Elder Giles

Elder Giles
Mission Photos

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.