is that I haven't been feeling like I have been making a significant difference. "They've managed without me for 18 months, why do they need me now? They don't need me here."

Well, God taught me a valuable lesson at the weekend. 

A friend of mine has just got back from his mission in Atlana, Georgia. I went to see him, we hadn't seen each other in 2 1/2 years because of our missions. Another friend of mine hadn't seen him since he's been back so I offered to take her to see him as well. 

We had a lovely time at the ward, everyone was so friendly! My friend and I felt very much at home there. 

On the way home my friend and I were just chatting about life and eventually got onto the topic of things that I have found difficult coming home. And I opened up to my friend and explained how I felt. 

She told me that I do make a difference and she began to tell me the impact that I had made on her since being home. What she had to share taught me an important lesson. You don't have to be compchanging someone's life in order to make a difference. 

In Alma 37:6 it says "but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass"

^ well said Greg, this is exactly what I learnt. 

Who will make a difference to today? And don't forget, don't stress if you don't see the results. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

How The Book of Mormon helped me on my mission

So I am going to split this into 2 sections 
#1 How I used the Book of Mormon as a tool on my mission
# 2 How the Book of Mormon helped me personally on my mission 
A question we got asked a lot was "Why do you focus on the Book of Mormon so much, why don't you believe in the bible?" 
We would pretty much recite the 8th article of faith for our answer. 
"We believe the bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God" 
Most people in the world today know one way or another that the bible is God's word. But a lot of people don't know that the Book of Mormon is that second witness of Jesus Christ.
The prophet Joseph Smith taught that the Book of Mormon is "the keystone of our religion" on another occasion he stated "take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none" 
The Book of Mormon is one of the main differences that sets us apart from other denominations. 
One thing that I really learnt on my mission was how the Book of Mormon can answer questions.
Have you ever wondered if God, really knows you? 
Have you ever asked the question to yourself "how can my family be happier and more united?"
Or "how can I strengthen my relationship with my spouse?"
The Book of Mormon is where we can turn to for our answers not only to the questions of the soul but more temporal questions too. 
President Ezra Taft Benson said that missionaries "need to show how the Book of Mormon answers great questions of the soul" 
It's a "Give a man a fish you and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life time" kind of a deal. 
No matter how many times I would testify of the Book of Mormon and how it could help a person in their life, they wouldn't know what I meant until they did it themselves. 
This was a skill that I had to develop as a missionary and it took a lot of time to perfect it.
But I truly found joy when a person found their answers in the scriptures. 
So when I was in my 3rd area I was in the Wasatch Stake which is where the big and little cottonwood canyons. And I have spoken about a man before in my talks about how he was less active but he wanted to really know if the church is true. And we were just having a discussion about the Book of Mormon and the restoration because he had read some anti-Mormon literature and stuff so we were having a chat about it and basically talking about faith and how the only way that he is going to know what was true was by reading and we have him a certain passage to read talking about faith and how we should grow our faith. After he had really studied it he felt confident that he had found his answer and we moved on to another lesson. 
That has just been an example of how the scriptures help us and how I was able to help him use the scriptures to help answer the questions that he had. 
Something that I did on my mission was teach a Book of Mormon class, it was mainly for the people that we were teaching but we always had really good discussions and how we can apply the scriptures to ourselves.
As missionaries all the time asked everyone to read the promise I'm the introduction of the Book of Mormon. 
"We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and the. To ask God, the eternal father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Ghost will also come to know that Jesus Christ is the saviour of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelatory and prophet in these last days, and that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the messiah. 
I love the promise that it gives. This promise is repeated in Moroni 10:3-5 
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
After we have both read these promises it leads us to act. We have a responsibility after reading.
"If we have prepared and studied we will already know that they are true to a certain extent. If are struggling there is some aspect of moroni's promise they are missing in their life." 
Because that's what it really came down to if they read the Book of Mormon and did the invitation they would know. 
When was the last time that you asked for a confirmation of the Book of Mormon about its truthfulness? 
Regardless of how long ago, I would invite you to ask again especially for those who haven't done it in a while or who are not yet sure. As you ask with an open heart with real intent having the faith that you will receive an answer I can testify to you that your answer will come, it might not come immediately, but as you strive to keep seeking, the answer will come.
How did the Book of Mormon help me personally on a mission?
I love the Book of Mormon. I don't read the Book of Mormon as much as I should but it is my favourite. 
I love the Book of Mormon so much because it came me the most precious gift one could ever receive on a mission, a true understanding of Jesus Christ. Now, I'm not saying I know everything about Jesus Christ, I just know a heck of a lot more then I did before I left on my mission. 
The sole purpose of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Jesus Christ. 
Before I went on my I never really read the Book of Mormon by myself, most of the time I'm not massive reader but when I decided I wanted to go on a mission and that started my motivation for reading. I needed to testify to the people of America that this book was true, so I thought I'd better start crack on with my reading.
The Book of Mormon has taught me so many lessons. But the biggest one is now personable the saviour is and how much he loves us and the plan that Heavenly Father and Jesus have for us. I can solely out that down to the Book of Mormon. 
I love the bible, I really do. But there is something special about the Book of Mormon, it just gives me the feels. 
To sum up my testimony of the Book of Mormon I'll use the words that Elder Jeffery R Holland in a conference talk not that long ago. 
"No wicked man could write such a book as this, and no good man would write it, UNLESS it were true and he were commanded of God to do so." 
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I am so grateful for the witnesses of its truthfulness throughout my life. And I am grateful for the knowledge that it has given me about my saviour Jesus Christ. Even though I fall short on a daily basis he still loves me all the same.
And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Look not behind thee

This week I had the privilege to have an interview with my stake president for my temple recommend. We at down and we had a good old natter about life after the mission, 

I cannot believe that if has been 5 months since I have returned from the promised land. it feels so long ago that I never went, but hurts like I just left yesterday. Yep, you hit me real bad America. But I'm coming back for you don't you worry, I'm just saving my pennies...

My stake president spoke to me about not looking back. "Faith is for the future" and how you will miss your mission. We started talking about one of my most favourite talks of all time "Remember Lott's Wife" If you aren't already familiar with this talk then click on the link and have a good old read, this talk is TOP NOTCH!

And we focused on these paragraphs

"So it isn’t just that she looked back; she looked back longingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future. That, apparently, was at least part of her sin.

So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives"
Then we spoke about how it is okay to miss your mission, but it's kind of unhealthy to dwell on your mission. Just like Elder Holland said faith is for the future and if we are longing to go back to our missions then we don't have the faith that God will provide us with a life far better then we can ever imagine, just like Lott's wife. Do you think that God isn't going to bless us for our missionary service?

This is something that I have been struggling with. I've been longing to go back to my mission. Life was so much easier because when you're on a mission you've got the spirit of God and you're called to serve, don't have to think about yourself one bit and I just miss my Americans.

Our missions were the best decision we had made until we came home. The world is our oyster now, even though it's really scary deciding what we need to do next with our lives I know that as we ask God just like we told the people who we taught when they had questions and ask God "What is my purpose now?" that he will make known the plan that he has for us. 

Have faith in God of good things to come, even when things aren't working out like they planned it will all work out in the end.

Even though life is different being back and I miss my American's like crazy, I wouldn't change it for the world because things are only going to get better as I continue to exercise my faith in the future that God has for me which he will slowly reveal to me.

Things that have helped me being home

- Talk to Returned Missionaries when you are struggling
(They know exactly how you feel)

- Applying for a job or School ASAP
(Helps you stay busy and with a purpose)

- Getting a calling
(again makes you feel like you have a purpose)

- Talking to church leaders and being honest about what it is like being home
(they are more than happy to listen and to help, they don't want us to suffer in silence)

- Staying in contact with people I taught or served with
(this one goes without saying)

- Plan a trip back to my mission
(gives you something to look forward too, obviously that might not feesable for some of you, but skype is the next best thing)

The struggle is real but it only gets better the longer you have been home.

"Believe in good things to come"

Thanks Elder Holland.

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