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.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

2016 innit

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Now that we have had so much turkey over Christmas we actually look like a turkey it's time for a new year. #NewYearNewMe
C'mon we've all seen about 7 statuses that are about someone giving up unhealthy eating and going to the gym more often then hours later they're eating some chocolate bar. 

I had the best New Year's I could have hoped for with it being my first one being home from my mission. 

My brother and I drove down to London! 3 and a half hours really couldn't come quick enough. I also have to congratulate myself on driving in London for the first time and came out without accident. MIRACLES!
Seriously, driving in London makes me miss the countryside, it's a completely different world down south. Everyone was pippin their horn for what seemed like just the fun of it, I almost wanted to join in!

Once we arrived into London we met up with our friends from Birmingham and we hit the streets! It's fun being a tourist in your own country. We went to some museums which had .... some culture stuff in it.. and then we were just exploring because that's what real tourists do, right?

For dinner we went to a Italian place, the food was really good.. well it was if you weren't my brother who got a little bit of hair in his pizza... but he got a free meal out of it

Then we went to the Hyde Park chapel and danced the night away until 11pm and walked down to see the fireworks outside Buckingham Palace. I even might have seen Queen Lizzie herself peaking out of the window to check out the fireworks hahaha

Fireworks outside Buckingham Palace

and that was my Thursday night. The wildest Thursday night I have ever had. Thursday is the new friday people!

WE LIKE TO PARTY.

yes, I do... like REALLY do

Saturday night I went the most south I have ever been in my entire life for one of my most favourite gals. 

You only turn 21 once so you gotta go out in style and boy did this girl do it. The theme for her party was "bad taste/ugly" the best part was ALMOST everyone went full out. 

oh my, what a grand ol' time it was, the party games were spot on. 

- Psychiatrist -
(someone goes out of the room and you all decide on a patter like "when you answer a question you have to stratch your head" and the person who went out of the room has to figure out what the pattern is)

- The bus game -
(have chairs in a square as a bus and you have to get out of your seat and walk about the bus as the music is playing but when the music stops you have to get back to your seat by the left or ride ride.. that part is decided before you start.. it gets pretty intense really quick!)

- The winking game -
(girls are all in a circle on a chair, with a man behind her with his arms behind his back and looking down at the floor. One man doesn't have a woman so he winks at one girl to get her to come sit with him but the man behind the girl needs to keep his woman!)

- Who's in the seflie -
( a slide show with pictures of friends, family etc with their faces covered up and you've got to guess who's in the picture)

- The lap game -
(great way to get to know people! There are a list of statements. "Move to your left is you are wearing white underwear" or whatever and you have to get back to your own seat. Whoever does it first wins! You also find out about the other people at the party too!)

3 northern lasses invade the south

Shaz, Chantelle and out kitty cat
G Mummy with a tummy



As the night went on things progressed #BabyG

WHAT A NIGHT!!!

What I great weekend to start the year off!

Now it's a new year it's that time to reflect and make some goals




TOP TIPS

1.  Be realistic
(don't set yourself up to fail)

2.  Make a plan to achieve your goal
(then you won't fail)

3.  Be accountable to someone whoever that maybe
(then you really won't fail)


now that's all done go and make you're wildest dreams come true.

Here's to 2016 #Cheers

Sunday, 22 November 2015

#FeelingThankful



 "Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever."



Being a missionary in America I have now come accustom to all the American holidays. My favourite American holiday thanks giving. I like being thankful, to read about my very first thanks giving dinner.. or three click here


Even though I won't be having a turkey dinner or a piece of pumpkin pie I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for...

My Famalam, aren't they cute? They're the bestest

My mission, I am forever changed #USLCEM
Jesus Christ who is My Saviour, Redeemer and Friend
Christ's Church being restored to the earth again
This list could really go on for a while... I mean, I haven't even mentioned food..



And clothes..



For my friends, that we got to meet

social media, to keep in contact with those I love around the world
"Because life is a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about"
- I think it's pretty bloomin' lovely too Marilyn

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!




Wednesday, 7 October 2015

#ldsconf

In the world of Mormonism it is considered "it's the most wonderful time of the year!' (please tell me that I am not the only one that can only say those words through one) Yep, general conference is where it's at. 

If you're not overly familiar of the whole gerneal conference concept, general conference is where we all have to opportunity to listen to our prophet (leader of our church) and apostles and they receive revelation from God and tell us how to better our lives, I mean who wouldn't want to improve their lives right?


Here's the man himself, President Thomas S. Monson. He's the current prophet. I love this man, he is one of the nicest people. I've never met him, but why I was on my mission I was able to go to the conference centre and see him. #LifeMade I've heard so many stories about him and his acts of kindness, it was cool to see him in the flesh. This is the prophet that received the revelation to lower the missionary age and told me to go on a mission, which changed me life, so I will love him forever because of that. So yes, I love this man. Plus, he can wiggle his ears so you should love him too because he is cool.

This is what my conference notes looked like....


...jokes, I was on my couch with my 'Hey Girl' Ryan Gosling note book in my scratty handwriting and a box of Heroes for everytime someone speaks. I have to say it's a very efficient was to get through a box of chocolates. Don't count the calories, but its General Conference so you get blessed so obviously all the chocolates I had contained no calories.

Here are some of my high lights.



(Don't y'all just love that southern drawl?) 


and no, this isn't my fridge.








...in my dreams...

Anyway, just wanted to share something's that I loved about conference. 


Something that everyone is getting into and I am trying to implement in my scrpture study. 

I know that our leaders of the church are inspired men called by God and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to watch conference every six months so I can keep my life on track. I know that as we act on the words that we hear our lives will bring us more peace, and we will be able to recognise the hand of God in our Ives more. 

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Things I wish I would've known before my mission


When we first get our calls we feel like we need all the help that we can get no matter where we are. 

Before the mission:

Strengthen your testimony of the gospel by reading your scriptures, saying your prayers, going to the temple. (Go as often as you can)

READ  PREACH MY GOSPEL AND DO THE ACTIVITIES!
Especially Chapter 1 'My purpose'
^ this was the biggest lesson that I learnt on my mission and I will be forever grateful to Elder Schmidt and Elder Butikofer for helping me truly understand my purpose. I was out a year and I WISH I understood this sooner. 

"I cannot live with a missionary who doesn't know his/her calling" - Elder Jeffery R. Holland

GO OUT WITH YOUR LOCAL MISSIONARIES!!! They are living the life that you will be living, go out with them as much as you can! Ask them questions! They are there to help!

In the MTC:

"When you are set apart by your stake president, you are blessed that you are able to do the work." <~ never forget this.

When you talk to people about the MTC they either say "I loved the MTC" or "I hated the MTC and couldn't wait to get out" 
^ the MTC is a 'what you put in is what you get out' kind of a place. If you go Ito the MTC thinking you're going to hate it then you will. I LOVED the MTC because I had an open mind, but haters gonna hate I guess...

"If you make it to Sunday, you've made it" <~ you will understand how true this is when you get there. Just make it to Sunday in your first week.

On your name tag you're going to be given an orange dot known as the 'dork dot' which basically the whole of the MTC will say "WELCOME TO THE MTC!!!" Brace yourself, it's like Disneyland except the rides are all emotional and mental.

You're probably going to feel overwhelmed and that you can't take everything in, that's okay! Just take notes and you're gonna make it. THERE IS LIFE AFTER THE MTC 

In the bookstore you can buy lots of stuff, you get discount too so go wild!

- buy the black extendable clip attached (super hand for keys!)

- by the shader shirts if you're serving out of the states, they are life savers! 
(Get your fellow sisters to be your mirror too! They can see things you can't, it saves embarrassment)

Whatever you forget to pack at home, don't fret because you can buy it in this place. IT HAS EVERYTHING! 

Be patient with your companion, remember they are adjusting too. 

Have a personal study journal! It's always great for when you can't remember things

Take as many pictures as you can! You're only in the MTC once! #YOLO

Set a each day to a member of your district and shower them with compliments, this really improves district unity. 

Ice cream is served on Wednesdays and Sunday's, it's to die for. 

The Field:

"Everything you do makes history" - Elder Jeffery R. Holland

Never underestimate the effect you will make on your mission.

"I want you to dream dreams and see visions" - Elder Jeffery R. Holland 

LOVE LOVE LOVE the members!!! When they love you they will trust you with their friends. The work is just a million times easier when the members help you.

When helping the members to do missionary work.. 
"Be what you want them to be. Feel what you want them to feel." - Elder Jeffery R. Holland

When people slam their door in your face or are just unpleasant don't take it personally. It's not you as a person that they have a problem with, it's just what you stand for. We don't know what experience they have had with the church. 

"Im not interested."
"What is it that you're not interested in?" <~ helps you understand where they are at.

"I was a member of the church, but I don't go anymore" 
"If you don't mind us asking, what made you leave?" <~ opens up into a conversation to resolve their concerns. Less actives are just as precious as your investigators, some of the sweetest memories of my mission involved less actives.

Utah missionaries -
when you're walking down the street and somebody honk their horn at you 99% of the time it's a member saying hello, it will alarm you for the first couple of times. 

"Sister, who was that?"
"Just smile and wave Sister, just smile and wave"

Utahans sometimes think that Utah isn't the mission field because of the high member population and when they talk about out of state or something they would refer that as the mission field.... It had me confused for a while.

Back to everyone...

Be unified with your districts and zones, some weeks or days they will be your saving graces. But they will definitely provide you with times to remember. 

Have a lanyard for your car keys! Since you have everything but the kitchen sink in your bag it makes them easier to find, I had a cute red polka dot one from Cath Kitdson. 

You get sent to every area for a reason, pray to know why. You will see miracles. 

If you have the paper planners (my mission got the iPads in the latter part of my mission) write a miracle that you have seen in the day. 

WRITE IN YOUR JOURNAL EVERY NIGHT! Don't sacrifice that, I wish I wrote in my journal more, I had one companion that would write in it every night, I admired her for it. You will thank yourself or regret it later.

Don't move on from the first lesson until your investigator has a testimony of it, this is what makes us stand out!

Make sure you treat yourself on Mondays! Whether that is buying something sweet, beauty product, taking a nap! Life gets pretty stressful as a missionary sometimes and you just need a little bit of TLC. 

Mary Jane shoes are not the only shoes that last in the world. I can promise you that there are cute and comfortable shoes that last! I got mine from www.hotter.com and they lastest me my whole mission. They also have an American sight for those of you across the pond.

"Pray as though everything depended on God, work as though everything depended on you." ...or whatever that quote is, you get the idea. 

Well, that's a wrap! There are a couple bits of advice. Another blogger that I found helpful was 'Bella in Berlin' with her post. Here is her link www.bellainberlin.blogspot.co.uk/p/things-i-wish-i-wouldve-known.html you should totally check her out. 

HAPPY FRIDAY!  

Monday, 17 August 2015

One 'n' done... I'm coming home!


Monday 17th August 2015

I'm comin' home, I'm comin' home,
tell the world I'm coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they've forgiven my mistakes
I'm comin' home, I'm comin' home tell the world I'm comin' home.

It's been nearly 2 years and I'm comin' home to know honey foam, car, job, money clothes gonna feel weird like a hit to the funny bone, but I trust God so it's sweet as a honey comb
Coz I'm in the runnings and I'm sprinting to finish, satan wants me to fail but I'm in it to win it, making plans and setting back up from minute to minute

... Well, you get the gist

This is the final lowdown....

Monday: Final preparation day, did the usually laundry and everything and then we went to the church building and played basketball. We had spontaneous dinner with the James' and then for the rest of the night we were trying names that had been given to us.

Tuesday: Contacting in the morning. Then we went over to the West's for lunch and they had their daughter with her kids there and we tied them animal balloons and it was really fun. In the afternoon we went over to the Rowe's home (Ward mission leader) and we did some yard work for them. After that we did some more contacting and then after dinner it was more contacting.

Wednesday: We were contacting in the morning then after lunch our appointment with Joe cancelled so we tried some other people... It was just another contacting day we also did a lot of yard work and filling
dumpsters because they come only once a year so we got a really good arm work out!

Thursday: Weekly planning, not something that I am going to miss. Though it was strange planning a life that I wouldn't be there for. After that we had a meeting with our Ward mission leader then after
dinner we were contacting and had a massive stake meeting.

Friday: District meeting! I gave training on being 'one' with your companion in using the iPad. After that the YSA sisters picked me up and we dropped off sister Tigno so she could work in the area and we headed off to the Jordan River temple for our final session together, it was super fun.

I got to see the Covolo's because they brought the Wyoming bunch down, I died of happiness. After Tate it was dinner time and we had a lesson with Jenny which was good because she has a basic understanding of Jesus Christ.

Saturday: We went over to Diane and did yard work for her, I sawed down a little tree. We didn't think we would be doing much so we were just in our frocks, we were the fanciest girls ever! I was so proud of
myself that I sawed down a tree (the saw wasn't electric either!) Then we went out to lunch as a district for the final time and right by where we live is an Italian import store and they do the best sandwiches, like real life Italian style. 

Then after that I had my final interview with President and that was just a hoot, we had a
really good laugh ☺ and he just gave me some counsel. When he brought up marriage I burst out laughing! I just love natters with President , then after that we went to a birthday party and tied balloons. Then we had dinner at the Windes which was super delicious and they are super wonderful. We had stake conference so that was a good sesh.

Sunday: Not the normal day but still #SundayFunDay
Conference really throws you off. We had brunch with Jenny and then we headed to conference after that we were contacting people and then we saw Linda for the final time and she gave us a healthy people book
about fasting which will be a good read. Then we had a correlation at the Rowe's and goodbyes then after dinner we had a lesson with Yao and Li, so sad to say goodbye to them we had a great lesson and discussion one of the best that we have had. Then I realized that I was going home and needed to say goodbye to people so that was that!

Now I am done!

My mission has changed my life

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”

My mission means the world to me and I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve these past 18 months. I have met so many people that will be in my heart forever. This is the truth guys, the real deal. It brings happiness. My testimony has grown so much!

Anyway my battery is going to die on the iPad.

Americans - see you tonight at 7!
English - see you on Wednesday!

Love you all dearly

Sister Hughes GB