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!