News Release

Guam - An Island with Room to Share 

President Hughes and his companion arrive in Guam.


From the rolling hills of Kentucky to the Plumeria covered island of Guam comes the President of the Vietnam Hanoi Mission Larry K. Hughes and companion Janece Hughes. President and Sister Hughes, parents of four children, served as senior missionaries in the Kentucky Louisville and Illinois Nauvoo missions.

Brother Hughes previously served as a high councilor, bishop, bishopric counselor, executive secretary, Elders Quorum president, Young Men president, Young Men presidency counselor, Sunday School teacher and missionary in the Philippines Cebu City Mission. He was born in Provo, Utah to Richard Smith Hughes and Pauline Hughes.

Sister Hughes is a former Young Women president, Primary president, Relief Society presidency counselor, Young Women presidency counselor, Primary presidency counselor, Relief Society presidency counselor, Young Women adviser, and temple ordinance worker. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Kent Blaine Hansen and Sylvia R Hansen.

When at home in Utah they attended the Cherry Ridge Ward, Salem Utah Stake. They were three months into serving their second mission in Louisville, Ky when they received a call from Elder David a. Bednar’s office requesting a zoom meeting. Two weeks following Elder Bednar’s meeting, President Dallin H. Oaks requested a meeting and then extended them a call. Coming home just before Christmas President Hughes recalls “We opened our call letter mid-December. It was a shock!  We kind of had it laid out, we were going to do three senior couple missions and be done.”  “The good thing about going to Louisville” states Sister Hughes “is that even though it was short we got to see what district presidents do, we got to see how they do missions in lockdown, and we just learned so much about how missions’ function.”

Planning to arrive to their mission four weeks early, Vietnam closed their border before they could come. The plan was revised. The current Vietnam mission president extended a bit while President and Sister Hughes, their destination temporarily changed, came to Guam awaiting Vietnam's border to re-open. Arriving July twenty-fourth, President Hughes comments, tongue in cheek, that “we will not have to work the graveyard shift.”  By being in Guam they will be on Vietnam’s time zone. Instead of thirteen hours difference there is only three.

The normal complement in the mission is sixty missionaries. At lockdown, all foreign missionaries had to leave. There are currently twenty-three local missionaries who are serving with no senior missionary couples in country.  There is one senior couple working remotely from Washington that is amazing with teaching English and keyboarding virtually. They inspect apartments as well. The missionaries currently in Vietnam are in lockdown. The only reason they go out is for food.  President Hughes expresses how there are three primary ways the missionaries find people to teach while the country is locked down, English club, member referrals and social media. 

The Hughes do not speak Vietnamese, so imagine their surprise when they thought they were being called to an English-speaking mission but found that it’s not. The biggest problem for the Hughes’ is understanding what is being said by those who translate but do not speak English well. It’s a challenge communicating so the Church has hired a local secretary for the mission office who translates for them. 

A further challenge is working remotely with the missionaries. Sister Hughes expresses “as awesome as technology is the hardest part is that we’re not able to be there for them. It’s so hard to not be able to physically be there and look them in the eye.”

In their final comments the Hughes express how even though they were initially “overwhelmed with complete shock,” the Hughes have felt the spirit during their interim of arriving in Guam. They feel strongly that they were meant to be called to this mission. In their final thoughts the Hughes state “We have felt a strong feeling of peace that this mission is meant for us. Along with the mantel of mission leader has come the gift of charity and love. It is so real and so powerful.”

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