Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Taking My Talents To Nabari!

Hello Fam!

How is everyone doing?? It was so great to talk to you at Christmas. Ryan and Jack sound soooo different! Ryan`s going to be an absolute monster when I get home! I loved hearing your voices, I actually kind of forgot I had a fam back home to be honest it was way weird! It was super fun though. Only four more months till mothers day! 

So this week we got transfer emails, and, like the subject says, I will be taking my talents to Nabari! I can`t wait to get over there! They just opened up the area so my new companion, Elder Yamaguchi and I will be starting off from scratch! I`m way excited! 

It`s been a crazy week this week with Christmas and everything. On Christmas Day I was blessed with the gift of food poisoning along with three other missionaries in Akashi. It was way hard! On the bright side though I got to sleep pretty much all day so that was pretty nice! 

The Akashi Ward treated us like Kings this Christmas. They showered us with so much food and other things, it was truly humbling. My time here in Akashi will always be viewed as a highlight in my life! 

This week was a great week of my mission. I really feel like I`m coming into my own as a missionary and that was evident this week as we worked extremely hard. `Mission Shape` is a lot different than anything I`ve ever experienced. I don`t think anyone could have prepared me for the beating that my body has taken over the last three months. Its crazy! I feel like I`m doing product endorsement for some sort of work out supplement but I`m here to tell you that this stuff is awesome! Missionary work is so fun. Sometimes when it isn`t fun I picture myself in college right now stressing over finals and other things and then I realize the mission is really pretty nice! 

This week we were taken to dinner by an investigator and his wife. When he came to pick us up he said he was also bringing his brother-in-law along and that he has lived in California for the last 30 years and speaks fluent english. I was so excited! They took us to this way nice Hotel that looked out over the bridge for a nice buffet of Japanese food. It was actually way nice! I got to talk to the Brother for pretty much the entire dinner, it was so nice to be able to speak english for a little while! He actually works for an insurance company in California so I was glad we had some common ground. We had an extremely nice conversation about Japan and the U.S., the culture, sports, food, and even some religion. He was very impressed with our diligent service and devotion to give up two years of our lives to be missionaries. He wasn`t a religious person but he expressed his desire for the people of Japan to gain some sort of belief. I was able to share a little bit about what we believe about God and he seemed to enjoy it a lot. He was absolutely shocked when I told him at the end of dinner that I was only 19. He thought I was at least a senior in college and was blown away when I told him I graduated High School just 7 months ago. It was an awesome time.

I have to tell you about the experience I had when you all called. About halfway through the phone call the call cut out and you could no longer hear me from my end but I could hear you. I can`t even explain what it was like to be there helplessly trying to tell you I was still there. Dad kept saying stuff like `Hello? Jeff, are you there? Hello` and I just kept responding, `Yes! Dad I`m right here! I`m here Dad, I can hear you!` It was so unsettling and I couldn`t help but think thats how Heavenly Father feels about us. He`s so close to us and he loves us so much, it must be agonizing not being able to be with us. I know that that was probably a dumb example but that was something I`ve thought about a lot this week!

I hope everyone has an awesome New Years! 2013 is coming to a close and I can hardly believe it. I can`t imagine how fast 2014 will go by. I love you all! がんばてください!愛しています!

Giles 長老

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A 180 Degree Week

My loving family!

こんにちわみなさん!!How is everyone doing. I loved the pictures from Primary Children`s. That`s got to be one of the best traditions ever. We got to carol these last two Sundays at old folks homes and its been absolutely awesome. I started to cry because of the tears in these peoples eyes after we sang `Silent Night`. They`re so lonely but I could see the life and the spirit in all of them as we sang. It was an awesome experience! 

This last week started off pretty rough with the devastating news about our beloved Bailee. After emailing I told myself that I would be fine. We went out that night and saw a little bit of success. While we were housing this big apartment building all I could see was Bailee running down the halls towards me. It was a tough night. We got home and were calling our investigator and contacts when I finally broke down and lost it. I was so sad. Elder S took me on a walk around the apartment and we talked everything out. He helped so much. The guy can make anyone laugh. After that we came back and I told my companion about what happened. He had the same experience in his second transfer. His dog that he`d had since he was five passed away and he remembered exactly how it felt. Even though I was sad I was able to work to my full ability. 

On Wednesday we went to Okayama for Trainer Trainee Training Meeting and I got to see Elder B!!! It was so awesome! You should have seen us when we first saw each other. We were like a couple of kids! It was so great to see him. He seems to be doing just fine and he has a great companion. We were talking about all the candy and sweets Japan has and how he thinks he`s getting fat. I told him I bike WAY to fast to put on any weight out here. He`s still in that early state of missionary life.  Eventually things start to get easier and the mission becomes fun! The training meeting was awesome. 

We have an article that Z Kaicho wrote about a year and a half ago called `Red Door Blue Door`, the meeting was based off of this article. What this is, is the power of the Atonement. The Red Door is the cleansing, or purifying power of the Atonement that we access through repentance and taking the sacrement. Most members of the church believe that this is where the power ends, however, there is a blue door. The Blue Door is the enabling, or strengthening power of the Atonement and can only be accessed by first going through the Red Door. When the Blue Door is accessed, we are able to access the power of God and perform miracles. We talked a lot about this and I finally realized how amazingly simple all of this is. The Atonement is a special, special thing and we are so privileged to be blessed by its power. I challenge everyone this Christmas to access the Blue Door! Repent and forsake your sins and then ask Heavenly Father to bless you with his power. Its amazing what he can do with such weak beings!  I love this church. 

Our teaching pool has almost doubled within the last three days or so. We had a ward Christmas party on Saturday and one of our recent converts brought two of his non-member friends along and we were able to teach both of them! One of them is a higher up in his company and had a really interesting outlook for how he wanted to use the teachings of Jesus Christ. He said because he was in charge of a lot of people he wanted to know how he could use Jesus Christ as an example in his conduct with his employees, what an awesome mindset right? I was blown away. 

Yesterday before church we were studying and the church phone rang. It was a man asking if he could come to sacrement after he looked up our church online. We invited him to come and asked him if he could come a little bit early so we could give him a church tour and a short lesson before the meetings started. He said he`d come right away! The guy was awesome. He`s 31, married, and has three kids under five right now. He works for Kawasaki but his working environment is really tough and it makes him have depression. I guess he`s been taking the last month or so off work because his depression became so serious and he needed to spend time with his kids. He has never really had any beliefs as far as religion goes but he was curious one day so he started researching Christianity and stumbled upon the Mormon church. He loved how warm and friendly the members were and he said he felt really peaceful in sacrement meeting. I wonder why? He accepted a commitment to be baptized and we are planning to baptize him on January 17! How awesome is that?? 

I`m going to be sad if I get transferred out of Akashi next week. I love it here. This is my home! I don`t want to leave but I know if the Lord calls me another way he has someone else that needs the gospel and he needs me to give it to them. I have been so humbled while I`ve been out here in the field. I`ve never had to rely on someone like I`ve had to rely on Christ for the last 11 weeks. My faith has been strengthened and all I`m trying to do is change someones life. It`s truly amazing how much a mission can change you. I`ve realized how spoiled I`ve been my whole life growing up in a home where the gospel is a part of everyone`s lives and living in an area where most people have the same religious beliefs as me. Japan is so different. The faith of the members here is inspiring. I love my mission and I love this church! Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Elder Jeffrey Maxwell Giles 

Elder B and me from Okayama, Japan!

Elder `Santa` Giles. Nice tie right?

Elder S and I got sushi making headbands from the Ward... we don`t
know how to make sushi...

Monday, December 16, 2013



こんにちわ日本から!皆さん元気ですか?Ok sorry, Japanese is fun. Ah its been a rough hour or so with the news about Bailee. I was absolutely crushed but I know that she`s in a better place.

I`m sorry I`m not emailing at my usual time, we had lunch today with one of our investigators. He`s a twenty two year old college student studying english right now. He`s way awesome! We`ve been trying to get a lesson with him for the last little while but his interest seems to only be in english right now. He`ll come around eventually. We taught him a couple weeks ago and extended the baptismal invitation but he declined. He really isn`t sure why people would need a God and he wonders why there are so many different religions. Today he took us to this place to get some Yakiniku, which is pretty much just strips of meat that you cook yourself on a stove in front of you. It was seriously so good! I`m pretty sure if it wasn`t Kobe beef, it was at least the next step down. It was way solid! 

I get to see Elder B this week!!! I`m so excited! He emailed me this week and told me he`s been hearing all these stories about how my companion is absolutely nuts. Its hilarious. My companion is the man! I have the best trainer in the mission, hands down. We have to go to Okayama this week for Trainer Trainee Training meeting and I`m way excited! We have to take the train from Akashi at like 5:30 AM so it might be a rough morning but I`m just excited to see J.  

This week we got a new investigator! He`s a 17 year old high school kid and he`s awesome! He`s thinking about going into medicine so he`s way smart. We gave him his first lesson last night along with a church tour and it was awesome! The kid seriously didn`t stop smiling the entire time, and he thought the baptismal font was way cool! I`m excited to FINALLY have another investigator.

We`re so busy this week. We have a lesson everday and I`m way excited! My companion got his travel plans this last week so he`s been having a little bit of a rough time. The poor guy goes straight to college in Sendai instead of going to his home in Shizoka first. He`s an animal. 

So this week I got to do some Kyudo, Japanese archery! I was on a split with the other 2nd transfer missionary from our apartment, and we went up to these colleges. We went over to where they practice Kyudo and the guy invited us in and let us give it a try! It was so freaking fun! I took a sweet video that you`ll be able to watch when I send my SD card home and I took some sweet pictures as well! The best part of it though was that we got two potential investigators out of it! I was way excited. I think the guy might be looking me up on Facebook so if I get a friend request from a bunch of Japanese characters, just go ahead and hit accept! Haha it`s been a fun week. 

On Saturday we went up to one of the other Areas in the Zone, Ako, to help them out with their work because the city of Ako has a big festival every year to commemorate the ancient 47 Ronin Samurai. It was way cool. We just walked around telling everyone about the church open house and enjoyed the festival. Life is great right now. Elder S (in our apartment) is hilarious. He`s the best Zone Leader ever, except for My companion. 

We got some fresh squid last Preparation Day and made the best calamari I think I`ve ever had. We just heated up some oil and went to town, it was awesome! 

I have some funny pictures from biking this week. The assistants came again to train Elder S and My companion and they needed my bike so I got to ride this tiny old white bike. It wouldn`t have been so bad if I hadn`t had to bike 10 miles uphill but hey, everythings a blessing right? It was hilarious. You should have seen the peoples faces seeing a big foreigner on a tiny little white bike. Priceless. 

The work here is progressing slowly but it`s going great. I`m excepting everything that happens, good or bad, as a blessing. 

I got my Christmas package in the mail two days ago, you were right Mom, I couldn`t wait until Christmas to open it. My favorite part was the family letters. That was so awesome! I can`t tell you how thankful I am to have such an awesome support system back home. I love you all! I can`t wait to send you pictures of Elder B and I next week. I think next Preparation Day we will try to do something fun for Christmas. I`m doing great and I`m working harder than I`ve ever worked before! I love you fam! I hope you all have an awesome week!


Giles 長老

This is what we ate today. 

Parade in Ako.

My little white lightning.

Just getting a little facial peel in for the night. no big deal..

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ok I give! Letter from a pleasantly cold Akashi Area!


I`m sorry I don`t have a lot of time this week! We are SUPER busy today, which is a really good thing. This last week has been really rough as far as teaching and finding go. We barely have any investigators right now and we keep getting a lot of no`s on the street. Sometimes its hard to face so much rejection, and then I think of the Savior. Christ was rejected by the very people he helped create. Can you image being hung on the cross and tortured by your brothers? I`m filled with so much love for the people of Japan. The only way to touch these peoples lives is to love them. Even though we don`t really have anyone to teach right now we are still extremely busy with visiting less actives and recent converts in the ward. Last night we had the opportunity to go the stake presidents house and share a short message with his wife and son. His son, H, is 18 and planning on going on a mission sometime next year. We shared a message about how the world today has many false `idols` that distract us from what is important, especially around Christmas time. We shared the message and it went great but after, H asked us a question about the Book of Ether, specifically Ether 12:27. He wanted us to explain the meaning of weaknesses and how that scripture relates to us personally. I bet you can guess what I just happened to read yesterday morning while planning for their lesson... I had prepared a short 30 second statement and a heartfelt testimony on weaknesses weeks ago and I was able to share it with him! I was glad to have been prepared to teach him something. I hope he will be a great missionary. Well It`s difficult to be away from all of you around this time of year. I miss everyone but I know I`m in the right place. The work is slow but I have faith that it will explode soon. I love seeing young Japanese families spending time with each other either in parks or at the mall. It gives me hope for these people. Japan is changing. I feel so privileged to have such a loving family back home. I`m so glad for the support that you`ve all shown be because you`re also showing support for our Savior. This is his work, not mine. I`m just lucky enough to be a tool in his hands. Even though I can`t speak the language very well I know that this gospel can touch these peoples lives. I love you so much fam! Have a great week and try to remember the true meaning of Christmas! 

All of my love,

Elder Giles

Sorry no letter just pics! We have a busy day today!

Pink Toyota Crown Athlete anyone?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another week on the other side of the world...

Hey fam!

I`ve had a pretty solid week this last week! I have to tell you about one of the Elders that lives in our apartment, Elder S. He transferred in two weeks ago and its been nothing but a blast since. The guy has so much energy and enthusiasm and it just radiates. He`s from California and he surfs so he`s a pretty laid back kind of guy (missions need more of those). We have so many jokes and funny moments around the apartment its hilarious. The best part is the talks we have about what kind of missionary we want to be. Elder S and I see pretty much eye to eye on a lot of things, we both have a firm belief that the world has seen far too many stressed out, stiff missionaries and its time for a change. The guy has seriously changed my attitude about this work. How are you supposed to go up to someone on the street, or someone in an apartment building, and try to share a message about the plan of HAPPINESS if you`re stressed to the max and stiff? You can`t do that! The last couple of days when I wake up, I decide to be happy and to enjoy everything. Then I tell God that whatever he wants me to do that day, I`ll do it. Then the revelation comes. This is still a work in progress but I know I`m really close to figuring out what God wants me to do all the time! Its awesome! 

As far as spiritually moments and stories I can relay back home this week, there really aren`t that many. We taught this guy on Saturday about the gospel of Jesus Christ and it went really well, but the cool thing about him was how we got to meet with him. About a month ago or so we were biking through town and all of a sudden this guy looks at us and flags us down, this sort of thing NEVER happens in Japan so were like, hey how`s it going? He told us he used to meet with the missionaries about six months ago but he stopped meeting with them because they didn`t really have a way to stay in touch (I know right? This is Japan, not the freaking jungle, everyone and their dog has a phone). But anyway, nothing really came of it until last week when we were riding back from one of our investigators house and we `randomly` ran into him on the street again! Like literally, I almost ran into him... But we asked him where he was headed and he said he was just headed to get something to eat but we could join him if we wanted to. I`m always game for food so I was super excited. We went to lunch and just talked about life and his hobbies and stuff. He really likes the `Shinkansen` (bullet train) so we talked to him about that a lot. He also really likes cars and was blown away that I used to drive a BMW back home! He agreed to meet with us the next day so we planned a lesson and prepped to give him the baptismal commitment. The lesson went great but when I extended the invitation he was super hesitant because his family is `Hantai` (opposed) to the church and he wasn`t sure whether or not he was ready to turn away from his family. I have faith that the guy will get baptized though. He`s a way good guy! 

I`m sorry I`m running short on time but that was pretty much my week! I love you fam! Have an awesome week!

Giles 長老

Look who I found at Zone Conference last week

My trusty steed, Juliette

Akashi Castle

Thanksgiving Dinner with S 長老, A 長老, and S 長老! We had chicken because they don`t have turkey here! It was way good!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

One Transfer Down. 15 To Go!


This week has been really great! We`ve had a lot of really cool experience`s over the past few days and I`m sure I won`t be able to fit them all in here this week! 

Last Preparation Day we went and had Sushi in Akashi for the first time. Oh man. Wow. That`s really all I have to say. It`s so crazy because you sit at a booth and there`s this like conveyor belt thing that just brings sushi by your table. Its way sweet! You just grab whatever sushi you want and then total up the amount of plates at the end! The Japanese have it figured out. Its way cheap too, compared to the US. One plate of nigiri is like 88 cents. It was soooo good! So that was my first Japanese sushi experience. I ate a ton and it was like 10 bucks. Not bad right?? 

Now for the nitty gritty spiritual stuff... haha. We have this new investigator that we contacted on the street like two and a half weeks ago thats way solid! We talked to him on the street for a good half hour or so and invited him to church. That Sunday he showed up and was way excited about it! He`s big into music and the guitar so he really liked the hymns. In the Kobe mission our first lesson is this lesson called `Setting the Table` where we pretty much set their expectations for everything and introduce them to the knowledge that God is our literal Father in Heaven. Its a really great tool because of the lack of knowledge people have of God here. So we gave him this lesson and in the lesson one of the questions I ask is, `Have you ever thought that God is your Heavenly Father? That he is the Father of you spirit?` So I asked him that and he`s like, `Yeah, I used to think about stuff like that when I was a kid!` It was way cool! So we gave him the rest of the lesson and told him to come back to church the next week. 

He works in a factory so he`s SUPER busy thoughout the week and can only meet us on Sunday`s, funny how that happens. So he came to church yesterday for the second time and really had a good time again! This time he came to Sunday School with us and the teacher (who speaks really good english and Japanese) taught about Temples and Family History Work. I was able to show him my pedigree chart that I have with me always so that was super cool! The teacher was showing him some of the pictures of Temples and the fonts inside of our Temples and all the rooms and stuff and he was blown away at how sweet it looked! I`m telling you, this guy has been prepared. 

So after that we gave him what we call the `Chart Lesson` where we introduce the Gospel of Jesus Christ and talk a little about baptism. One of the members was able to join us for the lesson and he told him about his conversion story. It was so powerful! So we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ and he was super curious about Baptism (he`s in the crosshairs now). I bore my testimony about baptism and told him how much it would bless his life and then invited him to be baptized and he said yes! I was so pumped! I seriously almost went up through the roof it was so cool. After that we talked to him about prayer and I had the chance to teach him how to pray. After I demonstrated how to pray properly I asked him if he would pray at the end of the lesson and he agreed! He gave such an awesome prayer. The spirit was SO strong and he actually gave a really solid prayer! So thats him. Our `Golden Investigator`. 

My talk went pretty good! I talked about my favorite scripture, John 15:16. It took me probably two hours to translate it into Japanese but I was so proud of it! When I was close to the end of it I realized, oh man, I`ve MAYBE been up here for 80 seconds... So it was way funny. My first talk in sacrement as a missionary was two minutes long. Not bad right? The lady that spoke after me took about five minutes so it was funny to see the bishopric scramble for a hymn and a rescue speaker. It all worked out though! So that was my sabbath yesterday. 

We talked to a lady last night that was pushing 145 years old. She was so sweet though! She invited us back so we`re excited about that! Have a great week fam!

Giles 長老
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sushi in Akashi

This is a service project of us making `nori` or flavored seaweed!

Sitting on the dock, taking a break from the service project. 

That's a bee...

Can collection. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Revelation Received


This past week has been one that I will never forget. Last email I talked about the "sheep number" and how we weren`t able to finish receiving the number of elect in our area, Akashi. Well, it`s been done. We got together as a district on Tuesday morning at the church to try for a second time. 

We started off the same way but decided that in order to be unified we all had to stay in the same room. We all gathered in the chapel and then found our own little corner for our personal prayers. The spirit was strong yet again. The Lord was speaking to us by the way of the Holy Ghost. After about an hour we all gathered together again to reveal our numbers. 

We were ALL over the place! We had numbers from 12 to 95. It was crazy. We had to try again. After another hour in sincere prayer we gathered again. This time we shared some scriptures and things that had helped us in the past to receive revelation (Alma 26:22, etc.) The Spirit was so incredibly strong. We revealed our numbers again. We were SOOO close! This time the number was between 20 and 30. Time to go back to work.

I started to second guess myself and I felt a little uneasy while in my prayers this third time, then, Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8 came to my mind. `My son, peace be unto thy soul...` I knew that the revelation would come to me by way of peaceful feelings. I prayed hard for the number. Harder than any other prayer before. I felt a peaceful feeling that the number was between 25 and 30. Oh man, God was talking to me directly! Finally, I decided it was either 27 or 28. I couldn`t discern between the two for the life of me. I was exhausted. We came together as a district again. We revealed the numbers. 7 of us had number 27, 1 of us had number 28. I bet you can guess who that one person was... I prayed hard again. It only took about ten more minutes before I was absolutely sure it was 27. We came together for a final time. Sure enough, our elect number was 27. It had been revealed and we were unified. 8 people, 1 number, 27 people in Akashi RIGHT now, prepared to hear the gospel. It was the most incredible experience of my life. 

This work is real. God speaks, he lives and so does his son. After a combined 7 hours of sincere prayer, we, the Akashi District, had been revealed the number of souls in Akashi. I can`t get over how great the experience was. The rest of my week was fantastic. Any fear of contacting people or knocking on a door are long gone. I`m a disciple of Jesus Christ and I know what my purpose is. I`m here in Japan to bring people home. This place is on the verge of exploding with baptisms! The people are changing. The Lord is gathering his elect. It`s a privilege to be a part of the work. 

The ward here is great, so great in fact, they gave me my first assignment to speak in sacrement this week! I can`t wait to see how that goes over... Wish me luck! I`m glad to hear that everything at home is going well. I love you all! Have a great week!

Giles 長老 

Akashi Castle

The Bridge

Fall in Akashi 

The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge.  Or nicknamed The Pearl Bridge.

Me eating Sukiya.  A bowl of meat and rice that weighs about 5 lbs.

It's about the size of a volleyball. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week of blessings, baptism, and revelation

Hi fam!

I don`t even know where to start this week... 

This week has changed my mission and my life. I`ll start out just by saying that this work is real. God is real. The atonement is real, but with that, so is the adversary. 

If you were to ask me what the biggest thing I`ve learned my first three months of my mission it`s that Satan is real. He wants nothing more than to stop this work and he will do everything he can to do so. Satan has power only if we let him have power. Gods power is infinite compared to that of Satan and I`m so grateful for that. 

I can say now that God was letting me get down this week to be humbled. I felt like I couldn`t do anything. We couldn`t find anyone to teach and I had a poor attitude. Satan was working on me hard. I pressed on though. Nothing will ever make me quit this work, that was never even a thought. One night I asked my companion for a blessing of comfort, which he gave to me so incredibly lovingly and I`ve felt nothing but peace since. 

God was letting me become broken down so he could forge one of his finest warriors the way he wants me shaped, and I can see that now. The Lord has a purpose for all of us, and I know he has a purpose for me. I`m in Japan for a reason. 

We had our first baptism of the transfer yesterday! What a powerful and humbling experience that was. I`m so grateful to have been able to participate in the baptism of our investigator, now member, Brother H. The water was draining out of the font ever so slightly so the water was really shallow. The first attempt his leg came up. Have any of you ever tried to explain how to be baptized in Japanese?? It was difficult. The second time I said, In the name of the father-son, and the holy ghost. oops. Third time was the charm and he was baptized. It was so amazing to feel of the purifying power that baptism brings to the souls of man. 

He was confirmed an hour later in sacrement meeting by a recent convert of the ward and my companion and I got to stand in the circle to confirm him. What a great day it was. 

So we have something unique here in the Kobe mission called the Sheep Number. The Sheep Number is a revelation of exactly how many of the lords elect, or sheep, are in our mission RIGHT NOW ready to receive the gospel and be baptized. Its truly amazing. Right now the total number of elect in the mission is 1443. Each zone also has their own number which make up the total number of the mission. In the zone each district has a number as well. When I got to Akashi I was informed that our number was 1. One more elect before we needed to seek a new revelation. That last elect was Brother H yesterday, so last night, we had to find a new number as a district. The anticipation, excitement, and fear were imminent throughout the day. Never in the Kobe mission has a whole district had to match the same number of elect. We got together as a district and had a little devotional before we split off between the Elders and Sisters. We Elders went into another room in the hopes of being revealed the new number together. We all prayed hard. It was exhausting, and the first try yielded no results, we all had a different number. We tried again. All of our praying harder and harder seeking out this revelation from God. It took three times before we matched numbers. Four people, one number. It was a miracle. The sisters didn`t have the same luck. In order to have an actual concrete number all of us have to agree on the same thing. After three hours the sisters were spent and had to go home. We`re getting together again this week in hopes of all of us receiving the same revelation. What an exhaustingly powerful experience it has been though. 

My life has been changed. The spirit is real! Today we`re going to the largest suspension bridge in the world here in Akashi. I have some pictures of it but we are going up on top of it today! I`m way excited! Apparently it was a glass floor in one of the lookout points so I`m way pumped. I hope you all had an amazing week like I did. I love you! All the best!

Elder Giles

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Letters from 日本

Hi fam!

First off, Ryan had better not ruin my Allen Edmonds... Haha I loved that picture. Gatsby`s cool. 

So small world right? Decker emailed me this morning saying how cool it was that I know one of the missionaries she served with. It was so crazy! Mormons really do live in a small world. 

So the investigator that was supposed to get baptized yesterday ended up having to postpone because he went to the hospital. I think he has some sort of colon infection or something, all I know is it was pretty serious. He should be fine and told us he will be baptized next week. 

So cool story from this last week; this investigator called us a day or so after he went to the hospital and said that he was starting to get a little uneasy and nervous about baptism and he wasn`t sure if he should be baptized now or some other time. We asked him if we could come meet him the next day and talk a little more in detail about his worries.  We planned a lesson on why it`s never a good idea to put off sacred ordinances that will lead to eternal salvation and stuff like that. Pretty much what we were trying to say was, look man, you need to get baptized NOW! Just with a little more care and compassion than that... Anyway, we got all prepared for the lesson and went and met this guy the next day. We started off with a prayer, which I offered, and I asked Heavenly Father to help him to be able to be baptized and to feel peace and assurance and things like that. After I finished the prayer he looked up and told us that he wanted to get baptized as soon as possible. It was amazing! We shared with him the lesson we prepared and all the scriptures about procrastination and he was assured that he needed to be baptized as soon as he could. So hopefully next week is the week for him! I can`t wait. This guy is awesome. He told us he`s repented for being so lazy and homeless for the last few years and after he gets out of the facility he`s staying in right now he was going to find a job and an apartment and start his new life as a faithful member of the church. I`m so excited for him. 

Last night it rained sooo hard while we were at the members house for dinner. When we left it was still a downpoor and we had a thirty minute ride home and all I had was my raincoat. Awesome. I was soaked from head to toe! It was so fun. I couldn`t help but feel the sweetest feeling of joy and happiness as we flew through the city of Nishi Akashi in the rain. Imagine you`re a Japanese person who see`s this foreigner, on a pink bike, absolutely soaked in the pooring rain, with a big smile and laughing his head off. That was me last night. I`m going to have to buy a cheap suit here to wear in the rain. I don`t know how much more water my gray suit can take! I took it to the cleaners this morning so hopefully its fine.

S 長老 and I are still working hard. I can`t believe my first transfer is almost over. I thought the MTC went by fast but it`s nothing compared to the field! I`ve been a missionary for three months! Crazy right?? 

This week I`ve been working harder on trusting the Lord. Sometimes I feel like I tend to put my will first instead of his but I know it`s probably just because I`m so young and inexperienced out here. The trust will come as my faith increased. I hope the language comes along with that too! I know it will. There are some days where I`m just drained, feeling hopeless and lonely, but I just put a smile on my face and tell myself its going to be a good day. 

S 長老 and I had a great companionship inventory last week and we decided that we were going to enjoy our day more. We got a little mechanical and robotic for a while there and I know we can be a lot more effective if we enjoy and have fun. 

We got another investigator to commit to baptism this week! He`s an older guy that`s just looking for some direction. He told us he wants to know like we know of the truthfulness of the gospel. It was cool to tell him that even though we are only 22 and 19 years old, we knew that the church was true and it would bless his life. People here are blown away that we would take two years to volunteer our time for our church. We just say, we could meet with you and tell you WHY we`re doing this... Pretty slick right? Its been fun. Hard but fun. Its going to fly by.

 I can`t believe Elder Smith is home already! That went by so fast!  I bet he was a stud. How old Does Dad turn on the 23rd? 45! Oldie... Thats crazy. Everyone's going to be so old by the time I get back, haha! Looking forward to it! I love you fam! Have an awesome week!

Giles 長老

AmeriJapanese Lunch.  Calpice is the greatest drink in the world. 
Food from the ward & flying pig home delivery.
S 長老 we call this a wet call. 
Dinner at a member's home. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

日本! Week 3

Happy Preparation Day fam!

I love how Mom and Dad are Ute fans for Halloween! Haha it made my day. Those pictures of Jake Kocherhan`s baptism made me cry. I`m so happy for him! Tell him I wish him the best and for him to get ready for the mission field! That`s seriously so cool! Big S/O to Koch! This week has been great. Juliet has a bent rim so the front wheel doesn`t move freely making it twice as difficult to ride. Awesome right? So a few night`s ago we were about to head back to our apartment for the night, it was about a half our ride or so, when this sweet old lady came up and started talking to me, asking where I was from and stuff like that. We started to talk to her and she just kept going on and on and on. She was super curious about our church and what we were doing as missionaries and she gave us her phone number and address so we could go talk to her a little bit next week. Finally I`m looking at Shinohara 長老 like, `dude, we gotta go`. We said goodbye and were able to get out of there at 8:52, mind you, we have a thirty minute ride back home and we have to be there by 9:00 AND my bike has a bent rim. We flew out of the train station and tore down the street for our apartment. Seriously flying, like I was passing cars and scooters and whatever the heck else they drive here. It was crazy! My legs were burning but I knew we had to try our absolute best to be obedient. At 8:58we were halfway home. Dodging traffic and pedestrians, I finally lost sight of my companion, he`s Japanese and rides his bike at about 50 mph wherever we go. So I`m just praying so hard that the Lord might bless me to not get TBoned by a car or to run over a small child. Finally we made it back to our apartment in one piece at 9:04. Late. We gave it our best though. I`ve never been so exhausted in my life. Thirty minute ride in just over twelve. I couldn`t help but think of Christ though, no matter how much we try or how much pain and struggle we go through, it`s nothing compared to what Christ went through in the Garden and on the cross. Obedience is what we give him in the mission field as his servants. We got on our knees when we got inside and told Heavenly Father we gave it our best and asked for forgiveness for being late. I think we were forgiven this time. I hope we baptize that sweet old lady. This week has been great. President and Sister Zinke came to our zone on Wednesday for interviews and training. It was awesome. I don`t know what this mission would do without President Zinke. He seriously has so much revelation available for us and makes us want to hasten the work so badly. We had a great interview and he told me I was progressing faster with everything than is typically normal so I was super stoked! My Japanese is improving so much every day. My companion is the greatest ever. He teaches me everything. Our investigator is getting baptized next Sunday and I get to baptize him! I`m so excited! I memorized the baptismal prayer in Japanese this morning. I seriously can`t wait. The work is progressing here. I`m so glad to be a part of it. I`m so glad to be a missionary. I thank the Lord every time I pray for sending me to this amazing place. I`m trying to make you proud fam! I hope you have a great week! 

All my love,

Giles 長老

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Japan: Week 2


Yes Dad, my bike is pink. It says Juliet on the side in pink girly letters. She`s a terrible bike that will probably break as Shinohara Choro and I are flying down a hill to a lesson where I probably won`t understand a thing thats said. Starting to get the picture? Haha its awesome! Where do I even start? This week has been so crazy. I have no idea what anyone says but I`m slowly improving. I can start to get the jist of what people are saying so I know I`m on the brink of the learning curve! We haven`t found anyone to teach this week so we`ve spent the majority of the time finding people around the train stations. Most people don`t want to hear our message but thats ok, I love the people. When someone actually stops to talk to us I picture them in their baptism clothes and I`m filled with the spirit. The worth of souls is truly great in the eyes of God. My companion really has been an inspiration. He will seriously talk to ANYONE! Sometimes i`m sketched out about the people he talks to but hey, the lord doesn`t care what they look like on the outside right? I got to stand in the baptismal font where I will baptize our investigator on the 3rd of November and it made me so excited! The guy really has made a big change in his life and is repenting for being so lazy the last ten years or so. He cut his hair and shaved his beard and he looked like a whole new man! We gave him a BYU shirt that was left at the appartment so he`s been wearing that around! It`s awesome. We talked to this guy the other day for a while and then he said he wanted to take us to McDonalds to get a burger because we looked hungry. It was soooo nice of him. We`re going to teach him this week and I really want him to be baptized because he would be an awesome member! He`s an engineer for Kawasaki motorcyles and he was excited when I told him I used to have one! It was the best experience of the mission so far. I`m loving it. I love being a missionary. Have a great week family! I love you so much!

Elder Giles